London, March 28, 2015–The US Central Command, the military branch in charge of operations in an area that includes Iraq, released a bunch of videos showing bombing the past two days of positions in the town of Tikrit supposedly held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Shams (ISIS). Shams is Arabic for Greater Syria; the videos are labeled as hits on Da’esh, an Arabic acronym used now by the Obama Administration instead of the Islamic State to avoid offending Muslim sensibilities.
Not sure what to make of it all. It shows bombings of ISIS “positions,” a “staging area,” bridges” and other targets. No explanation of whether the bombing was coordinated with advances of Iraqi “security forces,” as Centcom refers to them, although the allies are actually autonomous Shiite Muslim militias who flocked to Tikrit to battle the Sunni Muslim insurgents. Some of the Shiite militias despise the Americans, fought them before the US troop withdrawal of 2011 and according to press reports, refuses to fight while the Tikrit bombing is ongoing.
The Shiite Crescent War scorecard: US bombing ISIS in Iraq on behalf of the Shiite-dominated Baghdad government; bombs ISIS in Syria, meaning the government of Bashar al-Assad, a client of Shiite Iran, doesn’t need to; and bombs a Shiite tribal militia in Yemen on behalf of a government that, for the time being, doesn’t appear to exist.
Anyway, if you want to see clouds of smoke in Tikrit (Saddam Hussein’s home town), here are the videos.
Here’s a Centcom release of what the operation is all about. It uses the acronym ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.