The row between Turkey and Iraq continues over the presence of Turkish troops near Mosul, where they are supporting Kurdish fighters. Turkey has stopped deploying additional forces to the area but says the 100 or so troops there now will remain. It's hard to sort out what this is really all about but it seems to go back to the hostility between Russia and Turkey. (Russian news services are all over the story, taking the Iraqi side, as here.) Recall that Iran is a main supporter of the Assad regime. Under Shiite government, Iraq is also now allied with Assad, and Russia's intervention on Assad's behalf now draws the three powers closer. Nobody likes IS, but that is not enough to overcome the split over Assad. One more sign that any remaining U.S. influence in Iraq is pretty much done for. (And we still have the billion dollar embassy with the swimming pools.)
Iraq claims major gains in Ramadi and predicts expelling IS from the city "very soon," without giving any specific time frame. It is not clear to what extent this was accomplished by the Iraqi army vs. Shiite militias, or how many Sunni Arab forces are involved.
Amnesty International crashes through an open door to observe that IS has largely armed itself with weapons captured from Iraqi military stockpiles, which AI thinks were excessive, blaming Iraq's international suppliers including the U.S.
In Afghanistan, Taliban attack Kandahar airport, apparently with little result.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Posted by Cervantes at 10:41 AM