Iraq Update: Air Force Runs Out Of Missiles, ISIS Controls The Border; Shiite Clerics Threaten US Troops

Tyler Durden's picture

Now that the Iraq proxy war scene is set, and as we reported on Friday, Prime Minister Maliki has become a pawn in yet another middle-east war between the west and the petrodollar (with both Saudi Arabia and the US making it clear Maliki has to go) and Russia (with Putin expressing his full support for the prime minister), events will likely unfold at an even faster pace. Sure enough, even this otherwise quiet weekend, in which the world is supposed to put wars on the backburner and focus on the world cup, is chock-full of Iraq news upates.

Let's begin.

Perhaps the leading update out of the civil war-torn country is that ISIS militants, whose ultimate goal is to create a caliphate that encompasses Syria, Jordan and Iraq are well on their way to achieving what in Europe would be called a "customs union", after they captured two border crossings, one with Jordan and another with Syria, as they press on with their offensive -largely unobstructed - in one of Iraq's most restive regions.

The officials said the militants on Sunday captured the Turaibil crossing with Jordan and the al-Walid crossing with Syria after government forces there pulled out.


The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.


The capture of the two follows the fall since Friday of the towns of Qaim, Rawah, Anah and Rutba, all of which are in the Sunni Anbar province where militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have since January controlled the city of Fallujah and parts of the provincial capital Ramadi.

As AP notes, with the capture of another town in Iraq's western Anbar province, the fourth to fall in two days, it appears that the ISIS Baghdad offensive has for now been put on hold, and instead the jihadists are focusing their efforts on a major offensive in the western provinces to cement their control and seamless crossing to and from Syria and Jordan.

The following latest maps from the Institute for the Study of War map out the most recent clashes.


This follows the deployment on Friday of volunteer fighters, a mix of new recruits and Shi'a militias, to multiple locations including Tal Afar and Taji. Asa  reminder the cities of Tal Afar and Muqdadiyah, as well as the Baiji refinery town, remain the key front lines against the advance of ISIS from the north. As of late Friday, the ISF had not launched a counter-offensive against ISIS.


But why is Iraq not taking advantage of the slowdown in the ISIS offensive and seeking halt the military momentum? Simple: its army is running out of supplies!

As ABC reports, the Iraqi military ran out of Hellfire missiles six days ago, and though the U.S. is rushing more missiles into the country, Iraq has only two modified Cessna aircraft to launch them in their battle against the radical Islamic militia ISIS.

ISIS has damaged 28 tanks and shot down three helicopters, a significant percentage of the government force, and the militia killed an entire Iraqi Security Force brigade in the last couple of days at the border with Syria, which ISIS now controls.

The losses have left the Iraqi military with no offensive capability, and no real air force.

Perhaps this is why, in order to avoid a loss of confidence in the country's offensive (and defensive) weaponry, the Iraq government released the following video footage on Sunday, which reportedly shows the bombing of suspected ISIS miitant hideouts. In a world in which YouTube has become the biggest propaganda tool, we wouldn't be too surprised if this footage was doctored by the NSA or merely taken from the archives.

Meanwhile, ISIS is taking advantage of its involuntary restocking by the US army, after its plunder of an unknown number of US Black Hawk helicopters and Humvees (the topic of choice in ISIS' trolling of Michelle Obama as reported yesterday) during its Mosul offensive several weeks ago.

That wraps up the military deployments (or lack thereof) in the past 48 hours.

Parallel with the fighting, perhaps an even more important development were the statements by the regional religious leaders, those of both Iran and Iraq.

First, it was in Iraq where a Shiite Muslim cleric threatened to attack U.S. military advisers when they arrive in the country to help Iraq’s government fight Sunni extremists.

As The Hill reported, in a sermon on Friday, Nassir al-Saedi, a loyalist to Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, warned of an attack against the U.S., whom he called “the occupier,” Sky News reported.

"We will be ready for you if you are back," said al-Saedi.

The warning comes days after President Obama announced he was sending 300 U.S. military advisers to Iraq to bolster government security forces and help combat Sunni militant members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The British Telegraph also reported that tens of thousands of heavily armed fighters from al-Sadr’s militia, the Mahdi army, paraded through the streets of Baghdad Saturday.

The Shiite militia said it does not need or want help from the U.S.

So much for a friendly third welcome of the US "liberators."

"If the Americans are thinking about coming back here, all of we Iraqis will become time bombs - we will eat them alive," said Adel Jabr Albawi, who marched in Saturday’s parade, according to the Telegraph. "We can deal with Isis ourselves."

The threats from al-Sadr supporters could potentially open a second front for U.S. forces heading to Iraq.

But it was not just Iraq clerics who raged against a return of the US. Also joining the anti-US chorus was - perhaps surprisingy all things considered- Iran's own top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has vocally come out against US intervention in neighboring Iraq, where Islamic extremists and Sunni militants opposed to Tehran have seized a number of towns and cities.

"We strongly oppose the intervention of the U.S. and others in the domestic affairs of Iraq," Khamenei was quoted as saying by the IRNA state news agency on Sunday, in his first reaction to the crisis.

"The main dispute in Iraq is between those who want Iraq to join the U.S. camp and those who seek an independent Iraq," said Khamenei, who has the final say over government policies. "The U.S. aims to bring its own blind followers to power."

Well, he is right after all.

As a reminder, Shiite Iran supports the Shiite-led government in Baghdad, and has said it would consider any request for military aid.

Which covers the religious influence of both Iran and Iraq. But what about that other staple in everything "middle-east"- Israel? Well, they too made an appearance this weekend when it was revealed that the surprise winner from the ISIS surge, the Kurdish Regional Government, which suddenly finds itself as a major oil producer and exporter, has found its first buyer of oil. None other than Israel.

According to the WSJ, oil piped from Iraqi Kurdistan has been successfully delivered directly by the region's semiautonomous government for the first time, despite opposition from the U.S. and the Iraqi central government. The oil comes from a new pipeline built to bypass Baghdad’s pipeline, which will help maintain Iraqi Kurdistan’s financial independence.

The Kurdish Regional Government said late Friday that one million barrels of its oil piped through the Turkish port of Ceyhan "was safely delivered to the buyers." The KRG declined to say who the buyers were.

It didn't take long to discover just who the buyers were thought: "The oil is currently being unloaded at an Israeli port, according to officials at the terminal."

The U.S. State Department confirmed the delivery, criticizing the semiautonomous region's unilateral sale without Baghdad's approval and warning buyers of its oil. "The export or sale of oil absent the appropriate approval of the federal Iraqi government exposes those involved to potentially serious legal risks," a State Department official told The Wall Street Journal.

But while the US boycotted the Kurdish sale of oil, it had surprisinglylittle to say about the Israel purchase of said product.

Iraq already boycotts Israel, and won’t sell oil to the Jewish state, so Israel is not overly concerned with Iraqi threats of sanctions, unlike other countries who have oil contracts with Iraq.

* * *

Finally, president Obama, in an interview with CBS' "Face the Nation" airing Sunday, warned that the al-Qaida-inspired militants in Iraq could grow in power and destabilize the region. He said Washington must remain "vigilant" but would not "play whack-a-mole and send US troops occupying various countries wherever these organizations pop up." Why not, one wonders? What has changed from US' "whack-a-mole" policies, all "beyond successful" to date?

And that concludes the weekend Iraq event roundup.

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NidStyles's picture

It's their land.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Yes, and let them deal with it.

Kurdistan looks like it will happen after all.

Let the Shi'ites deal with ISIS.

Keep the USA out!

Popcorn ready yet?

CrashisOptimistic's picture

Quite the surprise.  As recent as maybe 5 yrs ago Turkey was adamantly opposed, for fear Turkish Kurds would turn into separatists across the border and chop off a chunk of Turkish territory to jon.

As is, I suspect they want a transit fee.

Winston Churchill's picture

The Turks also have the Armenian issue,so they will not deal

I think.That Kurd pipeline will be easily dispruted once ISIS gets control.

Hard to see how this will play out long term.Too many

conflicting tribal rivalries even amongst the competing sects.

Anybody who says they know how this will shakeout is a fool, or a

politician,but I repeat myself.

max2205's picture

Bullish. ..SPY to open up 10 pts at least

BaBaBouy's picture

USD Hedgemony Under Serious Threat, Pulling Out
All The $Stops...

QUICKLY QUICKLY, Short More Fabricated Paper GOLD...

smlbizman's picture

i wonder what credit card they put that oil on....i bet it wasnt an american express, probably more like a gold card....

boogerbently's picture

That's why those troops were (sacrificed) deployed.

When they are killed, we have an excuse to interfere.

Idaho potato head's picture

Plenty of US fiat in that shitty little cuntry.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

Mmmmm.... US invades 3rd world country. Leaves after pissing away billions on the MIC and corrupt politicians. US leaves and then a few years later an unsavory gov't takes over. Replay of Vietnam? Damn the US gov't is stupid!

stoneworker's picture

This all seems as if it coordinated by the US through Saudi Arabia...typical regime change scenario(with words like Maliki has to go) passive military action(when usually you would already see invasion plans on CNN and FOX going crazy with caliphates and other fearmongering techniques). Also as it says in the article the US is dragging it's feet in arming the Iraqi army with offensive weapons. I have to admit I have no idea what is going on and who exactly is behind this, but I will throw out a guess that the goal is the same as it was in Syria....they(SA and/or Qatar) need to build a pipeline to turkey through Sunni controlled territory and to disrupt the "Islamic" pipeline. This is why the mass media seems to be talking about establishing three different states(when in the Ukraine issue this was not considered an option for some reason)...All of this in my mind is possible, but I simply think that the US has more to lose than to gain in this scenario, because I don't think ISIS is going to honor US oil contracts(idk may be they will). Anyway I would love to hear some logical conspiracy theories since it is obvious that this is a huge global power play that could be a gamechanger. 

Monty Burns's picture

What I find amazing is how ISIS has transformed, in seemingly a few months, from an obscure offshoot of AQ to a fully fledged 'army' taking on and defeating the regular army in pitched battle. I have no idea either what's going on behind the scenes but for sure there must be some really heavy hitters behind the ISIS project.

stoneworker's picture

Yeah I never buy the freedom fighter story...ever. I can see the locals helping, but never leading."In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way." FDR

Never One Roach's picture

ISIS beating the Iraqi army is not a big deal. We beat them first.

Christophe2's picture

During the original ISIS invasion, the US had corrupted parts of the local Iraq hierarchy, with one governor ordering his troops to stand down, and a number of other (obviously bribed) officers also doing the equivalent.  There is no way ISIS would have been able to accomplish what they did if it were not for all this back-stabbing and intrigue by Western agents, and thus it is safe to say that ISIS' military capability has not particularly changed, it is still just a band of thieves and cut-throats that can't hold its ground against any modern army.

They are only holding their latest gains because the US is refusing to honor its agreements to arm the Iraq army, but that's not going to last, what with how Iran certainly has excellent ballistic capabilities, should it come to that.

Oh, and FWIW, the Iraqi people DEFEATED the US armed forces, who had no choice but to FLEE the country, no matter their big oil dreams.  They left a garrison behind (that monstrous complex), but things have clearly gotten so bad they felt they had to resort to this 'al CIAda invasion' to try to save their 'investments'.

NoDebt's picture

It's almost like nobody listens to the US any more.  "Nobody could have forseen this."

chumbawamba's picture

Oh, please.  So we're to believe they pronounced "Mission Accomplished", put a ten dollar Master lock on the gate guarding the billion dollar US embassy, handed the key over to some former goat herders, and then left?

This is probably the stupidest American uncomplishment I've seen so far.  Who writes these scripts?  I want my money back.  This is starting to look more like a typically stupid Michael Bay/Tom Cruise movie.

I am Chumbawamba.

RECISION's picture

or a typically stupid JJ Abrams movie.

They all suck too.

sunaJ's picture

From the article:


But it was not just Iraq clerics who raged against a return of the US. Also joining the anti-US chorus was - perhaps surprisingy all things considered- Iran's own top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has vocally come out against US intervention in neighboring Iraq, where Islamic extremists and Sunni militants opposed to Tehran have seized a number of towns and cities.


Isn't it plausible that we simply have consolidation of a regional power grab?  I don't think the state of Iraq exists anymore.  You have both Shiite and Sunni clerics telling the US to get out, yet Iran is intervening and now you have a seeming fortification of Baghdad and the south?  Iraq is no longer going to exist, with Iran (by proxy or annexation) taking Baghdad and the south, Kurds taking the north and Sunnis create some sort of failed state to the west.  And none of these regions will want US Military or US Dollar. 



666's picture

Can you imagine Obummer having the balls to impose economic sanctions against Israel for buying the oil?

Yeah, when hell freezes over.

Idaho potato head's picture

I'm dreaming of ISIS marching into Tel Aviv, a very pleasant dream.

TheReplacement's picture

Consolidation yes.  It is those dastardly Canadians consolidating control of the world's oil supply.

GoldenTool's picture

Have to agree with you TR the Canadians are behind it.  What I didn't realize until now, it was the Canadians all along.

RevRex's picture

Obama's pappy was a Sunni Muslim too, I suspect that's why one of the first things Obama/Hillary did when they took over in 2009 was to release Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS Terrorist Commander in Iraq......

GOSPLAN HERO's picture

So Frank Marshall Davis be a Sunni Muslim?

agent default's picture

Let me tell you how this will play out in the long term.  Whatever the idiots in the DC had in mind, it ain't happening.  End of story.

Buck Johnson's picture

It will be either by the Sunni's or the Shia to be honest it could be by the Turks.  You see Turkey doesn't want northern Iraq to become financially viable like that.  Because they will be able to use their financial might to find insurgencies in southernTurkey (which they want anyway for greater Kurdistan).

Monty Burns's picture

This is very true.  Behind thescenes the Turks will be very anxious about what's happening with the Kurds.

SF beatnik's picture

Now, if the US were to supply free bullets to both sides....

August's picture

Before we get all dewey-eyed over the prospect of the Kurds at last getting a State all their own, let us recall that the much of "Kurdistan" in Turkey was formerly known as "Armenia". 

The Kurds were rewarded with their new Turkish lands in exchange for their energetic efforts in the extermination of the residents of those lands, a population formerly known as "Armenians".

Ain't nobody in this game without blood on their hands, and lots of it.

whotookmyalias's picture

Send Bloomberg over there to implement gun free zones.

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

Don't miss an opportunity to point out the way that large surgary drinks have affected the security situation in Iraq too.

NidStyles's picture

I think it's absurd so many westerners want to try and control the outcome of this. It only alienates those people and pushes them to want to avoid making reasonable deals for their natural resources.

CrashisOptimistic's picture

Suppose their most reasonable deal is to keep it in the ground for their grandkids and fuck everyone else?

Publicus's picture

Keep in the ground then create a currency to represent it.

ObamaDepression's picture

Kurds seem to be the only ones who have their shit together.

Good for them. Its one hell of a come back for a group of people that were just fighting to survive as a people 25 years ago.

Paveway IV's picture

And the Kurdish ethnic cleansing campaigns have been most successful. Screw anyone else living on that land for a thousand years. Kurds are now the only recognized victims in Kurdistan. Everyone else get the hell out and find your own oilfields.

magpie's picture

Centcom already working on the slogans for the assault on Kirkuk, i see.

August's picture

Before we get all dewey-eyed over the prospect of the Kurds at last getting a State all their own, let us recall that the much of "Kurdistan" in Turkey was formerly known as "Armenia". 

The Kurds were rewarded with their new Turkish lands in exchange for their energetic efforts in the extermination of the residents of those lands, a population formerly known as "Armenians".

Ain't nobody in this game without blood on their hands, and lots of it.

RaiZH's picture

I'm sorry but just because the USA is not "officially" in... does not mean the USA is indeed not getting involved in all this behind the scenes.

Arguably this was instigated by you guys. 

It's their land, but it's also their oil.  

RafterManFMJ's picture

Don't laugh too hard.

After watching every cop on the West Coast run around like chickens with their heads cut off in fear of Dorner, after watching the police of New Orleans break and run, and loot during Katrina, after viewing the dickless trash of Boston cower in their homes while Boston's finest unloaded 8,000 rounds on some kid bleeding out in a boat - and still not kill him, I'm convinced the ISIS could take 1/3 of this country with little effort.

kchrisc's picture

"It's their land."

Not if Israel and CIA have anything to do with it.

NidStyles's picture

Because that has always worked well in the past.... 

kchrisc's picture

They'll either kill everyone to make it happen or kill everyone trying to make it happen.

km4's picture
 · 3h

Kerry denies US 'responsible' for the crisis in Iraq

Flakmeister's picture

Ah, the smell of a shit show in the morning...