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13 mars 2015 5 13 /03 /mars /2015 12:30
source-globalresearch-ca

source-globalresearch-ca

 

13-03-2015 par Jérôme Bastion correspondant à Istanbul - RFI

 

L'émir du Qatar aurait rendu une visite inopinée, ce jeudi, au président Erdogan en Turquie, mais cette information n'a pas été confirmée - une telle visite n'était d'ailleurs pas inscrite sur le programme officiel de la présidence turque. A la veille de la visite à Ankara du chef du Centcom américain, John Allen, qui supervise les opérations de la coalition internationale contre le groupe Etat islamique, les deux hommes auraient évoqué un renforcement de la coopération militaire entre les deux pays, mais sans lien direct avec la situation actuelle en Syrie et en Irak.

 

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13 mars 2015 5 13 /03 /mars /2015 12:30
Général David Petraeus : «Le vrai ennemi en Irak n'est pas l'État islamique»

ISIS Sanctuary - March 4, 2015 credits ISW

 

12/03/2015 Par Maurin Picard – LeFigaro.fr

 

INTERVIEW - Le général américain David Howell Petraeus, 62 ans, fut l'artisan du «Surge» en Irak (2007-2008), cette stratégie contre-insurrectionnelle réussie. Ancien chef de l'Otan et des forces internationales en Afghanistan en 2010, puis directeur de la CIA, poste dont il a dû démissionner en 2012, il met en garde contre la menace iranienne.

 

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13 mars 2015 5 13 /03 /mars /2015 12:30
A Czech Air Force's L159 advanced light combat aircraft in flight. Photo Ministerstvo obrany Ceské republiky.

A Czech Air Force's L159 advanced light combat aircraft in flight. Photo Ministerstvo obrany Ceské republiky.

 

11 March 2015 airforce-technology.com

 

The Czech Republic Government has authorised Aero Vodochody to sell 15 surplus L-159 advanced light combat aircraft (ALCA) to Iraq.

 

Czech Republic Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky was quoted by Middle East Online? as saying: "We are looking at a total of 15 warplanes, four of which come from the Czech Air Force, while 11 others come from surplus stock.

 

"The total cost is CZK750m (€27.5m; $30m)."

 

Iraq will reportedly receive ten single-seater and two two-seater L-159s, along with a complete aircraft package, including ground equipment, spare parts, training and supply of arms and ammunition.

 

Meanwhile, the remaining three aircraft are scheduled to be dismantled into spare parts.

 

Aero Vodochody and the Czech Ministry of Defence signed an agreement for the sale of redundant L-159s to the Iraqi Air Force in August 2014.

 

Iraq will reportedly receive ten single-seater and two two-seater L-159s, along with a complete aircraft package,

 

Under the terms of agreement, the company will initially purchase the aircraft from the Czech Air Force, and then resell them to Iraq, which is currently engaged in a fight with the Islamic State militants.

 

The company will outfit the planes with additional equipment and ammunition prior to delivery to Iraq, in addition to ensuring the training of pilots and the ground stuff, as reported by the Czech News Agency.

 

Despite acquiring 72 L-159s from Aero Vodochody in the 1990s, the Czech Air Force currently uses only one third of them, and has been attempting to sell the redundant planes for several years.

 

The L159 ALCA is a derivative of the Aero L-39 Albatros, designed to perform close air support, tactical reconnaissance, air defence, counter insurgency, border patrol and lead-in fighter and weapons training missions.

 

The contract is subject to the Italian, UK, and US Governments, due to use of foreign technology onboard the aircraft, and deliveries are scheduled to take place over the next three years.

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12 mars 2015 4 12 /03 /mars /2015 08:30
Air strikes in Iraq (Last updated: 11 March 2015)

 

11 March 2015 Ministry of Defence

 

British forces have continued to conduct air operations to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL.


 

Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft have again struck a series of ISIL terrorist targets in Iraq.

 

RAF Tornado and Reaper aircraft have continued to fly missions over Iraq as part of the international coalition’s campaign to support the Iraqi government in their fight against ISIL. On Wednesday 4 March, a Reaper, which was providing air support to Iraqi army units, spotted the muzzle flash of a heavy calibre weapon. Close investigation allowed the Reaper’s crew to locate an ISIL towed artillery piece, which was then destroyed with a Hellfire missile. Investigation allowed the Reaper’s crew to locate an ISIL towed artillery piece which was destroyed with a Hellfire missile.

 

The following day, other Reapers continued to provide close air support to Iraqi ground forces in the west of the country. An ISIL vehicle was destroyed during Thursday morning, and then in the evening a series of Hellfire engagements took place. An ISIL vehicle check-point was neutralised, an attempt by terrorists to launch an attack on Iraqi troops was disrupted by three successful missile strikes, and finally an armed pick-up truck was destroyed late that night. The Reapers also provided surveillance support to two further air strikes by coalition fast jets.

 

On Sunday 8 March, a Reaper armed reconnaissance patrol provided surveillance for a coalition attack on an armed terrorist truck, then conducted an Hellfire attack on a second vehicle. Monday afternoon saw a pair of Tornado GR4s conduct close air support for Kudish peshmerga on the offensive south of Kirkuk. When the peshmerga came under fire from ISIL terrorists the GR4s were able to conduct successful strikes with Paveway IV guided bombs. In the early hours of Wednesday 11 March, a Tornado patrol located a camouflaged 130mm heavy artillery piece near Al Qaim in western Iraq, and destroyed it with Brimstone missiles.

 

An RAF Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker continues to provide essential support both to our Tornados and other coalition aircraft, and RAF Sentry aircraft make a significant contribution to the coalition’s surveillance effort. In northern Iraq, the British military team has completed delivering a programme of infantry training for the Kurdish peshmerga, and is now refocusing on training assistance to help the Iraqi ground forces deal with the threat from improvised explosive devices, on which ISIL are increasingly reliant when they are forced to retreat.

 
Previous air strikes

 

1 March: A Reaper tracked an ISIL truck loaded with weapons and ammunition, and scored a direct Hellfire hit.

In the north of Iraq, meanwhile, British and coalition military instructors continue to provide infantry training for the peshmerga as they prepare for further offensives to extend the areas they have already liberated from terrorist control. HMS Dauntless and HMS Kent remain in the Gulf, supporting air strike operations by US and French aircraft carriers.

 

2 March: A pair of RAF Tornado GR4s led other coalition aircraft in an attack on a series of ISIL fortified positions south of Kirkuk. These bunkers posed a potential threat to offensive operations by the Kurdish peshmerga, who have also benefitted from equipment and extensive training provided by British and coalition military instructors.

 

Meanwhile, in western Iraq, RAF Reapers provided close air support to an Iraqi Army offensive in Anbar province. The retreating ISIL terrorists sought to hold up the Iraqi advance with numerous improvised explosive devices. One vehicle-borne bomb posed a particular obstacle to the Iraqi ground forces, so a Reaper destroyed the vehicle with a Hellfire missile. Later that night, another Reaper assisted Iraqi troops who had come under fire from the terrorists, carrying out an attack with a Hellfire missile on the ISIL position.

 

Military support is just one part of the UK government’s contribution to the global coalition strategy to defeat ISIL – we are also taking action to counter the terrorist network’s finances, are restricting the flow of foreign fighters and have provided vital humanitarian relief to help those affected by ISIL’s brutality. The RAF contribution includes Reaper remotely piloted aircraft, which, like the Tornados, provide reconnaissance and close air support to the Iraqi ground forces; a Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker; a Sentry airborne surveillance and command aircraft; and air transport aircraft as necessary.

 

British military training teams continue to teach infantry and first aid skills to the Kurdish peshmerga, and liaison teams are embedded within Iraqi and coalition headquarters. Having previously provided military equipment to the Iraqi forces, Britain plans to gift improvised explosive device (IED) detectors to help the Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers protect themselves against the numerous improvised explosive devices on which ISIL are increasingly relying as they are forced back by successful offensives. In the Gulf, the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless is operating in direct support of the US Navy’s aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, which provides a significant part of the coalition’s air effort.

 

Details of previous airstrikes can be found here.

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12 mars 2015 4 12 /03 /mars /2015 08:20
UK Defence Secretary first to visit US counterpart

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and U.K. Defense Secretary Michael C. Fallon walk through an honor cordon at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. March 11, 2015.- (DoD News photo by EJ Hersom)

 

11 March 2015 Ministry of Defence and The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP

 

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has become the first defence minister to be hosted by his US opposite number since Defense Secretary Ash Carter was sworn in.

 

Mr Fallon today re-affirmed the UK’s resolve to provide help to Ukraine and reassurance to NATO Allies in the face of Russian aggression and to support the international coalition in combating ISIL. Mr Fallon also emphasised the UK’s commitment to investing in Defence during his visit, announcing over a quarter of a billion pounds of funding to the UK’s submarine industry.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

The US-UK defence partnership is the broadest, deepest and most advanced in the world. As close allies in NATO, permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and leading nuclear powers, our partnership has repeatedly proved vital to international peace and security, and will continue to do so far into the future.

For the UK’s part, the close co-operation between our two countries makes clear our commitment to facing up to present-day challenges, including the threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence from Russia’s aggression.

Our deployment of training teams, gifting of non-lethal equipment and our regular participation in reassurance exercises in Eastern Europe demonstrates the strength of that commitment.

Mr Fallon also took the opportunity to reaffirm the UK’s resolve to support the international effort in combating ISIL; having conducted 176 airstrikes in Iraq to date, the UK is the second biggest contributor to the coalition airstrikes after the USA.

In Iraq the UK has provided over 50 tonnes of non lethal support, 40 heavy machine guns and nearly half a million rounds of ammunition to the Iraqi ground forces. British forces have trained 144 Peshmerga fighters on the gifted heavy machine guns and have successfully implemented a training course for Peshmerga fighters on combat infantry skills, including sharp-shooting and first aid.

More recently, the UK has gifted 1,000 surplus counter-IED VALLON detectors to Iraqi Security Forces (incl Kurdish Fighters); and delivered over 300 tonnes of weapons and ammunition on behalf of other coalition nations. The UK also announced it will be sending additional trainers to support Iraqi Security Forces to take on ISIL. 20 trainers will depart later this month to help tackle the growing threat of improvised explosive devices being used by ISIL.

The UK, like the US, has been committed to continuous at-sea deterrence for more than 45 years in order to protect its citizens, and Mr Fallon also spoke about the £285 million pound investment to continue design work for the Royal Navy’s next generation of nuclear deterrent submarines.

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11 mars 2015 3 11 /03 /mars /2015 14:30
credits BBC MidEast

credits BBC MidEast

 

11-03-2015 Par RFI

 

Après dix jours d’intenses combats, et après après avoir repris al-Alam, un faubourg situé au nord de Tikrit, mardi, l’armée d'Irak et les milices chiites ont réussi une première incursion dans Tikrit, l'ancien fief de Saddam Hussein contrôlé par l’organisation Etat islamique. Chasser les jihadistes de cette ville reste leur principal objectif.

 

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11 mars 2015 3 11 /03 /mars /2015 08:30
US has 250 contractors in Iraq assisting with logistics, more may soon follow.(Photo US Air Force)

US has 250 contractors in Iraq assisting with logistics, more may soon follow.(Photo US Air Force)

 

March 9, 2015 By Paul McLeary – Defense News

 

Civilian advisers, contracted helicopters, on the Pentagon's shopping list to help in Iraq

 

WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense only has about 250 civilian contractors in Iraq supporting the 2,700 US troops deployed there; but a handful of new solicitations and potential contracts may soon add to that number, according to items posted to a federal contracting Web site.

 

For the past two decades, the resource-heavy American way of war has dictated that where US troops go, civilian contractors follow. It's a way of doing business that has become ingrained in the Pentagon's culture as end strength has slowly been whittled away while global commitments show no sign of slackening.

 

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have doubled down on the practice, with the number of contractors more than doubling the number of uniformed personnel on the ground at various points over the past decade.

 

And it's a trend that continues in Afghanistan, where the 10,000 US troops there are dwarfed by the 39,600 contractors supporting their training and advising mission, 14,200 of which are American citizens.

 

In Iraq, Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright said in an email, DoD contractors are tightly focused in their activities, "primarily performing translator/interpreter, communications, logistics, and maintenance functions."

 

Overall, there are about 5,000 mainly State Department contractors in Iraq which represents a relatively modest footprint as compared to previous years, where there were over 160,000 during the height of the fighting. There are also 54,000 civilian contractors working across the Middle East for US Central Command.

 

But more could be on their way to Iraq.

 

On March 3, the US Army issued a solicitation for Security Assistance Mentors & Advisors to support the Iraqi Ministry of Defense "with designing, implementing, and sustaining systems that increase its institutional capabilities."

 

Asked about the document, the Pentagon's Mark Wright explained that while the contract does not specify any particular number of advisers, "it is not anticipated to be greater than a half dozen ministry advisors. These persons are not required to be armed and are not intended to directly support combat operations, but to provide administrative assistance."

 

And its not only civilian personnel that are being tapped to support the uniformed personnel in Iraq. On Feb. 27, the US Transportation Command issued a Request for Information looking for a contractor to provide eight "heavy Rotary Wing aircraft."

 

While not an official solicitation just yet, the US government said that it is looking to identify contractors who can provide birds that can each ferry a minimum of 12 passengers and move a load of at least 5,000 pounds. The aircraft and their civilian crews would be positioned at the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center, and "missions may involve destinations throughout Iraq" transporting troops, food and water, fuel, and ammunition.

 

The Diplomatic Support Center is a 350-acre facility run by the State Department next to the Baghdad International Airport, which is also thought to house the US Army Apache helicopters sent to Baghdad last year.

 

While their numbers are still relatively small in Iraq, the use of contractors in American military deployments in recent years has stirred plenty of controversy—particularly the use of security contractors. Critics have charged that the use of civilians to perform so many non-combat functions has served to downplay the true size of the American commitment.

 

There have also been plenty of issues revolving around poor contract oversight, human rights issues revolving around contractors from third-world countries, and plenty of waste, fraud, and abuse. In fact, the Commission on Wartime Contracting has reported that as much as $60 billion was lost to waste or fraud in Iraq, as contractors often subcontracted out to other contractors and the trail of money went wobbly.

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10 mars 2015 2 10 /03 /mars /2015 13:30
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga target Islamic State in Kirkuk

 

9 March 2015 BBC MidEast

 

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces, backed by US air strikes, have launched an offensive against Islamic State (IS) militants in oil-rich Kirkuk province.

 

The Peshmerga reportedly began advancing along a frontline south-west of the provincial capital on Monday. Their hold over Kirkuk - consolidated when Iraq's army fled an IS advance last summer - has come under fresh attack from IS this year. IS has also sent fighters to repel an Iraqi assault on the city of Tikrit. Iraqi troops and Shia militias are attempting to drive IS jihadists from Tikrit, the Sunni Arab hometown of former dictator Saddam Hussein. The BBC has learnt that militants from Mosul, the largest city under IS control in Iraq, have been diverted to fend off the assault on Tikrit.

 

Continue reading the main story            

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9 mars 2015 1 09 /03 /mars /2015 19:30
Commentary: Apply Desert Storm Lessons to Islamic State Campaign

US Air Force aircraft of the 4th Fighter Wing (F-16A, F-15C and F-15E) fly over Kuwaiti oil fires, set by the retreating Iraqi army during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

 

March 9, 2015 By Gen. John Michael Loh (Ret.)Defense News

 

Feb. 28 marked the 24th anniversary of the end of the first Gulf War, Desert Storm, the only major war since World War II that ended in victory for the US, with all objectives met. Desert Storm is also notable for its remarkably short duration, only 42 days.

 

These facts stand in sharp contrast to our two major wars waged since then in Iraq and Afghanistan, both lasting more than a decade after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which initiated them, and both marked by unclear military objectives and endless nation-building.

 

Now, we are engaged in an adjunct of the Iraq war against the Islamic State group, a war also notable for its lack of clear objectives and seemingly endless duration. To defeat this enemy, the US needs to adopt the same kind of strategy and mindset used so effectively in 1991.

 

What made Desert Storm so short and so effective were the clear military objectives laid down by President George H.W. Bush, the military strategy put together in the Pentagon leading with massive air power, and the leadership of Army Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and Air Force Gen. Chuck Horner in directing the plan with relentless pounding by airpower, day and night for a month, allowing "boots on the ground" to finish the job in just four days.

 

The result of this intense application of airpower followed by swift ground action was total victory; quickly, decisively, with overwhelming force and few casualties. This is the way modern wars should be fought.

 

Islamic State forces are deployed differently and are more scattered than were the Iraqi forces in Desert Storm. They control a larger area than the Kuwaiti theater. But the principles of applying intense air attacks and swift ground offensives are the same. Yet, we are fighting Islamic State with a misapplication of airpower, dribbling a few air attacks here and there with no clear objective other than to "degrade" the enemy.

 

The contrast between Desert Storm and the war against the Islamic State group could not be more stark. President Bush clearly enunciated the military objectives for Desert Storm: Evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait, incapacitate Iraq's leadership and military capability, and defend Saudi Arabia from Iraqi invasion. In short, get in, win and get out, leaving no occupation forces.

 

He left the military strategy and campaign plan to the generals and did not interfere. They put together a massive around-the-clock air campaign simultaneously attacking military targets in and around Baghdad and air attacks against Iraqi forces in Kuwait. And the plan deployed overwhelming ground forces to ensure they could quickly destroy the remaining "elite" Iraqi Republican Guard forces, free Kuwait and set the Iraqi military back for at least 10 years.

 

The plan worked as designed. The one-two punch of intense airpower followed by overwhelming ground forces, then withdrawal from occupied territory, was the right strategy.

 

What followed the conclusion of hostilities was not an attempt at regime change and nation-building, but rather the imposition of effective "no-fly" zones throughout Iraq; Southern Watch from bases in Saudi Arabia, and Northern Watch from bases in Turkey.

 

Around-the-clock surveillance detected any military flights, movement of ground military vehicles and tracking of US aircraft by ground radars. Any movement or tracking was met with immediate, lethal attacks. The no-fly zones were effective, low-cost and without casualties for the 10 years they were in effect.

 

Since Desert Storm, we have lost sight of the importance of clearly defined military objectives and building a campaign strategy to win quickly and decisively with airmen and soldiers working together. It is not too late to put together the same combination to win against the Islamic State group. The scenario is different, but the principles of warfare remain the same. The result may well be not just winning quickly and decisively, but the basis for deterring future IS-like movements. But the current approach against the Islamic State group will lead to neither victory nor deterrence, just endless, piecemeal warfare.

 

We should change course now, apply the lessons of Desert Storm, go on offense, and take the lead in the air and on the ground in the fight against the Islamic State group — to win.

 

* Gen. John Michael Loh, retired, is a former US Air Force vice chief of staff and former commander of Air Combat Command. He consults for several defense contractors.

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7 mars 2015 6 07 /03 /mars /2015 22:30
Irak: poursuite de l'offensive militaire dans la région de Tikrit

 

07-03-2015 Par RFI

 

Lundi dernier, les forces irakiennes, avec 30 000 hommes mobilisés, ont lancé une offensive pour reprendre Tikrit, à 160 km au nord de Bagdad, aux mains des jihadistes de l'organisation Etat islamique. Une reconquête difficile et lente, qui soulève aussi des inquiétudes au sein des partenaires occidentaux de l'Irak.

 

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7 mars 2015 6 07 /03 /mars /2015 11:30
Daesh pushed out of Al Baghdadi

 

March 06, 2015 CJTF - Operation Inherent Resolve News Release

 

SOUTHWEST ASIA - Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve delivered precise and effective airstrikes on enemy positions in and around Al Baghdadi, in support of the Iraqi Government's fight against ISIL. Iraqi Security Forces and Tribal Fighters from the Anbar region have successfully cleared Al Baghdadi of ISIL, retaking both the police station and three Euphrates River bridges. The bridges have been held by ISIL since last September. Furthermore, the Iraqi Security Forces with Coalition support, succeeded in pushing ISIL from seven villages northwest of Al Baghdadi on the road to Hadithah.

 

From Feb. 22 - March 6, in support of the Government of Iraq's (GOI) campaign to defeat ISIL, the Coalition executed 26 airstrikes to facilitate the maneuver of the Iraqi Security Forces and their successful attacks. In addition to airstrikes, the Coalition supported the operation with surveillance assets and Advise and Assist teams who provided operational and intelligence assistance to Iraqi Security Force Headquarters Elements, which helped to enable them to successfully conduct the offensive operation.

 

The CJTF-OIR Coalition will continue supporting efforts on behalf of all Iraqi Security Forces and the GoI, to attack and defeat ISIL. Iraqi Security Forces now hold the gains they have made and are postured to retake additional territory from ISIL in the Anbar region.

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6 mars 2015 5 06 /03 /mars /2015 08:30
Air strikes in Iraq (updated 4 March 2015)

 

4 March 2015 Ministry of Defence

 

British forces have continued to conduct air operations to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL.

 

The ISIL terrorist network has again been struck by Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft in Iraq.

 

On the morning of Monday 2 March, a pair of RAF Tornado GR4s led other coalition aircraft in an attack on a series of ISIL fortified positions south of Kirkuk. These bunkers posed a potential threat to offensive operations by the Kurdish peshmerga, who have also benefitted from equipment and extensive training provided by British and coalition military instructors.

 

Meanwhile, in western Iraq, RAF Reapers provided close air support to an Iraqi Army offensive in Anbar province. The retreating ISIL terrorists sought to hold up the Iraqi advance with numerous improvised explosive devices. One vehicle-borne bomb posed a particular obstacle to the Iraqi ground forces, so a Reaper destroyed the vehicle with a Hellfire missile. Later that night, another Reaper assisted Iraqi troops who had come under fire from the terrorists, carrying out an attack with a Hellfire missile on the ISIL position.

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 17:30
M113-IED (Oct 2014) - source DefenseTech.org

M113-IED (Oct 2014) - source DefenseTech.org

 

February 25, 2015 David Pugliese

 

Insurgents have used a variety of ways to “deliver” improvised explosive devices against targets. In Iraq, IEDs were sometimes hidden inside dead animals on the sides of roads. In Afghanistan they were strapped onto donkeys. And of course in both wars, IEDs could be outfitted in cars and motorcycles.

 

In Iraq, members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant took things a step further. They outfitted a captured Iraq Army M113 armoured troop carrier as a rolling IED.

 

U.S. officers were pointing to that battlefield improvisation as an example of what might wait Iraqi forces when they are ready to take Mosul.

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 08:30
«Washington a donné les clefs de l’Irak à l’Iran»
 

4 mars 2015 Marc SEMO - liberation.fr

 

La chercheuse Myriam Benraad analyse l'enjeu de la présence iranienne aux côtés de l'armée irakienne et des milices dans la reconquête de Tikrit, contrôlé par l'Etat islamique.

 

Depuis trois jours, les forces gouvernementales irakiennes ont lancé une vaste offensive dans les environs de Tikrit, une ville à mi-chemin entre Bagdad et Mossoul tombée en juin aux mains de l’Etat islamique. Appuyées par des miliciens chiites et des tribus sunnites, les forces armées, composées d'environ 30 000 hommes, étaient à plus d’une vingtaine de kilomètres de la ville mercredi.

Spécialiste de l’Irak et du monde arabe, la politologue Myriam Benraad, chercheuse associée au CERI-Science-Po de Paris vient de publier Irak, la revanche de l’histoire (éd. Vendémiaire). Elle analyse les enjeux de cette offensive et de la présence de l'Iran aux côtés des Irakiens.

 

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4 mars 2015 3 04 /03 /mars /2015 17:30
Iraqi Campaign to Drive Daesh From Tikrit Reveals Tensions With U.S.

 

4 Mars 2015 par ileridefense

 

BAGHDAD — Tensions between Iraq and the United States over how to battle the Islamic State broke into the open on Tuesday, as Iraqi officials declared that they would fight on their own timetable with or without American help, and as United States warplanes conspicuously sat out the biggest Iraqi counteroffensive yet amid concerns over Iran’s prominent role.

On Monday, Iraq launched a politically sensitive operation to oust Islamic State militants from Tikrit, the birthplace of Saddam Hussein, without seeking American approval, officials said. Even as Iraq was taking a first step into a bigger battle to oust the Islamic State from the northern city of Mosul, it was also signaling that its alliance with the United States might be more fraught than officials had let on.

 

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3 mars 2015 2 03 /03 /mars /2015 15:30
Tikrit - credits BBC MidEast

Tikrit - credits BBC MidEast

 

3 March 2015 By Nafiseh Kohnavard BBC Persian, Beirut

 

As Iraqi and Shia militias try to recapture the city of Tikrit from Islamic State (IS), the key role of Iran in the campaign is becoming clearer.

 

Shia militia sources in Iraq have confirmed that Gen Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force is personally taking part in leading the operation. Tikrit, 150km (95 miles) north of Baghdad, has been occupied by IS for more than eight months and an offensive to recapture it was declared by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday. The Iraqi army and security forces along with Shia militia groups who call themselves Popular Mobilisation units are pushing into Tikrit from several directions. As sources on the ground have told BBC Persian, a number of IRGC officers were involved at a command level before the operation was officially launched. Iranian authorities are yet to comment officially but Iran's Fars news agency, considered to be very close to the Revolutionary Guards, has extensively reported on the role of Gen Soleimani in the operation.

 

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3 mars 2015 2 03 /03 /mars /2015 12:30
Defence Secretary thanks UK military personnel tackling ISIL

Michael Fallon speaks to UK military personnel during a trip to RAF Akrotiri [Picture: Corporal Lee Goddard RAF, Crown copyright]

 

1 March 2015 Ministry of Defence and The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP

 

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon today thanked UK personnel directly involved in the fight against ISIL during a trip to RAF Akrotiri.

 

During his second visit to Cyprus, Mr Fallon met RAF personnel from 903 Expeditionary Air Wing who are providing the UK’s contribution to coalition air operations against ISIL.

He discussed the campaign and spoke to the pilots who are flying twice daily missions as the UK continues to make the second largest contribution to coalition airstrikes in support of Iraqi forces.

The Defence Secretary also met troops from 2nd Battalion, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, and received a briefing on the key role they are playing in the training programme to build the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces.

So far over 1000 Kurdish Peshmerga have completed training and the UK will lead the Coalition’s counter-IED training programme which is due to start this month.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

I am proud of the work the 400 personnel based here are doing to help the Iraqi Government to defend their country against the ISIL ‘cancer’.

While this fight will take time, the coalition’s airstrikes are having a direct effect in supporting Iraqi ground operations against ISIL.

In the North, areas around Mount Sinjar have been retaken, bringing relief to the local Yazidi population and applying pressure to ISIL forces in Mosul. In the South, Iraqi forces operations are beginning to push back ISIL.

Britain’s contribution is playing to our strengths. By leading the counter-IED training this month our troops will be using their expertise to give Iraqi forces a vital capability in taking the fight to ISIL.

The RAF base has been home to extensive air capabilities since coalition air operations began last year.

These include:

  • Tornado GR4s which have conducted 90 strikes (as of 2nd March 2015)
  • Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft which have conducted 70 strikes (as of 2nd March 2015)
  • Voyager which has played a crucial role in refuelling UK and coalition aircraft
  • C130 transport aircraft which have delivered both humanitarian aid and military support
  • and finally the recently deployed E3-D Sentry which has enhanced the coalition’s airborne control and surveillance capability.
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3 mars 2015 2 03 /03 /mars /2015 08:30
Australia 'to send more troops to train Iraqi forces'

 

2 March 2015 BBC

 

Australia is poised to significantly increase its contingent of troops training local forces in Iraq, Australian media say.

 

They say 300 troops will join the 200 special forces soldiers already in the country training the Iraqi army. The new deployment will form part of a joint mission with New Zealand. Fighter jets from the Royal Australian Air Force joined the US-led coalition bombing Islamic State (IS) targets in Iraq in October. The cabinet approved the plan on Monday, Australia's ABC News reported. Prime Minister Tony Abbott is expected to make a formal announcement later on Tuesday. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key pre-empted the announcement last week when he revealed that New Zealand was sending 143 troops to Iraq in a joint operation with Australia.

 

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3 mars 2015 2 03 /03 /mars /2015 08:30
Irak: l’armée déploie 30.000 soldats et lance un assaut sur Tikrit

 

2 mars 2015 45eNord.ca (AFP)

 

Les forces gouvernementales irakiennes bombardaient lundi des positions djihadistes dans et autour de Tikrit, un bastion du groupe armé État islamique au nord de Bagdad où une offensive d’envergure impliquant quelque 30 000 hommes était en cours, a indiqué l’armée.

 

«Les forces de sécurité avancent depuis trois directions vers Tikrit, Ad-Dawr (au sud) et Al-Alam (au nord)», a déclaré par téléphone à l’AFP un colonel de l’armée irakienne.

«Des chasseurs-bombardiers, des hélicoptères et l’artillerie visent Tikrit pour assurer la progression (des forces progouvernementales) et couper les voies de ravitaillement», a-t-il précisé.

Des sources militaires ont fait état d’avions irakiens participant à l’opération, mais il n’était pas clair dans l’immédiat si l’offensive pouvait aussi compter sur un soutien aérien étranger, iranien ou de la coalition internationale antidjihadistes conduite par les États-Unis.

Selon le colonel, les forces progouvernementales «progressent également sur les routes secondaires afin d’empêcher la fuite de Daech (un acronyme du groupe djihadiste en arabe)», qui contrôle Tikrit depuis neuf mois.

Le groupe armé État islamique (EI) s’était emparé de cette ville en juin à la faveur d’une percée fulgurante dans le nord et l’ouest de l’Irak, où ce groupe extrémiste sunnite impose sa loi et multiplie les atrocités, comme sur les territoires qu’il contrôle en Syrie voisine.

L’opération militaire en cours à Tikrit est l’une des plus ambitieuses entreprises par Bagdad à ce jour pour faire reculer les djihadistes.

Elle a débuté tôt lundi, après avoir été annoncée la veille par le premier ministre Haider al-Abadi.

D’après le colonel irakien interrogé par l’AFP, les forces impliquées dans la bataille de Tikrit appartiennent à l’armée, à la police, à des unités antiterroristes, à des groupes de volontaires progouvernementaux connus sous le nom d’Unités de mobilisation populaire et à des tribus locales sunnites hostiles à l’EI.

«Venger Speicher»

Depuis Samarra, l’autre grande ville de la province de Salaheddine, le premier ministre irakien a appelé dimanche les forces progouvernementales à épargner la population civile lors de cette offensive majeure.

«La priorité que nous avons fixée à l’armée et aux forces qui l’aideront est de préserver la sécurité des citoyens», a indiqué M.Abadi, semblant vouloir rassurer la population de Tikrit, principalement sunnite, qui craint des représailles de la part des forces de sécurité si les djihadistes sont chassés de la région.

Le premier ministre a martelé ce message sur les réseaux sociaux, appelant «à protéger les civils et les propriétés avec le plus grand soin».

L’armée irakienne resserre l’étau depuis plusieurs semaines sur Tikrit, une ville qu’elle a plusieurs fois échoué à reprendre même si elle a enregistré quelques succès dans d’autres secteurs de l’Irak depuis le début des frappes de la coalition internationale contre les djihadistes.

Hadi al-Ameri, commandant des Unités de mobilisation populaire et figure centrale de la lutte en Irak contre l’EI, avait appelé samedi la population de Tikrit à quitter la ville dans les «48 heures», «pour venger Speicher».

Speicher est une base militaire proche de Tikrit où plusieurs centaines de nouvelles recrues, essentiellement chiites, avaient été enlevées avant d’être exécutées lors des premiers jours de l’offensive de l’EI en Irak.

Les milices chiites en particulier ont toujours promis de venger les exécutions de Speicher, suscitant des craintes de massacres visant la population sunnite dans le cas d’une reprise de Tikrit, région d’origine de l’ancien président irakien Saddam Hussein.

D’autant que certaines tribus sunnites de la région ont été accusées d’être impliquées dans le massacre de Speicher.

Dimanche, M. Abadi s’est également adressé aux habitants de Tikrit pour leur demander de se retourner contre les djihadistes.

«J’appelle tous ceux qui ont été trompés et ont commis des erreurs à déposer les armes aujourd’hui. Celle-ci pourrait être leur dernière chance», a-t-il dit, suggérant la possibilité d’une amnistie pour certains habitants qui avaient choisi le camp de l’EI.

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2 mars 2015 1 02 /03 /mars /2015 22:30
Iraq 'seizes districts from Daesh' in Tikrit advance

 

2 March 2015 BBC MidEast

 

Iraqi government forces say they have retaken some districts around Tikrit in their fight to recapture the city from Islamic State (IS).

 

A force of about 30,000 troops and militia are said to be attacking on different fronts, backed by air strikes from Iraqi jets. A commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards is taking part in the operation, a Shia militia commander told the BBC. Tikrit, north of the capital Baghdad, fell to IS militants last June. Security sources told the BBC that pro-government troops had seized control of the two districts of al-Tin, near Tikrit university north-east of the city, and the district of al-Abeid, in the west. Earlier, fighting was also reported in al-Dour, south-east of Tikrit, as well as in al-Alam, north of the city, and nearby Qadisiya. There were few details of the operation but army and medical sources were quoted as saying that five soldiers and 11 militia fighters had been killed.

 

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2 mars 2015 1 02 /03 /mars /2015 22:20
Daesh menace le co-fondateur de Twitter

 

2 mars 2015 par Bastien Duhamel - 45eNord.ca

 

«Votre guerre virtuelle contre nous va provoquer une guerre réelle contre vous» ; telle est la menace mise en ligne en Arabe par l’organisation de l’Etat Islamique à l’intention du co-fondateur de Twitter Jack Dorsey.  Cette menace fait suite à une campagne de suppression de plusieurs messages et comptes affiliés au groupe djihadiste sur Twitter.

 

Déclarant que «nous vous avons prévenu que ce n’était pas votre guerre. Mais vous n’avez pas compris et vous avez continuez à supprimer nos comptes Twitter, nous reviendrons toujours». L’EI a lancé un appel à ses sympathisants à travers le monde pour s’en prendre directement aux employés de Twitter.

Cette menace s’explique par l’importance qu’accorde l’organisation islamique aux média sociaux dont elle se sert comme vecteurs de diffusion de sa propagande ou encore à des fins de recrutement essentiellement à destination des jeunes occidentaux.

Après avoir rappelé que Twitter tout comme les autres médias sociaux interdisent formellement toute publication comportant des menaces à l’égard d’autrui ou à toutes autres fins ou activités illégales, La direction du réseau social par l’intermédiaire de Jim Prosser a réagi brièvement en affirmant que ses «équipes de sécurité enquêtaient sur la véracité de la menace en collaboration avec les autorités officielles compétentes».

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2 mars 2015 1 02 /03 /mars /2015 18:30
Credits VOA

Credits VOA

 

02/03/2015 Par Georges Malbrunot – LeFigaro.fr

 

La population sunnite craint des représailles des milices chiites accompagnant l'armée dans ses opérations contre Daech, qui contrôle depuis juin ce bastion de l'ancien dictateur Saddam Hussein.

 

Après avoir essuyé plusieurs échecs au cours des six derniers mois, l'armée irakienne a lancé lundi une opération d'envergure pour reprendre Tikrit, mobilisant plus de 30 000 hommes pour la reconquête de la plus importante ville de la province de Salaheddine, à 160 km au nord de Bagdad.

«Les forces de sécurité avancent depuis trois directions», a déclaré à l'AFP un officier de l'armée irakienne. «Des chasseurs bombardiers, des hélicoptères et l'artillerie visent Tikrit pour assurer la progression (des forces gouvernementales) et couper les voies de ravitaillement». On ignore si des avions iraniens ou de la coalition internationale anti-Daech (acronyme de l'État islamique en arabe) participent à cette délicate opération.

 

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2 mars 2015 1 02 /03 /mars /2015 17:30
Photo Jürgen Braekevelt - MIL.be

Photo Jürgen Braekevelt - MIL.be

 

2/03/15 7sur7.be

 

Les 35 militaires que le gouvernement a décidé vendredi de dépêcher en Irak pour assurer durant six mois la formation de l'armée irakienne dans le cadre de la coalition contre le groupe terroriste Etat islamique (EI) dirigée par les Etats-Unis sont arrivés sans encombre dimanche à Bagdad, a-t-on appris lundi de source militaire.

 

"Oui (ils sont arrivés) dimanche en fin d'après-midi" en Irak, a laconiquement indiqué un porte-parole militaire à l'agence BELGA deux jours après le départ du détachement belge dans la plus grande discrétion.

Il s'est refusé à tout détail supplémentaire en raison du caractère délicat de la mission, qui se déroulera sur l'aéroport de Bagdad, un lieu fortement gardé depuis l'invasion de l'Irak par les Etats-Unis en 2003 - à laquelle la Belgique s'était opposée - et considéré comme vital par les Américains mais vulnérable aux actions des djihadistes.

En janvier dernier, un Boeing 737 de la compagnie Flydubai avait été touché par trois balles de petit calibre avant son atterrissage sur l'aéroport international de Bagdad.

Le vol entre Bruxelles et Bagdad n'a sans doute pas été direct puisqu'il a fallu deux jours aux militaires belges pour gagner l'Irak.

 

Offensive contre l'EI

L'arrivée du détachement belge intervient alors que les forces de sécurité irakiennes, soutenues par des milices et des combattants tribaux, ont lancé lundi une offensive d'envergure en vue de reprendre la ville de Tikrit et d'autres régions du nord de Bagdad aux djihadistes de l'EI.

L'envoi de ces militaires (vingt instructeurs et quinze hommes pour le support et la sécurité) se fait dans le cadre du second volet de l'engagement - et le premier au sol - après le déploiement de chasseurs-bombardiers F-16 en Jordanie en octobre dernier pour combattre depuis les airs les djihadistes de l'EI (alias Daesch en arabe) dans le cadre de l'opération américaine "Inherent Resolve".

Il n'est toutefois pas question d'une mission de combat, mais de participer au programme "Building Partner Capacity" développé par la coalition afin de permettre à terme aux forces militaires irakiennes d'assurer la souveraineté du pays. Les Etats-Unis avaient sollicité la Belgique dès septembre dernier.

 

Formation de l'armée irakienne

La mission de formation doit commencer dans les prochains jours. Il s'agira d'aider à la sélection du personnel militaire irakien, d'entraîner des soldats irakiens à des techniques commandos, au tir ainsi qu'aux soins médicaux, avec comme objectif également de former des instructeurs selon le principe "Train the Trainers". Son coût estimé est de 1,815 million d'euros pour six mois, selon la Défense.

Cet engagement terrestre - mais le gouvernement récuse l'expression de "troupes au sol" car les instructeurs ne participeront pas à la reconquête du territoire irakien aux mains de l'EI - vient compléter celui des six chasseurs F-16 opérant depuis la Jordanie et servis par quelque 110 personnes pour mener des raids aériens contre les positions des djihadistes, à raison de quelque 400 heures de vol mensuelles. Cette mission devrait toutefois se terminer fin juin, après neuf mois, selon des sources militaires, en l'absence de crédits pour la prolonger au-delà.

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25 février 2015 3 25 /02 /février /2015 19:30
Opération Impact - màj 23 Fev. 2015

Deux CF18 Hornet escortent un CC150 Polaris après avoir été ravitaillés pendant l’opération Impact, le 4 février 2015. (Photo : Caméra de combat des Forces canadiennes, MDN)

 

23.02.2015 forces.gc.ca

 

L’opération Impact constitue le soutien des Forces armées canadiennes (FAC) à la Force de stabilisation au Moyen-Orient (FSMO), soit la coalition multinationale contre l’organisation État islamique en Irak et au Levant (ISIL) en République d’Irak.
 

Le 23 février 2015, la Force opérationnelle aérienne en Irak a effectué 532 sorties aériennes :

  • Les chasseurs CF188 ont effectué 348 sorties;
  • L’aéronef de ravitaillement CC150T a effectué 87 sorties et a acheminé environ 5 031 000 livres de carburant; et
  • Les aéronefs de patrouille CP140 ont mené 97 missions de reconnaissance.

Le 13 février 2015, alors qu’ils participaient à des opérations de la coalition en soutien aux forces de sécurité irakiennes, des CF188 Hornet ont frappé une fabrique de dispositifs explosifs de circonstance (IED) située près de Hit à l’aide de munitions à guidage de précision.

Le 11 février 2015, alors qu’ils prenaient part à des opérations de la coalition en soutien aux forces de sécurité irakiennes, des CF188 Hornet ont frappé une position de combat du groupe ISIL à l’Est de Mossoul à l’aide de munitions à guidage de précision.

En frappant les positions de combat d’ISIL, nous affaiblissons ses capacités de combat et nous contribuons à augmenter la liberté de mouvement des forces de sécurité irakiennes dans la région..

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24 février 2015 2 24 /02 /février /2015 17:30
Iraq buys Husky 2G route clearance vehicles

 

23 February 2015 by defenceWeb

 

The Iraqi Ministry of Defence has purchased Husky 2G route clearance vehicles from DCD Protected Mobility in a deal worth more than R200 million, DCD has announced.

 

DCD Protected Mobility told defenceWeb that the contract will be completed by the end of March this year. It was awarded to Critical Solutions International (CSI), DCD Protected Mobility’s marketing partner responsible for selling, distributing and supporting DCD’s product worldwide.

 

“This procurement represents a critical enhancement of Iraq's route clearance mission and its ability to maintain freedom of manoeuvre and oppose ISIS and other forces within Iraq,” said Andrew Mears, DCD Protected Mobility Business Executive: Defence. "We are honoured to have been awarded this contract and are looking forward to working with the Iraqi Ministry of Defence to fully support this programme and any future requirements. The Iraqi government has determined that the Husky 2G is essential to defeating IED and mine threats and represents a noteworthy investment in saving lives and enhancing the capability of this significant new customer, the Iraqi military."

 

Over the past decade, the Husky family of vehicles has saved countless lives around the globe. Responding to the need for longer mission duration and enhanced detection capability, the Husky 2G two-operator variant was originally developed and delivered to the US Army. The addition of a second operator allows the Husky driver to focus on vehicle control and situational awareness, while the second operator monitors and analyses the advanced sensor systems and operational environment. The US Army recognised this life-saving vehicle design with an Innovation of the Year Award for 2010.

 

The Husky 2G is equipped with the NIITEK MMDS Ground Penetrating Radar and the FASCAN interrogation arm used to interrogate suspected mines and IEDs. It is also equipped with the TORC Robotics 360 Situational Awareness camera system and QinetiQ North Americas QNET, which provides the vehicle with lightweight protection from rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). The upgraded Husky 2G features additional power and has the capability for future integration of additional sensors and enhancements, according to DCD.

 

The Husky vehicle-mounted mine detection system (VMMD), previously known as the Chubby system, was developed in the 1970s for the South African Defence Force to clear roads of mines in Namibia and Angola. The system comprises of two Husky vehicles: the first acts as a Mine Detection Vehicle (MDV) (previously a Meerkat). The second vehicle (a Husky) tows a mine-detonating trailer.

 

The South African Army uses the Meerkat while the Husky system is being used by Canada, the USA, UK, France, Australia, Angola, Kenya, Uganda, Spain and Turkey. The Husky system had taken 7 000 hits in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, with no mine or improvised explosive device fatalities.

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