June 11, 2014

Report: Turkey Shelling ISIS Positions Near Mosul

This is starting to get some buzz on Twitter, but as of now no actual confirmation that the Turkish air force is bombing ISIS positions around Mosul. The only news I can find is an Iraqi/Arabic news site and they don't cite a source. The story's focus is actually on reports that Kurdish fighters have begun engaging ISIS terrorists, with a report of the Turkish offensive kind of thrown in there. That is, if the Google translation is working.

It seems almost inconceivable to me that Turkey would insert itself here, despite my earlier speculation (wishful thinking?) that ISIS's capture of dozens of Turks including a senior diplomat might push them into the conflict. So, I can't help but wonder if the reports of airplanes bombing ISIS positions aren't coming from people on the ground, near/in Mosul? And if that's the case, how do they know it's the Turks?

News reports on Iraqi TV earlier today claimed Iraqi troops, bolstered by 'militia' (read, Iranian proxies) were beginning a major counter offensive. So, maybe what the locals are seeing are Iraqi planes beginning to bomb ISIS positions? I just don't see people on the ground being able to distinguish who's air force is engaging giving the distances we are probably talking about here and the speeds involved.

But the fact that the Kurds are taking some initiative and some air force is finally responding is good news. The question remains, though, why hadn't the Iraqi air force responded prior to this? The deserts of Western Iraq are the perfect place for a turkey shoot (no pun intended), and since ISIS vehicles tend to move in convoys it's a head scratcher as to why the big guns haven't been brought in until now (if, in fact, the reports are true).

And if this does turn out to be Turkey involved, then I have to wonder whether this is an ultra-limited engagement meant to bolster their bargaining position to get back the Turkish hostages, or whether this signals the end of the facade of civil war in Syria and Iraq and the overt recognition that this thing has become a regional, international conflict.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:16 PM | Comments |