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Clashes with IS in Iraq kill 23 troops, allied fighters


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Clashes with IS in Iraq kill 23 troops, allied fighters
By SINAN SALAHEDDIN and SAMEER N. YACOUB

BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide blast targeting Iraqi security forces and subsequent clashes with Islamic State extremists on Tuesday killed at least 23 troops and pro-government Sunni fighters in the country's embattled western province of Anbar, officials said.

The day's heavy toll for the Iraqi forces came as they struggle in battles against the Islamic State group and try to claw back territory lost to the extremists during the militants' blitz last year. Iraq's prime minister vowed on Tuesday to dislodge IS militants from all areas under their control.

Police officials said a suicide bomber first struck a gathering of pro-government Sunni fighters near the town of al-Baghdadi, about 180 kilometers (110 miles) northwest of Baghdad, in the morning hours.

Soon after, IS militants attacked nearby army and police positions, setting off hours-long clashes. Police and hospital officials said 23 were killed and 28 were wounded in all on the government side. They did not give the death toll on the militants' side, saying only that the attackers "sustained some casualties" and declining to provide further details. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

In Baghdad, Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi pledged that Iraq's forces would retake all areas that fell to IS during last summer's stunning blitz.

"We will emerge as victorious and the day our lands are liberated is nearing," al-Abadi told a group of newly-graduated army officers, speaking at the Military Academy as Iraq marked Army Day. "Our goal ... is that peace and prosperity prevail in Iraq and end this dark period in Iraqi history."

A parade was also staged to mark the day, complete with jet fighters, helicopters and transport planes flying overhead.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State group announced killing eight men in Salahuddin province north of Baghdad for allegedly cooperating with government forces and airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition targeting the militant group.

The group posted photographs showing eight blindfolded and bearded men in orange jumpsuits, their hands tied behind their backs. Five were identified as police officers and two as informants, but no information was provided on the eighth victim. The photos show the men by a riverbank next to masked gunmen, under what looks like a bridge. They are on their knees as the gunmen appear to be readying to shoot them. Other photos show bloodied bodies of seven of the men, lying on the ground.

The Islamic State group provided no details on the purported killings. The authenticity of the photos could not be independently verified but they were posted late Monday on a Twitter account frequently used by the militant group.

However, a provincial official, who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing for his safety, offered a different account on the photos, saying Tuesday that the men depicted in the images were army officers who had abandoned the military before the militants' takeover of their area last year. The official said the men did not cooperate with Iraqi government forces.

The Salahuddin provincial capital, Tikrit, and other nearby towns have been in militant hands since June, when the Islamic State group expanded with lightning speed across Sunni-dominated regions of northern and western Iraq as government forces collapsed.

Since then, the IS group has declared a self-styled caliphate over about a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria. But there has been growing resentment among some residents fueled by the militant group's enforcement of its extremist interpretation of Islamic law, economic stagnation and a lack of public services.

Seeking to squash any potential uprising, the militants have started killing policemen and soldiers living in areas of Iraq under their control — especially after the U.S.-led coalition air campaign began supporting ground offensives by Iraqi government forces, Kurdish fighters and Shiite militias.

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-- (c) Associated Press 2015-01-07

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Every hour that IS and its psuedo caliphate continue to exist the odds increase that it will become very real indeed. In the arab world and especially in islam perception of power is reality. As long as IS hangs on, hour by hour, more will flock to its increasingly large fold, more legitimacy will yield, and more state-like interactions will slowly happen with the "caliphate" from State actors on the periphery. I dont believe for a moment the West is trying to destroy the caliphate and/or IS; they are unquestionably trying to manage them, and that will fail totally. Every day the West allows "time" to produce for their policy that which they could not openly reveal to their own population- a caliphate is desired! IMO

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"But there has been growing resentment among some residents fueled by the militant group's enforcement of its extremist interpretation of Islamic law, economic stagnation and a lack of public services."

Growing resentment? That's it? Otherwise the citizens are quite happy with the whole caliphate thing I guess.

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Please tell me where the US and UK troops are? When it is time to invade an already defeated Iraq and take the oil, no problem first in line to go. Now for the first time in decades there is a serious opponent of sizable manpower strength, well armed, trained and motivated then they have to go now. What is wrong with this picture?

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Every hour that IS and its psuedo caliphate continue to exist the odds increase that it will become very real indeed. In the arab world and especially in islam perception of power is reality. As long as IS hangs on, hour by hour, more will flock to its increasingly large fold, more legitimacy will yield, and more state-like interactions will slowly happen with the "caliphate" from State actors on the periphery. I dont believe for a moment the West is trying to destroy the caliphate and/or IS; they are unquestionably trying to manage them, and that will fail totally. Every day the West allows "time" to produce for their policy that which they could not openly reveal to their own population- a caliphate is desired! IMO

If numbers of refugees are an indication, people do not actually flock into the fold.

That some independent or semi-independent armed groups pledge their allegiance to the current top dog is nothing new.

Are there countries currently close to recognizing the so-called Caliphate as legitimate and which conduct state-like interactions with IS?

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"But there has been growing resentment among some residents fueled by the militant group's enforcement of its extremist interpretation of Islamic law, economic stagnation and a lack of public services."

Growing resentment? That's it? Otherwise the citizens are quite happy with the whole caliphate thing I guess.

Not sure if this is a matter of phrasing or not. Guess that for some, life previous to IS taking over was not all that rosy as well, so the change may not be as qualitatively salient. Another thing would be the attitude issues IS got with regard to criticism, sort of hazardous to one's health.

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Every hour that IS and its psuedo caliphate continue to exist the odds increase that it will become very real indeed. In the arab world and especially in islam perception of power is reality. As long as IS hangs on, hour by hour, more will flock to its increasingly large fold, more legitimacy will yield, and more state-like interactions will slowly happen with the "caliphate" from State actors on the periphery. I dont believe for a moment the West is trying to destroy the caliphate and/or IS; they are unquestionably trying to manage them, and that will fail totally. Every day the West allows "time" to produce for their policy that which they could not openly reveal to their own population- a caliphate is desired! IMO

If numbers of refugees are an indication, people do not actually flock into the fold.

That some independent or semi-independent armed groups pledge their allegiance to the current top dog is nothing new.

Are there countries currently close to recognizing the so-called Caliphate as legitimate and which conduct state-like interactions with IS?

The number of refugees are not an indication. The vast majority of locals eagerly or reluctantly accept the change in management. It is IMO a dangerous fallacy to suggest these "groups" are marginal and even if so combined remain so. There is unquestionably a synergy in the formula and it has been repeated for millenia. There is very little in the religious educational background of sunni islam to protest leadership. By definition, who is in charge was meant to be in charge. There are quite clear injunctions about this arrangement under heaven.

My statement "more" indicated I have a ready list; I do not. Let me edit it: If countries other than turkey (a NATO member, large ass army, and former Ottoman Empire seat) passively or actively begin to do business of any sorts with IS, and they will even if for no more than self interest, then more state like interactions will slowly happen and empower IS. This includes municipalities that roll over.

Moreover, it is my opinion the west variously desires a caliphate to provide the glue to bound all the disparate muslim troubles into one regional trouble that can be negotiated with and bound to treaty (thus providing their own internal policing- this is how it was under the last caliph. Indeed, historians, unwisely, may conclude that the Ottoman sick man since the late 1600s will exist in another guise, still being a sick man of islam, and be maleable and agreeable). One point on treaty- see "Taqqyia." (Never make a treaty with a Muslim, or if done prepare for war).

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Please tell me where the US and UK troops are? When it is time to invade an already defeated Iraq and take the oil, no problem first in line to go. Now for the first time in decades there is a serious opponent of sizable manpower strength, well armed, trained and motivated then they have to go now. What is wrong with this picture?

IS is direct result of US and UK actions years ago. Lucking of "huge success" of wasps in the middle east the only thing i can suggest - "better don't touch".

Edited by istinspring
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Every hour that IS and its psuedo caliphate continue to exist the odds increase that it will become very real indeed. In the arab world and especially in islam perception of power is reality. As long as IS hangs on, hour by hour, more will flock to its increasingly large fold, more legitimacy will yield, and more state-like interactions will slowly happen with the "caliphate" from State actors on the periphery. I dont believe for a moment the West is trying to destroy the caliphate and/or IS; they are unquestionably trying to manage them, and that will fail totally. Every day the West allows "time" to produce for their policy that which they could not openly reveal to their own population- a caliphate is desired! IMO

If numbers of refugees are an indication, people do not actually flock into the fold.

That some independent or semi-independent armed groups pledge their allegiance to the current top dog is nothing new.

Are there countries currently close to recognizing the so-called Caliphate as legitimate and which conduct state-like interactions with IS?

The number of refugees are not an indication. The vast majority of locals eagerly or reluctantly accept the change in management. It is IMO a dangerous fallacy to suggest these "groups" are marginal and even if so combined remain so. There is unquestionably a synergy in the formula and it has been repeated for millenia. There is very little in the religious educational background of sunni islam to protest leadership. By definition, who is in charge was meant to be in charge. There are quite clear injunctions about this arrangement under heaven.

My statement "more" indicated I have a ready list; I do not. Let me edit it: If countries other than turkey (a NATO member, large ass army, and former Ottoman Empire seat) passively or actively begin to do business of any sorts with IS, and they will even if for no more than self interest, then more state like interactions will slowly happen and empower IS. This includes municipalities that roll over.

Moreover, it is my opinion the west variously desires a caliphate to provide the glue to bound all the disparate muslim troubles into one regional trouble that can be negotiated with and bound to treaty (thus providing their own internal policing- this is how it was under the last caliph. Indeed, historians, unwisely, may conclude that the Ottoman sick man since the late 1600s will exist in another guise, still being a sick man of islam, and be maleable and agreeable). One point on treaty- see "Taqqyia." (Never make a treaty with a Muslim, or if done prepare for war).

Are there any accurate figures on population changes and attitudes in areas under IS control?

If the number of refugees from relevant areas is not an indication of their reluctance to stay under IS rule, what is it an indication of? Most do not seem all too eager to head back home, at the moment.

Granted that many locals may not see the change in management as drastic as seen by Western eyes, even if is not their dream come true. There is a certain element of passivity involved, as well. Wonder how things would look if neighboring countries were to declare they would accept anyone interested in leaving and the roads were clear.

Sunni religious doctrine notwithstanding, terrorist groups (or if they graduate, armed groups) often see inner power struggles, factions vying for control, and petty issues leading to divisions. With ethnic factors thrown in, these issues are almost a certainty.

Turkey, under current management is a wildcard on many fronts. But then again, if one looks at the current management - the amount of twists and turns to do with political alliances is rather obvious, and on many occasions stems from, silly as it sounds, personal issues (yeah, not making this sort of argument often, but it fits the bill). Turkey was buddies with Israel, Iran, Syria, Egypt....the list is long, and the point being that it managed to kick the bucket with all. Turkey's current management is a solo act which does not like someone else stealing any thunders. I would say the best bet is to let him get on with it and watch as things go sour. And to recap, so far this is all an "if".

We will have to continue disagreeing on the last paragraph.

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This what happens when you pussyfoot around worrying bout collateral damage. No one respects you for using kid gloves, so take them off and do what's necessary to eradicate the vermin. Time for a heavy hand. Time to comb the sands.

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This what happens when you pussyfoot around worrying bout collateral damage. No one respects you for using kid gloves, so take them off and do what's necessary to eradicate the vermin. Time for a heavy hand. Time to comb the sands.

Interesting to note that there aren't really that many reports regarding "collateral damage". One may assume that allied forces attacks always hit their mark with pinpoint accuracy. Others may suspect that the releasing full

details might have a detrimental effect on their efforts.

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