Thursday, June 19, 2014

Iraq Part 3: Battle for Baiji

This morning, the New York Times published an article stating that "that Sunni militants had retreated from a major refinery in Baiji." (Article Here)

This information, coming from Iraqi government officials as stated in the article, is the latest development on the fighting between ISIS and the Iraqi security forces.  From a strategic standpoint, the Baiji oil refinery, the largest in Iraq, is a critical resource for whoever controls it.  The fighting has appeared to have decreased in the last 12 hours.  Yesterday, this video was uploaded via YouTube.  The title is translated roughly as "Daash (a.k.a. ISIS) review in Baiji" and shows lines of vehicles packed full of armed insurgents presumably heading towards the refinery.  Though only lasting a little over three minutes, the video shows what equipment the average ISIS militant has to work with

                                        Insurgent vehicle equipped with an anti-aircraft gun (still image from video)

Armed with usually nothing more than the standard AK rifle and the occasional heavy machine gun, the Iraqi T-55 tanks and other armored vehicles captured by insurgents last week have made no appearance in Baiji as of yet.  ISIS propaganda videos (watch at your own risk) show insurgents wearing body armor and night vision goggles, but it can be assumed that these items are being used in the smallest of margins at best.

It is likely that the battle for Baiji is not yet over given the steady traffic of militants arriving to the area in the past 24 hours.  The US has still not made a final decision regarding air strikes.   

No comments:

Post a Comment