Al-Arabiya said on its website that Saudi troops fanned into the border region after Iraqi government forces abandoned positions, leaving the Saudi and Syrian frontiers unprotected. The satellite channel said it had obtained a video showing some 2,500 Iraqi soldiers in the desert area east of the Iraqi city of Karbala after pulling back from the border. An officer in the video aired by al-Arabiya said that the soldiers had been ordered to quit their posts without justification. The authenticity of the recording could not immediately be verified.
Iraq was quick to object to the stated reason for the troop buildup, claiming its border with Saudi Arabia is well protected: "We haven’t experienced or noticed any abnormal situation" along border area with Iraq, Major General Mansour al-Turki, Interior Ministry’s spokesman, says in text message responding to questions. In any case, there are now tens od thousands of Saudi troops just waiting for the order to cross the border and join what is now a feeding prozy war zoo involving the US, Iran, Russia, Syria, and - likely very soon- Israel. What can possibly go wrong.
Meanwhile, ISIS or IS as it is now known, is further clamping down on controlled territories. As reported earlier by Bloomberg, Sunni insurgents in Iraq have demanded that residents of at least 2 northern towns pledge allegiance or face death, citing Al-Mada Press reports. The website, quoting tribal chiefs, says group now known as Islamic State has threatened to kill residents of Hawijah, ~20 kms (12 miles) west of Kirkuk, and at least 1 other town if they don’t vow loyalty. Because what is more loyal than sworn allegiance at the barrel of a gun.
And in other news, as the map below shows, Iraq is finally putting those obtained Russian jets to good use and has launched airstrikes on militants between Baghdad and Kirkuk. Confirmed by the newswires, militants were killed in air strikes and artillery shelling of Islamic State’s positions in northern Babel, Falah al-Khafaji, head of security committee at Babel province’s council, tells al-Mada Press website.
The latest Iraq scenario map courtesy of the Institute for the Study of War.
Credit to Zero Hedge