‘No doubt’ Iran-Iraq joint forces will retake Tikrit from ISIL – Pentagon

 Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey

Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said that combination of Iraqi and Iranian military forces, dominated by Iranian-trained Shia militias, will likely succeed in their ongoing campaign to drive the Islamic State (ISIL) militants out of the Iraqi city of Tikrit.

 WASHINGTON (Sputnik)  The combination of Iraqi and Iranian military forces, dominated by Iranian-trained Shia militias, will likely succeed in their ongoing campaign to drive the Islamic State (ISIL) militants out of the Iraqi city of Tikrit, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said on Wednesday.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the combination of the popular mobilization forces [Shia militias] and the Iraqi Security Forces, they’re going to run ISIL out of Tikrit,” Dempsey stated during a Senate Foreign Relation Committee hearing on a US authorization for use of military force against the ISIL.

The Shia militia forces dramatically outnumber the Iraqi Security Forces engaged in the Tikrit operation, Dempsey said. The dominant forces in the operation are approximately 20,000 members of Shia militias which Dempsey characterized as “Iranian-trained and somewhat Iranian-equipped.”

Approximately 1,000 fighters from Sunni tribes are involved in the liberation of Tikrit as well as one brigade of Iraqi Security Forces numbering about 3,000 troops, and a few hundred members of the Iraqi counter-terror service, General Dempsey explained.

Dempsey raised concerns that a strong Shia force could result in sectarian “atrocities and retributions” in Tikrit, after the joint forces take the city, or whether the Sunnis driven out of the area by ISIL will be allowed to return to their neighborhoods.

Iran and Iraq have been cooperating in military operations in Tikrit over the past week, according to Iraqi Interior Ministry statements. The joint forces represent two distinct sects of Islam which have regularly vied for power and influence in the Middle East.

By Sputnik News