Saudi Arabia, its Gulf allies and Egypt underlined their breach with Washington over its Iran policy as two separate air operations went forward early Thursday, March 26, in Iraq and Yemen. The US launched its first air strikes against Islamic State positions in the Iraqi city of Tikrit to help the Iranian-commanded Iraqi operation which had failed to dislodge the jihadis in two weeks of fighting, while the warplanes of Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies joined by Egypt began bombing Yemeni cities to halt the Iran-backed Houthi rebellion.
They were the first Middle East nations to rise up and take military action to thwart the US-Iranian strategy embarked on by President Barack Obama to buy a nuclear deal by empowering Iran to attain hegemonic status in the region.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) are now leading war action in four Mid East arenas: Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon,while building Shiite “popular” armies deferring to Tehran in three: Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
According to our Washington sources, President Obama decided Wednesday to accede to the Iraqi premier Haider al-Abadi’s request for air support to de-stall the Tikrit operation against ISIS. Iran’s Al Qods Brigades chief, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who commanded the operation from the start has departed the scene.
Nothing has been said to indicate whether the Iranian forces, including Revolutionary Guards officers, remain in the area. It appears that the Obama administration prefers as little as possible to be mentioned about US-Iranian battlefield coordination in Iraq versus the Islamists, especially since it was not exactly a big success. At the same time, US air strikes launched to support ground forces are bound to be coordinated with their commanders, who in this case happen to be mostly Iranian. In the last two weeks of the Tikrit operation, liaison between the US and Iranian military in Iraq was routed through the office of the Iraqi Prime Minister in Baghdad.