Pentagon officials have confirmed in several media outlets tonight that the US has begun providing some limited air support for the Iran-backed Iraqi offensive against Tikrit.
The Pentagon had previously been noticably annoyed at Iraqi officials choosing Iranian support for the Tikrit offensive, and never even seeking US backing. It was only later, when the offensive stalled, that the Iraqis requested air support.
Though Iraqi officials have described the offensive as indefinitely on hold, Pentagon officials maintain the Iraq “hasn’t given up” on trying to retake the city, and that they are on board to back it.
For now, the Pentagon officials say their involvement only involves intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, but that they were also willing to provide airstrikes in the campaign, if requested by Iraq.
That’s a huge shift, as before the suggestion was the US didn’t want any joint operations with the Iranians, and it was an “us or them” proposition. In Tikrit, it seems, that no longer applies.