Iraqi Shi’ite Militias Claim US Pledge to End Airstrikes on Tikrit

Attacks Would Stop to Let Shi'ites Conquer Sunni City

Leaders from multiple major Shi’ite militias in Iraq claim to have been given assurances by Prime Minister Abadi that the United States is going to halt airstrikes against the ISIS-held city of Tikrit, allowing them to sweep in and conquer it.

The claims come following a Sunday night meeting between Abadi and militia leaders, including Badr Brigade head Hadi Amiri, though Iraqi officials insisted no such promises were made.

The split between the US and the Shi’ites is growing, with the Pentagon claiming they’d made their air campaign conditional on the Shi’ites stopping their involvement in the battle, and the Shi’ites saying it was they who refused to participate in a battle under US air cover.

Whichever turns out to have been the case, Iraq has been forced to choose one or the other, and having failed to take the city with the backing of Iran and the militias decided to ditch them for the US airstrikes. Now, after a few days of airstrikes, they look to be switching back to the militias, hoping the US softened up the Sunni city enough to conquer.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.