Three major Shi’ite militias have announced they are withdrawing from the Iraq-Iran offensive against Tikrit, citing recent US involvement in the campaign.
A fourth militia said they will remain involved in the offensive, but also threatened to attack members of the US-led coalition while fighting ISIS, suggesting they might begin using anti-aircraft weaponry against the US warplanes.
Some of the militias are complaining that they had the battle for Tikrit almost won on their own, and that the US is just coming in at the last minute to try to hog all the glory.
That claim doesn’t seem to coincide with Iraqi comments on the offensive, which seemed entirely stalled in the face of ISIS opposition, and indeed they insisted it could not continue without air support.
Even with air support, ISIS has shown surprising resilience in the battle for Tikrit, a city of some size but not much strategic value, and has kept the Shi’ite-led offensive against the city mostly stuck on the outskirts, leaving them wreaking havoc on the Sunni villages near Tikrit but sparing the city itself.