It has been revealed that Iraqi government heavy-handedness against local tribesmen involved in a protest of their grievances against the pro-Shi'a government in Baghdad was the cause of a revolt by the citizens of Falluja on 30th of December. Al Qaeda seized upon this situation to turn it into a full-fledged reconquest of the city previously taken by US military forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom and handed over rebuilt to the government in Baghdad just two years ago. The Al Qaeda forces were buttressed by several hundred of their own which had been freed from Iraqi government prisons at Abu Ghraib and Al-Taji in major military-style jailbreak operations during the summer of 2012. Senior Al Qaeda leaders and hundreds of combat-hardened fighters were released in the twin operations.
The loss of the main junction of Highways 10, 11 and 12 west of Baghdad now not only threatens the stability of the current Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki, but it also represents a significant strategic blow to Iran. Those highways are a direct link from Baghdad and the International Airport to Syria and Damascus, and they had been an important overland pipeline for Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps troop support to Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Now the Islamic Republic of Iran is offering Iraq the use of those troops to retake this strategic corridor. One can just image the reaction of the local Sunni tribes and family clans in Anbar province to the notion of Iranian troops being used against them by their own government. We'll keep an eye on this for sure.
4 January 2014: The Shi'a led government of Iraq and its premier 7th and 1st army divisions have been handed an utterly crushing military defeat at the hands of the Sunni-led Al-Qaeda forces (ISIS) in Iraq's expansive and westernmost Anbar Province. Yesterday the combined jihadists forces of ISIS/ISIL raised Al-Qaeda's black flag over the city of Falluja on the Euphrates River, approximately 20 miles from Baghdad International Airport and the city of Baghdad itself.
Further to the west these same Sunni jihadist forces are literally on the verge of capturing the city of Ramadi. Remnants of both the 7th and 1st armies were last seen retreating in complete disarray towards Baghdad, leaving vast amounts of heavy weapons abandoned in their wake. At this point virtually nothing except the 300-some odd miles of open desert expanse stands between these Sunni jihadist forces and Damascus, Syria. Only an air bridge now connects Iran with its Syrian and Hezbollah allies.
The Sunni-Shi'a War is now synonymous with the three formerly distinct civil wars going on in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, or literally, from Baghdad to Beirut. There is no question that more intense land warfare will engulf the region. This is the net result of the incompetent policy of the rapidly imploding Obama Administration known as "Operation New Dawn" in 2010.
30 December 2013: As noted in the 24 December portion of this article, more than half of Iraq's territory is today Al-Qaeda's (i.e. Sunni Jihadist Islam) playground, as Iraq's 7th Division commanding general learned the hard way and the Iraqi Defense Minister nearly did a week ago. Sunni Iraqis have zero love for the Shi'a-led government in Baghdad, so they view the Al-Qaeda insurgents either with indifference or as a buffer between themselves and the Shi'a.
Lessons were recently learned despite the Iraqi military's rampant ineptitude, logistical incompetence and combat ineffectiveness. Accordingly, Iraq has requested and will receive from the US inventory at some point in 2014 or 2015, due to the aforementioned incompetent logistics, a total of 10 each ScanEagle and 48 each RQ-11 Raven UAV drones with which they hope to keep an eye on the movements of insurgent AQ fighters. Last week Iraq received 75 brand new AGM-114 Hellfire missiles which have been adapted to the Iraqi Air Force's 5-year old militarized Hawker-Beechcraft King Air-350ER twin-turbo prop attack aircraft. The Iraqi King Air-350ERs did successfully strike four different AQ camps on the Syrian-Iraqi border with the Hellfire missiles in recent days. How much damage was done to those camps is the subject of some debate.
24 December 2013: In the news from the still very active battlegrounds of Iraq is a powerful reminder in support of my interpretation on the identity of those named in verse 8 of Psalm 83: "Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot," and how they will constitute the ideological, political and military strength (Heb: H2220 zĕrowa`) provided to the modern-day Jordanians (Ammonites and Moabites) in the ultimate fulfillment of this prophetic psalm. This region of modern-day Iraq seen in all of the salmon-colored and striped-shaded areas of the map above was the central and original homeland of ancient Assur circa the psalmist Asaph's time 3000 years ago. Today it is a region of Iraq that is fully controlled by the Islamic jihadists of Al Qaeda, or as they refer to themselves, ISIS or "Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (Syria)."