News from inside the United States Embassy in Baghdad is scarce; some would say “deadly silent.” Two weeks ago, when 275 Marines, mostly from Camp Lejeune, N.C., arrived at the embassy they were told to expect “action” in the first 24 to 48 hours. It didn’t happen.
The ISIS terrorists who have been advancing towards Baghdad, the international airport, and the U.S. Embassy, seem to have stalled some 20 miles north of the city. U.S. military experts and the Iraqi government know the radical militants won’t stop their reign of terror until they attempt an attack on Baghdad, even knowing a victory in the city would be close to impossible.
Last week, the Iraqi Air Force took delivery of five Russian SU-25 fighter jets, and what’s more, the Russian pilots and affiliated military technical experts are on the ground instructing Iraqi pilots on operational techniques.
With the Russians already on the ground and U.S. drones overhead, it was learned three days ago from a British news source that Iranian fighter jets have been deployed to assist in the offensive against the ISIS militants. Aljazeera reported late yesterday that one Iranian fighter pilot has been killed.
It’s no secret that Iraqis possess Hellfire missiles however, unless the jets are retrofitted, they can’t be used on the Russian fighter jets. But there is a real fear within the U.S. military that if the ISIS militants get their hands on the Hellfire missiles, they could turn them into the worst kind of improvised explosive devices; worse than anything that country has ever seen.
General Martin Dempsey Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted the Iraqi Army will need outside help if they are to “hold their own” against the Sunni extremists. One Marine officer, not connected with the mission, confided that he had “faith the Iraqi Army will completely collapse in Baghdad, especially if they think the Americans will be there to help.”
Although the Iraqi Minister of Communication shut down CSPAN and CNN feeds into the embassy last week individuals inside the embassy are able to use personal cell phones. Some internet access has been restored.
Non-essential personnel were evacuated from the embassy two weeks ago. Private contractors are still patrolling the perimeter and performing their duties, in spite of the threat outside the wire and 120 degree outside temperatures.
Examiner's Note: This Examiner has a personal contact, who must remain anonymous, inside the U.S. Embassy compound.