President Barack Obama has announced that the United States launched air strikes on the terrorist organization ISIS to assist Kurdistan. It is likely you have not seen a headline that says, “US Strikes help Kurds retake towns.” That is because it never happened. The air support came from Russian and Iranian planes. The only problem is that’s not entirely true.
My contacts in Kurdistan are now saying that many of these attacks are being launched by the Iraqi air force.

 The only problem is that the US government has not sold airplanes to Iraq, but Russia has armed them with SU-25s. These are Russian jets bearing an Iraq insignia and are piloted by Russian pilots since Iraq does not have trained aviators to handle the jets.
In addition, Kurdish officials have related to me that the Iranian air force has also attacked ISIS targets on the Iraqi side of their shared border. Kurdish leaders have also said that the greatest assistance being received in Erbil on the ground is from Israel, not the United States. 

Russia and Iran attack ISIS Jihadists

The Iraqi air force is ill-prepared to battle ISIS forces with an arsenal that includes Cessna planes jury-rigged with Hellfire missiles. It does possess some Russian SU-25 planes and Russian-made helicopters. Since it has been at least twelve years since Iraqi aviators have flown bombers and fighters, it may be safe to surmise that the planes seen in the air targeting ISIS factions near Kurdistan were flown by Iranian or Russian pilots. 

It is interesting to note that Bloomberg Television reported that the US was “fighting shoulder to shoulder, as it were with the Russians and Iranians.” It has been surmised that Iran’s interest is totally selfish—an attempt to stop any ISIS advancement over the border into Iran.
One challenge for the Iraqi air force is a decided lack of ground operations to repair and maintain planes in order to keep them flying. The US offered to train pilots for Iraq, but that proposal stalled amid attempts by ISIS to overrun Balad airport near Baghdad. It is the only facility available to train new pilots. 

As the Kurds continue to fight ISIS on the ground, it will take a scorecard to determine who is flying which aircraft in the skies over Kurdistan—the US, Russia, Iran, or perhaps even Syria who, too, has bombed jihadist positions on its border with Iraq.


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