Iraqi Tikrit offensive stalls

The Iraqi army and Shia militias trying to retake the city of Tikrit from Islamic State forces paused their offensive over the weekend, claiming they need reinforcements while simultaneously saying they want to avoid civilian casualties and preserve infrastructure. The 30,000 government troops are facing a much smaller force of IS fighters and are apparently unable to advance beyond the fringes of the city. New York Times: Iraqi officials and allied militia leaders have been saying since last week that they are in control of the battlefield. They said that they had surrounded the handful of Islamic State fighters remaining in Tikrit, and that full government control would be restored there in a matter of days. There has been intense international pressure to avoid civilian casualties and revenge attacks on people or property in an offensive by a mostly Shiite force in a hub of the so-called Sunni triangle. Around two-thirds of the pro-government force is made up of the...(Read Full Post)