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ISIS takes large Turkomen city, battling in mixed cities in central Iraq.

Shiite militias in Baghdad

Sunni Jihadists have, for the most part, run out of towns and cities that are majority Sunni Arab. However, they have not come to a stop.

Many reports say the Tel Afar is now in the hands of ISIS and Sunni Militias after meeting some resistance.

Tel Afar is a city of about 200,000 people and is mostly Turkomen. The so-called “Turkomen” are the third largest ethnic group in Iraq. They include members of Turkic tribes who first came to the Arabian peninsula as mercenaries in the 7th century, and Ottoman Turks who settled in the area during the Ottoman Empire. About 75% of Turkomen are Sunni and 25% are Shiites.

Other reports say that the Iraqi army has not held off ISIS and Sunni tribal militia in Samara. They have moved south into the city of Baqubah, which is nearly a half million people. In 2006, Baqubah was the scene of fierce fighting between Sunni and Shiite militias as well as fighting between the militias and US forces. Each time ISIS moves fighters into a new city they potentially link up with other Sunni Jihadists and Sunni Arab tribal militias.

Baqubah is 31 miles north and slightly east of Baghdada. The city of Fallujah, a long time stronghold of Sunni Jihadists, is only 43 miles west of Baghdad. Baghdad is majority Shiite and has large Shiite militias. The Iraqi army is also arming Shiites in the city to fight back.

It is unlikely that Sunnis could come up with enough troops to assault Baghdad. However, ISIS and tribal militias could potential cut off access to the city. Directly south of Baghdada is the city of Mahmoudiyah. It has a population of a half million and 90% are Sunni Arabs. Mahmoudiyah is known as the gateway to Baghdad.

In 2006, Shiite militias based in Baghdad went to Baqubah to fight Sunni militias. If the Sunni cut access to Baghdad it will force Shiite militias to move into the outer ring around the city and assault Sunni positions. The bloodbath and massacres will probably be far worse than anything witnessed during the US occupation.

At this point it seems there is no chance whatsoever of Iraq ever being one country again.

American, Turkish, and Sunni Arab support for Sunni Jihadists in Syria triggered a regional war involving Lebanon, Syria, Iraq. The escalation in Iraq threatens to bring the Iranian government into the fold. This in turn, will infuriate Saudi Arabian, Kuwait, Qatar, and other Sunni Arab countries where many have been sending money and arms to the volunteers. The government of Saudi Arabia even let large numbers of convicts out of prison to join the Jihad in Syria.