The US military is providing aerial intelligence to Iranian forces working against Islamic State (IS) in Tikrit, Iraq in a bid to break the hold on the besieged city. Tikrit was overrun by IS which on June 14th, 2014 committed atrocities, including the massacre of at least 800, on Iraqi Air Force trainees at the former U.S. base Speicher, converted into an air force training college. Tikrit was the site of Saddam Hussein's tomb but it has since been destroyed in the fighting.
Various media reports say Iraqi forces have taken back most of Tikrit according to a militia commander of the Hashd Al-Shaabi militia, but the fate of the city is still not fully known. A dramatic photo-essay from The Atlantic in mid-March reported there were 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and police officers involved in the advance on Tikrit, and moving with them were various Shiite militia's including fighters backed by Iran. The New York Times reported that Iran has sent missiles and advanced rockets to Iraq to fight against IS in Tikrit.
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. has begun sharing intelligence from air reconnaissance bringing "the American military into closer coordination with Iranian-backed militias spearheading the offensive." By request of the Iraqi government the US has granted aerial video intelligence in the fight for Tikrit. In this close fight against IS, there may be a reckoning of who will win the public relations battle in supporting the fight to fully free Tikrit, and there may be U.S. air-strikes on the horizon in Saddam Hussein's onetime hometown.
Earlier in March, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that Iran has a "very robust commitment to the fight" against IS and that Iran has military advisers in Iraq. He said as well that the Iranians have "brought in large amounts of weaponry." In late February, Clapper said that cyber attacks were more of a threat to U.S. infrastructure and banking or other catastrophes even in light of IS, North Korea's nuclear ambitions and China and Iran. Right wing news sources breathlessly reported that Clapper's terror threats briefing did not single out either Iran or Hezbollah.