I have been doing quite a bit of research, watching, and thinking about this mess with ISIS in Iraq. It is much worse than they are reporting. First, the desertion thing is about the US trained Sunni members of the Iraqi Army defecting to join ISIS and the betrayed Shiite members throwing down their arms and running, not just from ISIS, but also from the defecting Sunni members of the Iraq Army. At least nine Sunni Generals from the Iraq Army have joined ISIS along with their Sunni corp of officers and troops, all US trained and equipped with US weapons. ISIS is not only a terrorist army now but is also a powerful conventional army, which is why they are marching across Iraq so quickly. Shades of Saddam.
The take over of Mosul by ISIS was a done deal before ISIS got there with it having already been arranged that the Sunni officers and troops would desert the Iraqi Army and join ISIS. The Sunni generals just handed Mosul to ISIS with very little resistance from the Shiite troops, who are being hunted down and killed by their former Sunni Iraqi fellow soldiers.
Add to this that ISIS is being provided with an increasing arsenal of US weapons every time they "take" another Iraqi military base. The last I read, ISIS had hundreds of US armored vehicles, 15 Abrams tanks, a handful of US aircraft, mostly helicopters but some fighter planes, artillery, Stinger antiaircraft missiles, and other US weapons and communications equipment along with the US trained officers and soldiers to use these weapons. They are advancing between communities with military convoys of up to 60 vehicles. This is no longer an unconventional army.
Add to this that, everywhere ISIS goes, Sunni militias form and join ISIS. ISIS has very quickly built a large and powerful conventional army to fight the Shiites for control of Iraq. As they march through Iraq, they are slaughtering or purging all Shiites, including civilian men, women, and children, and non Muslims, especially Christians. The Sunnis are determined to turn Iraqi into a pure Sunni Muslim nation.
The new, more powerful ISIS has clearly become a huge threat to the region. ISIS now has an almost complete nation carved out of Syria and Iraq with its base of operations in Eastern Syria. ISIS was already the biggest threat to Assad in Syria. It appears that ISIS wants to focus on taking Iraq and then Syria and has even put off its military actions in Syria until Iraq has been conquered. Remember that ISIS has been funded by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations along the Persian Gulf but has become the richest terrorist organization in the world by looting banks in every town they take, more than half a billion dollars from just the banks in Mosul. This increases ISIS independence and can make them a threat to everyone else.
The biggest weakness ISIS has developed in all of this is that she is now traveling in conventional military convoys between cities without significant air support for protection. This makes her forces vulnerable to air attack from Turkey, Syria (ISIS has shut down most of her operations in Syria until she has conquered Iraq so Syria has extra troops to help Iraq), Iraq, and Iran. If they can start taking out the ISIS convoys in route between communities, they can cripple and even destroy ISIS.
Gee, I wonder why ISIS is just sweeping across Iraq?
Mean while, the Kurds have staked out "Kurdistan" in Northeastern Iraq taking Kurkuk, which controls a large number of oil fields. This is permitting the Kurds to increase their international oil sales which will permit the Kurds to become a better armed and stronger nation with better chances of achieving complete independence from Iraq. ISIS has only attacked one Kurdish community and got their butts handed to them so ISIS is focusing entirely on defeating the Shiite Muslims for now.
Obama won't help stop this mess he helped create. He shafted King Abdullah and was spurned by Iran so Obama has decided to stay out of this and take the side of whomever wins. The only reason Obama has sent ships and troops to evacuate the US embassy is to prevent another Benghazi.
Iraqi PM, Maliki, can't trust his own troops and has quickly built a volunteer Shiite militia of 5,000 to slow the progress of ISIS while other actions are being developed. I would not be surprised to see Maliki purge the Sunnis out of the rest of the Iraqi Army, but, unless he kills them all, it would only free them sooner to join ISIS.
Iran has thus far sent at least three battalions of their Revolutionary Guard and Quod troops to Iraq. One battalion is trying to take back Mosul and the other two battalions are trying to keep ISIS from taking Baghdad. I expect to see Iran send in more troops soon, both ground and air, especially since there is already reported fighting in and around Baghdad.
There is a concerted international effort to take back Mosul in order to cut the ISIS supply lines from their home base in Syria. As I said, Iran has sent one battalion, Assad has sent troops from Syria, the Kurds are sending troops, and Turkey is bombing ISIS troops in and around Mosul. Russia is indirectly aiding via its aid for Syria, China has promised some undisclosed aid, and Obama keeps saying there may be some air support but, then again, there may not. This may only be a long term solution because, every time ISIS takes another Iraqi base, it gets more weapons, munitions, food, and troops, which makes it less dependent on its own supply lines for the short term. The international effort is hoping to box ISIS in and run her supplies out.
What could the US do to help Iraq?
This would be very easy to do because the US military is structured for conventional warfare and military convoys of 30+ US armored vehicles on the road would be easy to spot from the air. You would just have to confirm that the Iraqi Army doesn't have any forces at that location. You simply put some armed US Navy F18s and US Air Force B52s in orbit over Baghdad with tanker support for refueling. Use UAVs to locate, track, and help the F18s and B52s find the ISIS military convoys traveling in the open on the roads between communities, then destroy those convoys with our air power. It would only take a few such missions to slow the ISIS army down and a few dozen missions to cripple ISIS and turn it back into a terrorist army hiding in the towns. This would be almost exactly like what we did to the Iraqi Army in Desert Storm.
Who is most likely to win this fight?
Remember that the Shiite Muslims consider Babylon to be the most holy site in Islam and the Sunni Muslims consider Mecca and Medina to be the two most holy sites in Islam. Remember that the Shiites plan to nuke both Mecca and Medina and rebuild Babylon to force the Sunnis to accept Babylon as the most holy site in Islam. Remember that the end time prophesies of the Bible say nothing about Mecca and Medina, at least not by those current names, maybe by more ancient names, and speaks extensively about Babylon. Do the math.
It is always important to....