Iran Helping Iraq Fight Off Sunni Militants

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Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Iraqi special forces deploy their troops and armoured vehicles outside of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, Iraq on June 12, 2014. The hardline militant group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), have taken control of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday, headed south and attacked parts of the city of Kirkuk and Tikrit on Wednesday.
Photo: Feriq Ferec/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

With the Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) rapidly advancing through Iraq, Shiite-dominated Iran has stepped in to help its beseiged neighbor. With the help of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Iraqi military forces were able to retake control of 85 percent of Tikirt in recent days, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The ISIS march to Baghdad may have continued unimpeded were it not for the help of the Iranians, who stepped in to help an Iraqi Army that was reportedly running from confrontation with the militants. Just yesterday, the New York Times reported that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki secretly asked the United States to help with airstrikes targeting ISIS. Despite initially denying the request, ISIS's advancement has led to some reconsidering in Washington, setting up the potential for a truly bizarre alliance that sees Iran and the United States fighting on the same side.