Worth posting. A few readers here know the ground.
(Reuters) - Iraqi forces have withdrawn from the militant-held city of Tikrit after their new offensive met heavy resistance, in a blow to the government effort to push back Sunni insurgents controlling large parts of the country.
The failure highlights the difficulties of Baghdad's struggle to recapture territory from the insurgents who seized Mosul, Tikrit and other cities last month in a rapid offensive which threatens to fragment Iraq on ethnic and sectarian lines.
The setback came as Iraqi politicians named a moderate Sunni Islamist as speaker of parliament on Tuesday. That was a long-delayed first step towards a power-sharing government urgently needed to confront the militants, who are led by the al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State.
It is unclear if the election of Salim al-Jabouri as speaker will break the broader deadlock over Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's bid to serve a third term. He has ruled since the April election as a caretaker.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/16/us-iraq-security-idUSKBN0FL0U720140716