News

    US, Iraqi Military Pushing to Secure Country for Elections

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Despite daily military operations in Iraq to clear the way for elections on January 30, U.S. commanders acknowledge that some parts of the country are still too dangerous for people to go to the polls. The interim Iraqi government has extended emergency laws in most parts of Iraq for another 30 days to deal with the security crisis.

    A top U.S. military commander here, Lieutenant General Thomas Metz, says although many parts of Iraq are peaceful, four large provinces in the country are not yet secure enough for Iraqi citizens to vote. "Those provinces represent where we are concentrating effort to put together the security systems and procedures and the number of soldiers, Iraqi and coalition, to successfully hold elections," he said.

    The provinces are Anbar province, which includes the restive town of Ramadi; Ninevah province and its provincial capital, Mosul; Saladin province, which contains Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, and Baghdad province. Together, the provinces contain more than half the population of Iraq.

    All of the troubled provinces have significant populations of Sunni Muslims, who opposed the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003 and have formed the core of a small but resilient insurgency in Iraq ever since.

    In recent weeks, U.S. and Iraqi forces have greatly intensified their efforts to quell the violence in those problem areas.

    The deputy commander of the U.S. Army's First Cavalry Division, whose soldiers patrol a large area of the capital and surrounding areas, says American and Iraqi troops have conducted countless raids and have arrested a number people suspected of taking part in the insurgency.

    Brigadier General Jeffery Hammond says many of those arrests were made after citizens called an anonymous tip line, which has recently been established.

    "People today are picking up the phone and calling us. They're sharing information," he said. "We've had over 400 calls in the last few months and we action [act on] these things. Callers recently led us to car bombs which were fully rigged to explode, two of them, inside a garage. We found the vehicles. We destroyed them."

    But for every car bomb and explosive device found and destroyed, others find a way out into the streets. The latest deadly attack occurred Thursday evening when a U.S. Army armored personnel carrier on patrol hit a roadside bomb in northwestern Baghdad. The explosion killed all seven soldiers inside the vehicle.

    The top ground commander in Iraq, General Metz, acknowledges that even if voting could take place in all areas of Iraq by the end of the month, the safety of voters cannot be guaranteed.

    "No, I can't guarantee that at all. We are fighting an enemy who cares less about who he kills, when he kills, and how he kills and he will work out a way to find some weakness that we're going to work hard not to give him, but I just cannot guarantee that everyone will be able to go to a poll in total safety," added General Metz. "I cannot put a bubble around every person."

    Anticipating a further escalation of violence in the run-up to election day, Iraq's interim government on Thursday extended emergency laws imposed just before the U.S.-led invasion of Fallujah in early November.

    The extension gives Iraqi security forces expanded power for 30 more days to pursue insurgents and make arrests. They also give the government the right to impose curfew.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora