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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora