News / Middle East

Iraq Government Loss of Mosul Poses Wider Implications

A Kurdish policeman stands guard while refugees from Mosul head to the self-ruled northern Kurdish region in Irbil, Iraq, 350 kilometers (217 miles) north of Baghdad, June 10, 2014.
A Kurdish policeman stands guard while refugees from Mosul head to the self-ruled northern Kurdish region in Irbil, Iraq, 350 kilometers (217 miles) north of Baghdad, June 10, 2014.
Victor Beattie
Analysts warn the Iraqi government’s loss of the country’s second-largest city, Mosul, to an al-Qaida splinter group poses a threat not just to Iraq, but the wider Middle East region.  U.S. officials acknowledge a serious deterioration of the security situation and urge the Shi’ite-dominated Baghdad government to reach out to the country’s disgruntled minority populations.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest Tuesday condemned what he called the “aggression in Mosul” by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” or ISIL.  He says it has caused a serious deterioration of the security situation in Iraq’s Sunni-dominated Nineveh Province:

"The situation is extremely serious and U.S. officials in both Washington and Baghdad are tracking events closely in coordination with the government in Iraq," he said. "The United States will continue to stand with the Iraqi people and provide all necessary and appropriate assistance to the government of Iraq under the strategic framework agreement to assist it in our common fight against the threat that ISIL poses to Iraq and the broader region."

Earnest says Washington is providing Hellfire missiles, millions of rounds of small arms fire, thousands of rounds of tank ammunition, helicopter-fired rockets, machine guns, grenades, flares, sniper rifles, M16s and M4 rifles to Iraqi security officials.  

Appeal to al-Maliki

The White House spokesman also called on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Shi’ite-led government to do more to address what he calls “unresolved issues to better meet the needs of all the Iraqi people, a viewed echoed by US defense spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby on Tuesday.

"This is for the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government to deal with," he said. "We’re doing what we can through a more normalized military-to-military relationship, and we have certainly made it clear that we encourage Prime Minister Maliki to continue to work with tribal leadership in that area through a more holistic [all parts of society] approach to deal with the threat of extremists inside that country."

Earlier this year, ISIL took over another Iraqi city, Fallujah, and government forces have been unable to reclaim it after months of fighting. To the west of Mosul, the militants have seized control of parts of eastern Syria in their fight against President Bashar al-Assad.  

Violence in Mosul
 
  • An elderly man is assisted as families fleeing the violence in Mosul wait at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq, June 10, 2014.
  • Families fleeing the violence in Mosul wait at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq, June 10, 2014.
  • Damaged vehicles belonging to Iraqi security forces are seen during clashes between Iraqi security forces and al-Qaida-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Mosul, Iraq, June 10, 2014.
  • Burning vehicles belonging to Iraqi security forces are seen during clashes between Iraqi security forces and al-Qaida-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Mosul, Iraq, June 10, 2014.
  • This image taken from video obtained from the Iraqi Military shows armored and military vehicles during clashes in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq, June 9, 2014.
  • This image taken from video obtained from the Iraqi Military shows Iraqi soldiers during clashes with militants in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq, June 9, 2014.
  • This image taken from video obtained from the Iraqi Military shows an armed Iraqi soldier leaving a military vehicle during clashes in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq, June 9, 2014.
  • This image taken from video obtained from the Iraqi Military shows Iraqi soldiers during clashes with militants in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq, June 9, 2014.

Prospect of an Islamic state

RAND Corporation analyst Ben Connable says the insurgents are seeking to establish an Islamic state with the regions it controls in eastern Syria and western Iraq.

"Their goal appears to be the seizure of all of the Sunni provinces in Iraq, at least for starters, and then I think we can expect some pressure into Baghdad beyond that," he said.

Connable says the loss of Mosul reveals many underlying problems in the country after U.S. forces left in 2011, charging Mr. Maliki with “considerable damage” in the Shi’ite/Sunni relationship.  He says Sunni general officers and tribal elders he has spoken with feel disenfranchised from the central government.  He says that feeds support for ISIL.

ISIL gaining strength

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki Tuesday warned ISIL has continued to gain strength from the struggle in Syria resulting in an overflow of recruits, sophisticated munitions and other resources to the fight in Iraq.

"The threat that ISIL is presenting is not just a threat to Iraq or the stability of Iraq, but it is a threat to the region.  And, this growing menace exemplifies the importance of Iraqis from all communities working together to confront this common enemy and to isolate those militant groups from the broader population," he said.

Rami Khoury, director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at Beirut’s American University, says the fall of Mosul poses a huge problem, not just for Iraq, but the region and the whole world:

"What this means is that, first of all, the state of Iraq, the country and the government is not able to control major population centers and has also lost control of huge countryside areas around it.  And, the danger of this is that it means that this group [ISIL], they control territory, they control border crossing points, they control oil resources, mineral resources, trade income, they have a base in the middle of the Middle East, and they have popular support… and they can organize and carry out their mission in bigger parts of the Middle East, they can threaten neighboring countries," said Khoury.

Khoury says the advances of ISIL might force both Shi’ite and Sunni-led governments in the region to move toward dialogue and reconciliation in a bid to restore security to both Syria and Iraq, and perhaps even creating a regional security framework involving the Turks, Iranians and Saudis.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid