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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More