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

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora