News / Middle East

    Self-Proclaimed 'Caliph' Orders All Muslims to Move to New Islamic State

    Militant Islamist fighters wave flags as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014.
    Militant Islamist fighters wave flags as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014.
    VOA News

    The self-appointed leader of the newly proclaimed Islamic state in Iraq and Syria is demanding that all Muslims emigrate there and take up arms.

    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi posted an audio message on Islamist websites Tuesday, saying the new state is for all Muslims, regardless of skin color or nationality. He said Syria is not for the Syrians and Iraq is not for Iraqis.

    Baghdadi said the holy month of Ramadan is the perfect time for all Muslims to take up weapons and flight.

    Sunni extremists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant proclaimed a sovereign state for Muslims earlier this week. ISIL has seized much of northern Iraq and is one of the rebel groups fighting to topple the Syrian government.

    Iraqi newly elected parliament members attend the first session of parliament in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, July 1, 2014.Iraqi newly elected parliament members attend the first session of parliament in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, July 1, 2014.
    x
    Iraqi newly elected parliament members attend the first session of parliament in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, July 1, 2014.
    Iraqi newly elected parliament members attend the first session of parliament in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, July 1, 2014.

    Also Tuesday, Iraq's new parliament ended its first session since April's election, without selecting a new prime minister.

    The lawmakers met for the first time Tuesday since being elected in late April, but acting speaker Mahdi al-Hafidh ended the session after a number of members failed to return from a break.

    He said they would continue in a week if there is a possibility of an agreement.

    Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was a favorite to claim his third term after the election, but since then Sunni Islamist militants have captured large areas of northern and western Iraq and thrown the country into crisis.

    • Mourners carry the coffin of a victim of violence before his burial in the Shiite holy city of Najaf. Violence has claimed the lives of 2,417 Iraqis in June, making it the deadliest month so far this year, July 1, 2014.
    • A view of the Wadi al-Salam, or "Valley of Peace" cemetery in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 160 kilometers south of Baghdad, Iraq, July 1, 2014.
    • Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (center) attends a session at the parliament headquarters in Baghdad, July 1, 2014.
    • Newly elected Iraqi parliament members attend the first session of parliament in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, July 1, 2014.
    • A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter washes in a river under a bridge on the front line with militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), in Mariam Bek village, June 30, 2014.

    Western leaders have urged Iraqi officials to form an inclusive government to counter sectarian divisions among its Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish populations.

    Iraq has been operating under a system in which the prime minister is a Shi'ite, the president a Kurd and the head of parliament a Sunni.

    The surge by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant came with a rise in violence that made June an extraordinarily deadly month for Iraqi civilians and for the country's security forces.

    The United Nations mission in Iraq said Tuesday that 886 military personnel were killed last month, a number that is higher than the first five months of 2014 combined. At least 1,531 civilians were also killed, the most since July of last year.

    U.N. data shows 7,160 deaths from terrorism and violence in the first half of 2014, compared to about 9,000 deaths in all of 2013.

    In response to the violence, the United States has added 200 more troops to bolster security at its embassy and Baghdad's international airport.

    President Barack Obama authorized the deployment Monday, saying in a letter to Congress it will also include helicopters and unmanned drones.

    Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said the troops already have arrived in Iraq. They join the 275 troops sent to protect the embassy last month.

    These forces are separate from the up to 300 military advisers the president authorized to assist Iraq as it battles the militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, who have taken over major cities and threatened to attack Baghdad.

    The latest announcement brings to nearly 800 the number of U.S. forces in Iraq.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
    July 02, 2014 5:57 AM
    All this events is simply the fall out of the inability of the leader or leaders of free nations to act against killers of innocent blood ,now they scramble to send troops were they said no boots on ground only to send and are still sending more! (Medicine After Death)

    by: Gerald O'Hare from: New Jersey
    July 01, 2014 10:12 PM
    This is the perfect storm for Americans. Let them kill each other and we do nothing. Saudi Arabia and Iran will have to join the fight. Turkey may get dragged into this also. ISIS is bringing down hell on itself and these jihadists from the west will never return home alive. It will be like the children's crusade of the Middle Ages. The only way to win is to not get involved. ISIS will be destroyed and the jihad will die never to return. After it is done the civilized people of the world will rebuild Iraq and Syria.

    by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
    July 01, 2014 9:46 PM
    The Best Solution of current crisis, do not support Terrorism by USA, EU, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordon and UAE. If these countries do not support Terrorist Group in the name of Freedom Fighters then this world will be a place to live with peace and security. Due to interference by these countries we have seen Human Blood in street of Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now human blood is cheaper than chicken or goat.
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    July 01, 2014 11:02 PM
    Well said. It is time to put humanity first, religion last! Anyting that justifies inhumane acts should be characterized as TERRORISM! Time to clean all these bibles and religious doctines to promote the peace they all claim to believe in.

    by: Ali baba from: new ork
    July 01, 2014 6:04 PM
    The picture of the person who carry the flag is oriental and he is not Syrian. It looks to me the jihadist come from different countries and they have common goal .they goal is barbaric .it give us proof positive about the barbaric behavior of radical Muslim. We shall see them killed with the same manner that they behaved in last month when attack a town and ask people to stand up in a place then executed them .they find happiness of mass killing and we shall keep the last laugh

    by: ALIbaba from: new york
    July 01, 2014 5:48 PM
    A trap which set for other, they themselves have been caught .ISIL Are acting as a barbaric and continue killing people. they believe that God will secure a victory for them. They are wrong .sooner, they will be defeated and run like women. They are punch of coward and they will get it right away

    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 01, 2014 9:11 AM
    Only in a Democracy can you have political gridlock, (like the US is experiencing now), and that is the curse and benefits of a Democratic government, where the "minority" Sunni Muslims and Kurds in the Iraq government, can prevent the Shia Muslim "majority" from forming a new Iraq government... (DEMOCRACY?)... In a communist, dictatorship, socialist, or monarchy governments, they don't have political gridlocks, do they?

    Maliki must find the wisdom of King Solomon, to find a way to work with the Sunni Muslims in the Iraq government and army, to fight the (ISIL) "Emir of the Believers" and now the "Caliph of all Islam" army..... with the majority of Sunni Muslims in the Iraq government, and army, (that swore to Allah), the (Bay'ah), oath of allegiance to al-Baghdadi....

    The Iraq army is about half Sunni Muslim, and Maliki must either disarm them, or segregate them from Shia Muslim troops, because they'll refuse to fight other Sunni Muslims, and even shoot Shia Muslim troops in the back. Do like Hulagu Khan would have done, lay siege to Tikrit and Mosul, and completely destroy them to rubble, to save Iraq..... and make ALL Muslims in Iraq, (swear to Allah), allegiance only to Allah and Iraq... (AND?)... Don't listen to the advice given, by those countries that arm your Sunni Muslim enemies....

    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