News / Middle East

Iraqi PM Appeals for Calm as Protests Continue

Residents carry a coffin during the funeral of an Iraqi soldier in Baghdad, April 25, 2013.Residents carry a coffin during the funeral of an Iraqi soldier in Baghdad, April 25, 2013.
x
Residents carry a coffin during the funeral of an Iraqi soldier in Baghdad, April 25, 2013.
Residents carry a coffin during the funeral of an Iraqi soldier in Baghdad, April 25, 2013.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has appealed for calm and dialogue as Sunni protesters battle his security forces for a third consecutive day in several parts of northern and central Iraq.

In a nationally-televised address on Thursday, Maliki urged Iraqis "not to remain silent" about what he called efforts by "terrorists" to drag the country toward a sectarian civil war. He warned that if sedition spreads, there will be "no winners and losers, everyone will lose."

Maliki's security forces surrounded the northern town of Suleiman Beg in preparation for trying to recapture it, a day after Sunnis took control of the area near the city of Tuz Khormato.

The seizure was one of several incidents carried out by Sunnis on Wednesday, in apparent revenge for government troops raiding a Sunni protest site in the central town of Hawija on the previous day.

Sunni militia also tried to seize parts of the northern city of Mosul late Wednesday, triggering a battle with security forces that killed at least 40 people, about 30 of them gunmen. Iraqi troops regained control of the area on Thursday.

Government raid

Tuesday's government raid on Hawija sparked fighting that killed at least 53 people. Iraqi authorities said security forces entered the camp to crack down on Sunnis militants suspected of infiltrating the demonstration.

The three days of fighting are the deadliest in four months of protests by Iraq's minority Sunnis, who have been demanding the resignation of Maliki, a majority Shi'ite.

They accuse his Shi'ite-led government of marginalizing the Sunni community and unfairly targeting its leaders for prosecution and arrest.

In his address, Maliki said he will not allow the security forces to "infringe on the dignity of citizens." He also said no one will be allowed to infringe on the dignity of the Iraqi army and police whom he called Iraq's sources of "pride and strength."

Security capabilities

Analyst Anthony Cordesman of Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies said some of Iraq's elite army units are very good, but small in size and cannot cover the whole country.

"That means they are going to be a lot of areas which will be vulnerable." he said.

In an interview with VOA prior to the Hawija raid, the former U.S. State Department and Defense Department official said regular Iraqi army units are capable of formal security measures, but are not particularly effective in dealing with armed opposition.

"The Iraqi army is divided," Cordesman said. "Often it is focusing on Shi'ite areas or is creating tension with Sunni areas rather than acting as a source of security," he said.

The analyst also said many elements of the Iraqi police are not effective, with the exception of national police units.

"Most Iraqi police forces reverted to a relatively passive, corrupt and ineffective state within months of the U.S. troop departure [in December 2011]," he said.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MUSTAFA from: PAKISTAN
April 25, 2013 10:23 PM
There is simple solution of this problem, justice for every Iraqi without any consideration. They have to improve their justice system as to satisfy every body in Iraq. The second thing do not surrender in front of TERRORIST who have finanacial and other back up from other countries. There should be heavey punishment in front of every body for those terrorist who are doing all these dirty games for the sake of MONEY and no other object in their LITTLE MIND.

by: Yerina Uzbek from: Iraq
April 25, 2013 6:46 PM
the fragmentation of Iraq were "on the cards" since the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire... Iraq has been "held together" by a succession of brutal monarchies and dictatorships of the make and in the pay of Britain. But so is by and large the whole Arab "world" - all these fake "Kings" and corrupt "Monarchies" - a cesspool of depravity which is bound to disintegrate...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
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 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 US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
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.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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