News / Middle East

Iraqi PM Urges Expulsion of Al-Qaida in Fallujah

FILE - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki speaks to the press in Baghdad, Iraq.
FILE - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki speaks to the press in Baghdad, Iraq.
Edward Yeranian
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is calling on residents of the mostly Sunni-populated Anbar Province town of Fallujah to expel pro- al-Qaida militants who appear to control their city.  Witnesses say Iraqi government forces outside the city are bombarding areas inside, while warning an offensive could start soon.

In a statement read on state television, Maliki urged Iraqis to “help the government and army to fight terrorists.”  He went on to urge residents to “expel” the Islamic militants who control the city.

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Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
A resident of Fallujah indicated he fled because foodstuffs and basic necessities were running short.  Scores of residents have been leaving the city as conditions deteriorate.  Some reports say Islamic militants are now blocking exits from Fallujah.

Falah al Aissawi, a member of the Anbar provincial council, told al-Arabiya TV that “no Iraqi police or army troops remain inside [Fallujah].”  Witnesses reported that Iraqi helicopters and field artillery were bombing positions in at least two areas of the city.

Al-Qaida-linked Sunni insurgents who have been fighting in neighboring Syria took over parts of Iraq's Anbar Province last week.  

The situation is complicated by rising violence between Iraq's minority Sunnis and majority Shi'ites during the past year.  Shi'ite Maliki's government has little support in the province.

Tribal fighters aligned with government forces are seen patrolling the streets in the city of Falluja, 50 km west of Baghdad Jan. 5, 2014.Tribal fighters aligned with government forces are seen patrolling the streets in the city of Falluja, 50 km west of Baghdad Jan. 5, 2014.
Tribal fighters aligned with government forces are seen patrolling the streets in the city of Falluja, 50 km west of Baghdad Jan. 5, 2014.
Tribal fighters aligned with government forces are seen patrolling the streets in the city of Falluja, 50 km west of Baghdad Jan. 5, 2014.
The situation in Anbar began deteriorating after government forces stormed a Sunni sit-in protest camp last week in Ramadi.  The arrest of a prominent Sunni member of parliament further exacerbated tensions.  Sunni tribal leaders continue to demand his release.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Hassan al Shammari accused Maliki and his supporters of allowing Islamic militants to escape from prison last summer in order to create chaos in the country.  There was no immediate response to the claim from the government.

In contrast, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told al Sharqiya TV, that the “situation inside [neighboring] Syria is behind the worsening violence in Iraq.”  He urged Iraqis to “stick together and talk with one another” to put an end to the conflict.

Iranian media reported that Tehran's Deputy Military Commander Mohammed Hijazi had offered “weapons and other aid” to the the Iraqi government, if it asks for help.  But he said Iran would “not supply ground troops."

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Comment Sorting
by: JR from: SAINT PAUL
January 06, 2014 4:40 PM
What a terrible place to live the Earth is becoming! Everywhere violence, fear and death.

by: Bernard from: USA
January 06, 2014 12:56 PM
is this revolting Iranian collaborator trying to involve US in removing his legitimate Sunni Arab Democratic opposition...??? Hey Kerry give him the "peace solution" you gave the Israelis... see how he will react...

by: C. Wayne Ashcraft from: Alameda, CA
January 06, 2014 12:53 PM
The current situation in Iraq is just a reminder that the notion of nationhood is still a long way off. Tribalism linked to a sect of Islam dominates which is the basis for a civil war. It also explains the absence of a peacemaker like Martin Luther King or Mandela. This is a sad situation where there is the absence of imagination to resolve the differences between the Islamic sects.

by: Whistleblower from: District Of Criminals
January 06, 2014 10:09 AM
Expel the CIA, and you will expel Al-Qaeda, whom the CIA created, arms, fund$, runs, and trains. Just the FACTS, people.

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