News / Middle East

Iraq's Maliki Vows to Defeat Militants

Iraqi men raise up weapons and shout slogans as they demonstration in the central Shiite Muslim shrine city of Najaf on June 14, 2014 to show their support for the call to arms by Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
Iraqi men raise up weapons and shout slogans as they demonstration in the central Shiite Muslim shrine city of Najaf on June 14, 2014 to show their support for the call to arms by Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
Edward Yeranian
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki vowed again Saturday to defeat Sunni militants who have captured large chunks of territory north and west of the capital, Baghdad.

The Iraqi Army, meanwhile, claimed that government forces have regained their momentum, after a string of recent defeats. 

Fighting continued Saturday in scattered regions north of Baghdad, with conflicting reports over which side-- forces loyal to Maliki's government, or a mix of Sunni Islamist militant groups-- had the upper hand.

In quick strikes this week, militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, took control of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, and advanced within 55 miles of Baghdad.
 
Late Thursday, ISIL fighters seized the towns of Jalawla and Saadiyah in the ethnically divided eastern province of Diyala.
 
A spokesman for the Sunni militants vowed they would push into Baghdad and on to Karbala, a city southwest of Baghdad that is one of the holiest sites for Shi'ite Muslims.

Iraqi state TV showed Maliki, who is Shi'ite, addressing a round table of dignitaries in Samarra, north of Baghdad, insisting that the Iraqi military would defeat Sunni fighters, whom he called “terrorists.”

Maliki's comments contrasted with initial reports on the ground earlier this week, when government military forces were reported to be giving up without a fight. 

Maliki said troops who abandoned their positions and left their uniforms in the streets of Mosul earlier this week must return to their units or face possible severe punishment, including the death penalty.

One man in Karbala said that hundreds of men were volunteering to defend Iraq, and in particular holy sites like those in Karbala. The vast majority of volunteers appear to be Shi'ite.

On Friday, Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a religious edict, calling on men to volunteer.

Iraqi military intelligence chief, meanwhile, told a news conference Saturday that the situation in Baghdad was stable and that the government had a plan and resources to keep ISIL militants away from the city.

Qassem Mohammed Atta also claimed that government forces had recaptured most of Salaheddin province and that military commanders in Salaheddin, Diyala and Samarra told him they were holding firm.

It was impossible for VOA to independently confirm the information.

Broadcast media reports have said Iran has sent fighters from its elite Revolutionary Guards' “al-Quds Forces” to help the Iraqi military.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani insisted in a speech Saturday that his country would consider any Iraqi government request for help, but that no such appeal has been made.

Amid growing speculation that the United States may be forced to intervene, U.S. President Barack Obama indicated Friday that he would consider different options in coming days. He also said that Iraq needed to “fix its internal problems” or U.S. military help would not make much difference.

In a sign that Washington indeed may be preparing for air strikes, the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush moved from the North Arabian Sea to the Gulf Saturday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

The move provides Obama "additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq," Kirby said.
 
A guided-missile cruiser and a guided-missile destroyer will accompany the aircraft carrier, he said.

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by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
June 14, 2014 9:59 PM
Every body knows very well, after Syria these terrorist will enter Iraq and then start killing innocent peoples and burn their properties, what they did in Syria. Now this the duty of Iraqi Govt should be alert and vigilant. Iraqi Govt should capture these human killers and give them heavy punishment in front world media. These Terrorist of Al Qaida will kill innocent peoples, because this is their aim and object. I feel sorry the role played by Saudi Arabia in this human killing drama. These terrorist came from SA and Syria very well finance and equip by SA. SA feel God will not ask any question from them because they born in Mecca and Madina. Then this is their blunder mistake, show me any book where God gave them discount because of M & M. Human killer is human killer in front of God court so be ready for your answer.

by: Hallalah from: Iran
June 14, 2014 12:51 PM
Maliki doing the job like Africa buffalo, he have enough ppl but he don't know how to use them to protect Iraq. When lion coming he is ready to die. Iraq is one of oil richest on earth, US got billion of $ for Maliki gov. to setup his army, this money may be used for corruption only. Now Maliki crying hahaha.

by: meanbill from: USA
June 14, 2014 10:39 AM
THE WISE MAN said it; --- "Where others see defeat, the wise man see's victory" - from the book "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu. --- The Iraqis couldn't be defeated by the US and NATO military forces, (the greatest military forces in the history of the world), and they won't be defeated by these (ISIL) terrorists, no matter what anybody says.... I guarantee it.. .... REALLY

NOW is the time for Maliki to lead his country to victory against the (ISIL) Iraqi terrorists -- and show the Iraqi people and the world -- (that he and the Iraqi people and country won't be defeated by anybody in the world), -- (AND?) -- Iraq will be the graveyard for foreign invaders.....

by: Ted Nelson from: Gold Bar Washington
June 14, 2014 9:24 AM
There are Sunni terrorists. There are also Shiite terrorists. But the overwhelming majority from each sect is moderate not terrorist. The problem Iraq faces is the Sunni terrorists, because of unpopular and unequal government policies, are becoming the group of choice for Iraq's overall Sunni population. This is a dilemna for the United States. We have an obligation and duty to root out terrorism wherever it arises, however it is not in our interest to get involved in any Shiite-Sunni civil war or religious dispute. To this end, we must attack the terrorists with all our weapons and eliminate them. At the same time, we must make peace with the Sunni, and take them out of the battle, if need be, one by one if necessary. The Sunni know who we are. They also know ISIL would stand no chance against us. This repatriation of the Sunni would not be as difficult as one might think. The worst thing we could do would be to be perceived as being a proxy for the Government.

by: pete from: us
June 14, 2014 8:33 AM
Sort of doubting that Uncle Sam isn't signing their paychecks. We need to cut the cord, lesson learned, no more oil globalists!

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