News / Middle East

Islamic Militants Fight in Iraq; War in Syria Spills Over

Islamic Militants Fight in Iraq; War in Syria Spills Overi
X
January 07, 2014 11:30 PM
Radical Islamic militants linked to al-Qaida are tightening their grip on Iraq’s Anbar province, mounting a serious challenge to the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Analysts say the fresh fighting is the latest evidence the Syrian civil war is spilling over, causing sectarian violence and bloodshed around the region. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Meredith Buel
Radical Islamic militants linked to al-Qaida are tightening their grip on Iraq’s Anbar province, mounting a serious challenge to the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.  Analysts say the fresh fighting is the latest evidence the Syrian civil war is spilling over, causing sectarian violence and bloodshed around the region.

For the first time since U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq, al-Qaida-linked militants have seized parts of key cities in the desert leading to the Syrian border.

Militants have taken over neighborhoods in Fallujah and Ramadi in western Anbar province, a hotbed of Sunni extremism.

The militants are members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the most hardline jihadists battling in the Syrian civil war.

The uprising against Damascus has been going on for three years and analysts like David Pollock of the Washington Institute say it is spreading across the border.

“The most extreme, most radical, most fundamentalist, even terrorist parts of the Syrian opposition are the ones that have gained more control on the border with Iraq and so that is spilling over into Iraq," said Pollock.

The Baghdad government has been hitting back, firing missiles at rebel vehicles and hideouts.

The United States is rushing air-to-ground Hellfire missiles and surveillance drones to help with the fight.

But Secretary of State John Kerry says no U.S. troops will join the battle.

“So we are not, obviously, contemplating returning.  We are not contemplating putting boots on the ground; this is their fight," said Kerry.

Violence between Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government and the Sunni minority has claimed thousands of lives.

Sectarian clashes are destabilizing the country.

Again, David Pollock.

“It is not just a matter of bullets.  It is a matter of popular legitimacy or at least acceptance and in large parts of the country unfortunately, the Iraqi government is losing that legitimacy," he said.

After years of fierce fighting in Iraq, U.S. troops defeated al-Qaida in Anbar by recruiting and arming local tribesmen to fight the militants.

But Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not continue that relationship and instead alienated many of his Sunni opponents.

Analyst Bill Roggio spoke to VOA via Skype.

“We are going to learn whether they can get this situation under control.  But when two major Iraqi cities fall completely or partially under enemy control I think at that point you have to say the situation has spiraled out of control," said Roggio.

The Iraqi Army has deployed tanks and troops in Anbar and civilians are fleeing the fighting.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs