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 Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid