News / Middle East

    Islamic Militants Seize Mosul From Iraq Government Forces

    Burning vehicles belonging to Iraqi security forces are seen during clashes between security forces and al Qaida-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the northern city of Mosul, June 10, 2014.
    Burning vehicles belonging to Iraqi security forces are seen during clashes between security forces and al Qaida-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the northern city of Mosul, June 10, 2014.
    Edward Yeranian
    The Iraqi government is calling for parliament to declare a state of emergency, after militants from the al Qaida-affiliated "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" seized control of most of the northern city of Mosul and Nineveh Province. 

    Amateur video showed plumes of black smoke billowing into the air Tuesday over the predominantly Sunni northern Iraqi city of Mosul, after Islamic militants captured police and army positions, setting fire to vehicles.  Militants also seized the airport, government offices and banks.

    Gunbattles between the militants and the army raged for hours, before the Iraqi military finally withdrew to positions north of the city.  Video showed civilian vehicles racing to evacuate Mosul, as truckloads of militants took control of the city's main thoroughfares.

    Iraq's Ashirqiya TV reported hundreds of civilians fled Mosul to the northern Kurdish town of Erbil.  The TV added that militants from the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” broke into prisons, freeing 2,725 men, many condemned to death or serving life sentences.

    Al Arabiya TV said the Iraqi Army fled from its positions inside Mosul, while an Iraqi military spokesman called it a “tactical withdrawal.”  A Sunni political analyst told Arabiya TV that Sunnis make up only five percent of the Iraqi Army, making it difficult to control predominantly Sunni Mosul.
    • An elderly man is assisted as families fleeing the violence in Mosul wait at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq, June 10, 2014.
    • Families fleeing the violence in Mosul wait at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq, June 10, 2014.
    • Damaged vehicles belonging to Iraqi security forces are seen during clashes between Iraqi security forces and al-Qaida-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Mosul, Iraq, June 10, 2014.
    • Burning vehicles belonging to Iraqi security forces are seen during clashes between Iraqi security forces and al-Qaida-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Mosul, Iraq, June 10, 2014.
    • This image taken from video obtained from the Iraqi Military shows armored and military vehicles during clashes in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq, June 9, 2014.
    • This image taken from video obtained from the Iraqi Military shows Iraqi soldiers during clashes with militants in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq, June 9, 2014.
    • This image taken from video obtained from the Iraqi Military shows an armed Iraqi soldier leaving a military vehicle during clashes in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq, June 9, 2014.
    • This image taken from video obtained from the Iraqi Military shows Iraqi soldiers during clashes with militants in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq, June 9, 2014.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki went on state TV to call on parliament to declare a state of emergency and to urge the international community to come to help deal with the crisis.

    He said he was proclaiming a maximum alert and urges parliament to act quickly to impose a state of emergency and mobilization of all forces.   He called for the U.N., .Arab League, the European Union and other nations to help Iraq fight terrorists, whom he calls a threat to the entire world.

    Sunni Parliament Speaker Osama al Nujeifi, a political adversary of Maliki, accused the Iraqi military of abandoning Mosul, as well as their equipment, weapons and ammunition, to the Islamic militants.

    He said that the Mosul governor's office warned army leaders in recent weeks about the presence of armed militants in the region, but they took no preventive measures, so that when the battle came to the city, they laid down their weapons, and fled, leaving everything to the terrorists.

    The parliament speaker's brother is the provincial governor of Mosul and surrounding Ninevah Province.  Al Arabiya TV reported that Nujeifi met with the U.S. ambassador to discuss the military situation in Mosul.

    Analyst James Denselow of the London-based Foreign Policy Center told VOA  the sudden crisis in Mosul was the result of months of deterioration in security in Sunni regions of Iraq.

    "I think what we are witnessing here is the spillover of the Syrian conflict and the presence of emboldened and empowered radical Islamic groups operating from Anbar Province on both sides of the border with Syria, and the Iraqi elections and the continued failure of Maliki to chart an inclusive process for the Sunni community to make them feel part of the Iraqi state,” he said.

    The security crisis in Mosul follows months of conflict with Islamic militants in mostly Sunni Anbar Province.  The Iraqi Army has repeatedly attacked and shelled the towns of Ramadi and Falluja, failing for the most part to dislodge the militants.

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Maliki is locked in a struggle with both Sunni and Shi'ite political opponents over formation of a new government.

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    by: awaaz from: india
    June 10, 2014 12:35 PM
    why only Muslims dominated countries have these crises...why can't they live in peace....because they have wrong mentality since their birth.......i would appreciate if all other people unite together to get this worm out from t his world...

    by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
    June 10, 2014 11:59 AM
    It would have taken another -- another -- 200,000 American and British troops to protect Iraq and now Syria from Sunni extremists, often funded and armed by Persian Gulf oil monarchies pretending to be allied to the West.

    With USA forces already thinly stretched across the planet, Obama, instead, chose to abandon Iraq and Syria and leave it to the Sunni and Shiite, the Persians, and, indeed, even the Israelis, to sort out in what looks to become a very bloody and long-lasting sectarian war that will encompass the entire Middle East, including North Africa and Turkey.

    As Middle East oil then stops flowing, expect a global Depression unlike any ever seen before.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    June 10, 2014 11:13 AM
    REMEMBER? -- When a US President said; "The world is a safer place, now that Saddam is dead" (and another US President saying); "The world is a safer place since Qaddafi and his son's are dead" (and best of all) "The world is a safer place since Bin Laden is dead" (and the US President also saying); "Al-Qaeda is on the run, and it's leadership has been decimated" -- (IF ONLY?) -- anything they said was true?

    The whole Islamic world is erupting in chaos, violence, killings, destruction and wars, ever since the US, EU, and NATO countries started interfering in the politics of all these Islamic countries, like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Yemen -- (and now) the violence, killings, destruction and wars, have spread to all the other countries bordering them? --- (What have they done, and keep doing?).

    USING LOGIC? -- The world would be a safer place if the US, EU, and other NATO countries hadn't interfered in the politics of all these Islamic countries, wouldn't it be? -- (IF ONLY?) -- If only the leaders of the US, EU, and NATO countries had to live in the countries they interfered in? ... (they wouldn't have done it, would they have?)

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