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.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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?)

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora