News / Middle East

Obama Welcomes Iraqi PM Nomination, Pledges Support

Obama Welcomes Iraqi PM Nomination, Pledges Supporti
X
August 12, 2014 3:03 AM
President Barack Obama is calling the nomination of a new Iraqi prime minister a promising step forward. Obama took time out of his vacation at Martha's Vineyard on Monday to express support for the prime minister-designate and urged him to quickly form an inclusive government to counter the threat posed by the Sunni militant group Islamic State, also known as ISIL. Aru Pande reports.
Aru Pande

President Barack Obama is calling the nomination of a new Iraqi prime minister a promising step forward. Obama took time out of his vacation at Martha's Vineyard on Monday to express support for the prime minister-designate and urged him to quickly form an inclusive government to counter the threat posed by the Sunni militant group Islamic State, also known as ISIL.

Ever since Islamic State militants began their bloody campaign in Iraq, the United States has called on the country’s leaders to put aside their sectarian differences and form a new government that would unite Iraqis against the threat.

On Monday, Iraqi President Fouad Massoum nominated Deputy Parliament Speaker Haider al-Abadi as new prime minister and gave him 30 days to a form a new government, potentially ending the divisive eight-year rule of current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Although both men are members of the Shi’ite Dawa Party, Maliki’s supporters remained defiant, saying they would fight the decision.

The veteran Iraqi leader has vowed to sue the president for failing to nominate him for a third term.

While not directly addressing Maliki, Obama on Monday urged all Iraqi political leaders to work peacefully through the political process in the days ahead. Obama said he spoke with the prime minister-designate and pledged U.S. support for a government he says will address the grievances of all Iraqi people.

"Just as the United States will remain vigilant against the threat posed to our people by ISIL, we stand ready to partner with Iraq in its fight against these terrorist forces. Without question, that effort will be advanced if Iraqis continue to build on today's progress and come together to support a new and inclusive government," said Obama.

Although Maliki is resisting calls to step down, the lack of support from even those among his party shows that most Iraqis understand what's at stake, said Middle East expert David Pollock.

“The situation suggests a transition to a new leadership that will probably be more unifying for Iraq, but even after that, they are in very, very dire straits - very, very tough position because of the threat from Daish, ISIS or the Islamic State,” said Pollock.

Pentagon officials said Monday that since August 7, the U.S. military has carried out 15 targeted airstrikes against Islamic State while dropping 310 bundles of food, water and medical supplies to thousands of members of the Yazidi minority trapped by militants in Iraq’s northern Sinjar Mountains.

U.S. Army Lieutenant General William Mayville told reporters in Washington that airstrikes have provided time for Kurdish forces to fortify their defenses, allowing them to hold territory near Irbil and retake towns from Islamic State, or ISIL, militants.

“We assess that U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq have slowed ISIL’s operational tempo and temporarily disrupted their advances toward the province of Irbil.  However, these strikes are unlikely to affect ISIL’s overall capabilities or its operations in other areas of Iraq and Syria,” said Mayville.

Still, analyst Pollock said, U.S. involvement both militarily and providing humanitarian aid may tip the balance against Sunni militants.

“This will be a continuous effort to maybe not defeat, but at least to contain the threat from ISIS in Iraq, and we can do that,” said Pollock.

Pentagon officials said Monday there are no current plans to expand the air campaign beyond protecting U.S. interests in Iraq.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


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