News / Middle East

US Pledges to Help Iraq Repel Militants

A family fleeing the violence in Mosul, Iraq, waits at a checkpoint in the country’s Kurdistan region on June 11, 2014.
A family fleeing the violence in Mosul, Iraq, waits at a checkpoint in the country’s Kurdistan region on June 11, 2014.
VOA News
With security in Iraq quickly deteriorating, the United States on Wednesday pledged "any appropriate assistance" to help the Iraqi government fend off a rapid military advance by Islamist militants.

Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) hours earlier overran the city of Tikrit and closed in on Iraq's biggest oil refinery in the town of Beiji, a day after seizing Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul.

By late Wednesday, militants had reached the edge of Samarra, an important Shi'ite shrine almost 113 kilometers, or 70 miles, north of Baghdad, The New York Times reported. The militants threatened to destroy the shrine unless government forces left.

 
Cities Mosul, Tikrit and Beiji, IraqCities Mosul, Tikrit and Beiji, Iraq
x
Cities Mosul, Tikrit and Beiji, Iraq
Cities Mosul, Tikrit and Beiji, Iraq
Witnesses said militants have taken over several Tikrit police stations and the governor reportedly is missing. Tikrit, the hometown of fallen Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, is less than 200 kilometers, or 124 miles, from Baghdad and the central government.

The State Department has had no confirmation of news reports that militants were heading for Baghdad, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a news briefing. "It is a very fluid situation on the ground," she added. "We are of course very concerned about the deteriorating situation."

Militants still control Mosul

Militants continue to hold Mosul, as both Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Ninevah Provincial Governor Athil Nujeifi urged residents to fight to retake it.
 
Maliki blasted Iraqi military officials who deserted their posts and fled Mosul, claiming in a speech Wednesday that they were part of a plot.
 
Earlier on Wednesday, the International Organization for Migration said Wednesday that fears of further violence in Mosul forced 500,000 people to flee their homes. It said the displaced either moved across the city or fled to other parts of Ninevah province or the neighboring Kurdish province of Irbil.
 
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
 
  • Formed by members of al-Qaida-linked groups in Syria and Iraq
  • Aims to establish an Islamic emirate across Syria and Iraq
  • Led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, former leader of al-Qaida in Iraq
  • Believed to have 5,000 to 7,000 fighters
  • Has launched high-profile attacks in both countries

Turkish government sources said militants have seized the Turkish consulate in Mosul, kidnapping at least 48 people, including the Turkish consul, staff members, guards and three children. The militants already had abducted 31 other Turkish citizens, truck drivers who were being held at a Mosul power station.

Psaki said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had discussed the situation by phone.

"We are in touch with the governments of Turkey and Iraq and stand ready to provide any appropriate assistance,'' she said.

Washington this year already had increased training of Iraqi security forces and expedited military equipment supplies, Psaki said.

"We are working with Iraqi leaders from across the country to support a coordinated response," Psaki said, "and you can expect we will provide additional assistance to the Iraqi government to combat the threat from ISIL.'

At the United Nations in New York, Davutoglu warned Wednesday that any harm to Turkish citizens would be met with the "harshest retaliation."

Global oil prices climb

Militants had entered Beiji, set fire to the police station and courthouse, and driven out some 250 men guarding the refinery. With news of the seizure and threat to Iraq's oil supply, global oil prices climbed to $110 a barrel.
 
With tightened security measures, an Iraqi federal policeman conducts a search at aBaghdad checkpoint on June. 11, 2014.With tightened security measures, an Iraqi federal policeman conducts a search at aBaghdad checkpoint on June. 11, 2014.
x
With tightened security measures, an Iraqi federal policeman conducts a search at aBaghdad checkpoint on June. 11, 2014.
With tightened security measures, an Iraqi federal policeman conducts a search at aBaghdad checkpoint on June. 11, 2014.
Separately, at least 16 people were killed in a suicide bombing in Baghdad. The attack took place at a tent where people had gathered in Sadr City's Shi'ite neighborhood.   

Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Wednesday that Iraq's leaders must unite to face what he called a "serious, mortal threat" facing the country.

The militants' seizure of Iraqi cities and their swift advance southward constitute a stunning defeat for the country's Shi'ite-led government.

Hundreds of fleeing soldiers reportedly tore off their uniforms and fled their posts for the safety of nearby Kurdistan. One soldier told Iraq's al-Sharqiya TV that he had come "face-to-face with vicious Pakistani fighters" and "felt incapable of pushing them back."

Declaration of emergency sought

Maliki, saying the country is "undergoing a difficult stage," asked parliament to call an urgent session to declare a state of emergency.

The parliament's speaker, Osama al-Nujaifi, characterized the militants' takeover of Mosul as "a catastrophe by any measure" and described the scene there.

"When battles intensified inside the city of Mosul, the [Iraqi] forces abandoned their weapons and the commanders fled, leaving behind weapons, armored vehicles,"  al-Nujaifi said. "Their positions were easy prey for terrorists, even Mosul airport. Planes and command positions -- all of them have fallen, in addition to weapons caches. Also, prisons were stormed and criminals have been set free. What happened is a catastrophe by any measure."

The attackers were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft weapons. Retreating Iraqi troops set fire to fuel and ammunition depots to keep the insurgents from using them.

Al-Qaida group defies control

The takeover of Mosul was the latest blow against the Iraqi government's attempt to control the growing insurgency by ISIL, an offshoot al-Qaida group. Earlier this year, the group took over another Iraqi city, Fallujah, and government forces have been unable to reclaim it after months of fighting.

To the west of Mosul, the militants have seized control of parts of eastern Syria in their fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The insurgents are seeking to establish an Islamic state with the regions they control in eastern Syria and western Iraq.

Iraq is dealing with its worst violence since 2008, with the United Nations reporting that approximately 4,500 people have been killed this year. More than 900 of the deaths occurred last month.

Related video by Sebastian Meyer, "ISIS Takeover in Mosul Displaces Thousands"  
 
ISIS Takeover in Mosul Displaces Thousandsi
X
June 11, 2014 10:32 PM
The extremist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) seized control of the western half of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city on June 6. Three days later, Iraqi security forces retreated, leaving the entire city in the hands of the jihadis. According to the U.N., up to half a million people have fled the city, raising concerns over a new humanitarian crisis. Sebastian Meyer reports from northern Iraq.

Some information for this report came fron Reuters. VOA News' Edward Yeranian also contributed from Cairo, Egypt.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: jonathan huang from: canada
June 11, 2014 9:47 AM
this insurgent is the same ppl of Syria rebels. you are wondering why they are so strong? yes US armed them in Syria, thats why! US armed them to fight against Bashar. now pro west Iraqi government got backfire! Karma! why America keeps shooting its own tors?

In Response

by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
June 11, 2014 11:03 PM
You are right. What is going on in Iraq is the result of money and weapons from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, USA AND EU. They helped human killer in Syria to kill poor Syrian. Now after Syria they played the same dirty game to kill poor Iraqi, rape girls, burn their houses and create as much as possible human suffering and all with the help of money and weapons from MAIN SPONSORS.


by: Stephen Real from: Columbia USA
June 11, 2014 9:23 AM
This really bothers me that Mosul fell. Malaki is a tool. He stinks. He's gonna loose Baghdad.

In Response

by: Steve from: Omaha
June 11, 2014 4:41 PM
Just glad we left when asked to leave... wait, were going to go back now? What?


by: Leroy padmore from: Jersey City
June 11, 2014 5:46 AM
The Iraqi military need to stand on their own feet. They are well trained by the most power military in the world. they have lot of good military equipment, If they cannot combat the insurgents, well they have serious problem on their hands. The U.S went in there clean up all that mess, and for the Iraqi military to sit there and allowed the rebels to take over, that is a shame. They need to counter act those rebels and repair the city of Mosul. This is a predicament for the whole region. The Iraqi military has more advance weaponry then that of the rebels. But like I said Islam is a violent region. and this is a ongoing problem for the world. The world has big mess in her hands to deal with.

In Response

by: Mark from: Virginia
June 12, 2014 10:37 AM
maybe I don't want the U.S. to be a superpower any more, maybe I don't want the U.S. to have the strongest military "in the world". maybe I don't want the U.S. to have to clean up the messes we make. Maybe I want the U.S. to respect the political choices of other countries, whether we agree with them or not. Maybe I want the U.S. to let other countries handle their own domestic problems. Maybe I want the U.N. to step up and take more action than just being a glorified discussion committee capable of more than just wagging its collective finger at the offenders.

In Response

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
June 11, 2014 7:09 PM
Meanbill you know and I know, there is no military on this earth that can fight the U.S or defeat the U.S. No not one. Including Russia. All the war the U.S fought, they won all, Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S destroyed Iraq beyond repair. But this is how it is going to be. the U.S is the world superpower. and all the nations will respect that. whether they like it or not. the U.S reign.

In Response

by: Sarmad
June 11, 2014 9:52 AM
How can you say Islam is a violent religion? Christians fought 2 world wars and if we go a little back, they had been fighting for millenniums in Europe. So does it make Christianity a violent religion?

In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
June 11, 2014 9:21 AM
Hey Leroy, you did "quote" say it; -- "They were well trained by the most power military in the world, they have lot of good military equipment, if they cannot combat the insurgents, well they have serious problem on their hand."

CRAZY isn't it? -- The US and NATO with the greatest military forces in the history of the world, armed and trained the Iraq military -- (AND AN UNDENIABLE FACT IS?) -- the US, with it's NATO allies, with the greatest military forces in history, haven't won a conflict or war since WW2 of any kind? -- (IT JUST MAYBE?) -- that's why the Iraq military can't defeat the ISIL an other (Al-Qaeda) affiliated terrorists? ... (because the US trained them?)

In Afghanistan, the US and NATO with the greatest military forces in the history of the world, with overwhelming superior weapons, -- and COULDN'T defeat a few thousand guys riding donkeys, wearing nightshirts, gym shoes and sandals, (and now they are retreating), without winning the Afghan war? -- (CRAZY ISN'T IT?) -- The US lost the Vietnam war, and couldn't win the Iraq and Afghan war, (but yet), they are still the greatest military force in the history of the world?

Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid