News / Middle East

Iraqi Foreign Minister Blames Maliki for Islamist Insurgency

FILE - Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari attends the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers in Kuwait City.FILE - Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari attends the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers in Kuwait City.
x
FILE - Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari attends the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers in Kuwait City.
FILE - Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari attends the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers in Kuwait City.
Reuters

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his security officials are to blame for the rise of Sunni Muslim insurgents who have seized parts of Iraq, the country's foreign minister said.

The comments by Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd, are likely to worsen relations between Maliki's Shi'ite Muslim-led government and the Kurds, complicating efforts to form a power-sharing government capable of countering Islamic State militants.

At the stake is the survival of Iraq as a unified country. Islamic State have declared a medieval-style caliphate spanning parts of Iraq and Syria they control, alarming other Arab states who fear their campaign will embolden militants on their patch.

“Surely the man who is responsible for the general policies bears the responsibility and the general commander of the armed force, the ministers of defense and interior also bear these responsibilities,” Zebari told al-Arabiya television.

“There are other sides who bear responsibility, maybe political partners, but the biggest and greatest responsibility is on the person in charge of public policies.”

On Friday, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah called on regional leaders and religious scholars to prevent Islam from being hijacked by militants. He named no groups but was alluding to violence in neighboring countries, including Iraq and Syria, where the Islamic State has executed scores of people and imposed their radical views in areas they captured.

In July, the Kurdish political bloc ended all participation in Iraq's national government in protest over Maliki's accusation that Kurds were allowing terrorists to stay in Arbil, the capital of their semi-autonomous region known as Kurdistan.

Maliki is currently ruling in a caretaker capacity, having won a parliamentary election in April but failing to win enough support from the Kurdish and Arab Sunni minorities as well as fellow Shi'ites to form a new government.

The United States, the United Nations and Iraq's own Shi'ite clerics have urged lawmakers to form a new government swiftly to deal with the Sunni insurgency.

Biggest threat since Saddam's fall

Islamic State's offensive has whipped up sectarian tensions and threatened to dismember Iraq. The sectarian conflict poses the biggest danger to the OPEC member's stability since the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein after a U.S.-led invasion.

Maliki has appointed Hussain al-Shahristani, the Shi'ite deputy prime minister, as acting foreign minister.

The Kurds have long dreamed of their own independent state, an aspiration that anger Maliki, who has frequently clashed with the non-Arabs over budgets, land and oil.

After the Sunni militants arrived almost unopposed by the army, Kurdish forces seized two oilfields in northern Iraq and took over operations from a state-run oil company.

In another move certain to infuriate the government, the  Kurdish region is pressing Washington for sophisticated weapons it says Kurdish fighters need to push back Islamist militants, Kurdish and U.S. officials said.

Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Shi'ite militias now rival the Iraqi army in its ability to confront the Islamic State, whose fighters had taken control of parts of western Iraq before their advance through the north.

The Sunni insurgents have paused their campaign in towns just north of Baghdad, which could partly explain why U.N. figures show the number of Iraqi deaths dropped to 1,737 people, mostly civilians, in July compared to 2,400 in June.

Still, violence is part of everyday life.

Roadside bombs killed four people near a square in central Baghdad on Friday, medical and security sources said.

There are signs of a backlash among Iraqis against the Islamic State, which has blown up mosques and shrines and imposed its ultra hardline vision of Islam in Mosul and other cities in controls in the north.

One of the Islamic State's propaganda centers in Mosul, which contains a big screen where the group showcases its operations, was set ablaze on Friday night, a witness said.  

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid