News / Middle East

UN Security Council to Meet on Iraq Crisis

Kurdish Iraqi Peshmerga forces deploy troops on the outskirts of the multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk, only 1 kilometer away from areas controlled by Sunni Muslim Jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Iraq, June 12, 2014.
Kurdish Iraqi Peshmerga forces deploy troops on the outskirts of the multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk, only 1 kilometer away from areas controlled by Sunni Muslim Jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Iraq, June 12, 2014.
Victor Beattie
The U.N. Security Council meets Thursday to discuss the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, as the United States promises new aid to the beleaguered Baghdad central government. 

The Security Council will take part in a video briefing from the U.N. special representative to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, amid reports militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continue their push south toward Baghdad. 
 
Wednesday, the militants captured the city of Tikrit, just a day after Iraqi security forces gave up their defense of the country’s second largest city, Mosul, in the country’s Sunni heartland. 
 
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
The militants took control of the western city of Fallujah earlier this year.
 
The SITE Intelligence Group translated a statement by an ISIL spokesman who said the battle will rage in Baghdad and Karbala.

Iraq’s parliament is expected to consider a state of emergency.

Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the international community to unite behind the Baghdad government.
 
"I’m urging that the whole international community must be united.  We have to show strong international commitment of solidarity to all these terrorists," Ban said.
 
Ban condemned the seizure of dozens of Turks by the militants in Mosul and called for their immediate and safe release.
 
US considers options

In Washington, the Obama administration is looking at options to strengthen Iraqi forces that seem unable to stop what Stephen Zunes, a University of San Francisco regional analyst, described as a relatively small militant force.
 
"The advance has been quite surprising. They [ISIL] are not that powerful in terms of their military capabilities, and they certainly don’t have a lot of support, even among the large Sunni population in that part of Iraq that opposes the Shi’ite-dominated regime in Baghdad," Zunes said.

"However, it appears that the regular forces of the Iraqi government were unwilling, or unable, to repel this assault," he added.
 
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki suggested Wednesday new assistance for Iraq is now under active consideration, although what form it would take aside from the arms and ammunition already being delivered was not disclosed.
 
"We are working with Iraqi leaders from across the country to support a coordinated response. You can expect that we will provide additional assistance to the Iraqi government," Psaki said.

"We are encouraged by the calls for national unity from Iraqi leaders from across the political spectrum. We think that provides a strong unified front," she said.
 
She expressed support for a security plan being developed by the central Baghdad government and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to bolster the Iraqi security forces to hold their positions and confront the ISIL aggression.

Psaki said while Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Shi’ite-led government can do more to address unresolved issues dividing the Iraqi people, the main threat now is from ISIL.
 
"They have an ideology that has little to do with Iraqi domestic politics. It has to do with taking territory and terrorizing the Iraqi people," Psaki said.

"So there’s more that can be done, including taking a more unified approach to the challenges and the threats of terrorism that they face, and we are closely engaged with them on these efforts," she added.
 
Iraqi troop training

Richard Brennan, a senior political scientist with the RAND Corporation, was a career Army officer who spent five years in Iraq.

Brennan said the U.S. forces left Iraq in 2011 and he fears the Iraqi security forces might not be trained well enough to cope with this latest security threat.
 
"We left in 2011 with the Iraqi military needing significant capabilities in critical enablers in communications, logistics, maintenance, intelligence, as well as operational support," Brennan said.

"That still exists and so there’s a long haul that needs to get done in order to build an Iraqi government and military that’s able to protect both its internal security as well as external security from other countries in the region," he said.
 
Brennan said what seems to be happening is a spreading of the Shi’ite/Sunni divide in the Middle East with the civil war in Syria spilling over to Iraq and potentially beyond.

He said the objective of the ISIL is creation of a Muslim caliphate and warned Iraq could be carved up into Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish sections.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
June 12, 2014 2:43 PM
EU NATO EUA stop conflict at Iraq

by: meanbill from: USA
June 12, 2014 9:49 AM
IF ONLY? -- If only the UN came together and demanded the US, EU, and NATO countries, stop supplying weapons and munitions to the extremists, and terrorists, fighting Assad in Syria -- (AND?) -- and also demand that the US, EU, and NATO countries stop interfering in the politics of Islamic countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Yemen -- (AND?) -- (and bringing nothing but violence, killings, destruction and wars), to all the Islamic countries they interfere in. --- (STOP the US, EU, and NATO interference?)..

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs