News / Middle East

    Iraq Militants Threaten Move on Baghdad

    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.
    Watch related video report by VOA's Sebastian Meyer.
    Edward Yeranian
    Islamist militants have advanced toward Baghdad after seizing control of more territory just 90 kilometers, or 56 miles, north of the Iraqi capital.

    In lightning-quick strikes in recent days, fighters from the Sunni Muslim Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have captured most of the northern reaches of the country. In the latest attack, the militants took the town of Dhuluiyah.

    A spokesman for the rebels, who are seeking to install an Islamic government, vowed they would push into Baghdad and on to Karbala, a city southwest of Baghdad that is one of the holiest sites for Shi'ite Muslims.
     
    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

    A spokesman for the rebel group, an offshoot of al-Qaida, vowed they would push on to Baghdad and then Karbala, a city that is home to one of the holiest sites for Shi'ite Muslims.

    Al-Jazeera reported the ISIL was marching toward Sammara, home to one of the most venerated Shi'ite places of worship in Iraq.

    The militants have seized several other key cities in a blow to Iraq's Shi'ite-led government.

    In another development, Iraqi officials said Kurdish forces have taken control of the disputed northern city of Kirkuk. The city is in an area that Kurds want to incorporate into their autonomous region, against the central government's wishes.

    "The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of peshmerga," said Jabbar Yawar, a spokesman, referring to the Kurdish forces. "No Iraqi army remains in Kirkuk now."

    Yawar told Iraqi satellite channels that government soldiers had abandoned 300,000 to 400,000 weapons and a number of planes when they withdrew from Iraq's Mosul, which the militants seized Tuesday.

    In Mosul, the ISIL staged a parade of American Humvees seized from the collapsing Iraqi army.
     
    Two helicopters, also seized by the militants, flew overhead, witnesses said, according to a report by Reuters. It apparently was the first time the militant group has obtained aircraft in years of waging insurgency on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian frontier.
     
    The Iraqi air force bombed insurgent positions in and around the northern city of Mosul on Thursday, footage aired on state television showed.

    U.N. Security Council addresses crisis

    The U.N. Security Council discussed the situation in Iraq during a session Thursday. Ahead of the meeting, it issued a statement strongly criticizing the ISIL militants for their attack on Mosul, Iraq's second largest city.

    Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin, heading the 15-member council for the month of June, said it "strongly condemned all terrorist and extremist acts" and offered its unanimous support for Iraqis in the fight against terrorism. He added that council members also stressed the importance of "inclusive national dialogue" in rebuilding Iraq's government.
     
    The members said "no act of violence or terrorism" can reverse Iraq's path toward peace and democracy. 

     
    • This image from video posted by Iraqi0Revolution, a group supporting ISIL, shows a militant standing in front of a burning Iraqi Army Humvee in Tikrit, Iraq, June 11, 2014.
    • This image made from video posted by Iraqi0Revolution, a group supporting ISIL, shows militants at the Al-Sharqat base north of Tikrit, Iraq, June 11, 2014.
    • Kurdish police stand guard while refugees from Mosul head to the self-ruled northern Kurdish region outside Irbil, Iraq, June 11, 2014.
    • A refugee from Mosul stands outside her family's tent at Khazir refugee camp outside Irbil, Iraq, June 11, 2014.
    • Iraqi security forces head to Baghdad on the main road between Baghdad and Mosul, a day after fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant took control of much of Mosul, Iraq, June 11, 2014.
    • Iraqi security forces leave a military base as Kurdish forces take over control in Kirkuk, Iraq, June 11, 2014.
    • A burnt vehicle belonging to Iraqi security forces is seen on a road one day after insurgents seized control of the city of Mosul, June 10, 2014.
    • Damaged vehicles belonging to Iraqi security forces are seen during clashes between Iraqi security forces and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Mosul, Iraq, June 10, 2014.

    US considers options

    The United States is also weighing how to help Iraq counter the surge by the militants who now control Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah.
     
    U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said one in a range of options under consideration is whether to send drones to Iraq.
     
    White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. will continue giving Iraq "all appropriate assistance" to fight the al-Qaida offshoot ISIL, but did not give details of specific aid.
     
    State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also declined to give specifics, but said the U.S. is working with Iraqi leaders on a coordinated response. She also highlighted expedited shipments of military equipment to Iraq earlier this year, as well as increased training of Iraqi security forces.

    Americans evacuated

    Amid rising security concerns, Americans working in Iraq were being temporarily evacuated by their companies Thursday, the State Department told VOA. Fox News had reported that “three planeloads” of Americans, mostly military contractors and civilians, were being cleared from a base in Balad. One of the largest training missions in Iraq, Balad lies 93 kilometers, or 58 miles, northwest of Baghdad.  
     
    The State Department has no record of the number of Americans living and working in Iraq, a spokesman said. He added that there has been no change in staffing at the U.S. Embassy and consulates.

    Germany's foreign ministry urged its citizens to temporarily leave parts of Iraq, including the capital and the governorates of Anbar, Ninevah and Salah al-Din, the Associated Press reported.

    Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that unrest threatens Iraq's territorial integrity, Reuters reported, citing the Interfax news agency.

    "We are concerned about what's happening in Iraq," Lavrov said. "The [territorial] integrity of Iraq is in question."

    Maliki urges residents to retake Mosul
     
    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge
    Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Ninevah Provincial Governor Athil Nujeifi called on residents to fight to retake Mosul.
     
    Maliki blasted Iraqi military officials who deserted their posts and fled Mosul, claiming in a speech Wednesday that they were part of a plot.

    Also Thursday, the Iraqi government had been seeking extraordinary powers to deal with militants from the ISIL. But an urgent parliament session to impose a state of emergency was canceled due to a lack of a quorum.
     
    Shi'ite deputy speaker of parliament Khaled al-Attiyah said the government will now seek the approval of Iraq's Federal Court for the state of emergency measures that it needs due to the current crisis.
              
    ISIL said in a statement it was now advancing on Baghdad.
     
    The International Organization for Migration said the fighting there caused 500,000 people to flee their homes.
     
    Iraq is dealing with its worst violence since 2008, with the U.N. saying that about 4,500 people have been killed this year. More than 900 of the deaths came last month.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
    June 12, 2014 2:53 PM
    save people civilian the Iraq EU and USA

    by: Mrs. Jock Burnfart from: Location
    June 12, 2014 11:18 AM
    It appears that the best diversion from Obama’s latest bevy of scandals, including the VA snafu and the Bergdahl fiasco, will be yet another war, one which Iraq just gave the green light for. As the WSJ reported moments ago, Iraq has privately signaled to the Obama administration that it would allow the U.S. to conduct airstrikes with drones or manned aircraft against al Qaeda militant targets on Iraqi territory, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday.

    The Obama administration is considering a number of options, including the possibility of providing “kinetic support” for the Iraqi military fighting al Qaeda rebels who seized two major cities north of Baghdad this week, according to a senior U.S. official who added that no decisions have been made. Officials declined to say whether the U.S. would consider conducting airstrikes with drones or manned aircraft. Wait, so the US is now the world’s largest mercenary army, doing the bidding of defenseless, third-world governments (which just happen to be drowning in crude)?

    Iraq has long asked the U.S. to provide it with drones that could be used in such strikes, but Washington has balked at supplying them, officials said.
    Until now. And just like that the war in Iraq, “Bush’s war” according to so many, is about to come back with a vengeance this time under Nobel peace prize winning president, and what makes it most grotesque is that this time the US will be waging combat with at a military force that it itself is training and arming in neighboring Syria. Which of course is good news for the military-industrial complex and US Q3 GDP, if not so good for millions of innocent civilians soon to be known as “collateral damage.”

    by: meanbill from: USA
    June 12, 2014 10:34 AM
    "Where others see defeat, others see victory" (and) "When the enemy has overestimated their strength, and the battles that they won, and overextended their troops and supplies, (ONLY THEN), will the opposing wise leader (Maliki) counter-attack them, and be assured of a guaranteed victory" -- "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu?

    by: meanbill from: USA
    June 12, 2014 9:36 AM
    MY OPINION? --- The (ISIL) terrorists had to reach the limits of their supply lines, and the only way they can be resupplied with more arms and ammunitions, is by the US, EU, NATO, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, resupplying them. -- (AND?) -- the (ISIL) terrorists must have overextended their manpower, and now have reached their extreme limits -- (AND NOW?) -- the (ISIL) terrorists are stretched thinly to the maximum, and it's a guaranteed victory for an Iraqi counter-attack.

    by: Hovhannes from: Montevideo
    June 12, 2014 6:59 AM
    They must be kidding. Do Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Ninevah Provincial Governor Athil Nujeifi want the civilians to fight with their bare hands against the terrorists? Maybe they don't mind a few hours ago their well trained and armed soldiers deserted their posts and fled Mosul without fighting.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora