News / Middle East

    Maliki: Iraq Will Be ‘Graveyard’ for Islamic State

    • In this photo provided by the Iraqi government, outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, center, is surrounded by residents and security forces after his arrival in Amerli, some 170 kilometers north of Baghdad, Iraq, Sept. 1, 2014.
    • Kurdish peshmerga forces celebrate taking control of Sulaiman Bek from the Islamic State militants, in the northwest of Tikrit city, Sept. 1, 2014.
    • Asaib Ahl al-Haq Shi'ite militia fighters from the south of Iraq and Kurdish peshmerga forces take control of Sulaiman Bek, Sept. 1, 2014.
    • A fighter of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq Shi'ite militia takes cover from sniper fire, Sulaiman Bek, Sept. 1, 2014.
    • Smoke rises from Sulaiman Bek after fighters of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq Shi'ite militia from the south of Iraq and Kurdish peshmerga forces took control of the town from Islamist State militants, in the northwest of Tikrit city, Sept. 1, 2014.
    • Iraq's Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani arrives for a special session of the Human Rights Council on Iraq at the United Nations Europeans headquarters in Geneva, Sept. 1, 2014.
    • Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen stand guard after breaking a siege by the Islamic State extremist group on Amirli, north of Baghdad, Iraq, Aug. 31, 2014.
    • A woman holding a child reacts in a military helicopter after being evacuated by Iraqi forces from Amerli, north of Baghdad, Aug. 29, 2014.
    VOA News

    Outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki vows the country will be a "graveyard" for the Islamic State group as he celebrated the liberation of a town from the militants.

    Maliki visited the newly-freed town of Amerli Monday, promising to reward Iraqi troops who took it back from those he calls "beasts and killers."

    He took a tour of the streets of the town, greeting people and making stops to shake hands with the locals. 

    Food, water and medicine have been flowing into Amerli since Iraqi forces entered the town Sunday, ending a two-month-long siege by the Islamic State

    Iraqi troops, Kurdish fighters and Shi'ite militiamen, backed by U.S. airstrikes, also entered the town of Sulaiman Bek, south of Kirkuk, on Monday, ending three months of control in the area by the Islamic State group, a military source said. The town had been an important militant stronghold.

    Watch related video by Sebastian Meyer in Kirkuk, Iraq

    Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siegei
    X
    Sebastian Meyer
    September 01, 2014 3:29 PM
    Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.

    Human rights violations

    The United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday condemned violations committed by Islamic State forces in Iraq that may amount to international crimes and agreed to send a mission to investigate them.

    The forum adopted a resolution presented by France and Iraq without a vote, but South Africa's delegation said it disassociated itself from the text as it lacked balance.

    “We are facing a terrorist monster,” Iraq's human rights minister, Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani, told the emergency session in Geneva. “Acts by ISIS threaten not only to Iraq but the whole region and world.”

    The U.N.'s mission to Iraq, known as UNAMI, reported on Monday that more than 1,400 Iraqis were killed by violence or terrorism in August. It added that 1,370 were wounded, including 1,198 civilians.

    July's death toll stood at 1,737 people.

    Nearly 11,000 Iraqis have been killed so far this year, far outpacing the 9,000 killed in all of 2013.

    Also Monday, the United Nations said that at least 1,420 Iraqis were reported killed in violence in August, down from the previous month.

    The statement said the figures are the "absolute minimum" number of casualties and they do not include deaths in the western Anbar province or other parts of northern Iraq that have been held by militants for months.

    It added: "The actual figures could be significantly higher."

    Aid arrives in Amerli

    Aid began to flow to Amerli on Monday, a day after security forces backed by Iran-allied Shi'ite militias and U.S. airstrikes broke a two-month siege by Sunni militants on the Turkman Shi'ite town of about 15,000 people.

    Amirli, IraqAmirli, Iraq
    x
    Amirli, Iraq
    Amirli, Iraq

    Ali al-Bayati, who heads local NGO the Turkmen Saving Foundation, said on Monday that four trucks loaded with foodstuffs, medicine and fruit had entered the town.

    The aid was sent by the Iraqi government and the Iraqi Red Crescent, he said, adding that soldiers had begun bringing food to families in their houses Sunday night.

    "The situation is getting back to normal, but gradually," al-Bayati told The Associated Press. "Some people have come out from their houses and walk in the street. Shops are still closed, but people are happy to see their city secured by Iraqi security forces."

    On Sunday, the U.S. military dropped thousands of liters of drinking water and thousands of meals over the town. More aid was dropped from British, French and Australian planes.

    US airstrikes continue

    U.S. military forces continued to attack Islamic State terrorists in Iraq, conducting three airstrikes Sunday and Monday near the Mosul Dam.

    Officials said the strikes destroyed several vehicles and a mortar position near the dam.

    U.S. Central Command said it has conducted a total of 123 airstrikes across Iraq.

    On Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament that "Britain supports U.S. military airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq."  He added that Britain needs new anti-terror laws to deal with the threat posed by the Islamic State and British nationals who are fighting with or supporting the group.

    Cameron called for laws that would allow police to seize the passports of British citizens suspected of having traveled overseas to fight with terror groups. He said it was believed that 500 people have traveled from Britain to fight in Iraq and Syria.

    Jeff Seldin contributed to this report from the Pentagon. Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
    September 02, 2014 1:07 AM
    The sooner caretaker Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is removed from the political spot light the better true reconciliation will begin and grow but as long as he keeps parading himself grudges will grow for another form of sectarian violence ,he and his militias should be investigated and disbanded for a safer Iraq.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    September 01, 2014 10:04 AM
    Any US help with airstrikes, (no mater how minimal), I'm sure is welcomed by the Iraqis in fighting the (ISIL) army, (but realistically speaking), 120 airstrikes in almost 30 days, equals about 4 airstrikes a day against the (ISIL) army at 7.5 million dollars a day, seems to be a huge amount of money wasted on doing so little, doesn't it? The US gets a huge amount of news coverage for the small amount of "help" they are giving the Iraqis in their war against the (ISIL) army, isn't it?..... and the news media makes it appear, that the really small amount of airstrikes the US is giving Iraq, is the "major" reason the Iraqis have won some victories against the (ISIL) army?
    In Response

    by: JustDoug from: Seattle
    September 01, 2014 8:46 PM
    Meanbill - The situation is as you have stated, however I'd prefer to see our US brigades left out of the ground campaign this time because our kids do not need to die (or be disfigured) for Iraq. Can you imagine what would have happened during the American Civil War, if another 'super power' came in and told us what to do, then fought the majority of the war for one side or the other? I'm guessing there wouldn't have been any real good outcome for them either. Thought you might appreciate the perspective some. (Veteran 1991 Gulf Campaign).
    In Response

    by: Mr A from: new york
    September 01, 2014 12:15 PM
    it is working. they are able to get Mousl dam. and able to get other city

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    September 01, 2014 8:23 AM
    In his earlier report, Kerry said the aim of the US is to stop IS spreading to other countries. It is not a question of whether it will be or not allowed to spread to other countries, it is a question of whether Islamic State should be allowed to be or exist under any aegis. I think as al qaida is not allowed to exist, a worse terrorist organization than that should not be allowed to exist. But the biggest question is, the US, EU and NATO have been able to monitor trade with nations and have used trade sanctions to punish erring regimes in that it is possible to determine movement of goods and services amongst nations on the globe, why is there no one telling us the origin and destinations of arms and logistics which ISIS and other terrorists have used and are using?

    The absence of this information places a question mark on the war on terror by the US, EU, NATO and the UN. If these organizations above cannot monitor and know the arsenals of countries, can they also not know the inventories of arms manufacturing companies, even as there is nuclear non-proliferation treaty, (including Iran and Russia), and who are the buyers? If the US, EU, NATO and UN can monitor only consumer goods and services and do not know what happens in the arms manufacturing and sales business, then they have not gone long away from the rudimentary points, and their activities less than satisfactory in keeping the world safe.

    Everything that happens has an advantage and a disadvantage. So also is ISIS. It has made the kin pins of terror in the Middle East to start scampering for their lives – or the lives of their regimes. The diplomatic hotline between Riyadh and Tehran should be the busiest network on earth today because of ISIS, prompting both countries reaching out to the west to seek for help. It is an opportunity not to be missed, as the west can make certain demands now. It will not be enough to just go in there, defeat ISIS and return to the drawing board. It’s a world where nothing goes for nothing, and it is not a time to ask for oil price drop that will not last. Something more durable, like a legacy, should be better. Now that those who thrive on fundamentalism and fanatical ideology are asking for a curb on extremism, could their invitation to the west to help defeat ISIS bring a collateral opening up of all societies in these islamist countries to freedoms and democracy?

    by: MR A from: New York
    September 01, 2014 5:26 AM
    Since jihadist pose threat to Us. the intelligent agency has to identify them and never allow them to come to the country again even they are American citizen
    In Response

    by: mr A from: new york
    September 01, 2014 12:12 PM
    Jihadist has committed many horrible crimes . It is mistake to go in the middle in any conflict in middle East . Bashar El Assad a is less evil than Syrian rebel . . you should ask Cnn and other American media whom they believe that they are genus but in fact they are ignorant and little knowledge is very dangerous. radical Islam use deception to achieve their goal and American politician are so foolish to believe them
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    September 01, 2014 9:31 AM
    America views a (Jihadist) as a freedom fighter, (and they'll arm and train him), if he wages war on Assad of Shia Muslim Syria, (and then), America views a (Jihadist) who wages war on Americas interests and friends as being a terrorist?.... NOW, will anybody know which side the (Jihadist) waged war on, or against?.... (is he or she a freedom fighter or terrorist?)

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.