News / Middle East

US Cautiously Helps Iraq Fight Militants

US Cautiously Helps Iraq Fight Militantsi
X
January 14, 2014 5:14 AM
The United States says it is committed to helping Iraq fight militants but will not, for now, transfer the bulk of military assistance that the government of Iraqi leader Nouri al-Maliki has requested. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

US Cautiously Helps Iraq Fight Militants

Luis Ramirez
— The United States announced that it is committed to helping Iraq fight militants but will not, for now, transfer the bulk of military assistance that the government of Iraqi leader Nouri al-Maliki has requested.
 
The U.S. affirmed its commitment to the Iraqi government after militants linked to al-Qaida overran Fallujah and other areas of Iraq's Anbar province earlier this year.
 
Washington is accelerating delivery of about 100 "Hellfire" air-to-ground missiles, aerostat balloons and about 10 small unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.
 
Pentagon spokesman U.S. Navy Commander Bill Speaks said the U.S aims to build Iraqi capacity.
 
“All of this is intended to increase the Iraqi military's ability to have a robust surveillance and intelligence capability as they counter al-Qaida,” said Speaks.
 
However, the Hellfire missiles can be used only for precise, narrow targets, and the toy-sized unarmed drones are far less powerful than the tanks and Apache helicopters Iraq has been requesting from the U.S. for a long time.
 
The U.S. has complained about what it claims are Maliki’s heavy-handed tactics against his political opponents.
 
Analyst Tim Brown of globalsecurity.org said Washington does not trust the Maliki government with more powerful weapons.
 
“The United States is concerned that the Iraqi government, without the proper guidance and training, might misuse these weapons either accidentally or they might use them to target other ethnic groups and so the concern is that this the technology that the United States is going to be able to keep a close rein on,” said Brown.
 
Iraq's ambassador to the United States, Lukman al-Faily, said he is working to convince U.S. leaders to release more equipment. 
 
“The key question I'll be raising now in Congress and others is, 'Is Iraq an ally of yours?'  If it is, then we need to have that privilege of an ally.  If we are not, then what do we need to do to become that ally?” said Faily.
 
What the U.S. seeks is a change in the Maliki government's behavior, according to analyst Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 
 
“This is not a rise back of al-Qaida. This is a much broader reaction to what has been a steadily more repressive and authoritarian government to the chronic, increasing misuse of the security forces,” said Cordesman.
 
U.S. officials maintain that war materiel alone is not going to resolve Iraq's problems; they are adopting what they say is a holistic approach, combining military aid with advice and training for Iraqi officials at the ministerial level. 
 
The U.S. has ruled out sending combat forces. Since the 2011 withdrawal, however, the number of U.S. military advisers in Iraq has steadily risen to as many as 200.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid