News / Middle East

US Cautiously Helps Iraq Fight Militants

US Cautiously Helps Iraq Fight Militantsi
X
January 14, 2014
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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid