News / Middle East

US Official Says Iraq Requests Airstrikes

Iraq Requests US Air Strikes as ISIL Advancesi
X
Jeff Seldin
June 19, 2014 1:33 AM
Sunni militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant made new gains in their offensive across northern Iraq, prompting Iraq’s foreign minister to ask for more support from the United States. But despite the growing desperation of many Iraqis, VOA's Jeff Seldin reports from the Pentagon, U.S. officials have yet to make a move.
Related video by VOA's Jeff Seldin
VOA News
The top U.S. military official says the Iraqi government has requested U.S. airstrikes to aid the fight against Sunni Islamist militants who have taken over key cities of northern Iraq.

Army General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate subcommittee Wednesday that Iraq has requested U.S. air strikes against the militants, who attacked Iraq's main oil refinery Wednesday.

Dempsey said, particularly as a veteran, he is disappointed by the siege of the militants in Iraq.  

"Al Qaida-inspired extremists raising flags over Iraq's embattled cities triggers in me the same thing that runs through the minds of any veteran who served there, which is bitter disappointment that Iraq's leaders failed to unite for the good of their people," said Dempsey.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he believes it is in the interest of U.S. national security to honor that request. 

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the blame for the insurgency lies not just with the militants, but also with the Iraqi government for failing to establish a working relationship among different groups in the country's leadership.

"I think we go back to who is responsible for this: ISIL, they invaded, but also this current government in Iraq has never fulfilled the commitments it made to bring a unity government together with the Sunnis the Kurds and the Shia," said Hagel.

Traveling in Colombia, Vice President Joe Biden telephoned Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and the Sunni and Kurdish leaders. He stressed the need for a unity government in Iraq -- one that can meet the threat the militants pose to all Iraqis.

The clash between militants and security forces took place at the refinery in Beiji, located about halfway between Baghdad and Mosul.  
 
A member from the oil police force stands guard at Zubair oilfield in Basra, southeast of Baghdad, June 18, 2014.A member from the oil police force stands guard at Zubair oilfield in Basra, southeast of Baghdad, June 18, 2014.
x
A member from the oil police force stands guard at Zubair oilfield in Basra, southeast of Baghdad, June 18, 2014.
A member from the oil police force stands guard at Zubair oilfield in Basra, southeast of Baghdad, June 18, 2014.

Militants took control of Mosul last week, and India's foreign ministry reported Wednesday that 40 Indian construction workers have been kidnapped from the city. A spokesman said India has not received a demand for ransom and does not know the location of the missing workers. He also said 46 Indian nurses are stranded in militant-controlled Tikrit.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki gave a televised address vowing that his security forces would strike back against terrorism and described their earlier defeats at the hands of militants as a setback.

Also Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged that his majority Shi'ite country would do whatever is necessary to protect Shi'ite holy sites in Iraq from what he called "terrorists."

Obama hosts congressional leaders

President Barack Obama updated congressional leaders on Wednesday on the situation in Iraq and reviewed what he sees as options for "increased security assistance" for the country, which is grappling with insurgents led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

"The president provided an update on the administration's efforts to respond to the threat from ISIL by urging Iraq's leaders to set aside sectarian agendas and to come together with a sense of national unity," the White House said in a statement after the Oval Office meeting, which lasted more than an hour.

"He also reviewed our efforts to strengthen the capacity of Iraq's security forces to confront the threat from ISIL, including options for increased security assistance," the White House said, noting Obama sought the views of the leaders and said he would continue to consult Congress.   

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the political component is important for Iraq's long-term success.

"Our view is that Iraq and the successful outcome here is not contingent upon the intervention of any country," she said. "They need to take steps on the political front to be more inclusive, to govern in a non-sectarian manner. But the United States is - and the president is - considering a range of options, looking at factors including the national security interests of the United States."

Carney described that national security interest as making sure the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is not able to establish a safe haven in the region.  The militant group has taken control of several Iraqi cities and has threatened to attack Baghdad.

Prime Minister Maliki met Tuesday with Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders, and the group appeared on television to pledge unity.

Zebari discusses threat

In an interview with VOA Kurdish service, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari called the recent insurgency the "biggest threat" for the Iraqi government. He said terrorism in Iraq is not only a threat to Iraq and its neighbors, but also to the United States.

He said assisting Iraq in the current conflict would be the "best option" for the United States, and also said most Iraqi political leaders would prefer getting help from the United States than from neighboring Iran.
 
U.S. Troops Deploying to Iraq
 
  • Involves up to 275 U.S. military personnel
  • Provides support and security for U.S. personnel and embassy in Baghdad
  • Assists in temporary relocation of embassy staff to U.S. consulates in Basra and Irbil and to Amman, Jordan
  • Military personnel are entering Iraq with consent of Iraqi government

Source: White House

"Most of the Iraqi political leaders agree that American assistance in this fighting against terrorism in the country will be with less problem comparing to the Iranian participation," he said.

The United States has ruled out sending combat troops back to Iraq, but President Obama has ordered 275 military personnel to help provide security for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The U.S. is considering working with Iran. But the Pentagon says it has no plans to enter into military cooperation with the Iranians in any action in Iraq.
 
  • A member of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces stands guard during an intensive security deployment in Baghdad's Amiriya district, June 18, 2014.
  • Shi'ite volunteers who joined the Iraqi army to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant gesture with their weapons in Baghdad, June 18, 2014.
  • A member of Iraqi security forces stands guard in front of volunteers who joined the army to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Baghdad, June 17, 2014.
  • Shi'ite tribal fighters raise their weapons and chant slogans against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Basra, Iraq, June 16, 2014.
  • Mehdi Army fighters loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr march during military-style training in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, June 16, 2014.
  • Iraqi army soldiers stand guard in Baghdad, June 16, 2014.
  • A volunteer who joined the Iraqi Army to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant holds a weapon during a parade in Al-Fdhiliya district, eastern Baghdad, June 15, 2014.
  • A vehicle belonging to Kurdish security forces fires a multiple rocket launcher during clashes with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on the outskirts of Diyala, Iraq, June 14, 2014.
  • This image posted on a militant website on June 14, 2014 appears to show militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant with captured Iraqi soldiers wearing plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq.
  • This image posted on a militant website on June 14, 2014 appears to show militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant with captured Iraqi soldiers wearing plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
June 18, 2014 11:08 PM
The Best solution of current and future problem, do not supply weapons and money to terrorist group. Saudi Arabia and Qatar played a major role in this conflict. ISIL came from Syria and Saudi Arabia. What were the activities of ISIL in Syria, every body knows. Their main aim to create problems for poor peoples as much as possible. ISIL cannot serve human kind, this is their teaching by their teachers.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid