Monday, June 16, 2014

Collateral effects of Iraq Insurrection ( June 16 , 2014 ) .... Iran sits in catbird seat - US militants, says official Washington wants direct dialogue with Tehran to prepares for talks with Iran to stop Iraq tackle insurgency threatening Baghdad, says government source ( Note out pleas to Iran come in the context of the ongoing P5 +1 Nuclear Talks with continue today ! ) Any contribution Turkey could make to halt advance of Iraq Opposition / Insurgents / ISIS aka ISIL checked by continuing hostage situation..... Saudis weigh in on Iraq ( reject foreign interference in internal affairs of Iraq - message to Iran as well as US ? Saudis blame exclusionary/ sectarian policies of Iraq Government as causing present problems ! )

US now going hat in hand to Iran ?

Iranian officials are due to enter talks on its nuclear programme with world powers, including the US, in Vienna today. There is a widespread expectation that the talks will be used to discuss possible US-Iran cooperation in Iraq.
US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who held secret nuclear talks with Iran in 2013, was due in Vienna, as was Iraian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, AFP reports.
Reuters point out that Iran's president Hassan Rouhani, has not ruled out working with the US against Isis in Iraq.
Speaking at a news confernce on Saturday he said: 
We can think about it, if we see America starts confronting the terrorist groups in Iraq or elsewhere. 
Where did Isis come from? Who is funding this terrorist group? We had warned everyone, including the West, about the danger of backing such a terrorist and reckless group.
View image on Twitter
Negotiating team is trying 2 draft final deal with G5+1: @JZarif 

US prepares for talks with Iran to stop Iraq militants, says official

Washington wants direct dialogue with Tehran to tackle insurgency threatening Baghdad, says government source

shia volunteers
Volunteers to fight Sunni militants gather in the streets in Al-Fdhiliya district, eastern Baghdad on Sunday. Photograph: Thaier Al-sudani/Reuters
The United States is preparing to open a direct dialogue with Iran about how to deal with the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, a senior official said on Sunday.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the US was considering engaging with its longtime adversary about Iraq, where the government of prime minister Nuri al-Maliki is struggling to repel a militants who have seized several cities.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Washington was preparing to open talks with Iran on ways to push back the militants.
Citing senior US officials, the newspaper said the dialogue was expected to begin this week. It comes as the US and other world powers strive for an agreement with Tehran to curb its nuclear program.
Militants from the Isis group have swept through towns in the Tigris valley north of Baghdad in recent days but appeared to have halted their advance outside Baghdad as they tightened their grip on the north.
Insurgents seized the mainly ethnic Turkmen town of Tal Afar in northwestern Iraq on Sunday after heavy fighting.
Residents reached by telephone in the city of Tal Afar said it had fallen to the rebels after a battle that saw heavy casualties on both sides.
"The city was overrun by militants. Severe fighting took place, and many people were killed. Shi'ite families have fled to the west and Sunni families have fled to the east," said a city official who asked not to be identified. 
US officials said it was not certain which diplomatic channel the Obama administration would use with Iran for any discussions about Iraq, the Journal reported. One possibility was through Vienna, the paper said, where senior US and Iranian officials were scheduled to meet with other world powers on Monday to negotiate limits on Iran's nuclear capabilities.
The US state department said on Sunday that the number two American diplomat, deputy secretary of state Bill Burns, would travel to Vienna this week to take part in the talks.
US senator Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that Washington needed Iran's involvement to prevent a government collapse in Iraq and should open talks with Tehran.
"We are probably going to need their help to hold Baghdad," Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said on CBS' Face the Nation.
Graham, a member of the Senate armed services Committee, said the idea was "unattractive" but compared it to the US working with the Soviet Union against Adolf Hitler. 
US"The Iranians have an interest. They have Shia populations to protect. We need a dialogue of some kind," to help stabilize Iraq but also to set limits to ensure Iran does not use the situation to seize territory, he said.
The Wall Street Journal has more detail on its claim that the US is preparing to discuss some form of joint action in Iraq with its one-time arch foe Iran.
It quotes a US defence official saying:
This is a case where the enemy of our enemy is still our enemy. Any shared interests in Iraq are limited.
The White House's engagement with Iran on Iraq offers both opportunities and risks, said US defence officials and Arab diplomats.
Iran, a majority Shiite country, has served as Maliki's closest Mideast ally and has mobilized Tehran's military and religious establishment to support their coreligionists in Iraq in recent days. Iran's elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, has an extensive presence inside Iraq, said US officials, and has trained Shiamilitias that have joined the Iraqi army in fighting Isis.
US officials say the IRGC trained many of the largest Shia militias going back to the Iraq war and maintain contacts. These include the Mahdi Army, Kata'ib Hezbollah, and Asab Ahl al-Haq.
Iran has publicly denied sending forces to fight in Iraq and has said it would give Iran military assistance if Iraq asked.
Even some of Obama's harshest critics in Washington voiced support on Sunday for coordinating the US.'s military response in Iraq with Tehran's. They argued that Isis poses a much greater near-term threat to the US's national-security interests than does Iran.
"Why did we deal with Stalin? Because he was not as bad as Hitler," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said Sunday on CNN. "The Iranians can provide some assets to make sure Baghdad doesn't fall."
On Sunday's Iran's president Hassan Rouhani said Tehran is ready to help the Baghdad government.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran is ready to help the Iraqi government and nation, within the framework of international law, if Baghdad asks for help. 
The Tehran Times quoted him saying: 
We, as the Islamic Republic of Iran, are both friends and neighbours of Iraq, and our ties with the Iraqi government are close and cordial. If the Iraqi government asks for our help, we will review [the request], though we have not received such a request so far. 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Iran says opposed to foreign military intervention in Iraq
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_02_am2(224).jpgTEHRAN – An Iranian Foreign Ministry official has said that Tehran is opposed to foreign military intervention in Iraq.
“Iraq enjoys the required military capacity and preparedness and popular capabilities and motivation to deal with the elements behind terrorism and extremism,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Saturday.  
She also rejected the news reports claiming that Iran has sent military forces to Iraq to help the Iraqi government deal with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant insurgents. 
“Every movement that complicates matters further is not to the benefit of Iraq and the region. And the Iraqi people and government comprised of various political and religious groups will deal with violent, extremist, and terrorist elements,” she said. 
 Turkey hoisted by its own petard .....

The Guardian Liveblog......

The Turkish government has stepped up efforts to free 49 Turkish citizens, including senior diplomats, seized by Isis insurgents in Mosul last Wednesday, writes Constanze Letsch from Istanbul.
According to Turkish media reports, the hostages that include Turkish Consul General in Mosul, Öztürk Yildirim, are being held captive in an undisclosed location in northern Iraq.
The government’s Iraq Crisis Desk, established by the foreign ministry last Friday, issued a statement saying that efforts to achieve the release of the kidnapped citizens were being “carried out with great care”.
Deputy foreign minister Naci Koru told the Turkish press that the 49 consulate staff were “in good health”. He also dismissed reports that Isis fighters had demanded ransom for the held Turkish citizens.
He added that the Turkish foreign ministry had urged Turkish citizens in Iraq to be extremely careful. Kuru said: “At this point Baghdad is a zone of risk. Parts of the city’s environs are under the control of Isis. We are warning citizens to leave at the slightest sign of danger. Baghdad is not in the hands of terrorist organisations, but there is a danger, a risk.”
According to the foreign ministry website, 7,000 – 10,000 Turkish citizens are thought to currently reside in Iraq in addition to the 110,000 Turkish citizens that live in the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) region. It said cheap flights were available to Turkish citizens who wished to leave the neighbouring country.
In reference to Isis attack on the predominantly Turkmen town of Tel Afar on Sunday night, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of a “sectarian war”. 
He also urged the press to follow the Mosul hostage crisis silently: “About 100 of our citizens are in the hands of Isis elements”, he said speaking at a rally in the Black Sea town of Trabzon on Sunday. “We want you [the media] to follow these events not with provocations, but without writing, drawing and talking too much about them. These provocations have negative consequences.”
The prime minister also announced that his government would hold another urgent meeting after his return to the capital Ankara. “We will decide what further steps will be taken then”, Erdoğan said.

The head of Turkey's diplomatic mission in Mosul,  Yulmad Udturk.  Militants stormed the Turkish consulate in Mosul and kidnapped 48 people including Udturk.

The head of Turkey's diplomatic mission in Mosul, Yulmad Udturk. Militants stormed the Turkish consulate in Mosul and kidnapped 49 people including Udturk

Turkey May Reassess Ties to Jihadis After Iraq Turmoil, Experts Say

By Deniz Serinci 23 hours ago
-Islamic militants praying in the open plains of Mosul. Photo:
-Islamic militants praying in the open plains of Mosul. Photo:
COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Turkey has tolerated Islamic extremists crossing its border to join the fight in Syria, but with the same Islamists now raising havoc in Iraq Turkey may have to rethink its policy of aiding the militants, analysts and activists say.
Last week, Turkey felt the direct impact of the turmoil in Iraq, after its consulate in Mosul was taken over by insurgents and its diplomats captured, only to be freed a day later. 
“Radical Islamic groups, with the knowledge of the Turkish intelligence service, recruit and send our young kids to the war in Syria from border bases in Turkey’s Kurdish provinces,” charged Atilla Yazar, head of the Urfa branch of Turkey’s Human Rights Association (IHD).
“Now we hope that the Turks have realized how dangerous these groups are, and that they'll stop supporting the anti-Kurdish groups and engage in a dialogue with the Kurds in Syria.” 
The insurgents – a dangerous league of Islamic militants and loyalists from Saddam Hussein’s ousted regime and military – have seized large portions of Sunni territories, including Tikrit, Anbar and parts of Dyala province, halting only 100 kilometers from  Baghdad.
Ankara has been accused of supporting the jihadists, which includes the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), because they are fighting the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.
Turkey, whose decade-long policy has been to keep a tight lid on its own large minority Kurds, has also seen its interests served in ISIS clashes with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which has unilaterally declared autonomy in Syria’s northwestern Kurdish regions.
"So far, militants from ISIS have been able to get treatment in hospitals in Turkey and hold meetings there. Turkey tried using ISIS against Assad and PYD,” explained Joost Jongerden, assistant professor at Wageningen University in Netherlands.
According to Daniella Kuzmanovic, lecturer at Copenhagen University and an expert on Turkey, Ankara’s cozy relations with the jihadis may come to an end now.
"The Turks are not interested that ISIS threatens Turkish interests, including Kirkuk with its Turkmen population and oil fields, or oil interests generally in Iraqi Kurdistan," she told Rudaw.
The Turks have been playing with the jihadis so far, but it may well end now.”
Naser Khader, senior fellow at Hudson Institute in the United States and an expert on Syria, agreed: “After ISIS offensive in Iraq, the Turkish government now will consider seriously the border, because in the end it is going to harm the Turks themselves.”
Sune Haugbolle, lecturer at Copenhagen University and an expert on Syria, noted that Turkish support for the radical groups also gave the Turks themselves a bad name internationally.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected allegations of aiding militant groups in Syria.
Salih Muslim, the leader of the PYD which Turkey shuns for its ties with Turkey’s own outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK),  has just offered Turkey a common front against ISIS. 
"These groups represent a threat to Turkey. So let us together fight against them," Muslim said in an interview on Turkish television.
Experts say that, in the short run, the strained relationships between the PYD and Turkey may improve, as both see ISIS as a common enemy.
The same thing can be said of the history of strained relationships that the PYD and PKK have had with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Erbil.
There are allegations that the PYD’s military wing has sent soldiers to Iraqi Kurdistan to assist the Peshmargas. The PKK has announced it will help the Iraqi Kurds against ISIS.
"The ISIS offensives brings the Kurds closer together, said Haugbolle, the Syria expert in Copenhagen. “But they still have unresolved conflicts regarding power sharing in Syrian Kurdistan and much more. This will not be solved just because they got a common enemy."

US dither report......

US Amphibious Warship With 550 Marines Enters Persian Gulf

Tyler Durden's picture

Following the arrival of the US aircraft carrier CVN-77, the ironically named George H.W. Bush, in the Persian Gulf, another US warship, LPD-19, the USS Mesa Verde also entered the Persian Gulf moments ago.
Its cargo: some 550 US marines.
Mesa Verda has entered the Gulf to "provide the commander-in-chief additional options to protect American citizens and interests in Iraq, should he choose to use them." Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.
"USS Mesa Verde is capable of conducting a variety of quick reaction and crisis response operations. The ship carries a complement of MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft." He said.
As CNN reported earlier, this comes after President Obama ruled out sending ground troops to the militant-assaulted country. The USS Mesa Verde is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, a ship designed to carry an expeditionary force across the sea and deploy landing craft and helicopters.
Will the marines be offloaded in Iraq? Surely not: after all Obama, rushing to catch AF1 to Palm Spring last week said he didn’t intend to send ground troops to Iraq again, two years after pulling out American troops from the country. And Obama never lies about stuff like that.

Saudi Arabia has called for the quick formation of a national consensus government in Iraq, blaming Baghdad's "sectarian" policies against Sunni Arabs for the unrest now sweeping the country, AFP reprots.
The Sunni-dominated kingdom, whose relations with the Shia-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have been strained, also warned against foreign meddling in Iraq after jihadist-led Sunni militants took control of vast swathes of territory north of Baghdad.
The region's heavyweight, which shares long borders with Iraq expressed its "serious concerns" over developments in its neighbour.
The unrest "could not have taken place if it was not for the sectarian and exclusionary policies implemented in Iraq over the past years that threatened its stability and sovereignty," the Saudi government said in a statement.
The Saudi statement urged a quick formation of a national consensus government to work to "reinstate security and stability," stressing the need for the "participation of all components of the Iraqi people in determining the future" of the country.


Saudi Arabia denounced on Monday “policies of exclusion and sectarianism” in Iraq and voiced rejection to any foreign interference in its Arab neighbor.
Saudi Information and Culture minister Abdulaziz bin Mohiuddin Khoja, speaking following a Cabinet meeting, said the government had looked at reports on the situation in Iraq and expressed “deep concern” about the developments there.
“The developments would not have occurred were it not for the policies of sectarianism and exclusion in Iraq over the years that have threatened [the country’s] security, stability and sovereignty,” Khoja told the Saudi Press Agency.
The kingdom also rejected “any foreign interference in the internal affairs” of Iraq and stressed the need to “safeguard the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity” of the country.