Friday, June 13, 2014

Iraq Updates June 13 , 2014 -- As ISIS continues its relentless push to Baghdad and the Iraq Army continues its pitiful cutting and running from battles ( Saadiyah and Jalawia fall to ISIS in the province of Diyala as security forces lay down weapons and leave their posts again ) , has Iraq turned into " Saving Prime Minister Maliki ( and Iran with its Qods forces and the US with a few drone strikes try to salvage what's left of the Maliki Government ( one without a functional Parliament ) ......... Kurds now have Kirkuk ( a long desired goal ) while Turkey has a mess on its hands with 80 hostages still held by ISIS ....


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/13/obama-iraq-ultimatum-us-military-action

( Obama pours cold water on Iraqi hopes of quick US military actions..... )

President Barack Obama issued a stark ultimatum to Iraq’s leaders on Friday, making it clear that any US military action against advancing Islamic extremists was contingent upon Baghdad's commitment to resolving sectarian differences.
The US president said he would decided "in the days ahead" whether to launch military strikes in Iraq to help halt the progress of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), which has swept across Sunni territory and is quickly approaching the capital.
Obama spoke from the White House after a day of further chaos in Iraq, where Isis fighters captured two towns north-east of Baghdad, and a prominent Shia called on Iraqis to take up arms. Neighbouring Iran also signalled it may enter the conflict to shore up Iraq's Shia-led government. 
The president said any US military involvement, which would not involve ground troops and would not take place for several days, was destined to fail unless the Iraqi government committed to addressing the deep-rooted divisions that are threatening to tear the country apart.
“We can’t do it for them. And in the absence of this type of political effort, short-term military action, including any assistance we might provide, won’t succeed,” he said. “The United States is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance that they’re prepared to work together.”
Any new military assault would likely include an air campaign, using either or both air force or navy warplanes, officials have told the Guardian. Drone strikes remain under consideration but manned aircraft are said to the preferred option, owing to their superiority against fast-moving targets.
Earlier on Friday, the Guardian revealed that the plans under consideration by the White House include air strikes on possible targets in Syria as well as Iraq. Obama said in his press conference that Isis was “a vicious organisation that has been able to take control of the chaos in Syria” and one US objective was to prevent it gaining “a broader foothold” in the region.
Obama did not provide any detail of the military action under consideration, but said any force authorised by him would be “targeted, precise”. He also made clear US military involvement was not imminent and would not include use of ground troops.
Instead, the president signalled US involvement in the conflict would only occur after further deliberation, and would first require action by Nouri al-Maliki, whose government Washington believes is at least partly responsible for the rapid descent into chaos.
He was scathing of the collapse of Iraq's military in the face of advancing extremist fighters and said the failure of the army was linked to the broader political instability in the country.
“The fact they are not willing to stand and fight and defend their posts against admittedly hardened terrorists, but not terrorists who are overwhelming in numbers, indicates that there is a problem with morale, there is a problem in terms of commitment and ultimately that is rooted in the political problems that have plagued the country for a very long time.”
He said that discussions would take place with the Iraqi government of how it could act to strengthen its security forces. “We will be getting a better sense from them of how they might support an effort to bring about the kind of agreement inside Iraq that bolsters security forces,” he said.
Obama indicated that those crucial consultations with Maliki’s government would conclude by the end of the weekend.
However, Obama, who withdrew US troops from Iraq in 2011 and has promised to do the same in Afghanistan before the end of his term, pointedly added: “This should be a wake-up call. Iraq’s leaders have to demonstrate a willingness to make hard decisions and compromises on behalf of the Iraqi people in order to bring the country together.”
The president, who made the remarks on the White House south lawn after intensive deliberations with his national security team, insisted the problem in Iraq was “not solely or even primarily a military challenge”.
He made it clear that the US was not prepared to commit military resources to Iraq unless significant reforms were pushed through.
“Any action that we may take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian differences, to promote stability and account for the legitimate interests of all of Iraq’s communities, and to continue to be build the capacity of an effective security force,” he said.



And.....



http://hotair.com/archives/2014/06/13/obama-assures-nation-his-political-commitment-to-inaction-trumps-international-security/

Obama assures nation his political commitment to inaction trumps international security

POSTED AT 1:31 PM ON JUNE 13, 2014 BY NOAH ROTHMAN

Just before boarding Marine One on Friday, President Barack Obama took the opportunity to speak to the press about the escalating crisis in Iraq. With ISIS militants overrunning key Iraqi positions, sacking cities, and forcing thousands of U.S.-trained Iraqi troops into surrender, Baghdad has publicly asked Washington for immediate kinetic military assistance.
In response to this crisis, the president assured the nation that he has asked his staff to prepare a set of options for him in order to address this pressing and immediate military threat. To that end, as reports indicate, the United States has redirected the aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush to the Persian Gulf and has been conducting surveillance flights over Iraq to identify potential targets.
However, as Obama said on Friday, his apparent commitment to the political goals which propelled him into office – namely, a commitment to American retrenchment and especially the extrication of U.S. forces from the Iraqi theater – trumps the immediate security needs of a region in crisis.
“This is not solely or even primarily a military challenge,” Obama told reporters. He placed the burden of the present crisis on the Iraqi government, which the president said has fostered an atmosphere of sectarian mistrust by excluding Sunni groups from broader representation in the central government.
Obama insisted that internal political reforms must be forthcoming. “In the absence of this type of political effort, short-term military action, including any assistance we might provide, won’t succeed,” he insisted.
“Iraq’s neighbors also have a responsibility to support this process,” Obama said, “The United States will do our part, but understand that ultimately it is up to the Iraqis, as a sovereign nation, to solve their problems.”
Asked if the Syrian civil war is “spilling over the Iraq border,” Obama insisted that he believed that this had been “happening for some time.” Indeed. In fact, the threat of the Syrian conflict spilling over its borders was among the reasons why the United States needed to act to contain that conflict. At least, that is what the president said in his prime time address to the nation in September, 2013.
Obama added that Iraq, “which was initially resistant to some of our offers of help,” has now been scared into cooperating with the United States. As the New York Times reported, however, the Iraqi government has been asking for airstrikes since at least March. The Daily Beast reported that Iraqi officials were interested in applying U.S. airpower to the worsening situation near the Syrian border since November of last year. Instead, they received millions of dollars in American weaponry, much of which is now falling into ISIS hands as Iraqi soldiers retreat.
Again, Obama implicitly confessed to this tactical failure:
“The United States has poured a lot of money into these Iraqi security forces,” Obama insisted. “And we devoted a lot of training to Iraqi security forces.”
“The fact that they are not willing to stand and fight and defend their post against admittedly hardened terrorists, but not terrorists who are overwhelming in numbers, indicates that there’s a problem with morale, there’s a problem in terms of commitment, and ultimately that’s rooted in the problems that have plagued the country for a very long time,” he added.
Finally, Obama concluded by saying that, while the threat in Iraq is immediate, growing by the hour, and fast-moving, America’s response to it will be none of those things. “People should not anticipate that this is something that is going to happen overnight,” Obama said. “The United States is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance that they’re prepared to work together.”
The collapse of the American strategy of providing assistance from the sidelines having become apparent, Obama remains inexplicably unable to commit to a change of course.
While political reforms inside Iraq are critical, the president’s priorities are misplaced. There is no question internal reforms in Iraq are necessary. The pressing threat to international security posed by the possible collapse of the Iraqi state, however, is not setting the conditions conducive to a prolonged reconciliation process. That comes later. The first step should be ensuring stability.
The American people do not want to reengage in Iraq, and many wish that the United States had never toppled the Saddam Hussein regime in the first place. But no one can rewrite history. The reality is that America has a responsibility for Iraq’s security today, and the president is shirking that responsibility.
The threat posed by Syrian instability is clear – it has engulfed Iraq. The threat posed by Iraqi instability is clear – it is now drawing in Iran. A regional war is now a very real possibility. The United States can engage in that theater on its terms now, or wait and engage in it on less favorable terms down the road. But, for the globe’s only superpower, there is no avoiding engagement.
The president, meanwhile, must come to terms with the fact that his legacy achievement, the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, is coming apart. But he better not take long. The world is on fire.


http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2014/06/13/Insurgents-take-two-towns-in-Iraq-s-Diyala.html

Baghdad bolsters defenses as militants advance

Iraqi policemen dig trenches at checkpoint in the Iraqi town of Taji, at the entrance of Baghdad, on June 13, 2014, as security forces are bolstering defenses in the capital. (Reuters)
The Iraqi government has bolstered Baghdad’s defenses as militants from the al-Qaeda inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and local armed groups vowed to advance to the capital after days of successive gains.
Interior Ministry Spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan told AFP: “We put in place a new plan to protect Baghdad.” 
“The plan consists of intensifying the deployment of forces, and increasing intelligence efforts and the use of technology such as (observation) balloons and cameras and other equipment,” Maan said.
He said coordination between security forces had also been increased.
“We have been in a war with terrorism for a while, and today the situation is exceptional,” Maan said.
On Thursday, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnaniissued an audio statement posted on YouTube urging militants to march for Baghdad.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has an ambitious project to establish a Islamist state that combines Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine.
ISIS Map
“Our final destination will be Baghdad, the decisive battle will be there,’ that’s what their leader of the militants group kept repeating,” the tribal figure said.
ISIS spokesman al-Adnani said in his audio statement that the battle would “rage” in Baghdad and Karbala, a city southwest of the capital that is considered one of the holiest sites for Shiite Muslims.
“Do not relent against your enemy... The battle is not yet raging, but it will rage in Baghdad and Karbala,” Adnani said. “Put on your belts and get ready,” he added.
“March toward Baghdad because there is an account to settle,” he added.

ISIS seizes two more town

On Friday, the militants seized two more towns in the eastern province of Diyala.
Saadiyah and Jalawla had fallen to the Sunni Muslim insurgents after government troops fled their positions, along with several villages around the Himreen mountains that have long been a hideout for militants, security sources said, according to Reuters.
An image made available by the jihadist Twitter account al-Baraka news on June 9, 2014 allegedly shows ISIS militants waving the trademark Jihadits flag as vehicles drive on a newly cut road through the Syrian-Iraqi border between the Iraqi Nineveh province and the Syrian town of Al-Hasakah. (Reuters)


The Iraqi army fired artillery shells at Saadiyah and Jalawla from the nearby town of Muqdadiya, sending dozens of families fleeing towards Khaniqin near the Iranian border.
Iraq’s most influential Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani Friday warned of the “serious situation” in the country, saying that Baghdad is now the target of militants.
Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said: “Repelling terrorists is the responsibility of everyone and does not concern on one sect.” He urged political parties to ignore their differences and focus on fighting terrorism.

“Rebels” not “Terrorists”


Meanwhile, the country’s highest religious authority for Sunnis warned against labeling the “rebels” as “terrorists.”
Religious cleric Rafi’ al-Rifaee stated that the “free rebels” should not be accused of belonging to terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and said such allegations will only incite division between these rebels and the cities they are “liberating” from the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Rifaee described what is happening in Iraq as a process to liberate Iraq from Maliki’s army.
In the spreading chaos, Iraqi Kurdish forces seized control of Kirkuk - an oil hub just outside their autonomous enclave that they have long seen as their traditional capital - as Iraqi government troops abandoned posts in panic over ISIL’s advance.
U.S. President Barack Obama threatened military strikes against ISIS on Thursday, highlighting the gravity of the group’s threat to redraw borders in an oil-rich region with the risk of any new entity turning into a launch-pad for attacks on Western interests.
“I don’t rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria,” Obama said at the White House, when asked whether he was contemplating air strikes.
“In our consultations with the Iraqis, there will be some short-term immediate things that need to be done militarily,” he said. A U.S. defense official said the United States had been flying surveillance drones over Iraq to help it fight ISIS. 
U.S. officials later said that U.S. ground forces would not return to Iraq, according to Reuters.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/isil-militants-executed-1700-shiite-soldiers-un-alarmed.aspx?pageID=238&nID=67754&NewsCatID=352

ISIL militants 'executed 1,700 Shiite soldiers', UN alarmed

BAGHDAD / GENEVA

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, at a street in city of Mosul, June 12. REUTERS / Stringer
Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, at a street in city of Mosul, June 12. REUTERS / Stringer
Concerns are growing over executions and mounting abuses by militants led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), amid a warning from the United Nations that hundreds of people were killed, many of them summarily executed, after the seizure of Mosul.

“The full extent of civilian casualties is not yet known but reports received by UNAMI, the U.N. mission in Iraq, to this point suggest that the number of people killed in recent days may run into the hundreds and the number of wounded is said to be approaching 1,000,” Rupert Colville, the spokesman of the U.N.’s human rights chief Navi Pillay, told reporters in Geneva on June 13. UNAMI has its own network of contacts and had interviewed some of the 500,000 who fled Mosul, he said. A further 40,000 people were estimated to have fled from Tikrit and Samara, according to the International Organization for Migration. 

Reports of retribution attacks and rape

The statement came as reports suggest that the ISIL militants executed 1,700 Shiite soldiers who surrendered in Tikrit on June 12. “We’ve received reports of the summary execution of Iraqi army soldiers during the capture of Mosul and of 17 civilians in one particular street in Mosul city on June 11,” Colville said. The “great majority” of the militants were Iraqis, Colville said, citing UNAMI reports. 
Prisoners released by the militants from Mosul prison had been looking to exact revenge on those responsible for their incarceration and some went to Tikrit and killed seven former prison officers there, Colville said.

Meanwhile, leading Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has called on Iraqis to take up arms against militants marching on Baghdad. Thrusting further to the southeast after their seizure of Mosul and Tikrit, ISIL entered two towns in Diyala province bordering Iran on June 13. Saadiyah and Jalawla had fallen to the insurgents after government troops fled their positions, along with several villages around the Himreen Mountains that have long been a hideout for militants, security sources said.

“Citizens who are able to bear arms and fight terrorists, defending their country and their people and their holy places, should volunteer and join the security forces to achieve this holy purpose,” al-Sistani’s representative announced on his behalf during the main weekly prayers in the Shiite shrine city of Karbala. The elderly al-Sistani, who rarely appears in public, is the highest religious authority for the Shiites in Iraq. 

Al-Sistani’s call to defend the country came as U.S. President Barack Obama said he was “exploring all options” to save Iraq’s security forces from collapse.

Obama said Iraq was going to need “more help from the United States and from the international community” to strengthen security forces that Washington spent billions of dollars in training and equipping before withdrawing its own troops in 2011. “Our national security team is looking at all the options ... I don’t rule out anything,” he said. One option under consideration is the use of drone strikes, like those controversially deployed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, a U.S. official told Agence France-Presse. 

Separately, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Iraq’s political factions to unite against the jihadists. “Make no mistake, this needs to be a real wake-up call for all of Iraq’s political leaders. Now is the time for Iraq’s leaders to come together and show unity,” Kerry said on a visit to London. Iraq was facing a “brutal enemy” that poses a threat to U.S. interests, as well as those of its allies in Europe and the Middle East, Kerry said. He added that given the gravity of the situation, he would anticipate “timely decisions” from President Obama in tackling the challenge. “We are laser-focused on dealing with the crisis ahead,” he said.

The Iraqi Interior Ministry said it had adopted a new security plan for Baghdad to protect it from the advancing jihadists. “The plan consists of intensifying the deployment of forces, and increasing intelligence efforts and the use of technology such as [observation] balloons and cameras and other equipment,” ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan said. “We have been in a war with terrorism for a while, and today the situation is exceptional.”
June/13/2014




http://www.todayszaman.com/news-350378-davutoglu-complains-about-reports-showing-iraq-in-chaos.html

Davutoğlu complains about reports showing Iraq in chaos

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (Photo: Reuters)
June 13, 2014, Friday/ 20:17:04/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM / ANKARA
Turkish foreign minister has claimed that there are reports that claim there is chaos in Iraq, noting that Turkish citizens and firms can work freely in southern provinces. 

Ahmet Davutoğlu, sitting along other ministers who set up a crisis desk tasked with monitoring developments in Iraq round the clock, told a press briefing that his government is following the developments "hour by hour" and complained about reports which he said was creating a perception "as if there is chaos in Iraq." Davutoğlu's remarks came hours after his ministry renewed a travel warning, urging citizens to immediately leave the country currently divided along sectarian and ethnic lines. 

Davutoğlu ruled out Libya-style mass exodus from Iraq, but he added that authorities will assess the situation is the crisis widens. He praised his government's record on crisis-management, from evacuating citizens during the Libyan war as well as rescuing Turkish pilots from Lebanon in a bid to assure the public that his government will do whatever is necessary to secure the release of Turkish diplomats and truck drivers. 

Davutoğlu said Iraq's prosperity, stability and peace is the same with Turkey's and vowed that Ankara will always stand by Iraq. "We will not leave them alone," he added. He said the crisis desk, composed of Economy, Energy, Customs and Trade and Foreign ministries, will make double press briefings every day and urged the media not to trust on reports that are not confirmed by crisis desk. 


http://www.todayszaman.com/news-350356-mideast-conflict-escalates-as-sistani-urges-war-us-ponders-options.html


Mideast conflict escalates as Sistani urges war, US ponders options

Volunteers who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against the predominantly Sunni militants who have taken over Mosul travel in army trucks in Baghdad on Friday. (Photo: Reuters)
June 13, 2014, Friday/ 18:18:48/ REUTERS / BAGHDAD
Iraq's most senior Shiite cleric urged his followers to take up arms to defend themselves against a relentless advance by Sunni militants, in a sharp escalation of a conflict which is threatening civil war and the potential break-up of the country.

In a rare intervention at Friday prayers in the holy city of Kerbala, a message from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is the highest religious authority for the Shiites in Iraq, said people should unite to fight back against advancing militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Sistani's call came as US President Barack Obama said Washington was considering "all options" to support Iraq's Shiite Muslim-dominated central government that took full control when the US occupation ended in 2011, eight years after the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. Obama threatened military strikes against ISIL on Thursday, highlighting the gravity of the group's threat to redraw borders in an oil-rich region.

On Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said he expects President Obama to decide quickly on what steps the US will take to help combat the relentless advance of the extremist insurgency in Iraq.

"Given the gravity of the situation, I would anticipate timely decisions from the president regarding the challenge," Kerry told reporters at a news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague. "I am confident the US will move rapidly and effectively to join with our allies in dealing with this challenge," Kerry added.

Fighters under the black flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) captured two more Iraqi towns overnight in a lightning sweep south towards the capital Baghdad in a campaign to recreate a mediaval caliphate carved out of fragmenting Iraq and Syria.

"People who are capable of carrying arms and fighting the terrorists in defence of their country ... should volunteer to join the security forces to achieve this sacred goal," said Sheikh Abdulmehdi al-Karbalai, delivering Sistani's message to the faithful.

Those killed fighting ISIL militants would be martyrs, he said as worshippers chanted in acknowledgement.

In the spreading chaos, Iraqi Kurdish forces have seized control of Kirkuk, an oil hub just outside their autonomous enclave that they have long seen as their traditional capital.

Thrusting further to the southeast after their seizure of the major Iraqi city of Mosul in the far north and the late dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, ISIL entered two towns in Diyala province bordering Iran. Iraqi army helicopters fired rockets on one of the largest mosques in Tikrit on Friday, local officials and witnesses said. It was unclear if there were any casualties in the strikes.

Saadiyah and Jalawla had fallen to the extremists after government troops fled their positions, along with several villages around the Himreen mountains that have long been a hideout for militants, security sources said.

The Iraqi army fired artillery shells at Saadiyah and Jalawla from the nearby town of Muqdadiya, sending dozens of families fleeing towards Khaniqin near the Iranian border.

"I don't rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria," Obama said at the White House, when asked whether he was contemplating air strikes.

"In our consultations with the Iraqis, there will be some short-term immediate things that need to be done militarily," he said. A US defence official said the United States had been flying surveillance drones over Iraq to help it fight ISIL.

US officials later said that US ground forces would not return to Iraq.

But Obama said military action alone was no panacea against ISIL. He alluded to long-standing Western complaints that Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has done little to heal sectarian rifts that have left many of Iraq's minority Sunnis, cut out of power since Saddam's demise, aggrieved and keen for revenge.

"This should be also a wake-up call for the Iraqi government. There has to be a political component to this," Obama said.

US Vice President Joe Biden assured Maliki by telephone that Washington was prepared to intensify and accelerate its security support. The White House had signalled on Wednesday it was looking to strengthen Iraqi forces rather than meet what one U.S. official said were past Iraqi requests for air strikes.

But fears of jihadist violence spreading may increase pressure for robust international action. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said international powers "must deal with the situation."

In Mosul, ISIL staged a parade of American Humvee patrol vehicles seized from a collapsing Iraqi army in the two days since its fighters drove out of the desert and overran the city.

Giving a hint of their vision of a caliphate, ISIL published Sharia rules for the territory they have carved out in northern Iraq, including a ban on drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and an edict on women to wear only all-covering, shapeless clothing.

ISIL militants were reported to have executed soldiers and policemen after their seizure of some towns.

On Friday, ISIL said it was giving soldiers and policemen a "chance to repent ... For those asking who we are, we are the soldiers of Islam and have shouldered the responsibility to restore the glory of the Islamic Caliphate".

Residents near the border with Syria, where ISIL has exploited civil war to seize wide tracts of the country's northeast, saw its militants bull-dozing tracks through frontier sand berms - as a prelude to trying to revive a mediaeval entity straddling both modern states.

ISIL has battled rival rebel factions in Syria for months and occasionally taken on President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

But its fighters appear to have held back in Syria this week, especially in their eastern stronghold near the Iraqi border, while their Iraqi wing was making rapid military gains.
      

Weapons into Syria


ISIL's Syria branch is now bringing in weapons seized in Iraq from retreating government forces, according to Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

Matthew Henman, Head of IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Centre said in a report that ISIL's capture of Iraqi territory along the Syrian border will give the group greater freedom of movement of men and material across the two countries.

"Light and heavy weaponry, military vehicles, and money seized by ISIL during the capture of Mosul will be moved into desert area of eastern Syria, which ISIL has been using as a staging ground for attacks," he said.

At Baiji, near Kirkuk, ISIL fighters ringed Iraq's largest refinery, underlining the potential threat to the oil industry.

Further south, the fighters extended their advance to towns only about an hour's drive from Baghdad, where Shiite militia were mobilising for a potential replay of the ethnic and sectarian bloodbath of 2006 and 2007.

Trucks carrying Shiite volunteers in uniform rumbled towards the front lines to defend Baghdad.

Security and police sources said Sunni militants now held parts of the town of Udhaim, 90 km (55 miles) north of Baghdad. "We are waiting for reinforcements and we are determined not to let them take control," said a police officer in Udhaim.

"We are afraid that terrorists are seeking to cut the main highway that links Baghdad to the north."

Target Baghdad


ISIL and its allies took control of Falluja at the start of the year. It lies just 50 kilometers west of Maliki's office.

ISIL has set up military councils to run the towns they captured, residents said. "'Our final destination will be Baghdad, the decisive battle will be there' - that's what their leader kept repeating," said a regional tribal figure.

The senior UN official in Iraq assured the Security Council that Baghdad was in "no immediate danger." The council offered unanimous support to the government and condemned "terrorism".

As with the concurrent war in Syria, the conflict cuts across global alliances. The United States and Western and Gulf Arab allies back the mainly Sunni revolt against the Iranian-backed Syrian President Assad, but have had to watch as ISIL and other Islamists have come to dominate large parts of Syria.

Now the Shiite Islamic Republic of Iran, which in the 1980s fought Saddam for eight years at a time when the Sunni Iraqi leader enjoyed quiet US support, may share an interest with the "Great Satan" Washington in bolstering mutual ally Maliki.

The global oil benchmark price has jumped, as concerns mounted that the violence could disrupt supplies from a major OPEC exporter. Iraq's main oil export facilities are in the largely Shi'ite areas in the south and were "very, very safe", Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said.

The million-strong Iraqi army, trained by the United States at a cost of nearly $25 billion, is hobbled by low morale and corruption. Its effectiveness is hurt by the perception in Sunni areas that it pursues the hostile interests of Shiites.























http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/13/iraq-crisis-isis-militants-make-new-gains-live-updates

Shia militias reforming


Shia militias, including elements of the reformed Mahdi army, are fighting Isis, and filling in gaps left by deserting regular troops, an Iraqi army officer has told the Guardian.
Speaking to Mona Mahmood, the Hussein Abbass, also reported infighting between the militia groups. He said: 
As Iraqi military forces keep fleeing, the Righteous League, a dissident wing of Mahdi army is striving to fill the gap in areas deserted by the Iraqi army. 
Orders have been issued to members of Mahdi army to take their positions again in Baghdad, even though the army's activities were suspended some time ago by the Shia cleric leader Muqtada al-Sadr.
Yesterday morning, clashes flared up unexpectedly between members of the Righteous League who are already positioned in al-Qahera district, east of Baghdad and Mahdi army members who wanted to kick them out and take their positions. Four members of the Righteous Leagues were wounded after few hours of skirmishes. Large numbers of Mahdi army members have been deployed in different districts of Baghdad since yesterday.
At the same time, the Iraqi army has opened its doors for any volunteers to help the army and assist in deterring the progress of the Isis terrorists to Baghdad. The volunteers who are mainly Shia from south of Iraq will given $900 a month after a short course of training but they were cautioned that the fight could be ruthless and they may return home as charred corpses. 
We got the news that Isis terrorists reached the Taji suburb of at Baghdad. Many units of the army were sent to deal with them and the fight is still going on. 
In general, the situation in Baghdad is stable though we are in a state of alarm and the army is busy drawing a plan for securing Shia people preparing a pilgrimage to the Imam Hussein shrine in Kerbala city in a few days as part of an annual religious ritual.
There is a high coordination between the Iraqi army forces and Iranian Al-Quds army, but as yet no Iranian fighter have arrived in Baghdad. If things get too vigorous, we will definitely will seek al-Quds army support, our most solid alliance, to cut-off the terrorists assault not in Baghdad but the whole of Iraq.

Summary

Here's a summary of latest developments:



















http://twitchy.com/2014/06/12/screenshot-isis-taunted-u-s-about-plan-to-take-american-weapons-from-al-maliki-pic/

Reports and pictures coming out of Iraq this week show ISIS jihadis taking U.S. supplied weapons from Iraqi Security Forces. Was that their aim all along?
A screenshot posted by Aaron Zelin would suggest so.

View image on Twitter
For those still skeptical that ISIS didn’t have a plan or weren’t aiming for anything. From two months ago:

And......


The United States is reportedly evacuating Americans from an air base in Iraq as militants continue to move aggressively in the nation.

: US mil evacuating; air base was training base, theres a large number of US contractors waiting to evac as well ~ @StateDept





http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-13/iraq-update-jihadists-seize-2-more-iraqi-towns-close-30-miles-baghdad-ayatollah-urge



Iraq Update: Jihadists Seize 2 More Iraqi Towns; Close To 30 Miles Of Baghdad; Iran Rushes To Help

Tyler Durden's picture




While the US scrambles to figure out what the least painful way is to admit yet another humiliating foreign policy defeat, things in Iraq continue to deteriorate as the relentless blitzkrieg unleashed by the ISIS/ISIL Al-Qaeda spin off, which has shocked everyone by its speed and scale, takes two more towns, as it rushes for its target: Baghdad itself.
As Reuters reports, "Islamist rebel fighters captured two more Iraqi towns overnight in a relentless sweep south towards the capital Baghdad in a campaign to recreate a medieval caliphate carved out of fragmenting Iraq and Syria. Thrusting further to the southeast after their lightning seizure of the major Iraqi city of Mosul in the far north and the late dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, ISIL entered two towns in Diyala province bordering Iran. Saadiyah and Jalawla had fallen to the Sunni Muslim insurgents after government troops fled their positions, along with several villages around the Himreen mountains that have long been a hideout for militants, security sources said."
As the following map shows, as of this moment the Al Qaeda extremeists are now just 30 miles away from Baghdad and closing fast, although Iraqi forces may have succeded in halting the advance for now near the town of Samarra.
What the map above also shows is the extensive US presence in the region, one which however as Obama stated yesterday, he is so far unwilling to unleash on the ISIS army.
Obama said military action alone was no panacea against ISIL. He alluded to long-standing Western complaints that Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has done little to heal sectarian rifts that have left many of Iraq's minority Sunnis, cut out of power since Saddam's demise, aggrieved and keen for revenge.

"This should be also a wake-up call for the Iraqi government. There has to be a political component to this," Obama said.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden assured Maliki by telephone that Washington was prepared to intensify and accelerate its security support. The White House had signaled on Wednesday it was looking to strengthen Iraqi forces rather than meet what one U.S. official said were past Iraqi requests for air strikes.

But fears of jihadist violence spreading may increase pressure for robust international action. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said international powers "must deal with the situation".

In Mosul, ISIL staged a parade of American Humvee patrol vehicles seized from a collapsing Iraqi army in the two days since its fighters drove out of the desert and overran the city.
The parade can be seen in the clip below:
So will Baghdad fall as rapidly as all other cities in the north? For now that appears unlikely:
ISIL and its allies took control of Falluja at the start of the year. It lies just 50 km (30 miles) west of Maliki's office. ISIL has set up military councils to run the towns they captured, residents said. “'Our final destination will be Baghdad, the decisive battle will be there' - that’s what their leader kept repeating," said a regional tribal figure.

The senior U.N. official in Iraq assured the Security Council that Baghdad was in "no immediate danger". The council offered unanimous support to the government and condemned "terrorism".

As with the concurrent war in Syria, the conflict cuts across global alliances. The United States and Western and Gulf Arab allies back the mainly Sunni revolt against the Iranian-backed Syrian President Assad, but have had to watch as ISIL and other Islamists have come to dominate large parts of Syria.

Now the Shi'ite Islamic Republic of Iran, which in the 1980s fought Saddam for eight years at a time when the Sunni Iraqi leader enjoyed quiet U.S. support, may share an interest with the "Great Satan" Washington in bolstering mutual ally Maliki.

The global oil benchmark prices have jumped, as concerns mounted that the violence could disrupt supplies from a major OPEC exporter. Iraq's main oil export facilities are in the largely Shi'ite areas in the south and were "very, very safe", Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said.
Until they aren't. As a reminder, ISIS's immediate ambition is to create an independent religious state-entity/caliphate that looks like this:
Which probably is why none other than the country's most senior Shiite cleric urged broad mobilization, telling people across the land to take arms:
A representative of Iraq's most influential Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, urged people in a sermon at Friday prayers to take up arms and defend their country from mostly Sunni insurgents.

Sheikh Abdulmehdi al-Karbalai, who was delivering the sermon at prayers in the city of Kerbala, holy to Iraq's majority Shi'ites, said those killed fighting the militants would be martyrs.

"People who are capable of carrying arms and fighting the terrorists in defence of their country... should volunteer to join the security forces to achieve this sacred goal,"Karbalai said.

In response, worshippers chanted "Labbeik Ya Hussein", meaning they would act at the behest of Imam Hussein, who is buried in a shrine in Kerbala.
But what virtually assures that it is only a moment of time before the situation spirals out of control is the arrival of Iran troops who are now being sent to guard Baghdad, and fight Al Qaeda:
Reports coming out of security sources in Iran say that two battalions of Quds Force troops from the nation’s Revolutionary Guard have deployed into neighboring Iraq to guard Shi’ite holy sites as well as the capital city of Baghdad. Some have also reportedly taken part in fighting in Tikrit.

The move comes in response to al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) taking most of the country’s Sunni west, and moving dangerously close to Baghdad on multiple fronts. Iraq’s Shi’ite government is on good terms with Iran.

Earlier today, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country can’t tolerate the growth of a terrorist group so close to their borders, and promised unspecified aid to the Maliki government.

Iran has already been aiding the Assad government in Syria against AQI’s advances there, albeit without much success. As the problem of this new AQI-run state grows, Iran is likely to try to increase support for its struggling allies, out of whose territory the state is being carved.
More from Reuters, which reports that Iran, a Shiite republic, is so alarmed by Sunni insurgent gains in Iraq that it may be willing to cooperate with Washington in helping Baghdad fight back, a senior Iranian official told Reuters. The idea is being discussed internally among the Islamic Republic's leadership, the senior Iranian official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official had no word on whether the idea had been raised with any other party.
Officials say Iran will send its neighbor advisers and weaponry, although probably not troops, to help its ally Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki check what Tehran sees as a profound threat to regional stability, officials and analysts say.
Islamist militants have captured swathes of territory including the country's second biggest city Mosul.

Tehran is open to the possibility of working with the United States to support Baghdad, the senior official said.

"We can work with Americans to end the insurgency in the Middle East," the official said, referring to events in Iraq."We are very influential in Iraq, Syria and many other countries."

For many years, Iran has been aggrieved by what it sees as U.S. efforts to marginalize it. Tehran wants to be recognized as a significant player in regional security.

...

Rouhani on Thursday strongly condemned what he called violent acts by insurgent groups in the Middle East.

“Today, in our region, unfortunately, we are witnessing violence, killing, terror and displacement," Rouhani said.

"Iran will not tolerate the terror and violence ... we will fight against terrorism, factionalism and violence.”
That's right: as a result of the epic US leftover mess in Iraq, it is now up to its arch nemesis Iran to get in and protect the country from none other than Al-Qaeda. And not only that, but Iran is prepared to work with the "great Satan", America, to defend the middle east from Al-Qaeda!
And to think: this is only the beginning.








http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2014/06/13/Insurgents-take-two-towns-in-Iraq-s-Diyala.html

Baghdad bolsters defenses as militants advance


Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, at a street in city of Mosul, June 12, 2014. (Reuters)
The Iraqi government has bolstered Baghdad’s defenses as militants from the al-Qaeda inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and local armed groups vowed to advance to the capital after
Interior Ministry Spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan told AFP: “We put in place a new plan to protect Baghdad.”
“The plan consists of intensifying the deployment of forces, and increasing intelligence efforts and the use of technology such as (observation) balloons and cameras and other equipment,” Maan said.
He said coordination between security forces had also been increased.
“We have been in a war with terrorism for a while, and today the situation is exceptional,” Maan said.
On Thursday, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnaniissued an audio statement posted on YouTube urging militants to march for Baghdad.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has an ambitious project to establish a Islamist state that combines Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine.

ISIS Map
“Our final destination will be Baghdad, the decisive battle will be there,’ that’s what their leader of the militants group kept repeating,” the tribal figure said.
ISIS spokesman al-Adnani said in his audio statement that the battle would “rage” in Baghdad and Karbala, a city southwest of the capital that is considered one of the holiest sites for Shiite Muslims.
“Do not relent against your enemy... The battle is not yet raging, but it will rage in Baghdad and Karbala,” Adnani said. “Put on your belts and get ready,” he added.
“March toward Baghdad because there is an account to settle,” he added.

ISIS seizes two more town

On Friday, the militants seized two more towns in the eastern province of Diyala.
Saadiyah and Jalawla had fallen to the Sunni Muslim insurgents after government troops fled their positions, along with several villages around the Himreen mountains that have long been a hideout for militants, security sources said, according to Reuters.

The Iraqi army fired artillery shells at Saadiyah and Jalawla from the nearby town of Muqdadiya, sending dozens of families fleeing towards Khaniqin near the Iranian border.
Iraq’s most influential Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani Friday warned of the “serious situation” in the country, saying that Baghdad is now the target of militants.
Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said: “Repelling terrorists is the responsibility of everyone and does not concern on one sect.” He urged political parties to ignore their differences and focus on fighting terrorism.

“Rebels” not “Terrorists”


Meanwhile, the country’s highest religious authority for Sunnis warned against labeling the “rebels” as “terrorists.”
Religious cleric Rafi’ al-Rifaee stated that the “free rebels” should not be accused of belonging to terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and said such allegations will only incite division between these rebels and the cities they are “liberating” from the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Rifaee described what is happening in Iraq as a process to liberate Iraq from Maliki’s army.
In the spreading chaos, Iraqi Kurdish forces seized control of Kirkuk - an oil hub just outside their autonomous enclave that they have long seen as their traditional capital - as Iraqi government troops abandoned posts in panic over ISIL’s advance.
U.S. President Barack Obama threatened military strikes against ISIS on Thursday, highlighting the gravity of the group’s threat to redraw borders in an oil-rich region with the risk of any new entity turning into a launch-pad for attacks on Western interests.
“I don’t rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria,” Obama said at the White House, when asked whether he was contemplating air strikes.
“In our consultations with the Iraqis, there will be some short-term immediate things that need to be done militarily,” he said. A U.S. defense official said the United States had been flying surveillance drones over Iraq to help it fight ISIS.
U.S. officials later said that U.S. ground forces would not return to Iraq, according to Reuters.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/two-more-towns-fall-armed-fighters-iraq-201461365442813358.html

Two more towns fall to armed fighters in Iraq

Towns fall to unidentified fighters after security forces in Diyala province lay down weapons and leave posts.

Last updated: 13 Jun 2014 11:24
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Obama has threatened military strikes against fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [AP]
Rebels in Iraq have gained more ground in Iraq overnight, moving into two strategically-important towns in the province of Diyala, northeast of Baghdad, after security forces abandoned their posts.
Armed men, who have not yet been identified, entered the towns of Jalulah and Saaiydiyah and used loudspeakers to tell local police that if they laid down their weapons and left their posts they would not be hurt, locals told Al Jazeera.

The security forces complied and left the towns, they said.  Witnesses and an Al Jazeera journalist in Diyala said the men then promised locals they would be unhurt.
Later on Friday, a representative for Iraq's top Shia cleric called on Iraqis to defend their country, saying those who are able should join the security forces to battle the rebels.
Sheik Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalaie made the comments during Friday prayers. He represents Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most revered Shia spiritual eader in Iraq.
Al-Karbalaie says it was "a duty" that citizens defend against "the dangers threatening Iraq."'
Security sources told the Reuters news agency that several other villages in Diyala, around the Himreen mountains, which have long been a hideout for armed groups, had also fallen to rebels overnight.

The Iraqi army fired artillery at Saaiydiyah and Jalulah from the nearby town of Muqdadiya, sending dozens of families fleeing towards Khaniqin, near the Iranian border, security sources said.
The armed men said Muqdadiya was their next target, according to locals.
RELATED: Fall of Mosul: What's at stake for the Kurds?
Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) overran the northern city of Mosul earlier this week and
have since pressed south towards Baghdad in an onslaught against the Shia-led government.
Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from the Iraqi capital, said that security had been visibly beefed up there but that many residents expressed fear that the city was vulnerable to ISIL.
"They've put up a ring of steel, launching more mobile patrols," he said. "This is a plan that they say will secure Baghdad completely.
Obama's warning
US President Barack Obama has threatened US military strikes against ISIL who want to establish their own state in Iraq and Syria.
"I don't rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria," Obama said at the White House when asked whether he was contemplating air strikes.
Obama said he was looking at "all options" to help Iraq's leaders, who took full control when the US occupation ended in 2011.
Officials later stressed that ground troops would not be sent in.
Obama also referred to longstanding US omplaints that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had failed to do enough to heal a sectarian rift that has left many in the large Sunni minority, who were shut out of power when US troops overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003, nursing grievances.
"This should be also a wakeup call for the Iraqi government. There has to be a political component to this," Obama said.

http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/13062014

Kurdistan Teahouses Abuzz with Gossip of Unfolding Iraq Drama

By Alexander Whitcomb and Rekar Aziz 7 hours ago
Others questioned whether such measures will ever take place, believing the Peshmerga will simply hold on to the regions as the KRG declares independence, citing irreconcilable differences with the crumbling central government. Photo: Rudaw
Others questioned whether such measures will ever take place, believing the Peshmerga will simply hold on to the regions as the KRG declares independence, citing irreconcilable differences with the crumbling central government. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Tea houses in the Kurdistan Region were abuzz with gossip and opinions about what is happening to Iraq, after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other militant forces toppled Mosul and Tikrit and currently surround Samarra, 70 km north of the Iraqi capital. 
It is anyone’s guess what will come next. But as Baghdad residents prepare for the worst, storing stocks of water and food supplies, their northern compatriots in Kurdistan were relaxed, even hopeful about the future as they talk excitedly over tea. 
Latif Mawlud, a shopkeeper, thought that the Kurdish Peshmerga military should stay out of the fray. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for Kurds to intervene in the conflict, because it’s not a Kurdish-ISIS issue: It’s between Arabs.”
Ali Jamil, a farmer pouring a massive dose of sugar into his teacup as he weighed into the discussion, said the biggest worry was more refugees arriving in Kurdistan.
“I don’t think ISIS will start attacks on Kurdistan, but it definitely socially and economically affects the region,” he said. “We, in the  KRG, have to take care of thousands of refugees inside our borders, and there are many Kurds who live in Mosul.” 
The events have stirred Kurdish nationalist sentiment, which is never really far from the surface. A statement from the Peshmerga spokesman today confirmed that virtually all Kurdish areas outside KRG administration are now under Peshmerga control. This includes the city of Kirkuk, which has long been envisioned as the capital of a future independent Kurdish state.  Oil-rich Kirkuk has been at the heart of a territorial dispute between the KRG and the central government, both of which claim the multi-ethnic city as their own. 
“The Peshmerga shouldn’t have missed the opportunity to take control over Kirkuk in 2003, when they cooperated with US armies to free Iraq,” said Dlawer Omer, a civil servant. “This is another golden ticket for Kurds not to give up or surrender Kirkuk one more time.” 
He added that this was the time to enact Article 140 of the 2005 Iraqi Constitution. This entails carrying out a census and referendum to determine the status of Kirkuk and the disputed areas --something that was supposed to have happened by the end of 2007. 
“Controlling Kirkuk puts Maliki under huge pressure to implement Article 140. ISIS’s big push magnified the power of the Peshmerga, and we hope these facts achieve a further step towards the constitutional rights of Kurds,” Omer opined. 
Others questioned whether such measures will ever take place, believing the Peshmerga will simply hold on to the regions as the KRG declares independence, citing irreconcilable differences with the crumbling central government. 
If the current oil and budget disputed with Baghdad push the region towards declaring independence or confederation, the region would not be able to satisfy its population unless the new state included Kirkuk. What once seemed an insurmountable hurdle has been swiftly resolved -- to the shock and delight of many.  
Abdullah Hassan, a retired 75-year-old, told Rudaw: “I believe the fight between Iraqi security forces and ISIS is totally in the interest of Kurds, and shouldn't involve any hardship or fight for Kurds.” Reflecting a common reluctance to get involved in the fight beyond Kurdish territory, he acknowledged that they may turn their energies towards Kurdistan. 
“ISIS is supported by Iraqi former Baathists and many other extremist groups. ISIS can hurt Iraq and Kurdistan region as well, but they will fail at the end.”
Nahro Muhammed, a lecturer at Salahaddin University, agreed with Hassan. 
“I’m not for a single second with Kurdish intervention to cooperate with Iraqi armies to face ISIS outside disputed areas, as we see no advantage behind this. We don't have to fight for an army that has put Kurdistan under pressure,” he said, referring to recent military stand-offs in the disputed areas.  Few forget that the central government has also pressured the region economically, cutting the KRG budget and refusing to pay salaries of employees working in Kurdistan region. 
Massoud Nuri, a young lawyer, doubted that negotiations between Erbil and Baghdad would follow the usual pattern in future. “The constitutional disagreements have been an obstacle for Kurds to gain their rights. But now there’s no longer a word called constitution in this destroyed country. Kurdistan can quite reasonably take power over Kirkuk and all other disputed areas, because Iraq has lost its grip on control.”




http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ankara-ordered-turkish-special-forces-in-mosul-not-to-clash-with-isil.aspx?pageID=238&nID=67744&NewsCatID=352



Ankara ordered Turkish special forces in Mosul not to clash with ISIL


ISTANBUL



ISIL militants took down the Turkish flag at the Mosul consulate. An Iraqi eyewitness told daily Hürriyet that a number of the militants in the compound are now wearing the camouflage gear that the Turkish special forces left behind. (İpek YEZDANİ)
ISIL militants took down the Turkish flag at the Mosul consulate. An Iraqi eyewitness told daily Hürriyet that a number of the militants in the compound are now wearing the camouflage gear that the Turkish special forces left behind. (İpek YEZDANİ)
Ankara instructed the special forces protecting the Turkish consulate in Mosul not to engage in clashes with militants of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) who besieged the compound, Turkish media reported on June 13.

Forty-nine Turkish citizens, including thee consul general in Mosul and several members of the Turkish special forces, were taken hostage by ISIL and transferred to an undisclosed place on June 11.

One hostage posted a message on an Internet forum used by Turkish special forces members, daily Vatan reported. The message states that ISIL besieged the compound with “900 specially trained commandos” as Turks in the compound positioned snipers on rooftops to resist.

“They had mortars, DShK and PK-type heavy machine guns, RPGs and four tanks that they stole from the Iraqi army. We told the Foreign Ministry that we would clash until we ran out of ammunition, but the Foreign Ministry told us not to, saying ‘We can’t lose our personnel so blatantly,” the special forces member reportedly stated on the forum.

“We didn’t open the doors for almost two hours. We opened it after the order from Ankara,” he continued. The message added that the captured personnel did not deliver their own weapons to ISIL, and also stated that they personally drove their own vehicles to the area where the militants took them.

It is not clear how the special forces members managed to communicate with Turkey while still in captivity in Mosul.

In the same forum, it is also claimed that the Turkish staff of the consulate are being held in a hotel in the Köprü region of Mosul. Photos showing members of the Turkish special forces in Iraq before the raid were also shared in the forum.



Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç confirmed the reports during his press conference on June 13. 

"I believe we took the best decision concerning people's lives. [The security staff of the consulate] were waiting with fingers on the trigger, but there were women and children present, too," Arınç said. "Is it wise to instruct them to clash [with ISIL militants] or to leave securely?"
June/13/2014





http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-calls-on-its-citizens-in-iraq-to-leave-the-country.aspx?pageID=238&nID=67738&NewsCatID=510




Turkey calls on its citizens in Iraq to leave the country


ANKARA



Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
The Foreign Ministry has warned Turkish citizens about the risks of travel to Iraq and recommended the immediate return of those who are currently in Turkey's southern neighbor, following the abduction of 80 Turkish citizens, including the consul-general of Mosul, by jihadist militants. 

A ministry statement said recent developments in Iraq made necessary the issuance of a new and more comprehensive security warning to Turkish citizens about the current situation in Iraq.

Taking into account the deterioration of security conditions in the country, it recommended that Turkish citizens should leave Iraq via the best and safest route. 

It suggested the safest airports they can use are Baghdad, Basra, Najaf, Suleimaniye and Arbil. Those who want to leave Iraq via land may enter Turkey through the Habur border gate, it added.

June/12/2014




Anti War......




US Readies Air Strikes Against al-Qaeda in Iraq

Obama Won't Rule Out Anything in Aiding Maliki Govt

by Jason Ditz, June 12, 2014


There seems to be growing momentum among US politicians from both parties in favor of direct military intervention on behalf of the Iraqi government, with President Obama saying he won’t rule out anything that might aid Prime Minister Maliki.
Likely that’s going to mean air strikes targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), which has taken several major cities across northern and western Iraq now, and seems to be routing the Iraqi Army wherever they find them.
Iraq has been requesting air strikes for awhile, but it seems the recent collapse of their defenses is what is finally convincing the US to seriously to the idea. So far, the US seems reluctant to consider anything beyond arms shipments and air strikes.
It is unclear, however, what good the air strikes will really do, as Iraqi forces don’t seem to be engaged in pitched battles with AQI where air support might turn the tide in their favor. Rather, they seem to be fleeing virtually the moment they are engaged, so at best the air strikes might slow the rate of AQI advance.


Iran Deploys Troops to Guard Baghdad, Fight al-Qaeda

Rouhani Vows Aid Against Iraqi Terrorists

by Jason Ditz, June 12, 2014
Reports coming out of security sources in Iran say that two battalions of Quds Force troops from the nation’s Revolutionary Guard have deployed into neighboring Iraq to guard Shi’ite holy sites as well as the capital city of Baghdad. Some have also reportedlytaken part in fighting in Tikrit.
The move comes in response to al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) taking most of the country’s Sunni west, and moving dangerously close to Baghdad on multiple fronts.Iraq’s Shi’ite government is on good terms with Iran.
Earlier today, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country can’t tolerate the growth of a terrorist group so close to their borders, and promised unspecified aid to the Maliki government.
Iran has already been aiding the Assad government in Syria against AQI’s advances there, albeit without much success. As the problem of this new AQI-run state grows, Iran is likely to try to increase support for its struggling allies, out of whose territory the state is being carved.


Territory Lost, Iraq Withdraws Troops From Syria Border

Both Sides of Border Are al-Qaeda's Now Anyhow

by Jason Ditz, June 12, 2014
Yesterday, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) made a very public show of tearing down part of the earthen barrier between Iraq and Syria, reflecting their control of both sides of the “border” and their view that it’s going to remain AQI territory for the foreseeable future.
Today, in a move that seems to be acknowledging that reality, Iraq’s own security forces have withdrawn from one of their last border positions in Anbar, near Qaim.
It’s a stark admission of the situation on the ground, as Qaim was virtually surrounded on the Iraqi side by AQI, and the Syrian side of the border, al-Bukamal, is also an AQI territory, captured from rival Jabhat al-Nusra.
With Anbar and Nineveh both pretty well lost at this point, there was no point in Iraq trying to sustain a “border crossing” for a border that no longer exists, and which is miles outside of their own de facto territory at any rate. Withdrawing, however, indicates that Iraq finally recognizes this fight won’t be won in a matter of days or weeks, and that AQI is, at least in Iraq’s west, here to stay.



As Iraq Loses Ground to al-Qaeda, the Buck Stops at Maliki

MPs Boycott Parliament, Oppose Giving PM 'Emergency Powers'

by Jason Ditz, June 12, 2014
When a war starts going south, there is usually a lot of passing the buck, from Interior Ministry to Defense Ministry to the head of state. The bad news for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is that he is all of the above.
For the past four years, Maliki has personally and continually held every single government ministry responsible for any troops or other security forces. Now, as his troops are routed time and again by al-Qaeda and a good chunk of the country has been lost, his obsession with centralization has put him in a precarious position.
There is no cabinet to reshuffle, and there are no ministers to fire. Maliki’s back is against the wall, and officials are blasting him for long-standing security failures, which at this point are adding up to a loss of a lot of territory.
Maliki’s instinctive response is to try to centralize even more, seeking “emergency powers” to cope with the situation. He’s not getting them, though, as major boycotts in parliament left him unable to call a quorum to even put the issue to a vote, and opposition figures, who have long accused Maliki of having dictatorial designs, see giving him such powers as incredibly dangerous.


Chaos Reigns In Iraq As At Least 120 Are Known Killed, 30 Wounded
by , June 12, 2014

The fighting continued today for some members of Iraq’s army, Peshmerga troops, tribal fighters and even Iranian soldiers. However, many Iraqi soldiers simply gave up. At least 120 people died, but many uncounted militants were also reported killed in air strikes. At least 30 people were wounded. Tallying casualties in the hot zone is nearly impossible and these figures are only an estimate of known casualties.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is calling for the formation of militia units to drive ISIS/DAASH militants out of Iraq. In the past, Maliki has treated the militias poorly, particularly Sunni-dominated ones.
Although recent suggestions for the reinstatement of the Mahdi Army were rejected, Shi’ite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is now calling for the formation of units, perhaps under different leadership.
A Kurdish member of the Iraq Army said that only 300 troops could have savedMosul, but the Arab members quickly fled. He believes they left because they are not welcome by Mosul residents. The government launched air strikes today.
Peshmerga forces have secured Kirkuk. The long-term ramifications of this are unclear as the city is deep within territory contested by the Kurdish Autonomous Region. After the U.S. invasion in 2003, US forces welcomed Peshmerga help, but the Iraqi government has frequently rejected the Kurdish fighters. The Kurdish Regional Government would certainly benefit from gaining this historically Kurdish and oil-rich region.
Although the Iraqi government insists it took back Tikrit, today the air force bombedmilitants holed up in a former Saddam Hussein palace. Also, elite Iranian troops have been deployed there.
Militants have returned to Baiji.
Iraqi troops abandoned their post on the Syrian border near Qaim, Anbar. Residents are forming their own militia to protect the city and border crossing.
Also in Anbar, troops fled the Mazraa military base.
Troops also abandoned their base in Saqlawiya.
Fighting is ongoing in Samarra.
In Jalawla, an Iraqi SWAT team fought with Peshmerga troops before deserting the city. Other towns in Diyala have Peshmerga protection now as well.
Iraqi troops abandoned Kubaisa after a battle with militants.
Clashes between police and gunmen took place in Rutba.
The government denied clashes were occurring on the outskirts of Baghdad.
Tribal fighters are protecting holy sites in Samarra.
Casualties:
The bodies of 12 Iraq soldiers were discovered in Shirqat.
Military air strikes killed three civilians and wounded 12 more in Falluja.
Gunmen in Balad killed two army officers and two university professors driving in a car.
In Baiji, gunmen killed the 10-year-old nephew of a member of parliament.
Over 70 militants were killed in air strikes in Salah ad Din province.
Iraqi forces killed six militants, including an emir, in Abu Ghraib.
The army killed many militants during operations around Tikrit.
Air strikes in Duluiya and Mutassim left many militants dead.
Dozens of militants were killed in air strikes near Adhaim.
Bombs just south of Baghdad in Fadhiliya killed 21 militants.
In Baghdad, security forces killed an insurgent. A kidnapping victim was rescued.




Debka.....


President Barack Obama is close to a decision on a number of US military steps for thwarting the march of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, now halted at Samarra 70 km short of Baghdad. In a comment Thursday night, June 12, he said: “We do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria, for that matter.” He added that he was thinking of “short-term military things.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been appealing to the White House for months for Apache helicopters and Hellfire air-ground rockets to fight terrorists. These Obama may now release, as well as considering token US drone attacks on ISIS targets in Iraq, for which he is most reluctant..

Thursday afternoon, Iran’s most powerful gun, the Al Qods Brigades chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, arrived in Baghdad to take over the push against ISIS, in the same way as he has managed Bashar Assad’s war in Syria, and pull together the demoralized and scattered Iraqi army.

Those steps by Washington and Tehran pave the way for the US and Iran to cooperate for the first time in a joint military endeavor.

Since ISIS forces, albeit boosted by tens of thousands of armed Sunnis flocking to the black flag, are not capable of capturing Baghdad and have halted outside the city, President Obama and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have won a small space for deciding how to proceed.

Khamenei must determine whether Gen. Soleimani with the help of American weaponry can stop al Qaeda, save Maliki from collapse and prevent the fall of Baghdad, and whether it is worth sending an Iranian army division over to Iraq, our intelligence sources reported earlier Thursday. They have since entered Iraq and are fighting ISIS forces.

These moves by Tehran will determined how Washington acts in the coming hours.

The big winner of the ISIS onslaught on Iraq, apart from Al Qaeda,  is the semiautonomous Kurdish republic in the north. When the Iraqi army's 12th division assigned with defending Kirkuk and its oil fields scattered to the four winds Thursday, the Kurdish Peshmerga army rolled right in and snatched the city and oil fields from the control of the Baghdad government, fulfilling an old Kurdish dream.