Maliki asks for US help as ISIS expands in Iraq

After the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) seized control of several cities in Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called on the United States for assistance.

al-monitor Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki speaks during an interview in Baghdad, Jan. 12, 2014. Photo by REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani.

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united states, nouri al-maliki, mosul, iraq, government, baghdad

Jun 13, 2014

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has seized control of major Iraqi cities that were believed to be protected, and started threatening the federal government in Baghdad and putting the unity of the country at risk, especially after the failure of political leaders to reach a unified vision toward confronting ISIS. The latter took over military bases in Mosul and Tikrit, using the military's weapons and equipment.

Following the military breakdowns, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had to ask for the help of the United States, which in turn mobilized its allies. President Barack Obama said his government is looking at “all options,” excluding ground troops. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called on “the international community to take swift action,” while the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed its readiness to provide “any kind of support in order to restore security in Iraq.” The Russian delegate at the United Nations declared that immediate action ought to be taken to deal with the situation.

The Security Council held an emergency session and ruefully denounced the recent attacks in Mosul, and the ISIS attacks on civilians and military members.

Al-Hayat learned from Iraqi sources that the Kurds warned Maliki four days ago about the ISIS attack on Kirkuk, and offered him help in addressing the organization in Mosul, which he refused. The peshmerga troops were subsequently ordered to advance to the city and protect it.

Furthermore, the Iraqi parliament failed yesterday [June 12] to hold a session dedicated to the declaration of a state of emergency, while leaders of political blocs failed to take a unified position.

In Mosul, the military force announced that it had carried out a hundred flyovers and bombed militants’ sites. However, the situation on the ground seemed completely different as the ISIS militants disappeared from the streets of the city, where other gunmen spread. These are believed to belong to the “Naqshbandi Army,” led by former Iraqi Vice President Izzat al-Duri.

Meanwhile, the armed groups appointed a former army general named Azhar al-Obeidi as governor of the city, which indicates the involvement of various armed groups on the ground.

The situation in Tikrit is not any different from that in Mosul, which witnessed the spread of gunmen belonging to the Baath Party and the organization of Duri, as Ahmed Abdul Rashid was appointed governor.

On the ground, there were conflicting reports about a video posted yesterday on social networking sites. This video shows militants holding hundreds of fighters from the Spyker military base in Tikrit (formerly, the military base of Tikrit), but Interior Ministry Spokesman Saad Maan denied the news, while sources in Tikrit confirmed that insurgents had gained control of the camp and captured hundreds of students from the Aviation College, which lies inside the camp.

Politically, Maliki failed to get a parliamentary mandate to declare a state of emergency in Iraq as the majority of the members boycotted the session held yesterday [June 12]. The night before, sources said that conflicts and quarrels took place between Maliki and politicians in a meeting of senior political leaders in Iraq, including Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi and Head of the Citizen Coalition Ammar al-Hakim. Al-Hayat learned that Maliki rejected a proposal submitted by Hakim to form a national security council in Iraq tasked with managing the crisis. Maliki walked out of the meeting and refused to provide information on the military situation in the country.

The (Shiite) National Alliance MP Khalid al-Attiyah said, “The parliament failed to hold a session to discuss the security implications of the events of Mosul due to a lack of quorum.” He accused coalitions of abstaining from attending to disrupt the passing of the bill. “The government will resort to the Federal Court in the event it needed anything once parliament’s term expires,” he added.

He said during a news conference: “All of the coalition MPs were in parliament to attend the emergency meeting, but there are other blocs that did not attend.” He blamed them for what happened and will happen in the coming days.

State of Law Coalition MP Hanan al-Fatlawi blamed the Kurds for what happened in the province of Mosul. He said, “The conspiracy of the Kurds and the ideology, ‘United to Sell Mosul,’ have become clear through the boycott of the parliament session.”

Head of the National Alliance Ibrahim al-Jaafari stressed in a statement issued after the meeting of political leaders — which he called for — “the need to preserve the unity, achieve national participation in the decision-making process and hold to account those who failed to take the necessary action to solve the situation in Mosul.” Another source said, “Those who were in attendance were unable to form a security policy board tasked with wisely and realistically dealing with the crisis in the country, while involving leaders of political and national blocs in the council’s decisions.”

“The national symbols of Iraq have met to assess the circumstances through which our dear Iraq is going, and the participants confirmed the need to preserve national unity and realign the ranks,” the statement added. It also stressed “the need to courageously confront the brutal terrorism and interact with what has happened in the dear city of Mosul by exerting utmost efforts and providing the necessary supplies to restore its sovereignty and maintain its wealth.”

Mohammed Adnani, a spokesman for ISIS, addressed members of the organization in an audio recording on the militant websites, saying, “Crawl to Baghdad, the city of Caliphate, we have a score to settle.” Adnani addressed Maliki and said: “This is a message to the little idiot of the rejectionist (Shiites) Nouri al-Maliki and the political and military leadership. You led your people toward losing a historic opportunity to control Iraq. We really have a score to settle, and it won’t be settled in Samarra or Baghdad, but in Karbala and Najaf.”

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