Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Iraq. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Iraq. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τετάρτη, Ιανουαρίου 21, 2015

Abe: Japan in 'Race Against Time' to Free Hostages Held by IS

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country is in a "race against time" to free two hostages being held by the Islamic State group for a $200 million ransom.
Abe told reporters Wednesday in Tokyo that he has instructed officials to use every possible diplomatic channel to secure the release of Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa. 

Islamic State militants released a video Tuesday saying they would kill the men unless Japan paid the money within 72 hours, linking the threat to what they said was Japan's support for efforts to fight the group.

The prime minister said Wednesday that Japan "will never give in to terrorism." He has pledged $200 million in non-military aid to those countries affected by the Sunni extremists.

Japan is not among the countries directly participating in the coalition battling insurgents in Syria and Iraq.

However, Japanese citizens have previously been killed by Islamic militants - the most notable attack was at an Algerian gas plant in 2013 where ten Japanese died. 
   [VOA News]
   21/1/15
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  • Japan PM says will do utmost to free captives 

Japan will do its utmost to free two of its countrymen believed to be held captive by the Islamic State militant group, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters on Wednesday, adding that Tokyo would never give in to terrorism.

"I have instructed (the government) that we will exhaust all possible measures to have the two freed, using all diplomatic channels, all diplomatic routes we have built so far," Abe said.

"Our country will never give in to terrorism."

Islamic State released an online video on Tuesday purporting to show two Japanese captives and threatening to kill them unless it received $200 million in ransom.

   [jpost.com by Reuters]

  21/1/15

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  • Islamic State likely gave hostage ultimatum knowing difficulty of meeting it...

By giving Tokyo just 72 hours to come up with an eye-popping $200 million ransom for a pair of Japanese hostages it is threatening to kill, the Islamic State group has likely made its demand with the implicit knowledge that it won’t be met.

Instead, the group, which has seized large swaths of Syria and Iraq in its quest to create an Islamic caliphate, is likely using the situation to generate controversy and keep its name in the news, according to leading analysts.
“The Islamic State has specialized in manufacturing attention-grabbing international crises,” Joshua M. Landis, a prominent Syria analyst and the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told The Japan Times
............http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/01/21/national/politics-diplomacy/islamic-state-likely-gave-hostage-ultimatum-knowing-difficulty-of-meeting-it/#.VL_LTiwYE9Q
 21/1/15

Τρίτη, Οκτωβρίου 28, 2014

Peshmerga fighters to deploy to Kobane with heavy weapons: Kurdish officials

An agreement regarding the route for the deployment of Peshmerga fighters to the besieged Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane has been reached and troops are on the verge of departing, officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) told Anadolu Agency on Oct. 28.

The spokesman of the KRG’s Peshmerga Ministry said discussions had dragged on because of negotiations regarding the heavy weaponry that the troops from Arbil will bring to assist Kurdish fighters in Kobane in their struggle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).


“All the preparations for our Peshmerga troops have ended. There were some technical issues for their departure. Now, all the planning and programming for their departure has concluded. They will depart as soon as possible,” KRG spokesman Halgort Hekmat said.

According to Kurdish security sources, the heavy weaponry will be conveyed by land while a group of fighters will fly to the southeastern Turkish province of Şanlıurfa before passing through a border corridor into Kobane. 

Hekmat said the heavy weaponry sent to Kobane does not include any weaponry given by coalition forces. He also rejected claims that the Peshmerga would only be training and providing logistical assistance to Kurdish fighters.

“The Peshmerga will fight in Kobane against ISIL,” he said, also thanking Ankara for its efforts for facilitating the deployment of the Peshmerga troops.

Meanwhile, Kurdish online newspaper Rudaw claimed that a group of Peshmerga forces will leave Arbil for Şanlıurfa in the early hours of Oct. 29. 

 [ hurriyetdailynews.com]
28/10/14

Παρασκευή, Οκτωβρίου 24, 2014

Kerry Says US Concerned About Reports on IS Chlorine Usage in Iraq

WASHINGTON, October 24 – The United States takes the reports about chlorine attacks against Iraqi police officers by the Islamic State (IS) extremists very seriously, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.

"I'm not in a position to confirm it, but we take these allegations very, very seriously. In particularly, the most recent allegations about the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon," Kerry said at a joint press conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.


Kerry explained that chlorine by itself is not on a chemical weapons list and therefore has not been removed from Syria by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission.

"When mixed in certain ways and used in certain ways it [chlorine] can become a chemical weapon that is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Agreement. We are seeking additional information in order to be able to determine whether or not we can confirm it," said Kerry.

On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that the September 15 chlorine attack against 11 Iraqi police officers appears to be the first confirmed use of chemical weapons by the IS.

In September, Iraqi media said that the IS militants fired the city of Dulu’iyya with shells that contained toxic substances, presumably chlorine.

The Islamic State is a Sunni jihadist group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing vast areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.

(RIA Novosti)
24/10/14

Τετάρτη, Οκτωβρίου 22, 2014

Blackwater guards convicted in Iraq killings

Four former employees of the US security company Blackwater have been convicted of almost every charge related to the shootings of more than 30 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad seven years ago.
The jury in Washington found Nicholas Slatten guilty of first-degree murder, and the three other ex-security guards - Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard - were convicted on Wednesday of committing multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter at a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007.

The trial focused on the killings of 14 Iraqis and the wounding of 17 others.
The shootings, which came in the fourth year of the US military invasion of the country, triggered an international uproar over the role of defence contractors, who were hired by the US State Department to protect American diplomats in the Middle Eastern country. 
The four men were charged with a combined 33 counts in the shootings and the jury is expected to continue deliberating on the other counts.
However, Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Washington, noted that "even though the men were convicted, the sentencing has not yet been settled".
"They [convicts] plan to appeal the verdicts," she said. 
"The end of the legal saga is not yet in sight."

Legal battles
The case was mired in legal battles for years, making it uncertain whether the defendants would ever be tried.
There was sharp disagreement over the facts in the case. 
The defendants' lawyers said there was strong evidence the guards were targeted with gunfire from fighters and Iraqi police, leading the Blackwater employees to shoot back in self-defence. 
However, federal prosecutors said there was no incoming gunfire and that the shootings by the guards were unprovoked.
One of the government witnesses in the case, Blackwater guard Jeremy Ridgeway, pleaded guilty to killing an unarmed Iraqi mother sitting in the passenger seat of a car driven by her son.
  Source: Al Jazeera and agencies 
22/10/14

Πέμπτη, Οκτωβρίου 02, 2014

Turkish government gets OK for military operations in Syria, Iraq. The mandate to begin tomorrow will last for one year.

A comprehensive motion authorizing the government to deploy the Turkish army into Iraq and Syria and to allow the deployment of foreign troops on Turkish soil was approved Oct. 2 in Parliament, providing the necessary legality for Turkey’s potential contribution to the international coalition’s efforts to destroy jihadists.

The motion, based on Article 92 of the Turkish Constitution, received 298 votes in favor and 98 against.


Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lawmakers voted in favor of the motion while the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) voted against the mandate.

  • The Iraq-Syria motion gives a green light for the use of Turkish troops in Iraq and Syria, as well as for foreign forces to be deployed on Turkish military bases and to transit through Turkish territory in operations against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants. The mandate to begin tomorrow will last for one year. The government merged two existing motions on Syria and Iraq into one, arguing that the threats and risks posed by terrorist organizations are using both countries’ territories. 

“The threat against Turkey has gained a new dimension. It’s our obligation to take measures against this threat and to protect our citizens in the frame of international law,” Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz told Parliament. Yılmaz cited the efforts of the international coalition to battle against extremist jihadists in Syria and underlined that Turkey was also part of these efforts.

But just hours before the parliamentary session, Yılmaz stressed that the adoption of the motion did not mean that Turkey would take immediate steps in line with the scope of the motion. The three priorities Turkey has already outlined are to establish safe havens inside Syria to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrians in their own country, establish no-fly zones for the protection of these zones and train and provide logistics to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Turkey. Turkey is yet to decide what measures it will take in this framework but it has made it clear that all such potential measures to be carried out with the participation of coalition forces should also target the Syrian government. 

‘Assad is the main source of unrest’

“The main source of ISIL is the Syrian regime,” Yılmaz said, adding that Damascus had increased its oppression against dissidents in the country, committing massacres against its own citizens in various ways. “The developments in Iraq have proven that there is a need of a holistic and comprehensive strategy to respond to the regional clashes and humanitarian tragedy. The region will be dragged into further conflict in the event the international community does not take a decisive step,” he added.

Mehmet Şandır, a deputy parliamentary group leader of the MHP, stressed that they were voting in favor of the motion because of their sensitivity to national causes and security while adding that that did not mean that it approved the ruling party’s foreign policy line. “If there is a possibility of an attack against our country, we should take measures to defend our country,” Şandır said.

CHP: Motion is a battle cry

Akif Hamzaçebi, deputy parliamentary group leader of the CHP, described the motion as a “battle cry” and stressed that it was not aimed at fighting against ISIL but the Bashar al-Assad regime, which could drag Turkey into war with Syria. “Where is ISIL in this motion? Mr. President was caught red-handed yesterday with his address to Parliament as he outlined that their main objective was to topple the regime,” Hamzaçebi said. “We simply do not want to draw Turkey into this fire.”

Faruk Loğoğlu, speaking on behalf of the CHP, termed the point Turkey arrived at a crossroads that would negatively affect the future of Turkey and the region. “This motion is the result of an adventurous foreign policy. And we should all vote against it,” Loğoğlu said.

HDP: Gov’t still supporting ISIL


Ertuğrul Kürkçü, a lawmaker from the HDP, argued that the Turkish government did have any concerns over ISIL’s existence in Iraq and Syria and that the motion was just an attempt to show off on behalf of Turkey for its regional ambitions. “You were bystanders to the ISIL massacres. You had no such issue until Barack Obama targeted ISIL,” Kürkçü said. “You were the ones who supported ISIL, and you are still supporting it.”

Linking the ongoing Kurdish resolution process to the clashes between ISIL and the Syrian Kurds’ Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the Kobane region of northern Syria, Kürkçü said, “If Kobane fails, the resolution process will also fail.” 

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-government-gets-ok-for-military-operations-in-syria-iraq.aspx?pageID=238&nID=72482&NewsCatID=338
2/10/14
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Τρίτη, Σεπτεμβρίου 30, 2014

Turkey’s ISIL mandate includes 'military action abroad, opening bases to foreign troops'

The mandate the Turkish government is seeking from the Parliament to authorize the army to send troops into Iraq and Syria to deal with growing threat of extremist jihadists does also include opening its bases to foreign troops, a senior government official has said, signalling about potential Turkish contribution to the international military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“The motion we are about to send the Parliament is going to be comprehensive and to deal today’s and tomorrow’s threats,” deputy Prime Minister and spokesperson of the government, Bülent Arınç told reporters Sept. 30 following weekly cabinet meeting.


Upon a question whether the motion to be sent to Parliament will include sending troops to foreign countries to establish security zones, to allow deployment of foreign troops and to open Turkish military bases to foreign troops, Arınç said “Let me include one more option: All. The motion will refer to all of these points you have asked.”

“We are a determined government. We perfectly know what’s going on inside and outside Turkey. This issue of security zone and other issues all have diplomatic and military reflections,” he added.

After another question, Arınç said that the ISIL militants are advancing on Suleyman Shah Tomb in northern Syria, which Turkish soldiers continue to guard.

  • Turkey is insisting to establish safe havens in Syria for the protection of Syrian refugees inside the country. Apart from a security zone, it does also ask coalition members led by the United States to establish no-fly zones over Syrian airspace.   

The motion is based on Article 92 of Turkey's Constitution that stipulates parliamentary authorization for sending troops to another country or to allow deployment of foreign troops on Turkish soils.

Arınç said the motion has two parts, its reasoning and demands from the Parliament, and underlined that it will be as comprehensive as possible so that the government will not need a fresh parliamentary mandate.

“We were planning to extend already existing motions on Iraq and Syria that will expiry in October. Their validity could be extended in a routine way but we have thought to work on a text merging these motions that would address all threats and risks Turkey is facing in its region,” Arınç stressed.

The motion is expected to be voted at the Parliament on Oct. 2 following a closed session due to sensitivity of the issue.

[hurriyetdailynews.com]
30/9/14

Τρίτη, Σεπτεμβρίου 16, 2014

US to strike ISIL 'sanctuaries' in Syria

US plans to carry out air strikes against Islamic State and the Levant (ISIL) fighters in Syria and will target the group's sanctuaries, command centres and logistic networks, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel has told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"This plan includes targeted actions against ISIL safe havens in Syria, including its command and control, logistics capabilities, and infrastructure," Hagel told the Committee on Tuesday.
But the US military's top-ranking officer, General Martin Dempsey, told the same hearing that the bombing would not resemble the large-scale raids that accompanied the start of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.


Commanders at the time dubbed the campaign a bid to provoke "shock and awe" among ex-president Saddam Hussein's troops.
"This will not look like 'shock and awe' because that is not how ISIL is organised, but it will be persistent and sustainable," Dempsey said.
Military leaders warned of a further escalation in their battle against ISIL just as two branches of the rival al-Qaeda group called for a united front against the war coalition Washington is building.
  • US warplanes have been targeting the group's fighters in northern Iraq since August 8, and in recent days hit its fighters southwest of Baghdad for the first time, in a significant expansion of the campaign.
  • The US strikes against ISIL fighters in the Sadr al-Yusufiyah area, 25km from Baghdad, was the first in support of Iraqi forces near the capital.
They bring the number of US air strikes across Iraq to 162. The CIA estimates that the ISIL may be able to field as many as 31,500 fighters - many of them foreign volunteers.
Obama has vowed to expand American efforts and US diplomats are scrambling to put together an international coalition for a "relentless" campaign against ISIL.
The slow coming together of this alliance drew a fierce reaction from al-Qaeda's branches in Yemen and in North Africa, who said jihadist forces must also unite against the common threat.
In a joint statement, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) urged their "brothers" in Iraq and Syria to "stop killing each other and unite against the American campaign and its evil coalition that threatens us all."
 http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/09/us-strike-isil-sanctuaries-syria-2014916155412432503.html
16/9/14

Δευτέρα, Αυγούστου 18, 2014

Pope backs action to protect Iraq minorities if U.N. OKs


ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis on Monday endorsed the use of force to stop Islamist militants from attacking religious minorities in Iraq but said the international community — and not just one country — should decide how to intervene.

Francis also said he and his advisers were considering whether he might go to northern Iraq himself to show solidarity with persecuted Christians. But he said he was holding off for now on a decision.
In other comments to journalists returning from South Korea, Francis confirmed he hoped to travel to the United States in September 2015 for a possible three-city tour: to attend a family rally in Philadelphia and to address Congress in Washington and the United Nations in New York. He said a Mexico stop on that trip was possible but not decided yet. He also said he might make one-day visit to Spain next year.

On Iraq, Francis was asked if he approved of the unilateral U.S. airstrikes on militants of the Islamic State who have captured swaths of northern and western Iraq and northeastern Syria and have forced minority Christians and others to either convert to Islam or flee their homes.

"In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor," Francis said. "I underscore the verb 'stop.' I'm not saying 'bomb' or 'make war,' just 'stop.' And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated."

But, he said, in history, such "excuses" to stop an unjust aggression have been used by world powers to justify a "war of conquest" in which an entire people have been taken over.

"One nation alone cannot judge how you stop this, how you stop an unjust aggressor," he said, apparently referring to the United States. "After World War II, the idea of the United Nations came about: It's there that you must discuss 'Is there an unjust aggression? It seems so. How should we stop it?' Just this. Nothing more."

His comments were significant because the Vatican has vehemently opposed any military intervention in recent years, with St. John Paul II actively trying to head off the Iraq war and Francis himself staging a global prayer and fast for peace when the U.S. was threatening airstrikes on Syria last year.

But the Vatican has been increasingly showing support for military intervention in Iraq, given that Christians are being directly targeted because of their faith and that Christian communities which have existed for 2,000 years have been emptied as a result of the extremists' onslaught.

The U.S. began launching airstrikes against Islamic State fighters on Aug. 8, allowing Kurdish forces to fend off an advance on their regional capital of Irbil and to help tens of thousands of religious minorities escape.

Church teaching allows for "just wars," when military force can be justified under certain circumstances. And in recent days, a few Vatican officials have edged increasingly toward acknowledging the Iraq situation fits the bill.

When the Vatican's ambassador to Iraq, Monsignor Giorgio Lingua, was asked about the U.S. airstrikes, he told Vatican Radio that it was unfortunate that the situation had gotten to this point "but it's good when you're able to at the very least remove weapons from these people who have no scruples."
  • The Vatican's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, went further, saying "Maybe military action is necessary at this moment."
Francis sent a personal envoy, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, to northern Iraq last week with an undisclosed amount of money to help people in flight and show the pope's solidarity with those forced to flee their homes..............................http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/08/18/pope-oks-protecting-iraq-minorities-wants-un-ok/14241193/18/8/14

Πέμπτη, Αυγούστου 14, 2014

UN declares Iraq emergency amid clashes

Declaration of emergency will bring in more funds and aid for those displaced by fighting in the country....

The United Nations has declared its highest level of emergency in Iraq as fresh clashes between government troops and Sunni rebels killed four children west of Baghdad.
Fighting erupted early on Thursday in the rebel-held city of Fallujah, about 65km west of Baghdad.
The clashes on the city's northern outskirts killed four children, along with a woman and at least 10 fighters, said Fallujah hospital director Ahmed Shami.

Fallujah has been in the hands of the Islamic State since early January, when the group seized much of Western Anbar province along with parts of the provincial capital of Ramadi.

The fighting came as the UN declared the situation in Iraq a "Level 3 Emergency" - a development that will trigger additional goods, funds and assets to respond to the needs of the displaced, said UN special representative Nickolay Mladenov, pointing to the "scale and complexity of the current humanitarian catastrophe."
The Security Council also said it was backing a newly nominated premier-designate in the hope that he can swiftly form an "inclusive government'' that could counter the threat from rebels, which has plunged Iraq into its worst crisis since the US troop withdrawal in 2011.
Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled the Islamic State group's advance to take refuge in the remote desert Sinjar mountain range.

The US and Iraqi military have dropped food and water supplies, and in recent days Kurds from neighbouring Syria battled to open a corridor to the mountain, allowing some 45,000 to escape.

  • On Thursday, President Barack Obama said the US had broken the siege on Sinjar Mountain, but that airstrikes would continue.

Speaking at Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, Obama said US operations helped thousands of civilians flee down the mountain, and that it was unlikely that more airdrops of food and water would be needed.

The UN said it would provide increased support to those who had escaped Sinjar and to 400,000 other Iraqis who had fled since June to the Kurdish province of Dahuk. Others have fled to other parts of the Kurdish region or further south.
A total of 15 million have been displaced by the fighting since the rebels captured Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, in June and quickly swept over other parts of the country.
The United States has been carrying out airstrikes in recent days against Islamic State fighters, helping fend back their advance on Kurdish regions.

Political turmoil
Meanwhile, Iraq's central government in Baghdad continued to be mired in political turmoil, after the president nominated a Shia politician, Haider al-Abadi, to form the next government, putting him on track to replace embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Al-Maliki on Wednesday said he would not relinquish power until a federal court rules on what he called a "constitutional violation" by President Fouad Massoum.
Al-Maliki insists he should have a third term in office but he is appearing increasingly isolated as the international community lines up behind al-Abadi, who has 30 days to come up with a proposal for a cabinet.
The UN Security Council urged al-Abadi to work swiftly to form "an inclusive government that represents all segments of the Iraqi population and that contributes to finding a viable and sustainable solution to the country's current challenges."
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/08/un-declares-iraq-emergency-amid-clashes-201481413510196963.html
14/8/14
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Τρίτη, Αυγούστου 12, 2014

Iraq's new PM backed by US, Iran

Iraq's new prime minister-designate won swift endorsements from uneasy mutual allies the United States and Iran today as he called on political leaders to end crippling feuds that have let jihadists seize a third of the country.
Haider al-Abadi still faces opposition closer to home, where his Shi'ite party colleague Nuri al-Maliki has refused to step aside after eight years as premier that have alienated Iraq's once dominant Sunni minority and irked Washington and Tehran.

However, Shi'ite militia and army commanders long loyal to Maliki signalled their backing for the change, as did many people on the streets of Baghdad, eager for an end to fears of a further descent into sectarian and ethnic bloodletting.

As Western powers and international aid agencies considered further help for tens of thousands of people driven from their homes and under threat from the Sunni militants of the Islamic State near the Syrian border, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States would consider requests for military and other assistance once Abadi forms a government to unite the country.

Underscoring the convergence of interest in Iraq that marks the normally hostile relationship between Washington and Iran, senior Iranian officials congratulated Abadi on his nomination, three months after a parliamentary election left Maliki's bloc as the biggest in the legislature. Like Western powers, Shi'ite Iran is alarmed by Sunni militants' hold in Syria and Iraq.

"Iran supports the legal process that has taken its course with respect to choosing Iraq's new prime minister," the representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the Supreme National Security Council was quoted as saying.
"Iran favours a cohesive, integrated and secure Iraq," he said, adding an apparent appeal to Maliki to concede.

Abadi himself, long exiled in Britain, is seen as a far less polarising, sectarian figure than Maliki, who is also from the Shi'ite Islamic Dawa party. Abadi appears to have the blessing of Iraq's powerful Shi'ite clergy, a major force in the land since U.S. troops toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Iraqi state television said Abadi "called on all political powers who believe in the constitution and democracy to unite efforts and close ranks to respond to Iraq's great challenges".
One politician close to Abadi told Reuters that the prime minister-designate had begun contacting leaders of major groups to sound them out on forming a new cabinet. The president said on Monday he hoped he would succeed within the next month.
Maliki angrily dismissed Abadi's nomination on Monday as illegal. But there was no further sign of opposition on Tuesday.

A statement from a major Shi'ite militia group, Asaib Ahl Haq, which has backed Maliki and reinforced the Iraqi army as it fell back from the north in June, called for an end to the legalistic arguments of the kind used by Maliki to justify his retaining power and urged "self-restraint by all sides".
It said leaders should "give priority to the public interest over the private" and respect the guidance of clerical leaders - a clear reference to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's indication that he favours the removal of Maliki to address the national crisis.
 http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/166930/iraqs-new-pm-backed-by-us-iran
12/8/14
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***Photo: Iraqi President Fuad Masum (2nd L) shakes hands with deputy parliamentary speaker Haidar al-Abadi (R) after he was tasked with forming a government during a brief ceremony broadcast on state television.

Σάββατο, Αυγούστου 09, 2014

Obama warns Iraq operation could take time

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday U.S. airstrikes have destroyed arms and equipment that Islamic State insurgents could have used to attack Erbil, the Iraqi Kurdish capital, but warned the current operation in Iraq could take some time.

“I don’t think we’re going to solve this problem in weeks. This is going to take some time,” Obama told reporters.
“This is going to be a long-term project,” he said during a brief news conference before leaving Washington for a two-week vacation in Massachusetts.


Obama said the United States would continue to provide military assistance and advice to the Baghdad government and Kurdish forces, but stressed repeatedly the importance of Iraq forming its own inclusive government.

“I think this a wake-up call for a lot of Iraqis inside of Baghdad recognizing that we’re going to have to rethink how we do business if we’re going to hold our country together,” Obama said.

Obama on Thursday authorized the U.S. military to make airdrops of humanitarian assistance to prevent what he called a potential “genocide” of the ancient Yazidi religious sect in Iraq and conduct targeted strikes on Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq, a limited operation to protect American officials working in the country.

In Saturday’s remarks, Obama described next steps, including creating a safe corridor for the Yazidis to leave the mountain. He also said longer-term operations must include counter-terrorism.


Last Update: Saturday, 9 August 2014 KSA 19:08 - GMT 16:08 
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/08/09/Obama-says-won-t-let-ISIS-create-caliphate-.html
 

Τετάρτη, Ιουλίου 02, 2014

Kurdish President: Conditions Favorable for Independence. (The Kurds tried to help build “a new Iraq.”)

As Iraq’s attempts at building a new government failed on Tuesday, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani said he would push for a referendum on independence for Kurdistan.

Barzani spoke with VOA's Persian service on Tuesday in Irbil, the largest city in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The Iraqi army has struggled against offensives by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Islamic militant group that has captured large sections of Iraq’s north and west.


When the Iraqi army abandoned the city of Kirkuk, Kurdish peshmerga stepped in to defend the city, as well as other northern towns deserted by Iraqi forces.

The Kurds are exerting control over a larger part of the region, which is behind an increased push for independence.

“This is a natural right that must be achieved,” Barzani said, adding that he hopes to conduct a referendum within months. “ I believe now the conditions are also favorable for independence. … Once achieved, we will help our brethren in Iraq, within our capabilities, to help Iraq maybe surmount the current crisis.

“But this does not mean that we will set aside the independence of Kurdistan,” he added. “A referendum in Kurdish areas will determine our ultimate decision. We will implement whatever the people decide.”

'A new Iraq'

As far as what the future holds for Iraq, Barzani said, “I doubt if Iraq will go back to what it was. Maybe only God knows what will happen.”

He said that in 2003, with the downfall of former Iraq President Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime, the Kurds tried to help build “a new Iraq.”

An Iraq “in which everyone’s rights and duties were well defined … in order to build a democratic, federal, multi-party Iraq,” he said.

However, that didn’t happen, Barzani said.

“If a democratic, federal, Iraq would have taken shape, and Kurdish rights had not been violated, no one would have thought about independence,” he said.

The country today finds itself split along ethnic and secular lines, as witnessed Tuesday in Iraq’s parliament session, which ended quickly after Sunnis and Kurds walked out.

They complained that the Shi'ites had failed to nominate a prime minister, a condition they had set for revealing their nominees for speaker.

Respect for Kurds

Barzani said there are conditions that must be met before the Kurds will help in supporting the current Iraqi government.

“The Kurds did not bring about the dangerous situation (that threatens) the integrity of Iraq,” he said. “We have not partitioned Iraq, rather, it was others who brought about this catastrophe and broke up Iraq into pieces. And that is why those who created this situation must resolve it as well.“

Barzani said that for years, Kurds have been treated as “second- and third-class citizens. That is why, from now on, we will not accept such treatment," adding that this is another reason he is pushing for independence for the Kurdish people.....................http://www.voanews.com/content/kurdish-president-conditions-are-favorable-for-independence/1949439.html

2/7/14
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Related:

Τρίτη, Ιουνίου 24, 2014

ISIS positions in Iraq bombed by unknown planes (a new reality and a new Iraq)

The positions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, ISIL) in the northern Iraqi city of al-Qaim were bombed by unknown fighter planes on Tuesday.

The White House denied U.S. planes carried out the airstrikes after an Iraqi television station reported that U.S. jets were behind the bombings.

Tribal sources told Al Arabiya News that Syrian fighter planes carried out the raids.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s air force has bombed Baiji - about 200km north of Baghdad, where ISIS fighters seized an oil refinery, according to Al Arabiya's correspondent.


Also on Tuesday, Iraq’s ambassador to Tehran said that the Iraqi government has not asked Iran for help against Sunni militants, Agence France-Presse reported.

The remarks by Mohammad Madjid al-Sheikh came after Iranian leaders repeatedly said they were ready to assist Baghdad against the insurgency that has taken control of a large swathe of Iraqi territory.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held crisis talks with leaders of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on Tuesday urging them to stand with Baghdad in the face of the waves of insurgency gripping the country.

  • During his visit, Kerry was warned by Kurdish President Massoud Barzani that the rapid advances made by insurgents had already created “a new reality and a new Iraq,” signaling that the U.S. faces major difficulties in its efforts to promote unity among the country's divided factions, the Associated Press reported.
The U.N., meanwhile, said more than 1,000 people, most civilians, have been killed in Iraq so far this month, the highest death toll since the U.S. military withdrew from the country in December 2011.
Last Update: Tuesday, 24 June 2014 KSA 21:19 - GMT 18:19 
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/06/24/U-S-planes-bombs-ISIS-positions-on-Iraqi-Syria-border.html
24/6/14
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Related:

 

Κυριακή, Ιουνίου 22, 2014

Pétrole: Téhéran prêt à compenser la baisse de la production en Irak

Téhéran est prêt à compenser la baisse de la production pétrolière en Irak due à l'aggravation de la situation dans ce pays, rapporte samedi l'agence IRNA, citant le ministre iranien du pétrole Bijan Namdar-Zangheneh.

D'après le ministre, suite aux opérations armées lancées par le groupe djihadiste Etat islamique en Irak et au Levant (EIIL), les prix du pétrole ont augmenté de 5%. Selon des informations publiées la semaine dernière, les islamistes ont attaqué une grande raffinerie de pétrole dans la ville de Baïdji (nord de l'Irak). Ils ont pénétré sur le territoire de l'entreprise et détruit plusieurs réservoirs de pétrole. 


Evoquant les sanctions décrétées par Washington contre l'industrie pétrolière iranienne, M. Namdar-Zangheneh a souligné que Téhéran "cherchait à maintenir le niveau stable de production de pétrole".

Le ministre a également espéré que malgré les sanctions américaines, les compagnies pétrolières étrangères reviendraient en Iran et que des projets portant sur le gaz seraient également relancés. 

Appuyé par des sunnites irakiens et par d'anciens militaires de l'armée de Saddam Hussein, le groupe EIIL s'est emparé en une semaine d'une région irakienne englobant la province de Ninawa, dont Mossoul, deuxième ville du pays, ainsi que d'une partie de la province de Salah ad-Din. Les islamistes menacent d'attaquer Bagdad, ce qui pousse les étrangers à quitter massivement la capitale irakienne.

Dans les régions occupées, les djihadistes pratiquent des exécutions sommaires, contraignant des milliers d'habitants à fuir leurs foyers.

[RIA Novosti]21/6/14 
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Σάββατο, Ιουνίου 21, 2014

Pétrole: Téhéran prêt à compenser la baisse de la production en Irak

Téhéran est prêt à compenser la baisse de la production pétrolière en Irak due à l'aggravation de la situation dans ce pays, rapporte samedi l'agence IRNA, citant le ministre iranien du pétrole Bijan Namdar-Zangheneh.

D'après le ministre, suite aux opérations armées lancées par le groupe djihadiste Etat islamique en Irak et au Levant (EIIL), les prix du pétrole ont augmenté de 5%. Selon des informations publiées la semaine dernière, les islamistes ont attaqué une grande raffinerie de pétrole dans la ville de Baïdji (nord de l'Irak). Ils ont pénétré sur le territoire de l'entreprise et détruit plusieurs réservoirs de pétrole. 


Evoquant les sanctions décrétées par Washington contre l'industrie pétrolière iranienne, M. Namdar-Zangheneh a souligné que Téhéran "cherchait à maintenir le niveau stable de production de pétrole".

Le ministre a également espéré que malgré les sanctions américaines, les compagnies pétrolières étrangères reviendraient en Iran et que des projets portant sur le gaz seraient également relancés. 

Appuyé par des sunnites irakiens et par d'anciens militaires de l'armée de Saddam Hussein, le groupe EIIL s'est emparé en une semaine d'une région irakienne englobant la province de Ninawa, dont Mossoul, deuxième ville du pays, ainsi que d'une partie de la province de Salah ad-Din. Les islamistes menacent d'attaquer Bagdad, ce qui pousse les étrangers à quitter massivement la capitale irakienne.

Dans les régions occupées, les djihadistes pratiquent des exécutions sommaires, contraignant des milliers d'habitants à fuir leurs foyers.

[RIA Novosti]
21/6/14

Σάββατο, Ιουνίου 14, 2014

Le chaos en Irak pousse les Kurdes vers l'indépendance

Alors que la majeure partie du nord et du centre de l'Irak est en proie au chaos, la région autonome du Kurdistan irakien fait figue d'îlot de stabilité. Reportage à Erbil, la capitale, où l'on parle désormais d'indépendance.

Sous les remparts de la forteresse d'Erbil, la vie suit son cours. Difficile d'imaginer que les avant-postes djihadistes se trouvent à moins de soixante kilomètres. Ces dix dernières années, la région autonome du Kurdistan a été largement épargnée par la violence qui gangrène l'Irak.


Ici, tous se disent confiants dans la capacité des combattants peshmerga à protéger leur territoire. Ils ont pris le contrôle de nombreux secteurs cruciaux à la faveur du retrait de l’armée irakienne.

Le gouvernement local est aujourd'hui l'un des bénéficiaires de cette crise, et à Erbil, capitale de la région autonome du Kurdistan irakien, on parle désormais beaucoup d'indépendance. Reportage de nos envoyés spéciaux Selim El Meddeb et Adam Pletts.
Avec AFP
http://www.france24.com/fr/20140614-kurdistan-erbil-peuple-kurde-irak-eiil-peshmerga-independance/

14/6/14
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Παρασκευή, Ιουνίου 13, 2014

Obama: Iraq has to solve its own problems

President says US troops will not be sent back to Iraq, but his administration is reviewing options to assist Baghdad....

President Barack Obama has said that the United States will not be sending its troops back to Iraq, but is reviewing other options to assist the Iraqi government threatened by an advancing armed group.
"We will not be sending US troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces," Obama said on Friday.

"The US will do our part, but ultimately it's up to the Iraqis, as a sovereign nation, to solve their problems," he said speaking at the White House lawn.
He said that the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant (ISIL) has made significant gains in Iraq and that the armed group had overrun part of the country. 
The threat by ISIL fighters in Iraq poses a danger to the people of Iraq and also, potentially Americans, Obama said.

Administration officials said Obama was considering airstrikes using drones or manned aircraft. Other short-term options include an increase in surveillance and intelligence gathering, including satellite coverage and other monitoring efforts.
The US also is likely to increase various forms of aid to Iraq, including money, military training and both lethal and non-lethal equipment. 

Obama added that Iraq's government must make a sincere effort to address sectarian differences, or else US military help would not succeed in curbing the violence there.
He suggested it could take several days before the administration finalises its response to the situation on the ground.
The last US troops withdrew from Iraq in 2011 after more than eight years of war.
[aljazeera.com]
13/6/14
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Τετάρτη, Ιουνίου 11, 2014

Italian Catholic community warns Christians at risk in Iraq. - 400,000 Christians live in the Niniveh province

An Italian Catholic community warned Wednesday of violence against Christians in Iraq, where a jihadist takeover in Mosul has seen as many as half a million people flee their homes.

"From the sketchy information coming out of Mosul it appears Christians are once more the victims of terrorism and bloodshed," the Sant'Egidio community, which promotes dialogue between religions, said in a statement.


"An explosion of extremist violence is putting at risk a project of religious integration and social development, based on coexistence and collaboration between Christians and Muslims," it said.

Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and their allies on Tuesday seized Mosul and surrounding Nineveh province, and militants have since then captured a large swathe of northern and north-central Iraq.

As many as half a million Iraqis fled their homes in Mosul as ISIL vowed on its Twitter account "not to stop this series of blessed offensives."

Sant'Egidio, which said around half of Iraq's 400,000 Christians live in the Niniveh province, described reports of "numerous victims" and attacks on "sacred buildings, churches and convents, which have been set alight."

Sant'Egidio called on the international community and the Iraqi government "to do everything possible to interrupt the spiral of violence."

  • Known for its ruthless tactics and suicide bombers, ISIL is arguably the most capable force fighting President Bashar al-Assad inside Syria as well as the most powerful militant group in Iraq.
  • ISIL is led by the shadowy Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and backed by thousands of Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq, many of them Westerners.

It appears to be surpassing Al-Qaeda as the world's most dangerous jihadist group.

AFP
[dailystar.com.lb]
11/6/14

Οι νεκροί Έλληνες στα μακεδονικά χώματα σάς κοιτούν με οργή

«Παριστάνετε τα "καλά παιδιά" ελπίζοντας στη στήριξη του διεθνή παράγοντα για να παραμείνετε στην εξουσία», ήταν η κατηγορία πο...