| By HAMZA HENDAWI and
06/22/2014 6:59 pm EDT
western Iraq, capturing four towns and three border crossings and deepening the
predicament of the Shiite-led government in Baghdad led by Nouri al-Maliki.
The latest military victories — including two border posts captured Sunday,
one along the frontier with Jordan and the other with Syria — considerably
expanded territory under the militants' control just two weeks after the
al-Qaida breakaway group began swallowing up chunks of northern Iraq,
heightening pressure on al-Maliki to step aside.
The lightening offensive by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant takes
the group closer to its dream of carving out an Islamic state straddling both
Syria and Iraq. Moreover, controlling the borders with Syria will help it
supply fellow fighters there with weaponry looted from Iraqi warehouses,
significantly reinforcing its ability to battle beleaguered Syrian government
If the Sunni insurgents succeed in their quest to secure an enclave, they
could further unsettle the already volatile Middle East and serve as a magnet
for Jihadists from around the world — much like al-Qaida attracted extremists
in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama, in an interview with CBS' "Face the
Nation" aired Sunday, warned that the Islamic State could grow in power
and destabilize the region. Washington, he said, must remain
"vigilant" but would not "play whack-a-mole and send U.S. troops
... wherever these organizations pop up."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in the Jordanian capital on Sunday, also
weighed in. The Islamic State, he warned, is a "threat not only to Iraq,
but to the entire region."
The U.S. is looking for ways to work with Middle Eastern nations, most of
them led by Sunni governments, to curb the Sunni militant group's growth.
Officials in the United States and the Middle East have suggested privately
that al-Maliki must leave office before Iraq's Sunnis will believe that their
complaints of marginalization by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad will be
Al-Maliki, in office since 2006, has shown no sign he is willing to step down.
However, he has been uncharacteristically silent since Obama and Iraq's top
Shiite cleric both urged the prime minister last week to form an inclusive
government that promotes the interests of all of Iraq's ethnic and religious
Iraq's newly elected parliament must meet by June 30, when it will elect a
speaker and a new president, who, in turn, will ask the leader who enjoys the
support of a simple majority in the 328-seat chamber to form a new government.
Al-Maliki's State of the Law won 92 seats, more than any other group but not
enough to form a government.
The militants' stunning battlefield successes in the north and the west of
Iraq have laid bare the inadequacies of the country's U.S.-trained forces and
their inability to defend the rapidly shrinking territory they hold. In the
north, troops fled in the face of the advancing militants, abandoning their
weapons, vehicles and other equipment. In some cases in the west, they pulled
out either when the militants approached or when they heard of other towns
The chief military spokesman, Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, spoke on Sunday
of tactical withdrawals to regroup and prepare to retake what has been lost to
"We have a very, very serious crisis to deal with," acknowledged a
senior government official close to al-Maliki's inner circle. "Up until
now, we don't have a plan to retake any territory we lost. We are working on
A top Iraqi military intelligence official was equally blunt, saying the
battlefield setbacks in Iraq's restive western Anbar province and the north
have given the militants much more freedom of movement and their firepower has
"Their objective is Baghdad, where we are working frantically to
bolster our defenses," said the official. "I will be honest with you,
even that is not up to the level of what is needed. Morale is low."
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive
It is not clear whether Obama's deployment of up to 300 military advisers to
retrain Iraqi troops could make a difference or turn things around quickly
enough to prevent the militants from digging in and improving their defenses.
Obama has also left the door open for airstrikes.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said he was opposed to any
U.S. involvement in the Iraqi crisis, accusing Washington of fomenting the
unrest. His comments appeared to quash recent speculation that the two rivals
might cooperate in addressing the shared threat posed by the Islamic extremists.
"We strongly oppose the intervention of the U.S. and others in the
domestic affairs of Iraq," Khamenei, who has the final say over Iran's
state policy, was quoted as saying by the IRNA state news agency, in his first
reaction to the crisis. "The main dispute in Iraq is between those who
want Iraq to join the U.S. camp and those who seek an independent Iraq."
"The U.S. aims to bring its own blind followers to power," said
Khamenei, whose Shiite, none-Arab nation has close ties with al-Maliki's
government and effectively plays the role of guarantor for Iraq's Shiite
political domination. The U.S. has long accused Iran of meddling in Iraq,
including organizing and backing Shiite militias following the 2003 invasion.
For now, however, the militants are on a seemingly unstoppable offensive.
On Sunday, their military advances took the conflict in Iraq to the doorstep
of Jordan, a key U.S. ally that also borders embattled Syria to its north.
Sunday's capture of crossings bordering Jordan and Syria follows the fall on
Friday and Saturday of the towns of Qaim, Rawah, Anah and Rutba, all of which
are in Sunni-dominated Anbar province, where the militants have since January
controlled the city of Fallujah and parts of the provincial capital, Ramadi.
Rutba is on the main highway from Baghdad to the two border crossings and
the capture of the crossing into Jordan has effectively cut the Iraqi capital's
main land route to its neighbor. It is a key artery for passengers and goods
and has been infrequently used in recent months because of deteriorating
The capture of Rawah on the Euphrates River and the nearby town of Anah
appeared to be part of a march toward a key dam in the city of Haditha, the
destruction of which would damage the country's electrical grid and cause major
flooding. The military has dispatched reinforcements to the dam's site to
In a separate incident in Anbar, twin blasts by a suicide bomber and a car
bomb targeted a funeral for a senior army officer, killing eight people and
injuring 13, police and hospital officials said. The attack near the provincial
capital of Ramadi hit the funeral of Brig. Gen. Abdul-Majid al-Fahdawi, who was
killed by a mortar shell in Qaim on the Syrian border on Friday.
In other violence, Sunni militants in control of a small northern town
handed over the decomposing bodies of 15 Shiites to authorities in the northern
city of Kirkuk, according to the city's deputy police chief, Maj. Gen. Torhan Abdul-Rahman Youssef.
Residents of the town of Besher said the Shiites were hung from street
lights and a water tank for days. The circumstances of their deaths were not
immediately known and the residents requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.
filthy desire to Run Rivers of blood. About which he publicly declared long time back. We might blame
the ISIS or not, Maliki had intentionally ignited the game of Running Rivers of
blood during his first term in office under the advice of Iranian Top Leaders only
to apportion the entire blame on others of his nefarious activities and
He thought he could drag US to war on its behalf and dodge
the responsibilities of the massacre that would take place. This definitely
would have served two purpose his own and facilitating Russia to equalize its
scores with US.
We must remember and deal extremely cautiously with the Shiites
in Middle East and the Indians whether it is Congress or BJP because all garlic’s
ass is tied in one knot at the end..
Another similar situation created by Nitanyahu PM of Israel
by killing Palestinians Muslim Sunnis which one day would surface as a bolt
from the blue for Israel to confront. It has never been rewarding to be complacent
on any situation and feel certain for victory of velour on the strength of war armaments and
Netanyahu should always keep at the back of his mind that the
safety of all JEWS not only of Israel but about all Jews living in the entire world
is his responsibility to look after the safety and security of their lives apart from the countries government they live in. and this responsibility is his and none else.
Last but far from being the least that Netanyahu has to
learn from the reaction of the war that G W Bush started at the behest of Israel
and JEW lawmakers now has taken a turn to an escalating situation where upon
countries that existed might no more be there in future with similar boundaries.
Further elucidation on it is not necessary. It is suggested better stop it immediately
killing innocents do not help solve disputes.