Nouri al-Maliki

Barbarians at the Gates of Baghdad

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How long can Iraq’s besieged forces hold out against the Islamic State?

BY Susannah George OCTOBER 21, 2014

BAGHDAD Speaking from a base besieged by Islamic State fighters, a police lieutenant in Anbar province painted a grim picture of the Iraqi government‘s faltering hold on this restive western region. Surrounded on all sides, he expects the jihadi group to be within firing range any day now.

Sitting just to the west of Hit, a small town along a key highway connecting the city of Haditha to Anbar’s provincial capital of Ramadi, al-Asad is the largest military base in Anbar and one of just two that remain in government control. Last week, after first attacking the eastern edge of Hit with suicide bombers, Islamic State militants overran the town. The United Nations says the ensuing clashes displaced more than 180,000 people. Read the rest of this entry »

Report: Minister cancels US-Iraq-Turkey counterterrorism meeting

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Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (Photo: AP)

29 January 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN, ANKARA

Turkey’s interior minister has cancelled a Baghdad trip to join a trilateral meeting between Turkey, Iraq and the US to combat terrorism in the region, on the grounds that ties are strained between Turkey and Iraq following the Iraqi prime minister’s accusations that Turkey has intervened in Iraqi politics, the Turkish Milliyet daily reported on Sunday.

Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin cancelled a visit he was going to make to Baghdad to participate in the trilateral working group, although the trilateral initiative plays an important role in curbing Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist attacks in Turkey, which are launched from the Iraqi-Turkish border, Milliyet reported. Şahin’s cancellation of the crucial visit was reported to be the result of Turkey’s deteriorating relations with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Turkish officials have called him “a thorn in Iraqi politics,” following his attack on Turkey for urging reconciliation with Sunni and Kurdish blocs. Maliki interpreted this as an intervention in the domestic politics of Iraq.

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Maliki acting like Saddam – Sunni bloc leader

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English: Former President of Iraq, Saddam Huss...
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By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

AMMAN (Reuters) – Iraq‘s Nuri al-Maliki is acting like Saddam Hussein in trying to silence opposition and he risks provoking a new fightback against dictatorship, one of Maliki‘s predecessors as prime minister said Tuesday.

Iyad Allawi, who leads the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, said the televised confessions Maliki has used to demand the arrest of the country’s Sunni Muslim vice president were fabrications.

Speaking to Reuters two days after the final departure of the U.S. forces that ended Saddam’s Sunni-dominated rule, Allawi called for international efforts to prevent the Shi’ite premier from provoking renewed sectarian warfare of the kind that killed tens of thousands in the years after Saddam fell in 2003.

“This is terrifying, to bring fabricated confessions,” Allawi said shortly before leaving the Jordanian capital Amman to return to Iraq. “It reminds me personally of what Saddam Hussein used to do where he would accuse his political opponents of being terrorists and conspirators.”

Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who has taken refuge in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, denies allegations he ordered bombings and shootings against his opponents. The move against him, on the very day U.S. troops left the country, threatens to upset a balance among Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions.

“We fear the return of dictatorship by this authoritarian way of governing. It’s the latest in a build-up of atrocities, arrests and intimidation that has been going on on a wide scale,” said Allawi, who comes from the Shi’ite Muslim majority but who has drawn support heavily from disaffected Sunnis.

REGIONAL SECTARIAN CONFLICT Read the rest of this entry »

Kirkuk ‘may prove a fertile ground’ for Al Qaeda

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U.S. Army soldiers, assigned to 1st Calvary Di...

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Sunday27/11/2011November, 2011, 12:18 AM Doha AFP/Kirkuk

Iraq’s disputed oil-rich Kirkuk province may turn into fertile ground for militant groups including Al Qaeda after the US withdrawal, officials from the province warn.
Ethnically divided Kirkuk lies at the centre of a tract of territory which Kurdish leaders want to incorporate in their autonomous region in the north despite the opposition of many of the province’s Arab and Turkmen residents, and of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
“The US withdrawal and lack of readiness of the Iraqi security forces will be used by forces opposed to the political process, and in particular Al Qaeda,” Kirkuk provincial council member Sherzad Adel said.
Al Qaeda “want to have a foothold in Kirkuk,” he said, noting that “the conflict between the centre (Baghdad) and the region (Kurdistan), and the failure to resolve problems in Kirkuk are two factors that form fertile ground for terrorism.”
US forces have played the role of mediators in Kirkuk, and were involved in setting up the “Golden Lions” unit made up of Arab and Kurdish forces.
But all US soldiers except for a small contingent under US embassy authority are to depart Iraq by the end of 2011 leaving a dangerous security vacuum, officials say.
“We have indications that Al Qaeda is reorganising and coordinating with the other remaining armed groups to launch operations,” said Major General Turhan Abdul Rahman, the deputy director general of the Kirkuk police and commander of its anti-terrorism force.
There are signs that operations are in preparation including kidnappings and bomb attacks, Abdul Rahman said.
He expects Al Qaeda and other militant groups to focus their activities on Kirkuk and other north Iraq cities “because they are trying to stir up nationalist strife.”

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