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Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

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OTAN: "Financiar las fuerzas de Afganistán es más barato que mantener las propias"

Mensaje por Invitado el Febrero 21st 2013, 22:33

Recuerdo del primer mensaje :

El secretario general de la OTAN, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, afirmó que financiar a las fuerzas afganas es más barato que mantener allí a tropas propias.

El dirigente de la Alianza Atlántica declaró que el bloque podría seguir financiando hasta 2018 a más de 350.000 efectivos de las fuerzas de seguridad afganas, es decir, el mismo número que en la actualidad.

Tras la primera reunión que mantuvieron los ministros de Defensa del bloque este jueves en Bruselas, Rasmussen subrayó que resulta más barato financiar a las fuerzas afganas que mantener a las tropas propias desplegadas. Igualmente destacó que hacerlo tiene sentido también desde el punto de vista político.

"No se ha tomado ninguna decisión final al respecto, pero puedo confirmar que esta es una de las ideas que se están considerando", afirmó Rasmussen, refiriéndose al proyecto de mantener el número de efectivos de las fuerzas de seguridad de Afganistán.

De este modo, el plan inicial, que preveía una reducción progresiva del tamaño del Ejército y la Policía afganos de un máximo de 352.000 efectivos, entre policías y soldados, a unos 230.000, acordado por los socios de la OTAN daría un giro importante. Y es que según apuntan fuentes de la Alianza, es posible que finalmente se opte por mantener el nivel de efectivos hasta el año 2018.

El proyecto del general estadounidense John Allen, hasta hace poco comandante de la misión aliada, proponía reforzar la capacidad y la moral de Afganistán ante la salida, a finales de 2014, del grueso de las tropas internacionales. No obstante, la medida plantea un problema económico, dado que la comunidad internacional es responsable de financiar las fuerzas de seguridad afganas ante la incapacidad del Gobierno de Kabul para hacerlo.

Durante los últimos meses, EE.UU. ha buscado compromisos por parte del resto de socios y de terceros países para repartir el esfuerzo económico entre 2015 y 2018. De hecho, este país es el que actualmente corre casi en solitario con esos gastos. Para ese reparto se tenían en cuenta unas fuerzas afganas de unos 230.000 efectivos, que, según las estimaciones de Washington, supondrían un coste anual de aproximadamente 4.100 millones de dólares.

Continuar financiando a 352.000 hombres, tal y como apuntan los funcionarios de la OTAN, le costaría miles de millones de dólares a los aliados, que actualmente están tratando de reducir sus gastos en materia de defensa.

Los ministros de Defensa aliados debatirán este viernes la situación en Afganistán, donde la OTAN se encuentra en pleno proceso de repliegue, con el objetivo de poner fin a su misión de combate a finales de 2014. Será entonces cuando la Alianza cuente con una nueva misión en ese país: formar y asesorar a las fuerzas afganas.

http://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/view/87190-otan-afganistan-rasmussen-financiar-eeuu

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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 19th 2014, 20:51


Battle rages for Iraq's largest oil refinery
Iraqi forces fight Sunni rebels for control of the Baiji oil refinery, as Baghdad waits on US response on air strikes.
Last updated: 19 Jun 2014 19:44


Fighting has raged for a second day at the Baiji refinery [file: Reuters]

Iraqi forces are battling Sunni rebels for control of the country's largest oil refinery as the government waits on a US response for air attacks to beat back a rebel advance threatening Baghdad.

Troops loyal to the Shia-led government on Thursday were holding off rebels and fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant at the sprawling Baiji oil refinery, some 200km north of the capital.

A government spokesman said early on Thursday that Iraqi forces were in "complete control", but a witness in Baiji said fighting was continuing.

The refinery was shut down on Tuesday after rebels launched their attack.

Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Erbil, said the situation was fluid with both sides claiming control.

"Iraqi forces have gone on the offensive and according to Baghdad have pushed Sunni rebels back," she said.

Baiji lies in territory captured in the past week by the ISIL fighters and its Sunni allies, and is close to Tikrit.

The Iraqi government made a public request for US air strikes on Wednesday to thwart the assault.

The US has urged Maliki to reach out to Sunnis, many of whom feel excluded by the Shia parties that have dominated elections since Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

The secular Baath party, a political monopoly under Saddam, called on Iraqis to unite against Maliki.

"All the true, vibrant colours of our great Iraqi people must come together under one banner, against the American and Iranian conspiracies and their treacherous government under Maliki and their disgraceful sectarian and ethnic militias."

Iraq's neighbours have also urged political intervention as the only solution to heal the country's sectarian divisions.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, warned that US air strikes could lead to a high number of civilian deaths with "ISIL elements ... mixed in with the people".

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, instructed Maliki to follow the policy pursued by the kingdom to eradicate "terrorism".

Air strikes

Washington has given no indication whether it will carry out attacks, with some US politicians urging the president, Barack Obama, that Maliki should go as a condition for US help.
US mulls over possible Iraq air stikes

General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, avoided a direct answer when asked by senators whether Washington would accede to the Iraq request.

US officials told the Reuters news agency that Iraq's request had included drone attacks and aerial surveillance.

Several leading figures in Congress have spoken out against Maliki. Obama has urged the Iraqi prime minister to do more to overcome sectarian rifts.

Republican senator John McCain urged Obama to "make it very clear to Maliki that his time is up".
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/battle-rages-iraq-largest-oil-refinery-2014619101239601991.html

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Why is Iraq so important to Iran?

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 19th 2014, 20:52


Why is Iraq so important to Iran?
Iraq's future is crucial to Iran: it is a natural Shia ally, a neighbour, and the site of many Shia landmarks.
Last modified: 19 Jun 2014 20:44

Imran Khan

Imran Khan is a roving correspondent based in Doha.

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The Askani shrine in Samarra was bombed in 2006 [AP]

General Qassem Soleimani has long cast ‎a shadow over the foreign policy of Iran. His role goes far futher than his rank. As head of the Al Quds force, he's responsible for secret military operations outside of Iran. He is also a skilled political operator.

To call him a warrior diplomat would be an understatement. He is, in many ways, the Iranian influence abroad.

Rumours have circulated that he is here in Iraq to deal with the country's battle against Sunni rebel groups and the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant. One foreign diplomat told me he is in Baghdad with a number of advisers and is helping shape strategy.

Iraq is hugely important to Iran. The majority of Iraq's population are Shia Muslim, as is Iran. Iraq is also home to the holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala, and to the Askari shrine. These sites are important to all Muslims, but for the Islamic Republic of Iran they represent the very heart of Shia history.

Iran has long supported the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki.

The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani has reaffirmed this is a number of statements, and promised to defend the holy cities.

For all these reasons and more, the involvement of Soleimani shouldn't come as a surprise. He has built relationships here in the years since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and has the ear of the government and the military. ‎

He is ‎a very busy man. His recent assignments have had him in Syria, with Hezbollah in Lebanon and of course here in Iraq.

Crisis management

Mahjoob Zweiri, a professor of contemporary Middle Eastern history at the University of Qatar and an expert on Iran, tells me that Iran's involvement is both practical and ideological.

"There was no indication that this crisis would arise on this scale, so there was no plan to deal with it," he said. "Iran is trying to manage the crisis. It already has a bigger crisis in Syria and this one must be handled carefully so as not to escalate."

That sense of escalation is concerning to many. In 2006 al-Qeada attacked the Askari shrine in the northern city of Samarra. It plu‎nged the country into a sectarian war that almost spilt it, and its repurcussions are still felt today.

The ISIL have promised to attack the Shia shrines and holy cities, a position that puts them at odds with Sunni allies who have said they will protect the sites.

Preventing another attack on the shrine, and indeed violence in Najaf and Kerbala, is crucial if Iraq is to ‎survive this crisis. Soleimani is not doubt aware of this.

Iranian involvement in Iraq has been complicated. It's alleged to have supported groups like the Islamic State of Iraq, a precursor to ISIL, in the early days of the US invasion of Iraq.

Over the last 30 years there has been little trust between Iran and the US. Defending Iranian territory has meant the Islamic Republic has made unusual alliances, particularly with US troops on two neighbouring countries, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those alliances could prove crucial in the coming months, says Mahjoob Zweiri. "Iran's knowledge of groups like the Islamic State of Iraq means that they're in a good position to be able to advise on the fightback, and that'll be valuable to the Iraqi government."

But they won't do this loudly. Iran will play a very quiet role in this conflict. It will want to let the Iraqi government take the credit for any successes it might have against ISIL and its Sunni allies.

Talking the talk

However in recent days we've heard a lot from various sources that Iran and the US are talking with each other about Iraq but mindful of domestic politics the US is dialling back comments made by senior politicians, such as the secretary of state, John Kerry, about cooperation.

For Iran, however, keeping things quiet and working behind the scenes has always been their way. A lack of trust between Iran and the West means that is unlikely to change.

As one western diplomat told me: "They don't trust us, so why would they back us publicly? They, like us, have a domestic audience that they need to manage and with relations so fragile, why shout? It's better for them to keep things quiet and work in the background. If things go wrong, they have plausible deniability."

Denial or not, Iran is a key player in this conflict and it alongside Turkey and Saudi Arabia will be competing for its own interest. To that end, a man like General Qassem Soleimani is crucial for his country.

He and his advisers will be quietly moulding and finessing Iran's strategy in Iraq - a strategy that may put them on the same side as the US, and one that we will see being played out over the coming months.

Follow Imran Khan on Twitter
http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/middle-east/why-iraq-so-important-iran

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 19th 2014, 20:53


Obama rules out US combat troops in Iraq
US president says he will only send advisers to aid Baghdad against ISIL, but keeps option of "targeted" strikes.
Last updated: 19 Jun 2014 19:24
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Obama said Iran should consider whether its view of the region is solely through sectarian frames [Reuters]

Barack Obama has said US forces would not be returning to a combat role in Iraq but added he was prepared to take the option of "targeted" military action in the future.

The US president said on Thursday that another ground war in Iraq would not solve the country's problems. Iraq's Shia-led government is facing a rebellion by Sunni fighters and members of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

"We do not have the ability to simply solve this problem by sending in tens of thousands of troops and committing the kinds of blood and treasure that has already been expended in Iraq," Obama said.

"Ultimately, this is something that is going to have to be solved by the Iraqis."

Obama, however, said the country was ready to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq "to assess how we can best train and advise and support Iraqi security forces."

He added that the US was ready "to create joint operation centres in Baghdad and northern Iraq to share intelligence and coordinate planning to confront the terrorist threat of ISIL."

"We will help Iraqis as they take to fight terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region and American interests as well," he said.

"We will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it."

Call for unity

The US president said Iraqi leaders should rise above their differences and come together for a political solution to the crisis.

Obama however stopped short of calling for Nouri al-Maliki, to resign as Iraqi prime minister. saying it was not the up to the US to choose Iraq's leaders.

"There is deep division between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish leaders and as long as those deep divisions continue or worsen, it's going to be very hard for an Iraqi central government to direct an Iraqi military to deal with these threats."

Obama said Iran could play a constructive role in Iraq if it sent a message that Iraq's government must be inclusive and respect the interests of Sunni Muslims and Kurds.

Obama said the situation would worsen if Iran entered the conflict soley on the side of the Shia government, and that Iran could find itself fighting in lots of places in the world if it chose to do so.
Source:
Agencies
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/obama-rules-out-us-combat-troops-iraq-2014619182147392411.html

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 19th 2014, 21:08


Iraq and the Western military meddlers
After decade of turmoil caused by Iraq invasion, interventionists call for more airstrikes to solve current crisis.
Last updated: 15 Jun 2014 07:00
Rachel Shabi



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Iraqi army troops chant slogans against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [AFP]

It seems there is no limit to an interventionist's capacity for self-delusion over the Middle East. As Iraqis are caught in an escalating crisis of utter terror, turmoil and devastation unleashed as a direct consequence of the US-led invasion of 2003, some neo-cons and unabashed British Blairites are now suggesting that more US-led military action might help. In other words - and to paraphrase Michael Franti's Spearhead - having bombed Iraq into pieces, the idea is that we can now somehow bomb it back into peace.

The past week has seen the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - an al-Qaeda spawned group so brutal that even al-Qaeda doesn't want to be associated with it - take over Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, loot $400m from banks and seize a stockpile of US-supplied weapons abandoned by a rapidly retreating Iraqi army. Half a million people fled Mosul, terrified not just of the throat-slitting ISIL extremists, but also potentially brutal reprisals and airstrikes from the Iraqi government.

In reaction to this escalating horror, on one side of the Atlantic we have Senator John McCain berating President Barack Obama for pulling US troops out of Iraq and a line-up of other Republicans, urging that he put them back - in the air or on the ground. Senator Linsey Graham said: "There is no scenario where we can stop the bleeding in Iraq without American air power."

A US comeback?

And the former US ambassador in Iraq, James Jeffrey, says that what's needed right now is "for the Americans to come in in a big way, not on the ground but in the air".

Meanwhile, Britain's 2003-war-mongering ex-prime minister Tony Blair is sticking to the line that his illegal, unnecessary war in Iraq is not the cause of the misery, deaths and despair since and that somehow things could have been even worse without this invasion - and that what the country needs now is more military intervention. His former political advisor says that Western troops left Iraq prematurely and now must return to "rescue democracy".

The reality is that, in the aftermath of the illegal 2003 invasion, coalition forces pretty much ran the textbook of how to turn a functional nation into a terrorised and devastated failed state.

This position conveniently leapfrogs over small details, such as the Iraqi people and government's explicit rejection of any idea of retaining Western troops, while popular opinion in both the UK and US overwhelmingly favoured a withdrawal. But it also clings to the astounding delusion that that invasion of Iraq ever brought democracy to the region in the first place.

The reality is that, in the aftermath of the illegal 2003 invasion, coalition forces pretty much ran the textbook of how to turn a functional nation into a terrorised and devastated failed state.

With utter disregard for the consequences for Iraqis, this US-led coalition dismantled the state, gutted political and military institutions and dissolved the army, police and security apparatus.

And, as if the goal was actively to hobble the nation ("liberation" and "democracy" in the interventionist dictionary), this coalition then set about marginalising Iraqi Sunnis, thereby fomenting sectarianism and instability.

The US-backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki only made things worse, pursuing corrupt, authoritarian and openly divisive policies - buying the loyalty of his own people and bullying everybody else.

But adopting the standard practice in the Middle East of backing a stability-bringing strongman regardless of his repellent policies towards his own people, the US continued to support Maliki, throwing huge sums of money at him.

That an extremist group such as ISIL is now so frighteningly exploiting the lawlessness and chaos unleashed by the 2003 invasion is an unintended consequence that was predicted even back at the time of the US-led war on Iraq. For years, as Iraq's unbearable death toll keeps rising, analysts have warned of the terrible sectarianism pursued by West-sanctioned leaders in the post-invasion political vacuum in Iraq.

Speedy conquests

The speed of ISIL's currents conquests was certainly a surprise - but for months, there have been increasingly urgent warnings about such potential scenarios in the context of politically-stoked instability, despair and disillusion in Iraq.

And yet now, amid a flood of erroneous media talk of Iraq somehow being historically sectarian and hopeless and a bit of a non-state to begin with, a spate of Western meddlers are urging that we "do something" in Iraq.

As if backing the catastrophic leadership of Maliki while supporting a rebellion that empowered and emboldened Iraqi-border-crossing extremists in Syria is the equivalent of doing nothing at all, the interventionists want the West to take even more action in the form of airstrikes over Iraq.

And today, just as in 2003, there is no follow-through to these military suggestions. What would happen after any such airstrikes - even assuming these strikes were miraculously well targeted and effective? After years of precipitating insurgency, would Western military action suddenly have the reverse effect? Would ISIL then wave white flags instead of black and slink away, never to return? Has such a tactic sustainably worked in Iraq over the past 10 years? Of course not. Now, as before, the building of an all-inclusive, power-sharing, accountable and non-corrupt governance is the way to stop fuelling and facilitating turmoil in the long-term.

Neocons with their self-interested agenda in the Middle East are bad enough - although at least they are blatant.

But alongside them there persists a well-meaning, wrong-headed, handwringing liberal interventionist tendency to want to "do something" military.

This is what helped render Iraq such a heart-breaking mess to begin with. The very last thing Iraqis need right now is more of it.

Rachel Shabi is a journalist and author of Not the Enemy: Israel's Jews from Arab Lands.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Source:
Al Jazeera
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/06/iraq-western-military-meddlers-20146156654388265.html

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por mossad el Junio 19th 2014, 21:20

Terrible la situacion , ya desde hace años los americanos se quejaban de que el ejercito iraki era una broma , que solo consumia recursos y no progresaba en lo absoluto salvo algunas unidades de fuerzas especiales , muchos eran los problemas que descubrieron los gringos : un alto grado de corrupcion , sectarismo , total falta de profesionalidad y de valor , desercion , uso de drogas , la tipica elite de oficiales que no se mezclan con la tropa , falta de habilidades tecnicas , etc,etc

Los resultados ahi estan : a pesar de que los fanaticos de ISIS son inferiores en numeros y equipos al ejercito iraki , este ha perdido toda disciplina y abandonan al primer disparo costosos equipos y hasta los uniformes , otros se han rendido sin resistencia solo para ser ejecutados sumariamente , 200 contratistas americanos y algunas fuerzas especiales irakies contuvieron varios dias a los islamistas que rodearon la base aerea que ocupaban mientras el resto del destacamento iraki huyo vestidos de civiles.

La unica esperanza ahora parece ser que los shiitas se unan y puedan contener el avance de ISIS por lo menos en la parte sur del pais ya que el centro es de mayoria sunita y simpatiza a veces con los extrangeros, el norte esta un poco mas seguro en manos de los bien organizados Peshmergas kurdos.

Lo unico bueno que puede salir de esto es que ISIS se este expandiendo tanto que termine debilitandose ( el que mucho abarca poco aprieta ).

OJO Washington :esto va a pasar en Afghanistan tan pronto lo desocupen , olvidense de dejar equipo ( se habla de miles de MRAPS , HUMVEES , artilleria , etc ) no sean cul....... denselo a Mexico , nosotros le daremos buen uso y no somos fanaticos :)

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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 19th 2014, 21:37


bueno, si de por si se sabia que el primer ministro que gano en las pasadas elecciones era un p*****o....

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 19th 2014, 23:43


The fierce ambition of ISIL's Baghdadi
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has risen from anonymity to become the feared leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Graeme Baker Last updated: 15 Jun 2014 17:51

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ISIL has fought across two countries in its quest for an Islamic state

As its feared and fearsome leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi personifies the brutality, determination and ambition of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Not since Osama bin Laden has a leader been held in such reverence among Sunni fighters, scored such stunning and shocking victories, and threatened so much of the established order.

But unlike Bin Laden, whose vast wealth aided his elevation to the "sheikh", Baghdadi has literally fought his way from ordinary beginnings in northern Iraq to lead what is perhaps the Middle East’s most feared irregular armed force.

So emboldened by his success on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, Baghdadi has challenged the very leadership of al-Qaeda, denouncing them publicly as deviating from the cause and stating he is the true heir to Bin Laden's legacy.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

But his methods are extreme and his actions repugnant to many - captured enemy fighters are shot or decapitated and their deaths recorded for the internet.

Other armed groups in Syria are attacked as ISIL expands territory and influence, and a strict interpretation of Islam is implemented in the regions under its control - internet videos abound of thieves having their hands severed and adulterers, smokers and those who fail to attend prayer being publicly whipped.

The scholar

Little of Baghdadi’s early life is on record. It is known that he was born Awwad Ibrahim al-Badri al-Samarri to a religious family in Samarra in 1971. He studied Islamic history as a student and, according to sympathetic websites, gained a doctorate from Baghdad university in the late 1990s.

It is likely Baghdadi held a religious position in the Sunni community when the US invaded Iraq in 2003.

Like many enraged by the invasion, he became involved in the armed rebellion and began fighting in western Iraq, possibly Anbar - the stronghold of Tawhid and Jihad led by the Jordanian, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who later rebranded the group al-Qaeda in Iraq.

But Baghdadi's resistance was cut short in about 2006, when he was arrested by US forces and held in Camp Bucca, the main US-run prison in Iraq following the torture scandal and shutdown of Abu Ghraib.

Such was his relative anonymity, it seems, that Baghdadi was interred as a low-level prisoner. And it is here, analysts believe, that he became more deeply involved with fighters from al-Qaeda.

After his release in the late 2000s, he joined and fought with the Islamic State of Iraq, known as ISI, the successor group to al-Qaeda in Iraq. With its ranks swelled by foreign and Iraqi fighters, the group was the dominent Sunni force in the country, attacking and intimidating its US and sectarian enemies with suicide bombings, abductions and murder.

Perhaps as a sign of things to come, ISI was publicly reprimanded by al-Qaeda for its brutality and its willingness to kill anyone, even Sunni Muslims, it considered betrayers of their religion.

Some reports say Baghdadi held sway over his own religious court, pronouncing - often without mercy - on the fate of those before him. Others say he played a key role in smuggling foreign fighters into Iraq.

He quickly climbed the ranks, earning a place on the organisation's ruling council before being declared leader in 2010 after his predecessor, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, was killed by US and Iraqi forces.

The usurper

It was the outbreak of the Syrian war that presented Baghdadi with the opportunity to expand his cause. He sent a lieutenant, Abu Mohammed al-Joulani, to create the Nusra Front and fight the Assad regime.

From there, his rise gathered pace and he declared in 2013 the takeover of Nusra to add the Levant to the Islamic State of Iraq. Baghdadi moved to Syria and ignored pronouncements by the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawarhiri, that the merger with Nusra was invalid.
ISIL holds areas of Iraq and Syria

That schism deepened in April of this year, when the ISIL declared that "al-Qaeda is no longer the base of jihad... its leadership has become a hammer to break the project of the Islamic state... al-Qaeda's leaders have deviated from the correct paths".

Baghdadi's interpretation of Islam has been enforced in the group's stronghold of Raqqa, in northern Syria; capital and corporal punishment for a range of crimes, public floggings, mandatory prayer and reports of a Christian being crucified to send a message to his community.

So how did an Islamic scholar from Samarra become the most feared radical fighter in the Middle East, prepared to disregard al-Qaeda's "old guard" and declare himself the new force?

Apart from in Syria since 2013, there is no evidence that Baghdadi has ever fought abroad, like many of his peers. At the time of his arrest by US forces he was not considered a big catch.

Events, it seems, have shaped the man, and compelled him to shape his strategy. Baghdadi supporters speak of him as al-Qaeda mark two, the leader of a new generation working to bring about the Islamic caliphate envisoned by Bin Laden.

"Sheikh Baghdadi and Sheikh Osama are similar. They always look ahead, they both seek an Islamic state," a Syrian ISIL fighter told the Reuters news agency.

A non Syrian fighter told the agency: "The group al-Qaeda does not exist any more. It was formed as a base for the Islamic state and now we have it, Zawahiri should pledge allegiance to Sheikh Baghdadi."

The opportunist

Charles Lister, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Centre, told Al Jazeera: "There can be no doubt ISIL’s rise in recent years is due to Baghdadi’s shaping it into a transnationally-minded and brutal organisation.

"Baghdadi has presented himself as a preeminent jihadist leader of the 21st century, and by extension, certainly a competitor and rival to Zawahiri."

Lister, who has written extensively on Syria, said that the escalation of the Syrian conflict since mid-2011 aided Baghdadi's successful recovery of the ISI and his expansion into Syria with ISIL.

"The sectarian element within the Syrian conflict contributed towards enhancing the principle theme used by Baghdadi to justify his fight against Baghdad.

Al-Qaeda does not exist any more. Zawahiri should pledge allegiance to Sheikh Baghdadi.

ISIL fighter in Syria

"ISIL’s involvement in Syria and the controversy developed over its role in that conflict also, by extension, brought more and more attention to the conflict in Iraq, which appears to have encouraged increased levels of foreign fighter recruitment in Iraq also.

"ISIL's extensive and slick PR apparatus and its bold mode of operation has undoubtedly lent it real clout within the international jihadist community. These latest gains in Iraq will have served to consolidate that status.

"A common theme among European members of ISIL is that Baghdadi represents a continuation of the ideals expounded by Bin Laden and that Zawahiri has failed to continue that line."

The ISIL's latest gains in Iraq are the result. Reports suggest the ISIL has plundered $425m from banks in northern Iraq, and looted the stores and equipment from Iraq army bases left undefended by fleeing troops.

"ISIL’s operations in Iraq and Syria are intricately linked together within a single strategy, with activities in one country often feeding off momentum in the other," said Lister.

"This major push in Iraq has been long in the coming and the gains made - particularly in terms of weaponry and money - will undoubtedly bolster ISIL’s capacity to push back against rival forces in Syria, potentially even leading the group to move back into the northern governorates of Idlib, Latakia and western Aleppo."

Follow Graeme Baker on Twitter.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/fierce-ambition-isil-baghdadi-2014612142242188464.html

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

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Iraq in turmoil: The rise of 'Syraq'

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 20th 2014, 22:00


Iraq in turmoil: The rise of 'Syraq'
Colonial politics may have led to the problem, but current crisis was sparked by Iraq government's poor policy choices.
Last updated: 17 Jun 2014 13:51
Ibrahim Al-Marashi

Ibrahim Al-Marashi

Ibrahim Al-Marashi is an Assistant Professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of 'Iraq’s Armed Forces: An Analytical History'.

Iraqi men raise their weapons to show their support for the call to arms by Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani [AFP]

The obituaries for the Iraqi state disintegrating along Shia-Sunni lines have proliferated after the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took Mosul and a string of Iraqi cities last week. Iraq is not facing imminent disintegration; it is being challenged by tribal links and a terror group that straddles the borders of Syria and Iraq in a zone I would call "Syraq" - but Iraq has faced similar crises in the past and has proved resilient.

Syraq would be analogous to the US policy neologism, "Afpak", where tribal links straddling the Afghanistan-Pakistan border allowed the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban to carve out areas under their control and destabilise both states. However, the Afpak crisis has not resulted in the disintegration of Afghanistan or Pakistan. While the emergence of Syraq may challenge Iraq's sovereignty, it is still too early to declare the end of the Iraqi state as commentators have done in the last week.

The Afpak problem had its roots with the Great Game, when a British-Russian compromise divided the ethnic Pashtun tribes along the 1893 Durand line, a border that reflected imperial compromise without taking into account how it split tribal communities.

The Iraqi-Syrian border was formed in the same manner, out of British-French collusion after World War I, dividing a predominantly rural Arab Sunni tribal population inhabiting a contiguous geographic region between the Tigris and Euphrates known as al-Jazira. The line also affected those living in the cities. Historically, the city of Mosul has had just as close relations to Aleppo in Syria as it did with Baghdad.

Shared tribal affinities

Blaming the current crisis on European partition plans only provides a partial explanation as to how the fall of Mosul emerged. Shared tribal affinities explains why arms and fighters flow freely in both directions across the desert that straddles the Syria-Iraq border. Colonial politics may have created the structure that led to the problem, but this conflict crisis was sparked by a series of poor policy choices on behalf of the Iraqi state.

First, the Iraqi state failed to reward Iraqi Arab Sunni tribal leaders who ejected al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2008 with the spoils of patronage, a dynamic that has characterised politics in Iraq before and after the fall of the Baath Party in 2003. If the Iraqi state could offer community leaders and tribes the largesse that characterised patronage politics in the past, they would have an incentive to eject their ISIL coreligionists from the Anbar, Nineveh and Diyala provinces today.

While shared tribal and sectarian affiliation may explain why Arab Sunnis in Iraq and Syria have joined ISIL, or why sympathetic Arab Sunni tribes allowed it access into Iraq, it would be erroneous to see the conflict in the Syraq zone as the beginning of the partition of the Iraqi state.

Governments in Baghdad have faced similar scenarios before. After the Gulf war of 1991, an uprising led to 15 out of Iraq's 18 provinces falling out of Saddam Hussein's control, dividing Iraq along Shia, Sunni and Kurdish lines. Saddam was able to reassert Baghdad's authority within a month, albeit in one of the most brutal counterinsurgencies in the history of the Middle East. A de facto Kurdish state existed in the north of Iraq for more than a decade following that uprising, protected by a no-fly zone, yet the Iraqi state formally remained intact.

Furthermore, the recent ISIL push does not mean the state will fragment along sectarian lines. ISIL happens to be a transnational Sunni movement, but it has demonstrated that it will kill fellow Syrian Sunni rebels and Iraqi Sunni religious and tribal leaders who get in its way. The Iraqi Shia political parties are also divided on this crisis. It was those same parties that failed to give incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki an overall parliamentary majority in the country's recent elections.

The US response

The US response so far has been to blame the fall of Mosul and other towns on Maliki's leadership. This is a time when the US should avoid the blame game. The US, after all, also bears some blame. Maliki was Washington's preferred man for prime minister in 2006 over Ali al-Adeeb, another potential candidate who was deemed too close to Iran. In fact, George W Bush called Maliki "our man in Iraq" - much to Maliki's ire.
Map: ISIL's path through Iraq

Washington also failed to develop a foreign policy that took into account the emergence of Syraq since last year. The US had failed to act on Maliki's call for expedited delivery of weapons to combat ISIL, or for aid in air strikes against ISIL camps in Syria which were used for attacks against Iraq.

The need to see the Syria and Iraq conflicts as linked will perhaps be the final impetus for the US and Iran to reach a grand bargain over resolving Syria's civil war, and thus bringing some relative stability to the Iraq-Syria border zone.

The US has pressured Maliki to pursue a process of national reconciliation among the various ethno-sectarian communities, as he should have when he first came into office. The re-emergence of ISIL might be the final impetus for Maliki to begin a reconciliation process before it is too late.

Maliki's dependence on Kurdish military support will hopefully also provide another impetus for Baghdad to finally reach a compromise with Kurds over oil revenues and the disputed city of Kirkuk.

Syraq is a reality today, but it is simply a zone that challenges Iraq's sovereignty rather than resulting in its demise. The decisions the Iraqi leadership will make in the following weeks, will ultimately decide if disenfranchised Iraqis and Iraqi politicians will have the incentive to decouple Iraq from the Syrian conflict.

Ibrahim Al-Marashi is an Assistant Professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of 'Iraq’s Armed Forces: An Analytical History'.

Follow him on Twitter: @ialmarashi



The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/06/iraq-turmoil-rise-syraq-2014617113419375330.html

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Irán envía tropas a Irak para combatir

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 21st 2014, 18:02


Irán envía tropas a Irak para combatir
Afp y Dpa

Periódico La Jornada
Sábado 21 de junio de 2014, p. 21

Washington, 20 de junio.

Irán envió un "pequeño número" de agentes a Irak para ayudar al gobierno chiíta del primer ministro Nuri al Maliki a hacer frente a los rebeldes yihadistas, mientras el presidente ruso Vladimir Putin ofreció al gobernante iraquí el "apoyo total" de su país en la lucha contra la ofensiva insurgente.

El portavoz del Ministerio de Defensa estadunidense se negó a calificar la presencia iraní en Irak. Sólo dijo que "no he visto indicio de la presencia de tropas o unidades a gran escala", en referencia a la unidad encargada de las operaciones secretas en el seno de la Guardia Revolucionaria.

El principal líder religioso chiíta de Irak, Alí Sistani, reiteró su llamado a expulsar del país a los rebeldes del Estado Islámico de Irak y Levante antes de que sea demasiado tarde, e instó a "la formación de un gobierno eficaz" que "evite los errores del pasado". En tanto, Maliki dijo que pagará unos 450 dólares y la manutención a los voluntarios que combatan a los yihadistas.

El presidente francés y su homólogo estadunidense subrayaron la necesidad de instaurar "un gobierno de unión nacional" en Irak, durante una charla en la que destacaron la gravedad de la situación.
http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/06/21/mundo/021n3mun


que inteligencia la de los iranies. que mejor manera de comerle el mandado a eu sin quedar como los malos. de hecho van a quedar como los buenos: podrán reclamar que salvaron a la poblacion chiita de un alimpieza etnica.
y que pedo con el maliki? tanto dinero tiene o que pedo? entonces si es cierto que los chiies colaboraron con los gringos. va a quedar endeudado hasta la jeta...
o quizas es mi error: quizas piensa pagarle en dolares a los que sobrevivan....


Última edición por ivan_077 el Junio 21st 2014, 18:12, editado 1 vez

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Iraqi Shia groups rally in show of power

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 21st 2014, 18:11



Middle East
Iraqi Shia groups rally in show of power
Thousands parade across country after powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr calls on supporters to turn out in force.
Last updated: 21 Jun 2014 15:43

Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is believed to have command over more than 10,000 fighters [AFP]

Thousands of Shia Muslims are taking part in rallies across Iraq vowing to protect their religious sites in a show of power that had been called for by influential Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

The largest rally took place in the northern Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, where hundreds of men dressed in combat fatigues and carrying assault rifles marched in military formation.

Sadr is believed to have command of more than 10,000 fighters, most of whom have volunteered to fight alongside Iraqi security forces against Sunni rebels led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said Sadr was keen to emphasise that his fighters would only serve as a defensive force to protect Baghdad, but there are fears of a reestablishment of the Mahdi Army, which was disbanded in 2008.

The reemergence of the Mahdi Army, which was accused of involvement in Iraq's sectarian conflict between 2006 and 2008, would heighten fears of a broader war between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Both the Iraqi government and Shia religious authorities have called on Iraqis to volunteer to fight a Sunni rebellion that has taken over big chunks of the country, including the cities of Mosul and Tikrit.

Police officials told Al Jazeera that improvised explosive devices, or IED's, were detonated in four areas across Baghdad's Shia-populated neighbourhoods. At least nine people were killed and 15 injured.

On Saturday, rebels led by ISIL seized a border crossing with Syria near the town of Qaim about 320km from Baghdad, leaving about 30 Iraqi soldiers dead, the AP news agency reported.

AP also reported that the town of Rawah in Anbar province had been captured by ISIL fighters later the same day, citing the town's mayor. He added that local army and police forces had pulled out when the fighters took control.

Pressure on Maliki

Many Sunni Muslims in western Iraq have supported the rebellion led by the fiercely anti-Shia ISIL, because of perceived anti-Sunni policies by Iraq's Shia-dominated government.
Al Jazeera's Imran Khan reports from Baghdad

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has faced pressure from inside and outside the country to form an inclusive government, to prevent Sunni Muslims from joining forces with ISIL.

In a thinly veiled rebuke of Maliki, the country's highest Shia authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called for a "broad" government that would "avoid past mistakes."

Such criticism from Iraq's most revered religious leader could force Maliki to step aside.

On Thursday, US President Barack Obama all but called on Maliki to resign, saying only a leader with an "inclusive agenda" could end the crisis.

Maliki, whose State of Law electoral slate won most seats in April's election, has yet to form a majority coalition in the new 328-seat legislature, which must meet by June 30.http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/iraqi-shia-groups-rally-show-power-20146216504615669.html

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 21st 2014, 18:18


Reports: Rebels capture Iraq oil refinery
Local sources say country's biggest oil refinery has fallen but the military denies it.
Last updated: 21 Jun 2014 11:17
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Iraqi security forces have slowed the initially rapid advance by ISIL-led rebels [Reuters]

Sunni rebels have captured Iraq's biggest oil refinery after overnight clashes with Iraqi security forces, according to local sources, but a military spokesman denied it.

A journalist in Saladin province told Al Jazeera that Sunni rebels, led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), had seized the refinery at Baiji, 43km north of Tikrit, on Saturday.

An unknown number of soldiers had been taken prisoner by the rebels after the fall of the facility, the journalist said.

The oil ministry did not comment on the report, and referred all enquiries to the defence ministry.

Rebels had withdrawn from the refinery on Friday after heavy clashes and retreated to Baiji's main town, which they already control.

State TV reported that Iraqi forces, backed by combat aircraft, had repelled four attacks on the refinery by ISIL fighters.

Iraqi security forces have largely halted the initial rapid advance by ISIL-led fighters, but the rebels continue to make gains.

On Friday, Sunni fighters captured the Qaim border crossing with Syria, 320km west of Baghdad, after a day of clashes that killed about 30 Iraqi soldiers.

The most recent gains by the Sunni rebels come as Shia fighters loyal to the powerful religious leader Moqtada al-Sadr rallied across Iraq, vowing to protect the capital Baghdad, and religious sites.

Both civil and religious leaders, including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have called on citizens to volunteer in the battle against ISIL-led groups, which have taken large parts of the country.
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/rebels-capture-iraq-largest-oil-refinery-20146219406492925.html

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 22nd 2014, 08:01



Jacob Heilbrunn

June 19, 2014
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Look who's back: Paul Wolfowitz, who was deputy secretary of defense in the George W. Bush administration, resurfaced yesterday on NBC to declare that not only was he not an architect of the Iraq War, as Chuck Todd had introduced him, but that, in any case, it was time to let bygones be bygones when it comes to Iraq and look to the future, and, heck, that if President Obama rescued Iraq from itself, why, then, he could claim lots of credit for being a fine leader. That statement sounds lofty but was, of course, self-serving since it is Wolfowitz and Co. who created the disaster when they insisted that it was necessary to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003, who championed what George F. Will correctly refers to as the "ruinous grandiosity" of Bush's "freedom agenda" in today's Washington Post.

But as Andrew Sullivan observed, perhaps Wolfowitz's most remarkable statement came a bit further into the interview. Wolfowitz contended that it was preposterous to try and make distinctions about the Middle East to the American people:



We should say al Qaeda. ISIS sounds like some obscure thing; it’s even more obscure when you say Shia and Sunni … It means nothing to Americans whereas al Qaeda means everything to Americans … My point is that these are the same people, they are affiliated with the same people, who attacked the United States on 9/11 and still have an intention of attacking the United States and attacking Europe …

Well. At least Wolfowitz is remaining consistent. The core of the problem in the run-up to the Iraq War was that Wolfowitz and his chums consistently claimed that Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with Osama bin-Laden. Any distinction between the two, we were told, was otiose. Saddam was preparing, or had already prepared, suitcase bombs for al-Qaeda to smuggle into the U.S. And so on.

But there is even more to Wolfowitz's statement than that. The crowning irony of his remarks is the deep contempt that they display for the American public and democracy. Again and again, Wolfowitz made it plain that he doesn't believe it has the capacity to comprehend the Sunni-Shia division. An incredulous Todd pointed out that it's been at the heart of Muslim disputes for a thousand years. Wolfowitz waved it away. Too abstruse for the rubes, he indicated. The neocons purport to want to export democracy to the rest of the world. But Wolfowitz's comments indicate a dismissive attitude toward it at home.

Overall, however, Wolfowitz's appearance had a tired feeling. The neocons are ginning up the war machine once more, but their tactics have become threadbare. It has the feel of an old rerun. As I note in Politico, the public that Wolfowitz apparently scorns isn't tuning in.

Anyway, as Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted before the Senate yesterday, the notion, which the neocons, among others, are promoting, that a U.S. troop presence would have saved Iraq from its current predicament is bogus. The problem isn't America. It's Iraq. Maybe America could have delayed the process of Iraq succumbing to its fissiparous tendencies. But Washington could not have prevented it indefinitely. Wolfowitz mentioned South Korea as a model for Iraq, but do we really want to have troops stationed there indefinitely? A recent Pew poll indicates that a record 53 percent of the American public believes that the U.S. should "mind its own business" internationally. Perhaps they are wiser than Wolfowitz and the other self-anointed strategic experts whose wisdom decreed that the U.S. not only enmesh itself in intractable conflicts abroad, but also exacerbate them.
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/jacob-heilbrunn/the-case-paul-wolfowitz-10702

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The Myth of Iraqi Reconciliation

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 22nd 2014, 08:31

The Myth of Iraqi Reconciliation

If America determines that military action is warranted, then it should take this action without regard to what Maliki does or does not do politically.
Gregory Aftandilian
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June 20, 2014
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Reports that the United States is contemplating military assistance to Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki’s regime on the condition that it accept an inclusive government—that is, bring in more Sunnis—miss the point on several levels. If the United States determines that some U.S. military action (such as air strikes) is indeed warranted to prevent an ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) victory in Iraq, then it should take this action without regard to what Maliki does or does not do on the political front. Sectarian divisions in Iraq are too far advanced for inclusivity to be viable.

There are many reasons for dropping insistence on inclusivity. First, on a practical level, that ship has already sailed. For many years, U.S. officials have implored Maliki to undertake this very task and have always come up short. Maliki has cleverly fashioned himself as an Iraqi nationalist in recent years, but deep down inside, he has remained the same person who worked for the secretive Shia Dawa party for most of his career (much of it in exile in Syria and Iran before returning to Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003). A zebra cannot change its stripes, as they say. Maliki gave lip service to inclusivity, but was never serious about carrying it out. He may do so again in order to garner U.S. military support, but that does not mean that he will be any more serious this time around, especially when the ISIL hordes are at Baghdad’s gate.

Second, press reports indicate that many Iraqi Sunni tribal leaders have facilitated the advance of the ISIL terrorists. Indeed, the rapid advance of ISIL, which has at most only 10,000 fighters, could not have been accomplished without at least the tacit support of such leaders. The Sunni tribes have apparently concluded that a pact with ISIL is preferable to trying to work with Maliki to win gains for the Sunni community. These same press reports suggest that the tribal leaders believe they can tame and eventually control ISIL, a long shot to be sure, given the desire of ISIL to install a very strict and intolerant regime in areas now under its jurisdiction. This tacit alliance between the Iraqi Sunni tribes and ISIL underscores the depth of Iraqi Sunni hatred toward Maliki and his Shia-dominated government. Hence, even if the United States were to somehow succeed in compelling Maliki to reach out to the Sunnis, the prime minister would find few takers, given this high level of animosity.

Third, the Kurds seem to have concluded that the Arab portions of Iraq—that is, most of the country—are hopelessly engaged in an internecine sectarian war between Arab Sunnis and Shia, and they want no part of that struggle. They used the recent chaos to take Kirkuk, sometimes called the Kurds’ Jerusalem, a city with a mixed Kurdish-Arab population that was just outside of the Kurds’ ministate in northern Iraq. The future of Kirkuk was to be decided by a referendum in 2007, but this issue was delayed many times, because it was so explosive. In one fell swoop, the Kurds ended the Kirkuk controversy by incorporating it into their ministate by force of arms. Now, with their territorial demands met and their own economy in good shape largely because of oil resources within their territory—not to mention having a strong military force of their own, the capable and well-trained Peshmerga—the Kurds are probably more than happy to leave the Arab portion of Iraq to its own devices. Hence, they have no real desire to reenter Iraqi politics in any meaningful way. They distrust the Arab Sunnis, whom they see as their longtime oppressors (predating even Saddam Hussein), and came to dislike Maliki and his Shia-dominated government over disputes regarding oil resources and revenues.

Fourth, the Iraqi army, despite the billions of dollars spent by the United States to train and equip it as a multisectarian and nonpartisan force, has proven to be inept and unreliable. Its performance in Mosul when soldiers fled by the thousands against a numerically inferior ISIL force shows that it cannot stand up to threats and become a national, unifying force. Maliki himself has recognized this disaster and has now turned to the Shia militias and units of the Iraqi army that are exclusively Shia to fight against ISIL. This reliance on a sectarian force may eventually save the day for Maliki and prevent ISIL from taking Baghdad and the Shia south. Maliki may also be saved by Iranian assistance and U.S. air power. However, such actions will do little to bring about reconciliation, and any U.S. insistence that Maliki open up to the Sunnis is unrealistic.

The one hope in the Iraq imbroglio is that the Sunni tribes of western and central Iraq might turn against ISIL as they tire of ISIL rule and resent its strict application of Sharia law. There could be a new “Awakening” in the Sunni provinces, similar to what that took place several years ago when the Sunnis turned against Al Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor of ISIL. However, this development, if it were to take place, would probably take even longer than it did the first time around because ISIL has become shrewder than its predecessor. And even if the Sunnis eventually turn against ISIL, this does not necessarily mean that reconciliation with the Shia will happen. The reconciliation bus has already left the station. Iraq might not be physically divided on the map, but in reality, it is comprised of three separate states with their own agendas.

Gregory Aftandilian is a Senior Fellow for the Middle East at the Center for National Policy. The views expressed are his own.
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-myth-iraqi-reconciliation-10706

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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U.N. Chief Warns Military Strikes in Iraq May Backfire

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 24th 2014, 17:14


U.N. Chief Warns Military Strikes in Iraq May Backfire

BY Colum Lynch
JUNE 20, 2014 - 11:24 AM


This story has been corrected.

With President Obama weighing possible airstrikes in Iraq, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Friday that a military attack against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, could backfire by seeming to bolster the extremists' claim that the United States is conspiring with the region's Shiite forces to put down the country's Sunni Muslims.

"The Sunni extremists of ISIS are trying to show that the government in Baghdad, Iran, and the United States are working together to support atrocities against Sunnis," Ban said in a speech at the Asia Society that was devoted mostly to one of his harshest criticisms to date of the government of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad. "This perception would help them mobilize support from the Sunni majority that does not share the extremists' agenda. It is essential that the government of Iraq and its supporters do everything possible to avoid falling into this trap."

Ban's remarks came one day after President Obama ordered 300 military trainers and advisers to Iraq to help President Nouri al-Maliki's government reverse a lightning military offensive by the Sunni extremist group, which was previously affiliated for many years with al Qaeda.* Obama said he is prepared to take "targeted and precise military action" if needed, and left open the possibility that the United States could target ISIS in Syria, where it has been fighting both President Bashar al-Assad's forces and other anti-government rebels. Obama was also harshly critical of Maliki's government, which he accused of pursuing an openly sectarian agenda that boosted the country's Shiite majority at the expense of its Sunni minority.

U.S. officials maintain that the United States has no intention of taking sides in the country's increasingly sectarian crisis, and that President Obama shares the U.N. chief's belief in the need for a political solution to the crisis that leads to a more inclusive Iraqi government.

In his remarks Thursday, Obama assured that the U.S. "will not pursue military options that support one sect inside of Iraq at the expense of another. There's no military solution inside of Iraq, certainly not one that is led by the United States. But there is an urgent need for an inclusive political process, a more capable Iraqi security force, and counterterrorism efforts that deny groups like [ISIS] a safe haven."

Ban's cautionary warning was buried near the end of what the U.N.'s chief aides promoted as his most important speech in more than a year on the conflict in Syria. In his address, titled "Crisis in Syria: Civil War and Global Threat," Ban called for the imposition of an arms embargo on Syria and disclosed that he was close to announcing a successor to Lakhdar Brahimi, one of two high-profile envoys who have struggled without success to end a conflict that has left more than 150,000 people dead and threatened to destabilize the entire region.

"I am here to express my disappointment at the cold calculation that seems to be taking hold -- that little can be done except to arm the parties and watch the conflict rage," he said. "It is irresponsible for foreign powers and groups to give continued military support to parties in Syria that are committing atrocities and flagrantly violating fundamental principles of human rights and international law."

Ban urged the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Syria's combatants, but conceded that it might be impossible to do so given sharp divisions between Western and Arab backers of the rebels and Russia, which is a principle supplier of arms to Syria. In the event of a showdown, he said, "Syria's neighbors should enforce a firm prohibition on the use of their land borders and airspace for arms flows and smuggling into Syria."

Even as he pushed for an arms embargo, Ban conceded that the initiative would undercut the ability of the opposition to reverse the Syrian government's military advantage.

"I recognize that an arms embargo would risk freezing an imbalance in place, given the extent of the government's weaponry," he said. "But the Syrian war cannot be won militarily. The sides will have to sit across from each other again at the negotiating table. The only question is how many more people must die before they get there."

Ban highlighted the need to cut off support for extremist groups in Syria like ISIS and the Nusra Front, another brutal extremist group. But he said many armed opposition groups have embraced negotiations on a political settlement. He also blamed Assad for starting a war that has radicalized the Syrian opposition, provided a foothold for extremists, and "has now spread visibly and devastatingly to Iraq."

"It did not have to be this way. In 2011, when tens of thousands of Syrians peacefully filled the square of Dara and other places, they were not calling for regime change," Ban said. "After decades of repression, they wanted reform, not revolution. The response of the authorities was merciless; snipers and tanks firing indiscriminately into the crowds."

Prospects for a political settlement never seemed more distant.

Earlier this month, Assad won reelection for a seven-year term as president, dashing hopes for a U.N.-backed effort to negotiate the terms of a new transitional government.

"Diplomacy seems to have stopped in its tracks," Ban said. "The presidential election earlier this month was a further blow to the political process. The election did not meet even minimal standards for credible voting."

But Ban suggested that the Syrian government is deluded if it thinks that the election and a series of military gains it has achieved on the ground amount to a military victory. "For the moment, the greatest obstacle to ending the Syria war is the notion that it can be won militarily," he said. "I reject the current narrative that the government of Syria is 'winning.' Conquering territory through aerial bombardments into densely populated civilian neighborhoods is not a victory. Starving besieged communities into surrender is not a victory. No one is winning; no one can. Even if one side were to prevail in the short term, the devastating toll will have sown the seeds of future conflict."
*Correction, June 20, 2014: Al Qaeda severed ties with ISIS in February 2014. A previous version of this story implied their relationship was still intact. (Return to reading.)

Fabrice Coffrini/ AFP/Getty Images
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/06/20/ban_ki_moon_warns_military_strikes_in_iraq_may_backfire#return

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 24th 2014, 17:15


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http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/06/20/liberators_today_pundits_tomorrow

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http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/06/17/the_magic_number_iraq_isis_275_troops

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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How Maliki Ruined Iraq

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 24th 2014, 17:40



Argument
How Maliki Ruined Iraq
Not long ago, stability and security in Iraq seemed possible. Maliki's corruption shattered any hope of that.

BY Zaid Al-Ali
JUNE 19, 2014
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When Mosul fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) on June 10, most Iraqis were, like the rest of the world, shocked. When two other cities fell days later with minimal resistance from the Iraqi security forces, the response was horror. How in just a matter of days could a cancerous, extremist organization defeat Iraq's U.S.-trained security forces, which count more than 1 million personnel in their ranks and have received close to $100 billion in funding since 2006?

The truth is, nothing is surprising about the developments in Iraq right now. Nor was any of this inevitable.

Four years ago, Iraq finally had relatively good security, a generous state budget, and positive relations among the country's various ethnic and religious communities after years of chaos following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. But Iraq's political elites squandered this opportunity. Their corruption and hunger for power distracted them from emerging crises -- like the rise of ISIS -- and laid the groundwork for what is now taking place.

By 2008, al Qaeda-affiliated militias and death squads no longer swarmed the country from Samarra to Mosul as they had just two years before. U.S. officials, state security services, tribal forces, and some armed groups had forged an agreement to work together against the most extreme groups terrorizing Iraq's population. The major roads in those areas were lined with the flags of the Awakening Councils, and local fighters had decided to protect ordinary Iraqis from al Qaeda. In time, the Iraqi military was deployed in all major cities and set up checkpoints every few miles.

Although unemployment, corruption, and failing public services were still major problems, ordinary Iraqis in the areas that had been dominated by al Qaeda still breathed a collective sigh of relief. They could go back to work, resume their studies, and relax outdoors without the constant ring of gunfire in the background. Families took their children to the river, where they swam and picnicked, while young men made regular trips to Kirkuk or Baghdad to stock up on local Iraqi beer.

There was also at this time a consensus that the Iraqi Army consisted of honorable, patriotic soldiers who treated local people with respect. The public had grown hostile toward al Qaeda and other insurgent groups and was siding with the state and its army. The atmosphere in small towns like Tikrit was relaxed, and people casually mixed with soldiers and police, exchanging jokes and pleasantries.

It was a new atmosphere and it was full of promise. Iraqis were demanding more from their politicians than mere survival. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki established a new political alliance, the State of Law alliance, which campaigned on a platform of re-establishing strong state institutions, reducing corruption, and providing adequate services to the people. The Iraqiya alliance, another large and newly formed coalition, backed a similar platform. The tantalizing prospects of establishing a new political environment and creating a stable state seemed within reach.

It never happened. Rather than consolidating these gains, several factors began working against Iraq's national cohesion as early as 2010. Maliki's government used "de-Baathification" laws, introduced to keep members of Saddam Hussein's regime out of government, to target his opponents -- but not his many allies, who also had been senior members of the Baath Party. The 2010 government formation process turned out to be yet another opportunity for politicians of all stripes to grant themselves senior positions which they could use to plunder the state. When tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets in February 2011 to protest corruption, they were branded terrorists and were attacked and beaten by security forces and hired thugs. Dozens were killed and thousands arrested and tortured until the protests fizzled. Meanwhile, though terrorist groups were not operating as openly as before, hundreds of civilians continued to be killed every month, particularly in Baghdad, denying Iraqis in many parts of the country even a brief period of normalcy.

At that time, Maliki began referring to himself publicly as Iraq's preeminent military leader. When the 2010 electoral results did not conform to his expectations, he demanded a recount in his "capacity as commander in chief." When he forced senior anti-corruption officials from their positions, he once again inappropriately invoked his military credentials. He called officers on their mobile phones to demand specific actions or that individuals be arrested, circumventing the chain of command. After the new government was formed in November 2010, he refused to appoint ministers of the interior and of defense, preferring to occupy both positions himself. He appointed senior military commanders directly, instead of seeking parliamentary approval as required by the constitution.

There was also much talk about the prime minister's special forces, including the Baghdad Operations Command. Groups of young men were arrested in waves, often in the middle of the night, and would be whisked to secret jails, often never to be seen again. Former Army officers, members of the Awakening, activists who complained too much about corruption, devout Iraqis who prayed a little too often at their local mosques -- all were targeted. Many were never charged with crimes or brought before a judge. Under the pretext of trying to stop the regular explosions that blighted Baghdad, these individuals were subjected to severe abuse.

By 2012, the atmosphere in Tikrit had changed. Joking with the police and the Army had ended. Tikritis were desperately looking for detained relatives, but information was almost impossible to obtain even for the best-connected. The relationship of trust that the Army had built with the general population was ruined by the special forces' activities.

Then there was the corruption. The security sector, which had an annual budget greater than the budgets for education, health, and the environment combined, was subject to minimal oversight. Soldiers were enrolled and paid monthly salaries without reporting for duty. Overpriced and faulty equipment was procured using the laxest standards. Training sessions were financed on paper but never took place in practice. Appointments were politicized. Officers close to the prime minister's office who failed to investigate leads on terrorist attacks were almost never held accountable for their actions. Even the most grotesque failures, including the military's passivity in the face of regular attacks against Christians in Nineveh over a period of years, went unpunished. Morale among the rank and file was low, and there was very little desire to take risks on behalf of political elites who were viewed as wildly corrupt.

Against this backdrop, many of the armed gangs that had terrorized local populations from 2005 to 2007 now saw their opportunity to re-emerge. They still could not operate in broad daylight, but they understood that the security forces could be manipulated, and they identified the weakest link in each institution. Those officers who could most easily be bribed or who were willing to participate in illegal activities were brought on board; those who could be intimidated were threatened; and those who were most likely to interfere with their operations were targeted in their homes, to terrify their families.

By 2012, armed groups were once again mounting organized and coordinated attacks against major institutions in broad daylight. With time, the attacks became so frequent that several officers were targeted daily in Tikrit alone. A clear trend was developing, and nothing was done to address it. The city was suddenly too dangerous even for a short family visit, and ordinary people were once again locking themselves indoors.

The gust that eventually blew the security sector's house of cards away came from the conflict in Syria, which had given al Qaeda a new lease on life. Shortly after Syria's civil war began in 2011, the al Qaeda-affiliated fighters who had been forced to stop their operations in Iraq in 2008 remobilized and rebranded themselves as ISIS. They remained particularly active in Mosul, where they ran an incredible racketeering operation and continued to hit government forces hard.

When ISIS escalated with a full-on assault on Mosul this month, all of the Iraqi state's pathologies came together in a perfect storm of corruption and incompetence. This left the city virtually defenseless. People in Mosul and soldiers have told me that a consensus has formed over the past few days that members of the military's rank and file were ordered to abandon their posts either shortly before or at the start of ISIS's assault. There is still significant mystery as to why the withdrawal took place at all. Rumors have been circulating. The most outlandish accusation is currently being made by Maliki and his allies, who have accused the Kurdistan Regional Government of colluding with ISIS against the Iraqi state.

The incompetence of the Iraqi security forces was further underscored in the days that followed the fall of Mosul. As the jihadists began to advance, residents in Tikrit, around 130 miles south, expected that ISIS would overrun their city at any moment. Anyone who has been to Tikrit knows that it would be extremely easy to fend off an invasion by ISIS gunmen, because there is essentially a single highway that runs through the city center. All that would have been needed to protect the city would have been to position a few armored vehicles with limited air support along the highway. Yet there was no reaction from Baghdad, which is just a two-hour drive away. Tikrit was seized in a couple of hours, and hundreds of Army recruits were taken hostage. Having been abandoned by their government, many of those individuals appear to have been executed.

The failures of Iraq's governing class -- and the U.S. occupation forces -- to create even a single stable national institution will haunt the country for years to come. On the day Tikrit fell, Iraq suddenly changed: Violent government-backed militias were suddenly allowed to operate openly in Baghdad and Baquba, manning checkpoints and organizing security without any oversight. Senior Iranian military commanders landed in Baghdad to help organize the city's defense. Finally, in an effort to rally his base against ISIS, Maliki called for volunteers to take up arms against the militants and extremists -- ignoring the fact that the military's problem was never a lack of manpower.

It was the clearest admission of failure possible. Maliki micromanaged the security forces for years, and in the end he didn't even trust them, choosing instead to let foreign-backed militias and untrained volunteers defend the capital. Meanwhile, one week after Tikrit's fall, Baghdad had done nothing to free it from ISIS, abandoning its citizens to their fate and allowing the militants to reinforce their positions free from interference.

The United States has made it clear that Washington now views Maliki's government as part of the problem. "Iraqi leaders must rise above their differences and come together [to forge] a political plan for Iraq's future," President Barack Obama said in a press conference on Thursday. Secretary of State John Kerry is being dispatched to the Middle East to help bring about political reconciliation between Iraq's factions. But the damage that the prime minister and his cronies have inflicted on Iraq cannot be undone. The end result of Iraq's unending series of unforced errors will almost certainly be yet more flattened cities, hundreds of thousands more displaced, and yet more damage to its people's sense of community. What solution could there be to prevent this tragedy, if the Iraqi political class will not admit to the smallest of errors?

Muhannad Fala'ah/Getty Images
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/06/19/how_maliki_ruined_iraq_armed_forces_isis

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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'Tonkinitis' in Iraq

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 24th 2014, 17:45


'Tonkinitis' in Iraq
The four horsemen of intervention in the Syria conflict are gathering steam. Here’s why they’re wrong.

BY Steven Simon
JUNE 24, 2014

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In June 1967, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli vessels, blockading Israel's access to Asia and Africa. Knowing that this meant imminent war, the Lyndon Johnson administration asked Congress to support a multinational flotilla to break the blockade. But Congress wasn't buying. Secretary of State Dean Rusk explained congressional reluctance with one word: "Tonkinitis." Having been lured into a raging land war in Asia because of one maritime confrontation, Congress was not going to be lured into a Middle East war because of another, especially one not of their making.

It could be argued that an analogous condition is evident in current U.S. policy deliberations. But to be clear, if the United States is suffering from a latter day Tonkinitis, driven by America's unsuccessful venture in Iraq, that is not a bad thing. At this stage, the Obama administration is wise to resist calls for engaging more directly and intensively in Syria's civil war or Iraq.

The use of the comparative on Syria here is essential, because the United States already is engaged in the Syrian conflict. Washington took the Syrian opposition's side immediately, mobilized international support in the form of the Friends of Syria, imposed the harshest possible economic sanctions on the Bashar al-Assad regime, supplied non-lethal assistance and funding for the political opposition beginning in 2011, reportedly facilitated large shipments of weapons on behalf of Saudi Arabia in 2012, began to supply arms covertly in 2013, according to published reports, to the armed wing of the rebellion, and emerged early on as the world's largest source of humanitarian aid by a very wide margin. There should be no question about whose side the United States is on, or whether Washington should get involved. It already is.

Although Washington's preferences regarding Syria are clear, it is at least an open question whether it is even possible to secure those preferences. This would a thorny issue no matter what, but in this instance the deliberative process is burdened by an anterior problem: The inability of proponents of more muscular intervention to explain how American strategic interests in Syria would justify the costs and risks of escalation. These voices have become increasingly -- and rightly -- anguished as the toll in Syrian lives has risen. Yet, what they really have been arguing for is America's "responsibility to protect" vulnerable noncombatants against violent assault. The outrage is real. It is thought that 200,000 people have perished. With 6.5 million people displaced within Syria and nearly 3 million refugees in neighboring countries, the scale of the disaster is nearly incomprehensible. As the horror has unfolded, U.S. humanitarian assistance has grown. Thus far, U.S. spending -- about $1.7 billion -- dwarfs donations by the EU, Russia, China, and the Gulf states. And that number will certainly increase further in the coming years.

There is a vital need to articulate the link between means -- the direct and indirect costs of intervention and our available resources -- and ends -- our strategic stake in Syria. It has been the instinct of successive administrations -- at least since the Balkan wars of the 1990s -- to require clear strategic interests and objectives for military intervention, or actions that could put the nation on a path to it. (The George W. Bush administration was, concededly, a large exception.) Thus, proponents of intervention in Syria have cast their arguments in terms of four overlapping Considerations: spillover; reputation; rollback of Iran; and the jihadist challenge. These factors, they argue, make intervention imperative.

Spillover

The first category concerns spillover. The conflict, it is argued, will inevitably overflow Syria's already blurred borders to destabilize America's friends and important regional actors in which the United States has invested heavily. Victims will include Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Israel, and Iraq. Although the precise process of destabilization is rarely spelled out, in part because the process can often proceed in unpredictable ways, the scenarios generally involve large refugee flows taxing the capacities of these states while masking the movement of terrorists aiming to bring down their governments, which have been weakened economically and jeopardized politically by the ongoing crisis.

Judging from its response thus far, the United States seems to assess that states bordering Syria will be able to cope with these perils, or, as in Iraq, have recourse to both U.S. and Iranian advisors, material assistance, intelligence data and, if rumors are accurate, small detachments of Iranian Quds force personnel. Although the Iraqi conscripts in the north clearly panicked, the sheer size of Iraq's army, its superior firepower, the fielding of elite formations, and the presence of outside powers with a strong interest in the stability of Iraq are significant assets to be mobilized against Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

For Israel, whose prime minister recently praised the administration's approach to the crisis, the war has been an opportunity to strike important targets within Syria without fear of blowback. Chaos in Syria raises the possibility of jihadist infiltration or cross-border fire, but it also renders the Syrian state ineffective as a strategic adversary for years to come. Moreover, it has forced Hezbollah to defend two fronts simultaneously, presumably to Israel's advantage. And Israel has quietly suspended its distribution of gas masks to the public because the only plausible large-scale chemical weapons threat will be removed by the Russian-brokered deal -- assuming it's fully implemented -- to dismantle the Assad regime's chemical arsenal.

Ankara has faced an influx of refugees, several cross-border artillery strikes that killed five Turkish civilians and the loss of an aircraft to Syrian missile defenses, but overall has contained the challenges posed by the Syrian civil war to its security. At the same time, Western observers have tagged the Turkish intelligence service as responsible for the relatively unfettered access to Syria that jihadists have thus far enjoyed. Indeed, Ankara has been pursuing its own goals in Syria, at times seemingly at odds with American objectives. As for more overt forms of intervention, Turkish voters have made clear that they are not interested. It's difficult to cast Turkey as vulnerable in this context, especially given NATO's rapid response to Turkey's request for the deployment of Patriot air defense batteries over Christmas of 2012; there are now six batteries -- Dutch, German, and American -- securing Turkish airspace.

In Jordan, voter perceptions of chaos to the North combined with the suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt have dampened enthusiasm for vocal protest over the King's governing style. With over a billion dollars in American aid, subventions from Gulf States and a substantial International Monetary Fund loan, Jordan can probably manage the large numbers of refugees washing over its border with Syria and its armed forces will confront ISIS intruders from Iraq.

Lebanon meanwhile is holding its own; on a recent visit to Beirut I heard both Lebanese officials and foreign observers agree that the influx of refugees, about 1 million and still growing, would not tip Lebanon's intercommunal political balance toward civil war. This is a remarkable accomplishment for a country with a population of 4.25 million and without a functional or permanent government. Jihadist assassination attempts on the interior minister and speaker of parliament unquestionably show that Lebanon is a target for destabilization. However, its compact geography, Sunni antipathy to radicals, Hezbollah's self-interest, and the pervasiveness of the security service make it a hard target. In any case, the United States disavowed a vital interest in Lebanon since 1984, when the Reagan administration decided to withdraw American troops following devastating attacks against the U.S. embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut. Intervention in Syria to relieve pressure on Lebanon would therefore be unlikely.

So the pivotal issue isn't spillover, despite the costs it so clearly imposes. And even in the case of Iraq, the battles that just erupted there are part of Sunni insurgency that had been brewing long before the Syrian revolt. The issue, rather, is spill-in, as Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the UAE, the Kurds, and Kuwait all try to manipulate the Syrian civil war to advance their perceived interests.

One phenomenon contributing to spill-in is the increasing independence from Washington of wealthy Gulf States that have acquired the self-confidence and clout (and cash) to press their own, frequently competing, foreign policy agendas. This is a trend that Washington -- committed to the security of these countries, reliant on their oil, and wary of Iran -- has tried to counter, but its leverage is not unlimited. Russia, incensed by the war against Libya, is convinced that Assad is the best firebreak available against jihadism and is determined to impede what it sees as American self-aggrandizement is probably beyond reach at this point; Iran's strategic stake in the Assad regime's survival should be self-evident.

Reputation

A second argument for intervention is the need to protect America's reputation. For proponents of this view, the U.S. failure to intervene in Syria has already had a profound worldwide effect on American credibility -- among other allegations -- and it supposedly encouraged Russia's seizure of Crimea and the covert destabilization of eastern Ukraine.

This allegation is farfetched. Russia clearly understood that the disparity between American and NATO interests in preserving the territorial integrity of post-Soviet Ukraine and Moscow's interest in controlling Crimea and the port of Sevastopol. The disparity of interests was so large as to guarantee that the West would not react militarily to Russia's ill-advised takeover of the peninsula. Russia is paying and will continue to pay a price for these actions, but NATO is strengthened, not weakened, by Russia's thuggish behavior. There is, of course, considerable damage to international legality and certainly to Ukraine's governance and sovereignty. But the notion that it is all part of a general deterioration of American will and reputation is a figment of the hawkish imagination.

More broadly, the notion that adversaries in a crisis assess each other's resolve on the basis of what they did or didn't do last year is not all that compelling. In a crisis, adversaries weigh each other's stake in the outcome and capacity to defend it as the current dispute is playing out. Track record is not a significant factor. Moreover, it isn't clear how a country's reputation can suffer if it doesn't intervene where it doesn't claim to have a vital interest. A sense of proportion when weighing vital interests is more often admired than ridiculed. Credibility suffers most when countries intervene where vital interests are not threatened and their adversary's stake is far greater than their own.

Rollback

By not striking the regime at the outset of the civil war, so the argument goes, the United States foreclosed a golden opportunity to knock the pins out from under Iran's only sovereign ally in the Arab world and cut off Hezbollah from Tehran's life support. This would unquestionably be a desirable thing. It would remove Iran from Israel's northern border and further isolate Tehran.

Yet precisely because it would so seriously damage Iran's interests, the fight would necessarily escalate as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fought back. Meanwhile, American efforts to dominate the escalation would implicate Washington more and more deeply in the fate of Syria without guaranteeing any sort of favorable resolution of the underlying political crisis. And even if the United States "won," the result would probably be an Alawite stronghold the size of Lebanon along the Mediterranean coast that would still provide Iran with its strategic requirements vis a vis Hezbollah. That the United States would be prepared to lay siege to such a canton and hand its population over to vengeful Sunnis is at least debatable, if not absurd.

Jihadists

The fourth category of argument advanced by proponents of intervention concerns the terrorist threat posed by Sunni extremists now incubating in Syria and running rampant in Iraq. Such militants are unquestionably a problem within Syria -- for both the regime and the opposition -- and certainly for Europe, where a reservoir of jihadist volunteers who might carry out attacks upon their return from the battlefield. Whether the majority of fighters in this conflict are focused on the United States or Western targets is open to question. At this stage not enough is known about the orientation of the majority of fighters in Syria. Numbers are also in dispute, in part because the intelligence is sketchy, and in part because outside observers often bring their own interests into the calculation, resulting in skewed numbers.

This uncertainty is compounded by the fact that many rebel fighters have affiliated with jihadist groups for tactical, as opposed to ideological and especially anti-American reasons. Because the jihadists win their fights more often than other opposition groups -- and, in some areas, are better equipped and led -- they tend to attract non-jihadists to their banner.

Former officials who have emerged as the voice of the interventionists contend that had the United States moved decisively against the Assad regime early in the conflict the jihadists now swarming over Syria would be at home warming their feet before the fire. This seems unlikely.

What we know from the wars in Iraq and Libya is that Western intervention is an additional spur to jihadist activism. Militants began flocking to Libya virtually as soon as NATO announced its intention to depose Muammar al-Qaddafi. (To be fair, they were motivated to do so even in the absence of Western boots on the ground.) We also know that despite NATO's military success, or perhaps because of it, these radical fighters have become entrenched in Libya, where they now preside over large population centers.

Iraq offers a more dramatic example. The presence of U.S. troops was an irresistible lure for jihadists -- many from Libya -- delighted that Washington had sent Americans over there. Indeed, it was U.S. involvement that triggered the counter-mobilization of jihadist forces. The current US strategy toward the latest outbreak of jihadism in Iraq - enhancing the capacity of Iraqi forces to deal with the problem while perhaps preparing the ground for eventual dynamic targeting via drones - is therefore more sensible than dealing with jihadists in Iraq by attacking the Assad regime in Syria. The difficult fact is that jihadism is a problematic feature of the Middle East and South Asian landscape at this historical juncture. Muslims animated by jihadist ideology are eager to fight for it and have a number of battlefields to choose from. Regime change in Syria, assuming it's even feasible, will not reverse this trend.

Moreover, given the shape of the opposition at that early stage of the war, the claim that it could have marched on Damascus following U.S. airstrikes to reconstitute a functioning government is also implausible. The Syrian Army might have cracked in anticipation of a U.S. invasion or even a sustained air campaign against the regime. But regime supporters have proved quite resilient with their backs to the wall and fiercely sectarian paramilitary elements of regime forces would no doubt have continued to fight for their survival. The what-if-we-armed-the-rebels-earlier argument is an interesting counterfactual, but not a compelling one.

In thinking about the best approach to the jihadist challenge, it would be well to remember that U.S. counterterrorism capabilities have improved considerably since 9/11. That they are imperfect goes without saying; the Times Square bomber clearly demonstrated persistent defects. And it is true, as the saying goes, that terrorists only need to get lucky once. Statements by U.S. counterterrorism officials regarding ISIS planning to attack Western targets should not be disregarded.

But the fact is that America's defenses are far better than they once were. Making the Department of Homeland Security work was said a decade ago to be a 10-year project; it has now been 10 years and the results are in. In combination with the vast increase in global U.S. communications surveillance; the sweeping provisions of the USA Patriot Act; much improved coordination between U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies; deployment of many more agents overseas; improved ties between the U.S. intelligence community and its foreign counterparts; and a stupendous financial commitment to countering terrorism, the case for "fighting them over there so we do not have to fight them over here" is far less forceful than it once was.

* * *

Left with an essentially moral case for intervention, proponents argue that the best way to stop the killing is to ramp up the war in the hope of toppling Assad or, as Amb. Robert Ford told Christiane Amanpour, to "increase the pressure on Assad" -- presumably by doing more arming and training than the United States is currently doing. This will create additional pressure, but not on Assad, and it will not topple him.

The pressure instead will be on Iran and Russia to increase their already impressive support for the regime. This in turn will transform the conflict into a bidding war with Iran that the United States will be feel compelled to win once it has committed itself (cf., "reputation" above). The pressure at the end of the day will be back on Washington.

The final destination is a cul de sac: no amount of arming and training the weakest faction in Syria will enable it to inflict enough damage on the other two much more powerful players -- the regime and ISIS -- to force decisive concessions in the meaningful future. When Ambassador Ford joins Amanpour in saying that the administration's strategy "isn't working" he isn't using the term "strategy" in the way it is normally used. The fact is that U.S. strategy is working well enough, to the extent that it entails staying out of asymmetric engagements in a civil war in a country where American interests are limited, while taking steps to buttress allies at risk and minimizing the suffering of non-combatants.

The situation is even more complicated because outside aid to splintered rebel movements tends to encourage further division as factions compete for resources. Nor does the moderate opposition necessarily have the grip to hold on to what it gets. We've already seen evidence of this as ISIS has seized shipments of non-lethal aid from mainstream rebels. Thus, it's at least debatable whether a U.S. intervention sufficiently decisive to topple Assad would produce less suffering and be more practicable than the massive humanitarian aid program and reported efforts to arm and train opposition fighters that are now under way.

What about the intermediate steps between inaction and boots on the ground that President Obama's critics claim to exist? These critics are offering nothing especially revelatory or innovative from the administration's perspective. The full range of options was defined and elaborated on early in the Syrian crisis and, if reports are true, is under more or less continuous administration review. The kinds of measures contemplated, whether arming or training insurgents, boosting the political opposition, or taking the sort of direct actions that would degrade an adversary's ability to operate militarily have all been employed by the United States in recent years in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Some of them have already been applied in Syria. The problem with multiplying and expanding the scope of these intermediate steps is that they don't get you where you want to go, if where you want to go is a political solution that results in a rapid end to the violence.

The issue has never been what could we do, but rather what happens after we do it?

This brings us back to today's Tonkinitis. If the United States were to take ownership of this civil war by trying to intervene in a decisive way, it would ineluctably be held responsible for Syria's reconstruction and stabilization. The bill for Iraq and Afghanistan is $4-6 trillion, according to a recent study by Harvard economists, and nearly the whole sum was seems to have been borrowed. It is now estimated to be about a fifth of our national debt. The cost -- and immense difficulty -- of reconstituting Syria's state and economy would be less imposing than it was in Iraq because it wouldn't include the personnel and materiel lifecycle costs of large-scale multi-year deployments, but it would still constitute a serious burden when added to what was spent in the two earlier wars. Perhaps if some of America's friends and allies who occasionally clamor for intervention could persuade Washington that they might be counted on to finance the costs and contribute the highly trained personnel, including Blue Helmets, to manage the aftermath, there might be more of a U.S. willingness to do more. Unfortunately, post-war conditions in Libya have demonstrated only too clearly that these allies lack the will and capacity to follow through. They have their own problems.

The claim of intervention advocates -- that if only the United States exercised "leadership" an international coalition could be mobilized to depose Assad and end the conflict -- simply does not ring true. If London had not backed out of its commitment to join Washington in striking the regime last August, the attacks would almost certainly have been carried out. But the British did back out because Parliament - the British people -- decisively and acidly rejected the government's case. The Elysee's rhetoric about taking Britain's place was widely derided within France by those, ironically, who thought that President Francois Hollande was too eager to be Washington's poodle and, from the other side, by skeptics of French capacity to follow through.

Pressures to intervene in Syria, or Iraq, or both will grow as frustrated diplomats, among others, take their case for deeper intervention to the media - as they should -- and as the administration's political adversaries weaponize their pleas to exploit an increasingly poisonous political process. The administration will probably respond with incremental steps toward the creation of a more effective moderate opposition force in Syria, while confining its military involvement in Iraq largely to counterterrorism objectives. But with Tonkinitis in the background, and only vague American equities in the future shape of the Syrian state, expectations of a step change in policy are not only unrealistic but out of sync with American strategic interests.

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/06/24/tonkinitis_in_iraq_syria_spillover_iran_isis

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Why the Iraqi army won’t fight: It isn’t for lack of equipment, training or doctrine

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 24th 2014, 17:45


Why the Iraqi army won’t fight: It isn’t for lack of equipment, training or doctrine

BY Thomas E. Ricks
JUNE 24, 2014 - 11:01 AM

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The problem with the Iraqi army isn't lack of training, or command and control structures, or insufficient counterinsurgency training. The forces they are fighting -- and losing to -- don't have any of that.

The reason the Iraqi army won't fight is that it lacks a reason to do so. This is a problem of governance. Their enemies are willing to fight and die for their cause. They advance in Toyota pickups, probably communicate via cellphone, and apparently have found little opposition from Sunni inhabitants.

The problem is that many Iraqi government soldiers are not willing to die for Maliki's version of Iraq.

HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images
http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/06/24/why_the_iraqi_army_won_t_fight_it_isn_t_for_lack_of_equipment_training_or_doctrine

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ISIS and the Long-Term Threat to Iraqi Oil

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 24th 2014, 17:57


ISIS and the Long-Term Threat to Iraqi Oil
Islamist militants haven't touched Iraqi oil production or exports yet, but they threaten Iraq's all-important future prospects.

BY Keith Johnson
JUNE 17, 2014

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The relentless march of Islamist militants south through Iraq is taking a toll on the country's oil infrastructure, forcing the closure of Iraq's largest oil refinery and sparking fears of an attack on Baghdad itself.

But with Iraq's oil output, if not its national integrity, apparently still intact, global oil markets are treading water after pushing crude prices up to nine-month highs late last week.

The real problem posed by the offensive unleashed by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is not what happens to Iraqi oil production this week, but whether OPEC's second-biggest producer can meet outsized production-growth expectations for the rest of the decade. If it can't, energy analysts say, the world's inexorable thirst for oil could soon collide with limited growth in supply, leading to higher prices and lower economic growth in the United States and around the world.

Iraqi forces in Baghdad braced for the possible arrival of ISIS fighters on Tuesday, June 17, and the southward spread of violent insurgents forced the closure of Iraq's biggest oil refinery and the evacuation of foreign personnel working there. The shutdown and evacuation of the Baiji refinery -- prompted by fears of ISIS mortar attacks -- won't directly affect Iraqi oil output, but it does threaten domestic supplies of refined petroleum products.

So far, ISIS militants have not threatened Iraq's giant oil fields; most of those are farther south, and oil exports are still flowing out of the country through ports far from ISIS-held territories in the north.

The relative security prevailing in the south, where exports could hit near-record levels of 2.8 million barrels a day next month, is keeping a lid on oil prices. Crude trading in New York and London held steady at about $106 and $113 a barrel, respectively, or roughly 3 percent higher than before the ISIS march began.

There is another potentially bright spot in the Iraqi oil sector: the quasi-independent Kurdish region in the north. Kurdish troops have so far stood up to ISIS and kept their territory free from insurgent attacks. And now that Kurdish forces occupy the historically contested city of Kirkuk and its significant adjacent oil fields, the Kurds are in a much better position to jump-start exports to countries such as Turkey.

In a significant oil-market report released Tuesday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projected that Iraqi output will account for 60 percent of all OPEC production growth for the rest of the decade. "Given Iraq's precarious political and security situation, the forecast is laden with downside risk," the report said. And it's not just Iraq: In many OPEC nations, the IEA said, "political turmoil and security concerns are a growing impediment to supply growth, if not a cause of outright disruptions."

Iraq's centrality to oil's future was also underscored by Energy Aspects, a London-based energy consultancy, on Tuesday. Affordable oil "would seem to need a lot of incremental oil supply from Iraq, while all the current dynamics suggest that the flood may be just a trickle," the group said.

Even though the United States' recent oil-production boom has helped offset oil-market struggles elsewhere, Iraq's importance to world oil supplies will only become more crucial after 2020 because the market is counting on Iraq meeting very ambitious output targets. "It is difficult to overstate the importance of Iraq to the long term outlook for oil markets," said Securing America's Future Energy, a group that advocates reducing U.S. dependence on oil, in a report Tuesday.

In the short term, Kurdistan will be a vital, if politically charged, part of Iraq's efforts to juice oil production and exports. The Kurdish natural resources minister, Ashti Hawrami, said at a conference in London that the Kurdish government has linked the Kirkuk oil fields to a Kurdish export oil pipeline, raising the possibility of greater oil exports that bypass Baghdad altogether.

Although exports from the north are blocked for now -- the pipeline is still damaged and border areas are under ISIS control -- Kurdish officials said they hoped for 200,000 barrels a day of oil exports this summer and 400,000 barrels by the end of the year. The Kurds have already loaded oil onto a second pair of tankers for resale in Europe, he said.

That could be the region's ticket to financial independence from Baghdad. The central government and the semiautonomous region have been fighting over how to divvy up revenue from Iraqi oil exports; Kurds say they are shortchanged by Baghdad and don't receive their stipulated 17 percent share.

"We're going to create facts on the ground to have my 17 percent in my own hands," Hawrami said, according to Reuters.

Photo by Dan Kitwood - Getty
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/06/17/isis_and_the_long_term_threat_to_iraqi_oil

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Revenge of the Kurds

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 24th 2014, 17:58


Revenge of the Kurds
As ISIS rolls toward Baghdad, the Kurds are gaining oil, ground, and power.

BY Keith Johnson
JUNE 12, 2014
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Amid the rubble left in Iraq by the rampage of Islamist insurgents, one group seems poised to benefit: the Kurds. Baghdad's flailing response to the offensive launched by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham opens the door to greater geographical reach for the Kurdish region, greater leverage over the central government, and a stronger possibility of becoming a big energy exporter in its own right.

The Islamist insurgents, known variously as ISIS and ISIL, continued their drive south toward the Iraqi capital on Thursday after having captured key northern cities, including Mosul. No less vigorous has been the Kurdish response: In sharp contrast to the Iraqi military forces, which evaporated despite outnumbering ISIS fighters, Kurdish military forces on Thursday took Kirkuk, an important city straddling the Arab and Kurdish parts of Iraq and the centerpiece of the northern oil industry. The Kurdish occupation, in a matter of hours, of a city that has been a bone of contention between Arabs and Kurds for centuries -- and especially during Saddam Hussein's rule of Iraq -- underscores how dramatically the ISIS offensive is redrawing the map of Iraq.

"This may be the end of Iraq as it was. The chances that Iraq can return to the centralized state that [Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki was trying to restore are minimal at this point," said Marina Ottaway, a Middle East specialist at the Wilson Center.

The contrast between robust security in Kurdish-ruled parts of the country and the security vacuum left by fleeing Iraqi troops could ultimately roll back decades of Iraqi history and put Kurdish leaders in Erbil in the catbird seat, especially when it comes to a contentious tug of war over energy resources.

"The strategic failure of Iraqi forces has really shifted the entire balance of power between the Kurdish Regional Government and Baghdad," said Ayham Kamel, Middle East director at the Eurasia Group, a risk consultancy. "It really allows the KRG to negotiate with Baghdad on entirely different terms" when it comes to a fight over the Kurds' right to export oil directly.

For years, Kurds in northern Iraq sought to benefit more from the region's abundant oil and gas resources, but energy exports were centralized in Baghdad, with export revenues shared among Iraq's regions. Kurdish leaders argued that the deal shortchanged them because they never got the 17 percent of revenues they were promised.

As a result, the Kurds decided -- in the face of a barrage of threats and intimidation from Baghdad -- to build their own energy-export infrastructure, enabling them to transport oil directly to nearby Turkey. That pipeline opened this year and energy firms operating in the region say that it will be fully operational later this year. Getting the export pipeline up to cruising speed is important for the Kurdish government. It needs to export about 450,000 barrels of oil a day to earn what it received from the central government. By the end of next year, the KRG hopes to be exporting as many as 1 million barrels a day.

But just recently, Baghdad seemed capable of crushing Kurdish energy dreams. Only hours before the ISIS offensive began, Iraqi officials were vowing to take the dispute to the United Nations. The legal uncertainties surrounding Kurdish oil kept it from flowing easily to new buyers. For example, a pair of tankers loaded with Kurdish crude wandered around in search of a port in May and June. U.S. officials long sought to push Erbil and Baghdad into an agreement over how to divvy up the nation's energy wealth and tried to discourage the Kurdish government's go-it-alone stance.

All that looks like history now. Turkey, the main market for Kurdish oil, is both eager to lock up new sources of energy and to promote some pocket of stability on a troubled frontier. Given that ISIS rebels, for now, have not launched any attacks inside Kurdish-ruled areas is a comfort to officials in both Erbil and Ankara.

"Economics is totally on the side of independent Kurdish exports. And politics is shifting as well," said Ottaway. "Things are definitely going in the right direction for Kurdistan, as long as ISIS leaves them alone."

Kurdish officials hope the contrast between the ineffective and often sectarian Iraqi forces and Kurdish-governed areas' relative security and stability will enhance the region's appeal and boost export potential.

"The events in Iraq have proven to the international community who can be reliable and competent partners, and a source of energy," said Karwan Zebari, the director of the Kurdish Regional Government's representation in Washington, D.C. He said the KRG is committed to a unified Iraq and doesn't seek independence.

The Kurdish occupation of Kirkuk, to forestall an attack by ISIS in the absence of any Iraqi military units, could further shift both the political dynamics inside Iraq and change the shape of the country's energy sector. That's because, given Baghdad's other pressing priorities, it may well prove difficult for the central government to reassert control there.

"They're capitalizing on a moment of weakness to create facts on the ground," said Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a Middle East specialist at Rice University's Baker Institute. He said the fluid situation could revive the decade-old idea of partitioning Iraq into separate ethnic and political spheres. "This carve-up may just happen on the ground, as different groups take advantage of the vacuum of authority."

Kurdish control over Kirkuk, and the massive oil fields found nearby, could have a ripple effect on the rest of Iraq's oil industry, Eurasia Group's Kamel said. That is, the Kurdish-style oil contracts, which offer foreign firms a share of the oil, could displace the less attractive Iraqi-style contracts at those mammoth fields.

"The KRG could actually push its interests and dictate terms for future contracts at the Kirkuk field; it wouldn't just be the central government dealing with that," he said.

Whether the Kurds come out stronger from Iraq's harrowing battle against extremists depends on how well they insulate themselves from violence and instability.

"The question now is whether Kurdistan can remain an oasis of stability despite the turmoil around it. If it does, its oil future is huge -- it now controls Kirkuk and its fields and oil exports could increase immediately," said the Wilson Center's Ottaway.

Marwan Ibrahim - AFP - Getty
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/06/12/revenge_of_the_kurds

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Iraq is Burning, and Everyone Agrees Maliki Has to Go

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 24th 2014, 18:56


Iraq is Burning, and Everyone Agrees Maliki Has to Go
These are the seven men who could replace him.

BY Yochi Dreazen , Elias Groll
JUNE 24, 2014
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@yochidreazen



The Obama administration and its most important Middle Eastern allies believe that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has to go. The question now is who will replace him -- and whether that leader can unify his broken country against the existential threat posed by the Islamist militants advancing on Baghdad.

Secretary of State John Kerry made a rare visit to the semi-independent Kurdish region of northern Iraq Tuesday to gauge whether Kurdish leaders are willing to join a new unity government in Baghdad that would give more power to the Kurds and Sunnis, who Maliki systematically alienated. The head of the Kurdish Regional Government, Masoud Barzani, was decidedly non-committal. Now that fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham have conquered much of Iraq, it is "facing a new reality and a new Iraq," Barzani said.

That new Iraq will almost certainly be led by someone other than Maliki, who is widely seen as too toxic. Maliki, a hardline Shiite, has feuded for years with the Kurds over how to divide Iraq's oil riches and angered the Sunni minority by arresting the community's political leaders, replacing skilled Sunni military commanders with Shiite loyalists, and cutting off funding to the Sunni tribal leaders whose fighters once helped U.S. military forces oust a previous iteration of al Qaeda from its strongholds in western Iraq.

"There is no chance of the elites coming together to confront the serious threat to the state that ISIS presents with Maliki at the helm," said Emma Sky, who served as the political advisor to Gen. Ray Odierno during his tenure as the top U.S. general in Iraq. "The best hope is that the elites agree on an alternative -- they have the votes to do so."

Still, finding a replacement acceptable to all of Iraq's sects and political parties will be an extraordinarily difficult task because of the number of boxes the potential leader must check. He has to be a Shiite, but not one as harshly anti-Sunni as Maliki. He needs the military know-how to repair Iraq's battered armed forces and oversee a counterattack against ISIS. To top it off, he needs the diplomatic skills to work with both Washington and Tehran, despite the lingering tensions between the United States and Iran.

Michael Knights, an Iraq expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, believes that a Maliki replacement also has to be drawn from the ranks of the prime minister's Dawa Party to avoid alienating one of the country's most potent and powerful political blocs.

The list of Iraqi prime minister contenders, in other words, is a short one. Below are the Iraqi politicians that U.S. officials, Western analysts, and Arab diplomats believe are in the running. (Click an image to start the gallery.)
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/06/24/who_should_replace_maliki_iraq_isis_john_kerry_kurdistan_chalabi_allawi

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 24th 2014, 19:02


The Kurdish Are Coming
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters honed their skills fighting for independence from Iraq. Now they are the front line against ISIS.

BY Mohammed A. Salih
JUNE 16, 2014

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GOM JALIL, Iraq — The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham's forces are less than a mile away, across the flat, dusty plain dotted with concrete buildings. The militant Sunni group's flags can be seen waving in the distance above a checkpoint that, just days ago, was jointly manned by Iraqi government troops and Kurdish forces. But inside the dilapidated one-story building where Brig. Gen. Mahmoud Ahmed has set up a base, the mood is upbeat.

"Our morale is high," says Ahmed, a chubby, mustachioed veteran of the wars against Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, who now commands the Second Zeravani Battalion, the Kurdish forces responsible for the Kurdish provinces of Erbil and Dohuk. Nearby, a young soldier with his chest crisscrossed by bullet rounds stands watch behind a Russian-made PKM machine gun mounted on a pickup truck. "We are here to defend our land and people with our blood," Ahmed says.

Ahmed and his battalion are Peshmerga, the Kurdish forces that have fought successive Iraqi regimes for nearly half a century in their pursuit of Kurdish rights and independence. In Kurdish, the word means "those who confront death." They are famed for their skills on the battlefield, and Ahmed says they are ready to fight again.

The Peshmerga are the first line of defense on the road between Iraqi Kurdistan's capital, Erbil, and Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, which was overrun on June 9 by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and former loyalists of Saddam's regime who had crossed the desert from Syria. Iraqi security forces abandoned the city after a couple of days of fighting; in the days since, ISIS and other Sunni insurgent groups have taken a number of other towns in Nineveh, Diyala, Anbar, Kirkuk, and Salahaddin provinces.

A few yards from Ahmed's base, an abandoned and damaged armored vehicle belonging to the Iraqi Federal Police stands as a testament to the defeat of the central government's forces at ISIS's hands. The inability of thousands of Iraqi security forces to defend Mosul took many by shock, not least the Peshmerga forces.

The Iraqi security forces were trained by the United States and Britain, and they are better equipped and paid than their Kurdish counterparts. But with Iraqi forces unable to fight in much of the northern part of the country after they surrendered their positions to the Sunni Arab militants, the Peshmerga are now the only force capable, they hope, of pushing ISIS back.

There are over 100,000 Peshmerga fighters, according to Halgurd Hikmat, a senior official at the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)'s Ministry of Peshmerga. They are either veterans of the Kurdish struggle against Saddam's regime or new recruits who have to go through an intensive training that lasts around 50 days. While they are officially under the command of Iraqi Kurdistan's president, Masoud Barzani, in practice they answer to leaders aligned with the competing Kurdish political factions, the Barzani-led Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, led by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. But when it comes to protecting Kurdish territory, those forces are united. Nearly 40,000 of the Peshmerga forces divided into 16 battalions are united under the KRG's Peshmerga Ministry. The rest have yet to be unified. All Peshmerga are now mobilized in the fight against ISIS.

Fighting between ISIS and the Kurds is already under way. Clashes erupted on June 11 between Peshmerga and ISIS fighters in the Kurdish-dominated towns of Sinjar and Zummar in northwestern Nineveh province near the border with Syria, Hikmat told Foreign Policy. Hikmat acknowledged that a number of Kurdish soldiers were killed and injured in the clashes but refused to disclose the number of Peshmerga casualties "so as not to affect our forces' morale."

Kurdish forces also battled militants in the southern parts of the oil-rich, multiethnic province of Kirkuk. Kirkuk has been at the core of Kurds' decades-long conflict with Iraqi governments. The takeover of much of Kirkuk province by Kurds now brings them a step closer to their long-held aspirations for independence. Kurdish officials have said they are not going to let go of Kirkuk as they cannot trust Iraqi forces to provide security for residents there.

And Kirkuk isn't the only strategic gain. Kurds now control the Rabia border crossing between Iraq and Syria and the disputed town of Jalawla in northern Diyala province.

But even before the recent clashes, ISIS and the Kurds had been in conflict. Last week, ISIS suicide bombers blew up local offices of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party in Diyala and Salahaddin provinces, killing around 50 people and wounding dozens. It also carried out an assault on the headquarters of the Kurdish security forces in Erbil last September, killing at least six people. In Syria, where ISIS has made major gains in that country's civil war, ISIS and the Kurds have been battling for months.

The Peshmerga and the Kurdish Regional Government are concerned about ISIS's dramatic rise -- and fear its tactics and ideology -- but they also see opportunity in the instability. It has offered a unique opportunity for the Kurdistan Regional Government to consolidate its control over large swaths of land labeled by the Iraqi Constitution as "disputed territories" -- land that Kurds have eyed for part of their future independent state.

Iraq's 2005 constitution grants the KRG jurisdiction over the three northeastern provinces of Erbil, Sulaimaniya, and Dohuk. But Kurds also want to lay claim to parts of four other provinces, Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salahaddin, and Diyala, which the government in Baghdad disputes. Most parts of the disputed territories are predominantly Kurdish while others are either dominated by Christians or have a mosaic of Kurds, Turkmens, Arabs, and Christians. But the territorial aspirations go beyond ethnic alignments: The stakes are especially high because those areas hold large reserves of natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas.

When thousands of Iraqi Army and police troops abandoned their posts in the face of ISIS's oncoming, it paved the way for the KRG to swiftly expand and solidify its control over those areas.

"We consider ourselves responsible toward the residents of those areas," said Hikmat. "We have seen this fragile army of [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki. How can we leave the people of those [disputed] areas to an army that cannot even defend its own positions?" he added, summing up a sentiment prevalent among Kurds these days.

But seizing new, oil-rich territory is not the only benefit for the Kurds. The latest attack has shaken the Iraqi political system to its core. It seems like everything is up for grabs now. Relations between Maliki and the Kurdish government reached an all-time low in May after the KRG decided to begin shipping oil to international markets via Turkey -- without Baghdad's blessing. In response, Maliki cut off the central government's funding for the KRG.

Iraqi leadership convened a meeting on June 11, attended by Maliki, to discuss ways to confront threats from ISIS. Neither the Kurdish president nor prime minister attended the meeting, and only lower-rank officials represented the Kurds. The meeting reportedly ended without producing an agreement.

At the moment, the possibility of joint operations between Iraqi and Kurdish troops against ISIS militants seems slim. But with the danger posed by ISIS becoming more serious by the day, it is not unlikely that the KRG and Baghdad might in the coming weeks or months find common cause.

Unconfirmed reports circulated in Iraqi media alleging that KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani had reached a deal with Maliki in which the KRG will assist the Iraqi Army in the fight against the ISIS, in return for agreement to Kurdish oil sales. But the KRG's spokesperson, Safeen Dizayee, rejected those reports in an official statement.

As the ISIS war rages on, there does not appear to be any deal between the Kurds and Baghdad to jointly take on the group. In a statement shortly after ISIS's capture of Mosul, KRG's Barzani said the Iraqi government had rejected an offer of "security cooperation" from the Kurds before the fall of Mosul.

If the Peshmerga do unite with Iraqi troops, it will strengthen the hand of the weak Iraqi Army. At the moment, however, no deal for cooperation has been struck between the two sides. Most Kurds oppose aiding the Baghdad government and see the current conflict as a sectarian Sunni-Shiite fight between Arabs. For now, the Peshmerga are focused solely on defending their own territory and, when possible, expanding it. Their extensive combat experience and strong discipline mean they might be able to get what they want.

At the Gom Jalil base near Mosul, General Ahmed prepares for battle. He shouts instructions to a disciplined group of young Peshmerga fighters. He appears confident and calm, a battle-tested fighter ready for another round.

"Our plan is not to attack anyone," he says. "But if we are attacked, we will respond with all our force."

SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/06/16/the_kurdish_are_coming_peshmerga_isis_iraq

con que los kurdos son la ultima linea de defensa, eh? si se ponen las pilas ahi tendran exito en la que me parece es su unica carta ganadora. que se presenten a nivel internacional como los unicos que pueden enfrentarse al isil y que no olviden que las demas naciones a su alrededor no dudaran en aplastarlos en cuanto se calmen las cosas.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Iraq's Maliki rules out emergency government

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 28th 2014, 09:57


Iraq's Maliki rules out emergency government
Prime minister says such a move would be "coup", in direct rebuttal of US efforts to tackle rising Sunni rebellion.
Last updated: 26 Jun 2014 06:10


The Iraqi prime minister has said he will not bow to international pressure on forming a national unity government to tackle the Sunni rebellion in the north, calling the idea a "coup" against the constitution.

Nouri al-Maliki's statement on Wednesday came a day after the US secretary of state, John Kerry, left Iraq after pushing for an agreement between Kurdish, Sunni and Shia leaders.

In his weekly televised address, Maliki said: "The call to form a national emergency government is a coup against the constitution and the political process.

"It is an attempt by those who are against the constitution to eliminate the young democratic process and steal the votes of the voters."

The speech came a day after US military advisers arrived in Baghdad. The US says Iraqi politicians must create a unity government before it sends futher help.

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said Maliki's comments would be seen as direct rebuttal to the US insistence of a unity deal before more help is sent.

Maliki's electoral bloc won by far the most seats in April 30 parliamentary elections with 92, nearly three times as many as the next biggest party, and the incumbent himself tallied 720,000 personal votes, also far and away the most.

During a visit to Doha as part of a tour of Gulf Arab countries, Philip Hammond, the UK's defence secretary, told Al Jazeera: "What we need to see is the leaders of all of the communities speaking out for the future of a unified Iraqi state.

"There needs to be a step change, a change of tempo, and a really significant signal to the Sunni community and Kurdish community that the government wants to change course and become a government of all of Iraq."

Referring to the main Sunni rebel group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Hammond said: "If ISIL gains control of a space in Syria or Iraq, it will use that position as a platform to launch attacks on the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. [ISIL] will be a source of instability in the region and beyond."

In Wednesday's other Iraq-related developments, Iraqi state TV broadcast video claiming to show Iraqi troops in control of the oil refinery at Baiji, amid contesting claims as to who was in control there.

The footage, shot by a journalist sympathetic to the government, shows an army helicoper briefly landing at the site before leaving.

Our correspondent reported that the video, which the government said was shot on Tuesday, seemed to suggest Iraqi troops were in control of at least part of the refinery.

The Iraqi government would have been hesitant to send a journalist to the area if it was not confident it was clear of rebels, he said.
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/maliki-rules-out-iraq-unity-government-2014625105257356288.html

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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The US and Iraqi Kurds: Good will hunting?

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 28th 2014, 10:06


The US and Iraqi Kurds: Good will hunting?
Iraqi Kurds seethe as US tells them to put aside independence dreams - for now.
Last updated: 25 Jun 2014 10:40
Michael Stephens

Michael Stephens
Follow @MStephensGulf

Michael Stephens is the Deputy Director of the Royal United Services Institute, (RUSI) Qatar.

The relationship between Washington and Erbil has become strained in recent times, writes Stephens [AP]

US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Iraq comes at a crucial moment, with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its grouping of allies sweeping through swathes of the country picking up weapons, money and support as they move south. Iraq is at a perilous juncture.

The message from the United States has been firm; the spread of ISIL has been described as "unacceptable". While the removal of ISIL remains an immediate goal of the US, there are clearly other problems to do with political integration that must be addressed as well. Seeking a unified position against ISIL, Kerry also travelled to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, to ensure that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) buys into an inclusive military and political solution.

The US position is complicated; under the US-Iraqi strategic framework agreement, the US is committed to seeing the Iraqi state remaining unified and intact. In the words of Kerry on June 24 to the BBC, "a united Iraq is a stronger Iraq". But this is of course antithetical to the goals of the KRG, for whom independence and nationhood is the ultimate dream.

Strained relationship

The relationship between Washington and Erbil has become strained in recent times. The Kurds see the US as standing in the way of their aspirations for greater autonomy and self-rule, and acting as an insensitive ally, particularly with regards to the terrible state of relations between Erbil and Baghdad over Kurdish oil exports in which the US has been viewed as firmly on the side of the Iraqi state.

The relationship between Washington and Erbil has become strained in recent times. The Kurds see the US as standing in the way of their aspirations for greater autonomy and self rule, and acting as an insensitive ally, particularly with regard to the terrible state of relations between Erbil and Baghdad over Kurdish oil exports in which the US has been viewed as firmly on the side of the Iraqi state.

The reluctance of the US to remove the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) from its list of "tier III terrorist groups", both legitimately elected parties in the Iraq, has led to angry protests from KRG President Massoud Barzani who reportedly cancelled a trip to Washington in April on account of US inaction on the matter. The US has promised to act to rectify this particular diplomatic faux pas, albeit 11 years late.

The KRG views its relationship with Washington as a cornerstone of their foreign policy; the territory under Erbil's control is for most part pro-US, and yet in the past year the feeling among Kurds is for all the goodwill they show, they get very little from Washington in return.

Against this backdrop, the US is trying to convince the Kurds that their best interests lie with a shattered polity 350km to the south, a hard sell if ever there was one. This requires significant reassurances from the Americans that may go beyond what Kerry is able to offer.

The Kurds possess a capable military force in the Peshmerga fighters, but they need a direct guarantee from the US that it will be there for them should the KRG's security be existentially threatened - by either ISIL or in the future, a resurgent and angry Baghdad looking to move against the Kurds over the issue of security control in Kirkuk and its plentiful hydrocarbon resources.

Contrary to many reports that seem to imply that Kurdistan is the "winner" of the June uprising, the KRG is still in an extremely insecure position. Kurdistan commentator Cale Salih notes that "the KRG shares a 1,000km border with insurgents - only 50km are left shared with the Iraqi army". This is hardly an enviable position to be in. Indeed, Peshmerga forces are engaged in daily battles with ISIL, and have found them a tough, well-drilled and well-equipped opponent that has cemented its presence across much of northwestern Iraq.

Additionally, the influx of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Syrians into the Kurdistan Region poses another huge challenge. The KRG does not possess the resources to cope with such a rapid population increase. Lines at petrol stations across the region stretch for miles, and Erbil is full of homeless Iraqis desperately searching for food and shelter. The KRG is not winning anything right now.

No military solution

While both Kerry and the KRG have agreed there is no military solution to Iraq's problems, the KRG faces a severe threat and will need security guarantees before even considering some form of political agreement with Baghdad. While Kerry was clear about expressing the US goal to destroy ISIL, it needs to do more than just pay lip service to the problem and be prepared to meaningfully address Kurdish security concerns.
Call for Iraq's Sunni and Shia to unite

Kerry alluded to "words being cheap", a sign that US assistance will be forthcoming. But given that US assistance is unlikely to be the game changer for Erbil or bring it any real benefit in the long run vis-a-vis Baghdad. The potential for Iran and other regional actors to delve into Kurdistan's political and security questions is very real.

At some point, the US will have to come to terms with the fact that its policy on Iraq, hamstrung by the need to keep the country unified and functioning, is ultimately going to drive the Kurds away. For now of course, the threat of ISIL trumps all other concerns. But the real debate is about the future of Iraq itself and how the country might look after the violence of recent weeks subsides.

The Kurds will surely look to capitalise on a weakened Baghdad to advance their own goal of building further distance between themselves and the state. If the US stands in the way of this process, it might just find that it loses the KRG for good, and rather than holding Iraq the country together, precipitates its collapse.

Michael Stephens is the Deputy Director of the Royal United Services Institute, (RUSI) Qatar.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Source:
Al Jazeera
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/06/iraqi-kurds-independence-201462553129811379.html

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 28th 2014, 10:14



Middle East
Iraq army launches offensive to retake Tikrit
Government forces head for rebel-held city in biggest troop movement yet towards territory held by ISIL and allies.
Last updated: 28 Jun 2014 14:41
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The offensive in Tikrit is the largest by the Iraqi army since the rebel advances earlier this month [AP]

The Iraqi army says it has launched a major offensive to retake Tikrit from Sunni rebels, amid conflicting claims over who controls the city's university.

The main ground operation, which began on Saturday, followed heavy fighting in the city between Sunni rebels and Iraqi special forces, who were trying to establish a foothold at the university campus.
Al Jazeera's Imran Khan reports from Baghdad

Iraqi military sources said they had captured the university but rebels led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant said they had successfully repelled the attack.

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said Iraqi armoured divisions have been moving towards Tikrit from Samarra, a nearby city where government forces had been massing.

The Iraqi army said Tikrit had been "cleansed" of ISIL fighters, a statement denied by websites sympathetic to ISIL. Al Jazeera cannot verify these claims.

The Iraqi army also said it had destroyed a convoy of about 20 rebel vehicles between Samarra and Tikrit.

ISIL supporters used social media to say the rebels had destroyed at least 10 humvees, six tanks and a helicopter in the clashes, and killed up to 300 soldiers.

The operation is the largest the Iraqi army has undertaken in rebel-held territory, Khan said.

US assistance

Meanwhile, the US said that armed drones were flying over Baghdad. Officials said the sorites were being flown to protect US military advisers helping Iraqi forces tackle the rebellion.

The defence department said the unmanned aircraft would watch over US troops who operated outside the confines of the US embassy, the AP news agency reported.

There were also reports of air attacks in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city in the hands of Sunni rebels since the ISIL launched lightning attacks earlier this month.

The US has said that targeting rebel leaders in air attacks is one option being prepared to deal with the rebellion that has taken huge parts of the country.

"We're building a picture so that if the decision were made to support the Iraqi security forces as they confront ISIL, we could do so," said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/iraq-army-launches-offensive-retake-tikrit-201462872244724634.html




Middle East
Iraq's Kurds rule out any Kirkuk retreat
Massoud Barzani says ambition of incorporating city "achieved", amid growing calls for inclusive government in Baghdad.
Last updated: 28 Jun 2014 08:34
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The president of the Kurdish region of northern Iraq has issued a defiant statement to the Iraqi government that there was no going back on autonomous Kurdish rule in the oil city Kirkuk.

Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, made the comments at a joint news conference in Erbil with visiting William Hague, British foreign secretary, on Friday.

"We waited for 10 years for Baghdad to solve Article 140," he said, referring to the constitutional item which was meant to address the Kurds' decades-old ambition to incorporate the territory in their autonomous region in the north over the objections of successive governments in Baghdad.

"Now its accomplished because the Iraqi army pulled out and our Peshmerga forces had to step in. So now the problem is solved. There will be more no more conversation about it."

Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Erbil, said Barzani's statement was expected to put more strain on the Baghdad government.

"The Kurds see themselves in a position of strength, and say the Iraqi government's pullout forced Peshmerga forces to fill the security vacuum," she said.

Kurdish forces stepped in when federal government forces withdrew in the face of a Sunni rebel offensive led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) earlier this month.

The Sunni rebels made the gains as Iraq's flagging security forces were swept aside by the initial insurgent push, pulling out of a swathe of ethnically divided areas.

The Iraqi army carried out airstrikes on Tikrit, and launched an assault on a strategic university campus on Friday to recapture the rebel-held city.

Exclusive video obtained by Al Jazeera showed damage inside the city after reports of Iraqi military helicopters flying commandos into the city on Thursday.

Several locals told Al Jazeera there were no rebels in the area and that the military hit targets indiscriminately.

Nouri al-Maliki, who has been Iraq's prime minister since 2006, has faced intense pressure to form an inclusive government and address the longstanding grievances of the Sunni and Kurdish communities.

Sistani urges unity

On Friday Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's leading Shia religious leader, became the latest prominent figure to distance himself from Maliki when he called on politicians to unite and choose a prime minister before parliament sits next week to begin forming a government.

Sistani, who commands unswerving loyalty from many Shia in the region, said the various political blocs should agree on the next prime minister, parliament speaker and president before the newly elected legislature meets on Tuesday.
Massoud Barzani: Flying the Kurdish flag

Under Iraq's governing system put in place after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the prime minister has always been a Shia, the largely ceremonial president a Kurd and the speaker of parliament a Sunni.

Dividing up the three posts before parliament meets would require leaders from each of Iraq's three main ethnic and sectarian groups to commit to the political process and resolve their most pressing problems, including Maliki's fate.

"What is required of the political blocs is to agree on the three [posts] within the remaining days to this date," Abdul Mehdi Karbalai, Sistani's spokesman, said during a Friday prayer sermon in the Shia shrine city of Karbala.

Maliki, whose Shia-led State of Law coalition won the most seats in the April election, had been positioning himself for a third term before the onslaught began.

Despite the turmoil and calls both domestically and internationally for him to step down, Maliki has said any attempt to undermine him would be tantamount to a "coup".
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/iraq-kurds-rule-out-retreating-from-kirkuk-20146271440878594.html

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Grupos combativops en Irak

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 28th 2014, 10:31


Mapping Iraq's fighting groups
A synopsis of the various fighters in Iraq grouped by religion, culture, region, and political agendas.
Alaa Bayoumi and Leah Harding Last updated: 27 Jun 2014 07:15

Following the US military's withdrawal from Iraq at the end of 2011, Sunni and Shia militias changed course: Some joined the political process, while others went through a period of inactivity. The ongoing conflict in Syria, however, has given a new lease on life to many of those groups.

And despite the apparent sectarian edge of the current conflict, neither the Sunni nor the Shia militias are acting as a monolith. They are both fraught with divisions.

Al Jazeera maps out the different forces dominating Iraq's killing fields.

Iraqi Sunni Armed Groups

Anti-government protests in Iraq since 2011, and the harsh crackdown that followed, gave the country's Sunni armed groups a new reason for political action. Weekly protests in predominately Sunni-populated cities, like Ramadi and Fallujah, created a new momentum demanding political rights for Sunnis.

There are well-known Sunni groups like the Islamic Army of Iraq and other less known ones such as Ansar al-Islam (Supporters of Islam), Jaish al-Mujadiheen (al-Mujhaideen Army), Kata'ib Thawarat al-Ishreen (1920 Revolution Brigades).

General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries

The General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries was announced in January to capitalise on the anti-government protest movement that has been going on in several Iraqi provinces since 2011. Government military intervention in Anbar, armed crackdown on protest camps, and the arrest of prominent Sunni member of parliament, Ahmed al-Alwani in late 2013, triggered an armed response by pro-revolution activists and loyal tribal forces.

The Islamic Army of Iraq supported the protest movement as did the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order, which is affiliated with the Baath party. Both groups took advantage of the protests to expand their influence over Sunni strongholds since mid-2013.

A new coordinating body, the General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries (GMCIR), was established to coordinate between the various local tribal players and to be the armed wing of the protest movement.

It claimed to have a presence in Ramadi, Salahaddin, Abu Ghraib, Baghdad, Mosul, and Diyala.

In June, GMCIR spokesperson, former General Muzhir al-Qaisi, told Al Jazeera that his group in not sectarian and it answers to local tribal forces who are revolting against the injustices committed by Nouri al-Maliki's government. He said his group is led by former Iraqi military officers and fighters who fought against US forces in Iraq during the occupation.

When it comes to the relationship with ISIL, Qaisi told Al Jazeera that his group does not condone any human rights abuses and does not coordinate with ISIL. He noted that the GMCIR wants a democratic political solution to the Iraqi crisis. He claimed that his group is in control of Mosul, Salahaddin, Fallujah and Baiji.

The group, considering its local nature, is one of the main groups fighting Iraqi military forces in the current conflict.

Islamic Army of Iraq (IAI)
The group is thought to be led by former Iraqi military officers [IAI/YouTube]

One of the major Sunni armed groups formed after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the group is thought to be led by former Iraqi military officers. It has kept a distance from armed Sunnis groups affiliated with both the Baathists and al-Qaeda.

During 2006-2007, some IAI members were thought to have joined the US-backed Awakening Councils to fight al-Qaeda. The group also reportedly shifted its attention more towards what it considered growing Iranian influence inside Iraq, especially as US forces began to withdraw.

After a relatively inactive period, the group was seen as a supporter of the anti-government protests that has spread since 2011.

During the recent fighting, the group released a video , allegedly showing its troops patrolling the eastern areas of Baghdad. It also proclaimed its intention to enter the Iraqi capital. The group is thought to be more active in areas around Anbar and Baghdad.

It wants a political solution based on a federal state and demands the removal of Maliki from power.

The Men of the Naqshbandi Order
group is active in Nineveh, Diyala, and Salahaddin provinces in Iraq [Naqshbandi handout]

This armed group is loyal to Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the most senior member of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's regime still at large. It started its armed activities in July 2003 against US forces in Iraq, and launched itself as a group at the end of 2006, after the execution of Saddam.

The group refused to take part in the political process vowing "not to give up arms until Iraq is liberated from the American Zionist Safavid occupation".

The group is active in Nineveh, Diyala, and Salaheddin provinces in Iraq. It claimed responsibility for many attacks against US forces in Iraq and vows not to fight against any other groups seeking to liberate Iraq.

The group captured the town of Sulaiman Bek in Salaheddin province for about two days in April 2013. This is after government forces used force to break Sunni protests in Hawija, a town west of Kirkuk, leaving dozens of protesters dead and triggering a wave of clashes with government of forces.

The group's ideology is a mix of Islamic and pan-Arab nationalistic ideas.

The Awakening Councils

This group is made up of Sunni tribal fighters who oppose al-Qaeda and its presence in Iraq. In 2006, they helped US forces expel al-Qaeda from Sunni provinces, like Anbar, where the councils were established, and from Sunni districts in Baghdad.

At that time, the councils were estimated to have about 100,000 fighters who wanted to be integrated into Iraqi forces after helping defeat al-Qaeda. About 70,000 of their fighters were given security and government jobs and about 30,000 continued to man security checkpoints in Sunni areas in return for a monthly salary from the government.

The relationship between the councils and the Maliki government deteriorated especially after the US' withdrawal from Iraq as the councils felt neglected. While such neglect began before the US withdrawal, it worsened in the years that followed.

In 2012, their leader, Ahmed Abu Richa, joined anti-government camps in Anbar and made the same demands as the protesters, such as releasing detainees, more Sunni representation in government institutions, and more integration of Sunnis into the political process.

In March 2013, Abu Richa terrorism charges were filed against him.

At the beginning of 2014, Abu Richa switched sides and aligned himself and his followers with government forces in response to an increasing ISIL role in Anbar. Awakening Council members also reportedly fought along with government forces against al-Qaeda during the ongoing confrontations.

In June, in an interview with Al Jazeera, the spokesman of the GMCIR, former general Muzhir al-Qaisi described the Awakening Councils as "part of an American Project" signalling distrust towards the group.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
ISIL is seen as too controversial, too brutal, and divisive [AP]

ISIL is an al-Qaeda-inspired group that has grown powerful over the past three years, becoming more threatening to the regimes in Syria and Iraq.

ISIL is the descendant of various al-Qaeda affiliated groups that have been active in Iraq since 2004. After a surge in violence, Sunni tribal fighters, organised under the Awakening Councils, fought ISIL’s mother organisations, denying them safe havens in major Sunni areas of Iraq.

The ongoing conflict in Syria gave the group a new opportunity to reorganise. The group expanded into Syria to fight the regime there, and in 2013 wanted to unite with an al-Qadea affiliate working in Iraq, the Nusra Front. Yet, the strict ideology and harsh tactics used by ISIL, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi broke down the new alliance.

A deadly crackdown on anti-government protest camps in Anbar province at the end of 2013 gave ISIL the opportunity to expand and fill in the growing security void. In June, the group was a leading force in seizing several major Iraqi towns, including Mosul, from Iraqi military forces.

According to several reports, ISIL took over some major checkpoints on the borders with Syria and Jordan, giving it the opportunity to connect the main areas under its control in eastern Syria and western Iraq.

The group in known for its sectarian ideology and practices and its growing role in Iraq is raising fears among other Sunni armed forces. The group is seen as too controversial, too brutal, and divisive as it advocates strong sectarian ideas and very often fights with various Iraqi forces, such as the Peshmerga Kurdish Forces and the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order.

The number of ISIL fighters is estimated at a few thousand, including foreign fighters.

Kurdish Peshmerga
Since the fall of Mosul, the Kurdish Peshmerga have taken a lead role in the battle for Iraq [EPA]

Since ISIL took control of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in June, the Kurdish Peshmerga have taken a lead role in the battle for Iraq.

There is conflicting information about the history of the Peshmerga, literally meaning "those who confront death". Peshmerga fighters have been around since the birth of a Kurdish nationalist movement in the 1920s, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

But they took on a more prominent role in the 1960s, during the Kurdish Democratic Party's (KDP) conflict with Saddam and the Baathists.

Ibrahim al-Marashi, author of Iraq's Armed Forces , says the Peshmerga were considered "a terrorist group" by the Baathists and during much of Saddam's presidency.

During the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, the Peshmerga provided the US with political and military assistance . The invasion ultimately shifted the status of the Peshmerga to what Marashi calls "an official military under the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)".

Standing 200,000 strong and comprised of both male and female fighters, the Peshmerga are largely "funded by the budget of the KRG and Baghdad", Marashi says .

Nathaniel Rabkin, t he managing editor of Inside Iraqi Politics - a political risk newsletter - says the Peshmerga "seem to be equipped mostly with Soviet-style weapons, either seized from Saddam's army or purchased in later years from former Communist bloc countries".

Rabkin says that from 1995-2005, the Peshmerga "gradually professionalised, to the point where it now functions more or less as a conventional military force".

The Peshmerga, according to Marashi, "are battle hardened fighters, trained in combat in mountainous terrain". However, "they don't have much experience in urban combat". But in comparison to the Iraqi army, Rabkin says they may have less equipment, but they're “better trained and organised" just without "significant [quantities] of modern tanks or artillery".

Rabkin says only senior officials in the Peshmerga are "veterans of the Baath-era military". The junior commanders and current fighters are largely trained by "foreign military advisers, including US special forces".

With charges of corruption rampant in the Iraqi government, the Peshmerga seem to have evaded much of the controversy.

Can the Kurds defeat ISIL fighters in the Kurdistan region? Marashi believes "ISIL stands no chance of taking territory", because it simply "is not experienced in combat in mountainous terrain".

For the moment, Kurdish officials insist the Peshmerga troops are deployed to protect civilian populations and Kurdish-populated areas. But there are concerns that the Peshmerga presence in disputed areas, such as oil-rich Kirkuk, may lead to unilateral annexations.

Shia Armed Groups

Sadr Fighters

In response to ongoing events in Iraq, powerful Shia cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, called on his supporters to regroup to defend the people, country, religion, and holy places. In response, thousands of fighters paraded through Baghdad, Kirkuk, Basra and Najaf on June 21.

Sadr called his fighters the “peace brigades”, saying they are a nationalist force not a sectarian one and it is ready to defend all religious sites in Iraq. Sadr also insisted that ISIL does not represent Iraqi Sunnis.

The parades that carried heavy weaponry such as rockets, raised fears among observers of the return of the Mahdi army, the powerful Shia militia loyal to al-Sadr, that worked outside the state's control.

Since the US invasion of Iraq, Sadr's Mahdi army has been one of the most powerful militias in Iraq. It fought US forces, Iraqi government forces, and Sunni militias.

It was also seen as part of the sectarian fighting that engulfed Iraq. After heavy confrontation with government forces, al-Sadr disbanded his army and reportedly turned it into a social and charitable network.

Sadr kept an offshoot of the Mahdi army, the "Promised Day Brigades”, as an armed wing of his movement that continued to fight American forces in Iraq until the US' withdrawal.

Sadr, who joined the political process and whose followers became the second most powerful bloc in the Iraqi Parliament after the bloc of Maliki himself, has often disagreed with Maliki politically.

In February, Sadr announced his withdrawal from politics complaining that Maliki was failing to coordinate with other political forces. Still, Sadr's bloc remained in politics and he did not withdraw from public life.

Sadr is critical of Maliki and supportive of his replacement. He is also keen to rebrand his armed followers and to avoid portraying them as sectarian forces.

Asaib Ahl al-Haq (The League of the Righteous)

A militia group that fought US forces after its invasion of Iraq, Asaib Ahl al-Haq has political representation in the Iraqi parliament, and is seen as being close to Maliki.

Asaib Ahl al-Haq was part of the al-Mahdi army until it split in 2006. After the US withdrawal, the group wanted to join the political process. Yet, its name has been in the news over the past two years with reports of its return to armed activity.

It is one of the Iraqi militia groups reportedly fighting in Syria. It has also been on bad terms with fighters loyal to al-Sadr in Baghdad. Fighters from the two groups have clashed with each other since the end of last year, prompting al-Sadr to accuse Maliki of backing the group since mid-2013, as the government needed support from loyal Sunni and Shia militias fighting ISIL in Anbar.

The website of the group says it is currently fighting along with government forces in Diyala, Anbar, and Samarra.

Kata’ib Hizbollah (The Battalions of the Party of God)

A militia group that has fought US forces in Iraq during occupation years, the group is thought to have been formed after the US-led invasion, from small Shia armed groups. It is also thought to be one of the main groups to continue fighting US forces in Iraq until their withdrawal in 2011. Rockets and roadside bombs were the main tactics used by the group that was designated a “terrorist” organisation by the US state department in 2009.

Kata'ib Hizbollah reportedly refused to lay down arms after the US forces withdrawal citing ongoing instability. The group says it is has been careful not to target any Iraqi forces or civilians during its attacks on US forces.

Kata'ib Hizbollah played a role in fighting along with Iraqi security forces in Anbar province since the end of last year and particularly in Fallujah. The group says it has formed "People’s Defence Brigades" to "defend the country and holy places" and fight ISIL. It lists among its local enemies Sunni groups such as the Naqshabandi Order and the 1920 Revolution Brigades.
Source:
Al Jazeera
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/mapping-out-iraq-fighting-groups-201462494731548175.html

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 28th 2014, 10:32


Analysis: Iran's double game in Iraq
Borders between Syria and Iraq are already falling and ISIL is establishing its new 'state' on Iran's doorstep.
Soraya Lennie Last updated: 27 Jun 2014 13:53

Iranians flash the sign of victory during a protest against ISIL's offensive in Iraq on June 24 in Tehran [AFP]

As the fireball exploded on Iran's western border and fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) swept through northern Iraq at a startling pace, a sense of urgency shrouded Tehran.

On June 12, Iran's Supreme National Security Council called a snap meeting . Inside sat some of Iran's most powerful men; President Hassan Rouhani, Supreme National Security Council Secretary and Representative of the Supreme Leader Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, and Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi.

The men are responsible for deciding the most sensitive strategy for the country of 75 million people. Strategy played out beyond its borders.

The minutiae of what happened inside the meeting are not clear, but Iraq, sources in Tehran to Al Jazeera, was the agenda. The Kurds had taken Kirkuk ; ISIL was gaining territory; the Iraqi army was in disarray, deserting and leaving behind a vacuum in parts of the north.

The Iranians had put their troops - and air force - on full alert and sent reinforcements to the border. Amid all this, Iran's ally, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, stuck in Baghdad, was quickly losing control.

Iran will bargain the future of Maliki because Iran wants something back. So if the Americans say Maliki must go, then Iran will say 'What do we get in return?' But for now, Iran would never say that publicly.

- Fawaz Gerges, Middle East and Iran scholar

What is at stake for the Iranians is enormous, say analysts. ISIL presents a direct threat to its territory, power, influence, and indeed, security. So what the men at the meeting had to decide was how Iran was to going to get a hold of these things - and if they could get anything else out of the raging mess across its border.

One reason why Iraq is so important is, "to keep the conflict outside of its country, to an outside territory, so it can defeat the enemy there", says Peyam Mohseni, Director of Iran Studies at the Harvard Kennedy Center.

One man who knows these things well - an old acquaintance of Maliki's - is Iran's formidable Qods Force commander - the elite unit of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). As Maliki floundered, Qasem Soleimani was there to advise him and the Iraqi forces on strategy and on how to keep hold of Baghdad.

Why? As Mohseni puts it: "It's the regional cold war. Iran, when it views the different arenas, Iraq, Syria, it just doesn't think of it as a domestic Syrian or Iraqi thing. It sees them as really an attack on Iran or a proxy war with Iran."

The doctrine of the Qods Force is simple; protect the leader, the revolution and spread its interests. For the past decade, Iraq has been the regional battlefield for this strategy .

According to Fawaz Gerges, pre-eminent Middle East and Iran scholar, it was "easy" for the IRGC to operate in Iraq - especially after the 2003 US-led invasion and occupation: "Iran is the most influential state inside Iraq. They have built critical capital, social capital inside the country. And really what the Iranians tried to do, was translate these ties into resources, which they did after the Americans [left]. It's not surprising, all they did was deepen and thicken their ties inside Iraq, with the dominant social group. Iran's influence goes beyond Maliki and the Shia, this is important, its influence is bottom up."

And these strategies worked to keep Iran in a position of power in Iraq, and says Iranian IRGC specialist Ali Alfoneh, "the Iraqi Shia in suspension and in a constant state of dependency on Tehran".

Q&A with Falah Mustafa, head of the Kurdistan Region's foreign relations

One key element of Iran's Iraqi success formed 34 years ago, in a military base in Khuzestan, near the Iran-Iraq border. The Qods force had risen out of the Ramezan Base and men stationed there had nurtured many of the contacts Iran now needs to fight in Iraq: Men like Brigadier General Iraj Masjedi, who rather proudly in 2011, described Iran as "the most influential stream in Iraq's political issues", and Soleimani himself. From the base, the men built a network of ties within enemy Iraq; from the Shia militia in the south to Kurdish Sunni leaders in the north.

Those ties gave the men the ability to reach out, when Tehran - and even Baghdad - could not.

One contact is Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. Four days after the SNSC meeting in Tehran, Barzani made an unannounced trip to the Iranian capital to meet with Shamkhani.

The Kurdish seizure of Kirkuk had raised serious questions among the council; and infuriated the Iraqi prime minister.

Barzani went to Tehran, for a simple reason, says Gerges: "To allay fears, of course. Barzani and the Kurds know very well that Iran is a very influential and a powerful player inside Iraq and it's in the interest of the Kurds to keep on good terms with them. The Kurds are not going to give back Kirkuk, it's common-sense."

His visit marked another curiosity in Iran's complex relationship with the Kurds.The Islamic Republic, after its formation, bombed the Kurds, but then later forged an alliance with Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Party (PUK) and Masoud Barzani's Kurdish Democratic Party of Iraq (KDPI).

With the re-emergence of the Kurds, the Iranians see an opportunity, according to analysts. The Kurds are a stronger ally in the fight for Iraq than Maliki - who has lost support almost everywhere - and that finally gives Iran a good reason to ditch him. And reap rewards from the US - that other power trying to avoid the collapse of Iraq.

So a week after his Tehran trip, Barzani did what many had been waiting for; he told Maliki to step down. And he aired his views - very publicly - in an interview with the US' NBC news .

And with that, what Iran - or at least some of the men of the SNSC - want is becoming clearer, "Iran will bargain the future of Maliki," says Gerges, "because Iran wants something back. So if the Americans say Maliki must go, then Iran will say 'What do we get in return?' But for now, Iran would never say that publicly".
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/analysis-iran-double-game-iraq-201462694820573703.html

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 30th 2014, 19:48



Middle East
Iran 'ready to use Syria methods' in Iraq
Iranian general says Tehran wants to help Iraq fight uprising using same tactics it deployed against rebels in Syria.
Last updated: 29 Jun 2014 15:33
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Iraqi Shia armed groups have been battling Sunni fighters who have taken control of several towns [Getty Images]

Iran is ready to help Iraq fight an armed uprising using the same methods it deployed against opposition forces in Syria, an Iranian general said, suggesting Tehran was offering to take a larger role in battling Sunni armed groups threatening Baghdad.

Iranian leaders to date have said they would help defend Shia Muslim shrines in neighbouring Iraq if necessary, but have also said Iraqis were capable of doing that job themselves.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei last week said that he rejected intervention in Iraq by Washington or any other outside power against Sunni fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

ISIL has seized a broad swathe of territory in northern and western Iraq in recent weeks in their quest to topple the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shia-backed by Iran, and to set up an Islamic caliphate.

Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri, deputy joint chief of staff of the armed forces and a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officer, told Iran's al Alam television that Iran's response to the militias would be "certain and serious".

The Iranian general said that his country would deal with Iraq on defence, security, border control and fortifications. To help Iraq, he said, Iran would monitor the situation in the region, as it had done "in Syria and other troubled areas in the region".

'Successful experiments'

Jazayeri's remarks late on Saturday did not provide details on the assistance Iran could give Baghdad, beyond saying Iran could help with what he called popular defence and intelligence.

"Iran has told Iraqi officials it is ready to provide them with our successful experiments in popular all-around defence, the same winning strategy used in Syria to put the terrorists on the defensive ... This same strategy is now taking shape in Iraq - mobilising masses of all ethnic groups," he told the television station.

"A response is certain and serious," he said.

Shia Iran has spent billions of dollars propping up its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in what has turned into a sectarian proxy war with Sunni Arab states.

The help has included hundreds of military specialists, including senior commanders from the elite Quds Force, the external and secretive arm of the IRGC, according to Iranian sources familiar with deployments of military personnel.

Assad has also received battlefield support from fighters of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, which Tehran also backs.
Source:
Reuters

ayyyyyyyyyyyyyy wey. es como si hitler dijera: voy a liberar ucrania usando las mismas tacticas que use en bielorusia. o como si los gringos dijeran voy a liberar vietnam usando las mismas tacticas que use en corea. se me arrugo hasta el oxipusio.

aunque esta claro que los iranies no quieren tener competencia en su "liderazgo" del mundo islamico. resucitar el califato y unificar una vez a la umma es el sueño de todos los yihadistas,

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 30th 2014, 19:53



Middle East
ISIL declares new 'Islamic caliphate'
Rebels fighting in Iraq under ISIL banner announce creation of Islamic state, extending from Diyala to Syria's Aleppo.
Last updated: 29 Jun 2014 21:51
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The statement declared Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the caliph, or head of the caliphate [AP]

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the armed group fighting governments in Iraq and Syria, has announced the establishment of a "caliphate" straddling the two countries.

In an audio recording distributed online on Sunday, the ISIL declared its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as "the caliph" and "leader for Muslims everywhere".

Baghdadi is believed to be the leader of ISIL, which announced that it is now called "The Islamic State".

According to the statement, the new caliphate stretches from Iraq's Diyala province to Syria's Aleppo.

"The Shura (council) of the Islamic State met and discussed this issue (of the caliphate)... The Islamic State decided to establish an Islamic caliphate and to designate a caliph for the state of the Muslims," said ISIL spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani.

"The words 'Iraq' and 'the Levant' have been removed from the name of the Islamic State in official papers and documents," Adnani said, describing the caliphate as "the dream in all the Muslims' hearts" and "the hope of all jihadists".

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan reporting from the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, said that a caliphate is effectively an Islamic Republic led by one leader, regardless of national boundaries.

With the announcement, the armed group is declaring that they are now legitimate, declaring the caliphate as the "true Muslim state", he said.

The announcement might bring up problems with other Sunni fighters in Iraq, who are fighting the central government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and not fighting for the caliphate, our correspondent said.

Tikrit offensive

The ISIL announcement came even as Iraq's army pressed ahead with its offensive to recapture the northern city of Tikrit.

Troops backed by helicopter gunships began an assault on Tikrit, the birthplace of former President Saddam Hussein, on Saturday, to try to take it back from ISIL fighters who have swept to within driving range of Baghdad.

The army sent in tanks and helicopters to battle ISIL fighters near the University of Tikrit in the city's north on Sunday, security sources said.

The offensive was the first major attempt by the army to retake territory after the United States sent up to 300 advisers, mostly special forces, and drones to help the government take on ISIL.

Earlier on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani, one of Iraq's most senior politicians, faulted the US for not doing enough to bolster the country's military, just hours after Russia delivered five Sukhoi jets.

"Yes, there has been a delay from the Americans in handing over contracted arms. We told them, 'You once did an air bridge to send arms to your ally Israel, so why don't you give us the contracted arms in time?'" he told al-Hurra television.

US officials have disputed similar statements from Iraqi officials in the past and say they have done everything possible to ensure the country is equipped with modern weaponry.

The five Russian Sukhoi jets were delivered to Baghdad late on Saturday. State television said they "would be used in the coming days to strike ISIL terrorist groups".
[Tienes que estar registrado y conectado para ver esa imagen]
Source:

Al Jazeera and agencies
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/isil-declares-new-islamic-caliphate-201462917326669749.html

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 30th 2014, 19:56


Iraq and the 'Saudi question'
How much influence does the House of Saud hold over its neighbour? And how can it be influenced?
Last modified: 28 Jun 2014 20:05
Imran Khan
Imran Khan is a roving correspondent based in Doha.

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Iraqis from across the political spectrum have accused Saudi Arabia of financing ISIL [AP]

A few days ago, I was sat in a news conference by the British foreign secretary, William Hague. An Iraq state TV journalist asked him a question concerning Britain's relations with "neighbouring countries", but It was clear that the journalist meant Saudi Arabia.

The implied question was whether the Brits could press Saudi over its role in Iraq.

Hague's answer was diplomatic to the core. He answered slowly and deliberately, as is his style, concentrating on the situation in Syria. It's an answer we've heard so many times from foreign diplomats.

The implied Saudi part, to me at least, seemed like it was studiously ignored. Perhaps I'm being uncharitable. Afterwards however I heard other Iraqi journalists complain that the UK wasn't doing enough to dissuade Saudi from pursuing a "negative role" and that they felt Hague had dodged the "Saudi question".

Perhaps for good reason. Saudi Arabia has long been a key ally of the UK. The relationship goes back to the First World War and the making of the modern Middle East.

But Saudi Arabia is also one of the most secretive and closed countries in the world. Press freedom doesn't exist and ‎policy eminates from the royal court of the king. Yet its reach is felt across the Middle East and here in Iraq it's controversial.

Ahmed al-Abiadh ‎is a political analyst in Sunni affairs. For him, the Saudi role has brought nothing but disappointment. "There are real and harmful indications of the involvement of Saudi Arabia in Iraq's internal affairs, whether directly or indirectly," he says.

Those negative ‎implications are now playing out violently across the northwest of the country, he says, as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and its allies continue their offensive.

"We see weaponry, equipment, supplies being seized by army forces during clashes, which are clearly from Saudi Arabia, not to mention fighters being killed who hold Saudi nationalities.

Meat in the sandwich

"Also the constant fiery statements from the Saudi foreign minister accusing the Iraqi government of being sectarian don't help. Then the Iraqi government fights back with sectarian language. Iraqi Sunnis are sandwiched in between."

That feeling of being "sandwiched" is clear on the streets of Baghdad. Shia militia checkpoints are now common on the streets and that has Sunnis nervous.

Wahda al-Jumaili is a Sunni MP from the Wataniya bloc. He says that sectarian politics allows Saudi Arabia to get a foothold in Iraq as a buffer to the Iranian influence.

He says the Shia-led Iraqi government deals in "double standards", and highlights only the "so-called negative role Saudi Arabia is playing in Iraq" while ignoring the "huge Iranian influence on Iraq's deteriorating security situation".

‎Jumaili is also clear on what needs to be done to stop the influence of both Saudi and Iran in Iraq and ultimately the danger of dividing the country.

"Our fight now is to get rid of ISIL and then seek to protect our borders. Our foreign policy with neighbouring countries needs to be more aggressive in order in ensure a stable Iraq by drying up the sources of terrorism."

That word "sources" is key. For at least two years now many Iraqis, of all political persuasions, have accused Saudi Arabia of financing and backing ISIL.

Officially the Saudis have outlawed the group and say it poses just as much of a threat to them as it does Syria and Iraq. But some aren't convinced.

One Western diplomatic source told me that the group circumvents official funding.

"What you see ISIL doing is not taking money officially from Saudi, but using, particularly in its early days, financing from individual Saudi sheikhs and from mosques. From there it was able to build a network in Syria, and now it's in Iraq. So while Saudi's may not officially fund and back it, Saudi citizens do."

And that leads me back to question the Iraqi journalist asked of the British foreign secretary. Can a country like Britain, or indeed the US, influence the Saudis to crack down on those that may fund groups like ISIL?

Given Saudis secretive and closed nature, one can only speculate how much influence the US and UK have. The Saudi question remains unanswered, and not just by the British foreign secretary.
http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/middle-east/iraq-and-saudi-question

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 30th 2014, 20:01


Welcome to the new Islamic State
The declaration comes as no surprise as ISIL's ambition has always been bold, but its significance is yet to unfold.
Last modified: 30 Jun 2014 17:36
Imran Khan
Imran Khan is a roving correspondent based in Doha.

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Within the space of an hour, I went from living in Iraq to living in the newly declared Islamic Caliphate, without moving an inch. Almost.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant issued a statement saying that within the territory they hold, a new nation has arisen, free of national borders and headed by a Caliph, the head of all Muslims.

Abu Bakr al-Baghadi is that Caliph, and he says he is the highest religious authority in the country. Eventually, the group wants to redraw the map of the Middle East and the first step is take the ground between Aleppo in Syria and Diyala in Iraq and unite it under its black flag. From there the whole Muslim world shall come under its rule.

That the announcement came as surprise, should surprise no one. ISIL's ambition has always been bold. However, in Iraq the reaction has been, officially at least, ‎strong.

Speaking to Reuters news agency, Iraq's military spokesman Qassem Atta called the newly named group a "global" threat. However, others are less sure.

One military source told Al Jazeera that the group was "disillusioned" and without legitimacy.

"This is just another phase that these factions are going through – it is the beginning of the end for them, – they believe that they are in control currently across different Iraqi territories. These statements of a new Caliphate or Caliph are nothing but illusions."

'A great comedy'

Across the political spectrum the announcement has been derided, even mocked privately. If it wasn't for the group's bloody battle across Iraq and Syria, one Iraqi told me it would make a great comedy.

However, Khalid Al-Assadi, a Shia MP for National alliance isn't laughing.

"This is just a mere storm and it will be over soon, we do not actually give much attention to those armed groups especially ISIL, the announcement of a new Islamic state is nothing but a wild imagination of a desperate fanatic gang that want to seize control in a bloody way.‎"

"Iraqi people will stop these vicious thugs," he added angrily.

Others are frustrated that a group like the Islamic State have been bold enough to declare such a move while the international community does nothing.

‎"While all this is happening the United States are standing still with a deaf ear and a blind eye to Iraq which is on the verge of division and disintegration. the Americans have let Iraqis down," said Iskander Witwit, a Sunni MP for the Wataniyah ‎Bloc.

International inaction on Syria has been a big factor in the rise of the group previously known‎ as ISIL, but has its moves in Iraq proved a step to far?

The Islamic stat‎e wants all of the Sunni rebels to pledge allegiance to its flag and to fight with it. That's likely to drive an ideological wedge between the Sunni rebels and the Islamic State who have very different goals.

In Tikrit, the Naqshbandi army is the main fighting force. Its aims have been clear from the start: regime change in Iraq. The other Sunni rebels have similar goals. This a war against Maliki, they say, not an international jihad.

Significance is yet to be seen

Secondly, the religious justification is unclear.

Most experts say that a Caliph needs to have popular support and clear authority to able to hold the title. If the Islamic State is to get people to support it globally it will need key Muslim scholars to issue fatwas and religious edicts in support.

That's the only way many will be swayed to rally to the Islamic caliphate cause. In the past, Baghdadi has been in a power struggle with Ayman al-Zawahiri for the leadership of the international jihad, but has this move handed an opportunity to Zawahiri to take back the mantle?

If he can persuade the world of the illegitimacy of Baghdadi's move, he will be hailed by Jihadists and Jihadist sympathisers. ‎Already some of those people are saying it's not the time to declare a Caliphate as Muslims lands are not yet united.

But what happens if and when Baghdadi is defeated?

Before the Islamic State the group could have gone back to Syria with the arms, vehicles and money that they captured, regroup, and be hailed as heroes. If they lose this battle now, jihadists will question Baghdadi's judgment and wonder how much damage this declaration has had on the loose-knit and uneasy alliance of fighters globally.

Declaring the Caliphate is not a small thing. It has religious, political significance, and one we haven't seen fully unfold here in Iraq yet.

Follow Imran Khan on Twitter: @AJImran
http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/middle-east/welcome-new-islamic-state

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 30th 2014, 20:02

Regional economy feels heat of Iraq conflict
Fear of getting caught up in violence and difficulty getting visas to Iraq are affecting businesses in Jordan.
Last updated: 30 Jun 2014 08:16


Almost three weeks after the start of the ISIL-led offensive in Iraq, the conflict is beginning to take a toll on trade with neighbouring Jordan.

The Jordanian government has advised its citizens not to travel to Iraq due to the risk of getting caught up in violence there, and Iraqi truck drivers not wanting to travel outside the safety of their own regions.

Al Jazeera's Caroline Malone reports from Sahab in Jordan.
http://www.aljazeera.com/video/middleeast/2014/06/regional-economy-feels-heat-iraq-conflict-2014630741314614.html

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Iraqis fear sectarian violence in Baghdad

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 30th 2014, 20:03


Middle East
Iraqis fear sectarian violence in Baghdad
As violence edges closer to the capital, scores of Iraqis are desperately trying to leave the country.
Omar al-Shaher Last updated: 30 Jun 2014 11:05

A recent military parade in Baghdad was another sign of the increasing militarisation of the capital [EPA]

Baghdad, Iraq - Iraqis are growing increasingly fearful that the battle pitting government forces against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will soon reach the edges of the capital, and may lead to attacks on civilians.

"Government forces will not have mercy on our areas if they become a battle zone," said Samer, a Sunni Muslim living in the western suburb of Yarmouk who preferred not to give his full name. "The Sunni neighbourhoods of Baghdad have a bad relationship with the security forces, who have often arrested young men on charges of terrorism. Everyone in my area thinks it will become a target for the army if ISIL comes to fight in Baghdad."

The Iraqi government received a batch of Russian-made fighter planes on June 28 as soldiers backed by tanks and helicopter gunships began an offensive to retake the northern city of Tikrit from Sunni rebels led by ISIL. The group changed its name to the "Islamic Caliphate" on June 29.

"The fighting will start in mixed Sunni-Shia Muslim neighbourhoods between armed groups on both sides," said Mustafa al-Bakhati, a journalist who lives in the mixed al-Ghazalia neighbourhood west of the capital. "People here are living on edge," Bakhati said.

RELATED: Iraq's Christians seek refuge with Kurds

Most Sunni Muslims in Baghdad live in a crescent starting in the north and stretching around the western districts of the city to the south, an arc known locally as the "Baghdad Belt". One mainly Sunni district, al-Adhamiya, which contains the shrine of an important Sunni scholar, Abu Hanifa al-Nu’man, sits sandwiched between two large Shia Muslim neighbourhoods, al-Kadhimiya and Sadr City.

The rural areas connected to the Baghdad Belt have been contested for many years, especially those in Anbar province, which is connected to the western suburbs of the capital. The area has seen constant violence since 2004, including roadside bombs and car bombings targeting military convoys.

Although in the recent round of violence Shia militias have not been implicated in sectarian attacks in the capital, many of the city’s Sunni residents fear that possible attacks by Sunni rebels in Baghdad might trigger a response from Shia militias.

But Wisam Adil, a sports teacher in the western Abu Ghraib district, blamed pro-government media outlets for inciting sectarian hatred.

"The government’s media outlets are constantly talking these days about sleeper cells of suicide bombers in Sunni areas. If those cells carried out attacks against Shia-dominated residential areas of Baghdad, the response could be ruthless," Adil said.

The battle of Baghdad will begin if the militias manage to consolidate complete control over Anbar province, after taking control of Mosul and Tikrit.

- Bayan al-Bakri, political analyst in Anbar province

RELATED: Mapping Iraq's fighting groups

Between 2006 and 2008, when sectarian violence reached a peak, armed groups on both sides carried out kidnappings and killings against each other and against civilians.

"The battle of Baghdad will begin if the militias manage to consolidate complete control over Anbar province, after taking control of Mosul and Tikrit," said Bayan al-Bakri, a political analyst in Anbar. "The army is negotiating with militants in Anbar in order to ensure a safe withdrawal, and militants have announced their intention to head to Baghdad after they’ve finished dealing with this province."

Bakri said that if anti-government militias try to attack Baghdad, they are likely to begin from Anbar. "Not only is Anbar, which includes the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, a symbol of armed resistance to the government, but it also leads into the capital both geographically and in sectarian terms. Most residents of the western suburbs of Baghdad have relatives in Anbar, and they consider those areas allies," he told Al Jazeera.

But the battle for Baghdad has been staved off for now, according to Abdurazzaq al-Shamri, spokesman for the "Revolutionaries of Iraq", an ad hoc tribal Sunni militia that formed in response to the army's violent break-up of protest camps in Anbar province late last year.

"Baghdad is a fateful battle for us, but we’re not thinking about it for the moment because we fear for the Sunnis of the capital, who we consider hostages of [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki," al-Shamri told Al Jazeera.

Hisham al-Hashimi, a researcher on armed groups, agreed with al-Shamri, but pointed to another consideration that will be crucial for ISIL: "If it chooses to head for the capital, ISIL will be forced to fight Sunni tribes loyal to the government in the Baghdad Belt area," he said.

"Some tribes have made a pact with representatives of the Iraqi security forces, agreeing not to support ISIL providing the government stops carrying out military operations in their areas, which have included the arrest of dozens of young men."

RELATED: In Pictures: Running on fumes in Kurdish Iraq

After last week’s call to arms by a senior Shia religious leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, thousands of young Shia Muslim men have signed up to fight for the army and various government security forces in case the battle does reach the capital.

Pro-government fighters paraded in a Baghdad suburb on June 21: Thousands of fighters, including many wearing masks, marched in ranks through the streets of Sadr City, carrying small and medium-sized weapons and accompanied by vehicles displaying rocket launchers.

The parade, which was called for by prominent Shia leader and leader of the Mahdi army militia, Muqtada al-Sadr, was another sign of the increasing militarisation of Baghdad. But Sadr has been critical of Maliki and called for the formation of an emergency government that "must fulfil the legitimate demands of the moderate Sunnis and stop excluding them because they have been marginalised".

People’s fears of a sectarian war breaking out have pushed them to apply for passports so they’re ready to escape at any moment.

- Mohammad, interior ministry clerk in Baghdad passport office

Since Mosul fell to ISIL on June 10, hundreds of people have headed to passport offices and travel agencies to prepare their escape from the capital.

"Our office has been overwhelmed since June 10. There is a long queue at the door from the early hours of the morning, and it doesn’t break up until the office closes," said Mohammad, who did not want to give his full name. An interior ministry clerk in a passport office in al-Karkh just west of the Tigris river, Mohammad helps sort applications from the majority-Sunni neighbourhoods in western Baghdad.

"People’s fears of a sectarian war breaking out have pushed them to apply for passports so they’re ready to escape at any moment," he said, adding that while "issuing an Iraqi passport doesn’t cost more than about $40 through official channels, ‘mediators’ earn $700 at present for each passport they can source using their relationships".

The price of plane tickets out of Baghdad has shot up over the past week, while even securing a seat is becoming nearly impossible. The price of a plane ticket from Baghdad to Erbil, the capital of the relatively-safe Kurdistan region in the north of Iraq, has gone from $100 to $200 on the black market, while the price of tickets to the Jordanian capital Amman has hit around $1000, up from $600 previously.

But as battle rages around Tikrit, just 140km northwest of Baghdad, many civilians are prepared to pay these inflated prices for a ticket to safety.
Source:
Al Jazeera
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/iraqis-fear-sectarian-violence-baghdad-201462810226192395.html

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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US to deploy more troops to Iraq

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 30th 2014, 20:05


US to deploy more troops to Iraq
Two hundred more troops and detachment of helicopters and drones being sent to protect Americans and the US embassy.
Last updated: 30 Jun 2014 23:18

President Obama says the troops will stay in Iraq until the security situation in the country improves [AP]

President Barack Obama has said he will send about 200 more US troops to Iraq to protect Americans and the US embassy in Baghdad amid fierce fighting in the country between government forces and Sunni armed groups.

The US is also sending a detachment of helicopters and drone aircraft.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said on Monday about 200 forces arrived in Iraq on Sunday to reinforce security at the US embassy, its support facilities and the Baghdad International Airport.

Another 100 personnel were also due to move to Baghdad to "provide security and logistics support."

"These forces are separate and apart from the up to 300 personnel the president authorised to establish two joint operations centres and conduct an assessment of how the US can provide additional support to Iraq's security forces," Kirby said in a statement.

Of the initial deployment to the embassy of 275 troops earlier this month, 100 had been on standby outside the country, but are now moving into positions in Baghdad, the Pentagon said.

The announcement will bring to nearly 800 the total number of US forces in and around Iraq to train local forces, secure the embassy and protect Washington's interests.

President Obama has ruled out sending combat troops back into Iraq. But he says the additional troops will be equipped for combat.

Obama says the troops will stay in Iraq until security improves so that the reinforcements are no longer needed.

Obama plan

The new troop movement is part of the Obama administration's attempt to help Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's push back the stunning gains that fighters from the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL) have made over the last few weeks.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the United States was also considering putting up a new joint military operations centre in the northwest of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

While no final decisions have been made, the official said that the new operations centre, which would be the second such cell the US has established since Iraq's security deteriorated earlier this month, could be placed in the province of Duhok, in Iraq's farthest northern reaches near Syria and Turkey.

US soldiers at a similar joint operations centre in Baghdad are gathering information about the situation on the ground and overseeing US soldiers who are taking stock of the Iraqi military in the field.

In addition to supplying weaponry and conducting surveillance flights, Washington has sent hundreds of military advisers and other soldiers to assess the Iraqi army, which largely evaporated in northern Iraq when ISIL fighters swept in earlier this month.

President Obama has not ruled out air strikes against ISIL, which has gained strength as the war in neighboring Syria has dragged on.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/us-ramps-up-military-iraq-2014630213338735515.html

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Julio 3rd 2014, 11:35


America’s New Allies: Russia, Iran and Syria?


"Notwithstanding a variety of differences in priorities and preferences, Russia, Iran and Syria all oppose the Sunni extremists seeking to bring Maliki down and support a unified Iraq."
Paul J. Saunders

July 3, 2014
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Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki must be pretty unhappy with the United States. Facing an existential threat to his country and a political threat to his leadership, Maliki has to contend at the same time with a disenchanted patron in Washington responding much more weakly than he prefers to the former challenge and not at all to the latter (if not offering tacit encouragement to some of Maliki’s political rivals). So, predictably, he is turning elsewhere for support and to limit his dependence on American help. Enter Russia, Iran, and Syria.

Moscow likely enjoys the opportunity to provide Su-25 ground attack fighters—even if they are used and aging aircraft—at a time when U.S. officials are perversely stating that the ongoing instability may further delay Iraq’s receipt of U.S. F-16 fighters (and when Maliki has openly expressed frustration with slow U.S. deliveries, saying that Iraq was “deluded”). In addition to shipping the planes, Russia has also sent technicians, who must presumably start by assembling the jets, readying them to fly, and offering a refresher course to Iraqi pilots who probably have not flown Su-25s for some time.

For its part, Iran appears to be both providing military supplies and sharing intelligence from drones operating in Iraq, according to U.S. officials. Looking ahead, a top Iraqi parliamentarian and Maliki ally has warned that Baghdad may “need Iranian strikes” on ISIS in Iraq if the U.S. does not conduct air attacks itself. Syria is of course aggressively fighting the militants on its own territory and has recently launched its own airstrikes against them across the border into Iraq. Maliki expressed appreciation for the Syrian attacks, saying “they carry out their strikes and we carry out ours and the final winners are our two countries.”

Notwithstanding a variety of differences in priorities and preferences, Russia, Iran and Syria all oppose the Sunni extremists seeking to bring Maliki down and support a unified Iraq. Likewise, while all are constrained by limited capabilities, they face few domestic obstacles in aiding Maliki’s government—political, legal or otherwise—and are much closer to Iraq than the United States, which makes the crisis more important for them. Distance has also helped Iran and Syria to act fairly quickly. It is still unclear whether the three governments are acting with any coordination, however. If so, it is probably general and strategic rather than specific and tactical—at least so far.

What is perhaps bizarre to contemplate for most Americans is that the combined Russian, Iranian and Syrian broadly align with U.S. goals—though Maliki’s unwillingness to change his sectarian approach to governance creates bigger problems in Washington than any of the other three capitals and there are other differences as well. Also notable is the clear reluctance of America’s treaty partners to get involved. British Prime Minister David Cameron has argued in the House of Commons that the instability in Iraq could “come back and hit us at home” if ignored, but has so far fallen well short of suggesting a military role for the United Kingdom. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sidestepped the crisis, helpfully saying that the United States has a “special responsibility” in Iraq but apparently seeing little role for Berlin (which was skeptical from the beginning). Though rhetorically hawkish on Ukraine, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen sees no role for the Alliance in Iraq.

The Iraq crisis is, of course, a particular test for President Barack Obama and his efforts to articulate a new national security doctrine for the United States (which less charitable observers could alternatively see as an effort to establish a veneer of intellectual legitimacy for his desire to concentrate on “nation-building at home” without too many foreign distractions).

Speaking at the commencement ceremony at West Point earlier this year, Mr. Obama said that “the United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it—when our people are threatened, when our livelihoods are at stake, when the security of our allies is in danger,” he said. “On the other hand,” he continued, “when issues of global concern do not pose a direct threat to the United States, when such issues are at stake—when crises arise that stir our conscience or push the world in a more dangerous direction but do not directly threaten us—then the threshold for military action must be higher. In such circumstances, we should not go it alone. Instead, we must mobilize allies and partners to take collective action.”
So far, Mr. Obama has seemed to follow this approach in Iraq, at least in the sense that his threshold for military action appears quite high. His problem, however, is that U.S. allies and partners are much less interested in getting involved than are Russia, Iran and Syria. They may not be taking “collective action”—at this point, at least, it looks more like loosely-coordinated parallel action—but they are doing more than anyone else. Reflecting on former President George W. Bush’s famous assertion that our interests and our values are identical, the contrast between our allies and the Russia-Iran-Syria alignment on Iraq should make clear that they are not. In fairness, it is no small challenge to some academic realists either; “offshore balancing” via allies and regional powers is less emotionally satisfying when conducted by Moscow, Tehran and Damascus. More important, it is not without regional political consequences.

Still unclear is whether President Obama’s cautious engagement in responding to widespread gains by extremist Islamist militants in Iraq and their freshly announced Islamic State will succeed. True to form, the President seems to be trying to find the halfway point between doing enough to avoid criticism for passivity, on one hand, and doing sufficiently little to avoid public anger over a new international military commitment, on the other. Appearing similarly conflicted, senior U.S. military commanders seem to want to avoid asking much more of their tired force but also to avoid allowing deteriorating conditions in Iraq to take the meaning from their earlier sacrifices. The end result looks like a combination of modest urgent steps with deliberate study and possible further action—the favored policy of timid politicians and gradualist bureaucracies worldwide, because it is reassuringly judicious. Hopefully—with the help of our enemies’ enemies—it will be enough.



Paul J. Saunders is executive director of The Center for the National Interest and associate publisher of The National Interest. He served in the State Department from 2003 to 2005. Follow him on Twitter: @1796farewell.

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/america%E2%80%99s-new-allies-russia-iran-syria-10802

Algo aqui se me hace sospechoso. los rusos e iranies necesitaban aliviar la presion sobre sus paises, y aunque los iranies no estaban deacuerdo con isis al parecer los saudies si lo estaban y amenazaron a rusia para que no se opusiera a la intervencion de eu para ayudar a isis
nunca apuesto, pero me parece que los saudies y rusos son directamente responsables de ISIL...... ¿No será que alguien les dió dinero para despues usarlos de carne de cañon y quedar como el bueno de la pelicula?

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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ISIS' Western Ambitions

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Julio 3rd 2014, 12:01



ISIS' Western Ambitions
Why Europe and the United States Could be the Militant Group's Next Target
By Robin Simcox
June 30, 2014
(Bogdan Suditu / Flickr)

In January this year, U.S. President Barack Obama was asked to comment on the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) takeover of the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Almost 100 U.S. troops had died fighting insurgents there a decade earlier, yet Obama’s reply was flippant: “if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” ISIS, in other words, was small bore -- not the United States’ problem.

Fast-forward six months. ISIS has taken over a stretch of territory the size of Jordan and subsequently declared it an Islamic caliphate. Its advances have helped it pick up more recruits, weapons, and money. Virtually overnight, it has gone from terrorist group to terrorist army. And it seems intent on tangling with the West. Earlier this year, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS, warned the United States, “soon we’ll be in direct confrontation,” continuing “watch out for us, for we are with you, watching.” This month, ISIS begun a Twitter campaign threatening to attack the United States.

Suddenly, Obama’s understanding of the situation in Iraq (as well as in West Africa and Syria) as “local power struggles,” as he remarked in January, looks naive at best and dangerously misguided at worst. Yet his scepticism about ISIS seems unchanged. In a June 22 interview with “Face the Nation,” Obama maintained that “there are a lot of groups out there that probably have more advanced immediate plans directed against the United States.” In other words, the “jayvee team” label has stuck.

That is a problem. ISIS -- and its previous incarnations, al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) -- is aggressive, expansionist, and poses a real danger. It might be focusing most of its attention on Iraq for now, but its long-term ambitions are much wider. For example, in a video released shortly after the fall of Mosul, a British jihadist proclaims that ISIS “understand no borders” and will fight “wherever our sheikh [Baghdadi] wants to send us.” He specifically cites Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria as targets.

And targets they are; the group has already attacked all of those countries over the last decade. In 2004, AQI Leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi helped create the Abdullah Azzam Brigade with the specific purpose of waging battle in the Levant and broader Middle East. In November 2005, AQI killed 57 in suicide attacks in Amman, Jordan. Six years later, Amman would be targeted again. This time, though, authorities disrupted the cell, which had received assistance from ISI to plan a series of attacks. In mid-2011, Mohammed al-Joulani, an ISI member, formed the al-Nusra Front (ANF), which fights the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and was established with funding by the ISI. And this year, ISIS carried out a string of operations in Lebanon. In June alone, it claimed credit for a car bomb attack in Beirut and two suicide bombings.

These are not the actions of a locally focused group. Rather, they are the actions of a group that, like al Qaeda before it, is looking to establish a base in the Levant from which to expand its influence throughout the whole region -- and beyond. The real question, then, is where ISIS will go next. And unlike Obama, some European leaders are beginning worry. In a late June interview with Reuters, Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union's counterterrorism coordinator, said that it is “very likely that the ISIS ... maybe is preparing, training, directing some of the foreign fighters to mount attacks in Europe, or outside Europe." And in an address to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that “as well as trying to take territory,” radicals “are also planning to attack us here at home in the United Kingdom.”

And ISIS does have connections to previous attacks in Europe. In 2007, a British doctor who had fought in Iraq carried out a car bombing attack on Glasgow Airport. It later emerged that he and his accomplice, who had also planted car bombs in London’s West End, had the telephone numbers of ISI members on their cell phones. Counterterrorism officials called the Glasgow and London attacks “the closest collaboration” between ISI and Western fighters to date.

That record was overturned in 2010, when a captured senior ISI operative admitted to Iraqi forces that ISI was preparing to carry out an attack in the West at the end of the year. Later that year, Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, an Iraqi-born militant, staged a suicide attack in Stockholm, Sweden. He is thought to have trained with ISI in Mosul for three months prior to the operation, and jihadist websites claimed he was affiliated with the group. Indeed, Abdaly’s attack was potentially inspired by -- and dedicated to -- ISI. In an audio message released after his death, he cited the Swedish artist Lars Vilks’ derogatory cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as a motivation for his actions. ISI had offered $150,000 to anyone who killed him. Unsurprisingly, ISI praised al-Abdaly’s subsequent suicide mission.

Another link between ISIS and Europe emerged in June 2013, when the Iraqi defense ministry announced that it had arrested members of a terror cell in Baghdad that had been attempting to manufacture chemical weapons to smuggle into Canada, the United States, and Europe. Then, in June 2014, Mehdi Nemmouche, a French citizen whom French intelligence agencies believe joined ISIS in Syria in 2012, shot and killed three people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. His gun was found wrapped in an ISIS flag.

Whether ISIS directed or merely inspired these attacks, an alarming trend is emerging. Over the last decade, the Iraqi group carried out attacks in four countries in the Middle East and has been linked to three others in Europe. It has offered financial reward for the assassination of Europeans and allegedly planned to smuggle chemical weapons into the West.

Following its recent successes, ISIS is likely to attract hundreds of fresh recruits to its new safe haven in Iraq. The very thing that the U.S.-led coalition fought so hard against in Afghanistan, in other words, is emerging in Iraq. ISIS ambitions should not be believed to stop at the Iraqi and Syrian borders, and its links to attacks in Europe should not be taken lightly. Western governments have no option but to prepare for the time when this “jayvee team” starts having a lot more in common with the Lakers than many previously imagined.
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141611/robin-simcox/isis-western-ambitions

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Julio 3rd 2014, 12:16


ISIS has a Choice to Make: Build a State or Super Terrorist Organization
Bilal Y. Saab

July 1, 2014
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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Sunni extremist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has a tough decision to make.

He can aim high and marshal all his human and material resources to consolidate his de-facto state in the borderlands of Syria, Iraq, and soon possibly Jordan and Lebanon. That’s a high-risk, high-reward strategy. Or he can drop the idea of statehood altogether and focus on excelling at something smaller: the creation of the most lethal clandestine terrorist organization in the world that could supplant Al-Qaeda. That’s a limited objectives, low-risk strategy. The choice is clear: it’s between setting up a state and setting up shop, it can't be both, and what al-Baghdadi picks will have serious implications for the future of his group, the Middle East, and that of transnational jihadist terrorism.

There are unique benefits to the first option. If al-Baghdadi succeeds in establishing a physical state, he would be the first jihadist leader to rule over a real Islamic Caliphate built on jihadist laws and principles. The jihadists’ dream would finally come true. Al-Qaeda has been calling for the creation of such a state since its inception in the early 1980’s, and its various franchises in Northern Africa, the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula have tried over the years to seize territory and force sharia law on its inhabitants. But the land they have sought to control is small and barren, making it strategically insignificant and practically ungovernable. In contrast, the areas that al-Baghdadi has taken over are vast, sufficiently populated, and rich with resources including oil, making them ideal for governance.

But for the vision of statehood to survive, al-Baghdadi would have to commit to sustaining an overt and powerful insurgency that would be capable of defending his new state from all enemies. This won’t be easy. World governments, and especially Washington, will not tolerate such a major terrorist safe haven. The Middle East’s Shi’ites will also be on the offensive, doing everything they possibly can to destroy al-Baghdadi’s state.

Aside from trying to secure what may be an indefensible state, al-Baghdadi would also have to govern over a sizable constituency, and that includes paying salaries, policing, administering, and delivering social goods and services. The historical record shows that extremist Islamic groups are only good at killing people who don’t agree with them, and nothing else. Sure, al-Baghdadi might not care much about doing a good job at governing, but indifference would most likely cause defections and desertions among the ranks, and possibly rebellions, which would ultimately lead to his state's collapse. It’s one thing to set up a state, but maintaining it is another thing altogether.

The second option, which US intelligence agencies are already analyzing and worrying about, is purely a terrorist model, with no plans for societal and territorial control. With more than a billion dollars and thousands of supporters, al-Baghdadi can turn ISIS into the most powerful terrorist organization the world has ever known. He could inherit the world of jihadist terrorism and dethrone Ayman al-Zawahri, the al-Qaeda chief. With this amount of money and this large a following, he can build the most sophisticated network of terrorist cells across and beyond the region. He can recruit, train, and plan for the next 9/11 and even more. But there is only one condition: al-Baghdadi would have to give up statehood and go underground. To be effective, he would have to do this covertly. He would have to forget about political power and public leadership and operate away from public eyes.

So which goal does he value more? Ruling a kingdom temporarily or attacking Western interests for the long term? For now, all signs on the ground indicate that he is at least going to try pursuing the first option. It is not every day that a strategic opportunity like this presents itself. The Iraqi army is relatively weak and the international community's and specifically the United States' reaction has been lethargic.

But by choosing the first option, he risks losing everything. If he continues to expand and opts for statehood but fails, there is a big chance that he won’t be even capable of exercising the second option. That’s because the potential breakdown of his state will be demoralizing and it will deal a huge blow to his group. As a result, his support-base will most likely shrink, and fighters from the Syria-based and al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra and other radical Syrian entities will immediately walk away. Most likely, they will prefer not to partner with a defeated group and a leader on the run. Surely al-Baghdadi will still try to create a clandestine presence if his state falls, like Fatah al Islam leaders did after they were defeated in the battle of Nahr al Bared against the Lebanese Army, but he won’t be nearly as dangerous because he won’t have as much money or as many followers. He will be just like any other local al-Qaeda commander in the region, trying to survive and avoid getting killed by rivals or a US drone. The time to make a decision is now.

Let’s hope that al-Baghdadi sticks to the choice of statehood and further expansion, because ironically, it is the one path that will most likely lead to his group’s demise. But if he doesn’t allow his ideology to cloud his rational thinking and he somehow manages to escape what is essentially the trap of statehood, he will pose a formidable, global terrorism threat that will make al-Qaeda look like a walk in the park.

Bilal Y. Saab is resident senior fellow for Middle East security at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council, specializing in the politics, security, and defense-industrial affairs of the Middle East, with a particular focus on the Gulf and the Levant.
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/isis-has-choice-make-build-state-or-super-terrorist-10793

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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Iraqi Kurdistan referendum: Going it alone

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Julio 3rd 2014, 12:21



Middle East
Iraqi Kurdistan referendum: Going it alone
Is Barzani's plan to hold a referendum on independence ill-timed or a long time coming?
Tanya Goudsouzian Last updated: 02 Jul 2014 14:07
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Barzani has announced plans to hold a referendum on Kurdish independence [AP]

Iraqi Kurds have never made a secret of their longing for full-fledged statehood and there were indications - as recently as last week - that some regional actors might support such an eventuality. Still, the announcement (or "threat") by the president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, to hold a referendum on independence has elicited a mixed reaction - even among Kurds themselves.

Has Barzani misread the signals from neighbouring countries, or misunderstood US warnings to set aside those aspirations? Has he decided to override them and capitalise on an opportunity that many Kurds feel may never come again? Or is this a case of showmanship - a way to raise the stakes and gain leverage for his demands of a new Baghdad government?

During a visit to Erbil last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry asked the Kurdish authorities to support Iraqi unity and Baghdad's fight against the "existential threat" posed by an al-Qaeda offshoot now known as the Islamic State.

Falah Mustafa, de facto foreign minister for the KRG, is not worried about the US. "I believe that in today's world, it is the people who have the decision and the Kurdish people have suffered a great deal as a result of distorted policies," he told Al Jazeera over the phone from the US. "The time has come for the Kurdish people to determine their own future. We are not the reason behind the breakup of Iraq, or the problems it faces today."

RELATED: Iraq's Christians seek refuge with Kurds

If the US feels it has the right to make such a request of the Kurds, it is because Washington's intervention has been integral to the measure of autonomy the Kurds now enjoy. Following the 1991 Gulf war, a Western no-fly-zone was imposed over northern Iraq, facilitating the establishment of the Kurdistan Region. The US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 further helped the Kurds to prosper, with billions of dollars of investment. But similarly if the Kurds have the Americans to thank for these achievements, then some Kurds will admit that they have the Sunni Rebellion to thank for gains made since mid-June.

Darya Ibrahim, a Suleimaniya-based Iraqi Kurdish journalist, says: "The Kurds have delayed this decision long enough. We waited and waited so that we could do it legally and if this is not the right time, then when is the right time? We had to wait for ISIL to come in and help push things along!"

The Kurds have delayed this decision long enough. We waited and waited so that we could do it legally and if this is not the right time, then when is the right time? We had to wait for ISIL to come in and help push things along!

Darya Ibrahim, Iraqi Kurdish journalist

The onslaught of the Islamic State - formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - has left a security vacuum across Iraq, which the Kurdish Peshmerga troops have rushed to fill. On June 12, Peshmerga were deployed in the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk with the stated aim of protecting civilian populations. With Kirkuk, dubbed the "Kurdish Jerusalem", firmly in hand, some pundits assumed the next step was either annexation to the KRG or independence.

But even among the Kurds, there is consternation that Barzani's move may be hasty and ill-timed. As one source close to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party cadre told Al Jazeera: "You get to declare an independent Kurdistan once, and that's it. So after all these years better get it right," said the source who wished to remain anonymous. "Also, is there a point in having a Kurdistan if a strong ISIL are your neighbours?"

Kurdish advocates for the referendum on independence argue that this is an opportune moment because of a weakened Baghdad.However, sceptics point out that Kurds refrained from making a unilateral declaration of independence a decade ago when Saddam Hussein was ousted. At that time, it had less to do with a fear of challenging Baghdad, and more to do with incurring the wrath of neighbouring countries.

Today, despite encouraging signs, and possible backdoor assurances, none of these countries have changed their positions on the question of Kurdish independence.

OPINION: The US and Iraqi Kurds: Good will hunting?

"It was never a fear of Baghdad," said the source close to the PUK cadre. "Rather it was Iran, Turkey and the US - all of which remain firmly opposed to a separation of Iraq - so the weakening of Baghdad doesn't change that much really."

But will the wishy-washiness of neighbouring countries over Kurdish aspirations be a hindrance this time around? KRG foreign minister, Falah Mustafa, is adamant: "I ask the neighbouring countries whether [Kurds] have been a factor of stability or instability? Have we not been able to introduce a successful example of governance? …These are achievements we have made in the last decade or two," he said. "Our history of governance is successful. We have shown that we have a better system than the rest of Iraq."

He adds: "Look at our history, we have made friends internationally. Where were we, and where are we today?"

If there are questions over the viability of a Kurdish state carved out of northern Iraq during the current turmoil, one need not look too far back in history. In 1945, Kurdish nationalists in northwestern Iran declared the "Mahabad Republic". Historians are divided over how to view this republic: Was it a pawn between the Allies and the Soviet Union, or an early prototype of Kurdish statehood? Whatever the case, it failed to achieve official recognition, and was unable to bring in Kurdish tribes from outside the small Mahabad territory. When the Soviets pulled out of the region, the Iranians reasserted control and hanged the republic's Kurdish leaders for treason.

If the Mahabad Republic was unable to survive in isolation without Soviet support, could an independent Kurdistan survive without the support of the US and neighbouring countries?

Mustafa is unfazed.

"Times have changed," he says. "The republic of Kurdistan in Mahabad, we have to judge it by its own circumstances. But we have been able to run our own region since 1991... even after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime. And, we have the support of the international community. If tomorrow we go towards independence, will we be able to keep it? That is the question."

As events unfold across the greater Middle East, the prospects of an independent Kurdistan are growing stronger. For many Kurds, it is now no longer a question of "if", but of "when".
Source:
Al Jazeera
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/iraqi-kurdistan-referendum-going-it-alone-201472123552438480.html

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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ivan_077
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Julio 3rd 2014, 12:32


Reports: Saudi troops deployed to Iraq border
TV station says 30,000 troops move to border after Iraqis withdraw, while evidence of Iranian aid emerges.
Last updated: 03 Jul 2014 13:52
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The Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV station said troops were deployed after Iraqi soldiers withdrew [Reuters]

Saudi Arabia has sent 30,000 soldiers to its border with Iraq after Iraqi soldiers withdrew from the area, Al Arabiya television says.

The country aims to guard its 800km border with Iraq, where Islamic State fighters and other Sunni Muslim rebel groups seized towns and cities in a lightning advance last month.

King Abdullah has ordered all necessary measures to protect the kingdom against potential "terrorist threats", state news agency SPA reported on Thursday.

The Dubai-based Al Arabiya said on its website that Saudi troops fanned into the border region after Iraqi government forces abandoned positions, leaving the Saudi frontier unprotected, the Reuters news agency reported.

The satellite channel said it had obtained a video showing about 2,500 Iraqi soldiers in the desert area east of the Iraqi city of Karbala after pulling back from the border.

An officer in the video aired by Al Arabiya said that the soldiers had been ordered to quit their posts without justification.

The authenticity of the recording could not immediately be verified and the Iraqi government denied the reports. Lieutenant General Qassim Atta, an Iraqi army spokesman, said: "This is false news aimed at affecting the morale of our people and the morale of our heroic fighters."

Iranian aid

Iraq is in the midst of a conflict with Sunni fighters in the north and west of the country, and has launched an offensive in Tikrit to recapture territory it lost during a rebel advance in June.

Thousands of soldiers, backed by tanks, artillery and aerial cover, have made limited progress in retaking the city, the AFP news agency reported.

The Iraqi government has asked allies for help in tackling the rebellion, but has received a limited response from the US.

Washington has sent 300 military advisers to Baghdad, falling short of Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's request for weapons, including to speed up delivery of F-16 jets due for delivery later this year.

The Iraqis have instead turned to Russia and reportedly, Iran.

Russia sold Iraq a dozen Sukhoi-25 jets.

The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies has said three Sukhoi jets shown landing in Iraq in a video released by the defence ministry were probably from Iran.

Iran has pledged to aid Iraq against the rebels, who are motivated, in part, by Iran's alleged influence on the Iraqi government.
Source:
Agencies
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/report-saudi-troops-deployed-iraq-border-2014738164674298.html

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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ivan_077
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Iraqi PM offers amnesty to rebel Sunni tribes

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Julio 3rd 2014, 13:25


Iraqi PM offers amnesty to rebel Sunni tribes
Maliki says rebel call for new caliphate threatens entire region as deadly clashes erupt in Shia holy city of Karbala.
Last updated: 03 Jul 2014 09:28

Maliki is under pressure from world leaders to reach out to his critics across Iraq's sectarian divide [AP]

Iraq's prime minister has offered a general amnesty to Sunni tribes fighting the central government, in an attempt to undercut support for a rebellion that threatens the country's unity.

Nouri al-Maliki made the surprise call in his weekly televised address on Wednesday, urging fighters to "return to their senses".

"We are not excluding anybody, even those who committed misdeeds, apart from those who killed or shed blood," he said.

It was not immediately clear how many people might be eligible, but the move appeared to be a bid to split the alliance of religious fighters, Baath party loyalists and anti-government tribes.

Maliki also gave warning on the threat posed by the Islamic State, saying that "no one in Iraq or any neighbouring country will be safe from these plans".

He said the group's call for re-establishing a "caliphate" meant all the states in the region were a target and "inside the red circle".

Maliki's comments came a day after a chaotic opening to the new parliament, despite international leaders urging Iraq's fractious politicians to unite to help combat the rebels.

Iraq's parliament reconvened on Tuesday before descending into chaos as politicians traded heckles and threats.

Sunni and Kurdish MPs stayed away from voting, meaning a speaker could not be elected as constitutionally required.

International leaders had warned Iraq's politicians of the threat with the US reminding that "time is not on Iraq's side", and Marie Harf, the State Department spokeswoman, calling for "extreme urgency".

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special envoy, said Iraqi politicians needed "to realise that it is no longer business as usual".

Empty words

Fighters from the Islamic State group, formerly known as ISIL, announced on Sunday they had unilaterally established a caliphate in the areas under their control.

The group declared Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the new caliph and demanded that all Muslims pledge allegiance to him.

Since the announcement, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, the Jordanian Salafist religious leader, and the pan-Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir have rejected the claim as "empty speech without substance".

Hizb ut-Tahrir dismissed the declaration of a caliphate, saying the Islamic State group had no real "authority" in implemeting Islamic rule.
Iraq: The money behind the rebellion

The Sunni offensive which has allowed the Islamic State to take territority from the government is prompted by a long list of grievances with Maliki and his Shia-led government.

They accuse Maliki of treating them like second-class citizens and unfairly targeting them with the security forces.

Since the rebellion started nearly 900 Iraqi security personnel have been killed, and Iraqi forces have been struggling to break a stalemate despite offensives by thousands of troops, backed by tanks, artillery and aerial cover.

Clashes between supporters of an outspoken Shia religious leader and Iraqi police killed up to 45 people in the Shia holy city of Karbala, the Reuters news agency said.

The violence started late on Tuesday night when supporters of Ayatollah Sayyid Mahmud al-Hasani al-Sarakhi were prevented from marching on the Imam Hussein shrine by Iraqi security forces, who were supported by helicopters.

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad on Wednesday, said Sarakhi had criticised other religious leaders in Karbala for being under Iranian influence.

"His supporters have had enough of Sistani," our correspondent said, referring to the most revered religious figure in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who recently called on Iraqis to support the government in its fight against Sunni rebels.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/iraqi-pm-offers-amnesty-rebel-sunni-tribes-20147216226759995.html

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
avatar
ivan_077
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Re: Irak en crisis: yihadistas avanzan para tomar el control. +18 (IMAGENES FUERTES)

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