LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Quotation for today/I am
going to prepare a place for you
John 14/01-07: “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many homes. If it weren’t so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also. Where I go, you know, and you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on, you know him, and have seen him.”
Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters & Releases from miscellaneous sources For June 12/14
Expanding Iran’s borders: the marching threat/By: Walid Phares/Al Arabiya/June 12/14
Will ISIS also seize Baghdad/By: Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/June 12/14
ISIS expansions in Iraq and Syria bring Middle East to brink of chaos/By: Ron Ben-Yishai/Ynetnews/June 12/14
Is the fall of Mosul the end of Maliki/By: Anthony Franks/ASharq Al Awsat/June 12/14
Reports From Miscellaneous Sources For June 12/14
Lebanese Related News
Assad Describes Aoun as 'Honest,' Backs his Election as President
Rahi Calls for 'Brave Initiatives' to Resolve Crises, Rejects 'Unconstitutional' Void
Bou Saab Calls for End of Wage Scale Dispute, Vows Not to Push Teachers Into Correcting Exams
Siniora denies any 'deal' with Berri on wage hike
EU, Arab states urge Lebanon to elect President
Real estate tycoons meet to revive sector
Is Beirut a top city for real estate investment?
Siniora can't "digest honesty": MP Saleh
Deal near on World Cup broadcast in Lebanon?
Machnouk meets with Qatar premier
Frangieh standing by Aoun for president
Police reenact killing of 5-year old Syrian
Salameh: Central Bank will settle all dues
Lebanese banks help U.S. fight tax evasion
Sunni Mufti,Qabbani Expands HIC's Electorate: Grand Serail Does Not Scare Us
Jumblat Says Won't Give Up Helou's Nomination 'for the
Sake of Military Man, Central Bank Chief'
Miscellaneous Reports And News
Two Dead in New U.S. School Shooting as Obama Renews Warning
Gunmen kill eight, burn church in central Nigeria: security official
Italian Catholic community warns Christians at risk in Iraq
Iraq plunges into further chaos as second city falls
Iraq forces repel militant assault on Samarra: witnesses
After Mosul, Al Qaeda seizes 38,000 sq. km of Iraqi territory, division-size armored vehicle fleet
Jihadists take Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit
Al-Qaeda group takes Iraqi city
Turkey calls for emergency NATO meeting on Iraq: Turkish official
Turkey says militants hold 80 Turks hostage in Iraq's Mosul
Gaza rocket slams into southern Israel
Football: Carnival or chaos? World Cup poised for kick-off
Don’t waste bullets on celebration: regime
Standstill as clock ticks
Assad Describes Aoun as 'Honest,' Backs his Election as President
Naharnet /Syrian President Bashar Assad has described Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun as an “honest man,” saying he would welcome his election as a president. In an interview with al-Akhbar daily published on Wednesday, Assad said: “Aoun is an honorable and honest man who fought with dignity and reconciled with dignity.” Aoun “remained loyal to his stance towards us despite all the storms,” he said. The Syrian president stressed that his country does not interfere in the local affairs of any Arab state. “But we welcome Aoun's election as a president for being in Lebanon's interest and in the interest of friendly ties,” he said. The FPM chief is “patriotic, non confessional and believes in the resistance,” Assad added. Lebanon has been without a president since May 25 when Michel Suleiman left Baabda Palace over the failure of MPs to agree on a successor. Assad is due to be sworn in for a new term on July 17. He was allegedly reelected last week as voting took place only in regime-held territory, amid a raging conflict that has killed more than 162,000 people in three years, and excluded any anti-regime opponents from standing. Syria's opposition is backed by much of the international community, while Assad's government is supported by Hizbullah and its backer Iran, as well as Russia. The party has sent its fighters to Syria to battle alongside Assad's regime. Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has only “shown compassion, which neither Syria nor Syrians would forget,” Assad said. He added that he agreed with Nasrallah on “what he sees in Lebanon.”
Rahi Calls for 'Brave Initiatives' to Resolve Crises, Rejects 'Unconstitutional' Void
Naharnet /Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi urged on Wednesday the March 8 and 14 alliances to make “brave initiatives” to resolve the country's crises, saying the failure to elect a president is a violation of the Constitution. At the start of the synod of Maronite bishops in Bkirki, al-Rahi prayed for the immediate election of a president. He also hoped that parliament would stop legislative work in accordance with article 75 of the Constitution, in reference to a wage hike draft-law under discussion by the legislature. Al-Rahi has rejected the vacuum in the country's top Christian post following the failure of rival MPs to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman after the expiry of his six-year term on May 25. He reiterated his warning that the government of Prime Minister Tammam Salam indefinitely replacing the president would amount to a violation of the power-sharing agreement of 1943. The National Pact has divided power equally between Muslims and Christians.
“The current practice in not electing a president is a violation of the Constitution and the National Pact. This is shameful and totally rejected,” the patriarch told the bishops. Al-Rahi called for “brave initiatives by the presidential candidates and the March 8 and 14 alliances” to find solutions to the country's lingering problems. “No one is allowed to throw the country and (state) institutions in total paralysis,” he said. Parliament has been incapable of electing a new head of state over differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances on a compromise candidate.
The majority of the March 8 alliance's MPs, including the members of Michel Aoun's Change and Reform bloc, have boycotted the electoral sessions. Aoun has sought in vain to win the backing of this rival March 14 alliance, which supports the candidacy of Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea.
Bou Saab Calls for End of Wage Scale Dispute, Vows Not to Push Teachers Into Correcting Exams
Naharnet /Education Minister Elias Bou Saab urged on Wednesday the rival parties to resolve the ongoing debate on the new pay hike, vowing not to press teachers into correcting the official exams. “I will not challenge the teachers or pressure them to correct the official exams as they have righteous demands,” Bou Saab said in comments to LBCI. The minister described the late deal struck on Tuesday night with the Syndicate Coordination Committee as “unwavering and final.”Bou Saab announced the postponement of the official school exams from Thursday to Friday after reaching a deal with the SCC to participate in monitoring them.However, the settlement reached between the two sides after several hours of strenuous negotiations did not involve any agreement over the correction of exam papers.
“My responsibility is to relieve the students... We will not put tough questions but we will not make them easy also,” the minister told LBCI.
Bou Saab said that he is seeking “to preserve the level of the Lebanese certificate.” “I am not seeking to have a political future. I follow my own convictions,” the minister added.
Parliament once again failed on Tuesday to agree on the pay raise for the public sector over lack of quorum caused by the boycott of the March 14 camp's Christian MPs and al-Mustaqbal, which had reportedly claimed that it was mulling to attend the session. The failure to approve the draft-law has angered public sector employees and teachers who argued with Bou Saab over who had the right to call for the official exams. The SCC, a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees, has held onto its demands for a 121 percent increase in the salaries despite a warning by the majority of parliamentary blocs that such a raise would have devastating effects on the economy.
Lebanon Informed beIN Sports Won't Give TL Rights to Air World Cup
Naharnet /State-owned Tele Liban will not be granted the rights to broadcast the Brazil-hosted 2014 FIFA World Cup which kicks off on Thursday, according to Sports and Youth Minister Abdul Muttaleb Hennawi. The minister announced Wednesday that he has received an email from the beIN Sports TV network in which it informed him that “TL will not be given the exclusive rights to air World Cup matches” in Lebanon. beIN Sports is a global network of sports channels jointly owned and operated by Qatari Sports Investments, an affiliate of Al-Jazeera Media Networks.
In the wake of the development, Hennawi said he telephoned Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, currently on a visit to Qatar, to inform him of the content of the email he had received.
Mashnouq for his part called Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser al-Thani, “who promised to help Lebanon obtain the broadcasting rights.”Hennawi said the Qatari premier is waiting for beIN Sports chairman Nasser al-Kharafi to return to Kuwait from a foreign trip to discuss the issue with him and take a final decision.
Franjieh Meets Aoun: Obstructing Parliament Will Lead to Government Paralysis
Naharnet/Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh warned on Wednesday of the paralysis of the role of government, while hoping for the election of a strong president. He said: “Obstructing parliament's role will lead to the paralysis of the government's functions through political means.” He made his remarks after holding talks at Rabieh with Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun.
“We came to Rabieh to confirm our support to Aoun and his stances,” Franjieh told reporters after the meeting. “The FPM approaches affairs in the same manner as his allies and we are waging the same battle with him,” he stressed.Commenting on the presidential elections, Franjieh stated: “We will witness the election of a strong Maronite president, but the question remains how he will be elected.”“We hope he is elected through consensus. The dispute over the elections will either end with consensus or a crisis,” he noted. “The current deep political divide is causing the obstruction of the elections,” added the Marada Movement chief. Moreover, he said that the Maronite Patriarchate will inevitably support any elected president. “Bkirki should remain above all disputes,” he emphasized. “Those keen on the country's highest Christian post should choose the country's true Christian representative,” explained Franjieh. Lawmakers failed for a sixth time on Monday to elect a new president after quorum was not met at parliament. The lack of quorum was caused by a boycott of the majority of March 8 alliance MPs due to the ongoing dispute with the rival March 14 camp over the elections.
The next elections session is scheduled for June 18.
Sunni Mufti,Qabbani Expands HIC's Electorate: Grand Serail Does Not Scare Us
Naharnet/Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani and a number of scholars and imams on Wednesday re-expanded the electorate responsible for the election of the Higher Islamic Council's head, as the mufti lashed out at “the Grand Serail and those who are in the Grand Serail.”The development prompted a meeting at the Grand Serail under Prime Minister Tammam Salam to “discuss the steps taken by the so-called Higher Islamic Council.”“We will expand the electorate and put things back on the right track. This is your right and this is something that I entrust you with,” Qabbani told the scholars as the HIC meeting got underway. “Do not allow anyone to usurp Dar al-Fatwa's decision … I appreciated him (ex-PM Fouad Saniora) in the past and I cooperated with them loyally and faithfully, but they do not have loyalty and they do not have honesty … They want to subjugate all people and they don't care about religion,” Qabbani added.
The HIC -- which elects the Mufti and organizes Dar al-Fatwa's affairs -- has been at the center of controversy since 21 of its members, who are close to al-Mustaqbal movement, extended its term until 2015 despite Qabbani's objection. They said the extension is aimed at “continuing investigations into financial violations and modernization efforts.”
The Mufti later held elections for the Council, which were deemed illegal by ex-PMs Saniora and Najib Miqati and the group led by Qabbani's deputy Omar Misqawi, who argued that the polls violated Shura Council decisions and did not enjoy a legal quorum. On November 2, 2013, the Misqawi-led council extended its own term to June 2015, calling on the mufti to resign.
“Had they accepted to elect a new higher council through consensus with everyone, there would not have been a problem at all … They have been impeding the HIC elections since 2009, and by they I mean al-Mustaqbal movement and the chief of al-Mustaqbal movement who is Fouad Saniora,” Qabbani said on Wednesday. “Today they will meet at the premiership's headquarters, is that a threat against us? Should we be scared if the members of the former higher council meet at the Grand Serail?” the mufti asked. “We're not afraid of the Grand Serail, neither of those who are in the Grand Serail, nor of the person who is at the helm of the Grand Serail, nor of those who are protecting the Grand Serail,” Qabbani underlined.
But the conferees at the Grand Serail were quick to hit back, saying “these suspicious steps -- which were made by someone who does not enjoy any legal status or jurisdiction in line with the Shura Council's judicial rulings – contradict with Dar al-Fatwa's historic and national heritage.”They said the move to expand the HIC's electorate “reflects insistence on mutineering against the principle of the state and its institutions and on the violation of the law.”“This is a dangerous and irresponsible move that persistently aims to undermine the unity of the Sunni sect and engage in an unprecedented political plot to fragment it through sowing discord among its religious and civilian components,” the conferees warned. They also revealed that they have started “taking measures aimed at steering Dar al-Fatwa clear of personal whims and political interests that do not serve the higher Islamic interest.”
Jumblat Says Won't Give Up Helou's Nomination 'for the Sake of Military Man, Central Bank Chief'
Naharnet /Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat assured that he is going forward with the nomination of Democratic Gathering MP Henri Helou's nomination for presidency, stating that he will not withdraw it “for the sake of a military man or the Central Bank chief.” "I don't oppose (Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel) Aoun but I do not nominate him or vote for him. I also won't vote for (Lebanese Forces chief) Samir (Geagea),” Jumblat said in an interview on Tele Liban which aired on Wednesday evening. He continued: “I have 10 MPs and it is not me who decides (on the presidency). If they reached consensus, there would be no problem. But I will not endorse Aoun or Geagea.” The PSP leader stressed that he will not give up the nomination of Helou for the sake of Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji or Central Bank chief Riad Salameh. “I do not understand why I should withdraw Helou's candidacy for a military man, the Central Bank chief or others,” he noted.
"I perceive that (the approach of) Henri Helou conforms to (former) President (Michel) Suleiman's path, and I agree with him in trying to continue going forward with the Baabda Declaration, of course according to regional circumstances,” he added. Jumblat explained that if Qahwaji takes office the presidency would become restricted to military figures, noting that this would suggest that there are no qualified figures among Maronite politicians. “I prefer if major countries agree on a president and I am going forward with Helou's nomination,” he declared. Jumblat also discussed Tehran’s influence in the region, saying that Hizbullah is part of the Syrian-Iranian axis and lamenting that Lebanon “has become part of this sphere.”He rejected visiting the Iranian capital, considering that the Islamic Republic “has committed a major crime against the Syrian people.”He elaborated: “The Islamic Republic is scoring politically and militarily on Syrian territories through the fall of Homs, which is a passage between the Mediterranean and Iran. Through (Homs') fall, the Islamic Republic took control over Syria to a certain extent, or it divided it into two parts.”
On the Syrian situation, he went on to say: “(Hizbullah chief) Sayyed (Hassan) Nasrallah said there is no political solution without (Syrian President) Bashar (Assad) as if Bashar wants a political solution. He only wants himself.”“Bashar Assad will not win and it is ethically shameful to say that he won. The Syrian regime will not emerge victorious, and if it does it will be over its people's dead bodies and what will it rule then? A desert.”On Hizbullah, he said he supported the resistance's presence “but only to defend Lebanon.”“Suleiman tried to separate Lebanon (from regional conflicts) through the Baabda Declaration however the decision in this respect is not Lebanese, but in Iran,” he remarked.
Two Dead in New U.S. School Shooting as Obama Renews Warning
Naharnet/A rifle-toting gunman killed a 14-year-old student at an Oregon high school Tuesday, the latest in a spate of U.S. shootings that prompted a renewed warning from President Barack Obama.
The gunman, said to be another student, also died in the shooting at Reynolds High School in the northwestern U.S. state, taking his own life according to media reports.
Police named the victim as Emilio Hoffman, who died in a boys' locker room of the school's gym building. The shooter, who has still been identified, was found in a separate bathroom.
Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson praised the actions of two school resource officers who were among the first to respond to the shooting.
"I believe their quick response saved many of our students' lives," he said, while not confirming whether the shooter had killed himself or been shot. Witnesses reported students and teachers cowering in classrooms as the shooting unfolded. One teacher also suffered non life-threatening injuries, police said.
As the drama unfolded, live TV pictures showed the increasingly common sight of students filing out of the school with their hands on their heads.
"My daughter was just shaking and scared," said one mother. "She was huddled in the corner of a room with some students and had the lights out," she told KOIN 6 television.
"When a SWAT team person unlocked the door to her room she freaked out, thinking that it was the shooter coming in," the mother, identified as Becky, told the broadcaster.
Anderson added that, during the school search, another gun was found, and its owner taken into custody. He stressed that this appeared totally separate from Tuesday's shooting.
This was the fourth shooting in three weeks in the former Wild West region of the United States.
- Epidemic of gun violence -
On May 23, a student with mental problems, the son of a Hollywood director, went on a gun rampage at a college campus in Santa Barbara, north of Los Angeles, killing six people and then himself.
On June 5, a gunman killed one person and injured two others on on a college campus in the northwestern U.S. city of Seattle, in what the local mayor denounced as America's "epidemic of gun violence."
Then on Sunday, a couple with possible links to anti-government militia shot dead two police officers execution-style in a Las Vegas pizza restaurant, before killing another civilian nearby and then themselves.
Previous mass shootings, like that which killed 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012, have triggered intense debate about America's relatively lax gun control laws.
But the latest wave had triggered only muted public debate, possibly due to the scale and regularity of the killings or the the lack of concrete progress generated by previous protests.
President Barack Obama changed that Tuesday, launching a heart-felt lament that such attacks were "becoming the norm" -- and dismissing the argument shootings were primarily a mental health issue. "The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people," the president said during a Tumblr online forum. "It's not the only country that has psychosis, and yet we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than any place else. "What's the difference? The difference is that these guys can stack up a bunch of ammunition in their houses."
The school where Tuesday's shooting occurred has some 2,800 students, although many of them finished classes last week, so it was unclear how many were on site.
National and local TV news channels covered the scene live, showing large numbers of armed police scrambling to lock down the school after reports of shots fired around 8:00 am.
But about an hour later, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office said the situation was "stabilized."Source/Agence France Presse
Expanding Iran’s borders: the marching threat
Wednesday, 11 June 2014
By: Walid Phares/Al Arabiya
A few weeks ago, high ranking Iranian officials admitted to a mindset I have asserted—for almost a decade in briefings with Congress and government officials on both sides of the Atlantic—exists. The Tehran regime’s minister of defense openly stated on April 16, 2014, that his country’s real borders are along south Lebanon, sitting on the northern frontiers of Israel. Obviously, such Iranian bellicose declarations are not only a blow against the Lebanese republic’s sovereignty, the latter having been quasi-seized by Iranian ally Hezbollah for decades, but these words also menace international efforts to revive the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, a process already destabilized by another Tehran partner: Hamas.
Stating that the Khomeinist regime is projecting military power along a border guarded by three U.N.SCR resolutions (425, 1559 and 1701) is also an affront to the international community and its collective security commitments. But this Iranian assertion of power beyond its national borders is not new, particularly regarding Lebanon.
“Since the early 1980s, the Iranian revolutionary guards have penetrated the Mediterranean country with the help of Hafez al-Assad’s regime”
Since the early 1980s, the Iranian revolutionary guards have penetrated the Mediterranean country with the help of Hafez al-Assad’s regime (then) and—from scratch—created Hezbollah, pushing this terror organization to seize terrain gradually until it reached the international border between Lebanon and Israel. Tehran’s recent declaration of “having a frontier in south Lebanon” is nothing but a natural consequence of its co-domination of this country with the Syrian regime. During the 1990s, first in an article in the Journal of Global Affairs in 1992 titled “The Syria-Iran axis,” then in several Op-Ed pieces and briefings, I projected the Khomeinist march through Syria into Lebanon in the direction of the international borders. In March of 2000 at a meeting at the U.N., I argued that the southern region of Lebanon should be transferred to an international force under chapter 7 after Israel’s withdrawal; otherwise, the Ayatollahs would ignite wars on the Eastern Mediterranean at their will. And so they did, via Hezbollah—including the conflict of 2006. Tehran’s war room—not the Lebanese government or the United Nations—is indeed in charge of warfare operations across these frontiers a thousand miles from its own national soil. But South Lebanon is only one of the borders Iran controls and can transform into battlefields at will. Few observers have established the real lines of demarcation between Iranian regime influence and the rest of the region.
Through its military presence in Syria, its influence inside Iraq and its own borders, the Mullah-dominated Iran has military influence over a thousand miles of borders. Surrounding Turkey from the east and the south, via three countries it controls, Tehran has the potential capacity to enter into a land confrontation—read terror strikes—against a NATO ally. After Russia’s frontiers with the Alliance in the Baltic region and Poland, Iranian lines of contact with the Atlantic bloc are the longest.
More important are Iran’s military zones of influence bordering the Arab moderate world. During the Saddam-Khomeini war of 1980-1987, Iraq was perceived as the shield protecting the Arab hinterland. After the fall of the dictator, and despite U.S. presence for almost a decade, Iran ended up with significant influence in Iraq. This means that Pasdaran forces are able to exploit the entire length of Syrian and Iraqi borders with the Arab countries to their south. Little spoken about, these strategic “Iranian borders” with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are fundamental to geopolitical calculations. In 2006, I presented a study to the Anti-Terrorism Caucus in the U.S. Congress titled “The Shift of Strategic Borders,” where I demonstrated and visually presented what was on the mind of Tehran’s rulers. Iran has had an alliance with Syria since 1981, and its Guards were already present in Lebanon on the side of Hezbollah since the early 1980s. I made a definitive case that the dramatic maker and changer of geopolitics in the region would be U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. When that happens, I argued, all will depend on who seizes Mesopotamia. My argument was that if a free Iraq blocked Iranian advances, the region would be safer, but if a pro-Iranian regime in Baghdad opened the path for the Ayatollahs’ forces to sweep through into Syria, nothing would stop them from projecting power on the Eastern Mediterranean. And that is exactly what happened after the rushed and politically motivated pull-out by the Obama administration of U.S. troops by the end of the 2011. Immediately after the removal of all Coalition forces, Iran moved in to fill the power vacuum.
The first consequence was a direct land bridge from Tehran to Damascus to Beirut’s southern suburb via Baghdad. The second consequence was the encirclement of Turkey from the south. The third effect, and most dramatic, was the forming of virtual lines along the Kuwaiti-Iraqi borders, the Iraqi-Saudi borders and the Jordanian-Iraqi and -Syrian borders, with Iran’s intelligence and security apparatuses stretching along the northern frontiers of three Arab countries—all traditional allies of the U.S. Western observers and policymakers did not catch the formidable earthquake caused by Iran’s tectonic sphere of domination as they sought to envelop the entire north of the Arabian Peninsula. King Abdallah of Jordan spoke of the “Shiite arch” (referring to the Iranian Ayatollahs) early on. Kuwait’s media has been warning about the Iranian geopolitical offensive for years. And lately, Saudi Arabia performed military exercises on its northern borders “to block a potential regional threat.” We can be certain they were not referring to the Swiss. This cataclysmic transformation was the direct result of a badly orchestrated withdrawal from Iraq coupled with the elimination of the real ground opposition to Tehran’s regime based in Iraq. The elimination of the meaningful Iranian national resistance presence in Iraq allows Iran’s Khomeinist phalanges to sit on the Eastern Mediterranean, slaughtering civilians in Syria, oppressing opponents in Iraq, and menacing the entire Arabian motherland across the deserts south of the Fertile Crescent. And these are to be known as Iran’s larger borders.
Will ISIS also seize Baghdad?
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 /By: Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya
I wrote this question a few days ago but then backed down. I was afraid people would think I am bringing it up out of nothing but mere instigation. However, now that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forces have seized Mosul, Iraq’s second-most populous city - in less than a day - the question is legitimate. Which city will the ISIS march towards to next? Baghdad may be the target.
Iraq’s former president Saddam Hussein and late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden must be laughing in their graves at Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister who is well-known for his arrogance and insolence. Mosul and the rest of cities in the Nineveh province fell into their hands. Before that, vast areas of Anbar also fell into their hands. Salaheddine province is also about to witness the same fate. All this happened in a short time, surprising the world and scaring it. The terrorist ISIS, which defected from al-Qaeda, began to achieve the greatest of victories since the Sept. 11, 2001 twin attacks against New York and Washington. The ISIS is crossing borders, cutting off oil pipelines and seizing cities one after the other.
Quick and brutal groups
Do not underestimate these quick and brutal groups which seized arms warehouses and banks funds. They may soon climb the walls of the capital Baghdad which is protected by the same leaders who were defeated in Anbar and Nineveh!
“Maliki persisted at settling his political accounts under the excuse of fighting terrorism but he didn’t really fight terrorist groups”Maliki - the Iraqi prime minister whose government’s term expired and who three months ago pledged to eliminate al-Qaeda in Anbar within two weeks - is to be blamed for the army’s defeat. Did his military leaders fail him? or did he fail to defend the two two provinces when he focused instead on settling political accounts there as his rivals claim? It’s not unlikely. After all, it’s Maliki who dissolved the Awakening Councils - which fought al-Qaeda following the withdrawal of American troops - just because they are Sunnis! The result was that the ISIS returned and seized both provinces!
Unfortunately, Maliki persisted at settling his political accounts under the excuse of fighting terrorism but he didn’t really fight terrorist groups. He adopted this style during most of his term in governance. He described those who disagreed with him as terrorists, forcing them to either flee the country of submit to him. Therefore, when the battle erupted, his forces witnessed one defeat after the other because he refused the reconciliation of political parties there and because he abandoned the tribes who fought against al-Qaeda.
A foreign party
The army was thus fighting as a foreign party in its own land.
A few days ago, Maliki altered his rhetoric and called for “uniting efforts to fight terrorism and curb it.” His call came following his meeting with U.N. Special Representative for Iraq Nicolai Mladenov. He said there are “intentions to open the door for anyone who desires to combat terrorism and to overcome disputes no matter what their political stance is.” His words are positive and differ from his previous rhetoric. However, his problem is that his statements are not credible. The battle against terror groups will be long and painful regardless of whether he stays prime minister or not. He must resolve the anger which civil and military parties and tribes in Anbar and Nineveh hold towards him. Without their cooperation, he will fail at the war with the ISIS which will reach him in Baghdad. Maliki let al-Qaeda grow and expand in Anbar because he thought it would harm his rivals, but he did not comprehend the size of threat which terrorism poses. The Americans have begun to intervene since December when they realized that al-Qaeda is growing in a manner that threatens all of Iraq’s provinces and when they realized that terrorists are preparing their forces and intending to attack Baghdad!
They brought his attention to these threats and told him that al-Qaeda’s power is growing in Anbar. They supported him with reconnaissance operations from Jordan and used drones to attain further information on al-Qaeda. They also provided him with plenty of data and advice but he failed to hold a political reconciliation and his forces failed in their war in Anbar.
Is Maliki the victim of his consultants? Some of his ministers say that Maliki’s advisors underestimated the gravity of the situation and encouraged him to involve the army without the local support of residents of provinces which al-Qaeda seized. Whether it’s his corrupt consultants or his convictions, arrogance and insolence, Maliki is totally responsible for the security failure and the chaos threatening the country.
**This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on June 11, 2014.
After Mosul, Al Qaeda seizes 38,000 sq. km of Iraqi territory, division-size armored vehicle fleet
DEBKAfile Special Report June 11, 2014/After occupying the
oil town of Mosul in northern Iraq, Al Qaeda’s ISIS (Islamist State of Iraq and
the Levant) went on to seize more slices of Nineveh province. By Wednesday, June
11, they were in control of some 38,000 sq. km. or one-tenth of Iraqi territory
– the size of Portugal - and 3.5 million inhabitants, around ten percent of the
country’s national population.
The Islamists also took over the main crossing from Iraq to Syria at Yaaroubiyeh.
They rode out of the Mosul battle Tuesday with 260 new armored vehicles of various types – enough to equip a full division - taken booty from the Iraqi army. The roads out of the city are clogged with an estimated half a million refugees in flight from the bloodshed and chaos with no means of support.
Although he declared a national state of emergency, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has no illusions about his army standing up to the ferocious al Qaeda fighters. And indeed the tens of thousands of troops stationed in Mosul turned tail Tuesday and fled under the onslaught.
The Iraqi government has therefore started handing out firearms to civilians at special distribution centers and asked people to come and collect them.
The initial popular response was very slow. People are not prepared to confront al Qaeda and, anyway, most were happy to see the backs of the troops stationed in their areas, especially in the north. In the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government capital of Irbil in northern Iraq, no distribution stations were to be seen.
Read DEBKAfile’s first report on the fall of Mosul Tuesday, June 10, below
Al Qaeda in Iraq (ISIS: Islamist State of Iraq and Syria), captured the northern Iraqi oil city of Mosul, capital of Nineveh Province, Tuesday, June 10, after the Iraqi military defenders caved in and fled. Mosul is Iraq’s third largest city after Baghdad and Basra with a population of around two million.
Ministers in Nuri al-Maliki’s government have sent desperate appeals to the Obama administration for help to save Baghdad and Iraq from doom.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Iraqi army’s command facilities and bases in Mosul are ablaze and many bodies of Iraqi soldiers are lying in the town’s streets. Convoys of fleeing troops were ambushed by the invaders and destroyed.
The fall of Mosul with heavy casualties is the worst disaster suffered by the Iraqi army in its feeble attempts to fend off the deep inroads Al Qaeda has been making in the country for more than a year. ISIS now controls two major Iraqi cities, after capturing Fallujah earlier this year, has overrun parts of Ramadi and Tikrit, as well as eastern provinces bordering on Iran, Diyala province and parts of the town Baquba, where just Tuesday, 20 people were killed in two explosions.
The loss to Islamist terrorists of Mosul, home to Arab, Assyrian, Christian, Turcoman and Kurdish minorities - and the site of Old Testament prophets such as Jonah - is critical for six additional reasons outlined here by DEBKAfile’s counter-terror and military sources:
1. Mosul’s conquest gives ISIS the key to the highway to Baghdad, enabling its fighters to advance on the capital from three directions: the west from Fallujah and Ramadi, the east from Diyala and now the north, from Mosul.
2. ISIS can merge its Iraqi and Syrian fronts and move its forces freely between them.
3. Mosul straddles the two banks of the vital Tigris-Euphratest river system shared by Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran. The Iraqi Islamists now have their hand on its flow.
4. With Mosul’s capture, Bakr Al-Baghdadi, commander of ISIS, had taken a flying leap towards his avowed goal of establishing an independent Islamist state in the heart of the Middle East. No army has been able or willing to stem his steady advance, including the United States, although his state would present a direct threat to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and Israel.
5. Mosul is a vital link in Iraq’s northern oil trade; one third of its exported crude is pumped past this city from Kirkuk and it also has a refinery.
6. Iran and Hizballah face a second front in Syria opened by Al Qaeda from Iraq. To save their proudest strategic gains in Syria, Tehran will have to send troops into Iraq to save Baghdad from falling to the Islamists, or else see Syria falling into another abyss, this one of vicious Sunni-Shiite warfare.
Jihadists take Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit
Staff Writer, Al Arabiya News
Wednesday, 11 June 2014
Al-Qaeda-inspired militants on Wednesday seized the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, a day after Mosul, the country’s second largest city, fell under their control.
The sweeping advances of the extremist Islamist State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the rapid collapse of the Iraqi army, on which the United States spent at least $16 billion to build, has sent shockwaves across the region and internationally.
Militants took control of government buildings, financial institutions, weapon stockpiles, which could help them gain strength in their war against the rule of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
In Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein and the Salaheddin provincial capital, the militants seized a local prison and freed hundreds of prisoners. It lies roughly half way between Baghdad and Iraq's second city Mosul which fell on Tuesday.
“All of Tikrit is in the hands of the militants,” a police colonel was quoted by AFP as saying.
A police brigadier general said that the militants attacked from the north, west and south of the city, and that they were from powerful jihadist group ISIS.
In Mosul, the militants on Wednesday seized 48 Turks from the Turkish consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, including the consul-general, three children and several members of Turkey's Special Forces, a source in the Turkish prime minister's office said.
The United States has said Jihadist militants in Iraq pose a threat to the entire region and voiced deep concern about the “serious situation.”
“It should be clear that ISIL is not only a threat to the stability of Iraq, but a threat to the entire region,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has said, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) group.
Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed grave concern about the takeover of Mosul, calling on political leaders to unite in the face of threats.
His spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Ban was “gravely concerned by the serious deteriorating of the security situation in Mosul, where thousands of civilians have been displaced.”
Chris Doyle, the director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu), told the BBC on Wednesday that Iraq is no longer an uprising or a crisis, but a full scale war.
Doyle said alongside other crises in the region, Iraq needs to be addressed with urgency and seriousness by the international community that it has lacked so far.
“It is essential that the leading international powers work with regional partners to ensure that this full scale war does not intensify further. Events in Iraq are a product of an Iraqi, regional and international failure over many years,” Doyle added.
Nouzad Hadi, the governor of the Iraqi Kurdish city of Arbil, blamed Maliki's government for the fall of Nineveh Province, including its capital city Mosul.
Hadi told the Dubai-based Hadath TV channel that the Iraqi military forces “are well-armed with the latest weaponry from the United States” but “that Maliki's security policy has led to this failure.”
“This is a real tragedy,” Hadi said.
Commenting on Maliki’s policy towards the Sunnis in Iraq, Doyle said “there needs to be a political approach that is inclusive, one which does not alienate the Sunni community or other major constituencies.”
“This has been a considerable failure of the government of Nouri al-Maliki, that has taken sectarian politics to a new low. Any assistance given to Iraq must be based on an inclusive political situation without which there can be no military one.”
In October 2013, Maliki and before he arrived in Washington on an official visit, six influential U.S. senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama in which they accused Maliki of pursuing sectarian policies in Iraq and of marginalizing the Sunnis.
Democrats Carl Levin and Robert Menendez and Republicans John McCain, James Inhofe, Bob Corker and Lindsey Graham warned in the letter that “security conditions in Iraq have dramatically worsened over the past two years” and that “al-Qaeda in Iraq has returned with a vengeance.”
“Unfortunately, Prime Minister Maliki's mismanagement of Iraqi politics is contributing to the recent surge of violence,” they said.
[With Reuters and AFP]
ISIS expansions in Iraq and Syria bring Middle East to brink of complete chaos
By: Ron Ben-Yishai/Ynetnews
ISIS Islamic militants capture Iraq's second biggest city; Iraqi military buckles and runs under pressure of religious, ethnic divisions.
Mosul is the second biggest city in Iraq with a population of 1.7 million residents from a diverse range of religious and ethnic backgrounds. Mosul is also strategically important as it sits on a rich deposit of oil and a pipeline leading along the volatile border with Syria to the shores of Turkey, carrying 15 percent of Iraq's oil output.On Tuesday, fighters for Global Jihad, some of whom came from Syria, captured Mosul and hundreds of thousands of residents fled from the city in panic, heading for the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
The stunning take-over signals the beginning of a new and dangerous stage in the turbulence rumbling through the Middle East in the last three years. This is a stage that brings the entire area to the threshold of war between Sunnis and Shiites and between moderates and fanatics within the religious factions. Arab regimes fearing for their survival are still combating Al-Qaeda as well
The capture of Mosul is first and foremost a blow to the democratic regime in Iraq that replaced the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government is proving to be incapable of preventing the slow collapse of the Iraqi nation.
This is partly because current leaders give preference to the interests of the Shiites in Iraq over the need to promote the Sunni Iraqis who were brushed aside after the toppling of Hussein, who relied heavily on Sunni tribes in central Iraq
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is the beneficiary of al-Malaki's protectionism. This organization, bred out of the ranks of al-Qaeda, captured two cities in the Sunni dominated Anbar province of Iraq last year, the most important of which was the city of Fallujah which the militants still hold today.
At the moment, now that ISIS has taken control of Mosul with the help of local Sunni militias, it controls the entire province of Nineveh which is another important territory of Iraq on the border with Syria and the Kurdish autonomous region.
The relatively moderate Sunni tribal fighters resisted ISIS at first, but when the discriminatory policies of the Shiite Prime Minister al-Maliki continued, the combatants joined al-Qaeda affiliates and the result is an Iraq which is disintegrating along severe ethnic and religious divides.
Moreover, ISIS combatants are succeeding, in effect, in creating a great Islamic Caliphate that erases the borders between Syria and Iraq and possible in the future between Syria and Lebanon
Many of the ISIS fighters and other fanatic Islamist militias, who captured Mosul in a surprise attack which began at the end of last week, are rebels that came from Syria, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries.
Iraqi soldiers, alongside police and other security forces who were stationed with orders to defend Mosul, stripped themselves of their uniforms and dressed in civilian clothing as they joined the flow of refugees fleeing from the city.
ISIS fighters captured weapons and military vehicles supplied to the Iraqi military by the Americans. The complete route at Mosul is a humiliating blow to the Americans and President Barack Obama's policies.
The city of Mosul and the Nineveh Province were the last part of Iraq the Americans took over in 2007. At the time, Washington claimed that it's seizure of Mosul paved the way for peace and democracy in Iraq.
But this didn't last, and Obama was criticized for not leaving even a symbolic American force that could support the Iraqi army that was built and trained by the Americans, who also supplied this army with trillions of dollars worth of weaponry.
The Iraqi military, comprised of hundreds of thousands of mostly Shiite soldiers, crumbled in Fallujah and couldn't retake the city from ISIS. This same army also failed in Mosul.
The strategy the Americans counted on when they withdrew from Iraq crumbled completely on Tuesday, not unlike what when the US pulled out of Vietnam. Iraq is slowly but surely falling apart. Despite the fact the country had democratic elections in April, Al-Maliki still can't form a government.
The takeover of Mosul is a blow not only for the government and parliament, which have a Shiite majority, but also a blow to Iran that backs the Shiite government in Iraq.
ISIS is the bitter enemy of Shiites whoever and wherever they are. Meaning, it is the enemy of Iran, Shiites in Iraq and the Alawites that rule over Syria. ISIS has already succeeded in taking over several cities in north-eastern Syria, and it is now expanding its control beyond the border into Iraq's Nineveh Province with Mosul in its center.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's call for help from ally states has so far fallen on deaf ears, and his disintegrating army has yet to launch a counter attack to reclaim control of Mosul and its surroundings. But there's someone else who could help the government in Baghdad, the Kurdish militia Peshmerga that controls the nearby autonomous Kurdish providence.
The Kurds, despite the fact they are Muslim, fear the jihadists just as much as the Shiites and other minorities do, so it is quite possible the Peshmerga will join the conflict.
The Arab Gulf states also fear what appears to be a takeover by the global jihad of a considerable part of the Middle East, and they might also decide to aid Iraq. This creates the potential for regional eruption.
As far as Israel is concerned, the takeover by ISIS has clear implications: There's a foundation of global jihad forming right at our doorstep, not far from Europe.
At the moment, only Arab regimes are on the front line - Assad's regime in Damascus, al-Maliki's regime in Iraq and the Hezbollah-backed government in Lebanon. But later on, Israel might become a main target too.
Already, the strengthening of al-Qaeda affiliated organizations is aiding the establishment of jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula. So far, the Egyptians have been fighting them with some success, but the success of extremist Islamic militias in Iraq and Syria strengthens the spirit of Ansar Bait al-Maqdis in Sinai.
In conclusion, one could say the seizure of Mosul is a stepping stone to the process of dismantling many of the region's states, mostly those created following the Sykes–Picot Agreement between the British and French after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. The states created then are slowly being torn apart into their ethnic and religious parts, which guarantees many more years of chaos and fighting in the region. Those who are more worried than others are the Arab regimes, among them Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain and of course Yemen and Libya. The last two are currently experiencing a process of disintegration similar to that experienced by Syria and Iraq the moment. As a result of the chaos and violence, the fanatic jihadist Islam could come out on top.
Analysis: Is the fall of Mosul the end of Maliki?
By: Anthony Franks/ASharq Al Awsat
Wednesday, 11 Jun, 2014
Following the dramatic fall of Mosul yesterday, Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria (ISIS) extremists advanced overnight into the oil refinery town of Baiji, setting the courthouse and police station on fire. Baiji contains Iraq’s biggest refinery, with a refining capacity of 310,000 barrels per day, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
The oil refinery had a guard force of some 250 personnel. Reports suggest ISIS sent a delegation of local tribal sheikhs to Baiji to convince them to withdraw, suggesting a level of cooperation between the tribes and ISIS. If accurate, this represents a further threat to regional security. The reports indicate the security personnel have agreed to pull out on the condition that they were transferred safely to another town.
ISIS are likely to replicate their previous actions in the Deir Ezzor oil fields in Syria, by trying to seize key oil and gas infrastructure both for cash generation and also as potential bargaining chips; retaking such installations by force could cause critical damage to Iraq’s economy.
The scale and speed of the collapse of Mosul’s defenses cannot be underestimated. Yesterday there was a plaintive headline in the Iraqi media that simply read: “Communications lost with officials in Nineveh.” All officials’ phones in Nineveh province are now switched off.
ISIS now controls the west of Iraq’s second-largest city and are rapidly moving to secure other key terrain south of Mosul and in Kirkuk, which sits on a super-giant oilfield.
Yesterday Iraqi PM Nuri Al-Maliki asked a stunned parliament to declare a state of emergency after ISIS and—equally worryingly, their allies—overran a military base and freed hundreds of prisoners.
Maliki said: “We will not allow Mosul to be under the banner of terrorism. We call on all international organizations to support Iraq and its stance in fighting terrorism. The entire world will suffer if terrorism spreads.” He also said Baghdad would arm civilians who volunteered “to defend the homeland and defeat terrorism.”
Two Iraqi army officers told Western journalists that the security forces had received orders to leave Mosul after ISIS captured the Ghizlani army base in southern Mosul and freed several hundred prisoners from a high-security prison.
One pro-ISIS Twitter feed said ISIS had released about 3,000 people from three prisons, although other estimates were lower. The really bad news is these escapees were identified by a police source as belonging mainly to Al-Qaeda and ISIS, adding further seasoned and motivated fighters to the latter’s ranks.
An official in the Ministry of the Interior bluntly told AFP that “the city of Mosul is outside the control of the state and at the mercy of the militants.” As Maliki is the Minister of the Interior as well as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, there seems to be some nuanced criticism in that statement. That criticism might soon snowball.
As the army and police withdrew from Mosul they adopted scorched-earth tactics, setting fire to fuel and ammunition depots to prevent the extremists from gaining access to them.
Other Iraqi security forces were reported to have abandoned their posts; they took off their uniforms and ran away as ISIS overran the provincial government headquarters and other key buildings.
The morale of the Iraqi armed forces in Mosul has clearly collapsed, and they are running scared from a fighting force that is better trained, better led, better organized and better motivated.
ISIS has honed its hit-and-run tactics in what the British Army call Fighting In Built-Up Areas (FIBUA) in Syria, and has more of a stomach for the close-quarter mayhem that this entails.
The Iraqi army lacks FIBUA training and no longer has UK or US forces to call upon, nor does it have the intelligence collection and exploitation capability needed to find, fix and destroy ISIS.
Reuters quoted an army colonel at the local military headquarters as saying: “We have lost Mosul this morning. Army and police forces left their positions and ISIS terrorists are in full control. It’s a total collapse for the security forces.”
Military, police and security sources reported that ISIS extremists, armed with anti-aircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, now were in control of almost all military and police checkpoints in and around Mosul.
The fall of Mosul is a body blow to Baghdad’s increasingly flawed attempts to counter the bushfire of Sunni extremism that is raging out of control across the west and north of Iraq. ISIS now dominates and controls territory in eastern Syria and western and northern Iraq: the site of the Islamist Caliphate they are trying to create.
Equally worrying as the militant group’s ability to overrun army bases is the fact that ISIS has allied with other extremist groups, thus exponentially increasing the threat they pose—not forgetting the fresh blood they have released from prison, who, to a man, will want revenge on the Shi’ite-dominated government.
As a result of the violence, thousands of families are fleeing or have already fled Mosul, causing gridlock on the choked roads leading towards Kurdistan, which shares a border with Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital.
The Governor of Mosul, Athil Al-Nujaifi, was one of those who fled, and he is now reported to be in Duhok, Kurdistan. Iraqi soldiers who fled Mosul have asked the Kurdish militia, the Peshmerga, for protection. On Monday, Nujaifi made a televised plea to the people of Mosul to fight ISIS, and only narrowly escaped being trapped in his provincial headquarters in the city after ISIS surrounded it late Monday.
The Peshmerga is currently deployed on the outskirts of Mosul, waiting for orders from Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani. The Peshmerga’s reaction to the violence in Mosul will be a significant indicator of how Erbil intends to manage the situation.
Osama Al-Nujaifi, the Sunni speaker of Iraqi’s parliament and an outspoken critic of Maliki, described Iraqi Army and police personnel’s’ abandonment of their posts in Mosul as “a dereliction of duty.” Nujaifi said he had asked the US ambassador in Baghdad for help in order to stop what he described as “a foreign invasion by ISIS.”
However, there will be a good deal of domestic and international political concern about declaring the state of emergency, which in reality means granting Maliki even more sweeping powers. And once he has those powers, many will worry that he will find it hard to give them up.
In the meantime, Maliki is coming under pressure from his political opponents, who are asking how ISIS has managed to achieve such a series of devastating operational successes: first Fallujah, then Ramadi, and now Mosul.
The attack on Mosul is a strategic, military and propaganda victory for ISIS. It is a strategic, military and propaganda disaster for Baghdad.
Maliki has also called on the international community to support Iraq in its war against ISIS—he specifically called on the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League to support Iraq while it fights ISIS. Quite how he expects them to do this is not clear.
A more uncomfortable question is why these organizations would decide to help Iraq. Many observers have noted that a good portion of Baghdad’s policies have been nakedly sectarian and discriminatory in nature. The government is now seen by some to be reaping the bitter harvest of Sunni disenchantment and frustration, fueled by a doctrinally hard-line Islamism.
The next few days will be pivotal in determining Iraq’s future. The country has to fight back against ISIS quickly and effectively. The military catastrophe in Nineveh might possibly contain an opportunity for political rapprochement—but only if Maliki can be convinced of the need to reach out across the sectarian divide. History shows that this might well be a faint hope.
Finally, late last night Maliki announced that the Iraqi security forces will retake control of Mosul city within 24 hours. However, with a collapse in the Iraqi Armed Forces’ morale, leadership and courage, coupled with the lack of a mature intelligence capability and a coherent counter-extremist strategy, it is difficult, if not impossible, to see how this can be achieved.