LCCC ENGLISH DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Quotation for today/Whoever
has seen me has seen the Father
John 14,8-14/Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father"? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
Pope Francis's Tweet For Today
I wish everyone a wonderful World Cup, played in a spirit of true fraternity.
Je souhaite à tous une très belle Coupe du Monde de football, jouée avec un esprit de vraie fraternité
Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters & Releases from miscellaneous sources For June 13/14
What Mosul could mean for Obama/By Michael Young /The Daily Star/June 13/14
Is the fall of Mosul the end of Maliki/By: Anthony Franks/ASharq Al Awsat/June 12/14
It’s Maliki’s Fault/By: Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq AlAwsat/ June 13/14
Reports From Miscellaneous Sources For June 13/14
Lebanese Related News
Hundreds attend funeral of Geagea's father
Delay in Presidential Poll to Postpone Parliamentary Elections to 2015
Al-Rahi Expected to Launch Comprehensive Reconciliation Initiative
Sawan Asks for Death Penalty against Palestinian 'Terrorists'
Lebanese Cabinet Holds 3rd Session after Vacuum, Fails to Agree on Methodology
Grand Mufti Elections to be Held in August as Misqawi Calls for Polls as Soon as
Two Arrested for Raping, Robbing over 60 Women in Mount Lebanon
Mashnouq Foresees Economic Boom within 10 Years
Nusra Front Kills Syrian, Kidnaps 2 Others in Arsal
In Lebanon, World Cup Fever a Break from Politics
Whereabouts of Shooter Vowing to 'Liberate Baabda Palace' Unknown
Army Raids Abandoned Farm, Seizes 750 Kgs of Cannabis
Lebanon more than ever part of the Syria-Iran axis: Jumblatt
Report: Jumblat to Meet Hariri Next Week
Tele Liban ready and waiting for World Cup kickoff
Ahmad Hariri: Hezbollah seeks three-way power system
Bahaa Hariri opens multibillion project in Jordan
LibanPost introduces automated mail-sorting machines
Lebanese citizens in Iraq fine: ministry source
Machnouk asks Qatar to revise travel advisory
More time needed to finalize Cabinet mechanism: PM
EIB lends Lebanese banks $163M to boost SMEs
Abbas accuses Israel of 'pulling region into violence' following Gaza airstrike
Miscellaneous Reports And News
Iran to cut plutonium creation capability in attempt to reach deal with West
Ya'alon: Israel will always work to protect its citizens
Al Qaeda forms up to march on Baghdad, gathering up Iraqi Sunni rebels. Maliki
Obama Says U.S. 'Looking at All the Options' in Iraq
Insurgents surround Iraq's largest refinery in Baiji
Mosul Security Crisis: A Chance to Break Iraq's Political Logjam
U.S. Mulls Air Strikes as Iraq Militants Advance on Baghdad
What Mosul could mean for Obama
Tikrit falls after lightning ISIS advance
Nervous Baghdad residents brace for onslaught
Car bomb kills 7 in Syria's Homs: state media
Hundreds attend funeral of Geagea's father
June 12, 2014/The Daily Star /BSHARRI, Lebanon: Hundreds of Lebanese Forces supporters, politicians and officials Thursday attended the funeral of Farid Geagea, party leader Samir's father, in his hometown in Bsharri, north Lebanon. Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi represented Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Tammam Salam, MP Simon Abi Ramia represented MP Michel Aoun, who is also the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, and Agriculture Minister Akrab Shehayeb represented MP Waid Jumblatt, leader of the Progressive Socialist Party. Other officials and allies of Geagea also dispatched delegations to represent them during the funeral procession, which was held at Mar Saba in the late Geagea’s hometown. During the funeral mass, Samir Geagea's wife, MP Strida Geagea, said a few words about her late father-in law, thanking him for supporting her through the most difficult of times when the LF leader was imprisoned for 11 years. "To my beloved father-in-law, to the person who was like a father to me ... I cannot forget the time you stood next to me like a father when Samir was detained and how I used to come to you for advice in those difficult days and how you strongly believed in my cause and supported me with all your heart,” she said. Farid Geagea's body arrived in Bsharri around noon as the Cedars marching band played music, church bells tolled and people threw flowers at the coffin, which was carried on the shoulders of LF supporters. Samir Geagea and his family will accept condolences Friday in the Bsharri church and Saturday and Sunday in the Kesrouan village of Maarab, the headquarters of the party.
Cabinet Holds 3rd Session after Vacuum, Fails to Agree on Methodology
Naharnet /The cabinet failed on Thursday to reach an agreement over the methodology it should adopt in conducting its affairs, raising fears of the emergence of paralysis in the government.
Information Minister Ramzi Jreij made the announcement after the session that was held at the Grand Serail and chaired by Prime Minister Tammam Salam. He did not offer details of the discussions among the ministers, making a brief statement to reporters at the end of the session that lasted about four hours. This was the third cabinet meeting to be held after the expiry of President Michel Suleiman's term in May 25. Salam had told ministers that his invitation for Thursday's session was accompanied by copies of the agenda which were sent to them on May 30 to come up with a mechanism on the government's work in the absence of a president. Despite his hopes to keep the Baabda Palace vacuum away from the government, ministers remain divided on how to take decisions and how to sign decrees. Al-Joumhouria newspaper quoted informed sources as saying that Salam paved way for the session by holding contacts with ministers from different parliamentary blocs. During his phone conversations, he hoped that the ministers would engage in serious talks to adopt the mechanism that should preserve the cabinet's unity, they said. Salam stressed to them the importance of stopping a spillover of the parliamentary crisis to the government, the sources added. Jreij stressed after the cabinet session the need to maintain the government's unity given the presidential vacuum and the regional crises. Al-Mustaqbal Movement, along with a number of Christian lawmakers, are boycotting legislative sessions aimed at discussing a wage scale for the public sector to protest the failure to elect a president. The MPs claim the Taef Accord states that legislation without a head of state is unconstitutional. Salam made the pleas after warnings that the parliament's boycott would lead to similar paralysis in the government.
Suleiman left Baabda Palace on May 25 after the rival MPs failed to elect a successor over their differences on a compromise candidate.
Al-Rahi Expected to Launch Comprehensive Reconciliation Initiative
Naharnet/Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi is expected to reconcile the rival Christian political leaders ahead of an initiative for a comprehensive reconciliation in the country, Bkirki's spokesman said. Walid Ghayyad told al-Mustaqbal newspaper published on Thursday that al-Rahi “has a certain vision to implement this reconciliation starting with efforts to break the ice” among Maronite leaders.
The spokesman said that the cardinal might launch his initiative by holding bilateral talks with each of the country's top Christian political leaders. Al-Rahi believes that “enemies meet and engage in dialogue. It wouldn't be difficult for brothers in a single nation to meet and agree,” Ghayyad told the daily. The spokesman hoped the reconciliation would expand to include the rest of the rival factions in the country. The initiative resembles a “snowball that starts with resolving the most difficult problems (among Maronites) and then grows” to include the entire country, he said. The patriarch is setting the stage for the appropriate atmosphere that would guarantee consensus on the next president over fears from the dangerous repercussions of vacuum,” Ghayyad told al-Mustaqbal. He warned that the presidential crisis could expand to all institutions in the country. Baabda Palace has been without a head of state since the end of President Michel Suleiman's six-year tenure on May 25. The differences between the rival March 8 and 14 alliances over a compromise candidate led to a lack of quorum in several rounds of parliamentary sessions.
Army Raids Abandoned Farm, Seizes 750 Kgs of Cannabis
Naharnet /The army raided on Wednesday night an abandoned farm in the area of Kfardan in Baalbek after receiving information that it contains a large quantity of drugs.
According to a communique issued by the Lebanese army on Thursday, a unit seized around 750 kilograms of Cannabis from the abandoned farm. The statement pointed out that the farm is owned by a Lebanese and is occupied by a Syrian worker. The army kicked off investigations under the supervision of the competent judicial authority.
Sawan Asks for Death Penalty against Palestinian 'Terrorists'
Naharnet/The military examining magistrate asked on Thursday for the death penalty against scores of Palestinians, who are on the run, for belonging to terrorist organizations, the state-run National News Agency reported. NNA said Judge Fadi Sawan issued his indictment against the 31 Palestinians, accusing them of belonging to the Abdullah Azzam brigades and al-Qaida. Sawan also accused them of committing murder, attempted murder and robbery at gunpoint during the clashes that took place at the Mieh Mieh Palestinian refugee camp on April 4. NNA said that eight people were killed and ten others were wounded in the gunbattles. Sawan issued an arrest warrant against the suspects and referred them to the permanent military court for trial.
Grand Mufti Elections to be Held in
August as Misqawi Calls for Polls as Soon as Possible
Naharnet /The head of Dar al-Fatwa's Islamic Endowments, Sheikh Hisham Khalifeh, called on Thursday for electing a new Grand Mufti in August, but this announcement was met with the opposition of the Higher Islamic Council, that demanded that the elections be held as soon as possible. Khalifeh said that the elections would be held on August 31 at Dar al-Fatwa's headquarters in Aisha Bakkar. He added in a statement that if the Electoral Islamic Council will hold a session on Sunday, August 31 to elect a new Grand Mufti, but if it failed, another session will be held at the same day, and whoever garners the majority wins. “At the first round if there was lack of quorum the session would be postponed until 11 am of the same day and the council requires the presence of half of its members to elect a new Mufti,” the statement said.However, if the council failed to elect a new Mufti a second round will be held on Sunday, September 7. “The elections require the presence of half of the members but if there was lack of quorum the session would be postponed until 11 am and the elections would go on with the present members,” the statement said. Later on Thursday, the Higher Islamic Council held a meeting, chaired by its deputy chief Omar al-Misqawi, to address Khalife's statement. The meeting demanded that Prime Minister Tammam Salam call for the election of a new Grand Mufti as soon as possible “to avert strife and according to the regulations.”
Salam is the head of the Electoral Islamic Council.
The Higher Islamic Council condemned the approach adopted by Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani and “the group gathered around him,” which contradicts with the “historic, civilized, and national role of Dar al-Fatwa.”“This approach is a deliberate act of rebellion against the state and its institutions,” it stressed. It urged for diligence to expose “the conspiracies being devised against Muslims by mercenary groups seeking to create division among the Muslim ranks in order to achieve personal and political goals.”On Wednesday, Qabbani and a number of scholars and imams re-expanded the electorate responsible for the election of the Higher Islamic Council's head. The Mufti's endeavor prompted Salam to call for an urgent meeting at the Grand Serail to “discuss the steps taken by the so-called Higher Islamic Council.”“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 Higher Islamic Council -- 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 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 Higher Islamic Council 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. “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 moves -- 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 Higher Islamic Council's electorate “reflects insistence on rebelling against the principle of the state and its institutions and on the violation of the law.”
Whereabouts of Shooter Vowing to 'Liberate Baabda Palace' Unknown
Naharnet/The whereabouts of the suspect who appeared in a controversial video message vowing to “liberate the Baabda Palace from the upcoming president” remain unknown.
According to al-Joumhouria newspaper published on Thursday, Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi referred a three-minute video, which went viral on social media, to General Prosecutor Samir Hammoud in order to apprehend three men and put them on trial.The video shows three men celebrating the Resistance and Liberation Day on May 25 by opening fire from machine guns from the rooftop of a building, reportedly located in Dahiyeh. Hammoud tasked the Central Intelligence with identifying the suspects, in particular the man who said statements that “harm the national security and threatens coexistence.” However, the daily said that the main suspect fled, prompting Hammoud to issue a search and investigation warrant against him. Information obtained by the daily said that the man fled to the South.
The main suspect said in the video that this “was all in hopes of liberating Baabda from the new president,” he continued eagerly: “On Tariq al-Jadeedah.”“Bullets will fall like rain today on Tariq al-Jadeedah... Poor them, they're very civilized,” he added. “Do you have any bomb?” the shooter wondered sarcastically, he then said: “This shot is for the eyes of Bashar Assad... and (Speaker Nabih) Berri.” The three men fired non-stop until they were out of ammunition.
Delay in Presidential Poll to Postpone Parliamentary Elections to 2015
Naharnet/Vacancy at the helm of the country's top Christian post is expected to remain until the end of the Summer, prompting the parliamentary elections to be postponed until 2015.
According to As Safir newspaper published on Thursday, Lebanon will enter on August 20 a deadline to agree on a new electoral law ahead of the November elections but priority at the time would be for electing a new head of state. The report said that the political arch-foes will reach consensus and elect a new president by October or November. An informed source told the newspaper that the political arch-foes would in a later stage agree on a hybrid electoral law that combines the winner-takes-all and proportional representation systems, expecting the parliamentary elections to be staged in May or June 2015. In May 2013, the parliament voted to extend its own mandate for 17 months after the rival political parties failed to reach a new electoral law. Around 100 MPs from all blocs, except the Change and Reform bloc, voted to extend parliament's term until November 20, 2014. The daily stated several reasons behind the delay in electing a new president, including negotiations between Iran and the United States, Russia, France and Germany - members of the P5+1 – on the Islamic state's nuclear program and the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement. The report continued that the two developments would put consultations between the rival political parties in Lebanon on the right track. Lebanon has been plunged into a leadership vacuum after Michel Suleiman's presidential term ended on May 25 with rival political blocs still divided over a new leader. Over the past two months the parliament convened five times to try to elect a successor to Suleiman but failed during the last four sessions due to a lack of quorum.
Two Arrested for Raping, Robbing over 60 Women in Mount Lebanon
Naharnet/Security forces announced on Thursday the arrest of two people accused of sexual molestation and of robbing women at gunpoint in the Mount Lebanon governorate. "Rapes and robberies have been recorded recently against women in different regions in Mount Lebanon, and these acts were committed by unknown assailants using a blue Renault Rapid car and a navy blue Nissan Datsun,” the Internal Security Forces said in a communique. Following intense investigation, the Baabda judicial police managed to identify and locate one of the assailants, 34 year old Lebanese national H.H., and arrest him after a raid carried out on June 9 in the town of Aramoun, the statement added. Security forces also seized 20 purses and a war gun in his possession. The assaulter confessed to more than 50 rape, molestation and robbery operations all carried out at gunpoint. The ISF statement described how H.H. executed his crimes: “He invited women to get in the car with him, promising to drive them to their desired destination. But he took them instead to uninhabited areas where he raped and robbed them at gunpoint.”The detained criminal also confessed that Lebanese national A.Gh., 22, has committed similar acts by threatening his victims using a knife. The second criminal was arrested on June 11 in the Choueifat region to the south of Beirut. He confessed to 10 rapes and robberies against women. Several victims recognized both arrested men, and the ISF's statement called on other women who suffered from their crimes to come forward and report the incident by heading to the Baabda police department or calling security forces on the following numbers: 05/921115 – 05/922173.
Report: Jumblat to Meet Hariri Next
Naharnet /A meeting is expected to be held next week between Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat and the head of al-Mustaqbal movement, Saad Hariri. According to al-Akhbar and al-Liwaa newspapers published on Thursday, the meeting will be held on Tuesday in the French capital Paris. On Wednesday, Jumblat revealed in an interview on Tele Liban that he was supposed to hold talks with Hariri last week but circumstances compelled the postponement of the meeting. “There's no tension between us,” the Druze leader stressed. However, al-Mustaqbal MP Mohammed al-Hajjar said in comments to Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) that he has no information on the timing of the meeting between the two leaders. Al-Akhbar said that Hariri, who is currently in Morocco, will leave to Paris on Sunday. The Mustaqbal chief headed to Casablanca on Monday to attend a reception ceremony hosted by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. The reception was held to honor Moroccan King Mohammed VI.
Mashnouq Foresees Economic Boom within
Naharnet/Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq stressed on Thursday at the end of a short visit to the Gulf country Qatar that “Lebanon will witness an economic boom within ten years due to the promising oil reserves.”“The Arab investments in Lebanon haven't been lost during the last four decades, on the contrary they increased, despite all the turmoil that Lebanon passed through,” Mashnouq said during a meeting with President of the Qatari Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani and Qatari businessmen.
Fitch, Standard and Poors and Moody's rating agencies had downgraded Lebanon's rating in 2013, citing political uncertainties, spill-overs from the Syrian conflict on economic performance and slow growth prospects. Fitch Lebanon's credit rating was affirmed at 'B', while S&P rates the country 'B-' and Moody's has the nation above Fitch at 'B1'. All with negative outlook.
The minister reiterated that the security situation in Lebanon is “under control and will remain as it is for a long time.”Mashnouq urged Qatari businessmen to return to Lebanon, calling on the state to lift the travel ban to the country. He pledged to offer Qataris all the “needed help to provide them with the comfort they need and facilitate the offered services.”Several Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have repeatedly issued travel advisories, warning their citizens against visiting Lebanon due to the security chaos.
However, Riyadh recently lifted the travel ban to Beirut. Mashnouq headed to Qatar on Tuesday for a short visit, he was accompanied by General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, ISF leader Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous and several other top officials.
Nusra Front Kills Syrian, Kidnaps 2
Others in Arsal
Naharnet/Al-Qaida affiliate al-Nusra Front has killed a Syrian and kidnapped two others during an attack on refugees in the eastern Bekaa Valley, the state-run National News Agency reported on Thursday. Gunmen from the terrorist group opened fire on an encampment of refugees in the Wadi Hmeid area of the northeastern border town of Arsal at around 11:00 pm Wednesday, NNA said. Ahmed Mohammed al-Badawi, 31, was killed and Majed Badawi was injured in the the armed assault, the agency said.The terrorist group also kidnapped Atef and Mahmoud Badawi, it added. The displaced Syrians, who had taken refuge in the encampment, hail from the Syrian town of Qara in the Qalamoun region. Last week, a Syrian was killed in Arsal by al-Nusra Front fighters in similar circumstances. Ever since the Syrian revolt erupted in March 2011, Arsal has served as a key conduit for refugees, rebels and wounded people fleeing strife-torn Syria.
In Lebanon, World Cup Fever a Break
Naharnet /Lebanon's capital Beirut is awash with flags. But instead of the usual political colors, they're the bunting of World Cup competitors like Brazil and Germany being flown by local mega-fans. Lebanon's national team didn't qualify for the event starting Thursday, and the tiny nation has no great sporting track record. But its citizens display a near-fanatical enthusiasm for chosen proxy nations, mainly countries that tend to do well in the World Cup and host large Lebanese populations, draping cars, homes and businesses with "their" country's colours. "I just love Germany. I love the way they play the game," says 19-year-old Elias Nohra. He spent $50 having a Germany flag sticker affixed to the roof of his car. "Money well-spent," he says with a grin. Some drivers have gone further, trailing fluttering flags from their cars, draping scarves round their rear-view mirrors, and even plastering semi-transparent flag stickers across entire windshields.
The mania is a chance for the often unstable country to escape the daily grind, and good news for vendors, with even those who usually sell cellphones or children's toys adding flags to their stock to cash in. "Every day we get closer to the World Cup, flag sales increase," says 23-year-old vendor Ali Nasrallah in the Sabra Palestinian camp in Beirut. "The flags we sell most are Brazil, Germany and Italy."
A survey of the landscape makes it clear that Brazil, Germany and Italy are indeed local favorites, with the three nations best represented among the flags flying from cars and homes.
That comes as no surprise to 23-year-old Rayan Musallem, a sports journalists and Brazil fanatic.
She belongs to an official fan club working with Brazil's embassy to organize match viewings.
"I've loved Brazil since I was little, it might be because my family nicknamed me Rio, but to be honest I just love the country, their passion for football and the way they play," she says.
Like many Lebanese, she knows families who have emigrated to Brazil, which is home to the largest concentration of Lebanese in the diaspora.
Such ties through emigration are one reason Lebanese cite in choosing which country to support. "I'm with France because all my family is there," says 50-year-old Aida Qassis, who owns a toy shop but has added flags to her stock. "You know, Lebanon took its independence from France and France still supports us, so I hope they do well in the World Cup," she says.
Elie Sarkis inherited his support of Brazil from his father and grandfather. "They've always loved Brazil, I think in part because they were impressed that when players scored they'd cross themselves and thank God," he says. "My family are very religious, and they like that in Brazil, people might be poor, but they have faith, and when they get rich they still love their country and have faith in God."
But for many Lebanese, the decision to pick a team is swayed solely by their favorite players. Argentina has seen its popularity here boosted by the high-profile career of Lionel Messi, and Portugal commands an outsize following on the basis of its star striker Cristiano Ronaldo. For 24-year-old Tony Rizk, it was legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn who started his passion for Germany's team. Last year, he fulfilled a life-long dream by visiting Munich, and this year he and the fan club he founded are working with Germany's embassy in Lebanon to organize viewing events. Like many Lebanese, he describes World Cup mania as one of the few non-political events in a country often marked by political and sectarian divisions. "Our club has fans from everywhere in Lebanon. You see Muslims, Christians, everyone, watching the games," he says. "It's a unifying event."Source/Agence France Presse
Obama Says U.S. 'Looking at All the
Options' in Iraq
Naharnet/U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday that his national security team was "looking at all the options" as the crisis in Iraq unfolds, with Arab jihadists pushing towards Baghdad. "Iraq is going to need more help from the United States and from the international community," Obama said. "Our national security team is looking at all the options... I don't rule out anything."Source/Agence France Presse
U.S. Mulls Air Strikes as Iraq Militants Advance on Baghdad
Naharnet/Jihadists were pushing towards Baghdad Thursday after capturing a town just hours to the north, as the U.S. mulled air strikes in a bid to bolster Iraq's collapsing security forces.
With the militants closing in on the capital, forces from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region took control of Kirkuk, an ethnically divided northern city they have sought to rule for decades against the objections of successive governments in Baghdad. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hosyhar Zebari acknowledged the security forces which Washington invested billions in training and equipping before withdrawing its own troops in 2011, had simply melted away.
Russia said the lightning gains by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a movement so radical it has been disavowed even by the Al-Qaida leadership, showed the pointlessness of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, carried out in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
Washington found rare common cause with its longtime foe Tehran, with both voicing dismay at the Sunni extremists' advance and pledging to boost aid to Iraq's beleaguered Shiite prime minister. The militants, who have swept up a huge swathe of predominantly Sunni Arab territory in northern and north-central Iraq since launching their offensive in second city Mosul late on Monday, advanced into ethnically divided Diyala province. The insurgents captured the town of Dhuluiyah just 90 kilometers (60 miles) from Baghdad, army officers said, as they pushed into a province whose mixed Arab and Kurdish and Sunni and Shiite population has made it a byword for violence ever since the 2003 overthrow of Sunni Arab dictator Saddam Hussein.
ISIL spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani vowed the jihadists would not stop there, but would press on to the capital and the Shiite shrine city of Karbala, visited by millions of pilgrims from around the world each year. The Shiite-led government in Baghdad has been left floundering by the speed of the jihadist assault. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he would seek parliament's authorization to declare a state of emergency but MPs failed to muster a quorum for the vote on Thursday. Only 128 out of 325 MPs showed up for the session, which was announced two days before, a senior official said.
The swift collapse of Baghdad's control comes on top of the loss of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, at the start of the year. It has been a blow for Western governments that invested lives and money in the invasion that toppled Saddam. The Iraqi foreign minister, a Kurd and a longtime British exile, acknowledged the collapse of the security forces in Mosul and other cities had been precipitate, with many personnel simply melting away after discarding their uniforms. "It is a setback definitely for the Iraqi security forces, who collapsed in the largest city and abandoned their weapons and equipment," he said. Zebari said the security forces were mounting a fightback in Tikrit -- the hometown of the now executed Saddam -- and residents reported an air strike on the dictator's former palace in the town. Washington is considering several options for offering military assistance to Baghdad, including drone strikes, a U.S. official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Resorting to such aircraft -- used in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen in a highly controversial program -- would mark a dramatic shift in the U.S. engagement in Iraq, after the last American troops pulled out in late 2011. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. was committed to "working with the Iraqi government and leaders across Iraq to support a unified approach against ISIL's continued aggression." But there is no current plan to send U.S. troops back into Iraq, where around 4,500 American soldiers died in the bitter conflict.
And NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he saw no role in Iraq for the Western alliance in the battle against the thousands of jihadists, among them many Westerners, fighting in both Iraq and neighboring Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the spectacular collapse of the Western-trained Iraqi army exposed the failings of the 2003 invasion.
"The events in Iraq illustrate the total failure of the adventure involving the United States and Britain," he said. Iranian President Hasan Rouhani went live on television to denounce the "extremist, terrorist group that is acting savagely" in Iraq. He said he would meet later with the Supreme National Security Council, which would have to approve any military support Tehran might want to provide to Baghdad.
Turkey said it was holding talks to secure the release of dozens of its citizens kidnapped by Islamist militants in northern Iraq amid international calls for their release.
"We are in touch with all the groups in Iraq including Kurds and Turkmens," a government official told AFP.
The city of Kirkuk, which Kurdish forces took over on Thursday, has Turkmen and Christian minorities as well as a substantial Arab population, some of it deliberately settled by Saddam to undercut historic Kurdish claims to the province's oil wealth. The Kurds have never given up their claim to the city, returning to war with Baghdad in the 1970s to press their demand for the city to be incorporated in their autonomous region in the north. The Kurdish minister responsible for the autonomous region's former rebel security forces was targeted by a bomb attack as he made an inspection tour of the city's outskirts on Thursday but escaped unharmed. Kirkuk Governor Najm al-Din Karim said Kurdish forces had filled in gaps left by Iraqi soldiers who withdrew from their positions in the province.
"Army forces are no longer present, as happened in Mosul and Salaheddin," Karim said. SourceظAgence France Presse
Show Trial' of Anti-Government Protesters Begins in Turkey
Naharnet/The trial of more than two dozen anti-government protesters began in Turkey on Thursday with one defendant blasting the charges against them as "ridiculous" and Amnesty International denouncing the process as a "show trial". Twenty-six members of the Taksim Solidarity umbrella group, including doctors, architects and engineers, face lengthy prison terms for their part in leading the protests a year ago, with the prosecutor calling for 13-year jail terms for the five main suspects. The charges include founding a criminal syndicate, violating public order and organizing illegal protests through social media. "You cannot found a criminal organization by saying 'I don't want a shopping mall'. It is a very ridiculous charge," one of the key accused, Mucella Yapici, head of the Istanbul chamber of architects, told the court. Last year's protests began as a small environmental movement to stop the re-development of the city's Gezi Park and quickly blew up into wider nationwide demonstrations against the perceived authoritarianism of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "They have submitted as evidence a picture of me shouting for help while police fired tear gas in my face," Yapici said in a speech that drew cheers from those in court. The protests left at least eight people dead and some 8,000 injured after a brutal police crackdown. "We started a resistance which was exemplary to the world, which was very peaceful," Yapici told the court. "But we faced increasing violence each time we took the streets. I was gassed from a very short distance and my friends who were defending me were badly injured after the police attacked." Another defendant, Beyza Metin, the head of Istanbul chamber of electrical engineers, also questioned the charges. "It is not possible for five people to lead demonstrations which took place across the country and were attended by millions of people", she said. Outside the court, a crowd waved banners in support of the defendants.
Amnesty International urged the Turkish authorities to abandon what it called "a vindictive, politically motivated show trial without a shred of evidence of actual crimes". "The prosecution has concocted a case simply to send a strong message to the rest of Turkey that the authorities will ruthlessly pursue anyone who dissents and organizes protests against government policies."
The Taksim Solidarity group was formed in 2012 after the government announced plans to redevelop Gezi Park, one of the last remaining green spaces in central Istanbul, and neighboring Taksim Square, the country's symbolic rallying point. The group met Erdogan at the height of the unrest to discuss the protesters' demands, only to be accused by the premier of being "traitors" aiming to destabilize the government. Also among the defendants on Thursday was Ali Cerkezoglu, the secretary general of the Istanbul Medical Chamber, who treated several wounded protesters. In January, Turkey passed a new law making it a crime for doctors to provide emergency first aid without a permit, which critics said was an attempt to block doctors from treating protesters.
"The only aim of this trial is to discredit the protest movement by making people believe that there was a crime organization. But it has no legal basis," he said. "Those being tried here are the ones who dealt a big blow to Erdogan's charisma and leadership."Several trials related to the protests are already taking place across the country, but Thursday's trial has the highest profile. "The only goal of this case is to scare people," said Baki Boga, of the Human Rights Association Turkey. "They want to show that anyone, regardless of their age, profession or background, can be prosecuted for being a protester." "This is a politically motivated case aimed at completely wiping out the dissenting voices in Turkey." The government did not go ahead with the plans to demolish the park, but it has become a site of frequent clashes between police and protesters. Dozens were injured on the anniversary of last year's protest on May 31.Source/Agence France Presse
What Mosul could mean for Obama
June 12, 2014/By Michael Young /The Daily Star
In his excellent book “A Line in the Sand,” on the Franco-British rivalry in the Middle East, James Barr quotes a British officer in Deir al-Zor as writing: “We must control the desert, not only for the safety of our military communications, but because who holds the desert also, in the end, holds the sown.”
That should sound familiar after the fall of Mosul this week to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), and areas closer to Baghdad. With ISIS controlling the Syria- Iraq border, able to shift its men between either country, and living off oil resources in Syria, we are seeing the consolidation of a territory controlled by no state, one that may prove far more destabilizing than Afghanistan after Osama bin Laden moved there from Sudan.
In a speech at West Point in May, President Barack Obama observed, “For the foreseeable future, the most direct threat to America, at home and abroad, remains terrorism, but a strategy that involves invading every country that harbors terrorist networks is naïve and unsustainable.”
No one disagrees with the straw man Obama set up. Yet the president must admit one thing: Any solution to the ISIS problem must come from both Iraq and Syria. Obama is learning why a Syrian conflict he once recklessly qualified as “someone else’s civil war” has turned into a regional danger.
As the former U.S. envoy in Syria, Robert Ford, wrote this week in the New York Times, “We don’t have good choices on Syria anymore. But some are clearly worse than others. More hesitation and unwillingness to commit to enabling the moderate opposition fighters to fight more effectively both the jihadists and the regime simply hasten the day when American forces will have to intervene against Al-Qaeda in Syria.”
Ford is right. The Obama administration’s staying out of Syria at all costs has effectively meant it allowed a situation to fester that may impose its intervention at a later stage. It’s funny how the lessons of the West’s abandonment of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal were ignored. This led to the consolidation of an unruly territory that allowed the perpetrators of 9/11 to plot their crime. But in Obama’s Washington memories are short, while the refusal to consider intervention is rarely measured against the negative consequences of such a choice.
At West Point, Obama also declared: “I believe we must shift our counterterrorism strategy, drawing on the successes and shortcomings of our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, to more effectively partner with countries where terrorist networks seek a foothold.” Indeed, but what is the president’s plan in Iraq, a country which he has largely ignored in the past five years, despite the high cost in American lives and money?
And what are Obama’s intentions in Syria? There are reports that the U.S. intends to train Syrian rebels, apparently to fight Al-Qaeda groups as well as President Bashar Assad’s regime. According to David Ignatius, writing on this page, the plan is to train some 9,600 rebels by the end of this year.
The only problem is that it remains unclear how realistic are American aims. If the goal is to transform Syria’s rebels into an American proxy to fight ISIS and the Nusra Front, the brains in Washington may quickly realize that the Syrians have other priorities. Their aim is, above all, to overthrow the Syrian regime, whereas the Obama administration still clings to a policy of forcing Assad to the negotiating table. This implicitly means denying the rebels an opportunity to defeat him.
Assad knows this all too well. His regime initially gave ISIS the leeway and leverage it needed to expand, knowing full well that this would so agitate Western states that they would hesitate to arm and assist the Syrian rebels. And yet Obama still refuses to dislodge a Syrian regime that will continue to defend itself by exporting instability through groups such as ISIS.
Unless the U.S. devises a strategy that encompasses both Iraq and Syria, and that addresses the complex, multifaceted nature of the Syrian and Iraqi crises, failure is probable. This is a test for Obama, one that will have a bearing on his commitments elsewhere, above all in Afghanistan. It will also be a test for ties with Iran on the region. While obstacles to a nuclear deal remain, when it comes to Iraq, the U.S. and the Islamic Republic appear to be, objectively at least, on the same side.
The problem is that the Obama administration always seems to be the last to pick up on dynamics in the Arab world. The ISIS challenge is a complicated one, involving several regional states and feeding off intricate, contending domestic ambitions inside Iraq and Syria. This is not a headache that Obama can resolve with his usual urbane detachment. He has made fighting terrorism a priority, and combating ISIS will involve a political and military commitment, even without deploying U.S. forces, that will have to be measured in years not months.
During his election campaign, Obama claimed that Al-Qaeda had been “decimated” under his watch. What is intriguing about ISIS is not so much that it has proven Obama’s statement wrong; it’s that its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, seems to be challenging Al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahri for the top spot. The ISIS push into Mosul was as much part of an internal struggle over leadership of the jihadist international as anything else.
By taking over Mosul, ISIS may have compelled the United States to overhaul its Syria policy. But nothing in Obama’s record makes us hopeful about his reaction. Iraq and Syria require American time and effort, which the president has been consistently unwilling to give the Middle East. The only bitter satisfaction is that a region he arrogantly thought he could ignore has just bitten a big chunk out of his leg.
**Michael Young is opinion editor of THE DAILY STAR. He tweets @BeirutCalling.
Mosul Security Crisis: A Chance to
Break Iraq's Political Logjam
June 10, 2014/Washington Institute
The loss of government control in a major city may be just the wakeup call Iraqi politicians need to embrace a more ambitious reconciliation agenda.
Over the past week, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, a U.S.-designated terrorist group, has seized control of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. ISIS and its antecedents have long maintained a covert presence in the city, including major fundraising via organized crime networks, but the current breakdown has witnessed open terrorist control of the streets to an extent not seen since 2005.
Beginning with powerful probing actions by Sunni militant convoys at the city's northern and western edges on June 6, the ISIS offensive quickly snowballed. At present, hundreds of militants are openly contesting control with government forces in the predominantly Arab neighborhoods west of the Tigris River. The provincial council and governor have been forced to withdraw from their offices, which were overrun on June 9; they are reportedly sheltering under Kurdish protection in eastern Mosul. ISIS forces are now within the perimeter of the city's international airport and military air base; worse yet, over 200 U.S.-provided armored vehicles and masses of weaponry have been lost to the group, greatly strengthening its capabilities in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, over 150,000 people have reportedly left the city, and streams of displaced people are visible on outbound roads.
Alongside the calamity in Mosul, ISIS has undertaken offensives in a range of other areas this month:
On June 5, hundreds of ISIS fighters mounted a major raid on eastern portions of Samarra city, where the February 2006 bombing of the Shiite Hadi al-Askari shrine helped spark a sectarian war several years ago. This time, only prompt security force counterattacks -- including by the Shiite militia Asaib Ahl al-Haqq -- prevented the shrine from being overrun, with all the negative sectarian scenarios that might have entailed.
Fallujah remains under insurgent control, and ISIS has been mounting local counteroffensives to maintain its lines of communication to rural areas in Ramadi and the southern Baghdad suburbs.
ISIS has been attacking all along the Arab-Kurdish disputed line in northern Iraq, exploiting the tensions between federal security forces and the Kurdish peshmerga.
Baghdad continues to be pounded by waves of car bombs.
UNITED AGAINST ISIS?
Every major faction in Iraq has a stake in defeating ISIS in Mosul and elsewhere. For Shiite factions, including opponents of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, ISIS is the prototypical Sunni supremacist movement, seeking to kill, expel, or suppress Shiites. For Sunni Arabs, even those bitterly opposed to Maliki, the ISIS threat is an existential issue -- to a greater extent than any other faction, their survival as a political class depends on defeating ISIS. The group's growing strength in Iraq has come primarily at the expense of the Sunni Arab political, tribal, and religious establishment. In Mosul, the ISIS takeover directly threatens the interests of the most prominent Sunni political family, Gov. Atheel al-Nujaifi and his brother Usama al-Nujaifi, speaker of the parliament and Iraq's foremost Sunni Arab politician.
The Kurds, meanwhile, have seen ISIS grow stronger and bolder on the doorstep of their Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north and in the Kurdish areas of Syria across the border. On September 29, 2013, ISIS attacked the Kurdish capital of Erbil with a suicide car bomb and shooting rampage. The KRG is now at full alert in anticipation of new attacks on Kurdish cities and potential ISIS raids on exposed Kurdish communities in disputed areas.
The potential silver lining to the crisis is that it could spur Iraqi factions to refocus on national stability. Politicians are currently debating two issues of critical importance: the composition of the next government following April's parliamentary elections, and the ongoing revenue and oil-licensing disputes between the federal government and the KRG. Regardless of the exact balance of seats in the new parliament, all major ethnosectarian groups are needed to form a government. Moreover, at a time of escalating violence, the Kurds control the only reserve of uncommitted military forces in Iraq, the peshmerga. Yet Baghdad has proven quite troublesome to the KRG in terms of withholding its budget allotment and interfering with its independent oil sales using legal threats.
The ISIS problem and the need for parliamentary compromise offer potentially fertile ground for a national unity effort in which Baghdad could give ground on several issues: to the Kurds regarding near-term oil export ambitions, and to Sunni Arab factions regarding political and security reforms and federalism for the areas they represent. Indeed, the available compromise options are well known and could be implemented if the political will were present on all sides. Although the Kurds and the federal government continue to argue over important oil and revenue details, there is considerable overlap between their positions. Baghdad now accepts that the Kurdish region will sell its oil to world markets, receiving the revenues (minus Kuwaiti reparations) as a form of advance on the monthly block transfers from the federal Finance Ministry to the KRG. Only details such as exact bank accounts and marketing arrangements stand in the way of a deal. Yet the infighting continues -- when tankers of Kurdish-administered oil left Turkey on May 22 and June 9, Baghdad issued warnings to potential buyers and launched arbitration against Ankara.
Such brinksmanship should cease in light of the calamitous loss of control in Mosul. In fact, Baghdad may need to buy Kurdish support for stabilizing the city and other besieged areas, namely with concessions on oil marketing and revenue management.
Likewise, the Mosul crisis and the growing ISIS threat create a moment of strong mutual interest for Maliki and the Nujaifi-led Sunni political class. Committing to appoint a fully empowered Sunni Arab defense minister in the next government could go a long way toward mobilizing Sunni resistance against ISIS and hastening the next government's formation. Similarly, quashing the questionable federal terrorism indictments against former finance minister Rafi al-Issawi would greatly facilitate a new cross-sectarian front against the group. Announcing a strong Maliki-Nujaifi compact on de-Baathification and counterterrorism reforms is eminently possible -- indeed, Maliki already attempted to pass such reforms in 2013, lacking only Shiite support that might now be available given the deepening crisis. And as mentioned above, constructive dialogue on the legally permissible option of forming one or more administrative regions (akin to the KRG) in majority Sunni Arab provinces would be a wise step if the practical challenges were honestly debated.
The United States is still uniquely positioned to be an honest broker in Iraq, and given this week's events, it should reconsider whether a change in tone on Kurdish oil exports and state centralism is justified. Washington once again has a powerful voice in Baghdad due to its provision of security assistance, particularly if Iraq can tap into President Obama's new $5 billion counterterrorism training fund. But with U.S. arms falling into terrorist hands at an alarming rate, Washington is well within its rights to make security cooperation contingent on Baghdad's willingness to make painful sacrifices and forge a national consensus. Iraq clearly has bigger problems than bank accounts, oil marketing rights, and self-defeating sectarian squabbling. Washington should support a bold new formula to break the current downward cycle in security: the Iraqi center may have to loosen its grip if it is to survive.
**Michael Knights is a Boston-based Lafer Fellow with The Washington Institute.
Al Qaeda forms up to march on Baghdad, gathering up Iraqi Sunni rebels. Maliki cries treason
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 11, 2014/Under its
commander, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Al Qaeda’s Islamic State in Iraq and Levant –
ISIS - formed up Wednesday night, June 11, to march on Baghdad in two columns –
one from Tikrit, which fell a few hours earlier, to Taji, just 20 km from the
capital; the second from Tuz Khormato, 55 km south of the northern oil center of
The Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the last two divisions and six mechanized brigades, totaling 50,000, still operational out of his million-strong army, to build a defensive line to save Baghdad and the seat of Iraqi government from the enemy.
But it remains to be seen how these units perform, given the way the 3rd and 4th divisions supposed to have defended Mosul and the central Salahuddin province melted away under Al Qaeda onslaughts Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10-11.
Al-Baghdadi has assigned the second column heading for Baghdad the additional task of wrapping up Islamist control of the eastern province of Diyala on the Iranian border.
The first column will approach the capital from the north; the second from the east. Suicide bombers have meanwhile fanned ahead of the columns to smash the roadblocks and military posts set up in their path to check their advance
This week, Muslim extremists worldwide acclaimed the ISIS chief their hero.
DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that al Qaeda’s march of conquest at incredible speed, while causing havoc and misery across Iraq, is also beginning to mutate from a terrorist assault into an insurgency. It is gathering up a growing following of disaffected Sunnis ready for revolt against the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.
Sunni Muslims account for around one-third of the Iraqi population of 35 million and their numbers are therefore in the region of 12 to14 million.
Wednesday alone, in a lightening push, ISIS fighters captured the Iraqi oil refinery and electricity power center of Biji (Baiji), 200 km southeast of Mosul, torched the court and police buildings and warned local police and soldiers not to challenge them. They next moved south to seize Hawajah and Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s birthplace, 140 km northwest of Baghdad.
With the Mosul refinery, the Islamists now control Iraq’s northern oil refining facilities as well as the Biji power center which supplies Baghdad and Kirkuk with electricity.
Our military sources found various Sunni militias, who had never before followed al Qaeda - not during the American occupation, or even last year when al ISIS began moving fighting strength from Syria to Iraq - flocking to the ISIS campaign against Nuri al-Maliki.
Among them are not only demoralized army commanders, but adherents of the dictator Saddam Hussein’s secular Baath Party, who have come out of retirement to join the jihad against Shiite rule.
Wednesday night, the panic-stricken Al- Maliki accused Sunni politicians and army chiefs of “betraying the Iraqi motherland.” He refused to believe that Al Qaeda had been able unaided to conquer northern and central Iraq in a two-day blitz, unless it was the fruit of a long conspiracy carried out between the Islamists and Sunni leaders behind his back. The Iraqi prime minister alleged that the Sunni plotters against the government had provided Al-Baghdadi with intelligence, funds and arms caches ready for his fighters to use.
Opinion: It’s Maliki’s Fault
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq AlAwsat
Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden must be laughing in
their graves at Nuri Al-Maliki, Iraq’s current prime minister, who is well known
for his arrogance and his insolence.
Mosul and indeed the entirety of Nineveh province fell into ISIS’s hands earlier this week. Before that, vast areas of Anbar had also fallen into their hands. Salaheddine province could soon witness the same fate. All this happened in a short time, surprising and scaring the world. ISIS, an Al-Qaeda–inspired group that Al-Qaeda has distanced itself from, has begun to achieve the greatest terrorist victories seen since 9/11. It is crossing borders, cutting off oil pipelines and seizing cities one after another. Do not underestimate this quick and brutal group that seized arms, warehouses and banks. 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—the Iraqi prime minister whose continued tenure now depends on tough political wrangling and who three months ago pledged to eliminate ISIS 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 provinces because he focused instead on settling political accounts, as his rivals claim? It’s not unlikely. After all, it was Maliki who dissolved the Awakening Councils that fought Al-Qaeda following the withdrawal of American troops just because they were Sunni. The result was that ISIS returned and seized Anbar and Nineveh provinces.
Unfortunately, Maliki persisted in 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, describing those who disagreed with him as terrorists and forcing them to either flee the country or submit to him. Thus when the battle erupted his forces witnessed one defeat after another, because he refused the reconciliation of political parties there and because he abandoned the tribes who fought against Al-Qaeda.
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 UN Special Representative for Iraq Nicolai Mladenov. He said there are “intentions to open the door to 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 terrorist groups will be long and painful regardless of whether Maliki remains prime minister. Still, he must resolve the anger civil and military parties and tribes in Anbar and Nineveh hold towards him. Without their cooperation, Maliki will lose the war with ISIS, which could eventually 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 threat posed by terrorism.
The Americans have gradually intervened since December, when they realized that Al-Qaeda is growing in a manner that threatens all of Iraq, 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 obtain further information on Al-Qaeda. They also provided him with plenty of data and advice, but he failed to hold a political reconciliation meeting, and then his forces failed in Anbar.
Is Maliki the victim of his consultants? Some of his ministers say that Maliki’s advisers underestimated the gravity of the situation and encouraged him to involve the army, without the support of people who live in the provinces the terrorists 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.