عراق به کدام سوی میرود: ۹

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گام گذاشتن در این مسیر نمیتواند فقط تصمیم خود نوری المالکی باشد. بی شک او علائم لازم را از تهران و مسکو دریافت داشته است و برای تبدیل عراق به سوریه ایی دهها بار خونینتر و ویرانتر  خود را آماده کرده است. او در آن روی سکه عقب نشینی نه یک شکست سیاسی پارلمانی و حزبیِ گذرا بلکه جوخه اعدام و طناب دار را مشاهده کرده و رهبری ولایی ایران نیز در عقب نشینی الزاماً مرگبار نوری  المالکی، شکست استراتژی پروکسی سازی شیعی خویش را که  پیش درآمد سقوط خود نظام است را میبیند. روی این اصل نه مالکی میتواند با زبان قانون و مطابق با سازو کارهای دموکراتیک عقب بنشیند و نه رژیم ایران میتواند شاهد سقوط یکی از عمده واسالها و پروکسیهای منطقه ای خود باشد.  مسئله “بودن یا نابود” شدن است.   

barrel_bomb_0

بمب سوختی یا بشکه ایی (barrel bombs )

واکنشهای نوری المالکی به بحران عمیقی که عراق، کشور تحت مدیریتش را فراگرفته است را میتوان به چیزی فرا تر از ضرب المثل الغریق یتشبث بکل حشیش،، بلکه به کسی که رفلکس نوری در آب را پرکاهی انگاشتته و سراسیمه بسوی آن دست و پا میزند تعبیر کرد.

برای اثبات درستی این قضاوت بظاهر تند، من  ۶ گزارش خبری؛ hcدیلی استار و نهار نت لبنان، العربیه انگلیسی، فرانس پرس و  دیلی تلگراف را در زیر میآورم و در پی یا همراه هر کلیپ خبری کامنت خود را میگذارم.

۱ ـ دیلی استار بنقل از فرانس پرس(۱) گزارش میدهد که بمباران مناطق غیر نظامی توسط جنگنده های نیروی هوایی عراق به مرگ ۷۵  غیر نظامی منجر شده است. منبع مورد استنادهم دیده بانان بین المللی حقوق بشر هستند. از این تعداد، حد اقل ۱۷ تن در اثر بشکه های حاوی مواد احتراقی کشته شده اند. این بشکه ها ارزانتر از بمب های معمولی هستند ولی دقت هدفگیری آنها کمتر است و بهمین دلیل اثر آنها روی تلفات غیر نظامیان بیشترمیباشد. این بشکه های احتراقی در سطحی وسیع در سرکوب مخالفین در سوریه بکار میروند. این بمب ها از مواد گوناگون سوختی، بازی، مواد مورد استفاده در کودهای شیمیایی با اثرات احتراقی و سوزنده بار گذاری میشوند.

در گزارش دیدبانان حقوق بشر، از کشورهایی که به عراق کمک نظامی میکنند خواسته شده است که از مسلح کردن عراق با چنین بمبهایی دست بردارند.

همینکه رژیم مالکی با این سبعیت کورغیر نظامیان مناطق تحت کنترول مخالفین را بمباران میکند و بجای اتخاذ یک رویکرد آشتی جویانه ملی، مانند همتای سوری خود فقط به سرکوب پیکار جویان ضد دولتی میپردازد بمعنای اینست که او اصولابه گزینه  دیگری جز راه حل نظامی نمی اندیشد. در حالیکه حاصل استراتژی استفاده وسیع از نیروهای هوایی برای ویران سازی مناطق خارج از کنترول دولت در سوریه، نه پیروزی رژیم بلکه ویرانی وسیع شهرها و آوارگی میلیونی مردم مناطق جنگ زده بوده است. این استراتژی ضد بشری، سقوط رژیم اسد را به تأخیر انداخته است بدون اینکه  ذره ایی ماندگاری آنرا تأمین و تضمین کرده بلکه بر حجم پرونده جنایی او افزوده که در فردای این جنگ باید پاسخ این جنایات خود را پس دهد.

توسل دولت مالکی به نیروی هوایی و بمباران وسیع مردم، فقط ضد مردمی بودن رژیم او را نمایان نمیکند بلکه استیصال او از بسیج حتی نیروهایی که هوادارش هم هستند را نیز نشان میدهد. این بمبارانها نشان میدهند که؛ اولاً همان گروههای شبه نظامی شیعه که  در روزهای نخست تهاجم شورشیان در خیابانهای بغداد و کربلا و سامره رجز خوانان مارش مسلحانه میرفتند، دیگر با وعده های بهشت حاضر نیستند این دنیای  جهنمی را از دست بدهند و شربت شهادت را بخاطر حفظ رژیم فاسد مالکی و ائتلاف شیعه او بنوشند لذا خبری از آنها در جبهه های نبرد با شورشیان نیست و همه وظیفه مبارزه با قیام مردم بعهده جنگنده های سوخوی افتاده  است و دوماً؛ این خود نشان میدهد که رژیم در عرصه میدانی  چنان فلج شده است که اگر این مناطق را با بمباران شبانه روزی به قبرستان هم تبدیل کند نیرویی که بتواند بدون ترس به این مناطق اعزام کرده تا اقتدار دولت را در آنجاها مستقر سازند را در اختیار ندارد.

این بمبارانها فقط به انزاوی بیشتر رژیم مالکی و کیفر سنگین تر او منجر گردیده و سقوط  آنرا حتمی تر میسازد. فقط یک جنایتکاری که همه راههای عقب نشینی را بسته می بیند به چنین دست و پا زدنهای مأیوسانه ایی متوسل میشود.

بنظر من مالکی در آنروی سکه عقب نشینی نه صرفاً یک باخت سیاسی بلکه طناب دار و جوخه اعدام را میبیند. اینست راز سر سختی او و رهبری ایران هم در شکست و عقب نشینی مالکی بعنوان یکی از مهمترین پروکسیهایی که روی آن سرمایه گزاری هنگفت کرده است یعنی فرو ریزی استراتژی پروکس سازی شیعی.

syria-barrel-bomb-stats (1) بشکه های مرگ که در سوریه استفاده شده اند. تاریخ نمودار معلوم نیست:

۱ ـ تعداد قربانیان جان باخته در اثر این بشکه های احتراقی ۲۰۳۲۵ نفر

۲ ـ تعداد مجروحین ناشی از استفاده رژیم اسد از این بشکه ها ۱۰۲۰۰۰

۳ ـ وزن هر بشکه که از ترکیبات مختلف شیمیایی میباشد بین ۱۶۰ تا ۱۰۰۰ کیلو گرم است

۴ ـ تعداد بشکه های انداخته شده به مناطق خارج از کنترول دولت پس از قرارداد ژنو ۲۹٫

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دیلی تلگراف گزارشی دارد با عنوان: رهبر عراق، نوری المالکی فشار ایران را برای کنار گیری خود رد کرد.

این نشریه به نقل از دو تن از سران ائتلاف شیعه که نخواسته اند نامشان فاش شود، گزارش میدهد که در روزهای گذشته سردار قاسم سلیمانی در دیداری با مالکی  به او توصیه نموده است که کنار رفته و بگذارد تا شخص دیگری از ائتلاف شیعه جای وی را بگیرد. اما بنا بگزارش همین نشریه مالکی از پذیرش این توصیه امتناع  ورزیده است.

بنظر من این خبر که به احتمال بسیار قوی، عمداً و حساب شده در اختیار دیلی تلگراف گذارده شده است، یک شگرد دیس اینفرماتیو از طرف رژیم طراحان جنگ روانی ایران است تا در صورت رد شدن مالکی در روند مذاکرات و رأی گیری پارلمانی در روزهای آینده، و یا در اثر عواملی دیگر مانند گسترش شورش اجتماعی و یا شورش نظامی، رژیم ایران بتواند ادعا کند که موافق ادامه نخست وزیری مالکی نبوده است. برای اثبات این ادعا  توجه  به رابطه دولت مالکی  با سران ایران و کمکهایی با ماهیت استراتژیک از سوی ایران به آن توجه داشت زیرا نحوه، زمان و نوع این کمکها ابداً معنای اینرا نمیدهد که رژیم تهران خود را برای عزل مالکی آماده کرده باشد.

سایت خبری اسوط العراق از دیدار شمخانی در همین سفر  اخیرش به عراق با  ایاد ال ـ سمارائی  لیدر حزب اسلامی عراق گزارش میدهد. این حزب در حقیقت شاخه عراقی اخوان المسلمین است. با توجه به انزوای اخوان المسلمین در کل منطقه و قرار گرفتن این جریان در زیر ضربه از هر سو، حتی از سوی داعش و شورشیان سنی، میتوان علت اینکه چرا سردار شمخانی رئیس شورای امنیت ملی ایران سراغ این شخص و حزب او رفته است را دریافت.

میتوان با قطعیت گفت که شمخانی بعنوان فرستاده رهبری ایران بر آن بوده است تا در این مأموریت از وضعیت بحرانی این جریان بنیادگرای سُنی، خصومت آن با دولتهای عربستان، مصر، امارات و.. ، بهره گرفته و بین سُنی مذهبان عراق شکاف ایجاد کند غافل از اینکه همین وضع بحرانی اخوان المسلمین به همین حزب و رهبر آن اجازه نمیدهد که راه  محمد مُرسی را در پیش گرفته و پنهانی با ایران شیعی و مورد تنفر اعراب و سُنی ها هماهنگی و همپیمانی نشان دهد. من این احتمال را بسیار میدانم که شمخانی با وعده های مادی و سیاسی بسیار کلان به دیدار رهبر حزب اسلامی عراق رفته است. چرا اینرا میگویم؟ چونکه همزمان خود نوری المالکی نیز دور روز قبل، با سران قبایل سنی ایالات؛ نینوا، انبار، تکریت و صلاح الدین دیدار کرده و با وضعی اضطرار انگیز به آنها پیشنهاد کرده بود که در صورت کمک به نیروهای  دولتی علیه داعش و آزاد سازی شهرهای موصل و تکریت و سایر مناطقِ  خارج شده از کنترول دولتی هر آنچه آنها بخواهند بدانها میدهد از جمله هر مقدار و هرنوع سلاح. نحوه برخورد و پیشنهاد دهی مالکی به این سران قبایل سُنی [همانها که با عنوان نیروهای بیدار گشته در ۲۰۶ به آمریکائیها علیه القاعده کمک کرده بودند]، مرا یاد نامه معمر القذافی به دیوید کامرون در چند روز پیش از حمله ناتو به لیبی نوشته بود. گاردین در گزارش پیرامون این نامه نوشت که قذافی طی این نامه به کامرون مینویسد، هرآنچه آنها (ناتو) میخواهد او میدهد و تسلیم است فقط به او اجازه دهند که بصورت یک فیگور تشریفاتی [مانند خود ملکه انگلیس]، در رأس قدرت  در لیبی بماند. کامرون بمجرد دریافت این نامه، برخلاف رأی اکثریت پارلمانی و حزبی خویش دستور حمله به لیبی را صادر میکند. او بعداها میگوید که با دریافت آن نامه دانست که قذافی روحیه خود را باخته است و ضربه پذیر میباشد.

نحوه برخورد مالکی با سران قبایلی که دیگر رژیم  او را رفته می انگارند و مسئله اشان  نه امتیازات کوچک بلکه تقسیم قدرت و سهم گیریِ پس از اوست، اگر از آن نامه قذافی رقت آور تر نبود کمتر هم نبود.

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آژانس خبری فرانس پرس:

فرانس پرس گزارش میدهد که امروز پنجشنبه، سعدون دولیمی، وزیر دفاع نوری المالکی با داشتن نامه ایی از سوی مالکی برای ولادیمیر پوتین که از جمله حاوی لیستی از نیازهای تسلیحاتی رژیم است عازم روسیه شده است. در گزارش آمده است که او علاوه بر دیدار با پوتین با وزیر دفاع روسیه نیز دیدار و راجع به نیازهای تسلحیاتی عراق با وی گفتگو کرده است.

خبر گزاری روسی اینتر فاکس گزارش میدهد که طی این دیدار های قرادادی برای تحویل  ۱۰ فروند جنگنده سوخوی ۲۵ (Su-25) و ۳۵ فروند هلی کوپتر های Mi-35 به امضاء رسید. بموجب این توافقنامه،

مقادیر متنابه دیگری جنگ افزار های سنگین و وسایل زرهی و موشکی تا پایان تابستان [یعنی چند هفته دیگر ح ت] تحویل دولت عراق میشود.

طبق روال جاری نقل و انتقال دولتها، نوری المالکی بعنوان نخست وزیری که آخرین روزهای دولت خود را میگذراند و حتی اگر بعداً هم در پست خود هم ابقاء گردد، به لحاظ قانونی نقش دولت محتضر یا در حال رفتن را دارد لذا نباید دست به انعقاد قرادادهایی بزند که داری پیامدهای دنباله دار مهم  سیاسی برای کشور بوده  و یا وابستگی تسلیحاتی ایجاد میکنند و دولت آینده را در برنامه و عملی انجام یافته بگذارد  این کار او یعنی برای دولت آتی برنامه استراتژیک به ارث نهادن . 

وقتی نوری المالکی به چنین تصمیمات استراتژیکی، چند روز و یا چند هفته پیش از انقضای دوره نخست وزیری اش دست میزند یعنی یا اطمینان قطعی دارد که ماندنی است و یا مصمم است در برابر آرای پارلمانی عیله خود بایستد. در هر دو حال اصرار او بر ماندن فقط به تعمیق بحران کنونی عراق منجر شده و جنگ قومی و فرقه ایی را در کشور گسترش میدهد و خطر تجزیه کشور را واقعیت می بخشد.

نوری المالکی کمترین شانسی برای آشتی با رقیبان و مخالفین خود، چه کردها و چه سنی های شورشی ندارد و اگر بخواهد و بتواند روی گزینه نظامی تکیه کند باید خود را برای یک رویارویی نظامی بلند مدت و گسترده که به ویرانی و تجزیه کشور خواهد انجامید آماده کند و این امر بدون حمایت فعال و به معرکه  جنگی کشاندن ایران نخواهد بود.

گام گذاشتن در این مسیر نمیتواند فقط تصمیم خود نوری المالکی باشد. بی شک او علائم لازم را از تهران و مسکو دریافت داشته است و برای تبدیل عراق به سوریه ایی دهها بار خونین تر و ویرانتر  خود را آماده کرده است. او در آن روی سکه عقب نشینی نه یک شکست سیاسی پارلمانی و حزبیِ گذرا بلکه جوخه اعدام و طناب دار را مشاهده کرده و رهبری ولایی ایران نیز درعقب نشینی الزاماً مرگبار نوری  المالکی، شکست استراتژی پروکسی سازی شیعی خویش را که  پیش درآمد سقوط خود نظام  است  را میبیند. روی این اصل نه مالکی میتواند با زبان قانون و مطابق با سازو کارهای دموکراتیک عقب بنشیند و نه رژیم ایران میتواند شاهد سقوط یکی ازعمده واسالها و پروکسیهای منطقه ای خود باشد.  مسئله “بودن یا نابود” شدن است.  

Iraq leader Nouri al-Maliki ‘rejected Iran’s pressure to step down

Shiite politicians say Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was under pressure from top ally to quit

Nouri al-Maliki ordered an airborne assault designed to seize back control of Tikrit university
AP

5:34AM BST 24 Jul 2014

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected an attempt by Iran to persuade him to step down, senior Iraqi politicians said Wednesday, underlining his determination to defy even his top ally to push for a third term in office and further exacerbating the country’s political crisis.
Al-Maliki has for weeks been resisting growing pressure for him to step aside, including from former Shiite political allies and from Iraq’s top Shiite spiritual authority. His critics see the Shiite prime minister as too divisive to form a government that can win support from the Sunni minority against the militant-led Sunni insurgency that has seized control of a large swathe of the country.
But the recent meeting between al-Maliki and Iran’s pointman in Iraq, senior General Ghasem Soleimani, was the first sign that Iran also believed he should go. Iran was crucial for al-Maliki in winning a second term four years ago, when Tehran used leverage over Shiite parties to ensure their backing for him during gruelling negotiations over a government at the time.
Al-Maliki’s rejection of the Iranian pressure puts Tehran in an unclear position, effectively posing it the choice of relenting to his remaining in the post or of hiking up pressure.
The two politicians told The Associated Press that Soleimani tried to persuade al-Maliki to drop his bid to stay in office during a recent meeting in Baghdad. Al-Maliki refused, arguing that his political bloc won the largest number of parliament seats in April elections, giving him the right to form the next government, said the politicians, both senior figures in Shiite factions. One of them attended the meeting and the other said he was briefed about it later

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Russia delivering weapons to Iraq

 Russia and Iraq in 2012 signed contracts worth $4.2 billion to supply 36 of the Mi-28 attack helicopters and 48 of the Pantsir units (Reuters)
By AFP | Moscow Thursday, 24 July 2014

Russia has begun supplying military helicopters and fighters jets to Iraq, a report said Thursday, as Iraq’s defense minister visited Moscow to press for equipment to thwart a jihadist offensive.

“A number of contracts with Iraq have entered into force and are being fulfilled,” the Interfax news agency quoted a source in Russia’s defense export establishment as saying.

Deliveries of Mi-35 helicopter gunships and Su-25 fighters that provide close air support for ground troops have begun, added the source.

Iraq also has contracts for Mi-28 attack helicopters and mobile Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air and anti-aircraft artillery systems.

Russia’s ambassador to Baghdad Ilya Mogunov had previously said he believed up to 10 Sukhoi fighter jets would be delivered by the end of the summer.

Later it signed contracts for six Mi-35 helicopters and Su-25 fighters.

Iraqi officials said Wednesday that Defense Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi had left for Moscow in a bid to step up military cooperation.

“Dulaimi will meet the Russian defense minister and other officials to urge them to provide Iraq with weapons, equipment and modern military aircraft,” Staff Lieutenant General Mohammed al-Askari told AFP.

The Russian defense industry source told Interfax that given the increased tensions following the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet over a region in Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia rebels, Washington may pressure Baghdad to cancel its orders for Russian weaponry.

Despite the billions of dollars spent on training and equipment by the United States during its eight-year occupation, Iraq’s million-strong army completely folded when insurgents attacked last month.

Within days, the Islamic State jihadist group and allied Sunni factions conquered Iraq’s second city of Mosul and large swathes of the north and west.

The front lines have since stabilized and Baghdad has already received intelligence assistance from Washington and Sukhoi warplanes from Russia and Iran.

 

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Iraq Defense Minister Heads to Moscow with Wish List

by Naharnet Newsdesk ۱۰ hours ago

W460

Iraq’s defense minister flew to Moscow on Wednesday to ask his counterpart for military equipment, as his forces struggle to hold off a jihadist-led Sunni militant offensive, a spokesman said. “Defense Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi left Baghdad for Moscow,” Staff Lieutenant General Mohammed al-Askari told Agence France Presse. He said the minister was carrying a letter from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to Russian President Vladimir Putin “explaining the security and political situation in Iraq and the need to strengthen military cooperation”. “Dulaimi will meet the Russian defense minister and other officials to urge them to provide Iraq with weapons, equipment and modern military aircraft,” Askari said. Despite the billions of dollars spent on training and equipment by the United States during its eight-year occupation, Iraq’s million-strong army completely folded when insurgents attacked last month. Within days, the Islamic State jihadist group and allied Sunni factions conquered Iraq’s second city of Mosul and large swathes of the north and west. The front lines have since stabilized and Baghdad has already received intelligence assistance from Washington and Sukhoi warplanes from Russia and Iran. Shiite militias with ties to Tehran have also joined the armed forces on the battlefield, in some cases even taking the lead. But Baghdad has yet to claim a significant victory over the jihadists and the government has complained that its pleas for foreign help were going unheeded.

……

Iraq PM Seeks Sunni Tribal Help in Battling Insurgency

W460

 

by Naharnet Newsdesk Yesterday
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met several Sunni tribal leaders on Tuesday in a renewed bid to gain their support in battling a raging jihadist-led Sunni insurgency. Maliki, a Shiite, has had a troubled relationship with Iraq’s Sunni tribes, who in 2006 began helping the government fight al-Qaida-linked Sunni militants, but who now accuse him of sectarian discrimination. The Iraqi premier’s fresh overtures to tribal chiefs comes amid an onslaught spearheaded by Islamic State Sunni militants that has taken swathes of the country in recent weeks. “He stressed that the tribe was and still is the foundation for protecting the security of areas against the dangers that threaten them, particularly terrorists,” a statement from Maliki’s office said. “Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki added that the government would provide the tribes with everything they need to defend their areas.” From late 2006, when Iraq’s bloody sectarian war was around its peak, some Sunni tribes began siding with U.S. forces against the often brutal tactics of their al-Qaida-linked coreligionists. The American military started paying the militiamen regular salaries, and called them the “Sons of Iraq”. In Arabic, they were referred to as the Sahwa, or “Awakening”, forces, and numbered around 100,000 at their peak. The move was seen as crucial to the decline of violence in Iraq from 2008 onwards and helped provide jobs for the country’s Sunni minority, dampening resentment against the Shiite-led government. But since U.S. forces handed over responsibility for the Sahwa to Iraqi authorities, the militiamen have alleged poor treatment, delayed payment and a failure of the Shiite-led government to follow through on a promise to incorporate them into the civil service and conventional security forces. Maliki’s office said he had met tribal chiefs from Sunni strongholds in the Anbar, Salaheddin, Nineveh and Kirkuk provinces, and that they had asked for a “bigger role in countering the terrorists, and for help with weapons and training.” Maliki agreed to form committees to meet their requests, his office said.

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Iraq airstrikes claiming heavy civilian toll: HRW

Agence France Presse
BAGHDAD: Iraqi government airstrikes against jihadists, some with the use of barrel bombs, have killed at least 75 civilians since the start of June, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. The New York-based rights group said hundreds of civilians had also been wounded in such strikes since June 6. “The government’s airstrikes are wreaking an awful toll on ordinary residents,” HRW’s deputy Middle East director Joe Stork said in a statement. The watchdog documented 75 civilian deaths in four cities since last month’s launch of a sweeping military offensive by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraqand Greater Syria (ISIS) and allied Sunni armed groups. At least 17 of the deaths had resulted from the use of barrel bombs. The crude devices, which the Syrian regime has also used against rebels over the past two years, are barrels stuffed with fertilizer, shrapnel or any improvised explosive mix. They are much cheaper than conventional weapons but less accurate. “Despite repeated government denials, government forces have resumed the use of the deadly barrel bombs in populated areas of Fallujah,” HRW said. “Governments that are helping Iraq in its military campaign should pull back their aid until Iraqi forces and any other groups supporting them end their indiscriminate attacks on civilians,” Stork said. Iraq has received military assistance in various forms from the United States and Iran in its battle against ISIS advances north of the capital that at one point looked like threatening Baghdad. The HRW report also said that hospitals in the cities of rebel-held Fallujah and Baiji had repeatedly come under attack by Iraq’s air force.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Jul-23/264844-iraq-airstrikes-claiming-heavy-civilian-toll-hrw.ashx#ixzz38NR8T1EC (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

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Iraq Air Strikes Claiming Heavy Civilian Toll

by Naharnet Newsdesk ۱ hour ago

W460

Iraqi government air strikes against jihadists, some with the use of barrel bombs, have killed at least 75 civilians since the start of June, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. The New York-based rights group said hundreds of civilians had also been wounded in such strikes since June 6. “The government’s air strikes are wreaking an awful toll on ordinary residents,” HRW’s deputy Middle East director Joe Stork said in a statement. The watchdog documented 75 civilian deaths in four cities since last month’s launch of a sweeping military offensive by the jihadist Islamic State (IS) and allied Sunni armed groups. At least 17 of the deaths had resulted from the use of barrel bombs. The crude devices, which the Syrian regime has also used against rebels over the past two years, are barrels stuffed with fertilizer, shrapnel or any improvised explosive mix. They are much cheaper than conventional weapons but less accurate. “Despite repeated government denials, government forces have resumed the use of the deadly barrel bombs in populated areas of Fallujah,” HRW said. “Governments that are helping Iraq in its military campaign should pull back their aid until Iraqi forces and any other groups supporting them end their indiscriminate attacks on civilians,” Stork said. Iraq has received military assistance in various forms from the United States and Iran in its battle against IS advances north of the capital that at one point looked like threatening Baghdad. The HRW report also said that hospitals in the cities of rebel-held Fallujah and Baiji had repeatedly come under attack by Iraq’s air force.

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Iraq leader Nouri al-Maliki ‘rejected Iran’s pressure to step down

Shiite politicians say Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was under pressure from top ally to quit

Nouri al-Maliki ordered an airborne assault designed to seize back control of Tikrit university
AP

5:34AM BST 24 Jul 2014

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected an attempt by Iran to persuade him to step down, senior Iraqi politicians said Wednesday, underlining his determination to defy even his top ally to push for a third term in office and further exacerbating the country’s political crisis.
Al-Maliki has for weeks been resisting growing pressure for him to step aside, including from former Shiite political allies and from Iraq’s top Shiite spiritual authority. His critics see the Shiite prime minister as too divisive to form a government that can win support from the Sunni minority against the militant-led Sunni insurgency that has seized control of a large swathe of the country.
But the recent meeting between al-Maliki and Iran’s pointman in Iraq, senior General Ghasem Soleimani, was the first sign that Iran also believed he should go. Iran was crucial for al-Maliki in winning a second term four years ago, when Tehran used leverage over Shiite parties to ensure their backing for him during gruelling negotiations over a government at the time.
Al-Maliki’s rejection of the Iranian pressure puts Tehran in an unclear position, effectively posing it the choice of relenting to his remaining in the post or of hiking up pressure.

The two politicians told The Associated Press that Soleimani tried to persuade al-Maliki to drop his bid to stay in office during a recent meeting in Baghdad. Al-Maliki refused, arguing that his political bloc won the largest number of parliament seats in April elections, giving him the right to form the next government, said the politicians, both senior figures in Shiite factions. One of them attended the meeting and the other said he was briefed about it later.

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Iraq Defense Minister Heads to Moscow with Wish List

by Naharnet Newsdesk ۱۰ hours ago

W460

Iraq’s defense minister flew to Moscow on Wednesday to ask his counterpart for military equipment, as his forces struggle to hold off a jihadist-led Sunni militant offensive, a spokesman said.

“Defense Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi left Baghdad for Moscow,” Staff Lieutenant General Mohammed al-Askari told Agence France Presse.

He said the minister was carrying a letter from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to Russian President Vladimir Putin “explaining the security and political situation in Iraq and the need to strengthen military cooperation”.

“Dulaimi will meet the Russian defense minister and other officials to urge them to provide Iraq with weapons, equipment and modern military aircraft,” Askari said.

Despite the billions of dollars spent on training and equipment by the United States during its eight-year occupation, Iraq’s million-strong army completely folded when insurgents attacked last month.

Within days, the Islamic State jihadist group and allied Sunni factions conquered Iraq’s second city of Mosul and large swathes of the north and west.

The front lines have since stabilized and Baghdad has already received intelligence assistance from Washington and Sukhoi warplanes from Russia and Iran.

Shiite militias with ties to Tehran have also joined the armed forces on the battlefield, in some cases even taking the lead.

But Baghdad has yet to claim a significant victory over the jihadists and the government has complained that its pleas for foreign help were going unheeded.

……

Iraq PM Seeks Sunni Tribal Help in Battling Insurgency

W460

 

by Naharnet Newsdesk Yesterday
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met several Sunni tribal leaders on Tuesday in a renewed bid to gain their support in battling a raging jihadist-led Sunni insurgency. Maliki, a Shiite, has had a troubled relationship with Iraq’s Sunni tribes, who in 2006 began helping the government fight al-Qaida-linked Sunni militants, but who now accuse him of sectarian discrimination. The Iraqi premier’s fresh overtures to tribal chiefs comes amid an onslaught spearheaded by Islamic State Sunni militants that has taken swathes of the country in recent weeks. “He stressed that the tribe was and still is the foundation for protecting the security of areas against the dangers that threaten them, particularly terrorists,” a statement from Maliki’s office said. “Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki added that the government would provide the tribes with everything they need to defend their areas.” From late 2006, when Iraq’s bloody sectarian war was around its peak, some Sunni tribes began siding with U.S. forces against the often brutal tactics of their al-Qaida-linked coreligionists. The American military started paying the militiamen regular salaries, and called them the “Sons of Iraq”. In Arabic, they were referred to as the Sahwa, or “Awakening”, forces, and numbered around 100,000 at their peak. The move was seen as crucial to the decline of violence in Iraq from 2008 onwards and helped provide jobs for the country’s Sunni minority, dampening resentment against the Shiite-led government. But since U.S. forces handed over responsibility for the Sahwa to Iraqi authorities, the militiamen have alleged poor treatment, delayed payment and a failure of the Shiite-led government to follow through on a promise to incorporate them into the civil service and conventional security forces. Maliki’s office said he had met tribal chiefs from Sunni strongholds in the Anbar, Salaheddin, Nineveh and Kirkuk provinces, and that they had asked for a “bigger role in countering the terrorists, and for help with weapons and training.” Maliki agreed to form committees to meet their requests, his office said.

Iraq Air Strikes Claiming Heavy Civilian Toll

by Naharnet Newsdesk ۱ hour ago

W460

Iraqi government air strikes against jihadists, some with the use of barrel bombs, have killed at least 75 civilians since the start of June, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. The New York-based rights group said hundreds of civilians had also been wounded in such strikes since June 6. “The government’s air strikes are wreaking an awful toll on ordinary residents,” HRW’s deputy Middle East director Joe Stork said in a statement. The watchdog documented 75 civilian deaths in four cities since last month’s launch of a sweeping military offensive by the jihadist Islamic State (IS) and allied Sunni armed groups. At least 17 of the deaths had resulted from the use of barrel bombs. The crude devices, which the Syrian regime has also used against rebels over the past two years, are barrels stuffed with fertilizer, shrapnel or any improvised explosive mix. They are much cheaper than conventional weapons but less accurate. “Despite repeated government denials, government forces have resumed the use of the deadly barrel bombs in populated areas of Fallujah,” HRW said. “Governments that are helping Iraq in its military campaign should pull back their aid until Iraqi forces and any other groups supporting them end their indiscriminate attacks on civilians,” Stork said. Iraq has received military assistance in various forms from the United States and Iran in its battle against IS advances north of the capital that at one point looked like threatening Baghdad. The HRW report also said that hospitals in the cities of rebel-held Fallujah and Baiji had repeatedly come under attack by Iraq’s air force.

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