Nation & World News

Thousands In Iraq Offer To Fight Against Militant Offensive

By Eyder Peralta on June 14th, 2014

In what some are calling a sign of potential civil war, thousands of young Iraqis heeded the call of a top Shiite cleric to help fight an offensive by a militant Sunni group.

As we’ve been reporting, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or the Levant, an al-Qaida offshoot also known as ISIS, has been making stunning progress in Iraq. Last week, it claimed a large part of Mosul.

The Wall Street Journal reports that after the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani called for his followers to pick up arms, thousands of Iraqis emerged on the streets of Baghdad carrying guns.

The Journal adds:

“TV images showed young men lining up behind pickup trucks and outside of military bases.

“Ayatollah Sistani’s call followed a chorus of statements from prominent Shiite clerics in Qom and Najaf this week seeking unity among Shiites to join the government’s armed struggle against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS.

“The developments underscore the inability of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government to muster sufficient military force to blunt the rebel force. Four days after the insurgents captured Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, with little military resistance, the weakness of Iraq’s forces was again evident on Friday during battles raging for control of the corridors leading to the capital Baghdad.”

The AP reports that the call and the action that followed were a reminder of just how divided the country was along sectarian lines. It was also a reminder of how the country could be tipped toward civil war.

Update at 12:17 p.m. ET. Aircraft Carrier To Arabian Gulf:

As we reported Friday, President Obama ruled out sending combat troops back to Iraq. He did say was considering other options that “could help support Iraq’s security forces.”

Today, the Pentagon announced it was moving the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush from the North Arabian Sea into the Persian Gulf.

“The order will provide the Commander-in-Chief additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement. “The Bush will be accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun.”

Update at 10 a.m. ET. Further Headlines:

Here are some other stories making headlines on the subject:

– “Iran sends troops into Iraq to aid fight against Isis militants” (The Guardian)

– “People have talked about Iraq breaking up for years. Now it may actually happen.” (The Washington Post)

– “U.N. Warns of Rights Abuses and Hundreds Dead in Iraq Fighting” (The New York Times)

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

GM Recalls Nearly 718,000 Vehicles For ‘Varying Safety Issues’

GM says no deaths and only two crashes have been linked to the recalls. While many of the vehicles have relatively minor issues, thousands of others have potential problems with their steering.


Rescue crews work on the wreckage of TransAsia Airways Flight GE222, which crashed while attempting to land in stormy weather on the Taiwanese island of Penghu, late Wednesday.

Plane Crash In Taiwan Kills Dozens, Leaving Some Survivors

A Taiwanese domestic flight that was attempting to land in bad weather related to a strong typhoon crashed near the runway Wednesday on an island off Taiwan’s western coast.


Nazi War Crimes Suspect Dies In U.S. One Day Before Extradition Order

A Philadelphia judge issued an order today granting a request for Johann “Hans” Breyer to be extradited to Germany. But Breyer’s lawyer said the 89-year-old former Auschwitz guard died Tuesday.


FAA Extends Ban On Flights To Tel Aviv For Another 24 Hours

The Federal Aviation Administration banned flights to the region on Tuesday after a rocket landed about a mile from Ben Gurion International Airport.


Book News: Booker Prize, Now Open To U.S. Authors, Longlists 5 Americans

Also: a new short story by Zadie Smith; mermaid mythology.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments