• Sun
  • Sep 21, 2014
  • Updated: 5:59pm
NewsWorld
IRAQ

US may send drones to Iraq to battle jihadist offensive

Kurdish forces take control of Kirkuk after government troops flee in fear of ISIL militants

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 3:54pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 June, 2014, 11:50am

Jihadists were pushing towards Baghdad yesterday after capturing a town just hours to the north, as the US mulled air strikes in a bid to bolster the country'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.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari acknowledged security forces, which the US invested billions in training and equipping before withdrawing its own troops in 2011, had 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-Qaeda leadership, showed the pointlessness of the 2003 US-led invasion.

US President Barack Obama said he was "looking at all the options" in helping the Iraqi government.

"I don't rule anything out," he said when asked whether the US was considering drone strikes or any other action to stop the insurgency.

Video: Iraqi soldiers battle militants outside Kirkuk

Washington found rare common cause with its long-time foe Tehran, with Iran voicing dismay at the Sunni extremists' advance and pledging to boost aid to Iraq's beleaguered Shiite prime minister. The UN last night started talks on the crisis.

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, 90km from Baghdad.

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.

The Shiite-led government has been left floundering by the speed of the jihadist assault, which has forced hundreds of Iraqis to flee their homes.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he would seek parliament's authorisation to declare a state of emergency, but MPs failed to muster a quorum for the vote despite the session being announced two days before.

The US was considering several options for offering military assistance to Baghdad, including drone strikes, a US official said on condition of anonymity. But there is no current plan to send US troops back into Iraq.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

This article is now closed to comments

Formerly ******
Of note to all of you US bashers is that the Iraqi government has requested US military assistance. Also of note is that, when the US withdrew from Iraq, it left a professional Iraqi military that included many Sunnis. The Iraqi government then purged the Iraqi military of most of the Sunni officers and all of the Sunni senior officers.
So, Iraq has now a crony army, wherein promotion is based upon religion (Shiite over Sunni) and political affiliation. China should take notice as how well performs a crony military.
值得注意的是所有的你美國抨擊是伊拉克政府已要求美國的軍事援助。此外值得注意的是當美國從伊拉克撤出,就留下專業的伊拉克軍隊,其中包括許多遜尼派。伊拉克政府然後清除伊拉克軍隊的大部分遜尼派軍官和所有的遜尼派的高級官員。
因此,伊拉克現在有裙帶關係軍隊,其中推廣基於宗教 (什葉派在遜尼派教徒) 和政治派別。中國應如何執行裙帶軍事的通知。
 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or