Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The United States has expressed concern over the
deteriorating security situation in Iraq and pledged “any appropriate assistance” to
the Iraqi government.
The State Department’s statement came after on June 11 fighters from the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an Al-Qaeda splinter group, seized the central
city of Tikrit, one day after capturing Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington is committed to “working
with the Iraqi government and leaders across Iraq to support a unified approach
against ISIL’s continued aggression.”
Tikrit, the capital of Salaheddin Province, lies roughly halfway between Baghdad and
Turkey called for an emergency NATO meeting after ISIL militants seized 80 Turkish
nationals in Mosul. Turkey also warned of retaliation if any of its nationals, including
diplomats, special forces soldiers, and children, were harmed.
The militants seized 49 people from the Turkish consulate in Mosul on June 11, one
day after they abducted 31 Turkish truck drivers.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has called Mosul’s fall to the militants a “conspiracy” and
vowed to regain control of the city by force. He also said that the military
commanders who retreated “must be punished.”
As the militants overran Mosul on June 10, members of the security forces reportedly
removed their uniforms and joined residents in fleeing the city. Some 500,000 people
are believed to have fled Mosul, a city of 2 million residents. The Iraqi parliament is
due to meet on June 12 to debate Maliki’s request for a state of emergency.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Baghdad will cooperate with the Peshmerga,
the large and disciplined military force of the semiautonomous Kurdish region, to drive
the militants out of Mosul, but he did not provide details on possible cooperation.
ISIL fighters have been holding parts of Ramadi, the capital of western Anbar
Province, and much of the nearby city of Fallujah since early January.
ISIL, which also controls the northeastern Syrian Province of Al-Raqqa, wants to
establish an Islamic state in areas on the two sides of the border.
Source: Radio Free Europe
Newscast Media BAGHDAD Iraq — Early Thursday morning, the last U.S. combat brigade withdrew from Iraq, more than seven years after the US-led coalition invaded the country in a war that has claimed the lives of more than 4,000 US troops. The brigade left the country two weeks before an August 31 deadline for the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom pledged by Barack Obama, the US president, on taking office.
The soldier pictured above who wished to remain anonymous said, “It feels great. This marks the end of a year long mission in Iraq for our brigade, and also represents the end of seven years of war, in Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
He continued to say, “It means we finished a mission and I’m proud to know that our brigade was the last combat brigade in Iraq. We finished with honor, we finished with dignity, most importantly we left capacity with the Iraqi security forces so they can take the lead from here on out.”
Over the course of the week, soldiers from the 4th Stryker brigade, 2nd Infantry Division have driven hundreds of vehicles from Camp Victory near the Baghdad airport to Camp Virginia in Kuwait.
Despite the withdrawal, approximately 50,000 US troops will remain in the country in an advisory capacity, helping to train Iraqi forces in a new mission codenamed Operation New Dawn, which will run until the end of 2011.
The US state department spokesman, Philip Crowley, called the end of combat operations a “historic moment,” but stressed America’s long-term commitment to Iraq was unwavering.”We’re not ending our involvement in Iraq,” he told US broadcaster MSNBC.
“We will have important work to do. This is a transition. This is not the end of something. It’s a transition to something different. We have a long-term commitment to Iraq.”
The Iraqi military is using US equipment, which means security forces will need US trainers, technicians and links with the US military industrial complex in years to come. http://newscastmedia.com/missionaccomplished.htm