8/14/14, "Iraq's Maliki finally steps aside, paving way for new government," Reuters, by Raheem Salman and Michael Georgy
"Before Maliki's announcement, a
leading figure in the Sunni minority told Reuters he had been promised
U.S. help to fight the Islamic State militants.
Khalaf al-Dulaimi, the governor of the Sunni heartland province of
Anbar, told Reuters his request for help, made in meetings with U.S.
diplomats and a senior military officer, included air support against
the militants who have a tight grip on large parts of his desert
province and northwestern Iraq.
a move could revive cooperation between Sunni tribes, the Shi'ite-led
authorities and U.S. forces that was credited with thwarting al Qaeda in
Iraq several years ago.
But the U.S. State Department played down Dulaimi’s statement.
continued meeting with a range of officials to talk through what the
needs might be - the security needs - to fight ISIL [ISIS] across the board,”
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters in Washington.
if Dulaimi was correct that the United States had made a commitment,
Harf said she had no details. "We’re having conversations about what it
(any security assistance) might look like in the future, but nothing
concrete beyond that," she said.
said in a telephone interview: "Our first goal is the air support.
Their technology capability will offer a lot of intelligence information
and monitoring of the desert and many things which we are in need of.
"No date was decided but it will be very soon and there will be a presence for the Americans in the western area."
U.S. President Barack Obama
said on Thursday that U.S. troops planning an evacuation of refugees
further north were standing down as U.S. air strikes and supply drops
had broken the "siege of Mount Sinjar," where thousands of members of
the Yazidi religious minority had taken refuge from the militants.
Obama said some of the U.S. personnel sent to draw up plans for the evacuation of the Yazidis would soon leave Iraq.
by al Qaeda as too radical after it took control of large parts of
Syria, Islamic State capitalised on its Syrian territorial gains and
sectarian tensions in Iraq to gain control of Falluja and Anbar's
capital Ramadi early this year....
the capital, Baghdad, would be difficult because of the presence of
special forces and thousands of Shi'ite militias who have slowed down
the Islamic State elsewhere.
a foothold just near the capital could make it easier for the IS to
carry out suicide bombings, deepen sectarian tensions and destabilise
Islamic State militants massed near the town of Qara Tappa, 120 km (75
miles) north of Baghdad, security sources and a local official said, in
an apparent bid to broaden their front with Kurdish peshmerga fighters.
movement around Qara Tappa suggests they are becoming more confident
and seeking to grab more territory closer to the capital after stalling
in that region.
Islamic State is massing its militants near Qara Tappa," said one of the
security sources. "It seems they are going to broaden their front with
the Kurdish fighters.""