Friday, October 31, 2014


Iraq

Al-Maliki Says Volunteers Will Reinforce Iraqi Army

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By RFE/RL
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has told army officers in the city of Samarra that volunteers will arrive to help defeat Islamist militants who have swept through Sunni Muslim territory towards Baghdad.

In comments broadcast on Iraqi state television June 14 but made a day earlier in Samarra, Maliki also said the city some 100 kilometers north of Baghdad would be a "launchpad" for a government counteroffensive against insurgent-controlled Mosul.  

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said his government was prepared to consider cooperation with the United States in helping Baghdad fight the Islamist militants who took control of a broad swath of northern Iraq this week. 

"If we see that the United States takes action against terrorist groups in Iraq, then one can think about it," Rohani told a press conference.
 
He added that any Iranian help would be within international regulations and could include "consultation," a possible hint that military advisers may be provided. 

The Iranian president also dismissed U.S. media reports that Iran has already sent troops across the border. 

He said no specific request for help has been made by Maliki, stressing that such a decision is Iraq's to make. 

In Washington, the State Department said on June 13 that the United States and Iran are not in contact over supporting Baghdad, which is an ally of both. 

"No, we are not talking to the Iranians about Iraq," spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters when asked about the possibility of any direct or indirect contacts. 

Britain said on June 14, it would provide $5 million of emergency humanitarian assistance to help civilians fleeing the jihadists.
 
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

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