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Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Welcome to the Neno's Place!

Neno's Place Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality


Neno

I can be reached by phone or text 8am-7pm cst 972-768-9772 or, once joining the board I can be reached by a (PM) Private Message.

Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

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Iraq's divide could strain anti-IS coalition: US

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Iraq's divide could strain anti-IS coalition: US Empty Iraq's divide could strain anti-IS coalition: US

Post by Neno Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:19 pm

Iraq's divide could strain anti-IS coalition: US
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Published: 13:30 EST, 9 March 2015 


The international coalition fighting Islamic State extremists could be jeopardised if the Baghdad government fails to bridge Iraq's sectarian divide, the US military's top officer warned Monday.
Iraq's political leaders have yet to deliver on promises to reach out to the Sunni population and have raised concerns in the region by forging closer ties to Shiite-led Iran, General Martin Dempsey said after spending several hours in Baghdad.
For the longer term, the solidarity of the anti-IS coalition -- which includes Sunni Arab states -- could be put at risk, Dempsey told reporters in Manama.


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An Iraqi Shiite fighter and member of the Popular Mobilisation units supporting government forces in the battle against Islamic State, sits in a vehicle in the village of Albu Ajil, east of the city of Tikrit, on March 8, 2015 ©Ahmad Al-Rubaye (AFP)

In Cairo, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi called on Monday for the creation of a unified Arab force to battle Islamic extremist groups.


"There is an urgent need for the creation of a multi-purpose common Arab military force... able to intervene rapidly to fight terrorism and the activities of terrorist groups," he said.


Dempsey, for his part, said: "I come away a bit concerned that it's going to be difficult to sustain the coalition for the rest of the challenge -- which is trans-regional –- unless the government of Iraq can actually form that national unity platform to which they committed."


With the IS group "under pressure in almost every corner of Iraq," the "military aspect" of the campaign is on course and "going fine," said the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.


But an overriding goal for Washington and other coalition members was to ensure that Iraq's Shiite-led authorities also upheld the rights of its Sunni Arab and Kurdish communities, he said.


Flying over Baghdad by helicopter earlier, Dempsey noted Shiite militia banners flying over many buildings, describing "the plethora of flags, only one of which happens to be the Iraqi flag."


He said Sunni Arab countries in the region, several of which are taking part in air strikes in Syria, were anxious over Iran's influence in Iraq.


- No apologies -
Iran's role has taken on new importance in recent days as Shiite militia armed and trained by Tehran are playing a high-profile role in a major offensive on the IS group in Tikrit, north of the Iraqi capital.


In a joint press conference with Dempsey in Baghdad, Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obaidi made no apologies for enlisting military aid from Iran.


"We are in a state of war and we look to our friends to help us in this confrontation," Obaidi said.


But he said Iraq's approach was "balanced" and added: "I want to assure you that Iraq does not want to enter into any conflicts with any of the countries around us."


In his talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Obaidi, Dempsey said he acknowledged their "instinct" to look for assistance from any country ready to provide it.


But he also stressed that "they should also be aware of the challenge of holding together the ... coalition," Dempsey said.


The IS group has sought to exploit the grievances of alienated Sunnis in Iraq, and Dempsey has urged Baghdad to tackle what he calls the "underlying" sectarian issue.


The general, who spent several tours in Iraq during the 2003-2011 US occupation, said it was unclear whether Iraq's links to Iran were only about battling the IS or part of a broader agenda.


“What I'm trying to sort out is the degree to which the near term embrace of the assistance they're receiving from Iran is a reaction to the existential threat (from IS) or whether it's something longer-term," he said.


"And by the way, it could be longer-term and not necessarily negative."


Throughout his trip to the region, which included talks with leaders in Bahrain and with his French counterpart aboard an aircraft carrier in the Gulf, Dempsey said he stressed the importance of maintaining the global coalition arrayed against the IS militants.


"I reminded everyone -- the Bahrainis, the French and the Iraqis -- that fundamental to the success of the campaign is the solidarity of the coalition, and anything that could threaten that solidarity we really need to be alert to," he said.


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General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, flew over Baghdad by helicopter noting Shiite militia banners are over many buildings, describing "the plethora of flags, only one of which happens to be the Iraqi flag" ©T.J. Kirkpatrick (Getty/AFP/File)

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A displaced Iraqi Sunni woman who fled from a village near the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit due to fighting between IS group militants and government forces receives medical treatment at an army camp in Samarra on March 8, 2015 ©Ahmad Al-Rubaye (AFP)

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A flag of the Shiite Hezbollah militant group flutters over a mural depicting the emblem of the Islamic State (IS) group in Al-Alam village, northeast of the multi-ethnic Iraqi city of Tikrit in northern Iraq, on March 9, 2015 ©Younis al-Bayati (AFP/File)


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