APTOPIX Mideast Iraq

Members of an Iraqi volunteer force put on their newly issued boots in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has put on hold plans for a counteroffensive to retake Iraqi cities captured by Sunni insurgents in the north and west of the country, instead deploying elite forces in Baghdad to bolster its defenses, Iraqi officials tell the AP. Shiite militias who have responded to a cleric's call to arms also are focusing their efforts on protecting the capital and other Shiite shrines, while Kurdish fighters have grabbed a long-coveted oil rich city outside their self-ruled territory in the name of defending it from the al-Qaida breakaway group leading Sunni extremists in their advance. With each sect focused on self-interests, the situation on the ground is increasingly looking like the fractured state the Americans have hoped to avoid. "We are facing a new reality and a new Iraq," the top Kurdish leader says.(AP Photo/Ahmed al-Husseini)


Photo: Iraqi volunteer force

By June 25, 2014

The Associated Press

The Associated Press


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