Sunday, February 1, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Kerry issues warning after Syria bombs Iraq

By
From page A1 | June 26, 2014 |

BAGHDAD — Syrian warplanes bombed Sunni militants’ positions inside Iraq, military officials confirmed Wednesday, deepening the concerns that the extremist insurgency that spans the two neighboring countries could morph into an even wider regional conflict. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned against the threat and said other nations should stay out.

Meanwhile, a new insurgent artillery offensive against Christian villages in the north of Iraq sent thousands of Christians fleeing from their homes, seeking sanctuary in Kurdish-controlled territory, Associated Press reporters who witnessed the scene said.

The United States government and a senior Iraqi military official confirmed that Syrian warplanes bombed militants’ positions Tuesday in and near the border crossing in the town of Qaim. Iraq’s other neighbors — Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — were all bolstering flights just inside their airspace to monitor the situation, said the Iraqi official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

American officials said the target was the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the Sunni extremist group that has seized large swathes of Iraq and seeks to carve out a purist Islamic enclave across both sides of the Syria-Iraq border.

“We’ve made it clear to everyone in the region that we don’t need anything to take place that might exacerbate the sectarian divisions that are already at a heightened level of tension,” Kerry said, speaking in Brussels at a meeting of diplomats from NATO nations. “It’s already important that nothing take place that contributes to the extremism or could act as a flash point with respect to the sectarian divide.”

Meanwhile, two U.S. officials said Iran has been flying surveillance drones in Iraq, controlling them from an airfield in Baghdad. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly, said they believe the drones are surveillance aircraft only, but they could not rule out that they may be armed.

A top Iraqi intelligence official said Iran was secretly supplying the Iraqi security forces with weapons, including rockets, heavy machine guns and multiple rocket launchers. “Iraq is in a grave crisis and the sword is on its neck, so is it even conceivable that we turn down the hand outstretched to us?” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

The intelligence-gathering and arms supplies come on the heels of a visit to Baghdad this month by one of Iran’s most powerful generals, Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, to help bolster the defenses of the Iraqi military and the Shiite militias that he has armed and trained.

The involvement of Syria and Iran in Iraq suggests a growing cooperation among the three Shiite-led governments in response to the raging Sunni insurgency. And in an unusual twist, the U.S., Iran and Syria now find themselves with an overlapping interest in stabilizing Iraq’s government.

None-Arab and mostly Shiite, Iran has been playing the role of guarantor of Shiites in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. It has maintained close ties with successive Shiite-led governments since the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni who oppressed the Shiites, and is also the main backer of Syria’s Assad, a follower of Shiism’s Alawite sect.

In a reflection of how intertwined the Syria and Iraq conflicts have become, thousands of Shiite Iraqi militiamen helping President Bashar Assad crush the Sunni-led uprising against him are returning home, putting a strain on the overstretched Syrian military as it struggles to retain territory recaptured in recent months from rebels.

Anthony Cordesman, a prominent foreign policy analyst at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that with Syria’s apparent willingness to now take on the Islamic State directly, “the real problem is how will Iran, the Iraqi Shiites and the Alawites in Syria coordinate their overall pressure on the Sunni forces?”

Qaim, where the Syrian airstrikes took place Tuesday, is located in vast and mostly Sunni Anbar province. Its provincial government spokesman, Dhari al-Rishawi, said 17 people were killed in an air raid there.

Reports that the Sunni militants have captured advanced weapons, tanks and Humvees from the Iraq military that have made their way into Syria, and that fighters are crossing freely from one side to the other have alarmed the Syrian government, which fears the developments could shift the balance of power in the largely stalemated fight between Assad’s forces and the Sunni rebels fighting to topple him.

Bilal Saab, a senior fellow for Middle East Security at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, said Assad’s immediate priority is to fight the rebels inside his own country.

“His army is already overstretched and every bullet that doesn’t hit enemy targets at home can be a bullet wasted,” he said. “Going after ISIL along border areas could serve tactical goals but is more a luxury than anything else.”

In Brussels, Kerry said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appears to be standing by his commitment to start building a new government that fully represents its Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish populations.

However, al-Maliki, in his first public statement since President Barack Obama challenged him last week to create a more inclusive leadership or risk a sectarian civil war, rejected calls for an interim “national salvation government .”

Al-Maliki has faced pressure, including from his onetime Shiite allies, to step down and form an interim government that could provide leadership until a more permanent solution can be found.

Al-Maliki, however, insisted the political process must be allowed to proceed following April elections in which his bloc won the largest share of parliament seats.

“The call to form a national salvation government represents a coup against the constitution and the political process,” he said. He added that “rebels against the constitution” — a thinly veiled reference to Sunni rivals — posed a more serious danger to Iraq than the militants.

Al-Maliki’s coalition, the State of the Law, won 92 seats in the 328-member parliament in the election, but he needs the support of a simple majority to hold on to the job for another four-year term. The legislature is expected to meet before the end of the month, when it will elect a speaker. It has 30 days to elect a new president, who in turn will select the leader of the majority bloc in parliament to form the next government.

More of Iraq’s sectarian tensions boiled over into violence on Wednesday, with Sunni militants shelling a Christian village 45 miles (75 kilometers) from the frontier of the self-ruled Kurdish region, which has so far escaped the deadly turmoil unscathed.

The shelling of the village of Hamdaniya sparked a flight by thousands of Christians from it and other nearby villages toward the Kurdish region. Hundreds of cars, many with crucifixes swinging from their rear-view mirrors, waited to cross into the relatively safe northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Irbil.

Others were forced to walk, including 28-year-old Rasha, who was nine months pregnant and carried her 3-year-old son on her hip. After her husband’s car broke down, the woman, who would give only her first name for fear of militant reprisals, and her mother-in-law walked for miles toward the checkpoint, fearful she would give birth before reaching safety.

Like most others, the women said they had nowhere to go, but hoped strangers would take them in in the Christian-dominated area.

“Otherwise we will sleep in a park,” Rasha said, shrugging.

Meanwhile, pro-government forces battled Sunni militants, threatening a major military air base in Balad, north of Baghdad, military officials said. The militants had advanced into the nearby town of Yathrib, just five kilometers (three miles) from the former U.S. base, which was known as Camp Anaconda. The officials insisted the base was not in immediate danger of falling into the hands of the militants.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Police make 2nd arrest in deadly Thanksgiving Day shooting

By Glen Faison | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Fire Department honors top firefighters

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Everything you need to know about Super Bowl

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
$340,688 brick replacement for Texas Street complete

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
4th annual Health and Wellness Fair a big success

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Banish dry skin this winter

By Sarah Porkka | From Page: C4

 
Chocolate: A long journey to deliciousness

By Karen Metz | From Page: C4

 
County board to consider DA reorganization plan

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Eurozone offers lesson in debt

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B7

 
Rodriguez graduate completes basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Video: Islamic State group beheads Japanese journalist

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
NASA launches Earth-observing satellite

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

From ocean to ocean, through the Panama Canal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
Scientist considered father of birth control pill dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

‘Rolled Sleeves Bandit’ tied to 7 bank robberies in custody

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Bay Area agency accuses former official of embezzling $1.3M

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Los Angeles female-only mosque may be first in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California health care contract fight resolved

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Man arrested after body parts found in suitcase

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Letter with suspicious powder received at Samaritan’s Purse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Snails slither into spa scene in Thailand and around world

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Not so ‘Good to Go’ when man gets $18,000 toll bridge bill

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Balloon pilots make history with trans-Pacific flight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Whitney Houston’s daughter found unresponsive in tub

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Drivers: Return to your dealers for a 2nd air bag recall fix

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Hatfields, McCoys make moonshine legally in southern W.Va.

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Airport authorities: Traveler beats homeless man with chair

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Kerry: ‘Enormous interest in new relationship with Cuba

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Fire devastates major Russian library, threatens rare texts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Swiss police: 4 dead after avalanche hits group of skiers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Fire at Bangladesh plastics factory kills at least 13

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Vatican investigates 2 cases of child porn possession

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Islamic State fighters admit defeat in Syrian town of Kobani

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
From car lots to city budgets, cheap oil means change

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Africa agrees to send 7,500 troops to fight Boko Haram

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
5 given preliminary charges over jihadi network in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Civilians flee east Ukraine town as fighting intensifies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

British actress Geraldine McEwan dies at age 82

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Greek leader tamps down rhetoric, vows to pay off debts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Iraqi libraries ransacked by Islamic State group in Mosul

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

 
Sound off for Feb. 1, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Good old days weren’t as good as we remember

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A8

Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 1, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Feb. 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Feb. 1, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Sundance doc pulls back curtain on Scientology

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Prayer, commonly misunderstood

By The Rev. Rick L. Stonestreet | From Page: C3

Mormon leaders call for measures protecting gay rights

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes: Feb. 1, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Volunteer or visit because February is National Salute to Veteran Patients

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

 
Lorrie Moore nominated for short story prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

New book to feature unpublished Hemingway conversations

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Review: ‘First Bad Man’ is Miranda July’s debut novel

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Mustangs win the whole Encalada

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Super Bowl the final act of the NFL’s worst season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lowest prices on last-minute Super Bowl tickets near $9,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Laird takes a 3-shot lead in Phoenix Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Seau, Bettis, Brown, Haley, Shields voted into Hall of Fame

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Rodgers wins MVP, Watt unanimous top AP defensive player

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Lydia Ko takes No. 1 spot at 17, Na Yeon Choi wins opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

On the money: Low gas prices, incentives change math for electric cars

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Small talk: NFL players find second careers as entrepreneurs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Recalls this week: space heaters, orbital sanders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Sumptuous seaside hotel sells for record-shattering $360M

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Review: Open e-book format comes with headaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Obituaries

Flora Mae Brooks

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Otilia (Tela) Quinn

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Lester Singer

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
WillIiam “Bill” Hunter

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Garry A. Britton

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Anthony Neal Hunley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Frank Z. Perez

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Joe Lambert Robinson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics