Thursday, November 27, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Sunni fighters expand offensive in western Iraq

Mideast Iraq

An Iraqi woman who fled the violence in her hometown of Mosul walks past tents at Khazir refugee camp outside of Irbil, 217 miles (350 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, June 16, 2014. Sunni militants captured a strategic city along the highway to Syria on Monday, moving closer to their goal of linking areas under their control on both sides of the border. The al-Qaida breakaway group leading the push in Iraq also is fighting in the civil war next door in Syria where it controls territory abutting the Iraqi border.(AP Photo)

By
From page A13 | June 22, 2014 |

BAGHDAD — Sunni insurgents led by an al-Qaida breakaway group expanded their offensive in a volatile western province on Saturday, capturing two strategic towns and the first border crossing with Syria to fall on the Iraqi side.

It’s the latest blow against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is fighting for his political life even as forces beyond his control are pushing the country toward a sectarian showdown.

In a reflection of the bitter divide, thousands of heavily armed Shiite militiamen — eager to take on the Sunni insurgents — march through Iraqi cities in military-style parades on streets where many of them battled U.S. forces a half decade ago

The towns of Qaim and Rawah are the first territory seized in Anbar province, west of Baghdad, since fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group overran the city of Fallujah and parts of the provincial capital of Ramadi earlier this year.

Sunni militants have carved out a large fiefdom along the Iraqi-Syrian border and have long traveled back and forth with ease, but control over crossings like that one in Qaim allows them to more easily move weapons and heavy equipment to different battlefields. Syrian rebels already have seized the facilities on the Syrian side of the border and several other posts in areas under their control.

Police and army officials said Saturday that the Sunni insurgents seized Qaim and its crossing, about 320 kilometers (200 miles) west of Baghdad, after killing some 30 Iraqi troops in daylong clashes Friday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists, said people were now crossing back and forth freely.

Chief military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi acknowledged Qaim’s fall, telling journalists that troops aided by local tribesmen sought to clear the city of “terrorists.”

Sunni militants also captured the Euphrates River town of Rawah, ransacking government offices and forcing local army and police forces to pull out, Mayor Hussein AIi al-Aujail said. The town, which had remained under government control since nearby Fallujah fell, also lies dangerously close to an important dam near the city of Haditha.

Military officials said more than 2,000 troops were quickly dispatched to the site of the dam to protect it against a possible attack by the militants. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The vast Anbar province stretches from the western edges of Baghdad all the way to Jordan and Syria to the northwest. The fighting in Anbar has greatly disrupted use of the highway linking Baghdad to the Jordanian border, a key artery for goods and passengers.

Al-Maliki’s Shiite-dominated government has struggled to push back against Islamic extremists and allied Sunni militants who have seized large swaths of the country’s north since taking control of the second-largest city of Mosul on June 10 as Iraqi government forces melted away.

The prime minister, who has led the country since 2006 and has not yet secured a third term after recent parliamentary elections, also has increasingly turned to Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Shiite volunteers to bolster his beleaguered security forces.

The parades in Baghdad and other mainly cities in the mainly Shiite south revealed the depth and diversity of the militia’s arsenal, from field artillery and missiles to multiple rocket launchers and heavy machine guns, adding a new layer to mounting evidence that Iraq is inching closer to a religious war between Sunnis and Shiites.

Al-Maliki has come under growing pressure to reach out to disaffected Kurds and Sunnis, with many blaming his failure to promote reconciliation led to the country’s worst crisis since the U.S. military withdrew its forces nearly three years ago.

In Baghdad, about 20,000 militiamen loyal to anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, many in military fatigues and even some wearing red berets, white gloves and combat helmets, marched through the sprawling Shiite Sadr City district, which saw some of the worst fighting between Shiite militias and U.S. soldiers before a cease-fire was reached in 2008 hat helped stem the sectarian bloodshed that was pushing the country to the brink of civil war.

Similar parades took place in the southern cities of Amarah and Basra, both strongholds of al-Sadr supporters.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most respected voice for Iraq’s Shiite majority, on Friday joined calls for al-Maliki to reach out to the Kurdish and Sunni minorities a day after President Barack Obama challenged him to create a leadership representative of all Iraqis.

Al-Sistani normally stays above the political fray, and his comments, delivered through a representative, could ultimately seal al-Maliki’s fate.

Al-Maliki’s State of Law bloc won the most seats in the April vote, but his hopes to retain his job have been thrown into doubt, with rivals challenging him from within the broader Shiite alliance. In order to govern, his bloc, which won 92 seats, must first form a majority coalition in the new 328-seat legislature, which must meet by June 30.

If al-Maliki were to relinquish his post now, according to the constitution, the president, Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, would assume the job until a new prime minister is elected. But the ailing Talabani has been in Germany for treatment since 2012, so his deputy, Khudeir al-Khuzaie, a Shiite, would step in for him.

The U.S., meanwhile, has been drawn back into the conflict with so much at stake. Obama announced Thursday he was deploying up to 300 military advisers to help quell the insurgency. They join some 275 troops in and around Iraq to provide security and support for the U.S. Embassy and other American interests.

Obama has been adamant that U.S. troops would not be returning to combat, but has said he could approve “targeted and precise” strikes requested by Baghdad.

Manned and unmanned U.S. aircraft are now flying over Iraq 24 hours a day on intelligence missions, U.S. officials say.

Iraq enjoyed several years of relative calm before violence spiked a year ago after al-Maliki moved to crush a Sunni protest movement against what the minority sect claimed was discrimination and abuse at the hands of his government and security forces.

Meanwhile, on Saturday four separate explosions killed 10 people, including two policemen, and wounded 22 in Baghdad, according to police and hospital officials. And in an incident harkening back to the peak days of sectarian killings in 2006 and 2007, two bodies, presumably of Sunnis, were found riddled with bullets in Baghdad’s Shiite district of Zafaraniyah, police and morgue officials said.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

 

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

Middle Green Valley plan moves forward

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

 
Veterans ready to serve Thanksgiving dinner

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New focus on achievement gap of black males

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Vacaville art gallery schedules open house

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

What’s the matter with Kansas Street?

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 9 Comments | Gallery

 
Sandbags available in advance of storms

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Governments shut doors for holiday

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun police log: Nov. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Weather for Nov. 27, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Passengers in Russia’s Arctic give airliner a push

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Court: No warrant needed to draw parolees’ blood

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Armored vehicle nixed by Davis ends up in Woodland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Snow makes Thanksgiving travel ‘a little hairy’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Union focuses on security guards at Apple

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Homeless man beaten to death in San Francisco

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Obama administration sets stricter smog standard

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Obama gets the bill for White House Thanksgiving

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Heart stent for Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg, 81

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
American among hostages targeted in Yemen raid

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Sierra Leone official: Ebola may have reached peak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Hong Kong police arrest key protesters, clear site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Canada police arrest ex-radio host in sex case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Impoverished Lebanese city is target for IS group

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Spy balloons give police new view of Jerusalem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Grand jury documents rife with inconsistencies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

Small crowd protests in Oakland for third night

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Ferguson residents clean up, hope for calm night

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Prosecutor faces new criticism over Ferguson case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 27, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscope for Nov. 27, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Nursing homes full of opportunities for giving

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Tom Hanks, wife to host Christmas tree lighting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

With shake-ups, AC/DC perseveres with album, tour

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
875 hours of holiday programming on TV last year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Missing model-restaurateur B. Smith found in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Garth Brooks cites Ferguson for cancellation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

University in Tennessee cancels Cosby appearance

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Seahawks, 49ers meet for 1st time this season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Panda heads put away with Sandoval’s departure

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

All City football: Vikings sweep top honors

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
San Francisco’s bid for 2024 Olympics taking shape

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

NFL might not flex any Sunday night games in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Curry, 3s too much for Magic; Warriors win 111-96

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Sharks sign emergency backup goalie

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Spurs’ Popovich undergoes medical procedure

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

AP source: Tomas in process of deal with D’backs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Harden leads Rockets past Kings 102-89

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Smith to start at QB for Jets vs. Dolphins on MNF

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Butler knocks off No. 5 North Carolina, 74-66

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

RG3 benched: Redskins to start Colt McCoy vs. Indy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Raiders’ Woodson expects to play in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Atletico Madrid, Arsenal reach knockout phase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Business

FBI data show thousands of gun sales beat checks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
US new home sales up 0.7 percent in October

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

US agency threatens to act against air bag maker

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Twitter now tracks other apps you’ve installed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Health insurance sign-ups coming to shopping malls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Obituaries

Esther Ringler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dora Maria Aranda

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Adrian Looy

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
.

Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Why millennials prefer electronic gift cards

By The Washington Post | From Page: HGG2

How to give holiday gift cards

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG2

How to establish gift spending limits

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG3

Teen gifts: ideas for hard-to-buy-for big kids

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG3

Novice crafter? There’s a project for that!

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG6

Gift ideas for the special seniors in your life

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG6

Time and money-saving holiday gift ideas

By Statepoint Media | From Page: HGG7

Oy vey, holidays! Does Hanukkah wannabe Christmas?

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG7

How to save on high-tech gifts

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG10

Shop top finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG11

Sharing music: a personal gift made easy by tech

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG12

Great gifts for music lovers

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG13

Kitchen gift-giving made easy with personality profiles

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG14

Great gifts for the family foodie

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG14

Holiday shows abound in Solano County

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: HGG17

Great gifts for people who love to read

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG19

An oft-elusive yet gifty treat: coffee table books

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG19

Steps to take before giving pets as gifts

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

2014 holiday toy predictions

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

Eco-friendly gift ideas for ‘green’ giving

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

Things to consider before buying this holiday season

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

Trend-setting gifts for the women on your holiday shopping list

By Brandpoint Content | From Page: HGG23

Gifts to keep kids engaged

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG25

Gift wrap tricks to save time

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG26

Save time and energy with a family gift this holiday season

By Brandpoint Content | From Page: HGG27

Gift exchange dos and don’ts

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG30

Right at Home: gifts you can use – and use up

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG30

How to send gifts to faraway friends and family

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG30