Friday, December 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Thousands of Iraqi men answer urgent call to arms

APTOPIX Mideast Iraq

Iraqi men board military trucks to join the Iraqi army at the main recruiting center in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, June. 14, 2014, after authorities urged Iraqis to help battle insurgents. Hundreds of young Iraqi men gripped by religious and nationalistic fervor streamed into volunteer centers across Baghdad Saturday, answering a call by the country's top Shiite cleric to join the fight against Sunni militants advancing in the north.(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

By
From page A1 | June 15, 2014 |

BAGHDAD — Thousands of Shiites from Baghdad and across southern Iraq answered an urgent call to arms Saturday, joining security forces to fight the Islamic militants who have captured large swaths of territory north of the capital and now imperil a city with a much-revered religious shrine.

The mobilization, urged by the nation’s top Shiite cleric, took on a sectarian dimension that threatened to intensify Sunni-Shiite strife in a nation already ripped by religious fervor after the militants’ battlefield successes.

In Baghdad, fallout from the stunning advance in the north was beginning to affect daily life for the city’s 7 million inhabitants.

Some food prices rose dramatically. Army troops went house-to-house searching for militants and weapons in neighborhoods close to vital government installations. The streets of the capital were quieter than usual, and military and police checkpoints made extra efforts to check cars and passenger IDs.

The price hikes were partly the result of transportation disruptions on the main road linking the capital with provinces to the north, but they might also be a telltale sign of a nervous city.

“We were not prepared for this sudden spike in the prices of foodstuff, vegetables and fuel,” said Yasser Abbas, a government employee from Baghdad’s sprawling eastern Sadr City district.

“I do not know how the poor people in Baghdad will manage their life in the coming days. God be with them until this crisis is over because hunger is as dangerous as bullets.”

In the meantime, dozens of men climbed into the back of army trucks at volunteer centers, chanting Shiite religious slogans, hoisting assault rifles and pledging to join the nation’s beleaguered security forces to battle the Sunni militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

“By God’s will, we will be victorious.” said one volunteer, Ali Saleh Aziz. “We will not be stopped by the ISIL or any other terrorists.”

The volunteers were first taken to an assembly center in eastern Baghdad, where they were handed military uniforms, and later went to Taji, home of Iraq’s largest military base north of Baghdad, to undergo basic training. State-run television aired footage of the volunteers being drilled, still in their civilian clothes.

The mobilization unfolded against a backdrop of religious and nationalist fervor. State-run television aired a constant flow of nationalist songs, clips of soldiers marching or singing, as well as interviews with troops vowing to crush the militants. Other broadcasts included archival clips of the nation’s top Shiite clerics and aerial shots of Shiite shrines.

Shiite cleric and political leader Ammar al-Hakim was shown on television networks donning camouflaged military fatigues as he spoke to volunteers from his party, although he still wore his clerical black turban that designates him as a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite widely resented by Sunnis for his perceived sectarian policies, denied the call by the Iranian-born Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani was directed against Sunnis, saying it was in fact meant to protect the country and its holy shrines.

“Talk of Sunnis and Shiites must be dropped,” he said, calling for the unity of all Iraqis.

Many volunteers, however, said they had enlisted to protect their faith and shrines at risk in the city of Samarra north of Baghdad and elsewhere. The militants have threatened to march all the way south to the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, home to two of the most revered Shiite shrines.

Al-Maliki himself appeared to give the standoff with ISIL a sectarian color, paying a surprise visit to Samarra on Friday and appearing on state-run television while praying there. The shrine was badly damaged in a bombing blamed on Sunni extremists in 2006. That attack sparked a wave of bloodletting between Sunnis and Shiites that lasted two years. The bloodshed ebbed in 2008 after the U.S. troop surge, a revolt by moderate Sunnis against al-Qaida in Iraq and a Shiite militia cease-fire.

The footage seemed clearly aimed at rehabilitating his reputation in the eyes of Shiites as a protector of the faith and its followers. He also declared that Samarra would be the assembly point for the march north to drive out the militants, another apparent religious incentive to Shiites.

On Saturday evening, a dozen armed militiamen got off a bus on a main central Baghdad road and chanted Shiite slogans before driving away.

Fighters from the al-Qaida splinter group, drawing support from former Saddam Hussein-era figures and other disaffected Sunnis, have made dramatic gains in the Sunni heartland north of Baghdad after overrunning Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul on Tuesday. Soldiers and policemen have melted away in the face of the lightning advance, and thousands have fled to the self-ruling Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

On Saturday, insurgents seized the small town of Adeim in Diyala province after Iraqi security forces pulled out, said the head of the municipal council, Mohammed Dhifan. Adeim is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad. There was no official confirmation of the loss of the town.

Jawad al-Bolani, a lawmaker and former Cabinet minister close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said a military offensive was underway Saturday to drive the insurgents from Tikrit, Saddam’s hometown north of Baghdad, although fighting in the area could not be confirmed.

Major-General Qassim al-Moussawi, spokesman for the Iraqi military’s commander in chief, said Iraq’s armed forces have “regained the initiative” in the north and northeast, blunting ISIL advances and regaining control of some localities.

As President Barack Obama considers possible military options for Iraq, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush to move from the northern Arabian Sea into the Persian Gulf. The carrier was to be accompanied by two guided-missile ships.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday that his Shiite nation stands ready to help Iraq if asked, adding that it has “no option but to confront terrorism.”

He said Iran would “study if there is a demand for help from Iraq” but that no specific request for assistance had been made.

Entry of Iranian forces into Iraq “has not been raised so far,” and “it’s unlikely that such conditions will emerge,” he added.

Iran has built close political and economic ties with Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam’s Sunni-led regime.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

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

  • CD BrooksJune 15, 2014 - 7:27 am

    If we've learned anything about the Middle East, it is that after a thousand years of "doing what they do," it aint gonna change period. No way, no how not going to happen. It is time to remove all troops from every foreign country and let them have at it. Why should we risk lives and resources over there? Let them destroy each other, then if need be move in and take over, no casualties, no war. The whole issue is tiresome and frankly, costing us Americans a great deal of money that could be used for oh I don't know...us! Our troops could come home and get rid of our terrorists. Now that's a thought!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JonesJune 15, 2014 - 8:38 am

    We were better off with a beaten Sadam at the reign. Before “W” cost the US thousands of US lives, 100’s of thousands Iraqi lives & trillions of US tax payer dollars. At least with Sadam you had a nation to counter Iran. There will always be the Sunni/Shiite conflict. So let Iran help the Shiite government of Iraq, during the confusion of war you watch Israel take out Iran’s nuclear sites. And our government was about to give Iraq 36 F-16 fighters. When will our so called leaders learn? “Never” comes to mind…

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Solano’s 2014 art scene: A year in review

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Get your blues on – for a musical cause

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Area churches bring joy, toys to children

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Rear ends, reunions define 2014 in music

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1

Santa spreads Christmas cheer at Bridge to Life

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Word of Mouth ready to ring in 2015 at Dimitri’s

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Dec. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Weather for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

.

US / World

San Francisco creates court only for veterans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Mother uses grief to help murder victims’ families

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

California plane crash victims were father and son

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Man shot with stun gun dies at border crossing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

California officials issue caramel apple warning

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Christmas brings California cooler weather, gusty winds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Audit highlights state employee wrongdoing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
US traveler released from East Timor jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Obama personal chef to hang up apron after 6 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
More protests sparked after shooting near Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 18 Comments

Nevada goats help eat, recycle Christmas trees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Hundreds of theaters begin screening ‘The Interview’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Streaming release of ‘Interview’ test for industry

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Monkey gives first aid to electrocuted friend

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Militants attack AU Somalia base, at least 5 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Saudi women drivers referred to terrorism court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments | Gallery

Police and fire officials save California family’s Christmas

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 26, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community calendar: Dec. 26, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 26, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Sister’s angry outbursts may be a medical issue

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in Preview Dec. 26, 2014 – Jan. 1, 2015

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B1

 
‘Frozen’ is named top entertainer of the year by AP

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Entertainment calendar Dec. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

Warsaw’s lost architecture portrayed in miniature

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Review: ‘Unbroken’ is beautiful, but impersonal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Angelina Jolie’s latest incarnation: filmmaker

By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

James hears plenty of cheers in return to Miami

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
2014 sports quirks: In year of odd bounces, reality bites at World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Colin Kaepernick weighing his offseason approach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Arians reportedly to go back to Lindley as starter

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Former TE Ben Utecht delivers musical message

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

K-State’s Snyder still penning old-school notes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Fresno State pushed around in in Hawaii Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Eagles have quarterback questions going into 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
New OT rule in minor-league hockey generating buzz

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

To reduce elitism, British horse racing educating spectators

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Bad news for Balotelli as Liverpool alters system

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

LeBron James, Steph Curry lead NBA All-Star voting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Former NBA All-Star Marbury fan favorite in China

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

Signups for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

 
D-I’s youngest coach also has inexperienced team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

No. 17 Wisconsin hopes program back on steady ground

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Rookie Martin makes quick impression in Dallas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

 
Bad Santa? 5 tips to tackle your holiday gift returns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Thomas A. O’Neill

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

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

 
Word Sleuth

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

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9