Saturday, October 25, 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

 
Suspects tie up customers, workers during armed robbery

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

 
Fall Harvest Festival brings children back to school

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Optimist Club brings youth together for Halloween golf

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

No new murder trial for Calkins, judge rules

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Cut-a-thon to help fight cancer, abuse

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Haunted hikes offered for brave souls at park

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
School board candidates forum set next week

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

.

US / World

Suspect arrested in death of 2 California deputies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
KC-10 from Travis lands in Houston, smoke in cockpit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Reagan astrologer, Joan Quigley, dies at 87

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Jury says castrated sex offender should be freed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

NY, NJ order Ebola quarantine for doctors, others

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
.

Opinion

SEIU shouldn’t own Board of Supervisors

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Vote, and make a difference

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Yes on Measure A

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

.

Entertainment

.

Sports

Hamilton helps Vanden sink Vallejo, 35-0

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1

 
Vintage rolls past Armijo, 55-8

By Mike Corpos | From Page: B1

Mustangs fall flat in rout by Wildcats

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1

 
Royals beat Giants 3-2 for 2-1 World Series lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Falcons hang with Wolves in 34-8 setback

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vargas to take on Vogelsong in Game 4 of Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders’ Woodley, Young expected to be placed on IR

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Joe Maddon exercises opt-out, won’t return to Rays

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Attorney: NFL, Ravens not helping union in Rice probe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
SCC women’s soccer team falls to Mendocino 3-1

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Jamie McMurray bests Chase drivers to win pole

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Lloyd leads US women past Mexico 3-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Henley’s putting gets him lead at Sea Island

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Unfazed, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh doing it his way

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Judge halts New Jersey’s sports betting plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

US official: Auto safety agency under review

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Ford profit falls in third quarter on truck costs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Procter & Gamble taking out its batteries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
UPS expects double-digit surge in Dec shipments

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

US new-home sales close to flat in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

Mark Dean Lindsay

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Dr. Robert M. Takamoto

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Melvin Tate

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 10/25/14

Real estate transactions for Oct. 25, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2