Islamic Militants Plan to March on Baghdad After Seizing 2 Key Sunni Cities

Islamic militants claim they will march on Baghdad to settle old scores.

President Barack Obama convenes an Oval Office meeting with his national security team to discuss the situation in Iraq, June 13, 2014.  Photo: Pete Souza/The White House via Flickr

President Barack Obama convenes an Oval Office meeting with his national security team to discuss the situation in Iraq, June 13, 2014. Photo: Pete Souza/The White House via Flickr

Trumpeting their victory, the groups also promised to impose Shariah law in Mosul and other areas and cities they have captured.

In northern Iraq, Kurdish security forces rushed to fill the power vacuum — seizing an air base and other posts which were left by the military in the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk. The more raised concerns of the whole international community that the country could end up partitioned into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish zones.

“Three planeloads of Americans were being evacuated from a major Iraqi air base in Sunni territory north of Baghdad, U.S. officials said, and Germany urged its citizens to immediately leave parts of Iraq, including Baghdad,” The Huffington Post reports.

“President Barack Obama said Iraq will need more help from the United States, but he did not specify what it would be willing to provide. Senior U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name said Washington is considering whether to conduct drone missions in Iraq.”

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the council president, announced that the U.N. envoy in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, said in a videoconference with the organisation members that “there is no immediate danger of the violence spreading to Baghdad” — that the city “is well protected and the government is in control.”

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had askedurged parliament to declare a state of emergency that would allow him and his Shiite-led government increased powers to run the country, but the lawmakers failed to assemble a quorum.

The slamic State’s spokesman promised to take the fight into Baghdad. He even revealed to reporters that its fighters would take the southern Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf, which hold two of the holiest shrines for Shiite Muslims.

“We will march toward Baghdad because we have an account to settle there,” he said in an audio recording posted on militant websites commonly used by the group.

Meanwhile, Baghdad authorities tightened security and residents stocked up on essentials.

“Everybody I know is worried for the safety of his family as the militants are advancing to Baghdad,” said Hazim Hussein, a Shiite shopowner and father of three.

Another Baghdad merchant, Mohammed Abdul-Rahim, a Sunni, claimed that the “future of this country looks more dim than any time in modern Iraqi history.”

Britain and France representatives said it was up to Iraqi authorities to deal with terrorism, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the rapid advances by the militants proved the invasion of Iraq 11 years ago had been a fiasco.

“What is happening in Iraq is an illustration of the total failure of the adventure undertaken primarily by the U.S. and Britain and which they have let slip completely out of control,” Lavrov was quoted by Russian state news agencies as saying.

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