Iraq's government touted its military offensive to recapture Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit from extremists, with some officials taking to state-run television over the weekend to declare the army had defeated the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
But those who live in the city nestled along the Tigris River, about 140 kilometers (about 87 miles) northwest of Baghdad, told a different story on Sunday.
What's the status of Tikrit? As they explain, it's just not clear at this point.
And that honesty should be appreciated.
Hamish MacDonald (ABC World News -- link is text and video) reports the US did a rush shipping of "75 Hellfire missiles to the Iraqi government." War Criminal Nouri al-Maliki was running low and you can't kill as many Iraqi civilians as Nouri likes to without bombs and missiles.
Meanwhile Sylvia Westall (Reuters) reports, "An offshoot of al Qaeda which has seized territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic 'caliphate' and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a statement posted on Islamist websites and Twitter said on Sunday." Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy Newspapers) explains, "The proclamation was freighted with historic significance, coming one day after the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, which ended with the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. It was that result that led to the redrawing of borders in the Middle East, including the one between Syria and Iraq that the Islamic State now says no longer exists."
Is Iraq falling apart? Is this a jagged moment before it pulls together?
No one knows at this point. The story is unfolding and those who refuse to rush to tie a pretty bow around everything have a better chance at conveying the truth.
The violence is a constant. Today, National Iraqi News Agency reports an al-Ghazaliya roadside bombing left 1 person dead and seven more injured, an al-Sjaria attack left police Chief Hammad al-Fahdawi and 3 of his bodyguards killed, an al-Mansuiryya battle left two police members and one civilian injured, a Bashir Village battle left eight Peshmerga injured and 1 rebel dead (five more rebels injured), security forces say they killed 4 suspects "in the Lakes Region of Alexandria," Iraqi Armed Forces spokesperson Qassim Atta declared they had killed 142 suspects in Salah al-Din, a Baghdad sticky bombing left 1 person dead and another injured, a Kirkuk battle left 1 security volunteer dead and seven more injured, and 1 police member was shot dead "south of Baghdad."
In less than 48 hours, there is supposed to be the emerging steps to a solution. US President Barack Obama has said that the situation requires a political solution, not a military one. He said that despite shipping 75 Hellfire missiles to Iraq.
Tuesday, Iraq is supposed to hold a parliamentary session which many feel could form a new government (elections were April 30th). Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi is the head of the Muttahiddon Caolition -- a Sunni coaltion. NINA reports the party's spokesperson Talal Khudair Zobaie has stated their attendance is dependent upon whether or not the Sunni demands are met. Al Mada notes, in Vatican City, Pope Francis declared in Sunday Mass that Iraq must work to preserve the country by forming a national unity government.
Baghdad, 29 June 2014 – As the newly elected Council of Representatives is expected to convene on 1st July 2014, the UN encourages all representatives to attend the session to undertake their constitutional duties. UNAMI issued the following today:
“The new Parliament should immediately engage in addressing the political, security, social and humanitarian concerns of all communities in Iraq”, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG) Mr. Nickolay Mladenov today said.
“The first and most important step is the election of a Speaker”, Mr. Mladenov continued. He added “once this is done, the Parliament should promptly elect a President and approve a new Government, as stipulated in the Constitution. Any delay in the process, caused by a lack of quorum or unwillingness to show compromise will be detrimental to the country’s future”.
“Faced with a national crisis, the political leaders of Iraq should put the interests of the country and its people before everything else”, Mr. Mladenov concluded.
Dar Addustour observes the first session since elections is threatened and may not take place. NINA adds:
The coalitions / United for Reform /, / National /, / al- Arabiya / and / Loyalty to Anbar / agreed on Sunday the need that the National Alliance to provide a candidate for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers for the leadership of the new policy of the government and overcome the policies that led to the crises experienced by Iraq.
A statement by the coalition / united for reform / said that Osama Nujaifi received this evening, Saleh al-Mutlaq, head of al- / Arabiya / coalition and the delegation accompanying him, and Qasim al-Fahdawi head / Loyalty to Anbar / block and members of the / national / coalition.
Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reports the Kurdistan Alliance is stating it is united. NINA adds the PUK's Najim al-Deen Kareem states the post of President of Iraq belongs to the Kurds.
I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name
The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.
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