Friday, May 22, 2015

Haider al-Abadi returns to Iraq as the Islamic State seizes control of another border

Jet setter Haider al-Abadi is back in Iraq.  All Iraq News notes he exited Russia as quickly as he entered turning it into a one day visit.  The itinerary was brief, apparently containing only 3 target goals: 1) beg for weapons, 2) try to increase oil and gas deals and 3) get on Russia's good side by insulting the United States.

His return comes as Scott Neuman (NPR) reports:

Fighters of the self-declared Islamic State have seized the last border crossing in Syria, where they control half of the country, according to a British-based monitoring group.

Syrian government forces withdrew from al-Tanf, known as al-Waleed in Iraq, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The border crossing lies at the extreme northwest of Iraq's border with Syria.

BBC News adds:

The BBC's Jim Muir says that the militants, demonstrating the extraordinary momentum they have shown in the past, have not been content to sit and savour the major gains they have made in recent days.
The seizure of al-Tanf, in Syria's Homs province, enables IS to link up its positions in east-central Syria more directly with the ground they hold in Iraq's western Anbar province, he notes.

Now that Haider's back in Iraq, he's ready to get back to work -- or something passing for it.

Ramadi fell to the Islamic State over the weekend.  Alsumaria reports Haider has announced there will be an investigation into the fall.  Yes, a real leader would've made that announcement on Sunday or Monday.

The Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubouri is in Jordan at a conference.  Alsumaria notes he declared today that it is a mistake to focus only on the military and that confronting the Islamic State requires also conducting reform -- political and social reform.  (Parliament is on a break until Saturday when it's due to resume sessions.)

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