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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.

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France Launches its First Air Strikes on Northern Iraq, Part of NATO-Led War III on Iraq

September 19, 2014

Editor's Note:

This is the third NATO-led war to control oil-rich Iraq after the 1991 war and the 2003 US-UK invasion and occupation of Iraq.

As a result, Millions of Iraqis were killed and injured, Millions became refugees inside and outside the country, Iraq has been dismantled as a nation state, and its social-culture structure has been destroyed.

More death and more destruction are coming!


French air strike on northern Iraq (left) and car bombing in Karrada, Baghdad (right), Sept 19, 2014


France says it launches first air strikes in Iraq

PARIS Fri Sep 19, 2014 7:30am EDT

(Reuters) -

France said on Friday its jets had launched strikes inside Iraq for the first time since the country promised to join military action against Islamic State insurgents who have taken over parts of the country.

"This morning at 9:40 (0740 GMT) our Rafale jets launched a first strike against a logistics depot of the terrorists," President Francois Hollande's office said a statement issued shortly after the raids.

The target in northeast Iraq was totally destroyed, said the statement, adding that there would be further operations "in the coming days".

Hollande told a news conference on Thursday that French air strikes were imminent and would take place once reconnaissance flights had identified targets. He said the military action would be limited to Iraq, and no ground troops would be sent.

France has expressed its willingness to be part of the military, political and financial coalition being created by the United States to defeat the Islamic State fighters controlling parts of northern Iraq and Syria.

On Monday, Paris hosted an international conference attended by the five U.N. Security Council permanent members, European and Arab states, and representatives of the EU, Arab League and United Nations. The meeting was intended to coordinate a global strategy against Islamic State group.

France began its first reconnaissance flights over Iraq on Monday.

(Reporting by Brian Love and Alexandria Sage; Editing by Catherine Evans)

U.S. vague on int'l support for anti-IS coalition

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2014 (Xinhua) --

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday defended President Barack Obama's strategy against the Islamic State (IS) but offered no new details in his opening remarks at a Congress hearing on international commitments to a coalition the administration is forming.

The House on Wednesday voted 273-156 to back Obama's plan to train and arm vetted members of the moderate Syrian opposition, but the President reiterated no use of ground troops in the anti- IS fight, now mainly relying on U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and possibly Syria and training Iraqi and Syrian local forces to fight IS on ground.

Meanwhile, as part of the U.S. anti-IS strategy, a broad international coalition hasn't yet been formally announced, causing some lawmakers to cast doubt on whether there will truly be a coalition that includes Arab countries in order to avoid giving the plan a solely Western face.

"More than 40 nations have already expressed their willingness to participate in this effort, and more than 30 nations have indicated their readiness to offer military support," Hagel told lawmakers at a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

"President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary Kerry and I and others are working to unite and expand this coalition," he added.

Hagel listed a number of countries with which U.S. officials have held discussions, saying some have pledged military support, but most of the contributors and what the contributions could be have not yet been made clear.

According to Hagel, key Western allies of U.S. are already on board, including Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Australia, and that they have already been contributing to the effort.

However, House Armed Services Committee member Adam Smith said "without Muslim and Arab partners, ISIL would seek to paint themselves as protecting Islam against Western aggression."

"To win this fight, we have got to find partners, Muslim partners, in the case of ISIL, Arab partners," Smith said.

Hagel explained that "all 22 nations of the Arab League adopted a resolution at their summit in Cairo calling for comprehensive measures to combat ISIL."

In addition, Hagel called on more nations to make contributions next week at the UN General Assembly and at a meeting Obama would chair.

According to a statement released Thursday by the U.S. Central Command, since Aug. 8, U.S. fighter aircraft have conducted a total of 176 airstrikes across Iraq.

Editor: yan

Norway to send five military officers to U.S. for IS fight plan

OSLO, Sept. 18, 2014 (Xinhua) --

Norway on Thursday announced the decision to send five military officers to the United States to work out together with their American counterparts what Norway can contribute to the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq.

The five staff officers could be the start of a wider Norwegian contribution to the international coalition against IS, the Norwegian news agency NTB reported.

Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said at a press conference that the officers will join in the planning of a U.S.-led military coalition and consider what Norway's contribution may be.

"Typically there will be assistance in training security forces," Soereide said at the joint press conference with the Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende.

Brende said that Norway wants to be a leader in humanitarian work in Iraq.

The United States has asked its allies for military support to form a coalition force against the IS.

Editor: yan

Iraq PM opposes foreign soldiers

Arab News, September 19, 2014


Iraq’s prime minister strongly rejected the idea of the US or other nations sending ground forces to his country to help fight the Islamic State group, saying Wednesday that foreign troops are “out of the question.”

In his first interview with foreign media since taking office on Sept. 8, Haider Al-Abadi told The Associated Press that the US aerial campaign currently targeting the militants who have overrun much of northern and western Iraq has helped efforts to roll back the Sunni extremists.

He also urged the international community to go after the group in neighboring Syria, saying the battle will prove endless unless the militants are wiped out there as well.

But Al-Abadi, a Shiite lawmaker who faces the enormous task of trying to hold Iraq together as a vast array of forces threaten to rip it apart, stressed that he sees no need to send foreign troops to help fight the Islamic State group. “Not only is it not necessary,” he said, “We don’t want them. We won’t allow them. Full stop.”

Al-Abadi’s comments provided a sharp rebuttal to remarks a day earlier by the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee that American ground troops may be needed to battle Islamic State forces if President Barack Obama’s current strategy fails.

“The only contribution the American forces or the international coalition is going to help us with is from the sky,” Al-Abadi said. “We are not giving any blank check to the international coalition to hit any target in Iraq.” 

First French airstrike destroys depot of Islamic State in Iraq: Hollande

Associated Press, September 19, 2014


Joining U.S. forces acting in Iraqi skies, France conducted its first air strike Friday against the militant Islamic State group, destroying a logistics depot that it controlled, the French presidency said.

Rafale fighter jets involved in the mission struck the depot in northeastern Iraq on Friday morning, and the target was “entirely destroyed,” President Francois Hollande’s office said in a statement.

“Other operations will follow in the coming days,” the statement said, without elaborating on the type of material at the depot or its exact location.

With the strike, France becomes the first foreign country to publicly add military muscle to United States air strikes against the group, which has drawn criticism around the world and in a unanimous UN Security Council resolution for its barbarity.

U.S. Central Command said Thursday the U.S. military has conducted 176 air strikes in Iraq since Aug. 8. On Wednesday, it hit a militant training camp southeast of Mosul and an ammunition stockpile southeast of Baghdad. It has also conducted a number of strikes this week in Iraq’s Anbar province, near the strategic Haditha Dam.

The French air strike took place while U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was in France for meetings with his counterpart, Gen. Pierre de Villiers. The two men were visiting an American military cemetery in Normandy, on the English Channel, when the French strike took place.

Dempsey, who was told of the attack by de Villiers, praised the French action, saying it hit a target north of Mosul. He did not specify.

“The French were our very first ally and they are there again for us,” Dempsey told reporters travelling with him in Normandy. “It just reminds me why these relationships really matter.”

At a news conference a day earlier, Hollande said France had agreed to “soon” conduct air strikes requested by Iraq to bolster its fight against the militants who have captured swaths of the country.

He stressed that France wouldn’t go beyond air strikes in support of the Iraqi military or Kurdish Peshmerga forces, and wouldn’t attack targets in Syria, where the Islamic State group has also captured territory.

French jets on Monday began flying reconnaissance missions over Iraq involving Rafales and an ATL2 surveillance plane, military spokesman Col. Gilles Jaron said. 


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