Iraq PM blames ‘conspiracy’ for security failure
PM says a conspiracy is to blame for a security failure that allowed ISIS fighters to seize control of Iraq's second city of Mosul
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Wednesday a "conspiracy" had led to the massive security failure in the Sunni-dominated Ninevah province that allowed militants aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) to seize the country's second largest city of Mosul.
He did not say what party was behind the conspiracy, choosing to focus instead on plans to fight back against ISIS, which seized large swathes of Mosul on Tuesday.
"Today, the important thing is that we are working to solve the situation," a stern-faced al-Maliki said.
"We are making preparations and we are regrouping the armed forces that are in charge of clearing Ninevah from those terrorists."
The stunning assault by the Al-Qaida-inspired group saw black banner-waving insurgents raid government buildings, push out security forces and capture military vehicles as residents fled for their lives.
Mosul is the capital of Ninevah province. It and the neighboring Sunni-dominated province of Anbar share a long and porous border with Syria, where ISIS is also active.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the fall of the major northern city to insurgents must push the country's leaders to work together and deal with the "serious, mortal threat" facing Iraq.
Speaking on the sidelines of a diplomatic meeting in Athens, he said Iraqi troops and forces belonging to the Kurdish region's government could work together to push the insurgents out.
"We can push back on the terrorists ... and there would be a closer cooperation between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government to work together and try to flush out these foreign fighters," he said.
Mosul residents reached by The Associated Press Wednesday said gunmen went around knocking on their doors, reassuring locals they would not be harmed and urging civil servants to return to work.
The situation appeared calm but tense, said the residents, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity out of concerns for their safety.
In an eastern section of the city, 34-year-old Ali Sameer said mosques in his neighborhood were calling on people to return to work, especially those in public services.
Mosul's fall was a heavy defeat for al-Maliki amid a widening insurgency by ISIS.
The group has been advancing in both Iraq and Syria, capturing territory in a campaign to set up a militant enclave straddling the border.
Al-Maliki has pressed parliament to declare a state of emergency over the Mosul attack.
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