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.
ISIS seizes Turkish consulate in Iraq’s MosulIraqi PM blames a 'massive security failure' for the fall of swathes of territory to ISIS Middle East
Maliki offers to arm citizens willing to fight ISISAl-Qaeda-inspired militants have taken control of Iraq’s second biggest city Mosul and parts of the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk Middle East
Will ISIS also seize Baghdad?Iraq’s former president Saddam Hussein and late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden must be laughing in their graves Middle East
Assad tops list of ICC war crimes suspectsThe list included members of Syria’s military and political elite plus Islamist groups ISIS and al-Nusra Front Middle East
1300GMT: ISIS scores biggest victory in IraqNews Bulletins
Residents of Iraq’s Mosul flee unrestThousands have fled Mosul toward Kurdish-controlled areas as ISIS takes control of key points in the northern Iraqi city Middle East
ISIS, ISIS Baby! Jihadists sing for ‘brothers’ISIS releases a music video calling for the release of fellow Islamists detained in Lebanon’s largest prison facility, Roumieh Middle East
45 dead in clashes between Syria Jihadists: activistsFresh fighting between ISIS and Nusra Front in Syria kills at least 45 fighters, activists say Middle East