The Iraqi government has informed the United Nations that it has lost control of a former chemical weapons depot to Islamist insurgents affiliated with ISIS, or IS, and cannot carry out its obligations to destroy what’s stored in the compound.
In a letter penned by Iraq’s UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim, it was revealed that “armed terrorist groups” took over the Muthanna complex on June 11. Located north of Baghdad, the facility was the main center for chemical weapons production prior to the 1991 Gulf War, and is still home to 2,500 rockets containing the lethal nerve agent sarin.
According to the Associated Press, the compound is now in the hands of the Islamic State extremist group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In the letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Alhakim said that Iraqi officials witnessed the intruders looting some of the equipment before the surveillance system was taken offline.
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Iraq crisis: ISIS militants push towards Baghdad – live
Group claims mass killings of Iraqi troops, as militants battle security forces 50 miles from Baghdad – follow latest developments – follow latest developments
By Hannah Strange
It is impossible to confirm at present whether the ISIS claim on Twitter to have executed 1,700 Shia soldiers in Iraq is accurate, or an exaggeration intended to create fear among the Shia populace. But earlier, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, expressed “extreme alarm” at the situation and spoke of verified reports of “summary executions and extrajudicial killings”. Some of the reports cited suggest that Iraqi security forces are being purged, though it is unclear whether there is an ethnic dimension to all of the killings.
According to the UN mission in Iraq, “the number of people killed in recent days may run into the hundreds and the number of wounded is said to be approaching one thousand,” Rupert Colville, Ms Pillay’s spokesman, said in Geneva.
Officials say three planeloads of Americans are being evacuated from a major Iraqi air base in Sunni territory north of Baghdad to escape potential threats from a fast-moving insurgency.
A current U.S. official and a former senior Obama administration official say that means the American training mission at the air field in Balad has been grounded indefinitely.
Twelve U.S. personnel who were stationed at Balad were the first to be evacuated. Several hundred American contractors are still waiting to leave.
They have been training Iraqi forces to use fighter jets and surveillance drones.
Other U.S. contractors at a tank training ground in the city of Taji (TAH’-jee) is still ongoing for now.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they refused to be named in discussing the sensitive situation.
©2014 by The Associated Press.
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Statistical ambiguity society
Just how some recent events of our surface politics offer an interesting study of the deep politics
By Dr Ahsan Wagha
It started with the worst ideological polarisation promoted by the military generals in the 1970s when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was forced to invite Saudi ambassador Riaz Al-Khatib to mediate between him and the opposition, a practice that was reverberated during the Musharraf-Nawaz conflict and has almost culminated into becoming one of the basic features of our foreign policy. The phenomenon can be investigated in the background of the history of Arab colonisation of this region.
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