Connect with us
Advertisement

Ramadi battle: Shia militias near IS-held Iraqi city

Image from a video released by the Amaq news agency purporting to show Ramadi after Islamic State took control

Shia militias are assembling east of the Iraqi city of Ramadi to prepare for a counter-attack against Islamic State militants who captured it on Sunday.

Iraqi state TV described tanks and other military vehicles entering al-Habbaniyah military camp. IS fighters are reportedly moving towards the base.

The Iraqi government called for help from the Iran-backed militias after the military was routed and fled.

About 500 people died in the city – only 70 miles (112km) west of Baghdad.

Shia forces at Habbaniya, about 20km (12 miles) from Ramadi, were "now on standby," the head of the Anbar provincial council, Sabah Karhout, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

In a statement, the council said about 3,000 Shia fighters had arrived in Anbar to take part in "the liberation of all Ramadi areas in which IS militants took positions".

But IS militants had also advanced from Ramadi to the outskirts of the town of al-Khalidiyah, near the Habbaniyah base, an IS statement and witnesses said.

The fall of Ramadi is a disaster for the Iraqi army and government, and especially its Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi.

After the recapture of another provincial capital, Tikrit, at the end of March, he announced the start of a similar campaign to "liberate" Anbar province (the country's biggest) and flew to Ramadi to kick it off.

Now Ramadi has gone, and along with it the military command centre for the whole province. A few days before the final collapse on Sunday, Mr Abadi said he would not allow it to fall.

Now he and the largely Sunni provincial council have had to do what they didn't want – to call in the Iranian-backed Shia militias who were instrumental on the ground in recapturing Tikrit.

They will play the lead role if Ramadi is to be recaptured. Will the Americans bomb to support them, and help spread Iranian penetration and control in Iraq?

The US has said it is confident the capture of Ramadi can be reversed.

Speaking in South Korea, Secretary of State John Kerry said: "I am convinced that as the forces are redeployed and as the days flow in the weeks ahead, that's going to change."

The Shia militias, known as the Popular Mobilisation (Hashid Shaabi), were key to the recapture from IS of another city, Tikrit, north of Baghdad, in April.

But their use has raised concern in the US and elsewhere that it could provoke sectarian tension in Sunni areas such as Ramadi.

The militias pulled out of Tikrit following reports of widespread violence and looting.

In another move, the Iranian Defence Minister, Hossein Dehghan, has arrived in Baghdad on a visit arranged before the latest developments in Ramadi.

'Purged' city?

The police and military made a chaotic retreat from Ramadi, which has been contested for months, after days of intense fighting.

A statement purportedly from IS said its fighters had "purged the entire city". It said IS had taken the 8th Brigade army base, along with tanks and missile launchers left behind by troops.

An Iraqi army officer told the BBC that most troops had retreated to a military base in the city of Khalidiya, east of Ramadi, despite an order from Prime Minister Abadi for them to stand firm.

The US-led coalition says it has carried out 19 air strikes in Iraq since early on Sunday, including attacks around Ramadi.

However, they appear to have failed to hinder the IS advance there.

Reports said Iraqi forces had fled following a series of suicide car bomb attacks on Sunday.

Four almost simultaneous explosions hit police defending the Malaab district in southern Ramadi. Later, three more suicide bombers drove explosives-laden cars into the gate of the provincial military headquarters, the Anbar Operation Command, officials said.

Anbar province covers a vast stretch of the country west from Baghdad to the Syrian border, and contains key roads that link Iraq to both Syria and Jordan. Ramadi's loss is seen as a severe setback for the government.

IS reportedly controls more than half of Anbar's territory.

Some 8,000 people have been displaced by the latest bout of fighting in Ramadi, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

BBC

Continue Reading

News

BDP decides Balopi’s fate

22nd November 2021
Balopi

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading

News

BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
BDF

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading

News

Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

22nd November 2021
VENSON MOITOI

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

 

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!