NEW YORK, June 20 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Friday military strikes against Sunni militants in Iraq could be ineffective and backfire, urging feuding communities of the country to get united to fight against terrorists who have captured a vast area of the country's territory.
Secretary-General Ban addressed the Iraq crisis in a speech to the Asia Society on Syria Friday.
The U.N. chief also denounced sectarian fighting and the reprisals that follow, urging the Iraqi government and its supporters not to retaliate against Sunni communities in revenge for attacks by the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The Iraqi government has sought U.S. airstrikes to stem the insurgency by Sunni extremists who are pressing toward Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. President Barack Obama has held off for now, but on Thursday he announced the U.S. is prepared to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to train, advise and support Iraqi forces in their fight against insurgency. He stressed that American forces would not be returning to combat in Iraq.
Ban warned that "military strikes against ISIL might have little lasting effect or even be counter productive if there is no movement towards inclusive government in Iraq."
Calling sectarian warfare is "a disaster for all," Ban said it is imperative that the Iraqi government and its supporters avoid reprisals against Sunni communities.
"The Sunni extremists of (ISIL) are trying to show that the governments in Baghdad, Iran, and the United States are working together to support atrocities against Sunnis," Ban said. "This would help them mobilize support from the Sunni majority that does not share the extremists' agenda. It is essential that the government of Iraq and its supporters do everything possible to avoid falling into this trap."
The secretary-general said arms and fighters have crossed the porous border between Syria and Iraq and he urged religious and political leaders from the region to call for restraint and avoid further sectarian violence.
Dealing with the regional threat from extremists was one of six points in the secretary-general's new blueprint to address the Syrian conflict. Now in its fourth year, Ban said the death toll from the "horrific" war may be well over 150,000 and half the country's more than 22 million people have been displaced from their homes.
Ban urged the international community to act and called for a U. N. arms embargo on all parties in the Syrian conflict, demanding that foreign powers and groups halt military support to the combatants.
WASHINGTON, June 19 (Xinhua) -- The United States is prepared to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to train, advise and support Iraqi forces in their fight against insurgency, U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday.
While reiterating that American forces would not be returning to combat in Iraq, Obama said the U.S. is ready to take "targeted" and "precise" military actions "if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it." Full story
WASHINGTON, June 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to the Middle East and Europe for talks on the Iraqi crisis, the State Department said on Friday.
Kerry will consult with U.S. partners and allies on measures to support security, stability, and the formation of an inclusive government in Iraq, said Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman. Full story