Saturday 27 April 2013

Middle East tension

Syria Rebels Blame Iraq for Eastern Air Strike

Fighting Rages Nationwide as Refugees Continue to Pour Out of Syria

The rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) has issued a statement today blaming the Iraqi government, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in particular, for an air strike against the eastern city of Deir Ezzor.

Local rebels say that the warplane which launched the strike was seen flying across the Iraqi border, though there are differences in opinion as to whether it was an Iraqi plane or simply a Syrian MiG that used Iraqi air space during the bombing run.

Iraq has made it a public point to attempt to stay neutral in the ongoing civil war next door, butwith some of the rebels openly tied to Iraqi militants and a sectarian fight growing in Iraq itself, there may be pressure on Maliki to back Assad more openly.

That said, while spillover violence is being experienced by multiple Syrian neighbors, this would be the first time a neighboring military directly took a role inside Syria, since even Turkey, which has been hosting the rebels, has so far refused to take the step of crossing the border.

Violence continues to be a problem nationwide in Syria, and neighbors are still struggling to cope with hundreds of thousands of refugees, civilians chased out of the country by the fighting.

Bombings, Fighting Across Iraq as Tensions Soar

Iraqiya Pushes for UN Role After Army Retakes Sunni Town

Sectarian tensions continue to soar today in Iraq, with massive Sunni protests continuing in the face of a growing military crackdown and several bombings killing dozens in the capital city of Baghdad.

The military scored a gain in the north, as tanks rolled into the Sunni town of Suleiman Beg, while militias who had been guarding the townwithdrew to the countryside.

The overall death toll for four days of fighting and violence is now in the ballpark of 300, with warnings from experts that the nation is rapidly approaching a tipping point where the sectarian civil war seen during the US occupation could begin anew.
Iraqiya, the largest party in parliament and also representative of the bulk of Iraq’s Sunni minority, is calling on the United Nations to play a bigger role in the country after the Tuesday attack on Hawija, saying that the Maliki government’s attempts to settle protests militarily need to be replaced with political negotiations.

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