World View: The 'Battle of Fallujah' Begins in Iraq

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  • The 'Battle of Fallujah' begins in Iraq
  • Turkey's political crisis grows as police are reassigned

The 'Battle of Fallujah' begins in Iraq

Iraqi army troops are massing around the city of Fallujah in Anbar Province in Iraq in preparation for an attack to retake Fallujah from the forces of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria/Sham/theLevant (ISIS or ISIL), after the latter captured Fallujah and parts of Ramadi last week. Clashes have already begun on the outskirts of Fallujah following the ISIS capture of an army officer and four soldiers on Monday. 

The situation in Iraq began deteriorating steadily after the December 2011 withdrawal of American troops without a "status of forces" agreement with Iraq's government, headed by Shia prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. The Obama administration is being blamed by Republicans for the rapid deterioration of Iraq after the Bush administration's successful "surge" strategy and is also being blamed by families of soldiers who fought and died in Fallujah. President Obama is now desperately searching for ways to help the al-Maliki administration prevent a complete rout. However, al-Maliki has lost credibility because of his harsh treatment of and open discrimination against Sunni politicians and people. Secretary of State John Kerry says that some weapons may be supplied to al-Maliki, but there will be no American soldiers on the ground. CBS News

Turkey's political crisis grows as police are reassigned

In what might be called a "Monday morning massacre," Turkey's interior minister ordered 350 police officers in Ankara from the anti-smuggling and organized crime units to positions in other departments, such as the traffic department (where they're presumably directing traffic somewhere in the desert). The number of transferred officers has risen to 560 in the capital city Ankara alone; 400 were transferred in Istanbul, and many more were transferred in other cities. The interior minister is new, having taken office last month when the previous minister was forced to resign.

Turkey was shaken last month when three ministers in the cabinet of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan all resigned, one of them calling for Erdogan's resignation. Each minister's son had been the target of a wide-ranging corruption investigation that resulted in the arrest of 52 people, including bureaucrats and well-known businessmen. The corruption investigation involved billions of dollars, including illegal money laundering through Iran, and bribes and kickbacks for construction projects.

On Monday, a simultaneous corruption operation in five cities across Turkey detained 25 more businessmen and state officials.

Erdogan is trying to contain the growing scandal. He's described it as a "dirty plot" by his political enemies, led by former ally and now political enemy Islamist cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999. Zaman (Ankara) and BBC

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