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

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

This morning’s key headlines from

  • 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 AnbarProvince in Iraq in preparation for an attack to retake Fallujah from the forces of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria/Sham/theLevant (ISIS orISIL), after the latter captured Fallujah and parts of Ramadi lastweek. Clashes have already begun on the outskirts of Fallujah following the ISIS capture of an army officer and four soldiers onMonday. 

The situation in Iraq began deteriorating steadily after the December2011 withdrawal of American troops without a “status of forces”agreement with Iraq’s government, headed by Shia prime minister Nourial-Maliki. The Obama administration is being blamed by Republicansfor the rapid deterioration of Iraq after the Bush administration’ssuccessful “surge” strategy and is also being blamed by families ofsoldiers who fought and died in Fallujah. President Obama is nowdesperately searching for ways to help the al-Maliki administrationprevent a complete rout. However, al-Maliki has lost credibilitybecause of his harsh treatment of and open discrimination againstSunni politicians and people. Secretary of State John Kerry says thatsome weapons may be supplied to al-Maliki, but there will be noAmerican 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 interiorminister ordered 350 police officers in Ankara from the anti-smugglingand organized crime units to positions in other departments, such asthe traffic department (where they’re presumably directing traffic somewhere in the desert). The number of transferred officers has risento 560 in the capital city Ankara alone; 400 were transferred inIstanbul, and many more were transferred in other cities. Theinterior minister is new, having taken office last month when theprevious minister was forced to resign.

Turkey was shaken last month when three ministers in the cabinet ofprime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan all resigned, one of themcalling for Erdogan’s resignation. Each minister’s son had been the target of a wide-ranging corruption investigationthat resulted in the arrest of 52 people, including bureaucrats andwell-known businessmen. The corruption investigation involvedbillions of dollars, including illegal money laundering through Iran,and bribes and kickbacks for construction projects.

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

Erdogan is trying to contain the growing scandal. He’s describedit as a “dirty plot” by his political enemies, led by former ally andnow political enemy Islamist cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has lived inself-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999. Zaman (Ankara) and BBC

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