June 15, 2014
Shia militia: 'Isis will not take Baghdad' (Martin Chulov, 6/14/14, The Observer)
The city's collective relief stemmed from three live television addresses, only one of them made by an Iraqi. On Friday, President Barack Obama said enough to convince most that he would soon send US jets to deal with the insurgents at the gates. Hours later the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, said an alarmed Iran, which is overwhelmingly Shia, would send whatever it took to stem the insurgent Sunni tide. The alliance of common interests was perceived as a rebuff to Isis (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), a jihadist group so hardline it was disowned by al-Qaida. Isis has been rampaging through the country, pledging to rewrite the region's borders.But it was a religious cleric who succeeded in steeling Iraqis for a fightback. The call to arms by the highest Shia authority in the land, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, mobilised in less than one day around a division of militia men who, unlike the military, will not run from a fight with the insurgents.
Posted by Orrin Judd at June 15, 2014 7:29 AM
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