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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/1/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Iraq military fails in advance north

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) declared that its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was now caliph of the Mulsim world, and that the territory the group has conquered in Iraq and Syria is a new Islamic state.

Members of Iraq's military special forces outside Tikrit.

Members of Iraq's military special forces outside Tikrit.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/1/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: International, Middle East, Iraq


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The last time a Caliph was recognized was over 90 years ago, when the last Ottoman sultan was deposed after World War One, and this new turn is worrying international leaders about the stability of the Middle East.

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"He is the imam and caliph for Muslims everywhere," said the group's spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani in an online statement posted on June 29.

This announcement comes at the start of the Muslim's holy month of Ramadan, and follows a three-week offensive by ISIS militants which has claimed dozens of towns and cities in Iraq's north and west.

The new caliphate aims to erase borders created by Great Britain in the mid-20th century and defy the U.S. and Iranian backed government of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Malaki in Baghdad.

The Sunni based caliphate also threatens al-Qaeda's global leadership, who disavowed ISIS earlier this year for being too extreme.

Outside Sunni majority nations like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have been accused of aiding ISIS, and Iraq has appealed to international aid in fighting the group.

"This declaration is a message by [ISIS] not only to Iraq or Syria but to the region and the world. The message is that [ISIS] has become a threat to all countries," said Iraqi army spokesman Qassim Atta. "I believe all countries, once they read the declaration, will change their attitudes because it orders everybody to be loyal to it."

The United States has been on top of the situation, sending in military advisers, and President Barack Obama has considered using limited drone strikes.

Iraq's military, with the aid of Shi'ite militias, have managed to stop the militants about 40 miles short of the capital, but have thus far been unable to retake territory that was lost. A late June attempt to retake Tikrit, the home of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, failed, and the militants continue to battle with military personal.

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