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This is BBC World News Today with me, Philippa Thomas.
Baghdad has formally called on the United States to launch air
North of Baghdad, the two sides have been fighting for control of Iraq's
Iraq's Prime Minister vows to drive back Islamist militants.
Meanwhile, President Hamid Karzai tells the BBC the escalating
sectarian violence in Iraq will not be repeated in Afghanistan.
Also coming up: Ending his reign with a hug and a kiss. Spain's King
Spain's King Juan Carlos signs the abdication act that will give
The throne to his son. And I am Jon Sopel in Brazil, where
the Netherlands look certain to progress after beating Australia,
which means Spain, the world champions, must avoid defeat to
ensure staying in. The Iraqi Government has formally
called on the United States to strikes against jihadist militants.
A battle is being waged over Iraq's biggest oil refinery as extremists
and government forces fight to take control.
The government claims it has now driven out ISIS extremists from the
refinery which lies about 100 miles north of the capital Baghdad in the
town of Baiji. But some rebels have claimed they hold three-quarters of
the plant. The Iraqi Prime minister Nouri
Maliki has again urged his countrymen, in a televised speech,
to unite against ISIS. My colleague Yalda Hakim is charting
the progress of the ISIS forces from Irbil in northern Iraq, not far from
Mosul, the first city to fall in Yalda, over to you.
Well, we spent the day on the outskirts of Irbil, 40 minutes away
from Mosul, which is where the insurgents in ISIS are at the moment
and have control. We saw so many people leaving Mosul for a safe
haven in Irbil. There are concerns this could lead to all-out sectarian
war, the kind of fighting we saw in 2006 and 2007. Across the country,
the battlefield keeps changing and the situation is very fluid at the
moment. Just south of Kirkup, in bhaji, there has been fighting
between Sunni insurgents and the Army -- Baiji.
Another day, and another assault by ISIS.
These images seemed to show the Sunni extremists triumphantly
entering Baiji, around 100 miles from the capital,
and making the most of the military equipment they have
Baiji is home to Iraq's largest oil refinery and in the past 24 hours,
We can't verify these images but they appear to show smoke rising
We were taken by the government to the west of Baghdad.
To see their special forces in action.
They were carrying out vehicle checks.
They appeared well armed and equipped
and said they were already battle hardened and ready to take on ISIS.
We fight them in Ramadi, Fallujah, we fight in Samarra too
So any time, you know, anywhere, we go and we fight them.
Do you think they will come to Baghdad?
This is a carefully choreographed media opportunity by the Iraqi
government to show off their best troops, their special forces
and to underline that they are in control of the capital Baghdad.
The reality is, though, that ISIS is still fighting
These are the latest volunteers for the Iraqi army.
They are still learning to march and how to fire their weapons.
And so far, government forces have proved unable to halt the advance
There is still evidence too of a sectarian divide.
They are chanting the name of the leading Shia cleric.
Yet Iraq's Prime Minister, addressing the nation,
still insists that despite failings, they are united.
TRANSLATION: Not every setback is a defeat.
This has allowed Iraq to recovered national unity.
This has allowed Iraq to recover national unity.
Not a single Iraqi would benefit from this crisis.
Only the terrorists will benefit and those who trade in arms.
Those who start the fire are burned by fire.
But if anyone thought ISIS was a disorganised, disparate group,
here is some evidence to make them think again.
This is their annual report for 2013, a slick document that
boasts of over 1,000 assassinations and more than 500 car bombings.
For Iraq, it is now a fight for survival.
Here, Kurdish militia are seen taking
Even if they can be defeated, ISIS has already opened up a sectarian
Today in Irbil, we have been hearing about people returning to Mosul,
trying to find some normality in their lives, but the crisis in Iraq
continues. Back to you in London. Yalda, thank you very much, from
Irbil in northern Iraq. With me in this year is professor Ali Ansari, a
specialist on Iran from the University of St Andrews in
Scotland, and joining me from Washington is David Gordon, head of
research with the Eurasia Group. He's worked at the highest levels
of foreign and national security, including the US State Department
and the National Intelligence Council.
Welcome both to world news today. -- World News Today. President Obama is
talking through with congressional leaders right now whether there
should be as strikes? Right, and I think the president's intention is
to walk what is going to be very tough line to walk. On the one
hand, I think that the United States is extremely worried about ISIS and
about the prospect of ISIS carving out large sections of northern and
western Iraq as an area that is a no-go zone for governing. On the
other hand, I think the president is very wary about getting involved
directly in what is increasingly looking like a sectarian civil war,
and so I think that the military option is that the United States is
going to get to hear are really going to focus on degrading ISIS and
particularly the ISIS leadership capabilities through drone strikes
and such activities, rather than engagement in the actual military
campaign on the side of the Iraqi government. Ali Ansari, if the US is
seen to be making common cause with Iran on tying to -- trying to
degrade ISIS, that will cause political problems in Washington
too. Is it likely to happen? This is not entirely new, we have seen
similar conflicts of interest with the Taliban in Afghanistan. We have
seen it where the United States and Afghanistan, for different reasons,
have approached the same targets and it has worked, in some ways, over
the last decade, in Iran's favour but in this case, it would be
interesting to see what sort of cooperation, and I wouldn't want to
say it is direct or intimate in any way, but what it would do to the
mood in Tehran itself, because obviously they view toward the
United States in official circles has been deeply antagonistic, but
the United States could be of assistance here. He gets the point
you are talking about the object, I suppose. America is talking about in
a future Iraq and Iran would be looking towards Shia interests. I
think divergences... The immediate problem is getting rid of ISIS and
we are looking at trust building, and we had to be quite modest in
what we can expect but there is the possibility that something could
emerge from this. David Gordon, you are talking about the limited
American appetite for military intervention. If getting that limit
means turning a blind eye to what Iran is doing, saying to -- say to
protect Shia shrines, cannot work from an American perspective? I
think the US here is not going to want to be seen at or as working
directly or even in the same course as Iran, and that is what this fine
line that I was talking about before means. -- same cause. The United
States is going to engage you in a counterterrorism operation, rather
than abroad operation to support the Shia dominated government and, of
course, President Obama made very clear last week that what he is
urging on Prime Minister Maliki is to build much more consensus -based
political centre in Iraq. That is not going to happen. I mean, right
now, for Maliki, the only part way forward is to mobilise the sheer
face, both in the conventional forces and through trying to -- Shia
base, both in the conventional forces and militias that are being
formed to support the army, so I don't see any US collaboration here,
even at the level of rhetoric, with the Iranians. It is true, and Ali
Ansari is right, that both the US and Iran share an interest in
degrading ISIS, and that is true. The hope for the United States...
Let me just bring in Ali Ansari on this a game, is there an Iranian
interest in Iraq holding together or not? I think there is at the moment
and one of the reasons is that Nouri al-Maliki is seen as Iran's man
effectively, so why sees any part of -- sees any part of Iraq when you
have what you may see as a client there. What you do have in the
United States is that Nouri al-Maliki hasn't done a terribly
good job, he has been fairly exclusive and alienated the Sunnis
and it will be interesting to see if they look at this in Tehran with a
little more sober reflection and say, we have troubles in Syria,
prolonged in in a prolonged struggle there, so we don't need anything on
our doorstep even more messy, so what sort of political arrangements
do we need to need to make to make sure this doesn't happen? Ali Ansari
David Gordon, sorry to cut you off, but thank you both for your insight.
It does seem as if Iraq has erupted after a delayed three years after
the American troops left. National Intelligence Council.
Is there a danger that something similar
could happen in Afghanistan, where US troops are due to finish combat
operations by the end of this year? Every morning, President Karzai
walks to the office with bodyguards He lives and works inside this
heavily protected palace. Taliban threats mean he very
rarely leaves his fortress. The men in his security cabinet have
worked alongside NATO forces for more than a decade, but like Iraq,
foreign combat troops are pulling out and there is concern Al-Qaeda
linked groups could make a comeback. So many around the world are now
asking, Afghans are asking, whether what is happening in Iraq
could happen in Afghanistan. I am confident about the Afghan
people. Yes, we do need international
support, where we don't have That is welcome,
for that we are grateful. But the keeping of the country,
the protection of the country, This government refused to take up
the offer of a strategic pact with the United States
which would have meant a long-term But the two men vying to be the next
president have both said they will sign the deal and that could help
Afghanistan avoid some of the worst For years,
many doubted there would even be Now the president checks goodbye
letters he will soon send to foreign leaders, including this one to
David Cameron. Mr President, what are you going to
say to the British Prime Minister I will thank him,
and the British people, for the help You have said that NATO forces have
done nothing good for Afghanistan, I said, as I have done on lots
of occasions, that the war on terror was not to be fought
in Afghan villages or Afghan homes. That the real war on terror is in
the sanctuary is beyond our borders. But as far as Mr Cameron is
concerned, he has been a good friend As the president walks home, his
aides discuss her insurgents chopped off the fingers of 11 Afghans who
voted in last week's elections. " What is happening in this country?",
he sighs. As Hamid Karzai prepares to move out
of this palace with his young family, his country moves
towards an uncertain future. Without the peace he
and his allies promised planning on the lateral cease fire
this. With me is the author and Washington
Post columnist, Anne Applebaum. She's written extensively about
Eastern Europe. --unilateral My school began the
fighting in the first place. --Moscow The military operations of
Ukraine where design to defend their country rather than than to attack
people. Is this because the sanctions are hurting? I am not sure
President Putin has agreed and the Russians have been very quiet about
what the well will not do and have been trying to keep the conflict
under the radar. We know that the sanctions have had an impact, more
indirectly, on business confidence and general confidence and he may be
feeling some of that or maybe feeling that the attempt to create a
separatist movement in eastern Ukraine has failed. It is very
different to Crimea, from his point of view? We do not know how the
Crimea situation will end either. But in eastern Ukraine they have
failed to achieve what they seem to set out to achieve. There may be all
this talk about the temperatures that it depends on what separatist
this site to do? Yes, the satirists and people who are funding them and
arming them. When they cease to have that support it becomes a very
different operation. Do you think they are centrally controlled rather
than more tournaments? --autonomous? Some of them are local and are also
some from outside, from places such as Russia. All the ammunition is
coming from Russia. It may be coming from different sources but it is
coming into the country from Russia. Another thing that is coming in from
Russia may not be as gas. Yes, the dispute on gas is an old one. This
is the third time that Russia has cut off gas from the Ukraine. It is
a very conjugated negotiation involving questions of high payments
are being used and I would not wonder one to get into this. --want
to get into this. Now a look at some of the day's
other news. There's been a sharp increase
in the number of people who have died from the outbreak of Ebola
disease in west Africa. Figures from the
World Health Organisation show that in the past week a total of nearly a
hundred people were recorded to have died in the three countries affected
- Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. This compares with
a cumulative total of 337 deaths At least 21 people who were
watching a World Cup match have been killed in a bomb blast
in northern Nigeria. The attack happened in Yobe state,
with witnesses saying a suicide bomber
on a tricycle taxi in Damaturu detonated explosives as people
watched Brazil's match against China's continuing programme
of economic modernisation will open up enormous opportunities
for British firms, according to He was speaking alongside British
finance minister George Osborne on the final full day
of his visit to Britain. He described the opportunity
as "win-win co-operation." Prince Felipe of Spain becomes king
at midnight - that's four hours from now in a country still
scarred by years of economic crisis. Juan Carlos signed a bill formally
abdicating power, at the royal palace in Madrid. Our Europe
correspondent Chris Morris is in This is a last act of a man who has
been on the throne of Spain for four decades. He helped free Spain from
the dictatorship of General Franco. There was applause for the long
reign to come to an end. The king said it was time for a new
generation take over. This historic Royal palaces will soon welcomed the
new King after he is sworn in as head of state on Thursday morning.
There will be no correlation and no foreign dignitaries royalty have
been invited. It is all deliberately low-key. This is the new king, he is
46-year-old. The Royal family has been hit by scandal and the last few
years and the country buffeted by economic crisis. He will have to try
to rehabilitate the image of the monarchy as a unifying institution.
He does not have the historical baggage which is father has and will
be able to perform this role again, the idea that the monarchy can help
to keep together the different territories and peoples and the
different nations that make up the Spanish state. That is definitely a
key role for him to try to play. There are those vocal and quite
substantial minority, who want a referendum on the future of the
monarchy. Many of them are supporters of republicanism. These
are challenging times and it cannot be business as usual for the new
cane but the Spanish flags are flying and most people here seem
prepared to give the new King chance.
Day Seven of the World cup, and it's already hotting up in Brazil.
It's do-or-die for defending champions Spain and a definite
contender for goal of tournament in the early match between
Let's go to Rio and join Jon Sopel later, for the
In the latest World Cup game, which finished half an hour ago, the
two. to beat Australia by three goals to
Arjen Robben opened the scoring as he sprinted clear from halfway and
seconds before Tim Cahill responded with a stunning volley. 1-1 at
halftime. The underdogs then took the
lead as Jedinak scored for Australia from the penalty spot after Janmaat
was adjudged to have handled the ball.
Again the lead was short-lived, as
Robin Van Persie scored for the Dutch.
And it was Van Persie who scored
Coming up next, a must-win game for Spain against Chile at the
the group A game in Manaus between Cameroon and Croatia - the loser
A number of Chilean fans without tickets have stormed in the press
centre press centre. The authorities are trying to restore some order
they are but that game is due to kick off in about 35 minutes and we
will keep you fully up-to-date with that. It is really crucial for
Spain, is it not? Spain come in as the champions and the other
fantastically gifted side but they were made to look absolutely
ordinary by the Dutch when they lost five goals to one. If chilly winter
night they when --Chile win. Then they will head the group. It is
hoped that a man in a cave who was trapped underground will be back
over ground in a couple of days. Thank you for watching, now time for
the weather. Yesterday Scotland and Northern Ireland had the highest
temperature of the year so far. We have had similar temperatures today
and I have been hot and humid days across Scotland and Northern Ireland
but this has