Russian experts, planes arrive
Iraqi government officials said Sunday that Russian experts had arrived in Iraq to help the army get 12 new Russian warplanes into the fight against Sunni extremists.
The move was at least an implicit rebuke to the United States, where concerns in Congress about the political viability of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government have stalled sales of advanced jet and helicopter combat planes to Iraq.
Gen. Anwar Hama Ameen, the commander of the Iraqi air force, spoke of five SU-25 aircraft that were flown into Iraq aboard Russian cargo planes Saturday night and two more expected later Sunday. Ameen also said that Russian military experts would help set up the planes but that they would stay only a short time.
Israel backs Kurds’ independence
Seizing on the mayhem in Iraq, Israel’s prime minister on Sunday called for the establishment of an independent Kurdistan as part of a broader alliance with moderate forces across the region, and asserted that Israel would have to maintain a long-term military presence in the West Bank to keep a Sunni extremists from powering their way to the outskirts of Tel Aviv.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid out his positions in a policy speech that marked one of the most detailed responses by a world leader to the lightning territorial gains made in recent weeks by Sunni extremists in Iraq, and it underscored how profoundly events can ripple across an increasingly interlocked Middle East.News Services