Envoy urges UN to demand halt to Iraq extremists

AP News
Posted: Jul 23, 2014 2:57 PM
Envoy urges UN to demand halt to Iraq extremists

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The top U.N. envoy in Iraq urged the Security Council on Wednesday to demand that the Islamic State extremist group stop all hostilities and atrocities.

Nickolay Mladenov called on all U.N. member states to cooperate in enforcing sanctions against the al-Qaida splinter group and bring to justice "the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these horrific terrorist acts, war crimes and crimes against humanity."

He told the council by videoconference from Baghdad that the Islamic State group has taken control of about one-third of Iraq since late June and has become "a complex threat to peace and security in Iraq, the entire region and beyond."

The Sunni extremist group now controls critical infrastructure, oilfields and pipelines and is well financed with some $450 million from the Iraqi Central Bank in Mosul, the country's second-largest city. It captured Mosul early on and is cleansing the city of all Christians in its campaign to create a permanent state beyond government control "through terror and violence," Mladenov said.

"They pose a direct threat to vital infrastructure, including the Beiji refinery and a number of air bases, access to which would substantially increase their financial and security resources," Mladenov said.

The Islamic State extremists have also been joined "in a temporary alliance of convenience" by groups with different goals, including former militants from ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's ruling Baath party and Sunni tribes, some with sectarian aims and others opposed to the current government led by Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki or seeking "the overhaul of the constitutional order," he said.

The Islamic State group's use of foreign fighters, its "criminal and unjustifiable" terrorist acts, hostage-taking, kidnappings and gross human rights violations "are reasons why the Security Council should demand, in no uncertain terms, that ISIL cease all hostilities and atrocities and call upon member states to cooperate in efforts to enforce existing sanctions," he said.

Mladenov stressed that "the solution to the crisis cannot be found in the toolbox of military operations."

The secretary-general's special representative for Iraq said any security plan must be broadly accepted "across the political, sectarian and ethnic divide" and must be implemented by the Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional government.

"Everyone should stand together against terrorism," he said.

Mladenov said the impasse between Baghdad and the Kurdish capital Irbil must be solved immediately, a political roadmap must re-engage all communities in the country's decision-making process and legitimate demands from Sunnis and other groups should be addressed without delay.

Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Alhakim called for international and regional cooperation and assistance, saying it is essential to restore security and stability and fight terrorism.