M A I N   N E W S

Militants close in on Baghdad
Iraq upheaval may hit global oil markets
UN warns crisis ‘life-threatening’
US, Iran step in

US deploys 275 troops
The US is deploying up to 275 military personnel in Iraq to protect its citizens and property. President Barack Obama is also considering options such as carrying out air strikes.

Baghdad, June 17
Militants pushed a week-long offensive that has overrun swathes of Iraq to within 60 km of capital Baghdad today. The crisis, which has displaced thousands of people, threatens to disrupt global oil markets and raises serious concerns over security forces’ ability to halt the insurgents’ march on the capital.

Iraq's Kurds have established control over the northern city of Kirkuk and its oil reserves and achieved their "dream of a greater Kurdistan", the chairman of Iraq's oil and gas committee said today.

Adnan al-Janabi, a senior Sunni politician, said the Iraqi army did not have the capability to take the areas back. “Kurdistan of Iraq includes parts of Kirkuk, Diala, Salahuddin... They are already there, already running the place and I don't think anyone will challenge them,” he said.

Meanwhile, India has sounded suppliers in the Middle East and elsewhere to buy additional crude in case supplies from its second-largest supplier (after Saudi Arabia) are disrupted.

"There was some spurt in oil prices in the immediate aftermath of breakout of violence in Iraq but supplies have not been disrupted as yet and even prices have declined," an Oil Ministry official said.

The UN has warned that the country's very existence is under threat. Iraqi officials have insisted they are making progress in repelling the fighters, who are led by the powerful Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group, but have continued to lose ground.

Officials today said the fighters briefly held areas of Baquba, near Baghdad, and took control of most of Tal Afar, a strategic Shiite-majority town in north Iraq that lies along a crucial corridor to Syria. The overnight attack on Baquba, which was pushed back by security forces, marked the closest that fighting has come to the capital.

PM fires four officers

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki fired four of his top security officers on Tuesday for abandoning their "professional and military duty" a week after the fall of the northwest city of Mosul.

Obama to consult Senators

US Senator Mitch McConnell said President Barack Obama had invited leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives to the White House on Wednesday for a meeting on Iraq. The US also said they were open to further talks with Iran on Iraq. — Agencies





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