ISIS surrounds former US air base in Iraq - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

ISIS surrounds former US air base in Iraq

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Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said no to what he called a national salvation government. (Source: FOX) Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said no to what he called a national salvation government. (Source: FOX)

BRUSSELS (FOX) - Sunni militants have taken over several small oil fields in Iraq.

ISIS launched a raid on an oil refinery, but an Iraqi military spokesman says 48 terrorists and eight commanders were killed, and the attack was repelled.

Insurgents have surrounded three sides of a huge air base - known as Camp Anaconda - when it was under U.S. occupation.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday discussed the Iraq situation with NATO ministers in Belgium.

From the lips of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in his weekly address, it sounded at first like a dramatic and defiant stand against all that the Obama administration has been trying to achieve diplomatically in the crisis-stricken country.

"The call for the formation of a national salvation government is a coup against the constitution and the political process," al-Maliki said.

However, analysts said al-Maliki's talk of a "national salvation government" was different from the "national unity government" he has pledged, at U.S. urging, to form swiftly.

Instead, the Shi'ite prime minister was said to be thwarting Baathists and others who have cited the growing menace of the Sunni insurgency, led by the advancing army known as ISIS, as a pretext for demanding greater representation in parliament than they won in the April 30 election.

Kerry was at NATO headquarters in Brussels conferring on the Russia-Ukraine dispute when he heard about al-Maliki's comments, which he indicated weren't entirely clear to him.

"[T]here was no discussion that I had with any of the leaders there regarding a so-called salvation government. What I do know is that in the prime minister's remarks today (Wednesday) he did follow through on the commitments that he made in our discussions," Kerry said.

Amid reports that Syrian fighter jets fired on ISIS positions inside of Iraq and a New York Times report alleging that Iran has been flying drones over Iraq from a Baghdad air base and has covertly shipped tons of military hardware into the country, Kerry was asked if the war in Iraq has widened.

Kerry's reply, spoken with evident weariness, referenced infiltration by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.

"Well, widened from what? Widened from five minutes ago, an hour ago, yesterday? It's been widened, obviously, in the last days with the reports of IRGC personnel, of some people from Iran being engaged in Iraq, with perhaps even some Syrian activities therein. And that's one of the reasons why government formation is so urgent..." he said.

Until now, Kerry's focus has largely been on the internal actors in Iraq's complicated politics and security environment. Now he turns his attention to the influential external actors - namely America's allies in the Persian Gulf and especially Saudi Arabia's whose foreign minister Kerry will be sitting down with in Paris, and who is said to be angling for the swift departure of Maliki.

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