Maliki welcomes Syrian air strikes on Iraq

The Guardian reports: The Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, on Thursday followed US officials in confirming that Syrian warplanes had bombed Sunni militant positions in Iraq.

The cross-border raids have deepened fears that the insurgency now spanning Syria and Iraq could become an even wider regional conflict. Maliki told the BBC he had not requested the air strikes but welcomed them.

The Syrian warplanes struck near the border crossing in the town of Qaim on Tuesday, US military officials told the Associated Press, hitting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis), which seeks to carve out a purist Islamic enclave across the Syria-Iraq border.

The White House spokesman Joshua Earnest said Washington had “no reason to dispute” the reports. Details are, however, sketchy. For its part, Syria’s state news agency denied that Damascus had carried out the attacks. It said its source “refuted allegations made by malicious media outlets who claimed that the Syrian air force shelled areas within the borders of Iraq”.

Syrian opposition activists have claimed that the al-Qaim strikes missed Isis’s main bases and killed 30 civilians. [Continue reading…]

Reuters reports: Online backers of the Sunni Islamist militants who seized swaths of Iraq this month have said that any U.S. air strikes on the fighters will lead to attacks on Americans.

U.S. President Barack Obama has offered up to 300 American advisers to Iraq to help halt the advance by militants from al Qaeda offshoot the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Washington has so far held off granting a request by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shi’ite-led government for air strikes.

A Twitter account with 21,000 followers naming itself the “League of Supporters” called for ISIL sympathizers to post messages online on Friday warning the U.S. not to carry out any strikes.

“This campaign reflects the messages sent by all the Sunni people all over the world to the American people … (It’s) a threat to every American in the event of an American strike on Iraq,” the message read.

Among hundreds of supportive responses, one user posted, “As our martyred sheikh Osama bin Laden said, you need not consult anyone about killing Americans.”

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