Home > News > World
Friday March 28, 2014 MYT 8:45:02 AM
Friday March 28, 2014 MYT 8:45:57 AM
by mirjam donath
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations on Thursday warned about Islamist militant networks increasingly forging links across the border of Syria and Iraq, which is fuelling sectarian tensions in a region that has suffered from years of bloodshed.
Violence in Iraq reached new highs in 2013, when nearly 8,000 civilians were killed. Its political elite remains deeply divided along sectarian lines, as it has been since after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq 11 years ago this month.
"The ongoing conflict in Syria has added a regional dimension to sectarian tensions and is affording terrorist networks the occasion to forge links across the border and expand their support base," U.N. special envoy to Iraq Nickolay Mladenov told the 15-nation Security Council.
He said that the combination of a divided leadership in Iraq, unresolved constitutional issues between communities and the growing militant threat coming from Syria have created a situation that is "fragile and explosive."
Since the U.S. military pulled out of Iraq last year hundreds of Iraqis have been killed in attacks, mostly in suicide bombings that are believed to be orchestrated by Islamist groups. Such bombings occur virtually every day.
In neighbouring Syria over 140,000 people have died in a three-year-old civil war, while 2.5 million have fled the fighting, many of them to other countries. The United Nations says Islamist militant groups in Syria linked to al Qaeda are killing civilians and preventing aid delivery.
Mladenov said the only way Iraqis can stop the violence is through a political process that will bridge differences, increase development and make the government more inclusive.
"You cannot resolve the problem of violence of terrorism simply by security measures," he said. "You need to look at the inclusion of communities and decision making. You need to look at the economic development and the protection of human rights, the rule of law."
But Mladenov was not optimistic.
"The signs are not promising for an early resolution of the crisis," he added.
Insight - Fuelled by Syria war, al Qaeda bursts back to life in Iraq
Thousands of Shi'ites ready to fight in Syria - Iraqi
Gunmen kill pro-Assad figure in Lebanon as Syria war spreads
Al Qaeda's rise in northern Syria leaves Turkey in a dilemma
Insight - After Assad, Syria democrats learn to fear Qaeda
Baby killed when Palestinian drives into Jerusalem train stop-police
At least three drugs smugglers killed in attack along Egypt border-Israel
Iraqi Kurds approve sending fighters to aid Syrian town
Canada's parliament attacked, soldier fatally shot nearby
Drugmakers to join forces to make millions of Ebola vaccine doses
Exclusive - EU earmarks $250 million to help develop Ebola vaccines: sources
Chewing too much hassle? Japan's got just the thing
Peace declared between Platini, Hayatou
Banking group spreads festive joy
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)