BAGHDAD — An al-Qaeda splinter group’s unrelenting drive across western Iraq continued virtually unabated Sunday after a series of victories expanded their access and territory in line with their aim to create an Islamic state spanning Syria and Iraq.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant captured the Turaibil border crossing with Jordan and the al-Walid crossing with Syria, witnesses and Iraqi officials confirmed. They declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the situation.
The Syrian crossing is particularly problematic as it will allow easier transport of fighters, weaponry and equipment in and out of Syria. ISIL and allies already control the Syrian side of the border crossings.
As the battles intensify, Iran’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned against U.S. intervention, telling the Iran state news agency IRNA that “Iran believes that people and government as well as religious leaders of Iraq can end the adventurism.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani included Muslim states in the warning. This after the Iraq Al-Qanoun news website, citing sources in Falluja, said militants are receiving a $700 monthly salary funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. “We stress and advise all Muslim states and all those who unfortunately help the terrorists with their money and petro dollars to know that it will be their turn tomorrow,” he said.
President Obama weighed in Sunday, telling CBS’ Face The Nation that “right now the problem with (ISIL) is the fact that they’re destabilizing the country” and could turn it into a staging area for global terrorism…. see more