Ready to take on the world
Senior diplomat in Iraq to observe battle
US Defence Secretary Ash Carter flew into Irbil yesterday to get a closer look at the fight against ISIS in northern Iraq and likely expand his discussions about the role of Turkish troops in the region.
Carter (pictured arriving) was expected to meet with Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, as well as military commanders who are not far from the battle to retake the northern city of Mosul.
Carter spent Saturday in Baghdad getting updates from his top military leadership and meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi. He said the US is prepared to provide additional support for the fight if requested by Iraq and US commanders.
Iraqi Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, have been advancing toward Mosul from the north, moving in long columns of armoured vehicles. More than 100 US special operations forces are embedded with the Kurds and Iraqi military commandos. Mosul, however, is a Sunni majority town, and many worry about the involvement of government-sanctioned Shia fighters. But they are also suspicious of the Kurds, who have ambitions to expand their self-rule area into parts of Ninevah province, where Mosul is located – although not to the city itself.
US military officials say the Peshmerga will stop their military advance about 30km outside of Mosul and hold that territory to ensure insurgents don’t regroup. The Shia militias have said they will not enter the city itself.
ISIS captured Mosul and the surrounding area during a lightning advance across northern Iraq in the summer of 2014.
Sandy Tabet, 22, has been crowned Miss Lebanon 2016. She defeated 13 other contestants to bag the crown at Casino Du Liban in Jounieh, north of Beirut, Lebanon, on Saturday. Tabet will now represent her country at the Miss World 2016 pageant, which will take place in Washington DC, in the US, in December.