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Obama calls on ME allies not to assist Syrian Sunni rebels

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama asked his Middle Eastern allies to stop supporting Iraq’s advancing rebels the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) in an apparent tactical change.

“We’re going to have to be vigilant generally. Right now the problem with Isis is the fact that they’re destabilising the country,” he said.

“That could spill over into some of our allies like Jordan.”

Secretary of State John Kerry used his brief visit to Egypt en route to Jordan to say that Washington was discouraging Arab nations from sending financial support to even moderate opposition Sunni groups in Syria.

The US fear was that the aid could be used to help the growing insurgency in Iraq.

Mr Kerry said that he had delivered that message to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi during their meeting in Cairo and that he planned to make the same case to other leaders in Sunni-dominated Arab states over the next several days.

He said that the region’s security was facing a critical moment as Isis gained ground in Iraq.

Both Mr Kerry and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said it was up to Iraqis to decide their leaders, but at the same time they insisted that Baghdad should create an inclusive government if it hoped to quell the violence.

Shi’ite Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki’s discrimination and hostility against Sunni interests bore predictable bitter fruit yesterday as Isis continued its headlong offensive through western Iraq.

Its forces captured two border crossings yesterday — one with Jordan at Turaibil and another with Syria at al-Walid.

The seizures followed the fall since Friday of the towns of Qaim, Rawah, Anah and Rutba, all of which are in the Sunni-dominated Anbar province, where Isis has controlled the city of Fallujah and parts of the provincial capital Ramadi since January.

The capture of Rawah on the Euphrates River and the nearby town of Anah appeared to be part of a march toward a key dam in the city of Haditha, the destruction of which would damage the country’s electrical grid and cause flooding.


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