Middle East

Iraq PM dismisses senior security commanders

Iraqi tribesmen carry their weapons as they gather to show their readiness to join Iraqi security forces in the fight against Jihadist militants who have taken over several northern Iraqi cities on June 16, 2014 in the capital Baghdad. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki dismissed several senior security force commanders on Tuesday in the face of a week-old militant offensive that has overrun swathes of the country.

Those dismissed included Staff Lieutenant General Mahdi al-Gharawi, the top commander for the northern province of Nineveh, the first to fall in the assault.

One other senior officer army officer will face court-martial for desertion, the premier said in a statement read on state television.

A major offensive by militants, spearheaded by jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant but involving other groups, overran all of Nineveh and chunks of three more provinces in a matter of days.

Security forces performed poorly during the initial days of the assault, in some cases shedding uniforms and abandoning vehicles to flee.

They seem to have recovered somewhat from the shock of the onslaught, retaking some areas, but the militants continue to gain ground elsewhere.





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