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Expert says IS could try to take Baghdad

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town. Picture: Reuters

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town. Picture: Reuters

  • by MARTYN MCLAUGHLIN
 

THE political chaos in Iraq is threatening to open the door for extremist insurgents to seize control of Baghdad, according to a leading expert in the region.

Professor Peter Neumann, director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College London, said the government turmoil had raised the chances of the “unthinkable” scenario of Islamic State (IS) militants overrunning the capital.

He said the group was growing in number and military power and could set their sights on Jordan next as they attempt to redraw borders established in the Middle East following the fall of the Ottoman Empire 
almost a century ago.

Thousands of members of the Yazidi sect are trapped in extreme conditions after fleeing IS forces in the north, while in Baghdad security forces were active after under-fire Iraqi prime minister Nouri Maliki refused calls to step down.

Professor Neumann described the situation in the country as “very, very dangerous,” adding: “You have that power struggle in Baghdad and this is happening at a point when the whole Iraqi political establishment has to come together to confront Isis.”

 

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