posted at 07:50
Author Name: Ahmed Rasheed and Alexander Dziadosz, Reuters, Michael B. Kelley
Iraqi Army Retreats From Saddams Hometown As Assault On ISIS Falters
A Shi'ite volunteer wearing a mask, who has joined the Iraqi army to fight against the predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, looks on during a parade on a street in Kanaan, Diyala province, June 26, 2014. Insurgents brought down an army helicopter over the northern city of Tikrit on Sunday as the military sent in tanks to try to dislodge them on second day of a major pushback against a Sunni militant takeover of large stretches of Iraq. Threatened by the rebel advance, top Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers scrambled to agree cabinet nominations before parliament meets on Tuesday to try to prevent the rebel advance threatening Iraq's future as a unitary state. Iraq's top Shiite cleric has told political leaders to pick a new prime minister by Tuesday, and Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps General Qassem Soleimani - who calling the shots in Baghdad - has "a list of potential prime minister candidates for Iran's leadership to consider ... [and] is expected to return within days to inform Iraqi politicians of Tehran's favorite." Iraq's army, bolstered by Iranian Shia militias, are racing against time as Sunni insurgents who loathe Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led government consolidate their grip on the north and west. Earlier on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani, one of Iraq's most senior politicians, faulted the U.S. for not doing enough to bolster the country's military. "Faced with a national crisis, the political leaders of Iraq should put the interests of the country and its people before everything else," Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Iraq Nickolay Mladenov said in the statement. Under Iraq's governing system put in place after Saddam's overthrow, the prime minister has always been a Shi'ite, the largely ceremonial president a Kurd and the speaker of parliament a Sunni.

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