08/09/2014 12:53 pm ET Updated Oct 09, 2014

UN Security Council Discusses Resolution To Cripple Islamic State


By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 9 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council is negotiating a draft resolution to tackle Islamic State militants by financially weakening the jihadi Islamist group, stopping a flow of foreign fighters, and threatening sanctions on those who recruit and help the group.

Islamic State militants control a third of Syria's territory and have captured wide swathes of northern Iraq since June, declaring a caliphate.

The group has executed non-Sunni Muslim captives, displacing tens of thousands of people and drawing the first U.S. airstrikes in the region since Washington withdrew troops in 2011. In a boost to funding their operations they have seized hundreds of millions of dollars from banks and captured five oil fields.

The British-drafted Security Council resolution, obtained by Reuters, would condemn direct or indirect trade with Islamic State and al Qaeda's Syrian wing Nusra Front and warns sanctions could be imposed on those who do, urging states to submit names of individuals and entities believed to support the groups.

The initial draft text, which the 15 council members first discussed on Friday, names Islamic State leaders to be sanctioned with an international asset freeze and travel ban.

The resolution could be voted on later this week, said Britain's U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant. Britain initially aimed to adopt the resolution by the end of the month, but accelerated its plan after Islamic State fighters surged toward the capital of the Kurdish region in Iraq.

U.N. diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the council appeared unified in the face of the biggest threat to Iraq, a major oil exporter, since Saddam Hussein was toppled by a U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The Islamic State group, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has long been blacklisted by the U.N. Security Council - subjecting it to an asset freeze and arms embargo - while Nusra Front was added this year.

The draft resolution "calls upon all Member States to take national measures to suppress the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to ISIL, ANF (Nusra Front) and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with al Qaeda."

The council resolution would ask U.N. experts - charged with monitoring violations of the council's al Qaeda sanctions regime - to report "within 90 days on the threat posed by ISIL, its sources of arms and funding, and recommendations for additional action to address the threat."

The draft resolution is under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which gives the council authority to enforce decisions with economic sanctions or military force. However it does not mandate the use of military force to tackle the militants. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Frances Kerry)



08/16/2014 6:17 PM EDT

US Military: Fighters, Drone Aircraft Strike Militants In N Iraq

08/16/2014 6:07 PM EDT

Kurdish Officials Say 300 Killed In Friday 'Massacre'

Correspondent for Britain's The Sunday Times Hala Jaber reports that Kurdish and Yazidi officials say the death toll from the Islamic State's attack on the Iraq village of Kocho on Friday is higher than previously estimated. A Kurdish official initially said around 80 people lost their lives.

08/16/2014 5:57 PM EDT

British PM: Islamic State Militants Could Target UK

08/16/2014 4:49 PM EDT

NYT Correspondent Recounts Iraq Helicopter Crash

New York Times correspondent Alissa J. Rubin tells her story inside the Iraqi helicopter that crashed on the Sinjar mountains on Tuesday while attempting to rescue stranded Yazidis.

Rubin was wounded in the crash and dictated the article from her hospital bed in Istanbul, the newspaper notes.

Read her moving account on The New York Times here.

08/16/2014 2:23 PM EDT

Iraq Refugees Learn Of Yazidi Massacre

The BBC's Yalda Hakim reports from a refugee camp in Dohuk on how the Yazidi community learned of an alleged massacre by Islamic State militants in Iraq.

Watch the BBC report here.

08/16/2014 1:03 PM EDT

U.S. Provides Air Support To Kurdish Offensive

Kurdish forces, supported by U.S. warplanes, are battling to recaptured Iraq's largest dam from Islamic State militants, Agence France Presse reports.

More from AFP:

Kurdish forces attacked the Islamic State fighters who wrested the Mosul dam from them a week earlier, a general told AFP.

"Kurdish peshmerga, with US air support, have seized control of the eastern side of the dam" complex, Major General Abdelrahman Korini told AFP, saying several jihadists had been killed.

08/16/2014 12:54 PM EDT

The Kurdish Iraqi leader has appealed to Germany for weapons to battle the advancing Islamic State, Reuters reports.

From Reuters:

Germany has shied away from direct involvement in military conflicts for much of the post-war era and a survey conducted for Bild am Sonntag newspaper indicated that almost three quarters of Germans were against shipping weapons to the Kurds.

But Germany's defense minister has said the government was looking into the possibility of delivering military hardware.

Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, said the Kurds needed more than the humanitarian aid that Germany began sending on Friday to support people forced to flee their homes by the Sunni militant group's advance.

"We also expect Germany to deliver weapons and ammunition to our army so that we can fight back against the IS terrorists," Barzani told German magazine Focus. He said they needed German training and what they lacked most were anti-tank weapons.

08/16/2014 11:38 AM EDT

U.S.-Backed Kurds Attempt To Recapture Mosul Dam

08/16/2014 11:14 AM EDT

Airstrikes Target Islamic State After Reports Of Yazidi Massacre

The Associated Press reports:

Airstrikes pounded the area around Iraq's largest dam on Saturday in an effort to drive out militants who captured it earlier this month, as reports emerged of the massacre of some 80 members of the Yazidi religious minority by Islamic extremists.

Residents living near the Mosul Dam told The Associated Press that the area was being targeted by airstrikes, but it was not immediately clear whether the attacks were being carried out by Iraq's air force or the U.S., which last week launched an air campaign aimed at halting the advance of the Islamic State group across the country's north.

The extremist group seized the dam on the Tigris River on Aug. 7. Residents near the dam say the airstrikes killed militants, but that could not immediately be confirmed. The residents spoke on condition of anonymity out of fears for their safety.

08/15/2014 6:31 PM EDT

U.S. May Speed Up Aid To Iraq Despite Billions Already Spent

The United States may accelerate economic and military aid to Iraq now Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has stood down, Reuters reports.

U.S. officials first want assurances that the Iraqi government has moved away from the sectarian policies of al-Maliki's administration, according to the news agency.

Read the full story here.