Chad’s Morning Brief: Iran Steps In to Help Iraq, Lubbock City Council Meeting, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of June 13, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
Important Election Dates:
Early Voting for the District 3 Runoff Election: June 9-17
Election Day for Lubbock City Council District 3 Runoff: June 21
Iran to Help Iraq
While the Obama administration looks away, Iran will reportedly step in to help Iraq. According to FOX News, the Iranians are sending troops to Iraq to protect Baghdad.
Iran is coming to the aid of its historic nemesis, sending elite fighters to Iraq in the wake of a Sunni insurgency that has claimed two key northern cities and now threatens Baghdad, Fox News has learned.
Some 150 fighters from the Revolutionary Guards elite Quds force have already been dispatched by Tehran, and the division’s powerful commander, Qassem Suleimani, met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Thursday and pledged to send two notorious Iranian brigades to aid in the defense of Baghdad. That could amount to as many as 10,000 soldiers sent to fight the Sunni group known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
Maliki is believed to be considering the offer, especially in light of reported decisions by the U.S. to reject his request for American airstrikes against the Al Qaeda-affiliated militants who have recently overrun Mosul and Tikrit and appear to be preparing for a march on the capital. The two brigades that Suleimani offered are Asaab Ahel Haq, a Shi’ite paramilitary unit, and the Shi’ite insurgency group Kata’ib Hezbollah.
After U.S.-trained security forces dropped their weapons and fled their posts in Mosul, the regime in Baghdad has reason to fear for its survival, an intelligence official said.
“Baghdad is going to be overrun,” he said. “The Green Zone is going down.”
Although Iran and Iraq were at war in the 1980s, both the Maliki regime and the rulers in Tehran are Shi’ite, and Iran does not want a fanatical jihadist takeover of its neighbor. Iran has positioned troops along its border with Iraq and has threatened to bomb opposition forces if they come within about 60 miles of Iran’s border, according to an Iranian army general.
News about the fall of these two cities, which caused about 500,000 to flee, worried Iran. Mosul is in the western Iraqi province of the Biblically-mentioned Nineveh, which shares a 300-mile border with Syria, where the Iranian government has been pulling the political and financial puppet strings to keep President Bashar al-Assad in power against the opposing rebels and militants.
In addition to protecting the strategic border to Syria, Iran’s government has interests in safeguarding holy shrines and sites in Najaf and Karbala, significant to the Shiite Islamic religion. Many Iranians make pilgrimage to these sites every year.
Predominantly Shiite Muslim Iran will combat the “violence and terrorism” of Sunni extremists who have launched an anti-government offensive in neighboring Iraq, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani warned on Thursday.
“This is an extremist, terrorist group that is acting savagely,” Rouhani said live on state television.
If Iraq’s pleas for support are rebuffed by the U.S., it may have no choice but to turn to Iran, said experts.
“My sources tell me Maliki believes he is in a desperate situation and wants and needs our support,” said retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane, former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army. “If he doesn’t get it in a way that will help him, he will certainly turn to Iran.”
Iran has more to offer than just the region’s most powerful army, Keane said. Tehran could support Maliki with intelligence and advisors, too.
ISIS, a Sunni Islamic jihadi group, which is an offshoot of Al Qaeda, has gained control of geopolitically vital cities in both Syria and Iraq over the last year. It considers Shi’ite Muslims heretics that must be killed at the sword. Its goal is to cleanse Iraq from its Shiite influences.
ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani said in an audio released by intelligence sources that the group is planning to march toward Baghdad and other pivotal cities, including Karbala and Najaf.
“March to Baghdad al-Rashid, the Baghdad of the Caliphate. We have a score to settle…Be certain of the victory of Allah as long as you fear Him,” Al-Adnani said in the recording.
As ISIS forces have stormed their way across northern Iraq, they have put into effect Sharia law on the citizens of Nineveh province, circulating a document on social media warning local leaders and religious sheikhs not to “work with (the Iraqi) government and be traitors.” The document also prohibits women from leaving the house unless absolutely necessary and for women to “dress decently and wear wide clothes.”
The document also bans drugs, alcohol, cigarettes in public and the possession of guns and non- ISIS flags.
ISIS terrorists in Iraq are allegedly made up of Tunisians and Yemenis, along with other “international fighters,” according to one Iraqi witness.
As the militants went from Mosul to Tikrit, they seized oil fields in Salahuddin province and looted the central bank and collected $420 million. They also took 48 Turkish citizens hostage as they seized the Turkish consulate in Mosul, which could bring another regional power down on them. Many eyes are on Turkey, a NATO ally, that has shown interest in northern Iraq for some time now for economic reasons and to support Iraq’s marginalized Kurdish minority.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey held an emergency briefing with high ranking security officials and the Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, who said, “No one should try to test the limits of Turkey’s strength.”
Lubbock City Council
The Lubbock City Council met Thursday night. Cole Shooter of KFYO News has a great wrap-up of last night’s events.
Lubbock City Council meeting times have been changed.
At their meeting Thursday evening, the Lubbock City Council approved a resolution to begin their regular open sessions at 5:15 p.m. instead of 6:15 p.m.
The resolution was offered by District Two Lubbock City Councilman Floyd Price, after some discussion on the issue at their last meeting.
The change comes as a response to meetings that have gone well past midnight, often due to busy citizen comment sessions and lengthy discussions by the Council.
Council meetings were held in the mornings until mid-2012, when the Council decided to hold meetings in the evening to improve accessibility to citizens. An original suggestion was to hold an evening meeting at least once per quarter, but the Council later decided to hold all meetings during the evening hours.
Many work sessions for the Council will begin at 1 p.m., and they will begin executive session at 2:30 p.m.
The Council approved the resolution 6 to 1, with District Three Councilman Todd Klein dissenting.
The Council also declined to approve the second reading of an ordinance which would have increased bond and insurance requirements for roofing contractors.
Currently, all roofing contractors required to obtain permits for work to be done pursuant to adopted building codes must be registered with the City’s Building Inspection Department.
In order to register, those contractors are required to show proof of fiscal responsibility in the form of a $20,000 compliance bond or a certificate of liability insurance of $100,000.
Many other contractors, such as plumbers, electricians, and HVAC contractors are required by their licensing agencies to maintain a minimum $300,000 liability policy.
Since local roofing contractors are not state-regulated, the Ordinance would have required them to have the bond and liability insurance increased to $300,000 for residential projects and $1 million for commercial projects.
The City of Lubbock’s Model Code and Construction Ordinance Advisory Board recommended the item for approval.
A number of roofing contractors turned out to speak during citizen comments, both for and against the ordinance.
The concern over the changes that would have been required by the ordinance was that small roofing contractors would be unable to afford to meet the insurance requirements, driving them out of business.
The measure failed 5-2, with only District Five Councilwoman Karen Gibson and District Four Councilman Jim Gerlt voting in favor of the increased insurance requirements.
The Council also tabled a resolution relating to the exterior of the Omni Building, which has been deteriorating in downtown Lubbock for some time.
The resolution, offered by District One Councilman Victor Hernandez, would have declared the exterior surfaces of the Omni Building, located near 14th Street and Avenue K, as an imminent risk to public safety and welfare.
Other Top Stories:
These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.