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17 Jun, 2014 18:57

Baghdad slams Saudi Arabia for ‘encouraging genocide’ in Iraq

Baghdad slams Saudi Arabia for ‘encouraging genocide’ in Iraq

The Iraqi government says that it holds Saudi Arabia “responsible” for the current crisis and has blamed Riyadh for encouraging “genocide” in the country through the backing of Sunni militants.

READ MORE: Gruesome ISIS atrocities: Video shows Iraqi soldiers insulted, then executed

“We hold them [Saudi Arabia] responsible for supporting these groups financially and morally, and for the outcome of that - which includes crimes that may qualify as genocide: the spilling of Iraqi blood, the destruction of Iraqi state institutions and historic and religious sites,” the Shiite-led cabinet said in a statement issued by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office.

Comments from Riyadh this week "indicate siding with terrorism."

Maliki pointed the finger at both Saudi Arabia and Qatar for perceived support of terrorism in Iraq in March.

Making the statement could have serious implications for the conflict, only serving to deepen religious divisions in Iraq society.

Shakir Wahib (L), Abu Wahib, a leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) standing next to burning cars, at an undisclosed location in Iraq. (AFP Photo / HO / Hanein.info)

“Sectarian tensions in Iraq are part of a larger ‘Cold War’ going on between Iran and the Gulf States-namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. So the US- if it can send a protection force in to protect its embassies and it can try to deal with sectarianism in Iraq, but unless it gets on top of this wider regional conflict, and namely, until it starts to deal with its allies in the gulf and stop them spreading sectarian hate, events in Iraq are going to spill over,” Warwick University’s Dr. Oz Hassan told RT.

Crisis in Iraq spiked after a massive and sudden siege by Sunni ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) militants who captured cities in the north of the country – including the main city of Mosul – and started marching towards Baghdad shortly afterwards.

The jihadists have already declared the capture of the capital Baghdad to be their top priority objective. Since the group began its mission at the beginning of June, militants have carried out violent beheadings. UN staff and foreign embassy staff have been partially withdrawn from the country out of personal safety fears.

Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) parading over an armoured personell carrier at an undisclosed location. (AFP Photo / HO / Youtube)

“If sectarianism spills out onto the streets of Baghdad it’s going to be incredibly hard to contain because you’re going to have Sunnis and Shi’ites fighting each other street to street,” Hassan said.

It was reported Monday that the USS Mesa Verde, with 550 Marines onboard, has entered the Persian Gulf for a possible operation in Iraq.

Iraq has requested the hastened delivery of major weapons orders, including dozens of F-16 fighter jets contracted with Lockheed Martin and dozens of Boeing’s Apache helicopters, to counter the insurgent fighters.

An offshoot of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, the hyper-fundamentalist group active in Iraq and Syria, fell out with the global terrorist network. It gained notoriety for its ruthless tactics, which include publicly crucifying and beheading those who violate their strict religious interpretations. Its rise and consolidation owe a great deal to the simultaneous power vacuum that arose after the Syrian civil war broke out and the ongoing tumult in Iraq after the US invasion and occupation.

Fighting against the Shia governments of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad and Bashar Assad in Damascus has also allowed the Sunni organization to recruit thousands of people under its aim of eventually turning the entire region into an ultraconservative Muslim caliphate.