UN warns that Iraq crisis is 'life-threatening' as fighting nears Baghdad
Published on Jun 17, 2014 8:43 PM
BAGHDAD (AFP) - Militants pushed a week-long offensive that has overrun swathes of Iraq to within 60km of Baghdad on Tuesday, as the United Nations warned the country's very existence was under threat and the Iraqi government blamed Saudi Arabia for its troubles.
The swift advance of the militants has sparked international alarm, with UN envoy to Baghdad Nickolay Mladenov warning that Iraq's sovereignty was at stake.
"Right now, it's life-threatening for Iraq but it poses a serious danger to the region," Mr Mladenov told AFP. "Iraq faces the biggest threat to its sovereignty and territorial integrity" in years, he added.
Washington meanwhile deployed some 275 military personnel to protect its embassy in Baghdad, the first time it has sent troops to Iraq since it withdrew its forces at the end of 2011 after a bloody and costly intervention launched in 2003.
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