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TEL AVIV – Jordanian and Syrian regime sources are accusing Saudi Arabia of arming the jihadist group that reportedly has seized control of two key Sunni-dominated cities in Iraq.
Sources from both regimes say the Saudis are a driving force in supporting the group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which Wednesday reportedly seized control of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s former hometown.
One day earlier, al-Qaida-linked jihadists took control most of the city of Mosul.
On Thursday, Iraq’s government released a video showing what it said were airstrikes targeting the jihadist strongholds.
Hours earlier, Abu Mohammed al-Adnanin, an ISIS spokesman, threatened to march on Baghdad.
Adnanin also said his group would take control of Karbala and Najaf, setting off sectarian concerns, since the cities house some of the holiest sites for Shiite Muslims.
Syrian regime sources told WND Thursday the Saudis view the failure to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a three-years-long insurgency as a victory for Assad’s ally, Iran.
The sources said the Saudi kingdom is supporting the Iraqi jihadists, particularly ISIS, in a bid to offset Iranian dominance in Iraq and the region and to gain a Sunni stronghold in the strategic area.
The Jordanian regime sources told WND they fear the sectarian violence will spill over into their own country as well as into Syria.
ISIS previously posted a video on YouTube threatening to move on Jordan and “slaughter” King Abdullah, whom they view as an enemy of Islam.
The Jordanian sources explained President Obama’s reported reluctance to assist in airstrikes in Iraq. The sources claimed striking along the Iraq-Syria border would cut off the supply line to rebels fighting in Syria.
On Thursday, the New York Times reported that last month the Obama administration rebuffed a secret request from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki, who was concerned over jihadist gains, to consider military airstrikes against extremist strongholds.