12 April 2021
English Arabic
NASIRIYAH, Iraq — When the call came to fight the Islamic State, the lines of volunteers here stretched for blocks. Friends pooled money to pay for transportation to local militia recruitment offices. Young men were already scrambling onto buses bound for the front lines. “Back then, it was just about one thing,” said former militiaman Thamer al-Safi, recalling the battles of 2014 in which two of his brothers died. “This was about our future. This was about Iraq.” That mass…
BAGHDAD — It was a stark message: A convoy of masked Shiite militiamen, armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, drove openly through central Baghdad denouncing the U.S. presence in Iraq and threatening to cut off the prime minister’s ear. The ominous display underscored the growing threat that rogue militias loyal to Tehran pose for Iraq. It came at a time when Baghdad seeks to bolster relations with its Arab neighbors and is gearing up for early elections, scheduled for…

Iraqis are getting fed up with Iran Thursday, 25 March 2021 21:35

Astain on Iraq’s sovereignty.” That is how an Iraqi army officer describes the billboard glorifying Qassem Suleimani, a stunningly successful Iranian commander who was killed in an American air strike on Iraqi soil in January 2020. The hoarding looms over Baghdad’s administrative district, known as the Green Zone. Many Iraqis once hailed Suleimani as hero for mobilising local forces that beat back the jihadists of Islamic State. But public sentiment in Iraq has turned. The masses who cheered Iran as a…
The Iranian regime’s military interventions in the region are now an unambiguous reality that nobody inside or outside of Iran can honestly deny. Despite this, however, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei keeps repeating his tired old claim that Iran did not intervene in Syria and Iraq militarily, with Tehran only having an advisory role in these countries. Khamenei’s contradictory remarks on this issue in recent years have repeatedly exposed his dishonesty. On one occasion, he was quoted as saying: “If the…
NKARA: The diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Tehran has escalated following the latest statement from Iran’s Ambassador to Baghdad Iraj Masjedi, who reiterated an opposition to Turkish military intervention in Iraq, a new move that highlights a broader rivalry between the two countries in the region. “Turkish forces should not pose a threat or violate Iraqi soil,” Masjedi said on Sunday. “We do not accept at all, be it Turkey or any other country, to intervene in Iraq militarily or…
Pope Francis will make history when he crosses the threshold of a small, rented dwelling in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf on Saturday. His visit to the home of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani will mark a powerful moment in interfaith relations, experts say, and millions of people will be watching. Sistani is Iraq’s leading religious authority and a preeminent figure in Shiite Islam, and his meeting with the pontiff will be loaded with symbolism: two global religious leaders sitting…
Pope Francis begins a three-day whirlwind tour of Iraq on Friday, despite worries that he could draw large crowds at a moment when the coronavirus appears to be resurgent in the country. Continuing security concerns in a nation ravaged by years of war and conflict were also not enough to deter Pope Francis from fulfilling a promise to visit one of the world’s oldest Christian communities. Why is Francis visiting Iraq? Such a visit has been the dream of several popes. John…
DUBAI: United States President Joe Biden’s Middle East policy has given Iran “a clear message” that it could continue its attack on the region and threaten its security, a senior fellow at Hudson Institution told Arab News. Michael Pregent says the message the Biden administration is sending to Iran is that “you can hit Israel, you can hit Saudi Arabia, you can hit the US mission in Iraq. We are going to do all we can to down play it.”…

Iraq appears resilient despite major challenges Saturday, 27 February 2021 18:08

Over the last month, Iraq’s fragile security order has been severely tested by bombings and rocket attacks in three major cities.On Jan. 21, two suicide bomb explosions in Baghdad killed 32 people and injured about 110 others. This was the first major attack in the capital since bombings in January 2018 killed 27 people. Both these attacks were claimed by Daesh.On Feb. 15, 14 rockets were fired at a military base in Irbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, killing an Iraqi contractor and…

Was Erbil Biden’s First Big Test? Thursday, 25 February 2021 05:12

One experienced American analyst called the February 15 rocket attack against Erbil the first test of credibility for the Biden administration. Michael Knights, and some other American analysts, all agree that an Iraqi militia loyal to Iran was responsible for the attack. Some are urging the Biden administration to reject talks with the Iranian government about Iran’s nuclear program until the militias in Iraq stop attacks on American forces. Instead, on February 18 the State Department spokesman said the US…
The day after President Biden was inaugurated, Baghdad was hit by two suicide bombers who, in macabre fashion, killed at least 32 people and wounded at least 100. The attack was a stark reminder that the Iraq theater is still a critical one for combatting ISIS and preventing it from mounting a resurgence. With this in mind, U.S.-Iraq ties are worth salvaging after their deterioration over the past four years. ISIS is strongly positioned to carry out more routine mass-casualty…
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