19 October 2017
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Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is in talks with the Trump administration to keep American troops in Iraq after the fight against the Islamic State group in the country is concluded, according to a U.S. official and an official from the Iraqi government. Both officials underlined that the discussions are ongoing and that nothing is finalized. But the talks point to a consensus by both governments that, in contrast to the U.S. withdrawal in 2011, a longer-term presence of American troops in…
HAMAM AL-ALIL, Iraq — The road to Mosul is littered with the detritus from almost three years of war: burned M1117 armored vehicles, sandbagged berms and trenches from defensive positions once manned against Islamic State fighters, houses pancaked by airstrikes. The long supply line of the Iraqi army stretches through villages, with bulldozers, camouflaged trucks and temporary base camps. Particularly noticeable are the frequent checkpoints manned by young armed men. But the fighters often aren’t from the Iraqi army or the Federal Police, but are members of various Iran-supported…
Former Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs and Finance Hoshyar Zebari said that the kidnapping of the Qatari hunters represented a defeat for Iraq’s sovereignty and institutions, knowing that it was not the first time it had happened. Turkish workers had also been kidnapped while working on the construction of a football field in al-Sadr city in Baghdad. Both crimes were conducted by a militia affiliated with Iran. Is it possible that, upon Iran’s directives, armed militias abduct a group of…
Earlier in April he was spotted in the northern countryside of the central Syrian province of Hama, where the forces of President Bashar al-Assad have been battling a surprise rebel offensive and reportedly sustaining high casualties. On Monday, according to local news reports, General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran's elite Quds Force, a special forces branch of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was in Kirkuk, 1,000 kilometers from Hama, trying to broker a deal between Shi'ite militias and…
Erbil, Iraq - The garden of the emergency hospital in Iraq's northern city of Erbil is a lush, well-tended oasis full of vivid spring colours. Under the shadow of a tree, the relatives of patients try to rest after the anguished hours of waiting. "How can I sleep? They are alive by miracle," said an exhausted Tareq Ahmad as he sat on the grass. A mortar shell seriously injured his son, Rayan, and nephew, Abdallarmeh, leaving them both paralysed from the…
In his March 24 Washington Forum commentary, “Iraq needs more help,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi urged the United States to cooperate across the board with Iraq, from reconstruction to investment after the Islamic State is defeated. The United States should. Iraq likely has two-thirds of the hydrocarbon reserves of Saudi Arabia, a functioning democracy, and with U.S. support could block a resurgence of the Islamic State or Iranian expansion.  But to avoid yet another emergency U.S. military intervention, the United States…
This is not the first time that an Iraqi political leader or government official has hinted that the judiciary has taken too long to look into cases or neglected them or finalized them via making decisions which do not comply with all the conditions of justice. On Friday, Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Islamic Supreme Council, called on the judicial institution to look into all the cases submitted to it and take action. He added that the judiciary must specifically…
Baghdad: Fighting corruption in Iraq is such a relentless and thankless job that Hassan al-Yasiri has been trying for nearly a year to quit. Yasiri, head of Iraq’s independent anti-graft body the Commission of Integrity, submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in June 2016 just a year after taking the post. It was rejected. He insisted on resigning anyway, but has agreed to stay until a replacement is found. So he soldiers on, trying to root out graft in…

Iraq's new marginalised population Saturday, 01 April 2017 14:33

Iraqi families with relatives affiliated to ISIL are struggling to find a place for themselves in their own country. Across Iraq, as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) loses its territorial footholds, it is leaving behind entire populations terrorised by its fighters, but also a community of families tainted by their relatives' affiliation with the group. These families are among the most vulnerable people in the areas the Iraqi military have retaken, with…
Ramita Navai is no stranger to dangerous reporting trips. In 2011, the British-Iranian journalist went undercover in Syria for FRONTLINE as the conflict there was beginning to spiral out of control — and ended up trapped in a safe house with three opposition activists on the Assad government’s most wanted list. Navai has reported from more than 30 countries, but what she saw on the ground when she traveled to Iraq last year to film the new documentary Iraq Uncovered was a shock even to her.…
Bloody protests in Baghdad over the weekend by followers of influential cleric Moqtada al-Sadr signal the resumption of a power struggle between Iraq's Shi'ite leaders which had been put on hold to focus on the war against Islamic State. With Iraqi forces all but certain to defeat Islamic State in Mosul this year, Sadr has begun mobilizing his supporters ahead of two elections, for provincial councils in September and the crucial parliamentary vote, by April 2018. His main rival is…

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