20 October 2017
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The Iraqi Government has moved to strengthen ties with Saudi Arabia, two days after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al Sadr in Jeddah. After its regular cabinet meeting, the government decreed establishing a committee, headed by Iraqi minister of interior, and including ministers of trade, industry, minerals and agriculture, dedicated to this effort. Iraq will seek to "strengthen economic and investment relations with Saudi Arabia", according to a statement from the cabinet, explaining that the deputy…

Moqtada al-Sadr in Riyadh Thursday, 03 August 2017 02:49

The images of the Iranian regime’s hegemony over all aspects of life in Iraq are clear. From trade to construction and raw material to its control of the banks, government, parliament and political parties. A New York Times report said that the Iranians are controlling everything, from the television stations to the drug trade. Iran is trying to justify its presence and control by saying that Iraq needs it and that without it, it will collapse, even claiming that it…
Former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki’s recent visit to Russia, which his office said was a protocol engagement, sparked controversy in Iraq as it reopened the wounds of what is described as corrupt military deals between the two sides.Parliamentary and partisan sources criticized Maliki, who is the country’s vice president, for not saying anything to Russia’s foreign minister who arrived late for their meeting.Maliki insisted on meeting Russian officials, all the way to President Vladimir Putin, in an attempt to…
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has issued a decision calling the detention of Ahmad Al Alwani, opposition member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, arbitrary since he “was targeted and discriminated against for his Sunni background and political opinions and activities”.  Al Alwani had been arrested in December 2013 and secretly detained for a month during which he was tortured in order to force him to sign a self-incriminating statement. Following a trial marred with irregularities, the…
UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. envoy for Iraq warned Monday that the road ahead for the Mideast nation is “extremely challenging” following the liberation of Mosul, stressing that freeing other territory controlled by Islamic State extremists won’t be easy. Jan Kubis told the Security Council that supporters of the militant group are also continuing “their vicious terrorist activities against civilians in Iraq and beyond.” With the liberation of Mosul declared on July 10 by Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the…
(Beirut) – Allegations are emerging of Iraqi forces beating and unlawfully killing men and boys fleeing Mosul in the final phase of the battle against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), Human Rights Watch said today. Four witnesses told Human Rights Watch that they saw Iraqi forces beat unarmed men and boys fleeing the fighting within the last seven days, and said they also obtained information about Iraqi forces executing unarmed men during this time period. “As Iraqi forces are poised…
MOSUL, Iraq –  Iraqi commanders said Saturday their forces are "tens of meters" away from defeating the Islamic State group in Mosul, a day after a major counterattack by the militants. The Joint Operations Command "our units are still continuing to advance... Not much is left before our forces reach the river." Iraqi officials have made similar pronouncements over the past week as security forces have bottled the militants up in a sliver of the Old City along the Tigris…
The Islamic State faces defeat.  But a humanitarian crisis looms for survivors, many of them children, who are suffering from dehydration and malnutrition in northern Iraq. U.S-backed forces have entered the final stages of the Mosul offensive to retake the second-largest city.  In addition, the fight for refugees to flee the city is complicated by the threat of suicide bombings. ISIS controls less than a square mile of land in the city, according to the Associated Press.  “None of the previous…
When ISIS fighters blew up Mosul's grand mosque in June, where its leader famously proclaimed the creation of a caliphate, the move was seen as an act of desperation by a group on its last legs.  Indeed, Iraqi officials were quick to declare their battle against the self-proclaimed Islamic State is over, with the country's prime minister Haider al-Abadi writing on Twitter, "We are seeing the end of the fake Daesh state," using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.  Still, that…
WASHINGTON -- U.S.-backed Iraqi forces are close to tearing the city of Mosul out of ISIS' stranglehold. Once they do, the sprawling city will join dozens of other towns and villages that need to be rebuilt virtually from the ground up. A vast swath of northern Iraq is reeling from violence and destruction that has forced almost 900,000 people to flee their homes in the last year alone. Efforts to bring those Iraqis back home are robust -- and unique; the United…

The battle for Mosul in maps Wednesday, 28 June 2017 13:23

In June 2014, when the leader of Isis, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared a global caliphate, he did it from Mosul, Iraq’s second city. Isis rapidly expanded its territory in Iraq and Syria throughout that year, but has since been gradually pushed back, partly due to US-led airstrikes. Losing Mosul now could spell the end of the jihadi group’s ability to control large swaths of Iraq.The long-awaited operation to take back Mosul began on 16 October, involving a coalition of more than 30,000 troops…

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