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Iraq

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A fuel tax hike set the country ablaze and triggered a social backlash
On November 15, a wave of protests engulfed over 100 Iranian cities as the government resorted to an extremely unpopular measure: a fuel tax hike of as much as 300%, without a semblance of a PR campaign to explain the reasons. Iranians, after all, have reflexively condemned subsidy removals for years now – especially related... Read More
Protesters in Iraq have won their first big success by forcing the resignation of the Iraqi prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, after the killing of 45 unarmed protesters by the Iraqi security forces in a single day. As the news spread, the crack of celebratory fireworks replaced that of gunshots in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, which has... Read More
Intelligence documents reveal how Tehran took advantage of US blundering
The American invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of that nation’s government in 2003 has rightly been described as the greatest foreign policy disaster in the history of the United States. Eight thousand one hundred and seventy five American soldiers, contractors and civilians Brown University study, an estimated $6.4 trillion and still counting as the... Read More
Iraq. The government crack-down has seen at least 350 people killed and 15,000 injured. A further 28 protesters were shot dead, 24 of them in the city of Nasiriya, and 165 were injured overnight. In Baghdad, 4 protesters were killed and 22 were wounded, officials said Thursday. The protesters who broke into the consulate in... Read More
Victor Hugo said of the devastated Balkans in the 19th century: ‘The Turks have passed by here. All is in ruins or mourning.’ Welcome to modern Iraq. The British were always masters of efficient imperialism. In the 19th century, they managed to rule a quarter of the Earth’s surface with only a relatively small army... Read More
Iraqi security and pro-Iranian paramilitary forces are shooting into crowds of protesters in a bid to drive them from the centre of
At the height of the al-Qaeda-led insurgency in Iraq in 2006-07, US commanders, whose troops were suffering serious casualties from roadside bombs, developed a strategy. They sought to identify, kill or capture the leaders of the cells planting the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in the belief that this would cripple the bombing campaign. Many such... Read More
The death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Isis and the self-declared caliph of Islamic State, will be a serious, though not terminal, blow to the ferocious jihadi movement he has headed since 2010. The place where he was finally located – in the Barisha area north of Idlib city in northwest Syria, close... Read More
The sectarian and ethnic civil wars that have ravaged a large part of the Middle East over the past 40 years are coming to an end. Replacing them is a new type of conflict in which protests akin to popular uprisings rock kleptocratic elites that justify their power by claiming to be the defenders of... Read More
The backstage struggle between the Bush interventionists and the America-firsters who first backed Donald Trump for president just exploded into open warfare, which could sunder the Republican Party. At issue is Trump's decision to let the Turkish army enter Northern Syria, to create a corridor between Syrian Kurds and the Turkish Kurds of the PKK,... Read More
Iraqi paramilitary groups close to Isis advance on Baghdad after the fall of
Baghdad Hotel, off Sadoon Street in central Baghdad, not far from Tahrir Square, the focus of most protest movements in Iraq. On Tuesday I was expecting to visit Iraqi army bases north of Baghdad to find out if Isis was still a threat and what the chances were of it making a comeback. I never... Read More
Baghdad and spread since Tuesday to southern Iraqi provinces. So far, 19 people have been reported killed, including one policeman, according to authorities. The real total could be higher. The closing down of the internet has not stopped the protests but has led to them becoming more disorganised and focused in districts of Baghdad away... Read More
A man is lying dead or injured on the pavement beside a road leading into Tahrir Square in the centre of Iraq”. The protesters are more numerous than first appears because they have broken up into groups that are permanently on the move. There is the sharp crack of automatic rifle fire, with all the... Read More
Security forces opened fire on protesters in central
Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi was the great Iraqi military hero of the war against Iraq’s most esteemed general, on the streets as well as on social media. “He won the people’s friendship but the politicians’ hatred,” reads one slogan being shared online; another warns that “there is no longer any room for a patriot... Read More
It about midnight on 20 September, a young man got off a white minibus at the entrance to the Karbala, southwest of Baghdad. A few minutes later, he pressed a remote control, detonating the explosives he had left in a bag under his seat on the bus. The bomb killed 12 people and injured a... Read More
People in Baghdad are fearful that the next war between the US and Iraq, which is only just returning to peace after the defeat of Isis. Alarm that Iraq will be sucked into such a conflict has increased here because of recent Israeli drone attacks on the bases of the Iraqi paramilitary group known as... Read More
The seizure of an Iranian oil tanker allegedly bound for economic sanctions in the US sanctions on Iran that the EU said it opposes. An Iranian official said a British tanker should be seized in retaliation. Jeremy Hunt, foreign secretary and aspirant prime minister, eager to show himself walking tall on the international stage, tweeted:... Read More
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No other country in the Middle East is as important in countering America’s rush to provide Israel with another war than Iraq. Fortunately for Iran, the winds of change in Iraq and the many other local countries under similar threat, thus, make up an unbroken chain of border to border support. This support is only... Read More
Changes of government in
The current protests in Iraq are the most serious seen in the country for years, and are taking place at the heart of some of the world’s largest oilfields. The Iraqi government headquarters in Basra was set ablaze, as were the offices of those parties and militias blamed by local people for their wretched living... Read More
The British government purports to be re-establishing the UK as an independent nation state by
“The people want an end to the parties,” chanted protesters, adapting a famous slogan of the
Iraqis disagree about many things but on one topic they are united: they believe they live in the most corrupt country in the world, barring a few where there is nothing much to steal. They see themselves as victims of a kleptomaniac state where hundreds of billions of dollars have disappeared into the pockets of... Read More
“We are very much scared,” says Hamid Aftan al-Hammad, an Albu Nimr tribesman from the city of Hit in western
“I once rescued a friend from drowning when he was swept away by the force of the current as we were swimming in the Diyala river,” says Qasim Sabti, a painter and gallery owner in Baghdad. “That was 50 years ago,” he recalls. “I went back there recently and the water in the Diyala is... Read More
Muqtada al-Sadr, the nationalist populist Shia cleric, has once again defied predictions as the coalition he leads outperformed rival parties in the parliamentary election on 12 May. His supporters successfully campaigned for social and political reform and against a corrupt and dysfunctional political establishment. It was the latest surprise in the career of a man... Read More
Iraqi prime minister
Americans Need to Rethink War and Look Honestly at Ourselves and Our Friends
"This time, they think they have it right." So declared an Associated Press
This month marks the 15th anniversary of the US war on Iraq. The “shock and awe” attack was launched based on “stove-piped” intelligence fed from the CIA and Pentagon through an uncritical and compliant US mainstream media. The US media was a willing accomplice to this crime of aggression committed by the George W. Bush... Read More
A gathering of rich oil Arabs pledged $30 billion this week at a meeting in Kuwait to start rebuilding war-shattered Iraq. Sounds nice but these kinds of conclaves are notorious for offering big but delivering little. The event was billed as helping Iraq repair war damage caused by ISIS. In fact, most of the damage... Read More
The first pathetic pieces of wreckage of North Korean fishing boats known as “ghost ships” to be found this year are washing up on the coast of northern Japan. These are the storm-battered remains of fragile wooden boats with unreliable engines in which North Korean fishermen go far out to sea in the middle of... Read More
The US-Iran confrontation is already destabilising parts of the Middle East that were starting to settle down after the defeat of Isis in the second half of last year. “The escalating American threats against Iran mean that the Iranians will be more vigorous in safeguarding their position in Iraq and Syria,” said a former Iraqi... Read More
isismarch
Who defeated the Islamic State In Syria? Before answering that question. What is the ISIS? Can the public overcome its chronic amnesia and think back to the sudden appearance of ISIS dressed in brand new black uniforms, gleaming white NIKE’s and driving Toyota trucks? They seemed to appear out of nowhere in 2014. ISIS looked... Read More
I spent most of the last year reporting two sieges, Mosul in
The final elimination of Isis in
Violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, as Isis loses its base areas and its bombing attacks are thwarted by informers and double agents. A senior Iraqi security official says that intelligence about potential Isis attacks has improved to the point that government forces can... Read More
Baghdad On a sandstorm-swept morning in Baghdad earlier last week, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the legendary deputy leader of Hashd al-Shaabi, a.k.a. People Mobilization Units (PMUs) and the actual mastermind of numerous ground battles against ISIS/Daesh, met a small number of independent foreign journalists and analysts. This was a game-changing moment in more ways than one.... Read More
TIKRIT and NAJAF, Iraq Nothing, absolutely nothing prepares you to revive, on the spot, the memory of what will go down in history as ISIS/Daesh’s most horrid killing field in Iraq or Syria since the death cult stormed across the border in the summer of 2014; the
An exclusive, on-the-scene report, with original photography from a region gradually liberating itself from ISIS.
Nothing, absolutely nothing prepares you to revive, on the spot, the memory of what will go down in history as ISIS / Daesh’s most horrid killing field in Iraq or Syria since the death cult stormed across the border in the summer of 2014;
Millions stage world's greatest pilgrimage
Millions of black-clad Shia pilgrims are converging on the holy city of Kerbala for the Arbaeen religious commemoration, the largest annual gathering of people anywhere on earth. Walking in long columns stretching back unbroken for as much as 50 miles, sleeping and eating in tents erected by supporters beside the road, the event has become... Read More
It is one of the most shocking of many sadistic videos shot and publicised by Isis in which its gunmen are seen executing their victims. It shows scenes from the Camp Speicher massacre on 12 June 2014 when Isis murdered 1,700 army recruits in a former palace compound of Saddam Hussein on the banks of... Read More
“Fake facts!” exclaimed a senior Iraqi official in exasperation as he pointed to photographs online allegedly showing the Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Kirkuk, orchestrating the Iraqi government retaking of the city last month. He said that in reality the picture, tweeted by a Kurdish leader as evidence of Iranian hegemony, dates from 2014. The... Read More
'They had tanks and planes, we had no chance'
The defeat of the Kurds in Kirkuk is devastatingly complete. “We used to be in control here and now we are not,” says Aso Mamand, the Kurdish leader in the city, summing up the situation in a helpless and embittered tone as he describes the fall of Kirkuk and the nearby oilfields to the Iraqi... Read More
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is triumphant as he describes his country’s security forces driving out Isis from its last strongholds in western Iraq. “Our advances have been fantastic,” he said in an interview with The Independent in Baghdad. “We are clearing the deserts of them right up to the border with Syria.” Isis is... Read More
There is a growing mood of self-confidence in
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