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Tag Archives: Iraq

A long battle for Raqqa may lie ahead – but even defeat will not mean the end for Isis

Anti-Isis forces are advancing into eastern Raqqa, the de facto Isis capital in Syria, and Iraqi troops have penned surviving Isis fighters into one part of the Old City in Mosul, once the heart of the self-declared Caliphate.

“They are down to their last neighbourhoods in Mosul and they already lost part of Raqqa, and the Raqqa campaign from here on can only accelerate,” said Brett McGurk, the US envoy to the international coalition fighting Isis. “These are critical elements in the ultimate defeat of Daesh [Isis], but this will be a long-term effort.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-raqqa-mosul-latest-battle-syria-civil-war-iraq-us-a7778241.html?amp

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2017 in Middle East

 

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The Guardian view on terror in Kabul and Baghdad: bombed, but they have not buckled 

There are no “I heart KBL” signs. No #jesuisbaghdad hashtags. No one is paying tribute to the rich cultural heritage and resilience of the targets. It is unlikely that we will come to recognise the names and faces of most victims. But the bombs that struck Kabul on Wednesday morningstruck Kabul yesterday morning and Baghdad late on Monday were as devastating to their residents as the attack on the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester a week earlier. That should not need saying, of course; yet the insecurity that Afghans and Iraqis face can blur the impact of atrocities into a general impression of perpetual chaos and pain for outsiders. That terror strikes so often – and particularly in the month of Ramadan – does not dull its effect on those who experience it. Repeated suffering compounds trauma.

Source: The Guardian view on terror in Kabul and Baghdad: bombed, but they have not buckled | Editorial | Opinion | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2017 in Asia, Middle East

 

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As Isis massacres families enjoying ice cream in Baghdad, this Ramadan could be even bloodier than previous years 

Ice cream and blood mingle on the floor after a bomb exploded outside an ice cream shop in the Karada district of Baghdad as people broke their fast during the first day of Ramadan.A bewildered young girl wanders through the wreckage, past the smashed yellow tables and benches where at least 26 people have just been been killed and dozens injured by an Isis bomber.Bombings are usually worse in Baghdad in Ramadan, but they never stop during the rest of the year. Last year in Ramadan some 340 civilians were killed in the explosion of a single car in Baghdad.

Source: As Isis massacres families enjoying ice cream in Baghdad, this Ramadan could be even bloodier than previous years | The Independent

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2017 in Middle East

 

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The Baghdad Road: In and Out of Mosul

On the morning of 5 March a group of soldiers belonging to the Iraqi Special Operations Forces left the ruined village that had been their base for the past three weeks and drove north towards Mosul. Their target was the Baghdad Circle, a bleak intersection on the main highway into town, adorned since 2014 with a black and white billboard showing the black flag of Islamic State, with the seal of the prophet and beneath it the words ‘The Islamic State, Wilayat al-Mosul’. Since operations to recapture the western side of Mosul began in mid-February, the Iraqi soldiers had twice attacked the Circle and twice they had been pushed back.‘They have formidable fortifications,’ an officer told me. IS had built a berm – a raised earthwork bank – with a trench behind it, and then another berm, all laid with IEDs. ‘In a whole day of fighting,’ the officer said, ‘we advanced no more than 150 metres.’He pinched and zoomed a satellite map on his tablet. The Circle is the gateway to western Mosul, the oldest part of the city. The eastern part, on the other side of the Tigris, had been retaken by the end of January. Western Mosul, with its dense neighbourhoods and narrow streets, was a bigger challenge. As long as IS held the Circle, the officer explained, the highway to Baghdad could not be opened to traffic. Refugees and troops were forced to take a circuitous route through the hills to avoid snipers and rocket launchers. For the third attack, he said, a small team of special forces would cross the highway under cover of a massive barrage of fire, outflank the Circle and try to breach the fortifications from behind. Once a bridgehead was established, the rest of the troops would follow.

Source: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad · The Baghdad Road: In and Out of Mosul · LRB 4 May 2017

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Even when wars end in the Middle East, superbugs and aggressive cancers caused by conflict attack

The details were horrific. Outside the besieged city of Mosul, 13,000 wounded civilians are today waiting for reconstructive surgery – from just this one seven-month battle. Another 5,000 Iraqi police militiamen are waiting for the same surgery from recent military offensives, in their case to be cared for by the Iraqi ministry of interior. But the health infrastructure that exists in the whole of Iraq cannot look after these wounded. As a result, some are turning up in Damascus – amid the frightfulness of the Syrian war – for the surgery they cannot obtain at home. A new graft in Damascus costs $200.In the balmy early summer of Beirut this week came these detailed new horrors of Middle East war. For beside the state-of-the-art American University Medical Centre in the city, doctors from across the region, from Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Palestine – along with the International Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres – came to discuss their fears for the wounded and the sick and their conviction that drug-resistant bacteria are growing in hospitals in the Middle East. Just how to deal with this may be within the knowledge of the military medical authorities – but not within the hands of civilian doctors.

Source: Even when wars end in the Middle East, superbugs and aggressive cancers caused by conflict attack | The Independent

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Fall of Raqqa and Mosul will not spell the end for Isis – only a new beginning

When Lionel Messi scored a last minute winning goal for Barcelona against Real Madrid on 23 April, football fans in the Syrian coastal city of Tartous who had been watching the game on television rushed into the street to celebrate.

This turned out to be a mistake from their point of view because many of the jubilant fans were men of military age, whom the Syrian security forces promptly detained in order to find out if they were liable for military service. It is unknown how many were conscripted but, once in the army, they will have difficulty getting out and there is a high chance they will be killed or injured.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-mosul-iraq-raqqa-syria-fall-of-strongholds-battle-latest-end-of-beginning-a7716111.html?amp

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Iraq considers next move after intercepting ‘world’s largest’ ransom for kidnapped Qataris

Officials at Baghdad International Airport became suspicious earlier this month when their X-ray machines could not see into 23 large bags unloaded from a Qatari plane, producing only a black image because the contents were wrapped in a special material impenetrable to detecting devices. They were further amazed when they opened the bags to discover that they contained hundreds of millions of dollars and euros in cash worth a total of $500m (£389m), says an Iraqi source.

It is now clear that the money was ransom for 24 Qataris, several of them leading members of the Qatari royal al-Thani family, and two Saudis who had been hunting with falcons with official permission in supposedly safe southern Iraq when they were kidnapped 16 months ago by a Shia militia task force. A deal to get them released has been complicated by negotiations involving Qatar and Iran as well as Shia and Sunni militias over the simultaneous evacuation of people long besieged in four towns, two Shia and two Sunni, in northern and southern  Syria respectively.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/qatari-royals-kidnapped-iraq-ransom-half-billion-shia-militia-syria-saudi-hunters-baghdad-a7703946.html

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Isis used 17 suicide car bombs ‘to help leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi flee Mosul’

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Isis and self-declared Caliph, escaped from the siege of Mosul two months ago when the road to the west was briefly re-opened by a fierce counter attack by Isis fighters, according to a senior Kurdish official. “Isis used 17 suicide car bombs from Mosul and some of their units from Syria to clear the road leading out of Mosul for a few hours,” said Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to Kurdish President Masoud Barzani, in an interview with The Independent. He says that he and other Kurdish leaders believe that Isis would only carry out such an elaborate operation, in which they suffered heavy casualties, in order to bring al-Baghdadi to safety.

Source: Isis used 17 suicide car bombs ‘to help leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi flee Mosul’ | The Independent

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Middle East

 

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People in besieged Mosul Old City ‘dying of starvation’ as Isis shoots anyone who tries to flee

People trapped in the Old City of Mosul are dying of hunger because they have not received any food for almost three weeks according to a resident.
In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Karim, a 28-year-old taxi driver who lives in the ancient centre of Mosul, says that many people, including several he knows, one of them a friend, have already died of malnutrition.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/mosul-isis-iraq-starvation-dying-residents-patrick-cockburn-a7658311.html

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Iraqi government ‘made a mistake’ by attacking Mosul before capturing Isis sanctuaries

The Iraqi government made a mistake that will allow Isis to survive by seeking to capture Mosul before eliminating other Isis safe havens in northern and western Iraq to which its fighters can retreat, according to a senior Iraqi leader.

“It would have been better first to eliminate Daesh (Isis) sanctuaries to which they can retreat when Mosul falls,” says Najmaldin Karim, the Governor of the oil province of Kirkuk, in an interview with The Independent. He says that half of Kirkuk province is still held by Isis and cited, in particular, the Hawija area, a notorious stronghold south west of Kirkuk city of Isis and previously of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/mosul-iraq-isis-patrick-cockburn-kirkuk-governor-fall-of-city-beginning-sunni-arabs-a7654851.html

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2017 in Middle East

 

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