Baghdad

Barbarians at the Gates of Baghdad

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How long can Iraq’s besieged forces hold out against the Islamic State?

BY Susannah George OCTOBER 21, 2014

BAGHDAD Speaking from a base besieged by Islamic State fighters, a police lieutenant in Anbar province painted a grim picture of the Iraqi government‘s faltering hold on this restive western region. Surrounded on all sides, he expects the jihadi group to be within firing range any day now.

Sitting just to the west of Hit, a small town along a key highway connecting the city of Haditha to Anbar’s provincial capital of Ramadi, al-Asad is the largest military base in Anbar and one of just two that remain in government control. Last week, after first attacking the eastern edge of Hit with suicide bombers, Islamic State militants overran the town. The United Nations says the ensuing clashes displaced more than 180,000 people. Read the rest of this entry »

Iran’s nuclear shell game

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The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) presented the satellite images above on Thursday as evidence that Iran is continuing its efforts to destroy evidence of the existence of nuclear weapons development activity at its Parchin military base.

The UN nuclear watchdog stated that “based on satellite imagery, at this location, where virtually no activity had been observed for a number of years, the buildings of interest to the Agency are now subject to extensive activities that could hamper the Agency’s ability to undertake effective verification.”

 

Western envoys who attended Wednesday’s briefing said that two small side buildings at the Parchin military facility had been removed and ISIS said that they “have been completely razed.”

 

The disclosure followed inconclusive talks between Iran and six world powers in Baghdad last week to address concerns about the nature of its nuclear activities, which Iran says are aimed at generating electricity. Read the rest of this entry »

Report: Minister cancels US-Iraq-Turkey counterterrorism meeting

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Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (Photo: AP)

29 January 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN, ANKARA

Turkey’s interior minister has cancelled a Baghdad trip to join a trilateral meeting between Turkey, Iraq and the US to combat terrorism in the region, on the grounds that ties are strained between Turkey and Iraq following the Iraqi prime minister’s accusations that Turkey has intervened in Iraqi politics, the Turkish Milliyet daily reported on Sunday.

Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin cancelled a visit he was going to make to Baghdad to participate in the trilateral working group, although the trilateral initiative plays an important role in curbing Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist attacks in Turkey, which are launched from the Iraqi-Turkish border, Milliyet reported. Şahin’s cancellation of the crucial visit was reported to be the result of Turkey’s deteriorating relations with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Turkish officials have called him “a thorn in Iraqi politics,” following his attack on Turkey for urging reconciliation with Sunni and Kurdish blocs. Maliki interpreted this as an intervention in the domestic politics of Iraq.

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Al-Qaida Claims December 22th Baghdad Bombings | Jih@d

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by Florian Flade

Just two days before Christmas numerous bomb explosion hit the predominately Shiite districts of Iraq´s capital Baghdad killing at least 69 people, wounding 180 others – most of them Shiite civilians. The sixteen different attacks took place only about two weeks after U.S. forces officially withdrew from the country.

Immediately blame was on Sunni militants linked to Al-Qaida. Today the “Islamic State of Iraq”, an umbrella organization which de facto represents Al-Qaida, has claimed responsibility for the December 22th Baghdad bombings. A written statement was released and posted in several Jihadi Internet forums.

The multiple attacks, Al-Qaida claims, were carried out “to support the weak Sunnis in the prisons of the apostates and to retaliate for the captives who were executed by the Safavid (Persian) government”. “Special operations”, as Al-Qaida calls the attacks, have allegedly targeted headquarters of the Al-Sadr Militia (Al-Qaida calls them “Army of the Devil”). Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering Basra

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Nine years ago, I drove into Iraq one spring morning. As we leave it’s worth recalling: After all the angry commissions and self-serving memoirs, the war was always more complicated than it seemed.

BY SUSAN B. GLASSER DECEMBER 15, 2011

So much has happened since that it’s a shock to go back and remember. The smell of confusion on that first day of the ground war, when we rose in the middle of the night and drove our rental cars from the Kuwait City airport through the blowing sands until we found an obliging British unit that didn’t mind letting a pack of anxious, unauthorized reporters into Iraq. When we found ourselves facing gunfire — not parades — and little boys throwing stones, and mines placed along the side of Highway 8, the main road to Baghdad, the one that U.S. troops were even then pounding north on.

This was during the period that President George W. Bush so memorably, and incorrectly, referred to as “major combat operations” in his ill-advised victory speech a few months later. Of course, with nine years of hindsight, it’s fair to say it was most likely the safest time for an American to be driving around southern Iraq in a rental car, Motown music blaring, accompanied only by a few friends and a single shared interpreter whose Beirut dialect of Arabic was hardly any help at all in Basra as it turned out.

We did not see what we expected. But then again, who did? Could anyone have imagined where we would be nine years later, as another president and another era finally bring to a close the chaos unleashed that night in the warm air of southern Iraq? Read the rest of this entry »