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Jul 16, 2015

Noose tightens around thousands caught in Iraq’s Anbar offensive

BAGHDAD/ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) – As Iraqi forces prepare to try to recapture the city of Falluja, tens of thousands of civilians find themselves trapped between Islamic State militants ready to use them as human shields and a government suspicious of their loyalties.

With the jihadists coercing them to stay, and a government blockade and shelling closing exit routes and cutting off supplies, there is “a vice, a noose around the neck of the population”, Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, told Reuters.

Jul 14, 2015

Iran deal welcomed by Iraq and Syria but won’t change course of conflict

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iran’s historic nuclear deal may ease hostility with the West that has fueled Middle East tensions for decades, but it is unlikely to change the course of conflicts where Tehran and Washington are both awkward allies and enemies.

In Syria, Iran has stood by President Bashar al-Assad, providing military and financial support during four years of civil war, throughout which the United States has said Assad must go.

Jul 13, 2015

Iraq launches military assault on Islamic State in Anbar

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi troops and Shi’ite Muslim militia forces attacked Islamic State fighters on several fronts in the country’s largest province on Monday, saying the battle to drive the hardline militants out of Anbar was under way.

A spokesman for the joint operations command said the offensive, which began at dawn, brought together the army, mainly Shi’ite Hashid Shaabi militias, special forces, police and local Sunni Muslim tribal fighters.

Jul 12, 2015

Iraq gets first funding to rebuild war-struck regions

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq and the World Bank signed a $350 million loan agreement on Sunday to fund emergency reconstruction in towns recaptured from Islamic State militants, a deal Baghdad said marked the first international help to rebuild areas devastated by war.

Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said around a third of the money would go toward repairing roads and bridges, with a similar amount allocated to restoring electricity networks, water and sewage.

Jul 8, 2015

Iraq celebrates return of antiquities, appeals for world help

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq celebrated on Wednesday the return of hundreds of historical artefacts, from an ancient Assyrian statue to a 20th century presidential tea set, which were looted, lost or loaned abroad over recent decades.

The recovery of the 800 items from museums, universities and auction houses in the United States, Italy and Jordan marks a small victory for Iraqi authorities struggling to protect their heritage from theft and destruction by Islamic State fighters.

Apr 22, 2015

Interview: Saudi says Yemen strikes show Arab resolve to act alone

LONDON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in neighbouring Yemen shows that the Sunni monarchy will stand up to Iran and that Arab states can protect their interests without U.S. leadership, the kingdom’s ambassador to Britain said.

Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf also said that the Saudi-led coalition that has waged four weeks of air strikes against Shi’ite Houthi fighters in Yemen had met its goals and could be a model for future joint Arab action.

Apr 22, 2015

Saudi says Yemen strikes show Arab resolve to act alone

LONDON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in neighboring Yemen shows that the Sunni monarchy will stand up to Iran and that Arab states can protect their interests without U.S. leadership, the kingdom’s ambassador to Britain said.

Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf also said that the Saudi-led coalition that has waged four weeks of air strikes against Shi’ite Houthi fighters in Yemen had met its goals and could be a model for future joint Arab action.

Apr 6, 2015

Conflict plunging Yemen towards humanitarian disaster, says U.N.

DUBAI (Reuters) – Yemen’s conflict is driving an already impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster, displacing tens of thousands of families and exposing many more to the threat of disease and malnutrition, the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said on Monday.

The Arabian Peninsula’s poorest state has endured years of unrest, but nearly two weeks of war between rebel Houthi fighters and pro-government forces – backed by a Saudi-led campaign of air strikes – has put millions of people in danger.

Mar 11, 2015

Iraqi forces push into Tikrit, bombers hit Ramadi

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi security forces and militias fought their way into Saddam Hussein’s home city of Tikrit on Wednesday, advancing on two fronts in their biggest counter-offensive so far against Islamic State militants.

In a possible response to the fighting north of Baghdad, militants in the Islamic State stronghold of Anbar west of the capital launched 13 suicide car bomb attacks on army and security positions in the provincial capital of Ramadi.

Mar 11, 2015

Islamic State ransacks Assyrian capital as Iraq appeals for help

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Islamic State militants have desecrated another ancient Iraqi capital, the government said on Wednesday, razing parts of the 2,700-year-old city of Khorsabad famed for its colossal statues of human-headed winged bulls.

Officials have said for several days they were checking reports of damage at Khorsabad following attacks on the cities of Nineveh, Nimrud and Hatra by the Islamist radicals who control much of northern Iraq.

    • About Dominic

      "I run Reuters news operations in Beirut, Damascus and Amman. I have reported from across the Middle East since 1992, mainly in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Dubai. I have also edited political and general news from Europe/MiddleEast/Africa and was parliamentary correspondent in London."
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