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Dec 15, 2014

Iraq’s new premier battles to unite a fractured nation

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Three months after he took office with a mission to unite his broken, warring country, Iraq’s new prime minister has swept away the divisive legacy of his predecessor with a burst of rapid and dramatic measures.

But Haider al-Abadi faces a huge challenge forging a common front against Islamic State fighters, rebuilding an ineffective army and reasserting a degree of central government authority across Iraq.

Dec 12, 2014

Exclusive: Cash-strapped Iraq seeks Kuwait war reparation delay

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq is seeking to postpone a final $4.6 billion installment of reparations for its 1990-91 occupation of Kuwait, Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari told Reuters, as it faces a cash crisis caused by falling oil prices and war with Islamic State.

Since Iraq was first allowed to resume oil sales nearly two decades ago it has paid funds into a United Nations body overseeing compensation for looting and damage inflicted during Saddam Hussein’s seven-month occupation of Kuwait.

Dec 12, 2014

Cash-strapped Iraq seeks Kuwait war reparation delay

BAGHDAD, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Iraq is seeking to postpone a
final $4.6 billion instalment of reparations for its 1990-91
occupation of Kuwait, Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari told
Reuters, as it faces a cash crisis caused by falling oil prices
and war with Islamic State.

Since Iraq was first allowed to resume oil sales nearly two
decades ago it has paid funds into a United Nations body
overseeing compensation for looting and damage inflicted during
Saddam Hussein’s seven-month occupation of Kuwait.

Dec 9, 2014

Shaky grip on northern road as Iraqi army advances against IS

TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) – From somewhere, a sniper opened fire on the seven battle-scarred Humvees of Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi’s convoy as they rode on a crater-pocked highway. The convoy’s gunners replied with volleys of fire. The drivers did not stop.

Obeidi was proving a point by making his first visit to Iraq’s biggest oil refinery, where a battle that broke a five month siege has been the main focus of the government’s U.S.-backed fightback against Islamic State.

Dec 9, 2014

Shaky grip on northern road as Iraq pushes advance against IS

TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) – From somewhere, a sniper opened fire on the seven battle-scarred Humvees of Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi’s convoy as they rode on a crater-pocked highway. The convoy’s gunners replied with volleys of fire. The drivers did not stop.

Obeidi was proving a point by making his first visit to Iraq’s biggest oil refinery, where a battle that broke a five month siege has been the main focus of the government’s U.S.-backed fightback against Islamic State.

Dec 4, 2014

Islamic State cedes little ground despite air attacks

BAGHDAD/BEIRUT (Reuters) – They have made enemies across the globe and endured three months of U.S.-led air strikes, but Islamic State fighters have surrendered little of their self-declared caliphate to the broad sweep of forces arrayed against them.

Across thousands of square miles in Syria and Iraq, the radical Islamists face an unlikely mix of Iraqi and Syrian soldiers, Shi’ite and Kurdish militias and rival Syrian Sunni Muslim rebels.

Dec 2, 2014

Iraqi government reaches deal with Kurds on oil, budget

ARBIL/BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s government reached a formal agreement on Tuesday with Kurdish regional authorities to end a protracted dispute over oil exports and budget payments to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said the two sides had agreed to the export of 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Kirkuk and 250,000 bpd from the northern Kurdish region through Turkey.

Nov 30, 2014

Iraq’s divisions will delay counter-offensive on Islamic State

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – U.S. air support and pledges of weapons and training for Iraq’s army have raised expectations of a counter-offensive soon against Islamic State, but sectarian rifts will hamper efforts to forge a military strategy and may delay a full-scale assault.

The Sunni Islamists stormed through northern Iraq in a 48-hour offensive in June, charging virtually unopposed toward the outskirts of Baghdad, humiliating a U.S.-trained Iraqi army which surrendered both land and weapons as it retreated.

Nov 21, 2014

Islamic State attacks Iraq provincial capital: officials

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters attacked a government complex in the heart of an Iraqi provincial capital on Friday, local officials said, in an apparently coordinated effort to seize full control of the city.

Gunmen fired from rooftops at buildings in Ramadi housing the Anbar governorate offices and police headquarters, while security forces and tribal fighters tried to prevent the militants from advancing.

Jul 27, 2014

A nation in peril – Iraq’s struggle to hold together

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Salman Khaled has already lived through Baghdad’s sectarian disintegration; with Iraq now splintering into Shi’ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish regions, he says this time the survival of the country is at stake.

“Things are really tense and it could get worse,” said the 23-year-old Sunni Muslim student. “If the politicians continue as they are doing now, we are on the path to separation.”

    • 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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