Michael's Feed
Aug 11, 2014

Iraqi Shi’ite coalition close to nominating prime minister

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A bloc comprising Iraq’s biggest Shi’ite parties is close to nominating a prime minister, the deputy speaker of parliament said on Monday, directly challenging Nuri al-Maliki who has refused to give up his bid for a third term.

Haider al-Abadi’s comments in a tweet came after police sources said special forces and Shi’ite militias loyal to Maliki had been deployed in strategic areas of Baghdad after he made a defiant speech on television suggesting he would not cave in to pressure to drop his bid for another term.

Aug 9, 2014

Obama says tackling Iraq’s insurgency will take time

BAGHDAD, Aug 9 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on
Saturday U.S. airstrikes had destroyed arms that Islamic State
militants could have used against Iraqi Kurds, but warned there
was no quick fix to a crisis that threatens to tear Iraq apart.

Speaking the day after U.S. warplanes hit militants in Iraq,
Obama said it would take more than bombs to restore stability,
and criticised Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shi’ite-led
government for failing to empower Sunnis.

Aug 9, 2014

Islamist rebels repairing Mosul dam, Kurds in rush to arms

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Islamic State insurgents who seized Iraq’s biggest dam in a offensive that has caused international consternation have brought in engineers for repairs, witnesses said on Saturday, as nervous Kurds stocked up on arms to defend their enclave nearby.

The jihadi Islamists have captured wide swathes of northern Iraq since June, executing non-Sunni Muslim captives, displacing tens of thousands of people and drawing the first U.S. air strikes in the region since Washington withdrew troops in 2011.

Aug 7, 2014

Iraq’s Yazidis cling to a mountaintop as Islamic State advances

BAGHDAD, Aug 7 (Reuters) – After fleeing from Islamic State
militants, thousands of ethnic Yazidis stranded on a mountain
were clinging to rumours that Iraqi government planes would drop
food to save them.

The supplies never came. All they could do was pray for
help.

Just a week ago, Yazidis living in their ancient homeland of
Sinjar in northern Iraq felt protected by Kurdish peshmerga
forces. Followers of an ancient religion derived from
Zoroastrianism, the Yazidis are themselves Kurds.

Aug 5, 2014

Iraq’s Yazidis face Islamic State or perilous mountains

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – When the Islamic State made another dramatic push through northern Iraq, many Iraqis fled their towns and villages before the Sunni militants notorious for beheadings arrived.

But the Yazidis of the town of Sinjar were especially terrified. The Islamic State, whose methods seem excessive even to al Qaeda, regards the minority ethnic group as “devil worshippers”, making them prime candidates for the sword.

Aug 5, 2014

Maliki fights for political life as Sunni insurgency rages

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has no intention of stepping aside despite mounting pressure from Sunnis, Kurds, some fellow Shi’ites and power broker Iran, aides said on Tuesday, although political deadlock is undermining efforts to counter insurgents.

Maliki, seen as an authoritarian figure with a sectarian agenda that has destabilised Iraq, has ruled in a caretaker capacity since an incomplete election in April.

Aug 4, 2014

Tunneling through triangle of death, Islamic State aims at Baghdad from south

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Using secret tunnels built by Saddam Hussein and rough terrain to outfox Iraqi troops, Islamic State insurgents are getting dangerously close to Baghdad with the support of heavily-armed Sunni tribesmen, Iraqi security and intelligence officials said.

The al Qaeda offshoot, which poses the biggest security threat to Iraq since the fall of Saddam in 2003, has made new bold advances in the north, reaching a major dam and seizing a fifth oilfield and three more towns after routing security forces from the Kurdish autonomous region.

Aug 4, 2014

Insight – Tunnelling through triangle of death, Islamic State aims at Baghdad from south

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Using secret tunnels built by Saddam Hussein and rough terrain to outfox Iraqi troops, Islamic State insurgents are getting dangerously close to Baghdad with the support of heavily-armed Sunni tribesmen, Iraqi security and intelligence officials said.

The al Qaeda offshoot, which poses the biggest security threat to Iraq since the fall of Saddam in 2003, has made new bold advances in the north, reaching a major dam and seizing a fifth oilfield and three more towns after routing security forces from the Kurdish autonomous region.

Jul 30, 2014

Iraqi militias execute, hang 15 people: police

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Shi’ite militia forces executed 15 Sunni Muslims and then hung them by electricity poles in a public square in a town northeast of Baghdad on Wednesday, police said.

A police officer at the scene in Baquba, a mixed Sunni and Shi’ite town 65 km (40 miles) from Baghdad, said he believed the action was designed to keep Sunnis from supporting the Islamic State, an al-Qaeda offshoot which seized swathes of land in an advance through northern Iraq last month.

Jul 29, 2014

Islamic State video wages psychological war on Iraqi soldiers

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Islamic State, the al Qaeda spin-off that seized wide swathes of Iraq almost unopposed last month, has released a video telling Iraqi soldiers who may still have some fight in them that they risk being rounded up en masse and executed.

Iraq’s army unraveled when the Sunni insurgents staged a lightning advance through northern towns and cities, building on territory their comrades captured earlier in the west of the country, a major OPEC oil producer.