Oliver's Feed
Sep 16, 2014

U.S. scouts for Sunni allies on the ground in Iraq

BAGHDAD/AMMAN (Reuters) – Unwilling to send U.S. troops back to Iraq, Washington is trying to persuade armed Sunni factions and tribal figures to fight Islamic State militants in an echo of the “Awakening” movement that drove al Qaeda from the country six years ago.

“There is a lot of traffic right now,” James Jeffrey, a veteran diplomat who was U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2010-2012 and maintains close ties to the government in Baghdad.

Sep 16, 2014

Insight – U.S. scouts for Sunni allies on the ground in Iraq

BAGHDAD/AMMAN (Reuters) – Unwilling to send U.S. troops back to Iraq, Washington is trying to persuade armed Sunni factions and tribal figures to fight Islamic State militants in an echo of the “Awakening” movement that drove al Qaeda from the country six years ago.

“There is a lot of traffic right now,” James Jeffrey, a veteran diplomat who was U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2010-2012 and maintains close ties to the government in Baghdad.

Sep 14, 2014

Iraq’s Allawi endorses PM, says will help win over Sunnis

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s Vice President Iyad Allawi endorsed Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday, a move that will be seen as a step towards reconciliation in a political system that desperately needs to rebuild to allow Baghdad to fight Islamic State.

For years Allawi, a secular Shi’ite Muslim, has been an outspoken critic of former premier Nuri al-Maliki whom he has accused of acting like Saddam Hussein in trying to silence his opponents.

Sep 13, 2014

Islamic State video purports to show beheading of UK hostage David Haines

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Islamic State militants fighting in Iraq and Syria released a video on Saturday which purported to show the beheading of British aid worker David Haines.

Reuters could not immediately verify the footage. However, the images were consistent with that of the filmed executions of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, in the past month.

Sep 13, 2014

Iraq PM says will protect civilians after U.S.-Iraq air strikes against IS

BAGHDAD/CAIRO (Reuters) – Iraq’s Shi’ite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Saturday that he had ordered his air force to halt strikes on civilians, following attacks by both Iraqi and U.S. jets in large areas of the country held by Islamic State fighters.

The announcement, which comes as the United States tries to build regional support for deeper military action against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, may be aimed at winning Sunni Muslim support for Abadi’s new Shi’ite-led government as it battles the group which controls one third of Iraqi territory.

Sep 12, 2014

Iraq’s speaker warns of civilian deaths from U.S. air strikes

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri has told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that air strikes on Islamic State should not kill civilians, the speaker said to Reuters in an interview.

President Barack Obama has promised to destroy the Islamist militants using a “systematic campaign of air strikes”. Washington has already conducted more than 150 strikes in Iraq in recent weeks.

Sep 10, 2014

Last Syrian vineyard keeps wine flowing despite war

BEIRUT, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Amid the war in Syria, one
hillside vineyard still produces wines that are served in the
Michelin-starred restaurants of London and Paris.

It has been a struggle to keep Syria’s last commercial
vineyard open, the owner of Domaine de Bargylus says. The war,
which started in 2011, has engulfed the whole country, and
militias on both sides fight in every province.

Aug 23, 2014

U.S. hostage rescuers dropped from night sky: Syria activist

BEIRUT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It was just after midnight on July 4 when at least two dozen U.S. Delta Force commandos arrived on heavily armed Black Hawk helicopters in Akrishi, a small town near the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa on the bank of the Euphrates River.

Before they landed to search for American hostages including journalist James Foley, they destroyed a crucial target: anti-aircraft weapons at a jihadist base about 3 miles (5 km) southeast of the city, a stronghold of Islamic State militants seeking to build a monolithic Islamic state.

Aug 22, 2014

U.S. hostage rescuers dropped from night sky, Syria activist says

BEIRUT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It was just after midnight on July 4 when at least two dozen U.S. Delta Force commandos arrived on heavily armed Black Hawk helicopters in Akrishi, a small town near the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa on the bank of the Euphrates River.

Before they landed to search for American hostages including journalist James Foley, they destroyed a crucial target: anti-aircraft weapons at a jihadist base about 3 miles (5 km) southeast of the city, a stronghold of Islamic State militants seeking to build a monolithic Islamic state.

Aug 21, 2014

Trip Tips: See and live history in Lebanon

BEIRUT, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Some travellers want to see
history, others want to live it. In Lebanon, a slice of land
between the Mediterranean and war-ravaged Syria, you can do a
lot of both.

At the Roman ruins of Baalbek, some of the best preserved in
the world, you can walk past the 70-foot (21-metre) high pillars
alone – there have been no big crowds since the 2006 conflict
with Israel.