Oliver's Feed
Jul 9, 2014

Syrian government forces squeeze insurgents in Aleppo

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian armed forces have taken strategic ground around Aleppo this week, residents and state media said on Wednesday, squeezing the main rebel supply line into the city after months of battlefield gains by Damascus.

The government advance, after close to two years of stalemate, was bolstered by fighters from the Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah, an ally of President Bashar al-Assad, according to sources close to Hezbollah.

Jul 3, 2014

Iraq chases Baghdad sleeper cells as ‘Zero Hour’ looms over capital

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi insurgents are preparing for an assault on Baghdad, with sleeper cells planted inside the capital to rise up at “Zero Hour” and aid fighters pushing in from the outskirts, according to senior Iraqi and U.S. security officials.

Sunni fighters have seized wide swathes of the north and west of the country in a three week lightning advance and say they are bearing down on the capital, a city of 7 million people still scarred by the intense street fighting between its Sunni and Shi’ite neighborhoods during U.S. occupation.

Jul 2, 2014

Sunnis, Kurds shun Iraq parliament after no Maliki replacement named

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Sunnis and Kurds walked out of the first session of Iraq’s new parliament on Tuesday after Shi’ites failed to name a prime minister to replace Nuri al-Maliki, dimming any prospect of an early national unity government to save Iraq from collapse.

The United States, United Nations, Iran and Iraq’s own Shi’ite clergy have pushed hard for politicians to come up with an inclusive government to hold the fragmenting country together as Sunni insurgents bear down on Baghdad.

Jul 2, 2014

Sunnis, Kurds shun Iraq parliament

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Sunnis and Kurds walked out of the first session of Iraq’s new parliament on Tuesday after Shi’ites failed to name a prime minister to replace Nuri al-Maliki, dimming any prospect of an early national unity government to save Iraq from collapse.

The United States, United Nations, Iran and Iraq’s own Shi’ite clergy have pushed hard for politicians to come up with an inclusive government to hold the fragmenting country together as Sunni insurgents bear down on Baghdad.

Jul 1, 2014

Iraq lawmakers convene to form government to fight “caliphate”

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s new parliament convened on Tuesday under pressure to name a unity government to prevent the country splitting apart after an onslaught by Sunni militants who have declared a “caliphate” to rule over all the world’s Muslims.

The session in Baghdad’s fortified “green zone” could end the eight-year rule of Shi’ite Islamist Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, with foes determined to unseat him and even some allies saying he could be replaced by a less polarising figure.

Jul 1, 2014

Iraq lawmakers convene to form new government in battle with “caliphate”

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Newly elected Iraqi lawmakers convene on Tuesday, under pressure to name a unity government to keep the country from splitting apart after an onslaught by Sunni Islamists who have declared a “caliphate” to rule over all the world’s Muslims.

The meeting of the new legislature in Baghdad’s fortified “green zone” could spell the end of the eight-year rule of Shi’ite Islamist Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, with foes determined to unseat him and even some allies saying he may need to be replaced by a less polarising figure.

Jul 1, 2014

As caliphate is declared, Iraqi troops battle for Tikrit

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi troops battled to dislodge an al Qaeda splinter group from the city of Tikrit on Monday after its leader was declared caliph of a new Islamic state in lands seized this month across a swath of Iraq and Syria.

Underscoring rising tensions in the region, the United States said it had sent about 300 additional troops into Iraq along with a detachment of helicopters and drone aircraft.

Jun 30, 2014

As caliphate declared, battle continues in Iraq

BAGHDAD, June 30 (Reuters) – Iraqi troops battled to
dislodge an al Qaeda splinter group from the city of Tikrit on
Monday after its leader was declared caliph of a new Islamic
state in lands seized this month across a swathe of Iraq and
Syria.

Alarming regional and world powers, the Islamic State in
Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed universal authority when it
dropped the local element in its name and said its leader Abu
Bakr al-Baghdadi, as leader of the Islamic State, was now caliph
of the Muslim world – a mediaeval title last widely recognised
in the Ottoman sultan deposed 90 years ago after World War One.

Jun 27, 2014

Mass prisoner deaths in Iraq point to police executions

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – It was supposed to be a routine job, police say. Move 69 prisoners from an outlying town to a jail in southern Baghdad. But before they arrived at their destination, every single prisoner had been killed.

The official account given hours after the killing on Monday by the governor of Hilla, 92km (57 miles) south of Baghdad, was that militants had attacked the convoy killing 10 prisoners and one policeman in the crossfire.

Jun 27, 2014

Iraq helicopter crashes in airborne commando assault on Tikrit

BAGHDAD/ARBIL (Reuters) – Iraqi forces launched an airborne assault on rebel-held Tikrit on Thursday with commandos flown into a stadium in helicopters, at least one of which crashed after taking fire from insurgents who have seized northern cities.

Witnesses said battles were raging in the city, hometown of former dictator Saddam Hussein, which fell to Sunni Islamist fighters two weeks ago on the third day of a lightning offensive that has given them control of most majority Sunni regions.