Senior Andean Correspondent
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Sep 30, 2012

In Syrian shadow, Iraq’s Maliki juggles Tehran, Washington

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s move to inspect Iranian aircraft flying to Syria may appease the United States but also shows how crisis in Damascus has pushed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki into an ever more delicate balancing act between his two main allies.

When he faced a parliamentary revolt this year, he could count on Tehran to pull strings of influence over restive fellow Shi’ite politicians in Iraq’s majority community that saw the Iraqis quickly fall in line again behind the Shi’ite premier.

Sep 16, 2012

Feature: Troubled Iraqi border town in eye of Syrian storm

AL QAIM, Iraq (Reuters) – Syrian refugees squeeze against a closed gate at an Iraqi border post, reaching through its metal bars to clamour for water, and calling out to Iraqi cousins and brothers on the other side.

Yelling into their cellphones, more Syrians perch on top of the concrete walls that divide Iraq from Syria, waiting for Iraqis to unload trucks filled with boxes of cooking oil and bottled water and hoist them over the al Qaim checkpoint.

Sep 16, 2012

Troubled Iraqi border town in eye of Syrian storm

AL QAIM, Iraq (Reuters) – Syrian refugees squeeze against a closed gate at an Iraqi border post, reaching through its metal bars to clamor for water, and calling out to Iraqi cousins and brothers on the other side.

Yelling into their cellphones, more Syrians perch on top of the concrete walls that divide Iraq from Syria, waiting for Iraqis to unload trucks filled with boxes of cooking oil and bottled water and hoist them over the al Qaim checkpoint.

Sep 10, 2012

Sectarian fury, Syrian turmoil pressure Iraq’s Maliki

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A fugitive vice president condemned to death and rallying opposition to Iraq’s “sectarian” prime minister, fresh bloodshed in the streets and the entire Middle East divided by religion over the war across the border in Syria – Nuri al-Maliki has no easy task in holding his government, and his nation, together.

The Iraqi premier was denounced on Monday by Sunni Muslim Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi as a conspirator and oppressor, in league with fellow Shi’ites in Iran and driven by religious hatred to engineer the death sentence handed down on Hashemi on Sunday for murders committed by sectarian death squads.

Sep 8, 2012

Rockets from Syria hit Iraqi home, killing 5-year-old girl

AL QAIM, Iraq, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Three rockets fired from
Syria hit an Iraqi border town on Saturday, killing a 5-year-old
girl, locals and officials said, in the most serious spillover
from the neighbouring country’s civil war.

As rebels fought government forces for an airfield and
military base near the Syrian border town of Albu Kamal,
Katyusha rockets hit a residential area of al Qaim in Iraq,
smashing through a wall of one house and killing a girl inside.

Aug 2, 2012

Analysis: Syria crisis feeds Iraq violence, al Qaeda revival

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – It was a brazen, complex attack worthy of Iraq’s al Qaeda at its peak. Two bombs minutes apart killed, maimed and distracted while a team of suicide attackers blasted into a Baghdad police base to try to free jailed insurgents.

Tuesday’s high-profile assault on a anti-terrorism police unit in Baghdad was the latest in a drive by the Islamic State of Iraq, al Qaeda local affiliate, to make good on a pledge to win back ground lost in its war with American troops – its leader has even threatened to strike at the United States.

Jul 22, 2012

Fleeing Syrian Kurds seek refuge with Iraqi brethren

CAMP DOMIZ, Iraq (Reuters) – Syrian troops usually came before dawn, rounding up young Kurdish men to force them into an army they did not see as their own and into a fight for a government that treated them as outsiders.

When they came, Syrian law student Ahmed slipped out, leaving his family and crossing the border in April into Iraqi Kurdistan to join thousands of Syrian Kurds now living among their Iraqi brethren in a refugee camp or homes of relatives.

Jun 10, 2012

Foes of Iraq’s Maliki cannot force confidence vote

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Opponents of Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki failed to gather enough support for a no-confidence vote against the Shi’ite leader, keeping the government in a slow-burning crisis over power-sharing among Sunni, Shi’ite and Kurdish blocs.

A successful ballot would have been the most serious challenge to Maliki in his six years in office, potentially sinking the government and escalating sectarian tensions in a country still pulling back from years of war.

Jun 7, 2012

Analysis: Maliki enemies battle to vote him out of office

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Ask Iraq’s Sunni, Kurdish and even some Shi’ite leaders these days what they think of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and the rhetoric is likely to be shrill: Many call him a dictator, autocrat or even a new “Saddam” who needs to be voted from office.

For the second time since American troops left last December, Maliki is wading through a crisis with the Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs in his government at each others throats in a feud that risks spilling from politics into sectarian violence.

May 28, 2012

All aboard! Double-decker bus makes Baghdad comeback

BAGHDAD, May 28 (Reuters) – More often seen speeding past
Trafalgar Square, British-style double-decker buses are making a
comeback in Baghdad, the latest sign that Iraq’s capital is on
the road to recovery after years of war and sanctions.

Once a common sight during Saddam Hussein’s rule before the
2003 U.S.-led invasion, Iraq’s old red double-deckers all but
disappeared from use when looting, sectarian violence, and
attacks engulfed the Iraqi capital at the height of the war.

    • About Pat

      "Patrick Markey is the Senior Andean Correspondent for Reuters, based in Bogota, Colombia. For the last nine years he has covered and helped manage coverage across the Andean region, including Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. He has also reported on top stories across Latin America, including more recently the Honduras coup and Haiti's earthquake."
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