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Sep 4, 2015

Iraqi army raids militia HQ, suspecting link to Turkish abductees

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi security forces investigating the abduction of 18 Turkish construction workers raided the Baghdad headquarters of a powerful Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia overnight, security sources and officials said on Friday.

Gunmen in military uniform had seized the Turks on Wednesday from a sports stadium they were building in northeastern Baghdad, in what Ankara said appeared to have been a targeted kidnapping.

Sep 4, 2015

S&P rates Iraq 6 notches into junk as readies first bond in 9 years

BAGHDAD, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Credit agency Standard & Poor’s
assigned Iraq a sovereign rating six notches below investment
grade on Thursday as the country prepares to return to
international capital markets for the first time in nearly a
decade.

Citing security and institutional risks among the highest of
any sovereign it assesses, S&P rated Iraq at B-, on a par with
Egypt and above Greece.

Sep 3, 2015

Special Report: In Egypt, jailed Islamists ‘dying of neglect’

DAMIETTA, Egypt (Reuters) – Muslim Brotherhood lawmaker Mohammad al-Falahgi was arrested on terror charges in 2013 and held in prison, but never convicted. Earlier this year, after pleading for medical help, he died “handcuffed to the hospital bed,” according to his son Osama.

Falahgi’s family believes his death was deliberate, a way for the Egyptian state to deal with a prisoner it wanted to get rid of. Egyptian and international human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, say cases like Falahgi’s amount to a little-noticed abuse of human rights under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. They have recorded more than 100 cases of what they call death “by neglect” in prisons over the past two years.

Sep 2, 2015

Eighteen Turkish workers kidnapped in Baghdad, firm says

BAGHDAD/ANKARA (Reuters) – Gunmen in military uniform seized 18 Turkish workers from a sports stadium they were building in northeastern Baghdad on Wednesday, their company said, in what Ankara said appeared to have been a targeted attack.

Diplomats have said Turkey could suffer reprisals after abandoning months of reticence to launch air strikes against Islamic State in neighboring Syria and open its bases to a U.S.-led coalition fighting the Sunni Muslim militants.

Aug 28, 2015

Iraqi PM orders easier access to Baghdad’s Green Zone as protests surge

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday ordered security forces to ease access to Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and main streets, in an apparent bid to improve daily life for ordinary Iraqis as fresh protests erupted across the country.

The capital and many southern cities have witnessed demonstrations in recent weeks calling for provision of basic services, the trial of corrupt politicians, and the shakeup of a system riddled with graft and incompetence.

Aug 28, 2015

Iraqi PM orders easier access to Baghdad’s Green Zone

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday ordered security forces to ease access to Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and main streets, in an apparent bid to improve daily life for ordinary Iraqis as the country braces for fresh protests.

The capital and many southern cities have witnessed demonstrations in recent weeks calling for provision of basic services, the trial of corrupt politicians, and the shake-up of a system riddled with graft and incompetence.

Aug 18, 2015

Iraq’s Maliki rejects blame for fall of Mosul

BAGHDAD/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iraq’s former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Tuesday denounced as worthless a parliamentary report which blamed him and others for the fall of Mosul to Islamic State last year and which called for them to be referred to the judiciary.

“There is no value to the results that came out of the parliamentary investigation committee”, Maliki said on Facebook in his first public comments since the report was released on Sunday and referred to the public prosecutor on Monday.

Aug 16, 2015

Iraqi panel finds Maliki, others responsible for fall of Mosul

BAGHDAD/BEIRUT (Reuters) – An Iraqi parliamentary panel called on Sunday for former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and dozens of other top officials to stand trial over the fall of the northern city of Mosul to Islamic State last year.

Separately, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi directed military commanders accused of abandoning their posts in Ramadi, the capital of western Anbar province which was overrun by Islamic State in May, to face court martial.

Aug 6, 2015

Slow gains in Anbar set pace for Iraq’s anti-IS offensive

BAGHDAD/BEIRUT (Reuters) – After only modest gains in the first few weeks of their drive to retake Anbar province, Iraqi government forces have given up hopes of swift advances against Islamic State militants.

The campaign, launched after the provincial capital Ramadi fell in May, initially aimed at recapturing the city quickly but then shifted east to break the militants’ 19-month grip on the city of Falluja and secure supply lines from Baghdad.

Aug 3, 2015

Iraqi Kurdistan says to share oil sales revenue with producers

BAGHDAD, Aug 3 (Reuters) – Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional
Government (KRG) said on Monday it would pay a portion of its
revenue from direct crude oil sales to producers, in an apparent
attempt to reassure foreign oil companies operating in the
northern region.

The move sets up semi-autonomous Kurdistan to continue
independent oil sales, which it has increased since mid-June
while cutting allocations to Iraq’s state oil firm SOMO in an
escalating dispute over export rights and budget payments.