06 May 2021
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Renewed rocket attacks on US targets in Iraq show Iran-aligned factions are heaping pressure on the government while Tehran may be seeking leverage over America's new administration, analysts say. Iraq, scarred by decades of war and insurgency, has been a strategic battleground for arch-foes the United States and Iran, both allies of Baghdad who remain sharply at odds over Iran's nuclear programme. Analysts and officials in Iraq say the resumption of attacks after four months of relative calm shows that…
Nasser Banyameen speaks about his hometown of Qaraqosh in the historical heartland of Iraqi Christianity with nostalgia. Before Islamic State group fighters swept through the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq. Before the militants shattered his sense of peace. Before panicked relatives and neighbors fled, some never to return. Iraq’s Christian communities in the area were dealt a severe blow when they were scattered by the IS onslaught in 2014, further shrinking the country’s already dwindling Christian population. Many hope their…
THE US Embassy in Baghdad has come under attack with rockets fired in Iraq's capital, it has emerged this evening. At least three rockets targeted the building in the high-security green zone, which houses foreign embassies and is the seat of Iraq's government. One of the rockets, security sources told Associated Press, fell within the perimeters of the Embassy complex itself.  A statement from the Iraq military said there were no casualties and that an investigation was ongoing. The statement added…
Asked why he sees himself as a suitable candidate to lead the country again, Maliki said, “Whoever praises us now follows the old saying: ‘try someone else to know how good I was.’” BAGHDAD – Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki expressed his ambition to lead Iraq again despite the severe decline in his popularity. Maliki’s two terms as head of government from 2006-2014 were catastrophic for the country, with the state seeing a major decline at various economic, social…
WASHINGTON – The Biden administration vowed on Wednesday that there will be consequences for those behind the deadly rocket attack earlier this week in northern Iraq. “It is fair to say that there will be consequences for any group responsible for this attack,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters during a briefing.  The attack in the city of Irbil in the Kurdistan region killed one civilian contractor and injured nine others, including a U.S. service member, according to U.S. Army…
Huddled over his coffee, Ihsan al-Shammeri stares ahead sullenly from his spot on a rooftop above Baghdad. In Iraq, the last days are approaching to negotiate lists and alliances before the next elections, now postponed until 10 October.  But the activist leader and political analyst doesn't care. "Several of them contacted me but I refused: two big Shiite parties [which he does not want to name], asked me to create and lead a new formation with other activists from Tishreen [the…
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States said on Tuesday that creating a conducive environment for elections in Iraq later this year includes tackling Iran-backed militias, Iran’s destabilizing activities in the country and remaining Islamic State elements. Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Mills told a U.N. Security Council meeting on Iraq that one of the highest barriers to creating a conducive environment for credible, peaceful and inclusive elections “is the presence of armed militias, violent extremists and…
Members of a “death squad” that killed several Iraqi activists were arrested on Monday, Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi said, as the government attempts to clamp down on assassinations. The government has been under pressure to find and punish the killers of activists calling for reforms, with public concern mounting over the frequency of these attacks. "The death squad who terrorised our people in Basra, and killed innocents, are now in the hands of our heroic forces, on their way…
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— Members of the Peace Brigades (Saraya al Salam in Arabic) militia, followers of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, have been deployed in droves to several Iraqi cities after receiving information about "threats" to holy sites, according to advisors to Sadr.   A statement circulated by Telegram channels affiliated with the Peace Brigades stated that "Abu Yasser," the “jihadist aide” to Sadr, held an urgent meeting on Monday in which he declared "complete readiness" to defend holy sites, following…
FALLUJAH– Abu Arkan Ibrahim picked up a rifle and joined the Iraqi insurgency against US troops when they occupied his hometown of Fallujah in 2003. He was badly burned in the fighting. Now, he fears the departure of the Americans he once battled. Over the past 17 years, the municipal employee has watched his city fall to the United States, al-Qaeda, ISIS and, most recently, Iraqi forces fighting alongside Iran-backed paramilitaries. Ibrahim said the presence of US troops in recent…
Iraq, the second-biggest oil producer within the Opec group, is substantially exposed to fiscal risks related to guarantees issued by the state to support investment in the country, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund. At end of June 2017, the stock of guarantees related to foreign currency service payments and debt amounted to $21.7 billion, representing 12 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the IMF said. This includes $19.4bn for service payments to independent power…

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