Why did Obama change his estimate of the strength of Islamic State?

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, September 30, 2014 It was a real shock to see U.S. President Barack Obama saying that his intelligence services underestimated the strength and danger of Islamic State (IS). It was even a bigger shock to see him saying that his intelligence services overstated the capability of the Iraqi army, which was(…)

PM reported to have fueled inter-Kurdish differences

Azzaman, September 29, 2014 The head of the Kurdish region Massoud Barzani is unhappy with a visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to the Kurdish Province of Sulaimaniya, the stronghold of his Kurdish opponents, Kurdish sources said. The row between Barzani and two powerful Kurdish political parties in Sulaimaniya is simmering though it has(…)

More advanced Russian weapons arrive in Iraq

By Mohammed al-Salehi Azzaman, September 28, 2014 Russian weapons among them advanced helicopter gunships and anti-tank rockets are pouring into Iraq, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. The statement was issued following the arrival of Mi-35 helicopter gunships and Kornet anti-tank missile systems. The statement said Russia delivered “its third batch of Mi-35 helicopter(…)

Hundreds of displaced Christian families return to village

Azzaman, September 26, 2014 Hundreds of Christian families who had fled a village north of the city of Mosul have returned home but are still in need of urgent help, according to the United Nations. Islamic State (IS) militants are still in control of a string of Christian villages in the plateau of the Province(…)

Iraq to punish officers reported to have prevented Kurds from entering Baghdad

Azzaman, September 24, 2014 Iraqi military says no army officer or checkpoint has the right to prevent Kurds from entering Baghdad and other towns with their vehicles. “We shall punish any member of the army or security forces in case of evidence they had not allowed Kurds and their vehicles enter Baghdad or any other(…)

Will Islamic State invade Kuwait and Saudi Arabia?

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, September 23, 2014 Were the reports that Islamic State (IS) militants would advance on Kuwait and Saudi Arabia true or part of exaggeration? There are different answers but all of them are interwoven. However, they have one common element: IS which declared itself a caliphate is not bound by borders and(…)

More warplanes and helicopter gunships join Iraqi Air Force

By Mohammed al-Salehi Azzaman, September 22, 2014 Iraqi Air Force is growing with more than 40 Russian Su-25 warplanes and scores of Russian-made helicopter gunships, the Ministry of Defense said. “The (Iraqi) Air force possesses more than 40 Su-25 multi-purpose warplanes which are being deployed in the war against terror and the Islamic State (IS),”(…)

Hundreds of Iraqi troops besieged by Islamic State militants

Azzaman, September 20, 2014 Hundreds of Iraqi troops are under siege by Islamic State militants (IS) in the district of Saqlawiya close to the strategic town of Falluja, military sources said. The sources, refusing to be named for security reasons, said the besieged military personnel were running out of food and water and may not(…)

Iraq’s Kurdish region hit by economic slump

By Fareed Hassan Azzaman, September 18, 2014 The Kurdish region is in the grips of an economic slump that has seen a sharp plunge in revenues and sluggish retail activity in its three provinces, the region’s parliamentary commission on finance said. The commission’s chairman Izzat Saber said the region’s revenues have plummeted by at least(…)

Saudi Arabia and Iraq to halt media attacks on each other

By Nidhal al-Laithi Azzaman, September 17, 2014 In a new sign of a thaw in relations, Saudi Arabia and Iraq have agreed to halt attacking each other through their media organs, boost bilateral ties and coordinate in fighting what they as common risk represented in the rise of Islamic State (IS). The foreign ministers of(…)

Iraq urges U.S. air strikes to break siege of town by Islamic State militants

By Dholfqar al-Baldawi Azzaman, September 16, 2014 Iraq has formally asked the United States to launch air strikes against militants of Islamic State (IS) who have been encircling a town of nearly 50,000 inhabitants for more than two months. There are fears of IS, also known as ISIS, storming Dhiloiya north of Baghdad and committing(…)

Church leader asks France to send troops to protect Iraqi Christians

By Marwan al-Ani Azzaman, September 15, 2014 An Iraqi church leader has asked France and its western partners to deploy troops in their fight against Islamic State (IS) in order to drive its militants out of Christian villages and towns the jihadist group currently occupies. French President Francois Hollande visited Iraq last week and reiterated(…)

Halt of aerial bombing encourages displaced civilians to return to Falluja

By Nourideen Hameed Azzaman, September 14, 2014 The town of Falluja which militants from Islamic State (IS) occupied more than six months ago has seen no aerial bombing in the past three days, spurring many of its displaced in habitants to return, residents said. The residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said inhabitants were(…)

Sunni tribes form front to confront Islamic State

By Mazen Abdulmajeed Azzaman, September 12, 2014 Sunni tribes in the Province of Salahudeen are rallying behind the government in its battle against militants (IS) of Islamic state. A new tribal council has been formed in the province whose target is to mobilize tribesmen to retake the city of Tikrit, the provincial capital. IS, also(…)

Iraq to release more than 1000 prisoners

By Mohammed al-Salehi Azzaman, September 11, 2014 The government is to release 1163 prisoners who have been languishing in jail without trial, the Justice ministry said. The ministry’s spokesperson Hayder al-Saadi said the move was part of government’s policy not to keep Iraqis in detention without trial. “The prisoners will be released in batches,” Saadi(…)

Besieged Iraqi town sends out SOS signal as Islamic State militants intensify attacks

By Mohammed Al-Salehi Azzaman, September 9, 2014 The picturesque town of Dhiloiya is almost encircled by militants from Islamic State (IS) and its inhabitants are pleading with the government to send troops to break the siege. Dhiloiya, home to nearly 50,000 people, has been fighting IS, also known as ISIS, on its own for more(…)

Iraqi minorities still homeless despite ‘liberation’ of some of their areas

Azzaman, September 8, 2014 By Fareed Hassan Kurdish peshmerga have regained territory and cleared numerous villages and towns that were occupied by militants of Islamic State (IS) but the minorities who lived in them are not willing to return. Under pressure from U.S. air strikes, IS, also known as ISIS, was forced to abandon villages(…)

What does a ministerial portfolio in Iraq mean?

Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, September 7, 2014 A cabinet portfolio has a special meaning for Iraq as it is the case in Lebanon. No other country in the world shares the same concept. In Iraq for instance, a cabinet position is viewed as personal property. It is allocated to a special group or faction, who usually(…)

Hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis miss out on school

By Nashoor Ali September 6, 2014 Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi students have failed to join schools this year, after being displaced as a result of  violence in at least five Iraqi provinces, the Education Ministry has said. Only in the Kurdish region there are 300,000 displaced students who cannot join classes, the ministry’s spokesperson(…)

Iraq edges closer to Iran as fighting with Islamic State intensifies

Azzaman, September 4, 2014 The stunning military successes by the Islamic State (IS) have made Iraq more reliant on Iran than any time before. Iran already played a pivotal role in stating Iraqi politics but the geopolitical realities arising from the IS’s invasion have given Tehran more leverage on almost all aspect of life in(…)