Iran extends visas for 450,000 Afghan refugees

Reuters, By Jessica Donati, December 13

Kabul – Iran said it had agreed to extend temporary visas for 450,000 Afghan refugees for six months, lifting a threat to send them back home to a country facing attacks by resurgent militants.

Afghanistan — struggling to cope with hundreds of thousands of people left homeless inside its […]

‘Hundreds’ more UK troops to be sent to Iraq – Michael Fallon

Hundreds of British troops will be sent to Iraq in the New Year, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said.

BBC, December 13

The deployment – to help train local forces – will be in the “very low hundreds” but could also include a small protection force of combat-ready soldiers, he said.

About 50 UK troops […]

France: ‘Major’ anti-ISIS raid taking place in Iraq

AFP, December 5

France said Friday its fighter jets were conducting a “major” raid in Iraq as part of the U.S.-led coalition offensive against the Islamic State group, days after members said the strikes were having effect.

“At the moment, a major raid is taking place,” Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFMTV, refusing to […]

Hagel Stepping Down as Defense Chief Under Pressure

New York Times, By Helene Cooper, November 24

Washington – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and a beleaguered national security team that has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises…

The officials described […]

Dempsey Weighs Frontline Role for U.S. Troops in Iraq

Bloomberg, By Sangwon Yoon, November 13

President Barack Obama’s top military adviser said more U.S. troops may be needed in Iraq for a “long and difficult” fight against Islamic State, as military planners assess the shortcomings of Iraqi forces.

Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers yesterday that more […]

Four Blackwater guards found guilty in 2007 Iraq shootings of 31 unarmed civilians

Washington Post, By Spencer S. Hsu, Victoria St. Martin & Keith L. Alexander, October 22

A federal jury in Washington convicted four Blackwater Worldwide guards Wednesday in the fatal shooting of 14 unarmed Iraqis, seven years after the American security contractors fired machine guns and grenades into a Baghdad traffic circle in one of the […]

U.N. report: ISIS uses women, girls as sex slaves

Al Arabiya, October 2

The United Nations on Thursday said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has committed mass killings, kidnapped women and girls and used them as sex slaves and employed children as fighters, in systematic violations that may amount to war crimes.

In a report based on nearly 500 interviews, […]

France launches first air strikes on IS in Iraq

BBC, September 19

French jets have carried out their first strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, the office of President Francois Hollande says.

A statement said planes had attacked an IS depot in north-east Iraq, and there would be more raids in the coming days.

The US has carried out more than 170 […]

A Climate of Unaccountability

They’re back! John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bill Kristol, Dick Cheney – the people who pushed the U.S. into the devastating mistake that was the 2003 invasion of Iraq, have discovered yet another existential threat ready and able to destroy the world. Back then it was Saddam Hussein and his mythical cache of Weapons of Mass […]

Watch and weep

The covert origins of ISIS.

Isis consolidates

The London Review of Books, By Patrick Cockburn, August 21 (!)

As the attention of the world focused on Ukraine and Gaza, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) captured a third of Syria in addition to the quarter of Iraq it had seized in June. The frontiers of the new Caliphate declared by […]

US launches airstrikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq’s Kurdistan

Pentagon says strikes on Islamic State artillery positions came after group shelled Kurdish forces near US personnel

Al Jazeera, August 8

American warplanes carried out two separate airstrikes against advancing Islamic State (IS) positions in northern Iraq after artillery fire from the group fell near U.S. personnel, the Pentagon said Friday.

In the first strike, […]

Kurds Flood Into Iraq From Turkey And Syria To Protect Kurdistan From ISIS Forces

FDL, By DSWright, August 6

With the government in Baghdad losing more and more control of the country the Kurds in northern Iraq are relying on ethnic solidarity to maintain their control as ISIS continues to expand its power.

On Tuesday Kurdish forces fought to retake territory they had lost to ISIS over the weekend […]

Jihadists seize Syria army base, behead soldiers

AFP, July 26

Damascus – Islamic State fighters have seized a Syrian army base in the northern province of Raqa, killing scores of troops and beheading some of them, a monitoring group said Saturday.

But in the central Homs region, government forces recaptured Al-Shaar gas field, seized by IS a week before, the monitor and […]

Battle for Baghdad

London Review of Books, By Patrick Cockburn, July 4

In early June, Abbas Saddam, a private soldier from a Shia district in Baghdad serving in the 11th Division of the Iraqi army, was transferred from Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in western Iraq, to Mosul in the north. The fighting started not long after […]

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