Fear And Loathing And Tricky Questions:
Iraqi fighters in Anbar are waiting to push the Islamic State group out of cities like Ramadi. But they wonder when it will happen, if ever. Many believe that politics are why this particular victory must take so long.
Shiite Militias VS. Kurdish Military:
Last week's clashes between Shiite militias and Kurdish military resurrected the spectre of ethnic fighting. A peace deal has been signed. But it's never that easy in Iraq and the area remains “a ticking time bomb”.
Dying for A Cigarette:
The extremist Islamic State group has banned smoking in areas they control. In Mosul, locals have changed their habits, traders have hidden stock and lighting up is seen as a challenge to the extremists' rule.
One Man Marriage Machine:
In Iraqi Kurdistan, many would-be couples arrange their marriages. Some are in love, others want to find love. A Khormal teacher has become famous for arranging over 2,000 successful marriages.
Never Too Late To Reconcile:
The oldest Armenian woman in Iraq died this year. She was brought up by Arabs but her death marks a new era, as local Armenians begin fighting for their own culture and identity in Iraq.
Pay Cuts and Front Lines:
Locals in Mosul say the Islamic State group has started a campaign to “test the loyalty” of their members. Those who joined for money or power are being asked to take pay cuts or head to the front lines.
Rebel With a Cause:
The Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah is over two centuries old this week. Locals will be celebrating a long history of rebellion and defiance – and their trademark ability to find humour in every dark episode.
From Kirkuk to Hell:
Policeman Mohammed al-Faj's family of seven left Kirkuk in mid-October to find a better life in Europe. By the end of October only one of them was left alive.
In the southern province of Dhi Qar there are over a hundred brick factories. They emit smoke and fumes 24 hours a day and are a leading cause of illness and environmental problems.
Nobody Wants To Be On Team al-Abadi:
Nobody in Iraqi politics appears to like Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi much anymore. Some dislike him for his proposed reforms, others for not reforming enough. It's a no-win scenario. How long can he last?
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