politics

votes, not guns: iraqi kurds won kirkuk before their troops entered the city

The Iraqi Kurdish military have been criticized for taking advantage of extremist attacks and gaining control of the disputed city of Kirkuk, a place they’ve always wanted to run. But in fact, Iraqi Kurdish politicians had already won the city in Iraq’s recent general elections – the military there is just consolidating that position. by Shalaw Mohammed in Kirkuk more
politics

no quick fix for iraq crisis: military, social, political – which is best solution?

As the crisis in Iraq unfolds, three possible scenarios seem to offer a resolution. Currently the Iraqi government is pursuing the most obvious one: The military option. But, as those in charge of the ISIS-controlled cities agree, this will never work unless other factors – social, political, international – are also considered. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more
security

inside mosul: no fuel, no power in a city under siege

Last week the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was taken over by Sunni Muslim extremists. The militias now controlling the city have set up a city council and asked everyone to go back to work. But they cannot provide electricity, fuel for vehicles, the Internet or medical supplies- and all of these are running out, say those inside the city. by Special Correspondent in Mosul more
society

inside baghdad after ISIS attack: guns, rumours and rising prices

In Baghdad, embassies are shutting down, the Internet has been turned off, there’s a checkpoint on every corner and there are more weapons carried openly on the streets than ever. Food prices are rising, militias roam the streets and all anybody can talk about is whether the extremists will attack. All of this is similar to other crises the city’s embattled residents have weathered – except with one big difference. by Kholoud Ramzi in Baghdad more
politics

the iraqi kurdish ‘winners’ of the current crisis haven’t won quite yet

So far, the Iraqi Kurdish have managed to carve the most benefit out of Iraq’s current security crisis. They have simply walked onto contested territory they’ve wanted for years, without firing a shot. However such celebratory talk may be premature: There are a fair few problems to deal with first, including unwilling locals, historical bad blood and the new troublesome neighbours. by Christine van den Toorn in Sulaymaniyah more
politics

interview ninawa’s council head: ‘ISIS has opened a mosque for repentance’

The head of the provincial council in Ninawa, Bashar al-Kiki, talked to Niqash about what life is like inside Mosul. He says while some minority groups are in grave danger from the Sunni Muslim extremists, local Christians are not. Al-Kiki also outlined his solution for this security crisis. by Abdul-Khaleq Dosky in Dohuk more
security

did they or didn’t they? iraqi army did not desert mosul, they were ordered to leave

Soldiers who were in Mosul last week say they were ordered to leave the city, shortly before extremists took control. The question is why? And who ultimately gave that order? The search for answers has given rise to a number of frightening theories about who exactly was behind those orders. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more
society

dohuk’s displaced: paying US$50 a hotel night until mosul is safe again

An estimated half a million Iraqis are fleeing potential fighting between extremist groups and the Iraqi Army, with many headed for Iraqi Kurdistan. NIQASH spoke with a number of families in Dohuk, including one that was heading home because they heard it was safe in Mosul now and they couldn’t afford the hotel bills in Dohuk. by Abdul-Khaleq Dosky in Dohuk more
security

inside mosul: ISIS bringing the Baath party back – or are they?

Reports have emerged suggesting that one of Saddam Hussein’s former top military commanders was responsible for defeating the Iraqi Army and was going to give a speech in Mosul to prove it. But Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri never appeared. Now some are saying that ISIS is using al-Douri and his group in a clever propaganda trick, even while they are really in charge. by Special Correspondent in Mosul more
security

a baghdad soldier’s story: ‘he would rather have died in battle than desert his post’

Recent reports indicate that Iraqi army soldiers are deserting in droves. Up until recently, Yasser, a career soldier from Baghdad, would never have contemplated such a thing. But then he too quit the military. NIQASH writer Mustafa Habib pays tribute to his good friend. And in telling of his untimely death, Habib also gives some insight into an Iraqi soldier’s life. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more
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