Iraq’s Next Humanitarian Disaster? Northern Town Under Siege By Extremists For Over 70 Days

In Salahaddin, a drama of historic proportions is playing out in the town of Amerli. Surrounded by extremist territory, around 400 townspeople have been defending themselves for over 70 days now. The town, which is sheltering around 17,000 people, is under siege with power and water cut off. Locals can only wait and hope that their drama does not end in yet another humanitarian tragedy. by Ahmad Mohammed in Kirkuk more

Veils, Gloves and Violence: New Extremist Rules See Women Disappear From Mosul’s Streets

Mosul was always a conservative city when it came to women’s rights. However the Sunni Muslim extremists who took control of the town have made it even more difficult for females. Women must now wear facial veils and gloves and may not leave their homes unaccompanied. In one suspected case at least, the price for protesting these rules has been death. by Nawzat Shamdeen in Berlin more

Bypassing Baghdad: International Allies In Direct Talks With Iraq’s Sunnis And Kurds

In Baghdad this week, Iraq’s most senior Shiite Muslim politicians are lamenting their increasing isolation from the international community. The EU and the US are bypassing Baghdad to support Iraq’s Kurdish forces militarily; they’re also holding meetings with Iraq’s Sunni Muslim leaders and have apparently promised to support more Sunni independence. Is this the beginning of the end of a united Iraq? by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

A Question From Iraqi Kurdistan: World, Why Must We Fight Your Home Grown Extremists For You?

It is well known that many members of the Sunni Muslim extremist group, the Islamic State, that is currently active in northern Iraq, are foreigners. The group does its best to recruit from overseas. And recently one German-born jihadi, a former pizza delivery boy from Dinslaken, blew himself up in Iraqi Kurdistan. As a result, Iraqi Kurdish journalist Qassim Khider, has a question for the rest of the world. by Qassim Khidhir Hamad in Erbil more

In Iraqi Kurdistan Nobody Knows What’s Happening On Frontlines- Media To Blame?

Over the past two weeks, Sunni Muslim extremists have been fighting pitched battles against military from Iraqi Kurdistan. Reports coming from the front lines have been confusing and often it was unclear who controlled which territory. While the extremists put out false information regularly, the Iraqi Kurdish media have also come in for criticism – they are publishing rumours and propaganda, media analysts said. by Special Correspondent in Sulaymaniyah more

‘Put All The Arabs In Camps’: Prejudice On Rise in Iraqi Kurdistan After Extremist Attacks

After Sunni Muslim extremists attacking the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar last week were warmly greeted by local Arabs, there’s been a further rise in anti-Arab sentiment in Iraqi Kurdistan. Compared with other parts of Iraq the semi-autonomous region has been a relatively safe, prosperous and more tolerant area. Many Arabs have taken refuge there. But as anger on social media translates to impromptu demonstrations and vandalism, is the region’s reputation for tolerance crumbling? by Cathrin Schaer in Erbil more

In Mosul Islamic Extremists Renege On Promises Not To Hurt Former Police, Army

When Sunni Muslim extremists took control of the city of Mosul, local men who were members of the police or military were told that if they handed over their guns and repented, they would be safe. However the first signs of a local uprising against the extremists have seen many security staffers, who did repent, arrested. by Special Correspondent in Mosul more

A Plot Against Sunnis? Will Winners Take Revenge? Ordinary People From Mosul Discuss US Air Strikes

NIQASH listens in on a conversation between Mosul locals to find out how they feel about US air strikes on their city and the Sunni Muslim extremists controlling it. Some support the use of force, others fear what will happen if the extremists are driven out and other military return to the city: Will they take revenge, they ask? by Khales Joumah in Mosul more

Online Iraqis Throw Virtual Shoes At Much Disliked, Outgoing Prime Minister

While a comparatively small number of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s supporters protest his removal in Baghdad, Iraqi social media was in an uproar at the nomination of Haider al-Abadi as the country’s next leader. All manner of sarcastic and disparaging remarks and pictures of al-Maliki were posted, as ordinary Iraqis celebrated the change of government online. by Kholoud Ramzi in Baghdad more

Confrontation, Reconciliation And Cooked Books: The New Iraqi Prime Minister’s Biggest Challenges

It looks as though politician, Haider al-Abadi, will be Iraq’s next Prime Minister. If, or when, al-Abadi manages to form a new government there are three serious challenges waiting. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more
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