In 2014, every time locals in Iraqi Kurdistan thought it was safe to relax, the next surprise would keep them reeling. The shocks kept coming all year, ranging from political upsets to economic issues to floods of refugees to armed confrontations with the extremist Islamic State group. No wonder they're asking, what next for 2015? by Kawa Sheikh Abdullah in Sulaymaniyah more
Senior Iraqi Kurdish politician Mullah Bakhtiar discusses his party’s relationship with Iran and with Kurdish parties in Syria – and in particular, in Kobani and Rojava, as well as whether anyone should be concerned about the unofficial Shiite Muslim militias behaving badly in northern Iraq. by Shalaw Mohammed in Sulaymaniyah more
Bayan Nouri has a tough job over the next four years – the new Minister for Women’s Affairs in Iraq must try to improve the economic lot of Iraq’s women, prevent systemic domestic violence against females and work on problems like female genital mutilation and underage marriage as well as somehow help the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi women affected by the current security crisis. One thing she won’t be doing though is banning polygamy. by Alaa Latif in Sulaymaniyah more
Last week, fighters from tribes in Anbar were forced to give up their hold on the town of Wafaa to extremists from the Islamic State because they ran out of ammunition. And they ran out because apparently the Iraqi government won’t supply them. The steady defeat of anti-extremist tribes in Anbar and a new political dispute among them seems to be bringing the whole province closer and closer to total control by the Islamic State group. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more
While members of the Sunni Muslim al-Bu Ulwan tribe were fighting extremists in the Anbar province, alongside the mostly Shiite Muslim military, judges in Baghdad sentenced a politician from the tribe to death. The tribe says it feels like Baghdad has stabbed it in the back. Other Anbar locals are left wondering how genuine attempts at reconciliation really are and say they will turn to the US rather than Baghdad. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more
Shiite militias are making inroads into the mainly Sunni province of Anbar. Previously Anbar's Sunni tribes have not allowed the controversial militia groups in but now one tribe has invited them to help. Things are becoming ever more complex in Anbar and the arrival of US troops, who, it seems, will be staying at the same base as the Iran-sponsored militias, are complicating things further. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more
interview speaker of kurdish parliament - our people are right to ask: why bother to stay with iraq?
In an interview, the Speaker of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Parliament, Yusuf Mohammed, discusses his government’s historic decision to send troops into Kobani, Syria, why the export and production of Iraqi Kurdish oil is justified despite Baghdad’s protestations and whether Iraqi Kurdistan is still thinking about secession from Iraq. by Zanko Ahmad in Erbil more