iraqi politicians: us not doing enough against extremists, time to scrap cooperation

The US has been leading an international alliance against the extremist Islamic State group in Iraq. But locals say the US is not doing enough. Politicians in Baghdad recently led a call to scrap the strategic agreement the two countries have had since 2008. Could this be a symptom of Iran's ever-growing influence in Iraq? by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

iraqi kurdistan's 2014: a year of unexpected changes, nasty surprises

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

year in review: iraq is still there in body, but not in spirit

The past year in Iraq is not easy to review. The assorted crises, both in security and politics, are well known around the world and for many Iraqis it's been one long nightmare. NIQASH went to gather ordinary Iraqis' opinions on the year gone by and ended up speaking to one local whose life this year was a perfect metaphor for Iraq's 2014. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

senior kurdish politician: ‘if arabs want kirkuk, they should fight, and die, for it – like us’

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

iraq’s new women’s affairs minister: ‘women should have freedom to wear what they want’

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

low supplies, political disputes in anbar: not long now before extremists take over

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

article 140: the elephant at the negotiating table as kurds and iraqis reach oil deal

Over the past week or so, there have been many congratulatory articles written about the fact that Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan seem to have come one step closer to resolving long standing differences. But, observers say, there is one very important topic that has been left out of all the discussions: Article 140. This legislation is meant to force a decision on Iraq’s “disputed territories”. Leaving it out of the current conversation could cause even more problems in the long run. by Haywa Ridha in Sulaymaniyah more

death verdict for sunni mp: is iraqi govt really genuine about sunni-shiite reconciliation?

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

iraq's shiite militias to the rescue: force for sectarian unity or thorn in anbar's side?

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
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