A rocket is reported to have fallen in Iraq's northern Salahuddin province, reports Reuters reports, citing police sources. The strike is close to the Balad air base which houses US troops. Read the rest
By various reports, multiple (two or three) Katyusha rockets hit targets inside Baghdad's Green Zone in the past hour. Read the rest
In remarks to reporters about the U.S.-led assassination of top Iran general Qasem Soleimani, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff [D-CA] said that the United States must now “expect retaliation” by Iran, which today vowed a “crushing response” against the United States and its allies. Read the rest
PHOTO - In this 2016 photo released by the office of Iran's supreme leader, Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran. Soleimani was killed yesterday in U.S. airstrike on the Baghdad airport in Iraq.
BREAKING NEWS: There are reports in the Iraqi capital of missiles striking near Baghdad airport, after a series of explosions were heard.
Citing Iraqi security forces, Al Jazeera reported that rockets targeted a joint US-Iraqi counterterrorism military site in the area. Multiple news agencies in the region are reporting civilian casualties in the rocket attack. Read the rest
An anonymous source claiming to be an Iraqi patriot sent The Intercept leaks of 900 pages' worth of spy-agency cables and memos sent by Iranian spies in Iraq; James Risen (previously) reported them out in a joint project with the New York Times that reveals how the US's post-invasion nation-building failures created a political vacuum that Iran filled, allowing it to dominate the political and tactical landscape in Iraq. Read the rest
They're burying George HW Bush today and even before they planted him, the whitewashing began: we've heard an awful lot about how kind he was to his service dog and his love of colorful socks and a lot less about his role in running an onshore terrorist training camp for Latin America's death squads, his role in toppling democratic governments on two continents, his role in arming and supporting Saddam Hussein, then turning on him and kicking off a genocidal war in Iraq whose goal was to bomb an advanced, heavily populated nation "to the pre-industrial era." Read the rest
It’s been a while since we’ve heard a lot about the so-called Islamic State. Since the "defeat" of ISIS in Iraq and the majority of Syria, much of the focus in the war-torn regions of the Middle East has been on: the ongoing pissing match between the United States, Russia and Turkey in Syria, what will become of the civilians whose lives were shattered during the Syrian Civil War, hostilities between Iran and damn near everyone, Palestinian rights, and what the Israelis have cooking in regards to Gaza and the protection of their populace from a variety of aggressors.
Would you be surprised to learn that ISIS is still kind of a big deal? Because it sort of sounds like the United Nations was. According to the CBC, a report from U.N. Terrorism experts says that ISIS is still doing fine, thank you very much, boasting as many as 30,000 members stationed in Syria and Iraq. However, after multiple ass-kickings at the hands of professional and volunteer military forces across the Middle East, they’ve decided to tone things down a bit. That overt, "we're gonna build a freaking caliphate" look of theirs? SO last year. Currently, ISIS is playing it cool by conducting covert operations in its bases of operation while the terrorist group regroups and rebuilds.
From The CBC:
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While many ISIS fighters, planners and commanders have been killed in fighting, and many other fighters and supporters have left the immediate conflict zone, the experts said many still remain in the two countries — some engaged militarily, "and others hiding out in sympathetic communities and urban areas."
If you're not up to speed on Hobby Lobby's sketchy investments in illegal artifacts from Iraq, here's the lowdown. Read the rest
Defense Secretary James Mattis has announced a criminal investigation into the misuse of $458,000,000 that the US government gave to Iraq and Afghanistan to build out mass-scale domestic surveillance apparatus and other "anti-terrorism" capabilities. Read the rest
David French served as squadron judge advocate for the Second Squadron, Third Armored Cavalry Regiment, stationed at Forward Operating Base Caldwell in Diyala Province, Iraq; he walked patrol with other soldiers, during which he and his colleagues confronted routine armed aggression from insurgents out of uniform, who used IEDs as well as firearms in their fights with US soldiers. Read the rest
When Rep Tim Murphy resigned in shame after he was outed for pressuring his mistress to get an abortion while serving on the "House Pro-Life Caucus," it triggered a special election in Pennsylvania's 18th, a rustbelt district in the southwest corner of the state, where a strong Democrat candidate named Conor Lamb is polling high against his Republican opponent, torture advocate Rick Saccone, who served as an Army intelligence support consultant at Abu Ghraib prison after its torture scandal. Read the rest
There's no question of ISIS batallion leader Abu Taha's guilt. But Taha's is a nom de guerre, so when Taha is executed for killing dozens of Iraqis, Malik Khamis Habib dies with him. Rotting in a jail cell, what is he thinking? Kim Dozier, returning to the middle east after being critically wounded there, interviews someone few would sympathize with but everyone can now understand.
Why did you join ISIS? I asked.
“Someone from my neighborhood came to me. He explained we must make a change, that Shias were hurting Sunnis.”
Did you ever know a Sunni personally who was hurt by a Shia Muslim, I asked?
“No. Just rumors,” he admitted. ...
My translator pushed him to explain his role in dispatching car bombs. He later told me this brought back some bad memories for him, too. Sporting a 101st Airborne sweatshirt and reciting proudly the designation of the 3rd Infantry Division unit he’d also served, he explained he’d lost five U.S. battle buddies in a car bomb that hit his team years earlier. He’d been thrown 50 feet, escaping with a concussion, broken bones, and the sadness of a survivor. He knew this prisoner had dispatched such car bombs against Iraqis, and he too wanted to know why.
“What do you want me to say,” the prisoner asked. “I destroyed myself. I destroyed my family.”
He has a message for Americans, too. Read the rest
James McCormick, a British fraudster, got rich and got jailed selling fake bomb detectors to police in Iraq. But the devices—dowsing rods in a plastic handle, often sold as golf ball 'finders'—were so popular that even after he was collared, cops remained convinced (by inclination or graft) that they worked. After a series of horrific bombings, the government's stepped in to get rid of the useless gadgets.
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It took a massive suicide bombing that killed almost 300 people in Baghdad on July 3 — the deadliest single attack in the capital in 13 years of war — for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to finally ban their use.
The reason it took so long is likely the widespread corruption in the government. Iraqis mocked the device from the start, joking that too much aftershave could set off the antenna.
Now there are accusations that plans to start using newly imported explosives-detecting scanners were intentionally held up as part of the political wrangling over which faction — the military or the police — will control security in Baghdad.
Described as a "mix between Game of Thrones and House of Cards," a novella written by late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has finally been translated to English. Written in the last days of his rule, the plot reportedly "revolves around a Zionist-Christian conspiracy against Arabs," a presumably unsurprising topic to fans. Read the rest