Most international airlines have resumed flights to Erbil, after a brief halt earlier in June, according to the airport’s manager, Talar Fayeq. She said several regional airlines, including Emirates and Etihad, had halted their scheduled flights to Erbil in mid-June due to “extraordinary conditions” in the region – a reference to the war with the Islamic State group (ISIS) and an an influx of refugees. “Most of these companies have resumed flights and more will do the same as they see that conditions are stable in Kurdistan,” Fayeq told Rudaw.
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This passage from the Brookings Institution's essay, 'The Believer' describes how the US prison camps in a war-torn Iraq became a breeding ground for extremists and jihadists like Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who would go on to create ISIS. Late in 2003, after the Americans had defeated and disbanded Saddam’s army, Baghdadi helped found Jaysh Ahl al-Sunna wa-l-Jamaah (Army of the People of the Sunna and Communal Solidarity), an insurgent group that fought U.S. troops and their local allies in northern and central Iraq. Soon after, in February 2004, Baghdadi was arrested in Fallujah while visiting a friend who was on the American wanted list. He was transferred to a detention facility at Camp Bucca, a sprawling complex in southern Iraq. Prison files classified him as a “civilian detainee,” which meant his captors didn’t know he was a jihadis.
Masked men in military uniforms kidnapped 18 Turkish citizens in Baghdad early Wednesday, bundling them into several SUVs and speeding away in a brazen operation that laid bare serious security gaps in the heavily defended city. Iraqi and Turkish officials said the 18 are employed by Nurol Insaat, a Turkish construction company contracted to build a sports complex in the sprawling Shiite district of Sadr City. The kidnappers stormed the construction site, where the workers were sleeping in caravans, breaking down doors and disarming the guards before taking the workers away, they said.
The Iraqi officials said an Iraqi national was kidnapped along with the Turks. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi blamed organized crime for the kidnapping, but did not elaborate. Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tanju Bilgic said those kidnapped included 14 workers, three engineers and one accountant. He said the kidnappers specifically targeted Turkish nationals, picking them out from the rest and leaving behind workers from other countries.
Defeating the Islamic State (IS) and other extremist organizations will take a many-pronged approach requiring the cooperation of the Iraqi government and unity among religious leaders.
It seems evident today that a multidimensional strategy is required — one that considers military, security, political and even economic approaches. Such a strategy should also focus on the intellectual and religious aspects of IS' destructive ideology. IS gave its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, supreme religious power over the world's Sunni Muslims after he declared the rise of the Islamic caliphate on June 29, 2014. Baghdadi gained legitimacy among his partisans by fitting the requirements of a "vilayet." Historically, a Muslim caliph should have Sharia knowledge, descend from the Prophet Muhammad’s tribal lineage — the Qureish tribe — and be sane. Baghdadi is all of this, in addition to having a career rife with jihadism.
Forty percent of children from five conflict-scarred Middle Eastern countries are not attending school, the United Nations agency for children said Thursday, warning that losing this generation will lead to more militancy, migration and a dim future for the region. An estimated 13.7 million school age children from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Sudan are not in school, out of a total of 34 million, UNICEF said.
The dropout rate could increase to 50 percent in coming months as conflicts intensify, Peter Salama, the agency's regional chief, told The Associated Press. "We are on the verge of losing a generation of children in this region," he said. "We must act now or we will certainly regret the consequences."
In 1995, there were about 1,000 books with the word “terrorism” in their titles. By 2011, that had multiplied tenfold and the proliferation continues this autumn, with an onslaught of authors focusing on the spreading stain of violence in the Middle East. Little wonder that many of us have succumbed to “threat fatigue”.
Contrary to the warnings of the intelligence services, however, this may not be a bad thing. While religiously motivated terrorist attacks in the West have constituted personal tragedies, in terms of scale, they have been mosquito pricks not sledgehammer blows.
A survey of the years from September 11, 2001, suggests not so much the great success of terrorist groups in the land of the infidel as its abject failure. Mass-casualty attacks have been few and far between, although it seems reasonable to expect low-level, low-tech, “lone wolf” attacks to continue sporadically, such as the recent train attack in France.
Officials say a wave of attacks in and around Baghdad has killed at least 11 civilians and wounded 28. The attacks targeted five commercial areas with bombs. Police officials said the deadliest bombing Thursday killed three shoppers and wounded 10 in the town of Tarmiyah, 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Baghdad. They added that other four attacks in Baghdad killed eight civilians and wounded 18 in total. Hospital officials corroborated the casualties. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, the Islamic State militant group is often behind assaults on security forces and public areas as it seeks to challenge Iraq's Shiite-led government amid intensifying battles in northern and western Iraq.
The Turkish parliament voted in favor of a government resolution to renew a mandate allowing the military to conduct cross-border operations in neighboring Syria and Iraq.
Turkey’s interim government voted in favor of the mandate together with two opposition parties. The mandate serves as a legal basis for Turkish airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the autonomy-seeking Kurdish militants belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The present mandate runs out in October. The mandate also authorizes the Turkish government to allow foreign troops to be based on Turkish soil.