The US embassy here denied on Sunday it has halted military cooperation with Iraqi security forces to fight the Islamic State (IS) militant group which has captured parts of the western province of Anbar. "Recent news reports alleging that the US-led coalition has halted air operations or military cooperation with Iraqi security forces are simply untrue," Xinhua quoted the US embassy as saying in a statement. It said the coalition airstrikes against the IS terrorist group, as well as US advice and assistance in efforts in Anbar province were going on.
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Seventy members of a Sunni Arab tribe opposed to Islamic State (IS) have been killed by the jihadist group in western Iraq, a tribal elder says. Sheikh Naeem al-Gaoud told the BBC that members of the Al Bu Nimr tribe were shot dead in the village of Khanizir, in Anbar province, on Sunday night. He said the tribesmen were killed because they had relatives serving in the Iraqi security forces. The Al Bu Nimr have played an important role in battling jihadists for years.
The regular popular demonstrations being held in Baghdad every Friday are not just good for the country's democracy, they're proving an invaluable business opportunity for vendors of street food, water and coffee and trinkets.
Business is so good in fact, that Iraqis like Jawad Rabee have come all the way from Dhi Qar province to sell water bottles. Rabee says that back home he usually sells water at military checkpoints where people have to queue to get through. But he thought that the demonstrations in the capital would be a good opportunity to do better business.
He was right: On an ordinary day Rabee says he would have sold about 25 boxes of water bottles – so around 300 bottles. Now every Friday he goes to Tahrir Square in central Baghdad and sells around 1,500 bottles. With the profit he makes from one Friday, he can survive all week.
Arkan Suleiman, 32, was just doing his job, driving his delivery truck between Iraqi Kurdistan in Iraq's north and Najaf, in the south, when he was kidnapped. He had been travelling in a convoy of several trucks but lost track of his fellow drivers when, on Sept. 4, he was forced to stop at a checkpoint in the Muqdadiya area of the Diyala provinc
“Five armed men wearing military uniforms, driving a Ford car, had set up a checkpoint on the road in Muqdadiya,” Suleiman told NIQASH. “They stopped the truck and they kidnapped me. The armed men were carrying the flags that usually belong to the Shiite Muslim volunteer militias. They took me from the road to an orchard and then they put me in a civilian car and drove me to a family house.” Suleiman says he knows that the road south is dangerous and he is usually scared to drive it alone, hence the convoy. But, he says, he also has to provide for his family.
As thousands of young Kurds put their faith in smugglers, embarking on the perilous journey to Europe, a smaller number are making the return trip in coffins. Bahman Abubakr is still mourning the death of his close friend Saeed Othman and several other acquaintances who suffocated in the back of the now-infamous refrigerated truck discovered along an Austrian highway in late August. Othman’s remains were returned to his hometown of Sulaimaniyah in late September, some two months after he set off for Germany, but his fate has not deterred Abubakr's hopes of making the journey himself. As soon as his father’s health improves, Abubakr says he will join the exodus of thousands of other young Kurdish men who feel they have nothing to lose.
US-Iraqi relations have failed to develop into a strong and deep strategic partnership following the 2003 US-led invasion despite the crucial role the United States played in setting up the new political system and the Strategic Framework Agreement signed by the two countries in 2008. Conditions on the ground turned out to be unfavorable for the implementation of the agreement’s tenets transforming the United States from occupier to strategic partner supporting Iraqi ministries in the security, economic, diplomatic and cultural arenas. Among the issues hindering the partnership were regional interference in Iraq and the failure of Iraqi politicians to achieve balanced relations among all segments of society and with neighboring states, choosing instead to align with this party or that.
The Iranian intelligence service SAVAK stepped in for the release of Turkish workers kidnapped in Iraq. The Turkish National Intelligence Service (MİT) had contacted SAVAK and prominent Shiite leaders with leverage on Shiite militias for help in the workers’ case. Iran urged the militias to end their action as soon as possible to prevent Shiite militias from getting into the habit of kidnapping like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The Shiite militia released the hostages after the Syrian opposition lifted its siege on the towns of Fua and Kafrayya in Syria. The release of the 16 Turkish workers came after the group released a videotape on Sept. 28, saying Ankara had met their demands. Turkey ordered the al-Fat’h militia, a Sunnimilitia in Syria, to ease the siege of two Shiite towns in northern Syria and opened a safe passage for people.
They are women who work in the sex trade. Some have chosen this work voluntarily but others have been lured in. "[They're] mainly women and girls who don't have the support of their families," says reporter Rania Abouzeid, who has written about the sex trade world in Iraq for the New Yorker. "[It's] either because they are fleeing from their families because of some sort of domestic abuse or they've been displaced and their usual family network isn't around them." Abouzeid reports about the way young women and girls are lured in the sex trafficking work, given free food and lodging and a sense of stability.
The Iraqi government's decision to choke off funding for Islamic State by cutting off all wages and pensions in cities controlled by the group has plunged people into hardship and could help the insurgents tighten their grip, officials and residents say. For a year after Islamic State fighters swept through a third of Iraq, Baghdad continued to pay pensions and salaries of state employees inside the self-proclaimed caliphate.
But since July all such payments have been halted, depriving whole cities' pensioners, civil servants, doctors, teachers, nurses, police and workers at state-owned companies of both their income and some of their last official links to Baghdad. The move is meant to cut Islamic State militants off from of an income stream they have been skimming to fund their efforts to build a self-sustaining state in Iraq and Syria.
Iraqi medical authorities say the number of recorded cases of cholera in the conflict-ridden Arab country has climbed to more than 800, though no new deaths have been reported in days. Director General of Planning and Development in Iraq’s Health Ministry Hassan Hadi Baqer, told Arabic-language al-Sumaria satellite television network that 50 new people have been diagnosed with symptoms of cholera, including bad diarrhea and high fever, raising the number of those who have contacted the infection to 823.
Baqer added as many as 30 of the new cases came from the city of Diwaniyah, located 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of the capital, Baghdad, seven from Baghdad’s Karkh district, which lies on the western side of the river Tigris, five from al-Rusafa on the eastern sector of the river, six from the holy shrine city of Karbala and the other two from the southeastern province of Maysan.