After a nine-month battle, Islamic State was finally expelled from Mosul, leaving devastation and residents physically and psychologically scarred by the war. Abbie Trayler-Smith’s new exhibition records the devastating effects of life under Isis control in northern Iraq and the bewildering aftermath of conflict.
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A deluge of rain showers has flooded many areas in the Kurdistan Region over the past week — a welcome relief for farmers, but a nuisance for city dwellers and mountain villagers.
Fadhil Ibrahim, the head of the KRG’s meteorology and earthquake directorate, told Rudaw that the showers will continue until next week with few disruptions. Ibrahim was content with the “good amount of rain.”
Islamic State militants ambushed a convoy of pro-government militia fighters near the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk late on Sunday, killing at least 27 of them, the government-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces said on Monday.
A security official said Iraqi forces were pursuing the militants, who had disguised themselves in police uniforms to carry out the ambush.
Deep inside looters' tunnels dug beneath the Tomb of Jonah in the ancient Iraq city of Nineveh, archaeologists have uncovered 2,700-year-old inscriptions that describe the rule of an Assyrian king named Esarhaddon.
The seven inscriptions were discovered in four tunnels beneath the biblical prophet's tomb, which is a shrine that's sacred to both Christians and Muslims. The shrine was blown up by the Islamic State group (also called ISIS or Daesh) during its occupation of Nineveh from June 2014 until January 2017.
In a classroom of the University of Mosul, in Daesh’s former capital in Iraq, around 50 volunteers have undergone a week’s training on how to combat the terrorists’ ideology.
The ulema, or Islamic scholars, aim to set up ‘brigades’ tasked with ridding Mosul residents of extremist ideas following the city’s recapture last July, which ended three years of Daesh rule.
“Mosul must be liberated from the thinking of Daesh after having been liberated militarily,” said Mussaab Mahmoud, 30, who just completed the course.
Their fathers and husbands belonged to one of the most brutal militant forces on the planet, yet they have committed no known crime.
After months of debate, Iraqi authorities have assembled a plan to deal with captured foreign ISIS wives and children of the crumbled caliphate, in what they hope balances security concerns with international law and due process.
“We are holding 500 wives of ISIS – all foreigners – and their children, which makes 1,500 total,” Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, the Iraqi Minister for Labor and Social Affairs, who presides over childcare issues, told Fox News. “And some of the ISIS wives are pregnant.”
At first glance, a conference on Iraq that raised $30 billion this week may look like a success. But compared to the estimated $88 billion the Iraqi government said was needed to rebuild the country after the devastation wrought by ISIS and U.S.-led airstrikes, the amount sounds paltry. And like most things involving Iraq, its neighbors, and reconstruction, the true picture is far more complicated.
“If we compare what we got today to what we need, it is no secret, it is of course much lower than what Iraq needs,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said in Kuwait, where the conference was organized. “But we know that we will not get everything we want.”
The days when Iraq got the kinds of sums it asked for at conferences like this one might be over. Many of the usual international donors are tapped out. Some, like the Persian Gulf countries, are focused on internal economic reform and on Yemen, which has been devastated by a civil war that is also proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Others, such as the United States, have become more inward-looking.
Under the Geneva Conventions, warring parties are responsible for providing medical care to civilians in the territory they control.
But what happens if the warring parties don't have the will or the capacity to treat the civilian casualties? Or if they could not care less about the civilians?
That's a question that erupted in Iraq late in 2016, when the Iraqi military launched a massive military offensive to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS — the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. ISIS had seized control of Mosul two years earlier.
Yesterday in Kuwait, international donors pledged US$30 billion to help rebuild Iraq. But it’s unclear whether any of this support will reach one of the most marginalized segments of the population – families of suspected Islamic State (ISIS) members, many of whom joined the extremist group because of longstanding government repression.
While these families may not be the most sympathetic constituency, it is a critical group to refranchise if the Iraqi government wants to prevent future sectarian strife. But there is already mounting evidence that security forces and area residents in Mosul are preventing international aid organizations from providing these families with basic humanitarian assistance.
Yesterday, I discussed how I think a policy of pushing back on Iran should be applied in Syria, where I believe the United States needs to go on the offensive against Iran. Today, I want to look next door, at Iraq.
As in Syria, Iran has important vulnerabilities in Iraq, but it also has considerable strength there. An Iranian-dominated Iraq would serve as a dangerous conduit for Iranian influence into the rest of the Arab world. Yet Iraq remains a fragile state, one still struggling to emerge from the nightmarish combination of Saddam’s tyranny, a dozen years of international sanctions, invasion, a botched occupation, civil war, neglect, and renewed civil war. The United States has its own interests in Iraq that extend beyond denying it to Iran’s sphere of influence. Most Iraqis hope that both America and Iran will help them to rebuild and heal the wounds of its savage past. And Iraqis do not want their country to become the battlefield on which Iran and America fight.
All of this makes addressing the Iranian challenge in Iraq uniquely complex, very different from Syria, and so worthy of its own discussion.