Iraq; breaking apart?

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UN figures for killed and wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in Iraq paint a dreadful picture, with nearly 8,000 civilians including police killed in 2012, and nearly 18,000 wounded. On 30 December the UN special representative Nickolay Mladenov said he was concerned about current developments in Anbar province, reminding the government of its responsibility …

Iraq: oil and al-Qa’ida

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Violence in Iraq continues at a shocking level with scores killed in multiple attacks in the last two days, many of them Shia pilgrims preparing for the Arba’in festival commemorating the death of Imam Husain, the son of Ali and grandson of Muhammad. There are specific challenges to the government's authority in the West and North; we …

Iraq: continuing violence

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In the latest of many similar outrages 18 men were abducted and murdered on 29 November by men wearing military uniforms in Meshahda, a predominantly Sunni area near Baghdad; a police official told Reuters "It is definitely al-Qa’ida because this is the area where they are operating." The victims may have been seen as supporters of the Shia-led …

Iraq: going downhill

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The BBC reports that at least 41 people have been killed in attacks targeting Shia Muslims on the festival of Ashura, and also that Sunni Muslims are being driven out of areas such as the al-Zubair district of Basra. According to the UN there are more than 1.1 million internally displaced people with traditionally mixed areas like al-Zubair …

Iraq: still bleeding

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According to the UN 979 Iraqis were killed in acts of terrorism and violence in September (compared with 804 in August). Nearly half were in the Baghdad governorate. On 29 September a series of car bomb explosions killed six policeman in Erbil, the capital of the previously relatively peaceful Kurdish region in the north. On 2 October …

Kurdistan: stumbling

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Attempts by the Kurds in Turkey and Syria to link up with the success of the semi-independent Kurdish region in northern in Iraq have suffered two possible setbacks. According to the Istanbul-based Hürriyet Daily News of 11 September the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) announced on 10 September that it was halting the pullout of its militants from Turkey, putting the attempt to find a solution to the decades-long Kurdish problem in jeopardy. In a statement carried by the Fırat news agency, which is known to have close links with …

Iraq: can the government cope?

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There have been two particularly bloody incidents in the last week. On 1 September Camp Ashraf, the former headquarters of the Iranian opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) was attacked, reportedly by the Iraqi army which the government has denied; according to UN figures 47 were killed. On 14 September at least 16 people, including …

Iraq: killing continues

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Over 70 people were killed in separate car bomb and other incidents during the holiday to mark the end of Ramadan. According to an AFP summary more than 800 people were killed in attacks during Ramadan. Militants struck targets ranging from cafes where Iraqis gathered after breaking their daily fast, to mosques where extended evening prayers were …