Articles on Iraq

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Kurdish peshmerga brigades, which have emerged as the only viable military counterweight to ISIL in Iraq, prepare defences at Kirkuk. EPA/Khalil al-A'nei

Kurds find a way forward through the chaos of a fracturing Iraq

The Kurds have no friends but the mountains, runs the adage. Marginalised, dispossessed and oppressed in their historic homelands, Kurds have long lamented a lack of powerful allies willing and able to…
ISIL fighters patrol the newly captured provincial capital Tikrit, former home of Saddam Hussein. EPA/Stringer

How has Iraq lost a third of its territory to ISIS in three days?

The extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, has captured a third of Iraq’s territory within a few days. Iraq’s third-biggest city, Mosul, fell within hours of being attacked…
Iraqis fleeing from Mosul after ISIS took control. EPA/Kamal Akrayi

Explainer: what is ISIS and where did it come from?

Iraq is facing its most alarming crisis in years. The second city of Mosul and the major city of Tikrit have been seized by a violent jihadist group, ISIS – the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, formerly…
Tony Blair says Egypt was ‘rescued’ from extremism by military intervention. EPA/Khaled Elfiqi

Blair’s anti-Islamist crusade could play into al-Qaeda’s hands

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the strongest external support for a forceful response from the United States came from Tony Blair, the man who now again describes the struggle against…
Comprehensive sanctions on Iraq started the modern debate on targeted measures. Adrian Dennis/EPA

Explainer: do sanctions work?

There seems to be a near-consensus that the West must “do something” to prevent instability in Ukraine and Russia’s other neighbours. But should that something include wider sanctions, targeting not just…
Iraq now faces an assault on its sovereign integrity from Islamic extremists that is testing the organs of the state. EPA/Mohammed Jalil

Iraq and its extremist problem: what now for the troubled state?

The number of deaths in Iraq from attacks by extremist groups operating under the banner of Islam has been growing steadily since the withdrawal of American troops in 2011. In 2013, nearly 8900 people…
Debris is cleared from a car bombing in Bagdad last month. Karim Kadim/AP/Press Association Images

Back towards the brink in Iraq as old tensions are renewed

Things have not been going well in Iraq for a while. Sectarian violence is on the increase, having reached levels last seen in 2008. As a consequence, the government of Nouri al-Maliki is in dire straits…
Millions of people are being displaced across the region. Freedom House

Middle East map blurs as old order breaks down

It is about 100 years since the then-imperial powers of Britain and France first demarcated the boundaries between Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Mandate Palestine. Now, it looks like those borders are…
Mobile coffins: dozens of British service personnel have been killed in the army’s Snatch Landrovers. Wikimedia Commons

Explainer: how are soldiers’ rights protected in a war zone?

The recent Supreme Court decision to allow families of British personnel killed in Iraq to sue the government for negligence set up a barrage of cries about the judgment making it impossible for our armed…
The grim cost of conflict. Freedom House via Creative Commons

Syria casts its shadow as G8 leaders gather

President Obama’s confirmation that the United States would begin arming Syrian rebels has prompted an urgent debate about both the legality and the effectiveness of the decision. The announcement, ahead…
The aftermath of a bombing in Kirkuk in March 2013. The Iraq War may be officially over, but the violence continues. EPA/Khalil Al'a Nei

War that never ended: ten years on, Iraq remains bloodied

In the 10th anniversary analysis of the invasion of Iraq a lot of the focus will be on what we paid. Lives, dollars, influence and squandered reputation will be totted up against the lack of WMDs and the…
We need to learn from lessons of the past when it comes to veterans’ mental health. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Vietnam and Iraq: lessons to be learned about mental health and war

Physical injury and death in war is expected. But we also now know the stories of large numbers of veterans suffering major psychological trauma. These involve Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety…

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