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Showing posts from April 15, 2016

Former Saddam aide seeks to reshape Iraq’s Sunni insurgency

Baghdad: A rallying cry to Iraqi Sunnis from former President Saddam Hussain’s top surviving aide aims to bolster the old ruling Baath party’s appeal with Sunni Muslims fearing new reprisals by Shiite militias, experts said.

They said the video released on Thursday could also contain a message to Iraq’s government that former party members might help it fight Daesh if the Shiite militias are kept out of the battle.

The broadcast purportedly featuring Ezzat Al Douri coincided with the anniversary of the fall of Saddam’s rule when US troops stormed Baghdad in 2003. Analysts said it seemed genuine judging by his appearance and speech.

Al Douri, a wiry man with a ginger moustache, evaded capture during the 2003-11 US occupation and Iraqi and US officials accused him of organising an insurgency by Sunnis against US troops and the new Shiite led authorities in 2005-7.

In a previous audio message, the former top official in Saddam’s secular Baath party urged Sunnis to join those who had “liberat…

Iraqi Shiite militias to join Mosul battle

Baghdad: An Iraqi Shiite paramilitary group has said it will join government forces preparing to fight Daesh for Mosul despite objections from politicians who fear this could instigate sectarian bloodshed in the mostly Sunni Muslim city.

A much-touted government offensive to retake Iraq’s largest northern city two years after its seizure by Daesh militants has made a faltering start, casting doubt on the army’s ability to do so without more ground support.

The campaign will require the participation of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), a coalition of mostly Shiite militias, said a spokesman for Asaib Ahl Al Haq, one of its most powerful factions.

“We think the battle to liberate Mosul will be huge, complex; it will be about guerrilla warfare in built-up areas, which only PMF fighters are good at ..., as forces may be fighting house to house, room to room,” the spokesman, Jawad Al Talabawi, said in an interview on Wednesday in Baghdad.

In an opinion column published in the New York Ti…

HomeNews 93 percent of young Iraqis perceive US as enemy – poll

A decade under the yoke of US military and years of ongoing sectarian violence in the shadow of Islamic State threat have nurtured an entire generation of young Iraqis who believe Washington is not a liberator but the prime enemy of their country.

After conducting 250 face-to-face interviews in three Iraqi cities, the Arab Youth Survey has discovered that 93 percent of respondents aged between 18 to 24 years old see the US as an enemy. Only 6 percent of young Iraqis considered it to be an ally, while one percent could not decide.

Hardly surprising that US is seen as the prime source of evil in the country, considering that the young generation has been raised in war and chaos that followed the American invasion of the country in 2003. And while the bulk of US forces left the country in December 2011, they were quick to return in June 2014, to help it defend against the Islamic State.

Since the invasion which led to destruction of state institutions and the rise of lawlessness up to a mi…