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Iraq Tag

In a deliberate show of anti-Israel sentiment, a Palestinian city has erected a statue of Saddam Hussein bearing the words:  "Arab Palestine From River To Sea."  This was Hussein's rallying call for the destruction of Israel. The Times of Israel reports:
The Palestinian city of Qalqilya has named a street after Saddam Hussein and erected a memorial with his likeness, an NGO monitoring Arabic media reported.

Kirkuk, Iraq has become a centerpiece in the Iraqi government's rejection of the overwhelmingly successful Kurdish Independence Referendum. Monday, Iraq took control of Kirkuk, which has been under Kurdish control since they took it from ISIS in 2014 as Iraqi forces fled.  It is surprising that the Kurds did not stand and fight for the hard-won Kirkuk, but it's not yet clear this was the case as there have been reports of gunfire and "clashes" in the city.  The resistance by Kurdish forces appears to have been somewhat minimal. The BBC reports:
The Iraqi military moved into Kirkuk three weeks after the Kurdistan Region held a controversial independence referendum.

We blogged about the Kurdish Independence vote held last week and about the resulting international threats and tensions, including the closing of Kurdish airports. Pro-western Iraqi Kurds are disappointed by the lukewarm European response to their overwhelming victory, and can't be too happy with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's statement that the U. S. does not recognize their independence referendum. Turkey, Iran, and Iraq are stepping up their disapproval of the referendum and moving to isolate the Kurdish region of Iraq.

Two years ago, former President Barack Obama agreed to the Iran Nuclear Deal and told The New York Times that "Iran will be and should be a regional power." He also said that Iran has "that ability now to take some decisive steps to move toward a more constructive relationship with the world community." Obama encouraged Iranian leaders "to seize that opportunity." Well, Obama, you got your wish. Iran seized that opportunity and has taken over Iraq. Goods from Iran fill up the Iraqi markets. Not to mention that Iranian militias had a hand in dispelling ISIS from Mosul and other areas.

After three long years, forces have liberated Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, from the grips of ISIS. From CNN:
"From here, from the heart of the liberated and free Mosul, by the sacrifices of the Iraqis from all the provinces, we declare the great victory for all of Iraq and Iraqis," [Iraqi PM Haider] al-Abadi said. "This is a great celebration that crowned the victories of the fighters and the Iraqis over the last three years."

As the Islamic state (ISIS) retreats from Mosul, Iraq, more locals have spoken out about life under the terrorist group. ISIS captured Iraq's second largest city in the summer of 2014. OB-GYN Dr. Fatima Khaleel spoke with The Sunday Times about the females she treated in Mosul, noting most of them desperately wanted to get pregnant by ISIS fighters to breed caliphate cubs.

President Donald Trump has signed a new immigration order, exempting Iraq and those who already hold visas. It still prohibits people from six nations "from entering the U.S. for 90 days." From The Wall Street Journal:
The new order doesn’t ban citizens of Iraq, one of many changes made to an original order in hopes of putting the measures on stronger legal and political footing. The White House says the ban is intended to stop potential national-security threats.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis held talks with Iraqi leaders on Monday where he promised them that America has not interfered with the country to take its oil. From The Wall Street Journal:
“I think all of us here in this room, all of us in America, have paid for our gas and oil all along and I’m sure that we will continue to do so in the future,” he told reporters in Abu Dhabi before arriving in Iraq on Monday. “We are not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil.”

Iraqi soldiers in an area recently recovered from ISIS near Mosul made a gruesome discovery in what appeared to be a mass grave. The New York Times reported:
In a Field South of Mosul, Investigators Probe Mass Grave The stench of death drew Iraqi soldiers to the unsettled plot of land freshly liberated from Islamic State fighters. When a bulldozer scraped the ground, bones poked from just beneath the surface, along with clothing scraps, garbage bags, human remains swarming with flies — and even a child's stuffed animal.

The military has requested approval to send 500 more troops to Iraq to assist in missions to retake Mosul from the Islamic State. The White House needs to approve the request, but officials promise the troops would not see combat. Instead they would help the Iraqi military coordinate and prepare a mission. ISIS took over Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, in the summer of 2014. Militaries have pushed ISIS out of many areas, but they continue to hold onto Mosul.

President Barack Obama, who promised less fighting in the Middle East, has decided to send 560 more troops to Iraq to help battle against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Mosul. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter visited Baghdad on Monday:
“With the retaking of Qayara West airfield, the Iraqi Security Forces have once again demonstrated a serious will to fight,” Mr. Carter said. “I congratulate them on their recent successes and reaffirm that the United States, along with our coalition partners, will continue to do all we can to support Iraq’s effort to serve ISIL a lasting defeat,” he said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for a massive bomb that killed over 120 in Baghdad, their third attack in three countries in a week. The bomb exploded after midnight in Karrada, a neighborhood filled with shops and restaurants filled with people making plans before the end of Ramadan. The dead included 25 children and 10 women. Officials have said many people are still missing.
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