Iraq security

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Fearing Syria Spillover, CIA Ups Iraq Presence

Al-Nusra Front and al-Qaeda in Iraq closely tied, experts say

(Newser) - The US military may have pulled out of Iraq in December 2011, but now the CIA is going back in, reports the Wall Street Journal . In a series of secret decisions in 2011 and 2012, the White House directed US intelligence to take over from the military in supporting Iraq'... More »

Sweeping Attacks Kill 50 Across Iraq

String of coordinated bombings strike 12 cities

(Newser) - A rapid series of bombings and shootings exploded across 12 Iraqi cities today, in what appeared to be a large, coordinated al-Qaeda attack. The attacks hit government offices, restaurants, and in one case exploded close to a primary school, though security forces appeared to be the primary targets, the AP... More »

Dozens Dead in Iraq Election Violence

Bombs, mortar and grenade attacks foil beefed-up security

(Newser) - The death toll in Iraq climbed to at least 35 today as violence marred the second round of parliamentary elections since the US-led invasion in 2003. Hundreds of thousands of security forces stood guard as Iraqis flocked to the polls, but insurgents attempted to interrupt the process using mortars, grenades,... More »

31 Dead in 3 Blasts Near Baghdad Hotels

Explosions hit popular district bordering Green Zone

(Newser) - Three large blasts have struck a hotel and restaurant district popular with Western journalists and businessmen along the Tigris River in Baghdad. At least 31 people have been killed and scores more wounded. The first blast struck at about 3:40pm, near the Sheraton Hotel, just across the Tigris River... More »

23 Killed in Twin Iraq Bombings

Suicide attack targets Anwar province governor

(Newser) - At least 23 are dead and 30 are wounded in the Iraqi city of Ramadi in twin bombings today that targeted the governor of Anbar province, the Daily Telegraph reports. A car bomb exploded near a security checkpoint by the governor's offices, and 30 minutes later a suicide bomber on... More »

Iraqis Swear by Pricey, Useless Bomb Detectors

US forces say handheld device is no better than a magic wand

(Newser) - Go through any checkpoint in Iraq, and someone will probably wave a small, hand-held device over your vehicle. Dubbed the ADE651, it’s supposed to detect bombs. But in reality it’s totally useless, US military and technical experts tell the New York Times, with one retired officer saying it... More »

Baghdad Car Bombs Kill at Least 136

Twin explosions detonate near key ministries during rush hour

(Newser) - Two powerful car bombs exploded in downtown Baghdad today, killing at least 136 people and wounding nearly 600 in an apparent attempt to target the fragile city's government offices, Iraqi authorities said. The blasts went off less than a minute apart near two prominent government institutions—the Ministry of Justice... More »

Kurd-Arab Conflict Now Biggest Threat to Iraq

(Newser) - Tension between Arabs and Kurds, rather than the usual friction between Sunnis and Shia, has become the greatest threat to Iraqi security, says the top US general in the country. The oil-rich Kurdish region has become "the No. 1 driver of instability," Ray Odierno told reporters yesterday, and... More »

Iraq, Economy Stalling, May Be Broke by Next Year

Drop in oil price has gutted nation's income

(Newser) - Some people thought Iraq wouldn't be affected by the worldwide economic downturn, says an Iraqi economist. "Those people were stupid." At the very least, they were wrong: Sales of consumer goods are in the basement, along with real estate, and the unemployment rate hovers around 25%. Surpluses from... More »

In Iraq, US Allies Fight Each Other for Control

Arrest of Sunni leader fuels tension

(Newser) - A showdown this weekend between Iraqi security forces and Sunni fighters known as the Awakening, both US allies, could signal challenges facing Iraq as the US prepares to leave, the Washington Post reports. After Iraqi and US forces arrested an Awakening leader Saturday, Sunni fighters swarmed a Baghdad neighborhood. "... More »

In Safer Cafes, Iraqis Smoke It Up Again

(Newser) - Iraqi men are hanging out in hookah cafes again, confident that government spies are no longer eavesdropping from the next sofa, the Los Angeles Times reports. Popular throughout the Mideast and hip in Western cities, shisha clubs have only recently reemerged in Iraq, thanks partly to increased security. "We... More »

Many US Troops Home in a Year: Obama

President sees Iraqis ready to handle own security

(Newser) - President Obama promised today to bring a "substantial" number of troops home from Iraq before next year's Super Bowl, MSNBC reports. In an interview with Matt Lauer, Obama said Iraq's smooth provincial elections this weekend ensured the homecoming. He disclosed no details, but said he plans to “roll... More »

Bush Helps Shield Iraq From Gulf War Legal Claims

Compensation could bankrupt country, it says; Americans hurt by Saddam differ

(Newser) - President Bush has wedged himself between Americans and Iraq by supporting a UN measure that stops financial claims against the fledgling democracy. Iraq faces bankruptcy if claims are added to $26 billion it already owes companies and individuals who suffered in the first Gulf war. But the temporary plug keeps... More »

Maliki's Power Grabs Stir Fears of 'Shiite Saddam'

US security deal may strengthen central government; some see 'benevolent Shiite Saddam'

(Newser) - Ratification this week of a deal that would put an expiration date on the US deployment in Iraq stands to boost the prestige of PM Nouri al-Maliki, who in recent months has consolidated his power in moves that echo previous authoritarian regimes. As one Western observer tells the Los Angeles ... More »

Fisticuffs Over Security Deal End Session of Iraqi Parliament

Sadr ally allegedly shoves speaker

(Newser) - Discussion of the security deal between the US and Iraq deteriorated into a shouting match between members of the Iraqi parliament today, the New York Times reports. Parliament is scheduled to vote on the measure next week, but could not get through a reading of the agreement today before an... More »

Obama Victory Triggers Positive Shift in Iraq Politics

New optimism signals future cooperation

(Newser) - A wave of optimism in the wake of Barack Obama's victory is causing a shift in Iraqi politics, the New York Times reports. Shiite politicians are signaling that they're more prepared now to sign a new security agreement with the US. They believe Obama will speed the pace of withdrawal,... More »

Iraq Passes Election Law, But Skirts Key Issues

No deal on control over northern oil hub, representation of minority groups

(Newser) - The Iraqi parliament today passed a long-delayed law establishing provincial elections, a step the government hopes will protect recent security gains by opening the political process. The first elections are expected in January, the New York Times reports, but questions remain about how to ensure representation for Iraq’s religious... More »

Petraeus Hands Over Command of Iraq

Praises successor Odierno as 'perfect man for the job'

(Newser) - Citing a "long struggle" in Iraq despite his successes, Gen. David Petraeus handed over his command of the country, reports the BBC, amid a smattering of violence that served as a reminder of reversible gains. Defense Secretary Robert Gates praised security gains made on Petraeus' watch as authority was... More »

Iraqi 'Daughters' Work to Foil Female Attackers

Despite stigma, women guards try to tackle rise in suicide bombings

(Newser) - A new group of Iraqi women is tackling a big rise in suicide attacks by females, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Insurgent groups are exploiting gender norms that prevent men from searching women, giving bombers who look pregnant or are otherwise fully covered easy access to crowded areas. Female search... More »

Deal Would Set Oct. 2010 for US Pullout: Iraqi Official

Legal immunity for troops remains stumbling block in talks

(Newser) - Significant progress has been made on the security agreement being negotiated between Iraq and the US, the AP reports, with two Iraqi officials saying that the deal sets October 2010 as the deadline for a near-complete withdrawal. Legal immunity for troops remains an issue, and contributed to a “very... More »

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