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Marines Arrive in Baghdad

Militants fight for new towns, claim mass executions

(Newser) - As fighting rages today across Iraq, Washington is beginning to take action. About 50 to 100 Marines and Army personnel are now at the US embassy in Baghdad, and some embassy staff have been moved to other consular offices in Iraq and Jordan, CNN reports. Meanwhile, US Navy ships including... More »

Suicide Bomber Hugs, Blows Up Sunni Leader

Iraqi politician killed at family gathering ahead of local elections

(Newser) - Sunni Muslim leader Younis al-Rammah died hugging a man at a family gathering in northern Iraq today. Turns out, the man wasn't a family member at all, but a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest. As he embraced al-Rammah, the bomber blew himself up, killing al-Rammah and four of... More »

Iraq Shuts 10 TV Channels for Broadcasting 'Hype'

Al Jazeera, 9 others blamed for surge in violence

(Newser) - Iraq has ordered al-Jazeera and nine other TV stations off the air, accusing them of causing the sectarian conflict that has killed more than 200 people over the last week. The move came after the stations—all but one of which is Sunni-owned—covered a raid by security forces on... More »

Pentagon Accused of Organizing Shiite Torture Squads

Witnesses put key US military personnel at torture sites

(Newser) - The Pentagon directly oversaw the creation of a Shiite militia force that set up secret detention sites and tortured opponents during the US occupation of Iraq, as part of American attempts to put down the budding Sunni insurgency, according to a new report by the Guardian that is being called... More »

Biden Tells Iraqis to Mend Fences —Like, Now

VP urges Maliki to strengthen coalition with Kurds, Sunnis

(Newser) - Joe Biden called Iraqi officials today, urging them to calm rising sectarian tensions after a bombing killed at least 63 people there earlier this week, the AP reports. Biden and other US officials have been phoning Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as well as Sunni and Kurdish leaders all week, asking... More »

VP: Maliki Pushing Iraq Toward Sectarian War

Tariq al-Hashemi accuses Shiite PM of eliminating rivals

(Newser) - Sunni VP Tariq al-Hashemi today openly accused Nouri al-Maliki of trying to eliminate his political rivals and run Iraq like a "one-man-show," a move that Hashemi says is pushing the country toward sectarian war. The comments came during an interview with the AP, which notes that the escalating... More »

Political Crisis Flares in Iraq

Sunnis walk out of parliament, demand more power

(Newser) - Iraq's political structure already seems to be unraveling. Before the last US troops have left , Sunni politicians are walking out of parliament and threatening to quit altogether, the Washington Post reports. Ministers in the Sunni Iraqiya bloc are demanding more political power and greater control of Iraq's Shiite-dominated... More »

Iraq Tortured Sunnis in Secret Prison

Maliki denies knowledge of prison run by his elite military force

(Newser) - An elite military force answering directly to the Iraqi prime minister held hundreds of Sunni men in a secret Baghdad prison for months, Iraqi officials say. The detainees—arrested without warrants in military sweeps in October—were routinely tortured, officials tells the Los Angeles Times . Human rights officials overcame resistance... More »

Al-Qaeda to Iraqis: Vote and Die

Terror group threatens citizens participating in Sunday's elections

(Newser) - Al-Qaeda is threatening to kill Iraqis who vote in Sunday's elections, and has proclaimed a 6am-to-6pm curfew "throughout Iraq and especially in Sunni areas." Sunnis boycotted the 2005 elections but are expected to turn out in force for this year's vote, which has already begun for Iraqis living... More »

Iraq Halts Preparations for Jan. Election

Fate of vote, US withdrawal in question as VP vetoes law

(Newser) - In a move that could derail both Iraq's fragile democracy and US plans to withdraw troops by next summer, all preparations for elections in January have ground to a halt. The Iraqi election committee stopped "all our activities and work" today after the country's vice president vetoed part of... More »

Smaller, Fiercer Insurgency Has Iraq Worried

(Newser) - As the US military prepares to withdraw from Iraq's cities, security officials in both countries have observed that a smaller but more lethal insurgency seems to be gaining ground. Several recent bombings, believed to be orchestrated by al-Qaeda in Iraq, have killed 123 people in Baghdad and elsewhere, while members... More »

Sunni Fighters Say Iraq Will Never Hire Them

(Newser) - The US turned over tens of thousands of Sunni fighters to Baghdad this weekend to take government jobs and mend fences with ruling Shiites, but many Sunnis are skeptical, the New York Times reports. After helping tame al-Qaeda in Iraq, the militiamen say few jobs are being offered in return.... More »

US Gives Iraq Control of Sunni Guards

Former insurgents will be given jobs in government

(Newser) - Baghdad took control today of 90% of the former insurgents employed by the US military to combat al-Qaeda, Reuters reports. Turnover of the roughly 84,000 “Awakening Council" Sunnis, who were paid about $300 a month to patrol neighborhoods, will test Iraqi reconciliation as the US prepares to... More »

Sunni Iraqis: Shiites Barred Us From Voting

Thousands turned away in former insurgent enclave

(Newser) - At least 1,000 Sunni Iraqis were turned away from the polls in Baghdad today for being unregistered to vote, and many accused the Shiite government of deleting their names from the polls, the Los Angeles Times reports. “This is a disappointment,” complained one man. Agitation was high... More »

Polls Open in Watershed Iraqi Election

Thousands vie for seats in biggest vote since fall of Saddam

(Newser) - The polls are already open for this weekend's provincial elections in Iraq, the nation's first since it became a fully sovereign nation after the fall of Saddam. The Sunni minority is participating, reports the Christian Science Monitor, and Iraqis can vote for more than 14,000 candidates vying for 440... More »

United Arab Emirates Cancels Iraq's $7B Debt

Baghdad wins boost from key Arab states

(Newser) - Iraq's diplomatic isolation among its Arab neighbors is easing, reports the BBC. The United Arab Emirates canceled Iraq's entire debt of close to $7 billion and appointed a new ambassador, while Jordan's King Abdullah will become  the first Arab head of state to visit Iraq since 2003, boosting the Baghdad... More »

Refugees: Iraq's Unspoken Crisis

US must rebuild shattered lives now or face decades of disorder: Kristof

(Newser) - New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof travels to Jordan to report on one of the unintended consequences of the Iraq war: a regional refugee crisis. About 2 million Iraqis, mostly Sunnis, have fled since the war, living mostly in Jordan and Syria in deplorable conditions. "They are the... More »

Iran Is Biggest Threat to Iraq: General

Points as proof to problem-free visit of Iranian prez

(Newser) - Iran is likely the single greatest threat to Iraq's longterm stability, according to a top US commander. The US has "pretty clear" evidence that Iran is training and supplying Shiite militias, said Lt. General Raymond Odierno, who just completed 15 months as second-in-command in Iraq.  Odierno pointed to... More »

Iranian Prez Arrives in Iraq

Ahmadinejad visit deepens ties with neighbor

(Newser) - In an historic visit, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Iraq today predicting “a new chapter” for relations between the two countries, despite a tense history and a feud with Baghdad’s American allies. Ahmadinejad, who won’t be protected by US forces during his two-day trip, met... More »

Sunni Fighters Growing Tired of US Neglect

Disputed killings, lack of support weakens plan to reduce violence

(Newser) - The mostly Sunni volunteer forces that have drastically improved Iraq’s security are losing patience with US handlers, the Washington Post reports. Desertions are under way in key provinces over lack of resources, political disagreements, and disputed accounts of US troops killing members of the so-called Sunni Awakening. “Now,... More »

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