Iraq

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US Tells Non-Essential Embassy Staff to Leave Iraq

Iranian leader issues veiled threat

(Newser) - The US Embassy in Iraq says the State Department has ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff to leave the country right away amid escalating tensions with Iran. The security alert , published on the embassy's website on Wednesday, comes after Washington last week said it had detected new and urgent... More »

Trump Pardons Rogue Soldier Who Killed Rumored Terrorist

Sarah Sanders says Michael Behenna is 'entirely deserving'

(Newser) - President Trump has granted a full pardon to a former US soldier convicted of killing a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist in Iraq. Press secretary Sarah Sanders described former Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna as "entirely deserving" of the executive grant of clemency in a Monday statement, noting he was a... More »

At Least 83 Dead in Ferry Disaster

Ferry overloaded with people celebrating sinks in Iraq

(Newser) - A ferry overloaded with people celebrating the Kurdish new year and Mother's Day capsized in the Tigris River near the Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday, killing at least 83 people, including families, officials said. Many of the dead were women and children who could be seen struggling to... More »

ISIS Caliphate Is Down to Its 'Last Breath'

US-backed forces corner ISIS in the shadow of a small hill

(Newser) - From a self-proclaimed caliphate that once spread across much of Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State group has been knocked back to a speck of land on the countries' shared border, the AP reports. In that tiny patch on the banks of the Euphrates River, hundreds of militants are hiding... More »

Iraq to Trump: Leave Us Out of 'Your Own Issues'

Barham Salih says president didn't ask permission to 'watch Iran' from his country

(Newser) - Iraq's president on Monday criticized President Trump for saying he wants to keep US troops in Iraq "to watch Iran," saying the US leader didn't ask Iraq's permission to do so. "We find these comments strange," said Barham Salih, speaking at a forum... More »

Pompeo: Obama Made a Mess of the Mideast

Says policies led to rise of ISIS, problems with Iran

(Newser) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a scathing rebuke of the Obama administration's Mideast policies Thursday, denouncing the former president for "misguided" and "wishful" thinking that diminished America's role in the region, harmed its longtime friends, and emboldened its main foe: Iran. In a speech to... More »

Assad Gives Iraq Greenlight to Strike ISIS Within Syria

Region is readying for coming US pullout of troops in Syria

(Newser) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday authorized Iraqi forces to attack the Islamic State inside Syria without waiting for permission from authorities in Damascus, state news agency SANA said, as the two allies coordinate their fight against extremists ahead of a planned US withdrawal from Syria. The announcement highlights the... More »

How a Semi-Retired Guy Cracked Trump's Iraq Visit

It all hinged on Alan Meloy looking out his window

(Newser) - President Trump's Iraq visit was kept highly secret, except from a guy who happened to be looking out his window in a suburb of Sheffield, England, on Wednesday. "It was a lovely sunny morning," Alan Meloy tells the BBC . "I looked up and as soon as... More »

Trump Visits Troops in Iraq: 'We're No Longer the Suckers'

President's surprise trip is his first to a combat zone

(Newser) - If President Trump's Twitter feed seemed uncharacteristically quiet on Wednesday, now we know why. The president made a surprise trip to Iraq to visit US troops, his first visit to a combat zone, reports the New York Times . First lady Melania Trump accompanied him as he spoke to service... More »

Iraq Gives Christians a Gift

What's left of them, at least

(Newser) - For Iraqi Christians, it's a moment to enjoy: The government has made Christmas a national holiday, CNN reports. "Happy Christmas to our Christian citizens, all Iraqis and to all who are celebrating around the world," the government tweeted . The move marks an apparent respite for Iraqi Christians,... More »

Blackwater Sniper Found Guilty in 2007 Massacre

This was Nicholas Slatten's 3rd trial

(Newser) - A former Blackwater security contractor was convicted Wednesday of murder at his third trial in the 2007 shooting of unarmed civilians in Iraq. Nicholas Slatten, 35, of Sparta, Tennessee, was found guilty of first-degree murder in Washington for his role in the shooting, which strained international relations and drew intense... More »

Prof Takes Incredible Action to Save Student From ISIS

Swedish professor told him not to lose heart

(Newser) - Four years ago, a chemistry professor got a text from her grad student: If I'm not back in a week, cut me from the doctoral program. Charlotta Turner called him right away: "He was very sad and crying,” the 48-year-old prof at Lund University in Sweden tells... More »

UN Finding Fresh ISIS Horrors

More than 200 mass graves found in Iraq containing between 6K and 12K bodies

(Newser) - More than 200 mass graves containing between 6,000 and 12,000 bodies have been found in Iraq from the time of the Islamic State group's three-year reign, UN investigators said Tuesday. The 202 graves verified by investigators dot northern Iraq and are a "legacy of (ISIS')... More »

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Won't Keep Her $500K

Activist Nadia Murad will be donating it to help sex crime survivors

(Newser) - If any Nobel Prize winners strive for the award solely for the money, Nadia Murad isn't among them. The Hill reports the 25-year-old Yazidi human rights activist, who shared this year's Peace Prize with Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, will be giving her $500,000 portion of the Nobel... More »

Officials Say Ex-ISIS Fighter Entered US as Refugee

Omar Abdulsattar Ameen was arrested, will be extradited to Iraq

(Newser) - An Iraqi man accused of killing for the Islamic State entered the US as a refugee, the AP reports. Omar Abdulsattar Ameen, 45, was arrested in California on Wednesday and will be extradited to Iraq under a treaty with that nation, US officials say. He made his first appearance in... More »

Saddam's Superyacht Gets a New Use

Basrah Breeze will be used as a hotel of sorts, for sailors

(Newser) - Saddam Hussein's swanky superyacht , built for the Iraqi dictator in 1981 but never actually boarded by him, has a new use: It's a sailors' hotel, to be used by the sea pilots who guide shipping in and out of Iraq's port at Basra, many of whom live... More »

Cleric Who Led Militant Forces Wins Iraqi Election

But Muqtada al-Sadr's coalition still needs to negotiate a government

(Newser) - Influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's political coalition has won the most seats in Iraq's national parliamentary elections, according to complete results released by Iraq's electoral commission early Saturday, the AP reports. The announcement came nearly a week after Iraqis cast their votes on May 12 and put... More »

Legendary Ancient City Found by Accident

Mardaman in modern-day Iraq is nearly 5K years old

(Newser) - Archaeologists who've spent five years digging up an ancient city in Iraq's Kurdistan region have finally learned its name—and it's legendary. Mardaman, once the capital of a Mesopotamian province and its own independent kingdom, is believed to have begun as early as 4,800 years ago... More »

One-Time US Nemesis Poised to Call Shots in Iraq

Coalition led by Muqtada al-Sadr leads elections

(Newser) - Widespread disillusionment with Iraq's current political class appears to have helped the political coalition of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr become the early front-runner in national elections marked by record low turnout. Partial returns of the 2018 vote—the first since Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State group—... More »

One Idea Was to Let Dogs Eat All the Bodies in Mosul

Volunteers describe 'thousands' of bodies left buried in rubble

(Newser) - It's been 10 months since Iraq declared victory over ISIS in Mosul, but the bodies are still being collected. Volunteers are slowly combing over what the UN estimates to be 8 million tons of rubble—enough to form three separate piles as big as the Great Pyramid of Giza—... More »

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