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Iraq, 2014

European Union leaders meet in Brussels on Saturday to discuss the crises in Ukraine, Iraq and Gaza. The European Council meeting is due to formally finalise the top positions at the European Commission and Council, including the foreign affairs supremo, who will take the lead on matters including Ukraine and sanctions against Russia. Ukrainian President Poroshenko will also attend.

The US is set to ask the UK for assistance in carrying out air strikes in the fight against the radical forces known as the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS), though Downing Street insists that Prime Minister David Cameron has received no such request as of yet. VoR's Louis Degenhardt looks into what such a request - and a possible refusal - could mean for the transatlantic relationship.

 

The United States is poised to send spy planes into Syria to track Islamic State jihadists whose advances have sparked international concern and American air strikes in neighbouring Iraq. A US official confirmed the plans after Syria said on Monday it was willing to work with the international community, including Washington, to tackle extremist fighters but would not accept unilateral military strikes by the US or any other country.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Sunday that the killing of US journalist James Foley by a man speaking with an English accent was an "utter betrayal of our country". There is growing concern in London that British passport holders who travel to fight in Iraq and Syria could return to commit attacks on British soil.

The recent release of a video showing the execution of American journalist James Foley, which featured a man with a British accent, has once again triggered the debate about Islamic extremism within the UK. VoR’s Alex Pichaloff asks why we are seeing a prominence of radical British Islamic figures, as opposed to other countries with far greater Muslim populations?

The global prominence of Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria continues amid global condemnation of the murder of US journalist James Foley. In the past months, IS have slaughtered thousands of men and women on their rampage across Iraq and Syria. The extremist group is growing in numbers, with new Islamic recruits are joining them from around the world. VoR spoke to Professor Ian Robertson, the author of the book The Winner Effect.

World oil prices dropped on Thursday on fading fears that conflicts in crude producers Libya and Iraq would result in a major supply disruption, analysts said. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October shed 84 cents to stand at $101.44 a barrel in London afternoon deals.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned of the “daunting challenge” that Islamic State (IS) presents to the western world. The prime minister today cut short his holiday following the release of footage showing an IS (formerly known as ISIS) jihadist with a British accent allegedly executing US journalist James Foley. VoR's Louis Degenhardt reports.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has defended his government’s position on Iraq and has insisted that his country will not be going to war there. Mr Cameron has come under increasing criticism over Britain’s involvement in Iraq with the Labour opposition calling the foreign policy ‘pretty unclear’. 

Around 900 demonstrators took to the streets of London on Saturday to urge Western governments to step in and stop the massacre of Kurdish people at the hands of ISIS militants. Demonstrators said that the Kurdish people in northern Iraq are confronting one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies of recent history.

EU ministers agreed today to back the arming of beleaguered Iraqi Kurd fighters by key member states, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after three hours of talks. One diplomat said the agreement was "strong and sends the desired political message." VoR's Brendan Cole has more.

 

 

Iraq's divisive premier Nuri al-Maliki dropped his bid to stay in power Thursday, bowing to huge domestic and international pressure as a jihadist-led offensive threatens to tear the country apart.

The UN says the humanitarian crisis has reached its highest level of emergency in Iraq. It estimates that 1.2 million Iraqis have been internally displaced. Meanwhile Kurdish intelligence reports and two senior UN officials say up to 1,500 Yazidis and Christians have been captured and forced into sexual slavery. VoR's Juliet Spare reports.

The British response to the rescue of the persecuted Yazidi sect in Iraq; the death of actor Robin Williams and the appeal of real ale in the UK are among the topics discussed in Telling It Like It Is. Joining Brendan Cole is Maggie Pagano of the Independent newspaper and Alexander Nekrassov, the political analyst.

A possible US mission to evacuate Yazidis trapped on Iraq's Mount Sinjar after they fled Islamic State fighters is now unlikely to take place, following the assessment of a US team, the Pentagon said late yesterday. 

A new poll, commissioned by the Times, suggests that eight out of 10 Brits feel threatened by terrorism. There have been recent high-profile displays of Islamist support in the UK. VoR's Louis Degenhardt reports.


European Union foreign ministers are to meet on Friday to discuss the crisis in Iraq, the office of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said today, after key member states called for bolder action to help the country's civilians. Ashton's office said the extraordinary meeting would also discuss the conflicts in eastern Ukraine and Gaza.

 

 

Up to 30,000 people are still facing a "potential genocide" on a mountain in northern Iraq, the UN warned as the country's premier designate gained widespread support from countries hoping political reconciliation would help undercut jihadists.

Iraq's military leadership continues to be closely watched by western nations as the conflict in the country worsens. The White House launched a fresh volley of phone calls to politicians in Baghdad on Monday with the aim of removing Prime Minister Maliki. VoR's Simon Parker reports.

 

US airstrikes in Iraq are a mistake that will further aggravate Islamism, according to Ivan Eland, a national security analyst for the Independent Institute. "I think airstrikes are a mistake," Eland said, adding it was the US whose invasion in Iraq led to the rise of al-Qaeda, a precursor to the more virulent Islamic State (IS).

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