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Iraq, 2014

US Army General Martin Dempsey has made comments throwing into doubt President Obama’s statement last week that there would be no ‘boots on the ground’ in Iraq. The US made a full withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, and until Dempsey’s comments many observers had believed there was no chance of any further on-the-ground involvement by the US. VoR's Carmen Cracknell has more.

 

As the US mooted the idea of boots on the ground in Iraq to combat Islamic State (IS) insurgents who now control a large area of Iraq and Syria, Iraqi forces today launched an intense military operation against IS targeting three cities in the centre of the country in a bid to regain control of lost ground, security sources said.

 

The world's top diplomats pledged today to support Iraq in its fight against Islamic State militants by "any means necessary", including "appropriate military assistance". 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for an international conference to study the underlying causes of the rise of extremism in the Middle East and North Africa. Speaking at a summit on Iraq and the Islamic State group (IS) in Paris, Mr Lavrov said a comprehensive, UN-mediated analysis is needed.

Women have been fighting alongside men in the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to wrest Mount Makhmur in northern Iraq back from Islamic State (IS) jihadists, whose treatment of women makes the fight especially personal for the dozens of female fighters on the mountain.

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will take part next Monday in an international conference on Islamic State (IS), it was reported today. Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande, who convened the conference, flew into Baghdad today in a show of support to the Iraqi government, and Britain's foreign policy appeared to be in some disarray over the intensifying global efforts to defeat jihadist fighters. 

 

Russia's foreign ministry said today that US airstrikes against Islamist militants in Syria without a UN Security Council mandate would be an act of aggression. Russia's envoy to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, said earlier that strikes without the consent of Damascus would complicate international efforts to counteract terrorism, and urged "consolidated action" against Islamic State (IS).

 

 

 

 

US president Barack Obama says he would increase military action against militants from the Islamic State without the approval of Congress. It comes as Britain committed to directly arm Kurdish forces fighting the militants ahead of what may be a larger NATO-led operation in the region. VoR's Brendan Cole reports.

 

The West has greeted the new Iraqi government as a step towards defeating the militant group Islamic State and there is hope that it will share power more equally among Kurds, Sunnis and Shias than former PM Nouri al-Maliki. But there are question marks over how much difference it would make. VoR’s Brendan Cole reports.

Children are being used as suicide bombers in Iraq by the Islamic State (IS) militant organisation and other extremist groups, according the UN. The UN has said they are horrified by the disregard to children’s lives shown in Iraq.

The CIA tortured Al-Qaeda suspects "until the point of death" by drowning them in water-filled baths, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported, ahead of the publication of a US Senate report on interrogation techniques.

US warplanes launched four air strikes against Islamic State militants threatening western Iraq's Haditha Dam early on Sunday, broadening Washington's campaign against the fighters. They came as US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel paid a visit to Georgia's capital Tbilisi, just days after NATO advanced membership to the country.

US, Russia, Georgia, Iraq, Chuck Hagel, ISIS, ISIL

Dozens of British jihadists who have become disillusioned with fighting in Syria have contacted the UK begging to come home. One jihadist, claiming to represent 30 Britons said they wanted to return to Britain because their plan to fight against President Assad in Syria had not turned out the way they intended. VoR’s Simon Parker looked at some of the implications and challenges facing these men.

The beheading of a second American journalist by ISIS fighters in Iraq this week has provoked US President Obama to promise to beat back the terrorists. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Sami Ramadani, a writer specialising in Middle Eastern politics, who is concerned that an emotive response to terrorist executions may lead western leaders into considering greater direct military intervention in both Iraq and Syria.

The execution of a second American journalist by fighters from the Islamic State group in Iraq has provoked outrage and international condemnation. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Ibrahim Hooper, the Communications Director for the 'Council on American-Islamic Relations'.

Britain is considering providing arms and training to Kurdish forces to help its fight against Islamic insurgents, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday. On the issue of UK taking military action, Mr Cameron said: "I certainly don't rule anything out. We should pursue our national interests”.

UK, Britain, Iraq, David Cameron, News, Kurds, World news, ISIS, Military action, Islamic insurgents

The barbaric killing of an American journalist held hostage by a masked Islamic State fighter with a British accent has horrified the West. It’s the second murder of a US reporter in two weeks. A third hostage, who is a British journalist, also appears on a video filmed by the Islamic State and uploaded onto the internet on Tuesday. The extremists have threatened to kill him until US air strikes stop in Iraq.

The Islamic State militant group have released a video purporting to show the beheading of US hostage Steven Sotloff, the SITE monitoring service reported on Tuesday. The video is unverified, but contained a threat against another British hostage. It follows the beheading of US hostage James Foley last month.

The Islamic State armed group (ISIS) is committing crimes against humanity on a historic scale in northern Iraq. According to London-based Amnesty International, who have people on the ground there, "entire communities are at risk of being wiped off the map of Iraq".

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.

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