Why Is Obama Bombing Iraq, Really? | truthdig

Al-Zaman reports that a U.S. drone hit mortar emplacements and F-18s struck artillery arrays and armored vehicles deployed by the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) in Kuwair east of Mosul on the way to the Kurdistan capital of Irbil, and near a major dam, some areas of which are controlled by the IS fighters.

Also on Friday, the Naqshbandi Army denied any involvement in a push on the Kurdistan capital of Irbil, denouncing it as racist.  The Naqshbandi Sufi order is important in Mosul and was infiltrated and used by agents of Baathist high official Izzat al-Duri, a former vice president of Saddam Hussein.  The Naqshbandis are said to be nowadays having tensions with the so-called Islamic State, with which they allied to kick al-Maliki’s largely Shiite government out of Mosul. [Read more]

In Iraq, An Entire Religion Faces Extinction For Something It Doesn’t Believe | ThinkProgress

When it comes to dolling out religious persecution, the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) — the ruthless band of religious extremists currently blazing a horrific trail of violence through Iraq — has been relatively indiscriminate. But while the situation is dire for many of the country’s religious groups, one band of faithful is at the center of ISIS’s wrath for an unusual reason: ISIS thinks they worship the devil.

Since ISIS began capturing Iraqi cities earlier this year, they have killed or displaced thousands of Christians and even their fellow Muslims, and have sparked international condemnation for destroying religious shrines sacred to both traditions. So terrible is their their treatment of other religions that when President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that the United States would begin taking military action against ISIS, he justified authorizing air drops of humanitarian aid and airstrikes on military targets by saying that ISIS had been “especially barbaric towards religious minorities.” [Read more]

Kurdish pleas for weapons may finally be heard | AP

For years, Kurdish officials have beseeched the Obama administration to let them buy U.S. weapons. For just as long, the administration has rebuffed America’s closest allies in Iraq.

U.S. officials insisted they could only sell arms to the government in Baghdad, even after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki broke a written promise to deliver some of them to the Kurds. Their peaceful, semi-autonomous northern region had been the lone success story to come out of the 2003 U.S. invasion. [Read more]

Netanyahu too strong, Abbas too weak for peace | Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is too strong, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas too weak, for the two leaders to fully cooperate and make the concessions needed in order to achieve a long lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, US President Barack Obama asserted Friday.

Speaking during an interview with the New York Times’ Thomas L. Friedman, Obama said he believed Netanyahu’s high approval ratings among the Israeli populace contributed to the stalemate in peace negotiations, since Netanyahu was consequently less inclined to engage in risky and divisive political endeavors. [Read more]

Desperate Iraqi Yazidis flee into Syria after Kurdish forces secure escape route | Washington Post

Thousands of desperate Iraqi Yazidis who have been trapped by Islamist extremists on a parched mountaintop for almost a week trekked Friday into Syrian territory, seeking refuge in another war-ravaged country.

Some managed to collect water and food that had been dropped overnight by U.S. planes before heading northwest on a 12-mile walk across mountains and desert to the Syrian border. There, Syrian Kurdish forces waited to transport them to refugee camps or to safe crossings back into the Kurdish region of Iraq. [Read more]

Will Egypt’s military intervene to secure Libyan border? | Al Monitor

A new danger extends along Egypt’s 1,000-kilometer (621-mile) western border with Libya. As conditions inside Libya deteriorate, especially in the east of the country, the Egyptian border is no longer threatened by the customary smuggling of weapons and drugs. Libya’s collapse — manifested in the impotence of the country’s governmental institutions — has made the entire shared border a staging ground for the spread of extremist organizations armed with weapons left behind by the [Moammar] Gadhafi regime, which they can easily distribute.

This danger has provoked a suggestion for Egyptian military intervention in Libya, to confront the threat emanating at its west. This call was not made by someone well-known for impulsiveness, but by a high-ranking diplomatic official, Amr Moussa, former general secretary of the Arab League and president of the Committee of Fifty for the amendment of the constitution. This imbues this suggestion with a certain amount of weight, despite Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s rejection of the idea of a military operation. [Read more]


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