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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Kurdish Legislators Approve Independence Referendum

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Kurdish Legislators Approve Independence Referendum

The plan for the non-binding Kurdish referendum was approved in the Iraqi city of Erbil, the capital of a northern province with the same name, in the 111-seat parliament consisting of Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Iraq’s former president, Jalal Talabani, and the independent Goran and Jamaa Islamiya opposition parties.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Kurdistan Independence Will Breakup Iraq: Analyst

IRAQ POLITICS: Kurdistan Independence Will Breakup Iraq: Analyst

“Independence means that we will enter into a conflict which actually Barzani is pushing for. He moved his tanks and he moved a number of his special troops into Kirkuk and adjacent areas. So it seems that he understands that it is too late for him to use the referendum as a blackmail against the Iraqi government for more political gains. Now he is trying to use the status quo or the matter of fact that he is trying to occupy certain areas which are outside the control of KRG (the Kurdistan Regional Government) and hence leading to an armed conflict,” Sa’ad al-Muttalibi, member of the State of Law Coalition said.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Parliament Rejects Iraqi Kurdish Referendum: Lawmakers

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Parliament Rejects Iraqi Kurdish Referendum: Lawmakers

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s government had previously rejected the referendum as unilateral and unconstitutional.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Kurdish Referendum Potential Reason for War: Turkish Nationalist Leader

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Kurdish Referendum Potential Reason for War: Turkish Nationalist Leader

Devlet Bahceli, the leader of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said Thursday that Ankara should oppose plans by the leader of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, Massoud Barzani, to hold the referendum in September, adding that the move could ignite turbulence in Turkey’s southeast, which is populated by millions of Kurds.

“This is a rehearsal for Kurdistan. If necessary Turkey should deem this referendum as a reason for war,” said Bahceli, adding, “A position must be taken to the end against Barzani’s preparation for an independence referendum which incorporates Turkmen cities.”

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IRAQ POLTICS: UN Aid Workers Urge Safe Passage for Civilians Fleeing Northern Iraq Ahead of Battle

IRAQ POLTICS: UN Aid Workers Urge Safe Passage for Civilians Fleeing Northern Iraq Ahead of Battle

Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told journalists in Geneva about the ongoing operations to retake the city. “We fear that Iraqi civilians are likely to be held as human shields again and that attempts to flee could result in executions/shootings. Many talk of seeing dead bodies along the way, and there are reports that some were killed by extremist groups. Others appear to have died due to dehydration or illnesses.

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IRAN POLITICS: Political Geography Change in Iraq Creates Regional Insecurity: Major General Mohammad Baqeri

IRAN POLITICS: Political Geography Change in Iraq Creates Regional Insecurity: Major General Mohammad Baqeri

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said, “Any geographical change in the region, given the differences between the Kurds and the central Iraqi government about [the country’s northern province of] Kirkuk and other areas, can start tensions and conflicts inside Iraq and this issue will never be confined to Iraq’s geographical expanse.”

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IRAQ POLITICS: Kurds Might Put Off Independence Referendum in Return for Concessions From Baghdad: Official

IRAQ POLITICS: Kurds Might Put Off Independence Referendum in Return for Concessions From Baghdad: Official

The Kurds have been seeking an independent state since at least the end of World War One, when colonial powers divided up the Middle East and left Kurdish-populated territory split between modern-day Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Turkey, Iran and Syria, which together with Iraq have sizeable Kurdish communities, all oppose an independent Kurdistan. Prime Minister Abadi’s government has rejected the planned referendum as “unilateral” and unconstitutional.

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KURDISTAN POLITICS: US to Massoud Barzani: Postpone Referendum

KURDISTAN POLITICS: US to Massoud Barzani: Postpone Referendum

Rex Tillerson said Washington “would want for the referendum to be postponed and that the issues between the Kurdistan region and the federal government in Baghdad should be addressed through dialogue.”

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UK POLITICS: ‘Law is an Ass’ for Blocking Iraq War Prosecution of Tony Blair: Galloway Says

UK POLITICS: ‘Law is an Ass’ for Blocking Iraq War Prosecution of Tony Blair: Galloway Says

Respect Party leader George Galloway said: “The decision by two High Court judges that Tony Blair cannot be prosecuted for the war in Iraq gives immunity and in perpetuity to any two-bit hustler who gets his or her hands on state power in Britain and lays waste the lives of others and their own country’s vital interests.”

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UK POLITICS: Tony Blair Escapes War Crime Prosecution

UK POLITICS: Tony Blair Escapes War Crime Prosecution

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair won’t be prosecuted for invading Iraq in 2003, a High Court in the U.K. ruled Monday.

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IRAQ POLITICS: US Created ISIS Now Claims Victory Over It: Iraqi VP al-Maliki Talks Tough

IRAQ POLITICS: US Created ISIS Now Claims Victory Over It: Iraqi VP al-Maliki Talks Tough

“Yes, they supported us with aviation, but the main credit goes to the Iraqi soldiers, people’s militia, Iraqi air force,” al-Maliki stated in his interview with the Russian news agency.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraq Successfully Test-Fires Indigenous Short-Range Yaqeen-1 Rocket

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraq Successfully Test-Fires Indigenous Short-Range Yaqeen-1 Rocket

Iraq has successfully test-fired a locally designed and manufactured rocket as part of efforts to revive its defense industries and use indigenous military hardware in the fight against Daesh Takfiri terrorist group and potential foreign threats.

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IRAQ POLITICS: 36 Hours After Haider al-Abadi Declared Victory in Mosul Iraqi Forces Strike ISIS in Mosul

IRAQ POLITICS: 36 Hours After Haider al-Abadi Declared Victory in Mosul Iraqi Forces Strike ISIS in Mosul

“There are still going to be losses from the Iraqi security forces as they continue to secure Mosul.”

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IRAQ POLITICS: Amnesty International Calls for Special Mosul Commission to Probe Potential War Crimes By Coalition, Islamic State

IRAQ POLITICS: Amnesty International Calls for Special Mosul Commission to Probe Potential War Crimes By Coalition, Islamic State

The often disproportionate and imprecise use of deadly force by the coalition fighting terrorists in Mosul has prompted major criticism from Amnesty.

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UK POLITICS: Tony Blair Failed to ‘Be Straight’ With the Public About Iraq Invasion: Chilcot

UK POLITICS: Tony Blair Failed to ‘Be Straight’ With the Public About Iraq Invasion: Chilcot

“Tony Blair made much of, at various points, the need to exert influence on American policy-making,” Sir John Chilcot said.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Fall of Mosul Won’t Stop Islamic State Spreading Fear

IRAQ POLITICS: Fall of Mosul Won’t Stop Islamic State Spreading Fear

“Several dozen people directed by Islamic State may be currently present in Europe with a capability to commit terrorist attacks,” the EU warned.

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MIDDLE EAST POLITICS: U.S. Ultimate Goal is to Partition Iraq, Syria: Analyst

MIDDLE EAST POLITICS: U.S. Ultimate Goal is to Partition Iraq, Syria: Analyst

US ultimate goal is to separate Iraq and Syria from Iran to stop Baghdad and Damascus from being part of the axis of resistance against Israel and America.

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IRAN POLITICS: Muslims Obliged to Fight Against Israel: Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei

IRAN POLITICS: Muslims Obliged to Fight Against Israel: Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei

“Today the fight against the Zionist regime is obligatory and necessary for Muslims. Why do some evade this duty?” Ayatollah Khamenei added.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Mosul Grand al-Nuri Mosque Destroyed By Islamic State

IRAQ POLITICS: Mosul Grand al-Nuri Mosque Destroyed By Islamic State

“Blowing up the al-Hadba minaret and the al-Nuri mosque amounts to an official acknowledgement of defeat,” Iraqi Prime Minister said.

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IRAQ POLITICS: 100,000 Children in Dangerous Conditions in Mosul: UNICEF

IRAQ POLITICS: 100,000 Children in Dangerous Conditions in Mosul: UNICEF

“In some cases, they have been forced to participate in the fighting and violence,” Peter Hawkins, representative of UNICEF in Iraq added.

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