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morningfog

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Member since: Thu Jan 12, 2012, 03:24 PM
Number of posts: 8,066

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Kurds seize two oil fields in north; quit Iraqi government

Iraqi Kurds have taken over two oil fields amid a growing dispute with the government in Baghdad, Iraqi and Kurdish sources say.

Kurdish peshmerga forces seized control of production facilities at the Bai Hassan and Kirkuk oil fields in the north of the country on Friday.

Kurdish MPs have also withdrawn from Iraq's central government.


They did so after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki accused the Kurds of harbouring extremists.

Kurdish forces have moved into areas of north-western Iraq abandoned by the Iraqi army during the advance of Islamist insurgents led by the Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) group over the past month.

The Kurds have since declared plans to hold a referendum on independence in the areas seized, escalating tensions with Iraq's central authorities.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28265064

Question submitted by morningfog

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‘Low Grade’ Nuclear Material Is Seized by Rebels in Iraq, U.N. Says

LONDON — Iraq has notified the United Nations that Sunni militants seized nuclear material from a university in the northern city of Mosul last month as they advanced toward Baghdad, the nuclear regulatory body of the United Nations said on Thursday.

Gill Tudor, a spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is based in Vienna, said in a statement that the organization’s experts believed that the material — thought to be uranium — was “low grade and would not present a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation risk.”

Word of the seizure first emerged in a letter to the United Nations dated Tuesday and seen by reporters from Reuters, which quoted it as saying that “terrorists” from the insurgent Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had taken control of the materials.

The letter said that almost 90 pounds of uranium compounds had been kept at the university and that the materials “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction,” Reuters said.

The mention of such weapons has a resonance in Iraq, where the American-led invasion of 2003 was justified in Washington and London by assertions that Saddam Hussein, the leader at the time, had acquired weapons of mass destruction. None were ever found by the invading forces.

In her statement on Thursday, Ms. Tudor said the atomic energy agency “is aware of the notification from Iraq and is in contact to seek further details.”

She said experts did not believe that the material could be fashioned into a weapon. “Nevertheless,” the statement said, “any loss of regulatory control over nuclear and other radioactive materials is a cause for concern.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/11/world/middleeast/iraq.html?_r=0

Oh FFS.

Iraq Says 'Terrorists' Seize Chemical Weapons Site

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Islamic State extremist group has taken control of a vast former chemical weapons facility northwest of Baghdad, where remnants of 2,500 degraded chemical rockets filled decades ago with the deadly nerve agent sarin are stored along with other chemical warfare agents, Iraq said in a letter circulated Tuesday at the United Nations.

The U.S. government played down the threat from the takeover, saying there are no intact chemical weapons and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to use the material for military purposes.

Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a letter that ‘‘armed terrorist groups’’ entered the Muthanna site on June 11, detained officers and soldiers from the protection force guarding the facilities and seized their weapons. The following morning, the project manager spotted the looting of some equipment via the camera surveillance system before the ‘‘terrorists’’ disabled it, he said.

The Islamic State group, which controls parts of Syria, sent its fighters into neighboring Iraq last month and quickly captured a vast stretch of territory straddling the border between the two countries. Last week, its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the establishment of an Islamic state, or caliphate, in the land the extremists control.

Alhakim said as a result of the takeover of Muthanna, Iraq is unable ‘‘to fulfil its obligations to destroy chemical weapons’’ because of the deteriorating security situation. He said it would resume its obligations ‘‘as soon as the security situation has improved and control of the facility has been regained.’’

http://www.boston.com/news/world/united-nations/2014/07/08/iraq-says-terrorists-seize-chemical-weapons-site/dL6fACTU88PHBLp4FK6c9I/story.html

Iraq parliament delayed for five weeks, general killed near Baghdad

Iraq's new parliament put off its next session for five weeks on Monday, extending the country's political paralysis amid a Sunni Islamist insurgency which claimed the life of an army general near Baghdad.

Citing the politicians' failure to reach "understanding and agreement" on nominations for the top three posts in government, the office of acting speaker Mehdi al-Hafidh said parliament would not meet again until Aug. 12.

Putting off the work of reaching consensus is a slap in the face to efforts by Iraq's Shi'ite clergy, the United States, the United Nations and Iran, who have all urged the swift formation of an inclusive government to hold the country together.

"We're looking at a dire situation on the ground, which is why it's so important that things move forward urgently on the ground,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington in reaction to the delay.

With no signs that Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will abandon his bid for a third term, his Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish opponents warn there is a risk that Iraq will fragment along ethnic and sectarian lines.

"Things are moving faster than the politicians can make decisions," a senior Shi'ite member of parliament told Reuters.

(snip)

A senior Iraqi general was killed in fighting with insurgents near Baghdad on Monday, as the army fights to hold militants back from the capital.

Major General Negm Abdullah Ali, commander of the army's sixth division responsible for defending part of Baghdad, was killed just 16 km (10 miles) northwest of the capital.

A few hours later, four policemen and three civilians were killed by a suicide bomber at a checkpoint in the mainly Shi'ite Kadhimiya district of northern Baghdad.

A bomb exploding at a roadside outdoor cafe killed four people late on Monday in the Nahrawan area just south of the capital, a police officer and a medic said.

Top U.S. defence officials said last week the security forces could defend the capital but would have difficulty going on the offensive to recapture lost territory, mainly because of logistic weaknesses.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/07/us-iraq-security-idUSKBN0FC1Q820140707?utm_source=twitter

Who carried out the aristrikes in Mosul?

BAGHDAD — Warplanes carried out multiple bombing raids in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday, a day after the leader of a powerful al-Qaeda-inspired militant group appeared online in a video from the city’s main mosque.

Residents of the city, reached by phone, said airstrikes shook the city at least three times Sunday, starting at dawn. It remains unclear what force carried out the airstrikes. The U.S. Defense Department said that it had no knowledge of the airstrikes and that U.S. forces were not involved. An Iraqi government official in Baghdad said he had no information about any airstrikes near Mosul.

On Friday, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, which declared a revival of the medieval Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria last week, delivered a sermon to worshipers from Mosul’s Great Mosque.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-iraq-airstrikes-slam-into-mosul-city-held-by-al-qaeda-inspired-militants/2014/07/06/432e7d52-0515-11e4-a0dd-f2b22a257353_story.html

Petition: Nominate former President Bush to be named the next U.S. Ambassador to Iraq

We petition the Obama administration to:

Nominate former President George W. Bush respectfully be named the next U.S. Ambassador to the country of Iraq.

In the best interest of both Nations, we the undersigned, respectfully request that Former President George W. Bush be nominated for the position of U.S. Ambassador to the Nation of Iraq. Said position should include all rights and responsibilities of the Ambassador, including residence in the country in which they are representing the interests of the United States.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/nominate-former-president-george-w-bush-respectfully-be-named-next-us-ambassador-country-iraq/YlRXWJ2N

Ordinary people outnumber targeted foreigners in NSA data

(Reuters) - The Washington Post said on Saturday a study of a large collection of communications intercepted by the U.S. National Security Agency showed that ordinary Internet users, including Americans, far outnumbered legally targeted foreigners caught in the surveillance.

"Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else," the Post said.

Nearly half of the files "contained names, email addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents," it said.

The paper said the files also contained discoveries of considerable intelligence value, including "fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks."

Tracking the communications led to the capture of some terrorism suspects, including Umar Patek, a suspect in a 2002 bombing on the Indonesian island of Bali, it said.

Many other files were retained although, described as useless by analysts, they were about intimate issues such as love, illicit sexual relations, political and religious conversions and financial anxieties, the Post said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/06/us-usa-security-nsa-idUSKBN0FB03D20140706

80 House Members Sign Letter to Obama: Seek Authorization Before Military Action in Iraq

"As you consider options for U.S. intervention, we write to urge respect for the constitutional requirements for using force abroad. The Constitution vests in Congress the power and responsibility to authorize offensive military action abroad. The use of military force in Iraq is something the Congress should fully debate and authorize. Members of Congress must consider all the facts and alternatives before we can determine whether military action would contribute to ending this most recent violence, create a climate for political stability, and protect civilians from greater harm."

Read the full letter and signatories at link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/232508209/house-letter-on-military-in-iraq#download

Joint Chiefs chairman won't rule out more U.S. military involvement in Iraq

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, left the door open Thursday to stepped-up U.S. military involvement in Iraq if ISIS militants pose a threat to the United States.

In response to a question about what the U.S. end game is in Iraq, Dempsey began by saying the U.S. military's current role is much different from it was during the Iraq war.

"Assessing and advising and enabling are very different words than attacking, defeating and disrupting," he said during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington. "We may get to that point if our national interests drive us there, if (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) becomes such a threat to the homeland that the President of the United States, with our advice, decides that we have to take direct action. I am just suggesting to you that we are not there yet."

Dempsey also disputed the use of the term "mission creep" in Iraq.

"That's the wrong phrase. The issue is mission match," he said.

"We will match the resources we apply with the authorities and responsibilities that go with them based on the mission we undertake, and that is to be determined."


http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/03/world/meast/iraq-crisis/

Not mission creep, mind you. "Mission match," based on an as of yet undetermined mission.
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