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Russia ‘to adapt military doctrine’ as Nato plans to reinforce Ukraine border

By , September 2, 2014 3:21 pm

Russia ‘to adapt military doctrine’ as Nato plans to reinforce Ukraine border
By: on: 02.09.2014 [09:35 ] (154 reads)

Russia ‘to adapt military doctrine’ as Nato plans to reinforce Ukraine border

Nato ratcheting up tensions by boosting its military presence on Europe’s eastern flank, a senior Russian official says

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 September, 2014, 5:00pm


01 Sep 2014

Mainland China investors pin hopes on fund influx to shore up stock…

Ukrainian servicemen from the Azov Battalion train volunteers in the southeastern city of Mariupol. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Western powers that there was no military solution to the Ukraine crisis, after Kiev accused Russia of launching a “great war”. Photo: AFP

Russia vowed on Tuesday to adopt a beefed up new military doctrine over Nato’s plans to establish a rapid-response team that could ward off the Kremlin’s expansion into Ukraine and feared push further west.

Moscow’s surprise announcement added a new and threatening new layer of tensions ahead of Nato’s two-day summit that starts on Thursday in Wales and will see Ukraine’s beleaguered leader Petro Poroshenko personally lobby US President Barack Obama for military help.

The Ukrainian president’s appeal for European assistance in the face of Russia’s alleged dispatch of crack troops into the separatist east of his ex-Soviet country was effectively cast aside by EU leaders meeting over the weekend in Brussels.

But Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Brussels that the 28-nation alliance would endorse the establishment of a force of “several thousand troops” that could be deployed within “very few days” to meet any perceived Russian military movements in eastern Europe.

The New York Times reported the rapid-response unit would be supported by new Nato members such as Poland that were once Soviet satellites but now view Russian President Vladimir Putin with fear and mistrust.

Moscow’s answer to Nato’s intentions was instant and furious.

The Russian national security council’s deputy secretary Mikhail Popov said the mooted Western defence plan was “evidence of the desire of US and Nato leaders to continue their policy of aggravating tensions with Russia”.

Popov added that Russia’s 2010 military doctrine – a document that already permits the use of nuclear weapons should national security be considered in grave danger – would sharpen its focus on overcoming Nato and its new European missile defence system.

“I have no doubt that the question of the approach of Nato members’ military infrastructure to our border, including by an expansion of the bloc, will remain as one of the foreign military threats to Russia,” he said.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in separate comments that Russia’s armed forces would be given added muscle with the deployment of 230 new military helicopters and jets by the end of the year.

‘No military solution’

Poroshenko convened his own national security and defence council late on Monday to figure out how military leaders could halt their forces’ recent retreat from eastern territories they had clawed back at a heavy cost over the preceding four months.

“The situation is difficult but the Ukrainian fighting spirit is stronger than that of the occupants,” Poroshenko said in reference to more than 1,000 Russian soldiers that Nato believes the Kremlin pushed across the Ukrainian border in recent days.

The press offices of Ukraine’s self-declared “anti-terrorist operation” reported “ferocious battles” across the rebel-held eastern industrial regions of Lugansk and Donetsk.

It accused “terrorists dressed in Russian army uniforms of attacking medical columns of the Ukrainian armed forces that were being used to transport wounded soldiers and were clearly marked.”

Moscow on Monday again denied either sending or planning to deploy troops into eastern Ukraine to help insurgents open a corridor along the Sea of Azov between the Russian border and the Crimea peninsula that the Kremlin annexed in March.

But top separatist commanders have admitted that some off-duty and vacationing Russian soldiers had already joined their ranks.

The ominous sense of Moscow and the West digging in for a Cold War-style standoff with unimaginable consequences for global security prompted UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to caution all sides that “there is no military solution” to the crisis.

“I know the European Union, the Americans and most of the Western countries are discussing very seriously among themselves how to handle this matter,” he told reporters during a visit to New Zealand.

“What is important at this time is that they should know there is no military solution in this. There should be a political dialogue for a political solution, that is the more sustainable way,” Ban stressed.

An inconclusive round of European-mediated talks between Kiev and Moscow envoys and a few separatist leaders concluded in the Belarussian capital Minsk on Monday with no reported progress and a tentative agreement to meeting again on Friday.

Putin raised the stakes on Sunday by calling on Kiev to discuss establishing actual “statehood” for the two mostly Russian-speaking eastern districts.

The Kremlin had only urged the decentralisation of Ukraine when Kiev forces were making their most dramatic military advances in the wake of Poroshenko’s election as president at the end of May. (en) RSS feed for articles and news

The Hostage Situation That Keeps Turkey From Going After Islamic State

By , September 2, 2014 3:15 pm

Civil servants stage a protest outside the Foreign Ministry in Ankara, Turkey, on July 17, demanding the release of 49 officials seized by Islamic militants in June at the Turkish consulate in Mosul, Iraq (photo: Burhan Ozbilici/AP).The rise of the jihadist Islamic State in Syria and Iraq has affected both the economy and security of its powerful neighbor Turkey. Yet Turkey has not taken the fight to the militants. A prolonged hostage crisis is a big part of the reason. In early June, when the militants overran Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, they also took over the Turkish consulate there, capturing 49 people including the consul general and three children. Within days, Turkish media outlets were banned from reporting on any developments in the crisis. The hostages remain captive.

“It is very difficult now for Turkey to manage the situation,” says Yasar Yakis, a former foreign minister. “Its hands are tied. Especially after the execution of [the American journalist James Foley] it has become all the more difficult to do something which Islamic State might perceive as a wrong move.” On Tuesday, the militants claimed to have beheaded Steven Sotloff, another U.S. journalist they were holding as a “second lesson to the United States.”

Turkey officially labels Islamic State a terrorist group, but Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, who was elected president in August after more than a decade as prime minister, has been reluctant to label the organization as such. At the end of June, shortly after the militants captured the consulate, he warned Turkish media and the political opposition not to pressure him into making “provocative statements regarding this group.” Ahmet Davutoglu, the newly appointed prime minister, more recently referred to Islamic State as “a radical organization with a terrorist-like structure.”

That organization with a terrorist-like structure has set up shop just over an hour away by car, across the Syrian border, from Turkey’s Gaziantep province, a booming export hub in the country’s south. The war in Syria had already made a dent in the local economy, cutting off Turkish traders from markets in Jordan, Lebanon, and the Persian Gulf. A month after Islamic State overran Mosul and other Iraqi cities, the province’s exports to Iraq fell 48 percent compared with last year’s figures, according to Gaziantep’s chamber of commerce.

Islamic State “has blocked the trade routes from the northern part [of Iraq] to the center,” says one food producer, who asked not to be named because of his company’s policy. “We had 15,000 metric tons going to Iraq every month [by truck]. Over the last two months that has basically stopped.” Turkey’s overall trade with Iraq has dropped 32 percent since June.

Where trade has slowed, smuggling has thrived. Since the start of the war in Syria, the amount of fuel seized at the border has tripled, according to Turkish government sources. Produced and refined on the cheap, the petrol makes its way into Turkey by truck, hauled across the border inside jerrycans or pumped through plastic pipelines. Middlemen purchase the fuel at anywhere from 1 to 1.5 liras ($ 0.46 to $ 0.69) per liter, reports Ali Ediboglu, an opposition lawmaker. By the time it arrives in places like Gaziantep, locals say, it sells for about 3 liras.

Turks pay about 5 liras per liter at the pump, more than in most countries in Europe, and double the average price in the U.S.

A large chunk of the profits appears to be going straight into Islamic State’s coffers. The Sunni militants control about 60 percent of crude oil production assets in Syria, in addition to several oil wells in Iraq, says Luay al-Khateeb, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center. “Actual production could be about 50,000 barrels per day,” he says. “Assuming a cost of $ 50 or 60 per barrel, that would mean sales of up to $ 3 million.” While some of the fuel is sold or distributed locally, he says, the rest is smuggled to southern Turkey. “It’s the only export market that Islamic State has.”

The amounts might seem paltry, al-Khateeb says, “but they definitely [help] expand operations and recruit new members.” Before the June 10 attack on Mosul, experts put the total number of Islamic State fighters at 10,000. That number is now said to have at least doubled. Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi expert on Sunni insurgencies, puts it between 30,000 and 50,000.

Turkey has repeatedly come under fire, both at home and abroad, for allowing insurgents of all stripes–from moderates to hardline Islamists–to cross into Syria. Turkish officials acknowledge that many militants have been able to slip through the 560-mile border but deny lending them any support. The government has introduced stricter border controls and started screening passengers on inbound flights. It has also started to crack down on the illegal fuel trade. “We try to make sure that those smugglers know that if they smuggle now, it will be related to terrorism,” says one official.

Assyrian International News Agency

Weekly Security Update, 26 August – 01 September 2014

By , September 2, 2014 3:05 pm

Weekly Security Update, 26 August – 01 September 2014

Security IncidentsIraq’s casualty figures released by the UN on 01 September showed that at least 1,420 people were killed in August alone, in a slight decrease compared to last month.  Meanwhile, Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi continued to hold meetings with Iraqi parliamentary leaders, in order to facilitate negotiations towards the formation of a new government. Forming a cabinet before the constitutional deadline, set on 11 September, will be challenging unless Abadi manages to broker deals with the Sunni and Kurdish constituencies, which address their grievances against Iraq’s Shia-dominated regime. The Sunni bloc reportedly withdrew from these talks on 31 August, which could be used as a tactic to extract more concessions from Abadi’s coalition. While outgoing PM Nouri al-Maliki’s untenable position eventually led him to endorse Abadi as his successor, his unannounced visit to the recently-freed town of Amerli suggests that Maliki will seek to retain a role in the new political landscape. Although the incumbent PM urged Abadi to refuse any “pre-conditions” to government formation, there seems to be a consensus around the necessity to bridge Iraq’s various communities, through more inclusive policies appealing to a broader base. As such, an agreement aimed at easing the resentment of Sunni populations and delaying Kurdish ambitions for statehood is probable. Expectations are that Abadi will push for an agreement before the constitutional deadline in a bid to boost his own legitimacy, increasing further the chances of considerable concessions to powerful groups. The security situation across Iraq remained aligned with previous patterns of violence, with shelling, executions and suicide attacks accounting for the majority of the 389 fatalities recorded over the reporting period. The swift international response in support of the Kurds allowed Peshmerga forces, allied with ISF elements, to retake territories which had fallen to IS over the past weeks. The main fighting areas are expected to remain concentrated in western Nineveh and eastern Salahuddin, where most of the joint Kurdish and ISF efforts seem to be allocated.


Kurdish forces continued to regain ground in the North, by launching coordinated offensives against IS-controlled territories of Nineveh and Salahuddin. A combined force of ISF, Peshmerga and Shia militias, supported by US airstrikes, managed to break the siege of Amerli in Salahuddin, while efforts are ongoing to retake the nearby town of Sulaiman Beg, at the hands of militants since June. The successful rescue of Amerli, albeit with strong US support, marks the first time that Iraqi forces have won a significant clash against IS. On 28 August, Kurdish forces claimed the capture of the town of Zumar, west of the Mosul Dam, and cleared villages on the outskirts of the Ain Zala oil field. Following the re-capture of the strategic dam, the control of surrounding territories is an indication that Iraqi and Peshmerga forces are consolidating their positions in Nineveh. While US air support and military equipment sent to the Kurds have undoubtedly broken IS’s momentum in the North, large swaths of territories remain firmly under insurgent control, including the main cities of Mosul, Tikrit and Baiji. Attempts at recapturing Hawija in Kirkuk and Jalawla in Diyala from IS remain unsuccessful, despite offensives launched on IS positions. Dislodging militants from urban areas remains dubious without the negotiation of tribal alliances.


Despite the continued occurrence of car bomb attacks in the capital, their number remained aligned with their post-IS insurgency averages. Four VBIEDs hit the New Baghdad, Rashied and Bayaa districts, causing dozens of fatalities and hundreds of civilian injuries. Ongoing fighting in territories north of the capital perpetuated the status quo in Baghdad, where active militant cells established in the city accounted for the majority of violent incidents. Outside Baghdad, militant efforts remained focused on Anbar, with a number of skirmishes resulting in scores of fatalities. On 28 August, clashes between ISF and IS elements near al-Qaim, western Anbar, killed six militants. The majority of deadly incidents continued to be reported in the corridor encompassing Ramadi, Haditha and Fallujah, where Iraqi forces continue to rely on airstrikes and alliances formed with local tribal leaders to contain the advance of insurgents. As areas north of Baghdad continue to absorb most of the IS and ISF resources, a significant breakthrough is unlikely from either side and the situation is expected to remain stagnant.


As military efforts remain focused on the North, southern provinces have continued to avoid sophisticated militant incursions. General levels of violence remained consistent with previous averages, with Babil concentrating the majority of deadly incidents. Attacks against Baghdad’s southern belt have witnessed a lull since July, and Babil governorate has avoided VBIED attacks for over six weeks. This pattern demonstrates that IS’s current priorities remain set on consolidating and expanding their positions in the North, and this ongoing strategy is expected to define the South’s security landscape for the next weeks. Meanwhile, the majority of violent incidents reported in the South-East continued to stem from familial and tribal disputes, with an unusual series of IEDs reported in Karbala. While the unity of Shia lists in the face of a common radical Sunni threat has so far largely contained intra-Shia violence, competition for power and government posts retains the potential to inflame tensions in the longer term. It is assessed that the South-East does not face any immediate threat from IS operations, and levels of violence should remain stable over the next weeks.

Iraq Business News

Pound Sinks, Finds No Help from Construction PMI

By , September 2, 2014 12:44 pm

Stack of coins on 10-pound and 20-pound billsThe Great Britain pound sank to the lowest level since March against the US dollar today. The currency was also weak against other majors, even the Japanese yen, against which the sterling has rallied earlier.

The UK currency slumped even as the Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index came out much better than was expected, climbing from 62.4 in July to 64.0 in August compared to the forecast drop to 61.5. Polls report increasing support for independence of Scotland ahead of this week’s referendum. This may explain why the sterling ignored the positive economic data.

GBP/USD sank from 1.6606 to 1.6486 as of 17:55 GMT today. GBP/JPY rallied from 173.27 to 173.95 intraday but retreated to the opening rate as of now.

If you have any questions, comments or opinions regarding the Great Britain Pound, feel free to post them using the commentary form below.

Earlier News About the Great Britain Pound:

Forex News

Austria takes harder line on Russia as EU sanctions loom

By , September 2, 2014 12:37 pm

Austria takes harder line on Russia as EU sanctions loom
By: Reuters on: 02.09.2014 [09:39 ] (127 reads)

Austria takes harder line on Russia as EU sanctions loom
VIENNA, Sept 2 Tue Sep 2, 2014 4:49am EDT

VIENNA, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann took a tougher line on Russia’s role in Ukraine on Tuesday, blasting Moscow’s “deception and salami tactics” in the conflict and saying Austria was prepared to pay the price of tougher sanctions.

It was a significantly harder line from neutral Austria, which until now has been reluctant to hit Russia hard with economic sanctions designed to punish what Western leaders have called unacceptable Russian behaviour.

“You cannot say we are all for freedom but the rouble has to roll,” the Social Democrat chancellor told reporters after a cabinet meeting, using a German expression for money has to keep flowing.

“If it is necessary to defend freedom and international law, then Austria will be in the forefront.”

Austria had been walking a careful line between showing solidarity with European Union peers and keeping the lines of communication open with Moscow, with which it has traditionally had good political and business ties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Vienna in June, when Russia’s Gazprom and Austria’s OMV sealed a deal to build a branch of the giant Russian South Stream gas pipeline to Austria.

Austrian lenders such as Raiffeisen Bank International and Bank Austria, the eastern European arm of Italy’s UniCredit, depend heavily on Russia for profits, but Russia accounts for less than 3 percent of Austria’s foreign trade.

Faymann told broadcaster ORF that Moscow’s explanations of how Russian troops and tanks had entered Ukraine were “getting more and more obviously provocative. Nobody can believe this, so it is fitting to have a clear political message here.”

He reiterated he was against using force against Russia and said the EU should sharpen sanctions, but the question was in which fields.

Asked about potential sanctions on gas supplies, he said:

“They are an issue but you have to know that gas supplies also have a massive effect on Europe’s economy. The priority for me is political dialogue, negotiations, exerting pressure, and perhaps not delivering any more weapons.”

He said he would be disturbed should the Western military alliance NATO also decide to intervene in Ukraine, adding: “I don’t want to contribute anything to accelerate this military logic.” (Reporting by Michael Shields and Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Dominic Evans) (en) RSS feed for articles and news

Fundamentals Play Against New Zealand Dollar

By , September 2, 2014 10:00 am

10 NZD banknote on 20-dollar noteThe New Zealand dollar sank today against its US counterpart, touching the lowest level since February, and fell against other major currencies as the market sentiment was not particularly favorable to currencies of emerging markets that are associated with risk.

Geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe, poor Monday’s economic data from China and prospects for monetary tightening in the United States — all these factors were driving the kiwi down. Analysts thought that the 0.83 level should provide support for NZD/USD. So far, it proved true, though the currency pair breached the support level for a short time intraday.

NZD/USD sank from 0.8376 to 0.8300 as of 16:37 GMT today, trading near the lowest level since February 27. EUR/NZD jumped from 1.5668 to 1.5810.

If you have any questions, comments or opinions regarding the New Zealand Dollar, feel free to post them using the commentary form below.

Forex News

Putin Kiev remarks ‘out of context’ (updated)

By , September 2, 2014 9:54 am

Putin Kiev remarks ‘out of context’ (updated)
By: + AP on: 02.09.2014 [09:42 ] (141 reads)

Putin Kiev remarks ‘out of context’

A Pro-Russian rebel prepares arms for the assault on the positions of Ukrainian army in Donetsk airport, eastern Ukraine (AP)
02 September 2014

A Russian official has complained that EU Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso breached confidentiality when he quoted President Vladimir Putin as saying that Moscow could take over Kiev in two weeks if it wished.

Presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow that Mr Putin’s statement was “quoted out of context and carried a completely different meaning”.

He said it was unworthy of Mr Barroso to speak publicly about a private conversation.

Several European publications earlier this week quoted Mr Barroso as saying that Mr Putin had said in a private conversation that Russian forces could take over Ukraine’s capital in two weeks’ time if they wished.

Pro-Russian rebels have been fighting Ukrainian government troops since mid-April in a conflict that has left more than 2,500 people dead.

Putin quote about invading Kyiv taken out of context, Russian aide says

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a meeting on development of the Russian Far East issues in Yakutsk, Russia, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. (AP / RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)

Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, September 2, 2014 6:12AM EDT

MOSCOW — A Kremlin aide on Tuesday sharply criticized EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso for breaching confidentiality when he quoted President Vladimir Putin as saying Moscow could take over Kyiv in two weeks, if it wished.

Yuri Ushakov, the Russian leader’s foreign policy adviser, told reporters that Putin’s statement was “taken out of context and carried a completely different meaning.”

Ushakov lashed out at Barroso, saying it was a breach of diplomatic practices and “unworthy of a serious politician” to speak publicly about a private conversation.

Several European publications earlier this week cited diplomats quoting Barroso as saying that Putin had said in a private conversation that Russian forces could take over Ukraine’s capital in two weeks’ time, if they wished.

Putin’s comment reportedly came in response to Barroso pointing out Ukrainian and Western claims that Russia had sharply escalated the conflict in eastern Ukraine by sending regular army units into Ukraine. NATO has estimated that at least 1,000 Russian soldiers have entered Ukraine, helping turn the tide in favour of pro-Russian insurgents.

Ushakov on Tuesday reaffirmed Moscow’s denial that it has sent any soldiers in, even though a rebel leader said last week that Russian servicemen on official leave were among some 4,000 Russians fighting in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Valeriy Heletey said on his Facebook page Monday that the counter-insurgency operation is over and the nation’s military is now facing the Russian army in a war that could cost “tens of thousands” of lives.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry dismissed Heletey’s remarks as “shocking” and accused him of making the statement in a bid to shift blame and keep his seat amid a series of defeats suffered by the Ukrainian military.

Pro-Russian rebels have been fighting Ukrainian government troops since mid-April in a conflict that has left more than 2,500 people dead. In recent weeks, the rebels have scored significant gains on the ground, launching an offensive along the coast of the Sea of Azov.

Efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the hostilities, which followed the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, have failed.

Representatives of Ukraine, Russia, pro-Russian rebels and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe made another attempt to reach an accord Monday in Minsk, the Belarusian capital. Rebels presented a negotiating platform that dropped their previous demand for full independence and expressed readiness to negotiate a settlement that would respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity in exchange for a broad autonomy for eastern provinces.

The talks lasted several hours and were adjourned until Friday, when the parties are expected to discuss specifics of a possible cease-fire and a prisoners’ exchange.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday urged the United States to use its influence in Ukraine to encourage efforts to reach a political settlement. “It’s necessary to restrain the party of war in Kyiv, and only the United States can do it,” he said at a briefing.

Read more: (en) RSS feed for articles and news

Gruesome Evidence of Ethnic Cleansing in North Iraq As ISIS Moves to Wipe Out Minorities

By , September 2, 2014 9:33 am

Gruesome Evidence of Ethnic Cleansing in North Iraq As ISIS Moves to Wipe Out Minorities

Assyrian refugees in Ankawa, Iraq.Fresh evidence uncovered by Amnesty International indicates that members of the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) have launched a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq, carrying out war crimes, including mass summary killings and abductions, against ethnic and religious minorities.

A new briefing, Ethnic cleansing on historic scale: the Islamic State’s systematic targeting of minorities in northern Iraq, published today presents a series of hair-raising accounts from survivors of massacres who describe how dozens of men and boys in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq were rounded up by Islamic State fighters, bundled into pick-up trucks and taken to village outskirts to be massacred in groups or shot individually. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of women and children, along with scores of men, from the Yezidi minority have also been abducted since the Islamic State took control of the area.

“The massacres and abductions being carried out by the Islamic State provide harrowing new evidence that a wave of ethnic cleansing against minorities is sweeping across northern Iraq,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser currently in northern in Iraq.

“The Islamic State is carrying out despicable crimes and has transformed rural areas of Sinjar into blood-soaked killing fields in its brutal campaign to obliterate all trace of non- Arabs and non-Sunni Muslims.”

Amnesty International has gathered evidence that several mass killings took place in Sinjar in August. Two of the deadliest incidents took place when IS fighters raided the villages of Qiniyeh on 3 August and Kocho on 15 August. The number of those killed in these villages alone runs into the hundreds. Groups of men and boys including children as young as 12 from both villages were seized by IS militants, taken away and shot.

“There was no order, they [the IS fighters] just filled up vehicles indiscriminately,” one survivor of the massacre in Kocho told Amnesty International.

Said, who also narrowly escaped death with his brother, Khaled, was shot five times; three times in his left knee and once in the hip and shoulder. They lost seven brothers in the massacre. Another survivor, Salem, who managed to hide and survive near the massacre site for 12 days described to Amnesty International the horror of hearing others who had been injured cry out in pain.

“Some could not move and could not save themselves; they lay there in agony waiting to die. They died a horrible death. I managed to drag myself away and was saved by a Muslim neighbour; he risked his life to save me; he is more than a brother to me. For 12 days he brought me food and water every night. I could not walk and had no hope of getting away and it was becoming increasingly dangerous for him to continue to keep me there,” he said.

He was later able to escape by donkey and rode to the mountains and then on into the areas controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The mass killings and abductions have succeeded in terrorizing the entire population in northern Iraq leading thousands to flee in fear for their lives.

The fate of most of the hundreds of Yezidis abducted and held captive by the Islamic State remains unknown. Many of those held by IS have been threatened with rape or sexual assault or pressured to convert to Islam. In some cases entire families have been abducted.

One man who gave Amnesty International a list of 45 names of missing relatives — all of whom are women and children said: “We get news from some of them but others are missing and we don’t know if they are alive or dead or what has happened to them.”

“Instead of aggravating the fighting by either turning a blind eye to sectarian militias or arming Shi’a militias against the Islamic State as the authorities have done so far, Iraq’s government should focus on protecting all civilians regardless of their ethnicity or religion,” said Donatella Rovera.

“The people of northern Iraq deserve to live free from persecution without fearing for their lives at every turn. Those ordering, carrying out, or assisting in these war crimes must be apprehended and brought to justice.”

Since taking control of Mosul on 10 June, IS militants have also systematically destroyed and damaged places of worship of non-Sunni Muslim communities including Shi’a mosques and shrines.


Among the ethnic and religious minorities being targeted in northern Iraq are: Assyrian Christians, Turkmen Shi’a, Shabak Shi’a, members of the Yezidi faith, Kakai and Sabean Mandaeans. Many Arabs and Sunni Muslims known or believed to oppose IS have also been targeted in apparent reprisal attacks.

Assyrian International News Agency

Iraq Invites Airport Investment

By , September 2, 2014 9:23 am

Iraq Invites Airport Investment

By Patrick M Schmidt.

The governor of Al Diwaniyah officially announced the start of the bidding process for a new airport in the southwest of the province.

The project recently received approval from the central government for the construction of a civilian airport.

The local government will soon begin presenting the idea to foreign contractors. The project must be launched within two years otherwise it may be anulled by the central government.

(Source: Zawya)

(Airport image via Shutterstock)

Iraq Business News

US, European allies can’t defeat Putin over Ukraine crisis: Expert

By , September 2, 2014 7:11 am

US, European allies can’t defeat Putin over Ukraine crisis: Expert
By: Press TV on: 02.09.2014 [10:17 ] (97 reads)

US, European allies can’t defeat Putin over Ukraine crisis: Expert
Tue Sep 2, 2014 6:40AM GMT

Russia sanctions to backfire on EUThe US and its European allies would not be able to defeat Russian President Vladimir Putin over the crisis in Ukraine because Moscow has lots of cards to play, an American author says.

“Russia is not going to allow Ukraine to become a NATO nation or to fall into the hand of extreme anti-Russians,” said James Fetzer, an editor at Veterans Today.

“Russia has lots of cards to play in relation to the pressures from the European nations for more sanctions, including its control of very large proportion of gas that is supplied to those nations,” the retired professor from Wisconsin told Press TV on Monday.

The European Union is seeking to impose further sanction on Moscow over the crisis.

The author also noted that the United States has “grossly violated” the sovereignty of Ukraine and other Eastern European nations, helping to “destabilize” and install a “puppet regime” in Kiev.

“The United States has invested some $ 5 billion to bring about destabilization in the Ukraine,” Fetzer said.

“The democratically elected president of the Ukraine was forced to flee for his life while a puppet regime was installed which the Obama administration immediately recognized,” he added.

“The United States has done this all over the world,” he continued.

“We have undertaken outright invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya under the cover of NATO to weaken Muslim nations that have stood as independent obstacles to Israeli desires to dominate the Middle East.”

The conflict in Ukraine broke out in April following Russia’s reunification with the Crimea peninsula a month before. The conflict has killed about 2,600 people since April.

Pro-Russian forces have been gaining ground on Ukrainian army in recent days, in both the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, and further south around the port of Mariupol.

Ukraine and the West blame Russian military support for the recent gains, saying armored columns have crossed the border. Russia denies military involvement.

Leading American senators have called for the US to send weapons to help Ukraine fight what they say is “a Russian invasion.”

Robert Menendez, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Russian President Vladimir Putin must face a cost for his “aggression.”

AHT/AGB (en) RSS feed for articles and news