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Shares in GKP Jump Again on Iraq Update

By , October 30, 2014 2:01 pm

Shares in GKP Jump Again on Iraq Update

By John Lee.

Shares in Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) gained another 19 percent on Thursday morning, following approval of its Field Development Plan (FDP) for Akri-Bijeel, in which it holds a 20 percent working interest.

The FDP is based on these two discovery areas, i.e. Bijell area and the Bakrman area. The development will be done in two phases, phase one objective is to allow the Operator to better determine key factors such as the reserves base, recovery factor, optimum surface facility design and overall field development cost.

Phase I will start immediately with 4 drilling rigs and 1 work over rig to help reduce the overall timeline with front-end-loading wherever possible for Phase II.

John Gerstenlauer  (pictured), Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Keystone, commented:

“The approval of the Field Development Plan for the Akri-Bijeel Block is a culmination of years of exploration and appraisal, which will now lead to a development phase and production in due course. It is an important milestone for all stakeholders in the Akri-Bijeel project.”

This comes a day after a 14 percent rise in the share price after the company announced a postponement of its interim management statement.

(Sources: GKP, Yahoo!)

Iraq Business News

Britain Poised to Send Apache Helicopters to Iraq

By , October 30, 2014 8:29 am

British armed forces could become deeper embroiled in the battle against the Islamic State after it was revealed last night that Apache helicopters could be deployed to Iraq.

Until now, only the Royal Air Force has been involved in air strikes against the terror group.

If Apaches are sent to Iraq – which are piloted by the Army Air Corps – it would mark the first British Army involvement in a conflict role in the country.

A source told The Times last night that Apache attack helicopters may become necessary because jihadis are able to move around the battlefield quickly thanks to social media and messaging application WhatsApp.

Warplanes flying at 20,000-30,000ft are therefore having to react to moving targets.

A Government source told the newspaper: ‘What we are seeing is ten-man, two-vehicle teams being tasked through messages on WhatsApp or Facebook.

‘Once they’ve got their objective, they decide themselves how to meet it, what equipment and arms they need, so there’s almost no command or control to hit from 20,000ft.’

The source said that, in order to respond to the changing tactics, UK troops needed ‘something that can act very quickly on intelligence’.

Apache helicopters are able to fly close to the ground and at a slow speed, making them more effective at finding opposition troops on the ground.

Britain had a fleet of eight Apaches in Afghanistan, where Prince Harry was among the co-pilots during 2012.

A second Whitehall source told The Times that the idea of sending Apaches to Iraq had been suggested to Permanent Joint Headquarters, the UK’s hub for all military operations.

Sending the helicopters could be seen by some critics as a step closer to putting troops on the ground. If Apaches were deployed, a base would also have to be set up for the helicopters closer to the area of engagement.

Describing the Apache’s strengths, Colonel Mike Smith, the Army Air Corps officer in charge of aircrafts at a US base in Kandahar told The Times: ‘What we have demonstrated [in Afghanistan] is if you take the Apache specifically, if you need to engage, it is a hugely capable attack platform.’

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said last night that Britain had no current plans to send Apache helicopters to Iraq.

‘We constantly review our options and will carry on scoping what other training and support we can offer in conjunction with the coalition,’ he said.

Assyrian International News Agency

US Ambassador to Iraq: WH Was Warned Early on About ISIS, “did Almost Nothing”

By , October 30, 2014 2:47 am

Did the rise of ISIS and the collapse of the Iraqi army really catch the Obama administration by surprise, as the White House tried to argue over the summer? Subsequent research has already shown that senior intelligence and military officials warned Congress about both as early as February, but now the man who served as Barack Obama’s ambassador to Iraq says that the administration knew what was happening — and did “almost nothing” to stop it. James Jeffrey represented the US in Baghdad from 2010-12 and oversaw the withdrawal of American troops, and told PBS’ Frontline that the White House even claimed it would act after warnings in January, and still didn’t do anything to prevent ISIS from seizing massive amounts of territory:

“The administration not only was warned by everybody back in January, it actually announced that it was going to intensify support against ISIS with the Iraqi armed forces. And it did almost nothing,” says James Jeffrey, who served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq between 2010 and 2012, in “Frontline’s” “The Rise of ISIS,” which airs on PBS Tuesday night (check local listings) and is previewed here exclusively on Yahoo News.

Jeffrey is one of a number of ex-administration officials who appear in the film and sharply criticize the decisions of the president they once served. Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta both take issue with Obama’s refusal to arm moderate rebels in Syria who — it is now argued — could have acted as a counterweight to the Islamic State (also called ISIS or ISIL).

Without the pressure of the American military contingent in Iraq, the army that the US spent billions to create turned into a corrupt sinecure for politically-connected layabouts, according to the film. An analyst from the Congressional Research Service concurs:

“They were people who were — they were fat cats, I call them,” Katzman, a Congressional Research Service terrorism analyst, says in the film. “They were people who were earning good money to basically sit at a desk and smoke cigarettes and drink good liquor all day.”

It took only 800 ISIS troops to seize Mosul, thanks to the dessicated readiness of the Iraqi army, according to Martin Smith, who reports for the documentary. It will take a lot more than that to push ISIS back out of a city that once held 1.8 million people, but so far the only effort made by the US and its allies has been bombing runs that have forced ISIS to harden its communication lines and operations. When Smith asks Joint Chiefs chair General Martin Dempsey whether he’s optimistic about that being enough to “degrade and destroy” ISIS, Dempsey says no:

“No, I’m not an optimist,” says Dempsey in a less-than-confidence-building response. While thecampaign’s strategy may be right, “every campaign’s assumptions have to be revisited as the campaign evolves. Some of these assumptions are no doubt going to be challenged.”

In part of the film, Obama adviser Ben Rhodes tries to blame Congress for the collapse of the Iraqi army, claiming that Capitol Hill held up weapons transfers and that supposedly created the collapse. That’s absurd; the Iraqi army collapsed and left massive amounts of weaponry and equipment for ISIS to pick up and use. The Kurds have a real issue with materiel and ammunition because they have high morale and an effective chain of command, and so actually use munitions and require resupply. The Iraqis had the munitions but a corrupt command, in large part because the US bailed out of Iraq under Barack Obama by not negotiating for a long-term presence — and that allowed Nouri al-Maliki to purge the Sunnis and transform the professional army we’d built into a patronage ghost force. Leon Panetta warned about the consequences of Obama’s refusal to negotiate a permanent presence, as did others within the administration, to no avail. Obama’s political considerations trumped US security concerns.

This isn’t the first buck-passing exercise from the White House on Iraq and ISIS. Obama blamed the intelligence community in September, saying “they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.” The intelligence community reminded everyone that they had raised the red flag in January and February, which Ambassador Jeffrey corroborates in this film, but that Obama was too busy declaring ISIS the “jayvee” squad for his own political benefit. Not even the New York Times bought that spin, so a month later, Obama and his team are trying desperately to blame something else, anything else.

Will Barack Obama and this White House take responsibility for their failures and put a strategy in place that actually addresses the reality of ISIS that their failures allowed? Let me quote General Dempsey on this point: No, I’m not optimistic.

Assyrian International News Agency

Christian Tells of Conditions in Iraq

By , October 29, 2014 9:05 pm

(photo: Rich Harp)HARBOR BEACH — For Fady Amin, Christianity and activism are two things that proved to be very dangerous.

The Iraqi refugee, now living in the U.S. with his extended family, told his story this week at United Methodist Church of Harbor Beach.

In his youth, Amin became involved with a youth political group, and was the chairperson for Iraqi Christian Youth Committee. As such, he did ecumenical work with different churches in the region.

In a conservative country which is 97 percent Muslim, these things were near taboo.

Fady Amin was born in 1978 in Baghdad, the largest city and capital of Iraq. He earned a degree in mechanical engineering and worked as a logistic support adviser to a large company in that country, a company that supplied security and logistics to a variety of customers.

According to Amin, his company did business with both the Iraq and U.S. governments, British companies and a variety of others, including the U.S. military.

Education and a good job were not the things that drove Mr. Amin — it was his belief in a Christian God and an internal need to be an activist.

As Amin tells the story, he was a member of Our Lady of the Deliverance, a Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad. He also was involved with church youth and a movement to change things for the better in Iraq.

Amin soon became aware of the harsh realities of being Christian in that region of the world. In 2004, his church was bombed, destroying much of the facility. The bombing, as it proved later, was nothing compared to what was to come.

On Oct. 31, 2010, terrorists again attacked his church in Baghdad. This time, it was not an empty church and it was not with explosives — but bullets.

The terrorists captured the building and all parishioners attending church services. They took hostages and began systematically killing members. In particular, they targeted youth and clergy. Before government forces could intervene, they had killed 47 churchgoers and two priests.

During his presentation, Amin asked parents to excuse children because of the violent images he would show on an overhead screen, which included scenes from a bombing in 2004 and the church attack in 2010.

Pictures of screaming women, wounded parishioners and the slain clergy were evidence of the violence Christians are subjected to in that part of the world. It was at that time that Amin’s family began seriously considering leaving their homeland.

Amin said a reason to leave was “because of the persecution of Christians over there.”

“Terrorists targeted Christians … in our churches and in our homes,” he said. “Some people were afraid to go to church.”

Amin applied for immigration as a refugee through the United Nations. In 2012, he arrived in the U.S. He later went back to Iraq to gather his mother and his brothers and their families. In February of this year, he left Iraq permanently. He and his extended family now live in California.

But tragedy still has its effects on Amin. He still has family and many friends in Iraq. In June, ISIS attacked Nineveh (now called Mosul), and took control. Amin said the terrorist group gave Christians in the area three choices: convert to Islam, pay tribute or be killed.

Amin went on to say that the area had a great concentration of Christian churches. Many Christians fled the region, and there are now 100,000 Christian refugees or displaced people in other areas of Iraq. Many left with little more than the clothing on their backs.

Amin was brought to Michigan and Ohio by a group of Presbyterian churches. He is traveling these states with their help and the assistance of other churches. He usually gives lectures with a PowerPoint presentation and a personal message.

Amin says he tries to leave a message without going into politics. While in Harbor Beach, he said, “our message now is to reach people telling them we need your prayers, your support, and we need to raise attention of the genocide of Iraqi Christians.”

During a question and answer period after his message, one person asked, “From your perspective, is it an unrealistic hope to have democracy in your country?”

Amin responded by saying everyone has hoped for democracy since 2003. Unfortunately, different groups have kept this from happening, the latest being ISIS.

Another asked how often he has contact with people in Iraq, and did he plan to go back. He said he has constant contact with friends and the church in Iraq. At this time, he has no immediate plans of returning.

The last question asked by the audience was, what Americans could do to help the persecuted church in Iraq?

“People feel alone. (You) need to let them know they are not alone.”

Assyrian International News Agency

Iraqi Christian Refugees in North Iraq — ‘Their Tears Have Run Dry’

By , October 29, 2014 3:59 am

Father Andrzej Halemba heads the Middle East Section of international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. Earlier this month, he visited the displaced Christians of Iraq: “It is the most tragic thing that I have ever experienced,” he said.

Do the Christians in Erbil there still have hope?

It is a very difficult situation. Without question, we are talking about genocide here. Genocide is not only when the people are killed, but also when the soul of a people is destroyed. And that is what is happening in Iraq now. It is the most tragic thing that I have ever experienced. I have seen people who have been deeply wounded in their soul. In the various crises in this world I have often seen people who have lost everything. But in Iraq there are Christians who have had to leave everything and take flight three or four times. They can see no light at the end of the tunnel.

They are all very traumatized. Normally in such situations it is the women who pull everything together. But in Kurdistan I have seen women who are staring into nothingness and have closed in on themselves. Their tears have run dry. It is something that I have never seen anywhere else. The men, by contrast, tend to aggressiveness. This has to do with the fact that they are no longer able to fulfil their previous role as the breadwinner and protector of their family. Now they have to beg for everything and they have no perspective.

Do you have the impression that the Christians wish to leave Iraq?

When one has lost all hope, one wishes to leave one’s homeland. The majority do not wish to return to their homes. This is a bad sign for the future of Christianity in Iraq. The Christians feel that in Iraq they have been betrayed and abandoned, and they want to get out. The Kurdish fighters who were supposed to defend the Christian areas against ISIS assured the Christians that they were safe. Then suddenly ISIS overran the Christian towns and villages. Often they could not even take a change of clothes with them.

That is a bitter feeling, to have nobody on whom one can depend. It reminds many Christians of the massacres in the Ottoman era, 100 years ago, when hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Christians were slaughtered.

According to the Church figures, more than 120,000 Christians are now homeless and stranded in Kurdish Iraq. Are they receiving the aid that they need?

The Christians are not being helped, either by the central Iraqi government or by the Kurdish regional government. So they feel like second-class citizens. This is not the least reason why they are so angry. The Christians are mainly left to their own devices. Naturally there is aid from outside. But the Christians can only come by it through their own efforts. We have true heroes of neighborly love in Iraq. Bishops, priests and members of religious orders, but also lay people, have done exemplary work on behalf of their fellow men and women

What is the greatest humanitarian challenge at the present time?

The coming winter is a huge challenge. It can get very cold in Kurdistan, and it can snow. The rains are already starting to come. There are efforts underway to re-house the people from tents into accommodation containers. But in my opinion the greatest challenge is the mentality of the people. Have they already decided to turn their backs on Iraq and the Middle East forever? This is where we must take action and give the people hope.

How?

Above all, the people must once again believe in the future of their ancient and beautiful country. So the international community must work towards ensuring that the government in Baghdad is strengthened and incorporates all the religious and ethnic groups in the country. Only in this way can ISIS be ultimately defeated.

Assyrian International News Agency

BurgerFuel Suspends Iraq Operations

By , October 28, 2014 5:01 am

BurgerFuel Suspends Iraq Operations

By John Lee.

New Zealand-owned fast food outlet BurgerFuel has reportedly suspended its operations in Iraq.

The company had only one store, in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, and before the insurgency it had given its partners approval to re-locate to Baghdad, with a re-opening planned for later this year.

According to TVNZ, CEO Josef Roberts told shareholders:

The Middle East in general has experienced major ongoing turmoil and brutal separatist activity in the past 12 months … Whilst we are in general away from the primary areas, we cannot escape what is happening in Iraq.

“However, given what is happening in Iraq – we have suspended all further activity in that country and will review at a later date.

(Source: TVNZ)

Iraq Business News

1,800 Radical German Muslims Now in Syria, Iraq

By , October 27, 2014 5:47 pm

BERLIN — Germany’s domestic intelligence agency severely underestimated the number of radical German Muslims who are fighting for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, a Frankfurt-based newspaper reported.

The previous estimate of 450 combatants fighting for the Islamic State should be increased to 1,800, an unnamed agent of the domestic intelligence agency (Verfassungsschutz) told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAZ) newspaper in Sunday’s report. “We have to multiply the official number by four, in order to get a realistic number,” the agent said.

Nearly 40 women and a 13-year-old boy are among those who left to join the fight in Syria, German media reported.

The Germans who left for Syria and Iraq were identified as Sunnis who adhere to the strict fundamentalist school of Salafism. As many as 200 German Muslim departed North Rhine-Westphalia state to fight in the Middle East, according to FAZ.

The lack of credible tracking of radical Islamists on their way to Syria and Iraq was attributed to staffing shortages at the Verfassungsschutz (the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution) — the equivalent of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). Staff was redeployed to work on neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground murder cases.

A spokeswoman for the Verfassungsschutz told The Jerusalem Post earlier this year that the agency cannot track all radical Islamists who travel to Syria, because many arrive in Turkey, which does not require a visa, and manage to cross the border to fight in the civil war.

At least 150 German Islamists have returned from the war zone in Syria.

The FAZ report confirmed the Post article that the real number of German Muslims fighting in Syria cannot be verified.

“Every week that police and Verfassungsschutz on the Federal and State levels learned about scores of person who traveled to Syria and did not know about their intentions before…”

Verfassungsschutz head Hans-Georg Maassen said on Saturday there could be as many as 7,000 Salafists in Germany by the end of the year.

Maassen described the targets of Salafist recruiters as men, Muslims, those of immigrant background, and failures in life, the Frankfurter Rundschau reported. Membership in the Salafist movement in Germany transmits a feeling of belonging to an avant-garde group, he said.

Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, from the Christian Social Union party, called for the deportation of violent Salafists. The head of Germany’s police union, Oliver Malchow, called for a stronger observation of mosque groups and Islamic associations.

In addition to such radical Sunni groups, there are 950 active Hezbollah members in the Federal Republic.

Meanwhile, Israel’s ambassador to Berlin, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, warned in a Sunday interview with the WAZ paper that “Germany’s society should be concerned.

Today extremists agitate against Jews, tomorrow against Yezidis and Kurds, and perhaps the day after against Christians. Germany’s democracy is in danger.”

Assyrian International News Agency

Humanitarian Emergency Unfolding in Iraq As Winter Nears

By , October 27, 2014 12:05 pm

Displaced families, who fled from Islamic State violence in Mosul, sit at the Ali Awa refugee camp near Khanaqin city, Iraq, Oct. 22, 2014.GENEVA (VOA) — International humanitarian officials said an immense humanitarian emergency is unfolding Iraq, where international assistance is urgently needed to help 5.2 million Iraqis, including 1.8 million displaced people, survive the coming winter.

It is already cold in Iraq and rainfall is frequent.

Humanitarian officials said the dire situation now facing millions of Iraqis will get even worse as winter approaches and weather conditions deteriorate further.

A joint mission by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs visited Baghdad, Irbil, Dohuk and surrounding areas last week and viewed the situation along the Iraqi-Turkish border.

Displacement crisis

The mission said the situation is particularly dramatic in Kurdistan, which is bearing the brunt of the displacement crisis.

The Kurdistan region currently is hosting 850,000 of the 1.8 million people who have fled attacks from the Islamic State group. About half of the displaced are children.

Officials said hundreds of thousands of people are forced to live in sub-standard conditions. They live in unfinished buildings, on roads and bridges, in public buildings and schools.

Hesham Youssef, assistant secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said about 400 schools in Kurdistan are being used as temporary shelters for displaced people, so the start of the school year has been postponed until December.

Youssef told VOA that the humanitarian requirements are enormous.

“Winterization and shelter are priorities, particularly in the north because of those who are living in dire conditions,” Youssef said.

“Medical care also is a priority because many camps do not have adequate medical facilities and schooling perhaps is the biggest problems for many. … But, as far as displaced persons are concerned, there are zero schools,” he said.

Last week, the United Nations appealed for $ 2.2 billion to meet the humanitarian needs of 5.2 million Iraqis through 2015. Saudi Arabia has contributed $ 500 million of the $ 600 million so far received.

The United Nations estimates the Islamic State group controls about one-third of Iraq. At least 3.6 million Iraqis are thought to live in these areas. Of these, the U.N. said 2.2 million are in urgent need of aid.

Aid agencies

Youssef said most of these people are unreachable by aid agencies. But, he said, the International Committee of the Red Cross is able to bring some aid into these areas and this is subsequently distributed by local community organizations.

He said the Iraqi government is concerned about the manner in which aid is reaching people in jihadist-controlled areas.

“This is the fear of the government in particular that humanitarian assistance may be overtaken by ISIS and distributed in a manner that would advance their political agenda,” Youssef said, using another term for the Islamist militants. “That, and it seems that they have information that this has taken place in a number of cases. So, they are fearful of the continuation of this situation.”

The OCHA and OIC representatives said a number of Iraqi officials, including in Kurdistan, told them the security situation may deteriorate further as the war with Islamic State militants over control of the territory continues.

Unfortunately, they say everyone agrees the crisis in Iraq will not end soon.

Assyrian International News Agency

West Waging a ‘CNN War’ in Syria As Isil Makes Gains in Iraq

By , October 26, 2014 7:34 am

On the barren wastes of Mount Sinjar, the Yazidis are once more surrounded and fighting for their lives.

“We saw Isil, there are daily clashes with Isil. Today and yesterday there was heavy fighting,” said one stranded Yazidi man, Dre’i Shamo, last week. “The situation is very tragic and critical.”

Further south, the advance of the jihadists of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on Baghdad continues, slower than before but still with no sign of a reversal of fortune. Another district fell last week, after a major military base the week before, while scores more innocent civilians have died in a rise in bombings in the city itself.

The jihadists have also reached Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province and the last major city in western Iraq not in Isil’s hands.

The world’s attention has been focused on the medium-sized Kurdish town of Kobane, on the Syria-Turkey border, whose accessibility has provided countless opportunities for telegenic news coverage of American air strikes, which have multiplied in size and number. But Kobane is a secondary focus of the war that has been waging in Syria for more than three years; and that war is itself supposed to be secondary in strategic heft for America and its allies, including Britain.

They have deemed Iraq the first target of the fight against Isil. Yet the number of air strikes in supposedly less significant Syria has now reached double that in Iraq, as America and its allies seek to bolster Kobane’s defences.

Analysts and some Iraqis now wonder whether President Barack Obama’s declared strategy in the Middle East has been abandoned in favour of pursuing a short-term agenda dictated by the news agenda: that the “CNN factor was at play”, as Ben Barry, a former British Army brigadier, put it after compiling a detailed analysis of the military situation in Iraq.

Isil may even have drawn the West into a trap — pouring second-grade but eager foreign recruits into the battle for Kobane, while pursuing their more important goals next door, he said.

“Kobane is right against the border,” he told The Telegraph. “It may be that Isil deliberately took the decision to attack there to draw US air power away from Anbar.”

In the past two weeks, the Isil advance on Kobane has been halted, if not reversed. One series of pictures last week captured a moment that could become symbolic of the battle for the town: after a handful of jihadists managed to charge up a hill west of Kobane that had already changed hands twice, and replant their black flag on top, they were targeted by a massive air strike.

Flames shot dramatically in all directions, easily captured by the cameras perched just over the Turkish border a couple of hundred yards away.

Video showed the jihadists running back down the hill unharmed: the flag, it is true, was obliterated. Meanwhile, another jihadist flag still hangs over the eastern edge of town.

The US keen that the jihadists do not win the emotive victory of conquering the town and planting their flag over the border post with Turkey, a member of Nato.

But the town is hardly part of America’s strategic thinking — there are already long stretches of the border under Isil control. Then there is the threat to Baghdad and the resumed challenge to Mount Sinjar, where the death or capture of the 7,000 Yazidis estimated to be trapped there would be a humiliating humanitarian disaster.

Following the flight of the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq in August, a huge international military effort was made to save the Yazidis, a colourful minority accused by jihadists of being devil-worshippers.

Tens of thousands were led to safety in Iraqi Kurdistan, but thousands of men were killed and thousands of women and children taken captive, even sold as sex slaves. Now, with far less attention, the remainder fear a similar fate. In the past two weeks, the jihadists have cut off their escape route, leaving them surrounded.

“Isil is close to the mountain,” said Dr Saad Babir, a doctor with the Yazidis, speaking by telephone from Mount Sinjar. “They climbed up here and there were clashes.”

He said 700 family groups were cut off, along with hundreds of fighters from both the Yazidis’s own hastily put together militia and the Peshmerga. He added that civilians, including children, were beginning to succumb once again to the poor conditions, including the lack of water.

To some extent, even Sinjar and the rest of northern Iraq is a sideshow now, at least since the US air strikes in August managed to halt the Isil advance on core Kurdish regional government territory.

Isil had reached within 30 miles of the KRG capital Erbil, and taken the dam at Iraq’s largest reservoir, Lake Mosul, before being halted.

Further south in Anbar, the large, mostly Sunni, province west of Baghdad, they are still on the march.

On Thursday, they seized the district of Albu Nimr, west of Ramadi, after taking the town of Heet the week before. The Sunni jihadists are close to Baghdad from the north, west, and south, having ventured within six miles of the outer “security” perimeter the Iraqi army has set up.

Even when the army is able to drive Isil back, it is unable to secure territory.

The demoralised army, after its stunning defeats in the summer, has come to rely ever more on hardline Shia militias marshalled by their backers in neighbouring Iran.

But the militias have a brutal reputation among the Sunni population that has to be won back over if the insurgency is to be defeated.

“Isil has made solid gains in Heet and parts of Haditha,” said Hamid al-Mutlaq, a senior Sunni MP. “The US air support is there and good but the problem is that there are no ground forces to hold the lands cleared of Isil.”

Another MP, Ammar Toma, said the US appeared to be prioritising Kurds over Arabs. “We are glad that the allied forces are helping out the Kurds in combating Isil but we resent that they show less attention to Arabs fighting against Isil, whether Sunnis or Shia,” he said.

The air strikes that were supposed to help have dried up, as they have risen in Syria. Mr Barry, who analysed the state of the war for the International Institute of Strategic Studies, said strikes in Syria were running at twice the rate of those in Iraq, despite the insistence that the latter was the prime strategic target.

His analysis said that on the ground only half the brigades of the Iraqi army were battle-worthy.

But to retrain them would mean withdrawing them from the front lines, where they were needed.

The Americans were facing one of the toughest challenges of modern times in Iraq, he said — compared with the easy win of hitting Isil in Kobane. “My suspicion is that the CNN factor is at play here,” he said.

The Americans would claim — perhaps rightly — that it is important to match propaganda with propaganda, and that losing Kobane now would be a disastrous blow to morale.

It is that town that the West now wants to win. Iraq will have to wait — if it can.

Assyrian International News Agency

Iraq News Summary (24 October 2014)

By , October 26, 2014 6:26 am

Saturday, 25 October 2014 08:19

One citizen was killed and seven more were wounded by a roadside bomb Friday near gardens (Nu’man) in the Adhamiyah city northern Baghdad, a governmental security official said.

A civilian was killed and five others injured in a mortar attack on the Amiriyat al-Fallujah, east of Anbar, according to reports from the province.

Six people were killed, including policemen and members of the so-called popular mobilization and two others were injured by three separate incidents in the Tuz Khormato, Dijail and village of Amerli, Salahuddin province.

Three soldiers of the Government army were killed and six others injured, including a governmental policemen due to an attack by gunmen at three checkpoints Friday in downtown Ramadi, Anbar provincial, local press sources said.

One person was killed and seven others seriously injured when an explosive device went off Friday evening in the area (Hay al-Amil) southwest Baghdad.

Seven people were injured; impact of detonating an explosive device late Friday, in the district of (al-Shaab) northeast the capital Baghdad, according to a source at the current Ministry of the Interior.

h ttp://www.heyetnet.org/en/index.php/guendem/item/1126-iraq-news-summary-24-october-2014

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