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ISIL Launches Offensive Against Kurd Region in North Syria

By , September 17, 2014 8:41 am

ISIL Launches Offensive Against Kurd Region in North Syria

Posted 2014-09-17 02:08 GMT

An offensive by the ISIL terrorists is underway against the Kurdish enclave of Kobane near Syria’s northern border.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told dpa on Tuesday that the Takfiris attacked the enclave, located just south of the country’s border with Turkey in Aleppo province.

Reports said women and children were evacuating villages near the frontlines for safety.

Meanwhile, videos were posted online showing Kurdish fighters engaged in clashes with the Takfiri terrorists in the region.

On Monday, the militants bombed the southern part of Kobane city with heavy artillery.

The militants have reportedly installed 122 mm cannons in the town of Serrin in southern Kobane enclave in an attempt to target Tel Seifi village, where the Kurdish forces are stationed.

According to a 2013 estimate, the city of Kobane, also called Ayn al-Arab, is inhabited by Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and Armenians.

The Takfiri terrorists currently control stretches of land in Syria and Iraq.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011 with ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently controlling parts of it mostly in the east.

The Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — are reportedly supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

More than 191,000 people have been killed in over three years of fighting in the war-ravaged country, says the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), calling the figure a probable “underestimate of the real total number of people killed.”

Assyrian International News Agency

Unemployment Increases in Kurdistan Region

By , September 13, 2014 7:37 am

Unemployment Increases in Kurdistan Region

By John Lee.

BasNews reports that the unemployment rate in Kurdistan has risen from 7 percent at the end of 2013 to 10 percent currently. The number unemployed is nearly 100,ooo, of which 52 percent are men.

The increase has been blamed on the general economic situation in Iraqi Kurdistan, and on the sanctions that Baghdad has put on the region.

The Statistics Director in Sulaimaniyah, Mahmud Osman, believes that the increase in unemployment is mainly due to the lack of job opportunities for university graduates, and the lack of availability of loans to youths.

According to the data of the Ministry of Planning, in the first six months in 2013, the unemployment rate stood at 5.2 percent.

Meanwhile, Iraqi social affairs Minister Naser Ruba’i revealed that 46 percent of Iraqi citizens are jobless.

According to data obtained by BasNews, there are approximately 3000 contractor projects, 70 percent of which have come to a halt due the recent violence in northern Iraq.

“In respect of the current economic crisis and IS attacks, markets and projects have stopped. The government must have a serious plan in order to survive the current situation that Kurdistan is going through”, said Yassin Mahmud, spokesperson for Kurdistan Investment Union.

According to Investment Unions official, 14 billion dollars [16.3 trillion Iraqi dinars] was invested in the region in 2013, but this has fallen to only 3 billion dollars [3.5 trillion Iraqi dinars] in the first 8 months of this year.

(Source: BasNews)

Iraq Business News

Russia to sue Ukraine for $1 billion over damages in Rostov Region

By , September 5, 2014 2:05 pm

Russia to sue Ukraine for $ 1 billion over damages in Rostov Region
By: Ria Novosti on: 05.09.2014 [08:09 ] (125 reads)

Russia to sue Ukraine for $ 1 billion over damages in Rostov Region

© RIA Novosti, Sergey Pivovarov

Tags: Lawsuit, State Duma, Ukraine, Russia

10:26 05/09/2014
MOSCOW, September 5 (RAPSI) – Russia’s State Duma deputies intend to file a lawsuit with international courts for $ 1 billion in damages caused by Ukraine’s shelling of the Rostov Region in Russia, Izvestia newspaper writes on Friday.

Lawmaker Roman Khudyakov (LDPR) has sent a request to Investigative Committee Head Alexander Bastrykin for committee materials on the shelling of the Russian region that led to loss of life, injuries and property damage.

“Our Russian territory has been shelled more than once. People were killed and wounded, and many Russians sustained property damage. The neighboring state must be brought to account for these crimes, and the international community should provide its assessment of its actions. There are grounds to suspect that shooting was deliberate,” the newspaper writes, citing Khudyakov.

The lawmaker plans to use the Investigative Committee materials to prepare an international lawsuit against Kiev jointly with the shelling victims and with government support. Khudyakov believes that $ 1 billion is a reasonable amount, considering the number of victims and the danger to Russians’ lives due to the shelling raids from Ukraine. He said this would be financial compensation for the suffering of Russian citizens.

“The area was shelled several times during the conflict in Ukraine, and people’s property was damaged,” Khudyakov said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier expressed a resolute protest in connection with the shelling of the Russian territory and demanded that these attacks be stopped. (en) RSS feed for articles and news

Is Iraq’s Kurdish region outside of ISIS’ calculus?

By , July 20, 2014 11:43 pm

Is Iraq’s Kurdish region outside of ISIS’ calculus?
By: Dina al-Shibee on: 21.07.2014 [05:51 ] (14 reads)

Is Iraq’s Kurdish region outside of ISIS’ calculus?

Dina al-Shibeeb, Al Arabiya News
Sunday, 20 July 2014

Iraqi Kurds have remained unscathed so far from any major assault by the radical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria not only because of their defensive force represented in the Peshmerga but also because of ISIS’ priority of toppling the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, according to analysts.

Initially, some observers believed that the lack of an overt confrontation between ISIS and Kurds in Iraq was due to some understanding between the two sides. In addition, Maliki accused the Kurdistan Regional Government of supporting ISIS.

“The loose alliance of insurgents is united by only one common objective: a desire to take Baghdad and topple Maliki’s regime, which they consider to be an Iranian proxy,” Ali Khedery, who was the longest continuously serving American official in Iraq from 2003 to 2009, told Al Arabiya News.

“They haven’t attacked Kurdistan because they don’t want to open a second front while they battle,” Khedery, who is now chairman and chief executive of the Dubai-based Dragoman Partners, added.

“I believe Maliki accused the Kurds of helping ISIS because he considers the entire Sunni Arab insurgency to be composed of ISIS. In reality, the forces fighting Maliki’s government are 5 to 10% ISIS, 20% Baathist elements, and 70-75% Sunni Arab tribal elements.”

Iraq’s late dictator President Saddam Hussein ruled the country under the socialist Baath Party from 1979 until he was toppled during the U.S. invasion of 2003.

“Since some of the Baathist and tribal leaders like Sheikh Ali Hatem and Ahmed Dabbash now have a base in Arbil KRG’s capital, Maliki believes there is a master conspiracy against him,” Khedery said.

Michael P. Pregent, a former U.S. Army officer who was an embedded advisor with Peshmerga forces in the cities of Mosul and Dahuk, described Maliki’s accusation as “false,” saying that the incumbent prime minister “is upset that the Kurds that they didn’t fight ISIS in Mosul,” which is still held by the militants since a lightning offensive by the radical group in June.

Pregent told Al Arabiya News that “the main reason ISIS isn’t fighting the Kurds in Iraq is because in Iraq the Kurds have a national border that they protect and man with checkpoints with well-armed Peshmerga tanks, artillery, heavy crew served weapons.”

Unlike the rest of Iraq and Syria, where the security situations are characterized by increasing deterioration, The Kurds have excelled at maintaining security to high levels.

The Kurds in Iraq know who comes in and who comes out of their territory,” Pregent, who is now an adjunct lecturer at the National Defense University, College of International Security Affairs in Washington, said.

“They have a very experienced and disciplined Peshmerga militia that will protect Kurdish areas and interests,” he added, highlighting how “Sunnis, Christians, and even Shiites go to Kurdistan to escape violence in Iraq because they know the Kurdish areas are well protected.”

Like Khedery, who pointed to ISIS’s political agenda to topple Maliki’s administration, Pregent believes that the premier’s disenfranchisement of the Sunnis led to a fertile ground for ISIS to operate in.

“ISIS’ success depends on an oppressive Shiite government that marginalizes Sunnis in both Syria and Iraq – ISIS will not gain supporters in Kurdish areas because the Kurds are already protecting their areas from Maliki’s oppressive government,” the former army officer said.
Alliance with Arab tribes

Kirkuk-based strategic analyst Abdulrahman al-Sheikh described how Sunni Arab tribes in Kirkuk are paramount in fending off the ISIS threat from creeping into Kirkuk as they enjoy the respect of both the Peshmerga and radical Islamists.

“There are strong ties between Kurds and the Sunni Arab tribes in Kirkuk, so the fears are less in comparison to the ISIS-held Tikrit,” Sheikh said.

On Wednesday, Iraq state forces, facing heavy opposition, withdrew from the northern city of Tikrit after a renewed effort to take back Saddam’s hometown.

In spite of KRG’s strengths, there were clashes on Thursday between ISIS and Peshmerga forces 20 kilometers south of Kirkuk.

“This was an attempt to provoke the Peshmerga,” said Sheikh, “but respected Arab tribes intervened to end the skirmish.”

While Pregent expects that there will be fighting “in areas not traditionally under Kurdish control,” he said “so far we haven’t seen any incursions into recognized Kurdish areas.” (en) RSS feed for articles and news

Fighting in North Iraq to delay return of region oil exports

By , June 25, 2014 6:44 pm

Please any Questions: send to I will get to your questions as soon as possible by personal e-mail, blog post or audio “If you Knew you could not fail, what would you try today?” Philippians 4:13

Kurdistan Region: Business Workshop in London

By , June 25, 2014 12:49 am

Kurdistan Region: Business Workshop in London

The Kurdistan Regional Government UK Representation has announced that British Expertise will host a workshop on doing business in Kurdistan on 8th July, in advance of its trade mission to Erbil and Dohuk in September.

This special workshop includes case studies from companies that have undertaken or won projects in Kurdistan.

Lyn Edwards, Senior Partner at GMW Architects will discuss his experience of undertaking projects in the market and Prasad Godbole of Pioneer Healthcare will give an overview of the company’s remarkable work on the Kurdistan Children’s Hospital. John Downe of Azure will give an entrepreneur’s view on working in the Kurdistan Region.

Delegates will be joined by, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Kurdistan Regional Government High Representative to the UK, Nawal Karim, Director of Trade and Investment Relations at the KRG UK Representation, and Former British Consul General in Erbil Chris Bowers, who will provide an overview of the current political and economic situation in Kurdistan, and how natural resources will drive future interest and development.

For more information on the event and to register your attendance please click here.

Iraq Business News

Amid Turmoil, Iraq’s Kurdish Region is Laying Foundation for Independence

By , June 13, 2014 3:57 am

Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces secure an area in Kirkuk city, northern Iraq, 12 June 2014. Kurdish forces of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region have taken complete control over the disputed city of Kirkuk after the Iraqi army withdrew from there, a Kurdish military spokesman was cited as saying (Khalil Al-A’nei/EPA).ANKARA — As security forces in northern Iraq crumble under the onslaught of Islamist militants, the autonomous Kurdistan region — a bastion of stability — is rapidly laying the groundwork to become an independent state.

Iraqi forces have continued to cede territory to an insurgency led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which is swiftly advancing toward Baghdad after capturing Mosul on Tuesday. Kurdistan’s military forces, known as the pesh merga (or “those who face death”), have taken over many of the northernmost positions abandoned by the national army, significantly expanding the zone of Kurdish control.

“As the Iraqi Army has abandoned its posts .?.?. Peshmerga reinforcements have been dispatched to fill their places,” Jabbar Yawar, secretary general of the Ministry of Pesh Merga Affairs, said in a statement.

The Kurds have also recently taken a big step toward economic independence by deepening a strategic alliance with the Turkish government. In late May, they began exporting oil via a pipeline through Turkey, with the revenue set to flow into a Kurdish-controlled bank account rather than the Iraqi treasury.

“This economic independence is vital for the Kurdistan region,” Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said in an address to the Kurdish parliament last month. “We will not stop here.”

Strained relations

Since the beginning of the year, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has responded to Kurdish oil ambitions by cutting the monthly distribution of the region’s share of the national budget. The Iraqi government has also filed an international arbitration claim against Turkey for facilitating the exports, which Baghdad characterizes as smuggling, and has threatened to sue anyone who buys the oil.

With relations badly strained, there is little appetite in the Kurdish capital of Irbil to provide any military support to Maliki.

“The Iraqi government has been holding the Kurds hostage, and it’s not reasonable for them to expect the Kurds to give them any help in this situation without compromising to Kurdish demands,” said an adviser to the Kurdish government, speaking on the condition of anonymity to be candid.

The pesh merga say they have not tried to displace ISIS from territory it now controls.

“In most places, we aren’t bothering them [ISIS], and they aren’t bothering us — or the civilians,” said Lt. Gen. Shaukur Zibari, a pesh merga commander.

Ethno-religious map of Iraq.

In his statement, Yawar said, “There is no need for Peshmerga forces to move into these areas.”

The United States has tried for several years to broker agreements to bring Irbil and Baghdad closer together, but the efforts have failed because the two sides have fundamentally different visions for the country. Whereas Maliki has pushed for centralized control — especially over the oil resources that provide 95 percent of state revenue — the Kurds have insisted that the constitution grants them almost total autonomy.

The conflict has been so tense recently that Kurdish leaders have obliquely suggested that, absent concessions from Maliki, they will hold a referendum on whether to declare independence — a measure that would almost certainly pass amid an upswell of Kurdish nationalism.

“The policy of the Kurdistan Regional Government is to never take a step backward,” Barzani said in his address to parliament. “If we do not arrive at any resolutions [with Baghdad], then we have other alternatives, and we will take them.”

Tensions have also been aggravated through the years by territorial disputes. In the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s regime, which waged campaigns of ethnic cleansing, ethnic groups have made competing claims to a belt of land stretching across the country as the formal boundary between the Kurdistan region and federal Iraq remains unresolved.

The symbolic heart of these disputes has been the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which some have called the Jerusalem of the Kurds. On Thursday, after the national army left, Kurdish flags were flying where Iraqi flags once were, and Yawar said Kurdish forces “now control Kirkuk city and the surrounding areas.” Even Iraqi government oil facilities were now being guarded by Kurdish forces, Kurdish security officials said.

Turkish lifeline

As the Kurds try to shore up their territory, they also need an economic lifeline, and they have turned to Turkey. Last year, the landlocked Kurds built an oil pipeline to the Turkish border and signed agreements to govern the export of oil and gas to the Mediterranean; now, crude has begun to flow.

Those exports, which began May 22, were a milestone. Although the Kurds have been able to export oil for years by truck, only a pipeline can enable them to sell enough oil to replace the revenue being withheld by Baghdad.

In the meantime, the Kurdish government is staying solvent through loans from companies and foreign banks, according to Barzani. Two officials involved in the Turkey deal, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said the Turkish government had granted a loan directly to the Kurds, but they did not disclose the amount or the terms.

Turkey’s willingness to facilitate such autonomy marks a dramatic reversal by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose administration once worried that an independent Iraqi Kurdistan might inspire Turkey’s own Kurdish minority to seek a similar outcome. Erdogan was swayed, ultimately, by a convergence of interests, particularly Turkey’s growing energy demands. Now, with the rise of ISIS, Iraqi Kurdistan also represents a geographic buffer between Turkey and the chaotic violence to the south.

“Turkey will use its influence in Irbil to discourage independence,” said one of the Turkish officials involved in the energy deal. “But if Kurdistan should become independent, then, to put it in financial terms, Turkey has bought that option.”

The question now facing the Kurds is whether they can hold the line against ISIS. The group has begun attacking some of the pesh merga’s forward positions and nearly killed the leader of the force, Sheik Jaafar Mustafa, with an IED targeting his convoy near Kirkuk, according to a pesh merga soldier stationed there.

So far, the pesh merga have been able to repel ISIS attacks, and the Kurdistan region seems to have the military capability — and the backing of a powerful neighbor — to succeed without the federal government.

Drawn to this relative stability, tens of thousands from besieged Mosul have sought refuge in the region. Among them were three top Iraqi generals; on Thursday, the Kurdish government put them on a plane to Baghdad.

Loveday Morris in Irbil contributed to this report.

Assyrian International News Agency

UN to Iraq leave dispute between central government and Kurdistan Region

By , June 7, 2014 12:23 am

Please any Questions: send to I will get to your questions as soon as possible by personal e-mail, blog post or audio “If you Knew you could not fail, what would you try today?” Philippians 4:13

DHL Iraq “Best Employer in the Region”

By , June 1, 2014 12:28 pm

DHL Iraq “Best Employer in the Region”

By John Lee.

Logistics company DHL Iraq has won the title of best employer organisation in the region, according to a study by human resources consulting firm Aon Hewitt.

GulfNews reports that DHL Iraq performed well in terms of employee engagement, leadership effectiveness, branding, business performance, talent management effectiveness and diversity and inclusion.

The study was conducted in 12 countries in the Middle East and Africa and had the participation of 88 organisations from a range of sectors, ownership structures, size and number of years of business operations.

(Source: GulfNews)

Iraq Business News

ISIL Recruiting Syrian Children to Defend Seized Region

By , May 10, 2014 9:53 pm

ISIL Recruiting Syrian Children to Defend Seized Region

Posted 2014-05-11 01:52 GMT

TEHRAN — An Internet-based social media account that supports the Al-Qaeda-linked splinter group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) publicized a bid to recruit minors as armed insurgents in Syria’s Aleppo province. The Twitter account this week published a photo of young boys standing in front of a “membership office” for the terrorist group in the town of Al-Bab, The Daily Star reported on Saturday.

ISIL has occasionally been accused of recruiting underage boys into its ranks.

While ISIL has lost much of the territory it controlled in Aleppo province in the wake of a campaign against it since January by its Al-Qaeda rival, the al-Nusra Front, and an array of other foreign-backed insurgent groups, it continues to hold on to Al-Bab, near the Turkish border.

Britain-based opposition group, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on Friday that the ISIL insurgents were engaged in fierce fighting against the alliance of armed rebels in the village of Abla in Northern rural Aleppo, in the latest bid to retake Al-Bab from ISIL.

The same Twitter account posted a photo of what it claimed to be a tank captured by ISIL, claiming that it was being used to attack rival insurgents.

Assyrian International News Agency