Tag Archives: Iraq

Baghdad promises revenge after ‘600 wounded,’ 3yo girl killed in ISIS chemical attacks on Iraq

A three-year-old girl has been killed and 600 more people injured after Islamic State militants reportedly carried out two chemical attacks in northern Iraq, local authorities say. The Iraqi government vows that the attackers will pay for the atrocity.

The attacks, which forced hundreds to flee for safety, took place in the city of Kirkuk and the village Taza, according to an AP report citing Iraqi officials.

“What the Daesh [Arabic derogatory term for IS] terrorist gangs did in the city of Taza will not go unpunished. The perpetrators will pay dearly,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said.

Hundreds of wounded are now suffering from chemical burns, suffocation, and dehydration, according to Helmi Hamdi, a Taza-based nurse, who added that eight people had even had to be sent to Baghdad for treatment.

“There is fear and panic among the women and children. They’re calling for the central government to save them,” Adel Hussein, a local official in Taza, said.

Hussein confirmed that German and US forensics teams had arrived in the area to test for the presence of chemical agents.

Sameer Wais, father of three-year-old Fatima Wais, who was killed in the attack, fights for the local Shiite forces. After learning of the tragedy, he ran home and took his daughter to a clinic and then a hospital in Kirkuk.

The girl seemed better the next day, and the family took her home. However, things took a terrible turn in the evening.

“By midnight she started to get worse. Her face puffed up and her eyes bulged. Then she turned black and pieces of her skin started to come off,” Sameer said, as cited by AP.

The girl died early in the morning. Hundreds of people reportedly attended Fatima’s funeral, some showing their discontent with the government and calling on authorities to protect the population from IS attacks.

Fatima’s father said that he was returning to the frontline as soon as possible.

“Now I will fight Daesh more than before, for Fatima.”

Last month, US special forces reportedly detained the head of an IS unit that attempted to develop chemical weapons. The US-led coalition also reportedly began conducting airstrikes and raids on chemical weapons infrastructure two months ago.

The chemicals used by IS so far include chlorine and a low-grade sulfur mustard.

On Friday, when asked how big of a hazard such substances present, US Army Colonel Steve Warren told journalists, “It’s a legitimate threat. It’s not a high threat. We’re not, frankly, losing too much sleep over it.”

The latest attacks come just a few days since Taza was shelled with “poisonous substances,” after which dozens suffered from choking and skin irritation.

Iraq isn’t the only country that Islamic State has attacked with chemical weapons recently. Syrian Kurdish fighters came under a chemical attack by jihadists on Tuesday.

Last month, some 30 Kurdish militia members were injured in a mortar attack that supposedly involved shells armed with chlorine.

رسميا.. مصر ترشح أبو الغيط لمنصب امين عام جامعة الدول العربيه

وقال نائب الأمين العام للجامعة، أحمد بن حلي، إن “الأمانة العامة للجامعة قامت بتعميم المذكرة المصرية على الدول الأعضاء بالجامعة بشأن المرشح المصري”

وحتى الآن فإن أبو الغيط (74 عاما)هو المرشح الوحيد لتولي المنصب، وسينتخب الأمين العام الجديد يوم 15 مايو المقبل، وفقا لوكالة أنباء الشرق الأوسط المصرية

وشغل أبو الغيط منصب وزير خارجية مصر منذ عام 2004 وحتى عام 2011 حين أقيل بعد أسابيع من ما سمى ثورة 25 يناير 2011

وقبل توليه الخارجية شغل عدة مناصب دبلوماسية مهمة من بينها منصب مندوب مصر لدى الأمم المتحدة

ومنذ تأسيس جامعة الدول العربية عام 1945 شغل مصريون منصب الأمين العام باستثناء التونسي الشاذلي القليبي، الذي شغل المنصب عام 1979 بعد نقل مقر الجامعة إلى تونس احتجاجا على اتفاقات كامب ديفيد بين مصر وإسرائيل، وعادت الجامعة العربية إلى القاهرة عام 1990

وتولى العربي (81 عاما) وهو أيضا وزير خارجية مصري سابق منصبه الحالي يوم 15 مايو 2011 وستنتهي ولايته يوم 30 يونيو القادم


Daesh Leader’s Mobile Phone Holds Proof of Turkey’s Support

An Iraqi volunteer force commander said a mobile phone found on the person of a deceased Daesh militant proves that Turkey’s intelligence agency is providing support for the group.

“The mobile phone was found with one of the killed ISIL leaders in the Northern parts of Salahuddin province two days ago,” Jabbar al-Ma’mouri told Soumeriya news on Monday.

He said the phone contains messages from Turkish intelligence proving that Ankara supports Daesh, also known as ISIL/Islamic State, by providing security at the points used by militants traveling from Turkey to Iraq.

“The mobile phone also contains other important information which cannot be disclosed now, and it has been delivered to the specialized security groups for further scrutiny,” Ma’mouri said.

Russian Ambassador to France Alexander Orlov in November revealed that Turkey has played an “ambiguous” role in the campaign against Daesh while acting as an accomplice to the terrorist group’s activities.

Last month, former US State Department senior advisor David Phillips said Turkey provided material support to Daesh because Ankara shares an ideological connection with the group, along with a mutual enemy in Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“Turkey’s role has not been ambiguous – it has overtly supported the ISIL,” said Phillips, who currently serves as director of Columbia University’s Peace-building and Rights Program. “It has provided logistical support, money, weapons, transport and healthcare to wounded warriors.”

Phillips said Turkey has been supporting Daesh to remove Assad from power and because of a “spiritual bond” that exists between Turkey’s governing party and the jihadists.

Iraqi army urges civilians to leave IS-controlled Ramadi ahead of possible assault

The Iraqi army has called on civilians to leave the Islamic State-controlled (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) city of Ramadi within 72 hours, which may mean the military is preparing to launch an assault on the city.

Iraqi military jets dropped leaflets carrying the warning on Ramadi on Sunday. The leaflets also show safe routes for civilians to take when leaving and ask residents to carry identification documents with them.

“All security forces were instructed on how to deal with civilian approaching them,” joint operations spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool told Reuters.

The notice for civilians may mean that the Iraqi army is getting ready to launch a large-scale military operation to recapture Ramadi.

“It [dropping leaflets] is an indication that a major military operation to retake the city center will start soon,” an unnamed officer told Reuters.

The Iraqi army has been on an offensive to retake Ramadi for several weeks. The Iraqi army had dropped leaflets on the city on November 30 as well, which also called on local residents to leave the city within 24 hours because of a coming assault.

Government troops managed to seize more than 60 percent of the city and take control of its center in early December. IS terror group has blown up bridges over the Euphrates in an attempt to stop the advance of the Iraqi army.

The US has said it is ready to provide the Iraqi army with extra assistance in liberating Ramadi from IS terrorists.

“The United States is prepared to assist the Iraqi Army with additional unique capabilities to help them finish the job, including attack helicopters and accompanying advisers, if circumstances dictate and if requested by Prime Minister Abadi,” US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on December 9, as cited by Reuters.

Ramadi, the capital of the Anbar province, was captured by IS terrorists in May – the last significant military achievement of the jihadists in Iraq.


Putin : Those who started turmoil in Middle East opened way for terrorists

Russian President Vladimir Putin is delivering the annual state of the nation address to outline his vision of the guidelines for the country’s development for the coming year and for the future

The destabilization of the situation in Middle Eastern countries resulted in opening the way for terrorists, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday in his state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly.

Putin said it was well known “who wanted to oust unfavorable regimes by rudely imposing their own rules.”

“And what was the result? (They) started this turmoil, destroyed statehood, set people against one another, and then they just, how we say in Russia, washed their hands, opening a way for radicals, extremists and terrorists,” the president noted.

Any criminal, bloody business with terrorism is inadmissible

Russian President Vladimir Putin in his State of the Nation Address has said that Russia cannot allow any criminal, bloody business with terrorism.

“Every civilized state must contribute to destroying terrorists, reaffirm its solidarity, not with declarations but by concrete actions, which means that there should be no double standards, no contacts with any terrorist organizations, no attempts to use them for their own purposes, no criminal, bloody business with terrorists,” the president said.

Terrorists must be destroyed far away from Russia

According to the president, Russian military in Syria are fighting for their country, destroying terrorists far away from Russia.

“In Syria, our Armed Forces are first of all fighting for Russia, it is security of our people that they are defending,” he said, noting that the Russian army and fleet had convincingly demonstrated their military efficiency and growing capabilities.

The biggest threat for Russia was coming from gunmen concentrated in Syria, he said. Putin said many of them had come from Russia or CIS member countries. “They are getting money, weapons, gathering strength. If they get stronger, winning there, they will inevitably come here to sow fear and hatred, to stage blasts, to kill and torture people,” Putin said, stressing that they must be destroyed far away from Russia.

That is why the decision had been made on a military operation in Syria on the basis of an official request by the legitimate Syrian authorities, he said.

Common front against international terrorism crucial

Vladimir Putin has expressed confidence that efforts of one country are not enough to defeat international terrorism.

“It is impossible to defeat international terrorism through efforts of just one country,” Putin said in his state of the nation address on Thursday. “Especially in conditions when the borders in the world are practically open, and the world is going through a new resettlement of peoples,” he added.

According to the president, exacerbating the situation was financial support the terrorists were getting. “The threat of terrorism is growing. The problem of Afghanistan has not been settled yet. The situation in that country is alarming and does not invite optimism,” the president said.

“Stable and by the way quite prosperous until recently countries of the Middle East and North Africa – Iraq, Libya, Syria, have turned into a zone of chaos and anarchy, from which a threat to the whole world comes,” he said.

Putin said the fight against terrorism was the fight for freedom and justice, for the lives of the people and the future of the whole civilization. “We know what the aggression of international terrorism means,” he reminded the audience. “Russia faced it in the middle of the 1990s, and our country, its citizens saw cruel terrorist attacks,” he added.

Acts of terror in Russia have already claimed the lives of thousands, and “this is the pain that will stay with us forever,” he said. “It took almost 10 years to chine the bandits,” Putin continued. “We have practically squeezed terrorists from Russia. But we are still waging an uncompromising fight against the remaining bandits,” he added.

Putin noted that there is an urgent need for presenting a common international front in the struggle against terrorism.

“All disputes and disagreements must be brushed aside and a powerful, united anti-terrorist front created on the basis of international law and under the auspices of the United Nations Organization,” Putin said.

Each civilized state is now obliged to contribute to the defeat of terrorists and to back up its solidarity with specific action.

“In the struggle with terrorism Russia demonstrated its extreme responsibility and its leadership,” Putin said. “Those resolute actions were supported by Russian society. This is well seen in the attitude of our people to this situation, their deep awareness of the total threat of terrorism and their manifestation of genuine patriotic feelings and high moral qualities.”

Putin said that the Russian people have the certainty that national interests, history, traditions and values are to be protected.

“The world community is confronted with stark lessons of the past. Historical parallels are obvious. In the 20th century the reluctance to pool efforts at the right moment in the struggle against Nazism had to be paid for with tens of millions of lives, lost in the bloodiest world war. These days we are faced with a destructive, barbaric ideology and we have no right to permit the newly-emerged obscurants achieve their aims,” Putin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is delivering the annual state of the nation address to outline his vision of the guidelines for the country’s development for the coming year and for the future.

The speech is delivered in the Kremlin’s St. George Hall to Russia’s parliament, the Federal Assembly. Thursday’s address will be the 22nd one in Russia’s latest history and the twelfth for Putin.

Putin’s speech is broadcast live by state televisions channels and public radios.

Apart from the Duma deputies and the senators, members of the government, chairpersons of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts, the Prosecutor General, the heads of the Central Election Commission, the Accounting Chamber and the Public Chamber, regional governors, top clerics of major religious denominations, and mass media executives have been invited to attend.


Turkey’s President ‘Involved’ in ISIS’ Illegal Oil Trade: Russia

The Russian Defence Ministry claims it has proof that Turkey is involved in the trading of oil with ISIL militants.

Officials released satellite pictures, alleging they show oil tankers heading along three roads from ISIL-held areas to Turkey.

Anatoly Antonov, the Deputy Russian Defence Minister, told a news conference: “Turkey is the principal consumer of this oil, stolen from its legitimate owners,Syria and Iraq.

“According to inbound data, top Turkish leadership is involved in this criminal business, including president Erdogan and his family.”

Pro-government media in Turkey dismissed the claims as impossible, saying the roads shown by Russia are controlled by Kurdish rebels and the Syrian army.

President Erdogan also denied the claims.

“Turkey has not lost its moral values; we’re not buying oil from a terrorist organisation,” he said.

“We are watching Russia’s disproportionate reactions with sadness, while the whole world accepts that we are right.

“If Russia’s reactions continue, we will be forced to take our own measures, “ said Erdogan.

The row began when Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet it claims was in Turkish airspace

The burial has taken place today of the pilot. who died.

Russia has imposed tough sanctions against Turkey, including import bans, restrictions on visas for Turkish nationals and restrictions on Russians going on holiday in Turkey.


Greek Defense Ministry confirms Russian Su-24M bomber was downed in Syrian airspace


The Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber was brought down by the Turkish Air Force in Syrian airspace, Greek Minister of National Defense Panos Kammenos said in an interview to the Mega TV channel on Wednesday.

“The attack (on Su-24M) took place in Syrian airspace. This is beyond doubt,” he said. “The Turkish side knows that, otherwise Ankara would ask to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter, requesting the Alliance’s help.”

“This is undoubtedly a military action in the territory of another state,” Kammenos said. “But even more important point is the murder of the pilot, who was shot dead by members of the Turkish extremist group Grey Wolves.”

Asked which side Greece should take, as a NATO member, the minister said – “the truth”. “If Russia had violated Turkish airspace, we would support Ankara”, the defense minister said.

An F-16 fighter jet of the Turkish Air Force shot down Russia’s Su-24M bomber on Tuesday, November 24. Ankara claims the Su-24M bomber violated the Turkish airspace in the area of the border with Syria. However, Russia’s Defense Ministry has said the Su-24M plane stayed exclusively over the Syrian territory and “there was no violation of the Turkish air space.”

Turkey’s F-16 fighter that shot down the Russian Aerospace Forces’ Sukhoi Su-24M bomber was in Syria’s airspace for 40 seconds and went inside its territory by 2 kilometers, while the Russian bomber did not violate the Turkish state border, the commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Viktor Bondarev, said on November 27. “In line with air defense means objective control materials, the Turkish plane was in Syria’s airspace for 40 seconds and flew two kilometres inside its territory, whereas the Russian bomber did not violate the state border of Turkey,” Bondarev said. He said the crew of the second Su-24 plane confirmed the launch of the missile from the F-16. After the combat employment at the mentioned target and left turn to 130-degree course “it observed on the left side of it flame and a tail of white smoke, which it reported to the flight operations director,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the attack on the bomber will have “serious consequences” for the Russian-Turkish relations. According to Putin, the Turkish Air Force’s attack on the Russian combat plane that took part in the operation against terrorists in Syria and posed no threat to Turkey is a “stab in the back of Russia.” The crew of the Su-24M bomber managed to eject but one of the pilots was killed by gunfire from the ground. The second pilot was rescued and taken to the Russian airbase. Two Mi-8 helicopters were engaged in the pilots’ rescue operation. One of the helicopters came under fire and had to make an emergency landing. One Russian contract marine was killed by militants in the operation. The rest soldiers on board the helicopter were evacuated. The downed Mi-8 helicopter was later destroyed by mortar fire from the territory controlled by militants.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said, speaking at the ceremony of the presentation of credentials by new foreign ambassadors on Thursday that Turkey was steering the relations into the gridlock as it neither apologized nor offered to repair the damage, nor promised to punish those responsible. “We have not heard yet apologies from the highest political level of Turkey. Nor do we hear proposals to repair the damage or promises to punish the perpetrators for the committed crime,” Putin said. “One gets the impression that the Turkish leadership is steering deliberately the Russian-Turkish relations into the dead end, which is regrettable,” he added.

In an interview with CNN, Erdogan warned Moscow that Turkey would take steps if its warplane were downed by the Russian S-400 missile system in case it violated the Syrian airspace. “I think if there is a party that needs to apologize, it is not us,” he said. “Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize.”


‘2,300 Humvees in Mosul alone’: Iraq reveals number of US arms falling into ISIS hands

Iraq has admitted that ISIS jihadists captured huge caches of US-made weapons, including thousands of Humvees seized from Iraqi forces retreating from Mosul last year. The spoils of war have since then been used by ISIS to gain ground in Iraq and Syria.

“In the collapse of Mosul, we lost a lot of weapons,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in an interview with Iraqiya state TV. “We lost 2,300 Humvees in Mosul alone.”

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) captured Iraq’s second city of Mosul in June 2014, as government forces retreated from the country’s Sunni stronghold.

The number of potential heavy and light weapons abandoned by Iraq’s army remains unknown but over the past decade the US sold thousands of the armed vehicles to the Iraqis, in addition to tanks and other military hardware.

Just this month the Pentagon estimated that at least half a half dozen tanks were abandoned when Baghdad forces lost Ramadi, in addition to artillery pieces, and some 100 Humvees.

Meanwhile the US approved new arms deliveries to the Iraqis last December to replenish the stock ransacked by IS. One contract allows the sale of 175 heavy M1A1 Abarams worth $12.4 billion, while another approves the delivery of 1,000 Humvees, equipped with M2.50 caliber machine guns and MK-19 40mm grenade launchers.

They are exactly the types of weapons IS used to gain vast amount of territory both in Iraq and northern Syria. In fact, the first use of US-Humvees on Syrian territory was reported last year shortly after Mosul has fallen to jihadists.

In mid-May IS gained control of the capital of Anbar province where Iraqi forces had held out against militants for more than a year. They also secured control of Palmyra in Syria, carrying out many executions.

US intelligence points to growing IS strength

Meanwhile on Sunday CIA Director John Brennan acknowledged that IS gains in both Iraq and Syria did not really come as a surprise to the intelligence community.

“I went back over the intelligence of last week, taking a look at what we knew and when we knew it about ISIS and its movements inside of Iraq and Syria,” Brennan said in an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation. “We saw a growing strength.”

He attributed ISIS success to “a lot of factors” on the ground that came into play, in particular the lack of leadership in some Iraqi units and logistic support needed to fight extremists.

While the Iraqi troop’s failures could have looked as a “lack of a will to fight,” Brannan says in fact “there has been a fair amount of intelligence about the growing capabilities of ISIS as well as the challenges that beset the Iraqi government.”


Hamad bin Jassam was the buyer of Picasso’s “Les femmes d’Alger,”- paid $179.36 million

Les femmes d'Alger (Version "O") by Pablo Picasso has become the most expensive painting ever sold at auction when it goes under the hammer with a $179,365,000 sale price

Les femmes d’Alger (Version “O”) by Pablo Picasso has become the most expensive painting ever sold at auction when it goes under the hammer with a $179,365,000 sale price

The mystery buyer of the world’s most expensive painting was , paramour Sheikha Mozah , Former Qatari Prime Minster Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani .

Picasso, Les Femmes d’Alger, which sold last week for $179m (£115m) at Christie’s New York  was bought by a mystery phone bidder who well eclipsed the expected sale price of £90 million.

Source said: “The painting almost certainly will not go on public display in Qatar because of the nudity, even though it is a cubist work.”

A billionaire in his own right, Hamad bin Jassam was Prime Minister of Qatar from 2007 to 2013 and has also served as chief executive of the Qatar Investment Authority.

Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber bin Muhammad Al Thani

Paramour Sheikha Mozah , Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber,former Qatari Prime Minster

The group, one of the world’s richest sovereign wealth funds, has huge stakes in the football team Paris Saint-German and companies such as VW and Porsche.

Although the painting might not be able to be displayed in Qatar, it could land in England as the billionaire has homes in London having bought three apartments in the capital for an estimated £119 million to meet his mistress

Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger

Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger

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Qatar Emir: The secret buyer of Turkey’s most expensive waterside mansion on Bosphorus



World at war: Analysts reveal the 20 cities around the globe most at risk of terror attack

Belfast has been named as the most dangerous city in Europe, according to an analysis of the terror risk to 1,300 commercial hubs and urban centres around the world.

Baghdad topped the list worldwide, after a year which saw 380 attacks resulting in 1141 deaths and more than 3,600 wounded.

Despite the UK’s “severe” terror alert, London ranked down at 400 due to the lack of a terror incident since the 7/7 bombings. Paris, however, has soared into the top 100 cities following the Charlie Hebdo shooting.

Verisk Maplecroft assessed the terror threat to 1,300 cities around the world

Verisk Maplecroft assessed the terror threat to 1,300 cities around the world The research has been compiled by global risk analytics company Verisk Maplecroft, which advises banks and insurers on the threat of a terror attack in almost any urban setting around the world.

It has logged every reported terror incident around the world in the 12 months up to March 2015, and combined that with the longer-term record of attacks in the previous five years, to come up with its rankings.

Charlotte Ingham, the company’s principal analyst, said it was “imperative” for businesses considering investment to be aware that terror threats didn’t just vary from country to country.

“An estimated 80 per cent of global GDP is generated from cities,” she said. “Visibility of the sub-national differences in terrorism levels should be an imperative for multinational organisations looking to understand and price the risks to assets, employees and supply chains.”

Members of the French intervention gendarme forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris

Verisk Maplecroft identified 12 capital cities around the world as facing an “extreme risk” of terror attacks, including Nairobi in Kenya and Lagos in Nigeria.

It said Paris (97th and ‘high risk’) had experienced one of the steepest rises year-on-year due to the severity of the terrorist attack in January 2015 that left 17 people dead.

Forensic investigators examine the wreckage of the bombed bus after the July 7 bombing in London in 2005

Forensic investigators examine the wreckage of the bombed bus after the July 7 bombing in London in 2005

“The risk level in Paris is representative of a wider trend for Western countries, including Belgium, Canada and Australia, where key urban centres face substantially higher threat levels than elsewhere in the country,” the company said.

London, though categorised as “low risk”, remains a “highly attractive” target for terror attacks due to its international status.

Read more: Who bombs whom in the Middle East?
The Charlie Hebdo shootings as the events unfolded
Severe terror alert: What does it mean for the UK?

“A particular challenge for the [UK] security forces is combating the threat of attacks by lone-wolves inspired by groups including Isis or al-Qaeda, or individuals returning from the battlefield in Syria and Iraq,” analysts said.

The Independent.