Conflict update, December 6

Lots of human rights and humanitarian news today and, surprise, none of it good. Iraq Human Rights Watch–which I know has its issues, but still–issued a report on Sunday on the Kurdistan Regional Government’s economic blockade of Sinjar, which is being used as a base by the KRG’s rival, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The… Continue reading Conflict update, December 6

Conflict update, October 29

Iraq It took a few days, but the predominantly-Shiʿa Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have now joined the Mosul offensive. With regular Iraqi forces pushing toward Mosul from the south and Kurdish Peshmerga advancing from the east and north, the PMU are being deployed to the west to capture surrounding towns and fully encircle the city.… Continue reading Conflict update, October 29

The assault on Raqqa is taking shape, in Iraq

It’s no secret that the American-led anti-ISIS coalition is planning an assault on the groups “capital,” the Syrian city of Raqqa — in fact, it’s so unsecret that the US Secretary of Defense has talked openly about the plan in front of Congress. A force of mostly Kurds, along with a group of Arab fighters… Continue reading The assault on Raqqa is taking shape, in Iraq

Second order crimes against humanity

When groups like ISIS move into your neighborhood, the effects can last long after they leave in the form of the reprisal attack, the gift that keeps on giving: Members of the Yazidi community, one of the Iraqi minorities hardest hit by jihadist atrocities, killed 21 Sunni Arab villagers in a January revenge attack, Amnesty… Continue reading Second order crimes against humanity

Iraq: 2 steps forward, 1 step back

Forward: Kurdish forces liberated Sinjar and saved a whole bunch of Yazidis from their desperate straits in the mountains around the town. Back: ISIS has probably regained control of the key refinery town of Baiji from the Iraqi army, though while they likely have retaken the town it’s not clear that they’ve captured the refinery… Continue reading Iraq: 2 steps forward, 1 step back

Good news in Iraq, terrible news in Syria

Iraq’s Kurds have reportedly finally broken ISIS’s encirclement of Mount Sinjar and rescued the Yazidis who have been struggling to stay alive there. That’s clearly an excellent thing, even if relief efforts are currently being hampered by mines that ISIS laid in the area. Also good, presumably, are reports that three top ISIS leaders in… Continue reading Good news in Iraq, terrible news in Syria

Just when we thought we were out

We’re bombing Iraq again: U.S. fighter jets bombed an Islamic State position outside Irbil on Friday, the first use of munitions by American forces since President Barack Obama authorized military action to defend the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan from Islamist attack. In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said that the strike… Continue reading Just when we thought we were out