Stories about Iraq

ISIS and the cycle of open-ended US strikes

A Pentagon official, soon after launching an offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Khorasan, and the al Qaeda in Syria, said, “Islamic State battle could take years”. This was the first instance when the United States “officially” intervened in Syria using Islamic State’s preamble. And with that, Syria became the seventh predominantly Muslim country to be attacked by a Nobel laureate – US President Barack Obama. This latest campaign boasts fighter jets, especially the problem laden F-22 Raptor, tomahawk cruise missiles, drones and bombers. The United States is also joined by five other Arab states – namely United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan ...

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Aqsa Mahmood, the ISIS bride

I might be wrong but I believe I can almost imagine her. I can imagine her thoughts, her anguish, her pain and her emotions. I can imagine her heart nagging her as she would watch those numbers, those scenes of brutality, death and destruction on television, newspapers and social media; feeding on the truth and on Western propaganda against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. I can imagine as she would study extremist religious content and wake up every day feeling that everything she has done, everything she is doing, this whole world, is so pointless. She should rather be doing something ...

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Is the ISIS really in our backyard?

One day, you see shalwar-kameez clad Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters in Iraq and Syria, and the next day you hear news of their fighters infiltrating Pakistan. Is there any connection? According to the Foreign Office (FO) of Pakistan there isn’t. Obviously. The FO, on Wednesday, denied reports regarding the presence and infiltration of ISIS, also known as ‘Daesh’, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and FATA region. But did this denial ring any surprising bells? After all, the same FO, along with the authorities, was oblivious to Osama bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad for many years, leave aside the ISIS. Yet, one has to ...

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Is America undermining Pakistan’s importance as an ally?

United States strategic shift to the Asia Pacific from the Middle East thanks to President Barack Obama’s Asia Pivot has certainly changed the entire Middle Eastern geopolitical calculus. We are now witnessing a time period when, for the first time in history, the United States is on the verge of becoming energy sufficient as it surpassed Saudi Arabia in oil production in October, 2013. This happened while the wrapping up of military campaigns in the greater Middle East is translating into reduced military spending ergo, reduced military might in the said region. These two events are significant as they are a contributing factor in the reshaping of the US ...

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James Foley: Another battle lost by humanity

The search for James Foley, by his family members, began when he was kidnapped in Syria on November 22nd, 2012. After a long wait and dispersion, the quest has come to a devastating end. This was the second time Foley had been kidnapped by a group of militants. In 2011, he and fellow journalists were abducted while in Libya but were later released. Then, while working in Syria, he was captured again, only this time he was not as lucky. Foley was reporting on the suffering of the people of Syria. On Monday, a video called ‘A Message to America’ ...

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Why have the Pakistani liberals forsaken Gaza?

Now’s the moment for a liberal to decide if he truly stands for the principles of liberalism, wherever applicable, or if he’s simply saying the opposite of what his conservative uncle shouts at the dinner table. Operation Protective Edge, involving a military superpower descending upon a small strip of land that Palestinians have magnanimously been allowed to squash together into, has gathered supporters from the unlikeliest quarters. There has been an intense debate over the asymmetrical nature of the ‘conflict’, parodied to perfection by the consistently liberal political comedian, Jon Stewart. Others, like Bill Maher and Joan Rivers, jumped ship. They gladly adopted the ...

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How Islamic is the ISIS?

A recent news story left me utterly shocked and angry. Yesterday, the Islamic State (formerly known as the ISIS), a militant outfit, blew up and levelled one of the most well known and revered shrines in Mosul, Iraq – the resting place of Prophet Younus (AS). The militants blew up the shrine in front of a large number of people. The Islamic State (IS) has razed 15 mosques so far, belonging to both Sunni and Shia sects and, interestingly, this recent destruction of Prophet Younus’s (AS) shrine was done under the supervision of a proclaimed ‘caliph’. In the middle of all this chaos, my questions are ...

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Malaysian Airlines MH17: Let’s put an end to aviation tragedies

On July 17, 1996, a Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight 800, operated on a Boeing 747, exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near New York soon after it took off from John F Kennedy Airport. The flight was bound for Rome with a short stopover at Paris. The incident killed all 212 passengers and 18 crew members aboard. This was the third largest air crash incident of that year, after the Garuda Indonesia Flight 865 crash, in which 272 people died, and the Saudi-Kazakhstan mid-air collision over Chakdari, India, in which 349 people lost their lives. The remains of the ...

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Will TTP back the ISIS?

Reports from various sources and news agencies are claiming that Pakistan is all geared up to tackle terrorism on a large scale. The question however is: how much can Pakistan really do, with the ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan, protection of its eastern borders and dealing with internal security affairs? On the other hand, the United States has once again embarked upon a full scale procedure to eradicate the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in Iraq. The US has confirmed that it is now flying armed drones over Baghdad. Pentagon has claimed that this act is for the protection of ...

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I live in Iraq and I am not afraid

I was at Karbala when Sheikh Abd al-Mahdi Karbala’i, representative of the Grand Ayatollah Sistani, gave his fiery Friday sermon in which he delivered the message of Sistani to the people, asking Iraqis to register as volunteers in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), whom he called “takfiris”. The atmosphere became extremely spirited during the speech. Perhaps it was because of the nature of the event during which this speech was made that everyone felt connected to each other. It was the eve of the birth of the twelfth imam of the Shiite sect, Imam Mehdi, and this ...

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