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  1. What is the view on this statement from The Sunni-Shia Divide | Council on Foreign Relations www.cfr.org/article/sunni-shia-divide "Many Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian converts to Islam chose to become Shia rather than Sunni in the early centuries of the religion as a protest against the ethnic Arab empires that treated non-Arabs as second-class citizens. Their religions influenced the evolution of Shia Islam as distinct from Sunni Islam in rituals and beliefs."
  2. Al Jazeera Follow US launches strikes on Iraq over drone attack blamed on Iran-backed forces US President Joe Biden has ordered strikes on several sites in Iraq [Alex Brandon/AP]© Provided by Al Jazeera The United States has launched strikes on Iran-aligned forces in Iraq after a drone attack that wounded three US service members, one of them critically, the White House has announced. US President Joe Biden ordered the strikes on three sites used by Kataeb Hezbollah and affiliated groups in Iraq, US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement on Monday night. Watson said the strikes “focused specifically on unmanned aerial drone activities”. “The President places no higher priority than the protection of American personnel serving in harm’s way,” she said. “The United States will act at a time and in a manner of our choosing should these attacks continue.” US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said the “necessary and proportionate” strikes were intended to “disrupt and degrade” the capabilities of Iran-aligned groups responsible for attacks against US personnel, including a drone attack on the Erbil Air Base on Monday. “Today’s attack led to three injuries to US personnel, leaving one service member in critical condition. My prayers are with the brave Americans who were injured today,” Austin said. “And let me be clear – the President and I will not hesitate to take necessary action to defend the United States, our troops, and our interests. There is no higher priority.” The US Central Command said early assessments indicated the strikes destroyed the targeted facilities and likely killed several Kataeb Hezbollah fighters, and that no civilians were killed. The strikes are the latest indication of how Israel’s war in Gaza is reverberating across the Middle East, where there is widespread outrage over the mounting Palestinian death toll. At least 20,424 Palestinians have been killed since October 7, when the Palestinian armed group Hamas launched a surprise multi-pronged assault on southern Israel, according to Palestinian authorities. Washington has blamed Iranian proxy forces in Iraq and Syria for regular attacks on US and allied forces in the region since the start of the war in Gaza. US officials have reported at least 103 attacks against its troops in Iraq and Syria since October 17. Tehran has not commented on the latest strikes but has previously denied directing proxy groups to attack US forces in the region.
  3. Baghdad beats: Meet the Shia rappers raising the roof How an Iraqi cleric is creating a storm by urging his followers to rap for their religion Followers of the al-Sarkhi movement dance to live religious rap at the mosque in the Al Sha-ab neighbourhood of Baghdad (MEE/Sebastian Castelier) By Sebastian Castelier , Quentin Müller in Baghdad 29 July 2019 12:28 BST | Last update: 3 years 8 months ago 3.8kShares In the premises of a mosque in Al Sha'ab, a working-class district of Baghdad, followers of the al-Sarkhi movement, a religious group within the Iraqi Shia sect, noisily engage in “Islamic rap”. The mosque walls vibrate to the beat of the music. Inside, dozens of young men start to fiercely hit their chest in rhythm. Microphone in hand, a rapper performs traditional latmiyat - chanted verses mourning Muslim icons. This unconventional ritual is a frontal challenge to Iraq’s religious establishment, and aims to revive spirituality and religiosity among the youth by speaking their “modern language”. "Western rap calls for immorality, drugs and crimes, while ours promotes dialogue, peace, meditation, worshipping and inter-faith understanding," 40-year-old rapper Lo’ai Mohammed told MEE. Shia cleric Mahmoud al-Sarkhi is at the forefront of this movement, which claims up to 10,000 followers - although the figure is doubted by local researchers on Shia Islam (they prefer not to be identified). Sarkhi wasn’t always known for religious rap. In 2014, Reuters reported that Sarkhi and his armed followers previously clashed with US forces, as well as “Iraqi security forces and supporters of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most revered Shiite cleric in Iraq.” In the pulsating atmosphere of Al Sha'ab’s mosque, participants are crowded together and sweat heavily as they gesticulate in rhythm to the music. “Thanks to our Islamic rap, very much liked by young Iraqis, youth are returning to the mosque and we can claim to have achieved one of our objectives,” Sheikh Salem al-Jumahi shouts over the sound of poems, clapping and jubilation. Still, many Iraqi youth doubt the sincerity of the initiative. Ghufran Ibrahim, 25, studies pharmacy in Baghdad and questions the true intentions of any Iraqi religious leaders. “My family and I don't believe their words because they seek personal benefits out of their speeches." Iraqis are losing their religious faith, according to a recent BBC News survey, with trust in religious leaders plummeting. “After all that had happened in Iraq people have started to doubt them, which causes an increase in atheism,” she told MEE. A 24-year-old medical student who lives in Baghdad and prefers not to be named, told MEE that Iraqis once trusted their religious leaders to develop the country. “And now, Iraq is left with two groups only, either extremists or atheists,” she said. Sayed Hossein Qazwini, above, a professor of philosophy of Islamic law in Karbala, acknowledges that Islam is losing momentum among youth. “Political parties who spoke in the name of religion have ruined Islam’s image,” he says. But he sees the al-Sarkhi movement as a worrying development. “In Islam, music is not allowed and they mix religion with rap, which is known for indecent behaviour. Rap music is okay in Los Angeles, but not in Iraq,” the scholar told MEE. From his office in Karbala, Qazwini claims that the Iraqi religious establishment should learn to speak the language of the youth and make sure that their speeches do not conflict with science. “I think we also need to promote peace and harmony with other religions further. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go,” the scholar said. The al-Sarkhi movement sees its version of religious rap as part of its efforts to bring young people back to religion, which it does also by encouraging them to read the Quran. Qazwini concedes the movement has found a way to reconnect with the youth: “In a way, it is successful and puts more responsibility on the shoulders of our religious establishment. "Let’s face it, we have not done enough to reach out to the youth and if we don't act, we may lose them all,” Qazwini said. But his misgivings remain. “Today it is rap, but if we open this door, tomorrow there might be something else, where is it going to lead religion?” However rapper Lo’ai Mohammed answers that rap is a global language understood by all youth in the current era. “It is a normal language to convey messages,” he says. All photography copyright Sebastian Castelier/Middle East Eye Recommended A mosque for all seasons: Worshippers mark the third Ramadan at Athens' Votanikos Mosque Interfaith Jewish group plant date palms in Medina Akbar the Great: How the Mugh or set an example for religious tolerance in India Read more Music Iranian hip-hop: How rappers found a global voice Art and photography Kuwait street style: Meet the breakdancers, rappers and graffiti artists e ISSN 2634-2456
  4. Targeting Iran, US tightens Iraq's dollar flow, causing pain QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA and ABBY SEWELL Thu, February 2, 2023 at 12:37 AM CST BAGHDAD (AP) — For months, the United States has restricted Iraq’s access to its own dollars, trying to stamp out what Iraqi officials describe as rampant money laundering that benefits Iran and Syria. Iraq is now feeling the crunch, with a drop in the value of its currency and public anger blowing back against the prime minister. The exchange rate for the Iraqi dinar has jumped to around 1,750 to the dollar at street exchanges in some parts of the country, compared to the official rate of 1,460 dinars to the dollar. In Baghdad, exchange houses were closed on Thursday, while the Kurdistan Regional Government banned exchange companies in Sulaimaniyah from making transfers. Mustafa Al-Karawi, a member of the parliamentary budget committee, told the state news agency that the Central Bank “must meet the requirements of the Federal Reserve to...reduce the scarcity of hard currency in the country." He said new domestic procedures would be rolled out to improve access to currency, while a delegation of Iraqi officials will travel to the U.S. for negotiations next Friday. - ADVERTISEMENT - The devaluation has already sparked protests. If it persists, analysts said, it could challenge the mandate of the government formed in October after a yearlong political stalemate. The dinar’s deterioration comes even though Iraq’s foreign currency reserves are at an all-time high of around $100 billion, pumped up by spiking global oil prices that have brought increasing revenues to the petroleum-rich nation. But accessing that money is a different story. Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iraq’s foreign currency reserves have been housed at the United States' Federal Reserve, giving the Americans significant control over Iraq’s supply of dollars. The Central Bank of Iraq requests dollars from the Fed and then sells them to commercial banks and exchange houses at the official exchange rate through a mechanism known as the “dollar auction.” In the past, daily sales through the auction often exceeded $200 million per day. Ostensibly, the vast majority of the dollars sold in the auction are meant to go to purchases of goods imported by Iraqi companies, but the system has long been porous and easily abused, multiple Iraqi banking and political officials told The Associated Press. U.S. officials confirmed to the AP that they suspected the system was used for money laundering but declined to comment in detail on the allegations or the new restrictions. For years, large quantities of dollars were transferred out of the country to Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Lebanon through “gray market trading, using fake invoices for overpriced items," a financial adviser to the Iraqi prime minister said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The inflated invoices were used to launder dollars, with most of them sent to Iran and Syria, which are under U.S. sanctions, leading to complaints from American officials, he said. In other cases, the currency is smuggled across land borders under the protection of armed groups that take a cut of the cash, said Tamkeen Abd Sarhan al-Hasnawi, chairman of the board of Mosul Bank and first deputy of the Iraq Private Banks League. He estimated that as much as 80% of the dollars sold through the auction went to neighboring countries. “Syria, Turkey, and Iran used to benefit from the dollar auction in Iraq,” he said. A member of one of Iraq’s Iran-backed militias, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the subject, said the majority of Iraqi banks are owned indirectly by politicians and political parties that have also used the dollar auction to their benefit. Late last year, the Fed began imposing stricter measures. Among other steps, at the request of the U.S., the Central Bank of Iraq started using an electronic system for transfers that required entering detailed information on the intended end-recipient of the requested dollars. One hundred Central Bank employees were trained by the Fed to implement the new system, the prime minister’s financial adviser said. “This system started rejecting transfers and invoices that used to be approved by the central bank,” he said. “Around 80% of transactions were being rejected.” The amount of dollars sold daily in the auction plummeted to $69.6 million on Jan. 31, from $257.8 million six months earlier, according to Central Bank records. Far fewer of the dollars are going toward buying imports as well, down to around 34% from 90%. Even when transactions are approved, it takes banks up to 15 days to get the funds rather than two or three days, Hasnawi said. Unable to get dollars at the official price through banks, he said, traders turned to the black market to buy dollars, causing the price to rise. In November, the Central Bank of Iraq added four new banks to the list of those banned from dealing in dollars. Two U.S. officials confirmed that the Fed requested the four banks be blocked because of suspected money laundering. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the case. A spokesperson for the New York Fed declined to discuss the specific measures taken with regards to Iraq. But the Fed said in a statement that it enforces “a robust compliance regime” for the accounts it holds. The statement said that this regime “evolves over time in response to new information, which we gather in the regular course of monitoring transactions and events that may impact an account and in communication with other relevant U.S. government agencies.” The system of keeping Iraq’s oil revenues at the Fed was originally imposed by U.N. Security Council resolutions after the 2003 ouster of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein by the U.S-led invasion. Later, Iraq chose to maintain the system to protect its revenues against potential lawsuits, particularly in connection to Iraq’s 1990s invasion of Kuwait. The new U.S. restrictions come at a time of increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Negotiations over a nuclear deal are floundering. Washington has imposed new sanctions and condemned Iran for cracking down on protesters and providing drones for Russia to use in Ukraine. Also, in Iraq, allegations came to light in October that over $2.5 billion in Iraqi government revenue was embezzled by a network of businesses and officials from the country’s tax authority The case “brought (U.S.) attention to the scale of corruption in Iraq” and how the corruption can benefit Iran and other parties hostile to the U.S., said Harith Hasan, head of the Iraq unit at the Emirates Research Center, an Abu Dhabi-based think tank. The new Iraqi prime minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, who came to power via a coalition of Iranian-backed parties, does not have a strong relationship with the U.S. that could have enabled him to soften the implementation of the new financial measures, Hasan said. Al-Sudani has downplayed the current devaluation as “a temporary issue of trading and speculation.” He replaced the Central Bank governor and instituted measures intended to ensure a supply of dollars at the official rate. Al-Hasnawi said the government's recent measures will not stop the financial bleeding. If the current situation persists, he said, “within one year, most banks will declare bankruptcy” and there is likely to be mass civil unrest. “This U.S. pressure impacts the Iraqi street in a clear manner, and we do not see clear solutions until now,” he said. ____ AP staff reporters Samya Kullab in Baghdad and Christopher Rugaber in Washington contributed to this report. Sewell reported from Beirut. View comments
  5. Fact Check: Did U.S. Invade Iraq to Access 'Ancient Stargate'? Story by Robyn White • 36m ago It has been nearly two decades since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. But theories into the U.S' rationale behind the invasion continue to spread. Since the invasion, many hypotheses have been floated, from the official line about preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to others by the war's critics that involve oil and geopolitical interests. The complexity behind the rationale for the U.S. military operation has also triggered a variety of conspiracy theories. The Claim One such conspiracy theory has resurfaced recently on a Reddit post. The post, located in the conspiracy community on the platform, shows a picture of Iraq's historical landmark, the Great Ziggurat of Ur. "This is the real reason we invaded Iraq. Ancient alien Stargate portal located in the Great Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq," Reddit user PalatableMahogany said in a caption. The Reddit post has received 1.7k upvotes on the platform. Many other Redditors took to the comment section to debate the claim. "Wow, I never bothered to look it up. But yes, this makes sense. Get 2 birds stoned at once," one Reddit user said. Others were not so sure the theory made sense. "Pics of the Stargate or it didn't happen," another Reddit user said. Another Reddit user said: "And all that time I thought it was oil and gold...But, yeah, the Stargate. Makes sense." The Facts The Great Ziggurat of Ur is an ancient structure that used to be at the center of Mesopotamia, a historical region in western Asia. The Ziggurat was originally built during the Early Bronze Age and reconstructed in the 6th century. Today, it stands remarkably well preserved, in a remote pit of desert in Iraq's Dhi Qar Province, according to the Madain Project, an online archive of Abrahamic History and Archaeology. Often dubbed "Iraq's answer to the pyramids," the structure (and others like it) typically had several terraced levels as opposed to the pyramids' flat walls, but didn't have interior chambers. It originally stood between 70 and 100 feet high, according to the art history resource, Smarthistory. Mesopotamia used to be home to the Sumerians, which was one of the first civilizations to exist, dating back to 3,000 BC. The civilization worshiped a group of deities called Anunnaki, according to The Oxford Companion to World Mythology written by David Leemings. This may be the nugget of truth in the "stargate" narrative, with conspiracy theorists believing that the Anunnaki were actually extraterrestrials that gifted 'Stargate' portals to the people living at the time, a 2017 VICE article reported. Stargate portals are hypothetical devices, often depicted in science fiction, that allow for rapid travel from one distant location to the other, and social media users purported that one of these stargates is located in the Great Ziggurat of Ur. However, there is no scientific evidence to back up the claim that an alien stargate is located in the Great Ziggurat of Ur, built around 2100 B.C.E. by the king Ur-Nammu of the Third Dynasty of Ur, less so that it was a factor in the U.S.' invasion of Iraq. The location was initially used by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's forces as a military facility, the Tallil Air Base, which was largely destroyed by the American forces in 1991, according to U.S. military records. Then, in 2003, the U.S. retook it, and the Pentagon closed public access to the land adjacent to the structure, after building a new airfield and military base there, as Fox News reported in 2009. While the move did restrict public access to the area, as the Fox News and other reports at the time noted, it remained open to U.S. military personnel stationed in the area, turning the location into something of a tourist hot spot for American troops. This was a source of much frustration for Iraqi citizens, who were not allowed to enter the holy site, especially amid reports, including by the Guardian, citing local aid workers, about cases of vandalism targeting the ancient structure. These incidents, the report noted, resulted in the Ziggurat being briefly declared off limits to U.S. troops as well. The Pentagon eventually handed control over the archaeological landmark back to the Iraqi government in May 2009, according to the U.S. military records, removing its location outside the official bounds of the base. The air base itself was held by U.S. forces, as well as variably by Australian and Romanian troops, until America's full withdrawal in December 2011, at which point the Pentagon handed control of it back to Iraq, as part of the New Dawn operation. As for the much more complex and controversial wider topic—the rationale behind the Iraq war—many reasons have been floated. But the general consensus, as stated by the Council on Foreign Relations and historians, remains that the main, if not isolated reason, was to end the regime of Saddam Hussein. The U.S. justified the invasion by claiming that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction and thus posing a major security threat. But while Iraq possessed such weapons during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980 to 1988, they no longer did in 2003 at the time of the war. What we know for sure is that the U.S has always had "long-standing geopolitical interests in the Greater Middle East," Jason Opal, Professor of History at McGill University told Newsweek. "Some of which they inherited from prior imperial powers such as Britain and France," Opal said. "These interests are mostly, although not entirely about access to oil—not just in terms of securing that oil for US consumers and corporations, but also in denying that same oil from enemy nations, such as Russia and China. "Especially after his invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein—formerly a US ally against Iran—became a major threat to these interests, and his general brutality and unpredictability made him unacceptable to many US leaders." Until 2001, the U.S. resolved to contain and isolate Hussein, but the events of 9/11 gave President George W. Bush a pretext to "replace him with force," Opal said. "The evidence indicates that the Bush administration severely stressed the evidence of Hussein's terrorist ties and nuclear program, selling the war to the US public on exaggerated claims if not outright lies," Opal said. "But there is absolutely no reason to imagine any other hidden motives. Their purpose was to destroy Hussein's regime, implant a US-friendly government, and promote US (and, by extension, Israeli) dominance over the region. Period, full stop. "There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about the Bush administration's stated and actual reasons for launching that war. But there are also plenty of ways to explain the underlying reasons without falling into fact-free conspiracy theory." The Ruling False. While the concrete reason for the Iraq war remains a subject of debate, the claim that an alien stargate triggered the invasion is false on multiple levels. Several genuine factors, including geopolitical and economic ones, form the basis of historians' consensus on the Bush administration's motives. The Ziggurat of Ur is an ancient structure, among several ziggurats still standing, that was built by ancient Mesopotamians and has since been reconstructed twice, in antiquity and again in the 1980s, but there is no scientific basis for claims that it is, or plays host to, an alien stargate. While it was indeed under U.S. control for some time (due to its location adjacent to an existing air base taken over by the Americans), it was handed back to the Iraqi government shortly before the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.
  6. Kataib Hezbollah leader offers American 'liberation movements' advice and training after US Capitol riot by Michael Lee, Social Media Writer | January 13, 2021 03:51 PM An Iraqi Hezbollah militant has offered to train Americans planning “liberation movements” in the wake of the siege of the U.S. Capitol last week. “A senior military official from Iraqi Shiite militia Kataib Hezbollah Abu Ali al Askary has offered to ‘provide direct and indirect advice and training for liberation movements inside the United States of America, and special sites will be provided for this… USA The End,’” reported NBC News analyst Evan Kohlmann on Twitter. Kohlmann added that it “is not entirely clear if al-Askary’s offer is genuine, or whether this is merely Kataib Hezbollah using social media to taunt the U.S. government in the wake of last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.” Kataib Hezbollah is an Iranian-sponsored militia that operates in both Iraq and Syria. The group was responsible for many of the roadside bombings that killed U.S. forces in Iraq following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the country. After the American withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the militia pivoted to defending the Assad regime in Syria and has been involved in terror activity in Iraq’s Anbar province. National News correspondent Joyce Karam provided a screenshot of Askary's social media post after the militant’s account was suspended by Twitter. “In God’s name,” a translation of the post reads. “Security consultants for the Islamic Resistance are up and ready to offer direct and indirect training and advice for liberation movements inside the non-United States of America and will assign special locations for that.” The post comes as lawmakers are still debating the fallout of last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, which left five people dead, including four rioters and one police officer. Some lawmakers have directly assigned blame to President Trump, who held a rally immediately before the riot where he repeated claims that the election was “stolen” and urged his followers to fight back by making their voices heard at the Capitol. Democrats introduced articles of impeachment against the president, holding a vote Wednesday on whether or not to charge Trump with “incitement of insurrection.”
  7. The Associated Press FollowView Profile Officials: IS militants kill 4 Iraqi soldiers in northwest Story by By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press • 15h ago React1 Comment| 7 BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State group militants attacked an Iraqi army position in the northwestern governorate of Kirkuk early Saturday killing four soldiers, security sources and a local government official said. This is a locator map for Iraq with its capital, Baghdad. (AP Photo)© Provided by The Associated Press IS fighters in the district of Dibis took the soldiers' weapons and communications gear and left the scene, security sources said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give statements to the media. It was the first such attack in nearly a year. In January, Islamic State gunmen broke into a barracks in the mountainous al-Azim district outside the town of Baqouba, where they killed a guard and shot dead 11 soldiers as they slept. Rakan Saeed al-Jiboury, the governor of Kirkuk, told The Associated Press that the attack “is a result of negligence and lack of care by the security forces." He added that the site of the attack is an area where authority is divided between the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga forces "so there is no coordination, and (IS) takes advantage of this.” IS's territorial control in Iraq and Syria was crushed by a years-long U.S.-backed campaign, but its fighters continued with sleeper cells that have killed scores of Iraqis and Syrians. LM Add a comment 1
  8. Al Jazeera FollowView Profile Air attacks hit pro-Iran convoy in Syria near Iraqi border 3h ago Air attacks have struck eastern Syria along the Iraqi border, hitting Iran-backed fighters and inflicting casualties, a Syrian war monitor, Iranian state television and Iraqi paramilitary officers have said. (Al Jazeera)© Provided by Al Jazeera The number of casualties has not been confirmed but some of those killed in the attack late on Tuesday were Iranian nationals, according to two Iraqi paramilitary officers. The United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported at least 14 people were killed in the raids, mostly fighters. The attacks hit a convoy of “fuel tankers and trucks loaded with weapons” for the fighters in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Az Zor, the Syrian Observatory said. It is not yet clear who was behind the raid but the United States military has carried out similar attacks in the past. The US military has, however, so far denied involvement. Army Major Rachael L Jeffcoat said that “no US forces or US-led coalition (members) conducted an airstrike in al-Qaim, Iraq, on the border with Syria”. Related video: U.S warns Iran after Russia’s Kamikaze drone strike destroys Kyiv; Heat on Islamic Republic View on Watch The convoy of 22 tanker trucks was travelling from Iran to Lebanon, an official in the Iraqi border guard said. Ten trucks were hit, of which four were “completely burnt”, after entering Syrian territory through the Al-Qaim – Abu Kamal border crossing. 4 Pack Travel Bar Soap Box Container, Plastic Holder Case With Cover For Toilet Bathroom Organizer, 4 Colors, 4.5 X 3.3 in. The Deir Ezzor 24, an activist collective, reported three air strikes targeting Iran-backed militias in the Syrian border town of Abu Kamal and nearby areas. It had no immediate word on casualties. Earlier, members of Iraqi paramilitary groups operating in the area said an air attack on a convoy carrying fuel across the Iraqi border into Syria killed at least 10 people late on Tuesday. Iranian state television Press TV claimed the convoy was carrying Iranian oil to Lebanon through Syria, but offered no casualty details. It also claimed that the convoy attack was carried out by US drones and helicopters, adding that the attack took place after eight of the trucks had crossed into Syria. Pro-Iran fighters have a major presence around the Iraqi-Syria border. Iran is a major supporter of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, sending thousands of fighters to help Syrian government troops in the country’s 11-year war against the country’s opposition. In August, the US military carried out air raids in Deir Az Zor targeting Iran-backed fighters after a rocket attack left several US soldiers lightly wounded. At least two fighters described by US Central Command as “suspected Iran-backed militants” were killed. The Pentagon said the strikes were a message to Iran.
  9. #BREAKING Trump talked to several leaders about setting up safe zones in Syria: White House #BREAKING US military options on Syria in response to Idlib attack could include grounding Syrian aircraft: official to Reuters Thursday 06/04/2017
  10. Iraqi deadlock continues with elites unable to form government (aljazeera.com)
  11. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/iraqi-cleric-mahmoud-al-sarkhi-deepens-intra-shia-dispute/ar-AAX1s9n?ocid=msedgdhp&pc
  12. Reports are emerging that on 12 Friday, Iran has targeted the US military base and consulate in Erbil Iraq, with as many as six missiles. © ASAAD NIAZI (AFP)Video showing an attack by Iranian missiles on a US base in Erbil Iraq have many wondering if the attack is related to the crisis in Ukraine. So far, officials with the Department of Defense have said no US casualties have been reported. Does the crisis in Ukraine relate to the attack? With global tensions high, many are wondering if the strike was motivated by the US' involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. At this point, it does not appear that the conflict in eastern Europe was a contributing factor. Rather, the attack in Erbil is reportedly related to the killing of two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) leaders in an Israeli air attack that took place in Syria earlier this week. Tensions have been increasing between the US and Iran over the last few years, prompted primarily from former-President Trump's rejection of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iranian Nuclear Agreement. In January 2020, Iran conducted a similar attack on a US base in retaliation for the killing of IRGC general Qasem Soleimani. Since President Biden took office, the two countries have failed to return to the negotiating table over Iran's nuclear ambitions. These factors help to highlight that there are many other reasons, outside of the conflict in Ukraine, that could have motivated the attack. Does Iran support the Russian invasion of Ukraine? Western media has made it very clear that Russia's targeting of Ukraine has brought Europe, Canada, and the United States closer together. Very little has been reported on Russia's geo-strategic alliances and how other countries are interpreting the invasion. One of President Putin's first calls after declaring his intention to invade Ukraine was to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi who told the Russian leader that he supported his decision and affirmed that “NATO expansion is a serious threat to the security and stability of independent nations.” Some Iranians have taken to the streets to protests President Putin's actions, showing that support from the Russian regime is not uniform in the country. When the United States announced additional sanctions on Russia in early March, White House officials said that they were going to take an approach roe similar to that of Iran. This news came after the European Union announced that various Russian banks would be prohibited from using the SWIFT banking system. When various Iranian banks were removed, Russia provided them with a connection to their global transaction system.
  13. Iraq: 'Islamic State' launch attacks in contested region (msn.com)
  14. Asking for my family/extended family members in Pakistan, whom I may not be able to join on a trip to Iraq/Iran: which ziarat/tour operators would you recommend, and that you have tried and tested? I would like the operator to manage all main components of the trip (visas, hotels, etc.) with minimal supervision of my family, as they are elderly.
  15. On a very serious note, Sunni brothers really need to check the works Im posting in the comments below. These works identify SUFYANI I, predict the rise of SUFYANI II in this decade and more importantly notify the already over first coming of DAJJAL and warn against the more dangerous second coming of DAJJAL masquerading as Mahdi, ALL FROM SUNNI PROPHECIES ONLY. More than just theories, most of the matter in these works consists of almost ascertained facts, fulfilled prophecies and prophecies very close to being fulfilled.
  16. US Reportedly Tells Iraq About Plans for ‘Step By Step’ Troop Withdrawal Jackson Richman 6 hrs ago Like9 Comments| 53 %7B City Barbeque chain sues locally owned Ohio City BBQ in Cleveland to force name… %7B Russia sends fighter jets to intercept U.S. strategic bombers %7B© Provided by Mediaite Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images. The United States will withdraw its combat troops from Iraq, reported a BBC World Service correspondent on Thursday. Nafiseh Kohnavard, the BBC correspondent, reported that Brett McGurk, the National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, informed Iraqi officials that the withdrawal would be what Iraqi sources described to Kohnavard as “step by step” in that McGurk told the officials that “first combat troops will leave and then others.” It has been planned for a while to reduce U.S. combat troops from Iraq. No official timeline has been set for the withdrawal. Those Iraqi sources told the BBC correspondent, “Withdrawal from Iraq will not be like what happened in Afghanistan and it will be step by step. The schedule for this will be agreed during [the] Iraqi [prime minister]’s trip to Washington.” The visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi will be at the end of July.
  17. Barrage of rockets fired at airbase housing US troops in Iraq 12 hrs ago Like6 Comments| 40 At least 14 rockets have hit an airbase in western Iraq that is hosting US and other international forces, slightly wounding at least two people, according to the United States-led military coalition in the country. Provided by Al Jazeera An aerial photo of the Ain al-Assad airbase in western Iraq [File: Nasser Nasser/AP Photo] US Army Colonel Wayne Marotto, spokesman for the international operation, said in a Twitter post on Wednesday the rockets had landed on Ain al-Asad base in Anbar province and its perimeter. “Two personnel sustained minor injuries. Damage still be assessed,” he said in a later Twitter post, updating an initial statement of three minor injuries. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s attack. The US accuses Iranian-backed militia groups of launching regular rocket attacks against its troops in Iraq. Some 2,500 US soldiers are deployed in Iraq as part of an international coalition to fight the ISIL (ISIS) armed group. They have been targeted almost 50 times this year. The latest incident came two days after at least three rockets landed on Ain al-Asad, without causing casualties. Iraqi military sources quoted by Reuters news agency said a rocket launcher fixed on the back of a mini-truck was used in Wednesday’s attack and was found on nearby farmland. On Tuesday, a drone attacked Erbil airport in northern Iraq, targeting a US base on the airport grounds, Kurdish security sources said.
  18. US raids slammed as ‘blatant violation’ of Iraq’s sovereignty | Middle East News | Al Jazeera
  19. I plan on studying at a hawza but I'm not sure which to choose, Najaf or Qom. Qom seems safer than Najaf, and preferable to those who support Wilayatul Faqih, but I have read that a lot of former Qom/Iranian scholars relocated to Najaf/Iraq because of the politics that go around in the Iranian seminaries. Personally I'm leaning on Najaf because I read that there are a lot more choices of subjects to choose and learn and students don't have to worry about politics but at the same time I also want to study Farsi and hone it and I don't know if the seminaries in Najaf/Iraq offer Farsi courses. I would like to hear your thoughts on this.
  20. As 100 days passed, this thread would be dedicated to the Hero, Soldier of Islam, Shahid Lieutenant General Hajj Ghasem Suleimani. "And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision [3:169]" Link to download the video
  21. as salaam alakim!!! I heard a myth that shia islam is a cover for the old babalonia relgion and muta is a sex rite for perversians and that iraqis are into perversians, i know this sounds ridiculous but some one claims that shia is the same as an old baboloynian religoon and is in bed with women and jews, is this true? All southern iraq is babaloyn and this is where shia populate? is this true?
  22. salaam a lady told me they dont say ya hussain in iraq or at least some dont, they just sing they told me they only say ya hussain mostly in india or pakistan. Is this true?
  23. salaam is there any shakhi shias on this forum or idoes any body know anhy in india or pakistan or in iraq are they sufi like?
  24. salaam I was wondering if shia split started when Imam Ali(عليه السلام) moved the khalifate to iraq from hijaz. What developments happened, is that why shias home turf is Iraq rather then mstly in the west penensila.
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