Tag: Iraq

Russia Allegedly Supplying Weaponry To Iraqi Kurds Fighting ISIS–Through Bagdad

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

kurdistan-regional-government-coat-of-arms125px-flag_of_russiasvgThe realpolitik in the Levant changed significantly upon the entry of the Russian Government into the foray. Russia announced recently it would assist the Assad Government in Syria as well as Kurdish forces in fighting what it perceives to be a mutual threat to Russia by ISIS. It has interest in maintaining the Assad government, which has long established ties with Moscow. In the past weeks the Russian military established operational bases in Syria and began a heavy program in supplying material and personnel.

Now, the Russian leadership announced it was working on providing weapons to Iraqi Kurds fighting ISIS through the Iraq Government. This shows a clear departure from the politics in the region where the focus was upon the United States to provide the Iraqis with defense abilities. Yet, this has proven to be ineffective due to the rapid expeditionary campaign launched against the people and government of Iraq by ISIS. It was almost an embarrassment when the United States surprised the world with the announcement of ISIS’ threat after it was six months into its war effort against Iraq and Syria and went so far as to claim that despite the loss of 25% of Iraq’s territory and ISIS forces advancing within several dozen miles of Iraq’s capital, the situation was under control and was not an existential threat to the nation.

Now, in the vacuum of a serious effort on behalf of the west to address the ISIS problem, other than airstrikes and millions of dollars recruiting and training a handful of Syrian volunteers, Russia is emerging to fulfill the void left behind. Russia will gain both in terms of influence in credibility in the area as a result.

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Blood Money Marriage Returns To Iraq

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Flag of IraqThe vacuum brought forth by the absence of a strong state has led to increasing numbers of young women cast into forced marriages as compensation for perceived grievances between tribes. These marriages, called Fasliya Marriage for an Arabic word meaning marriages arranged for compensation, pose a serious threat to the civil rights of women in these tribes as they become pawns to be bartered between warring factions.

The increasing tribal tensions in areas of Iraq, and the absence of government law enforcement upholding federal laws banning the practice, has led to increases in frequency of these marriages through the resurrection of traditional tribal forms of conflict resolution.

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Speaker John Boehner Was “For” Obama’s Iraq Policy Before He Claimed There Wasn’t One

By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor

oehnerobamaOne of the ways we decide how sincere a witness is down at the courthouse is seeing what he said about a topic before there was anything  really at stake and comparing that to what he’s saying now. Watching the scandalous political corruption trial here in Richmond for the past few days, I’ve seen plenty of “I said one thing then, but I’m saying something else now” from the various witnesses taking the stand. Take Governor Bob McDonnell’s friend and stockbroker, John Piscitelli, who upon being asked about a particular sleazy scheme to avoid the state’s gift disclosure laws –cooked up apparently by Virginia’s First Lady — answered that he was not “uncomfortable” with the deal. When his prior grand jury testimony was pushed in his face, the securities peddler cleared his throat, straightened his tie, looked around, and then remembered that , lo and behold, the aborted deal to dump stock right before the disclosure deadline and then buy it back did indeed make him feel ” uncomfortable.” Wonderful thing, a trial.

Pity we can’t put politicians on trial simply for being politicians — especially those who are simply flitting around the flame of geopolitical power hoping to catch it for themselves. Take House Speaker and Republican Party leader John Boehner, for example. The burgeoning crisis in northern Iraq caused by the jihadist crazed theocrats of ISIS has come front and center to the world stage. Crashing in from Syria, the fundamentalists, dedicated to establishing a new world order based on a universal muslim caliphate governed by sharia law, have rounded up non-muslim Iraqis, forced them to convert to Islam, and then quite ceremoniously beheaded them or when the swords got too dull, simply stolen their possessions and run the “infidels” into to the mountains. A direct by-product of the unnecessary War in Iraq II by Bush II, the teetering country is now firmly ensconced in civil war with some added religious crusaders  to spice the mix.

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May Third Is World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

In honor of the day first proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 at the recommendation of UNESCO, and to garner attention to how press freedom fares twenty years later, Deutsche Welle has compiled a series highlighting the issues journalists and the public generally are facing.

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