Iraq - updates

Rappler's latest stories on Iraq


Iran spy agency leaks reveal 'vast' sway in protest-hit Iraq

Nov 18, 2019 - 11:17 PM

Iraq has had close but complex ties with its large eastern neighbor, whose sway among Iraqi political and military actors grew vastly after the US-led invasion of 2003

POINT MAN. An image grab taken from a broadcast by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) on October 1, 2019, shows Qasem Soleimani, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General and commander of the Quds Force, speaking during an interview with members of the Iranian Supreme Leader's bureau in Tehran. AFP PHOTO/HO/IRIB

UK government, military covered up war crimes – report

Nov 17, 2019 - 10:02 PM

Military detectives who unearthed evidence of the alleged war crimes says that seniors commanders hid them 'for political reasons'

BREXIT. A Union Flag is seen with Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) shrouded in scaffolding in the background at the Houses of Parliament in London on December 8, 2017 after a significant breakthrough was made in the divorce negotiations between Britain and the EU over Brexit. Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

Top Shiite cleric says protests will forever mark Iraq

Nov 15, 2019 - 10:29 PM

'If those in power think that they can evade the benefits of real reform by stalling and procrastination, they are delusional,' says Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani

PROTESTS. In this file photo, Iraqi demonstrators gather in al-Khalani square in central Baghdad on November 9, 2019, during clashes with Iraqi forces. File photo by Sabah Arar/AFP

Iraqis keep up sit-ins amid fears of 'bloodbath'

Nov 10, 2019 - 6:57 PM

(UPDATED) 12 protesters die on Saturday, November 9, when security forces cleared out protest sites, medical sources say

PROTESTERS MOURN. Mourners carry the casket of an Iraqi protester, who was killed the day before during protests in the capital, during his funeral in the central Iraqi city of Najaf on November 10, 2019. Photo by Haidar Hamdani/AFP

Renewed live fire in Iraq capital as blackout, sit-ins persist

Nov 06, 2019 - 9:48 PM

Mass rallies have continued in the capital and across Iraq's Shiite-majority south, despite a renewed internet blackout and violence that has left nearly 280 dead

MORE PROTESTS. Iraqi protesters wearing Guy Fawkes maskes hold up a banner with revolutionary slogans in English during continuing anti-government protests in Baghdad's Tahrir Square on November 6, 2019. Photo by Sabah Arar/AFP

Iraq cuts internet again amid renewed protests

Nov 05, 2019 - 9:01 PM

Cyber security NGO NetBlocks says that the blackout is 'the most severe telecommunication restriction to have been imposed by Iraq's government since protests began' on October 1

PROTESTS. Iraqi national flags flutter during anti-government demonstrations in Baghdad's Tahrir square on November 5, 2019. Photo by Sabah Arar/AFP

Student strikes, street closures in Iraq protests

Nov 03, 2019 - 6:31 PM

Other students take part in sit-ins at their schools, and the country's national teachers union extend the strike they began last week

PROTESTS. Iraqi protesters gather at Baghdad's Tahrir square during ongoing anti-government demonstrations on November 2, 2019. Photo by Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

Iraq protests enter 2nd month, defying pledges of reform

Nov 01, 2019 - 9:08 PM

More than 250 people have died and 10,000 have been wounded in the past month as protests evolved into calls for the 'downfall of the regime'

SECOND MONTH. Iraqi protesters gather at Tahrir square during ongoing anti-government demonstrations in the capital Baghdad on November 1, 2019. Photo by Sabah Arar/AFP

Iraq president says PM willing to resign, vows early polls

Oct 31, 2019 - 11:25 PM

Iraqi President Barham Saleh says Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi is ready to step down but there is so far no one to take his place

RESIGNATION? Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi speaks during a symbolic funeral ceremony in Baghdad on October 23, 2019 for Major General Ali al-Lami, a commander of the Iraqi Federal Police's Fourth Division, who was killed the previous day in Samarra in the province of Salahuddin, north of the Iraqi capital. File photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP)

PH has most number of unsolved journalist killings – report

Oct 29, 2019 - 9:31 PM

The 2019 Global Impunity Index lists 41 unsolved media killings in the Philippines over the last 10 years

9 YEARS. Candles lit in the shape of number 9 in commemoration of the 9 years since Maguindanao Massacre. Photo by Jaira Krishelle Balboa/Rappler

Iraq army declares curfew in Baghdad after student protests

Oct 28, 2019 - 11:48 PM

The move sparks concern security forces want to clear out main gathering places like the capital's Tahrir Square, occupied by demonstrators for 4 consecutive nights

PROTESTS. Iraqi medical students take part in an anti-government demonstration in the central holy shrine city of Najaf on October 28, 2019. AFP photo

Iraq students join protests as pressure on government swells

Oct 27, 2019 - 6:46 PM

The protests are unprecedented in recent Iraqi history for their ire at the entire political class, including Abdel Mahdi, parliament speaker Mohammed Al-Halbussi and even traditionally revered religious leaders

PROTESTS. Iraqis demonstrators wave a national flag (L) and another bearing the words 'O Hussein' in Arabic, referring to the prophet Mohamed's grandson Imam Hussein ibn Ali, in the capital Baghdad's Tahrir square on October 26, 2019. Photo by AFP

More than a dozen dead in renewed Iraq protests as thousands rally

Oct 25, 2019 - 10:58 PM

(UPDATED) The demonstrations represent a second phase of a weeklong movement in early October demanding an end to widespread corruption, unemployment and an overhaul of the political system

NEW PROTESTS. Iraqi protesters march with national flags and pictures of people who were killed before in previous protests earlier in the month, during an anti-government demonstration in the central holy shrine city of Najaf on October 25, 2019. AFP photo

Pentagon chief visits Iraq as U.S. quits northern Syria

Oct 23, 2019 - 3:54 PM

Pentagon chief Mark Esper is due to meet his Iraqi counterpart Najah al-Shammari to address concerns among some in the government that the troops might stay in Iraq

MARK ESPER. In this file photo taken on August 28, 2019 US Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP

Facing pressure, Iraq ups probes into protest bloodshed

Oct 12, 2019 - 8:22 PM

Authorities order the creation of two new investigatory commissions

Iraqi protestors shout slogans during a demonstration against state corruption, failing public services and unemployment, on October 2, 2019 in the southern city of Basra. - Popular protests multiplied across Iraq today as thousands of demonstrators braved live fire and tear gas in rallies that have left seven dead in the past 24 hours. (Photo by Hussein FALEH / AFP)

Top Iraq cleric says government responsible for protest deaths

Oct 11, 2019 - 10:15 PM

Top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani gives authorities 'two weeks' to release the findings of an investigation into the more than 100 deaths recorded during the protests since October 1

PROTEST. This file photo shows smoke rising from burning tires during a demonstration against corruption and lack of basic services in Baghdad's al-Shaab neighborhood on October 2, 2019. File photo by Salam Faraj/AFP

Iraq begins national mourning for protest dead

Oct 10, 2019 - 9:12 PM

Since protests and violence calmed on October 8, the government has proposed reforms to lower youth unemployment, currently at 25%, while the labor ministry proposed an online job register

PROTESTS. In this file photo, Iraqi protestors shout slogans during a demonstration against state corruption, failing public services and unemployment, on October 2, 2019 in the southern city of Basra. Photo by Hussein Faleh/AFP

Calm returns to Iraq as U.S. condemns violence

Oct 09, 2019 - 11:12 PM

Traffic has again clogged the main roads of the sprawling city of 9 million inhabitants. Students have returned to schools, whose reopening was disrupted by the violence.

CALM. A member of the Iraqi security forces mans a checkpoint in the capital Baghdad's predominantly Shiite Sadr City, on October 8, 2019. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Iraqi president urges end to 'escalation' after days of deadly protests

Oct 08, 2019 - 5:52 PM

President Barham Saleh appeals for a 'halt to escalation' and proposes a 'national, all-encompassing and frank dialogue…without foreign interference' to chart a way out of the crisis

IRAQ PROTESTS. Iraqi protesters speaks with members of police in Baghdad's predominantly Shiite Sadr City, on October 7, 2019. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Iraq military admits 'excessive force' used in deadly protests

Oct 07, 2019 - 7:00 PM

'Excessive force outside the rules of engagement was used and we have begun to hold accountable those commanding officers who carried out these wrong acts,' the military says

PROTESTS. Iraqi protesters take part in a demonstration against state corruption, failing public services, and unemployment, in the Iraqi capital Baghdad's central Khellani Square on October 4, 2019. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Protesters flood Iraq streets anew as death toll nears 100

Oct 05, 2019 - 11:04 PM

Dozens gather around the oil ministry in Central Baghdad, facing live rounds fired in their direction

PROTEST. Iraqis gatehr in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on October 5, 2019 after a curfew was lifted following a day of violent protests. AFP photo

Baghdad clashes mount as top Shiite cleric endorses Iraq protests

Oct 04, 2019 - 10:09 PM

(UPDATED) The endorsement from Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani prompts celebratory gunfire from protesters and piles new pressure on Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi

IRAQ PROTESTS. An image grab taken from Iraqiya state TV channel shows Ahmad Al-Safi, a representative of Iraq's Shiite spiritual leader, reading a statement in which Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani urged Iraq to heed protesters 'before it's too late' during a televised speech following the weekly Friday prayer at a mosque in the central shrine city of Karbala on October 4, 2019. AFP PHOTO / HO / IRAQIYA TV

Iraq forces fire on dozens of protesters in Baghdad

Oct 04, 2019 - 3:37 PM

The security forces fired directly at the protesters, not in the air, an Agence France-Presse correspondent says.There is no immediate word on any casualties.

IRAQ PROTESTS. Iraqi protesters gather in front of Iraqi security forces during a demonstration against state corruption, failing public services, and unemployment in the Iraqi capital Baghdad's central Tayeran Square on October 3, 2019. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Death toll rises to 19 as Iraq protests spread across south

Oct 03, 2019 - 2:04 PM

(3rd UPDATE) Braving live fire, tear gas and local curfews, Iraqis flood the streets for a third day in the biggest challenge yet to Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi

PROTESTS. Iraqi protestors shout slogans during a demonstration against state corruption, failing public services and unemployment, on October 2, 2019 in the southern city of Basra. Photo by Hussein Faleh/AFP

Protests multiply in Iraqi capital after 3 killed

Oct 02, 2019 - 9:29 PM

(UPDATED) The demonstrations are the first major challenge to Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, who formed his government a year ago this month and who controversially blamed the violence on 'aggressors' among the protesters

PROTEST. Smoke rises from burning tires during a demonstration against corruption and lack of basic services in Baghdad's al-Shaab neighborhood on October 2, 2019. Photo by Salam Faraj/AFP

In first, Iraq PM points finger at Israel on base attacks

Oct 01, 2019 - 10:00 AM

Iraq Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi says his government had 'indications' Israel was behind some attacks on paramilitary bases this summer

Members of the "Liwa al-Tafuf" 13th Brigade of Iraq's Shiite Muslim Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation units) paramilitary show off their skills during a graduation ceremony at a training centre in the central Iraqi city of Karbala on August 30, 2019.  Mohammed SAWAF / AFP

Iraq, Syria reopen major border crossing retaken from ISIS

Sep 30, 2019 - 11:07 PM

It is the only crossing between the two countries controlled by Syrian regime forces on one side and Iraqi federal authorities on the other

Members of the Syrian security forces gather at the border-crossing between Albu Kamal in Syria and Al-Qaim in Iraq, taken from the Syrian side in the eastern region of Deir Ezzor, on September 30, 2019. Photo by AFP

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil plants

Sep 15, 2019 - 8:40 PM

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi says 'Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors'

A picture taken on May 10, 2016 shows over Shaybah, the base for Saudi Aramco's Natural Gas Liquids plant and oil production in the surrounding Shaybah field in Saudi Arabia's remote Empty quarter desert close to the United Arab Emirates, on May 10, 2016. Despite collapsed global oil prices, production is expanding at Shaybah, as it is in other units of the company at the centre of the kingdom's Vision 2030 drive for diversification away from oil. The Saudi government plans to sell less than five percent of the company in what officials say will be the world's largest-ever share offering, while transforming Saudi Aramco into "a global industrial conglomerate". By 2020 the company says it will have tripled its gas processing capacity from levels at the turn of the century. / AFP PHOTO / IAN TIMBERLAKE

Beats replace bombs: Young Iraqis revel at summer festival

Aug 17, 2019 - 8:10 PM

Friday's festival is the latest indication that Iraq is entering a phase of relative stability

SUMMER FESTIVAL. Youths dance during an electronic dance music event, during the annual Baghdad Summer Festival at the People's Hall in the Iraqi capital on August 16, 2019. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Meet PH’s new friends: U.N.-member countries that voted vs human rights resolution

Jul 12, 2019 - 2:58 PM

These are governments widely criticized for human rights violations, crackdown on dissent, and the stifling of democracy. Some are headed by leaders who bear similarities with President Rodrigo Duterte.

Iraq officially invites Pope to visit

Jun 20, 2019 - 11:33 PM

'I am honored to officially extend an invitation to Your Holiness to visit Iraq – the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of Abraham, the father of the faithful and messenger of the divine religions,' says President Barham Saleh

IRAQ INVITES POPE. In this file photo, Pope Francis waves as he boards a plane upon his departure for a three-day trip to Romania, on May 31, 2019 at Rome's Fiumicino airport . File photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Iraq looking at options in case Gulf oil route cut – spokesman

Jun 17, 2019 - 11:46 PM

Lawmakers have also called for an emergency session with Iraq's ministers of oil, trade, planning and transport to 'prepare to confront the possible dangers'

TO PORT. This picture taken on June 15, 2019 shows tanker ships in the waters of the Gulf of Oman off the coast of the eastern UAE emirate of Fujairah. Photo by Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

US grants energy-hungry Iraq new Iran sanctions waiver – source

Jun 15, 2019 - 6:55 PM

Iranian energy imports are vital to Iraq, one of the world's hottest countries, which faces chronic blackouts that often leave homes without power for up to 20 hours a day

IRAQ ELECTRICITY. Iraq faces chronic blackouts that often leave homes without power for up to 20 hours a day. Photo by Sabah Arar/AFP

Islamic State make first claim of Mozambique presence – SITE

Jun 05, 2019 - 6:20 PM

But an insurgency expert who has declined to be named says Islamic State are unlikely to have direct contact with the local fighters

3 French ISIS members sentenced to death in Iraq

May 26, 2019 - 7:35 PM

The 3 sentenced are among 12 French citizens who were caught in Syria and transferred to Iraqi custody in February 2019

LINKS. Iraq sentences more than 600 people suspected of links to the militant group a year after the end of a 3-year war against the jihadists. Photo from Shutterstock

Iraq warns of 'danger of war' as Iranian foreign minister visits

May 26, 2019 - 5:53 PM

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi pleads for the 'stability of the region and the upholding of the nuclear deal,' referring to a 2015 agreement between Iran and major powers

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali al-Hakim (R) meets Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Baghdad on May 26, 2019.  SABAH ARAR / AFP

Iraqis use budding ecotourism to save marshes

May 25, 2019 - 6:29 PM

Straddling Iraq's famous Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the Mesopotamian marshes are a rare aquatic ecosystem in a country nearly half of which is covered in cracked desert. Legend has it, they were home to the biblical Garden of Eden.

This picture taken on March 29, 2019 shows a floating palm reed-woven house for tourists in the marshes of the southern Iraqi district of Chibayish in Dhi Qar province, about 120 kilometres northwest of the southern city of Basra. Thirty years after Saddam Hussein starved them of water, Iraq's southern marshes are blossoming once more thanks to a wave of ecotourists picnicking and paddling down their replenished river bends. Hussein FALEH / AFP

U.S. orders non-emergency embassy staff to leave Baghdad, Arbil

May 15, 2019 - 7:31 PM

A State Department advisory announcing the partial embassy closures warns of numerous terrorist and insurgent groups active in Iraq

US-IRAN TENSIONS. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) walks with Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department David Satterfield and Charge D'affaires at the US Embassy in Baghdad Joey Hood (2nd R) upon arrival in Baghdad for meetings on May 7, 2019. File photo by  Mandel Ngan/Pool/AFP

More Sri Lanka attacks feared as Muslims condemn Easter bombs

May 03, 2019 - 10:04 PM

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe hopes normality will return by Monday, May 6, when public schools reopen after an extended Easter vacation

ISIS chief refers to Syria defeat in first video in 5 years

Apr 30, 2019 - 12:40 AM

(UPDATED) In the video released by ISIS' Al-Furqan media arm, the man said to be Baghdadi refers to the monthslong fight for ISIS' final redoubt Baghouz, which ended in March

ISIS CHIEF. In this undated and unlocated tv grab taken from a video released by Al-Furqan media, the chief of the Islamic State group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears for the first time in 5 years in a propaganda video. AFP PHOTO / SOURCE / AL-FURQAN

Sri Lanka admits 'major' lapse over deadly Islamist blasts

Apr 24, 2019 - 8:22 PM

Police have so far arrested 58 people, all Sri Lankans, and security remains heavy, with bomb squads carrying out several controlled explosions of suspect packages

'MAJOR' LAPSE. Security personnel stand guard near St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 24, 2019, 3 days after a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP

Iran leader calls on Iraq to demand U.S. withdraw troops

Apr 07, 2019 - 11:55 PM

'Wherever they (US troops) have had an enduring presence, forcing them out has become problematic,' Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tells Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi

American trainers take a break as they train Iraqi soldier on approaching and clearing buildings at the Taji base complex, which hosts Iraqi and US troops and is located north of the capital Baghdad, on January 7, 2015. Taji is one of an eventual five sites from which the US and allied countries aim to train 5,000 Iraqi military personnel every six to eight weeks for combat against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group. AFP/ PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

Owners of Mosul ferry arrested after deadly disaster

Mar 31, 2019 - 7:36 PM

The tragedy comes after authorities had warned that water levels were dangerously high and sparked anger among Iraqis who blamed official corruption and neglect

Syria's Kurds call for international court to try ISIS jihadists

Mar 25, 2019 - 8:36 PM

(UPDATED) In this way, 'trials can be conducted fairly and in accordance with international law and human rights covenants and charters,' the Syria Kurdish administration says

ISIS IN SYRIA. Men suspected of being Islamic State fighters wait to be searched by members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces after leaving the ISIS group's last holdout of Baghouz, in Syria's northern Deir Ezzor province on February 22, 2019. File photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP

Iraq parliament sacks governor over deadly ferry capsize

Mar 24, 2019 - 9:40 PM

Niveneh provincial governor Nawfel Akoub's 'negligence and concrete failings' merit his dismissal, Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mehdi says

Iraqi PM asks parliament to fire governor over deadly ferry capsize

Mar 23, 2019 - 6:01 PM

In a letter to the speaker of parliament, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi says there was clear evidence of 'negligence and concrete failings' that merited a vote on dismissing governor Nawfel Akoub

U.S.-backed Syrian forces fight last ISIS jihadists

Mar 23, 2019 - 10:06 AM

Though the WHite House says the 'caliphate' has been wiped out, the Syrian Democratic Forces say clashes are still ongoing

WAR. A fighter of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) loads an ammunition belt at a position in the village of Baghouz, near Syria's border with Iraq, in the eastern Deir Ezzor province on March 15, 2019 during the SDF's preparations to advance in the battle against the last pocket of Islamic State group jihadists. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

Anger, grief sweep Iraq's Mosul as ferry disaster toll hits 100

Mar 22, 2019 - 8:53 PM

Residents of the northern city, scarred by years of jihadist rule, demand justice as Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi decrees 3 days of national mourning following the accident

RESCUE. Emergency personnel arrive on March 21, 2019, at the site of a popular picnic area in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on the shores of the Tigris river, after a ferry sank leaving more than 70 people dead in Iraq's worst accident in years. Photo by Waleed Al-Khaled/AFP

Almost 100 dead as Iraq ferry sinks on spring holiday trip

Mar 22, 2019 - 12:10 AM

(UPDATED) The accident sparks an outpouring of grief among residents who only recently resumed festivities on the banks of the Tigris after the northern city's recapture from the Islamic State group

Syria force combs last ISIS hideouts in Baghouz

Mar 21, 2019 - 11:24 PM

Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman Mustefa Bali says a victory announcement would be premature

LAST JIHADISTS. Smoke rises in the Islamic State group's last remaining position on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River (C) in the village of Baghouz during battles with the Syrian Democratic Forces, in the countryside of the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, on March 18, 2019. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP