Iraq trains US-sanctioned militia leader for army position: sources

Baghdad: The Iraqi military is training a former member of an Iran-backed militia, who is under US sanctions for killing protesters, to become a high-ranking officer in the army, according to six government, security and militia officials. They said that Hussein Falih Aziz, known as Abu Zainab al-Lami, had been sent to Egypt with Iraqi officers for a year-long training

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Troops levels in Iraq, Afghanistan will be slashed before Trump leaves

New Pentagon chief confirms troops levels in Iraq and Afghanistan will be cut to 2,500 each before Donald Trump leaves office – but Mitch McConnell ups warnings of move risking chaos Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced plans to reduce U.S. troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan  Miller said the decision fulfilled President Donald Trump’s pledge to voters to end

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Iraq denies coronavirus news report; suspends Reuters' licence

Iraq condemns UK-based news agency’s story that claimed number of new infections much higher than official figures. Iraq has revoked Reuters news agency’s reporting licence for three months after it reported the number of new coronavirus cases in the country was in the thousands, much higher than official figures. Iraq’s Communications and Media Commission (CMC) condemned the reporting, calling it

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Iraqi PM-designate says done picking cabinet, calls on parliament to approve it

(Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi said on Wednesday he has put together a cabinet of political independents and called on parliament to hold an extraordinary session next week to grant it a vote of confidence. Allawi said in a televised speech that if his government wins a confidence vote, its first act would be to investigate the

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NATO willing to expand Iraqi training mission to meet Trump demand

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO is considering an increase to its training mission in Iraq to relieve the burden on the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, senior officials and diplomats said on Tuesday. NATO and the coalition have non-combat “train-and-advise” missions which aim to develop Iraqi security forces but both are suspended over fears for regional stability after a U.S. drone

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Violence escalates in Iraq as government pushes to end protests

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Gunmen shot dead two protesters in Iraq’s southern city of Nassiriya overnight and a Baghdad district became a battlefield on the third day of a drive by security forces to end months of demonstrations against the largely Iran-backed ruling elite. Clashes over the weekend had already killed at least five protesters and rockets hit the U.S. embassy

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More U.S. troops leave Iraq over potential injuries as Trump downplays brain risk

DAVOS, Switzerland/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he did not consider the brain injuries suffered by 11 U.S. service members in Iran’s recent attack on a base in Iraq to be serious, as the American military moved more troops out of the region for potential injuries. In a statement on Wednesday, U.S. Central Command said that

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U.S. House chairman 'frustrated' Pompeo refused to testify on Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Democratic chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said on Monday he was “disappointed and frustrated” that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had declined to testify at a committee hearing on Iran set for Tuesday. “Each passing day raises new questions about the strike that killed General Soleimani. Was there really an imminent

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Philippines allows citizens to stay in Iran, Lebanon as Middle East tensions ease

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines will no longer require its citizens to leave Iran and Lebanon as worries of a broader conflict in the Middle East eased, but the mandatory evacuation order for workers in Iraq remains in force, officials said on Thursday. Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, a retired general named by President Rodrigo Duterte as special envoy to the

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