Source: CBC News
ISIS threat ‘is going to morph’ and possibly go underground in Iraq, says Maj.-Gen. Mike Rouleau.
A captured ISIS battle flag hangs in a glass case on the wall outside the Ottawa office of the commander of Canada’s special forces. A hard-earned prize from a misunderstood war. Losing “the colours” is a humiliation for any military unit, a sign the battle, and maybe even the war, has been lost. The black flag, with white Arabic letters declaring, “There is no God but Allah,” is also a startling, visceral reminder of how much of the three-year conflict in northern Iraq has played out away from the public spotlight. It also raises the question of whether Canada’s involvement has run its course.
The Trudeau government committed last June to keep troops in the war-torn country until 2019, but it has never been clear about what those troops would do there once ISIS was expelled. Just before Christmas, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan signalled the mission would get another makeover, but was vague on what it would look like. The question military commanders are grappling with is whether this next phase of the war will fall within the strict political lines laid down by two successive governments. Special forces troops were mandated to “advise and assist” but not take part in offensive combat alongside the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces. The expulsion of ISIS, also known as Daesh, which fought large conventional battles to hold on to the territory it seized in 2014, did require Canadians to shoot to protect themselves and their allies. READ MORE…
The internet and social media were once hailed for creating new opportunities to spread democracy and freedom. But authoritarian regimes soon began cracking down on internet freedom. They feared the brave new digital world, because it was beyond the reach of their analogue security establishments. Their fears proved unfounded. In the event, most social media-enabled popular uprisings failed for want of effective leadership, and traditional political and military organizations retained the upper hand. Technology does not stand still, and nor should democracy.read more
Government corruption provided Daesh and local militias with the umbrella they needed to seize power in Iraq, officials and lawmakers told Arab News on Thursday. They said Iraq’s security and political stability will remain threatened as long as corrupt officials continue to control the country’s assets. Iraq is high on the list of the most corrupt countries. The Iraqi Parliamentary Committee of Integrity told Arab News that the estimated value of “looted” amounts during the past 12 years has been more than $200 billion.read more
US companies are eager to strengthen bilateral cooperation with Iraq in all industrial sectors, especially in oil and gas, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil said on Thursday after US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman met with Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi. Al-Luaibi invited US companies to take part in tenders called by the Iraqi ministry and said Iraq was preparing more favorable work conditions for foreign companies investing and doing business in Iraq, Oil Price reported. The two US supermajors, ExxonMobil and Chevron, already have operations in parts of Iraq. Exxon signed an agreement in 2010 with Iraq’s South Oil Company to redevelop and rehabilitate the West Qurna I Oilfield in southern Iraq.read more
Mr Al Abadi has faced internal pressures to postpone the elections for at least six months but is adamant they will go ahead. Iraqi prime minister Haider Al Abadi has assured the nation that parliamentary and provincial elections will be held in Iraq in May as scheduled. Mr Al Abadi has faced internal pressures from the State of Law Coalition and the Union of Sunni forces in addition to Kurdish parties to postpone the elections for at least six months, Al Hayat, the pan-Arab newspaper reported. But in his weekly press conference, the prime minister dismissed any doubts, saying, “The cabinet today reiterated that provincial and parliamentary elections will be held on 12 May 2018.,” Mr Al Abadi said. “There is no reason for delaying the elections.”read more
As Iraq celebrates the defeat of ISIS, the Sunni Arab community is confronting an identity crisis in the aftermath of the occupation. For some, accommodation with the Shiite-led government offers a new Iraqi nationalism. While unbridled joy has greeted the defeat of the so-called Islamic State across Iraq, the wreckage left behind includes severe trauma to Iraq’s Arab Sunnis – leaving the minority community facing what some say is an existential crisis. One metric by which to assess this is the numbers: Most of the 5 million displaced persons in Iraq are Sunnis. And most of the tens of thousands of Iraqis who were killed, raped, or kidnapped by ISIS jihadists are Sunnis. Nearly every city left in ruins by the fight to expel ISIS – from Fallujah and Ramadi to Mosul – is predominantly Sunni. Another metric is psychological: The community’s failure has been so acute – succumbing to nearly four years of brutal ISIS rule, and even sometimes welcoming ISIS, at first – that Iraq’s Sunnis are reeling like they haven’t for a century.read more