(U.S. Army photo by Multi National Division North)
By Behnam Ben Taleblu and Merve Tahiroglu
On October 16, the world woke to footage of the Iraqi army barreling toward Kirkuk, several hundred miles north of Baghdad. Their mission was to reclaim the city, but not from jihadists; rather, they planned to win it back from the Kurds. Three years ago, as the Islamic State (ISIS) tore into Iraq, the country’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) fought back against the fundamentalists and captured Kirkuk for itself. At the time, Baghdad reluctantly acquiesced. But by October 2017, Iraq’s central government was becoming anxious. Buoyed by Kirkuk’s oil revenues, the KRG had held a historic independence referendum in September. Washington quickly urged Baghdad not to move forward with any offensive against the Kurds. But the Iraqi army pressed toward Kirkuk anyway, relying on Iran-backed Shiite militias while also courting Turkish support. (Read more)
Mohammed bin Salman, the young crown prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, took another huge stride towards absolute power this weekend, with a round-up of leading figures in the kingdom’s political and business elite that includes 11 princes and more than three dozen current and former ministers. The arrests, announced late Saturday by Al Arabiya, the Saudi-owned pan-Arab news channel, came only hours after King Salman set up an anti-corruption commission with wide powers, headed by the 32-year-old crown prince. If this is an Arabian game of thrones, the headstrong young prince, who seeks to embody the pent-up aspirations of a people two-thirds of whom are under 30, has left no one in doubt he means to win. (Read more)
It’s no surprise that leaders overseas are baffled by the current state of the UK. Theresa May has given up any notion of Cabinet discipline. Her lack of authority has created a set of little fiefdoms where a centralised British foreign policy used to be. All of them are able to speak and act independently of No.10 without consequence.
In Priti Patel’s case, this extends to actually holding secret bilateral meetings with the prime ministers of foreign states, alongside lobbyists for their interests. While on ‘holiday’ in Israel this summer – she clearly has a very unique notion of what constitutes a holiday – the international development secretary met Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Yuval Rotem, from the Foreign Ministry, Gilad Erdan, minister for Public Security, Information and Strategic Affairs, and Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party. She was accompanied by pro-Israeli Conservative lobbyist Lord Polak. (Read more)
On November 8, 2016, America’s chief storytellers—those within the bubbles of media and politics—lost the narrative they had controlled for decades. In a space of 24 hours, the concept of “conventional wisdom” seemed to vanish for good. How did this happen? What follows are over 40 brand new interviews and behind-the-scenes stories from deep inside The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, and more—plus first-hand accounts from the campaigns, themselves. We’ve spent a year hearing the spin. Now it’s time for the truth. (Read more)
Remembrance serves as a way to honour those who gave their lives for Britain in conflict, including during the two World Wars, but do all those who fought get the recognition they deserve?
It was a conversation with a patient researching the Commonwealth contribution to World War One that sparked Dr Irfan Malik’s interest in finding out about his ancestors.
“Before I knew how much the Indians had contributed, growing up I thought it was very much a white war,” he said.
“We weren’t taught about the Indians in school.”
It’s a sentiment researchers at think tank British Future regularly come across in their efforts to highlight Muslims’ participation in World War One and Two. (Read more)