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October 20, 2017
Independence dreams turn to despair for Iraq's Kurds
Kirkuk, Iraq (AFP) Oct 18, 2017
Just over three weeks ago, Iraqi Kurds were dancing in the streets after an overwhelming vote for independence fuelled hope they might finally gain their own country. But now those dreams have turned to dust as Iraqi forces snatched the disputed city of Kirkuk and its surrounding oil riches in a lightning strike back that robbed Kurdistan of a key chunk of its revenues without a fight. "Those who made us dream of a Kurdish state, have abandoned us," Kirkuk resident Omar Mahmud, 41, told AFP. ... read more

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Iraqi army retakes almost all disputed areas from Kurds
Iraqi government forces said Wednesday they had retaken almost all the areas disputed between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan region following a sweeping advance into oil-rich Kirkuk province in response to an independence vote. ... more
Kurdish infighting opened way for Iraqi advances
Iraq's lightning seizure of oil-rich Kirkuk has pitched the country's main Kurdish factions against each other as Baghdad exploits deep divisions over an independence vote. ... more
Iraq's Kurds, long persecuted under Saddam Hussein
Iraq's Kurdish community has long been persecuted, in particular under the regime of dictator Saddam Hussein. ... more
Baghdad says mission accomplished in Kurd operation
Iraqi forces said Wednesday they had achieved their objectives in a lightning operation that saw them sweep through disputed Kurdish-held territory in a punishing riposte to an independence vote last month. ... more
Clashes between Iraqi, Kurdish troops close to Kirkuk city
Iraqi and Kurdish forces exchanged artillery fire early Monday south of the city of Kirkuk, after central government forces began a "major operation" to take control of a Kurdish military base and oil fields. ... more
Iraq, Kurds in crisis talks over Kirkuk standoff
The presidents of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan held talks Sunday to defuse an escalating crisis, after a deadline for Kurdish forces to withdraw from disputed positions was extended by 24 hours. ... more
Iraqi Kurds deny PKK forces posted in Kirkuk
Iraqi Kurd officials on Sunday denied PKK forces were among its peshmerga fighters in the disputed oil province of Kirkuk, although they could include sympathisers of Turkey's outlawed Kurdish group. ... more
Baghdad accuses Kurds of 'declaration of war'
Baghdad said Sunday that foreign Kurdish forces were present in the province of Kirkuk in what amounted to a "declaration of war", dramatically raising the stakes in its dispute with Iraq's Kurds. ... more

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Iraqi forces seize Kirkuk governor's office in push against Kurds
Iraqi forces seized the Kirkuk governor's office, key military sites and an oil field on Monday as they swept across the disputed province following soaring tensions with Kurds over an independence referendum. ... more
Afghan civilian casualties soar as US ramps up airstrikes
Civilian casualties caused by airstrikes in Afghanistan surged in the first nine months of this year, the United Nations said Thursday, as the US ramps up aerial attacks in the war-torn country. ... more
Iraq PM denies attack plan as tensions rise with Kurds
Iraq's prime minister on Thursday denied an attack on the Kurds was imminent, in a bid to defuse tensions that had prompted Kurdish peshmerga fighters to temporarily seal off road links with the rest of the country. ... more
Trump sends lieutenants to Pakistan with tough message
President Donald Trump will dispatch his top diplomatic and military advisors to Pakistan in the coming weeks, turning up the heat on a nuclear-armed ally accused of harboring terror groups. ... more
Iraq ratchets up pressure on Kurds after independence vote
Iraq's central government on Monday unleashed a legal barrage against Kurdish officials and sought to seize key businesses in a fresh bid to tighten the screws over a disputed independence referendum. ... more
Row breaks out in Iraq over Kurd flag on Talabani coffin
A row has broken out over the use of the Kurdish flag rather than Iraq's colours at former president Jalal Talabani's funeral, at a time of Iraqi-Kurdish tensions. ... more
'We don't want armed confrontation with Kurds says Iraqi PM; Turkey will soon close borders
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Thursday he did not want an armed conflict with his country's Kurds, days after the autonomous Kurdistan region voted for independence in a referendum. ... more
Iran, Iraq hold exercises near Iraqi Kurdistan; Kurdish govt open to talks
Iranian and Iraqi forces staged joint military exercises on Monday near the border with Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, a Kurdish official said, following tensions over the Kurds' independence vote. ... more

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Afghanistan pull-out would be 'to our ultimate peril': Mattis
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned Tuesday that an American withdrawal from Afghanistan would be "to our ultimate peril," as he briefed Congress on plans to increase US troop levels. ... more
Jalal Talabani: veteran Kurdish leader and Iraqi president
Former Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, who died Tuesday aged 83, was a charismatic leader of the Kurdish independence struggle who became Iraq's first non-Arab head of state. ... more
Indian cross-border firing kills two in Pakistan: officials
Two civilians were killed and two others were wounded after Indian troops fired into Pakistani Kashmir Wednesday, in the latest cross-border violence between the nuclear-armed neighbours. ... more
Israel denies Turkish claim of involvement in Kurd vote
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday denied Turkish claims of covert involvement in Iraqi Kurdistan's recent independence vote, reiterating however his "sympathy" for the Kurdish people. ... more
Iraq allows foreigners to leave Kurdistan via Baghdad
Iraq on Monday authorised foreigners stranded in Iraqi Kurdistan after an international flight ban to leave the country via Baghdad despite not having a federal visa. ... more
Afghan airstrike kills 10 in Helmand; Turkish soldier killed in northern Iraq
An Afghan airstrike killed 10 security forces in volatile Helmand on Sunday, an official said, as the country's military attempts to oust Taliban insurgents from a stronghold. ... more
Baghdad cranks up pressure on Kurds with flight ban
Iraq has suspended all international flights to and from the Iraqi Kurdish capital Arbil from Friday, sending anxious foreigners rushing to the airport, as Baghdad cranked up the pressure on the Kurds over their independence referendum. ... more
Turkey wants summit with Iran and Iraq; Kurds reject 'collective punishment'
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Thursday he wants to hold a summit with Iranian and Iraqi leaders to coordinate how to respond to the controversial Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum. ... more
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