Entries in Baghdad (31)


Iraq Backs Off Shutting Down Dozens of News Organizations

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- A threat by Baghdad to shut down 44 news organizations in the country has passed, at least for the moment.

There were reports that Iraq's Communications and Media Commission had told the media outlets that they would be subject to raids or closures over licensing issues.

While most are national news organizations, the list also included the Voice of America, the U.S. government-funded Radio Sawa and the BBC.

However, under pressure from the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom group, the government has rescinded its order.

In a statement, the VOA and Radio Sawa said they would "continue to work with Iraqi authorities to ensure full compliance with any new Iraqi regulations and licenses."

Meanwhile, the BBC declared that it was important for the broadcast company and other news organizations "to operate freely, and bring independent and impartial news to audiences in Iraq and the wider region."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iraq Wants Obama to Stop Kurd Oil Deal with ExxonMobil

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- Iraq is asking the U.S. for help again but it has nothing to do with providing military assistance.

Instead, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wants President Obama to step in and block a deal between ExxonMobil and Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The Iraqi leader maintains that such an arrangement violates the law since all oil contracts are supposed to go through Baghdad first.

What has got Baghdad upset is that the deal gives ExxonMobil exploration rights in six areas, including two in regions that are claimed by both the central government and the Kurds.

A spokesman for al-Maliki said this agreement represents "a very dangerous initiative that may lead to the outbreak of wars," which could spoil any chance at achieving national unity.

As a result, the prime minister "sent a message to American President Barak Obama last week urging him to intervene to prevent ExxonMobil from going in this direction."

The White House so far has not publicly responded to al-Maliki's request.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dozens Dead in Wave of Bombings in Iraq

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- A series of bombings targeting Shiites in Iraq on Wednesday have left dozens dead and hundreds more wounded, according to local officials.

Most of the blasts occurred in Baghdad and in nearby cities, including Hilla, where at least 20 people were killed after two car bombs went off.

The bombings came as Shiites were making their pilgrimage to the Iraqi capital to commemorate the death of revered Imam Moussa al-Kadhim.  The interior ministry had heightened security measures to keep the visitors marching to al-Kadhim's shrine safe.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attacks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


West Will Talk Tough Despite Apparent Iran-IAEA Deal

IIPA via Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- The White House warily welcomed news Tuesday of Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency coming to an agreement to allow U.N. inspectors access to key nuclear scientists and research facilities that have been barred to them up to now.

Tehran is hoping that this move ahead of Wednesday's summit in Bahgdad with the U.S. and five other nations will give it the upper hand in talks to greatly reduce Iran's nuclear activities.

Obama administration press secretary Jay Carney suggested to reporters that the world has been down this road before with Iran.

While acknowledging that it was a step forward in the long dispute with Iran, Carney stressed, "Promises are one thing, actions and fulfillment of obligations are another."

Despite the prospects of open access to IAEA monitors, the so-called "5+1" bloc made up of the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia will press Iran to lower its uranium enrichment levels, making it impossible to create atomic bombs.

The Iranian government maintains that its program is purely for peaceful purposes, a claim doubted by virtually all of America's allies.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arab League Members to Witness the "New" Iraq at Summit

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- It's a huge week in Iraq, one that Baghdad says will convince its neighbors just how far the nation has come since it was invaded by U.S.-led forces nine years ago to depose dictator Saddam Hussein.

Members of the Arab League will get to see it for their own eyes as they convene for a summit in the Iraqi capital.

The last time Arab League officials gathered for such an event in Iraq in the early 1990s, Saddam was running the show and the government was decidedly undemocratic.

Two decades later, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has gone as far to claim "This summit could truly be called the Arab Spring summit...It is a recognition of the new Iraq that emerged since 2003 by its new leaders, its new constitution, its new policies, its new political system at the heart of the Middle East."

What Iraqi leaders want to desperately avoid is a repeat of last week's carnage by al Qaeda and other militants, who launched a coordinated series of deadly bombings and gun attacks that stretched from northern cities through Baghdad and into the south.

Since the summit is taking place inside the fortified Green Zone, the Arab guests would likely be shielded from any violence should insurgents go on another rampage.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iraq Experiencing Resurgence of Violence

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- Violence is on the rise again in Iraq as militants try to expose flaws in the country's national security ahead of an Arab summit in Baghdad at the end of the month.

The latest incident occurred Wednesday in the northern town of Tal Afar when twin bombings left 14 people dead.  The city is mostly made up of Shiite Turkmen.

Earlier in the week, al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the slaying of 27 police officers during a shooting rampage in western Iraq.

While violence hasn't returned to the levels of 2006 and 2007 when Iraq seemed on the verge of a civil war, the insurgency seems to have gotten bolder since U.S. forces withdrew from the country late last year.

Security will be especially tight in Baghdad on March 29 when the Arab League holds it first non-emergency summit in Iraq since before Saddam Hussein became the totalitarian leader of the country in the early 1980s.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dozens Dead, Hundreds Wounded After Multiple Bombings in Iraq

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- Iraq came under siege on Thursday as dozens were killed and hundreds wounded in a coordinated series of attacks throughout the country.

At least 43 people died as the result of 16 car bombings as well as roadside explosions that seemed to mainly target Iraqi security forces, who’ve been criticized for not being able to contain al-Qaeda and radical militias since U.S. forces withdrew at the end of last year.

Meanwhile, the number of injured will likely reach 300 as hospitals fill up in and around Baghdad and in other Iraqi provinces.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the widespread assaults with many of the fatalities occurring in the capital.  At a Baghdad checkpoint, attackers used both guns with silencers and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to kill six police officers.

In one of Thursday’s most violent attacks, a car bomb in Musayab, south of the capital, left two people dead and wounded 95 others.

Multiple bombings were also reported in Diyala province east of Baghdad, in northern Salahidine province and in the Kurdish city of Kirkuk, where insurgents struck two police patrols with car bombs, taking the lives of eight officers and injuring two dozen more.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


At Least 20 Killed in Separate Attacks in Iraqi Cities

Getty Images(BAGHDAD, Iraq) -- At least 20 people were killed in separate attacks in Iraq on Sunday.

More than 18 police died and 26 were injured following a suicide car bomb attack in Baghdad near the Iraqi Police Academy.

In the northern city of Baquba, suspected al-Qaeda gunmen shot and killed four police informants, in addition, three law enforcement officials were also killed by gunmen at a security checkpoint in Abu Khamis, reports BBC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


At Least Nine Killed, Dozens Wounded After Multiple Car Bombs in Baghdad

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- A series of car bombs across Shiite areas of Baghdad on Tuesday left at least nine people dead and dozens more injured, according to police.

Police say the first incident took place in Sadr City, when two parked car bombs went off, killing six people and wounding 32 others.

The other two attacks occurred in Al-Hurriya and Shula, resulting in the deaths of one person and two people, respectively.

Tuesday's bombings highlight the surge in violence that has taken place in Iraq following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country late last year. Since Presidet Obama ordered the rapid pullout, close to 200 people have died in attacks there.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney, McCain Point Finger at Obama for New Violence in Iraq

KHALIL AL-MURSHIDI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House came under a barrage of criticism by Republicans following a series of coordinated attacks in Baghdad Thursday that left at least 69 people dead and more than 170 wounded.

No group has taken responsibility for the 16 bombings that occurred in literally all areas of the Iraqi capital less than a week after the last American troops pulled out of the country.  Most of the neighborhoods hit are predominantly populated by Shiites.

The Obama administration issued a statement following Iraq's worst terror attacks in months, saying, "We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against innocent Iraqis, which serve no agenda other than murder and hatred.  We offer our condolences to those whose loved ones were lost or wounded.  Attempts such as this to derail Iraq's continued progress will fail."

But reaction was swift from both the Republican who faced President Obama in the general election three years ago and the Republican who hopes to defeat him in 2012.

Arizona Sen. John McCain said the coordinated attacks were proof that the U.S. is, "paying a very heavy price in Baghdad because of our failure to have a residual force there.  I’m deeply disturbed by events there, but not surprised."

Meanwhile, White House hopeful Mitt Romney also agreed with McCain's assessment, telling reporters on the campaign trail, "The president's failure to secure an agreement and maintain 10,000 to 30,000 troops in Iraq has to be one of his signature failures."

Complicating matters in Iraq is that it's in the midst of a political turmoil with Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, with his Sunni opponents claiming they're being marginalized.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio