Gulf States’ Plan to Arm Kurds Directly Blocked by Obama / Middle Eastern allies “infuriated by lack of clear purpose” reports The Telegraph

Basnews – 02.07.2015 – LONDON – A British newspaper on Thursday reporting on a split in policy threatening US relations with its Middle Eastern partners.

The Telegraph claims that Gulf states have been planning to send heavy weapons directly to the Kurdish Peshmerga, which would be contrary to the US policy of only arming Iraqi players through the central government in Baghdad.

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MESOP NEWS : Iraq PM ‘retires’ army chief of staff General Babakir Zebari

BAGHDAD, Aljazeera – AFP – 30 June 2015- Iraqi premier Haider al-Abadi has “retired” the army’s chief of staff, the most senior officer removed since jihadists overran large parts of the country last year, his spokesman said Monday.  General Babakir Zebari, an ethnic Kurd, “has been retired” on Abadi’s orders, Saad al-Hadithi told AFP, without providing further details.Abadi has sacked dozens of army and police officers in an effort to restructure and improve security forces that performed disastrously when the Islamic State jihadist group (IS) launched an offensive last June, overrunning major areas north and west of Baghdad.

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MESOP FOCUS : Disarray Over How To Retake Iraq’s Ramadi

30 June 2015 – The effort to retake Ramadi in Anbar province is now on hold. Immediately after the city was taken an operation was announced to retake it, but then things seemed to go awry. The Hashd wanted to clear northern Anbar instead of Ramadi, and then said it would focus upon Fallujah. Local tribes wanted to immediately attack the city, but were told that a plan needed to be formulated first, which contradicted earlier statements. The result is that the effort to take Ramadi appears in disarray.

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SOUTH KURDISTAN (IRAQ) MESOP REPORT : Congress Voted Against Directly Arming Iraq’s Kurds. Here’s What That Means For The ISIS Fight.

06/29/2015 Huffington Post – WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s strategy for combating the extremist Islamic State group is still evolving. But for some members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, one flaw in the plan has been clear for months: All of the weapons being sent to fight the extremists in Iraq are being routed through the central government in Baghdad, rather than going directly to the country’s more U.S.-friendly Kurdistan region. “ISIS is deadly and determined, and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces — our critical partner in the fight against ISIS — need U.S. weapons as quickly as possible,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said last month. “We simply cannot afford to have future delays at this critical moment in the battle.”

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MESOP BACKGROUND : Peshmerga batting problems in fight against IS: report

29 June 2015 – Kurdpress – Leaning towards political parties and unequal distribution of arms are the troubles that the Kurdish forces of Peshmerga are battling with in war against the militants of the Islamic State (IS), a report said.

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MESOP : THE WATER WAR – BLAMING TURKEY ! – IS ‘Water War’ Dries Marshes In Southern Iraq

By Joanna Paraszczuk – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – 29 June 2015 – A man walks on dry, cracked earth in the Chibayish marshes near the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah.In the 1990s, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein drained the marshes of southern Iraq in order to punish the indigenous Shi’ite tribes that opposed him after the first Gulf War.The desiccation of the marshes destroyed wildlife and the livelihoods of the local people who herded water buffalo there.In 2003, the marshes were re-flooded and and many local buffalo breeders returned to the area.But now, dozens of the buffalo herders are leaving again.

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$7.3 billion on KRG fuel imports could have been saved with affordable gas: Luay al-Khatteeb

Interview by Harem Karem: Kurdistan Tribune – Luay al-Khatteeb is a nonresident fellow in the Brookings Doha Center and founder of Iraq Energy Institute, focusing on the geopolitics and political economy of the GCC and Iraq. His experiences in the private sector span more than 20 years, and he is a frequent commentator on issues related to energy security, economics, and politics in the Gulf region.

Q1: How do you see the future of the current deal between Baghdad and Erbil? We are handing over the agreed oil volumes to Baghdad and fighting a war with ISIS. Why is the federal government still not paying the full monthly budget allocation to the KRG? How can Baghdad/Erbil relations improve?

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Kirkuk would remain a part of Kurdistan Region: official

A Peshmerga commander stated Iraqi northern city of Kirkuk is a part of Kurdistan Region and will remain in the region for good.Kurdish forces of Peshmerga seized the control of disputed regions that both Baghdad and Erbil claimed authority over them after the Islamic State (IS) insurgency into Iraq last year.

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SOUTH KURDISTAN (IRAQ) MESOP FLASH : Iraq Kurds Expel Some Suspected Islamic State Supporters From Villages

By Isabel Coles – REUTERS – 2015-06-27 – Dozens – some Arabs in the area say hundreds – of mainly Arab Sunnis who have been banished from areas under Kurdish control in recent months as suspected Islamic State sympathizers, a measure some Arabs say is creating dangerous ethnic polarization in areas recaptured from the insurgents. “They (the Kurds) drove us to the frontline and said go to Daesh,” Abu Muhannad said by telephone, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State, also known in English as ISIS or ISIL. “We got out of the car, they gave us each a bottle of water, and we went.” Abu Muhannad denies being a member or supporter of Islamic State. He says he was expelled from his village after being detained for three weeks, with no way to exonerate himself.”It’s not a question of guilt or innocence,” he said. “They want to make it a Kurdish area for themselves.”

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Can Iraq Be Saved? – By Emma Sky, senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute, is author of The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq. She served in Iraq from 2003-2004 as the Governorate Coordinator of Kirkuk and from 2007-2010 as the Political Adviser to General Ray Odierno.

25 June 2015 – Yes, says the British adviser to the former top U.S. general. But not with the current incomplete and self-defeating ‘strategy.’

President Obama recently admitted that “We don’t have a complete strategy” for dealing with the Islamic State. It was an honest admission. And honesty has not been in abundance when it comes to Iraq policy. Politicians try to use the situation in Iraq for political advantage, without much consideration of Iraqis themselves. Democrats blame Republicans for invading Iraq in the first place and Republicans blame Democrats for not leaving troops there. The current extent of the debate in Washington appears limited to whether or not to send troops back to Iraq.

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