Hashd al-Shaabi: A house divided

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A schism is deepening within the ranks of Iraq’s paramilitia groups, between those loyal to the country’s top Shiite religious authority Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and those tied to Iran. First published by Rudaw The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), known in Arabic as Hashd al-Shaabi, was created in 2014 when Sistani […]

Read more

Afghanistan: The Missing Peace

  First published by Rudaw Part I: ‘Welcome to Kabul’  It wasn’t an encouraging start. Stepping off the airport shuttle bus at Hamid Karzai International, bleary eyed after a long layover in Dubai’s Terminal 2, my first impression of the Afghan capital Kabul is of a towering column of black smoke rising from the expat […]

Read more

Is ISIS winning hearts and minds in Iraq’s Makhmour?

MAKHMOUR, Kurdistan Region – Months of heavy rain have turned the normally arid plains of Qarachogh a verdant green. In this hotly disputed territory of northern Iraq, the increasingly brazen presence of bearded gunmen in the hills suggests the extremist threat once thought defeated is also growing back anew. An hour and a half’s drive […]

Read more

Christian IDPs sheltering above Erbil bazaar threatened with eviction

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraqi Christian families left homeless by the war with Islamic State (ISIS) are being threatened with eviction from an apartment building in downtown Erbil where they have been sheltering rent-free since 2014. Families who spoke to Rudaw English say their homes were destroyed when ISIS militants swept across northern Iraq, forcing […]

Read more

Davos 2019: Was it all doom and gloom?

DAVOS, Switzerland — Humanity faces a raft of existential threats, from economic collapse to climate change, artificial intelligence to an age without antibiotics. Yet several world leaders — including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — chose to sit out this year’s World Economic Forum to focus on crises closer to home. […]

Read more

Syrian refugees in KRI want to return – but first need guarantees

KAWERGOSK, Kurdistan Region – Zuhur laughs brightly in the little paved yard in front of her breezeblock shelter in Kawergosk Refugee Camp, Erbil province. Although she is Arab by ethnicity, Zuhur insists with an ardent smile she has adopted her late-husband’s Kurdish identity. Originally published on Rudaw.net Dressed in a black hijab decorated with blue […]

Read more

Ancient lost city of Mardaman slowly gives up its secrets

DUHOK, Kurdistan Region – Against the fine yellow dust coating the landscape, the brilliant white of a human skeleton juts conspicuously from the earth. Dropped into pits, apparently without ceremony more than 2,000 years ago, the bodies uncovered by archaeologists near the town of Bassetki, Duhok province, are just one of the mysteries slowly emerging […]

Read more