Can crisis-stricken Afghanistan be prevented from becoming an extremists’ sanctuary again?

LONDON: Nearly a year into the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan following the US military withdrawal, there is mounting concern that the bankrupt, unstable and internationally isolated country could once again become a sanctuary for extremist groups and even a launchpad for global terrorism. The US beat a rushed retreat from Afghanistan in August […]

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Can Iraq’s archaeological renaissance help forge a stronger national identity?

MOSUL/BOGOTA: On Feb. 26, 2015, shocking footage emerged from northwestern Iraq of Daesh militants smashing pre-Islamic artifacts and burning ancient manuscripts at Mosul Cultural Museum. The terrorist group, which had seized control of the multiethnic city the previous year, had set about looting everything of value and destroying anything that failed to conform to its […]

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Sir David Attenborough sounds fresh call to save plant life with BBC production ‘The Green Planet’ TV series

BOGOTA: Towering more than 250 feet above the forest floor, the sequoia trees of California are the biggest living things on the planet. First published by Arab News. It is while standing at the foot of one of these 3,000-year-old giants that English broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough opens his new series, “The […]

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Iraqi farmers feel the heat of extreme climate events

MOSUL / BOGOTA: Caked in the fine yellow dust kicked up by his tractor-drawn planter, Farman Noori Latif jumps down to survey his work. He has spent the morning sowing wheat seed on his farm near the banks of the Tigris River, just south of Mosul in northern Iraq. It is late in the season to […]

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Iraq’s young voters ponder how to effect meaningful change

BAGHDAD, Iraq / BOGOTA, Colombia: Eighteen years since the US-led invasion of Iraq toppled the Baathist dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, a whole generation has come of age knowing only the system of parliamentary democracy built in its place. But as election day unfolds today, many young Iraqis still feel alienated from the political process and skeptical […]

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A Mosul book cafe raises political awareness in the run-up to Iraq elections

MOSUL, Iraq/BOGOTA, Colombia: Taking a seat at the top table in Mosul’s Book Forum cafe one evening in September, political blogger Saad Amer introduced his two guest speakers, both independent candidates running in Iraq’s Oct. 10 parliamentary elections. This was the fifth such event organized by the Khutwa Club, a debating society that meets regularly at […]

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Soaring drug addiction blights lives in Iraq’s war-shattered Ramadi

RAMADI, IRAQ / BOGOTA, COLOMBIA: Ramadi was liberated by Iraqi security forces in the closing days of 2015 after several months under Daesh control. Since then, the people of this war-shattered provincial capital 110km west of Baghdad have struggled to rebuild their lives in the face of severe economic hardship. After decades of war, occupation and […]

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Iraq’s protest leaders forced into hiding by pro-Iran militia death threats

IRBIL/BOGOTA: Mustafa Makki Karim, 24, fled Baghdad for the relative safety of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region last year following a spate of death threats by pro-Iran groups for his role in the protest movement that erupted against government corruption and incompetence in October 2019. During the unrest that followed, the young activist earned the moniker […]

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