The United States is pushing ahead with a weapons deal with Iraq despite the near breakdown of the coalition government in the country. The deal, thought to be worth nearly $11bn, includes advanced fighter jets and tanks. But the timing raises concerns that it will only strengthen the position of Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, at the expense of his political rivals, and increase sectarian tensions
The Obama administration is moving ahead with the sale of nearly $11 billion worth of arms and training for the Iraqi military despite concerns that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is seeking to consolidate authority, create a one-party Shiite-dominated state and abandon the American-backed power-sharing government.
Less than 24 hours after the US military withdrew the last of its occupation forces from Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered an arrest warrant for Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi on terrorism charges. Maliki, a Shia, levelled the charges against the highest ranking Sunni in the government - a move that threatens to drag the country back into sectarian bloodshed such as what occurred in 2006-2007 and led to tens of thousands of Iraqis being killed.
A suicide attack killed five people at the interior ministry in Baghdad as a key political bloc called for early elections in a worsening standoff that has stoked sectarian tensions. The blast, which left dozens wounded on Monday, came just days after the capital was struck by its deadliest violence in more than four months.
As Iraq erupted in recent days, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was in constant phone contact with the leaders of the country s dueling sects. He called the Shiite prime minister and the Sunni speaker of the Parliament on Tuesday, and the Kurdish leader on Thursday, urging them to try to resolve the political crisis.
Iraq's Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi has said Iraq's government was behind Thursday's series of bombings that killed nearly 70 people in Baghdad. The attack could not have happened on such a scale without government help, he told BBC Persian television.
Moving to consolidate his control over a country rocked by a political crisis and recent bombings, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki vowed Saturday to block any efforts by the provinces to break away as independent states. If the provinces tried to set up their own security policies or establish relations with other countries, Maliki said in a nationally televised speech from his headquarters, 'What s the reason for a having a ruler in Baghdad?'
Iraq s Sunni vice president, wanted for allegedly running an assassination squad, has accused Nouri al-Maliki, the country's Shia prime minister, of waging a campaign against Sunnis and pushing the country toward sectarian war.
A political crisis is unfolding in Iraq as bombs slam Baghdad. Is the U.S. leaving a stable and independent country even as more than ten bombs went off around the Iraqi capital during rush hour Thursday morning? According to sources in the police, there are at least 63 people are killed and 194 wounded in the concerted bombing attacks. Helicopters buzzed over the city, and ambulances rushed to to take care of the wounded after the worst attack in Iraq for over four months.
Iraq's Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi has said Prime Minister Nouri Maliki is to blame for a sudden surge of violence in the country. Dozens of people were killed in a string of blasts across the capital, Baghdad, on Thursday. Mr Hashemi, who is subject to an arrest warrant on terror charges, said that Mr Maliki should be focusing on security not "chasing patriotic politicians".
A wave of coordinated explosions ripped across Baghdad early on Thursday, killing at least 63 people, wounding more than 180 and jolting a country already unsettled by a deepening political crisis and the absence of American troops.
Dozens of people have been killed and many more wounded in a series of blasts in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. At least 63 people died and 176 people were wounded in 12 bombings across the capital on Thursday morning, health ministry sources told Al Jazeera. Two more bombs exploded in Baghdad late in the evening claiming two more lives, according to the Reuters news agency.
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq threatened on Wednesday to abandon an American-backed power sharing government created a year ago, throwing the country s fragile democracy into further turmoil just days after the departure of American troops.
The White House said Mr Biden had expressed his concerns in a phone call to Shia Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. It comes after an arrest warrant was issued for Iraq's Sunni Vice-President, Tariq al-Hashemi, on terror charges. That sparked fears that Iraq's fragile year-old unity government could fall apart, shortly after the last US soldiers left the country.
Iraq's Sunni Vice-President, Tariq al-Hashemi, has denied any wrongdoing, a day after a warrant was issued for his arrest on terrorism-related charges. Mr Hashemi described as "fabricated" the accusation he was linked to attacks on government and security officials.
On 19 November 2005 a US marine squad was struck by a roadside bomb in Haditha, in Iraq's Anbar province, killing one soldier and seriously injuring two others. According to civilians they then went on the rampage, slaughtering 24 people. They included a 76-year-old man in a wheelchair and a three-year-old child. It was a massacre. "I think they were just blinded by hate - and they just lost control," said James Crossan, one of the injured marines.
Wars never end. Troops pack up and leave. But the ghosts of war soldier on. They are too many in Iraq to exorcise with a mere declaration terminating the war. The Iraq war that began in 2003 has many closets that neither the Americans nor the Iraqis can easily close - much less walk away from - without facing up to the ethical questions of a war that Obama deemed "dumb". It would be more accurate to describe it as "illegal" and "wrong".
Baghdad, Iraq - The last US troops withdrew from Iraq this morning, but the story has barely merited a mention on Iraqi television; local media are instead focused on a deepening political crisis, which includes - among other issues - an arrest warrant for the vice-president.
The US has officially declared the war in Iraq to be over with a flag-casing ceremony in Baghdad. President Barack Obama said that America was leaving behind a "sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq." German commentators ask if the conflict, which lasted almost nine years, was worth the toll.
Four people killed and six wounded, three of them judges, when unknown gunmen attacked a minibus carrying justice ministry officials in Fallujah. A police colonel in Mosul shot dead outside his house; two officials from the interior ministry in Baghdad assassinated by gunmen in the dead of night. And a suicide bombing near a police patrol in the capital s Saadoun district, killing one officer and wounding five other people.
The flag of American forces in Iraq has been lowered in Baghdad, bringing nearly nine years of US military operations in Iraq to a formal end. The US Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, told troops the mission had been worth the cost in blood and dollars. He said the years of war in Iraq had yielded to an era of opportunity in which the US was a committed partner.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met with US business leaders on Tuesday, the second day of his visit to Washington DC. He told them that instead of military generals leading the way in Baghdad's future, it would be business owners and captains of industry like them. Maliki wants US companies to set up shop in Iraq.
Thousands of people in the Iraqi city of Fallujah have taken to the streets to celebrate the impending withdrawal of US troops from the country. Demonstrators rallied across the city on Wednesday, shouting slogans in support of the "resistance", a reference to the campaign by Iraqi fighters in Fallujah that was a bastion of opposition against the US-led invasion.
When U.S. military forces finish their withdrawal from Iraq at the end of December, thousands of Americans will remain in the country carrying out a diplomatic mission aimed in part at curbing the influence of Iran on its neighbor. "Cumulatively looking at both the Iranian interests and the Iranian influenced groups, the threat which they pose to this installation and to the U.S. interest in Iraq is clear," said Consul General Piper Campbell.
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has moved swiftly to consolidate power in advance of the American military withdrawal, offering a glimpse of how Iraq's post-American identity may take shape, by rounding up hundreds of former Baath Party members and evicting Western companies from the heavily fortified Green Zone.
With the US troop withdrawal from Iraq entering its final days, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss the next phase of the relationship between their countries.
President Barack Obama says the US and Iraq will enjoy a "normal relationship between sovereign nations" after US troops leave at the end of 2011. He met Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki in Washington for talks on Iraq's future as American troops prepare to complete their withdrawal. They laid wreaths at a military cemetery where many of the almost 4,500 Americans killed in Iraq are buried.
A suicide bombing in the Iraqi capital's Green Zone earlier this week may have been an attempt to kill Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki or some other senior political leader, officials say. Two parliamentary guards were killed in Monday's blast, which officials initially said was caused by a mortar round. Two other people, including the parliamentary speaker, were injured.
A car bomb has exploded in a market in the Iraqi town of Khalis, north of Baghdad, killing at least 10 people, security officials say. At least 20 others were injured in the attack in the town, about 80km (50 miles) north of the capital.
A suicide bomber has crashed a car packed with explosives into the gate of a prison north of Baghdad, killing at least 11 people, Iraqi officials have said. The bombing in the town of Taji, about 12 miles north of the capital, is the third major attack in a week in Iraq and raises questions about the ability of the security forces to protect the country after US troops leave in just over a month.
Iraq has agreed a final $17bn ( 11bn) deal over 25 years with Royal Dutch Shell and Mitsubishi to capture flared gas at southern oilfields. It is one of the largest Iraq has signed with foreign energy firms, and should boost production of electricity. Gas will be gathered from three major oil fields in Basra province that is currently wasted due to a lack of infrastructure.
A series of explosions in and around the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Saturday has killed at least 15 people and wounded more than 20, officials say. Three bombs exploded in the commercial Bab al-Sharqi district of central Baghdad, killing eight people. Another two explosions hit a truck carrying construction workers on the road between Baghdad and Falluja. Violence in Iraq has fallen in recent years, but militants still carry out regular attacks.
A string of bombings in a southern oil city killed 19 people Thursday evening and injured dozens more, a grim sign of the security challenges Iraq will face after American troops go home.
Iran influenced Baghdad's decision to refuse to allow the US to keep troops in Iraq beyond the end of this year, a senior adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has told the BBC. Under the current agreement, the US must withdraw all its remaining forces from Iraq by 31 December. The admission will fuel speculation about Iran's growing influence in Iraq, as US forces leave
Britain has waded into a growing row between the Iraqi and Kurdish governments over the award of controversial contracts to ExxonMobil which could undermine Vallares, the new oil venture of ex-BP boss Tony Hayward.
Three bomb blasts tore through a major wholesale market in Baghdad on Sunday afternoon, killing 10 people, according to police and medical personnel. The bombings came as shoppers were crowding the Shurja market on the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.
Iran's presence is already visible in Iraq, from the droves of pilgrims at Shiite holy sites to the brands of yoghurt and jams on grocery shelves. But now Iraqis are bracing for a potential escalation of Persian influence as the U.S. military leaves at the end of the year.
As the United States prepares to withdraw its troops from Iraq by year's end, senior American and Iraqi officials are expressing growing concern that Al Qaeda's offshoot here, which just a few years ago waged a debilitating insurgency that plunged the country into a civil war, is poised for a deadly resurgence.
On a recent day off, Hussam Saad stood at a roadside vegetable stand across the highway from the prison where he says he works. "I can still remember guarding the prison at night, and hearing the voices and the shouting while people were being tortured," said Mr. Saad, recalling the time when the Americans were in charge at Abu Ghraib. Even so, he claims, it is worse there now.
The Obama administration plans to bolster the American military presence in the Persian Gulf after it withdraws the remaining troops from Iraq this year, according to officials and diplomats. That repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran.
A federal audit has finally accounted for nearly $6.6 billion in Iraqi reconstruction money that seemed to have disappeared after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, ending a mystery that highlighted the chaos of the early days of the U.S. occupation.
Two deadly explosions in Baghdad have caused mass casualties, according to police and hospital officials. A medical source told Al Jazeera that at least 12 people had been killed and 45 injured in Thursday's attacks in the northeast of the city.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressed confidence Sunday that Iraq would be able to deal with any threat from Iran-backed militants, even after America completely withdraws its troops this year.
The speaker of Iraq's parliament on Monday accused neighboring nations of meddling in Iraqi affairs and signaled it will only get worse if the country is seen as vulnerable after U.S. troops leave at the end of the year.
President Obama s announcement on Friday that all American troops would leave Iraq by the end of the year was an occasion for celebration for many, but some top American military officials were dismayed by the announcement, seeing it as the president s putting the best face on a breakdown in tortured negotiations with the Iraqis.
President Obama said Friday that the last American soldier would leave Iraq by the end of the year, bringing to an end a nearly nine-year military engagement that cost the lives of 4,400 troops and more than $1 trillion, divided the American public, and came to define America s role in the world.
An Obama administration proposal to keep a few thousand American troops here after the end of the year to train the Iraqi military is being scaled back, as the administration has concluded that the Iraqi Parliament would not give the troops legal protection, two American officials said on Saturday.
Iraq has made the first payment in a deal to buy 18 US F-16 fighter jets worth a total of about $3bn ( 1.9bn), the US state department has said. The planes, which are not expected to be delivered until next year, are to protect the country's air space.
On the eve of what is likely to be a nearly complete withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq, one of the great questions is what Mr. Sadr is going to do. The Mumahidoon is one possible direction.
A familiar group of mainly neo-conservative hawks, many of whom championed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, released an open letter to President Barack Obama Thursday urging him to retain a substantial military force in that Middle East country beyond this year.
Three attacks, all apparently targeting Iraqi security forces, killed at least 17 people and wounded more than 50, officials said. In the deadliest attack on Wednesday, 13 people were killed when a car bomb exploded in front of a restaurant frequented by security officers in the town of Medhatiyah, south of Baghdad, according to Babil province deputy governor Sadiq Rasul al-Mohannah.
A group of 22 Shia pilgrims have been found shot dead in Iraq's western Anbar province, say Iraqi officials. The men had reportedly been travelling by bus to visit a shrine in Syria when they were held up at a checkpoint in a remote desert area.
Insurgents attacked a minibus filled with Iraqi Army soldiers in Anbar Province on Tuesday, killing all nine people aboard in a storm of gunfire, another episode in a wave of violence that has roiled Iraq in recent weeks.
A little over a year ago, Karim, 62, was a neurosurgeon with a thriving practice in suburban Washington, living with his wife in an expansive brick house in Silver Spring. After 35 years in the United States, Karim, an American citizen, decided to return to Iraq after he saw that American forces and an entrenched local bureaucracy were making scant progress toward reconstruction.
Fourteen prisoners charged with "terrorism" escaped from a prison via a tunnel in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, security officials say. Jailbreaks and prison unrest are relatively common in Iraq.
It s not that the Iraqi government has suddenly grown to love private security contractors. It s just, from the perspective of Iraq s politics, at least the hired guns aren t U.S. troops.
A suicide bomber mounted a devastating attack in one of the largest Sunni mosques in Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least 28 people, including a member of Parliament, and wounding dozens more, according to security officials.
For months, they have sat here, half a block from the prime minister s palace in the Green Zone, essentially captives with little food, drinking water or electricity. Humble laborers, they came to Baghdad in January from Eastern Europe and Asia seeking better wages. They had the important sounding assignment of building a dozen villas to house heads of state for the annual meeting of the Arab League, which was scheduled to take place here.
Seven Iraqis have been killed in a Turkish air strike, a part of Ankara's bombing campaign against Kurdish separatist fighters in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish zone, officials said. A rocket from a Turkish plane hit a civilian lorry, killing all seven passengers on Sunday near Qalat Dizah, a town located northeast of the city of Sulaimaniya, Hasan Abdullah, the town mayor, said.
One of the most powerful insurgent groups in Iraq, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, released a statement on Saturday, warning that it had launched a 100-attack campaign to exact revenge for the United States killing of Osama bin Laden.
Monday'sattacks served to unnerve Washington, coming a few months before the United States is scheduled to withdraw its remaining troops. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that she abhorred "the loss of life and the ability of these terrorists to continue to operate inside Iraq," but that Iraq could do more to protect itself.
series of blasts and gunshots ripped across Iraq on Monday, killing at least 70 people and wounding more than 300 in a spasm of bloodshed that raised fresh concerns that the nation's security forces might be overwhelmed by insurgents when American soldiers withdraw later this year.
A chilling series of fatal attacks across Iraq on Monday sent a disheartening message to the Iraqi and American governments: After hundreds of billions of dollars spent since the United States invasion in 2003, and tens of thousands of lives lost, insurgents remain a potent and perhaps resurging threat to Iraqis and the American troops still in the country.
The Iraqi government agreed late Tuesday to start negotiations with U.S. officials on whether to authorize the U.S. military to remain in Iraq on a mission training Iraq's security forces after 2011.
Iraq's political leaders have given the go-ahead for negotiations on allowing some US troops to stay in the country, hours after the US military chief urged Iraq to come to a "quick decision" on the controversial issue. Leaders from Iraq's major parties agreed on Tuesday to allow Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, to negotiate with the United States over whether US troops should stay to train Iraqi forces after the December 31 deadline for their departure.
The narrative of American officialdom here, civilian and military alike, is that United States muscle is used merely in service of supporting Iraq s fledgling democracy. Iraq s leaders and soldiers are the ones responsible, and seek American support only as needed. That may be literally true, but the reaction to a botched weekend raid in a village north of the capital that left three men dead, none the targeted insurgent, laid bare another truth: In Iraq, where grievances run deep, America will still bear the brunt of the blame when things go wrong, even if the facts don t completely align.
The American and Iraqi soldiers came to this village of grape farmers and tribal traditions in the dark in search of a suspected insurgent, and left in the morning sunlight. In the hours between, however, the operation went horribly wrong: the suspect eluded capture, but three men, including a tribal elder, were killed and five people were wounded, among them two young girls.
Prime Minister Nouri Maliki announced Saturday that Iraq plans to buy 36 U.S. fighter jets, signaling his intent to seek a long-term American military training presence in the country. But in an indication of the risks for the American military here, a U.S. watchdog group said that Iraq had become more hazardous.
Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, has secured an agreement to cut 12 ministries from his shaky coalition government following talks with representatives of the country's parliament. Saturday's deal comes amid debate over whether or not a US military contingent will remain in Iraq beyond a year-end deadline for their withdrawal.
Two explosions struck outside a bank in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein s hometown, on Thursday, just as soldiers were lining up to cash their paychecks. The first report on casualties indicated that 12 people died and 28 were wounded, a local official said.
95 Members of Congress signed the letter, calling on the President to keep the previously agreed upon deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, not to extend it or to leave troops in the country indefinitely. The final version of the letter was sent to President Obama on July 27.
Iraqi political leaders were unable to meet a self-imposed deadline this weekend to decide whether to request U.S. troops stay beyond a planned end-of-the-year withdrawal, lawmakers told CNN.
Pro-democracy protests across the Middle East and North Africa have brought women onto the streets in a way they have not been seen before. But in Iraq women say they are being attacked and sexually abused during demonstrations - in a manner that appears to be symptomatic of wider problems in the country
Two car bombs have exploded near a Shia Muslim shrine in Iraq's southern city of Karbala, killing two people at a site where an annual pilgrimage is under way, police say. Police confirmed to Al Jazeera that 11 other people were injured in Friday's attack when two vehicles packed with explosives detonated near a Shia shrine.
Elite units controlled by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's military office are ignoring members of parliament and the government's own directive by operating a clandestine jail in Baghdad's Green Zone where prisoners routinely face torture to extract confessions, Iraqi officials say.
Double blasts from a car bomb and a roadside bombing at a parking lot outside a city council building north of Baghdad killed at least 35 people on Tuesday, Iraqi police and hospital officials said.
The United States remains open to keeping thousands of troops in Iraq beyond the end of the year if asked, but will require Iraqi forces to provide them with greater security, the US envoy to Iraq said Saturday.
Life for many Iraqis today involves navigating a daily maze of traffic jams caused by checkpoints, petrol queues and concrete barriers. In Al Jazeera's special on Iraq, Rawya Rageh reports from Baghdad on the uncertainties that face families living in the war-torn country.
The American military announced on Thursday that three more American soldiers had been killed this week, as the combat-related deaths for United States forces in Iraq reached a monthly toll not seen since 2008.
In less than six months, the nearly 46,000 US troops still deployed in Iraq will leave the country. But for Iraq's Kurds, the scheduled withdrawal is a big concern, as they try to resolve disputes over territory.
Fifteen months after an election that was supposed to lay the groundwork for Iraq s future, the government remains virtually paralyzed by a clash between the country s two most powerful politicians, who refuse to speak to each other