North Korea calls latest UN sanctions an act of war

According to North Korea’s foreign ministry, the latest round of UN sanctions are “an act of war,” and threatened to punish those who supported the measure. The UN Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Friday due to its recent ICBM test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil along with its earnings from workers abroad.

The new resolution seeks to ban nearly 90% of refined petroleum exports by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year and demands the “repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within 24 months”. The US-drafted resolution also caps crude oil supplies to North Korea at 4 million barrels a year and commits the Council to further reductions if the North conducts another ICBM/nuclear test.

In a statement, North Korea’s foreign ministry said the US is “terrified” by its nuclear force and was getting “more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country”.

Former Sanders campaign director running for congress in Iowa

Pete D’alessandro, who is Bernie Sanders former campaign director in Iowa, is now running for congress. Pete is Running for Iowas 3rd congressional district campaigning for; $15 minimum wage, Expand Medicare-for-all, tuition free college, lead on addressing the global climate crisis. He’s been endorsed by his local Our Revolution chapter & also the national group, Nurses United.

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Four Iraqi citizens compensated for their illegal detention & torture

Four Iraqi citizens have been given thousands of pounds in compensation for their “illegal detention and for torture by the British military” during the Iraq war. Now, these four cases set the tone for 600 other claims being brought against the British Ministry of Defense. (MoD).

Earlier this morning, a judge in London compensated the four Iraqi citizens, with one set to pocket more than £30,000 ($40.2K), after he was “deprived of sleep, sight, and sound” whilst in captivity. Justice Leggatt ruled that the four Iraqi men were “entitled to compensation under the Human Rights Act”.

Now, there’s just under 600 unresolved claims, known as the Iraqi Civilian Litigation, in which “unlawful imprisonment and ill-treatment” by British army personnel is alleged. “This judgment follows the first full trials of these claims in which the claimants themselves and other witnesses have testified in an English courtroom,” Leggatt said.

“Four cases have been tried as lead cases. There is no assumption that these four cases are representative of others, but the conclusions reached on the legal issues and some of the factual issues raised are likely to affect many of the remaining cases in the litigation. The decision sends a clear message that no-one, including the British Government, should be above the law”.

Kurdistan offers joint border to Iraq

The Kurdistan Region in Iraq offered to work with Baghdad to carry out a joint deployment of Kurdish and Iraqi forces to a strategic border crossing with Turkey.

Observers from the United States-led coalition against Daesh (IS), or Operation Inherent Resolve, were invited to participate.

The offer was extended “as a goodwill gesture and trust-building exercise that ensures a limited and temporary arrangement until an agreement is reached in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution”, read a statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s department of defence.

A halt in Iraqi advances has been in effect since Friday on orders from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Iraqi forces began an offensive against disputed Kurdish-controlled territories such as the city of Kirkuk and its surrounding oil fields.

Baghdad has also made attempts to take over international border crossings and in the past demanded international airports be handed over.

The advances came after Kurdish President Mosoud Barzani held an independence referendum for the semi-autonomous region on Sept 25, a vote the Iraqi government considers illegal.

The US-led coalition has worked closely with both the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Iraqi special forces in pushing so-called Islamic State out of Iraq.

When Daesh captured swathes of land across northern Syria and northwestern Iraq in 2014, many of the US-trained and equipped Iraqi forces fled their positions.

The Kurdish Peshmerga protected key infrastructure and launched the first pushes against Daesh.

A long campaign that started in October of 2016 for the capture of Mosul from the militants ended this past summer with government forces taking control once again.

More details to follow. Image 1 of Kurdish military from The Michigan Review. 

US senator calls for strategy to support Kurds

The United States Senator Marco Rubio criticized President Donald Trump’s administration for not having a strategy to support the Iraqi Kurds. 

Mr. Rubio, a member of Republican Party representing Florida, told Kurdistan 24 news agency on Monday that he wanted to know Washington’s plan in regards to the conflict brewing between the Iraqi government and the largely autonomous Kurdistan Region.

“I think Iran, working through these [Shia] militias, has achieved its objective, which is to divide the Kurds and grow in influence and power at the expense of America and our allies,” Rubio told K24.

“I think it’s important that we have a strategy that shows our continued commitment to the Kurdish people.”

The Kurdish military wing, known as the Peshmerga, have been instrumental in the fight against Daesh (IS) militants in Iraq. Their forces participated in the Mosul offensive that started in October of 2016, and has pushed militants out of northwest areas.

When so-called Islamic State took large swathes of territory in 2014 across northern Syria and northwest and western Iraq, Kurdish forces held on to key positions, including oil fields around Kirkuk , while US-armed and trained Iraqi troops fled many posts.

Marco Rubio is a top Republican senator, sitting on both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence.

He aligns with Mr. Trump with being against the nuclear non-proliferation deal with Iran signed under former US President Barack Obama’s administration.

The multilateral bargain allows for sanctions to be gradually lifted off Iran if they follow through on their agreement not to work towards nuclear weapon technology.

Critics like Rubio see this as a way for Iran to continue alleged state-funded militants, with the senator describing the country’s government as “the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.”

Rubio explained that Kurdish Regional Government President Masoud Barzani to seeking another turn at the helm of the Iraqi Kurdish leadership was a result of the Iranian mission to “divide the Kurds against each other.”

The senator told K24 that the Iranians look “to drive us out and become more powerful at our expense, and this is part of their strategy.”

Barzani, and the majority Kurdistan Democratic Party held an independence referendum on Sept 25 of this year that gave an overwhelming mandate for the Kurdistan Region to separate from the central government in Baghdad.

However, the Iraqi leadership deemed the referendum and its results illegal and started a military offensive against Kurdish disputed positions in territory owned by Baghdad last month.

The United States, which has supported both Iraqi and Kurdish forces against Daesh, has called for calm on both sides. The US warned the Kurds against a referendum previously, saying it would disrupt the fight against Daesh militants.

The KRG is not the only Kurds US-led coalitions have worked with against Daesh.

In Syria, the Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces are the most effective fighting force against so-called Islamic State, having just recently re-captured the militant’s de facto capital of Raqqa on Oct 17.

The SDF is supported by the US-led coalition in Syria against Daesh.

More details to follow. Syndicated from The GH Post. With files from Kurdistan 24. Image 1 of Marco Rubio at a Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb 27, 2015 from Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons.


Kurds report Iraqi assault

The Iraqi military launched an offensive against Kurdish forces near the Turkish border on Thursday, according to the Kurdistan defense organization. 

At 6 am local time, Iraqis and Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces started firing on Peshmerga positions from the Zummar front, north west of Mosul, tweeted the Kurdistan Region Security Council.

The KRSC warned of an “unconstitutional” Iraqi military build up for six days in a released statement earlier on Thursday.


The Kurdistan Region on Oct 23 warned of the military buildup and recently offered to annul the results of the independence referendum to avoid war with Bagdad.

More details to follow. Image 1 of Kurdish fighters from Think Progress.

Kurds warn of Iraqi troop surge

The Kurdish leadership of northern Iraq has accused the Iraqi federal government of deploying a large amount of troops and military hardware along the border of the semi-autonomous region.

In a statement made by the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), “In the last 48 hours, Iraq has continued to deploy tanks and artillery, as well as American equipment, including Humvees and Armored Personnel Carriers,”.

The KRSC has called these deployments of Iraqi troops and allied militias “dangerous”.

The statement also said that Iraq has shown no intentions to de-escalate violence against the people of the Kurdistan region. This comes after the Iraqi military invaded and seized the province of Kirkuk after intense fighting with Kurdish Peshmerga troops.

The Iraqi army had seized control of Kirkuk previously during a Kurdish independence referendum on September the 25th, which was met with much controversy.

The statement went on to add that Iraq must cease all military aggression and withdraw from any and all seized territories, as well as commit itself to unconditional dialogue to settle disputes via peaceful means.

It seems unlikely, however, that the Iraqi government will stop the aggression against Kurdistan as just on Friday, October 20, Iraqi troops as well as a Shiite militia backed by Iran, launched an offensive against the town of Altun Kopri with intense fighting.

More on the siege of Altun Kopri

More details to follow. Image of Iraqi troops during an exercise from ABC News.