Stories written by Mohammed A. Salih

Iraqi Kurds Seek Greater Balance between Ankara and Baghdad

After a period of frostiness, Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Turkey seem intent on mending ties, as each of the parties show signs of needing the other.

Trouble Brewing in Kurdish-Controlled Kirkuk

The Kurdish flag is flying high in the wind from the rooftop of an old brick house inside Kirkuk’s millennia-old citadel, as Rashid – a stern-looking man sitting behind a machine gun – monitors the surroundings.

Syrian Kurds Agree to Side with Opposition in Geneva Talks

Despite an atmosphere of deep mutual distrust, two major rival Syrian Kurdish bodies have agreed to attend an expected international conference on the fate of Syria, known as Geneva II, on the side of the Syrian opposition forces, Syrian Kurdish sources told IPS.

Is Iraq’s Ultimate Survivor the Indispensable President?

While the question of who will become Iraq's future prime minister is still uncertain, when it comes to the presidency, incumbent Jalal Talabani stands the best chance of retaining the office.

SOMALIA: U.S. Should Accept Islamist Authority, Report Says

The United States should accept an "Islamist authority" in Somalia as part of a "constructive disengagement" strategy for the war-torn country, according to a new report released here by the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on Wednesday.

IRAQ: Are Kurds’ Days of Kingmaking Over?

In the run-up to Iraq's parliamentary elections next week, the once-united Kurds are not only suffering deep fissures but are expected to lose their privileged kingmaker position after the polls.

Ad Melkert Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Q&A: UN Chief in Iraq Cautiously Optimistic About Elections

The improving security situation in Iraq in the recent years has meant more space for the United Nations to play an active role in the country's development in various sectors.

RIGHTS: Mideast and North Africa Cited for Press Abuses

A report by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on press freedom around the world in 2009 depicts an especially gloomy situation in the Middle East and North Africa, where authorities continue to use repressive measures to muzzle journalists.

POLITICS: Iran and U.S. Moving in Circles?

The recent expansion of U.S. missile defence systems in the Persian Gulf just days after President Barack Obama warned Iran of "growing consequences" if it did not accept the West's conditions over its nuclear programme signals a possible change of approach by Washington even as uncertainty still prevails how it will deal with Iran eventually.

IRAQ: Will Elections Bring Stability, or More Turmoil?

Iraq's upcoming parliamentary elections are widely considered a barometre of the country's progress and march toward stability, but they could also have a serious destabilising impact, as the U.S. prepares for a major reduction of its troops by August.

IRAQ: Chance of a Breakthrough With the Kurds?

A recent meeting between Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Kurdish President Massoud Barzani appears to be a crucial step in lowering tensions in the country, but it has also prompted questions as to whether the two leaders can put an end to their differences.

US-IRAQ: Al-Maliki Dons Mantle of Seasoned Statesman

His visit to the U.S. this week was meant to be a show of statesmanship, much different than when he was in Washington last time.

US-IRAQ: Kurds Caught Up in Biden’s Diplomatic Offensive

The indefinite postponement of a referendum on Iraqi Kurdistan's controversial draft constitution just days after a visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has given rise to speculation that Washington may have played a role in the delay.

IRAQ: Is Another Conflict Inevitable?

Relations between Iraq's various Kurdish, Arab and Turkoman ethnicities are going through a new round of complications since a provision in the draft constitution of the country's northern Kurdistan region declared a range of disputed areas part of the historical Kurdish homeland, infuriating non-Kurds in the country.

US-IRAQ: Fate of Withdrawal Pact to be Decided at the Polls

As Iraqis witness a spike in violence after a months-long relative lull, the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has decided to put its security agreement with the U.S. to a public referendum, although the move appears to be only heightening a sense of uncertainty over the fate of the country.

IRAQ: Stumbling From One Conflict to Another?

When U.S. President Barack Obama announced his plan last week to pull out all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by September 2010, the news did not generate much enthusiasm among Iraqi Kurds.