Iraq

After seven years, the British have released the findings of inquiry into the Iraq War.

NPR's Lauren Frayer says that the 6,000-page report, the result of an investigation led by retired civil servant John Chilcot, found that Britain rushed to war before all peaceful means were exhausted. Lauren filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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Ahmed Saad/Reuters

Baghdad is no stranger to violence, but a bombing on Sunday stunned the Iraqi capital.

“They’re still digging out the bodies,” says reporter Jane Arraf. “They don’t know exactly who died or how many died.”

The death toll is officially at least 150, but many people are still unaccounted for. Most are women and children.

“This was different,” says Arraf, “because of the scale; because of the fact that they struck during the holy month of Ramadan, and because of the victims. The victims included entire families.”

Updated 4:30 a.m. ET with new death toll

A bomb struck a busy street in Iraq's capital Baghdad, killing at least 142 people.

Btoo Allami (left) and Nayyef Hrebid (right) met in 2004, during the seige of Ramadi. Hrebid was a translator with the U.S. Marines, and Allami was an Iraqi soldier. "I saw him," says Hrebid, 'and I was like, oh my God, he is so handsome. He is perfect.'
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

This is a story about love and war; love lost and love found again.

In 2004, Nayyef Hrebid was an interpreter for the U.S. Marines in Iraq, and Btoo Allami was a soldier with the Iraqi Army.

Ramadi General Hospital had been taken over by insurgents, and Hrebid and Allami were part of a mission to reclaim the hospital. It was a dangerous mission, in a dangerous city, at a dangerous time in the war. 

In Kurdistan today, every fighter knows the name Qasim Shesho. He's been fighting with the Kurdish peshmerga forces in northern Iraq since the 1970s.

Shesho is a Yazidi — an ethnic and religious minority in Iraq — and the protagonist in a tale that could have come from literature, or Hollywood, or the Bible. It is a universal story, about a vastly outnumbered group of men defending sacred ground against an onslaught.

Barzan is a young Yazidi man, with sad blue eyes. His mother, five of his sisters and his niece are being held by the so-called Islamic State, taken when the extremist group swept through the Sinjar area of northern Iraq in August.

They are seven of some 5,000 Yazidis still being held by the extremist Sunni group. The Iraqi women are enslaved and sold for sex.

His sixth sister is home with him now. She is just 15 and she was raped. To protect her identity we're only using Barzan's first name.

In June, KUOW Speakers Forum featured an event titled, “Exposing the Truth of U.S. Torture,” during which Brigadier General David R. Irvine lambasted U.S. torture practices abroad.

“If these kinds of practices were used by another nation on American serviceman, who were captives, who were prisoners of war, we as a nation would not tolerate it,” he said.

When the Islamic State took over large parts of northern Iraq this summer, including the areas where the minority Yazidi community lives, the U.S. carried out air strikes and halted the advance of the extremists.

Still, thousands of Yazidi women and girls have gone missing over the past few months and there are now reports they are being sold by the Islamic State as sex slaves.

Flickr Photo/Valerie (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Vaughn Palmer, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, about shrinking polar bears, Canadian troops being sent to the Middle East, and muskrat love.

Wikipedia Photo/Larry D. Moore

Ross Reynolds speaks with George Packer, reporter for The New Yorker perhaps best known for his 2005 book on the Iraq war, "The Assassins Gate." Packer talks about why the Iraqi army crumpled before ISIS and the dangers facing Iraqis who have aided the U.S. Despite their perilous situation, the U.S. government has been slow in issuing visas allowing them to come to the U.S.  

Flickr Photo/The White House (Pete Souza) (CC)

Marcie Sillman speaks with U.S. Representatives Jim McDermott and Denny Heck about their response to President Obama's strategy in Iraq and Syria against the terrorist group ISIS.

Flickr Photo/The Prime Minister's Office (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Vaughn Palmer, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's efforts to convince skeptical politicians to help fight against the terrorist organization Islamic State.

In addition, they touch on Scottish independence and what it might mean for Quebec.

Flickr Photo/Miller Center (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Kenneth Pollack, senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, about President Obama's remarks on Iraq Thursday morning.

Marcie Sillman talks with Majid al-Bahadli, a Seattleite who fled Iraq after the first Gulf War. He is among a group of Iraqi-Americans who organized a rally Monday to protest the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's escalation of violence.

President Obama has informed Congress that 275 U.S. Armed Forces personnel will go to Iraq to provide security for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, as a militant Sunni group continues its offensive in the country, seizing control of the northern town of Tal Afar.

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