Thought for the day

"All vets are mentally ill in some way and government should prevent them from owning firearms." -- Diane Feinstein 

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On a visit to Tehran, Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani gave the  Iranian government an outline of the security plan agreed between Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, in a bid to prevent an Iranian ground incursion against Kurdish groups operating in northern Iraq.

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The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on 26 November that large reinforcements of US military troops and equipment made their way into northern and eastern Syria, coming in from the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) through the illegal Al-Waleed border crossing.

“These reinforcements consist of about 100 trucks, which crossed the city of Qamishli and headed towards US bases in Tal Baidar and Qasrak, south of Hasakah,” the SOHR said.

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The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) ground force, General Muhammad Pakpour, announced on 25 November that troops will be sent to the country’s Kurdish border regions in order to prevent “the infiltration of terrorists” from the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR).

“Some armored units and special forces of the [IRGC] ground forces are currently heading to the border provinces in the west and northwest of the country,” Pakpour said.

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Iran told the UN on Thursday that it had no choice but to act in self-defence by striking Kurdish rebel groups in northern Iraq, state media reported.

The Islamic republic has launched a series of cross-border missile and drone strikes on Iranian-Kurdish opposition groups, based in Iraq, which it blames for stoking protests back home over the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.

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The White House said Tuesday that Turkey has the “right to defend themselves” from Kurdish militant groups in northern Syria and Iraq following massive Turkish airstrikes in the region.

“Turkey does continue to suffer a legitimate terrorist threat, particularly to their south. They certainly have every right to defend themselves and their citizens,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Turkey carried out dozens of airstrikes in northern Syria and Iraq on Sunday against Kurdish groups it blamed for a recent deadly bombing in Istanbul.

Ankara blamed the Kurdish militant group PKK for the Istanbul bombing, which killed six people and wounded at least 81. For their part, the PKK and its affiliates have denied any role in the attack.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Monday renewed its attacks on Iranian-Kurdish targets inside Iraq's Kurdistan region with missiles and drones, killing two Kurdish fighters in the town of Koya, a local official told Middle East Eye.

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Election integrity was paramount on Jan. 30, 2005, when Iraq held its first free election in years to choose an entirely new National Assembly. Retired Marine Reserve Colonel Frank Ryan, today a Republican state representative in the Pennsylvania House, had been called out of retirement and was responsible for pulling together election security with the interim Iraqi government.

Truck convoys heading into Syria from Iraq are not uncommon: Iran sends fuel convoys to Lebanon and Syria a couple of times per month. On Tuesday night, one such convoy was hammered by Israeli airstrikes.