FROM Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Destroying Mosul in order to save it The Islamic State is mostly gone from the ancient city of Mosul after what some veterans call "the toughest urban warfare since World War II." Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has declared victory, but half his second largest city is in ruins. Thousands are dead; more than 700,000 are refugees. Nobody thinks peace is at hand — while ISIS still holds the Syrian city of Raqqa and fosters violence in other places, too. Will the US and other western countries help rebuild Mosul — while Kurds, Turks and other factions struggle for power?
ISIS: Is the Caliphate Cracking? Iraq's Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi is due at the White House on Tuesday, and it's all about the war against ISIS, the so-called Islamic State. Last year, ISIS looked like the world's most dangerous terrorist group — intent on restoring the Caliphate that once ruled all Muslims. Unique for extreme brutality and brilliant Internet propaganda, ISIS forced the US and Iran into an unlikely coalition against it. Now, ISIS is losing captured territory, its sources of money and even competent soldiers. There are signs of internal dissention. But even if it's in partial retreat, it's a likely threat in the Middle East — and to western interests — for years to come.
Iran Takes the Lead… in Iraq Iraqi forces are making headway in efforts to re-take Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit from ISIS. The major city of Mosul could be next. Iran is very much part of the action — with advisors to Shiite militias in Iraq's Sunni heartland — which could lead to bloody internal conflicts. There are predictions that Iraq may end up even more divided. Meantime, it's reported that ISIS is destroying ancient monuments and priceless artifacts. But American forces are nowhere to be seen . Is it too late for the US to make any difference?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.