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Kobane: How we failed the Kurds

The men at the Can Diyarbakir ticket desk in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, eyed the lapel of my filthy white shirt with a mix of admiration and concern. “We appreciate it very much,” said one, indicating the Kurdish

Barbarians at the Gates: A Postcard from Erbil

The car bomb sounded like a car backfiring. I heard it, dismissed it, and went back to sleep. It was only a few hours later, as I sat at the window of Erbil’s Hotel Merci, looking out over a two-story

Jihadists are not the new Orwells

A few weeks back, in a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, the US-led campaign against Islamic State was compared to the Spanish Civil War. This seemed appropriate enough. When I was in Iraq two months ago, I thought a

“You can see the black flags from here”: Visiting the Peshmerga-IS frontline

The approach to Gwer, on the Peshmerga-IS frontline, was proving just how green a correspondent I was. Each no-name village between Erbil and the front had me asking: “Is this it?” None was. Each looked and felt as I assumed

In Kurdistan, IS threat, ethnic tensions spark vigilantism

At nine o’clock tonight, Goran Ahmad will pick up his 1983 Cuban AKM, kiss his wife of two days on the cheek, and take to the streets of Dibis, in Iraqi Kurdistan’s multi-ethnic Kirkuk province, until first light. He will

“There will be no Christians in Iraq in ten years”

For ten long days, Ghazala Elyas lived under the self-proclaimed caliphate of the group that calls itself the Islamic State. Mrs Elyas, 80, is in remission for cancer, but remains bed-ridden for a host of other conditions, including diabetes. She