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    Iraq Tag

    In a time when the country is consumed by election news, left-wing riots, and the continuing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it is easy to forget that there are so many other important things happening in the world around us. On Friday, President Trump awarded Sgt. Major Thomas Payne with the Medal of Honor for his role in a daring mission to successfully rescue 75 hostages from ISIS.

    Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, is the architect of Iran's war on the West and Israel, including through Lebanon's Hezbollah terrorist group. There was an airstrike on a convoy of vehicles at Baghdad airport, and reportedly Soleimani was killed along with the leader of the Iraqi militia aligned with Iran.

    I know the news tends to be slow at the end of the year, but this is ridiculous. CNN reported that troops may have violated Department of Defense guidelines when they asked President Donald Trump to sign their Make America Great Again hats. Or maybe the troops just wanted to get their commander-in-chief's autograph and who knows when they'd have another opportunity to get it?

    I shed a few tears after reading this article. People in Mosul, Iraq, had to endure hell for three years under Sharia law was set in place by the Islamic State (ISIS). This meant women covered head to toe in black while men had to grow long beards. Without the terrorist group around, men and women have now dashed to salons for makeovers, plastic surgery, and dental treatments.

    Two Iraqi officials announced that an operation between U.S. and Iraqi forces led to the capture of five top ISIS members. From The New York Times:
    The three-month operation, which tracked a group of senior Islamic State leaders who had been hiding in Syria and Turkey, represents a significant intelligence victory for the American-led coalition fighting the extremist group and underscores the strengthening relationship between Washington and Baghdad.

    Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has declared that the country has fully liberated itself from the Islamic State (ISIS). The defeat of ISIS comes after three years of battles since the terrorist group leaked into Iraq and captured Mosul, the country's second largest city, and other key cities along the border of Syria.

    A 7.3 magnitude earthquake shook the border of Iran and Iraq over the weekend and the death roll has risen to 348 people. From Reuters:
    State television said more than 348 people were killed in Iran and at least 6,600 were injured. Local officials said the death toll would rise as search and rescue teams reached remote areas of Iran.

    In a deliberate show of anti-Israel sentiment, a Palestinian city has erected a statue of Saddam Hussein bearing the words:  "Arab Palestine From River To Sea."  This was Hussein's rallying call for the destruction of Israel. The Times of Israel reports:
    The Palestinian city of Qalqilya has named a street after Saddam Hussein and erected a memorial with his likeness, an NGO monitoring Arabic media reported.

    Kirkuk, Iraq has become a centerpiece in the Iraqi government's rejection of the overwhelmingly successful Kurdish Independence Referendum. Monday, Iraq took control of Kirkuk, which has been under Kurdish control since they took it from ISIS in 2014 as Iraqi forces fled.  It is surprising that the Kurds did not stand and fight for the hard-won Kirkuk, but it's not yet clear this was the case as there have been reports of gunfire and "clashes" in the city.  The resistance by Kurdish forces appears to have been somewhat minimal. The BBC reports:
    The Iraqi military moved into Kirkuk three weeks after the Kurdistan Region held a controversial independence referendum.