Duhok, Kurdistan Region/Photo by Diyar Shahbaz on Unsplash

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Amid escalating threats to coalition forces in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, Erbil-based analyst Paul Eddon argues in Forbes that the U.S. should deploy "at least one system to Erbil" to bolster its force posture in a strategically critical area and provide reassurance to local partners.

Eddon suggests that failure to do so could invite exploitation from Tehran, as Iran and its proxies may identify Erbil as a vulnerable target for further attacks, thereby risking the safety of both American personnel and local civilians.

This argument comes in the wake of several recent attacks on the Harir airbase in Erbil.
Just in: Iraqi PM tells British Foreign Secretary Gaza conflict might spread further

The Iraqi PM tells British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley in a phone call that he is “concerned about the potential for the [Gaza] conflict to spread to other areas in the region.”

Here is the translated statement from the Iraqi PM’s media office:

Prime Minister Mohammed S. Al-Sudani, received a phone call from the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, Mr. James Cleverly, during which they deliberated on bilateral relations between the two nations, recent regional developments, with a particular focus on the Palestinian issue.

Prime Minister Al-Sudani underscored the crucial role of the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the international community as a whole in putting an end to the violence, aggression, and violations carried out by the Zionist entity against the Palestinian people. He emphasized the necessity of preventing the escalation of conflict and warfare into other areas in the region.

For his part, Mr. Cleverly expressed his appreciation during the call for Iraq's handling of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and Prime Minister Al-Sudani's positions on the regional tensions. Both sides agreed on the importance of pursuing a ceasefire, expediting humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian population in Gaza, and adhering to international law to achieve a lasting and equitable resolution.

As attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria continue, NBC News has reported that more than two dozen U.S. service members have sustained minor injuries due to Iran-backed actions against American positions.

A Politico report, citing a Defense Department official, corroborated these numbers, stating that over 20 American troops stationed in the Middle East have exhibited symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) following recent rocket and drone attacks conducted by Iranian proxies.

"One U.S. official noted a few reports of TBIs as well as some minor injuries among service members," the source added.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq has claimed responsibility for another attack on a military base that houses U.S. forces, this time in the Hasaka province of eastern Syria.

In a statement released on its Telegram channel, the militia said, "The Mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq have targeted the U.S. occupation base al-Shadadi in Hasaka, in Syria with a drone that directly hit its targets."
🔺بيان صادر عن المقاومة الاسلامية في العراق : بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ صدق الله العلي العظيم استهدف مجاهدو المقاومة الإسلامية في العراق، قاعدة "الشدادي" المحتلة في الحسكة السورية، برشقة صاروخية ، أصابت أهدافها بشكل مباشر. المقاومة الإسلامية في العراق الخميس ١٠ - ربيع الآخر -١٤٤٥ هـ
A faction of teachers and staff at Sulaimani University have opposed the university council's decision to end the work boycott next week. They have stated their intention to continue boycotting work and classrooms, unafraid of administrative repercussions.

At a press conference today, the protesting educators and staff asserted their decision was based on "the financial well-being of teachers, employees, and students." They insist they won't resume work until a suitable educational environment is established.

The group has rejected the university council's plan to return to work next week, stating that the council "should have put forth a plan that at least addresses the demands of teachers and employees." However, they added that negotiations would continue.

Furthermore, the protesting teachers strongly criticized the KRG and announced their plans to coordinate with other public sector employees to find solutions to the numerous challenges facing the KRI.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq has claimed responsibility for an attack on Ain al-Asad base, which hosts U.S. forces, in Iraq's western province of Anbar.

In a statement released on its Telegram channel on Thursday, the militia announced, "The Mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq have targeted the U.S. occupation base Ain al-Asad in western Iraq with a drone that directly hit its targets."
🔺بيان صادر عن المقاومة الاسلامية في العراق : بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم ‏﴿ أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ ﴾‏ استهدف مجاهدو المقـاومة الإسـلامية فـي العراق، قـاعـدة الاحتلال الأمريكي "عين الاسد" غرب العراق ، بطائرة مسيرة ، أصابت أهدافها بشكل مباشر. المقاومة الاسلامية في العراق الخميس ١٠ - ربيع الآخر 1445-هـ

Peshmerga General attributes Makhmour clashes to 'foreign interference'

credit: Grab from Rudaw TV
Brigadier Issa Ouzer, a Peshmerga General, told pro-KDP Rudaw TV that the recent conflicts between Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army were instigated by 'foreign interference.' He expressed hope for a swift return to normalcy in the security situation.

"The situation in Mount Karachukh and its adjacent areas has not yet stabilized. We anticipate that it will normalize as soon as possible," said Ouzer.

He reported that 17 Peshmergas were injured in the skirmishes, with two currently in hospitals for treatment. The Iraqi army had two fatalities and eight injuries.

In response to reporters' questions about whether the PKK was behind the tensions, Ouzer stated, "There is considerable evidence [to suggest that], but the primary issue was the lack of coordination [and] the rush to claim those positions, which there was an external element involved."

Regarding the high-level investigation initiated by the Iraqi Prime Minister, Ouzer indicated that the investigation has concluded and they are now awaiting the results.

KDP-affiliated columnist Jamal Abdullah released after two days in detention

credit: Bas News
Abdullah told the Kurdish service of Voice of America that his arrest was court-ordered and stemmed from a case related to his criticisms of a group affiliated with the Gorran (Change) Movement, made in an interview 12 years ago. Abdullah stated that he was treated fairly by both the police and the court in Sulaymaniyah, but he had reservations about the conditions in the prison.

"In terms of services, the prison facility is severely lacking. I shared a space measuring between 24 to 30 square meters with 80 to 100 people. I was forced to sleep on my side for two nights," Abdullah noted.

He was arrested earlier this week alongside fellow journalist Imad Bilal of Bas News, sparking concerns about the safety of journalists in the Sulaymaniyah province, which is controlled by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

The PUK has stated that the arrest of two journalists affiliated with the KDP are not politically motivated. It has also called on the courts in Sulaymaniyah to exercise leniency in their cases.

In the Kurdistan Region, where courts are often criticized for being influenced by political parties, rulings on journalist cases are frequently seen as constraints on journalistic work and freedom of expression. While the PUK frequently criticizes the KDP for unfairly targeting journalists and activists, the recent detentions serve as a reminder that the PUK is also culpable for the shrinking space for free speech in the Kurdistan Region in recent years.
لە دوای دەستگیرکردنی بۆ ماوەی دوو ڕۆژ، ڕۆژنامەنووس جەمال عەبدوڵا ئەمڕۆ دوای ئازادکردنی ڕایدەگەیەنێت، دەستگیرکردنی بە فەرمانی دادوەر لەسەر دۆسیەیەک ڕەخنەگرتن بووە لە گروپێکی گرێدراو بە بزووتنەوەی گۆڕان لە میانی چاوپێکەوتنێکدا کە 12 ساڵ پێش ئێستا ڕوویداوە. ئەو دەڵێت نە پۆلیس و نە دادگای سلێمانی...
دەنگی ئەمەریکا | Dengî Amerîka | VOA Kurdish
Kurdistan counter-terrorism forces say several PKK members killed in Turkish airstrikes

The KDP-affiliated Directorate General of Counter Terrorism (CTD) in the Kurdistan Region reported that nine PKK militants were killed in a series of overnight Turkish airstrikes and drone attacks.

These operations targeted PKK positions in the Sidekan district of Erbil province, according to a statement released on Thursday.

meanwhile, Turkish military forces had carried out additional drone strikes in the border areas near Shiladze and Derelok, located in the Amedi district of Duhok provincekilling one PKK fighter and leaving three others injured.
KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani has extended his condolences to the family of the third Peshmerga member who died following clashes with the Iraqi Army last week.

The confrontations occurred following the evacuation of positions previously held by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants near the Makhmour refugee camp. These positions were handed over to the Iraqi Army last Saturday. Reports suggest that forces from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) attempted to retake these positions, thereby triggering the clashes.
We know that PM Sudani said on Tuesday that Baghdad still have concerns over the number of the KRI public sector employees.  

The Iraqi premier said that a settlement with Erbil will be contingent upon an accurate audit of the number of civil servants in the Kurdistan Region.

He emphasized that Iraq's financial oversight bodies have raised concerns about the veracity of the civil servant numbers reported by the Erbil, stressing that resolving this issue is a precondition for disbursing the pending financial dues to the KRG.
شفق نيوز/ أعلن رئيس الوزراء محمد شياع السوداني، يوم الثلاثاء، عن تسوية مالية مشروطة مع إقليم كوردستان، مؤشراً بذات الوقت "ملاحظات" على أعداد موظفي الإقليم. وقال السوداني في مؤتمر صحفي عقب جلسة مجلس ا
شفق نيوز
Kurdistan Region public sector employees are still awaiting their salaries for August, as the KRG urges Baghdad to release the funds. 

During its regular cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the KRG stated that it has provided the Finance Committee of the Iraqi Parliament with a comprehensive 30-page report. This report covers multiple facets, including the Kurdistan Region's revenues, expenditures, oil, border crossings, as well as collaboration on audits between federal and KRG auditors. It also outlines the number of public sector employees and their salaries.

A detailed statement following the meeting says that Baghdad has instructed Erbil to maintain open lines of communication with both the Finance Committee of the Iraqi Parliament and the Iraqi Ministry of Finance. The aim is to adhere to principles agreed upon during the October 18 meeting, which includes separating KRG civil sector salaries from federal Actual Spending expenditures.

Additionally, Erbil seeks to ensure the timely release of salaries in alignment with the rest of Iraq and to suggest any required amendments to pertinent clauses in the federal budget law.

The statement concludes by saying that the KRG is committed to transparency, pledging to disclose all data and figures to remove any roadblocks delaying the release of owed funds. It urged all KRG ministries and institutions to fully cooperate in the joint auditing process.
Here is another tweet from U.S. ambassador Alina Romanowski expressing appreciation for Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani's remarks on the significance of the U.S.-Iraqi partnership in bolstering regional security.
The U.S. Ambassador in Iraq has emphasized her country's efforts to help bring an end to the war in Gaza and to facilitate humanitarian aid access for civilians. The pro-Tehran militia in Iraq would not buy these and are likely to escalate their attacks.


Earlier this week, the U.S. stated that "what we are seeing is the prospect for more significant escalation against U.S. forces and personnel across the region, in the very near term, coming from Iranian proxy forces and ultimately from Iran."
Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani told the National Security Council that his administration is committed to "reinforcing the execution of vital security strategies to enhance stability and security across Iraq," according to a statement from his media office on Wednesday. 

"The Ministerial Council for National Security reiterated its full support for all endeavors focused on upholding security and establishing stability in all Iraqi regions, with the aim of assisting the government in executing its reform and development initiatives,” it added.

Notably, the statement did not address recent attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq. However, we know that since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, pro-Iran militia groups have launched more than a dozen attacks against U.S. forces involved in counterterrorism missions in both Iraq and Syria.
Sabreen News, a platform supportive of Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Iraq, reported on Telegram that helicopters were observed hovering over Baghdad throughout the day on Thursday.
🔺متابعات منذ ساعات الصباح الباكر طيران مروحي مكثف يحلق بصورة منخفضة بمناطق مختلفة في العاصمة بغداد .
Just in: Iranian Mehr News Agency says that the Iraqi Islamic Resistance groups carried out a new drone attack against the Ain al-Assad base in Anbar located in western Iraq early on Thursday.
Good morning.

The security of coalition force advisors and their bases has come into focus following Israel's recent ground raid in Gaza. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani led a regular session of the Ministerial Council for National Security on Wednesday, addressing the security landscape in Iraq.

While Prime Minister Sudani sought to assure U.S. officials of the safety of coalition forces, his comments were quickly criticized by a pro-Iran militia, which has previously targeted coalition bases in both Iraq and Syria.

In separate news, a third Peshmerga member who was wounded in earlier clashes with the Iraqi army has succumbed to his injuries.

Meanwhile, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) convened its weekly cabinet meeting on Wednesday. The session focused on recent discussions between Erbil and Baghdad concerning an audit of the region's financial data.

Also, contract teachers are continuing their strike, demanding permanent employment and regular salary payments. Some schools have only recently opened for the year, as some striking teachers have decided to return to work. It's worth noting that the KRG has yet to disburse public sector salaries for August.