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Iraq Bulletin for August 2014 is compiled by Elayne Jude for Great North News Service

How the Iraqi media portray ISIS*

A recent conference of journalists and editors at Erbil concluded that the Iraqi media had failed to provide unbiased and professional coverage of the recent conflict.

In Baghdad and in Kurdistan, official outlets have been noted for making claims that progress was being made at a certain front which subsequently was proven to be untrue, purportedly to boost morale. It was claimed by the Iraqi military and widely reported as fact that the Army had taken or was about to take Tikrit from militants. The town remains in jihadists' hands.

When ISIS took over Mosul on June 10, some pro-Sunni Arab media outlets, such as Al-Taghyir, which broadcasts out of Amman, hailed militants' actions as a "revolution" and ISIS as "tribal revolutionaries." Pro-government and Shiite-funded news organisations such as Al-Iraqiya state channel labeled the same militants as "terrorists" or "terrorist gangs."

 

Harsher laws against terrorism will fail unless its underlying doctrines are confronted, say Hazel Blears and Julian Lewis

A shortened version of this article was published in The Times on 27 August 2014

Last July, as Labour and Conservative members of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee and as individuals with an interest in extremist propaganda, we wrote a paper for the Prime Minister's Task Force on Tackling Radicalisation and Extremism and gave evidence to it in person. Our message was, and remains, that we are well-served by our security and intelligence agencies in identifying and disrupting home-grown terrorists. However, we lack comparable capacity to neutralise the ideology which infects them in the first place and to support mainstream moderate Muslims in challenging the extremists' perverted distortion of Islam.

Teaming up with Assad against Islamic State is a very bad idea, writes Nehad Ismail.

The beheading of the captured American journalist James Foley has focused attention on the danger posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, not just to those countries, but to the United States. The US is now considering action against ISIS' main bases in Syria, beginning to mobilise a broad coalition of allies behind potential intervention, and moving toward expanded airstrikes in northern Iraq.

Certain influential voices in the West have suggested that the US must seek the support of President Assad defeating ISIS. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee at the British Parliament, has proposed talking to Iran and working with Assad. A number of journalists and public figures from Lord Dannatt to Sir Christopher Meyer suggest similar alliances. But how to square an alliance with an acknowledged rogue leader who has killed 191000 of his own people and used toxic gases at least eight times since April this year?

Book Review by Nick Watts, Deputy Director, U K Defence Foum

Collision of Empires; the war on the Eastern Front 1914. By Dr Prit Buttar. Published by Osprey


The recent marking of the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War took place amidst much media coverage of the British experiences in Flanders. Many forget that the origins of the war, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, was part of a rumbling dispute among the Eastern European powers, Austria-Hungary, Russia and Germany.
In this book 'Collision of Empires' Prit Buttar gives the reader a comprehensive examination of the origins of the dispute between Austria-Hungary and Serbia; examines the military philosophy of the three main protagonists, and details the manoeuvres and actions on the Eastern Front in 1914. It serves to balance the predominance of attention given to the Western Front, while drawing useful parallels in terms of some of the lessons which military commanders had to learn as they began to understand the impact of modern technology on what had hitherto been considered the glorious and dashing business of war. The author served as a doctor in the British Army, so his approach is to examine in detail. The book balances the detail with a military analysis of the actions.

Marking the passing of those who served this country with honour. Contributions from relatives and friends are welcome. See the next page for details.

The Royal Tank Regiment: Back in the CBRN game . Jiesheng Li describes why, but questions remain.

The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review envisioned a clear role for a Chemical, Biological, Radiation and Nuclear (CBRN) unit as part of a future high readiness force. The Joint CBRN Regiment would cease to be a joint unit. Instead, the 1st Royal Tank Regiment would transfer all CBRN authority, tasks and equipment to the RAF Regiment's 27 Squadron, formally announced by the Royal Tank Regiment in August 2011.

27 Squadron is backed up by an RAF Reserve Regiment, 2623 (East Anglian). Together, they make up the "Defence CBRN Wing", or 20 Wing RAF Regiment.

A new RUSI study argues that relocating Trident out of an independent Scotland would be both financially and technically feasible, adding between £2.5 and £3.5 billion to the cost of retaining the UK's nuclear forces. But it would take more than a decade to do so, rather than the four years to which the SNP is currently committed.

'Relocation, Relocation, Relocation: Could the UK's Nuclear Forces be Moved after Scottish Independence?', by Hugh Chalmers and Malcolm Chalmers tackles the financial and political hurdles of relocating Trident, and provides a detailed analysis of how these hurdles might be overcome in the event of separation.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has agreed to step aside, ending political deadlock in Baghdad as the government struggles against insurgents. His replacement, Haider al-Abadi, has already been asked by Iraq's president to form a new government. Mr Maliki was under intense pressure to make way for Mr Abadi, a deputy speaker of parliament, who has won broad international support to form the next Cabinet in Baghdad. Nehad Ismail charts the rise and fall of Iaq's political thug.

Up until 2011, Hamas enjoyed a welcome in many capital cities of the Arab world, from Tehran through Damascus, in Cairo, in Ankara and in Doha, where Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal is now based. The situation changed radically after Hamas came out against President Assad, offending Damascus, Tehran, and their allies and satellites - including Hamas's former partner and mentor, Hezbollah. Elayne Jude, Senior Research Associate, U K Defence Forum, reviews the relationship.

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