As Daesh shrinks, end game for US in Syria gets murky

American troops look out toward the border with Turkey from a small outpost near the town of Manbij in northern Syria. (AP)
Updated 09 February 2018
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As Daesh shrinks, end game for US in Syria gets murky

WASHINGTON: The closer the US gets to its original goal in Syria of defeating the Daesh group, the murkier its end game. The battlefield is shifting as demonstrated by a deadly barrage of American air and artillery strikes on a shadowy attacker.
The Pentagon insists it is keeping its focus on defeating Daesh, but Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday US-backed fighters in eastern Syria faced a “perplexing” overnight assault by about 300 pro-Syrian government fighters whose nationalities, motives and makeup he could not identify.
A number of US military advisers were present alongside local allied forces, and the Americans led a punishing response that other officials said killed about 100 of the assailants.


Iraq’s top court ratifies manual recount of May ballots

Updated 19 August 2018
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Iraq’s top court ratifies manual recount of May ballots

  • The court decision paves the way for president to summon lawmakers to an inaugural session
  • Political wrangling over who gets to be prime minister will likely delay the process

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s top court has ratified the results of the country’s May parliamentary elections following a manual ballot recount ordered by the outgoing chamber following charges of irregularities.
The Federal Court’s decision on Sunday paves the way for the president to summon lawmakers to an inaugural session of the new, 329-seat house. In theory, parliament should then proceed to elect a speaker, a president and a prime minister, who will in turn form a new government.
However, political wrangling over who gets to be prime minister will likely delay the process for weeks, maybe months.
A coalition led by maverick Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr won the largest number of seats, 54, followed by an alliance of government-sanctioned militias known as Hashed, with 47.