Middle East

US Defense Chief to Visit Jordan, Turkey, Ukraine

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will travel to Jordan, Turkey and Ukraine next week for talks with the leaders of all three nations.

Pentagon officials said Friday that Mattis aims to reaffirm Washington's commitments to each of the countries.

Mattis will begin his trip by meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah as well as top defense officials. Jordan has been a key partner in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State terror group.

From Jordan, Mattis will head to Turkey for meetings with top officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

5 Rules for Sending Contractors to War in Afghanistan

The odds of the U.S. pulling away from the fight in Afghanistan are near zero.

There are good reasons for that—all revolve around preventing the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups again.

The tougher challenge is crafting the right way forward after three terms of indifferent presidential leadership. Innovations in contractor support should be part of the mix, if done right.

Still a War to Be Won

Security Forces Abused Civilians in Mosul Campaign, Iraq Admits

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office said Thursday that a unit of the security forces committed "abuses" against civilians during the offensive to oust Islamic State insurgents from Mosul.

His government began an investigation in May into a report by German news magazine Der Spiegel that included images of apparent torture taken by a freelance photographer embedded with the Interior Ministry's elite Emergency Response Division (ERD).

Civilian Deaths Surge in Raqqa as IS Tactics Slow US-backed Advances

As U.S.-backed forces continue to make slow progress in their offensive to oust Islamic State (IS) from its self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, thousands of civilians who are trapped in the city face an increasing danger of getting caught in crossfire, rights organizations and local activists warn.

Officials from the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) say their battle against IS has entered a fierce and grueling phase in the densely populated neighborhoods of the city, as the terrorist group tries various tactics to keep its stronghold.

East Libyan Forces Report Arrest of Commander Sought by ICC

Security forces in eastern Libya said Thursday that they had arrested the commander of an elite forces unit who was being sought by the International Criminal Court for allegedly executing dozens of prisoners.

The general command of the Libyan National Army (LNA), the force that controls most of eastern Libya, said the commander, Mahmoud al-Werfalli, was being investigated by a military prosecutor.

US Helping Clear 'Historic' Amount of Explosives in Mosul

The wires protruding from the small, misshapen stuffed animal revealed the deadly booby trap tucked inside.

For the people of Mosul, the sophisticated bomb was a reminder of how difficult it will be to return to homes littered with explosives hidden by Islamic State militants and dotted with the remnants of undetonated bombs dropped by the U.S.-led coalition that still could blow up.

Washington at least is trying to ease a bit of the massive cleanup burden.