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Thursday, Nov 23rd

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UN: 'Staggering' civilian deaths in Raqqa offensive

Staggering civilian casualties in Raqqa offensiveIntensified coalition air strikes supporting an assault by US-backed rebel forces on Syria’s Raqqa are causing a "staggering loss of civilian life", United Nations war crimes investigators have said.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish and Arab militias supported by a US-led coalition, began attacking Raqqa a week ago to take it from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

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US coalition investigating reports of deadly Mosul airstrike

Mosul air strike being investigatedThe U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group is investigating reports of an airstrike in a western neighborhood in the Iraqi city of Mosul that allegedly left more than 100 civilians dead, according to a statement given to The Associated Press on Friday.

The suspected high toll underscores the difficulties that Iraqi troops face in the weeks-long fight to route the Sunni militant group from the densely urban part of the city, Iraq's second-largest.

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UNHCR: 3,000 fleeing Iraqis seized by ISIL

Fleeing IraqisFighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have reportedly captured up to 3,000 fleeing villagers in northern Iraq, according to the UN refugee agency, or UNHCR.

In its daily report on events in Iraq, UNHCR said on Friday that 12 of the captives were thought to had been executed by ISIL, also known as ISIS.

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Scathing report in Britain slams Tony Blair over Iraq War

Blair must face war crimes trialThe Iraq war was mounted on flawed intelligence, was executed with “wholly inadequate” planning, and ended “a long way from success,” according to a damning report released Wednesday by the head of Britain’s Iraq War inquiry.

Retired civil servant John Chilcot, who oversaw the seven-year inquiry, said “the U.K. chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort.”

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What Donald Rumsfeld Knew We Didn’t Know About Iraq

RumsfeldOn September 9, 2002, as the George W. Bush administration was launching its campaign to invade Iraq, a classified report landed on the desk of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It came from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and it carried an ominous note.

“Please take a look at this material as to what we don’t know about WMD,” Rumsfeld wrote to Air Force General Richard Myers. “It is big.”

The report was an inventory of what U.S. intelligence knew—or more importantly didn’t know—about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Its assessment was blunt: “We’ve struggled to estimate the unknowns. ... We range from 0% to about 75% knowledge on various aspects of their program.”

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U.S. soldier killed, two wounded in Afghanistan

Afghanistan battle kills one US soldierOne U.S. soldier was killed during a joint U.S.-Afghan Special Operations mission in Afghanistan, two U.S. defense officials told CNN on Tuesday.

Defense officials said a medical helicopter was hit by mortar fire while on the ground but was able to take off. The incident occurred in Marjah in Helmand Province.

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U.S., Russia dominate arms transfers to developing countries

Arms sales dominated by US, RussiaThe United States and Russia dominated government-to-government arms transfer agreements with developing countries from 2011 to 2014.

According to the U.S. Congressional Research Service, arms transfer agreements with developing nations constituted 75.5 percent of all such agreements globally from 2011 to 2014, and 86.0 percent of agreements in 2014.

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