The devastation of explosives in Iraq

Iraq is one of the most bombed-out places in the world, with an estimated 50 million landmines and other munitions that could detonate at any time.

A COUNTRY DIVIDED (By: Alix Hines) from Medill Washington on Vimeo.

Story by Matt Schehl, photos and audio by Alix Hines

DAHOUK, Iraq — At the break of dawn on a crisp November morning, Omer Hassan gathers his crew around a wood fire, waiting for the breakfast tea to boil.

From their basecamp halfway up a mountain northeast of Dahouk, they quietly watch as daylight fills the remote valley. Hassan shifts his weight from his prosthetic limb. He lost his left leg 23 years ago to a landmine; now he leads mine clearance teams across Kurdistan, the semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq. Continue reading “The devastation of explosives in Iraq”

Could non-violent counterterrorism tactics have prevented IS gain in Iraq?

WASHINGTON – The Islamic State, also known as IS, is working to carve out a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, or an Islamic state led by a religious leader.

According to an article on, IS split from al-Qaida in early February of this year. Now, looking back at the way IS was able to gain strength in Iraq, it is easy to see where America’s counterterrorism strategy only gave IS an opportunity to expand. An article from The Hill says Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, pointed out how President Obama’s inaction in Syria led to further gains by ISIS in Iraq. His comments came just before reports of ISIS gaining control of a major military base in Syria, The Hill reported. Continue reading “Could non-violent counterterrorism tactics have prevented IS gain in Iraq?”

Risky Business: Trading with a non-state actor in Iraq

By Alix Hines

WASHINGTON – In mid-July, the Kurdistan regional government sent its Peshmerga troops into Kirkuk, securing a fourth province in Iraq for the Kurdistan region. With another oil-rich province in hand, the Kurdistan Regional Government is now in a unique position for expanding oil exports from the war-torn country. Continue reading “Risky Business: Trading with a non-state actor in Iraq”

Survey shows partisan divide in attitudes toward Arabs, Muslims

DussZogby-702x336Washington – A survey released Tuesday suggests there is a deep partisan divide in attitudes toward Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans.

The Zogby Analytics online survey for the Arab American Institute asked 1,110 likely U.S. voters about their views of Arabs and Muslims.

“When we first started doing this polling we used to comment that there was a partisan divide,” said James Zogby of the Arab American Institute. “What’s clear is that the partisan divide only masks a generational divide and a racial divide.” Continue reading “Survey shows partisan divide in attitudes toward Arabs, Muslims”

North Carolina’s ‘Walking Mayor’ steps onto Capitol Hill to fight for rural hospitals

WASHINGTON – A North Carolina mayor walked 273 miles to Washington, D.C. to talk about losing the town’s only hospital. He was joined by the president of North Carolina’s NAACP, Rev. William Barber. Residents of the mayor’s hometown rallied with him to bring attention to rural hospital closures nationwide and to make a case for Medicaid expansion.

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