Dossier: Iraq

Salafists handing out copies of the Koran in a German city (photo: dapd)

Interview with intelligence operative Benno Köpfer

"You're allowed to be a Salafist in Germany"

More than 300 people from Germany have gone to Syria to join the jihad. In this interview with Jannis Hagmann, Benno Köpfer of the German domestic intelligence service explains what radicalises young people, why not all Salafists agree with the ISIS caliphate and why he drinks the occasional tea with some of themMore

Still from an ISIS propaganda video (photo: picture-alliance/abaca)

ISIS propaganda and use of social networks

The online jihad

The terrorist group ISIS (which now refers to itself as Islamic State) has been conducting a massive propaganda campaign via social networks on the Internet. In addition to intimidating opponents, the group wants to establish its own media brand. By Nastassja SteudelMore

Portrait of the last Ottoman Caliph, Abdulmecid II. Photo: Library of Congress

History of the Caliphate

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We are all caliphs!

The history of the Caliphate is, with a few exceptions, an unstable and unhappy one. In this essay, Stefan Weidner explains why the self-appointed caliphs of today, like the ISIS leader in Iraq, have little in common with the caliphs of oldMore

General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Quds Brigade. Photo: Faresnews

Portrait: Qassem Soleimani

The man who pulls the strings

Iran is battling Saudi Arabia for regional supremacy in the Middle East, and is steadily expanding its sphere of influence in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Behind the scenes, Qassem Soleimani is a key figure who has had more influence on Iran's foreign policy over the last twenty years than almost anyone else. Martina Sabra reportsMore

ISIS using a bulldozer to destroy Sunni sites in Tal Afar. Photo: justpaste.it/atrah

ISIS' cultural vandalism

A trail of destruction

Cultural barbarism prevails in the territories declared a "caliphate" by the radical Islamic group ISIS. The sad irony of this is that its members are even destroying monuments to the companions of Muhammad, whom they themselves supposedly revere. Joseph Croitoru reportsMore

The self-styled "caliph", Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Photo: YouTube

ISIS leader in Iraq

The new face of jihad?

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has been active in Syria for two years now. It currently has around 5,000 fighters there – and the numbers are growing. Aron Lund, who has written studies on Syria's fighter landscape for the Swedish Institute for International Affairs, explains the terrorist organisation's strategies to Mona SarkisMore

US Secretary of State John Kerry on a visit to the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, in Baghdad. Photo: Reuters

The Iraq crisis and the West

The ugly new order in the "Fertile Crescent"

Iraq is in the grip of a devastating inner-Islamic religious war. The conflict has an inherent dynamic that cannot be stopped by presidential wishful thinking or a hurried visit to Baghdad by US foreign minister John Kerry. Stefan Buchen commentsMore

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (left) during a visit to President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran (photo: AFP)

Iran's role in the Iraq conflict

An ally, but not a puppet

For many Sunnis in Iraq, the country's Shia prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is a puppet of Iran. In the West too, the view that Tehran is pulling the strings in Iraqi politics is widely held. But what influence does Tehran really have in Iraq, and what role is it playing in the current crisis? Answers from Ulrich von SchwerinMore

Nouri al-Maliki (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Nouri al-Maliki and the Iraqi crisis

Not the right guy for Iraq

The terror in Iraq is a Sunni rebellion against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, writes Birgit Svensson in Baghdad, who lays the blame for the country's dire straits squarely at the door of its Shia head of governmentMore

Members of an ISIS unit in Nineveh (photo: AFP)

ISIS and the Iraqi government

In the grip of the jihadists

For years, Iraq's Sunnis have been marginalised by the central government in Baghdad. This is now having dire consequences. It is apparent that ISIS's advance has been aided by former Sunni officers from the Saddam era. By Karim El-GawharyMore

An irrigation canal on the Euphrates bursting its banks (photo: Birgit Svensson)

Flood disaster in Iraq

Water as an instrument of war

ISIS terrorists are currently taking advantage of the high water levels on the Euphrates in their fight against the government in Baghdad. For its part, the Iraqi government is also resorting to inhumane methods. By Birgit Svensson in BaghdadMore

The aftermath of an ISIS attack on military vehicles in Mosul (photo: Reuters)

Jihadists seize Iraqi city of Mosul

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Wave of terror washes over Iraq

After the fall of Ramadi and Fallujah, the Islamist militants of ISIS have now seized Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. Some 500,000 civilians are now fleeing the insurgents. The deputy prime minister has called it a security disaster. By Birgit Svensson in BaghdadMore

George W. Bush declares the Iraq War over on 1 May 2003 (S.Jaffe/AFP/GettyImages)

Interview with art historian W. J. T. Mitchell

Images as weapons of war

W. J. T. Mitchell is an American art historian at the University of Chicago and one of the most important scholars of visual culture and iconology. Among his most important books are "Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9/11 to the Present" (2011) and "What do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images" (2005). Felix Koltermann spoke to him about the relationship between images and warMore

A Persian "Haft Sin" table featuring seven foods and objects all beginning with the letter "s" (photo: Imago/UPI Photo)

Nowruz: one of the world's oldest festivals

"My paleness is yours, your colour is mine!"

The Iranian New Year celebration "Nowruz" has been a feature of Persian culture for more than 2,500 years. The roots of this festival lie in the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. Today, more than 300 million people all over the world celebrate Nowruz. Shohreh Karimian looks back at the history of this new year celebration and explains some of its customsMore

American troops evacuating a badly wounded female American soldier on the hood of a Humvee from a Baghdad police station after the station was attacked by rockets fired from an apartment building across the street, 25 May 2004, Baghdad, Iraq (photo: Michael Kamber)

Interview with American photojournalist Michael Kamber

Dispelling the myths of war and war photography

Michael Kamber is an American photojournalist and winner of the World Press Photo Award. Between 2003 and 2012 he covered the Iraq War extensively for the "New York Times". In 2013, he published the book "Photojournalists on war – The untold stories from Iraq", a mixture of photography and interviews with 39 photojournalists from different countries who worked in Iraq. Felix Koltermann spoke to him about his motivation for making this bookMore

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