iraq

The meeting of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, with influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr is an important step towards reaching out to the leadership in Iraq. It is the second such trip in as many months for Al Sadr, who commands a huge following among Iraq’s urban population.

Canada reportedly plans to increase the number of police trainers it has in Iraq with a focus on training female police, a move welcomed by Nineveh officials and Mosul’s women.  Canada’s national broadcaster CBC reported this week that the Canadian government will soon announce a plan to increase the number of police they have in Iraq from four to 20 and they will prioritize training female Iraqi police to improve policing efforts related to domestic violence and human trafficking. 

Denmark’s foreign ministry says it is increasing its humanitarian aid to Iraq after the country’s security forces regained the city of Mosul. [...] “The liberation of Mosul shows that what the coalition is doing is working. Isis has lost its symbolic ‘capital’. The fight has been long and hard and has unfortunately brought with it great civilian losses and left ruins in Mosul as a result of Isis’ gruesome and barbaric actions,” Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said in the statement.

New Zealand will contribute $1.5 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross for crucial humanitarian assistance in Iraq, Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced. [...] “The funding will help meet critical humanitarian needs through providing emergency food, water, healthcare and household items to affected people.

Alan Gilbert has chosen to celebrate the close of his tenure as music director of the New York Philharmonic on a political note, with a program called “A Concert for Unity.” BY inviting musicians from countries including Iran and Israel to join Philharmonic members on the stage on Thursday-Saturday, Mr. Gilbert is clearly trying to steer against the divisive winds coming out of Washington. But he is also interesting himself into a tradition of bridge-building musical events that reach back to the aftermath of World War II. Here are five memorable moments of musical diplomacy: 

P.J. Crowley

GW Professor and former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs on his most recent book, Red Line.

At the stringing table, most of the women wear hijabs. Natives of Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, they have been in the U.S. less than two years, arriving in Houston through Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston's refugee services program. They speak Arabic, Farsi, Pashto or Dari. Which is to say, they sometimes speak with each other only slightly better than they can talk with me.

Israeli musician Dudu Tassa, who opened Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival with a Friday afternoon performance backed by his band the Kuwaitis and will do the same this weekend, has deep roots. As an Israeli-Iraqi-Yemeni Jew born in Tel Aviv who plays the music of his once-celebrated ancestors.[...] For the last half decade, Tassa has been remaking Saleh and Daud Kuwaity’s songs for new generations as a way to reclaim their glorious musical past.

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