The Obama administration has long advocated a more inclusive government in Baghdad. Shiite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi still has much to do.
Its new hostage video calls on Japan, whose prime minister is touring the Middle East, to ends its 'foolish' support of the US-led campaign against Islamic State, and marks the first time the group has demanded cash in a video.
Tanking oil prices may force Iraq to delay its final Gulf War reparations payment to Kuwait. And oil's drop has weakened the ruble, which Russia's central bank intervened to prop up today.
The agreement between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government is the first major sign of compromise since the self-described Islamic State began its major advance in Iraq in June.
Gill Rosenberg, a foreigner fighting with Kurdish forces in Syria, was allegedly captured by the Islamic State. Various Kurdish sources report Ms. Rosenberg is safe, but military officials have not provided evidence of life.
President Obama's dismissal of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today is the latest sign of the president's growing hawkishness in the face of unresolved conflicts in the Middle East.
French President François Hollande said that Europe needs to be more vigilant about the radicalization of its citizenry after the appearance of several Europeans in the video showing the execution of American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig.
Kurdish fighters continue to gain ground against the self-described Islamic State in the Syrian border town of Kobane. Meanwhile, Iraqi forces have reportedly regained full control of the country's largest oil refinery.
Iraqi security officials said today their forces had recaptured Baiji oil refinery, while US Defense Secretary Hagel said yesterday that IS advances had been stalled. IS leader Baghdadi, meanwhile, released an audio call for more attacks.
The brutality of the Islamic State, which it's relying on to terrify Iraqi Sunnis into submission, continued with the recent murder of 322 captives, Iraqi officials say.
Turkey's prime minister told the BBC that the US-led coalition against Islamic State must broaden its mandate to target the overthrow of Syria's president. The battle for Kobane on the Syria-Turkish border is ongoing.
His comments are the sort of thing that can increase the danger for US, or other foreign troops, working to help save Iraq's beleaguered government.