A Shia fighter gestures during clashes with Islamic State militants in Salahuddin province at the beginning of the month. Iraq’s armed forces, backed by Shia   militia,  have  launched an offensive to retake the city of Tikrit and the surrounding Sunni Muslim province of Salahuddin. Photograph:Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

Iraqi security forces and militias have fought their way into Saddam Hussein’s home city of Tikrit, advancing from the north and south in their bigge(...)

US president Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Iraq. Photograph: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

The belief that the United States is at least partly to blame for Iraq being torn asunder by sectarian conflict in the vacuum that has followed the wi(...)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R) greets Iran’s president Hassan Rohani during the UN General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York in this file photo taken September 26, 2013. Ban Ki-moon said yesterdy he had invited Iran to participate in Syria peace talks on January 22nd in Montreux, Switzerland. Photograph: Reuters

Syria’s main, Western-backed opposition has said it will not attend UN-hosted peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the country’s civil war if Iran jo(...)

Iran’s chief negotiator Saeed Jalili. Mr Jalili is one of eight approved candidates in the upcoming election. Photograph: Osman Orsal/Reuters

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to fight a decision by election overseers to disqualify his top aide from the upcoming presidential ra(...)