The beheading of American journalist James Foley is only the latest in a catalogue of atrocities perpetrated by the Sunni militants of the Islamic Sta(...)

US secretary of defence Chuck Hagel (L) and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey prepare to leave  a media briefing at the Pentagon in Washington last night. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters.

The militant Islamic State poses an “imminent threat” to the US and may take years to defeat, defence secretary Chuck Hagel has said. “They are an imm(...)

Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, stand guard near Mosul dam at the town of Chamibarakat outside Mosul in Iraq yesterday.  Photograph: AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed

Kurdish forces have taken control of most of Iraq’s largest dam after battling Islamic State fighters in nearby villages, reversing some of gains m(...)

Embroiled: President Obama ordered air strikes in Iraq this week; missiles were loaded on fighter jets aboard a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

In October 2002, while still a state senator in Illinois, Barack Obama delivered a speech in which he opposed any US invasion of Iraq, declaring, “(...)

Incoming Iraqi prime ministerHaider al-Abadi  was once  in charge of servicing BBC’s lifts, the British broadcaster has said. Photograph: Ali Abbas/EPA

He may have taken a step up in the world this week but Iraq’s incoming prime minister was once known for his downs as well as his ups, as the man in c(...)

 Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi Abadi’s urgent political task will be to stop Iraq’s rapid disintegration and to halt the rise of Islamic State (Isis), which has seized vast swaths of northern and western Iraq. Photograph: EPA/Ali Abbas

Iraq’s new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, is a low-key figure who spent much of his life living in exile in Britain, before returning to Iraq after (...)

Kurdish peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Makhmur. Photograph: Reuters

The crisis gripping Iraq escalated rapidly in the past 48 hours with a re-energised Islamic State – formerly Isis – storming new towns in the north an(...)

Shi’ite volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis), march in the city of Kerbala, southwest of Baghdad. Photograph: Reuters.

Some 50 bodies have been found in Iraq, many of them blindfolded and with their hands bound, raising concerns over a possible sectarian killing amid t(...)

Iraqi security forces pull down a flag belonging to Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Photograph: Reuters

An extremist group’s declaration of an Islamic state in territory it has seized in Iraq and Syria is a threat to the entire region, Iraq’s prime minis(...)

Ahmad Chalabi, a one-time darling of Washington neo-conservatives long since shunned by the US, is improbably being talked up as a candidate for prime minister. Photograph: Bryan Denton/The New York Times

He took millions of dollars from the CIA, founded and was accused of defrauding the second-biggest bank in Jordan and sold the Bush administration a b(...)