Iraq gets US sanctions break to keep the lights on | AFP

[Written with my colleague Ammar Karim and published here on November 8, 2018]

Iraq has won an exemption allowing it to buy Iranian electricity despite US sanctions, as the country plagued by chronic power shortages walks a tightrope between rivals Washington and Tehran.

With US measures imposed Monday taking aim at Iran’s banking and energy industries, there were concerns Iraq — which heavily relies on its eastern neighbour for electricity and consumer goods — would be caught in the crossfire.

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More than 200 mass graves found in former IS territory in Iraq, UN says | AFP

[Published here November 6, 2018]

More than 200 mass graves containing up to 12,000 victims have been found so far in Iraq that could hold vital evidence of war crimes by the Islamic State group, the UN said Tuesday.

The United Nations in Iraq (UNAMI) and its human rights office said they had documented a total of 202 mass graves in parts of western and northern Iraq held by IS between 2014 and 2017.

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Beirut to Baghdad

Hello all,

After more than three years covering Syria at AFP’s Beirut office, I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be joining the agency’s Baghdad bureau to report on Iraq. I am humbled by and extremely grateful for those who have shared their stories with grace, generosity, and dignity — whether by Whatsapp or in a warzone. Reporting on this horrible conflict and its wide-reaching ramifications has opened my eyes, and hopefully AFP’s readers can say the same.

As I move on to a new bureau, my focus will shift from Syria and Lebanon to Iraq. I am thrilled to dive into a new story and a new home. As always, tips, recommendations, and story ideas can be commented here or emailed at (firstname.lastname@gmail.com).

If you’re interested in keeping up with me as I get to know Iraq, give me a follow on Twitter and Instagram. And if you haven’t yet, sign up for my newsletter here. You’ll receive an email every time I publish a new article, or when we’re following a major story out of Baghdad.

Thank you for your readership and your support.

All the best,

Maya