US pledges to reduce Iraq troops as tensions ease

first_imgTensions skyrocketed following a US strike on Baghdad in January that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, with lawmakers in Baghdad demanding the expulsion of the roughly 5,200 US troops in the country. American troops were deployed in Iraq from 2014 to head a military coalition fighting the Islamic State jihadist group. AFP The United States also promised support to prop up the struggling Iraqi economy as the two nations held their first strategic dialogue in more than a decade. WASHINGTON – The United States said Thursday it would reduce troops in Iraq in the coming months as friction between the two countries eased under a new US-friendly premier in Baghdad. President Donald Trump responded by threatening crippling sanctions and, according to US military sources, Washington began planning a vast bombing spree against groups blamed for the rockets. (AFP)last_img read more

Kinnear ‘won’t be missed’ by fans

first_img The Magpies’ director of football left the club on Monday night after barely seven months in his role without making a single permanent signing. Fans had reacted to his initial appointment with incredulity and to his relative lack of activity since – and in particular his failure to replace the Paris St Germain-bound Yohan Cabaye last week – with fury. “We have somebody like Graham Carr, who has shown working with not very much money, he can identify people who are assets to the club. “But in the last two transfer windows, whoever he has recommended, apart from the two loan signings, have either been ignored or not followed up seriously. “If Alan Pardew hasn’t got the power to bring people in, there probably is a need for a director of football to present an overall strategy. “But if a manager has an eight-year contract, it’s strange that he isn’t the key person to decide who he needs to fulfil his ambitions and the ambitions of the football club.” Press Association Joe Kinnear “will not be missed” after resigning as Newcastle’s director of football, according to fans. Mark Jensen, editor of online fanzine, said: “My personal reaction is that, like any other Newcastle fan, Joe Kinnear won’t be missed, that’s for sure. “In the time he has been there, Newcastle have spent no money on incoming transfers and have sold somebody for £20million.” During Kinnear’s tenure, Newcastle recruited only two senior players – Loic Remy and Luuk de Jong – both on loan and both of whom had been scouted at length long before his arrival. Despite being armed with the proceeds of Cabaye’s sale, they were unable to push through deals for either Lyon’s Clement Grenier or Montpellier’s Remy Cabella last week, leaving a gaping hole in manager Alan Pardew’s team which was horribly exposed during Saturday’s 3-0 derby defeat by Sunderland. Press Association Sport understands Ashley, who appointed the 67-year-old in response to the club’s 16th-placed Barclays Premier League finish at the end of last season, is in no immediate rush to replace him. However, it remains to be seen who assumes responsibility for player recruitment, with managing director Derek Llambias having stepped down from his post days after Kinnear was drafted in. Llambias, chief scout Graham Carr and Pardew had previously worked together to identify and acquire targets on Ashley’s approval, but it is not yet clear whether the owner is ready to abandon the post of director of football. Asked whether that role, which had previously been occupied by Dennis Wise – his exact title was executive director (football) – can work on Tyneside, Jensen said: “It’s hard to judge whether or not a director of football really would work at Newcastle as we haven’t had a working example of it. We have had somebody who has been given the title… last_img read more

Richards supports professional WICB

first_imgWEST Indies batting legend Vivian Richards has thrown his support behind the concept of a fully professional West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).At current the board consists of six territorial cricket associations each providing two directors, in addition to a number of non-member directors. The officials are elected for the post.The board has, however, often been accused of unprofessionalism and cronyism’ with most recent criticism calling for an audit. Richards believes a professional set-up with compensated individuals would to an extent alleviate a few of the current issues.“The whole circuit itself has become professional and if you are going to have guys making decisions where individuals are paid professionally and paid handsomely in order to make some of these decisions, because some of these guys have their fulltime jobs, I see no problem with [them] getting a suitable enough stipend,” Richards said.“It’s about the people who would have made certain decisions in the past and who would have put us in certain positions and embarrassed us in positions, to be accountable,” he said.“Some of the stuff you would have had to correct, some of the wrongs and some have gone totally ignored.”( read more