Washington – A resurgence of violence and a renewed threat from al-Qaida have recently revived flagging U.S. interest in Iraq, officials said Friday as Baghdad asked for new help to fight extremists less than two years after it forced American troops to withdraw.
Faced with security crises across the Mideast, North Africa and Asia, the White House largely has turned its attention away from Iraq since U.S. forces left in 2011. But the country has been hit with deadly bombings at a rate reminiscent of Iraq’s darkest days, stoking new fears of a civil war. More than 1,000 Iraqis were killed in terror-related attacks in July, the deadliest month since 2008.
The violence has spurred Baghdad to seek new U.S. aid to curb the threat, said Iraqi Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. He said a U.S. assistance package could include a limited number of advisers, intelligence analysis and surveillance assets – including lethal drones.
“Recently I noticed, and during this visit specifically, there is a renewed interest because of the seriousness of the situation and the challenges,” Zebari said. “I think that is because of the threat of terrorism, the threat of the renewal of al-Qaida and its affiliates, has become a serious, serious concern to the U.S.”
Airline, agency apologize for casting call
Mexico City – Mexico’s Aeromexico airline and its ad agency have apologized for a producer’s casting call requesting that only light-skinned people apply as actors for a television commercial.
Mexico’s population is largely dark-skinned, but Mexican television ads routinely feature light-skinned actors, sparking accusations of racial discrimination.
The commercial has not yet been made, but the casting call specified it wanted “nobody dark skinned,” only actors with “white skin.”
The Catatonia ad agency said this week that a third company that sent out the casting call had used “inappropriate” language. “We regret this situation, which in no way reflects our thinking as a company or as individuals,” Catatonia said on its Twitter account.
Aeromexico also apologized, and blamed Catatonia for the “discriminatory attitude” of the casting call.