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Ilham Al-Madfai during his guest performance as part of a commemoration of a 55-year-career anniversary

Famed Iraqi musician Ilham al-Madfai hosted a private concert in the Atlanta, Georgia, suburb of Duluth recently to mark 55 years of performing. Al-Madfai is a guitarist, singer and composer who combines Western guitar styling with traditional Iraqi music. His Western-inspired songwriting prompted his nickname, "The Baghdad Beatle."

His music is popular across the Arab world, as was reflected in the crowd of Algerians, Syrians, Egyptians and Iraqis at his Duluth show. "I fought so hard to be here," said Nura Khuffash, a Georgia resident at the invitation-only concert.

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Liwa Fatemiyoun fighters during the Palmyra offensive (December 2016). Wikimedia Commons

In its search for a way to counter the radical core of the Taliban, which threatens to fill the power vacuum left by departing US and NATO troops, India may find that many of its interests coincide with that of the Fatemiyoun militia an Iran backed group that has operated in the badlands of Syria and Iraq.

Who are the Fatemiyoun militia and how can they be important to India?

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The political history of Kurds. Pixabay

The Kurds are one of the indigenous people of the Mesopotamian plains and the highlands, areas that today are contained within southeastern Turkey, northeastern Syria, northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, and southwestern Armenia. Estimated at between 25 million and 35 million people, the Kurds are the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East.

Here’s a brief look at their political history in the four countries where they largely live:

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Kurdish Flag. Pixabay

The Kurds’ involvement in the conflict in Syria is complicated, because of the group’s troubled history that spreads across several regional borders. Here is a look at the current Kurdish crisis and how it came to be.

Who are the Kurds?

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