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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says ‘fighting has set Syria back decades’

Soldiers pose with their unit’s flag at a base near Nasiriyah before their departure

As the troops pull out, what kind of Iraq has America left behind?

Not long after the "liberation" of 2003, the US-led coalition was preparing the Iraqi public for their ultimate departure. A television advert showed a bunch of boys in an excited football match, while their parents looked on with fond smiles – the portrait of a happy and contented land. In a swirl of dust, came Western troops in their armoured cars; they stopped beside the young players for a brief exchange of greetings, and then the convoy disappeared into the desert.

Soldiers prepare the last convoy carrying US troops at Camp Adder on the outskirts of Nasiriyah, marking the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq

Last US troops elated to leave Iraq

The last US soldiers rolled out of Iraq across the border into neighboring Kuwait at daybreak today, whooping, fist bumping and hugging each other in a burst of joy and relief. Their convoy's exit marked the end of a bitterly divisive war that raged for nearly nine years and left Iraq shattered, with troubling questions lingering over whether the Arab nation will remain a steadfast US ally.

Opec cartel finally agrees new quotas

Brent crude tumbled by more than $2 a barrel after Opec agreed to maintain oil production at its present, relatively high, level next year. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed a new supply target of 30 million barrels a day.

Rocket attack on Iraq-Kuwait border escalates tensions

Tensions between Iraq and Kuwait appear to have escalated to violence after several rockets struck the border area between the two countries, where a controversial new mega-port project is under construction.

A Day That Shook The World: Iraq invades Kuwait

On 2 August 1990, Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces, battle-hardened by eight years of war with Iran, crossed the border with Kuwait and swiftly overran its meagre armed forces.

Revealed: The CIA mastermind who cornered Bin Laden

He has never been photographed, and his surname is unknown. But 'John' led an extraordinary 10-year mission

Snakes-on-a-plane pair held at airport

Airport authorities say they have detained two men who attempted to smuggle 40 pythons on board a flight to Dubai.

Cameron discovers an ethical foreign policy

David Cameron was forced to recalibrate his approach towards authoritarian regimes across the Middle East yesterday as he put democratic reform ahead of winning trade orders for the first time.

Operation Desert Storm: 20 years on today. 20 lessons learnt

Politicians, soldiers, reporters and civilians reflect on the legacy of the first Gulf War

Patrick Cockburn: Beware your enemy's stupidity

History is full of examples of experts being dumbfounded by countries acting contrary to their own best interests

Robert Winston's Musical Analysis, Radio 4<br/>A Quiet Invasion, Radio 4

Oh my, Mr Rachmaninov! What big hands you have...

US Army charges Wikileaks suspect

The US Army has charged an American soldier suspected of leaking a military video of an attack in Iraq with multiple counts of mishandling and leaking classified data and putting national security at risk.

Legacy of Gulf War and border dispute continue to dog relations with Kuwait

Twenty years after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, tensions between the two countries continue to run high over borders, war reparations and civil disputes that culminated this week in the closure of Iraq's state airline.

National airline the latest victim of Iraq's poisoned relations with Kuwait

Iraq's government has dissolved its state airline Iraqi Airways in the latest move of a bitter dispute with Kuwait over war reparations allegedly owed since Saddam Hussein's invasion of the emirate in 1990.

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Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past