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Iraqi insurgency (2011–2013)

The Iraqi insurgency referred to as the Iraq Crisis, escalated in 2011, resulting in violent conflict with the central government, as well as sectarian violence among Iraq's religious groups. The insurgency was a direct continuation of events following the U. S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Sunni militant groups stepped up attacks targeting the country's majority Shia population to undermine confidence in the Shia-led government and its efforts to protect people without coalition assistance. Armed groups inside Iraq were galvanized by the Syrian Civil War, with which it merged in 2014. Many Sunni factions stood against the Syrian government, which Shia groups moved to support, numerous members of both sects crossed the border to fight in Syria. In 2014, the insurgency escalated following the conquest of Mosul and major areas in northern Iraq by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a Salafi jihadist militant group and unrecognised proto-state that follows a fundamentalist, Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam.

ISIL gained global prominence in early 2014 when it drove Iraqi government forces out of key cities in its Western Iraq offensive, followed by its capture of Mosul and the Sinjar massacre, thereby merging the new conflict with the Syrian Civil War, into a new, far deadlier conflict. The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began with the U. S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, which toppled the government of Saddam Hussein. However, the war continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government; the United States withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2011, but the insurgency and various dimensions of the civil armed conflict have continued. The invasion began in 2003 when the United States, joined by the United Kingdom and several coalition allies, launched a "shock and awe" surprise attack without declaring war. Iraqi forces were overwhelmed as U. S. forces swept throughout the country. The invasion led to the collapse of the Ba'athist government.

However, the power vacuum following Saddam's fall, the mismanagement of the occupation and the sectarian policies of various militias led to a lengthy insurgency against U. S. coalition forces and Iraqi government forces as well as widespread sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis. The United States responded with a troop surge in 2007; the U. S. began withdrawing its troops in the winter of 2007–2008. The winding down of U. S. involvement in Iraq accelerated under President Barack Obama. The U. S. withdrew all combat troops from Iraq by 2011. The Bush administration based its rationale for war principally on the assertion that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam's government posed an immediate threat to the United States and its coalition allies; some U. S. officials accused Saddam of harboring and supporting al-Qaeda, while others cited the desire to end a repressive dictatorship and bring democracy to the people of Iraq. After the invasion, however, no evidence was found to verify the initial claims about WMDs.

The rationale and misrepresentation of pre-war intelligence faced heavy criticism within the U. S. and internationally. As a result of the war, Iraq held its multi-party elections in 2005, Nouri al-Maliki became Prime Minister the following year; the Maliki government enacted policies that were seen as having the effect of alienating the country's Sunni minority, which worsened sectarian tensions. In 2014, ISIS launched a military offensive in Northern Iraq and declared a worldwide Islamic caliphate, eliciting another military response from the United States and its allies; the Iraq War caused hundreds of thousands of military casualties. The majority of the casualties occurred as a result of the insurgency and civil conflicts between 2004 and 2007; as planned, the last US combat troops were withdrawn from Iraq in 2011, with security responsibility in the hands of the Iraqi Armed Forces. On 15 December, martial closing ceremony was held in Baghdad putting a formal end to the U. S. mission in Iraq.

This ceased direct U. S. combat involvement in the war. The last 500 soldiers left Iraq under cover of darkness and under strict secrecy early on the morning of 18 December 2011, ending the U. S. military presence in Iraq after nearly nine years. On 22 December 2011 at least 72 civilians were killed and more than 170 wounded in a series of bombings across Baghdad, while nine others died in various attacks in Baqubah and Kirkuk. A number of bombings took place in Nasiriyah, killing 73 and leaving 149 injured; the bombing in the southern Iraqi city was targeted at crowds of Shi'ite Muslims and killed at least 44, injuring more than 80 others. It was the first major attack in Nasiriyah since a suicide attack against an Italian army base killed 28 in November 2003, including 19 Italians. ISIS claimed responsibility. A suicide bomber detonated his explosives amid a crowd of Shi'ite pilgrims in Basra, killing 53 and injuring 141; this was the deadliest attack in the city since car bombs in April 2004 killed at least 74.

On January 27 – A suicide bomber attacked a funeral procession in Baghdad's Zaafaraniyah district, killing 32 and injuring more than 70 others. On February 23 – A series of attacks across 15 Iraqi cities left 83 killed and more than 250 injured. ISIS claimed responsibility two days later. On March 5 – A gang of gunmen disguised in military-style uniforms and carrying forged arrest warrants killed 27 police and hoisted the battle flag of al-Qaeda in a planned ea

Winchester Model 70

The Winchester Model 70 is a bolt-action sporting rifle. It has an iconic place in American sporting culture and has been held in high regard by shooters since it was introduced in 1936, earning the moniker "The Rifleman's Rifle"; the action has some design similarities to Mauser designs and it is a development of the earlier Winchester Model 54. The Model 70 was manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company between 1936 and 1980. From the early 1980s until 2006, Winchester rifles were manufactured by U. S. Repeating Arms under an agreement with Olin Corporation, allowing USRA to use the Winchester name and logo. Model 70s were built in New Haven, from 1936 to 2006, when production ceased. In the fall of 2007, the Belgian company FN Herstal announced; as of 2012, new Winchester Model 70 rifles were being made by FN Herstal in Columbia, South Carolina. In 2013, assembly was moved to Portugal. In 1936, Winchester introduced the Model 70 bolt-action rifle to the American market; the Model 70 was based on the Model 54, is today still regarded by shooters and is called "The Rifleman's Rifle".

In 1999 Shooting Times magazine named the Model 70 the "Bolt-action Rifle of the Century". Throughout its life, the Model 70 has been offered in many styles. Over the entire production of the Model 70, chamberings have included:.22 Hornet.222 Remington.223 Remington.22-250 Remington.223 WSSM.225 Winchester.220 Swift.243 Winchester.243 WSSM.250-3000 Savage.257 Roberts.25-06 Remington.25 WSSM, 6.5×55mm.264 Winchester Magnum, 6.5mm Creedmoor.270 Winchester.270 WSM.270 Weatherby Magnum.280 Remington, 7mm Mauser, 7mm-08, 7 mm Remington Magnum, 7mm WSM, 7mm STW.300 Savage.30-06 Springfield.308 Winchester.300 H&H Magnum.300 Winchester Magnum.300 WSM.300 Weatherby Magnum.300 RUM.325 WSM.338 Winchester Magnum.35 Remington.358 Winchester.375 H&H Magnum.416 Remington Magnum.416 Rigby.458 Winchester Magnum, and.470 Capstick. The pre-1964 Model 70s were manufactured from 1936 through 1963 after which time significant changes in the design and manufacture of the rifles were made. Pre-1964 Model 70s bring a substantial price premium due to a public perception that they were better, as they had several desirable features that the post-1964 version did not.

The best way to identify a pre-1964 Model 70 Winchester rifles is the serial number and the fore-end screw to secure the barrel to the stock. Model 70 rifles with serial numbers below 700,000 are the pre-1964 variety; the receivers of these Model 70s were machined from bar stock steel. The original Model 70 established an excellent reputation with American sportsmen, it was a high-quality action of considerable strength, with two forward locking lugs and a Mauser-type non-rotating claw extractor. The key benefit of the Mauser-type extractor compared to versions is that it more positively extracts the spent casing; this feature is referred to as "controlled round feeding" because the extractor captures the rim of a cartridge as it is fed upwards from the magazine and controls its journey forward into the rifle's chamber. Designs referred to as "push feed," only capture the cartridge by the magazine lips and the chamber and the cartridge is not held to the bolt face until a spring-loaded extractor is pushed over the cartridge's extractor groove.

The smaller extractor of the push feed action may slip or break off a spent casing stuck in the chamber under adverse conditions. Therefore the more positive extraction of the controlled round feeding action is favored by some shooters those who pursue dangerous game, who require rifles to extract reliably; this function is necessary to allow subsequent cartridges to be fed and fired in a bolt-action rifle with only a single barrel. The ejector on the original Model 70 was of the blade type similar to that of the Mauser 98, but considered superior as it did not require a Mauser-type slot through the left locking lug; the main benefit of the blade type ejector is it is simpler and more reliable when compared to the post-1964 plunger ejector in the bolt face controlled by a coil spring. Other significant features of this action include a three-position wing-type safety, a cone breeching-system that helps prevent bullet-nose damage while loading a cartridge from the magazine, machined steel trigger-guard and floor plate, one-piece bolt construction, a trigger adjustable for pull weight and over-travel.

Competing as it did with the Remington Model 700, it was decided that changes needed to be made in the face of rising labour costs. Accordingly, in 1964 Winchester made a number of design changes to the Model 70. Few to none of these changes were popular with the US military; the changes included dropping the controlled round feed feature, a change to the basic stock shape and the use of impressed checkering rather than cut checkering. Jack O'Connor, long a proponent of the Model 70, wrote of the post-1964 version that "I was informed by Winchester brass that the Model 70 was being redesigned. I told them that I was glad to get the information so I could lay in four or five more before they loused the rifle up. I saw the pilot model of'New Model 70.' At the first glimpse I like to fell into a swoon. The action was simplified, the trigger guard and floor plate made of a flimsy looking one-piece stamping." Despite this initial reaction, O'Connor grudgingly went on to say, "Actually the p

Welcome to the Club (Nat King Cole album)

Welcome to the Club is a 1959 album by Nat King Cole, arranged by Dave Cavanaugh. Cole is accompanied without Count Basie himself. Welcome to the Club was chosen as one of Billboard magazine's'Spotlight Winners of the Week' upon its release in February 1959. Billboard commented that "Cole works out on a group of swinging, jazz-oriented offerings with interesting backings by Dave Cavanaugh... Cole himself, as usual, is fine and somewhat reminiscent of his earlier swinging efforts." The review noted the similarity of the album's arrangements to Count Basie's, praised Cole's efforts on the blues tracks, "I Want a Little Girl" and "Wee Baby Blues". "Welcome to the Club" – 2:44 "Anytime, Anywhere" – 2:19 "The Blues Don't Care" – 2:10 "Mood Indigo" – 3:21 "Baby Won't You Please Come Home" – 2:11 "The Late, Late Show" – 2:32 "Avalon" – 1:45 "She's Funny That Way" – 3:02 "I Want a Little Girl" – 2:49 "Wee Baby Blues" – 3:16 "Look Out for Love" – 1:58 Nat King Cole – vocal Dave Cavanaugh – arranger, conductor The Count Basie Orchestra Gerald Wigginspiano