BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A barrage of 17 rockets landed near a military base hosting U.S. forces in northern Iraq on Friday but caused no injuries or major material damage, an Iraqi military statement said.

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U.S Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Iraqi Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari outside Iraq's defense ministry in Baghdad on Wednesday (Associated Press/Hadi Mizban)

The 1,000 U.S. troops leaving Syria will be allowed to stay in Iraq for at most four weeks, Iraq's defense minister said Wednesday, in an embarrassing rebuff to President Donald Trump's plans for withdrawing from Syria.

Najah al-Shammari's comments to the Associated Press came shortly after his meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who went to Baghdad to negotiate the redeployment of U.S. troops in Iraq after they withdrew from Syria.

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(Reuters) - Iran-backed militias deployed snipers on Baghdad rooftops during Iraq's deadliest anti-government protests in years, two Iraqi security officials told Reuters.

The deployment of militia fighters, which has not been previously reported, underscores the chaotic nature of Iraqi politics amid mass protests that led to more than 100 deaths and 6,000 injuries during the week starting Oct. 1. Such militias have become a fixture here with Iran's rising influence. They sometimes operate in conjunction with Iraqi security forces but they retain their own command structures.

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In May 2003, just two months after the U.S. military invaded Iraq and ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, then-Presidential Envoy Paul Bremer and his senior advisor Walter Slocombe drafted the Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2, a diplomatic document that effectively disbanded the Iraqi Army.

The text was purposefully benign, according to Slocombe, because "There was no intact Iraqi force to 'disband'" in the first place. For Slocombe and Bremer, the order was more a symbolic demolishment of Hussein's legacy — a demonstration, in Bremer's own words, "that neither Saddam nor his gang is coming back."

Now, more than 15 years later, Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2 (CPA Order 2, for short) is widely seen as one of the U.S.'s biggest blunders in Iraq, a hasty decision that led us right to the current "Forever War" predicament. And, with President Donald Trump's surprise withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria on Monday, the lessons of the decree remain unheeded and unlearned.

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Men ride motorbikes past a member of Iraqi federal police in a street in Baghdad, Iraq October 7, 2019. (Reuters/Wissm al-Okili)

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Days of deadly anti-government protests in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities brought few real concessions from the authorities. But when bloodshed spread to one particular poor, restive Baghdad district, they responded differently.

After protesters were killed in Sadr City, the military ordered an army withdrawal from the area and security forces for the first time admitted using excessive force, promising to hold those involved in violence against civilians to account.

More money has also been promised to help the poor.

Signs of an escalation in the sprawling residential district, from where Shi'ite insurgents once attacked U.S. forces after the 2003 U.S. invasion, spooked the government as it would mean serious trouble for Iraq and much bloodier unrest, security forces, local leaders, lawmakers and analysts say.

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Yikes (Twitter/Firas al-Sarrai)

A video shot by a YouTuber in the center of deadly protests in Iraq appears to show a rocket-propelled grenade flying narrowly over his head.

The video was posted from the Sadr City suburb of Baghdad on Sunday night by Firas al-Sarrai, a popular Iraqi Instagram and YouTube personality.

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