North Korea may be facing explosive hacking accusations, but analysts are questioning how an isolated, impoverished country with limited Internet access could wage cyber sabotage -- and many experts believe China plays a role. The US has accused Pyongyang of hacking Sony Pictures, which was intimidated into initially cancelling the comedy film "The Interview" that mocks North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, before deciding to release it online and in selected US cinemas on Christmas Day. While much of the focus has been on the so-called cyber warfare between Washington and Pyongyang -- especially after North Korea's Internet temporarily went down -- many analysts speculate China is a necessary partner in facilitating any attack by the North. "North Korea's cyber capacity relies on Chinese support in terms of both hardware and software," Willy Lam, a politics expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told AFP.
The Islamic State group on Friday claimed it carried out a suicide bombing south of Baghdad that targeted Sunni fighters who oppose the jihadists, in which 38 people were killed. IS spearheaded a sweeping militant offensive that has overrun much of Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland since June -- areas that Shiite-led government forces have sought local Sunni help to recapture. The Sahwa, or "Awakening" in Arabic, dates back to the height of the US-led war in Iraq, when Sunni tribesmen joined forces with the Americans to battle insurgents including IS's predecessor organisation, the Islamic State of Iraq. The Sahwa were key to greatly but temporarily reducing the violence, but when Iraq's government took over responsibility for their salaries they were sometimes paid late or not at all.