Svalbard is a Norwegian group of islands located in the Arctic Ocean north of continental Norway, about 650 miles (1,050 kilometers) from the North Pole. It is the northernmost year-round settlement on Earth, with a population of about 2,200. Recently, Svalbard has been trying to move its economy more toward tourism and scientific research, and away from coal mining, which supported much of the economy since the early 20th century. Tourist visits to Svalbard have been steadily rising, with amazing views and abundant wildlife—especially the polar bears—drawing visitors from around the world.
Three months ago, thousands of Iraqi and Kurdish troops, supported by the United States, France, Britain,