04 July 2020
English Arabic
BAGHDAD — A raid ordered by Iraq's new prime minister on militiamen accused of planning an attack against Baghdad's international zone could mark a turning point in his government's efforts to bring Iran-backed groups to heel. The arrest of 14 members of Kataib Hezbollah late last month marked the boldest move yet by any Iraqi leader against the Iran-linked militias, which often operate in Iraq outside the law. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who took office in May, has vowed to…
The battle to rein in armed militias outside state control has been a long and challenging process, but the Iraqi prime minister is gathering political support for his efforts. A year ago on July 1,  then Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi issued a decree ordering the factions of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) to integrate fully into the state security forces. A year later, they not only have not been integrated but are again resisting demands to assimilate with state security services, challenging the Iraqi…
Iraq closes off this week with an armed standoff between two branches of its armed forces, after the elite Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) raided a base belonging to the powerful Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia, marking the latest chapter in the proxy war between the United States and Iran. Iraq's CTS arrested more than a dozen Kataib Hezbollah militants which has triggered an armed confrontation in Baghdad's Green Zone. Meanwhile, Iran has been busy pulling Iraq ever deeper into its orbit, likely…
Iraq’s new prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, faces numerous political and economic challenges coming into office, but his main task will be reining in the country’s plethora of security forces—some of which compete against each other. Kadhimi’s background in activism and intelligence makes him well-placed to confront Baghdad’s challenges. His first actions in office have included releasing protesters from jail and reinstating Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi as counterterrorism commander. Saadi’s dismissal by then-Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi in September 2019 fed a widespread feeling of resentment that led…
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Iraq's new government to immediately reform laws dealing with freedom of expression, saying vaguely worded laws have been used to violate free speech during recent protests and the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. In a 42-page report released on Monday, the US-based rights group said that Iraqi authorities in Baghdad, as well as the Kurdistan region, had routinely used vaguely worded laws to bring criminal charges against people expressing dissenting voices. During protests that erupted last year towards the…
Washington may resort to sanctions against Baghdad if it is convinced that its encouragement to Iraq to disengage from Tehran is no longer bearing fruit. BAGHDAD –Informed political sources in Baghdad said the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi received indications from Washington during the first round of strategic dialogue talks that it is willing to support a comprehensive development campaign in Iraq in exchange for cooperation in curbing the role of pro-Iranian militias. The sources did not rule out…
The Covid-19 pandemic was only a temporary truce in popular protest movements for freedom and social justice in the region. The pandemic deepened socio-economic problems, while regimes often took advantage of containment measures to strengthen the crackdown on activists. Lebanon: “Thawra 2” Even before the official end of confinement in Lebanon in mid-April, the first demonstrations resumed, after having stopped for more than a month. Protesters across the country have revived the slogans of the protest movement that began on…
Iraq’s south is witnessing renewed protests against poor living conditions, sectarianism and rampant corruption in the oil-rich country. The mass movement initially started in October. Widespread poverty, unemployment and Iran’s interference in the country drove young Iraqis from its disenfranchised south to the streets. Protesters are now asking for local governors to resign over their poor management of the coronavirus crisis and years of corruption. The new wave of protests comes at a symbolic time. Today is the six-year anniversary of ISIS’s…
"Iraq Belongs To The Iraqis" "Sovereignty is where we draw the line. It is impossible to remain polite at the expense of Iraq's sovereignty or to make concessions at the expense of the honor of Iraq and the Iraqis... Let me repeat this again and again: Iraq's sovereignty will not be up for debate, and the Iraqis will make their [own] decisions. Iraq belongs to the Iraqis... We will not allow any Iraqi to be insulted by anyone, at home…
The US-Iraqi strategic Dialogue presents a “once in a decade opportunity” that will open a new chapter for both sides to discuss their future relations, experts say. The talks, set to commence virtually on Wednesday, come in a turbulent period in US-Iraq relations caused in part by Iran-backed militia attacks on US troops stationed in Iraq. As well as US counter-attacks inside Iraq that killed Iranian General Qassem Suliemani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis. “The talks will…
BAGHDAD--Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi found himself in recent days forced to play by the quota rules in order to go forward with his cabinet, and start working as quickly as possible to tackle the urgent economic, social and security issues awaiting the new government. Iraq’s parliament gave its vote of confidence Saturday to seven cabinet ministers, including the key oil and foreign affairs posts, completing the 22-member cabinet of Kadhimi. But, the vote did not pass without sparking a…
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