16 January 2021
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The United States on Wednesday issued a new wave of sanctions targeting Iranian and Iran-backed entities - including the chief of staff of Iraq's powerful Hashd al-Shaabi (PMU) paramilitary force. The Treasury Department listed Abdulaziz al-Muhammadawi, also known as Abu Fadak, as a specially designated global terrorist (SDGT) and accused him of having links to the Islamic State (IS) group. The State Department said in a statement that Muhammadawi works with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) Quds Force "to reshape official Iraqi state security institutions…

Violent protests turn deadly in Iraq, again Wednesday, 13 January 2021 00:38

NASIRIYAH, IRAQ–A policeman was killed Sunday in Iraq, the army said, as security forces fired to disperse a third consecutive day of protests in the city of Nasiriyah, according to medics. The policeman was “killed by a bullet to the head,” a medic in the city 300 kilometres south of the capital Baghdad said. The army confirmed the death. “Thirty-three other policemen were wounded in the events of the day,” the military added, without elaborating. Medical sources said several protesters…
For many Iraqis who took to the streets of Baghdad to protest against poor governance, corruption and unemployment, a high-rise building overlooking Tahrir Square, known locally as the Turkish Restaurant, was the archetype of a functioning sovereign state. Draped in Iraqi flags, the building housed youths who provided daily logistical support to the revolutionaries camped in the square, distributing items such as donated blankets, battery packs and cigarettes. The young revolutionaries even installed an electricity generator during hours-long power cuts, highlighting the many…

Iraq: 2 assassinated in 2 days at protests Sunday, 10 January 2021 23:55

Baghdad- At least two people were assassinated in as many days, with 43 injured, including safety members, and 30 arrested in protests in Zikar province Iraq, according to the country's top human-rights watchdog. In addition to assassinations and kidnappings, security forces' use of tear gas, real and plastic bullets, and demonstrators' use of stones were documented, said Iraq's Independent High Commission for Human Rights. It called for calm and dialogue regarding the unrest. Protests have engulfed several provinces since October…
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq denounced on Saturday as “unacceptable” a U.S. decision to blacklist the leader of a state umbrella group for mainly Iran-backed Shi’ite militia. Washington imposed sanctions on Friday on Faleh al-Fayyad, head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF). The U.S. Treasury accused him of leading militia that killed hundreds of protesters with live ammunition during a crackdown on anti-government demonstrations in 2019. It said he had coordinated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.  “We confirm that the decision was…
For the past year, young Iraqis have been protesting in the streets.  They are demanding civil rights, a solution to record-high unemployment, and an end to government corruption. The protesters are mostly under the age of 30, and for many of them, the future looks bleak. "People will not fear," said Ali Riyadh, a 27-year-old protester. "They don't have the [sense of fear]. They can't be scared from anything anymore." It seemed as if change was on its way when…
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Press freedom organizations recorded the death of three journalists and over 300 other violations against various media workers in Iraq during 2020, with the disputed province of Kirkuk placing at the second-highest number of incidents after the capital of Baghdad. The Press Freedom Advocacy Association in Iraq (PFAAI), previously known as the Society for Defending Press Freedom in Iraq, documented 305 such violations across the country which included several forms, including, assassination, arrest, detention, beating, obstruction…
An Iraqi parliamentary committee has estimated that around 350 trillion dinars ($239.7 billion) have been smuggled outside Iraq since 2003. "The amount was smuggled in the form of fake receipts, and a lot of commissions were paid to officials," Taha al-Difai, a member of the Integrity Committee, told the official Iraqi News Agency on Monday. The MP cited political pressure on an anti-corruption committee formed by the government to look into allegations of graft in the country. "Around $1,000 trillion…
BAGHDAD: In a stall off a narrow, winding alley of Baghdad’s oldest market, Ahmed Khalaf sells the smallest luxuries: nail polish, plastic hair barrettes, colored pencils.Even during the pandemic, by midmorning the stalls in Shorja market would normally be thronged with shoppers buying food staples and household goods. But last week the aisles were nearly empty. “Our customers are mostly government employees, but as you can see, they’re not coming,” said Khalaf, 34. His troubles are a ground-level indicator of…
The US has provided the Iraqi army with 30 armored vehicles with the aim of reinforcing the security of the Green Zone in Iraq's capital Baghdad, the American embassy announced yesterday. "The United States is committed to helping the Iraqi army maintain the security of Baghdad and Iraq," the embassy said in a statement, adding that Washington had provided the Iraqi army with "30 armoured cars to help secure the international zone." The embassy pointed out that the vehicles were…
Iraq was the world’s second deadliest country for journalists in 2020, according to an annual report published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Tuesday.  Fifty journalists were killed worldwide in connection with their work between 1 January and 15 December, marginally down from the 53 killed last year.  Mexico was the most dangerous country for journalists with eight killings, followed by Iraq (six), Afghanistan (five), Pakistan (four) and India (four).  “The world’s violence continues to be visited upon journalists,” RSF's secretary-general,…
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