18 October 2018
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WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday the United States has ordered a temporary relocation of diplomatic personnel in Iraq because of growing threats to U.S. diplomatic facilities by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force and its allied militias in Iraq. In a written statement Pompeo said, “Given the increasing and specific threats and incitement to attack our personnel and facilities in Iraq, I have directed that an appropriate temporary relocation of diplomatic personnel in Iraq take…
WASHINGTON—The State Department will close the U.S. consulate in Basra, Iraq, and evacuate the diplomats stationed there, citing security risks from Iran, according to administration officials. The U.S. post in the southern Iraqi city, one of three U.S. diplomatic missions in the country, will be shuttered following mounting, credible threats from Iranian and Iranian-backed forces in Iraq, a senior administration official said. Mr. Pompeo also warned Iran in messages sent through diplomatic channels that the threats are unacceptable, the senior…

Iraqi human rights activist shot dead in Basra Thursday, 27 September 2018 21:10

A female human rights activist has been shot dead in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, which has seen violent anti-government protests in recent weeks. Video posted online appears to show an unidentified man opening fire at Suad al-Ali as she gets into a car near a supermarket in the Abbasiya area. Another man, believed to be her husband, was wounded in the attack. Mrs Ali, who supported the protests, was head of an organisation called al-Weed al-Alaiami For Human…
BASRA/ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Protesters stormed the Iranian consulate in Iraq’s southern city of Basra on Friday, turning their wrath on Iraq’s powerful neighbor after five days of deadly demonstrations in which government buildings have been ransacked and torched. Demonstrators broke in and began damaging the offices, shouting condemnation of what many Iraqis perceive as Iran’s sway over Iraq’s political parties. Security sources said the consulate was empty when the crowd burst in. The storming came hours after Iraq’s most…
Beirut, Lebanon (CNN)"The revolution will continue," the man shouted into the camera, "it will continue until our demands are met!" On Friday morning, the protests in Basra continued. The day was young, and it was already a scalding 43 degrees centigrade (109 degrees Fahrenheit). By the afternoon it was even hotter. The protests usually pick up after sunset, when the temperatures drop -- ever so slightly. All this week Basra, Iraq's third-largest city, has been wracked by protests over the decrepit state…
Iraqi politicians led by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi say they have created an alliance that would give them a majority bloc in the new parliament after four months of political uncertainty. The new government is tasked with rebuilding the country after a three-year war with Islamic State militants and balancing relations between Iraq's two biggest allies: arch-rivals Iran and the United States. The alliance announced on Sunday includes 177 politicians from 16 electoral lists, a document…
MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - On a scorching August afternoon, an angry crowd besieged a mini-truck loaded with meat of two slaughtered cows amidst the ruins of what was the last Islamic State (IS) bastion in Mosul.  In a desperate scramble, they grabbed beef from a man standing in the open back of the truck and, after it pulled away, some stayed on to descend on the next one to arrive. Part of an annual ritual of Eid al-Adha celebrations, the…
The popular demonstrations that erupted in early July in Iraq’s southern oil-rich Basra region are likely to escalate after next week’s Eid al-Adha holiday given that the government has not fulfilled any of the pledges it made to appease the protesters.The people took to the street to demand job opportunities and corruption.Federal and local authorities pledged to meet these demands, but nothing has materialized, increasing the people’s frustration. Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi had even visited Basra and ordered that employment…
BAGHDAD - In a dusty Baghdad dance studio, conductor Mohammed Amin Ezzat tries to fire up the musicians of Iraq's National Symphony Orchestra, whose enthusiasm has been dampened by eight months without pay. An ageing air conditioner fights to beat back the summer heat in the cramped space at the capital's School of Music and Ballet as the 57-year-old maestro leads the group through a rehearsal of Modest Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain". The shaggy-haired Ezzat and the 40 musicians…
Protests broke out again in Baghdad as on Friday as well as central and southern Iraqi provinces where demonstrated decried lack of public services and job opportunities besides demanding that a new government is appointed quickly. Protestors in provinces such as Basra, Dhi Qar, Najaf, al-Diwaniyah, Karbala, Babil, and the capital Baghdad, turned Friday into a day of demonstrations in front of government buildings and in public squares. They raised slogans related to lack of public services and called for…
LONDON - Mass protests over unemployment and poor services in Iraq have redirected attention to corruption, which many say is the root of the country’s problems, prompting the government to step up its reform campaign. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi sacked five officials in the electoral commission over charges of corruption during the country’s parliamentary election last May. “The decision to sack the officials was approved by the prime minister after they committed violations, manipulation and financial corruption,” said Judge Laith Jabr…
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