05 April 2020
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BAGHDAD — In February, an Iraqi militia commander trained by Iran took over the empty office of his slain superior, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, killed weeks before alongside Iranian military mastermind Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike. Many pro-Iran militiamen hoped this was the answer to their problems: the experienced commander Abdul Aziz al-Mohammedawi might replace Muhandis as overall leader of Iraq's paramilitary groups, scattered after the killing of their two mentors. Instead, it has led to new splits. Factions…
Iraq depends on oil revenues, which have plummeted. The country is so desperate it is asking for donations to help it weather the pandemic. BAGHDAD — When Iraq recorded its first cases of coronavirus, its health minister asked the government for $5 million in emergency funds. But there were no funds to be had. “There is no money and we are in a difficult situation,” said the minister, Jaafer Sadiq Allawi, as he appealed for help from a cleric at…
Iran is facing one of the worst public health crises in its modern history. Tens of thousands of people there have been infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and more than 2,000 have lost their lives. Many members of the country’s medical staff and health officials keep calling on the government to take the necessary steps to disrupt the spread of the virus. Kianush Jahanpur, the spokesperson for Iran’s Health Ministry, revealed the depth of the crisis by tweeting: “Based on our information,…

Iraq: We Have Met The Enemies Wednesday, 25 March 2020 05:03

Most Iraqis agree that Iran is a toxic neighbor that, in its current state (an increasingly unpopular religious dictatorship) is a toxic force obsessed with controlling Iraq and the Iraqi government. Iran has sent hundreds of IRGC officers, most of them from the Quds Force (similar to the U.S. Special Forces, but specializing in supporting Islamic terrorists not fighting them) and even more lower-ranking IRGC personnel to Iraq. Dozens of senior IRGC officers have been killed in Syria and Iraq…
The Trump administration voiced an “enormous disappointment” in Iraq's caretaker government on Friday, following attacks on US coalition troops that killed at two American soldiers this month. US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs David Schenker said the situation is “a high point of contention” between the two countries. Speaking from the State Department, he said “it’s no secret that we’ve been, I think, enormously disappointed with the performance of the Government of Iraq in fulfilling its obligations…
March 20 (UPI) -- The rocket attack on March 11 that killed a young Scottish medic -- Lance Cpl. Brodie Gillon -- and two Americans in Iraq has raised once more the specter of resurgent Iranian aggression in the region. The 26-year-old British reservist had volunteered for a deployment in Iraq. She was killed when 18 Katyusha rockets struck Camp Taji, where she was stationed, 25 miles north of Baghdad. A further 14 military personnel were wounded in the unprovoked attack.…
Is Iraq on course to becoming a failed state? The Kataib Hezbollah militants (part of Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi) who killed several coalition troops last week are closely allied to Iran, as well as to powerful elements within Iraq’s parliament. This is just one of many warning signs of how Iraq is devolving from nation state to a warring cluster of paramilitary fiefdoms under Iranian hegemony.  Iraqis demand effective governance and an end to institutionalized corruption. Yet, whoever is appointed to the…

Iraqi MPs loyalties are not to their people Saturday, 14 March 2020 22:41

Who has ever heard of a member of this honourable body speak out against the greedy game of exchanging favours and interests between political leaders? Political life in Iraq today is not led by real parties but by parliamentary blocs and groupings. Even the only Shia party, the Dawa Party, which earlier branded itself as a political and proselytising movement, found it more lucrative to abandon those ideals and delve into shady deals of pillaging public money. Other than the…
President Barham Salih is greatly committed to reconstructing Iraq, reforming the economy, restoring factories, revitalising agriculture and creating tonnes of job opportunities for the thousands of unemployed and disillusioned youth who are today the main nerve of the uprising in Iraq but it might be too late. Salih’s call on political parties to “seriously strive to reach a national agreement for the appointment of an alternate prime minister, who could be nationally and popularly accepted, during the specified constitutional period,…
In the Nineveh Plains, near Mosul, Iraq, some 32,000 Christians live in areas controlled by Iran-backed militias. As tensions between the United States and Iran, Nineveh Christians hope for an end to the influence of Iran in their day-to-day lives. With the liberation of parts of Iraq from ISIS in 2017, Iraq’s Syriac and Chaldean Christians returned home to two unwelcome developments. First, unsurprisingly, their homes had been burned, looted or destroyed by ISIS. Second, Iran-backed groups — known as Popular Mobilization…
The Iranian government has covered up an outbreak of coronavirus that now threatens the Middle East and has led to border closures and hospitalizations in five countries. Over the weekend of February 21, president Hassan Rouhani and other Iranian officials downplayed the growing crises as Iran’s death toll from the virus climbed. It is now apparent that the regime, which has threatened the region with ballistic missiles, drones, naval mines, and militias over the last few years, has become a health threat as…
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