02 December 2020
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Why do protests in Iraq refuse to go away? Wednesday, 02 December 2020 05:25

People continue to protest against a political system that rewards loyalty, not merit. Iraq is once again reeling under protests as the interim government of Prime Minister Mustafa al Kazimi struggles to bring economic reforms necessary to create desperately needed jobs.  At least six people were killed and dozens injured over the weekend in clashes between anti-government protestors and supporters of the fiery cleric Muqtada al Sadr in the southern city of Nasiriyah.  Seventeen years have passed since the US…
The showdown began to unfold when Sudani, a prominent leader in the State of Law coalition, filed a lawsuit against the government for renewing the companies’ licenses without collecting debt they had accumulated for years. BAGHDAD – The State of Law Coalition led by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has begun to push MP Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani as a new front for the coalition that was severely affected by Maliki’s poor reputation. Following the 2018 elections, Maliki’s poor reputation…
Quds force leader Ismail Qaani dispatched to Baghdad as Tehran fears Trump could start new war in Middle East Arriving 24 hours after a barrage of rockets targeted the US embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone, Brigadier General Ismail Qaani was explicit in his instructions to paramilitary leaders on Wednesday. “Qaani made it clear that Trump wants to drag the region into an open war before leaving, to take revenge on his opponents over losing the election, and it is not…
President Trump’s decision to withdraw additional troops from Iraq risks expanding Iran’s influence in Baghdad by undercutting the prime minister’s efforts to counter Tehran’s proxy fighters. “Iran and its militias are going to be the primary beneficiaries of any prompt drawdown or withdrawal,” the Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior analyst Behnam Ben Taleblu said. “It puts pressure on those who Washington will be predisposed to work with to begin to hedge closer towards Iran.” Iraq is one of the key theaters of American…

Meir Litvak on Iran's Use of Armed Proxies Saturday, 21 November 2020 04:19

Meir Litvak, associate professor in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University, spoke to participants in an October 5 Middle East Forum webinar (video) about Iran's use of proxies to advance its regional hegemonic ambitions. Iran takes advantage of local conflicts in Arab states by mobilizing Shi'ite communities who often suffer discrimination, harnessing their grievances to organize militias and exploit existing unrest. Litvak explained that, contrary to popular wisdom, "Iran is a rational state conducting…
Following the one-year anniversary of anti-government protests in Iraq, protestors returned to the streets calling for transparent elections, youth employment and an end to government corruption and foreign interference. Like in 2019, the main protests took place on 1 October and 25 October, with Baghdad’s Tahrir Square at the epicentre of the movement. Thousands of Iraqis also gathered in cities across the Shia-dominated south – including Najaf, Nasiriyah and Basra – to demand the fall of the ruling class. This…
Breaking a nearly one-month lull, Tuesday night’s rocket attack on Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone could put at risk a fragile truce. In October, a ceasefire was announced by a group of powerful Iran-backed militias to allow the withdrawal of US forces. Shortly before midnight, seven rockets were fired from the Shiite-dominated east side of Baghdad towards the Green Zone, the seat of key government offices and western diplomatic missions, according to the government. Only four rockets landed in the Green…
For many immigrants who come to the United States — starting a life and pursuing their dreams can be difficult. Not only are there language barriers and financial challenges — but immigrations laws are tightening and the amount of refugees allowed in each year is decreasing. Yet one Colorado man wants to serve as a symbol of hope. Ali Ghassan was born and raised in Iraq. After finding a love for art — he left his home country in the midst…
On August 27, the government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi formed a committee to investigate major cases of corruption in Iraq, acknowledging the ongoing frustration among Iraqis with the rampant corruption that has plagued the country. Successive Iraqi governments after the U.S. invasion and the fall of Saddam have proved unsuccessful in managing the country’s economic and security issues, advancing living conditions for Iraqi people, or improving public services. Rather, year after year, corruption in the Iraqi system has increased…
AFP on Sunday found Iraq divided over the U.S. presidential election. Pro-Iran factions, including terrorist groups like the one that killed an American civilian contractor near Kirkuk in December 2019, were pleased to hear that American media outlets had proclaimed President Donald Trump lost the election to challenger Joe Biden. Others were unhappy with that outcome, especially those who feared a Biden victory would embolden Iran and its proxies in Iraq. Iran-controlled factions in Iraq were excited by President Trump’s reported…
The reactions of the pro-Iran militias is breeding concern among those opposed to Iranian influence in Iraq. BAHDAD - Iraq’s pro-Tehran factions have welcomed Joe Biden’s election as US president, alarming officials and activists in Baghdad who fear a US-Iran de-escalation could empower hardliners in their own country. Baghdad has long been caught in a tug-of-war for influence between its ally Washington and neighbour Tehran, made even more tense by outgoing US President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran since…
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