17 April 2021
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ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— Members of the Peace Brigades (Saraya al Salam in Arabic) militia, followers of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, have been deployed in droves to several Iraqi cities after receiving information about "threats" to holy sites, according to advisors to Sadr.   A statement circulated by Telegram channels affiliated with the Peace Brigades stated that "Abu Yasser," the “jihadist aide” to Sadr, held an urgent meeting on Monday in which he declared "complete readiness" to defend holy sites, following…
FALLUJAH– Abu Arkan Ibrahim picked up a rifle and joined the Iraqi insurgency against US troops when they occupied his hometown of Fallujah in 2003. He was badly burned in the fighting. Now, he fears the departure of the Americans he once battled. Over the past 17 years, the municipal employee has watched his city fall to the United States, al-Qaeda, ISIS and, most recently, Iraqi forces fighting alongside Iran-backed paramilitaries. Ibrahim said the presence of US troops in recent…
Iraq, the second-biggest oil producer within the Opec group, is substantially exposed to fiscal risks related to guarantees issued by the state to support investment in the country, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund. At end of June 2017, the stock of guarantees related to foreign currency service payments and debt amounted to $21.7 billion, representing 12 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the IMF said. This includes $19.4bn for service payments to independent power…

UN Envoy to Iraq Slammed over Visit to Tehran Wednesday, 03 February 2021 04:39

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert is facing a fierce wave of criticism over her latest two-day visit to Tehran. Many are demanding her sacking and accusing the UN mission of validating election fraud in the Levantine country. Despite the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) office in Baghdad confirming to Asharq Al-Awsat that it operates private bureaus in Tehran and other neighboring countries, observers noted that Plasschaert’s visit to Tehran has stirred doubts about…
SULAIMANI — Two days after being confirmed as the new US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken held a phone call with Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Fuad Hussein on Thursday (January 28). During the call, Blinken conveyed his condolences over the “horrible” double suicide bombing in Baghdad a week ago, which killed 32 people and was claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group, according to a State Department readout. He encouraged the Iraqi government “to continue efforts to address the demands of…
WASHINGTON - Iran has released a series of short propaganda films glorifying the slain Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani who was killed in a U.S. drone strike a year ago. The show, however, has offended officials in the neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan region who describe it as an “insult” to their leadership and hundreds of their fighters who have died in the war against the Islamic State (IS) terror group. Iran’s official news agency, Fars News, on Saturday published a segment…
Kadhimi’s government pushing back elections could cause further resentment among activists and protesters who consider delaying elections an attempt to ignore their key demands. BAGHDAD – Iraq’s cabinet decided on Tuesday to postpone the general election to October 10 from June, state news agency INA said. The government last year set a general election for June 6, 2021, roughly a year ahead of when it would normally be held, but Iraq’s Independent High Election Commission (IHEC) on Monday proposed it…
BAGHDAD (AP) — Twin suicide bombings ripped through a busy market in the Iraqi capital Thursday, killing at least 32 people and wounding dozens, officials said. The rare suicide bombing hit the Bab al-Sharqi commercial area in central Baghdad amid heightened political tensions over planned early elections and a severe economic crisis. Blood was splattered on the pavement of the busy market amid piles of clothes and shoes as survivors took stock of the disarray in the aftermath. No one…
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…

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