08 August 2020
English Arabic
BAGHDAD –Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is quietly but steadily working to establish the rule of law in state institutions, setting an unprecedented example of humility and responsiveness for government leaders. In dealing with three major incidents in the past two weeks, Kadhimi demonstrated his exceptional crisis management capabilities, responding swiftly and firmly to emergencies. The first incident occurred when Iraqi security forces killed protesters in Tahrir Square early last week during a demonstration calling for political reform and state…
Some 8,615 people have been forcibly disappeared in Iraq since 2017, with the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR)now working to discover their fate. Dr Anas Akram Mohammed, member of the Board of Commissioners of the IHCHR, said often people are found in various detention facilities and prisons throughout the country, but there are many cases which remain unsolved. “We are trying our best to increase the trust and cooperation with different security agencies to get information on any…
Protests have once again ignited this week in Iraq as embattled Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is accused of being no different to any of his predecessors over the past 17 years.The protests again led to deadly violence against demonstrators, and heavy-handed police tactics have led to calls for Kadhimi to resign, placing ever greater pressure on the Iraqi premier as he struggles to balance the interests of both neighbouring Iran and the United States in a country plagued by foreign meddling. Iran’s…

Inside the Iraqi Kleptocracy Saturday, 01 August 2020 04:38

Early last October, while working in his office in Baghdad, a businessman named Hussein Laqees got a phone call from a number he’d never seen before. “We need to talk,” the caller said. The man’s voice was gruff and self-assured, a little menacing. He demanded that Laqees come meet him but refused to give his name. Laqees demurred, and the call ended. He might have forgotten the whole exchange had a colleague not been in touch a few minutes later…

Iraq: Confronting Turks And Iranians Friday, 31 July 2020 18:43

Iran still has enough loyal (to Iran) Iraqi militias to be a threat to the Iraqi government. Most Iraqi politicians and voters want less Iranian influence. Iran wants fewer foreign troops in Iraq. That is a point of contention because Iraqis realize the foreign troops offer some assurance that Western and Arab states would actively assist Iraq if Iran sought to take control via a civil war or invasion. Civil war is the more likely option, but only in an…
There are four key reasons why Iraq is increasing the pace of development on a number of its major oil fields right now. First, it needs the money; second, hitting its own output targets will allow it to challenge Saudi Arabia in Eastern markets; third, it will allow Iran to increase its own oil exports; and, fourth, it is what China wants. Last week’s announcement from Iraq’s Oil Ministry that its Gharraf oilfield has started preparatory works for restarting output…
On his first foreign visit, the new prime minister sent a clear message that it was time Tehran started treating Iraq like a state, not a vassal At first, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appeared to be routine. The new premier stood in front of journalists in Tehran on Tuesday and acknowledged Iran's role in helping defeat the Islamic State group, a common refrain from Iraqi leaders. But the appearance of routine did…
Thousands of prisoners accused of ISIS membership are in custody in Iraq, and this number is on the rise. More than two years after the fall of the Caliphate in Iraq, the Iraqi government continues to arrest new suspects. On top of that, ISIS members are also being moved from Syria to Iraq’s detention centers. It seems most foreign countries have at one point or another put the burden on Iraq to solve the international problem of prosecuting and incarcerating ISIS affiliates.…

Iraq and Iran move further apart Sunday, 26 July 2020 13:22

Baghdad’s pivot away from its neighbour is increasingly extending to their shared resources Iraq has been giving Iran the cold shoulder in recent months as the new government in Baghdad cosies up to Washington and pivots to build closer ties with Riyadh. And the divergence is also evident in field complexes that sit on both sides of the border. The western part of the giant Iraqi Majnoon oilfield and Iran’s Yaran and Azadegan fields are parts of a shared formation.…
On the day he was nominated as Prime Minister, Mustafa Al Kadhimi told the people of Iraq in a televised address that the country’s sovereignty “is a red line". Mr Al Kadhimi, who is viewed as a reformer, has vowed to restore the state’s authority, undermined by widespread corruption and the rule of militias supported by Iran. “I said it and I will say it again: Iraqi sovereignty is not up for debate," he said. Yet since the onset of demonstrations last…

Iraq on the brink Saturday, 25 July 2020 12:41

Covid-19 and the fall in oil prices has pushed Iraq towards calamity, underlining the urgency of ending the country's fossil fuel dependency.   Tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets in October 2019 for what was arguably our country’s biggest ever grassroots socio-political mobilisation.  The protests were borne of years of frustration and despair: at rising poverty and unemployment, at our decaying health and education systems, at falling literacy rates, and the erosion of women’s rights.  The protestors’ anger was intensified by a bitter paradox. How could living standards…
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