01 October 2020
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Iraq’s finance minister has warned of “severe security consequences” if its economy is not “restructured radically”, as the coronavirus crisis wreaks havoc on business and an oil price crash hits state revenues. “Issues which were buried because of large and growing oil revenues are now crystallising,” said Ali Allawi, the country’s new Harvard and MIT-educated finance minister, referring to bloated spending and a monthly wage bill of $5bn for its vast public payroll. This includes payments for what he estimated…
Iran has recently taken a notable interest in helping Iraq and Syria build up their  limited air defenses, aiming to give them the capability to counter Israeli airstrikes. An agreement struck in July to improve Syrian air defenses authorizes Iran to deploy two of its air defense missile systems on Syrian soil, according to a report by the newspaper Raialyoum cited by The Tehran Times, potentially the domestically made Iranian Bavar-373 and 3rd Khordad missiles, which are in some ways comparable to…

Iran’s terrorism knows no limits Sunday, 19 July 2020 12:51

Iran has a plan for the world. It is the scheme of the Iranian regime to spread terror as far as it can. Shamefully, it appears to have carried out the reprehensible act of assassinating the brave political writer and analyst Hisham Al-Hashimi in Baghdad last week.Al-Hashimi had written an article exposing the corruption attributable to the Hezbollah branch in Iraq known as Kata’ib Hezbollah. He paid a heavy price for his courage. But Al-Hashimi was not the first victim…
Receiving death threats from Shiite militias was no surprise to Iraqi security analyst Hisham al-Hashemi, who had long warned of the danger such armed groups posed to rebuilding the Iraqi state after years of war. But Mr. Hashemi – gunned down on July 6 in front of his Baghdad house – could hardly have predicted his own assassination would become a key episode in the escalating battle between a new Iraqi prime minister and the defiant Iran-backed militias like Kata’ib Hezbollah that…
BAGHDAD –Iraqi political and popular forces opposed to Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi are working to pressure the government in Parliament and on the street, with the aim of bringing it down. According to some sources, this summer’s confrontations are expected to be quite heated. The anti-Kadhimi political forces belong to Iran’s close allies in Iraq. Informed sources in Baghdad said leaders of the Fatah Alliance, the second largest parliamentary bloc in the Iraqi parliament, have had contacts with the leader…
A major assassination in Iraq has hit the headlines for the second time this year. Last week’s killing of leading security expert Hisham Al-Hashemi, who advised both the president and prime minister, has rocked the Iraqi establishment. He was shot dead by gunmen riding on motorbikes. Al-Hashemi had pushed for robust actions against Iraq’s militias, calling them a threat to the state. He paid for this position with his life. Many observers believe this was the bloody and deliberate response…
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - As lower oil prices and a coronavirus-driven downturn batter Iraq’s economy, availability of safe water is eroding and could fuel greater tensions, security experts warned on Wednesday. Hospitalisations due to worsening contamination from sewage, agricultural runoff and chemical dumping are high, especially in southern Iraq, and families now reliant on bottled water may struggle to afford it as incomes dive, they said. “There are layers and layers and layers of problems,” said Azzam Alwash, founder…
Husham al-Hashimi — an extremism expert and anti-corruption advocate — was shot outside his home on Monday As a journalist in Iraq, Lawk Ghafuri is accustomed to reporting on assassinations.  But nothing could have prepared him for Monday night, when news broke that Husham al-Hashimi — a prominent Iraqi analyst, and a personal friend of Ghafuri's — had been gunned down outside his Baghdad home.  "The hardest part was when I wrote about his death," Ghafuri, who covers Iraq for…
BAGHDAD — A raid ordered by Iraq's new prime minister on militiamen accused of planning an attack against Baghdad's international zone could mark a turning point in his government's efforts to bring Iran-backed groups to heel. The arrest of 14 members of Kataib Hezbollah late last month marked the boldest move yet by any Iraqi leader against the Iran-linked militias, which often operate in Iraq outside the law. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who took office in May, has vowed to…
The battle to rein in armed militias outside state control has been a long and challenging process, but the Iraqi prime minister is gathering political support for his efforts. A year ago on July 1,  then Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi issued a decree ordering the factions of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) to integrate fully into the state security forces. A year later, they not only have not been integrated but are again resisting demands to assimilate with state security services, challenging the Iraqi…
Iraq closes off this week with an armed standoff between two branches of its armed forces, after the elite Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) raided a base belonging to the powerful Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia, marking the latest chapter in the proxy war between the United States and Iran. Iraq's CTS arrested more than a dozen Kataib Hezbollah militants which has triggered an armed confrontation in Baghdad's Green Zone. Meanwhile, Iran has been busy pulling Iraq ever deeper into its orbit, likely…

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