06 May 2021
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Iraq’s 17-plus years of conflict since the U.S. invasion of 2003 has mostly obscured another fight behind the scenes: the struggle of Iraqi women for equality, protection from violence, and influence in government decision-making. Among the women leading that fight is Suzan Aref, a longtime women’s rights activist in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region. In 2011, she discovered “a very strong tool” to support the cause: United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security. Adopted…
One critical foreign policy issue that has been almost entirely absent from the U.S. election debate is Iraq—and with it, the U.S. role in the wider Middle East. The United States’ place in the world has been greatly shaped over the last 17 years by its presence in Iraq. Former U.S. President George W. Bush oversaw the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with a set of decisions that made them into “forever wars.” His successor, President Barack…
BAGHDAD – The Iraqi authorities have reopened the Saadoun Street tunnel, which runs under Tahrir Square, the iconic location of the Iraqi protest movement that began about a year ago. The move heralded the end of a very distinct period in the country’s modern history, a period that has seen the largest wave of demonstrations that the country has ever experienced. Although Tahrir Square itself remained closed to vehicle traffic up to the time of filing this report, the opening…
On October 22, the United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned Iraj Masjedi, the Iranian regime’s ambassador to Iraq, also known as Iran’s “secret governor of Iraq.” The designation of Masjedi once again underlines how the mullahs’ regime uses its embassies for terrorism. Thus, it is imperative to close all the regime’s embassies and expel its diplomat-terrorists, particularly in Iraq, where Masjedi operates as the regime ambassador, implementing the regime’s warmongering policies. “Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office…
The helplessness and bankruptcy of the Iranian regime in resolving various social and economic crises resulted from incompetence, corruption, and theft by the Iranian governing body has reached an unprecedented level. Now the Iranian regime is at the point of suffocation and sudden death. In response to this situation, the regime is resorting to maximum repression and oppression to crackdown protesters to prevent any kind of insurgency and uprising, and on the other hand, it is looking for a way…

When Will Iraq Start Protecting Journalists? Thursday, 22 October 2020 04:52

A well-known TV station in Baghdad was torched by protesters after it broadcast a music concert during Ashura, a Shia holy day which was underway at the time. The offices of Dijlah TV station, which has links to Jamal Karbouli, a Sunni politician from Anbar, were badly damaged in the incident, which took place on August 31. But how have Iraqi officials since responded to this dangerous act? Not by investigating those who set the fire, but by issuing an arrest warrant for Karbouli, claiming the broadcast offended religious views under article 372 of Iraq’s Penal Code. Meanwhile, three Dijlah staffers told Human Rights Watch that they have received numerous threats during phone calls and on social media, and that armed men came looking for…
Iraq’s top cleric, Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, last month called for the disbanding of all militias. This would involve the state disarming the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Units (PMU). In turn, this would neuter Tehran’s most reliable partner in Iraq, Kataib Hezbollah, the most dangerous alternative to state power in the country. Such then is the importance of Al-Sistani’s call for the integrity of the Iraqi state. Indeed, the prime minister, now provided cover by the religious leadership in Najaf, should act…
BAGHDAD –The relationship between the controversial Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the activists supporting the popular protest movement in Iraq has moved towards increased tension, after Sadr attempted to put the brakes on the momentum of the popular demonstrations by placing a number of conditions on the street movement,  described as arbitrary. Sadr had hesitated a lot before siding with the protest movement that began in October 2019. Activists said that the Sadrists, the moniker given to Sadr’s followers, did…

Iraq: Sniper Rules Wednesday, 14 October 2020 22:32

It’s been three weeks since the U.S. threatened to bomb pro-Iran Iraqi militias unless Iraq eliminated the threat first. The American position was that Iran was at war with Americans in Iraq and said so frequently and publicly. All the major Iraqi Shia religious leaders have called for the disbanding of all PMF (Popular Mobilization Forces) militias, in part because Iran was rapidly turning the entire PMF into an Iraqi version of the Lebanese Hezbollah organization called Kataib Hezbollah. Founded…
Although some of the underlying frustrations of Iraqi demonstrators have shifted in the last year, one element remains unchanged: Iran’s malign influence.  In October 2019, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Iraq demanding anti-corruption reform and limited foreign intervention in the country. One year later, with a new prime minister in place and hundreds of protesters killed, Iraqis are gathering in Baghdad’s Tahir Square to reflect on what these protests have accomplished. A year ago, demonstrators rallied around the call…
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