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Tag Archives: Iraq

Iraq’s protests and the reform farce

In recent years Iraqis have become accustomed to periodic outbreaks of mass protest against their sclerotic political system. There is little to endear Iraqis to the ruling oligarchy of parties given their unmatched pilfering of the state and continued failure.

The stabilisation of the security situation and the supposed merits of a constitutional electoral system that breaks with decades of authoritarian rule have failed to allay public anger.

While the improved security and the normalcy that has marked daily life in parts of Iraq have certainly been welcomed, it is a cruel absurdity to expect Iraqis to forever measure their quality of life and their political discontent against the harrowing extremes of civil war or Ba’thist authoritarianism. Trumpeting normalcy means having to live up to its promise.

In fact, the recent stabilisation of the security situation has brought Iraq’s systemic failures to the fore. Where once Iraqis felt caught between existential threats (such as terrorism, crime, ISIS, etc) and civil war, today they feel trapped in a political and economic system that serves the interests of the ruling party oligarchy and denies them representation, economic opportunity and functioning services.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/iraq-protests-reform-farce-191004095142453.html

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Posted by on October 17, 2019 in Middle East, Uncategorized

 

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Iraq cuts internet and imposes curfew in attempt to stifle new mass protest movement

Iraq is on the edge of a mass popular uprising which the government is seeking to stifle through a strictly imposed open-ended curfew and an enforced internet blackout.

Protests, met with a fierce response from the authorities, have gripped Baghdad and spread since Tuesday to southern Iraqi provinces. So far, 19 people have been reported killed, including one policeman, according to authorities. The real total could be higher.

The closing down of the internet has not stopped the protests but has led to them becoming more disorganised and focused in districts of Baghdad away from the centre.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iraq-protests-baghdad-internet-blackout-curfew-a9141686.html

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Baghdad protests: At least ‘10 dead and more than 200 injured’ as riot police open fire

Security forces opened fire on protesters in central Baghdad on Tuesday evening, with some witnesses saying more than 10 people had been killed and some 286 wounded.

Riot police used live rounds as well as stun grenades and rubber bullets to stop demonstrators from crossing a bridge over the Tigris River to the Green Zone from Tahrir Square, where they had been protesting against unemployment, government corruption, and lack of electricity and water. Many ministers, senior officials and government are located in the Green Zone.

A doctor at Medical City, a nearby hospital complex, told The Independent that he had seen four bodies, but that the total number of dead admitted to his hospital was at least 10. This figure was confirmed off the record later in the evening by a government adviser, citing a confidential news system used by government officials to which he had access.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/baghdad-protests-today-iraq-tahrir-shooting-death-toll-corruption-unemployment-a9128506.html

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Iran-US tensions threaten fragile stability in Iraq, amid army dismissals and restructuring

Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi was the great Iraqi military hero of the war against Isis, leading the assault on Mosul which recaptured the de facto Isis capital after a nine-month siege in 2017.

But at the weekend he was suddenly removed as the commander of the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) shock troops, the elite corps of the Iraqi armed forces, by Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi. He was instead given what the general considered to be a non-job at the Defence Ministry.

Saadi has refused to accept the move against him, and described his new posting as an “insult” and a “punishment”. His effective demotion has provoked a wave of popular support for arguably Iraq’s most esteemed general, on the streets as well as on social media. “He won the people’s friendship but the politicians’ hatred,” reads one slogan being shared online; another warns that “there is no longer any room for a patriot in this country.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iraq-iran-us-tensions-latest-isis-hashd-shaabi-a9126246.html

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2019 in Middle East

 

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‘People are dying’: The Shia city where Isis are trying to make their presence known

At about midnight on 20 September, a young man got off a white minibus at the entrance to the Shia shrine city and pilgrimage centre of Karbala, southwest of Baghdad. A few minutes later, he pressed a remote control, detonating the explosives he had left in a bag under his seat on the bus.

The bomb killed 12 people and injured a further five: footage shows the bus engulfed in flames and a voice screaming that “people are dying.” Iraqi security sources say that the alleged bomber was swiftly identified from CCTV pictures and was arrested with two other men, whose families hail from the Sunni town of Jurf al-Sakhar. Isis claimed responsibility for the attack.

The bombing made an impact out of proportion to its size because, for the last two years, Iraqi cities have been largely free from the devastating bombings by Isis, the worst of which once killed hundreds of civilians at a time.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iraq-isis-bombing-attacks-karbala-shrine-shia-city-a9123801.html

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Just as Iraq begins to find peace, it once again becomes the battleground for an American proxy war

People in Baghdad are fearful that the next war between the US and Iran will take place in Iraq, which is only just returning to peace after the defeat of Isis. Alarm that Iraq will be sucked into such a conflict has increased here because of recent Israeli drone attacks on the bases of the Iraqi paramilitary group known as the Hashd al-Shaabi, which is accused by the US and Israel of acting as a proxy of Iran.

“The new development is that Israel has entered the conflict in Iraq,” says Abu Alaa al-Walai, the leader of Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, a militant Shia paramilitary movement with ties to Iran, speaking in an exclusive interview with The Independent in Baghdad. He says that three Israeli drones attacked one of his bases in the Iraqi capital, called al-Saqr, on 12 August, leading to the explosion of 50 tons of weaponry. The Israelis confirm that they carried out the raid, which was preceded by several others, claiming that they hit Iranian missiles on their way to Syria and Lebanon.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iraq-us-iran-israel-proxy-war-middle-east-peace-abu-alaa-al-walai-shia-a9123436.html

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Bruisend Bagdad: zo schudt de hoofdstad van Irak de verlammende angst van zich af

In een jaar tijd is de sfeer in Bagdad compleet veranderd. De vrees voor
aanslagen heeft plaatsgemaakt voor bruisende energie. Overal komen
sportscholen, kunstcafés en jonge bedrijfjes op. Bagdad heeft weer
toekomst.

Nu de Iraakse hoofdstad ­Bagdad zich ­losmaakt uit de oorlog, zie je hier
dingen die heel gewoon zijn en toch ook weer niet. Zoals in sportschool
Wolf Gym, waar een jonge vrouw met een hoofddoek fitnesst in een zaal
vol mannen. Niemand kijkt daarvan op, zo normaal is dat. Zoals de
sportschool­beheerder uitlegt: wie, man of vrouw, een probleem heeft met
gemengde klasjes, is natuurlijk altijd welkom om te betalen voor
privéles.

https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/bruisend-bagdad-zo-schudt-de-hoofdstad-van-irak-de-verlammende-angst-van-zich-af~b17db014/

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Middle East, Reportages

 

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Though Isis leader al-Baghdadi is alive, this poor strategist may not be a huge threat

The reappearance of the Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has the same shock effect as that of Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of 9/11. It has all the greater impact because of claims that, with the elimination of the last territory held by Isis in March this year, that group was close to being out of business as a serious threat.

The slaughter of some 250 civilians in Sri Lanka had already showed that Isis retains its ability to take control of the international news agenda with suicide bombing attacks directed at civilians. “As for our brothers in Sri Lanka, I was overjoyed when I heard about the suicide attack, which overthrew the cradles of the Crusaders, and avenged them for our brethren in Baghouz,” al-Baghdadi said.

Just before the bombings in and around Colombo, the leader of the Isis cell had pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/isis-leader-video-name-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-syria-iraq-a8892081.html

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Middle East

 

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We can end Isis terrorism – but only if western countries wind down their proxy wars in the Middle East

Western governments have been swift to pledge action to strike at Isis, as it becomes clear that the organisation was behind the suicide bombings that killed 253 people in Sri Lanka.

A video released by Isis after the attacks shows Zahran Hashim, an Islamic preacher and alleged leader of the bombers, pledging allegiance together with six other men – also thought to be bombers – to the self-declared caliph and leader of Isis, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Western leaders, as is usual, are proposing easy or unattainable action that will do little to damage Isis capabilities – such as trying to limit its access to social media – while steering clear of potentially more effective but difficult to implement policies to eradicate Isis that might be contrary to their national interests.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/sri-lanka-bombings-blast-colombo-attack-isis-middle-east-west-proxy-wars-a8888246.html

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Trump news: This is what Iran’s man in Iraq would say to Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo went to put the thumbscrews on the Iraqi government this week. No more electrical power from Iran, he told them, and make sure those pesky Iranians don’t attack our boys in that great American base in Iraq which Trump was boasting about. The New York Times numbingly told us that his trip was “shrouded in secrecy” – if only it had been. Then at least the US secretary of state could have paid a visit to Iran’s most important supporter in the Iraqi parliament.

I met Hadi al-Ameri in Baghdad a few days before Pompeo turned up in town. A tough, curmudgeonly, 64-year-old bearded ex-militia leader, fluent in Persian and in the Shiite politics of Iraq, he is a personal friend of Qassem Suleimani – commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force and America’s latest “super-terrorist” in the Middle East – and fought alongside Iran in its eight-year war with Saddam.

I can imagine what he might have told Pompeo, because this is what he told me over tea in his Baghdad office.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/trump-iraq-iran-pompeo-isis-terror-sunni-shia-middle-east-a8906366.html

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2019 in Middle East

 

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