23 January 2019
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Looking ahead at what 2019 will bring in Iraq is like walking through a hall of mirrors. Reality is distorted, vision is blurred and walking down the wrong path could find one crashing into glass.  For all the beginning-of-year predictions since 2003, few have been accurate, and 2019 will most likely be the same. Too many variables, too many outside actors and bevvies of black swans await the foolhardy prognosticator. Even the US, usually the most predictable of actors, cannot…
LONDON - In December 2017, Iraq announced the defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS). While ISIS lost control of major population centres in Iraq, the country’s politics remain in gridlock. In the victory declaration of December 9, 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi praised the achievement of Iraq’s “heroic armed forces.” “Our enemy wanted to kill our civilization  but we have won through our unity and our determination,” he said. By the end of 2017, a coalition of Iraqi and international…
Twice last month, the Iraqi parliament blocked the appointment of key ministerial posts by Iraq’s new Prime Minister Dr Adel Abdul Mahdi. The main sticking point with certain party blocs in the parliament has been Mahdi’s insistence on the appointment of Faleh al-Fayadh as Interior Minister. Major blocs like Saairun, supported by the firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, have walked out of the parliament, leaving it un-quorate each time Mahdi has tabled Faleh al-Fayadh’s nomination. The issue has left the government…
MOSUL, IRAQ — Standing on what's left of the the roof of his crumbled home, Ahmed, an aging Mosul resident, trembles as he describes the deaths of his three sons.  A Russian Islamic State militant occupied Ahmed's house last year and a U.S.-led coalition airstrike targeted it. The strike killed the militant, and Ahmed's boys. Now, Ahmed says he cannot afford to rebuild his home for his two surviving children. "No one gave us a penny or a single dinar," he…

Iraq's Intra-Shia Struggle Over Iranian Influence Wednesday, 19 December 2018 22:04

Iranian-backed Shia militias inside Iraq, once viewed by many Iraqis as saviors who helped the country defeat the Islamic State, are destabilizing Iraq’s infant and fragile government and creating additional tension between Baghdad and Washington. There was a brief sigh of relief when an Iraqi government was finally formed in September. It took five months of wrangling after a national election in May. But the militias, more commonly known as Hashd al-Shaabi, or Population Mobilization Forces (PMUs), Iran’s major weapon…
fter a brief respite during the hot summer of southern Iraq, the citizens of Basra are out on the streets again, demanding jobs and better state services. The country finally has – after elections that were held way back in May – a new parliament, president and prime minister. The full Monty. One might have thought that now might be the time to let government get to work for the people. But no, Basra residents want their many problems solved…
Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Twice in the past week, the Iraqi parliament blocked the appointment of key ministerial posts by Iraq's new Prime Minister Dr. Adel Abdul Mahdi. The main sticking point with certain party blocs in the parliament has been Mahdi's insistence on the appointment of Faleh al-Fayadh as Interior Minister. Major blocs like Saairun, supported by Muqtada al-Sadr, have walked out of the parliament, leaving it un-quorate each time Mahdi has tabled Faleh al-Fayadh's nomination. The issue has left the government…
Two thousand five hundred years ago, Lao Tzu, the legendary Chinese philosopher, said: “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” His words may accurately describe the spiralling decline of Iraq. The cause of Iraq’s disintegration cannot be blamed solely on the Bush, Blair invasion and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s cruel Baathist regime. The eight-year term in office of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a puppet of the Iranian regime, sowed the sectarian seeds,…
Some of Basra's activists fled to Turkey after being threatened by Iran-backed militias. BASRA, Iraq - Protesters in the southern Iraqi city of Basra said the government failed to respond to demands for better living conditions and resumed demonstrations that call for radical change. Chanting in front of the Basra governorate building, Sadiq Jaafar Mohammed, a clan leader, declared: “Demonstrations will continue until all demands are met.” “The government gave us zero services while we were giving blood in return…

Is Iran’s time in Iraq coming to an end? Saturday, 08 December 2018 05:15

Iraq is no stranger to foreign influence in its politics, economy and way of life. It has been the crossroads for trade between Asia, Europe and Africa from time immemorial. Having had only an occasional stint of total independence and local dominance (the Mesopotamian Empire and a few other occasions in the last couple of thousand years), the people of the fertile crescent have had their very DNA imprinted with becoming chummy with the current dominant neighbor and thriving at…
"Raise your voices! Where are your voices? Raise your voices against killings of women, raise your voices for women!" exclaimed the scores of women and men at a demonstration in central Baghdad this month. Activists gathered near the al-Mutanabbi Statue in downtown Baghdad on November 16, calling for the end to violence against women. Hundreds of others in the area joined the activists, reinforcing their outcry for women and freedoms of women. Every year up to hundreds of women in…
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