24 October 2020
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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…
Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found here. Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump’s secretary of state, last month threatened to withdraw the US embassy from Baghdad — unless Iraq’s government cracked…
Much has changed and nothing has changed in Iraq and Lebanon, as both countries this month mark one year of non-stop mass protests by citizens against their ruling government establishments.The significant changes that have occurred in society, together with the persistence of the corrupted and depleted governance systems tell important, larger, tales of this historic moment of Arab political turbulence.Iraq and Lebanon's overarching message is that steadily pauperised and desperate Arab citizens who peacefully seek a total overhaul of their political systems will…
Back in October 2019, unprecedented protests demanded the fall of Iraq’s ruling class. One year on, with a new government in place and nearly 600 protesters killed, almost nothing has changed. The nationwide demonstrations which broke out on October 1, 2019 spiraled into a decentralized movement slamming unemployment, poor public services, endemic corruption, and a political class more loyal to Iran or the US than to Iraqi citizens. It led to the shock November 1 resignation of then-premier Adel Abdel Mahdi, succeeded after months of political deadlock by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, who pledged…
The Islamic State’s infamous rule over vast areas of Iraq during 2014 and 2016 not only led to a humanitarian crisis, but also left the country’s economy depleted. Its expansion in Iraq, marked by its control over vast areas of the country, most notably capturing the city of Mosul in June 2014, also allowed the organisation to seize over 121 bank branches according to the Central Bank, in what was described as one of the largest bank robberies the world has ever seen. Across…
In a recent interview, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said he envisaged the Middle East as a region that he called “the New Levant,” which would be like the EU, where capital and technology flow freely. He also said he favored the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq because it would remove the raison d’etre of pro-Tehran militias operating in Iraq. As befitting a man known for his intellect, Al-Kadhimi believes that peace, good governance and trade — rather than…
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