25 January 2020
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BAGHDAD – Supporters of Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi force began dismantling their sit-in outside the US embassy in Baghdad on Wednesday, but hardliners insisted they would stay put. The Hashed, a powerful paramilitary network integrated into Iraq’s state security forces, ordered its backers to end their protest outside the US mission. “You delivered your message,” it said in a statement. Thousands had massed outside the embassy in anger at deadly weekend US air strikes on pro-Iran Hashed faction, Kataeb Hezbollah. Iraq’s…
Speaking to reporters just hours after dozens of Iran-backed Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters broke into the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, President Trump on Tuesday night vowed that the situation "will not be a Benghazi" -- a pointed reference to the deadly 2012 embassy attack in Libya on the Obama administration's watch, after officials at the embassy had requested enhanced security for weeks. "It's been handled very well," Trump said as he walked into New Year's Eve celebrations at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.…
At least 68 Iraqi protesters have been kidnapped by unknown actors due to their involvement in protests that began to grip the south and center of the country on Oct. 1. Meanwhile, 56 remain missing according to a statement from Iraq's semi-official Human Rights Commission on Saturday. Faisal Abdullah, a member of the commission claimed on Saturday that 56 protesters still remain missing after reports they were abducted. Another 12 have been released, he said, quoting data recorded by his…
Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, shut operations at its southern Nasiriya refinery after protesters marched into the facility, according to a person familiar with the operations. The facility refines between 25,000 to 30,000 barrels a day with products ranging from gasoline, fuel oil and kerosene used mostly in the province. The cut in output may lead to a shortage for the area. Protesters -- mostly made up of the unemployed that also include recent graduates from the province -- have rallied…
The U.S. military has launched strikes on five facilities in Iraq and Syria belonging to a militia considered to be backed by Iran, the Pentagon said Sunday, two days after an American contractor was killed in an attack. The strikes came after repeated assaults by the militia, Kitaeb Hezbollah, on Iraqi bases, Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. The American operations will “degrade KH’s ability to conduct future attacks” against coalition forces, he said. The actions…
Baghdad: The sculptures carved by seven art trainees were lined up outside a makeshift workshop in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. With them were posters depicting protesters who have been killed in anti-government demonstrations in the past three months. One sculpture showed a protester with a tear gas canister in his eye. Another showed a volunteer tuk tuk driver next to his three-wheeled vehicle who was killed while evacuating wounded protesters during clashes. A third illustrated a protester’s hand flashing the victory…
Nasiryah, Iraq: Iraqi anti-government protesters blockaded an oil field and rallied in southern cities Sunday while political factions remained paralysed in their attempts to form a new government.  Several hundred people demanding jobs shut off access to the Nassiriya field, 300 kilometres south of Baghdad, which produces 82,000 barrels of oil per day, executives said. The two-day-old blockade is the first to disrupt operations in OPEC’s second largest producer since the start of the popular revolt set to enter its…
Protesters broke into Iraq’s southern Nassiriya oilfield on Saturday and forced employees to cut off electricity from its control station, taking the field offline until further notice, a security source and two oil sources said. The oilfield produces 90,000 barrels a day (bpd) of crude. Protesters chanted “no homeland, no oil”, as they forced its closure, the sources said. Mass protests have gripped Iraq since Oct. 1 and protesters, most of them young, are demanding an overhaul of a political…
Iraq’s semi-official human rights commission said Saturday at least 490 protesters have been killed in Baghdad and southern cities in nearly three months of anti-government rallies. Iraq has been roiled by protests since Oct. 1 in which demonstrators have taken to the streets to decry corruption, poor services and a lack of jobs. They have also called for an end to the political system imposed after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. The mass uprisings prompted the resignation of former Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi late last…
NASIRIYAH, IRAQ - Iraqi President Barham Saleh said Thursday he would rather resign than appoint a prime minister chosen by a bloc in parliament that is influenced by Iran. On Wednesday, the Fatah bloc named Asaad al-Eidani, governor of the southern Basra province, as the country's next prime minister. The choice was quickly rejected by anti-government protesters, who have called for a complete overhaul of the government that has been in place since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. "Out…
Iraq’s president said Thursday he was “ready to resign” rather than put forward the candidate of a pro-Iranian coalition for the post of prime minister, deepening the country’s political crisis. Barham Saleh’s announcement came as anti-government protesters blocked roads and bridges in Baghdad and the country’s south after torching several buildings overnight. In a letter to parliament, Saleh said he wished to guarantee the “independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity” of Iraq. But he cited the constitution, which obliges the president to task…

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