30 May 2020
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Almost a month after Iraq officially ended its anti-government protests in the wake of the mounting concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, the popular movement is making efforts to reaffirm its presence in the country. Activists representing some groups of the anti-government movement issued a statement on Thursday threatening the Iraqi authorities of continuing their protests after the “warrior break” imposed by health conditions related to the outbreak of COVID-19. It said the anti-government movement reiterates its position…
 Iranian propaganda is hard at work promoting the appointment of Iraq’s latest Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi, including putting religious minorities in the middle of the disagreements surrounding his designation. The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that his designation is the “right decision.” The Iranian ambassador to Iraq said that “our policy is not providing support for just one political group in Iraq. We respect all ethnicities and religious groups.”  The ambassador also said that Iran supports Iraq’s parliament because it represents the…
Iraqi President Barham Salih was keen during the official ceremony marking the appointment of Mustafa Kadhimi as prime minister-designate to film all political blocs that attended the event in a move that could be later used against them should they withdraw support for the new premier. Observers said Salih made sure that the ceremony was televised and that political blocs were clearly filmed so that they could not later accuse him of unilaterally appointed Kadhimi to his post, accusations he…
WASHINGTON — The United States on Friday offered up to $10 million for information on Sheikh Mohammad al-Kawtharani, a senior military commander of the Islamist group Hezbollah in Iraq who was an associate of the late Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Announcing the reward, the U.S. State Department said Kawtharani had "taken over some of the political coordination of Iran-aligned paramilitary groups" formerly organized by Soleimani, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander killed in a U.S.dronestrike in Baghdad in January. "In this…
BAGHDAD — Iraq's intelligence chief was appointed on Thursday the country’s third prime minister-designate in just over a month, after the resignation of the most recent candidate amid political infighting, but the path to forming a government remained uncertain. The upheaval prolongs a leadership vacuum at the helm of the government amid a severe economic crisis and viral pandemic. In December, caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi resigned under pressure from mass protests. The protests have since died down amid the…
Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on Monday warned of a "humanitarian catastrophe" from the coronavirus as the government in Baghdad offered to transfer funds to citizens stranded abroad. Despite taking measures to contain infections, Iraq reported 1,031 cases of Covid-19 and 64 deaths, while the Kurdistan region has recorded 277 and three deaths as of Monday. With a healthcare system depleted by years of conflict and corruption, officials across the country have warned that they are not equipped to deal with…
The World Health Organization refuted on Sunday a Reuters report that authorities were underreporting coronavirus cases in Iraq. Reuters claimed last week that Iraq has thousands of confirmed COVID-19 cases, many times more than its official figures. The report sparked outrage in Iraq and Reuters has been banned from operating in the country for three months and was slapped with a fine of 25 million dinars (more than $20,000) WHO representative in Iraq Adham Ismail said Sunday: “Iraq does not…
The assassination of prominent Iraqi activist Anwar Jassem Mhawwas, commonly known as “Umm Abbas”, has reignited tensions in Iraq’s Nasiriyah city, a hotbed of recent anti-government protests. Unknown gunmen shot dead Umm Abbas in front of her residence in central Nasiriyah. Two of her sons were seriously wounded. Fierce clashes had erupted on the eve of the assassination between protesters and security forces, leaving one demonstrator and one security member dead and 18 wounded. The anti-government protests had erupted in…
The Reuters news agency is quoting “three doctors closely involved in the testing process” for coronavirus as saying that the country has far more infections than authorities are admitting. The three, described as working in “pharmaceutical teams helping test suspected COVID-19 cases in Baghdad” and asking to remain anonymous, estimated the true number at anywhere from 3,000 and 9,000. As of Thursday, Iraq’s Health Ministry was reporting 772 confirmed cases and 54 deaths. A ministry spokesman would only call the…
BAGHDAD — Iraq on Friday suspended the work of the Reuters news agency for three months, following a report by the agency the previous day that said the Iraqi government was under-reporting confirmed cases of the new coronavirus. The news agency was also fined 25 million Iraqi dinars, or about $20,800, according to a statement posted on the official Communication and Media Commission website. The suspension comes after Reuters on Thursday published a story citing multiple sources who said the…
Iraq has banned Reuters for three months after the UK-based news agency reported that the number of cases of coronavirus infections in the country is much higher than the government admits. Reuters reported yesterday that there are “thousands” of cases in Iraq and cited doctors, a Ministry of Health official and a senior political official to back its claim. The official figure quoted by the government in Iraq is 772 confirmed cases and 54 deaths from the virus. READ: The Arab states need to be…

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