22 October 2021
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Since the start of anti-government protests in October 2019, dozens of Iraqi activists, journalists, and civil society members have been killed or forcibly disappeared, while their perpetrators roam free. To mark this year’s International Human Rights Day, rights groups call for an end to impunity, and the release of those arbitrarily held for their free speech or peaceful assembly. This statement was originally published on gc4hr.org on 9 December 2020. Eight organisations released the following statement today calling on the Iraqi government…
Controversial Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has announced that his party will put forth a candidate to run for Iraq's top job for the first time at the upcoming elections in June, reversing a previous pledge to not enter politics directly.  His announcement came as he called on his supporters to reinvigorate "anti-corruption" protests targeting senior Iraqi politicians.  However, this has been seen as a cynical ploy to undermine his rivals while appearing as a "man of the people", as Sadr's supporters…

Iraq’s Shia brace for election battle Sunday, 06 December 2020 02:52

Facing crucial vote next year, Iraq’s Shia political groups are aggressively jockeying for power, targeting pro-reform protesters With elections in Iraq only months away, the country’s Shia political factions, which have been in control of the government for nearly 18 years, are making preparations for their campaigns, fuelling speculation that the voting will be hotly contested. Incumbent Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, who came to power in May after months of political turmoil, has called early general elections for 6…

Iran expands shrines and influence in Iraq Friday, 04 December 2020 02:38

KERBALA, Iraq – In September, a senior Iranian commander made an unannounced visit to one of Shi’ite Islam’s holiest sites in the southern Iraqi city of Kerbala. Hassan Pelarak, a top officer in the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, had recently been sanctioned by the U.S. for weapons smuggling. He was checking in on a construction project led by a firm he owns together with other Revolutionary Guards, a foundation linked to Iran’s Supreme Leader. This foundation too is under…

Why do protests in Iraq refuse to go away? Wednesday, 02 December 2020 05:25

People continue to protest against a political system that rewards loyalty, not merit. Iraq is once again reeling under protests as the interim government of Prime Minister Mustafa al Kazimi struggles to bring economic reforms necessary to create desperately needed jobs.  At least six people were killed and dozens injured over the weekend in clashes between anti-government protestors and supporters of the fiery cleric Muqtada al Sadr in the southern city of Nasiriyah.  Seventeen years have passed since the US…
The showdown began to unfold when Sudani, a prominent leader in the State of Law coalition, filed a lawsuit against the government for renewing the companies’ licenses without collecting debt they had accumulated for years. BAGHDAD – The State of Law Coalition led by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has begun to push MP Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani as a new front for the coalition that was severely affected by Maliki’s poor reputation. Following the 2018 elections, Maliki’s poor reputation…
Quds force leader Ismail Qaani dispatched to Baghdad as Tehran fears Trump could start new war in Middle East Arriving 24 hours after a barrage of rockets targeted the US embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone, Brigadier General Ismail Qaani was explicit in his instructions to paramilitary leaders on Wednesday. “Qaani made it clear that Trump wants to drag the region into an open war before leaving, to take revenge on his opponents over losing the election, and it is not…
President Trump’s decision to withdraw additional troops from Iraq risks expanding Iran’s influence in Baghdad by undercutting the prime minister’s efforts to counter Tehran’s proxy fighters. “Iran and its militias are going to be the primary beneficiaries of any prompt drawdown or withdrawal,” the Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior analyst Behnam Ben Taleblu said. “It puts pressure on those who Washington will be predisposed to work with to begin to hedge closer towards Iran.” Iraq is one of the key theaters of American…

Meir Litvak on Iran's Use of Armed Proxies Saturday, 21 November 2020 04:19

Meir Litvak, associate professor in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University, spoke to participants in an October 5 Middle East Forum webinar (video) about Iran's use of proxies to advance its regional hegemonic ambitions. Iran takes advantage of local conflicts in Arab states by mobilizing Shi'ite communities who often suffer discrimination, harnessing their grievances to organize militias and exploit existing unrest. Litvak explained that, contrary to popular wisdom, "Iran is a rational state conducting…
Following the one-year anniversary of anti-government protests in Iraq, protestors returned to the streets calling for transparent elections, youth employment and an end to government corruption and foreign interference. Like in 2019, the main protests took place on 1 October and 25 October, with Baghdad’s Tahrir Square at the epicentre of the movement. Thousands of Iraqis also gathered in cities across the Shia-dominated south – including Najaf, Nasiriyah and Basra – to demand the fall of the ruling class. This…
Breaking a nearly one-month lull, Tuesday night’s rocket attack on Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone could put at risk a fragile truce. In October, a ceasefire was announced by a group of powerful Iran-backed militias to allow the withdrawal of US forces. Shortly before midnight, seven rockets were fired from the Shiite-dominated east side of Baghdad towards the Green Zone, the seat of key government offices and western diplomatic missions, according to the government. Only four rockets landed in the Green…

New EIFA Report : Iran’s Support for Islamic Fundamentalist Groups,  Relations With al-Qaeda & Sunni Extremists Under Scrutiny

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Exclusive: Biography and record of Hadi Farhan Abdullah al-Ameri

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