Antichrist Threatens Against Iraq Reforms (Revelation 13)

Iraqi Shia leader al-Sadr threatens leaders against blocking reforms

Reuters, Baghdad
Supporters of prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr shout slogans against government corruption during a protest in the streets outside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone in Iraq on Friday. (Reuters)

Sadr also called on Abadi to announce a new cabinet line-up by Saturday that would see current ministers replaced by technocrats with no party affiliation to tackle systemic political patronage that has abetted bribery and embezzlement.

The influential cleric spoke in a Friday sermon delivered by a representative to tens of thousands of faithful outside the gates of Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone that houses government offices, parliament and embassies.

Sadr’s followers began a sit-in a week ago outside the Green Zone to pressure the government to see through anti-corruption pledges. Abadi has shown a willingness to act but has been slow to deliver on a reshuffle announced in February.

Corruption is depleting the central government’s financial resources at a time when revenues are declining due to lower oil prices and Abadi needs to ramp up funding for the US-backed war against Islamic State militants.

Iraqi security forces gather in the streets during a sit-in for supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr in Baghdad on Friday. (Reuters)

“If he brings a logical reform package to parliament and does not get enough votes, there will be a call to escalate protests against those who did not vote” for the proposed cabinet, said Sadr’s envoy, Sheikh Asaad al-Nasiri.

“If (Abadi) does not announce a package that appeases the people, then we will have another stance we will announce tomorrow. We will not be content with a sit-in at the Green Zone,” Nasiri added amid crowd chants of, “Yes, yes to Moqtada our leader!”
He did not mention a deadline which Sadr gave Abadi last month to implement reforms. The deadline expires next week.

Abadi has voiced concern that the Shia street protests could spin out of control and put Iraq’s security in danger when it needs to keep its focus on fighting Islamic State.

Iraq, a major OPEC producer that relies on oil exports for most of its revenue, ranked 161 out of 168 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index in 2015.

Antichrist Calls For New Iraqi Government (Revelation 13)

Muqtada al-Sadr Calls for New Iraqi Government Members

Edward Yeranian
Thousands of supporters of Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held what they billed as a “joint” Sunni-Shi’ite prayer service Friday outside the main entrances to the government-controlled “Green Zone.”  Sahttp://andrewtheprophet.comdr has given Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi a Saturday deadline to carry out governmental “reform” and install a new Cabinet composed of technocrats instead of political loyalists.

It was the sixth consecutive Friday that supporters of Iraq’s mercurial Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr protested in central Baghdad to demand government reform.  The mostly Shi’ite crowd chanted slogans and listened to a sermon by Sadr ally Sheikh Asad al-Nasiri.

Nasiri repeated a Sadr ultimatum to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi that the Iraqi leader has until Saturday to present a new government to parliament.  Nasiri also threatened to raise the stakes against lawmakers.

He says his supporters want to see the prime minister come up with convincing, new reforms, including an independent government of technocrats, with new ministers loyal to the people and not to the political parties which are battling to dominate the political arena.

Nasiri pledged to support Prime Minister Abadi if he goes ahead and presents the new government to parliament, but warned of the potential wrath of demonstrators if the legislators vote down the new administration.

A member of the parliamentary committee vetting potential candidates for the government positions told Iraqi state TV that ministers will be required to have strong experience:

He says the committee is requiring ministerial candidates to have a higher degree in their field of specialization and at least 15 years of experience, as well as a plan of action.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, tells VOA that he thinks authentic reform will require more than a new government of technocrats.

“The new Iraqi political system was modeled after Lebanon’s.  That is: a confessional political system, based on sectarian and ethnic accommodation.  The political system in itself invites corruption.  So, unless we deal with the political question and the future of Iraq as a nation-state, dealing with corruption is a waste of time,” said Khashan.

Iraqi TV indicated that Prime Minister Abadi has spent the past 24 hours meeting with the country’s top political leaders to win their approval for his new government.

The Storm Of The Antichrist Is Coming (Revelation 13:18)

Calm before the storm at Baghdad protest camp

Supporters of prominent Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr shout slogans during a protest against corruption in Baghdad. — Reuters
Supporters of prominent Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr shout slogans during a protest against corruption in Baghdad. — Reuters

BAGHDAD — Sitting in the shade near the protest tents, Raad Al-Haeri watched as convoys of armored SUVs ferried politicians and diplomats in and out of Baghdad’s Green Zone.

The 27-year-old scrapes together around $400 a month working odd jobs and has the spare time to join the thousands of supporters of cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr in their protest against corruption.
“When you see those MPs driving their huge armored cars getting salaries of $12,000 or whatever it is, you don’t feel good. These people are stealing Iraq’s money,” he said.

A few steps away, behind coils of razor wire and rows of anti-riot police, VIP traffic through one of the main gates of the Green Zone continued as usual.

Sadr’s followers set up protest camps on Friday at several entrances to the restricted zone, which houses Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s office, parliament and foreign embassies, including the huge US mission.

They have vowed to stay until the expiry of a deadline Sadr gave Abadi to present names for a cabinet of technocrats meant to replace party-affiliated politicians they accuse of perpetuating a system based on nepotism and patronage.

The protest camps were not authorized but no incident has been reported so far and the demonstrators even bonded with the security forces.

But the mood could change in a week when the deadline expires as Sadr has threatened that his supporters will storm the Green Zone if their demands are not met.

“I sit here and struggle to buy bread. They still don’t understand that we are ready to die here and go into the Green Zone if Sayyed Moqtada asks us to,” said Raad.

As the protesters wait for orders from Moqtada Sadr from his base in the Shiite shrine city of Najaf, clips of his speeches aired by his Al-Taif TV channel play on a giant screen.

“There’s a good atmosphere here, it’s a big family. We meet friends we haven’t seen in a long time,” said Mohammed Mahmud, a 29-year-old from Zafaraniya, a large southern neighborhood of Baghdad. “It’s well organized and we are provided with food.”

Meanwhile, Hossam Jabbar “the teaman” lines up dozens of paper cups of heavily sweetened tea for the constant flow of protesters.

“Some Sunnis say the Shiites have it good because they are ruling but I want to say we are like dead, we are the worst off,” said Jabbar, wagging a finger while holding his kettle in the other hand.
“Only the parties have benefited, those politicians only represent themselves, not the Shiites,” he shouted, to cheers from the little crowd that gathered at his stand.

Many protesters are prepared to see Abadi as an exception in his party and and think he is sincere about reform.

They see no reason for him to oppose their movement, which they see as handing him a political victory he could never achieve alone. “If he implements our demands, he will liberate himself from his corrupt political bloc, it will be a big achievement for him,” said Ali Hashem, a 40-year-old Baghdad city council employee who took three days off to join the protest. “If he doesn’t, he’s either too weak or one of them.”

Hashem said Abadi already had strong support from top Shiite cleric Ali Al-Sistani and many foreign allies. “We can give him the street.”

Iraq Rejects Antichrist’s Requests (Revelation 13)

PM Al-Abadi Rejects Al-Sadr Proposed New Cabinet

Baghdad- After announcing a 25- bulleted plan to “rescue” Iraq, Leader of the Sadrist Movement Muqtada al-Sadr declared, on Tuesday, assembling a thorough cabinet for parliament to vote on. However, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi hastily rejected al-Sadr’s proposition.

After al-Sadr convening, in Najaf, with his reform committee he told reporters that “the committee has completed assembling an independent ministerial cabinet which will be placed in the hands of PM al-Abadi”

Al-Sadr suggested that “the cabinet be put to vote at parliament, so that those who wish can vote, and those who don’t may abstain”

“This, highly adequate, cabinet must be placed in the hands of Iraqis,” he added.

The cabinet is proof of forming a government not compromised by sects and partisanship. It is now in the hands of the current government, and – using a threatening undertone- if guarantees on implementing reform are presented, in turn we will present reassurances not to escalate, Al-Sadr said.
On the other hand, committee leader Samy A’zara said that the cabinet comprises 90 Iraqi figureheads, among which are university professors, to-be-assigned ministers and representatives. “The committee has chosen 4-5 people from each ministry… and it is up to the government now,” he added.

Meanwhile al-Sadr hinted a potential rise of dispute, should his reform recommendations are not guaranteed implementation, PM al-Abadi , with head-turning U.S. backing , took no second thought on rejecting al-Sadr’s proposed cabinet.

State of Law Coalition led by Nouri al-Maliki also refused al-Sadr’s formation, which was rendered illegitimate and a violating confiscation of the opinion of other political parties who contribute to the country.

MP Jasem Mohammed Jafar told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that “al-Sadr proposed to a new cabinet PM al-Abadi, without negotiating with parliament bodies.”

“And thus, this approach is a violation to legitimacy, and even if put to vote, will not receive the votes of anyone but Sadrist movement parliament members.”

He emphasized that the time interval PM al-Abadi has given political parties ends next Saturday, which translates into nine minsters being relieved from duty.

The Iraqi PM had requested political parties to name substitutes which will replace resigned members, and if no names are received within a week, he will be naming the nine replacements. This would be the first step towards ministerial change, MP Jafar added.

Among those who are subject to replacement according to PM al-Abadi’s reform measures, are Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim al-Jaafari, belonging to National Reform Trend, Finance Minister in the Interim government Adil Abdul-Mahdi, Minister of Housing and Reconstruction, Minister of Finance and Minister of Interior Baqir Jabr al-Zubeidi.

Al-Abadi completely undercut the significance of al-Sadr’s ministerial proposal.

A leader in the Sadrist movement, who requested anonymity, said that “there are no current instructions from al-Sadr on what measures would be taken in case of the committee’s proposal being ignored.”

As for the possible measures, the leader said: “we clearly stated that protests will continue, with an enraged crowd which the political strata should acknowledge the risk it represents- in reference to a preceding al-Sadr threat on invading the Green Zone.”

Al-Abadi Threatened by Antichrist (Revelation 13)

Al-Abadi Argues Al-Sadr, “Fighting Corruption Begins within Parties”
Baghdad- Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi implicitly refused threats directed by Muqtada al-Sadr, who is a popular leader and a governmental official. Al-Sadr, during his Friday speech on Friday, before thousands of his supporters threatened that public enraged protest against corruption will break into the Green Zone. The zone notoriously goes by the Green Zone and is a 10-square-kilometer area centered in the Karkh district of Bahdad.

PM Al-Abadi, in a press conference held by the parliament at al-Rasheed hotel and in cooperation with the U.N. delegation in Iraq, stated that the fight against corruption must be initiated within the parties themselves. He pointed out that no political party acknowledges its responsibility towards corruption in the country, “they all assign their ministers, force them on the Prime Minister, and then renounce them”, Al-Abadi added.

At the conference, which was attended by Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Abadi confirmed that political parties in Iraq were established either based on labels or on sects. Thus he called out on an initiative to form a comprehensive party that surpasses the limits of sects and figureheads. The new party should be able to overcome sectarian and social strife. “The reinforcement of democracy cannot be achieved because political parties are undemocratic themselves”, Al-Abadi said.

The Iraqi PM also clarified that political parties strongly adhering to their ministers stands in the way of fixing the country. He asked that all influential parties begin with repairing their own-self, “it is not possible for us to fix the community, when parties are not competent themselves, it is not possible to further anchor the concept of democracy and freedom in the community, whilst our powerful parties are undemocratic and do not support freedom within their structuring” Al-Abadi explained.

Many have already raised slogans that call for surpassing social, sectarian bridges rifting the society apart. However, nothing has yet been realized on ground, Al-Abadi added.

Antichrist Discusses Iraqi Reform (Revelation 13)

Iraqi PM ‘Abadi’ meets Al Sadr in Kadhimiya
February 24, 2016 – 1:41 PM

News Code : 736814Source : Websites

On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met the Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Attaba Kadhimiya north of the capital Baghdad.

A source said “This afternoon the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met the leader of the Sadrist Movement Moqtada al-Sadr in Attaba Kadhimiya in Kadhimiya north of Baghdad.”

The source, who asked anonymity, added, “Abadi and al-Sadr discussed many issues, especially the cabinet reshuffle and the call for government reform.”

Iraq’s prime minister is turning against Iran

Garrett Khoury, The Eastern Project

qassem soleimani
(AFP/Mehdi Ghasemi/ISNA)RGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani said the world will be surprised by upcoming events in Syria.

Qassem Soleimani has many nicknames, generally containing one or both of the words “shadow” or “dark.” However, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force has been operating in the light since the devastating advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) began in the summer of 2014, but a year later is seeing him begin to wear out his welcome with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Tasked with organizing the defense of the Shi’a holy sites in central Iraq and leading the Shi’a militias called up in the panic following the collapse of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), Soleimani has been seen regularly on the front lines and in Baghdad. With the power of the militias behind him, he has come to be seen as attempting to assert himself as the power behind the government, Iraq’s very own eminence grise.
The past month, though, has seen an ever-wider rift growing between Prime Minister Abadi and Soleimani, one that may threaten the relationship between Iran and Iraq as a whole. Abadi once spoke respectfully about Soleimani and Iran’s role in the country and the fight against ISIS. While perhaps not warmly, it was at least grateful and realistic about the need for Iranian assistance.
That has changed dramatically, though. Luckily, perhaps, for Abadi, events on the streets are working in his favor. The popular protests against corruption and government inefficiency that have spread around Iraq have crossed sectarian lines, but have been particularly aggressive towards Shi’a politicians in the south of the country.
Long-seeking the support for wide-ranging reforms, Abadi leapt at the chance to introduce anti-corruption measures and a purge of the government ranks. An ambitious seven-point plan of reforms was passed by the parliament, recognizing the support Abadi had and themselves eager to placate the protesters.
Security details for ministers and other ranking members of the government were massive, often running into the hundreds; Abadi has ordered these details cut dramatically and the extras shipped off to the front line to fight ISIS. Corruption investigations would be opened, and older ones re-opened. Sectarian quotas, which dictated how government positions would be parceled out, were now to be disregarded in favor of a merit-based appointment system.
The posts of Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister were henceforth canceled. While outwardly seeming like a simple initiative, cutting another piece off the bloated bureaucracy, it also meant Abadi had made a momentous decision. One of those Vice Presidents was none other than Nouri Al-Maliki, the previous Prime Minister, who still commanded significant power in the country. Abadi had just fired Maliki.
Iraqi Vice President Nuri al-Maliki speaks during a news conference in Baghdad, November 29, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad 
Thomson ReutersIraqi Vice President Nuri al-Maliki speaks during a news conference in Baghdad
That wasn’t all Abadi had in store for Maliki; a parliamentary investigation into the fall of Mosul to ISIS last year that found him to be among those responsible was turned over to prosecutors. Maliki is now facing the possibility of a public trial in both military and civilian courts for his role. Rumors out of Baghdad say that members of Maliki’s State of Law Coalition could bolt to other parties as his fall from grace continues.
More importantly, Abadi has the support of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s top cleric and perhaps the single most important person in the country, who urged Abadi onwards and to push aside anyone “who tries to hinder reform, no matter what their position is.”
It also helps that Abadi has the United States of America and Europe firmly behind him, although he could use more tangible support from the West and his Arab neighbors.
Prime Minister Abadi put up with Soleimani’s role, and increasingly open arrogance towards the government, mostly because he was new to office and was not particularly secure in this role. Abadi is now just passing the one-year in office mark, and has begun pushing back against Iran in general, but Soleimani in particular.
Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi attends an official ceremony to receive four F-16 fighter jets from the U.S., at a military base in Balad, Iraq, July 20, 2015. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Thomson Reuters Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi attends an official ceremony to receive four F-16 fighter jets from the U.S., at a military base in Balad
In early August Abadi ordered that shipments on Iranian planes stopping at Baghdad’s airport be searched in line with regular customs code. These planes were seen as carrying supplies for picked pro-Iranian elements Popular Mobilization Forces, which are a mostly-Shi’a militia force, or even destined for Assad regime forces in Syria. In a dramatic confrontation in mid-August, airport authorities demanded an Iranian plane be unloaded and its containers searched, which lead to Revolutionary Guards forces and Iranian diplomats rushing to the scene.
Although the plan eventually was reloaded and left, it was a clear sign that the Iraqi government was no longer going to allow its airports to be used as a way-station for Iranian arms shipments.
In an incident that quickly spread around Iraq, Abadi and Soleimani had a disastrous meeting in mid-August that led to the latter having the leave the room (some stories claim that Abadi actually kicked him out of the meeting). Accompanying former Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to a gathering of the Iraq’s Shi’a political leaders, Soleimani reportedly launched into a tirade against the proposed reforms spurred by the onset of protests around the country, and especially what he perceived to be impending attacks on Maliki.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Soleimani 
Reuters Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Soleimani (L) stands at the frontline during offensive operations against Islamic State militants in the town of Tal Ksaiba in Salahuddin province March 8, 2015.
Although Abadi seems to have the upper hand over Soleimani at this point, that does not mean that the Prime Minister is facing an easy battle. Deputy Justice Minister Abdul Karim al-Faris was kidnapped in Baghdad by gunmen in SUVs, just a week after 18 Turkish workers were also kidnapped.
While it is still unknown who is responsible, fingers are being pointed at Shi’a militias, who play a major role in providing security in the city. However, this leading role has led to accusations of abuse of power and human rights abuses.
Despite recent victories against Qassem Soleimani and Iranian allies in Iraq, the Prime Minister is facing off with a man who is still immensely powerful, backed by tens of thousands of militiamen, not to mention the Iranian government itself.
However, in standing up for himself, Abadi is showing that he is more than ready to assert himself as the leader of Iraq and someone who is not beholden to Iranian goodwill. Whether this is setting up a more dramatic series of confrontations with Soleimani and Iran remains to be seen.

Antichrist Organizes Million Man March In Baghdad (Revelation 13)

million march baghdad
Pro-government million march organized in Baghdad
By David Fisher on August 28, 2015

– Both in parliament and in the streets, political pressure is rising in Iraq

By Abdullah Saad

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Last week, the influential Shia religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr called on his supporters to take part in mass anti-corruption protests in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Friday.
For the past three weeks, Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq have witnessed demonstrations demanding government reforms, the prosecution of those stealing public money and the provision of basic services to the public.

Amidst this popular movement, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi proposed a package of reforms that were quickly approved by parliament earlier this month.

The Liberal Bloc, a parliamentary group inside the Iraqi parliament, were called on by Sadr to organize a million-man march in Baghdad last Monday – the first call of its kind at a popular level.
The demonstration aims to ease the pressure being put on Abadi by political forces opposed to his reforms.

Abdul Azeez al-Dhalimi, a member of the bloc, told Anadolu Agency: “Al-Sadr previously expressed his support for the demonstrations across many governorates demanding services to the public.”
The call to organize a million-man march in Baghdad is in compliance with the position of the religious authority in Najaf (referring to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s highest Shia authority), which supports the popular movement,” he said. “It supports al-Abadi and his government in removing the pressure that he is facing from certain political parties that are working to obstruct the reforms.”

Despite the federal Iraqi government announcing its support for the demonstrations, it has not hidden its fear of the protests spiraling out of control and turning into an armed conflict or attacks on public property, such as in Karbala and Babel.

The Supreme Islamic Council, led by Ammar al-Hakeem, is considered one of the most prominent parties participating in the government.

Through his spokesman Hameed Mali, al-Hakeem said there were indicators of external agendas aiming to derail the popular movement, which had started by demanding rights and reforms, but ended by targeting political and religious figures with hostile banners.

Ali al-Alaq is an MP with the State of Law Coalition, which is close to al-Abadi and his government.
He told Anadolu Agency that the “million-man march on Friday will be like all the other demonstrations that other governorates have witnessed, which the government dealt with positively and respected the demonstrators and provided them with protection.”

“Freedom of demonstration is a guaranteed right, and no one can stand in the face of the demonstrations – so long as they maintain their peaceful and civilized nature, express legal demands within the confines of the law and constitution, and preserve security and the public interest,” al-Alaq said.

Al-Abadi is now facing pressure from the other end of the political spectrum, with some political parties criticizing him for not committing to a deadline for the implementation of the reforms.

The most prominent criticism came from the State of Law Coalition’s Hanan al-Fatlawi last Sunday, when she demanded to know why al-Abadi had not yet issued an order to cancel the positions of Iraq’s three vice-presidents as his reforms had pledged.

Both in parliament and in the streets, political pressure is rising in Iraq.

Antichrist Prepares To Oust Al-Abadi (Revelation 13)

Iraqi leader announces measures aimed at fighting graft, dysfunction

By Mustafa Salim and Erin Cunningham August 9 at 1:39 PM

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s prime minister announced drastic anti-corruption and other measures on Sunday as he sought to calm weeks of protests over poor government services that are posing a major challenge to his rule.

In statements posted to his official Facebook and Twitter accounts, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his government would reopen graft cases under the supervision of a high-level commission, change the way ministers are selected by eliminating party- and sectarian-based quotas, and end expensive security details for senior officials.

“We are starting today genuine reform in all areas,” Abadi said in a statement.

The most dramatic step was his pledge to immediately abolish the country’s three vice-presidential posts, considered largely ceremonial, as well as the office of deputy prime minister.

Nouri al-Maliki, Abadi’s predecessor and political rival, serves as a vice president but is thought to still wield considerable in­fluence. Deputy Prime Minister ­Bahaa al-Araji, who is under investigation over corruption allegations, resigned Sunday after the announcement

But it was unclear whether Abadi would need a constitutional amendment to eliminate the vice presidencies. Some of the measures, Iraqi legal experts said, would need approval from both the cabinet and parliament. Opposition blocs in parliament are likely to push back against the decree.
“Some blocs will try to obstruct the vote on this resolution because it threatens their interests,” lawmaker Hamid al-Mutlak said. “But public pressure is very strong.”

Iraqi media reported Sunday that the cabinet endorsed the measures. The speaker of parliament, Salim al-Jubouri, said Sunday that he supports the package.

Moqtada al-Sadr, a powerful Iraqi Shiite cleric who once helped lead an insurgency against U.S. troops, released a statement Sunday calling on “millions” to protest if parliament refuses to ratify the proposals.

Everyone should stand against the corrupt,” he said.

Many Iraqis blame Maliki, who was prime minister from 2006 to 2014, for the corruption that has plagued the country’s political life since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion installed a new system of government. On Friday, tens of thousands of Iraqis demonstrated across the country and here in the capital against leaders who they say have plundered public wealth and neglected Iraq’s war-battered infrastructure.

The protests, which began last month in southern Iraq and have spread, came amid a searing heat wave in which temperatures have topped 120 degrees. The heat has been particularly unbearable because of the limited power supply in the country, giving Iraqis only a few hours’ worth of electricity a day to run fans or air conditioners.

On Sunday, activists called for more demonstrations in central Baghdad to support Abadi’s initiatives, even in the 110-degree heat.

The country’s powerful Shiite militias — whose political influence has grown as they overtake the Iraqi army in the fight against the Islamic State — also threw their weight behind Friday’s protests. Their participation presented an unusual challenge to Abadi from his own Shiite constituency.
The demonstrations prompted the office of influential Shiite religious leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to call for tough measures. Sistani said Friday that Abadi had not done enough to fight corruption within the Iraqi state.

The unrest presents a new challenge for a government embroiled in a battle with Islamic State militants, who have seized wide swaths of the country and displaced more than 3­ million people since last year. More than 1,300 Iraqis were killed in the violence last month, the United Nations said. On the battlefield, entire police and army divisions have crumbled in the face of Islamic State onslaughts.
Independent military expert Mohamed Arkan said Abadi’s decision to eliminate the excessive security details for senior officials and divert those troops for front-line training was a positive step.
It means the potential addition of “tens of thousands” of soldiers to the fight against the militant group, Arkan said.

No Change In Iraq Government

Uprooting the Shia Dawa Party after the Baath

Dawa party

While the world is busy rallying politically and militarily against ISIS, I believe that in Iraq and America the blame is mainly put on ex-Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. He is regarded as the source of all corruption, ethnic cleansing and killing in Iraq during his eight years in government. The same world, however, is meeting the current corruption, ethnic cleansing and killing that is taking place daily under the current government with a deafening silence, apparently blind to what is happening.There is a hidden agreement between Iraqi politicians collaborating with the US administration to be quiet about the government and its ministers and officials, even though they are the same as those of the Maliki government, with a small difference: Al-Maliki is now Vice President and Haider Al-Abadi is prime minister; the latter is one of the leaders of the Dawa Party, of which Al-Maliki is Secretary General. There is a campaign by ministers of Al-Abadi’s government to deny responsibility for anything that took place during the past eight years and to accuse Al-Maliki, as if they were not members of his government. Hoshyar Zebari, the ex-minister of foreign affairs and now the minister of finance, was very evasive in a recent interview, outdoing the leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada al-Sadr in his ambiguity, blaming everyone but himself for the looting, corruption and collapse of law and order. Viewers are justified in wondering how this politician demonstrating such honesty and patience could accept one position after another in a government that he describes as corrupt.

In any case, Al-Maliki is not that innocent, and continues to have a hand in everything going on, with his own “special forces” and expanding influence through his eldest son, family and relatives. This means that he and the party he belongs to, the Shia Islamic Dawa Party, has succeeded in committing all of the sins of successive Iraqi governments for the past 90 years put together, and in record time. What draws our attention to the current Iraqi situation includes the media silence on the national, Arab and international levels, regarding the ongoing crimes of the regime, despite the killing of ever more citizens. The UN mission in Iraq, (UNAMI), announced this week the death and injury of 4,100 Iraqis during the month of October, which is the highest monthly toll of 2014, although it does not include victims in the Anbar province.

Furthermore, rewarding Al-Maliki by promoting him to vice president has gone ahead even though everyone insists that he is to blame for the disasters in Iraq in recent years. His name is no longer mentioned unless accompanied by adjectives such as foolish, lazy and short-sighted. Anyone who has seen the documentary about the Howayha massacre, when Al-Maliki, as general commander of the armed forces, gave orders to shoot and kill demonstrators, knows full well that this man deserves to be put to trial rather than get promoted.

We also have to take into account the “loss” of billions of dollars from Iraq’s Developmental Fund. The latest news on the money is that on 13 October this year between $1.2 and $1.6 billion, which was stolen during the American invasion of Iraq and transferred to Lebanon for safe keeping, has been found in a Lebanese basement. According to Stuart Bowen, US special inspector general for the investigation of corruption and wasting money in Iraq, he spoke to Al-Maliki about the missing funds and the discovery of the basement but the then prime minister did not take any action. More recently, they’ve been talking about the disappearance of $11 billion from Iraq’s currency reserves during the month that preceded the appointment of Al-Abadi; this is a scandal that has still to be made public about funds that are equal to the entire budgets of many countries.

Does rotating ministers and presenting them in new offices, in a government headed by a leader in the Dawa Party called Al-Abadi, mean that they are absolved of responsibility for crimes committed during the government that was headed by the Dawa Party’s Secretary General Al-Maliki? Doesn’t the logic of accountability and justice, which is being applied in order to uproot the Baath Party, require us to demand the same policy to uproot the Dawa Party? This is especially important given that the balance for measuring crimes was broken many years ago, under the heavy weight of crimes committed (and still being committed) by the Dawa Party and its allies and the militias that were planted, nurtured and grown under its sectarian patronage.

It has to be said that Al-Abadi’s position is no less sectarian than Al-Maliki’s. They speak with one sectarian voice when they say: “We applaud Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani in these days in which Iraqi forces are having consecutive victories which would not have been possible without the historic fatwa on ‘Ulkipaúa jihad’ in defence of Iraq, its people and their sanctities.” The Dawa Party knows very well that this fatwa was addressed to the Shias only and not the entire Iraqi people. It is well known that only the Shias are the ones who follow such reference points and not the Sunnis, Christians or Yazidis. Writer Taleb Ramahi made this important point in a letter addressed to Al-Sistani in August: “We failed in marketing the fatwa correctly, so it seemed like a sectarian rally against the Sunni component, and it was our duty, especially the state media, to work on the involvement of the Sunni component in the fatwa.” Ramahi though, like the Dawa Party, has welcomed the fatwa, describing it as a “pure step”, and stressing, at the same time, that it addresses followers of the Shia sect, because it is “obedience to the imam Alhuja, may God speed his reappearance, believing that what comes out from Grand Ayatollah is not far from the desires of the hidden imam.” The timing of the fatwa was in sync with the success of the Dawa Party, led by Al-Maliki, in the consolidation of the idea of linking Sunnis with terrorism, or that terrorism is a Sunni phenomenon. This in turn means legitimising the bombing and displacement of residents of Sunni areas as collective punishment against ISIS terrorism, although the latter is aimed against all those who disagree with their opinions and beliefs.

Finally, if we manage, for any reason, to overlook all of the points relating to political and moral decline mentioned above, can we overlook the opening of the borders for Iranian death squads and summoning them with America and its allies to occupy Iraq for the second time? This is happening under the pretext that “all we need from our friends in weapons and support”, according to Al-Abadi and his party, who are overlooking the fact that those who lose the support of their people may benefit for a short while from the occupation. However, will they turn against them when there are no more interests to protect? Will the future of Iraq be one uprooting after another?

Translated from Al Aquds Al Arabi, 3 November, 2014