Archive for April 6, 2016

February 19, 2016

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. humanitarian agency’s coordinator for Yemen has decried the lack of attention that has been given to the war in the Arab world’s poorest country. Jamie McGoldrick says “civilians are the losers” and that the fighting in Yemen is being “overlooked” amid greater attention on Syria’s war.

His remarks came on Friday as he detailed a $1.8 billion funding appeal for Yemen this year by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. He says most of that money would go toward food assistance for nearly 7.6 million people in Yemen.

The U.N. estimates at least 6,000 people have died in a nearly year-long conflict pitting the government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, against Shiite rebels allied with an ex-president.

Sunday, 03 April 2016

Turkmen lawmakers on Saturday demanded to be represented in Iraq’s new cabinet, saying that a lack of representation will create “crises.”

“During our meeting with the prime minister and the leaders of political blocs, we did not sense any desire to enlist a Turkmen figure among the cabinet’s candidates,” Arshad Salehi, a Turkmen MP, said during a press conference at the parliament.

Salehi, who was joined by other Turkmen MPs, also said that the Turkmen community has qualified candidates that the government should consider.

Turkmen are represented by nine MPs and had only held one ministerial post (Ministry of Human Rights) in the past. That ministry was later canceled by Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi.

Meanwhile, Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, said in a separate press conference that the prime minister of the new government needs to be “independent.”

The Iraqi parliament set 10 days before voting on Al-Abadi’s new proposed cabinet.

On Thursday, prominent Shia leader Muqtada Al-Sadr announced the end to sit-ins organized by his supporters in front of the Green Zone in central Baghdad.

Al-Sadr’s move came after Al-Abadi submitted his new cabinet line-up to parliament. Al-Sadr had warned that his bloc in parliament would vote to withdraw confidence from Al-Abadi if the latter failed to appoint a new government.

Al-Sadr’s “Ahrar” bloc holds 34 seats in the 328-seat body.

Last summer, Iraq’s parliament approved a sweeping raft of reforms proposed by Al-Abadi.

The reforms were aimed at meeting popular demands to eliminate government corruption and streamline state bureaucracy.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Baghdad (AFP)

March 29, 2016

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called Tuesday for parliament to support or reject his calls for a technocratic government, pushing back against a looming deadline for a new cabinet line-up.

“It is not wise to present a ministerial line-up that faces rejection by parliament,” Abadi said in televised remarks, calling on lawmakers to clarify their position.

Parliament must decide if it wants him “to present ministers from the political blocs or to present technocratic ministers from outside the blocs,” said Abadi.

Abadi has repeatedly called for the current cabinet of party-affiliated ministers to be replaced with technocrats, but has faced resistance from powerful blocs and their ministers who rely on ministries for patronage and financial gain.

Lawmakers voted to give the embattled premier until Thursday to present a new cabinet line-up, with the speaker’s office terming it “the final deadline”.

With his remarks on Tuesday, the premier apparently aimed to put the onus back on parliament, leaving it up to lawmakers to act so the process can move forward.

Abadi is also under pressure from powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose has orchestrated an 11-day sit-in at entrances to Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, where the government is headquartered.

Sadr had warned his supporters would storm the Green Zone if Abadi failed to present a line-up of technocrats.

But buying Abadi a little more time, Sadr entered the Green Zone alone on Sunday, asking his supporters to remain outside the perimeter.

Iraq withdrew significant forces involved in the fight against the Islamic State jihadist group, which overran large areas in 2014, in order to increase security in Baghdad during the protests, according to military officers.

Abadi implicitly called for Sadr’s sit-in to end on security grounds, saying the country’s forces were under “major pressure”.

“We call on all our people and their political forces to consider that and reduce the pressure on the armed forces,” the premier said.

The scion of an influential clerical family from the holy city of Najaf, Sadr first made a name for himself at the age of 30 as a vociferous anti-American cleric who raised a rebellion.

His influence ebbed after the 2011 US pullout but he retained strong support among the lower classes and is now casting himself as the champion of the fight against graft.

Source: Space War.



AMMONNEWS – Two Syrian political asylum seekers sheltering in Jordan say authorities here have arrested a Syrian Islamist activist.

They say Abdul-Salam al-Shuqairi was seized by Jordanian security six days ago from his shelter near the northern Jordanian-Syrian border.

They said Wednesday they did not know the reason behind the arrest.

Jordanian government officials declined comment. The refugees spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by Jordanian security.

Al-Shuqairi, 37, is a native of the restive southern Syrian town of Daraa, where the uprising began. He escaped to Jordan a month ago and was staying with 185 other Syrian refugees in a northern shelter.

Source: Ammon News.


April 6, 2016

TRIPOLI // The authorities in Libya’s capital announced late on Tuesday that they were ceding power to a UN-backed unity government in an attempt to prevent further bloodshed.

“We inform you that we are ceasing the activities entrusted to us as a legislative power,” said the statement issued almost a week after prime minister-designate Fayez Serraj arrived in Tripoli to assert the unity government’s authority.

The statement, bearing the logo of the so-called National Salvation Government headed by Khalifa Ghweil, said the Tripoli prime minister, his deputy premiers and cabinet ministers were all stepping aside.

It said the Tripoli authorities took the decision to quit because they were determined to “preserve the higher interests of the country and prevent bloodshed and divisions” in the country.

The administration, which was never recognized by the international community, said it was “no longer responsible … for what could happen in the future”.

Libya has had two rival administrations since mid-2014 when the Libya Dawn militia alliance overran the capital, setting up its own authority and forcing the internationally- recognized parliament to flee to the country’s remote east.

Mr Serraj, a businessman from Tripoli, and his unity government have not yet received the endorsement of the government backed by the internationally-recognized parliament in the east.

The country has been in turmoil since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, with rival forces battling for its cities and oil wealth.

Mr Serraj, who was named prime minister-designate in December under a UN-brokered power-sharing deal, arrived at a naval base in Tripoli by sea on Wednesday following growing international calls for Libya’s rival political camps to unite behind his administration.

Since then he has received numerous pledges of allegiance, including from the National Oil Corporation and the Central Bank, backbones of the country’s oil wealth and both based in Tripoli.

Hours after Mr Serraj arrived in the capital, the Tripoli authorities demanded he leave or “hand himself in”, branding the unity government “illegal”.

* Agence France-Presse

Source: The National.