Trump’s envoy: We do not abide by a decision unless it comes from an Iraqi government elected by the people

Editing Date: 1/3/2020 19:24

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US President’s Special Envoy, Donald Trump, for Syria and the International Alliance, James Jeffrey, explained on Thursday the mechanism by which his government will deal legally, with the decision of the Iraqi parliament to remove foreign forces from Iraqi territory.

Jeffrey said, in a press conference, that “the decision of the Iraqi parliament is not binding on us and the agreement on our forces was with the Baghdad government,” noting that “this is our legal reference for dealing with the Iraqi parliament, which demanded our removal.”

He added: “The request of Parliament in this regard cannot be complied with unless the Iraqi government is elected by the Iraqi people.”

The US President’s envoy expressed his country’s readiness to meet the Iraqi government and agree on the status of the American forces.


Barzani in Davos .. Parliament’s decision to remove foreign forces is inappropriate

Editing Date: 1/1/23/23 23:51

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Kurdistan Region President, Nechirvan Barzani, confirmed on Thursday that what is happening in Iraq directly affects the situation in the region, noting that what happened in the Iraqi parliament regarding the removal of foreign forces was an inappropriate decision.

Barzani said during his participation in a dialogue session at the Davos Economic Conference, today, Thursday, that “we will not be able in any way to distance ourselves from what is happening in Iraq, and what is happening in Baghdad directly affects the situation in the Kurdistan region.”

He added, “The Iraqi people deserve a better life and situation, and through the demonstrations they have succeeded in conveying their demands to the authorities, and we must feel the responsibility.”

On the parliament’s decision for foreign forces to leave Iraq, Barzani added, “What happened in the Iraqi parliament was inappropriate, two main components in Iraq [Sunnis and Kurds] who did not support the decision.”

He explained, that Iraq still needs international and American support, because the emergence of ISIS and terrorism again is a serious matter, and in our view, the elimination of terrorism cannot take place without the support of the international community and America, so it is important for the American forces to remain in Iraq.

Saleh al-Iraqi calls on politicians not to attend the Friday demonstration

Baghdad / Obelisk: The Saleh Muhammad Al-Iraqi page issued a directive prohibiting any politician from attending tomorrow’s demonstrations, and banning any flag other than the flag of Iraq.

“No politician is allowed to attend the demonstration,” al-Iraqi said in a tweet on Twitter.

And the Iraqi added, “It is forbidden to raise any flag other than the Iraqi flag,” stressing by saying, “Even the companies do not have the right to raise their flag, so stick to the orders.”

It is noteworthy that the leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada Al-Sadr called on his supporters to a peaceful million demonstration tomorrow, Friday in the capital, Baghdad, condemning the American presence in Iraq, while a number of Iraqi “resistance factions” announced joining this demonstration.



FILE PHOTO: Brian Hook, US Special Representative for Iran, attends a news conference in London, Britain June 28, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

11 Hours ago

SULAIMANI — The US special representative for Iran said the successor to Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike, would suffer the same fate if he followed a similar path of killing Americans, Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported.

Washington blamed Soleimani for masterminding attacks by Iran-aligned militias against US forces in the region. US President Donald Trump ordered the Jan. 3 drone strike in Iraq after a build up of tension over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Reuters.

Iran responded to the killing of Soleimani, who was charged with expanding Tehran’s influence across the Middle East, by launching missile strikes on US targets in Iraq, although no US soldiers were killed.

After Soleimani’s death, Tehran swiftly appointed Esmail Ghaani as the new head of the Quds Force, an elite unit in the Revolutionary Guards that handles actions abroad. The new commander pledged to pursue Soleimani’s course.

“If [Esmail] Ghaani follows the same path of killing Americans then he will meet the same fate,” Brian Hook told the Arabic-language daily Asharq al-Awsat.

He said in the interview in Davos that US President Donald Trump had long made it clear “that any attack on Americans or American interests would be met with a decisive response.”

“This isn’t a new threat. The president has always said that he will always respond decisively to protect American interests,” Hook said. “I think the Iranian regime understands now that they cannot attack America and get away with it.”

After his appointment, Ghaani promised to “continue in this luminous path” taken by Soleimani and said the goal was to drive US forces out of the region, which has long been Iran’s stated policy.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have steadily increased since Trump withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers in 2018 and imposed tough news sanctions that have hammered the Iranian economy.

This month’s military flare-up began in December when rockets fired at US bases in Iraq killed a US contractor. Washington blamed pro-Iran militia and launched air strikes that killed at least 25 fighters. After the militia surrounded the US embassy in Baghdad for two days, Trump ordered the drone strike on Soleimani.

(NRT Digital Media/Reuters)

Barzani in Davos: Kurds, Sunnis didn’t back Iraq parliament vote to expel US forces

5 minutes ago

Karwan Faidhi Dri

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani speaks during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2020. Photo: Rudaw TV



DAVOS, Switzerland – Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani told a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday that the recent non-binding Iraqi parliament resolution to expel foreign forces from the country was not backed by Kurdish and Sunni lawmakers.

Barzani made the comments during a panel discussion titled ‘An Unsettled Middle East’ at the annual forum taking place at the Swiss ski resort.

Fuad Hussein, Iraq’s deputy prime minister for economic affairs and minister of finance, also participated in the discussion, which was moderated by Robin Niblett, director of the UK-based think tank Chatham House.

Barzani highlighted the necessity of the US troop presence in the ongoing fight against the Islamic State group (ISIS).

“We believe that this goal [of preventing terrorism] will not happen without support from the international community, especially the US. Therefore, the US troops have to remain,” the president added.

Shiite lawmakers pushed for a resolution to expel foreign forces from Iraq following the US assassination of elite Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and several pro-Iran militia members at Baghdad Airport on January 3, leading to a spate of rocket and missile attacks by the US and Iran on Iraqi soil. 

“Iraq has been caught in the conflict between Washington and Tehran,” Barzani said.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, US Special Envoy for the Global Coalition against ISIS James Jeffrey said America’s military operations in Iraq are still “on pause”.

“Coalition operations have been primarily on pause in Iraq as we focus on force protection,” he said.

“There is of course a dialogue between our people in the coalition and the Iraqi forces, and we exchange information at various levels but again … the operations are primarily on pause.”

Jeffrey reminded reporters that Kurds did not vote for the expulsion of US troops in Iraq.

In response to Barzani’s earlier comments on the ongoing threat of terrorism in Iraq, Jeffrey said “the risk of the resurgence of the ISIS is a very big problem”.

Regarding the status of US troops in Kurdistan Region, Jeffrey said “the Region has been a “safe zone” for US troops since 2014 when ISIS emerged.

“Kurdistan has been a safe zone for us to operate in since 2014 … because there is very little Iraqi insurgency in Kurdistan up to the period of our military departure in 2011, and there is not a significant presence of pro-Iranian militias there.”

The recent Iranian missile attack near Erbil Airport, however, shows American forces are not totally safe in the Kurdistan Region either, Jeffrey cautioned. 

Absence of loyalty

The situation for young Iraqis, many of whom have been protesting across the country since October 2019, was also discussed at the Davos summit.

“When they go to the polls, the results [of elections] do not meet the expectations of this generation,” Barzani told the panel, referring to those under the age of 23 who have grown up under the ruling Shiite establishment and who do not remember life under the Saddam regime.

Iraqis have been protesting against the lack of basic services, unemployment, and corruption since October, demanding root and branch reform of Iraq’s post-2003 constitutional order. More than 500 people have been killed and thousands injured in clashes with the security forces and pro-Iran militias.

Iraq has changed irreversibly since October, Barzani said, something that must be accepted by those in power.

“It is very important for the Iraqi politicians to understand this. Iraqis will not accept the return to the situation of before October 1. They deserve a better life and they have conveyed their message to Iraqi officials in the protests.”

Barzani added that the lack of a unified national identity is a key problem in the country.

“I believe that the problem is that there is no loyalty to Iraq. You see that there are Sunnis, Shiites, Turkmens, and Christians.” 

“However this is not an issue, as Switzerland is like that as well,” he quipped, referring to the European state’s own linguistic and cultural mix.

“We have to think logically and find a formula for this country to see how we can all live in a country called Iraq. Iraq has to be the gathering point of all of us,” he added.

Al-Fateh: High coordination to secure the Friday rally and the popular crowd will not participate

Baghdad / Obelisk: Thursday, January 23, 2020, the Al-Fateh coalition announced that there is high-level coordination with the security forces to secure the demonstration next Friday, confirming that the crowd was not involved in securing the methods of demonstrations demanding the removal of American forces.

“There are intense and high-level meetings of operational leaders to deploy security forces to secure a demonstration tomorrow, Friday, and to spread it along the roads, places near the demonstration to prevent any violations,” said al-Fath deputy Ahmad al-Kinani in an interview with local media.

He added that “the popular crowd will not participate in securing the demonstration tomorrow and will assign the task of securing it to the security forces in the army, the police and the rest of the formations within the Interior and Defense.”

Al-Kanani stressed that “there is a high-level coordination to complete the demonstration in a smooth way and to deliver the demonstrators to their voice rejecting the American presence without any escalation.”

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The US Treasury announces the expansion of the list of sanctions against Iran

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Section: Arabs and world

Baghdad / Obelisk: The US Treasury announced, Thursday, the expansion of the list of sanctions against Iran.

The ministry said the new sanctions included two people and six entities, including four companies linked to the Iranian oil company.

Follow-up Obelisk – Agencies

Sheikh Ali: “Militia” deceives gullible and simple people, and the fate of ending them is soon

Baghdad – news

Member of Parliament, Faeq Al-Sheikh Ali, confirmed today, Thursday, that the militias are deceiving the naive and simple people, while noting that the fate of ending them is near.

Sheikh Ali said in a tweet on his personal page on Twitter followed by “Al-Akhbariya”, that he “wrote dirty militias in an abusive tweet against Mr. Sistani (as long as his shadow) without mentioning his name, and I attributed it to me and claimed that I deleted it (falsely) and despite denying it to Al-Arabiya Event) and several tweets. ”

He noted that “the militia continues to deceive the naive and simple,” stressing that “its fate is soon inevitable in ending it forever.”

Close to Al-Sadr announces that they will not attend the Friday demonstration, or raise this banner

Time: 1/23/2020 7:20 PM Read: 780 times Categories: Animated news tape, Iraq news

(Baghdad: Al Furat News) Muhammad Salih al-Iraqi, close to the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, said, “It is forbidden for any politician to attend the demonstration.”

“It is forbidden to raise any flag other than the flag of Iraq,” the Iraqi said on his page on the social media site.

He added, “Even the (Peace Brigades) companies are not entitled to raise their flags … Obey orders.”

The leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, had earlier called on his supporters to stage demonstrations tomorrow, Friday, against foreign presence and to protect Iraqi sovereignty.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Sadrist movement, Salah al-Ubaidi, declared the Jadriya area, near Baghdad University, a place for Friday’s demonstrations, in an implicit reference to avoiding any possible clash with the protesters in Tahrir Square.

Member of Parliament Security: Three sides will secure tomorrow’s demonstrations

Baghdad / Obelisk: A member of the Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee revealed that the Saber Badr Al-Ziyadi coalition, Thursday, January 32, 2020, announced a joint security plan that had been prepared among several parties to secure the million-dollar demonstration that will be launched tomorrow morning against the foreign presence in Iraq.

In an interview with local media, Al-Ziyadi said, “Next Friday’s millionth demonstrations in which the Iraqi people from all governorates will be invited and which the leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada al-Sadr has called is a historic and important event and there is a great effort being made to make the demonstration a success and optimize it.”

Noting that “there is a joint security plan and a meeting with the Baghdad Operations Command to discuss all measures to secure the demonstration.”

Al-Ziyadi added, “The members of the Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee on the Alliance walkers were a while ago in the leadership of the Baghdad operations, and during the meeting, all aspects of the demonstration plan to protect the demonstrators and protect the protesters and their safety were discussed.”

Pointing out that “there are clear instructions and there will be a joint effort between the security and intelligence forces, the people of the popular crowd and the blue caps, in addition to secret security services that will carry out their duties to protect the demonstration in an effort coordinated at the highest levels.”

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