UN envoys are calling for an end to wars in the Middle East



Sunday, April 12, 2020

UN envoys are calling for an end to wars in the Middle East
On Saturday, United Nations envoys called for an immediate ceasefire in the countries of the Middle East, urged all warring parties to leave hostilities, and renewed previous calls for full-time to confront the Corona virus.
The United Nations envoys to the Middle East issued a joint statement calling for activating the invitation of the United Nations Secretary-General, launched on March 23, to focus on the “real battle”, in reference to confronting the Corona virus.
The UN envoys to Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon, and the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process called on the warring parties in the region to take steps to negotiate an immediate cessation of hostilities, maintain the current ceasefire, and refrain from any activities that could lead to further deterioration in Stability and security in any country, or in the region as a whole.
The UN envoys to the Middle East also urged all parties to work with the United Nations on plans for cooperation, to halt the rapid spread of the Corona virus and to allow access to medical facilities when needed.
In their statement, they called for facilitating the safe, voluntary and dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes, through urgent, effective and meaningful measures and measures, and to waive partisan considerations and narrow interests for the greater cause.
The statement considered that no country, region or society can face the challenge of the Corona virus alone, and that “solidarity is required today, and it will be urgently needed tomorrow.”

A leader in wisdom: Kurdish and Sunni support for Al-Kazemi is striking


12-04-2020 12:04 AM


Baghdad / Al-Akhbariya:
The leader of the National Wisdom Movement, Ali al-Aboudi, considered Saturday, the Sunni and Kurdish support of the Prime Minister-designate Mustafa al-Kazimi without precedent, indicating that the Shiite consensus on al-Kazimi needs a prayer of thanks.
Al-Aboudi said in a televised statement, followed by “Al-Akhbaria”, that “the Shiite consensus around Al-Kazemi” is equal to Sajdat Shukr, and that the Kurdish and Sunni support for Al-Kazemi is remarkable.
” “.
” The Shiite leaders had delivered a message to reassure the people that they are united
and that their presence during the commissioning dispelled hypotheses of disharmony. “


Barzani’s party: Everyone agrees with Al-Kazemi because he represents a good calming factor


11-04-2020 10:34 PM


Baghdad / Al-Akhbariya: The
head of the KDP parliamentary bloc, Vian Sabri, confirmed, on Saturday, the ability of Prime Minister-designate Mustafa Al-Kazemi to impose balances between all components,
and Sabri said in a televised statement, followed by Al-Akhbariya, that there is no difference about Al-Kazemi and that he is able to impose balances. .
” the forces that coincided around Kazmi will help him in the formation of his government quickly and blocs count on calm Kazmi to pass complications.”
she said , “people do not want an independent , but called for specific criteria , and he does not care to detail the Almighty what he wants is a government that serves and give him his rights and the fight against corruption Dignity and security. “


Did Saleh meet with Asper in Ain al-Assad? The Presidency of the Republic answers

 04/11/2020 15:47:46
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Shafak News / The Presidency of the Republic denied on Saturday the reports that Barham Salih met with US Defense Secretary Mark Asper at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar.

A source in the Presidency of the Republic said in a clarification received by Shafak News, that “what has been circulated in a number of media outlets regarding the meeting of President Barham Salih   with US Defense Secretary Mark Asper at the base of Al-Asad in Anbar is incorrect.” 

The source added that “the media should work with professionalism and ensure that such news is published.”

An Iraqi security source had informed Shafak News of the arrival of US Vice President Mike Pence and US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who arrived on Saturday at Ain al-Assad Air Force Base on an unofficial visit aimed at familiarizing themselves with the process of setting up and activating the Patriot defense system and to inspect the forces of their country and the international alliance.


On an unannounced visit, Trump’s deputy and his defense minister arrive at a military base in Iraq


04/11/2020 12:30:04

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Shafak News / An Iraqi security source revealed the arrival of US Vice President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Asper on Saturday night at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province on an unannounced visit.

The source said in a special statement to Shafak News, that US Vice President Mike Pence arrived this afternoon at Ain Al-Assad Air Force Base, while US Defense Secretary Mark Esber later arrived at sunset.

The source added that Pence and Esber’s visit comes  in order to review the process of setting up and activating the Patriot defense system and to inspect their country’s forces and the international coalition.

It was not immediately clear if the two US officials would meet Iraqi officials.

The Washington Post reported, on Saturday, that Patriot defense systems were activated in Iraq to protect American forces from bases that were attacked in the past, which claimed the lives of soldiers from the international coalition against ISIS.

And the US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esber, announced earlier this year that the United States is working with Iraq to deploy the Patriot air defense system after the Iranian strike on the Iraqi military bases where the American forces are stationed.

The United States has about 5,000 soldiers in Iraq to train and advise Iraqi security forces in their fight against extremist groups such as ISIS, and to provide protection for those forces.

Patriot systems consist of highly sophisticated radars and interceptors that can destroy a ballistic missile while it is flying.

A US official said earlier that two batteries arrived at Ain al-Assad base in Anbar province, and a silk base in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, adding that two other batteries are still in Kuwait pending their transfer to Iraq.


Who is Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s third attempt at a PM?


yesterday at 09:49
Lawk Ghafuri

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Hopes are high in Baghdad that the third time will be the charm, and that new Prime Minister-designate Mustafa al-Kadhimi will succeed where others have failed in forming a government.

Iraq has not had a fully-functioning government since December, when mass protests forced then-Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to resign, after just a year in office. Since then, Shiite political parties have wrangled over who should replace him and form the next Iraqi cabinet.

In his first televized address to the nation, Kadhimi said the cabinet he appoints will be one “of service – relying not on words, but on action.” It is an all-too-familiar reassurance that Iraqis weary of chronic government dysfunction are desperate to see materialize.

Appointments to the PM-designate role have twice been unsuccessful. Both candidates – former communications minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, then three-term Najaf governor and Nasr parliamentary bloc leader Adnan al-Zurfi – met with fierce opposition from some political blocs, and lukewarm reluctance by others. Both were rejected by Iraq’s young protesters as members of the same tired establishment they hope to overthrow.

But for the first time since December 2019, the impossible seems to have happened – all of Iraq’s Shiite political parties have agreed on a candidate.

The journalist who would be prime minister

Tracing Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s trajectory reveals he is no career politician – something that has seen him garner more support from protesters than his predecessors ever could.

Fleeing Baghdad as a freshman law student in 1985, he settled in the UK. He worked as a journalist in the 1990s and 2000s, then at the Iraq Memory Foundation in the US, a Washington, DC archive run by author and veteran Saddam-era critic Kinan Makiya. He returned to the UK to work for the Humanitarian Dialogue Foundation, run by Hussain al-Sadr, a member of the prominent family of Shiite clerics.

Kadhimi came back to Iraq, where he completed a law degree in 2012. He then worked as a journalist and editor for the website Al Monitor, before being appointed head of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in 2016 by then-prime minister Haider al-Abadi, turning around an institution beleaguered by corruption.

“He confronted a corrupt, toxic NIS with patience and turned it around reasonably well,“ Iraqi analyst Sajad Jiyad said in a tweet.

While Kadhimi’s lack of a political base means he comes with fewer strings attached, it also means he could lack a loyal constituency were he to become prime minister, says Jiyad.

Kadhimi’s non-partisan background renders him “non-threatening” – minimizing the likelihood he will encounter obstructionist partisanship in the month-long window he has to form a cabinet and an agenda that a divided parliament will approve.

The agreement by all Shiite political parties on a PM-designate marks an important moment, Iraqi security analyst Husham al-Hashimi told Rudaw English on Thursday.

“This is the first time the entirety of Shiite political parties in Iraq agreed on a candidate who is non-Islamist and believes in freedom, even though he might be a threatening candidate on the interests of Iranian-backed Shiite political parties, including Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitias in Iraq,” Hashimi said.

A consensus candidate

Just as Zurfi was announcing his resignation to the press on Thursday morning, Iraq’s political elite were gathered at the al-Salam presidential palace in Baghdad to await Kadhimi’s official appointment.

Fatih bloc leader Hadi al-Ameri, a key opponent to the appointments of both Allawi and Zurfi, attended the ceremony – as did former PM Abadi, in a sign of acquiescence from the Nasr alliance’s original push for Zurfi to be granted time to prove himself.

President Barham Salih hailed the appointment of a candidate who had the support of “all the main political and social parties.”

“Today, thanks to all the efforts, all the main political parties and social parties agreed and reached an agreement to nominate Kadhimi to form the next Iraqi cabinet,” Salih said on Thursday.

“We all are here at al-Salam to push for the formation of a strong and nationalist government that takes decisions for the interests of Iraq,” he added.

Kadhimi’s appointment comes at a moment when political unity is desperately needed, not only among Iraq’s squabbling political parties, but internationally as well.

The United States and Iran continue to be the main drivers of Iraq’s policy, both foreign and domestic, and no candidate can be successful without the tacit accord of these two powers.

Iraq has borne the brunt of the US-Iran confrontation. Military bases hosting US personnel have been repeatedly rocketed by Iran-backed militia groups, while the US has retaliated with airstrikes.

As both countries vie for geopolitical influence in the wider Middle East, agreement between Tehran and Washington has been the most distant of possibilities.

“Mustafa al-Kadhimi is a candidate of an agreement between West and East [US and Iran], with approval from Baghdad,” MP Aliya Nsaif told Rudaw English in a phone call on Thursday.

The two countries appear to have stepped back from the brink of all-out war just a few months ago. A deadly rocket attack on the K-1 base in Kirkuk last December led to an escalation in US-Iran hostilities, culminating in the US assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad on January 3.

Tehran retaliated on January 8 with a barrage of missiles targeting Iraqi bases hosting US troops.

Despite the key US role in combating the ongoing Islamic State (ISIS) insurgency, opposition to the American military presence has long been festering. As mounting hostilities made the American presence more of a hindrance, it catalyzed enough momentum for the pro-Iran factions in parliament to expel US forces from the country.

Even if parliament’s resolutions are more bark than bite, the message was clear that Tehran’s backers in Baghdad can move with a political clout to rival Washington’s military might.

The road ahead

Although Iran holds considerable sway in Iraq’s domestic politics, local dynamics also have their own nuances. Iran-backed Shiite militias have accused Kadhimi of having a hand in the killing of Soleimani and Muhandis in his capacity as intelligence chief, alleging the intelligence services helped the Americans pinpoint Soleimani’s whereabouts – accusations the NIS vehemently denies.

“Tehran knows that Kadhimi had no role in the assassination of Soleimani and Muhandis,” Hashimi told Rudaw English.

Although Kadhimi is not inspiring fervent Iranian support, his appointment doesn’t aggravate them either, which is a success in its own right.

Tehran’s acceptance of a candidate who may not perform its bidding is a pragmatic one, according to Iraq-Iran relations expert Mohammed Bakhtiyar. Tehran has let go of the premiership because it controls parliament, calculating it will prove to be the mainframe of Iraqi politics.

“Iran has reached a point where they’ve realized that fighting over the prime minister position in Iraq is useless, as they have already occupied the Iraqi parliament and they can change and modify laws and orders in whichever way serves their interests,” Bakhtiyar told Rudaw English on Thursday.

“Mustafa al-Kadhimi is not a favored candidate for Tehran – but he is better for them than Zurfi.”

Kadhimi has his work cut out for him, inheriting a pandemic, an oil crisis, a protest movement, ahead of a summer shaping up to be full of tumult. But time has shown that sound and fury usually precedes consensus in Iraq’s political landscape, and that once a candidate receives the blessing of the political factions, they can go about getting the job done.

Jiyad believes Kadhimi’s diplomatic experience will make him measured, non-confrontational, and open to solving disputes, “with emphasis on face-to-face dialogue and relationships.”

Where Zurfi was seen by most Shiite political parties as seeking aggressive, militarist solutions, Kadhimi’s diplomacy and negotiation skills may be the required antidote to the animosity in Baghdad. If not, the country is in for another hot summer.

Editing by Shahla Omar


A government consultant reveals the price of the proposed barrel of oil in the 2020 budget


 04/11/2020 09:01:06
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Shafaq News / The Prime Minister’s Advisor for Economic Affairs revealed the appearance of Mohammed Saleh, on Saturday, of the trend to adopt a low price for a barrel of oil in the financial budget for the current year following the decline in prices due to the Corona crisis sweeping the world.

Saleh said in a special statement to Shafaq News, “There is a proposal with the government to adopt a specific price for a barrel of oil in the public budget, and this came because of the instability of oil prices and the adoption of the budget oil imports.”

He added that “according to the proposal, the price of 30 dollars per barrel will be approved as a minimum in the general budget to manage emergency expenses such as salaries of employees, retirees, and others.”

Saleh pointed out that “other money from oil imports, that is, more than $ 30 per barrel, will be allocated to finance investment projects and bridge foreign loans and others.”

Oil prices recently collapsed to below $ 30 a barrel as a result of the Corona pandemic crisis sweeping the world, before rising slightly in the past few days.

OPEC + and other producers outside OPEC are considering an unprecedented cut in production to restore stability to prices.

Iraq is the second largest producer of crude in “OPEC” and produces up to 4.5 million barrels per day, and depends on revenue from the sale of crude to finance about 95 percent of the country’s expenditures.


Kurdistan Union: We have understandings during our meetings with Al-Kazemi


Information / private …

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan announced, on Saturday, that there is an understanding with the person in charge of forming the government, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, through the initial meetings during his assignment.

“The Kurds have had numerous contacts and swift meetings with the prime minister in charge of the government, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, after announcing his candidacy to form the government,” said union leader Saadi Ahmed.

He added that “all the initial meetings and contacts with Al-Kazemi were dominated by positive and understanding,” noting that “Al-Kazemi has unanimous consensus so far from all the blocs and has no opponents.”

He explained, “Al-Kazemi may proceed with forming his government, as he is the only official that no political party has contested so far.”

Earlier, President of the Republic Barham Salih commissioned Mustafa al-Kazimi to form the next government after Adnan al-Zarfi apologized for assignment. Ended 25 and

الاتحاد الكردستاني: لدينا تفاهمات خلال اجتماعاتنا مع الكاظمي


Al Halbousi and Saleh stress the necessity for the government to adopt reform steps


Political | 04:29 – 11/04/2020

Baghdad – Mawazine News
Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi and Republic Barham Salih confirmed on Saturday that the new government should adopt reform steps.
A statement of Al-Halbousi’s office, which received / Mawazine News /, said that “the latter received at his residence in the city of Fallujah the President of the Republic Barham Salih.”
The statement added, “During the meeting, the overall conditions in the country and the file of forming the new government were discussed, and the need for the government to adopt the reform steps and to set a realistic government program that meets the requirements of the stage.” Ended 29 / h

Washington names its head of delegation, who will negotiate with Iraq and calls for the protection of its forces “if there is a desire to keep them.”

04/11/2020 10:33 1955    Editor: ha      

Baghdad today – follow up

On Saturday (April 11, 2020), US Assistant Secretary of State David Schenker revealed that Washington continues to prepare for a new round of strategic dialogue with Iraq, while members of the negotiating delegation have identified

“President Trump’s administration is continuing its preparations to hold a new round of strategic dialogue with Iraq, announced by Minister Mike Pompeo, at the beginning of this week, setting its date in mid-June,” Schenker said in a press statement.

He added, “The American administration will form a delegation headed by Ambassador David Hill, and will include members from several ministries, including the Treasury and Defense, and others.”

Schenker said, “Baghdad needs to take convincing steps, if it is establishing a strategic partnership with Washington,” calling on “Iraqi officials to take steps that include providing protection for coalition forces, in case they want these forces to remain.”

The resigned Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, had confirmed earlier that the United States requested dialogue with Iraq, while noting that his government had asked Washington to withdraw its forces in an amicable, rather than a hostile, manner.

He added: “We do not want that the differences of views with Washington lead to a breakdown and problems,” noting that his government “is studying the issue of the withdrawal of foreign forces in a way that serves Iraq and the region.”

He continued: “We are approaching a unified vision among the political components regarding the exit of the American forces,” noting that “foreign forces are currently present in 3 bases only after their withdrawal from the rest of the bases.”

He went on to say: “We want to take advantage of Washington’s request for dialogue to conclude agreements that serve Iraq and our request from the inside to calm down.”

The international coalition forces against ISIS, and the US forces, “K 1” in Kirkuk and before the Qayyara Air Force Base, south of Mosul in Nineveh Governorate, were handed over to Iraqi forces and the Al-Qa’im military base in Anbar, after their withdrawal.

Early this month, the Iraqi forces, al-Habbaniyah base, took over after the coalition forces withdrew.

It is noteworthy that the head of the American delegation, David Hill, speaking Arabic, was appointed as the US ambassador to Jordan during 2005-2008, and after that he was appointed Deputy Special Envoy for Peace in the Middle East (2009-2011), and after that he took over the position of Special Envoy for Peace in the Middle East (2011-2013), while he was the US ambassador to Lebanon in 2013, and was appointed ambassador to Pakistan in 2015, and he served in the American missions in Tunisia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Nations.

Hill was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Relations with Israel, Egypt, and the Levant, and also served as Director of Israeli-Palestinian Affairs at the US State Department.


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