Iraqi finance minister’s guards arrested for ‘terrorism’

Updated 21 December 2012
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Iraqi finance minister’s guards arrested for ‘terrorism’

BAGHDAD: Nine of the Iraqi finance minister’s guards are being held on terrorism charges, a judicial spokesman said yesterday, after the minister demanded the premier’s resignation following their arrest.
The arrests and Finance Minister Rafa Al-Essawi’s response threaten to reignite a long-running feud between the secular, Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, of which he is a member, and Shiite Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki.
Higher Judicial Council spokesman Abdelsattar Bayraqdar told AFP that nine of Essawi’s guards were detained under Iraq’s anti-terrorism law, and that all necessary arrest warrants had been obtained. And he told Iraqiya state television that the commander of the guards had confessed to carrying out “terrorist acts,” which he said meant “bombings and assassinations.”
The Interior Ministry said on its website that its forces carried out the arrests around Essawi’s house, put the number of detained guards at 10, and published what it said were copies of the arrest warrants.
Essawi meanwhile said on Thursday that a “militia force” — an apparent reference to a security forces unit — raided the ministry and his home “in an illegal act, without a judicial order,” detaining 150 guards. “I call on the prime minister to resign, because he did not behave like a man of state,” Essawi told a news conference alongside Parliament Speaker Osama Al-Nujaifi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Al-Mutlak, also Iraqiya members.
Iraqiya and other members of Maliki’s unstable national unity government have accused him in the past year of concentrating power in his hands and moving toward dictatorship.
Opposition to Maliki escalated into calls for him to be removed, but his opponents lacked the parliamentary votes to do so. Essawi also called on Thursday for the no-confidence proceedings to be reopened.
The arrest of Essawi’s guards come almost exactly a year after Sunni Vice President Tareq Al-Hashemi’s guards were arrested and accused of terrorism.


Assad regime ‘using Daesh to justify atrocities’

Updated 20 April 2018
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Assad regime ‘using Daesh to justify atrocities’

  • Syrian government claims Daesh fighters killed at least 25 regime troops in a surprise attack near the eastern Syrian town of Mayadeen
  • Opposition leader says the regime forces’ fight against Daesh as a sham and said the terror group was a gun for hire

JEDDAH: Bashar Assad’s forces are using the threat of Daesh to justify brutal acts against civilians, Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi said.

His remarks on Thursday came as Daesh fighters killed at least 25 regime troops in a surprise attack near the eastern Syrian town of Mayadeen, surrendered by the terror group six months ago.

At least 13 insurgents were killed in the raid, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Daesh was continuing its advance on the town from the Badia desert, observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The attack was the largest since the terror group was expelled from the town in October 2017, he added.

However, the opposition spokesman described the regime forces’ fight against Daesh as a sham and said the terror group was a gun for hire.

“As for those so-called 25 regime soldiers, the regime is abducting people, training them on how to pull the trigger and sending them to die.

“They are being used to send a message that the regime is still fighting terrorism,” Al-Aridi told Arab News.

He claimed that Mayadeen “still holds people who could be classified as Daesh, and the regime exploits that any time it wants.”

Regime airstrikes and artillery fire also pounded Daesh-occupied areas in the south of Damascus on Thursday. Warplanes targeted “the dens of terrorists from Al-Nusra Front and Daesh in Hajjar Al-Aswad,” a southern district of the capital, pro-Assad media said.

Iraq’s air force also carried out “deadly” airstrikes on Daesh positions inside Syria, Prime Minister Haider Abadi’s office said.

Meanwhile, the US warned that the Assad regime could still carry out limited chemical attacks despite last week’s coalition strikes. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of the US military’s Joint Staff, said the regime retained a “residual” chemical capability at sites across the country.

Separately, the regime took control of Dumayr, a town northeast of Damascus, after rebels evacuated to north Syria.