Egypt PM says won’t rule out Brotherhood role in new govt

Updated 17 July 2013
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Egypt PM says won’t rule out Brotherhood role in new govt

CAIRO: Egypt’s prime minister said yesterday he does not rule out posts for the Muslim Brotherhood in his Cabinet if candidates are qualified, even as police cracked down on ousted President Muhammad Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Hazem Al-Beblawi, who was appointed on Tuesday, told AFP in a telephone interview he was still considering the makeup of his interim government after Mursi’s overthrow in a popular military coup last week.
“I don’t look at political association ... If someone is named from (the Brotherhood’s) Freedom and Justice Party, if he is qualified for the post” he may be considered, Beblawi said.
“I’m taking two criteria for the next government. Efficiency and credibility,” he added.
“So far I haven’t approached anyone,” Beblawi said, explaining he wanted to decide on the best candidates before asking them to join the government.
Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood has already rejected an offer from Beblawi to join the new government, and called for a mass rally on Friday against what it called “a bloody military coup.”
An anti-Mursi camp meanwhile is reported to be planning a Cairo rally to mark the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan following Friday prayers tomorrow.
The rally planned in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square, epicenter of the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran leader Hosni Mubarak, raises the possibility of further violence following a week of bloodshed after Mursi’s July 3 ouster. In the bloodiest incident, clashes around an army building on Monday left 53 people dead, mostly Mursi partisans.
Police were searching for the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie, after a warrant was issued for his arrest on Wednesday, in connection with the violence.
Badie and other senior Brotherhood leaders are wanted on suspicion of inciting the clashes, judicial sources said.
After a year in power through Mursi, the Brotherhood is now in tatters, with much of its leadership detained, on the run or keeping a low profile following Mursi’s overthrow.
Mursi himself is currently being held in a “safe place, for his safety,” foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told reporters Wednesday, adding: “He is not charged with anything up till now,” he said.
Military and judicial sources have said the ousted leader may face charges eventually.
His overthrow by the military last week, after nationwide protests demanding his resignation, has plunged Egypt into a vortex of violence.
Thousands of Mursi supporters Wednesday evening joined those camped out at the Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City, to break the daily Ramadan fast.
They vowed to leave only when Mursi, the country’s first freely elected president, is reinstated.
“We are gathering here for Mursi. I voted for him and I want to know where he is,” said protester Mohammed, 47. “We will stay here either until the president’s return or martyrdom,” he said.

 


Iraq’s Shiite rivals agree on prime minister

Updated 18 September 2018
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Iraq’s Shiite rivals agree on prime minister

  • Veteran Shiite politician Adel Abdul Mahdi informally nominated to replace Haider Al-Abadi
  • Decision reached after extensive negotiations between pro and anti-Iran factions

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s rival Shiite blocs in parliament have agreed on who they want as the next prime minister after making progress in negotiations towards forming a government, negotiators told Arab News.

The two factions, one pro Iran and the other anti, have agreed to work together as a coalition, negotiators told Arab News on Tuesday.

The veteran Shiite politician and former vice president Adel Abdul Mahdi was informally nominated to replace Haider Al-Abadi, negotiators said. 

He will be assigned on Sept. 25 to form a government if his nomination is approved by the Kurdish blocs. 

Before the appointment of prime minister, the president has to be selected. There is no indication that the Kurds, who get the post according to the Iraq’s power sharing agreement, have decided on who to nominate. 

Iraq’s parliament has been split between the Reform alliance and Al-Binna’a alliance after elections in May.

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READ MORE: Iraq parliament elects Sunni lawmaker Al-Halbousi as speaker, breaking deadlock

Rival Iraqi factions make coalition deal and end Al-Abadi’s prime minister hopes

Rival Shiite factions trade blame for who drove the burning of buildings in Basra

Iran accused of hijacking Basra protests after a week of violence that shook Iraq

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Reform is controlled by Muqtada Al-Sadr, one of the country’s most influential Shiite clerics who opposes Iranian influence in the country.

Iran-backed Al-Binna’a is led by Hadi Al-Amiri, the head of Badr organization, the most prominent Shiite armed faction.

At the first parliamentary session earlier this month, both coalitions claimed they have the most number of seats which would give them the right to form a government.

Within hours, violent demonstrations erupted in Basra, Iraq’s main oil hub, killing 15 demonstrators and injuring scores of people. The Iranian consulate was set on fire along with dozens of government and party buildings.

The violence on the street reflected the stand-off in parliament and threatened to erupt into fighting between the armed wings associated with the different Shiite groups.

The agreement between the two blocs was the only way to end the violence and prevent a slide into intra-Shiite  fighting, senior leaders involved in the talks said.

Several meetings between Al-Sadr and Al-Amiri were held in Al-Sadr’s residency in the holy city of Najaf last week to defuse the crisis.

Both parties’ desire for a truce seemed clear on Saturday at a parliament session to elect the speaker and his deputies. The two blocks showed their influence without colliding with each other. Al-Binna’a presented its candidate for the speaker post and stepped down after winning to make way for the Reform bloc to present its candidate for the post of first deputy of the speaker without competition.

The negotiations teams continued their meetings over the following days to agree on the details of the government program and select the nominee for the prime minister among the dozens of candidates presented by the forces belonging to the two alliances.

The first results of talks between the two blocs came out on Tuesday when Al-Amiri withdrew from the race “to open doors for more talks,” and avoid  conflict between the alliances.

“We will not talk on behalf of Al-Binna’a or the Reform. We both will agree on a candidate. Compatibility is our only choice,” Al-Amiri, said at a press conference in Baghdad.

“Today, Iraq needs to be saved, as we saved it from Daesh, so we have only two options, either we choose to impose the wills and twist each others arms or choose the understanding between us.”

 Iraq has been a battleground for regional and international powers, especially Iran and the United States, since 2003 US-led invasion. 

Brett McGurk, the US envoy to Iraq and Syria, and General Qassim Soleimani, commander of Iran's Al Quds Force, are deeply involved in the negotiations. 

The candidate for prime minister should also enjoy the blessing of the religious powers in Najaf, represented by Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, the Shiite spiritual leader and most revered figure in Iraq, negotiators said.

“The situation is complicated as there are three different sides that enjoy the right to use veto. They are Iran, US and Najaf,” a key negotiator of Al-Sadr’s negotiation team told Arab News.

“One ‘no’ is enough to exclude any candidate. Not only that, Sadr and Amiri also have their conditions and we still have difficulty reconciling all of them.”

The marathon negotiations, which run every day until late at night, finally reached a shortlist for prime minister.

The three names reached were Adel Abdul Mahdi, a former leader of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, Falih Al-Fayadh, the former national security adviser, and Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, the head of the intelligence service.

Adel Abdul Mahdi was the chosen one, three negotiators from different sides told Arab News.

“We have agreed to nominate Adel Abdul Mahdi as he is the only one who was approved by the three sides (Iran, the US and Najaf),” an Al-Sadr negotiator told Arab News.