Assad says West changing position on Syria war

Updated 12 June 2014
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Assad says West changing position on Syria war

BEIRUT: Western countries that back the revolt in Syria have started to shift position on the conflict because of the danger posed to them by jihadists, according to President Bashar Assad.
“The United States and the West have started to send signs of change. Terrorism is now on their soil,” said Assad, according to remarks published in a Lebanese newspaper that backs the Damascus regime.
“An American blew himself up on Syrian soil, while a Frenchman (of Algerian origin) killed Jews... in Brussels,” said Assad, according to Al-Akhbar newspaper.
A 29-year-old Frenchman of Algerian origin who spent more than a year fighting in Syria is being held in custody on suspicion of a May 24 shooting that killed four people in Brussels.
Late last month, the United States said an American national carried out a suicide attack in the north of Syria.
Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations have announced a decision to tighten their defenses against the risk of terror attacks by European jihadists returning from Syria.
According to Al-Akhbar, Assad said “current and former US officials are trying to get in touch with us, but they do not dare to because of the powerful lobbies that are pressuring them.”
Syria’s war began as a peaceful movement demanding political change, but later morphed into an armed rebellion attracting foreign jihadists after the Assad regime unleashed a massive crackdown against dissent.


Iraq’s new PM will name cabinet in two days

Updated 21 October 2018
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Iraq’s new PM will name cabinet in two days

  • Abdul Mahdi’s proposed cabinet will consist of 22 ministers and two vice-presidents. He will not have a deputy prime minister
  • All the proposed ministers are independents nominated by the political blocs in the ruling coalition

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s new Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi is putting the finishing touches to his first cabinet and will submit the names to parliament for approval in the next two days.

All the proposed ministers are independents nominated by the political blocs in the ruling coalition, and none is a current or former member of parliament, leading party negotiators told Arab News on Sunday.

The Shiite coalition was formed last month after lengthy negotiations following parliamentary elections in May. It comprises the Reform alliance sponsored by the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, and the Iranian backed Al-Binna’a led by Hadi Al-Amiri, commander of the Badr Organization, the most powerful Shiite armed faction.

Abdul Mahdi’s proposed cabinet will consist of 22 ministers and two vice-presidents. He will not have a deputy prime minister. Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and minorities must all be represented, under Iraq’s constitution. In addition, an unwritten rule requires that ministerial posts and high government positions be filled according to the distribution of parliamentary seats.

Negotiators told Arab News that Abdul Mahdi’s ministers for oil, transport, health, electricity, higher education and water will come from the Reform alliance; ministers for the interior, foreign affairs, communication, housing and construction, and labor and industry will be from Al-Binna’a; Sunnis will be ministers for defense, planning, trade, education, agriculture and youth; and the ministers of finance, justice and immigration will be Kurds. 

“The final names have not been revealed yet,” a Reform negotiator told Arab News. “We presented four names for each post and we are waiting for Abdul Mahdi to present his final list on Monday.”

The coalition will support Abdul Mahdi for one year. “The veto imposed by Sadr and Amiri on any current or former parliamentarians to be a minister has embarrassed everyone and pushed them to change their plans,” an Al-Binna’a negotiator said.

“A year is enough to see if Abdul Mahdi has formed a harmonious team and whether his team will succeed, so it’s fair enough for all parties.”