Iran should stop interfering in Iraq, Iraqi VP Allawi says

Iraq's Vice President Iyad Allawi. (Reuters file photo)
Updated 17 June 2017
0

Iran should stop interfering in Iraq, Iraqi VP Allawi says

CAIRO: Iran’s support to Shiite groups in Iraq is obstructing efforts to bridge the sectarian divide ahead of a parliamentary election next year, Iraqi Vice President Iyad Allawi said on Friday.
Iraqi leaders hope to restore control over all Iraqi territory, defeating Islamic State, before an election due by the middle of next year.
“Iran has been interfering even in the decision (making process) of the Iraqi people,” he said. “We don’t want an election based on sectarianism, we want an inclusive political process ... we hope that the Iraqis would choose themselves without any involvement by any foreign power.”
Allawi, a secular Shiite politician who has supporters among some Sunnis, was in Cairo to meet Egyptian leaders including President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for discussions about oil and the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya.
Iraq lies on the fault line between Shiite Iran and the mostly Sunni Arab world. Deep-running animosity and distrust between the two sides is fuel led by sectarian divides.
Tensions grew further after Iran, by leveraging its ties with Iraq’s Shiite majority, has emerged as the main power broker in Iraq after the United States withdrew its troops in 2011, eight years after it toppled Sad dam Hussies, a Sunni .
Tehran denies interfering in Iraqi politics, saying the military assistance it provides to Shiite paramilitary groups is meant to help defeat Islamic State, the Sunni insurgents who declared a “caliphate” over parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.
US-backed Iraqi forces have dislodged Islamic State from Iraqi cities the militants captured, and are about to fully capture Mogul, which used to be their de facto capital in the country. The group however remains in control of swathes of territory by the Syrian border and inside Syria.
Both of Iraq’s current and previous prime ministers, Hailer Al-Badri and Nutria Al-Maliki, belong to the Dana party, a Shiite group with close ties to Iran.
But Abaci has managed relations with the Sunni better than Mali, and also improved Baghdad’s ties with Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional foe.
“This is the right time to have a fair election that nobody interferes in, neither Iran nor anybody else, nor Turkey, nor Syria nor the US,” said Allawi.
Allawi has previously accused Tehran of blocking his bid to become prime minister in the 2010 elections, even though his group won the largest number of seats, albeit with a narrow margin.


Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed praises Jacinda Ardern and lights up Burj Khalifa to honor New Zealand

Updated 22 March 2019
0

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed praises Jacinda Ardern and lights up Burj Khalifa to honor New Zealand

DUBAI: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, thanked Jacinda Ardern on Friday for her ‘sincere empathy’ following the attack on two New Zealand mosques that killed 50 Muslims.

The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, was illuminated in a gesture of solidarity with New Zealand and its prime minister.

Ardern has received widespread praise from around the world and in particular from Muslim countries and their leaders for the way she has handled the aftermath of the terrorist attack carried out by a white supremacist.

“New Zealand today fell silent in honor of the mosque attacks' martyrs,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted. “Thank you PM Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world.”

Ardern led thousands of people in a two minute vigil on Friday as the shocked nation came together to remember those killed in the attack. 

She told those gathered in a park opposite the Al Noor mosque, where 42 people died, that: "New Zealand mourns with you. We are one.”

The prime minister’s response to the killings has been widely admired in helping the country come to terms with the atrocity. In the hours after the shootings she wore a black headscarf and visited members of the Muslim community.

She moved to reassure those caught up in the attacks and hugged survivors at a community center in Christchurch.

“We represent diversity, kindness, compassion,” Ms Ardern said on the day of the attack. “A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and cannot be shaken by this attack.”

She did not hesitate to describe the killings as a terrorist attack and said she would refuse to say the name of the killer who carried it out.

But she has also acted quickly with legislation. Her government banned on Thursday the sales of semi-automatic weapons.

“Ardern’s performance has been extraordinary - and I believe she will be strongly lauded for it both domestically and internationally,” political commentator Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington told Reuters.

Social media has been flooded with messages of admiration for Ardern, with many using her as an example for their own politicians to follow.