Iraq's Moqtada Al-Sadr visits UAE, strengthening ties with Sunni states

Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr speaks during a protest against corruption and informs his followers about his will at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, on March 24, 2017. (Reuters file photo)
Updated 14 August 2017
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Iraq's Moqtada Al-Sadr visits UAE, strengthening ties with Sunni states

IRBIL, Iraq: An influential Iraqi Shiite cleric plans to visit the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, strengthening his ties with Sunni-ruled states of the Middle East.
It will be the second such trip in as many months for Moqtada Al-Sadr, who commands a large following among Iraq’s urban poor. He visited Saudi Arabia at the end of July.
The Emirati government will send a special plane to fly Sadr to the UAE and return him to Iraq, according to a statement on the cleric’s website.
The cleric is one of few Iraqi Shiite leaders to keep some distance from Shiite Iran, the main backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad. In April, Sadr called on Assad to “take a historic heroic decision” and step down, to spare his country further bloodshed.
Sadr’s office said his meetings last month with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, resulted in an agreement to study possible investments in Shiite regions of southern Iraq. The Saudis will also consider the possibility of opening a consulate in Iraq’s holy Shiite city of Najaf, he said.
Sadr also announced a Saudi decision to donate $10 million to help Iraqis displaced by the war on Daesh in Iraq, to be paid to the Iraqi government.
Baghdad and Riyadh had announced in June they would set up a coordination council to upgrade ties, as part of an attempt to heal troubled relations between the Arab neighbors.
Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad in 2015 following a 25-year break, and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir made a rare visit to Baghdad in February.
(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli)


Turkish opposition accused of insulting Erdogan via cartoons

Updated 18 July 2018
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Turkish opposition accused of insulting Erdogan via cartoons

  • Insulting the president is a crime punishable by up to four years in prison in Turkey
  • Erdogan filed close to 2,000 lawsuits against people for alleged insults

ANKARA: Turkey’s state-run news agency says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has filed complaints against the main opposition party leader and 72 legislators accusing them of insults for posting and sharing a cartoon on social media that depicts him as a variety of different animals.
Anadolu Agency said complaints were filed Wednesday against Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who posted the cartoon on Twitter, and other officials who shared it in support of four university students arrested for holding up a poster of the same caricature during their graduation ceremony.
Insulting the president is a crime punishable by up to four years in prison in Turkey.
Erdogan filed close to 2,000 lawsuits against people for alleged insults, dropping many following a failed military coup in 2016 as a goodwill gesture, but filing many others since.