Baghdad sees Macron call to disband all militias as interference in Iraqi affairs

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) addresses a joint press conference with Regional Kurdistan Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani (2R) and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani (L) at the Elysee Palace following a meeting in Paris on December 2, 2017. (AFP / POOL / ETIENNE LAURENT)
Updated 03 December 2017
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Baghdad sees Macron call to disband all militias as interference in Iraqi affairs

BAGHDAD: French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday called on Iraq to disband all militias, including the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).
“It’s essential that there’s a gradual demilitarization, particularly of the PMU... and that all militias be gradually dismantled,” he said at a joint press conference in Paris with Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The KRG has accused the PMU of committing abuses against Kurds in Kirkuk and nearby disputed areas in the wake of their independence referendum in September.
Baghdad said Macron was interfering in Iraq’s internal affairs, and called for respect for the country’s sovereignty.
“Iraq’s internal affairs are run by constitutional institutions,” said government spokesman Saad Hadithi, adding that the PMU has “become part of the Iraqi security system.”
He said: “The sovereign powers of the federal government concerning the administration of Iraq-related issues and internal affairs must be respected.” He added: “Iraq looks forward to the world’s understanding of the importance of respecting its sovereignty.”
Senior Shiite commander Kareem Al-Nuri told Arab News: “Macron’s statements are a blatant interference in Iraqi affairs. He has no right to tell us what to do.”
He added: “Militias should be dismantled, but the PMU isn’t a militia. Westerners should understand that the PMU has become a legitimate force and is protected by law.”
Pressuring Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi to dissolve it “won’t work,” Al-Nuri said. “Abadi has no authority to dismantle the PMU. This is the authority of the Parliament.”
The PMU was formed after the fall of almost a third of Iraq to Daesh in June 2014. Shiite militia fighters, some backed by Iran, represent the backbone of the PMU, but it also includes tens of thousands of Sunni, Turkmen, Yazidi, Christian and Shabak volunteers.
Iraq’s Parliament in November 2016 passed a law that considers the PMU part of the regular armed forces, under the full authority of the commander in chief.


Human rights violations by Iran regime condemned by UN committee

Vahid Mazloumin appears in court for the first time on charges of manipulating the currency market. (Tasnim News Agency/Reuters)
Updated 11 min 25 sec ago
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Human rights violations by Iran regime condemned by UN committee

  • The resolution “strongly urges” Iran to eliminate discrimination against women
  • It singles out violations including harassment, intimidation and persecution against religious minorities including Christians, Gonabadi Dervishes, Jews, Sufi Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Yarsanis, Zoroastrians and members of the Baha’i faith

NEW YORK: A UN committee on human rights has approved a resolution urging Iran to stop its widespread use of arbitrary detention and expressing serious concern at its “alarmingly high” use of the death penalty.

The General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee adopted the resolution by a vote of 85-30, with 68 abstentions. It is virtually certain to be approved by the 193-member world body next month.

The resolution “strongly urges” Iran to eliminate discrimination against women in law and practice and expresses “serious concern about ongoing severe limitations and restrictions on the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.”

It singles out violations including harassment, intimidation and persecution against religious minorities including Christians, Gonabadi Dervishes, Jews, Sufi Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Yarsanis, Zoroastrians and members of the Baha’i faith — and urges the release of religious practitioners including Baha’i leaders.

Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi of Saudi Arabia said: “The Iranian people continue to suffer under a regime that does not respect human rights, that denies freedoms, that persecutes religious and racial minorities.” He called on Iran not “give shelter to terrorists.”

The resolution, sponsored by Canada, also calls on Iran to end “widespread and serious restrictions” including on freedom of assembly of political opponents, human rights defenders, labor leaders, environmentalists, academics, filmmakers, journalists, bloggers, social media users and others.