Iraqi Forces Coalition political party boycotts parliament session on election date

The Iraqi forces coalition political party boycotted the Iraqi parliament session to vote on the date of the elections on Saturday. (Reuters)
Updated 20 January 2018
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Iraqi Forces Coalition political party boycotts parliament session on election date

DUBAI: The Iraqi Forces Coalition political party boycotted Saturday's Iraqi parliament session which was set to vote on the date of legislative elections in the country. 
The House of Representatives started a session to vote on the date of the elections in the presence of 220 deputies. The Iraqi parliament sent a request to the Federal Court to decide on the date of the upcoming legislative elections.
According to reports, 123 deputies representing the Sunni and Kurdish blocs voted two days before the postponement of the elections in the last session, after the withdrawal of the National Alliance bloc deputies and deputies from the Kurdish Change bloc, which led to the loss of quorum at the meeting.
During the session, Iraq’s parliament failed on Saturday to approve May 12 as the election date, as suggested by the government, as Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers demanded a delay to allow hundreds of thousands of war-displaced people to return home.
Shiite politicians, including Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, insist on holding the election as planned on May 12, saying a delay would be against the constitution.
Speaking after Saturday’s session in Baghdad, Parliamentary Speaker Salim Al-Jabouri, a Sunni, expressed hope that parliament would be able to vote on an election date by Monday, state TV reported.
Abadi is seeking re-election, building on a surge in his popularity among Iraq’s majority Shiite Arab community after leading the three-year fight against Daesh militants, supported by a US-led coalition.
“Postponing the elections would set a dangerous precedent, undermining the constitution and damaging Iraq’s long-term democratic development,” the US Embassy in Baghdad said in a statement on Thursday.


Abadi faces US wrath at U-turn on Iran sanctions

An intended visit to Tehran was canceled and Abadi’s office denied that the visit had even been planned. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Abadi faces US wrath at U-turn on Iran sanctions

  • Iran has maintained close ties to Iraq's government since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, Tehran's archenemy
  • The administration says the renewed sanctions are meant to pressure Tehran to halt its alleged support for international terrorism

BAGHDAD: Failure by Iraq to comply fully with tough new US economic sanctions against Iran would be insane, analysts told Arab News on Tuesday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi risked incurring US wrath after contradicting himself in the space of a few hours over whether his country would comply.
Amid diplomatic maneuvers, as he negotiates for a second term in office after divisive and contested elections, Abadi offended both Tehran and Washington with conflicting statements on the US sanctions, which were reimposed last week.
First, the prime minister said that while Iraq disapproved of the new sanctions, it would reluctantly comply. “We don’t support the sanctions because they are a strategic error, but we will comply with them,” he said.
“Our economic situation is also difficult and we sympathize with Iran. But. at the same time, I will not make grand slogans that destroy my people and my country just to make certain people happy.”
His position provoked anger in Iran. An intended visit to Tehran on Tuesday to discuss the issue was canceled, and Abadi’s office denied that the visit had even been planned.
There was also criticism inside Iraq, especially from groups close to Tehran, such as the Asaib Ahl Al-Haq and Badr paramilitary movements.
Within hours, however, Abadi had reversed his position. “I did not say we abide by the sanctions, I said we abide by not using dollars in transactions. We have no other choice,” Abadi told a news conference in Baghdad.
Asked if Baghdad would stop imports of commodities, appliances and equipment by government companies from Iran, he said the matter was still being reviewed. “We honestly have not made any decision regarding this issue until now,” he said.
Michael Knights, the Lafer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Arab News: “Iraq can’t afford to be cut off from the dollar-based global financial system, so it makes sense to avoid sanctioned Iranian financial entities. Iraq should also protect its dollar reserves.
“These are the only sane options for a country that desperately needs international investment.”
Iraq is the second-largest purchaser of Iranian non-oil exports, and bought about $6 billion worth of goods in 2017. It also buys Iranian-generated electricity to deal with chronic power cuts that have been a key factor sparking mass protests in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, the British renewable energy investor Quercus became the latest major company to pull out of Iran as a result of the new sanctions.
It halted construction of $570 million solar power plant in Iran, which would have been the sixth-largest in the world.