Iraqi Parliament approves budget amid Kurdish boycott

The director of Erbil airport, Talar Faiq Salih, speaks during a press conference at the airport, in the capital of Iraq's autonomous northern Kurdish region, on February 27, 2018. The international flight ban imposed on the autonomous Kurdish Region by the Iraqi prime minister has been extended by three months. (AFP)
Updated 04 March 2018
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Iraqi Parliament approves budget amid Kurdish boycott

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s Parliament on Saturday approved a long-delayed budget, in a vote boycotted by Kurdish lawmakers due to their region’s diminished allocation.
The $88 billion budget cut the share of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government to 12.67 percent, down from 17 percent previously, Reuters reported.
“We boycotted the vote and there are proposals for Kurdistan to withdraw from the entire political process in Iraq over the unfair treatment we have received,” Kurdish MP Ashwaq Jaff was reported as saying.
Hussam Al-Eqabi, a member of the parliamentary Finance Committee, told Arab News that the budget means that the government now “has a legal base to cover the expenses of its work.”
“We had no other choice but voting (on the budget). It is a very important law … the consequences of spending money without law is very dangerous,” he told Arab News.
Parliament was meant to pass the budget before the start of the 2018 financial year in January.
But the country’s three main blocs  had serious issues with the government’s proposal.
In a press conference held after immediately after Parliament's approval of the budget, Kurdish lawmakers called on the “Kurdish leadership” to boycott the political process in Baghdad.
“The withdrawal and return to Erbil is the solution and the leadership of the region has to take that position,” Adel Nuri, a Kurdish lawmaker, told reporters. “Only, in this case Baghdad will step down and the international community will intervene.”
The Kurds overwhelmingly voted to secede from the rest of Iraq in an independence referendum in September, which was opposed by Baghdad.


Jordan court charges 5 with ‘terrorism’ after deadly raid

Updated 27 min 34 sec ago
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Jordan court charges 5 with ‘terrorism’ after deadly raid

  • The court’s prosecutor accused the five detainees of "carrying out acts of terrorism"
  • Interior Minister Samir Mubaideen said Monday that the militants supported the Daesh group

AMMAN: Five suspected militants arrested during a deadly raid in a town northwest of Amman were charged with terrorism offenses in Jordan’s state security court Wednesday.
Three alleged militants were killed and five others detained on Saturday when security forces raided a building in the town of Salt.
The operation, which also left four members of Jordan’s security forces dead, was linked to a bomb blast Friday that killed a policeman and wounded six others at a music festival in a nearby town.
The court’s prosecutor accused the five detainees of “carrying out acts of terrorism that led to the death of a person and the demolition of a building” and “conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts.”
It also charged them with the “possession and manufacturing of explosives for use in illegal activities” and the “possession of weapons and ammunition for use in illegal activities.”
Under the 2006 Prevention of Terrorism Act, the charges are punishable by hanging.
Interior Minister Samir Mubaideen said Monday that the militants supported the Daesh group and “followed its takfiri (Sunni Muslim extremist) ideology.”
The militants were holed up in an apartment in a four-story residential block in Salt. They blew up the apartment as security forces encircled them and exchanged heavy fire.
Medical sources said 10 people were wounded in the raid, including members of the security forces and residents of the building used as a hideout.
Jordan, a small desert kingdom, has been the target of several militant attacks. A shooting rampage in 2016 claimed by IS killed 10 people including a Canadian tourist in Karak, known for its Crusader castle.
A close ally of Washington, Jordan has played a key role in the US-led coalition fighting Daesh in neighboring Syria and Iraq, using its air force against the militants and allowing coalition forces to use its bases.