Iraqi PM Abadi and cleric Sadr announce political alliance

Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, who’s bloc came first, speaks during a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, who’s political bloc came third in a May parliamentary election, in Najaf, Iraq June 23, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Iraqi PM Abadi and cleric Sadr announce political alliance

  • Al-Abadi and Al-Sadr said their political blocs would enter into an alliance
  • It will “cross sectarian and ethnic divisions,” the leaders said

NAJAF: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr said on Saturday their political blocs, which came in third and first place in a May parliamentary election respectively, would enter into an alliance.
The alliance between Abadi’s Victory Alliance and Sadr’s Saeroon will “cross sectarian and ethnic divisions,” the leaders said at a news conference in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, where Sadr lives.
Earlier in June, Sadr and Hadi Al-Amiri, a Shiite militia commander with close ties to Iran whose Fatih coalition came second in the election, had announced an alliance between their blocs.
It was not immediately clear if Saturday’s announcement meant the top three blocs would now work together. Abadi and Sadr said their alliance “doesn’t not mean the door is closed for the remaining blocs” to join them.
Political leaders in Iraq traditionally hold such meetings after elections as part of the lengthy and often complicated process of forming a coalition government, as no one party ever wins enough seats to form a government on its own.
The process is further complicated this time round because the next parliament is born of an election marred by historically low turnout and allegations of fraud. The outgoing parliament has mandated a nationwide manual recount of votes and Iraq’s top court upheld that move, which faced legal challenges.


Yemeni spokesman says militants seek to ignite Hodeidah fighting

Updated 21 March 2019
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Yemeni spokesman says militants seek to ignite Hodeidah fighting

  • Renewed fighting in Hodeidah would risk severing the main passage for humanitarian aid
  • A senior Houthi member earlier said a withdrawal is “impossible”

CAIRO: Yemen’s militants are igniting more conflict by their refusal to give up control of the key port city of Hodeida, the focus of months of UN-brokered talks, a government spokesman said.
Renewed fighting in Hodeidah would risk severing the main passage for humanitarian aid to the rest of the country, including northern Yemen, a heartland of the Houthi militants.
Rageh Badi, spokesman for the internationally recognized Yemen government, denounced remarks by senior militant leader Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi who earlier this week told The Associated Press that the Saudi-led coalition, which backs the government side in the conflict, is trying to change the terms of the agreement struck last year in Sweden and that a militant withdrawal would therefore be “impossible.”
Badi told reporters at a press conference Wednesday in the southern city of Aden that such remarks could set off renewed fighting in Hodeidah, the key entry point for international aid to the war-torn country, and violate the tentative peace agreement reached by the two sides in Sweden.
The remarks are a “renunciation of the Hodeidah agreement and a declaration of war,” Badi said, urging the UN to step up pressure on the rebels to prevent another “explosion of the situation” in Hodeidah. Otherwise, renewed fighting is just a “few days” away, he added.