US-Iraqi forces arrest suspected members of Daesh funding network

Iraqi Special Forces troops take up positions to engage Daesh fighters in Mosul in this November 11, 2016 photo. Iraqi and US troops on Thursday arrested 10 suspected members of a network that provided funding for Daesh in Baghdad and the northern city of Irbil. (AFP)
Updated 12 October 2018
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US-Iraqi forces arrest suspected members of Daesh funding network

  • Joint Iraqi-US task force conducted raids from Oct. 7-9 and arrested suspected members of the Rawi financial network, which operated as a “financial facilitation group” for Daesh
  • Daesh fighters have remained in Iraq despite their defeat and have since then waged a campaign of kidnappings and killings

IRBIL, Iraq: A joint task force of US coalition and Iraqi special forces has arrested 10 suspected members of a network that provided funding for Daesh in Baghdad and the northern city of Irbil, the coalition said on Thursday.

The task force conducted raids from Oct. 7-9 and arrested suspected members of the Rawi financial network, which operated as a “financial facilitation group” for the militants, the coalition said in a statement.

“The arrests deal a major blow to ISIS’ (Daesh) capacity to threaten and terrorize civilians,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick B. Roberson, commander of Special Operation Joint Task Force — Operation Inherent Resolve.

“This demonstrates that those who assist in, sponsor, or provide financial, material or technological support to ISIS will face severe consequences.”

Iraq declared victory over the militant group in December after retaking swathes of territory it held but its fighters have since then waged a campaign of kidnappings and killings.

Separately, an army officer was killed and three soldiers were captured in western Iraq after militants attacked their vehicle, security sources said on Thursday.

The attack took place late on Wednesday in the town of Akaz, 5 km from the Qaim district of Anbar province. The unit was delivering food to other troops, the sources told Reuters.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but Daesh militants are active in the area.

Usually militants kill soldiers and take officers captive whom they view as higher value targets, the sources said, but the reverse happened on Wednesday night.

At least eight people were killed and 12 wounded in a suicide car-bomb attack on a security checkpoint in the same area last August.

Security forces retook Qaim, which lies 300 km west of Baghdad in the Sunni province of Anbar, on the border with Syria, in November. It was one of the last remaining territories in Iraq held by Daesh.

The group’s fighters have since then waged a campaign of killings and abductions. 

In another development, Iraq’s government has named Oil Minister Jabar Al-Luaibi as head of a new National Oil Company which will serve as an umbrella organization for state oil firms, an Oil Ministry spokesman told Reuters on Thursday.

Parliament voted in March to establish the company, which is meant to manage Iraq’s upstream operations, freeing up the ministry to set plans and strategies for developing the sector.

The decision was voted on unanimously in Cabinet last week, spokesman Asim Jihad said. The positions of oil minister and National Oil Company chief are not related, he added.

“The appointment decision was made for many reasons, including the experience Luaibi has,” Jihad said. Luaibi will also remain as oil minister in Prime Minister Haider Abadi’s outgoing government, he said.

Iraqi President Barham Salih named former Oil Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi as prime minister-designate earlier this month and tasked him with forming a new government. It is unclear if Luaibi will remain after that.

“The issue of selection of a new minister is the responsibility of the prime minister-designate. Anything is possible, we will wait and see,” said Jihad.

Luaibi remains a minister until a new government is formed and approved by parliament, he said.


How Meir Kahane’s toxic legacy poisoned the Palestinian peace process

Updated 22 April 2019
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How Meir Kahane’s toxic legacy poisoned the Palestinian peace process

  • Brooklyn-born rabbi who demanded forced emigration of Arabs and inspired Israel’s far right is latest subject of Arab News ‘Preachers of Hate’ series
  • As a member of the Israeli parliament, Kahane proposed laws to strip Arabs of citizenship and force their emigration

JEDDAH: As Israel’s most right-wing government in living memory prepares to take office, the outlook for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process has rarely been more dismal.

After his narrow election victory this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is clinging to office by assembling a coalition of Knesset members with no interest in peace. They range from far-right ultra Zionists to overt racists. Many, in particular the Otzma Yehudit, or “Jewish Power” party, are acolytes of Meir Kahane — a Brooklyn-born rabbi who co-founded the militant Jewish Defense League in 1968,  joined the West Bank settler movement and established an extremist Israeli political party.

It is because of this toxic legacy that Kahane is the subject today of Preachers of Hate — the Arab News series that exposes extremist clerics of all religions and nationalities, places their words and deeds in context, and explains their malign influence on those who follow them.

As a member of the Knesset, Kahane proposed laws to strip Arabs of citizenship and force their emigration. 

In the end he proved too extreme even for the Israeli far right; he was disqualified from running for office, and was eventually assassinated in New York in 1990.

Kahane’s hatred lives on, however, in Israel’s continuing rejection of the Palestinian people’s entitlement to basic human dignity, far less a meaningful peace process and an independent state.

As the leading academic and Arab News columnist Yossi Mekelberg writes today: “Few people have contaminated the discourse within Israel with sheer hatred and anti-Arab bigotry as much as Meir Kahane.”

 

Also Read: Meir Kahane: A torch to fuel anti-Arab hatred