Iraqi PMU leader returns as national security adviser

Al-Fayadh has also been nominated to head the country’s powerful Interior Ministry. (AFP)
Updated 19 December 2018
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Iraqi PMU leader returns as national security adviser

  • Iraq’s government has been deadlocked as politicians spar over appointments for several key ministries, including the interior and defense

BAGHDAD: The former head of Iraq’s Iran-linked Popular Mobilization Units returned to his dual posts as chairman of the militias and national security adviser to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, ahead of a Parliament session to consider new Cabinet appointments Tuesday.
Falih Al-Fayadh retook his seat at a meeting of Iraq’s National Security Council on Sunday after he was sacked from his positions by caretaker Prime Minister Haidar Abadi in August for political behavior.
Al-Fayadh has also been nominated to head the country’s powerful Interior Ministry, which has been under the control of ministers close to Iran since 2010. His nomination has been opposed by the political bloc of populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, which says it wants to limit outside influence in Iraqi politics.
Iraq’s government has been deadlocked as politicians spar over appointments for several key ministries, including the Interior and Defense.
Abdul Mahdi was confirmed as premier in October without a full Cabinet after Parliament approved just 14 of 22 ministerial posts.
The Parliament is slated to again consider the rest of the Cabinet nominees on Tuesday, though expectations for a breakthrough are low.
The Popular Mobilization Forces were formed in 2014 to stop the advance of Daesh militants through Iraq. They include several militias funded and trained by Iran.


Egypt militant returned from Libya back on trial: media

Updated 15 min 40 sec ago
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Egypt militant returned from Libya back on trial: media

  • Hisham Al-Ashmawy’s retrial was being held in a military court
  • He is ‘accused of carrying out terror operations against the army, police forces and civilians’

CAIRO: An Egyptian militant captured in Libya and returned to Cairo was put on trial again Tuesday over five terror attacks, including one for which he has already received a death sentence in absentia, according to local media.
Hisham Al-Ashmawy — one of the country’s most-wanted militants — “is accused of carrying out terror operations against the army, police forces and civilians” killing 54 people in total, news website Ahram reported.
His retrial was being held in a military court, the site said.
He was sentenced to death in 2017 in absentia by an Egyptian military court over his involvement in attacking and killing soldiers at a checkpoint near the porous border with Libya.
Authorities have also linked Ashmawy with high-profile attacks including a 2013 assassination attempt on then-interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim and the 2015 killing of a top public prosecutor.
The militant was flown back to Cairo in May, after being handed over by Libyan National Army chief Khalifa Haftar whose forces captured him in 2018 in the eastern city of Derna.
Haftar, who is leading a military offensive against the UN-recognized government in Tripoli, seized the city of Derna last summer. His forces are backed in particular by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
A former officer with Egypt’s special forces, Ashmawy was dismissed in 2012 over concerns about his religious views.
He joined the Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis but broke with the group after it pledged allegiance to the Daesh group in November 2014.
Known by his nom de guerre “Abu Omar Al-MuHajjir,” Ashmawy announced the formation of an Al-Qaeda-aligned militant group Al-Mourabitoun in Libya in July 2015.
He is also accused of being behind attacks in Egypt’s Western Desert region.