Iraqi officials blame Sunni displaced for bombing wave

Updated 01 May 2015

Iraqi officials blame Sunni displaced for bombing wave

BAGHDAD: Officials in Baghdad are blaming displaced Sunnis fleeing fighting for providing cover for militants to conduct a wave of bombings.
Baghdad has witnessed a spike in bombings in the past week with multiple blasts each day. On Thursday night six bombs claimed 21 lives.
Fighting in the western city of Ramadi sent at least 110,000 refugees fleeing toward Baghdad two weeks ago.
“There is a link between the recent attacks in Baghdad and the entry of displaced families,” Baghdad Provincial Council member Ghalib Al-Zamili told The Associated Press Friday.
He maintained that Islamic State militants used the refugees to infiltrate the capital.
There are reports that the displaced are being harassed in the mosques and makeshift camps where they have taken up residence.
Sunni lawmakers decry the accusations as scapegoating.
The Islamic State group said it carried out the series of car bombings in Shiite districts of Iraq's capital to avenge attacks on displaced persons from a Sunni province.
The Interior Ministry reported three bombings, although IS said in a statement it carried out six attacks "to avenge residents of Anbar killed in the streets of Baghdad" by Shiites.
Since the start of April, 114,000 residents have fled fighting between government forces and IS in the western province which is largely controlled by the Sunni extremist group, according to UN figures.
Police say several of the displaced have been kidnapped and killed in Baghdad, including four victims found on April 25 with gunshot wounds to the head.
The fighting in the Ramadi area of Anbar province has ratcheted up tensions between the Sunnis and Iraq's majority Shiites.
Meanwhile, the head of the European Union’s humanitarian aid department has warned that the situation in Iraq is rapidly deteriorating while the world is preoccupied with crises elsewhere.
Jean-Louis de Brouwer told The Associated Press that the number of displaced people in Iraq has quadrupled in the last year and shows no signs of decreasing, adding: “The worst is still to come.”
There are 2.7 million people internally displaced in Iraq, where government forces are struggling to wrest back vast areas of the north and west seized by the Islamic State group last year.
In recent weeks another 100,000 have been displaced by fighting in and around Ramadi, in the western Anbar province.
De Brouwer said “there is not just donor fatigue but donor exhaustion.”


Lebanon’s foreign minister resigns amid economic crisis

Updated 03 August 2020

Lebanon’s foreign minister resigns amid economic crisis

  • Nassif Hitti submits resignation to the prime minister and leaves government house without making any comments
  • Hitti’s resignation is a blow to Hassan Diab’s government

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s foreign minister resigned on Monday, becoming the first Cabinet minister to defect from his post amid the severe economic and financial crisis striking the country.
Minister Nassif Hitti’s submitted his resignation to the prime minister and left the government house without making any comments.
A career diplomat, Hitti became foreign minister in January as part of Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government. He was was reportedly unhappy with the government’s performance and lack of movement on promised reforms.
Local media reports said he also was angered by Diab’s criticism of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian following his visit to Beirut last month. Diab had said Le Drian “did not bring anything new” and was not properly informed about the reforms implemented by the Lebanese government.
It was not immediately clear whether his resignation would be accepted and whether one of the other ministers would assume his responsibilities in caretaker capacity until a new minister is appointed.
Hitti’s resignation is a blow to Diab’s government, which has struggled to implement reforms amid an unprecedented financial crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.