Activist Murad urges Yazidis to return to Iraq

Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize and Iraqi Yazidi Nadia Murad gives a speech during a commemoration ceremony in Stuttgart, southern Germany, on August 3, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 04 August 2019

Activist Murad urges Yazidis to return to Iraq

  • The number of Yazidis living in Germany is around 150,000

STUTTGART: Nobel laureate Nadia Murad on Saturday urged Iraq’s Yazidi minority to return to their ancestral heartland of Sinjar, five years after militants launched a brutal assault on their community there.

Murad was one of thousands of women and girls from the ancient faith abducted by Daesh as they overran swathes of Iraq in 2014.
Speaking in the southwestern city of Stuttgart at the invitation of Germany’s central Yazidi council, she said that more than 90,000 had already returned to Sinjar.
But “we need even more to return there so as to thwart the Daesh’s plan to chase them out from Sinjar,” she said.
“The Kurdish and Iraqi authorities have done nothing for us and there is currently no local authority in the region of Sinjar,” Murad said.
Describing the de-mining of the territory and the exhumation of mass graves as “a positive step forward,” she called for the restoration of public services, including schools and hospitals, in the region.
She also argued that the Kurdish and Iraqi authorities should “compensate the Yazidi survivors of the Daesh, but so far they have still had nothing.”
Baghdad has awarded some Yazidis a one-off payment of $1,700, equivalent to just over three times the average monthly wage in Iraq.
On August 3, 2014, Daesh group fighters seized Mount Sinjar, and went on to slaughter thousands of Yazidi men and boys and abduct girls to be used as “sex slaves.”
The UN has said Daesh’s actions could amount to genocide, and is investigating militant atrocities across Iraq.
Of the world’s 1.5 million Yazidis, around 550,000 were living in the remote corners of northern Iraq before 2014.
The brutal assault by Daesh pushed around 360,000 Yazidis to flee to other parts of Iraq, including the Kurdish region, where they live in ramshackle displacement camps.
According to authorities, more than 6,400 Yazidis were abducted by Daesh and only half of them were able to flee or be rescued, while the fate of the others remains unknown. Another 100,000 fled abroad.
The number of Yazidis living in Germany is around 150,000.


Former finance minister Mohammad Safadi put forward to be next Lebanese PM

Updated 15 November 2019

Former finance minister Mohammad Safadi put forward to be next Lebanese PM

BEIRUT: Three major Lebanese parties have agreed on nominating Mohammad Safadi, a former finance minister, to become prime minister of a new government, the Lebanese broadcasters LBCI and MTV reported on Thursday.
The agreement was reached in a meeting on Thursday between outgoing Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri, Lebanon’s leading Sunni politician, and senior representatives of the Shiite groups Amal and Hezbollah.
There was no official comment from the parties or Safadi. The broadcasters did not identify their sources.
Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29 in the face of an unprecedented wave of protests against ruling politicians who are blamed for rampant state corruption and steering Lebanon into its worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.
Hariri remains caretaker prime minister for now.
Since quitting, Hariri, who is aligned with the West and Gulf Arab states, has been holding closed-door meetings with parties including the Iran-backed Hezbollah, which had wanted him to be prime minister again.
Lebanon’s prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim according to the country’s sectarian power-sharing system.
Mustaqbal Web, a Hariri-owned news website, said a meeting between Hariri, Ali Hassan Khalil of the Amal Movement and Hussein Al-Khalil of Hezbollah had discussed recommending Safadi for the post.
MTV said the government would be a mixture of politicians and technocrats. Mustaqbal Web said the type of government was not discussed, and neither was the question of whether Hariri’s Future Movement would be part of the Cabinet.
LBCI said the Free Patriotic Movement, a Christian party allied to Hezbollah, had also agreed to Safadi’s nomination.
They did not identify their sources.
Safadi is a prominent businessman and member of parliament from the northern city of Tripoli. He served previously as finance minister from 2011-2014 under prime minister Najib Mikati.
Prior to that, he served as minister of economy and trade in the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who was backed by the West. He held that post again in the Hariri-led Cabinet that took office in 2009.
Hariri had said he would only return as prime minister of a Cabinet of specialist ministers which he believed would be best placed to win international aid and steer Lebanon out of its economic crisis, sources close to Hariri have said.