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The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District
of Columbia Circuit ruled that the trial court "abused its discretion"
in not allowing Nicholas Slatten, 33, of Sparta, Tenn., to be tried
separately from his three co-defendants, even though one of them said
he, not Slatten, fired the first shots in the civilian massacre. In a split ruling, the court also found the 30-year terms of the
others convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter — Paul
Slough, 37, of Keller, Texas; Evan Liberty, 35, of Rochester, N.H.; and
Dustin Heard, 36, of Maryville, Tenn. — violated the constitutional
prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment."
A spokesperson for Iraq's Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi rejected a call by firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Saturday who said that the Hashd forces must come under state control and be incorporated into the regular army.
Hashd al-Shaabi should function under the command of the state,” Sadr
said in a video address to demonstrators who had gathered at Baghdad’s
Tahrir Square at the cleric’s call. “And weapons should be in the hands
of the state too.”
response to Sadr's call, Ahmed al-Assadi, spokesperson of the Shiite
paramilitary said the Hashd will not be dismantled as it is a main part
of the Iraqi armed forces.
No sooner did the Shi'ite militas speak for themselves than Hayder al-Abadi rushed to weigh in. Alexander Simon (STANDARD REPUBLIC) explains: Iraqi PM Haidar al-Abadi on Saturday rejected a call by firebrand Shia
cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to dissolve the Hashd al-Shaabi militia. Anadolu
Speaking to supporters on Friday، al-Sadr called for dissolving the militia and merging its fighters in the Iraqi army. “The Hashd al-Shaabi…is for Iraq and will not be dissolved،” al-Abadi said in a conference in the capital Baghdad. “The next phase after liberating the land from ISIL is the battle of the unity of word،” he said.
The Hashd al-Shaabi militia was established in 2014 with the avowed
purpose of fighting the ISIL terrorist group، which captured vast
swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq.
The milita has long explained that they report to Iran, not to Hayder. Insiders have long noted that Hayder can't control them. But elections are around the corner and Hayder's not going to rock the boat. In part, this is why Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr has become -- again -- such a prominent figure in Iraq. ALJAZEERA notes, "Sadr, an anti-American figure, commands a large following among the
urban poor of Baghdad and the southern cities, including Saraya
al-Salam, or Peace Brigades militia. He is now seen as a nationalist who has repeatedly called for
protests against corruption in the Iraqi government, and his supporters
have staged huge protests in Baghdad calling for electoral reform."
As Hayder struggles to hold onto the post of prime minister, Iraq remains awash in corruption -- and in the debt stealing money from the government leaves behind. XINHUA reports:
Iraq is promised to get a loan of 195 million U.S.
dollars from Japan to develop a thermal power station in Basra province,
said an Iraqi government statement Saturday. The loan was signed during a visit to Iraq by Japan's State Minister
for Foreign Affairs, Kentaro Sonoura, who met Prime Minister Haider
al-Abadi on Saturday, the statement said.
Iraq needs external financing to plug a budget deficit of
approximately 25 trillion Iraqi dinars (21.44 billion dollars) for this
year as it grapples with lower global oil prices and costs associated
with the fight against Islamic State.
The U.S.-led coalition and its allies have wrestled almost a third of
territory from the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) because of
changes implemented by President Trump and his administration, a senior
U.S. official said on Friday. Brett McGurk, the special
presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS, in a
briefing with reporters said that Trump’s strategy in the battle against
the jihadist group in Iraq and Syria had “dramatically accelerated”
progress in the campaign.