Saturday, August 05, 2017

Overturned verdicts, Hayder's embrace of the militias and more

Let's start with legal.

Replying to 
These people MURDERED 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians. The US courts just overturned their convictions.

AP notes:

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."

Staying with legalities . . .

- US-backed Iraqi soldiers humiliating old man and dragging him with a leash in ...

The Shi'ite militias were made part of the Iraqi forces by Hayder al-Abadi.

RUDAW reports:

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.

“The 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.”

In 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 Agency said.

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. 

In other news, Jack Moore (NEWSWEEK) reports:

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.

  1.   Retweeted
    Special Presidential Envoy provides an update on efforts to defeat ISIS.

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