Saturday, September 28, 2019

Iraq: Attacks on protesters, firing the commander of counter-terrorism and more

A firing in Iraq, protesters attacked, another US veteran takes his own life.  Some of the Iraq news today.

The big news out of Iraq today is a firing/demotion/removal.  Lawk Ghafuri (RUDAW) reports:

After he liberated Mosul and defeated the Islamic State (ISIS) on the ground in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahab al-Saadi was removed from his position as commander of Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Forces (ICTS) on Friday by order of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi who transferred Saadi to the Defense Ministry.
The decision shocked Saadi and angered Iraqis, who rallied to support him on social media.

Being relegated to the sidelines is a “humiliation to my military history,” Saadi said in an interview with Iraqi TV channel iNews.

AFP offers:

The decision has sparked allegations of a purge of officials seen as unfavourable to Iraq's Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force, which includes factions close to Tehran.
An Iraqi government official who requested anonymity said pro-Iran factions within the Hashed had "personally" lobbied for Saadi's removal.
"These groups were operating outside the state and the only barrier was the CTS," the official told AFP.
"The idea is to sideline him to bring somebody close to Iran and no longer have the CTS as a check."
Political commentator Ghaleb al-Shabandar said the move was "the beginning of the Iraqi army's dismantling and handover to the Hashed and other armed groups"

  1. Staff Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, a top commander of 's Counterterrorism Service, was reportedly decommissioned at the behest of -backed Shiite militias.
  2. Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi is being moved to the Ministry of Defense, This means a complete freeze of his military powers 😔 Corruption is on the increase Equality is on the decrease 💔 Welcome to

  3. The sidelining of Staff Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, a prominent Iraqi general celebrated for helping oust extremists from Mosul, is generating controversy in a country caught in a tug of war between Tehran and Washington.

And we'll note this thread on the issue that journalist Mustafa Habib has done:

Meanwhile XINHUA notes, "Eight Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Saturday in airstrikes conducted by the U.S.-led coalition aircraft in the central Iraqi province of Salahudin, the Iraqi military said."

When not having bombs dropped on them, the Iraqi people are being attacked by their own government.  Iraq has a serious unemployment issues.  This has led to protests.  This week?  Lawk Ghafuri (RUDAW) reports:

Protestors demanding government action on postgraduate unemployment were hosed down with Iraqi security force water cannons on Wednesday, in an act condemned by a national human rights commission as an act “against freedom of expression.”
Iraqi master’s degree and PhD holders have been protesting outside ministry buildings in Baghdad since June, calling for measures to ease unemployment among postgraduates, including an increase in public sector jobs.

A video recorded by a protestor and published on social media on Wednesday shows water cannons being used to disperse protestors in front of the Council of Ministers in Baghdad.

Protestors, some of whom can be seen wearing graduation sashes, are knocked to the ground by the sheer force of the cannons. Other protestors rush to their aid.

“This is how Iraqi postgraduates are being treated in Iraq,” said the protestor recording events, who proceeds to call on Muqtada al-Sadr, the United Nations, the European Union and the entire world to come to their assistance.

In other news, Iraq's president (a ceremonial post) Barham Salih has been in the United States.  As his official website notes, he met with US President Donald Trump this week:

President Salih met His Excellency Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, in New York today. He began the meeting by noting the incredible resurgence of business and civic life that Iraq is experiencing.
President Salih went on to highlight the need to support hard-won stability in Iraq, and to complete the victory against terrorism through construction and development. He also noted the importance of working to develop more positive regional dynamics so as to enhance security and stability.
President Trump, expressing his admiration for recent Iraqi accomplishments, said he was pleased to hear about these positive developments.
Mr. Trump reiterated his support for Iraqi security and national sovereignty, and expressed interest in learning about the reconstruction of its cities.
The two leaders also discussed regional and global developments, topics of common concern to both the United States and Iraq, and mechanisms for enhancing bilateral relations and combating terrorism.
The meeting was attended by Mr. Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Thikra Alloush, Head of the Higher Standing Committee for the Advancement of Women, Mr. Mohammed Hussein Bahr al-Ulum, Iraq's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr. Farid Yassin, the Iraqi Ambassador to Washington, Mr. Sven Desai KRG Foreign Relations Officer, and Ambassador Mohammed Jaafar al-Sadr, Head of the Department of Organizations and International Conferences at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

مع الرئيس دونالد ترمب؛ تعزيز علاقاتنا الثنائية مع الولايات المتحدة، إشادة بالاستقرار المتحقق في العراق، وأهمية دعمه في إستكمال النصر ضد الارهاب بإعادة الإعمار والتحول الاقتصادي،وإستعراض الاوضاع الاقليمية والتاكيد على حل المشاكل بالحوار منطلقين من مصلحتنا المشتركة في مجابهة التطرف

Rick Dickson is the public affairs officer for the US Army.  He Tweeted the following today:

We lost another brother to suicide this morning. A former soldier who fought in Iraq with Task Force 300 in 2006-2007. He leaves behind his family, including 3 daughters. May he rest in peace.

Ursula Kenny (THE GUARDIAN) speaks with journalist James Verini about his time in Iraq:

What have you taken away from being there?

Yet more guilt, and more shame about America’s role in the destruction of Iraq over the last decade and a half. When you’re there, you see the effects of it endlessly and, if you’re not endlessly ashamed, then you ought to be. But also, at the end of the book, I descend [below the remains] of Nabi Yunus [mosque] with archaeologists and we come upon these [walls of] Assyrian lamassu, gorgeous winged bulls. With the exception of a handful of jihadis and soldiers, no one had seen them in centuries or millennia and it was a reminder of how far back this city goes, how far back Iraq goes. The fact that the civilisation in the city had survived for millennia – it will survive us, it will survive Isis, it will survive the Americans. And even though so much of it has been destroyed, so much of its past is yet to be discovered. That was very encouraging.

THE GUARDIAN also offers:

Read an extract from They Will Have to Die Now: Mosul and the Fall of the Caliphate by James Verini

Also, as noted previously, Joe Wilson has passed away.  In the world of the officials, the Iraq War created a number of cowards -- a large number of cowards.  Among the few heroes?  Joe Wilson. 

The following sites updated: