Friday, April 26, 2019 | ePaper

Shi'ite rivalry paralyses Iraq's government

  • Print


Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr speaks during a news conference with Leader of the Conquest Coalition and the Iran-backed Shi'ite militia Badr Organisation Hadi al-Amiri, in Najaf, Iraq.

Reuters, Baghdad :
A growing rivalry between two powerful Shi'ite Muslim factions has paralyzed efforts to form a government in Iraq six months after an election aimed at steering the country toward recovery from years of war.
The two largest parliamentary groupings to emerge after the vote in May - one led by populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the other by Iranian-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri - formed a tacit alliance in October when they picked a president and approved 14 out of 22 cabinet ministers.
But since then there has been stalemate, mainly over the empty interior ministry post dominated for years by allies of Amiri, who are backing the former head of a paramilitary force supported by Tehran. Sadr meanwhile says no one with a political affiliation should get the post. A vote in parliament to fill the vacant ministries in Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi's cabinet has been repeatedly put back.
Iraq's return to deadlocked parliamentary politics, now involving Shi'ite factions rather than the Sunni-Shi'ite sectarianism that followed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, prompted a plea last week from Iraq's most senior Shi'ite cleric for politicians to work together.
That now looks all but impossible. As Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani made his remarks, the two sides broke off talks, lawmakers said.
"We reached a dead end," Hanin Qaddo, a member of the bloc led by Amiri, told Reuters on Friday.
"There's no need for more delays, no use in talks," MP Ahmed al-Kinani said. "We will go to parliament and vote for the rest of the cabinet."
He said they would do this without agreement from Sadr's supporters even though the parliamentary arithmetic is against them.
Sadr on Monday urged Abdul Mahdi to present the rest of his cabinet to parliament for approval as soon as possible, without disputed candidates. "You must not submit to what is going on behind the scenes," Sadr told the prime minister.
Sadr, whose alliance won the most parliamentary seats in the election, has threatened to walk out of the political process and stage mass demonstrations as he has done in the past, notably when protesters stormed Baghdad's fortified Green Zone in 2016.
"If Bina (Amiri's bloc) ignores us then we will resort to all possible options including mobilizing the street," said a member of Sadr's alliance, who declined to give his name.

More News For this Category

NKorea ready to denuclearize if it gets guarantees: Putin

NKorea ready to denuclearize if it gets guarantees: Putin

AP, Vladivostok :Russian President Vladimir Putin said after his summit with Kim Jong Un Thursday that the North Korean leader is ready to proceed toward denuclearization - but needs solid

In rare move, French warship passes through Taiwan Strait: Report

In rare move, French warship passes through Taiwan Strait: Report

Reuters, Washington :A French warship passed through the strategic Taiwan Strait this month, US officials told Reuters, a rare voyage by a vessel of a European country that is likely

Prince William attends emotional Anzac Day ceremony in New Zealand

Prince William attends emotional Anzac Day ceremony in New Zealand

AFP, Wellington :Britain's Prince William paid tribute to Australian and New Zealand troops on Thursday at an emotional Anzac Day ceremony, six weeks after the Christchurch mosques massacre.The Prince, in

Japan creates first artificial crater on asteroid

Japan creates first artificial crater on asteroid

AFP, Tokyo :Japanese scientists have succeeded in creating what they called the first-ever artificial crater on an asteroid, a step towards shedding light on how the solar system evolved, the

US records 695 measles cases, most since elimination in 2000

US records 695 measles cases, most since elimination in 2000

AFP, New York: The US recorded 695 cases of measles in 2019, the most of any year since the disease was declared eliminated at the turn of the century, officials

News In Brief

Climate-change protesters block road near Bank of EnglandReuters, London Climate-change activists blocked a road near the Bank of England as part of the 11th day of direct action aimed at

Pro-EU party launches election campaign as UK MPs return from break

Pro-EU party launches election campaign as UK MPs return from break

A new anti-Brexit political party launched its campaign Tuesday for next month's European Parliament elections as British lawmakers returned from their Easter break with rumours of fresh bids to topple

New Zealand offers residency to families of mosque victims

New Zealand offers residency to families of mosque victims

AFP, Wellington : New Zealand opened a two-year window Wednesday for people directly affected by the Christchurch terror attacks to apply to stay permanently in the country.The special visa category "recognises

African leaders urge 'peaceful' transition in Sudan, ceasefire in Libya

AFP, Cairo :Egypt hosted African leaders for emergency talks Tuesday on the upheavals in neighbouring Sudan and Libya, as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned against "a slide into chaos".Sisi, current

Fake German heiress on trial in US for duping people of $275,000

Fake German heiress on trial in US for duping people of $275,000

AFP, New York :A jury in New York on Tuesday began deliberating the fate of a German-Russian woman charged with 10 counts of fraud and theft of $275,000 during the