The Baghdad Post presents to its readers the latest news updates and breaking news today in Iraq.
Security breaches in Shirqata “serious indicator”: Samarrai
Leader of the Civil Track Party, Muthanna al-Samarrai, has affirmed that recent security breaches in Al Shirqata, a Sunni Arab town west of the Tigris in Saladin Governorate, is a serious indicator that the government should deal with immediately.
In a press statement, Samarrai condemned the recent terrorist attacks that took place north of Saladin, which led to the killing of farmers, police units and civilians.
“These terrorist attacks are dangerous indicators that ISIS has reactivated its sleeper cells, the matter which the government should deal with instantly,” the statement added.
He also pointed out that the security situation in Saladin needs more intensification, efforts and support.
Al-Samarrai further demanded the Iraqi government to provide the necessary medical attention to the injured and compensations for families of the martyrs.
Foreign workers uncontrollably raising unemployment in Iraq
Available figures indicate different statistics concerning the number of foreign workers in Iraq, but various government and private institutions agree that the number of foreign workers have increased significantly in recent years.
The foreign workers have reportedly dominated the important sectors, most notably oil, which led to a rise in the unemployment rate among Iraqis.
Basra Parliament Member Oday Awad asserted earlier that there are 3,000 foreign workers in oil companies operating in the province's oil fields, most of whom are not licensed and did not obtain residency documents.
The Justice and Development Organization of the Middle East and North Africa expected earlier in December the outbreak of a mass popular uprising in various Iraqi provinces against price hikes, the deteriorating economic situation of the middle class, rising poverty and the high unemployment rate among Iraqi youth.
Although the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs does not have specific figures on the number of foreign workers, parliamentarians have revealed that their number exceeds one million workers.
President of the General Federation of Iraq Trade Unions (GFITU) Walid Naama said in press statements that foreign workers in Iraq are estimated at 600,000 workers.
Foreign employment in Iraq contributed to the deterioration of the Iraqi labor market and led to low wages, he said, explaining that foreign workers make the work for a lower wage, which caused an increase in unemployment rates.
The head of GFITU blamed the Ministry of Labor for not monitoring and controlling foreign employment in order to curb such phenomenon.
The Ministry of Labor has 13,000 registered foreign workers working in the oil and investment sector, spokesman of the Labor Ministry said. The Ministry does not have clear figures for workers from East Asian countries and others who have entered Iraq over the past years through religious tourism, or specialized companies, he added.
MP says no real intentions to complete Iraqi cabinet
State of Law Coalition member Intisar al-Gharibawy said the Iraqi cabinet has not been completed yet because of the “lack of real intentions to complete this significant step.”
Gharibawy also added in Monday press remarks that there are some political alliances that seek to impose their control over the political scene.
Iraq has been governed by an ethno-sectarian system locally known as muassasah, which granted various positions of power to different ethnicities and sects.
“It is clear that the Cabinet shows no signs of completion and will probably take a long time to show progress,” Gharibawy added. “There must be real intentions to complete the Cabinet, which took longer than necessary without any real progress.”
Iraqi lawmakers affirm that political blocs in the Parliament show no signs of having reached a consensus on the nominees for several key ministries, including the interior and defense, which act as power bases in a fractured political landscape.
PM should choose Iraqi authorities heads freely: Former deputy PM
Former Iraqi deputy prime minister Baha al-Araji called on political coalitions and alliances in Iraq to allow Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to choose heads of Iraqi authorities freely.
Araji warned that some political coalitions and alliances seek to nominate their candidates to head top positions and authorities, which will lead to a state of mini-states within one country.
He further added that political coalitions can achieve practical partnership with the Prime Minister and other parties in determining the foundations and bases of nominating their candidates for these positions.
Iraq repeats offer to mediate between Iran and U.S.
On the second day of Iran’s foreign minister’s visit to Iraq, Baghdad repeated its offer to mediate between Washington and Tehran.
Iraqi foreign minister Mohammed al-Hakim told a joint press conference with Mohammad Javad Zarif, "We are trying to help and to be mediators," adding, "will work to reach a satisfactory solution" while stressing that Iraq stands against unilateral steps taken by Washington.
But both Iran and the United States have repeated in recent days that they are not in any secret contacts.
Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying during a visit to Oman on May 26 that Tehran denies reports it has started discussions with Washington.
Despite these denials, it was noteworthy that diplomatic contacts between Oman and Iran have intensified for the past one week. Oman, which has friendly ties with the Islamic Republic, played a crucial role in 2013 by mediating to jump start nuclear talks.
Zarif in Baghdad did not mention any possible talks with the U.S. but called for a non-aggression agreement between Iran and Arab countries in the Arabian Gulf region.
In addition to tensions with the U.S. administration, Gulf oil producing Arab states also regard Iran as a serious threat because of its interventions through proxy forces in several countries.
Iraq sentences four French ISIS members to death
The French foreign ministry said on Monday it was opposed in principle to the death penalty, but also said it accepted Iraqi sovereignty as Iraq’s justice ministry sentenced three French citizens to death for their membership of ISIS.
“The French embassy in Iraq, in its role as provider of consular protection, is taking the necessary steps to convey its position (against the death penalty) to the Iraq authorities,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The ministry added that it respected the sovereignty of the Iraq authorities and that ISIS members “had to answer for their crimes”, which carry the death penalty in Iraq.
The court further condemned a fourth French citizen to death for joining ISIS. Mustapha Merzoughi, 37, was sentenced to death by hanging.
Captured in Syria by the Syrian Democratic Forces, the four were among at least 12 French nationals who were transferred from Syria in February.
Iraqi forces defuse car-bomb west of Baghdad
Iraqi security forces managed on Monday to defuse a car-bomb west of Baghdad, a statement by the Baghdad Operations Command Center said.
The explosive-laden vehicle was seized at a security checkpoint on the Abu Gharib road before being detonated in Baghdad.
Based on previous intelligence, the security forces set up a temporary checkpoint on the road linking Abu Ghuraib and Baghdad, and captured the militants while driving the minibus towards Baghdad.
The car-bomb, believed to be planted by ISIS elements, was defused without any casualties.
In mid-2014, ISIS overran roughly one third of Iraq, including the northern city of Mosul.
By late 2017, the Iraqi army with the help of a U.S.-led military coalition had managed to recover most if not all lost territories from the terrorist group.