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Daily updates: Baghdad to open Green Zone to 24 hours a day

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The Baghdad Post presents to its readers the latest news updates and breaking news today in Iraq.


Baghdad to open Green Zone to 24 hours a day: PM

Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone will be open 24 hours a day from Tuesday after years of strict entry controls, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said Sunday.

“With the beginning of Eid, we will open the Green Zone for 24 hours every day. Extra gates will be opened, including the Eastern Gate of the Ministry of Defense,” Abdul-Mahdi told reporters during his weekly press conference.

The high-security zone in central Baghdad is home to the Iraqi parliament and the US embassy compound.

It has been open to the public during daylight hours for several months, with entry restricted at night.

The Green Zone was established by the US in 2003 to secure its embassy and Iraqi government institutions.

Human rights office in Maysan warns against high suicide rate

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Maysan Governorate, southeastern Iraq, said suicide rates at the governorate have significantly increased.

A statement by the office’s head Anaam Hussein Al-Sudani said 14 suicide cases were recorded in Maysan during the first half of 2019, recording an increase compared to last year.

“This phenomenon must be encountered by raising the awareness of citizens regarding suicide and its negativities on families and societies,” Al-Sudani added.

Al-Sudani further called on religious clerics, schools and media outlets to launch awareness campaigns and sermons that rejects suicide.

Roadside bomb north of Iraqi capital kills 4 security forces


Iraqi security officials say a roadside bomb has exploded near an army patrol north of Baghdad, killing four security personnel and wounding four others.

A statement issued by the Security Media Cell, affiliated with the country’s security forces, says the incident happened Tuesday in the town of Tarmiya some 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Baghdad. It said the members of the patrol also came under fire from gunmen hiding in nearby fields while being evacuated.

Security forces neutralized and killed three militants, it said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Iraq declared victory over the ISIS group in late 2017 but the extremist group has sleeper cells throughout the country and has been staging guerrilla-style attacks in areas north of Baghdad and in the country’s north.


Former Iraqi PM coalition says current gov't 'on the line'

Al-Nasr Coalition, headed by former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi, has affirmed that the current government of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi is “on the line” because of the ongoing conflict between the United States and Iran.

Coalition member Fellah al-Khafagi said in press remarks on Tuesday that tensions between Washington and Tehran puts Abdul-Mahdi’s government in a very tough challenge.

“This crisis will show Abdul-Mahdi’s political capabilities, which is his role to get Iraq out of this conflict,”Khafagi added.

Iraqi officials, wary of another war on their land, say they have warned armed groups tied to Iran to refrain from taking any action that could provoke American retaliation.

The concern in Iraq is focused on the handful of groups with strong ties to Iran. Several are close to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and have members who were trained in Iran.

“Unfortunately we have groups that want to be more Iranian than Iran itself,” said Salah al-Obaidi, the spokesman for the populist cleric and power-broker Moktada al-Sadr. “We have concerns about the possibility that the government cannot control the pro-Iranian groups, and this will be a big problem in Iraq.”

He said in earlier remarks that the government needed to take a stronger stand against those groups.

Revealed: 12 MPs to be sacked from parliament soon


It has been nine months since a lawsuit has been filed to replace 12 parliament members with another MPs, due to an alleged error in calculating the women's quota.

After the Independent High Electoral Commission announced the final results of the vote on May 12, a number of candidates who failed to be elected, called on the Federal Supreme Court to intervene to replace some members with the losing candidates.

During the last few months, the court consulted its expert who affirmed the presence of an error in calculating the women's quota inside the parliament.

In this regard, Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi asked to host the head and members of the Federal Court to clarify the replacement process.

Member of the parliament's legal committee Yahya Mohammadi stressed that the parliament is not tasked with replacing and changing the parliament members, adding that only the Federal Court is responsible for it.

On the other hand, Reform Alliance MP Ali al-Bedairy blamed the Electoral Commission and the Supreme Judicial Council for the mistake.

Many legal and political activists have blamed the Electoral Commission for the mistake in calculating and distributing seats of women's quota, asserting that this violation will create a major political problem for the parliament.

Former head of the Electoral Commission Sarbast Mustafa said that these violations took place particularly in the constituencies of Nineveh, Dhi Qar and Anbar, noting that quotas of the blocs were not equal.

For his part, Abdul Amir al-Dabbi, a member of Sadikun parliamentary bloc said that the decisions of the Federal Court concerning the replacement of the MPs represent an "administrative and judicial chaos."

"The replacement decisions of the Federal Court for a number of MPs after a full year since the beginning of the sessions is not okay and is strange," said Dabbi, noting that "all the MPs present currently in the parliament came after Federal Court approved [them] by names."

Furthermore, Adel al-Lami, an expert of the Federal Court said that the result of hearing the appeals made by a number of candidates who lost in the previous elections, reveals the lack of eligibility of 12 MPs in the parliament.

Iraq's stance in Makkah summit unconstitutional: legal expert


Legal expert Tareq Harb said that the Iraqi constitution involves the general policy of the state among the authorities of the prime minister not the president.

This makes the president's remarks in Makkah's summit, where he rejected the final communique urging alignment against Iran, unconstitutional, according to articles 78 and 80 of the law.

Inviting the president of the Republic to attend the conference is a matter of protocol, and does not mean that he should attend, but it is necessary for the relevant person to attend what will take place in the conference concerning the constitutional matter, Harb added.

Iraq's objection to the final communiqué of the Makkah emergency summit, which condemned Iran's behavior in the region, raises many questions about the future of Gulf-Iraqi relations, especially in light of current tensions.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi said that "Iraq will not be part of the policy of alignments, convictions and accusations," hoping that the coming Arab and Islamic conferences "will come out with a calm speech that serves the stability of the region that has suffered the scourge of wars and destruction."

Abd al-Mahdi, energy council members discuss electricity situation


The Cabinet's council in charge of energy held its periodic meeting under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi where it discussed the electricity system and levels of production, distribution and consumption in various provinces.

The meeting addressed the needs of the main and the subsidiary power stations and reviewed solutions to the urgent problems facing the electricity network.

The energy council issued several immediate decisions to strengthen the electricity system. The Ministry of Industry and Minerals have provided 350 transformers of different capacities to the Ministry of Electricity.

The decisions also includes providing the necessary financial allocations from the emergency budget for the purchase of transformers from the private sector.

The Iraq government has asked the US Administration to extend an energy waiver allowing Iraq to continue importing electricity from Iran amid US sanctions against Tehran, Saad Abdulwahab Javad Qandil told semi-official news agency ISNA.

Allawi warns of escalation in region, urges respecting sovereignty


Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, the head of al-Watania alliance sent urgent messages warning about the danger of escalating the crises in the region, a statement read.

Allawi's messages were sent to King Salman bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Yousef Al-Othaimeen.

In his messages, Allawi stressed that the relationship between countries should be based on respect of sovereignty of each state. He also called for non-interference in the states' internal affairs and urged adherence to divine laws, charters and relevant international laws.

Both Washington and Tehran have said they want to ease heightened tensions in the region in recent days. But many fear a miscalculation between the two countries, who have a 40-year history of mistrust, could escalate the situation.

This article is progressing, stay tuned for more updates.