The Baghdad Post presents to its readers the latest news updates and breaking news today in Iraq.
Pope Francis' visit to Iraq 'a message of reassurance': Expert
An Iraqi political expert said an anticipated visit by Pope Francis to Iraq is a message of reassurance to Christians and all Iraq’s society to grasp harder at their land and keep on living.
Political expert Louis Clement added in a press statement is such visit carries all forms of love, compassion and solidarity against what was destroyed by the hand of terrorism.
“The wounded Iraq awaits for Pope Francis’ visit,” Mr. Clement added.
Pope Francis said on Monday he wants to travel to Iraq next year, which would be the first ever papal trip there.
Francis made the improvised remark in an address to members of a group of charities that help Christians in the Middle East and other areas.
“A constant thought accompanies me when I think of Iraq,” he said in prepared remarks, then adding: “Where I have the will to go next year.”
Wars and conflicts have led to an exodus of Christians in Iraq and some other countries in the Middle East.
Iraq’s small Christian population of several hundred thousand suffered particular hardships when ISIS controlled large parts of the country, but have recovered freedoms since the militants were pushed out.
Iraq is home to many different eastern rite churches, both Catholic and Orthodox.
In 2000, the late Pope John Paul wanted to visit the ancient Iraqi city of Ur, traditionally held to be the birthplace of Abraham. It was to have been the first leg of a three-step pilgrimage to Iraq, Egypt and Israel.
But negotiations with the government of then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein broke down and he was unable to go.
UN Special Adviser says ISIS committed war crimes, genocide in Iraq
Special Adviser Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, head of the investigative team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by ISIS in Iraq and the Levant (Unitad), has affirmed that the terrorist organization committed war crimes and genocide in Iraq.
In September 2017, the UN established the need to launch an investigation into the crimes committed by ISIS which led to the deployment of the investigative team in October 2018.
The team, led by Khan, is mandated to collect, store and analyse evidence of ISIS on war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide according to international standards for use in Iraqi courts.
In a press statement, Khan said Iraqi courts will be assigned to judge ISIS elements because Iraq is the main target of these investigations, pointing out that “extraordinary” legal procedures might be taken, considering the nature of the crimes committed.
The UN team also is analyzing the remains of 12,000 bodies buried in more than 200 mass-graves across Iraq, collecting the testimony of those who survived ISIS’ brutal rule or compiling the troves of evidence comprised of video-taped executions and other propaganda material.
MP exposes 'alien prisoners' in Iraqi prisons
A demand has been submitted to the Supreme Anti-Corruption Council to investigate the existence of “alien prisoners” within the prisons of Iraq.
MP Burhan al-Maamouri revealed in a statement, which The Baghdad Post received a copy of, that such “alien prisoners” – a term often refers to random names added to inmates listings of prisons for extra budget expenses – waste state budget significantly.
“The Iraqi Reform Office is considered one of the most important offices within the Justice Ministry,” MP Maamouri’s statement said. “These alien prisoners cost the state budget tens of billions to cover inmates nutrition programs.”
Maamouri further said the existence of “alien prisoners” within inmates nutrition contracts raise many questions towards the Reform Office.
The statement also called upon the general director of the Reform Office to form a fact-finding commission to stand on the issue and hold whoever is responsible for wasting state budget accountable.
He clarified that in order to do that first the office should reveal the true number of prisoners and expenses of nutrition contracts to the public.
The Anti-Corruption Council reviewed during its 7th session held in March a number of special measures taken in cases of oil smuggling, border crossings and the scrutiny of state property.
Iraq denies deal to commute death sentences of French ISIS jihadists
Iraq’s judiciary has denied striking a deal with Paris to commute the death sentences of French nationals convicted in Baghdad for belonging to the Islamic State group.
In remarks, Abdalsattar Bayraqdar, spokesman for Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council, said only an appeals court — not a bilateral agreement — can change their sentences. He also added that the sentences issued by Iraqi courts can only be reviewed by the court of cassation — which has the prerogative under the law to reaffirm the sentence or alter it depending on the circumstances of each crime — and not through deals between countries.
Recently, a Baghdad court issued death sentences for 11 Frenchmen transferred to Iraqi custody from neighbouring Syria, where they were caught fighting for ISIS. The 11 sentences are still not final.
According to Iraqi law, defendants have 30 days to appeal any sentence and for those facing the gallows, the appeal is automatically referred to the cassation court.
Iraqi courts have convicted more than 500 foreign nationals for ISIS membership since 2018, most of them captured on Iraqi territory.
Grenade kills security officer, injures four others northeastern Baghdad
An Iraqi security officer was killed late on Tuesday in Baghdad and four others injured in a grenade attack by a terrorist who managed to flee the scene.
The incident took place while the security forces were carrying out a military operation in the area of Hussainiat al-Ma'amel, northeastern Baghdad, according to a security statement.
The suspect hurled a grenade at the troops after they approached him, leaving a security man dead and four others wounded.
Security forces have began a pursuit against the criminal who is suspected of involvement in ISIS activities in Iraq.
Abdul-Mahdi denies plans to leave office
Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has said he has no plans to leave the office, adding that only the Parliament has the authority to remove him from his position.
In remarks during his weekly press conference, Abdul-Mahdi has also revealed that certain political parties are reportedly attempting to hamper the process of completing the new Iraqi government as a few ministerial posts are yet to be filled due to political disputes among the parties.
However, Abdul-Mahdi did not clearly accuse any sides, but pointed out that he has been close to completing his cabinet despite the obstacles hindering him.
He also denied rumors that he had any plans to leave the office, considering such claims as "far from the truth".
Ministry reveals reasons behind deteriorating internet services in Iraq
The Iraqi Ministry of Telecommunication has revealed reasons behind a deterioration in internet services across Iraq, pointing out that a disconnection at the main undersea cables due to civil works in a neighboring country.
The General Company for Communications and Informatics, according to sources, said maintenance has started at the undersea cable center that connects Iraq and Iran to Armenia and Europe.
Some internet capacity were transferred to compensate for the disconnected cables.
The ministry has coordinated with its partner companies to transfer 60 percent of the disconnected capacities as well as extra capacities from alternative ports to compensate for the shortage caused by the Iranian side.
In a statement, the ministry affirmed that 100 percent of the service has been rewired and that services will gradually improve over the coming hours.
On Monday, the ministry clarified that Iraq had been classified as having one of the worst internet services in the world because of the lack of infrastructure, which was destroyed at the hands of terrorist groups over recent years.