The Baghdad Post presents to its readers the latest news updates and breaking news today in Iraq.
Abd al-Mahdi lacks bravery in decision-making: Nasr Alliance
Nasr Alliance headed by former Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi criticized the performance of Premier Adil Abd al-Mahdi, saying that he "lacks bravery and courage in decision-making."
"The current government has embarrassed itself after committing itself to a government program before completing the government [formation]," Ali al-Sunaid, spokesman of the allaince said.
Defending the former premier, Sunaid said that "Abadi assumed the prime minister post at a very hard stage and worked on many files of corruption. In addition, much funds and many wanted people were retaken during the previous government," accusing the current political leadership of "negligence" in these achievements.
The quota system is more rampant, Sunaid said, adding that "Abd al-Mahdi, unfortunately, has been under pressure from the blocs."
Security forces arrest 2 ISIS terrorists behind Kirkuk attacks in May
Iraqi security forces announced arresting two suspects, believed to be responsible, along with others, of the bombings that took place in Kirkuk on May 30.
According to a security statement, the two defendants admitted belonging to ISIS terrorist group since 2014. ISIS has claimed responsibility for several attacks over the past year.
The first suspect admitted planting IEDs on Quds Street and the road of Baghdad and led the security forces to the second suspect.
At least three people were killed and 16 others were injured in a series of bombings that targeted different areas inside the province of Kirkuk in May.
Huge wildfire breaks out in Mosul, Neniveh
A number of fires broke out at different parts of Mosul on Saturday dawn, security sources told the press.
Many people have fled their houses lest the flames reach their neighborhoods.
No human casualties were reported, however, the fire damaged a number of properties.
A security source said a number of fires broke out at different parts in Neniveh province, including seven fires at villages south of Mosul.
Civil defense forces, according to the source, were dispatched to the fire locations after stress calls from civilians.
A number of Iraqi provinces have recently witnessed the outbreak of large fires in farms, with some considering this a systematic scheme to hurt Iraq’s economy.
Mortar attack on Iraqi base home to US troops, no casualties
The Iraqi military says three mortar shells have hit an air base just north of Baghdad where American trainers are present, causing a small fire but no casualties.
The military statement says the attack on Balad air base occurred early Saturday.
The attack comes amid rising tension in the Middle East between the United States and Iran, which ratcheted up on Thursday after suspected attacks on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has denied involvement.
Last month, a rocket exploded less than a mile away from the US Embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.
The current crisis is rooted in the US withdrawal last year from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. Washington subsequently re-imposed sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall.
Officer who raped 20-year-old woman captured in Kirkuk
The security directorate in the Iraqi province of Kirkuk has announced arresting a security officer for abducting and raping a 20-year-old woman in a government car.
The directorate formed a team to investigate the incident and capture the rapist along with the car.
Upon detention, the rapist was suspended from duty and is currently waiting for a trial.
A security source said the officer forced the woman to get in the car with him after he beat up her fiancé and left him lying on the ground.
Displaced Iraqis unable to return home years after battles: HRW
Iraqi authorities' decision to punish the families of those people who had allegedly joined ISIS is preventing internally displaced persons (IDPs) from returning to their homes, forcing them to accept “dire conditions” of camps, a human rights monitor said in a report, released on Friday.
“Iraqi authorities have put in place a system that has allowed communities, security forces, and government agencies to collectively punish families whose relatives were allegedly linked to ISIS,” said Belkis Wille, senior researcher for Iraq at Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“This system has put these families in a purgatory that prevents them from returning home, imprisons them in camps, and forces them to endure dire conditions that portend bleak futures for their children,” she added.
HRW said that “an estimated 1.8 million people still remain displaced” as a result of the five-year conflict between Iraqi forces and ISIS. According KRG figures, last updated in April, the Kurdistan Region hosts 1.12 million IDPs.
This is not the first time HRW has accused Iraqi authorities of blocking the IDPs from returning home.
In June 2018, the organization published a report documenting alleged cases where Iraqi forces prevented IDPs from Anbar province from returning to their homes.
“It is unacceptable for soldiers to arbitrarily block residents from going home, in direct contradiction to the central government’s orders to facilitate safe and voluntary returns," said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at HRW in the 2018 report.
According to a report from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), last updated on April 30, over four million IDPs have returned to their place of origin. The IOM estimates that around 1.7 million remain displaced.
Rudaw English contacted relevant Iraqi authorities for comment on HRW's report, but they were unavailable.
ISIS took control of large swathes of Iraqi territory in 2014, forcing millions of people to flee to other areas in Iraq, with many displaced to the Kurdistan Region.
The Iraqi government announced the territorial defeat of ISIS in December 2017. The liberation of the areas also led to more displacements, as civilians fled in an attempt to avoid being trapped in the battle between security forces and ISIS.
The European Union (EU) announced on Friday that it was committing an additional 2 million euros to the IOM in Iraq “to make critical infrastructure improvements in camps for internally displaced persons”, bringing their total contribution to IOM Iraq to 5 million euros for 2019.
In mid-May, Kurdistan Regional Government’s Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC) and the IOM held a conference in Erbil, discussing “the obstacles before the return of IDPs and finding a mechanism to establish durable solutions for those who are not able to return.”
Hoshang Mohamed, director of the JCC, said in the event that all relevant partners had to work on “removing security, financial, and services-related obstacles for the return of the IDPs.”
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi and then KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, met in April to discuss improving coordination between Erbil and Baghdad for responding to the needs of IDPs.
The KRG has shouldered the lion’s share of the financial burden – paying 75 percent of the $162 million monthly costs. International organizations cover the remaining 25 percent.
Abdul-Mahdi vows to track down ISIS as he visits Speicher massacre site
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has pledged that the armed forces would aggressively pursue ISIS wherever they remain in the country.
The remarks were made on Saturday during a dawn visit to the site of the 2014 mass killing known as the Speicher massacre, named after the military camp in Salahuddin province of Salahuddin where it took place.
"We will not allow the defeated to catch their breath and our forces pursue them in the deserts," a statement released by Abdul-Mahdi's office read. "They will not have a safe place in Iraq."
The visit was the first for Abdul-Mahdi to Camp Speicher since taking office late last year.
In June 2014, ISIS killed over 1,500 cadets and other personnel at the camp, being used then as a military academy.