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  1. Senior US official to speak with Halbousi, new Speaker of Iraqi Parliament Laurie Mylroie | 4 hours ago Iraq elects Mohammed al-Halbousi as the new speaker of parliament. (Photo: Archive) Iraq USA Washington Baghdad WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan 24) — On Tuesday, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert announced that “somebody at a high level” in the State Department would speak with Mohammed al-Halbousi, formerly the governor of Anbar province, who is now the newly-elected speaker of the Iraqi parliament. “I would imagine that at the appropriate point, somebody at a high level—perhaps it’s the Secretary—perhaps it’s someone else—would be speaking with him,” Nauert said, as she answered a question from Kurdistan 24 regarding Halbousi’s recent statement that he opposed sanctions on Iran and would invite his Iranian counterpart to Baghdad. Halbousi ran on the Iranian-backed Fatih (Conquest) list in Iraq’s May 12 elections. His main rival for the position of speaker of parliament was Iraq’s former Defense Minister, Khalid al-Obeidi, whom the US had backed. Following the vote on Saturday that chose Halbousi over Obeidi, Qais al-Khazali, head of the Iranian-backed militia, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, tweeted his congratulations to Halbousi. Khazali’s congratulatory tweet concluded with the old Arab proverb, “me and my brother against the foreigner.” The US Congress is seeking to impose sanctions on Khazali and his militia for their pro-Iranian and anti-American activities going back to the 2003 Iraq war. Since Saddam’s overthrow, Iraq’s speaker of parliament has been a Sunni Arab, as is Halbousi. But he is the most pro-Iranian of those figures, as was suggested to a senior State Department official. However, the official merely responded, “We respect Iraq’s sovereignty.” Analysts have begun to suggest that Iran is beating the US in the competition for influence in Iraq. Ranj Alaaldin, a Brookings Institution scholar, suggested, “Iran’s favored candidates are also set to get the presidency and premiership,” while the Middle East news magazine, Al-Monitor, titled its report on Halbousi’s victory “Iran 1, US 0.” The US had counted on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi securing a second term. But since last week, when Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq’s highest Shia religious authority, and Muqtada al-Sadr, the mercurial Shia cleric whose list won the most parliamentary seats, expressed opposition to Abadi, that outcome has come to seem extremely unlikely. The Trump administration, however, apparently remains unfazed and continues a long-established policy. But it does seem that the difficulties that Washington is experiencing in Baghdad are driving it toward increased engagement in the Kurdistan Region. Over the past week, Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition against the Islamic State (IS), has held numerous meetings in the Kurdistan Region: with Masoud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and former president of the Kurdistan Region; with the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government; and with the head of the Kurdistan Region Security Council, as well as officials from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. One leading contender for the position of prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, who has previously held the positions of Iraqi Oil Minister and Finance Minister, has said that the Kurds will have the “main word” in choosing the next prime minister because they are the swing vote between the Shia blocs. Editing by Nadia Riva
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    Announcement of the largest bloc

    Kurdistan Masrour Barzani: Kurds favor stable, representative Iraqi government that implements constitution Baxtiyar Goran | 14 hours ago Chancellor Masrour Barzani meets with the New Zealand Ambassador to Iraq, Bradley Sawden, in Erbil, Kurdistan Region on Sept. 18, 2018. (Photo: KRSC) Kurdistan Iraq Erbil Baghdad Relations New Zealand ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), Masrour Barzani, says the Kurdistan Region wants to form a coalition in Baghdad that implements the Kurdish demands and the articles of the Iraqi Constitution. In a meeting on Tuesday with the New Zealand Ambassador to Iraq, Bradley Sawden, Barzani explained that Kurdish parties favor “a stable, representative government based on partnership that is at peace with neighbors,” a readout on the KRSC website said. Chancellor Barzani added that the new Iraqi government should respond “to the needs and interests of its peoples,” and implement the constitution in its entirety. The Kurdish leader also addressed the need to intensify efforts for the establishment of the High Council for Strategic Policy which makes decisive decisions and prevents monopoly of power in the administration, the statement said. According to the KRSC statement, Barzani and Sawden discussed “regional political and military developments.” “Among them, both officials had a lengthy exchange over the formation of a new Iraqi government and concern over [Islamic State] activities in Salahaddin, Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk and Mosul.” Both sides agreed that the new government should reflect the components of Iraq and achieve national reconciliation, provide basic services, and resolve outstanding issues. Sawden, meanwhile, expressed his country’s support for the formation of a government that represents all the components and meets the needs and demands of the people, the KRSC statement said. Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
  3. Middle East Iraqi parliament announces it will now accept nominees for president Kosar Nawzad | 59 minutes ago Parliament Speaker, Mohammed al-Halbousi (center), his first deputy, Hassan al-Kaabi (left), and second deputy, Bashir Hajji Haddad (right), Sept. 16, 2018. (Photo: Kurdistan 24) Iraq Parliament Baghdad President of Iraq ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi parliament on Monday announced they are now accepting nominees for the post of president—traditionally Kurdish-held—after the speaker and his two deputies were elected. According to the constitution, the deadline to submit a name for the post will be on Oct. 02. On Saturday, Iraqi lawmakers voted for Mohamed al-Halbousi, a 37-year-old engineer and former governor of Anbar province, as parliament speaker. The vote initiated the 90-day process to form a new federal government. Following the election of the speaker, the traditionally-Shia first deputy post was given to the Sairoon list’s Hassan al-Kaabi. A day after an inconclusive vote for the second deputy, the KDP’s candidate, Bashir Hajji Haddad, was elected on Sunday. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which has held the presidency since 2005, is reportedly considering Mala Bakhtiyar and Latif Rashid as nominees, while the KDP has Fazil Mirani in mind. The Kurdistan Islamic Group also has their pick for the post, naming Salim Shoshkaii. The KDP recently stated that based on the results of the May 12 parliamentary elections, the Iraqi president post should be awarded to them, or at least a candidate that has the party’s consent. On Monday, Sardar Abdulla, an independent politician and former head of Gorran (Change) Movement in Iraq’s Parliament, revealed his intention to run for the Iraqi presidency. Parliament is scheduled to hold a meeting on Tuesday to begin the election process for Iraq’s president. Following the vote, the new president will order the largest parliamentary bloc to present their candidate for prime minister, who will then be expected to form his cabinet, a process that could take months. Kurdish factions in parliament, of which the largest bloc is an alliance between the KDP and PUK, are yet to side with the two major rival Shia coalitions. The Kurdish parties have repeatedly pointed out they will side with whoever agrees to their platform, which includes the constitutional and budgetary rights of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. Editing by Nadia Riva
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    Announcement of the largest bloc

    Middle East UPDATED: Iraqi Shia militia leader Hadi al-Amiri withdraws candidacy for Prime Minister Sangar Ali | An hour ago Head of the Badr Organisation Hadi al-Amiri speaks during a news conference on the outskirts of Diyala province, north of Baghdad, Feb. 2, 2015. (Photo: Reuters) Iraq Baghdad Government ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Hadi al-Amiri, the commander of the Iranian-backed Shia militia and head of the second-largest parliamentary coalition in Iraq, on Tuesday announced he was withdrawing from the race for prime ministership. Amiri is a prominent Shia militia commander and heads the Fatih (Conquest) Coalition, an electoral bloc which came in second in the May 12 national election, with 48 seats. His coalition has been trying to secure the largest parliamentary bloc to form the new federal government of Iraq. “I would like to announce to the dear Iraqi people the withdrawal of my candidacy for prime minister, to open the way for serious dialogue to elect a prime minister and his government according to the vision of the Supreme religious authority [of Iraq],” he said in a news conference, referring to the country’s top Shia cleric, Ali al-Sistani. Amiri’s coalition comprises of political groups tied to Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias who fought the Islamic State (IS) alongside the Iraqi security forces but also threaten US assets in the country. His Badr organization controls the current Iraqi Interior Ministry. Over the past few weeks, Amiri’s alliance has held negotiations with Shia cleric and winner of the national elections, Muqtada al-Sadr, to establish a new coalition and form government. Sadr, whose Sairoon Coalition came out victorious during the May 12 election, portrays himself as an Iraqi nationalist leader, opposed to both the US and Iranian interference in Iraq. In June, he formed an alliance with incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi but recently has engaged in more talks with Amiri’s bloc as the recent Basra protests greatly affected Abadi’s image. The former Prime Minister’s run for a second term as a premier has been marred, namely after Sistani voiced his support for a “new face” to govern the country. Editing by Nadia Riva
  5. Monday، 17 September 2018 08:00 AM IHCHR expresses concerns over arresting 31 protestors in Basra Protesters of Basra Iraq High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) showed concern over the arrest rof 31 protesters security forces in Basra, while the places of their detention is still unknown. In a press conference, an official in the IHCHR said that the commission is concerned about the situation in Basra, saying it is closely following up the situation in the city, raising its concerns over the mass arrests of prtesters. The commission said it is trying to detect the detention place of the arrested, adding that the mass arrests were carried out by security forces, in cooperation with militias and parties' elements, without a judicial permission. The IHCHR's official affirmed that it is the government's responsibility to protect protesters, calling on human rights organizations and the civil society organizations to stand against such violations.
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    Announcement of the largest bloc

    Home Iraq news Monday، 17 September 2018 10:10 AM Former VP Adil Abdul Mahdi reiterates rejection to run for PM Iraqi Former Vice President Adil Abdul Mahdi Iraqi Former Vice President Adil Abdul Mahdi refused to run for the position of the Prime Minister again, due not to lose his popularity. In a letter presented to the public on Sunday, Abdul Mahdi said he believes that he will soon be opposed by the majority, in a way that deprives him of the required support. Giving further details, the former vice president said that some opposition blocs will oppose the economic reform he proposes. He pointed out that their intervention in the state’s institution will put obstacles in his program. Abdul Mahdi upheld in his letter the separation of powers model and preventing of some parliamentarians from intervening in government's executive and judicial duties. Abdul Mahdi also showed his support, unlike some political powers, to citizenship rights, and treating all citizens equally, no matter their religion or belief.
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    Monday، 17 September 2018 06:30 PM Gov’t formation crisis: Who would eventually win? The crisis of forming an Iraqi government and appointing a new prime minister is entering its fourth month while Iran’s influence in the country is expanding in a way that could be considered a “mandate over Mesopotamia.” This influence is not only related to the Iraqi political or security processes, as it also reached the social, religious and cultural scenes. One the other hand, inside of a green fortified area in the center of Baghdad, lies the U.S. embassy, which was turned out to be a political operations room, like its Iranian counterpart. Washington is currently witnessing a shock in Iraq, as even its allies, whether Sunni or Kurdish, seemed not pliable to its pressures and having more faith in Iran’s promises. On the contrary to previous legislative elections, terrorist factions that owe allegiance to Iran have around 29 representatives in the Parliament. These parliamentarians were involved with various terrorist groups and militias as armed operatives; seven of them participated in battles in Syria along with Bashar al-Assad’s regime, including Hassan Salem, who was believed to be the head of the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq militia, Ahmed al-Asadi and Abu Mariam Al Ansari. This is in addition to around 100 other representatives of different parties, most notably the Islamic Dawa Party, Islamic Virtue Party, and Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, and a number of Sunni parties, which all practically have been following the Iranian agenda for years. In other words, half of Iraq’s Parliament is currently at the disposal of Iran; therefore, passing decisions is now easier than any time before. Coalition or majority-based government Ahmed al-Hamdani, an expert on Iraqi political affairs, said, “The compass in Iraq is almost entirely pointing at Iran, there is a final consensus that the government will only be formed in partnership between the Alliance towards Reforms party and the Fatah Alliance.” “This means that the formation of the next government will be based on cooperation, not a government of political majority, as quoted by Muqtada al-Sadr and Nouri al-Maliki during the past weeks,” Hamdani added. This is what Iran has been seeking from the beginning, through uniting the two election-winning Shiite parties in an alliance or a political partnership to form the government, unlike U.S. efforts to exclude the Fatah Alliance, which includes 13 political wings of armed factions, which Washington seeks to enroll on its list of terrorist organizations. These factions follow the office of the Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei. Hamdani also pointed out that it was a shock for the United States to see four Sunni alliances, out of six, to refrain from its grip, in addition to stalling the Kurds to accept an alliance with Haider al-Abadi to support him for a second term in office. “It is certain that Washington will not accept a political loss in Iraq by surrendering to Iran’s possession, especially after all the human and financial losses they endured in this country; the matter which currently concerns Iraqis, both politically and popularly,” Hamdani clarified. After the completion of all the requirements for the activation of the Iraqi Parliament’s role, by electing a new Sunni speaker who is affiliated to a pro-Iran coalition and two Shiite deputies, namely Hassan Karim Kaabi and Bashir al-Haddad, it is now the Kurds’ turn to determine their options internally and announce a presidential candidate; which is an honorary position that is granted minor constitutional authority. The Iraqi Parliament announced opening candidacy for the anticipated presidential election next Tuesday.
  8. UPDATE: Iraqi parliament elects former Anbar governor as new speaker by Mohamed Mostafa Sep 15, 2018, 12:20 pm Iraqi parliament. Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Iraqi parliament elected on Saturday former governor of Anbar province, Mohamed al-Halbusi, as its new speaker, Iraqi media reported after an internal poll ended. Mohamed Ali Zeini, the temporary speaker, had declared a list of four Sunni final runners, including former defense minister Khaled al-Obaidi, current Iraqi Vice President Usama al-Nujaifi, former Anbar governor Mohamed al-Halbusi, and former MP Raad al-Dahlaki. Halbusi had served as a member of the parliament’s finance committee in the last session. The parliament failed earlier this month to elect a new speaker due to arguments between political alliances over who had secured the largest bloc that is supposed to form the new government. Based on a political agreement adopted since the ouster of late leader Saddam Hussein, Kurds assume Iraq’s presidency, Sunnis are entitled to parliament speaker, and Shias hold the prime minister’s office. Iraq parliament elections, the first since the defeat of Islamic State militants, were held last May amid judicial challenges that prompted a recount of votes. Halbusi is the leader of a minor list that is allied with the Islah and Emaar (Reform and Reconstruction), which comprises Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s and Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s lists.
  9. Sadr discusses government formation with U.N. representative in Iraq by Mohamed Mostafa Sep 15, 2018, 2:34 pm Muqtada al-Sadr. Najaf (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi Shia cleric and popular leader Muqtada al-Sadr met Saturday with the outgoing United Nations representative in Iraq, Jan Kubis, to discuss efforts to form the next Iraqi government. “Sayyed Muqtada Al-Sadr received today in Najaf UN Special Representative for Iraq, Ján Kubiš. They discussed the situation in the region and in Iraq and the need to speed up government formation to provide necessary services for the citizens and provide good livelihood for them,” read a statement by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). Sadr’s “Saeroon” list had allied with that led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and others to compete against vice president and former PM, Nuri al-Maliki, for the formation of the largest parliament bloc that will be entrusted to forming the next government. Sadr has adopted a stance supporting the formation of a technocrat government free from partisan or sectarian calculations, but has recently warned through his twitter account that he could “take the opposition’s side” if political groups continue to reject his proposals for an independent government. The Iraqi parliament is expected today to select its new speaker. Iraqi parliament elections were held last May amid judicial challenges that prompted a recount of votes.
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    during Nouri al-Maliki's time in office...
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    Announcement of the largest bloc

    Abdul-Mahdi Adil Abdul-Mahdi al-Muntafiki (Arabic: عادل عبد المهدي المنتفكي‎) is an Iraqi Shi'a politician, economist, and was one of the Vice Presidents of Iraq from 2005 to 2011. He was formerly served as the Finance Minister in the Interim government and Oil Minister from 2014 to 2016.[3] Abdel-Mahdi is a member of the powerful Shi'a party the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, or SIIC. Long based in neighboring Iran, the group opposed a United States administration while holding close ties with the other U.S.-backed groups that opposed Saddam Hussein, including the Kurds and the Iraqi National Congress. Background He is a trained economist who left Iraq in 1969 for exile in France. He worked for French think tanks and edited magazines in French and Arabic. He was educated in France, and is the son of a respected Shiite cleric who was a minister in Iraq's monarchy. He attended high school at Baghdad College, an elite American Jesuit secondary school. Iraqi politics Further information: Government of Iraq from 2006 In the 1970s, Abdul-Mahdi was a leading member of the Iraqi Communist Party. The Party split into two separate factions, the ICP-Central Committee, which was more accommodating of the military governments that had ruled Iraq since 1958, and the ICP-Central Leadership, which rejected all forms of cooperation of what it regarded as anti-progressive regimes, in 1967. Abdul-Mahdi joined the ICP-Central Leadership, and continued being active until it gradually disappeared by the early 1980s. By that time, Abdul-Mahdi adopted Iranian Islamic ideas, eventually merging with the Islamists when Ayatollah Khomeini eradicated the communists and other liberal oppositions groups in Iran. Abdul-Mahdi continued his association with Iran and gradually amalgamated his group within the ICP-Central Leadership with the Iranians, rejecting his Marxist past and devoting all his group's time to propagating Khomeini's ideas in France, where he lived at the time. He eventually was made a member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, an exiled opposition party and militia that was formed by Iran in Tehran in 1982 but composed exclusively of Iraqi exiles.[4] In 2006, Abdul-Mahdi, outgoing Vice President in the transitional government, unsuccessfully ran for the United Iraqi Alliance's nomination for Prime Minister against incumbent Ibrahim al-Jaafari. He lost by one vote. He was reportedly considered to be a possibility for Prime Minister once again until Nouri al-Maliki became the UIA nominee. Subsequently, Abdul-Mahdi was re-elected as Vice President of Iraq. He exerted his limited authority in that role by delaying the first meeting of the National Assembly in March. He resigned from his position as vice-president on 31 May 2011.[5] In December 2006, the Associated Press reported that Abdul-Mahdi could be the next Prime Minister of Iraq if a new multi-sectarian coalition succeeded in toppling the government of Nouri al-Maliki.[6] In 2009, his bodyguards were involved in a bloody bank robbery in Baghdad.[7] Assassination attempts On 26 February 2007, he survived an assassination attempt that killed ten people. He had been targeted two times prior to this latest attack.[8]
  12. Mishan al-Jubouri: Halabousi bought the presidency of parliament by 15 million dollars September 14, 2018 Walter Rate This History of edits:: 2018/9/14 19:21 [Ayna – Baghdad] The former MP, Mishan Jubouri, said that the leader of the National Axis Alliance MP Mohammed Halbusi “$ 15 million to buy the post of Speaker of the House of Representatives,” which is scheduled to be one of the nine candidates in parliament session on Saturday. “The deal between the two corrupt and former conservatives [Salah al-Din and Anbar] Ahmad al-Jubouri and Mohammed Halbusi held in the house of a deputy under which Halbusi paid 15 million dollars for al-Jabouri in addition to his nomination to take over the Ministry of sovereignty in exchange for his withdrawal from the candidacy to become Halabusi a single candidate for the presidency of Parliament On the axis that includes [Khamis] dagger and Karbala and is allied with the conquest and the law, “he said. “The question, will be tomorrow to impose the content of this deal on the members of the House of Representatives and make them vote by electing Halbusi President of the Iraqi parliament? .. That happened that means that the mafia of corruption has kidnapped the state and tightened its grip on the joints and powers,” as he put it. He said Jubouri, “This deal, which kept Halbusi a candidate alone for the axis of the presidency of the parliament requires that the coalition of decision [Osama Nujaifi] – National [Iyad Allawi] agreement on a competent and strong candidate – and of course not Talal Zobaie – face Halbusi, To win and assume the presidency of the House of Representatives means that the interests of the people and the capabilities of the country are in danger, “he said. The National Hub announced on Friday officially the nomination of the deputy in the axis Mohammed Halbusi to head the parliament. It is noteworthy that the nine deputies nominated for the presidency of the House of Representatives are: Mohammed Tamim, Usama Nujaifi, Rashid Al-Azzawi, Ahmad Abdullah Al-Jubouri, Ahmed Khalaf Jubouri, Talal Al-Zubai, Mohammed Khalidi, Mohamed Halabusi, and Khalid al-Obeidi and all are committed to the nomination for the post.
  13. Iraqi Parliament elects former Anbar Governor Mohammed al-Habousi as new speaker Sangar Ali | 3 hours ago Iraq elects Mohammed al-Halbousi as the new speaker of parliament. (Photo: Archive) Iraq Baghdad Parliament EBRIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Parliament on Saturday elected Sunni lawmaker Mohammed al-Halbousi as its speaker, marking the first step toward the formation of a new government four months after the country’s national elections. Born in 1981, Halbousi was the governor of the Sunni-majority province of Anbar — one of the main battlegrounds of the war against the Islamic State — before he won a seat in parliament during the May 12 elections. On Saturday, he beat other Sunni nominees for the position of parliament speaker with a large margin, winning 169 votes out of 329 seats in the assembly. Iraq continues to follow its traditional system of power-sharing where the speaker of parliament is always a Sunni Arab while the Prime Minister is picked from the Shia majority and the President is a Kurd. In their first meeting on Sept. 3, when newly-elected MPs were sworn in, lawmakers failed to elect a speaker, parliament’s first step in the process of forming a new government. The election of the speaker comes as parties across the country are engaged in intense negotiations to create the largest parliamentary bloc in the assembly which would ultimately lead to the formation of the new Federal Government of Iraq.
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