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Iraq’s former PM Nouri al-Maliki stepped down on Thursday after he made clear a day before his insistence to stay in power. Veteran Shia politician Qassim Daoud said, “pressure from international and domestic figures — including Iraq’s most powerful Shia leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani – played a role” in Maliki’s decision to step down. The U.S., already deploying warplanes in Iraq, exerted pressure on the PM when it suggested that more military assistance would be forthcoming if he was to relinquish power. U.S. officials on the other hand also assured him protection from prosecution. Iran played a crucial role in the reconciliation process between Dawa leaders, convincing Maliki that he has to step down “in an honorable way.” Ayatollah Sistani and other clerics’ efforts have also been put in removing Maliki. Al-Monitor concluded that many figures paid the price for the failure in Iraq, and Iran’s move in this transition indicates “Iran is about to adopt a new policy.”
Maliki’s move paved way for a new government that world and regional powers hope can quash the increasingly threatening Islamist militant insurgency. National Security Advisor Susan Rice commented, “These are encouraging developments that we hope can set Iraq …
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Yesterday marks the one-year anniversary of the massacres in Nahda and Raba’a squares during which Egyptian security forces dispersed pro-Morsi sit-ins, leading to what Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called “likely a crime against humanity.” The anniversary witnessed incidents of violence around Egypt, leaving five protesters and one police officer died, and scores arrested.
Former PM Hazem al-Beblawy, whose government presided over the dispersal, stated that it “was a hard and sad day for Egypt because of the many victims who were killed. All choices were bad. The government postponed the dispersal more than once. The first of the victims during the dispersal was a policeman not a protester, which proves that fire came from inside the sit-in.” Beblawy added that the HRW report was biased and ignored the armed resistance among the protesters. Meanwhile, the June 30 Fact-Finding Committee echoed al-Beblawy’s criticism, saying that HRW ignored violence on the part of pro-Morsi supporters who attacked churches and Christians. However, Nasser Amin of the quasi-governmental organization National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) admitted in an interview that denying the HRW delegation entry into Egypt was an “improper decision” and that “the organisation’s directors have …
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Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report detailing the Egyptian government’s mass killings of pro-Morsi protesters following the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi last summer. Based on a year-long investigation, the report suggests the killing of hundreds of demonstrators was “systematic, ordered by top officials and probably amounts to crimes against humanity,” calling for in international inquiry into then army commander Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, and at least 10 senior military and security chiefs.
“In Rabaa Square, Egyptian security forces carried out one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history. This wasn’t merely a case of excessive force or poor training. It was a violent crackdown planned at the highest level of the Egyptian government. Many of the same officials are still in power in Egypt, and have a lot to answer to,” said HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth upon the release of the report.
Egypt’s government rejected the accusations in the report, describing HRW as being “biased and unprofessional.” An official statement reads, “While it is not surprised by the report, in light of the organizations’ clear leaning and methods, the government rejects the report and criticizes …
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In an “escalating political crackdown,” the Kuwait government revoked the citizenships of 10 people including a prominent Muslim cleric who has openly criticized the government. According to Reuters, last month the country’s cabinet adopted an “iron fist policy” meant to crackdown on those it accuses of “undermin[ing] the country’s stability.” The Kuwaiti government has a history of stripping citizenships as last month two opposition figures had their citizenship revoked.
Additionally, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported recently that Kuwaiti authorities “have stripped five critics of their citizenship as part of a wider crackdown on people seeking reform.” HRW calls on the Kuwait government to “immediately restore their citizenship and end the practice.” Joe Stork, Deputy Middle East and North Africa director at HRW, believes that “no government has the right to strip away its people’s citizenship simply because it disapproves of them, their opinions, or their actions. Furthermore, the move by the Kuwait government represents “yet another downward step in Kuwait’s assault on the right to free speech.”
One of the five stripped of citizenship told HRW the action leaves him stateless, not knowing “what legal status” he has, and that he “cannot travel, drive, move or …
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Iraq’s President Fouad Masoum on August 11 announced the replacement of current PM Nuri al-Maliki by Haidar al-Abadi, a former Maliki lieutenant. According to the Iraqi constitution, al-Abadi must form a new government within 30 days while Maliki remain a caretaker.
This announcement came “minutes after” Maliki issued a letter declaring any replacement “illegal” as he insists that the constitution requires his State of Law bloc, which is the biggest group in parliament, “to be given the first opportunity to form a government.” This claim was previously supported by Iraq’s highest court, which obliged Masoum to ask Maliki to form a new government. A senior Iraqi official reportedly said the court’s decision is “very problematic,” claiming that it “will make the situation very, very complex.”
Recent events have shown disagreement among members of Maliki’s State of Law coalition and Dawa party; Ayatollah Ali Sistani‘s July 25 statement, urging politicians not to cling to power, was echoed by Dawa. Despite that Sunnis, Kurds, and over half of Maliki’s coalition endorsed Abadi and demanded that Maliki leave office because they view Maliki as “a primary cause of the sectarian and ethnic divisions that paved the way for …