The POMED Wire

Lebanese Parliament Fails to Pick New President for 43rd Consecutive Time

Photo Credit: The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir

For the 43rd consecutive presidential election session, Lebanon’s Parliament failed to select a new president. To hold a vote, 86 MP’s of the 128-member legislature are required, but only 20 MP’s arrived for the session. Speaker Nabih Berri, who leads the Amal Movement, postponed the next session to September 7. The country has been without a president for over two years, and Lebanon’s competing blocs, the March 8 and March 14 alliances, have shown little progress toward a compromise. Michel Aoun, who leads the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), and Sleiman Frangieh, who leads the Marada Movement,  are the current leading candidates. Both of these  parties are members of the March 8 alliance, but Frangieh was nominated by the March 14 alliance. Auon is supported by Hezbollah, FPM, and other March 8 allies, who have repeatedly boycotted the electoral sessions. Frangieh is supported by the Future Movement, the Amal Movement, and the Progressive Socialist Party.

In response to Lebanon’s failure to choose a new president, the UN Security Council urged Lebanese leaders to “put Lebanon’s stability and national interests ahead of partisan politics.” In a statement, the Council stressed that “the election …

Iraq Launches Investigation into MP Corruption

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi attends a military parade at Tahrir Square in central Baghdad, Iraq

On Monday, during his questioning at a session of parliament, Iraq’s Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi accused the Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri and several other government officials of involvement in corruption cases. Al-Obeidi, a member of the majority party Unity Alliance of Iraq, told the session that al-Jabouri, member of the Muttahidoon party, and other government officials had on several occasions lobbied on behalf of businesses and companies that wanted to sell planes, all-terrain vehicles, and other armaments to the army or to appoint officers and personnel at the Ministry of Defense.

The Defense Minister’s questioning originally aimed to respond to allegations of corruption within al-Obeidi’s own Ministry of Defense, which has been accused of wasting billions of dollars of public funds. Al-Jabouri called the allegations a “charade,” set up so al-Obeidi could avoid allegations of his own corruption, but announced that he would refrain from chairing parliament until his name is cleared. Al-Obeidi countered claims of his own corruption, saying he has drastically decreased spending on unnecessary or corrupted programs since becoming the ministry’s head.

In response to the allegations, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi launched an investigation into the accusations amidst risk of a re-ignited political crisis and …

Palestine to Hold Local Elections for First Time Since 2004

 Photo Credit: Reuters

The Palestinian government has announced a date for local and municipal elections for October 8th, 2016, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) has said. The elections will include 414 local bodies, which are defined by the Palestinian Central Elections Commission as local government units within specific administrative geographic areas. The bodies regulate water services, building permits, and markets.

The elections will mark the first time since 2004-2005 local elections will be held throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Local elections were held in the West Bank in 2012, but Hamas boycotted the elections and accused the Palestinian security forces of following their members’ movements. This time, Hamas, while initially hesitant [Ar], has decided not to boycott the elections. According to analysts, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party are considered weak, and Hamas may see an opportunity to gain legitimacy and expand their influence by defeating their long-standing political rivals. The group issued a statement, saying it “is keen to fix the Palestinian situation, consolidate the principle of partnership and assume national responsibility in this delicate phase and this national cause that our people are going through.” The statement also emphasized it was …

Yemen Talks Extended After Near Collapse

yemen peace talks

Tensions between the two delegations in the long-running and unfruitful UN-sponsored Yemeni peace talks have escalated rapidly, resulting in a series of ultimatums and a near collapse of the negotiations. The latest political crisis began two weeks ago, when each delegation issued ultimatums and threatened to boycott the talks if certain demands and conditions were not met. As the talks stalled, the government of Kuwait, which has hosted the peace talks since April, issued an ultimatum of its own to the warring factions, saying the country would no longer be willing to host the talks if a solution to the conflict was not reached within 15 days.

The escalating tensions between the warring factions nearly resulted in a full collapse of the talks over the weekend after the Houthi rebels established their own government and the Yemeni government left the talks in protest.  On Thursday, the Houthis and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s political party declared that they would create a 10-person council with a rotating president to rule Yemen, naming the “arrogance of the Saudi aggression” as a key facet of why they decided to ditch the talks. UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the move …

U.S. Statements on Turkey’s Attempted Coup: A Timeline

On the evening of Friday, July 15, factions within the Turkish military attempted to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The coup began between 10:00pm and 11:00pm Turkish local time, or 3:00-4:00pm Eastern Standard Time (EST), when members of the military marched into the streets of the capital Ankara, took over several key bridges in Istanbul, and flew fighter jets above both cities. Coup participants stormed the Turkish state news agency TRT, took over the broadcast, imposed martial law, and announced that the “political administration that has lost all legitimacy has been forced to withdraw.”

Although there have been three successful military coups and one “virtual coup” in Turkey since 1960, this attempt failed within hours, after Erdogan, in a televised FaceTime appearance around midnight local time, called on Turks to take to the streets and the government mobilized social media and mosques for the same purpose.  All the country’s major opposition parties, as well as key parts of the military, also came out on Friday night against the coup. At 8:20pm EST, 3:20am local time, Turkish officials announced on CNN Turk that the coup attempt  had been thwarted and that Erdogan was in full control.

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