Raouia Briki - August 31, 2016
On August 26, Tunisia’s Assembly of the Representatives of the People (ARP), or Parliament, approved Youssef Chahed as prime minister and confirmed his new government with 167 votes in favor, 22 votes against, five abstentions, and 23 no-shows (out of 217 total members of parliament). The vote brought to power Tunisia’s seventh prime minister and eleventh cabinet since the 2011 revolution.
The New Government: A Nidaa Tounes Prime Minister, More Diverse
Chahed’s government has 26 ministers, an increase of one over the cabinet of former Prime Minister Habib Essid, and 14 state secretaries (who have ministerial rank but do not lead a ministry). Essid, who took office in February 2015, was ousted by the ARP in a July 31 no-confidence vote. While Essid was a technocrat with no party affiliation, Chahed is from the Nidaa Tounes Party and was hand-picked by President Beji Caid Essebsi, founder of the party. The new Prime Minister is a 40-year-old expert in agricultural policies who served briefly as Minister of Local Administration in the Essid government and reportedly is close to the President’s family, both through marriage and through his ties to the President’s son, …
Photo Credit: Business Insider
On Wednesday, August 25th, 2016 Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Ankara to meet with Turkish officials and ease tensions between the United States and Turkey that arose last month after a failed coup attempt. Turkey’s request for the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish government accuses of orchestrating the coup and is currently based in the United States, has added to the tension. Additionally, President Obama reportedly will meet with Erdogan in China next week on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
In Ankara, Biden met with several key members of the Turkish government and held a press conference alongside President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Seeking to reassure Erdogan of U.S. support in the face of widespread Turkish anger over an alleged lack of a strong U.S. response to the coup, Biden said, “Let me say it for one last time: The American people stand with you [...] Barack Obama was one of the first people you called. But I do apologize. I wish I could have been here earlier.”
Biden did not issue any public criticism of the vast crackdown unfolding in Turkey since the coup attempt or meet with opposition …
On August 23, 2016, POMED’s Stephen McInerney was quoted in a Washington Post article entitled, “Clinton’s Bahrain problem has nothing to do with the Clinton Foundation,” by Josh Rogin.
Regarding presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s closeness to the Bahraini government, McInerney said, “Secretary Clinton’s closeness to the Crown Prince of Bahrain, along with the rest of the Obama administration, is problematic but it would be true with or without the Clinton Foundation connection. Our government being too close to Gulf dictators was true before Clinton came to office and it continues to be a problem now.”
The full article is available here.…
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 …
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 …