The POMED Wire

Iraq’s Leadership Crisis Deepens amid Struggles to Resist ISIS Offensive


Photo Credit: AFP

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 …

Erdogan Wins Turkish Presidency


Photo Credit: Emrah Gurel/ AP

On Sunday, Turkish PM Reccep Tayyip Erdogan won the country’s first direct popular election for president, securing 51.8 percent of the vote. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, diplomat and former head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, garnered 38.5 percent. The third candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, the young co-chair of People’s Democratic Party, finished with 9.8 percent. According to Hurriyet Daily News, Demirtas’s result “was seen as a success, given that his party mainly focuses on the Kurdish issue.”

In his victory speech Erdogan called for ”societal reconciliation after a brutal campaign that… hardened divisions across the country,” but stressed national security at the same time. He has long  pledged to build a more “interventionist executive” presidency to “empower the national will,” contrary to previous presidents’ traditionally “ceremonial role”.

As Soner Cagaptay and Beril Unver put it, “AKP policies over a decade improved the country’s infrastructure and raised Turkey’s living standards significantly,”  and the Erdogan administration has implemented many reforms to bolster the Kurdish social status and the peace negotiation process. Therefore, “it [was] all but guaranteed that [Erdogan] would be Turkey’s first popularly elected president.” In addition, Erdogan enjoys strong support among conservative Muslims, …

Libyan Legislature Votes for UN Supervised Ceasefire

UN Libya

Photo Credit: UN

Following a meeting in the eastern city of Tobruk, the Libyan House of Representatives backed a proposal for the United Nations to supervise “an immediate ceasefire” following the recent spates of violence. Representative Iissa al-Oraybi mentioned “131 members of the parliament have voted to support an immediate ceasefire for all ongoing fighting in the country and to let [the] United Nations supervise the operation.”

While the West has been vocal about its commitments to finding a peaceful resolution to the current crisis, many governments and the UN have closed their embassies in Libya and evacuated staff. According to Reuters, it remains unclear whether the UN has accepted a monitoring role.

Meanwhile, a joint statement was released by the governments of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and the United States expressing “deep concern about the political and security challenges facing Libya and the impact of these challenges across North Africa and the Sahel region.” The letter calls on “all parties in Libya to adopt an immediate ceasefire and to undertake negotiations to address the country’s security and stability needs.”

The letter also calls upon “all Libyans to reject terrorism and violence and to replace it with political …

Iraqi Politicians Appeal for Aid for Yazidis on Mount Sinjar

Displaced Yazidi Iraqis

Image Credit: AP

Following the Kurdish fighters’ “first setbacks in the Sinjar region” that caused “hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee,” Iraqi politicians appealed for emergency aid for the 10 to 40 thousand minority Iraqis trapped on Mount Sinjar.

Four days prior, Islamic State militants overran the Northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, the home of the Yazidis, a “long-persecuted” religious sect. They are trapped on the mountaintop with little food or water because “they fear death” if they descend into an area controlled by IS, ” who consider them apostates.”

An eyewitness interviewed by BBC described dangerous conditions: “We have nothing – no food and no water. It’s 50C here and we’re being bombarded indiscriminately.”Yazidi Member of Parliament Vian Dakhil ”in an impassioned speech” warned of  ”a collective attempt to exterminate the Yazidi people.”

“The Iraqi government conducted two airdrops of aid to the desperate refugees,” an amount which “did not come close to meeting the growing need.” Meanwhile, tens of thousands of displaced people have flooded into the area controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), which “lacks the finances to assist them” according to Falah Mustafa Bakir the KRG’s foreign minister. The KRG is also militarily overstretched …

Obama Says Al Jazeera Journalists Should Be Released

Obama US Africa

Photo Credit: Reuters

President Barack Obama, in response to a specific query at a U.S.-African Leaders Summit press conference, stated that the three Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt “should be released.” Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste, and Baher Mohamed were jailed with seven year sentences on June 23 in a trial riddled with what The Guardian labeled “a litany of flaws,” and Amnesty International called a failure “to produce a single shred of solid evidence.”

Referencing his administration’s general stance on journalistic freedom, Obama said  he has been ”troubled” by laws designed to restrict the “crucial role” of journalists and, in response, the U.S has “been very consistent in pushing governments not just in Africa, but around the world, to respect the right of journalists to practice their trade as a critical part of civil society and a critical part of any democratic norm.”

Greste’s brother communicated to the media that Greste is “encouraged” by Obama’s call for the release of him and his colleagues.

Following the conviction of the journalists in June, Secretary of State John Kerry labeled the sentences “chilling” and “draconian,” and said the trial “lacked many fundamental norms of due process.” …

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