IraqMiddle East

Baghdad governor quits amid ongoing demonstrations

The governor of the Iraqi capital province of Baghdad, Fallah al-Jazairi, has stepped down in the wake of demonstrations against corruption, unemployment and poor public services in the country that have turned violent.

On Sunday, members of the Provincial Council voted in favor of accepting Jazairi’d resignation, and he quit his post.

“Acceptance of applications for candidates for the post is open for five days,” an unnamed source in the Council said.

The Baghdad Provincial Council voted to elect Jazairi as the governor of Baghdad during a session on December 22, 2018.

The Council elected Jazairi to replace outgoing Governor Atwan al-Atwani, who had won a seat in the parliament.

Iraq has been rocked by days of protests. Security forces have responded using water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets. Several protesters have been killed and dozens more wounded. 

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s cabinet issued a series of reforms overnight in response to the protests.

PressTV-Iraqi govt. vows to carry out series of planned reforms

Iraqi govt. vows to carry out series of planned reformsThe Iraqi government pledges to carry out more than a dozen planned reforms days after the onset of protests.

The cabinet issued a decree with more than a dozen planned reforms, including land distributions, military enlistment and increased welfare stipends for needy families, AFP news agency reported.

On Friday, Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi vowed to implement plans to generate housing, employment, and health “within a time frame.” He supported the protesters’ demands, promising that the legislature would work on combating corruption, which he said was “as dangerous as terrorism.”

PressTV-Iraq parliament speaker vows housing, healthcare reform

Iraq parliament speaker vows housing, healthcare reformThe Iraqi parliament speaker has vowed that the government will soon build apartments for the poor.

Earlier in the day, Iraq’s most prominent Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani had urged Iraqi security forces and protesters to avoid violence, expressing sorrow over some sporadic unrest that has led to several casualties.

“It is sorrowful there have been so many deaths, casualties and destruction” from clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in recent days, he said in a letter.

In the letter, read out by his representative Ahmed al-Safi during a sermon in the holy city of Karbala, the top cleric urged all parties to avoid violence.

He also criticized officials and political sides for failing to meet the demands of the people to fight corruption, urging them to take action “before it’s too late.”

PressTV-Ayatollah Sistani urges Iraqis to avoid violence amid unrest

Ayatollah Sistani urges Iraqis to avoid violence amid unrestIraq’s top Shia cleric calls on security forces and protesters to avoid violence amid unrest which the Iraqi premier says is being hijacked by certain elements.

“Lawmakers hold the biggest responsibility for what is happening,” Ayatollah Sistani was quoted as saying.

The ongoing unrest in Iraq comes as millions of Shia Muslims are preparing for mourning rituals on Arba’een, which marks 40 days after the anniversary of Ashura, the day of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

Imam Hussein was martyred in a battle with the massive army of Yazid ibn Mu’awiya, commonly known as Yazid I, in the desert plains of Karbala along with his 72 companions approximately 14 centuries ago, after refusing allegiance to the tyrant caliph. 

PressTV-Iraq declares curfew in Baghdad to protect residents

Iraq declares curfew in Baghdad to protect residentsPrime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi of Iraq declares a curfew in the capital, Baghdad, until further notice as protests continue against alleged economic problems.

The occasion has found additional significance in recent years as it has become a rallying cry for the campaign against Takfiri terrorists, who have frequently targeted the pilgrims.  

The pilgrims show their commitment to the Shia imam by walking tens of miles, a large number of them barefoot. Mourners clad in black walk toward Karbala, which lies 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, to commemorate Arba’een, which in Arabic means forty and falls on October 19 this year.

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