Former US Secretary of State Kerry Asks Abbas to Propose ‘Reasonable’ Peace Plan

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets then US Secretary of State John Kerry in the West Bank city of Ramallah in 2015. (Reuters)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets then US Secretary of State John Kerry in the West Bank city of Ramallah in 2015. (Reuters)
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Former US Secretary of State Kerry Asks Abbas to Propose ‘Reasonable’ Peace Plan

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets then US Secretary of State John Kerry in the West Bank city of Ramallah in 2015. (Reuters)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets then US Secretary of State John Kerry in the West Bank city of Ramallah in 2015. (Reuters)

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to propose a “reasonable” peace plan, vowing to exert efforts to garner international support for it.

His comments came during a London discussion about the Middle East peace process with Hussein Agha, a Lebanese academic who is close to Abbas, reported the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv.

Kerry, 74, said his advanced age would not hinder him from running for the presidency once again, urging Agha to tell Abbas to “stay strong” and “play for time” while President Donald Trump is in office. It was reported that Kerry said that within a year there was a good chance that Trump would not be in the White House.

The former Secretary of State did not rule out to Agha the possibility of running for president in 2020.

He offered his help to the Palestinians in an effort to advance the peace process and recommended that Abbas present his own peace plan.

“Maybe it is time for the Palestinians to define their peace principles and present a positive plan,” Kerry suggested.

The US official pledged to employ his connections in the international community in order to garner support for this plan, reported Ma'ariv.

In addition, Kerry advised Abbas, through Agha, to stop criticizing the US and its administration and to instead only focus on Trump because he is the sole person responsible for the current situation, said the Israeli newspaper.

He also spoke about how senior US officials, intelligence and security agencies were disappointed in the way Trump is leading the country.

Kerry remarked that overcoming this stage requires patience and perseverance.



New PMF Draft Law in Iraq Raises Questions about Fayyadh’s Electoral Ambitions 

Members of the PMF are seen during a military operation. (PMF on Telegram – file photo)
Members of the PMF are seen during a military operation. (PMF on Telegram – file photo)
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New PMF Draft Law in Iraq Raises Questions about Fayyadh’s Electoral Ambitions 

Members of the PMF are seen during a military operation. (PMF on Telegram – file photo)
Members of the PMF are seen during a military operation. (PMF on Telegram – file photo)

Head of Iraq’s Taqaddum party and former parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi expressed on Tuesday his fierce opposition to a draft law related to the enlistment and retirement of members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).

In a post on the X platform, Halbousi accused PMF leader Faleh al-Fayyadh of abusing his position for “partisan goals.”

Parliament is expected to discuss the draft law on Wednesday.

The law raised questions over political influence within the PMF, a military group that was formed in 2014 and that became an official state institution in 2016.

The law in Iraq prohibits military officials from using their position for electoral purposes or to work in politics. They must resign from their position before pursuing political interests. Fayyadh has repeatedly been accused of flouting this law.

Fayyadh is already the head of a political bloc that enjoys influence in a number of provinces. It is currently vying for government posts in the Nineveh council.

Fayyadh has also been accused of using PMF funds to finance his al-Ataa movement.

Halbousi criticized the draft law for undermining the independence of the military and security agencies as stipulated in the constitution.

The law allows the leader of the PMF to also act as a head of a political party and therefore, he would be able to employ the PMF and its forces for his political agenda, added Halbousi.

He wondered whether the draft law would be used for “unacceptable electoral and political purposes”.

A source close to the Taqaddum party said Fayyadh designed the draft law to “serve his electoral ambitions.”

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, he added that the law “sets no boundaries between Fayyadh’s political role and his position as head of the PMF.”

Moreover, he noted that the law allows Fayyadh to send into retirement any member of the PMF, a power he could use against a vast number of members to secure their vote in elections.

A leading member of the pro-Iran Coordination Framework said Halbousi’s attack against Fayyadh may be supported by some Shiite forces that want to remove him from his post.

The official revealed that the Asaib Ahl al-Haq group was among Halbousi’s strongest backers in this regard.

The group has long been planning on ousting Fayyadh, 68, so the draft law is unlikely to be ratified without amendments, he went on to say.

Leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq Qais al-Khazali had previously called for Fayyadh’s ouster because he has exceeded the legal age for the position and because he is the leader of a political party.

As of 2024, the PM boasts 238,075 members. It initially had no more than 60,000 when it was first formed in 2014 to fight the ISIS extremist group.

The number of its members kept growing even after ISIS’ defeat in Iraq, sparking accusations that leading members were adding fake names to the PMF for financial gain.

In 2019, former Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi accused some PMF leaders of “mysteriously making fortunes from public funds.”

On Monday, independent MP Sajjad Salem called for “criminalizing the possession of weapons outside the state and merging the PMF with the security forces to prevent Iran from exerting its influence through its proxies in factions and militias.”

The Iraqi state budget revealed that around 3 billion dollars (some 4.5 trillion dinars) are allotted to the PMF with hundreds of billions of dinars dedicated to salaries and the purchase of weapons.