Fact-Finding Committee to Investigate Iraqi Protests

A protester waves the national flag during clashes with security forces in central Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 20, 2020. (AP)
A protester waves the national flag during clashes with security forces in central Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 20, 2020. (AP)
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Fact-Finding Committee to Investigate Iraqi Protests

A protester waves the national flag during clashes with security forces in central Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 20, 2020. (AP)
A protester waves the national flag during clashes with security forces in central Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 20, 2020. (AP)

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi formed on Sunday a fact-finding committee to investigate the bloody events and the killing of demonstrators in anti-government protests that emerged across the country one year ago.

More than 500 protesters were shot dead by security forces and gunmen suspected of links to militias during protests calling for change late in 2019. Thousands of others were injured.

Kadhimi confirmed that whoever was involved in any crime will be brought to justice.

"The formation of this committee represents the rebirth of the values of the state that seeks justice and fairness,” he said during his meeting with members of the fact-finding committee formed to investigate the events of October of last year.

The fact-finding committee includes five retired judges, backed by several investigators and experts.

Kadhimi’s advisor Hisham Daoud said the judges were chosen based on integrity, experience and professionalism. He said the judges were not influenced by any party whatsoever, and that they will investigate the events objectively, and the necessary protection will be provided to them independently and professionally.

Asked about the time that the committee needs to announce the outcomes of its investigation, he said it is difficult for the executive authority to impose on the judicial authority a time limit to search for the truth.

Activist Moussa Rahmallah told Asharq Al-Awsat that the committee needs at least three years to end its work.

“In principle, establishing the committee is something good, however, the problem is with the measures that follow and the timetable for announcing the outcome of the investigation,” he said.

Rahmallah added that activists are preparing for a massive demonstration to celebrate the first anniversary of the October intifada.



Allawi to Asharq Al-Awsat Biden Tried to Persuade Me to Abandon Premiership in 2010

Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. (Getty Images)
Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. (Getty Images)
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Allawi to Asharq Al-Awsat Biden Tried to Persuade Me to Abandon Premiership in 2010

Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. (Getty Images)
Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. (Getty Images)

Iraq’s former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi revealed the details of how he was prevented from assuming the post of PM after winning a majority of seats in the 2010 parliamentary elections.

In a detailed account to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said then US Vice President Joe Biden had requested that he assume the post of president - which is reserved for Sunnis - and to work on persuading the Sunnis to accept this proposal. Biden said he would work on persuading the Kurds.

Allawi was responding to a three-part interview Asharq Al-Awsat held with Iraqi politician Fakhri Karim during which he spoke at length about the political process in Iraq in the post-Saddam Hussein era.

Karim acknowledged that he made a grave error when he opted for Nouri al-Maliki remaining in his position as PM even though Allawi had won the parliamentary majority.

Allawi told Asharq Al-Awsat that Biden proposed to him that he assume the position of president.

“Biden visited me after we won the elections in 2010. He requested that we talk in another room. He was accompanied by Llyod Austin, current Defense Secretary and then commander of the US forces in Iraq, then American Ambassador James Jeffrey and then State Department official Antony Blinken, who is now Secretary of State,” he revealed.

Biden proposed that Allawi become president to which he replied that he would be faced by “two major hurdles”: the Sunnis and the Kurds.

He also cited a third hurdle, the Iraqi people, “who had entrusted me to become head of government.”

Allawi then revealed that prominent Sunni figures, such as former Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, Saleh al-Matlaq and former parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi had agreed to him becoming president.

“They agreed even though Biden informed them [the Sunnis] that they will get nothing in the state. They replied that this doesn’t matter,” recalled Allawi.

Allawi agreed Karim about the circumstances that led to ISIS’ takeover of swathes of Iraq and with his account of events related to attempts to withdraw confidence from former PM Maliki.

Karim had told Asharq Al-Awsat that Maliki did not heed Masoud Barzani’s warnings about the movement of extremists near Mosul city, which eventually led to ISIS’ takeover.