Iraqi PM Says Won’t Run in Upcoming Elections

Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi listens during a meeting with then-US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US, August 20, 2020. (Reuters)
Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi listens during a meeting with then-US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US, August 20, 2020. (Reuters)
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Iraqi PM Says Won’t Run in Upcoming Elections

Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi listens during a meeting with then-US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US, August 20, 2020. (Reuters)
Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi listens during a meeting with then-US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US, August 20, 2020. (Reuters)

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who started the second year of his first tenure that was extended to another six months, denied that he has been pressured by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to not run in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

While a second term of four years depends on the results of the upcoming elections, scheduled for June 10, Kadhimi confirmed during a television interview with a number of Iraqi satellite channels that he will not run in the polls.

More than 3,000 candidates will participate in the early elections, compared to around 7,000 contenders in 2018. Political observers attributed the drop to the new electoral law, which does not allow multiple nominees to compete in one district.

While the number of candidates and parties has decreased, observers note that the elections will witness a high turnout despite boycott calls by the new political movement, known as the October Forces, in wake of the recent assassination of civilian activist Ihab al-Wazni in Karbala.

During the interview, the premier said he had taken his decision against running in the polls since the first day when the government was formed. He also denied reports that the leader of the Sadrist movement, Moqtada al-Sadr, has exerted pressure on him in this regard.

Kadhimi stressed that his country was “trying today to restore its international reputation. We reject all forms of political influence by any side.”

On the assassination of al-Wazni, he said: “If we want to build a real Iraq, weapons must be solely under the state’s authority.”

He vowed that the country would confront all attempts that threaten it.

Kadhimi renewed his accusations against parties trying to “exploit the weapons that fought ISIS under various pretexts,” revealing that some “gangs have infiltrated our security apparatus, especially the Ministry of Interior.”

On relations with the Kurdistan region, the PM said: “Unprecedented security coordination between Baghdad and Erbil is underway. It will help end terrorist attacks in the disputed areas and the regions witnessing security vacuum.”

He also expressed confidence that the regional government would cooperate with Baghdad’s proposals in this regard.



Israel Strikes Gaza, Yemen, Lebanon Foes after Attacks

Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)
Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)
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Israel Strikes Gaza, Yemen, Lebanon Foes after Attacks

Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)
Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)

The Middle East was reeling Sunday from deadly violence with Israel bombing Gaza, Lebanon and Yemen in quick succession in response to attacks from Iran-backed militant groups.
Despite Washington's top diplomat asserting a deal is near the "goal line" to end more than nine months of devastating war between Israel and Gaza rulers Hamas, the Israeli military said it intercepted a missile fired from Yemen, as it pressed on with its offensive in the besieged Palestinian territory, Agence France Presse reported.
Dozens have been killed since Saturday across the Gaza Strip, the civil defense agency said, including in strikes on homes in the central Nuseirat and Bureij areas and displaced people near southern Khan Yunis.
Residents said a major operation was underway in the district of Rafah in the south, reporting heavy artillery and clashes.
The deadly strikes in Gaza came hours after Hezbollah and its ally Hamas said they fired at Israeli positions from south Lebanon, while Yemen's Houthi group vowed to respond to Israeli warplanes hitting a key port.
The fire left raging by the strikes on Hodeida port "is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear," Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.
Detailing the first strikes claimed by Israel in Yemen, Gallant warned of further operations if the Houthis "dare to attack us" after a Houthi drone strike killed one in Tel Aviv on Friday.
In Hodeida three people were killed and 87 wounded, health officials said in a statement carried by Houthi media.
Netanyahu travels to Washington
The trio of militant groups has vowed to keep up attacks on Israel until a truce ends the violence in Gaza, which lies in ruins, with most residents forced to flee their homes.
The Gaza war was triggered by Hamas's October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
The militants also seized 251 hostages, 116 of whom are still in Gaza, including 42 the Israeli military says are dead.
Israel's military retaliation to wipe out Hamas has killed at least 38,919 people, also mostly civilians, according to data from the health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
The war has also unleashed hunger and health crises in Gaza, with Israel and the United Nations trading blame for vital aid supplies failing to reach those in need.
After the detection of poliovirus in Gaza sewage, though no individual cases, the World Health Organization said there were "monumental" constraints to mounting a timely response.
WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said Friday the agency believes many more diseases are "spreading out of control" inside Gaza.
The premier is due to address US lawmakers Wednesday in Washington, where he will be under pressure to reach a ceasefire with Hamas.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday a truce was within reach.
"I believe we're... driving toward the goal line in getting an agreement that would produce a ceasefire, get the hostages home, and put us on a better track to trying to build lasting peace and stability," he said.