Arab news

Iraq’s most powerful politician has just caused a ‘tectonic shift’

The dismissal of the entire group of 73 deputies of the Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is the biggest shock in Iraqi politics since the Iranian-backed Shiite blocs lost seats to the Sadrists in the October elections. Sadr’s supporters now seem to have stepped back from parliamentary politics.

“This is a tectonic shift that threatens to completely derail the post-2003 political order,” said Ranj Alaaldin, a nonresident researcher in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution, a Washington DC think tank.

In a handwritten statement, Sadr said that his demand for deputies to resign was “a sacrifice from me for the country and the people to save them from an unknown fate”.

Sajad Jiyad, a member of the Century Foundation think tank in Washington DC, said the move “changed the political discourse”.

The cleric is extremely popular in Iraq. For years it has positioned itself against both Iran and the United States, and emerged as the biggest winner in October in a parliamentary election that threatened to overthrow Iran-aligned Shiite blocs that had long dominated the oil-rich country’s politics.
However, politics has since hit a stalemate as strife and corruption accusations stalled the presidential election and prevented a government from being formed.
“If the Sadrist bloc remains [in parliament] As Sadr prepares the ground for his resignation, all the bloc’s deputies are ready to resign with dignity,” Sadr said in a televised speech on Thursday.

Experts say that according to the procedure, once a deputy resigns and the process is completed, the next MP with the most votes will step in.

Iraq faces deadlock after 'friendly of the West' candidate suspended
“This will redistribute 73 parliamentary seats among the various political blocs,” wrote Abbas Kadhim, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank. from twitterHe added that pro-Iranian Shiites are expected to take over these seats, along with some independents.

So is Sadr bowing to Iranian-backed groups, or is this an attempt to showcase his power on the streets where he has tremendous influence? Analysts say it’s probably the latter.

Alaaldin said, “Sadr’s secret weapon is his wide network of supporters and his dominance in the streets,” said Alaaldin.

Ihsan Al-Shammari, a professor of politics at Baghdad University and head of the Iraqi Center for Political Thought, said the resignations came after pro-Iranian Shiite blocs opposed Sadr’s attempt to form a government. It also comes when Sadr realizes that he cannot form a national majority government with the blocking of the rival bloc.

Jiyad said Sadr may be pointing to his supporters that he is doing everything in his power to form a government with Iran-linked Shiite rivals. The spokesperson added that this move could be a threat to other parties, showing that they cannot do without it.

Al-Shammari said the cleric’s influence is far from waning. “Sadr will continue in the direction of the popular opposition… I think [this] It will double its political power.”

Analysts say the removal of Sadr and his party from government will lead to chaos, and any government that emerges from Sadr’s isolation will be “a dead government”.

“This will cause the anger of Iraqis and supporters of Sadr,” Al-Shammari said. Said. “They will not agree to see their leaders politically dispersed or isolated.”


US-approved Iran and Venezuela sign 20-year cooperation agreement

Iran and Venezuela signed a 20-year co-operation plan in Tehran on Saturday, and the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader said the two allies will continue to resist pressure from Washington.

  • Background: The plan includes increased cooperation in the oil, petrochemical, defense, agriculture and tourism sectors. The signing was overseen in northern Tehran by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro. Maduro also said that a weekly flight from Caracas to Tehran will begin on July 18.
  • Why is it important: The two oil producers are under heavy US sanctions. Ties between them deepen in what Iran describes as resistance to US pressure, especially in the oil sectors.

UAE bans ‘Lightyear’ movie screening for content violation

A government body said on Monday that the United Arab Emirates banned the Walt Disney-Pixar animated movie “Lightyear” from being shown in theaters before its release this week. The Ministry of Youth and Culture’s Media Regulation Department wrote on Twitter that the film violated the country’s media content standards without stating that it violated it.

  • Background: The movie reportedly includes a gay kiss between two women who are in a relationship. Like many other Middle Eastern countries, same-sex relationships are criminalized in the UAE. Focusing on the Buzz Lightyear action figure character from the popular Toy Story franchise, the movie premiered in the UAE on June 16.
  • Why is it important: The UAE has in the past avoided joining neighboring Arab countries in banning films with same-sex themes. Censorships in Arab countries have recently banned such films as production studios refuse to accept the cuts. Movies like Eternals and Doctor Strange 2 were banned in many Arab countries this year, but not in the UAE.

NATO chief says Turkey’s security concerns are legitimate

During his visit to Finland on Sunday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Turkey’s security concerns raised by Finland and Sweden’s opposition to NATO membership applications are legitimate. “We must remember and understand that no NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey,” Stoltenberg said. Said.

  • Background: Sweden and Finland said they plan to join the Western defense alliance last month in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But they faced opposition from Turkey, which accused them of supporting and harboring Kurdish militants and other groups it considered terrorists.
  • Why is it important: Although Turkey is a NATO member, it maintains cordial ties with Moscow while declaring war on Ukraine. All member states must approve new entrants to the NATO military alliance.

around the area

A 98-million-year-old fossil discovered in the Egyptian desert six years ago has turned out to be a new species of large-bodied meat-eating dinosaur.

An expedition team from Egypt’s Mansoura University unearthed the fossil in the Bahariya Oasis in the country’s Western Desert region in 2016. The fossil was found in a study published Wednesday by the British Royal Society in “Egypt and northeast Africa.”

The yet-to-be-named species belongs to a family of dinosaurs called “Abelisauridae,” described by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History as “a type of bulldog-faced, small-toothed, small-armed theropod.” body length was roughly six meters (20 feet).”

“The Bahariya Oasis would be one of the scariest places on the planet … how all these huge predators managed to coexist remains a mystery,” said Belal Salem, the leader of the study, in a statement from the Carnegie Museum.

The oasis is a goldmine for paleontologists due to the variety of fossils found here. Unfortunately, II. All fossils collected here before World War II have disappeared. A fossil collection discovered by German paleontologist Ernst Stromer in 1944 was destroyed when Allied bombs hit a building in Munich where the collection was located.

by Mohammed Abdelbary

Photo of the day

Most of the animals on board were rescued by drowning when a ship full of thousands of animals sank in Sudan's Red Sea port of Suakin on 12 June.  It was exporting animals from Sudan to Saudi Arabia when the livestock ship sank after being loaded with several thousand more animals than it was supposed to carry.

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