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Iraq’s Premier, Facing Protests, Proposes Government Overhaul


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iraqs-premier-facing-protests-proposes-government-overhaul.html?_r=0NY Times:


AUG. 9, 2015


BAGHDAD Facing widespread protests against government corruption and poor services as well as calls for change by Shiite clerics, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday proposed a series of drastic reforms that could be a turning point in the dysfunctional politics of Iraq that have persisted since the American invasion in 2003.


Mr. Abadis proposals, which came as the war against Islamic State militants has stalled in western Anbar Province, were wide ranging. They included the elimination of three vice presidency positions, largely ceremonial jobs that come with expensive perks, and the end of sectarian and party quotas that have dominated the appointments of top officials.


They are held by three figures that have dominated Iraqi politics since the United States toppled Saddam Husseins regime: the former prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki; Ayad Allawi, a Shiite whose Sunni-dominated bloc won the most seats in national elections in 2010; and Osama al-Nujaifi, a prominent Sunni leader.




The protests, which began in recent weeks in reaction to the searing heat of Iraqs summer temperatures have consistently been above 120 degrees Fahrenheit and the lack of electricity to power air-conditioners, grew into a wide-scale rebuke of corruption and an ineffective political system. The Shiite religious leaders in the holy city of Najaf quickly backed the protest movement, which seemed to emerge from a grass-roots effort rather than a political party, forcing Mr. Abadi to act.


After putting the trust in God and responding to the faithful calls of the marjaiya, which has drawn clear lines to activate political and administrative reforms, and to respect our beloved peoples will in achieving their legitimate demands, I submit these procedures before the cabinet, Mr. Abadi said on Sunday in a written statement, referring to the clerics in Najaf.






Protesters in Tahrir Square in Baghdad on Friday. The recent peaceful protests, which began in reaction to searing heat and a lack of electricity, grew into a wide-scale rebuke of corruption and an ineffective political system. Credit Karim Kadim/Associated Press



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The American Conservative

No More Tweets from Tahrir Square


As the U.S. aids Egypt's latest authoritarian regime, dissidents struggle to be heard.


By KELLEY VLAHOSOctober 13, 2015

There is something altogether clarifying when a beautiful Egyptian woman, her almond eyes flashing and voice smooth, stands tall in her high-heeled Roman sandals and declares, “I don’t want to be Winston Smith.”


That Dr. Sally Toma would choose the protagonist in one of the most provocative imaginings of totalitarianism in literary history—George Orwell’s 1984—says everything about how the Egyptian democracy movement views its fragile circumstances in Egypt today.


“We have the ministry of truth and the ministry of love,” she said, referring to the ironical government bureaucracies in Orwell’s dystopian classic, “and propaganda, and torture, and Big Brother Scissors-32x32.pnghttp://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/why-america-is-ignoring-egypts-return-to-authoritarianism/

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