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The network issued its initial monitoring report of the KRG voting day, and it included observations about the process and the positive points that dominated the airspace, and the negative points that accompanied them along with the recommendations of the network. The Full report is attached (in Arabic).

Published in NGOs Activities

While slogans regarding the “Arab Spring,” “Arab Winter,” and other seasons are frequently mobilized in the media and analyses, Iraq serves an example that may render these phrases obsolete. Iraq can no longer be described as a dictatorship, as Saddam Hussein, who could have been compared to those that have fallen during the Arab uprisings, is long gone. Iraq’s challenges now lie in its structure, post-2003.

Events leading up to the provincial elections next April demonstrate that although Iraq can generously be described as a young democracy, which struggles with corruption, factionalism, and violence from both government apparatuses and unofficial networks, the diverse political public is asserting its voice through various channels. Organized demonstrations from numerous interests groups, voter registration, as well as solidarity between social, religious, political, and economic strata suggest that Iraq may be experiencing a key moment in its recent history. News from the last month, while by no means provides grounds for future predictions, serves to illuminate significant changes in Iraqi civil and political society.

 

Elections seen as only answer in crisis-hit Iraq (AFP)

Massive rallies, a powerful cleric predicting an "Iraq spring" and Arabs and Kurds at loggerheads: Iraq is mired in a cycle of interlocking crises with elections increasingly seen as the only solution. Almost since the moment the last US troops withdrew in December 2011, the country has been locked in a wave of disputes between political, ethnic and religious factions, with no significant laws passed since polls in March 2010. And now, talk has revived of early elections in a bid to break a deadlock that only appears to be getting worse. Read more…

 

Thousands of Iraq Sunnis in angry anti-Maliki demos (AFP)

Thousands of Sunni Muslims took to the streets of Baghdad and other parts of Iraq on Friday to decry the alleged targeting of their minority, in rallies hardening opposition to the country's Shiite leader. The protests have worsened a political crisis, pitting Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki against his erstwhile government partners, with the premier facing accusations of authoritarianism and sectarianism ahead of key provincial polls. Counter-demonstrations were held in predominantly Shiite areas of southern Iraq calling for authorities to resist demands to reform anti-terror laws or consider a wide-ranging prisoner release, both key demands in majority-Sunni areas. Anti-government protests were held in Baghdad's mostly-Sunni districts of Adhamiyah and Ghazaliyah, as well as the cities of Ramadi, Samarra, Mosul and Tikrit, AFP journalists said. Several smaller towns north of Baghdad also held rallies. Read more…

 

Iraq PM's foes demand he face questioning in parliament (The Daily Star)

Opponents of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday demanded he appear before parliament for questioning in a second attempt to force a vote of no confidence, as the Shi'ite leader faced Sunni Muslim protests. Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets in Sunni strongholds across Iraq for more than two weeks, increasing fears that turmoil in neighbouring Syria may help tip Iraq back into the broad sectarian violence it suffered a few years ago. Maliki's rivals among Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish blocs remain sharply divided, and failed last year to win required approval from the president or support in the 325-member Council of Representatives for a vote of no confidence. Read more…

 

Iraq protesters win first demand: Release of 3,000 prisoners (Middle East Online)

A top Iraqi minister said on Sunday that the authorities had released 3,000 prisoners over the past month in a bid to appease weeks of angry demonstrations in Sunni-majority areas of the country. Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani's announcement is the latest in a series of government steps to curb the protests against the alleged mistreatment of the Sunni minority at the hands of the Shiite-led authorities. "We have released 3,000 prisoners from Iraqi prisons in the last few weeks, and we transferred all women prisoners to prisons in their home provinces," Shahristani, who heads a cabinet committee tasked with addressing protesters' demands, said during a visit to Mosul, a Sunni-majority city. Read more…

 

Iraq Electoral Commission draws numbers of political entities (Alsumaria News)

The UN High Electoral Commission in Iraq held on Thursday January 10, a draw for the numbers of licensed political entities and coalitions for provincial council elections that will take place next April. The Commission also set the 25th of March as the date of candidates’ campaign launching. “The Independent High Electoral Commission held today a draw for the entities that will participate in the elections of provincial councils aiming to choose numbers to be used in the campaign of each entity or bloc”, said head of the Commission’s Electoral Directorate, Mokdad Al Sherifi in a statement to Alsumaria. Read more…

 

Kurdish MPs Reject Maliki's Call for Early Elections (Rudaw)

Facing widespread protests against his government, Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has called for early elections, but some Kurdish MPs believe that would be a mistake without changes to the elections law and a new census. “Participating in early or any other election without changing the election law or the parameters of counting the population would be a big mistake,” said Bayazid Hassan, an Iraqi Kurdish MP from the Change Movement (Gorran). He said that population numbers in Iraq’s provinces had been greatly manipulated, adding that, “The population of all Iraqi provinces has been increased except for the Kurdistan Region's.” Read more…

 

Deadly Turn in Protests Against Iraqi Leadership (The New York Times)

At least seven protesters and two soldiers were killed Friday in clashes that started after Iraqi Army forces opened fire on demonstrators who had pelted them with rocks on the outskirts of Falluja, west of Baghdad. It was the first deadly confrontation in more than a month of antigovernment protests by mostly Sunni opponents of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. As a result, a curfew was imposed on Falluja on Friday evening. A security official said one clash started when protesters began throwing rocks at government forces at a checkpoint near a main highway. The forces opened fire, and demonstrators responded by burning army vehicles and two cars, one belonging to a lawmaker from the mainly Sunni Iraqiya bloc and the other to a local politician from Anbar Province, where Falluja is located. Seven civilians were killed and 44 people were wounded, according to medical sources. Read more…

 

Yaseen Mutlaq: Dialogue Front will withdraw from election if attacking demonstrators continue (NINA)

National Dialogue Front official, Yaseen al-Mutlaq, said that the Front is going to withdraw from the upcoming election if the demonstrators' demands not met and attacks on demonstrators continue. In a statement to the press on Friday, Jan. 25, Mutlaq demanded Iraqiya slate to withdraw from the government and the political process, because it would become useless to stay in the political process. He also demanded security forces to behave with the demonstrators in a professional way and the demonstrators to keep the demonstrations peaceful and stick together to enable them realize their legitimate demands and not to be drawn to be provoked. Read more…

 

Iraq Parliament Votes to Keep Maliki From Seeking New Term (The New York Times)

In the bloody aftermath of street protests that turned violent on Friday in Falluja, Iraq’s Parliament passed a law on Saturday intended to prevent Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki from seeking a third term. The parliamentary move was the latest threat to Mr. Maliki’s hold on power and reflected rising anger among rivals over his leadership, but it appeared unlikely that the law, which would need to approved by Iraq’s president, would ever go into effect. Read more…

 

Iraq gearing up to conduct local elections in April (Al Shorfa)

Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) unveiled last week its plans for conducting local elections in most of the provinces in the country, scheduled for April 20th. Among other efforts, the IHEC started preparing needed election items such as ballot boxes, secure bags, ink and ballots to outfit balloting centres, said Sarbast Mustafa Rasheed, chairman of the IHEC board of commissioners. Read more...

 

Limitation of governing term law will not pass, Maliki (Aswat al-Iraq)

Premier Nouri al-Maliki rejected parliamentary resolution to determine his governing period, stressing the law "will not pass because it is contrary to the constitution. In an interview with Al-Arabia TV station, he added that the suggestions of the laws should be submitted by the cabinet or republican presidency, "which was not submitted by them, so it will not pass by the Federal Court". He warned against politicians who "try to make Iraq go back as in the past". Read more…