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Azhar Al-Rubaie

Basrah, Iraq
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About Azhar
Azhar Al-Rubaie has worked as a journalist in Iraq since 2014. In 2018 he did a series of articles in many topics, including  Politics, health, society, wars, militias ,human rights and LGBTQ rights. His is featured in the Arab Weekly, VICE news, Al-Jazeera, DW, Raseef 22, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, The National, Middle East Eye,  Lorientlejour, Asia Times, and many others.
Languages
Arabic English
Services
Interview (Video / Broadcast) Vox Pop News Gathering
+7
Skills
Politics Science & Environment Arts & Books
+10
Portfolio

Basra cancer patients decry poor health-care conditions

10 Jun 2024  |  thearabweekly.com
Basra has seen a dramatic rise in cancer cases, exacerbated by poor healthcare conditions and environmental pollution. Patients struggle to afford chemotherapy drugs, which are often unavailable in government hospitals. The health crisis is linked to pollution from depleted uranium munitions and oil wells. Despite promises from the Basra Health Directorate, essential medicines remain scarce. Activists and artists have launched campaigns to support patients, highlighting the need for a comprehensive government strategy to combat cancer.

Widows in Mosul cook Ramadan iftar meals for those in need

09 Jun 2024  |  Middle East Eye
In Mosul, Iraq, a small kitchen employs 15 widows who work with volunteers to provide iftar meals for those in need during Ramadan.

Exclusive: Kata’ib Hezbollah warns that US failure to withdraw ‘means confrontation’

01 Jun 2024  |  Amwaj.media
US President Joe Biden announced the end of the US combat mission in Iraq during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. The announcement was welcomed by various Iraqi political factions, including resistance groups that have previously attacked US forces. However, the welcome is not yet final, and Kata'ib Hezbollah has warned that failure to withdraw could lead to confrontation.

‘We came for human rights’: Iraqi refugee recalls ‘torture’ and deportation from Lithuania

17 May 2024  |  Middle East Eye
Sarwat Mohammed, an Iraqi refugee, recounts his harrowing experience of seeking asylum in the European Union, only to be imprisoned, tortured, and deported back to Iraq from Lithuania. His story highlights severe human rights violations and the challenges faced by refugees in Europe.

Will Iraq overcome its electricity crisis?

20 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
Since the US-led invasion in 2003, Iraq has faced poor access to services, with electricity being a critical issue. Successive governments have not managed to improve the situation, which is exacerbated by temperatures rising above 50°C in the south, leading to increased demand for air conditioning.

Protest erupts in Tehran as authorities blame blackout

04 Apr 2024  |  amwaj.media
Sudden protests broke out in downtown Tehran with demonstrators chanting slogans against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Initially sparked by a local power outage, the protest quickly turned political. Videos of the event have gone viral on social media, and the police are attempting to track down participants.

Lithuania: Refugees held for months in migrant camps decry ‘prison-like’ conditions

04 Apr 2024  |  middleeasteye.net
Refugees detained in a Lithuanian migrant camp have described their living conditions as 'prison-like' and have criticized the Lithuanian authorities for inhumane treatment. This comes in contrast to the warm reception that Ukrainian refugees have reportedly received from the Lithuanian government.

Iraqi armed groups raid offices of media outlets covering protests

07 Oct 2023  |  Middle East Eye
Armed groups, identified as the Iran-backed Saraya al-Khorasani militia, have raided the offices of several Iraqi and Arab news channels, including TRT Arabic, NRT Arabia, and Dijla TV, in an effort to restrict coverage of ongoing protests in Iraq. These attacks are part of a broader campaign to curb media freedom and suppress information about the demonstrations and the government's violent crackdown. The government has also cut internet services to limit communication and coordination among protesters. Journalists and media organizations face significant threats, with many subjected to attacks, detentions, and confiscation of their equipment.

Iraq: Explosion in Basra kills and wounds several people

03 Oct 2023  |  Middle East Eye
An explosion in Basra, Iraq, caused by a motorcycle carrying explosives, killed at least four people and wounded four others. The blast occurred near Basra General Hospital, setting fire to vehicles and prompting locals to donate blood. Basra's governor, Asaad al-Eidani, confirmed the details and called for enhanced security measures. The Islamic State, although driven out in 2017, continues to operate underground and has recently claimed several attacks in northern Iraq.

Iraq: Thousands hospitalised as heavy sandstorm brings country to standstill

02 Oct 2023  |  Middle East Eye
A severe sandstorm in Iraq has led to the hospitalization of at least 4,000 people with respiratory issues, causing the closure of public administration buildings, schools, airports, and businesses. Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, has been significantly affected, with over 1,136 people hospitalized. The storm, the eighth since mid-April, is attributed to climate change, low rainfall, and desertification. Basra Teaching Hospital reports having sufficient medical supplies to handle the crisis, while the Basra Governorate has declared a day off for public administration. The storm has also caused a spike in car accidents and reduced visibility.

The Women Clearing Iraq of Unexploded Munitions

01 Oct 2023  |  www.vice.com
Hoda Khaled and 13 other women in Basra, Iraq, are being trained to remove landmines and unexploded ordnance, a significant step in a country heavily contaminated by munitions from decades of conflict. The initiative, led by the private demining company Al Bayrak, aims to empower women in a traditionally male-dominated field. Despite societal and familial resistance, these women are determined to clear their city of dangerous explosives. The United Nations Mine Action Service and the Directorate of Mine Action are key organizations in these efforts. The article highlights the ongoing dangers posed by unexploded munitions and the critical need for demining to protect civilians, especially in heavily affected areas like Basra and Mosul.

Gay and trans Iraqis plagued by threats, violence - and now the law

01 Oct 2023  |  Middle East Eye
The Iraqi government has criminalized homosexuality and transgender identities, exacerbating the already precarious situation for LGBTQ+ individuals in the country. The new law imposes severe penalties, including imprisonment for same-sex activity and gender-affirming surgeries. Human rights organizations have condemned the legislation, citing its potential to incite further violence and discrimination. The Kurdish region may not adopt these amendments unless approved by its parliament. The law has sparked fear among LGBTQ+ Iraqis, both within the country and abroad, leading many to consider seeking asylum elsewhere.

Iraq government booze ban ignores country’s real problems

03 Mar 2023  |  www.newarab.com
The Iraqi government announced a ban on alcohol, sparking debate and criticism for not addressing the country's real issues such as corruption, unemployment, and lack of basic services. Critics argue the ban violates constitutional freedoms, particularly for non-Muslim minorities, and fear further restrictions on rights. The ban is seen as a move towards Islamisation, potentially influenced by Iran, and could lead to a rise in black market activity and drug dealing. The decision is also economically detrimental, affecting state tax imports and the livelihoods of those in the liquor industry, including Christians and Yazidis.

Influential Iraqi cleric launches anti-LGBTQ campaign

03 Dec 2022  |  www.newarab.com
Muqtada al-Sadr, an influential Shia cleric in Iraq, has initiated an anti-LGBTQ campaign, urging followers to combat the LGBTQ community through education, awareness, and ethical methods. His call has raised concerns among the LGBTQ community, especially given his followers' history of violence. Thousands of al-Sadr's followers signed a pledge against homosexuality after Friday prayers, although Iraq does not have a law explicitly criminalizing homosexuality. Human Rights Watch and IraQueer have reported on the violence and lack of accountability for crimes against LGBTQ individuals in Iraq, with Iraqi security forces often complicit. Al-Sadr's campaign has intensified fears among LGBTQ Iraqis, who already face significant danger.

Sadr supporters still demand change in Iraq after deadly violence

31 Aug 2022  |  www.aljazeera.com
Calm has returned to Baghdad after Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his supporters to leave protest sites following deadly violence that resulted in 30 deaths and 700 injuries. The violence erupted after al-Sadr announced his withdrawal from politics, leading his supporters to storm the Republican Palace and clash with rival protesters. Despite accusations of instigating violence, al-Sadr's supporters demand radical political reform and early elections. The situation highlights ongoing political instability and the influence of Iran-backed militias in Iraq.

Berlin Biennale: Iraqi artists denounce display of Abu Ghraib images next to their work

22 Aug 2022  |  Middle East Eye
The Berlin Biennale faces controversy as three Iraqi artists, Sajjad Abbas, Layth Kareem, and Raed Mutar, withdraw their works in protest against the display of Jean-Jacques Lebel's installation featuring Abu Ghraib torture images. The artists and their curator, Rijin Sahakian, criticize the event's insensitivity and slow response to their concerns. The Biennale's attempt to relocate the artworks failed to appease the artists, leading to their complete withdrawal. The incident highlights ongoing issues of cultural sensitivity and the ethical use of war-related imagery in art.

Miss Iraq 2022: TV presenter Balsam Hussein set for World and Universe stages

29 Jul 2022  |  thenationalnews.com
Balsam Hussein, a 26-year-old TV presenter and former hair-transplant specialist, was crowned Miss Iraq 2022 in Erbil. She is set to represent Iraq at the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants. Despite political instability, the event offered hope and a message of resilience to Iraqi women. The Miss Iraq contest, which resumed in 2015 after a long hiatus, now equally rates beauty and inner essence. Sarah Saad, Jihan Majid, Hind Akram, and Sarah Khaled were among the runners-up.

Iraqi families torn apart by holiday resort attack say ‘they can no longer live'

25 Jul 2022  |  The National
Families of Iraqi victims of a deadly attack on a tourist resort in Zakho demand justice, blaming Turkey and a tourism company for the tragedy. Nine people were killed and 31 injured in the attack, which Baghdad attributes to Turkish incursions against the PKK. Turkey denies involvement, blaming the PKK instead. The UN Security Council is set to discuss the incident. Victims' families express profound grief and criticize the Iraqi government for failing to protect its citizens and minimizing the disaster's impact. Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi declared a state of mourning in response.

Mass gathering in Iraq a potential sign of a summer of protests

15 Jul 2022  |  aljazeera.com
Muqtada al-Sadr's withdrawal of his bloc from the Iraqi parliament signals his continued influence in Iraqi politics, potentially leading to a summer of protests. Despite winning the largest bloc in the last elections, the Sadrists failed to form a government, leading to mass resignations. Analysts are divided on whether al-Sadr's decision was a mistake or a tactical move. Protests, supported by the Sadrists, are expected to demand improved services, job opportunities, and new elections. The Coordination Framework Alliance is now likely to form a government, but al-Sadr's supporters may push for reform or an internationally-backed emergency government.

Iraqi deadlock continues with elites unable to form government

30 May 2022  |  www.aljazeera.com
Iraq remains in a political deadlock nearly eight months after parliamentary elections, with key political figures and blocs unable to form a government. Muqtada al-Sadr's Sadrist Movement, despite being the largest party, faces opposition from the Iranian-backed Coordination Framework Alliance. The deadlock persists due to disagreements over the presidency and the reluctance of caretaker ministers to relinquish their positions. Calls for dissolving parliament and holding new elections have been made, but there is skepticism about their effectiveness. The United Nations has expressed disappointment in Iraq's political class, and there are concerns that continued political inertia could lead to renewed protests, especially with the onset of summer and potential shortages in water and electricity.

Climate change ravages Iraq as palm trees make way for desert

26 May 2022  |  aljazeera.com
Climate change has drastically altered the landscape of Basra, Iraq, transforming once fertile agricultural lands into deserts and forcing farmers to abandon traditional farming in favor of real estate development. The region, previously known as the 'black land' for its dense palm groves, now faces increased water salinity, higher temperatures, and frequent sandstorms. Local farmers, like Fouad Kadhim and Abdulsaheb Ismail, express despair over the loss of their livelihoods and the lack of government support. Despite the Ministry of Agriculture's recognition of these challenges, financial constraints limit their ability to assist. The situation is exacerbated by regional water politics, with Iran and Turkey reducing water flow into Iraq. The ecological shift not only threatens the local agriculture but also the cultural heritage and environmental stability of the area.

Why is Muqtada al-Sadr boycotting Iraq's election?

22 Jul 2021  |  The New Arab
Muqtada al-Sadr, a powerful Shia leader, announced his withdrawal from Iraq's upcoming October elections, citing national interest and corruption within his movement. This decision follows a deadly hospital fire in Nasiriyah and has been met with mixed reactions. The Iraq High Electoral Commission rejected his withdrawal, maintaining the election schedule. The Imtidad Movement, founded in 2021, aims to fill the political gap left by Sadr. Analysts and residents express skepticism about the impact of Sadr's withdrawal, with some predicting his eventual return to the political scene.

Iraq: Nasiriyah reeling after deadly Covid hospital fire

14 Jul 2021  |  Middle East Eye
A devastating fire at Al-Hussein hospital in Nasiriyah, Iraq, resulted in at least 92 deaths, primarily among Covid-19 patients and their caregivers. The fire, reportedly caused by exploding gas canisters or an electrical malfunction, has highlighted the dire state of Iraq's healthcare infrastructure, exacerbated by years of conflict, corruption, and mismanagement. Despite promises of accountability from Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, public anger remains high, with protests erupting and calls for political change intensifying. The incident underscores the broader systemic issues plaguing Iraq's healthcare system and governance.

What is Ur, the 'birthplace' of Abraham?

05 Mar 2021  |  middleeasteye.net
Pope Francis will conduct an inter-faith service at the ziggurat of Ur, an ancient Iraqi city believed to be the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. Ur, once the Sumerian capital, is known for its archaeological significance and the ziggurat temple dedicated to the moon god Nannar. Excavations by European archaeologists, including Sir Leonard Woolley, have unearthed royal tombs and a seal that led Woolley to believe he had found Abraham's house. The visit by Pope Francis draws attention to Ur's importance for religious pilgrimage and the dwindling Christian population in Iraq, which has decreased significantly since 2003.

Iraq: Sadrists' deadly violence prompts fears for upcoming elections

30 Nov 2020  |  Middle East Eye
Supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr clashed with anti-government protesters in Iraq, resulting in deaths and injuries. The violence, particularly in Nasiriyah, raises concerns about the upcoming parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has taken steps to address the unrest, including sacking the Nasiriyah police chief. The EU and US have called for accountability and protection for protesters. The situation reflects broader issues of political instability, economic crisis, and public distrust in security forces.

Iraqi female journalists in Basra fear for safety following attacks on activists

24 Aug 2020  |  middleeasteye.net
Female journalists and activists in Basra, Iraq, are increasingly fearing for their safety following a series of attacks, including the killing of women's rights campaigner Riham Yacoub. Journalist Arwa Hazim al-Amiri left Basra after receiving threats, and others like Sanar Hassan and Lodia Raymond have faced similar intimidation. The violence has cast a shadow over Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's efforts to control Iran-backed militias, who are suspected of the attacks. The US State Department has called for accountability, while activists continue to demand basic rights and freedoms despite the risks.

Iraq PM arrives in Basra to quell unrest, hours after return from US

22 Aug 2020  |  The National
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi arrived in Basra to address unrest following the assassination of two activists, which sparked significant protests. Demonstrators, blaming Iran-backed militias and local politicians for the violence, set fire to the parliament office and clashed with security forces. Al Kadhimi, accompanied by top security officials, emphasized the need for pre-emptive action against law violations and dismissed the Basra police chief. Protesters demand the resignation of Basra's governor, Asaad Al Eidani, and accountability for the killings. The prime minister's visit follows his return from strategic talks in Washington, DC.

Beirut blast raises fears in Iraq of weapons stockpiles

12 Aug 2020  |  The New Arab
The Beirut explosion has heightened fears in Iraq regarding the storage of hazardous materials and weapons stockpiles in urban areas. Iraqi citizens and officials are calling for the government to take immediate action to remove these materials from populated areas to prevent similar disasters. The Iraqi government has started to respond by creating an inventory of hazardous materials and relocating some from Baghdad's International Airport. Public demonstrations and social media campaigns are urging further action to ensure public safety.

The Iraqi nurse leading Mosul's battle against Covid-19

30 Jun 2020  |  The New Arab
Mosul's healthcare system, devastated by the battle against IS, faces new challenges with the Covid-19 pandemic. Al-Husseini, a dedicated nurse, transferred to Al-Shifa hospital to treat Covid-19 patients, despite personal risks and societal taboos. The hospital, rebuilt by Médecins Sans Frontières, is now the main Covid-19 referral center in Nineveh Governorate. Local health authorities and youth organizations are working tirelessly to combat the virus, with Mosul's health system still recovering from IS rule. Al-Husseini's efforts symbolize resilience and community spirit in the face of adversity.

Black Iraqis say George Floyd's death sheds light on their own centuries-long plight

14 Jun 2020  |  The National
The death of George Floyd has highlighted the racial discrimination faced by Black Iraqis, who compare their plight to that of African Americans. Black Iraqis, many of whom are descendants of African slaves, face economic, political, and social discrimination in Iraq. They seek recognition as a minority group and demand equal rights, including amendments to the Iraqi Constitution. Activists like Abdul Hussein Abdul Razzaq and Mohammed Falih emphasize the need to end racism and improve employment opportunities. Legal actions have been taken against racist discrimination, but significant progress is still needed.

Iraqi journalists struggle against political pressure over protest movement

22 May 2020  |  Middle East Eye
Iraqi journalists, including Ali Jawad, face political pressure and threats due to their coverage and personal involvement in the anti-government protest movement. Jawad, a former journalist with state-owned Al-Iraqiya TV, had his salary cut off by the Iraqi Media Network for social media posts about the protests, which they claimed violated regulations. Despite the constitutional right to protest, Jawad and his colleague Ahmed Abdulhussein were accused of lacking productivity and not attending work. The Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association is preparing to file a lawsuit against the Iraqi Media Network for these actions. The situation has sparked social media support for Jawad and criticism of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate for not offering support. Iraq ranks low on the World Press Freedom Index, and the recent events underscore the ongoing challenges for press freedom in the country.

Coronavirus fears leave Iraq's anti-government protesters divided

13 May 2020  |  Middle East Eye
Iraq's anti-government protest movement, which had paused due to the coronavirus pandemic, is slowly resuming. Demonstrators are divided over whether to return to the streets, with some fearing the spread of Covid-19 and others wary of government crackdowns. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has promised to hold those responsible for violence against protesters accountable and has ordered the release of arrested demonstrators. Despite some positive steps, skepticism remains about Kadhimi's ability to control powerful militias. The health ministry reports 3,032 Covid-19 cases, with 115 deaths and 1,966 recoveries. Activists are determined to continue their movement once the pandemic subsides.

After IS, Mosul's women lead the fight against coronavirus

10 Apr 2020  |  The New Arab
Mosul's women, led by local NGOs like the Jud Humanitarian Organization for Development and Construction, are at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus, producing essential medical supplies such as masks and gowns. Despite limited support from the central government, these women are empowered to rebuild their city and support their families. The article highlights the resilience and dedication of figures like Aseel Subhi and Layla al-Barazanchi, while also noting the broader challenges faced by Iraq in managing the pandemic and the economic impact of halted imports.

Coronavirus: Secret funeral in Iraq's Kurdish region prompts infection spike

06 Apr 2020  |  Middle East Eye
A secret funeral in Erbil, Iraq's Kurdish region, has led to a significant spike in coronavirus infections, with 41 new cases reported in one day. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) confirmed that 32 of these cases were linked to the funeral, which violated lockdown regulations. The KRG has imposed strict measures, including a 48-hour curfew and bans on public gatherings, to control the virus's spread. Despite these efforts, another funeral was dispersed by police. The KRG continues to enforce lockdown measures and has expressed gratitude to medical teams and law enforcement for their efforts.

The fight for LGBT rights in Iraq's revolution

27 Mar 2020  |  The New Arab
LGBT activists in Iraq are playing a significant role in the ongoing protests, despite facing severe risks from state security forces and religious militias. Activists like Jafaar Al-Qarahghuli and Hayder Mundher are participating in the Tishreen Revolution to demand basic rights and justice. The Iraqi LGBT community has launched campaigns to raise awareness and fight for their rights, despite societal and governmental repression. The Iraqi government's recent report to the UN on sexual orientation and the right to life is seen as a positive step, but activists argue that more tangible actions are needed to protect LGBT individuals. Organizations like IraQueer are actively working to support and advocate for LGBT rights in Iraq.

No to America, no to Iran: Thousands protest against foreign influence across Iraq

10 Jan 2020  |  Middle East Eye
Protests erupted across several Iraqi provinces against both US and Iranian influence, with demonstrators facing violence and arrests. The unrest follows the US drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, escalating tensions. Iraq's top Shia authority called for the protection of Iraqi sovereignty. The Iraqi parliament voted to expel US forces, prompting threats of sanctions from US President Donald Trump. Protesters demand a new prime minister chosen by the people, amid ongoing demonstrations against corruption and foreign intervention.

Iraqis speak of hopes for 2020 after year marked by violent unrest

01 Jan 2020  |  Middle East Eye
2019 was a year of significant unrest in Iraq, marked by widespread protests against the government, the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, and violent incidents such as the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad. As 2020 begins, Iraqis express their hopes for peace, security, and an end to corruption. They wish for a government that respects its people, improved infrastructure, and a country free from militias and sectarian appointments. The sentiments reflect a desire for a better future and a rejection of the violence and instability that characterized the previous year.

Survivors of Karbala crackdown describe chaos and bloodshed

30 Oct 2019  |  Middle East Eye
A deadly crackdown in Karbala, Iraq, resulted in at least 18 deaths and about 800 injuries as security forces used live ammunition, electric shock batons, and tear gas against protesters. Eyewitnesses described the violence as 'complete horror.' Amnesty International condemned the actions of Iraqi forces, and a local hospital reported a lack of medicine and alleged that security forces were collecting information on injured protesters. Influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi over the violence, while protesters vowed to continue demonstrating until the government resigns.

Triumph for Trump or their country? Iraqi youth split over Baghdadi death

28 Oct 2019  |  middleeasteye.net
Iraqi citizens express mixed reactions to the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. While some, like Atheer Nazar Saadallah, feel a sense of relief and closure, others, such as Mustafa Alkattan and Hassan Hameed Albadawi, are skeptical of the motives behind the announcement, particularly in light of the upcoming U.S. elections. Concerns remain about the enduring ideology of IS and the potential for its resurgence, despite Baghdadi's death.

Just let us live: Protests renewed in Iraq after deadly crackdown

26 Oct 2019  |  Middle East Eye
Hundreds of protesters in Baghdad's Tahrir Square demand the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi's government due to corruption, unemployment, and poor public services. The death toll from the protests has reached 220, with renewed clashes resulting in over 60 deaths. Protesters criticize the government and Islamic parties for the country's dire state, while influential clerics like Ali al-Sistani and Moqtada al-Sadr play significant roles in the unfolding events. Despite proposed government measures, the protesters remain unimpressed, leading to increased tensions and a sit-in by the Saeroon bloc.

Cautious of the street, Iraqi Sunnis become online cadres for protests

05 Oct 2019  |  middleeasteye.net
In Iraq, Sunni individuals fearing accusations of extremism or sympathy with the Islamic State group are opting for online activism over street protests. They are voicing their discontent on social media platforms due to the government's neglect and the risks associated with public demonstrations. The recent protests, which began over unemployment and poor living conditions, have escalated to calls for government change, despite an internet blackout and violent responses. The UN has condemned the violence that resulted in nearly 100 deaths and thousands of injuries. Activists face threats from security services and have been advised to use secure platforms and avoid sharing protest details online.

Dozens dead and hundreds wounded in Iraq

04 Oct 2019  |  middleeasteye.net
Violent demonstrations in Iraq have resulted in dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries, with protests escalating across southern cities since their onset in Baghdad. Security forces have fired on protesters, and there are allegations of Iran-backed militia involvement in protester deaths. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi faces his first major challenge, offering only vague reforms in response to demands for improved living standards and anti-corruption. Despite curfews, protests continue, with demonstrators and prominent figures like Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr criticizing the government's failure to combat corruption and calling for change.

Iraq struggles to stay out of US-Iran conflict

25 Aug 2019  |  thearabweekly.com
Iraq is caught in the crossfire of escalating US-Iran tensions, with recent explosions targeting Iran-backed militias' weapons depots. Israel is reportedly behind the air strikes, while the US distances itself from the attacks. Iranian influence in Iraq, particularly through the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), is causing internal discontent. Iraqi officials and analysts emphasize the need for Iraq to maintain neutrality and prevent becoming a battleground for US-Iran conflicts. The Iraqi government faces pressure to curb Iranian influence and manage militia activities to ensure national stability.

The photo gallery talks about rebuilding of Mosul, for Aljazeera Chinese. I and Sebastian Castelier reported from Mosul.

伊拉克摩蘇爾兒童失學或被ISIS招募 伊斯蘭國在伊拉克被剿滅近一年後,將近350萬名青少年被剝奪基礎教育。父母擔心易子女受到極端分子的灌輸 Iraqi Mosul children are out of school or recruited by ISIS nearly 3.5 million young people were deprived of basic education.

Mosul residents left to rebuild destroyed homes

11 Nov 2018  |  Al Jazeera
The article discusses the extensive damage and ongoing reconstruction efforts in Mosul, Iraq, following the battle to retake the city from ISIL fighters. It highlights that 54,000 houses were destroyed and, despite a $400m fund established for Iraq's reconstruction, Mosul received only a fraction of this amount. The Governor of Nineveh Governorate claimed no budget was allocated for rebuilding private housing, leaving many civilians to rely on themselves, often resulting in debt as they borrow money to rebuild their homes. The piece underscores the challenges faced by Mosul residents, particularly the financial strain on those like Ahmed Al Ebadi and Mohammed Hazim Abbas, who struggle to afford the costs of reconstruction.

In Mosul, children out of school and at risk of recruitment. I and Sebastian reported from Mosul, ASIA TIMES newspaper.

Female Iraqi human rights activist assassinated in Basra amid water crisis and protests

04 Nov 2018  |  The National
Soad Al Ali, a prominent Iraqi human rights activist, was shot dead in Basra, sparking further unrest in a city already troubled by a water poisoning crisis and ongoing protests over poor public services. Al Ali, who was the head of Al Wid Al Alaiami For Human Rights, was known for her advocacy for Basra's independence and human rights. The attack occurred as she was entering her car and was captured on video, exacerbating the chaotic atmosphere in Basra. The IHCHR has initiated a murder investigation, urging the government to protect activists. The murder has raised concerns about the security situation in Iraq, with some attributing the violence to militias stronger than the government. Basra has seen protests against government neglect and Iranian influence, with recent demonstrations turning violent.

Iraq: Abadi dismisses head of Basra's military over death of protesters

04 Nov 2018  |  The National
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi has dismissed the head of Basra's military operations, Jamal Al Shammari, amidst a severe water crisis and ongoing protests in the city. The crisis has led to over 100,000 hospital admissions due to water poisoning. US Ambassador Douglas Silliman announced additional support to help with the water emergency. The article details the poor conditions in Basra's hospitals, the lack of adequate medical staff, and the high salinity levels in the water supply. It also touches on the financial cuts to Basra's health ministry and the public's anger towards the government's slow response and the perceived corruption exacerbating the situation.

Suspect arrested in murder of Iraqi social media influencer

04 Nov 2018  |  The National
Tara Fares, a prominent Iraqi social media influencer and model, was murdered in Baghdad, sparking widespread discussion about the targeting of public figures in Iraq. With nearly 3 million Instagram followers, Fares was shot in the Camp Sarah district. The Iraqi Interior Ministry has detained a suspect after Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi called for a swift investigation. Fares' online presence and lifestyle are believed to be the motives behind her killing. Her death follows a pattern of violence against women in Iraq, including the recent murder of human rights activist Soad Al Ali in Basra. The article suggests that women who challenge traditional gender roles in Iraq may be systematically targeted. The public and friends of Fares express their grief and concern over the future of Iraq and the safety of its citizens.

Basra - When parts of Nineveh province, including its capital, Mosul, were captured by the Islamic State (ISIS) in June 2014, many Christians fled to escape the brutal rule of the militants.

04 Nov 2018  |  thearabweekly.com
The article discusses the plight of Christian families displaced from Nineveh province, including Mosul, due to the ISIS takeover in June 2014. Many sought refuge in Kurdish-controlled areas, Baghdad, or the Shia-majority region of Basra in southern Iraq. The displaced Christians are facing a dilemma: while some, like George Hannah, wish to return home once ISIS is expelled and stability is restored, others, such as Arshad Louis, are too traumatized to consider returning. The article highlights the hardships faced by these families, including expensive living conditions in Erbil, the death of family members, and the recent killing of a Christian youth in Basra. The Iraqi parliament's ban on alcohol sales is also mentioned. The Ministry of Human Rights and the United Nations have provided some assistance, but many Christians are calling for more support from the government. Meanwhile, local initiatives, like the one led by Muntadher al-Karadi from Baghdad, are providing aid to the displaced Christians.

Social media platform tries to bridge sectarian divide in Iraq

04 Nov 2018  |  thearabweekly.com
Sajad Saadi Salman, an 18-year-old from Qadisiyyah province in Iraq, has developed a social media platform called Neproo aimed at reducing sectarian and ethnic tensions. The platform censors words that denote sectarian differences, such as 'Sunni' or 'Shia', and replaces them with asterisks. Neproo, which allows sharing of photos, audio, and video files, has become popular among social media users in Iraq, with over 10,000 users since its launch. The Ministry of Youth and Sports has praised Salman's work, and he may be invited to the Arab Identity Festival. Neproo is available in multiple languages, but the censorship software only works on Arabic content.

Iraqi journalists fleeing hardship at home

04 Nov 2018  |  thearabweekly.com
The article discusses the situation of Iraqi journalists who have been forced to flee their country due to persecution by ISIS and harassment by authorities in various regions of Iraq. Sinbad Ahmed al-Shabaky, a former reporter for Al-Fayhaa television, and Haider Hilfi, formerly of Al Baghdadia TV, are highlighted as examples of journalists who have sought refuge in Europe, specifically Germany, after facing threats and arrests in Iraq. While some journalists, like Ali Athab of Hona Baghdad TV, choose to stay in Iraq despite the risks, the article underscores the broader issue of press freedom and the challenges faced by journalists in conflict zones. The Iraqi Ministry of Interior claims to be working on protecting journalists and has even allowed them to carry firearms for self-defense.

ISIS feels the heat as showdown over Mosul nears

04 Nov 2018  |  thearabweekly.com
The article discusses the preparations of ISIS militants for a protracted war over Mosul, Iraq. Residents report that trenches have been dug, neighborhoods cleared, and areas booby-trapped, with civilians likely to be used as human shields. The number of foreign jihadists in Mosul has reportedly decreased, with some fleeing to Raqqa, Syria, or other nearby areas. Locals are experiencing shortages of food and medicine, but no famine has been reported. Journalist Mohammed Shafiq and political analyst Fayiz al-Kanaan provide insights into the involvement of Shia militias in the upcoming battle and the political context that enabled ISIS's rise in Mosul. The article suggests that unless the Iraqi government rebuilds trust with the Sunni community, the cycle of violence will continue.

Deafened by the War on ISIS

01 Nov 2018  |  www.vice.com
The article highlights the severe impact of the war against ISIS on the civilian population of Mosul, focusing on the widespread issue of war-induced hearing loss. Thousands of Iraqis, including children, have suffered permanent hearing damage due to the relentless bombings by the US-led coalition and other military forces. The lack of adequate medical treatment and financial compensation exacerbates their plight, leaving many without proper care or support. The narrative underscores the indiscriminate nature of war and the long-term humanitarian consequences faced by the affected individuals.
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