News / Middle East

    Iraq's Abadi Hopeful on New Government; Suicide Bomber Kills Nine

    Iraq's Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi gestures during a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq, Aug. 25, 2014.
    Iraq's Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi gestures during a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq, Aug. 25, 2014.
    Reuters

    Iraq's Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi said on Monday he was optimistic about forming a new government soon with a “clear vision,” but fresh bomb attacks in Baghdad and other cities underlined the country's deepening sectarian conflict.

    Abadi is tasked with forming a power-sharing administration that can ease tensions and counter Islamic State militants who pose the biggest security threat to Iraq since a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

    “The talks to form the government were positive and constructive. I hope in the next two coming days to agree on a clear vision of a unified program for the government,” he said.

    Shortly after Abadi spoke, a suicide bomb attack in a Shi'ite mosque in Baghdad killed at least nine people and wounded 21, police and medical sources said.

    The attacker detonated his suicide bomb vest inside the mosque in the New Baghdad district of the capital at prayer time, police said.

    Two car bombs also were detonated in the Shi'ite holy city of Karbala on Monday, killing four people and wounding 17, police and medical sources said. An additional two car bombs targeted the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad, but there were no fatalities or injuries, police sources said.

    The Islamic State claimed responsibility for four car bombs in northern Iraq on Saturday, three of them in the city of Kirkuk, where Kurdish fighters have flocked since Iraqi army units quit their posts in June, and one in Arbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdish region.

    The militant group said the attacks were in response to Kurdish forces joining the U.S. military to attack them.

    Armed groups

    Abadi, keen to reassert Baghdad's authority over his fraying nation, emphasized in his comments on Monday he would not tolerate armed groups operating outside government control.

    “We will not allow the formation of armed groups outside the control of the state,” he said.

    Abadi added that arms reaching the Kurdish Peshmerga forces battling Islamic State militants in the north had passed through the central government.

    Many ordinary Iraqis have expressed concern about the unchecked growth of violent militia groups in recent weeks, some of whom have been accused of targeting civilians.

    In June, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq's most senior Shi'ite cleric, urged Iraqis to defend the country against the onslaught of Islamic State militants. As a result thousands of volunteers, many of them Shi'ites, joined militia groups which are now only nominally under the control of the Baghdad government.

    Shi'ite militants are suspected of carrying out an attack on a Sunni mosque in Diyala province north of Baghdad last Friday that killed 68 and wounded dozens.

    The central government has issued arrest warrants for four local tribesmen suspected of carrying out the attack after an investigation, Abadi said on Monday.

    Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, a key ally of the Shi'ite-led Baghdad government, visited the holy city of Najaf for talks with Sistani and other senior Shi'ite clerics, local officials said.

    Sistani played a key role in helping to resolve Iraq's recent political crisis by implicitly urging former prime minister Nouri al Maliki to step down. Maliki, a Shi'ite, was widely accused of exacerbating Iraq's sectarian divisions by excluding Sunni Muslims from positions of influence.

    Iran's Zarif also met a handful of Sunni political leaders in Baghdad on Monday evening to discuss the formation of the new government, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

     

     

     

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora