News / Middle East

    Iraq's Sunni Finance Minister Quits as Protests Grow

    Iraqi Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi attends an anti-government demonstration in Ramadi, 100 km (62 miles) west of Baghdad, March 1, 2013.
    Iraqi Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi attends an anti-government demonstration in Ramadi, 100 km (62 miles) west of Baghdad, March 1, 2013.
    Edward Yeranian
    Iraq's Sunni finance minister announced his resignation Friday at a large protest demonstration in the mostly Sunni town of Samara. Twin bombings also hit a cattle market in a mostly Shi'ite town south of Baghdad, killing at least five.

    The crowd of several thousand protesters cheered the announcement by Sunni Finance Minister Rafaie al-Esawi that he was resigning from the embattled government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

    He says that he's not keen to serve an Iraqi government that does not respect the people of Iraq, their future, their unity, or their tribes. He says that he is with the people and will not be part of a government that has the blood of the Iraqi people on its hands.

    But Iraqi state TV reported during its afternoon newscast that Prime Minister Maliki "would not accept, Rafaie al-Esawi, resignation until the investigation into his financial and administrative 'crimes' had been investigated."

    The conflict between the Shi'ite prime minister and his Sunni finance minister is just the latest sectarian conflict within Maliki's government.

    Vice President Tariq Hashemi fled Iraq in Dec. 2011 and was tried in absentia for alleged 'terrorist' activities. Hashemi denied the allegations, calling them "politically motivated."

    Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who heads the Iraqiya Party, which won the largest number of seats in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary elections, recently accused Mr. Maliki and his supporters of trying to assassinate him.  Iraq is due to hold local council elections in April.

    A crowd of women shouted and screamed after two explosions hit a cattle market in the mostly Shi'ite town of Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad. Dozens of people were killed or wounded according to the town's health director.

    A teenage boy who was wounded by the blasts recalled what happened. He says that he felt an explosion from one of the vehicles at the market and a short while later he heard a second explosion and saw (another vehicle) blow up.

    Middle East analyst James Denselow of King's College London says Iraq has yet to stabilize either politically or security-wise in the almost ten years since the overthrow of former leader Saddam Hussein:

    "What we see today in Iraq is a zombie state that is unable to move forward on any of the real issues that face the country and instead it's grid-locked in a sectarian to-and-fro of personal attacks and physical attacks and....a continued low level violence on the street," Denselow said.

    Denselow says the recent widespread protests in the large Sunni towns and cities reflects a "more assertive Sunni constituency." Observers, he adds, worry that the "low level sectarian conflict and political sniping, could turn into (a new) civil war."

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    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

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    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