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Iraq faces new political crisis

Leader of Iraq’s Sadrist Movement, Muqtada Al-Sadr [Twitter]
Leader of Iraq’s Sadrist Movement, Muqtada Al-Sadr [Twitter]

Signs of a new political crisis have emerged in Iraq as the Saairun bloc, the largest in parliament with 54 seats and supported by Shia leader Muqtada Al-Sadr, has merged with other political parties to demand the dismissal of Parliament Speaker Muhammad Al-Halbousi.

The Speaker has been accused of "bias towards specific parties and disrupting parliament sessions."

The issue took a serious turn when the Saairun bloc announced that it had collected 130 signatures on a petition demanding Al-Halbousi's dismissal. Approval will require 165 deputies to sign the petition, which the Alliance of Iraqi Forces — a Sunni bloc — describe as "political targeting".

READ: Iraq confirms arrest of top ranking Daesh member Nasser Al-Qardash

The Saairun bloc escalated the situation by issuing a strongly-worded statement threatening the Presidency of Parliament with what it described as "another method to handle the situation" if it does not implement a request submitted by the bloc after Eid Al-Fitr, reported Al Jazeera Net.

"The Saairun bloc will present a list of demands to the Speaker of Parliament, aimed at mending his strategy in running the House of Representatives, evaluating his legislative and oversight work, and monitoring the performance of his parliamentary committees after the holiday," said the group's statement.

"These demands will be submitted with a time ceiling for the Presidency of the Parliament to implement its recommendations, otherwise we will resort to another method to handle the situation."

Saairun bloc member Jawad Al-Mousawi alleged that, "Al-Halbousi has severely damaged the work of Parliament in terms of disrupting the sessions for a long time and interfering with the work of some important committees, which jeopardised the legislative institution's status in front the other government authorities."

In an exclusive statement to Al Jazeera Net, Al-Mousawi stressed that there are many "mature and moderate Sunni leaders who deserve to be in Al-Halbousi's position." He believes that many MPs and parliamentary forces can reach a quick consensus on this data.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday and discussed security cooperation between the two countries, especially within the framework of the joint international efforts for combating terrorism.

READ: Iraq announces death of Daesh fighters in Kirkuk

The Prime Minister's office told the media that the role of French companies in Iraq and the development of their work was also discussed during the call, as well as the French role in the reconstruction plans of liberated areas. The repercussions of the current economic crisis and the support that the international community can provide Iraq were also mentioned.

On the ground, Iraqi forces announced yesterday that they had thwarted an attempt to infiltrate the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad by Daesh fighters. The Samarra Operations Command said that Daesh elements were trying to overrun the positions of the 314th Brigade to carry out an armed operation west of the city. However, the army counterattacked and forced the extremists to flee.

In the middle of this month, Samarra was attacked when Daesh elements targeted a local police checkpoint in the outskirts of Yathrib, a district in the south of the city. Three terrorists were wounded in the incident. Security forces have dismantled an "armed cell" and destroyed a Daesh-held location in Samarra.

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