Iraq President of the Supreme Judicial Council issues an arrest warrant for Donald Trump

Revelations 6:3-4 “when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • Iraq’s High Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Trump Over Killing of Iranian Commander
  • “President of the Supreme Judicial Council, Faiq Zaidan, announced on Thursday the issuance of an arrest warrant for former U.S. President Donald Trump.”
  • The arrest warrant charges Trump with premeditated murder. While the warrant is clearly symbolic, a conviction of this nature carries the death penalty.
  • The court said the investigation into the killings was still ongoing, AP reported.
  • After Iran shot down a U.S. drone in June, John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser at the time, urged Trump to retaliate by signing off on an operation to kill Soleimani, officials said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also wanted Trump to authorize the assassination, officials said.
  • In April 2019, then-National Security Adviser John Bolton “helped prod Trump to designate the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization,” NBC News stated.
  • “White House officials at the time refused to say whether that meant the United States would target Revolutionary Guard leaders as it does the leadership of other terrorist groups…”

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G20 Meeting Iraq’s Archbishop warns Christians on the edge of extinction in his country

Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Important Takeaways:

  • ‘On the Very Edge of Extinction’: Iraqi Archbishop’s Dire Warning About Christian Persecution, Violence
  • The Most Rev. Bashar Warda, the Archbishop of Erbil, told hundreds of religious leaders gathered for the G20 Religion Forum in Bali, Indonesia, he’s fearful for the state of believers in his nation.
  • Christianity in his war-torn country is “on the very edge of extinction.”
  • “The brutal logic of this is that there does eventually reach an end point where there are no minorities left to kill, and no minorities left to persecute,” Warda said. “Such is the bleak future of religious pluralism in Iraq today.”
  • He continued, “I pray that you will find in our story a clear warning to you all.”

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Military on High Alert after Saudi warns of possible Iranian attack in Erbil, Iraq

Revelations 6:3-4 “when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • US, Saudi Arabia on high alert over intel of impending Iranian attack: report
  • The planned strikes are believed to be targeting Saudi Arabia and Iraq
  • Officials from both countries reportedly told the Journal about the concern over coming attacks. Saudi officials said that in addition to Saudi Arabia, Iran is also looking to strike Erbil, Iraq, where U.S. troops are located. The planned attacks are said to be intended as a distraction from protests taking place in Iran against the Islamic nation’s leadership.
  • Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Tuesday during a press briefing that the U.S. remains “concerned” about “the threat situation in the region” and is “in regular contact” with Saudi officials.
  • “We will reserve the right to protect and defend ourselves no matter where our forces are serving, whether in Iraq or elsewhere,” Ryder said, declining to give information about any specific threat.

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More than 1,000 hospitalized with respiratory problems from Sandstorm wave

Luke 21:25,26 NLT “And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken.”

Important Takeaways:

  • NASA data showed dust reaching more than three miles into the sky
  • The Iraqi government declared a national holiday Monday to keep people in their homes.
  • Experts say the storms this year are particularly intense
  • In Iraq, at least nine significant storms have hit the country since April.

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Iraq passed bill criminalizing relations with Israel, punishable with death sentence

Matt 24:10,11 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

Important Takeaways:

  • The legislation says that violation of the law is punishable with the death sentence or life imprisonment.
  • It was unclear how the law will be implemented as Iraq has not recognized Israel since the country’s formation in 1948
  • The legislation also entails risks for companies working in Iraq and found to be in violation of the bill.

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Netanyahu warns: Don’t be desperate to sign Nuclear Deal with Iran

Revelations 6:3-4 “ when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • Former Israeli Prime Minister Warns U.S. Not to Renew ‘Downright Dangerous’ Iran Nuclear Deal
  • “The desperate rush to sign this flawed nuclear agreement with Iran is not only absurd, it’s downright dangerous,” Netanyahu said. “Yesterday Iran fired missiles in the vicinity of the American consulate in Iraq. And the U.S. to charge ahead…to sign a nuclear agreement that will give the Ayatollahs a nuclear arsenal.”
  • No Americans were injured in the attack, according to the State Department. The Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed responsibility for the attack, although the organization said it targeted Israeli “strategic centers” in the area.

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Germany jails Islamic State member for life over role in Yazidi genocide

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -A German court on Tuesday jailed a former Islamic State militant for life for involvement in genocide and crimes against humanity against minority Yazidis in Iraq and Syria, including the murder of a five-year-old girl.

It was the first genocide verdict against a member of Islamic State, an offshoot of al Qaeda that seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014 before being ousted by U.S.-backed counter-offensives, losing its last territorial redoubt in 2019.

In a landmark ruling, the court in Frankfurt found Taha al-Jumailly, 29, an Iraqi national, guilty of involvement in the slaughter of more than 3,000 Yazidis and enslavement of 7,000 women and girls by IS jihadists in 2014-15.

This, the court ruled, included the murder of a five-year-old girl the defendant had enslaved and chained to a window, leaving her to die in scorching heat in 2015 in Iraq.

Al-Jumailly, who entered the court covering his face with a file folder, was arrested in Greece in 2019 and extradited to Germany where relatives of slain Yazidis acted as plaintiffs supporting the prosecution.

“Today’s ruling marks the first ever worldwide confirmation by a court that the crimes of Islamic State against the Yazidi religious group are genocide,” said Meike Olszak of Amnesty International’s branch in Germany.

The defendant’s German wife, identified only as Jennifer W., was used as a prosecution witness at his trial. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison last month for involvement in the enslavement of the Yazidi girl and her mother.

The Yazidis are an ancient religious minority in eastern Syria and northwest Iraq that Islamic State viewed as supposed devil worshippers for their faith that combines Zoroastrian, Christian, Manichean, Jewish and Muslim beliefs.

Islamic State’s depredations also displaced most of the 550,000-strong Yazidi community.

(Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Soldiers, prisoners, displaced people vote early ahead of Iraq election

By John Davison and Ahmed Rasheed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Soldiers, prisoners and displaced people voted in special early polls in Iraq on Friday as the country prepared for a Sunday general election where turnout will show how much faith voters have left in a still young democratic system.

Many Iraqis say they will not vote, having watched established parties they do not trust sweep successive elections and bring little improvement to their lives.

Groups drawn from the Shi’ite Muslim majority are expected to remain in the driving seat, as has been the case since Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led government was ousted in 2003.

Iraq is safer than it has been for years and violent sectarianism is less of a feature than ever since Iraq vanquished Islamic State in 2017 with the help of an international military coalition and Iran.

But endemic corruption and mismanagement has meant many people in the country of about 40 million are without work, and lack healthcare, education and electricity.

Friday’s early ballot included voting among the population of more than one million people who are still displaced from the battle against Islamic State.

Some said they were either unable or unwilling to vote.

“I got married in the displacement camp where I live, and neither I nor my husband will vote,” said a 45-year-old woman who gave her name as Umm Amir. She spoke by phone and did not want to disclose her exact location.

“Politicians visited us before the last election (in 2018) and promised to help us return to our towns. That never materialized. We’ve been forgotten.”

Most of Iraq’s displaced live in the majority Sunni north of the country.

The south, the heartlands of the Shi’ite parties, was spared the destruction wrought by Islamic State but infrastructure and services are in a poor state.

2019 PROTESTS

In 2019, mass anti-government protests swept across Baghdad and the south, toppled a government and forced the current government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to hold this election six months early.

The government also introduced a new voting law that it says will bring more independent voices into parliament and can help reform. It has been trying to encourage a greater turnout.

The reality, according to many Iraqis, Western diplomats and analysts, is that the bigger, more established parties will sweep the vote once again.

Dozens of activists who oppose those parties have been threatened and killed since the 2019 protests, scaring many reformists into not participating in the vote. Iraqi officials blame armed groups with links to Iran for the killings, a charge those groups deny.

(Reporting by John Davison, Ahmed Rasheed, Baghdad newsroom; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Biden, Kadhimi seal agreement to end U.S. combat mission in Iraq

By Steve Holland and Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Monday sealed an agreement formally ending the U.S. combat mission in Iraq by the end of 2021, more than 18 years after U.S. troops were sent to the country.

Coupled with Biden’s withdrawal of the last American forces in Afghanistan by the end of August, the Democratic president is completing U.S. combat missions in the two wars that then-President George W. Bush began under his watch.

Biden and Kadhimi met in the Oval Office for their first face-to-face talks as part of a strategic dialogue between the United States and Iraq.

“Our role in Iraq will be … to be available, to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arises but we’re not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat zone,” Biden told reporters as he and Kadhimi met.

There are currently 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq focusing on countering the remnants of Islamic State. The U.S. role in Iraq will shift entirely to training and advising the Iraqi military to defend itself.

The shift is not expected to have a major impact since the United States has already moved toward focusing on training Iraqi forces.

A U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003 based on charges that then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s government possessed weapons of mass destruction. Saddam was ousted from power, but such weapons were never found.

In recent years the U.S. mission was dominated by helping defeat Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

“Nobody is going to declare mission accomplished. The goal is the enduring defeat of ISIS,” a senior administration official told reporters ahead of Kadhimi’s visit.

The reference was reminiscent of the large “Mission Accomplished” banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier above where Bush gave a speech declaring major combat operations over in Iraq on May 1, 2003.

“If you look to where we were, where we had Apache helicopters in combat, when we had U.S. special forces doing regular operations, it’s a significant evolution. So by the end of the year we think we’ll be in a good place to really formally move into an advisory and capacity-building role,” the official said.

U.S. diplomats and troops in Iraq and Syria were targeted in three rocket and drone attacks earlier this month. Analysts believed the attacks were part of a campaign by Iranian-backed militias.

The senior administration official would not say how many U.S. troops would remain on the ground in Iraq for advising and training.

Kadhimi is seen as friendly to the United States and has tried to check the power of Iran-aligned militias. But his government condemned a U.S. air raid against Iran-aligned fighters along its border with Syria in late June, calling it a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

The U.S.-Iraqi statement is expected to detail a number of non-military agreements related to health, energy and other matters.

The United States plans to provide Iraq with 500,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine under the global COVAX vaccine-sharing program. Biden said the doses should arrive in a couple of weeks.

The United States will also provide $5.2 million to help fund a U.N. mission to monitor October elections in Iraq.

“We’re looking forward to seeing an election in October,” said Biden.

(Reporting By Steve Holland and Trevor Hunnicutt; editing by Grant McCool)

Anger mounts after 92 killed in Iraq COVID hospital fire

By Ahmed Rasheed and Maher al-Saih

NASSIRIYA, Iraq (Reuters) -The death toll from a fire that tore through a coronavirus hospital in southern Iraq rose to 92, health officials said on Tuesday, as authorities faced accusations of negligence from grieving relatives and a doctor who works there.

More than 100 people – patients and visitors – were injured in the blaze on Monday night in Nassiriya, officials said.

An investigation showed the fire began when sparks from faulty wiring spread to an oxygen tank that then exploded, police and civil defense authorities said.

It was Iraq’s second such tragedy in three months, and the country’s president on Tuesday blamed corruption for both. A statement from the prime minister’s office called for national mourning.

Rescue teams were using a heavy crane to remove the charred and melted remains of the part of the city’s al-Hussain hospital where COVID-19 patients were being treated, as relatives gathered nearby.

A medic at the hospital, who declined to give his name and whose shift ended a few hours before the fire broke out, said the absence of basic safety measures meant it was an accident in the making.

“The hospital lacks a fire sprinkler system or even a simple fire alarm,” he told Reuters.

“We complained many times over the past three months that a tragedy could happen any moment from a cigarette stub but every time we get the same answer from health officials: ‘we don’t have enough money’.”

In April, a similar explosion at a Baghdad COVID-19 hospital killed at least 82 and injured 110.

The head of Iraq’s semi-official Human Rights Commission said Monday’s blast showed how ineffective safety measures still were in a health system crippled by war and sanctions.

“To have such a tragic incident repeated few months later means that still no (sufficient) measures have been taken to prevent them,” Ali Bayati said.

The fact that the hospital had been built with lightweight sandwich panels separating the wards had made the fire spread faster, local civil defense authority head Salah Jabbar said.

Health and civil defense managers in the city and the hospital’s manager had been suspended and arrested on Monday on the orders of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, his office said.

Government investigators arrived in Nassiriya on Tuesday morning, according to a statement. Their findings would be announced within a week, Kadhimi’s office said.

‘FAILED GOVERNMENT’

President Barham Salih on Twitter said both fires were “the result of endemic corruption and mismanagement that disregards the lives of Iraqis”.

At the city’s morgue, anger spread among people gathered as they waited to receive their relatives’ bodies.

“No quick response to the fire, not enough firefighters. Sick people burned to death. It’s a disaster,” said Mohammed Fadhil, who was waiting to receive his bother’s body.

Two health officials said the dead from Monday’s fire included 21 charred bodies that were still unidentified.

The blaze trapped many patients inside the coronavirus ward who rescue teams struggled to reach, a health worker told Reuters on Monday before entering the burning building.

In Najaf, a holy Shi’ite city around 250 km (155 miles) northwest of Nassiriya, an angry Imad Hashim sobbed after losing his mother, sister-in-law and niece.

“What should I say after losing my family,” the 46-year-old said. “No point demanding anything from a failed government. Three days and this case will be forgotten like others.”

(Reporting by Maher al-Saih and Ahmed Rasheed;Editing by Tom Perry and Janet Lawrence)