Iraqi parliamentary speaker sues defense minister
Iraqi Parliamentary Speaker Salim al-JuburiIraqi Parliamentary Speaker Salim al-Juburi has filed a defamation lawsuit against Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi, al-Juburi’s office said Aug. 3.
“The parliamentary speaker filed a lawsuit at the Court of al-Karkh [a district in Baghdad] against Defense Minister al-Obeidi,” al-Juburi’s media office said in a statement, according to Anadolu Agency.
The move comes shortly after al-Obeidi publicly accused the parliamentary speaker – along with several MPs – of engaging in corrupt practices.
Al-Juburi’s lawsuit, his office said, was intended to counter “false allegations” made by al-Obeidi “that have misled public opinion and insulted sovereign state institutions.”
The statement went on to stress al-Juburi’s “belief in the ability of the Iraqi judiciary to get to the truth of the matter and punish the guilty.”
“The Iraqi public has the right to know the truth behind al-Obeidi’s false claims, which affect the state’s most important institution,” it said.
Al-Obeidi accused the parliamentary speaker and several MPs of corruption during an Aug. 1 parliamentary session.
Early Aug. 3, Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council said it had drawn up a committee tasked with examining al-Obeidi’s claims.
Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in a phone call on Aug. 3 discussed the importance of sustaining the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and efforts to enhance Baghdad’s security, the White House said.
The leaders also discussed “the urgency of humanitarian and stabilization efforts for the Mosul campaign and the importance of mobilizing international support for those efforts,” the White House said in a statement, according to Reuters.
On the same day, Col. Chris Garver, a spokesman for the anti-ISIL coalition, said ISIL fighters inside the jihadist group’s Iraqi stronghold of Mosul were “weakening” and showing signs of frustration ahead of a battle to recapture the city.
Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition trainers and air power, have for months been edging toward Mosul, Iraq’s second city and home to 2 million people. ISIL has controlled it since June 2014.
“We see them weakening inside Mosul,” Garver was quoted as saying by AFP. “We do see some indications that morale is lower.”
For instance, senior commanders are executing subordinates for “failure on the battlefield,” Garver said, adding that ISIL leaders were “not happy with where they are in Mosul.”
Jihadists, concerned that city residents are communicating with Iraqi security forces, have started cutting off internet access.
The same thing happened in Fallujah and Ramadi before each of those cities was recaptured, Garver said.
Still, he cautioned, the eventual fight for Mosul – which is expected to begin in the coming months – will not be easy.
“We still anticipate that somewhere between 5,000 or so fighters are inside Mosul,” Garver said. “We’re still anticipating a tough fight.”