Iraq's Abadi warns of 'campaign' of incitement against government

Iraq's Abadi warns of 'campaign' of incitement against government
Iraq's PM has vowed to press ahead with reforms, pledging to punish those responsible for wave of kidnappings in Baghdad, and warned of a 'campaign' to undermine government.
3 min read
03 September, 2015
Abadi says the security forces have dealt "professionally" with anti-corruption protests across the country [AFP]
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has warned against what he described as a campaign to oust all authorities in the country by inciting people against the security forces.

Abadi stressed the security services were dealing "professionally" with the protesters, reiterating his intention to press ahead with reforms and anti-corruption efforts.

The Iraqi prime minister said the reforms do not single out anyone, pointing out that he has been fighting against the "legitimisation" of corruption throughout his career in the Iraqi parliament.

Abadi urged people to ignore voices he said posed a threat to the country by downplaying the reforms he is carrying out, because they are affected by them, as he said.

Abadi vowed to punish kidnappers and organised crime gangs in Baghdad, and said he has sent orders to treat them as terrorists.
There are foreign projects to create sedition between religious communities and provinces
- Haider al-Abadi

The Iraqi prime minister also said there were "foreign projects" to create sedition between religious communities, provinces and even people within the same province, and urged the Iraqis to unite and cooperate against such plans.

These remarks came hours after militants abducted 18 Turkish workers, who were working on a stadium construction project east of Baghdad.

Meanwhile, there have been warnings voiced over increased murders, kidnappings and threats in the Iraqi capital over the past several days. Military officials have accused powerful militias of standing behind the wave of kidnappings in the city.

Demands to sack Chief of Justice

On a different note, the Popular Mobilisation committee, an umbrella organisation composed of dozens of mainly Shia militias founded by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has thrown its weight behind Medhat al-Mahmoud, Chief Justice of Iraq.

There have been protests calling for his resignation pursuant to the Abadi-led reform drive. The latest of these protests took place today, Thursday, outside the Higher Judicial Council building.

Security forces quickly rushed to the scene to disperse the protesters.
There have been protests calling for the Chief of Justice to resign over corruption allegations

A statement by the Popular Mobilisation said a visit by its secretary general Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Hadi al-Ameri, leader of the Badr militia, to the Higher Judicial Council was meant to counter "extremist calls" and "meddling" in the judiciary.

The Popular Mobilisation statement claimed such calls could later lead to releasing "terrorists."

The statement cautioned that Abadi's reforms will not succeed without the broad support of the judiciary, stressing that the Popular Mobilisation would defend "order and the state with full force, and stop anyone who tries to exploit the current situation."

The visit by Muhandis and Ameri caused a lot of controversy among both officials and ordinary citizens. It was seen as a clear challenge to Abadi's reforms, part of which target the judiciary, and to the popular demands to sack judges suspected of graft.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition