An Iraqi woman and a girl walk past an electoral banner for former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that was damaged by a storm the day before, in the capital Baghdad on April 28, 2018.  / AFP PHOTO / SABAH ARAR
An Iraqi woman and a girl walk past an electoral banner for former Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki that was damaged by a storm the day before, in the capital Baghdad on April 28, 2018. AFP

Iraq's Maliki sidelined as Kurds and Sunnis seek Sadr coalition



Iraq's Kurdish and Sunni blocs have expressed their willingness to form a coalition with election winner Moqtada Al Sadr, an indication that former Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, who is seeking power, could lose his grip over the country's political scene.

Mr Al Sadr's Sairoon bloc and Mr Al Maliki's State of Law coalition have been competing to strike a deal with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) as well as Sunni blocs to establish the biggest ruling alliance in parliament.

"There are signs of agreement between the Kurds and the Sunnis to ally with Sairoon," Raed Fahmi, a prominent politician in Sairoon's bloc said on Sunday.

Yet, Kurdish parties will play a central role in the formation of the next government as they collectively secured over 40 seats in the May elections. They have yet to officially announce their alliance.

The Kurdish parties have set conditions for allying with the major blocs, PUK leader Arez Abduallah said in a statement.

"Our conditions are constitutional and include the existence of a government with a true national partnership that is in balance with the constitution," Mr Abduallah said, adding that his party will ally with the bloc that is "consistent with our political vision".

The development is seen as a blow to Mr Al Maliki's efforts as he seeks to gain support from the northern Iraqi parties. During his time in power, he was criticised for alienating Sunnis and Kurds by excluding them from key positions and undermining power-sharing in Iraq.

_______________

Read more:

Sadr and Abadi lead major coalition seeking to be next Iraq government

Iraq's Abadi pulled by competing US and Iranian forces

Iraq forms committee to investigate corruption amid ongoing unrest

Iraq completes election recount

_______________

May's parliamentary elections saw electoral lists led Mr Al Sadr and Iranian-backed militia chief Hadi Al Amiri win the largest number of seats out of the 329 seat house.

Mr Al Sadr, who is leading a quartet of major parties with 136 seats, needs to secure 28 more to form a parliamentary majority.

Kurdish parties have previously been in talks with Mr Al Maliki to join his State of Law bloc, which won 26 seats, along with Mr Al Amiri's Fateh bloc which won 47 seats.

The two proposed coalitions account for around 249 seats between them, meaning that 80 seats held by smaller parties and individuals would hold the balance of power.

But there is no word on how close to an agreement the parties are, although officials from the two blocs are expected to visit Iraqi Kurdistan next week in hopes of announcing a deal.

Mr Al Maliki is a small player in the Iraqi parliament, with three or four seats out of his bloc who are loyal to him, said Michael Knights, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

"However, he’s a natural politician, so he can bring people together and make deals, and this is why you talk to him," Mr Knights said, adding that he would have a limited role if Mr Al Sadr formed a government.

Iraqi President Fuad Masum held talks on Friday with Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi on the latest political developments, stressing the need to speed up the negotiation process to form the largest bloc in government.

The results of May's elections were only ratified by the supreme court on August 19 following allegations of fraud forced a partial recount of ballots.

Mr Al Abadi is heading a fragile caretaker government until its replacement can be agreed and has already had to contend with mass protests across the south at the state of basic government services.

The court's decision paves the way for Mr Masum to summon lawmakers to an inaugural session of the new, 329-seat house. In theory, parliament should then proceed to elect a speaker, a president and a prime minister, who will, in turn, form a new government within 90 days.

THE SPECS

Aston Martin Rapide AMR

Engine: 6.0-litre V12

Transmission: Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic

Power: 595bhp

Torque: 630Nm

Price: Dh999,563

Ad Astra

Director: James Gray

Stars: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones

Five out of five stars 

The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

COMPANY PROFILE


Company name: Clara
Started: 2019
Founders: Patrick Rogers, Lee McMahon, Arthur Guest, Ahmed Arif
Based: Dubai
Industry: LegalTech
Funding size: $4 million of seed financing
Investors: Wamda Capital, Shorooq Partners, Techstars, 500 Global, OTF, Venture Souq, Knuru Capital, Plug and Play and The LegalTech Fund

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

'Hocus Pocus 2'

Director: Anne Fletcher

Stars: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy

Rating: 3.5/5

Why does a queen bee feast only on royal jelly?

Some facts about bees:

The queen bee eats only royal jelly, an extraordinary food created by worker bees so she lives much longer

The life cycle of a worker bee is from 40-60 days

A queen bee lives for 3-5 years

This allows her to lay millions of eggs and allows the continuity of the bee colony

About 20,000 honey bees and one queen populate each hive

Honey is packed with vital vitamins, minerals, enzymes, water and anti-oxidants.

Apart from honey, five other products are royal jelly, the special food bees feed their queen 

Pollen is their protein source, a super food that is nutritious, rich in amino acids

Beewax is used to construct the combs. Due to its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial elements, it is used in skin treatments

Propolis, a resin-like material produced by bees is used to make hives. It has natural antibiotic qualities so works to sterilize hive,  protects from disease, keeps their home free from germs. Also used to treat sores, infection, warts

Bee venom is used by bees to protect themselves. Has anti-inflammatory properties, sometimes used to relieve conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, nerve and muscle pain

Honey, royal jelly, pollen have health enhancing qualities

The other three products are used for therapeutic purposes

Is beekeeping dangerous?

As long as you deal with bees gently, you will be safe, says Mohammed Al Najeh, who has worked with bees since he was a boy.

“The biggest mistake people make is they panic when they see a bee. They are small but smart creatures. If you move your hand quickly to hit the bees, this is an aggressive action and bees will defend themselves. They can sense the adrenalin in our body. But if we are calm, they are move away.”

 

 

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Coming soon

Torno Subito by Massimo Bottura

When the W Dubai – The Palm hotel opens at the end of this year, one of the highlights will be Massimo Bottura’s new restaurant, Torno Subito, which promises “to take guests on a journey back to 1960s Italy”. It is the three Michelinstarred chef’s first venture in Dubai and should be every bit as ambitious as you would expect from the man whose restaurant in Italy, Osteria Francescana, was crowned number one in this year’s list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Akira Back Dubai

Another exciting opening at the W Dubai – The Palm hotel is South Korean chef Akira Back’s new restaurant, which will continue to showcase some of the finest Asian food in the world. Back, whose Seoul restaurant, Dosa, won a Michelin star last year, describes his menu as,  “an innovative Japanese cuisine prepared with a Korean accent”.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

The highly experimental chef, whose dishes are as much about spectacle as taste, opens his first restaurant in Dubai next year. Housed at The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal will feature contemporary twists on recipes that date back to the 1300s, including goats’ milk cheesecake. Always remember with a Blumenthal dish: nothing is quite as it seems. 

Race card

5pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,600m
5.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m
6pm: Arabian Triple Crown Round-1 Listed (PA) Dh230,000 (T) 1,600m
6.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,400m
7pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m
7.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh100,000 (T) 2,400m