Iraq parties in talks over new PM amid unrelenting protests Dec 03, 2019 0 98 12345 AFPBaghdadIraq’s rival parties were negotiating the contours of a new government on Monday, after the previous cabinet was brought down by a two-month protest movement insisting on even more deep-rooted change.After just over a year in power, premier Adel Abdel Mahdi formally resigned Sunday after a dramatic intervention by top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.That followed a wave of violence that pushed the protest toll to over 420 dead -- the vast majority demonstrators.Parliament on Sunday formally tasked President Barham Saleh with naming a new candidate, as prescribed by the constitution.But Iraq’s competing factions typically engage in drawn-out discussions and horsetrading before any official decisions are made.Talks over a new premier began even before Abdel Mahdi’s formal resignation, a senior political source and a government official told AFP. “The meetings are ongoing now,” the political source added.Such discussions produced Abdel Mahdi as a candidate in 2018, but agreeing on a single name is expected to be more difficult this time around.“They understand it has to be a figure who is widely accepted by the diverse centres of power, not objected to by the marjaiyah (Shiite religious establishment), and not hated by the street,” said Harith Hasan, a fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center.The candidate would also have to be acceptable to Iraq’s two main allies, arch-rivals Washington and Tehran.“The Iranians invested a lot in the political equation in last few years and won’t be willing to give up easily,” said Hasan.Tehran’s pointman on Iraq Qassem Soleimani, who heads the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ foreign operations arm, was in Iraq for talks on the political crisis, government sources told AFP.Protesters hit the streets in October in Iraq’s capital and Shiite-majority south to denounce the ruling system as corrupt, inept and under the sway of foreign powers. POST A COMMENT RELATED ARTICLES Israel’s Netanyahu given until January 1 to request immunity Dec 03, 2019 0 115 DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE IN KUWAIT Dec 03, 2019 0 142 Iran the common villain in Middle East protests: Pompeo Dec 03, 2019 0 101 30 killed across Syria as violence escalates AFP Maaret al-Numan, Syria Air strikes killed 19 civilians on Monday in Syria’s last major opposition bastion, the site of the deadliest clashes between regime forces and armed groups since an August ceasefire came into .. Demonstrator killed in new anti-UN protest in DR Congo Beni: A young man was killed and five other people were wounded on Monday in a new protest against UN forces in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an AFP reporter saw. Demonstrations have erupted in the city of .. Burkina Faso begins military operation after church attack Ouagadougou: Security forces on Monday launched a military search operation after 14 people were killed in a “barbaric attack” on a Protestant church in Burkina Faso’s east, authorities said. Security personnel were .. 17 killed, 36 injured in Morocco bus crash Rabat: A bus crash in northern Morocco killed 17 people as the vehicle overturned, the health ministry said on Monday, in the second such accident in North Africa the same day. The bus crashed on Sunday near Taza, a town .. Air strikes in Libyan capital kill five, says govt health ministry Tripoli: At least five civilians were killed and 10 wounded in overnight air strikes in a suburb of Libya’s capital, the unity government’s health ministry said on Monday. “Violent air raids on the residential area of .. S Sudan compound attacked by gunmen Juba: An international aid organisation said on Monday that a group of armed men had stormed their compound in northeastern South Sudan, assaulting and injuring five staff members. Relief International said the attack .. Iran unrest killed ‘at least 208’: Amnesty International AFP LondoN At least 208 people are believed to have been killed during a crackdown on protests in Iran last month that followed a sharp fuel price hike, Amnesty International said on Monday. “The number of people believed ..