Gas cylinder explosion in Iraq’s Sulaimaniyah kills 15 people | News

The gasoline cylinder explosion brought about a fireplace in a residential space, injuring dozens and destroying a number of homes and autos.

The demise toll from a gasoline cylinder explosion in a residential space of the northern Iraqi metropolis of Sulaimaniyah has risen to fifteen.

Thursday’s explosion, which brought about a home to break down, additionally left 16 individuals injured.

Sulaimaniyah’s civil defence stated on Friday that the rescue operation to seek out the victims lasted 17 hours.

Firefighters managed to include the fireplace that broke out after the gasoline cylinder exploded within the second-largest metropolis within the Kurdish area of northern Iraq.

“A complete of 15 our bodies have been pulled out from underneath the rubble,” stated the top of civil defence within the metropolis, Diyar Ibrahim, in keeping with the official Iraqi Information Company.

Ibrahim stated search operations continued into the early hours of Friday, including that there have been no extra our bodies underneath the rubble.

The town’s emergency response chief, Saman Nader, blamed the blast on “a gasoline leak from a tank”.

People gather as firefighters search for victims and survivors under the rubble of a building which collapsed after gas tank exploded, in the northern Iraqi city of Suleimaniyah, on November 18, 2022. - The search for victims trapped under the rubble continues, after at least 11 people were killed, local authorities said. (Photo by Shwan MOHAMMED / AFP)
The seek for victims trapped underneath the rubble lasted 17 hours, Sulaimaniyah’s civil defence stated [Shwan Mohammed/AFP]

Police stated the fireplace broken a number of homes and destroyed no less than 5 autos. It additionally stated no less than three homes had been destroyed by the explosion.

A cooking gasoline cylinder was put in on the rooftop of one of many properties within the residential space.

The governor of Sulaimaniyah province, Haval Abubaker, introduced three days of mourning earlier on Friday. He added that no less than one little one was among the many victims.

Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Authorities, has ordered an investigation.

Infrastructure tragedies are frequent in Iraq, which suffers from poorly enforced security requirements.

On the finish of October, a gasoline tanker exploded within the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killing no less than 9 individuals and injuring a number of others, safety forces stated.

In April 2021, no less than 82 individuals had been killed and greater than 100 injured in a fireplace that broke out within the coronavirus intensive care unit of a Baghdad hospital, when improperly saved oxygen cylinders exploded.

Iraq’s Sadrist camp refuses to join new government | Politics News

Affiliate of Muslim chief Moqtada al-Sadr says new authorities to be shaped by Mohammad Shia al-Sudani has a ‘clear subordination to militias’.

Iraqi firebrand chief Moqtada al-Sadr’s motion introduced its refusal to affix a brand new authorities being shaped by Prime Minister-designate Mohammad Shia al-Sudani.

Saturday’s announcement got here two days after lawmakers elected Abdul Latif Rashid as Iraq’s new president, and he swiftly named al-Sudani as prime minister in a bid to finish a 12 months of political gridlock for the reason that October 2021 elections.

“We stress our agency and clear refusal for any of our associates to take part … on this authorities formation,” Mohammed Saleh al-Iraqi, an in depth affiliate of al-Sadr, mentioned on Twitter.

The 52-year-old Shia former minister al-Sudani has the backing of al-Sadr’s Iran-backed rivals, the Coordination Framework, which controls 138 out of 329 seats within the Iraqi legislature.

In June, al-Sadr ordered the 73 legislators in his bloc to resign, leaving parliament within the palms of the Framework, which incorporates representatives of the previous paramilitary power Hashd al-Shaabi.

In his assertion on Saturday, al-Iraqi alleged the incoming authorities has a “clear subordination to militias” and would “not meet the folks’s aspirations”.

The Sadrist official mentioned the motion refused to participate in any authorities led by al-Sudani “or every other candidate from among the many previous faces or these affiliated with the corrupt”.

“Anybody who joins their ministries doesn’t signify us … Moderately, we disavow them,” al-Iraqi mentioned.

Snap elections have been held final 12 months following nationwide protests that erupted in October 2019 to decry endemic corruption, decaying infrastructure, and the absence of providers and jobs for youth.

The stakes are excessive for the following cupboard with a colossal $87bn in revenues from oil exports locked up within the central financial institution’s coffers.

The cash may also help rebuild infrastructure within the war-ravaged nation, however it could solely be invested after legislators approve a state finances offered by the federal government, as soon as shaped.

Al-Sudani promised on Thursday to push via “financial reforms” that will revitalise Iraq’s business, agriculture and personal sector.

The prime minister-designate additionally promised to supply younger Iraqis “employment alternatives and housing”.

Al-Sadr, who has the power to mobilise tens of hundreds of his supporters with a single tweet, has repeatedly demanded early elections, whereas the Coordination Framework needs a brand new authorities in place earlier than any polls are held.

Tensions between the 2 rival Shia camps boiled over on August 29 when greater than 30 al-Sadr supporters have been killed in clashes with Iran-backed factions and the military in Baghdad’s Inexperienced Zone, which homes authorities buildings and diplomatic missions.

Photos: Iraq’s mighty Tigris river is drying up | Environment News

It was the river that’s mentioned to have watered the biblical Backyard of Eden and helped give delivery to civilisation itself.

However immediately the Tigris is dying.

Human exercise and local weather change have choked its as soon as mighty circulate by way of Iraq, the place, with its twin river the Euphrates, it made Mesopotamia a cradle of civilisation 1000’s of years in the past.

Iraq could also be oil wealthy however the nation is stricken by poverty after many years of struggle and by droughts and desertification.

Battered by one pure catastrophe after one other, it is among the 5 nations most uncovered to local weather change, in accordance with the United Nations.

From April onwards, temperatures exceed 35 levels Celsius (95 levels Fahrenheit) and intense sandstorms usually flip the sky orange, masking the nation in a movie of mud.

Hellish summers see the mercury prime a blistering 50 levels Celsius, close to the restrict of human endurance, with frequent energy cuts shutting down air con for thousands and thousands.

The Tigris, the lifeline connecting the storied cities of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra, has been choked by dams, most of them upstream in Turkey, and falling rainfall.

The Tigris’s course by way of Iraq begins within the mountains of northern Iraq’s Kurdish area, close to the borders of Turkey and Syria, the place native individuals increase sheep and develop potatoes.

Iraq’s authorities and Kurdish farmers accuse Turkey, the place the Tigris has its supply, of withholding water in its dams, dramatically lowering the circulate into Iraq.

In accordance with Iraqi official statistics, the extent of the Tigris coming into Iraq has dropped to only 35 p.c of its common over the previous century.

Baghdad often asks Ankara to launch extra water.

However Turkey’s ambassador to Iraq, Ali Riza Guney, urged Iraq to “use the obtainable water extra effectively”, tweeting in July that “water is essentially wasted in Iraq”.

All that’s left of the river Diyala, a tributary that meets the Tigris close to the capital, Baghdad, within the central plains, are puddles of stagnant water dotting its parched mattress.

Drought has dried up the watercourse that’s essential to the area’s agriculture.

This yr authorities have been pressured to scale back Iraq’s cultivated areas by half, that means no crops will probably be grown within the badly-hit Diyala governorate.

The World Financial institution warned final yr that a lot of Iraq is more likely to face an identical destiny.

“By 2050 a temperature enhance of 1 diploma Celsius and a precipitation lower of 10 p.c would trigger a 20 p.c discount of obtainable freshwater,” it mentioned.

The Worldwide Group for Migration mentioned final month that “local weather components” had displaced greater than 3,300 households in Iraq’s central and southern areas within the first three months of this yr.

This summer season in Baghdad, the extent of the Tigris dropped so low that individuals performed volleyball in the midst of the river, splashing barely waist-deep by way of its waters.

Iraq’s Ministry of Water Sources blames silt due to the river’s decreased circulate, with sand and soil as soon as washed downstream now settling to kind sandbanks.

Till not too long ago the Baghdad authorities used heavy equipment to dredge the silt, however with money tight, work has slowed.

Years of struggle have destroyed a lot of Iraq’s water infrastructure, with many cities, factories, farms and even hospitals left to dump their waste straight into the river.

As sewage and garbage from Larger Baghdad pour into the shrinking Tigris, the air pollution creates a concentrated poisonous soup that threatens marine life and human well being.

Environmental insurance policies haven’t been a excessive precedence for Iraqi governments scuffling with political, safety and financial crises.

Ecological consciousness additionally stays low among the many normal public, mentioned activist Hajer Hadi of the Inexperienced Local weather group, even when “each Iraqi feels local weather change by way of rising temperatures, decrease rainfall, falling water ranges and dirt storms,” she mentioned.

However one other menace is affecting the Shatt al-Arab: salt water from the Gulf is pushing ever additional upstream because the river circulate declines.

The United Nations and native farmers say rising salination is already hitting farm yields, in a development set to worsen as world warming raises sea ranges.

Final month native authorities reported that salt ranges within the river north of Basra reached 6,800 elements per million, almost seven instances that of recent water.

Iraq’s political dysfunction just got worse | Politics

On August 29, the influential Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr went on Twitter to announce that he would retire from politics. It wasn’t the primary time he has declared his intention to give up politics, however this announcement got here at a very tense second for Iraq.

Grand Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri, one other cleric whose followers embrace numerous Sadrists, had simply introduced his resignation, asking the nation’s Shia inhabitants to obey Iran’s chief, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. To supporters of al-Sadr, who has pitched himself as a pillar of resistance towards Iran’s affect in Iraq, al-Haeri’s resignation was proof of Tehran’s makes an attempt to weaken their motion.

Quickly after al-Sadr’s tweet, 1000’s of his followers stormed the Iraqi capital’s Inexperienced Zone, the Republican Palace and key authorities buildings in Baghdad and within the provinces. Baghdad witnessed violent intra-Shia confrontations between al-Sadr’s supporters and a wide range of armed teams loyal to totally different factions inside the Shia Coordination Framework, a pro-Iran set of events. Since al-Sadr’s tweet asserting his resignation, greater than 30 individuals have been killed and a whole lot injured. Then, amid the specter of an inner struggle amongst Iraq’s Shia, al-Sadr picked tv over Twitter to deal with his supporters, ordering them to finish the protests. They did, additional confirming al-Sadr’s affect.

But the complete episode doesn’t characterize a win for him. For Iraq, sadly, the information is worse, with the additional erosion within the nation’s means to search out any assembly floor between its battling political factions.

The set off

In Iraq’s October 2021 parliamentary elections, al-Sadr emerged with the only largest variety of seats. He allied with two different main winners of the election: the Sunni “Sovereignty Alliance” and the Kurdistan Democratic Social gathering.

Al-Sadr’s try at authorities formation confronted sturdy resistance from the Coordination Framework, a broader amalgamation of primarily Shia events that features influential Shia political figures. This bloc has been calling for the continuation of the classical post-2003 consensus mannequin of governance, below which an administration successfully must take pleasure in a two-thirds majority, and never only a easy one, to rule. Whereas this grouping didn’t win anyplace near the numbers itself, it had sufficient seats in parliament to dam the Sadrists from claiming the assist of two-thirds of the legislature.

Then, in February this yr, the Iraqi Supreme Courtroom, swayed by Iranian affect, interpreted the Iraqi structure in a approach that turned the necessity for a two-thirds majority right into a decree. Successfully, because of this any Iraqi authorities should be an administration of consensus — a failed strategy that laid the grounds for the present violence within the nation.

Sadr’s strategic miscalculation

As al-Sadr didn’t kind his majority authorities, he shocked everybody by ordering his 73 lawmakers to resign from the parliament in June. That was a mistake.

His political energy towards his rivals inside the Shia group comes from two principal playing cards: his seats in parliament and the loyalty of his sturdy and disciplined base. His withdrawal from the legislature diminished his means to affect the subsequent authorities. The Coordination Framework, which just a few months in the past wished to dam authorities formation, now has sufficient seats to rule with out al-Sadr.

As he misplaced his parliamentary clout, he started to reveal his affect by the road mobilisation of his supporters towards the Coordination Framework’s efforts to kind a authorities. Sadrists took over key authorities establishments, together with the parliament. They started calling for a dissolution of the parliament and snap elections.

What’s subsequent?

Whereas the Coordination Framework has to date refused to budge, and right here’s the bitter reality – new elections received’t, by themselves, clear up Iraq’s political dysfunction, simply because the halt to this week’s violence received’t break the nation’s longest political impasse since 2002.

The Coordination Framework has been clear that the grouping intends to maneuver forward with authorities formation. Stability of any type is now depending on whether or not the bloc proposes a consensus determine for prime minister with the blessing of al-Sadr or additional provokes him by pushing by its personal most popular candidate.

The chances don’t favour consensus in the meanwhile. Following al-Sadr’s resignation and the demise of a lot of his supporters within the current violence, there appears to be no frequent floor for a dialogue between his motion and the Coordination Framework. Al-Sadr not has parliamentary affect however his maintain over the Iraqi road means he can probably carry down any authorities in Baghdad.

He’ll probably return to politics, as he has carried out earlier than, and his group will put together itself for the subsequent elections – at any time when they’re held. Iraq’s tortured political journey will proceed, with no clear winners however particular losers: the nation’s individuals.

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.