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Iraq’s Sadr calls for mass protests against US presence

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Firebrand Iraqi leader Moqtada Sadr called Tuesday for a “million-strong march” against the presence of US troops in Iraq, days after parliament voted for their departure following Washington’s killing of an Iranian general in a Baghdad drone strike.

“The skies, land and sovereignty of Iraq are being violated every day by occupying forces,” the Shiite cleric turned populist politician wrote on Twitter.

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He urged Iraqis to hold “a million-strong, peaceful, unified demonstration to condemn the American presence and its violations”, without giving a date.

Washington on January 3 killed a revered Iranian general, Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani, in a strike that also killed a senior Iraqi military official.

The Iraqi parliament responded by voting on January 5 to oust foreign forces — including some 5,200 American troops — who have been backing the fight against Islamic State jihadists since 2014.

Soleimani’s killing also came weeks into mass anti-government demonstrations in Baghdad and the country’s south, condemning politicians seen as corrupt, inept and under the sway of both the US and Iran.

The rallies have persisted throughout but shifted to include calls for Iraq to be spared any conflict between Iran and the US.

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Iraq has been in political paralysis since the resignation of prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, with pro- and anti-Iran factions unable to agree on a candidate to form a new government.

Protesters have rejected the possibility of reinstating Abdel Mahdi.

“The people reject that,” said Hussin Ali Abdul Hussein, a demonstrator in Karbala, south of the capital. “We don’t want to recycle the rubbish, we want a prime minister the public can accept.”

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The protest movement and the ensuing crackdown by security forces has left around 460 people dead, mostly protesters. Activists have also faced a campaign of intimidation, abductions and killings.

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Lev Parnas spins wild tales of Trumpian corruption — and we know most of them are true

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Following the rules of an anachronistic 18th-century ritual, the House managers walked in formation to the Senate to deliver the articles of impeachment on Thursday. The sergeant at arms informed the senators that if they speak during the trial they could be imprisoned, and then the chief justice arrived in his robes accompanied by four senators. He then administered the constitutionally prescribed oath to deliver impartial justice to the assembled senators, after which, one by one, they signed their names to a book. The only thing missing was the white wigs.

This article was originally published at Salon

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‘Trump corrupts’: Conservative columnist stunned by GOP ‘meltdown’ amid new evidence of president’s guilt

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Conservative Matt Lewis has written a new column for The Daily Beast in which he documents how Republican senators are "melting down" amid damning new evidence showing that President Donald Trump tried to extort Ukraine to investigate his political opponents.

In particular, he points to Sen. Martha McSally's (R-AZ) on-air tirade against CNN reporter Manu Raju on Thursday as evidence that GOP senators are coming unglued as they face pressure to acquit the president even as more proof emerges that shows he deserves to be convicted.

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‘Jealous’ Trump mocked as a ‘self-loathing manbaby with crippling insecurities’ after latest Bloomberg rant

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President Donald Trump started off the day by lobbing an attack on Mike Bloomberg, and other social media users suspected he was jealous of the billionaire's wealth.

The former New York City mayor has been spending millions on TV ads in his bid for the Democratic nomination, and the president grumbled about him on Twitter.

"Mini Mike Bloomberg doesn’t get on the Democrat Debate Stage because he doesn’t want to - he is a terrible debater and speaker," Trump tweeted. "If he did, he would go down in the polls even more (if that is possible!)."

Mini Mike Bloomberg doesn’t get on the Democrat Debate Stage because he doesn’t want to - he is a terrible debater and speaker. If he did, he would go down in the polls even more (if that is possible!).

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