The war in Ukraine has likely sent Russia's economy back to 2018 — but it's still a smaller contraction than experts expected

Associated Press

Rival Iraq protests underscore inter-Shiite power struggle

Supporters of Iran-backed Shiite groups rallied in Baghdad on Friday to denounce their rivals, followers of an influential Shiite cleric who stormed the parliament last month and have since been holding a sit-in outside the assembly building in the Iraqi capital. The rivalry between the two sides shows the deep divisions within Iraq’s Shiite community, which makes up about 60% of Iraq’s population of over 40 million people. Unlike Iran-backed groups, cleric Muqtada al-Sadr wants better ties with Arab countries, including Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia, which is Shiite Iran’s main rival in the region.

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