Barzani accuses successive Iraqi governments of suppressing Kurds

The Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani yesterday accused the successive Iraqi governments of suppressing the Kurds and pushing them to vote in a referendum on independence from Iraq. Barzani said in a statement that “the Kurds have experienced 100 years of suffering with the Iraqi governments.” “The Kurds decided to hold the referendum in order to avoid war, reach peace and achieve independence,” he said, adding that this is their right and its implementation does not mean antagonising any component in Iraq. Barzani concluded by pointing out that Iraq must realise that the Kurdish people are not the reason that the country’s unity would be dismantled. Read: Kurds moving firmly towards independence referendum, says Barzani Kurds in three provinces; Erbil, Sulaymaniyah […]

American-Russian rivalry in east Syria

The US-Russian rivalry over the legacy of Daesh in the eastern part of Syria is raging, especially in Deir Ez-Zor. While the US launched a violent air and artillery attack on the city of Raqqa on 6 June, relying on the Syrian Democratic Forces on the ground which is mostly made up of Kurds, the Russians launched an even more violent air and missile attack on Deir Ez-Zor, relying on the Syrian regime’s forces and its Shia militias on the ground. There is no doubt that the coincidence of the American attack on Raqqa with the Russian attack on Deir Ez-Zor reveals a deal between the two sides, as pointed out by David Ignatius in an article published in the […]

Hamas says relations with Cairo have passed tense stage

A senior Hamas official said on Sunday that Ismail Haniyeh’s visit to Cairo is part of the movement’s policy to seek “good” and “balanced” relations with the Arab and Islamic world, Quds Press has reported. “The visit to Cairo is the completion of several steps taken by the movement within a couple of months in the context of improving its relationship with Cairo,” explained Osama Hamdan. “Such a visit brings to an end the stagnation stage of relations between us during which suspicions were aroused by different sides aiming to connect Hamas to the security issues in Egypt.” Hamas, insisted the movement’s senior official in Lebanon, has succeeded in passing the tense stage in its relations with the government in […]

Israel confiscates Palestinian farmers’ machinery in Jordan Valley

Israeli forces yesterday confiscated several Palestinian agricultural vehicles in the occupied Jordan Valley near Tubas city. Moataz Bisharat, the Palestinian official in charge of Jordan Valley’s Israeli settlements file at the Palestinian Authority (PA), told Quds Press that an Israeli army force, accompanied by the occupation municipality crews, stormed the eastern area of Tubas city and seized three agricultural vehicles owned by Palestinian farmers. The machinery was confiscated under the pretext that the equipment is “not licensed for use and are being used on Israeli territory”, Bisharat added. Through these attacks, the occupation seeks to force the Palestinian farmers to leave their land in order to build new settlements, he noted. Al-Ras Al-Ahmar is home to 22 Palestinian families surviving […]

Spain to extradite 2 ‘militants’ to Algeria

The Spanish Council of Ministers has granted Algeria its request to extradite two Mozabite “militants” accused of terrorism by Algiers. The two Algerians, Salah Abbouna and Khodhir Sekkouti, have been detained since July 2016 in the Spanish enclave of Melilla in Morocco for having participated in “activities against the Algerian government and  published explicit invitations to commit violence and actions against state security and national unity” on social networking sites between 2013 and 2016. Abbouna and Sekkouti had been exiled to Morocco in October and November 2015 respectively and thereafter subjected to international arrest warrants and then arrested in July 2016 by Spanish authorities in Melilla where they intended to seek political asylum. The men have been accused by Algerian […]

Israel: At least 1 in 6 female soldiers sexually harassed

One in six female Israeli soldiers said they had been sexually harassed during their military service in 2016, although actual figures could be much higher, according to a report released by the army yesterday. The results of the internal survey, conducted by the Chief of Staff’s Gender Advisor that questioned thousands of women in a variety of roles, found that 16 per cent of female soldiers had reported experiences of sexual harassment. Nine per cent had been harassed multiple times, according to the Times of Israel. However, when women were asked indirectly about sexual harassment, the survey found the rate may be much higher than the number of reported incidents. When asked about their level of comfort at military facilities, […]

Palestinian activist arrested at London arms expo

British police arrested a pro-Palestinian human rights activist on Friday during protests against one of the largest arms expos being held in the London ExCeL centre. The venue has been the chosen location for Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition (DSEI), which advertises itself as “the world leading” arms industry fair. It opened for business last week despite wide scale condemnation from politicians and campaigners alike. Police arrested British Palestinian, Huda Ammori, close to the site for “wilful obstruction of the highway”. Ammori, who can be seen handcuffed by the police told MEMO that “at the time of [my] arrest I was stood on the pavement, after crossing the road and asking a truck driver approaching the arms fair to […]

Israel blocking visas for Palestinians’ foreign spouses in West Bank

The Israeli authorities are making it increasingly difficult for Palestinians’ foreign spouses to stay in the Occupied West Bank, according to a report by Amira Hass in Israeli newspaper Haaretz. According to the paper, in recent months “citizens of foreign countries who are married to Palestinian residents of the West Bank have noticed that Israel has been putting more limits on their ability to stay put.” Some women who are married to Palestinians, who until recently received visas from the Israeli occupation authorities for six or seven months, are now being given “visas valid for just over two weeks and which must be renewed over and over”. Meetings between these women and the relevant Israeli official “led them to conclude […]

Al-Shabaab attacks Somali border town, kills 10

The Al-Shabaab armed group attacked a border town and ambushed a Somali military base killing 10, Reuters reported. Balad Hawo, a Somali border town near Kenya was attacked by Al-Shabaab using a suicide car bomb, a fierce gun-battle with Somali forces then erupted. “We were awoken by a suicide car bomb this morning and then fierce battle followed,” Major Mohamed Abdullahi said. “We lost at least 10 soldiers. We chased Al-Shabaab out of the town. We killed seven militants,” he continued. Al-Shabaab claimed that they killed 24 Somali soldiers. Read: Al-Shabaab raids leave 15,000 civilians displaced “Al Shabaab captured the military base, the police station and most part of the town,” a local shopkeeper said. “But still we hear heavy exchange […]