Report: 20 Iraqi journalists killed in 2016

As many as 20 Iraqi journalists were killed this year, bringing the total number of journalists killed since the US occupation of Iraq in 2003 to 455, a new report has found. The Iraqi Journalists Syndicate said in a report posted on its website that a majority of the victims were killed by Daesh mainly in the Nineveh province in the north of the country. The report pointed to the significant risks faced by journalists in Iraq, and said that “journalists also face threats of murder as an attempt to prevent the fourth power from carrying out its role and investigation.” “Journalistic work is dangerous in Iraq and there is no law to save the life of journalists from threats […]

Kerry: Status quo in Israel leading to continued occupation

Israel’s actions in the West Bank are leading towards a one state solution and continued occupation of the Palestinians, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned in a speech today. Speaking at a press conference in which he was expected to slam Israeli policies of settler expansion and occupation of Palestinians, Kerry said: “No one thinking seriously about peace can ignore the reality that settlements post to theta peace.” “It’s not just a question of the overall amount of land available in the West Bank, it’s whether the land can be connected or is broken up into small parcels like Swiss cheese that could never constitute a real state,” Kerry said. The more outposts that are built, the more the […]

Syrian opposition discuss ceasefire proposal with Turkey

Syria’s main opposition groups were discussing with Turkey a ceasefire proposal being negotiated with Russia but had rejected Moscow’s demand to exclude one of their strongholds near the capital from any deal, a senior opposition official said today. Munir Al-Sayal, the head of the political wing of Ahrar Al-Sham, whose group is involved in the talks with Turkey, said it was premature to talk about any chances of success. “Discussions are going on with Turkish sponsorship but the Russian enemy is trying to exclude the Eastern Ghouta of Damascus from any attempt towards a comprehensive ceasefire in Syria that would be accepted by the revolution’s factions,” he told Reuters. Turkey’s foreign minister said today that Turkey and Russia have prepared […]

Israel approves settler building in occupied East Jerusalem

Israel approved construction of a multi-storey building for settlers in occupied East Jerusalem today, an NGO said, after postponing authorisation of hundreds of other homes ahead of a speech on the Middle East by the US secretary of state. The Obama administration provoked the Israeli government’s fury on Friday by failing to block the passage of an anti-settlement resolution in the UN Security Council. Secretary of State John Kerry is giving a speech today laying out his vision for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In it he said the “status quo is leading towards one state and continued occupation.” “No one thinking seriously about peace can ignore reality that settlements pose to that peace,” Kerry said during a press conference today. […]

Iran’s poor forced to seek shelter in graves

Iranian social media activists have disseminated shocking images showing approximately 50 impoverished people living in graves near the capital Tehran, causing widespread outrage against the theocratic regime. Several Iranian celebrities and media figures, including internationally acclaimed film director Asghar Farhadi, have blasted the Iranian authorities for the “shameful” images that show poor Iranians living in pitiful conditions amidst the graves at Shahriar cemetery, west of Tehran. According to an outlet close to the Iranian regime, ISNA, Farhadi wrote a letter to President Hassan Rouhani yesterday lamenting the state of these Iranian citizens: “I saw a report on the lives of the men, women and children in the graves inside a cemetery near Tehran, and my very being was filled with […]

The Battle of Aleppo is Putin’s gift to Trump

Those who serve as guarantors in the Syrian crisis, as it relates to the Geneva agreement and the beginning of the Vienna peace talks, are the same powers that have a hand in the situation on the ground and are ready to start sharing power in the division of the Syrian pie. They include the US and Europe on one side, the Gulf States and the United Nations. Furthermore, the Turkish, Iranian and Russian defence ministers met this week to discuss the roadmap post-Aleppo and cancel a plan for a transitional operation for a presidential election that had been agreed previously. The survival of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is guaranteed, as are the survival of Russian, Iranian and Turkish interests. […]

Why can we blame refugee policy for terrorism in Europe but not foreign policy?

When WikiLeaks published an article in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks suggesting that aggressive British, US and French foreign policy might be held partly responsible for the killings in Paris, Julian Assange bore the predictable brunt of an outraged phalanx of armchair warriors. The neoconservatives, muscular liberals and weekend international affairs experts piled into him. It was a familiar pattern. They pulled the “apologist” card, a nonsense term that means anyone not wailing ostentatiously about deaths at the hands of terrorists is actually a heartless traitor. It was as if foreign policy by Western governments towards Muslims countries is always executed so perfectly, and is always so morally unimpeachable, that to do anything after it backfires apart from […]

UK instrumental in getting anti-settlement resolution passed

Britain played a leading behind the scene role in pushing through last Friday’s UN Security Council resolution, which declared Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal and as having “no legal validity” and a “flagrant violation under international law.” Resolution 2334 was adopted 14-0 with the US abstaining. Israel accused Britain and the US of pulling the strings in making sure it was adopted by the 15 member UN body. Israel has mainly directed its anger towards the Obama administration but Britain’s role has also been singled out. Speaking to the US media, Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, said: “This is not a text that was formulated by the Palestinians or Egypt, but by a […]

Israel halts aid to Angola over anti-settlement UN vote

Israel has stopped foreign assistance to Angola after it voting in favour of the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements built in the occupied Palestinian territories and demanding their construction be stopped, Israeli radio said on Tuesday. The station added that Israel’s Ambassador to Angola, Oren Rosenblatt, informed Angolan officials of Tel Aviv’s decision. Israel will also shut down an international aid agency it operates in Angola which brings individuals from the country to Israel in order to gain exposure to advanced agricultural and manufacturing technology. Israel has also stopped foreign assistance to Senegal over the vote. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said on Tuesday that Israel was “temporarily reducing” visits and work with embassies of nations that voted […]