100 killed in Iraq protests
BBC News, the Guardian, Telegraph, Times, ITV News, Sky News and Reuters report that the UN has called for an end to the “senseless loss of life” in Iraq as the death toll from anti-government protests nears 100. Demonstrators say they are taking a stand against unemployment, poor public services and corruption in the country. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, said: “Five days of deaths and injuries: this must stop.” An Iraqi interior ministry spokesman has said an investigation is underway to determine how protesters were shot dead during six days of unrest.
BBC News, the Guardian, Independent, Financial Times, ITV News, Sky News and Reuters report that the US will step aside for an imminent Turkish operation against Kurdish-led forces in north-eastern Syria. Turkey wants to clear Kurdish militiamen – whom it regards as terrorists – away from the border. The Turks would become responsible for all Islamic State (IS) prisoners in the area, the US statement said. Kurdish YPG fighters have until now received strong support from the US, which has hundreds of troops in Syria and played a leading role defeating IS.
The Times reports that Taliban officials have met the US special envoy for Afghanistan for the first time since peace talks collapsed last month. Despite President Donald Trump declaring the negotiations dead, militant leaders held clandestine talks in Pakistan with Zalmay Khalilzad. The meeting is the first sign that both sides are willing to resume their search for a deal after last month’s setback.
The Guardian, Times, Independent and Sky News report that Saudi Arabia has lifted some restrictions on women travelling, its tourism authority said, with new guidelines allowing women to rent hotel rooms without a male guardian’s presence, and foreign men and women to share a room without proof of marriage.
The Times reports that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has questioned why the UK government is unable to secure her release from jail in Iran after Australia brought back two citizens in an apparent prisoner-swap. Australia confirmed that it had released an Iranian student detained for allegedly breaching US sanctions, despite US demands for his extradition.
Reuters reports that the Iranian Oil Ministry’s website SHANA has quoted Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh as saying that Iran will use every possible way to export its oil.
The Telegraph reports that the parents of “Jihadi Jack” have pleaded for the UK government to allow him home after pictures were published of conditions inside prisons holding IS suspects. Jack Letts, a Muslim convert from Oxfordshire was stripped of his UK citizenship after travelling to the Middle East to join IS.
The Guardian reports that a BBC investigation has found that Shia clerics in Baghdad are advising men on how to abuse girls: “religious ‘pleasure marriages’ are a front for child prostitution”.
Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia is working to remove Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, a Saudi foreign ministry tweet said on Sunday. The tweet followed a meeting in Riyadh between King Salman and the head of Sudan’s transitional sovereign council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and PM Abdalla Hamdok.
Reuters reports that Turkey has summoned a top US diplomat to its foreign ministry on Sunday, a day after the US Embassy’s Twitter account liked a tweet regarding Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the nationalist party who has recently fallen ill.
Reuters reports that the Jordanian government has said it has reached a pay deal with the teachers union to end a one-month strike, the country’s longest public sector strike that disrupted schooling for more than 1.5 million students.
The Independent reports that a 2,200-year-old Egyptian temple from the era of Pharaoh Ptolemy IV has been uncovered on the bank of the Nile. The tomb was discovered by construction workers digging for a sewage drain in the village of Kom Shaku in Tama, according to the Ministry of Antiquities.
In the Independent, Ahmed Aboudouh asks: “Is Egypt’s government really ready to change amid rare protests asking Sisi to go?”
The Independent examines how anti-government protests in Egypt took President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi by surprise.
Israeli Security Cabinet to discuss Iran – all the Israeli media report that the Security Cabinet met for the first time in two months and discussed a new £230m anti-missile defence project that would help counter Iranian cruise missiles if an attack similar to the strike on Saudi oil facilities were launched against Israel. The project can only by approved when a new Government is formed.
Israel working towards non-aggression pact with Arab states – Channel 12 news reported that Foreign Minister Israel Katz is working on a plan for Israel to sign an “historic” non-aggression pact with Gulf states. He apparently presented the plan to some Arab foreign ministers at the UN General Assembly last month. Katz said the deal would bring an end to the conflict and help to foster non-military cooperation until a peace agreement is reached with the Palestinians.
No progress in coalition negotiations – Israeli media report that there has been no progress towards forming a government and Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to return the mandate to the president. Maariv reports that behind the scenes, Likud have tried unsuccessfully to lure defectors from other parties.
Israel may revoke residency permit for BDS founder – all the Israeli media report that Interior Minister Aryeh Deri may revoke the Israeli residency status of Omar Barghouti who currently holds permanent residency status as he is married to an Israeli Arab woman. Last month he was denied an entry visa to the UK after he was invited to speak at a fringe event at the Labour Party conference.
Government pledges funds to tackle crime in Arab communities – The Government has agreed to allocate additional resources, including more police officers, to combat violent crime in Arab communities. Prime Minister Netanyahu called on the Arab leadership to act responsibly and on the public to refrain from violence during protests. Ayman Odeh the leader of the Joint List told Kan news he had heard these promises before, but nothing changed.