40 killed in Iraq protests
BBC News, the Guardian, Telegraph, Times, Independent, FT, Daily Mail and Reuters report that nearly 40 people have been killed in Iraq on one of the bloodiest days since anti-government protests began last month. At least 25 people died when security forces opened fire to clear bridges in the southern city of Nasiriya. Another four protesters died in Baghdad and 10 more in the city of Najaf, where Iran’s consulate was also burnt.
In the Guardian, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad and Nassiriya Anger argue that “anger at those perceived to have profited since the defeat of IS has fuelled sectarian resentment” in Iraq.
In the New Statesman, Maurice Glasman maintains that “in the heart of Baghdad, a new vision for Iraq is emerging”.
The Telegraph and Reuters report that the US has accused Russia of trying to cover up chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian regime after Moscow voted to freeze funding for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons over objections that money would go to an investigative team with beefed up powers to apportion blame for attacks.
The Guardian examines newly released drone footage showing the destruction caused to towns and cities in Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor and rural Damascus during the nearly nine-year Syrian conflict.
In the Times, Richard Spencer examines the “shifting alliances that feed Syria’s endless war”: “President Trump is learning that the US can check out any time it likes, but it can never leave”.
BBC News and Reuters report that the International Committee of the Red Cross has helped repatriate 128 rebels from Saudi Arabia to Yemen. It comes two days after the Saudi-led coalition said they would release 200 Houthi prisoners and allow medical cases to be flown out of Sana’a.
The Guardian reports that aid agencies have welcomed news from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen that it will allow some flights out of Sana’a for Yemeni civilians requiring life-saving medical treatment.
Reuters reports that the UN has confirmed that African migrants were among at least 20 civilians killed this week in two attacks on a market in northern Yemen.
The Economist examines Houthi accusations that the UN has deliberately withheld aid for the Yemeni population.
The Times, ITV News, Sky News and Reuters report that US President Donald Trump has announced that peace talks with the Taliban resumed last night after a meeting with President Ghani of Afghanistan during a surprise Thanksgiving visit to US troops stationed in the country.
Reuters reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has dismissed French President Emmanuel Macron’s criticism of the Turkish offensive in Syria against the Kurdish YPG militia, saying the French leader sponsors terrorism.
Reuters reports that Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi has rejected “irresponsible” comments by France that it is considering triggering a mechanism within the JCPOA that could lead to UN sanctions.
Reuters reports that Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman has made an unannounced visit to Riyadh, amid signs that the rift among US-allied Gulf Arab states could subside.
The Independent and Reuters report that the Israeli ambassador to Myanmar tweeted a message of “GOOD LUCK” to Myanmar ahead of an international tribunal at The Hague over accusations the state committed genocide against the Rohingya. Ronen Gilor wished the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi good luck in several tweets which have since been deleted.
The Telegraph interviews women in Saudi Arabia claiming that the country’s laws continue to prevent them from travelling, despite reforms initiated by Mohamed Bin Salman. Male guardians can still file cases of filial “disobedience”, a crime which can lead to forcible return to their male guardian’s home.
Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia has released three people swept up in the latest wave of arrests in a crackdown on free expression, but several more remain in detention.
Reuters reports that the internationally recognised Libyan government and Turkey have signed an agreement on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea that could complicate Ankara’s disputes over energy exploration with other countries.
The Guardian has a photo essay of women’s rugby in Morocco: “the women of the all-female rugby team AMAR (or Association Marrakech Argan Rugby) are determined to surmount the social and familial obstacles to follow their sporting passion”.
Reuters reports that Dubai’s largest bank Emirates NBD has cut between 400 and 500 jobs since October, as banks in the UAE reduce costs amid slower economic growth.
Reuters reports that the retail portion of Saudi Aramco’s IPO has been oversubscribed, with orders reaching 38.1 billion SAR (£7.9bn).
In the Telegraph, Sophia Yang examines “how China is deepening its ties in the Middle East to revive the Silk Road”.
In the Economist, Anshel Pfeffer argues that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allies are reconsidering their indicted leader.
The New Statesman examines the raid by Egyptian authorities of the independent news outlet Mada Masr.
In the Spectator, Johan Norberg examines the “rise – and disastrous fall – of the kibbutz”: “Socialism is incompatible with human nature”.
Bennet wants more aggressive action in Syria: Newly appointed Defence Minister Naftali Bennet is pushing for more aggressive action against Iran and its allies in Syria, both Ynet and Haaretz report today. Bennet is reportedly convinced that Iran’s military proximity to Israel, combined with protests in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran, have created a “window of opportunity” within which Israel will be able to strike Iran aggressively – and not spark a wider conflict. Israel hit more than 20 targets inside Syria earlier this month in response to rocket fire. Bennet would like to see a continuation of this “disproportionate” strategic shift, according to the reports. Haaretz noted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be supportive of this more aggressive approach, especially given his ongoing political and legal problems.
Bolivia renews diplomatic ties with Israel: Bolivia’s transitional government said it will resume diplomatic relations with Israel, all Israeli media reported. Bolivia’s acting foreign minister made the announcement yesterday and then spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz and agreed to begin cooperation on agriculture, technology and innovation. Long-serving Bolivian Prime Minister Evo Morales was ousted by mass demonstrations earlier this month after allegations of fraudulent elections. Morales had been a harsh critic of Israel and had severed ties in 2009 after Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.