Weekly News 23th – 27th January 2017

Weekly News

Monday 23:

Iraq: three days after the U.N. demanded a government probe into a video showing brutal killing of so-called  Daesh fighters, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered investigation into violations of human rights and other abuses committed by government troops and paramilitary forces fighting Daesh in Mosul. The investigation will examine abuses and killings of civilians in the besieged areas. According to Iraqi Prime Minister, the video was uploaded just to “defame the real image of the brave security forces”. (The Daily Star)

Regeni case: Egypt allowed Italian authorities to obtain images of surveillance cameras that filmed him nearby Dokki district, where Giulio Regeni passed by on January 25 2016. Allegedly, this video had been eliminated, but now authorities will demand a German company to retrieve it. According to the Egyptian Mena agency, the Egyptian security services stopped following Regeni when they realised that he was not a threat to national safety. The Italian division of Amnesty International is organising several demonstration throughout Italy. (La Repubblica)

Tuesday 24:

Brexit: the Supreme Court has ruled that parliament must approve the trigger of Article 50 before the government takes action. In turn, Theresa May cannot start the negotiations with the European Union before MPs give their support; however, this is expected to happen before the 30 March deadline. The bill to trigger Article 50 will be probably introduced this Thursday. (BBC)

Israel: following the installation of a more pro-Israel and pro-settlements US administration, Israel has approved the construction of 2,500 new housing units in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the West Bank. This is one of the biggest enlargement of Israeli occupation in years and signals a clear rejection of December’s UN Security Council resolution, which described settlements as a clear violation of international law and an obstacle to peace. A spokesperson for the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said that this decision would hinder attempts to restore security and stability but also reinforce extremism. (The Guardian)

Palestine: a top Palestinian official asked for action from the international community against the new settlement announced by Israel. The secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) general Saeb Erekat reported that the international community “must hold Israel accountable immediately for what it is doing”. (The Daily Star)

Syria: Russia, Turkey and Iran will make efforts to strengthen the fragile ceasefire in Syria. The representatives of the three countries have announced in the Kazakh capital the creation of a “trilateral mechanism to observe and ensure the full compliance of the ceasefire”. In addition, the three countries decided that the rebel groups would take part in a new session of UN-led talks in Geneva. A representative of the Free Syrian Army replied that their participation depends on Russia’s response to their demands. The joint trilateral statement also stipulated that the Syrian government will continue to fight against so-called Daesh and al-Nusra Front but will separate them from the armed groups. Elements from the opposition claimed this line of separation is not clear. (Al Jazeera)

 Wednesday 25:

Israel: A U.N. spokesperson said that “unilateral solution” by Israel hinder the process of a two state solution. The statement refers to Tuesday’s announcement by Israel of 2,500 new housing units in the West Bank. The spokesperson for the UN secretary Antonio Guterres said that for the secretary general “there is no Plan B for the two state solution”. He added that there is a need for the two state to engage in genuine negotiations. (BBC)

Migrant crisis: the European Commission has refused the proposal of setting up a deal with Libya on the same lines of the Turkey deal. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini affirmed that she prefers to continue with the plan of training the Libyan coastguard. The Commission’s stance is a setback to the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, whose state took up the rotating presidency of the European Union from January 1. Next week Malta will host a summit of the European leaders to face the high death toll reached by migrants crossing from North Africa to Italy. (The Guardian)

Syria: the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham extremist group, formerly known as Nusra Front, attacked a number of Free Syrian Army (FSA) faction in northwestern Syria. The attack may threatens to deal a critical blow to the more moderate wing of the Syrian rebellion and derail new Russian-backed peace talks. Jabhat Fateh al-Sham accused the FSA groups of conspiring against it at the peace talks in Kazakhastan. (The Daily Star)

Thursday 26:

Libya: according to Counter-terrorism units, the car bomb placed close to the recently reopened Italian embassy last Saturday was planted by parts of the Libyan National Army (LNA) ruling the eastern part of the country. The bomb was placed 300 meters from the embassy and two men were injured; sources within Tripoli Special Deterrence force believe the car was prevented to park close to the embassy’s compound’s walls. The city is home to a myriad of armed groups with shifting and conflicting loyalties. (The Daily Star)

Syria: Putin’s spokesperson warned that the US plan for safe zones in Syria must be thoroughly considered. The plan was presented by both Hillary Clinton and President-elect Donald Trump during the campaign, it was singled out by Obama administration for the fear that this could take the US in conflict with President Assad. Russia said that all the consequences of the measures must be taken into consideration and that there has been no multilateral organization on the plan between the US and Russia. (The Daily Star)

United Nations: According to Al Jazeera, the United Nations suppressed a report from the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA), about Middle Eastern governments and mistreatment of their citizens. The report should have been published officially this month and it deals with popular cases known to the media such as the suicide of fruit-seller Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia in 2011 or women in Saudi Arabia protesting against ban on female drivers. A spokesperson from the UN affirmed that it has been produced by independent authors and not by the organization. Some observers commented that the UN may endorse these proposals but due to “pushback across the region, it’s letting others take the lead”. (Al Jazeera)

Friday 27:

Israel: Israeli authorities have given approval for the construction of 153 new housing units in the occupied East Jerusalem. The government has pushed plans for new settlements sure of the support by newly President-elect Donald Trump. Furthermore, Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman also spoke of plans for 11,000 homes in process for East Jerusalem. These announcements come two days after that Defense Minister allowed for the building of 2,500 new housing units in the West Bank. (Al Jazeera)

Tunisia: the European Union has prolonged sanctions against dozens of Tunisians accused of stealing state funds. This list involves former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, his wife and other 46 others accused of money laundering. EU member states agreed to keep their asset frozen until January 31, 2018. (The Daily Star)

Turkey: after that a Greek court has spoken against extraditing some Turkish soldiers, who are suspect of having orchestrated the failed coup in July 2016, Ankara now threatens of scrapping the migration deal with the European Union. Eight soldiers have sought political asylum in Greece after the coup saying they feared for their lives in Turkey. A European Union spokesperson said that EU is confident its cooperation with Turkey on migrants will continue to hold firm. (Al Jazeera)

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