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News from the Middle East: breaking news, features, analysis and debate plus audio and video coverage from across the Middle East.

US-backed Kurds take Syria’s largest oil field: Opportunities, challenges

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They also seized on Sunday the richest oilfield of Deir ez-Zor, also a Syrian city with largest oil reserves that has been under the ISIS siege for three years. Capturing the al-Omar oilfield coincided with advances towards the same oilfield of the government forces who came under an ISIS counterattack that pushed them back. Under these conditions, the US-backed SDF managed to seize the oil installations, a development triggering public opinion’s speculations about possible American deal with the terrorist group to keep the government forces away. Keep Reading

Agricultural and environmental bioterrorism of Tel Aviv – Salil Shetty

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Some European countries and the majority of Asian and African countries are affected by these pests and indirectly and directly in need of these pesticides. This is a crime against the environment and humanity. Keep Reading

Israel to open embassy in Riyadh

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The former director general of Saudi Intelligence Agency Prince Turki al-Faisal was invited to the meeting as a special guest. He reportedly met with former director of Mossad Efraim Halevy and former undersecretary of Defense for Policy of US Defense Department and a member of US Democratic Party Michele Flournoy on the sideline of the conference to discuss the ways of improving Saudi-Israeli relations. Keep Reading

Kurdish region defeated, divided: Who is traitor?

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On the one hand, the KDP, led by Masoud Barzani who is also president of the autonomous Kurdish region, accused the PUK of “treason.” On the other hand, the PUK has cleared itself from the accusations. The Sulaymaniyah-centered PUK defended the decision of its leaders to order the Peshmerga fighters to withdraw from the contested city as right and appropriate move with regard to the field realities.

The fact is that the PUK decision mainly derived from a consideration of the Kurdish interests. Making a responsible and farsighted decision, the second largest Kurdistan party has steered clear of grave consequences that Barzani’s destabilizing moves could bring about to the interests of the Kurdish citizens, Iraq, and even the West Asian region as a whole.

Barzani shortsightedness vs. PUK farsightedness

Before and after the controversial late September independence referendum, Masoud Barzani, who stood as the breakaway vote’s main driving force, strongly stressed that he was firm in pressing ahead with the organizing the referendum and materializing its results and that there was no way he could quit this course for secession. In addition to Kirkuk, Barzani Peshmerga forces, who operate as an army to the (Kurdistan Regional Government) KRG, have lost major areas including Sinjar, Nineveh Plains, and Makhmur in past few days. But he still resists accepting the reality that his dangerous scheme for separation from Iraq is far from practical. With the Iraqi government, regional actors, and even the Kurdish citizens well aware of the destabilizing and catastrophic ramifications of the Barzani independence bid, the plan is widely regarded as a failed project.

Following the losses, Barzani and other leaders of the KDP along with their media launched a propagandistic campaign to shift the blame and evade shouldering the responsibility. Labelling the PUK order to the Peshmerga forces to retreat as a traitorous act, the Barzani orbit tried to throw the ball in the PUK leaders’ court and so hold them accountable for the recent setback.

Since the beginning, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan with leadership of its late Secretary-General Jalal Talabani took a realistic and farsighted track throughout the Iraqi and Kurdish political developments. The PUK leaders question the KDP labelling of them as traitors and seek explanation for the traitorous acts. For them, the real treason is falling into the trap of the foreign advisors all guided by and linked to the Israeli and American spying agencies. They also see organizing the referendum to distract the public opinion from the Kurdistan economic and presidential crises as the genuine acts of treason to the Kurdish people. They, moreover, argue that Barzani’s rejection of all of the offers of dialogue by the Iraqi religious and political figures for peaceful solution to the problems and avoiding human and financial damages to both the Iraqi and Kurdish people are the actions that represent treason.

Endangering Kurdish citizens’ political and security stability

One more reason can help substantiate the authenticity and rightness of the confrontation-avoiding decisions taken by the PUK leaders in the present conditions. They believe that economic, political, and social growth is only possible if there is political stability that is an outcome of stable security conditions. Military adventures and the resultant destabilization of the Kurdish region and Iraq will only render things worse. One of the aftermaths of Iraq split will be tumultuous security conditions, something that will leave impacts on the already-critical political and economic situation in the autonomous northern region.

Driven by righteousness for making decisions, the PUK made the right decision and ordered its fighters out of the disputed regions in order to stabilize Iraq and check expansion of conflict and ignition of a new civil war. This move is meant to open the door for negotiations to strike a constructive political deal with Baghdad within the framework of the national constitution to end the discords and save the country’s cohesion.

On the other side, the field realities indicate that calm has returned to Kirkuk after government forces retook its control after nearly three years. Even after the recapture, the Kurds are still in command of the police forces in the city. Just contrary to the claims of Barzani, the city is even more stable under the current conditions.

Need for harmony, and not dispute, in post-ISIS Iraq

Having an understanding of the difficulties and realities of the Kurdish region including the political and financial challenges, the PUK has come up with the notion that consensus and cooperation, rather than disagreement and strife, can efficiently serve the Kurds and other Iraqis’ interests. The leaders of the PUK find federalism as the system of choice for the various Iraqi ethnic groups to keep contacts. They are in favor of saving the federal system and invite for removing the existing flaws in it through political ways. This comes while Barzani-led Erbil especially after ISIS terrorist group’s offensives in the country in 2014 exploited the critical conditions of Iraq to cultivate secessionist agenda.

Egypt likely to be removed from the 2018 World Cup

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Infantino said the speech of the Egyptian Foreign Minister was a clear disrespect to FIFA and its members, and a clear intervention by a political officer in football. Keep Reading

Saudi Arabia ’not normal’ since Iranian revolution in 1979: Crown Prince

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The de facto Saudi leader also vowed to return the country to “moderate Islam” and asked for global support to transform the hardline kingdom into an open society that empowers citizens and lures investors. Keep Reading

Why US-backed Kurdish militias raised poster of Turkish secessionist leader in Syria’s Raqqa?

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A group of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters raised a huge poster of Abdullah Ocalan, the political and spiritual leader of the terrorist group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who has been in Turkish prison since 1999 on conviction of treason in the small Turkish island of Imrali. Turkey has designated PKK a terrorist group and banned its activities across the country and announced a state of war against the militant group. Keep Reading

Trend News: Iran will answer America in Trump’s way itself

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The Trend News agency wrote in a report: “The situation in Middle East is changing and deteriorating. This Azerbaijani news agency wrote: “It seems that the US President Donald Trump’s policy against Iran is not as effective as he expected, as Tehran is fighting fire with fire and adopting same policy of Trump has proved to be effective, in a way that the destructive activities of Iran, as claimed by the America has not changed, and Iran continues its effect in Iraq and Syria. Keep Reading

The insight of the Iraqi authorities prevented the formation of second Israel

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The head of the office of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani said: “The US and Israel were planning to make the second Israel in the Iraqi Kurdistan region.  Keep Reading

What’s behind Riyadh’s invitation of Iraq PM?

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The trip is reportedly aimed at forming a coordination council between the two Arab countries to assess the political and economic relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The final goal of the council is to improve the bilateral relations as Riyadh and Baghdad saw their ties frayed over the course of past few decades. Keep Reading

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