Sunday, 31 July 2016

Houthis Confront International Community following Renewed Intransigence

Riyadh-The Yemeni peace attempts entered on Sunday a new phase after the Yemeni government accepted a U.N. deal to end the war, placing the Houthi delegation and its ally former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in front of two choices: Either accept the deal by relinquishing all previous ruses or confront the international community.

Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has entrusted the government delegation, currently participating in the peace talks in Kuwait, to ink the agreement on condition that the other party also signs the deal before August 7, which constitutes the end of the extended deadline that Kuwait had agreed on for Yemeni warring parties to end their disputes.

On the other hand, head of the Houthi delegation Mohammed Abdul Salam reiterated the rebels’ previous positions and accused U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed of making the same old suggestions.

Abdul Salam told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper: “The U.N. envoy has failed to present any vision for a solution, but instead, he discussed ideas similar to the previous ones. There hasn’t been any vision for an agreement plan.”

Yemen’s Interior Minister Major General Hussein Mohammed Arab said the efforts exerted by the Saudi-led Arab coalition to protect the Yemen legitimacy, were the direct reasons behind bringing the rebel forces back to the political negotiations track in Kuwait.

Arab told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The Arab coalition, which supports the Yemen legitimacy, was capable of liberating several regions in the country.”

The Interior Minister said that the Yemeni legitimate forces fully abide by the President’s recommendations to secure a ceasefire, paving the way for additional negotiation efforts. Therefore, he said, rebel forces should assume their responsibilities vis-à-vis the Yemeni people and stop the bloodbath while the international community should continue exerting pressure on the insurgents to implement U.N. resolutions, and push Houthis to withdraw their armed groups from all cities and hand over their weapons.

Arab spoke about a high-level coordination and cooperation between forces of the Arab coalition and the Yemeni interior apparatuses.

However, the Interior Minister was not optimistic about any commitment offered by the rebels in the future, adding: “Those rebel forces would not abide by any agreement and would not consider any political solution we could agree on.”

Meanwhile, adviser to the Saudi defense minister and spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab Coalition in Yemen, Ahmed Al-Asiri, said any attack on the Saudi border is a waste of time for those thinking that such attempts would make them part of any negotiating equation.

Al-Asiri said: “Those who try to put pressure on Saudi Arabia by attacking its borders are delusional. If they want peace, let them go to Kuwait and not the Saudi borders.”

Al-Asiri said the current Yemeni conflict was an internal matter and that the intervention of the Arab coalition came only following a request from the legitimate Yemeni government and therefore, this coalition is not part of the conflict.

The Saudi advisor said: “The Saudi border is challenging for rebels who do not have any political or military target. Saudi Arabia has the needed capacities to infinitely protect its borders.”

Speaking to Al-Hadath, the sister channel of Al Arabiya News Channel, Al-Asiri said: “The Arab Coalition will continue until the militias working against the legitimacy of the government, the Yemeni people and the security of the region, are abolished in Yemen.”

He said that Riyadh “will not accept any violations” after the Saudi military lost seven of its troops while trying to halt Houthi militias from infiltrating the kingdom’ border on Saturday.

Al-Asiri said: “During the past month, we have been providing the U.N. envoy with reports about violations happening on our borders and inside Yemen on a daily basis.”

Meanwhile, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressed its rejection of the agreement reached between the Houthis and the allies of Ali Abdullah Saleh to form a political council in Yemen.

It said this agreement is considered a violation of Security Council Resolution 2216 and contradicts the regional and international efforts to achieve a political solution to the Yemeni crisis, to put an end to the sufferings of the Yemeni people and to reestablish security and stability in the country.

OIC’s Secretary General, Iyad bin Ameen Madani, renewed the council’s stand in support of the legitimate government in Yemen. He invited the opposition movements in Yemen to respond positively and effectively in their interaction with U.N. envoy Ould Cheikh to reach a consensual solution to the crisis within the framework of the Kuwait negotiations and in accordance with the Security Council resolution, the Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanism, and the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue.

Yemeni political analyst Ali al-Bakhiti told Asharq Al-Awsat that if the Yemeni warring parties accept the plan of Ould Cheikh, they would ink the agreement in Kuwait. However, he said, if any of the two parties reject the plan, the U.N. envoy should study any suggested remarks and amend this plan.

Al-Bakhiti ruled out that the warring parties would agree on the current version of Ould Cheikh’s plan, adding that Houthis and their delegation in Kuwait do not welcome it.

He said that the priority now is to focus on the Houthi withdrawal from three main cities: Sana’a, Taiz and Hudaydah, adding that a national unity government should only be formed following the Houthi pullout.

Houthis Confront International Community following Renewed Intransigence

Clinton Declares Russia Behind DNC Hacking, Draws Line to Trump

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Sunday that Russian intelligence services hacked into Democratic National Committee computers.

Clinton questioned Republican rival Donald Trump’s approaches to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We know that Russian intelligence services hacked into the DNC and we know that they arranged for a lot of those emails to be released and we know that Donald Trump has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin, to support Putin,” Clinton said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”

The White House has declined to speculate on who was behind the hack of Democratic Party computers, referring to an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Cybersecurity experts and U.S. officials, however, said they believed Russia engineered the release of the emails to influence the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.

On the other hand, Reuters reported a computer network used by Clinton’s campaign was hacked as part of the broad cyber-attack on Democratic political organizations.

The United States would not tolerate that from any other country, especially one considered an adversary, she said.

“For Trump to both encourage that and to praise Putin despite what appears to be a deliberate effort to try to affect the election I think raises national security issues,” Clinton said.

Asked if she believed Putin wanted Trump in the White House, Clinton said she was not going to jump to that conclusion.

“But I think laying out the facts raises serious issues about Russian interference in our elections, in our democracy,” Clinton told Fox in the interview, taped on Saturday.

The Republican presidential nominee has praised Putin, saying he was a stronger leader than U.S. President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

Trump last week invited Russia to dig up tens of thousands of “missing” emails from Clinton’s time at the U.S. State Department. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump told reporters.

He later said he was being “sarcastic” in his comments, which raised concerns among intelligence experts and criticism that Trump was urging a foreign government to spy on Americans.

Senator Jeff Sessions, a supporter of Trump, criticized Clinton for leaving her email system vulnerable to Russian penetration and defended Trump’s comments.

“I have people come up to me all the time and say ‘Why don’t you, if you want to find out where those 30,000 emails are, why don’t you ask the Russians?” Sessions told CNN.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange refused to answer questions on Sunday about whether a foreign government leaked the DNC emails to the group. “It’s an interesting speculative question for the press,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Trump’s “absolute allegiance to a lot of Russian wish-list foreign policy positions” is among the reasons he is unfit to be commander in chief, Clinton, a former U.S. senator, secretary of state and first lady, said in the Fox interview.

Trump alarmed allies this month when he indicated he might abandon NATO’s mutual defense guarantee in the face of potential Russian aggression if members had not paid their bills.

He also suggested he would consider easing sanctions on Russia and recognizing its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

On Sunday, Trump referred to that annexation again in a way that appeared to justify it. “The people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Trump often speaks wistfully about smoother relations between Washington and Moscow. “Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,” he said on ABC.

Clinton Declares Russia Behind DNC Hacking, Draws Line to Trump

Muslim Soldier's Parents: Trump's Comments Show Ignorance

The parents of a U.S. Muslim soldier killed in Iraq accused the highly controversial Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump of ignorance for his criticism of them after their appearance at the Democratic National Convention.

Ghazala Khan, mother of slain U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, took up her own defense on Sunday in an opinion piece in the Washington Post that explained why she stood without speaking on the DNC stage last week as her husband criticized Trump for his comments about Muslims.

“Donald Trump said that maybe I wasn’t allowed to say anything. That is not true,” Mrs. Khan wrote, adding that she decided not to speak at the convention because of her pain over the 2004 death of her son.

“When Donald Trump is talking about Islam, he is ignorant,” she wrote.

Trump stirred bipartisan outrage for his back and forth with the Khans.

The Republican nominee lashed out at Khizr Khan, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani provenance and a Muslim, when Khan told of his war hero son at the convention and took issue with Trump’s call for a temporary ban on the entry of Muslims into the United States.

In an interview aired Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Trump cast doubt on why Khan’s wife did not speak.

“She was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me,” Trump said.

Trump on Sunday tweeted that Khan’s son had died twelve years ago: “Captain Khan, killed 12 years ago, was a hero, but this is about radical Islamic terror and the weakness of our “leaders” to eradicate it!”

Both Democrats and Republicans have criticized Trump’s remarks about the Khans.

“Just when I think, Trump can’t possibly be a bigger jerk, he proves me wrong,” Republican strategist Ana Navarro said on Twitter, adding that Trump’s comments about the Khans were “gross.”

Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic rival in the Nov. 8 election, said at a campaign rally on Saturday that Trump’s comments about the Khans were part of a long history of insulting people.

Trump tweeted Sunday that he had been “viciously attacked” by Khan at the convention. “Am I not allowed to respond?” he asked. The candidate also tried to change the subject to the war itself: “Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!”

On CNN on Sunday, Khizr Khan said the couple had received a large outpouring of support after their appearance at the convention. He said people had apparently seen the “blackness” of Trump’s character, adding that Trump’s family needed to “teach him some empathy.”

Muslim Soldier's Parents: Trump's Comments Show Ignorance

Erdogan Slams West, Plotters

Ankara- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while paying glowing tributes to the victims of July 15 coup attempt at the presidential complex in Ankara, slammed countries which failed to show solidarity with Turkey following the putsch.

Turkish President also announced his intention to withdraw all court cases he previously opened against the chairs of opposition parties, following the solidarity shown by the opposition factions with the nation against the failed coup. “This is a patriot stance of them; all disputes were overcame then”.

Erdogan filed up to 2,000 lawsuits against politicians, journalists, students and citizens since becoming a president in 2014, due to tweets or statements on the social network websites that humiliated the president. As for public demand to restore execution penalty, Erdogan affirmed that Turkey is a democratic, legal and parliamentary country thus any law enacted by the parliament will be obeyed.

On the same occasion, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the country had succeeded in purging the military from all elements linked to opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed for the failed coup attempt. “Those who show tolerance to traitors are also traitors themselves,” he said.

Yildirim noted that Turkish people were continuing to take to the streets and squares across the country for the sake of protecting democracy in Turkey. “The power of the people has overcome the power of the tanks,” he said.

Interior Minister Efkan Ala announced that more than 18,000 people were detained, around 10,000 are being followed and 3,500 were released in the aftermath of failed coup, which killed 265 people and represented the biggest threat during Erdogan presidency. Purges included business men, journalists, public employees, prosecutors and judges.

Erdogan Slams West, Plotters

Tokyo to Vote for New Governor amidst Olympics, Financial Scandals

Tokyo- Tokyo residents will vote for a new governor on Sunday 31 July. However, surveys show that former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike is the front-runner. Koike has tight relations with the Arab World, yet differences are slight between Koike and her two other opponents: politician Hiroya Masuda and journalist Shuntaro Torigoe.

Current elections are taking place following successive financial scandals that led former governors to resign. For instance, previous governor Yoichi Masuzoe resigned in July after scandal of him using official funds to pay for his holidays. His predecessor, Naoki Inose also quit three years ago for similar reasons.

Besides the mission to put the Olympic file back on track, the new governor will have to deal with a number of critical issues including: providing sufficient number of daycare centers to help mothers enter the labor market, offering essential institutions for the elderly and executing giant renovations in infrastructure to face earthquakes and natural disasters that might occur in Tokyo, a city of 30 million residents.

In this context, every candidate is trying to prove his leadership potentials. Masuda reminds the voters of his achievements that granted him a huge popularity, while Torigoe focuses on his commitment since decades to social problems. As for Koike, she sheds light on her wide experience in the local and international political field.

Koike stresses its independence and individuality as a female candidate for this highly important political position. She also considers herself similar to Hillary Clinton as both are trying to change the stereotyped vision of presidency and leadership.

Koike, a former student at Cairo University, is one of the reliable figures who were chosen by Liberal Democratic Party of Japan to link Japan with the Arab World. As a parliamentarian, she chairs five Japanese-Arab committees, has served as a former minister of environment and defense and was assigned to capital positions in the party. However, her political dispute with current Prime Minister Shinzō Abe ruined her chances of being Democratic Party candidate.

Tokyo to Vote for New Governor amidst Olympics, Financial Scandals

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Besieged Aleppo Civilians Caught in a Death Trap

Beirut- Paris- Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime did not stop at launching a military campaign against the eastern besieged areas of Aleppo, but had also resorted to psychological mass media warfare in order to intimidate and promote data on dozens of Syrian opposition fighters turning themselves in.

News flashes on civilians exiting eastern Aleppo neighborhoods were circulated. Most of the routes allegedly being used are believed to be “death traps” by the Syrian Opposition.

Syrian opposition leaderships and besieged civilians soon denied all allegations made by Assad’s regime and announced that Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces still hold their grounds across eastern Aleppo.

Sources at the FSA told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that opposition fighters launched on Saturday a counteractive offensive afterwhich they were able to restore their control over a residential compound laid at the outskirts of Bani Zayd neighborhood, eastern Aleppo.

“All developments being broadcasted are part of a mass media war which aims at forging victories on the regime’s behalf,” sources said.

For its part the Syrian Network of Human Rights covering victim civilians in Aleppo reiterated the scandalous nature of the false allegations being made, stating that it is a “major scam being pulled by the Assad regime and Russians.”

The networks’ report clearly stated that Russian and regime-backed forces take no regard of Syrian civilian life, and that Assad-backing air campaigns and artillery have caused civilian casualties on a daily basis.

On the matter of civilians safely exiting the heated conflict zone, the report stated that any process of the sort must be overlooked by United Nations organizations, The International Red Cross organizations and covered by independent third party journalism.

Executive Director of the Arab Reform Initiative Bassma Kodmani had also denounced the dire humanitarian suit in Aleppo, labeling it as a leave or starve to death situation.

Aleppo resident, Abu Ahmed, 50, and father to four reported to AFP that the humanitarian situation is further waning, and that food is growing scarce.

As for the political process, all eyes are turned to what would become next week of the primeval agreement brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow 14 days ago. The accord is believed to be threatened by developments occurring in Aleppo.

Asharq Al-Awsat procured data shows that both Russian and U.S. forces are working on establishing common targets which their air power can coordinate cooperatively. The targets, to be surgically removed, are laid out inside ISIS and Al-Nusra Front strongholds.

The U.S. is expected to ask opposition forces to draw away from Al-Nusra factions. However, what complicated the situation is that Al-Nusra Front Leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani had recently revoked his forces’ allegiance to al-Qaeda.

Besieged Aleppo Civilians Caught in a Death Trap

Libya… A New Attempt to Mend the Rift

Cairo-Libyan conflicting parties have returned to dialogue in an attempt to mend the rift that is threatening the U.N.-suggested presidential council, in a state suffering security problems that are negatively affecting the neighboring countries. Tunisia as well as Egypt hosted part of the talks during the past week.

Federalism in Libya

In 2013, some tribal and military leaders appeared, chanting the federalism slogan. Their suggestion was underestimated by other leaders in eastern Libya especially after General Commander of the Libyan Army Khalifa Haftar succeeded to unite the Libyan army in 2014.

Eastern Libya split is a central point in the political negotiations; most Libyans including the eastern residents refuse division. Yet, the topic is not ruled out, it is still under the table.

A militant said, “The war in Libya is not only between Libyans; nowadays there are foreign masterminds that take part in managing the conflict and widening the crack. Endless infighting, bloodshed and squandering of fortunes… From the wrashes of cities and oil ports, leaders pick up cards that create pressure for days before the search for news cards begins, except the irreplaceable separation card which is the strongest until now”.

The last fragile card played by rivals to gain points was that of the ‘French soldiers’; many foreign experts were seen on the Libyan lands drawing plans and contributing to military operations management in eastern Libya to back the national army led by Haftar. The issue appeared to the public when French President Francois Hollande admitted three soldiers on a mission in Benghazi were killed.

“Rivals in presidential council and Tripoli militias tried to exploit the French soldiers’ card to provoke the east leaders, but I don’t think it is a winning card. They exaggerated the importance of the topic; not to mention that many militias in the west are also benefiting from foreign experts,” said a military leader in the Libyan army headquarter, south Benghazi.

Some parliamentarians see that the major purpose of this foreign interference is to maintain a state of chaos, hence, to weaken the state and leave it on a cross road: either the presidential council government or a dark path that will end in dividing Libya.

“Federalism is back to the front amidst the complexity of the Libyan situation and the absence of security in the east and west, also”, adds the military leader. The U.N. tried, earlier, through its special representative for Libya Martin Kobler to put an end to the chaos in the state foundations: security, economy and justice.

A figure who was with the Libyan delegation that visited Cairo said that the dialogue parties discussed in Tunsia possibility of dividing the army in which Haftar takes control over the east and militias remain ruling in the west. Yet this point was not tackled in Egypt talks.

“Kobler and Cairo do not support dividing the Libyan army. In fact, Kobler sees that the Libyan crisis cannot be resolved unless there is one united army under the presidential council leadership,” the source added.

With the meetings being held in Cairo and Tunisia, political debate continues. Though the outcomes of military operations have a direct effect on any potential compromise, there are also certain political and media pressure cards that play a minor role. The pressure on the east is not restricted to discovering the presence of foreign soldiers with Haftar but extends to a threat by the presidential council to export oil from ports located in west Benghazi.

Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement to say that Cairo hosting of meetings that included Speaker of Libyan Parliament Ageela Saleh and Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya Fayez Serraj for two days, falls under the Egyptian pursuits to reinforce stability in Libya and support political solutions and that “these meetings pave the way for future meetings that promise a new phase of political accord between Libyans”.

Yet, recent accusations have sparked enmity between the Libyans, basically the forces that appeared suddenly on Benghazi borders. A soldier close to Haftar said that the extremism of the west leaders is pushing many eastern leaders to defend themselves as a “housing and geographic region in danger. This brings federalism suggestion back to the fore and changes it from a playing card to a reality”.

Libya… A New Attempt to Mend the Rift

Arrests Increase in Iran

London – Iranian authorities continue to arrest Azeri people days after the crisis following the publication of an article mocking the ethnic group in a newspaper.

The minority group of Turkish descents Qashqai joined the anti-racist protests in the four Azeri districts to the north of Iran.

The protests increased after an article was published in Tarhe-No newspaper mocking the Azeri ethnic group.

Azeri sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the authorities arrested over 25 activists in the last 24 hours in the southern Azeri cities. The arrests also happened in Tehran, Ardabil and Zanjan.

Member of the National Movement of the Southern Azerbaijan Salih Kamrani told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that this is not the first time offensive remarks have been made, and surely won’t be the last.

Kamrani said that every week abusive and offensive remarks are made against Turks in Iranian media outlets.

According to Kamrani, since its formation in 1925, Iran worked on eradicating the Turkish identity and culture and destroying the political, language and social structure of the Turks.

He added that the state worked on changing the names of places and cities and resorted to economic discrimination.

Member of National Movement said that the recent protests in Azeri cities are not enough. He explained that a drastic change should be applied to the Iranian racist system.

Kamrani expected that the Turks will be stronger and hold more to their identity and culture. Over 40% of the Iranian population are Turks and they create a challenge to the racist regime.

Kamrani also predicted that conflicts will increase between the Turks and the Iranian regime due to the fact that the Iranian regime is not democratic and there is no hope of changing it.

For its part, Center for Combating Racism and Discrimination Against Arabs in Iran issued a statement condemning the discriminations and arrests. The center warned of a dark future awaiting the Iranian community if discrimination and racist acts are not stopped.

The statement also added that Persians categorize people ethnically and politically according to the Shahnameh epic that despises non-Persians.

All of this happened amid media blackout despite the continuous arrest and public protests.

Arrests Increase in Iran

International Criticism over Russian “Humanitarian” Plan in Aleppo

Moscow – Amid continuous Russian announcements of plans in Syria, actual intentions are becoming unclear especially with ongoing negotiations with the Americans on exchanging military expertise.

Both parties confirm that this will lead to a tangible change on the Syrian arena. But after the Russian “humanitarian process”, Russian government confirmed the agreement for air force deployment in Syria.

The Russian government announced on Friday an agreement with Syrian regime government on the deployment of the Russian air grouping on Syrian territories.

The government has submitted it for Russian President Vladimir Putin to refer it to parliament for approval.

The document published on the Official Portal for Legal information stated that, “Approve and submit to the President of Russia for ratification in the State Duma an agreement between Russia and the Syrian Arab Republic on the deployment of the Russian Armed Forces aviation group on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, signed in Damascus on August 26, 2015.”

The text points out that the Hmeimim air facility, its infrastructure and territory are granted to Russia free of charge. The agreement has no state of limitation.

Analysts wonder why the agreement was revealed now knowing that it was done almost a year ago.

Meanwhile, the “humanitarian process” in Aleppo has been announced as many still doubt the main reason behind it.

Russian newspaper Kommersant issued a report entitled “Humanitarian Preparations to Enter Aleppo”. In the report the Kommersant mentioned that the agreement ensures “safe corridors” for civilians and opposition fighters to leave the city. The newspaper mentioned that it is possible that forces enter Aleppo at the end of the operation.

Kommersant doesn’t rule out that the Russian-Turkish approach plays a positive role in this given that the Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan is occupied with the internal situation.

The newspaper reported First Deputy of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affair Leonid Kalashinkov saying that the main purpose of the humanitarian operation is to avoid the killing of civilians.

U.N. Syria Envoy Staffan de Mistura welcomed the humanitarian operation in Aleppo, and suggested leaving “the corridors, which are being established at their initiative” to U.N.

“My understanding is the Russians are open for major improvements,” he said. “The U.N. and the humanitarian partners have experience. That’s our job. Bringing humanitarian assistance and supplies to civilians, wherever the happen to be, is exactly why the U.N. is there.”

France doubted the intentions of Russia regarding this operation saying that corridors out of the city were not “a credible response to the situation” and residents should be able to receive aid at home.

Russia responded through its Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov who said: “The Russian military department is doing everything possible in order to improve humanitarian situation in Aleppo.”

During a press conference, Antonov stressed that the operation in Aleppo is an exclusively humanitarian mission.

He added that, if it is needed, the humanitarian corridors for peaceful convoys will be open not only from Aleppo but also to the city. But we will not admit at any circumstances the flow of arms to the regions controlled by the militants.

At the same time, he noted that “the reaction of some media agencies and political figures, who have seen a disguised plan in the Russian actions, is surprising”.

Meanwhile, France believed that the humanitarian corridors of the Syrian regime are not a credible solution.

France’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Romain Nadal said that: “International humanitarian law demands that aid must be sent urgently. The residents of Aleppo must be able to stay home in security and receive all the aid they need.”

Nadal added, “In this context, humanitarian corridors, which require residents of Aleppo to leave the city, do not represent a credible response to the situation.”

On Thursday, following the announcement of the humanitarian operation, regime forces opened three humanitarian passages for civilians and surrendering fighters seeking to exit the city’s rebel-held eastern neighborhoods.

According to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, a fourth corridor for the passage of fighters in Aleppo is being set up in the north on Castello road.

While in Berlin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in Aleppo with thousands of civilians besieged and all sorts of supplies and aids cut off.

German FM blamed Syrian regime for the crisis saying it is playing games by bombing all areas and offering safe corridors.

Steinmeier placed part of the responsibility for the humanitarian crisis on Russia saying: “Russia shoulders particularly great responsibility in this difficult situation on account of its support for the Syrian army and air force.”

“Exercising military restraint and allowing humanitarian aid to reach people trapped in besieged areas are what is needed right now. We need there to be an end to violence and a return to the negotiating table,” he concluded.

International Criticism over Russian “Humanitarian” Plan in Aleppo

Turkish MPs to Visit U.S. soon amid Tension between Washington, Ankara

Ankara-A Turkish parliamentary delegation is expected to visit Washington soon for talks with members of Congress and civil society on Turkey’s failed July 15 coup.

The delegation, comprising members from the ruling party and the opposition, is set to explain to American lawmakers the attempted coup and the role of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Parliamentary sources said that the Turkish delegation will urge members of Congress and civil society to help Ankara convince Washington to hand over Gulen whom Turkey accuses to be the orchestrator of the failed coup.

The visit would come amid rising tension between Ankara and Washington as a result of the purges underway in Turkey’s military and other state institutions.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday accused the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, General Joseph Votel, of siding with the coup plotters, a day after the general reportedly commented that the country’s turmoil could downgrade military cooperation with Washington.

“You are taking the side of coup plotters instead of thanking this state for defeating the coup attempt,” Erdogan said in angry remarks at a military center in Golbasi near Ankara.

The Director of U.S. National Intelligence, James Clapper, also said on Thursday the purges were harming the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq by sweeping away Turkish officers who had worked closely with the United States.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described the claims made by U.S. officials that the purges would harm the fight against ISIS as “meaningless.”

“The country will have a stronger army once it purifies it from its rotten members who plot for coups against legitimate governments,” he added.

Also Friday, Cavusoglu said Germany should extradite Gulen’s supporters.

“So there is something we want from Germany too. Many prosecutors and judges of the parallel state structure (Gulen network) escaped to Germany, and Germany has to extradite them,” Cavusoglu told CNN Turk television news network.

The number of detentions since the failed putsch has passed 18,000.

Turkish MPs to Visit U.S. soon amid Tension between Washington, Ankara

Iraqi PM Includes PMF in Mosul Liberation Battle

Baghdad – Despite ongoing debate and disapproval of Mosul Council, Iraqi Prime Minister and Commander of Armed Forces Haidar al-Abadi announced adding 15 thousand citizens of Mosul to Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Mosul liberation operation.

PMF spokesperson Ahmad al-Asadi announced on Friday that the prime minister ordered that 15 thousand fighters from Mosul be added to the PMF to participate in liberating Mosul.

Minister of Defense Khalid al-Obaidi discussed with Secretary General of Badr Organization Hadi al-Amiri the preparations of liberating Mosul and role of militias.

The ministry of defense issued a statement saying that Minister Obaidi visited Amiri and both discussed the security and military plans to liberate Mosul.

Head of Nineveh Council Bashar Kiki told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that they respect the PM’s decision, but they have previously rejected PMF participation in liberating Mosul. He added that they have made it clear that people of Mosul have the capabilities to liberate their governorate.

Kiki added that regardless of the name, the National Mobilization forces are participating in the liberating operation and are the official mobilization forces formed of the citizens of the governorate.

He added that adding 15 thousand members should come as a support to the security forces. Kiki said that local police should be supported and armed as well.

In February 2016, Nineveh Council rejected the decision to include PMF in the liberation of Mosul.

Former Nineveh governor and leader at United Bloc Atheel al-Nujaifi told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that all of Mosul’s citizens are ready and capable of fighting to take control of their city. He added that they do not aim to create strife like in other governorates.

According to Nujaifi, certain political leaders are insisting on the participation of PMF due to Iranian influence. He went on to say that this could turn Mosul into an arena for settling international conflicts; something Nineveh doesn’t need.

Nujaifi was referring in his statement to the Iranian-Turkish conflict.

Earlier, Head of PMF Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis said that Mosul won’t be left for Turkey.

PMF affiliated media outlet said that Muhandis confirmed that PMF will participate in the liberation operations of Sherqat and Mosul. In his statement, Muhandis said the PMF is fully equipped and ready to partake in the liberation especially after the approval of the Commander of the Armed Forces.

Muhandis stressed that PMF will not allow, under any circumstance, for Nineveh to become a stronghold of terrorists, Baathists and Turkish.

Iraqi PM Includes PMF in Mosul Liberation Battle

With Army in Disarray, a Pillar of Modern Turkey Lies Broken

Istanbul-As a rebel faction of Turkey’s military began a violent attempt to topple the elected government, the country’s top officer, Gen. Hulusi Akar, was held at gunpoint in his office in the capital and told for the first time about what was happening.

“Sir, the operation is starting,” a coup-plotting officer said, according to General Akar in testimony that was leaked to the Turkish news media and verified by a senior Turkish official as authentic. “We will round up people, battalions. Brigades are on their way. You will see a bit later.”

General Akar replied: “What the hell are you saying? What operation? Are you a maniac? Never!”

The plotters hoped to secure General Akar’s participation in the conspiracy, but his refusal was decisive in ensuring this coup attempt would fail — unlike those in Turkey in 1960, 1971 and 1980, which were supported up and down the chain of command.

Now, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wages a widespread purge, jailing and suspending tens of thousands of state employees, the military that has long served as a unifying force for the country is deeply divided, diminished and discredited. Nearly half of the top generals and admirals have been jailed or dismissed and thousands of foot soldiers charged. More than 1,500 officers were dishonorably discharged this week in advance of a meeting of the Supreme Military Council in Ankara on Thursday, where leaders were expected to consider a broader restructuring of the military.

But late Thursday night Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, spoke only briefly, saying that several top generals, including General Akar, would keep their jobs.

Meanwhile, images on social media of conscripts’ being slapped and taunted have shocked a country that venerates the common soldier, as have allegations by Amnesty International that military detainees have been tortured.

“With its main pillar, the military, broken, the Turkish state will no longer be able to check a divided society or effectively counter security threats,” said Halil Karaveli, a senior fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program.

That is a blow, not only to the country, but also to NATO, of which Turkey is a member. The Turkish military is a crucial ally in fighting terrorism, reining in ISIS, and in controlling the migrant tide that has overwhelmed Europe. Chaos within the military symbolizes not only its waning power in the country — and the rise of the police, which Mr. Erdogan built up as a bulwark to the military — but also its diminished reliability as a partner to the West.

But it is perhaps the psychological blow that is greatest for a nation that is so badly splintered. Religious and secular, rich and poor, every man served in the Turkish military, and to all, the urban elite and pious poor, it was a symbol of Turkish identity.

Alp Konak, who works at a hotel in Istanbul, explained how even within his family, the military was able to bridge differences between brothers. He said he was liberal, but his brother was very religious. “But the time we all got really close and came together was after we completed our military service, because we were all doing it for the future of our country,” he said. “We all believed in it.”

Now, both supporters and opponents of Turkey’s divisive president, Mr. Erdogan, feel deceived. They thought the military had been depoliticized, stripped of those who would undermine democracy to wield the power of force.

But they were wrong.

“That is what is so devastating about the coup attempt, the treachery involved,” said Soner Sencan, 31, a hairdresser in Istanbul, who said his closest friends were ones he met in the military. “Now no one will trust each other, and the most powerful, unified force of this country is broken.”

Within the diminished military ranks, the officer corps is badly split, and among the rank and file and their families, there is a sense of betrayal. Many soldiers seem to have been dragged into the plot by being told they were conducting an exercise.

“These kids did not know anything,” said Nazli Tanburaci Altac, a lawyer in Ankara, the capital, who is representing conscripts who were detained. Speaking of her clients, she said: “The only thing they say is, ‘Those we considered as brothers, fathers, threw us in to the fire and went away. They told us there was an exercise.’ ”

The Turkish military, the second largest in NATO, has a budget of roughly $20 billion a year and an army of more than 500,000 soldiers. The authorities said this week that 1.5 percent of the army, or about 8,600 soldiers, participated in the coup attempt, although it was not clear how many willingly took part.

The New York Times

With Army in Disarray, a Pillar of Modern Turkey Lies Broken

Friday, 29 July 2016

State Department Appeals to Emotion to Confront ISIS

Washington-After trying many ways to confront ISIS’ campaigns on the internet to recruit Westerners, in particular Americans, the U.S. State Department launched a program that seeks “to appeal to emotion rather than logic” as The New York Times said on Friday.

“Daesh deprives a woman of her voice,” reads one image that is part of a new State Department program, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. The program is intended to deter young men and women from joining extremist groups.

A video has also been posted online that features a Muslim family of four sitting around a dinner table set for five people. There is the usual bickering about cellphones at the table and a comment to “start eating before it gets cold.” Then one son motions toward the empty place setting and the family matriarch gets angry.

“Don’t you dare,” she says. “It’s Salsan’s. You know how much he loves my cooking.”

“Mom, he’s not here,” her son says.

“He’ll be back soon,” the mother insists. “He never misses this.”

“It’s been two years.”

The images and videos are being posted in agreement between the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) and American and Arab media companies.

Money for the program, which is managed by GEC, tripled this year, to $16 million, an official source told the New York Times.

Past efforts from the administration had sought to frighten potential jihadists with warnings that waging war against the West would get them killed, but officials concluded that the warnings actually served the opposite purpose of glorifying militancy.

Recent attacks in Turkey, Iraq, France and Bangladesh seemed to show extremism has been spreading.

The newspaper said that the new initiatives have been tailored to keep the U.S. government’s involvement as low-key — and in some cases, as secretive — as possible, because overt American backing for some projects had turned off the exact group of disaffected young men that the campaign is trying to reach.

These new efforts include using videos, ads and other social media that have been designed to convince young men and women that joining ISIS’ fight means breaking their mothers’ hearts, tearing apart their families and leaving their loved ones to lives of emptiness.

“Women under ISIS are enslaved, battered, beaten, humiliated, flogged,” reads one of the new State Department’s images.

In the past, the campaign used to focus more on logic. Such as “Think Again, Turn Away” and “Blowing up mosques! Crucifying and executing Muslims! Plundering public resources! Suicide bombings inside mosques! Travel is inexpensive because you won’t need a return ticket.”

But according to the New York Times such a campaign proved to be counterproductive.

Michael Lumpkin, a former member of the Navy SEALs who was sent by President Obama from the Pentagon to the State Department in January to overhaul the program, said the program leaves the viewer annoyed at its smug sarcasm rather than appalled at the horrific images on the screen.

The program’s American branding, he added, destroys any chance that a potential foreign fighter would be persuaded to turn away. “We’re not the most credible messenger,” Lumpkin said.

On Sept. 11, 2014, for example, a Qaeda leader posted on Twitter that “on this day, in 2001, the USA’s largest economic shrine, the idol of capitalism was brought to the ground.” The State Department quickly responded on Twitter by posting a photo of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS leader, wearing a Rolex watch: “Nobody’s a bigger fan of the fruits of capitalism than so-called #ISIS Caliph.”

But Richard Stengel, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, said: “We’re not the most effective messenger for our message. There’s no tweet from the U.S. State Department that’s going to talk a young man out of joining ISIS.”

That’s why the administration is now working with organizations overseas to get out the message without an American imprint, including the Sawab Center in Abu Dhabi. The United Arab Emirates supplies the bulk of the funding.

But the State Department has contributed two full-time foreign service officers to work at the center to counter online messaging and recruitment by ISIS, the newspaper said.

Beyond the Sawab Center and another office to open soon in Malaysia, the administration is paying for small operations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, it added.

State Department Appeals to Emotion to Confront ISIS

Hammami: Opposition Didn’t Reject Participation in Negotiations of the National Union Government

Tunisia- Hamma Hammami, spokesperson of the Popular Front from the Tunisian opposition said that President Beji Caid Essebsi’s call to compose a national unity government aims at hiding the crisis of “Nidaa Tounes”, which witnesses splits and interior conflicts.

During an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Hammami added that the main problem in Tunisia is not the coverage of the economic deficit, yet it is the capacity of ruling the country and finding suitable solutions for the crisis.

Following is the interview wrap up:

*How do you see the Tunisian President’s initiative, which calls for composition of national unity government? And why did the Popular Front withdrew from the ongoing negotiations?

– The word “crisis” has been used for long among media outlets, civil society entourages, and social associations, and the talk about a “crisis” is not new, but the authority didn’t admit it. Yet, finally the President acknowledged the failure of the ruling coalition and proposed the national union government.

The Popular Front considers that the admittance is not sufficient, and that reasons behind it should be tackled in all their aspects so we can save the country.

We refused to participate in negotiations to avoid being false witnesses.

*Where do you see weakness points in the proposal paper?

– All the thoughts mentioned in the paper are nothing more than public slogans about corruption, smuggling, and terrorism combat. The paper lacks practical plans and procedures for real solutions.

*Why does the Popular Front insist on staying in the opposition and out of the political consensus in Tunisia?

– This is not true. The Front participated in the national dialogue and was among parties that called for it. Yet this time we didn’t participate because we are convinced that it will be nothing more than a mean to solve the regime’s problems.

*Do you seek to compose a national unity government that doesn’t include “Ennahda” party?

– We have never proposed such a thing and we always seek “Ennahda’s” participation so we can make a serious discussion on terrorism, which is delayed by the ruling coalition.

*Why didn’t you attend in “Ennahda’s” last congress, and how do you see it?

– We didn’t attend because we are against any useless political participation. We also have many conflicts with the party since two leaders from the Front were assassinated during its rule. As per the results, I see they were very weak compared with the budget allocated to hold this congress.

*How do you see the proposed national reconciliation, and what does it require to succeed?

– Recently, the economic reconciliation matter has been brought back for discussions. However, the ruling parties want to resolve the issue without referring to the constitution, which means that the presidency seeks to obstruct the interim path of justice and to reconcile figures involved in corruption.

*Tunisia is preparing for national municipal elections in March. How do you plan to run them?

– We are really aware of the importance of these elections because they will definitely affect the parliamentary ones. The Front is preparing to compose a civil coalition to run this battle.

*Can we see that the Tunisian opposition is weak, while the country needs an active and influential one?

– Yes, the opposition is weak, as it is represented by only 35 out of 217 seats in the parliament. However, despite this quantitative weakness, the opposition has succeeded in obstructing many suspicious draft laws and legislations’ amendments.

*How do you evaluate the performance of the President?

– I said once that the failure in the country is caused by the government, the presidency, and the ruling majority in the parliament. The president called for more provisions for himself, while he didn’t use the current ones to save Tunisia from its hard situation.

*How do you see Tunisia’s future?

– Honestly, in spite that the country’s situation is hard and obscure at many levels, yet I feel optimistic because the people enjoy a high national spirit and didn’t seek a foreign intervention.

Hammami: Opposition Didn’t Reject Participation in Negotiations of the National Union Government

Cost of Hajj is Reduced For 19,500 Yemenis

Saudi Arabia has confirmed that 19,500 Yemeni pilgrims have obtained a Hajj visa and that the first group of Yemeni pilgrims is due to arrive in the kingdom on the 18th of August.

The Yemeni Minister of Endowments and Religious Guidance in Yemen Dr Fuad Abu Baker told Asharq Al-Awsat that Yemeni pilgrims have obtained complete Hajj visas and that only the visas of organisers who must arrive before the pilgrims have yet to be issued. These organisers must arrive in advance in order to organise the affairs of the Yemeni mission in a timely manner.

The Yemeni minister confirmed that Yemeni pilgrims have paid a lower price to perform Hajj and stressed that the legitimate Yemeni authorities do not impose any conditions on those who want to perform the pilgrimage except that they “stay away from sectarianism and the politicisation of the pilgrimage under all circumstances”.

He pointed out that the cost of Hajj this year fell by 29 per cent from 7,000 riyals to 5,000 riyals and this figure is lower than what is was in previous years as a result of the decline in Yemeni currency due to the economic problems in Yemen.

The minister also highlighted his ministry’s keenness that Yemeni Hajj agencies educate Yemeni pilgrims to avoid crowded areas and how to stay safe, as well as educating them intellectually in terms of not using political slogans and refraining from using the Hajj for political or sectarian purposes.

Cost of Hajj is Reduced For 19,500 Yemenis

Opinion: Stop Them Before They Don Suicide Belts

Many crimes have been committed in Europe by the same perpetrator. Between November 2015 and today, we have seen a series of crimes. 130 people were killed by terrorists in November in the bloodiest attack in the history of the French capital since the end of World War II. The blood from the football stadium, the concert hall, and the neighbourhood full of restaurants made Paris seem like a battlefield. After that, they attacked Brussels and killed more than thirty people and wounded three hundred; a significant and bloody figure for the Belgian capital.

The attacks continued and the most horrific and terrifying of them was carried out by the gunman who drove a truck through a crowd of people and ran over 84 people and injured hundreds of people returning from celebrations in the city of Nice. Attacks also took place in Germany this month where five terrorist operations took place. This included a pregnant woman who was stabbed and the killing of passengers on a train. Horror returned to France when a priest was killed in his church that is situated in Normandy.

The crimes are utterly vile and the countries that have been targeted by extremists are our friends and are close to us. France has politically supported the Syrian people against the Assad regime more than any other country and it backs Arab countries against Iran. Germany, likewise, received a million refugees, almost all of whom were Muslims, with hugs and blankets!

Anger will not be extinguished at the end of a news broadcast and there will be more internal and external political crises. In addition to this, no one will pay any attention to the flimsy justifications and excuses offered by some of us. Why should the west ignore the identity or religion of a perpetrator? We are facing a large terrorist war that is being fought by one group that claims to carry the banner of Islam. Instead of explaining an individual crime here or there, we must stand with these wounded societies. Just like France, Germany and Belgium, we suffer at the hands of the same group. Together, we have to pursue the perpetrators who advocate extremism and defend it.

We must also move beyond the stage of denial and stop searching for excuses. The world is tired of justifications that only contribute to covering up the actions of perpetrators.

At the beginning, they justified terrorism with poverty, and they were told that their leader Osama bin Laden was a millionaire. Then they used ignorance and a lack of education as an excuse until they were told that there were professors and engineers in the ranks of terrorist groups, and that their leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri was a doctor. Then they blamed political persecution in their areas even though some of their leaders like Al-Awlaki came from free countries like the United States.

They also tried to associate terrorism with Israel’s occupation of Palestine but no one believed them because Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Al-Nusra Front have not carried out a single operation in Israel. They also linked terrorism to the American presence in Iraq and were told that Al-Qaeda began operating seven years prior to the invasion and continued to do so for six years after the Americans left.

Now they are justifying their terror in Europe with racism and mistreatment, but we see millions of Muslims wanting to go to Europe to escape the miserable conditions of their countries, and they forget that Muslim countries bear most of the brunt of terrorism. A long series of denials is no longer convincing and we must confront the cause and the effect.

The French priest’s killer is 19 years old and most terrorists like him are young. They were children when 9/11 took place and therefore they are not from the generation of bin Laden’s video tapes. Rather, they come from the Twitter and Facebook generation. The means are different but the reason is the same. Both generations are the product of the same extremist ideology which later qualifies them for employment within Al-Qaeda in Yemen, ISIS in Iraq, Al-Nusra Front in Syria, or for a position as an intelligence officer for Iran somewhere. Those who brainwash children and young people should be held responsible before those who assign these young people with their final mission.

Some advocates of extremism may not understand what they have done to their countries, families and the world. They plant the concepts of extremism and exaggeration into the minds of the youth. Almost all of those who have been involved in carrying out operations joined terrorist organisations only after they had become intellectually ready, and they did not study extremism at the hands of ISIS. Only those who have been incited and are ready join the ranks of the terrorist organisation.

Its guidance in Raqqa is the last stop and it only specifies countries and targets on a map. This is assuming that the electronic reporters really belong to ISIS or Al-Qaeda, but no one knows whether the messages are sent from Raqqa, Tehran or elsewhere. Clearly this does not matter because the crime has reached a final stage. It is only when the advocates of incitement and Jihad stop, or are stopped, that recruiters will no longer be able to find someone to wear an explosive belt.

Opinion: Stop Them Before They Don Suicide Belts

Sisi Warns against Dangers of Using Religion to Ignite Strife

Cairo-President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has warned against the dangers of using religion as a tool to cause disunity, in what were seen as strongly-worded remarks by Egyptian authorities against those using religion to ignite sectarian strife between Muslims and Christians.

During his meeting with the Coptic Orthodox Church’s Pope Tawadros II at the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace on Thursday, Sisi urged Egyptians to steer clear of efforts to cause a divide among Egyptians.

The meeting was attended by several officials from the Coptic Church.

A church source said that the talks were aimed at containing several crises that have recently taken a sectarian twist.

Church spokesperson Boulos Halim said that during the meeting, Sisi referred to “the challenges that Egypt currently faces,” adding that solving these problems will require a lot of patience and effort.

Tawadros in return, Halim said, reiterated the church’s commitment to achieving national unity.

Thursday’s meeting came several days after controversial remarks were made by Pope Tawadros, during which he said: “Until now the church has been able to pacify Copts … but it won’t be able to control their anger for long.”

Egypt witnessed one of the worst sectarian violence in 2013 when 46 churches in different governorates, 66 percent of which are located in Minya, were burned.

Minya also recently witnessed repeated sectarian tension, which has left many casualties, prompting Copts to accuse the Egyptian authorities of resorting to religious costums and not seeking to settle any confessional crisis legally.

The church source said that Christians in Egypt are making attempts to swiftly find a solution to sectarian strife and prepare a draft-law that criminalizes discrimination in accordance to the constitution.

The source said the church has recently received a report on sectarian attacks, saying 37 incidents have taken place in Minya alone since 2013, in an average of one attack per month.

Halim also said that during Thursday’s meeting, the church delegation thanked Sisi for his intervention to achieve consensus on regulating the building of churches.

Sisi Warns against Dangers of Using Religion to Ignite Strife

The New Markets Enjoy Descent Fashion Designs

There are certain fashion designs that surprise us and make us question whether they were inspired by a personal concept of fashion or designed in favor of a certain environment that shall be promoted in the coming 6 months. Long sleeve dresses, high necklines, long skirts with scarves, hats, and turbans that cover the head might merely be an idea inspired by the designer after a movie or a romantic novel, or they might also be a concept that carries out whole cultural and ethnic features imposed by markets and customers that enjoy remarkable purchasing force.

In all cases, the consumer is the first benefiter in general. Over the past years, podiums have been overshadowed with designs that are both decent and elegant with eastern inspirations that sometimes focus on rich fabrics and other times on ethnic prints and embroideries.

Designers expound that time has changed and the concept of attraction has changed with it and thus no longer concentrates on revealing body charms, as a matter of fact today attraction is based on intellect and culture. Although it seems as if the new concept flatters the East, and particularly the Arabian woman, but it succeeded in attracting women from all around the world regardless of their nationalities.

Ten years ago, Prominent Channel’s designer, Karl Lagerfeld said that fashion is part and parcel of people and all ongoing events around the world; pointing to the incidents taking place in Middle East. Years have passed and many collections were introduced by different designers who adopted and reflected the same “decent” spirit, however some of them only aimed at achieving financial profits by introducing typical and stereotyped attires that lacked uniqueness and did not fully respond to the demands of modern conservative women.

However, Valentino, which is partially owned by the Qatari firm “Mayhoola for Investments”, was the best in embodying the trend of decent fashion and in introducing designs that feature femininity as an equivalent concept of attraction. Obviously, the new fashion styles have served the Arab woman’s taste, as it showed that femininity doesn’t mean the revelation of body charms and body details.

Professor Reina Lewis, from London College of Fashion (LCF) implemented many researches in this field and discovered that decent designs were increasingly spreading among the young generation regardless of factors like religion, ethnicity, and nationality.

Lewis also found that young ladies are imposing their styles in the market, like the Duchesse of Cambridge Kate Middleton, who insisted from the beginning on waiving seduction and choosing a classic elegant style, including her wedding royal dress and attires she chose in her public official appearances.

Designers say that the success and self-esteem of the modern woman who doesn’t feel that she needs to reveal her body charms to fulfil her ambitions has encouraged them on adopting this style in their lines. They add that while woman in the past used to wear revealing attires to feel appreciated and attractive, the new generations insist on choosing comfortable and flexible clothes to wear.

The New Markets Enjoy Descent Fashion Designs

Al-Nusra Uncovers its Face Following Split from Qaeda

Beirut-The leader of the al-Nusra Front Abu Mohamad al-Jolani struggled on Thursday to show a new face of the organization while announcing a decision to end the relationship of al-Nusra’s Syria branch with al-Qaeda.

Jolani was trying to comfort the West that his organization has no links with “any foreign party.”

In the first video statement ever to show his face, Jolani announced that the group would reorganize itself under a new name.

“In an attempt to remove the excuse used by the international community, spearheaded by America and Russia, to bombard and displace Muslims in the Levant by attacking the Nusra Front which is associated with al Qaeda, we have decided to annul the work of the Nusra Front and reform a new group under the new name of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (Front of the Conquest of Syria),” Jolani said.

An informed source told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the leader of the Nusra Front chose a new name that is not only restricted to Syria.

The source said that the term “sham” is taken from the phase prior to World War I, when it was used to designate the region of Syria and areas located outside its current geographic borders.

During the announcement, two other leaders from the Nusra Front appeared near Jolani. According to several tweets, the man sitting on his right is Qaeda veteran leader Ahmed Salameh Mabrouk, known by the name of Abu al-Faraj al-Masri. On his left side sat leading member of the Nusra Front Shura Council, Abdelrahim Atoun, who goes by the nom de guerre of Abu Abdullah al-Shami.

The decision of al-Nusra Front to split from al-Qaeda came following eight months of negotiations, which culminated on Thursday by a voice recording broadcasted by al-Qaeda. The message said al-Nusra Front could sacrifice its organizational links with al-Qaeda if such a matter was necessary to protect its unity and to continue the battle in Syria.

“We direct the leadership of al-Nusra Front to go ahead with what preserves the good of Islam and the Muslims, and protects the jihad of the Syrian people,” Ahmed Hassan Abu al-Khayr said in an audio message released online by the Nusra.

“We urge them to take the appropriate steps towards this matter,” said Abu al-Khayr, identified as the deputy of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Jihadist groups’ expert Abdulrahman al-Haj told Asharq Al-Awsat that the audio message of Abu al-Khayr was “coordinated with al-Nusra Front with the aim of supporting the decision to ends its relations with al-Qaeda, and therefore, offer al-Nusra the legacy it needs to prevent a possible split in its ranks.”

Al-Haj said that despite the split, al-Nusra Front would certainly keep the same ideology.

The expert confirmed the presence of a division within the ranks of al-Nusra Front.

The White House said on Thursday its assessment of al-Nusra Front has not changed, despite news that the group was cutting its ties with al-Qaeda, Reuters reported.

“There continues to be increasing concern about Nusra Front’s growing capacity for external operations that could threaten both the United States and Europe,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a briefing.

Meanwhile, president of the Syrian National Coalition Anas Al-Abdah described what was happening in Aleppo after the regime of Bashar Assad took control of it as “a war crime, a genocide and a forced displacement.”

Al-Abdah blamed Russia for being responsible of the legal, political, humanitarian and ethical violations against the Syrian people.

On Thursday, Russia announced the start of the “humanitarian operation” in Aleppo in collaboration with the Syrian regime, while Assad said rebels who surrendered within three months would be amnestied.

However, politicians and military officials inside Aleppo said that any talks about an amnesty and the humanitarian corridors were a simple maneuver and a “media trick” conducted by the regime and Russia.

In his first appearance, Jolani confirmed photos leaked earlier by the Iraqi Intelligence.

A source told Asharq Al-Awsat said Jolani is Syrian citizen Osama al-Absi Al-Wahdi, 35, from the Shaheel village, which is part of Deir Ezzor city.

He had joined al-Qaeda in 2003 under the leadership of slain militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Jolani left Iraq following the assassination of al-Zarqawi in a U.S. raid in 2006, and went to Lebanon where he trained militants from Jund al-Sham, an organization linked to al-Qaeda.

Following the start of the war in 2011, al-Qaeda sent Jolani to Syria to establish a branch that could launch attacks against the regime.

Al-Nusra Uncovers its Face Following Split from Qaeda

Yahoo’s Sale to Verizon Ends an Era for a Web Pioneer

SAN FRANCISCO — Yahoo was the front door to the web for an early generation of internet users, and its services still attract a billion visitors a month.

But the internet is an unforgiving place for yesterday’s great idea, and Yahoo has now reached the end of the line as an independent company.

The board of the Silicon Valley company has agreed to sell Yahoo’s core internet operations and land holdings to Verizon Communications for $4.8 billion, according to people briefed on the matter, who were not authorized to speak about the deal before the planned announcement on Monday morning.

After the sale, Yahoo shareholders will be left with about $41 billion in investments in the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, as well as Yahoo Japan and a small portfolio of patents.

That compares with Yahoo’s peak value of more than $125 billion, reached in January 2000.

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s chief executive, is not expected to join Verizon, but she is due to receive a severance payout worth about $57 million, according to Equilar, a compensation research firm.

Verizon and Yahoo declined to comment on the deal.

Founded in 1994, Yahoo was one of the last independently operated pioneers of the web. Many of those groundbreaking companies, like the maker of the web browser Netscape, never made it to the end of the first dot-com boom.

But Yahoo, despite constant management turmoil, kept growing. Started as a directory of websites, the company was soon doing much more, offering searches, email, shopping and news. Those services, which were free to consumers, were supported by advertising displayed on its various pages.

Leaks Abound as Yahoo Auction Gets Underway MAY 18, 2016

For a long time, the model worked. It seemed as if every company in America — and across much of the world — wanted to reach people using the new medium, and ad revenue poured into Yahoo.

In the end, the company was done in by Google and Facebook, two younger behemoths that figured out that survival required a continuous process of reinvention and staying ahead of the next big thing. Yahoo, which flirted with buying both companies in their infancies, watched its fortunes sink as users moved on to apps and social networks.

Verizon, one of the nation’s biggest telecommunications companies, plans to combine Yahoo’s operations with AOL, a longtime Yahoo competitor that Verizon acquired last year. The idea is to use Yahoo’s vast array of content and its advertising technology to offer more robust services to Verizon customers and advertisers. Bloomberg first reported the price of the transaction.

Ms. Mayer, who was hired as Yahoo’s chief executive four years ago but failed to halt its decline, was nevertheless rewarded handsomely for her efforts. Including the severance, she will have received cash and stock compensation worth about $218 million during her time at Yahoo, according to Equilar’s calculations.

Created by two Stanford graduate students, Jerry Yang and David Filo, Yahoo was originally a hand-selected directory to the nascent World Wide Web, but it quickly expanded its ambitions.

“Yahoo is where you start,” Jeff Mallett, the company’s first chief operating officer, explained during a 1996 interview with a job candidate, Dan Finnigan. Mr. Finnigan, now the chief executive of Jobvite, said that he was skeptical of Yahoo’s quest to dominate every category of content, but he later joined the company to run its HotJobs division.

Google, which emerged a few years later, used a superior, more automated approach to indexing the web. Under its first chief executive, Timothy Koogle, Yahoo struck a four-year deal with Google in June 2000 to make Google’s search engine the default on its website. Yahoo’s leaders also tried to buy Google but eventually settled on building their own search tool.

While Google was singularly focused on search, Yahoo recast itself as a content company under its second chief executive, Terry Semel, who succeeded Mr. Koogle in 2001.

By the mid-2000s, Yahoo was struggling. Web portals, as they were called, were fading in importance, and social networks like Facebook were emerging as powerful competitors for people’s attention. Google had become the world’s dominant internet company through its search engine and its lucrative search ads.

In 2007, Mr. Semel was pressured to resign and Mr. Yang took over as chief executive. The next year, Mr. Yang rebuffed a $44.6 billion acquisition offer from Microsoft, even after Microsoft sweetened it substantially, infuriating many Yahoo shareholders.

Yahoo then went through two more chief executives and two interim bosses in about three years, before hiring Ms. Mayer, a former Google search executive and tech celebrity, in July 2012.

Despite her acclaim, Ms. Mayer failed to resolve Yahoo’s central problem: a lack of focus.

She vowed to make Yahoo an innovator in search again, devoting 1,000 people to the cause. She commissioned original video content, hired the former TV anchor Katie Couric and opened “digital magazines” on topics like food, travel and tech. She acquired dozens of companies, including the blog network Tumblr.

Although those initiatives bore little fruit, Yahoo had one major asset that kept investors placated. In 2005, the company had purchased 40 percent of Alibaba for $1 billion in cash and the transfer of Yahoo’s Chinese internet assets to Alibaba. Although Yahoo sold much of that stake in subsequent transactions, when Alibaba went public in 2014, Yahoo still owned 15 percent of the company, worth about $31 billion.

The Alibaba offering put pressure on Ms. Mayer to come up with a plan to distribute that windfall to shareholders and prove that her turnaround plan was working.

She faltered on both fronts. Her plan to spin off the Alibaba stake into a separate company was abandoned amid concerns that it would incur a large tax bill. And Yahoo’s revenue and profit continued to decline.

“She knew she was holding a melting ice cube in her hand. Rather than focus on slowing down the rate it was melting, she said, ‘Let’s look three, four, five years out,’” said Sameet Sinha, an analyst at B. Riley & Company, who has followed the company for a decade.

Shareholders did not have that kind of patience. Jeffrey C. Smith, the chief of the hedge fund Starboard Value, began agitating for a sale of Yahoo’s core business, which would skirt the Alibaba tax issues. In February, Yahoo’s board agreed to seek bids for the business.

Mr. Finnigan, the former Yahoo executive, said that in hindsight, the company tried to compete in so many areas that it was difficult to succeed.

“You have to be Coke or Pepsi. You don’t want to be RC Cola. They let a lot of these verticals become RC Cola,” he said. “It is a sad day for those Yahoos who tried as hard as they did to create value.”

The New York Times

Yahoo’s Sale to Verizon Ends an Era for a Web Pioneer

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Muslims Council of Elders: Hostage-Taking, Killing People in Churches are Inhumane Practices

Cairo-Commenting on the slaughter of the French priest in a church in the north of France, the Muslims Council of Elders has rejected attacks on places of worship, killing innocent people and intimidating civilians, describing them as inhumane practices implemented by groups that oppose all religions and humanitarian traditions.

In a new voice message, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has encouraged the organization’s supporters on kidnapping Western civilians in order to exchange them with Muslim prisoners in the West. An Egyptian report has warned from this record’s negative reflection on foreign investments in the Arab and Islamic world.

Observers see that many of the terrorist groups and organizations which supported al-Qaeda and were trained by its members have announced their separation from it, and pledged allegiance to ISIS since the announcement of its so-called Caliphate in 2014. Therefore, al-Qaeda seeks to return to the scene by targeting the westerners like ISIS does.

Observers noted that the priest’s slaughter in France points to ISIS’ involvement using the “lone wolves” strategy, which usually moves without referring to the organization.

The Muslims Council of Elders has called on Muslims in a statement to work on setting a clear strategy to spread global peace and to dedicate the values of security and coexistence to combat terrorism and extremism, and deeply condemned the church attack in France, which lives in high alert following a series of assaults.

Al-Azhar has also renewed its refusal for all kinds of attacks against places of worship, killing innocent people and taking them hostages, saying that the Islamic Sharia and all other religions oppose these acts. Al-Azhar also stressed the importance of cooperation and coordination to combat terrorism, enhance the culture of coexistance, and make all efforts to stop violence.

Ahmed el-Tayeb, grand Imam of al-Azhar, said that those who committed the last attack in France lack human values and all tolerant principles of Islam, which call to protect innocent people without discrimination. Tayeb also asserted that Islam imposes the respect of other religions and their places of worship.

Commenting on Zawahiri’s voice message, the Egyptian report noted that the Qaeda leader’s call shows that the organization suffers from a heavy lack of fighters and aims at luring back its members who were imprisoned by states and governments.

The report prepared by the Dar al-Ifta al Misryyah pointed that this message is expected to have negative effects on tourism and investments in Islamic and Arabic countries.

Zawahiri’s call to kidnap foreigners has not been the first. In July, he released another recorded message in which he threatened the United States.

The report added that similar calls and statements made by the leaders of extremist organizations deepen the distorted image about Islam and Muslims, which lead western citizens to adopt hostile positions against Islam, Muslims, and their causes.

The report has urged Arab and Islamic governments and regimes to cooperate and coordinate to prevent these organizations from achieving their goals, to avoid their possible repercussions and the gap they may cause between Islam and certain countries and communities.

Muslims Council of Elders: Hostage-Taking, Killing People in Churches are Inhumane Practices

Syrian Opposition Refuses to Attend Negotiations as the Humanitarian Situation Worsens

The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) has announced its refusal to attend a new round of negotiations in Geneva on the grounds that the conditions for negotiation had not yet been achieved and that the humanitarian situation in Syria is at its worst. The HNC also said that de Mistura’s announcement of a new round of negotiations scheduled for the end of August is just a Russian attempt to pressurise the UN envoy. The committee also called for an emergency meeting in Riyadh to cope with current developments on the ground.

The head of the Syrian negotiating delegation Asaad Al-Zoubi in Geneva told Asharq Al-Awsat that de Mistura has taken great pains to resume a new round of negotiations after the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s recent statements that directly accused the UN envoy of “neglecting the role that he was requested to carry out”.

Al-Zoubi also said that the Russians are coercing de Mistura into achieving a political solution before Obama’s presidency ends and that de Mistura wants to take advantage of the time leading up to the end of the US administration. He also pointed out that the UN envoy is compelled to achieve something before the end of his tenure at the United Nations.

Al-Zoubi also stressed that there is no reason to hold a new round of negotiations because of the lack of any progress with regards to the stated conditions that directly led to the suspension of negotiations. The head of the negotiating delegation cited the Security Council’s resolution on Syria 2254 which contained a clear paragraph about lifting the siege and allowing the delivery of humanitarian aid to those who required it in the besieged areas. He stressed that the paragraph meant a “continuous delivery (of aid) and not a little amount of aid that does not last for more than a day or two and that is intermittent.”

Al-Zoubi also said that news that the regime is tightening the military siege on the opposition in Aleppo is incorrect and pointed out that the siege on Aleppo currently applies to civilians only and aims to curb the movement of civilians. He said that the opposition is able to move around and that the southern, south eastern and south western parts of Aleppo are not besieged. Al-Zoubi continued by saying that there are areas belonging to the regime’s forces that are besieged by opposition factions, and that the regime is besieging the northern and north eastern side of Aleppo in order to secure the main road.

Syrian Opposition Refuses to Attend Negotiations as the Humanitarian Situation Worsens

Opinion: Do Good and Forget About it

There is a proverb that says: “A worshipper only prays to God in order to attain reward and forgiveness”. This opinion is a good one and there is nothing wrong with it, and praying in order to achieve reward and forgiveness is one of the qualities of a true believer.

However, there is another deed that is just as great as the one mentioned earlier. This deed is helping someone you don’t know in a time of need whilst knowing that you will not personally gain anything from helping them.

This act, in my view, is the epitome of selflessness and sacrifice. On this note, I will share two examples of a person helping another with the sole intention of helping them. The first is a personal experience.

Third Avenue in New York was almost empty when I went out to get a newspaper in the evening. I was startled by the sound of a phone ringing urgently that came from a public telephone booth as I passed by it. Curiosity got the better of me and I picked up the phone. I heard a voice asking whether I was on Third Avenue and when I replied in the affirmative, he directed my attention to some devices belonging to an electricity company that were close to the booth, and then asked if I could see a yellow warning light. I told him that I could not and he confessed in a painful tone that he forgot to switch the light on. He then said, pleadingly, “Listen my friend! Right now I am far away in the borough of Bronx and if the lights on the devices are not switched on, I will be harshly punished. Do you think that you will be able to switch the lights on? I will appreciate this favour.”

The device seemed complicated but mercy overcame me and I agreed to try. I followed his instructions and felt relieved when I discovered the switch and switched the light on. The glow from the device filled the street.

I shouted into the phone saying “The light is on, the light is on!” I heard the person on the other end of the line sighing joyfully and then we wished each other a happy evening.

The second example was not a personal experience. However, the person who helped someone in need this time narrates it as follows. Whilst waiting for the bus, I folded my white stick and put it in my handbag. A young girl came over to me and said “Can you help me cross the road, madam? My mum told me not to cross the road on my own. ”

I did not want to increase the fear that the girl already felt by telling her that I am blind or by taking the stick out of my bag. So I said to her “Of course, little one. Take my hand and let us cross the road. She obeyed me and when we got to the white lines I told her “Now look right and then left and let’s cross the road when there are no cars”. When she told me that the road was clear, we crossed to the other side. She thanked me and continued walking. I waited until I could no longer hear her footsteps and then pulled my white stick out to cross the road again.

There’s nothing more to add after that, really.

Opinion: Do Good and Forget About it

Russia Says Opening Humanitarian Corridors around Aleppo amid ‘Relentless’ Use of Cluster Munition

Russia said on Thursday it had launched a “large-scale humanitarian operation” together with the Syrian regime around the battered city of Aleppo to open humanitarian corridors as the regime came under criticism by a human rights organization on the use of cluster munitions.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Russian news agencies that three humanitarian corridors were being opened “to aid civilians held hostage by terrorists and for fighters wishing to lay down their arms” and one more corridor to the north of the city for rebels to flee with their weapons.

Opposition neighborhoods of Aleppo have been effectively besieged by regime forces backed up by Russian air power since July 7, when regime troops advanced to within firing range of the sole remaining supply route into the east.

Medical posts and food handouts would be provided along the three corridors intended for civilians and fighters who have put down their weapons, Shoigu said.

Human Rights Watch said in a report released Thursday that the Syrian regime’s air campaign against rebels is widely using cluster munitions, banned by more than 100 countries because of their indiscriminate nature.

The rights group said it had documented 47 cluster munitions attacks, which killed or wounded dozens of civilians in opposition-controlled territory in the last two months.

“Since Russia and Syria have renewed their joint air operations, we have seen a relentless use of cluster munitions,” said Ole Solvang, HRW’s deputy emergencies director. “The Russian government should immediately ensure that neither its forces nor Syria’s use this inherently indiscriminate weapon.”

Cluster munitions are containers that explode in the air to distribute smaller bombs over a large area.

Russia has denied using cluster munitions in Syria, HRW said, but evidence was growing that it had stockpiled the weapons and either used them or participated in attacks where they were used.

Cluster munitions were used in a July 11 attack in the northwest province of Idlib that killed at least 10 people, HRW said, and a picture taken near the site showed a bomb being dropped by an SU-34 – a jet it said only Russia uses.

Photographs of the aftermath of another attack a week later, near the al-Tanf border crossing in southern Syria, showed cluster munitions remnants, including unexploded bomblets, or sub-munitions, HRW said. Rebel fighters and the United States said the raid was carried out by Russian jets.

Russia is not a signatory to a 2008 United Nations treaty that bans use of cluster munitions because of their indiscriminate nature and the threat to civilians posed by unexploded bomblets, which remain a long-term threat.

Since mid-2012, Syrian regime forces have used both air-dropped and ground-launched cluster munitions, HRW said.

Russia Says Opening Humanitarian Corridors around Aleppo amid ‘Relentless’ Use of Cluster Munition

Bahrain: Issa Qassim did not Appear in First Court Session

Manama-Bahrain’s Criminal Court postponed on Wednesday the trial of Isa Qassim and his assistants till August 14 after the defendants failed to appear in court on charges of illegal fund-raising and money laundering.

Qassim’s lawyer said his client was incapable to attend the trial in view of his health conditions.

The case of Qassim started when the Bahraini Security Authorities said they found a sum of $10 million in one of his private bank accounts.

According to evidence obtained by the Public Prosecution, Qassim was financing some terrorist organizations by sending money through illegal channels.

Attorney General Haroun Al-Zayani said on Wednesday that Bahrain’s Criminal Court had opened the case in which three people, including a religious figure (Isa Qassim), are charged with illegal fund-raising and money laundering and the intention to escape legal monitoring.

Bahrain’s Public Prosecution had launched intensive investigations to find out all the facts and follow up on the evidence relating to the process of how Qassim’s funds were raised, collected and spent by monitoring and documenting the banking and financial movements made by the defendants.

The investigations then concluded, through evidence based on the testimonies of the defendants who were questioned, and of witnesses as well as on the documents gathered by the prosecution.

According to the evidence, Qassim kept cash in his possession in order to avoid legal controls. He also tried to give legitimacy to some of the money by engaging in activities that included purchasing real estate worth more than $1 million and registering the properties under his name.

On June 20, Bahrain had revoked Qassim’s citizenship, accusing him of sowing sectarian divisions.

Bahrain: Issa Qassim did not Appear in First Court Session

Kuwaiti MP Dashti Faces Jail, Loss of Parliamentary Seat

Kuwait-The Kuwaiti criminal court sentenced on Wednesday Member of Parliament Abdulhameed Dashti to 14 years and six months in jail for insulting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Dashti was sentenced to 11 years and six months in prison with labor for insulting Saudi Arabia, criticizing religion and insulting the judiciary and another three years for insulting Bahrain.

Dashti, who currently lives in Britain for medical treatment, was sentenced in absentia and has been charged by the Public Prosecution with discrediting Saudi Arabia. He was also charged of insulting a neighboring country and calling for joining banned groups.

Under the Kuwaiti law, any individual convicted of hostile act against a foreign country, which may expose Kuwait to war or the severance of diplomatic relations may be sent to jail.

MP Dashti was stripped of his parliamentary immunity several times to enable the public prosecution to question him for insulting Saudi Arabia.

Kuwaiti Ministry of Justice accuses Dashti of insulting Saudi Arabia after the Foreign Ministry filed an official compliant against him.

After the verdict, several Kuwaiti lawyers took to social media and commented on the matter saying that this could lead to his removal from the parliament.

Lawyer Hussein Abdullah said on his Twitter account that the verdict will affect Dashti’s membership in the parliament. He noted: “The sentence to prison with labor has been unprecedented in Kuwait’s history.”

While lawyer al-Hamidi al-Subai asked the public prosecutor to invoke the laws regarding verdicts in absentia and publish them in the official gazette. He added that any verdict issued in absentia is not considered final unless all appeals have been exhausted.

Subai explained that after the verdict is published, challenging the sentence will not be acceptable if it were done after the legal limitation. He added that as long as his membership in the parliament had not been revoked, he is still considered an MP.

According to the ruling, Dashti will not be able to challenge the ruling if he remains abroad and doesn’t return to the country.

Dashti took leave of absence for two months for medical reasons. He told the parliament in April that he was undergoing medical treatment in Britain and presented a medical report to the Embassy of Kuwait in London to support his claims.

Dashti was elected in the July 2013 general polls.

Kuwaiti MP Dashti Faces Jail, Loss of Parliamentary Seat

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Iran Deepens Suffering of Iraqis by Cutting off Electricity

Baghdad, London-Iraqis, particularly those living in the southern city of Basra, were surprised on Wednesday when Iran cut off electricity supplies to the country, deepening their sufferings in light of high temperatures reaching 48 degrees.

Despite providing some power later in the day, spokesperson of the Iraqi Electricity Ministry Mohammed Fathi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Iranian measures were taken without prior notifications.

Fathi also said that Iran was cutting off electricity because Iraq has been delaying the payment of its loans to Tehran, which amount to a total of $700 million.

“The more we pay some of the money we owe, the more Iranians provide us with partial electricity,” he said.

Fathi asserted that Iranians cut off power although the Iraqi Electricity Ministry had paid its Iranian counterpart a sum of $100 million two months ago.

Iraq currently produces around 12,000 Megawatts of electricity, and gets around 800 Megawatts from Iran. However the overall power Iraq needs is 16,000 Megawatts.

Fathi said: “Iraq will abandon the Iranian line if its production of electricity reaches 15,000 Megawatts.”

An Iraqi source, who wished to remain anonymous, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi agreed during a meeting with Electricity Minister Alaa Dishr to offer Iran’s Electricity Ministry a sovereign bond to pay all previous loans, a matter which would further submerge Iraq into Iranian loans.

In the sector of non-oil products, Iraq remains the number one partner of Iran for importing 72 percent of its materials from Iran.

Tehran is also a partner in 27 projects for producing electricity worth $1.245 billion.

Iran Deepens Suffering of Iraqis by Cutting off Electricity