Beirut explosion: Lebanon’s PM calls for early elections as protests turn violent

Hassan Diab says he will put the proposal to his cabinet, while angry protesters confront security forces in the Lebanese capital

By Kareem Chehayeb in  Beirut Published date: 8 August 2020 16:55 UTC | Last update: 8 mins 14 secs ago  MIDDLE EAST EYE

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Saturday evening called for early parliamentary elections in a press conference, as protests raging against the political class and deadly port explosion turned violent in central Beirut.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS “NEVER SAY NEVER”  : DEBATE – How Serious Is the Israeli-Turkish Rapprochement?

By Dr. George N. TzogopoulosAugust 5, 2020  ISRAEL – Moderated by George N. Tzogopoulos – BESA Center Online Debate No. 19, August 5, 2020

Q: Israel and Turkey appear to be making progress in terms of rewarming their bilateral ties. Roey Gilad, Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Israel in Turkey, published an article in Halimiz suggesting that the two countries could cooperate in Syria as well as in the fight against COVID-19. Other media outlets, including The Jerusalem Post, have also published stories on a potential rapprochement between the two states, though challenges and obstacles certainly remain.

BESA joins the debate by posing the question: How serious is the Israeli-Turkish rapprochement?

Respondents: Amikam Nachmani, Michael Harari, Defne Arslan, Anna Ahronheim, Can Cirnaz, Burak Bekdil, Mark Meirowitz, Gallia Lindenstrauss, Angelos Athanasopoulos

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Navigating a Growing Chinese Influence in Iraqi Kurdistan

Sardar Aziz – Sardar Aziz is a senior adviser in the Kurdish parliament as well as a researcher and writer. His areas of interest include civil-military relations, Middle East regional politics, and governing. He has a Ph.D. in Government from the University College Cork.


Also available in العربية  July 27, 2020 FIKRA FORUM

When I moved into new accommodations in the centre of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq, the lift announcements in the apartment tower were in Chinese, followed by Kurdish, Arabic and English.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS FOCUS : Turkey Starts Tightening Credit as Lira Hits New Lows

Friday, 7 August, 2020 – 10:45 Asharq Al-Awsat

Turkey’s central bank tightened some credit channels on Friday as the lira plumbed new lows and sources said the authorities had signaled that more such backdoor policy steps would be taken to curb a selloff that began two weeks ago.

The currency is down nearly 20% versus the dollar this year, among the worst performers in emerging markets, even though the greenback itself has sagged. The lira fell 2.4% on Thursday and another 1.6% on Friday by 0955 GMT.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS “HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH HRW” APPEAL Lebanon: Set Impartial, Expert Probe of Beirut Blast

(Beirut) – Lebanese authorities should invite international experts to conduct an independent investigation into the explosion at Beirut’s shipping port on August 4, 2020, that devastated the city, Human Rights Watch said today. The investigation should determine the causes and responsibility for the explosion and recommend measures to ensure it cannot happen again. The Lebanese government should ensure that those affected by the blast have access to adequate housing, food, water, and health care, with all aid distributed fairly and impartially.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : APO’S OIL ! DONALD TRUMP SPENDS MILLIONS FOR PKK/PYD SYRIA – Turkey joins Syria in slamming oil agreement between US firm, Syrian Kurds

Ankara has spoken out against a new oil agreement between an American-based company and the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.

Joe Snell Aug 3, 2020 – AL MONITOR – Turkey condemned a new oil agreement between an American-based company and the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, according to a release Monday by the country’s Foreign Ministry. Turkey now joins Syria in criticizing the deal after a Syrian state media announcement on Sunday by the country’s Foreign Ministry called the deal illegal and accused the agreement of stealing Syria’s crude.

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MESOPOTAMI NEWS HISTORY TO REMEMBER : On the 6th anniversary of the ISIS genocide of Yazidis: A personal look backBy SETH J. FRANTZMAN – 3. August 2020 

My first memories of ISIS crimes were in the summer of 2014 when the group first began to flood social media of images of mass murder. It was a chaotic summer because I was in Jerusalem at the time and there was a conflict beginning with Hamas in Gaza. It was only later that I understood the genocide that was unfolding. It was clear after the massacre at Camp Speicher and the expulsion of Christians from Mosul, that this group was going beyond what similarIslamic groups had done.

The genocide of Yazidis hit me hard.

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Syrian Kurds sign deal with U.S. oil company, Assad government condemns deal

An oil worker at a local refinery in Syrian Kurdistan, Rojava. 2019. Photo: Hannah Lync/Rudaw  2 August 2020  – QAMISHLO, Syrian Kurdistan,— The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria has signed an agreement with an American oil company, according to US officials.

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US oil company signs deal with Syrian Kurds

Sources told Al-Monitor the agreement to market oil in territory controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces was signed “with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House.” This picture taken on July 19, 2020 shows a general view of a makeshift refinery using burners to distill crude oil in the village of Bishiriya in the countryside near the town of Qahtaniya west of Rumaylan (Rmeilan) in Syria’s Kurdish-controlled northeastern Hasakeh province.

Amberin Zaman  –     Jul 30, 2020 – AL MONITOR –

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Turkey Hedges Its Bets by Positioning as a Supply Chain Alternative to China

By Dr. James M. DorseyJuly 30, 2020 – ISRAEL – BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,667, July 30, 2020

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A Turkish-US business council is promoting Turkey as a trading alternative to China with the help of influential US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close associate of President Donald Trump.

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