German visa for $12,000 in Iraqi Kurdistan: Der Spiegel
27 Nov 2018 – BERLIN,— Syrian refugees in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region have allegedly travelled to Germany and claimed asylum with the help of smugglers exploiting weaknesses in the visa control system at the German Consulate General in Erbil, according to German media. German current affairs magazine Der Spiegel published an investigation on Monday claiming some members of staff processing visa applications for the German consulate in Iraqi Kurdistan capital had made common cause with people smugglers.
Responding to the allegations, the German Consulate General in Erbil told Rudaw on Tuesday it has a “zero-tolerance policy regarding corruption and other criminal activities at our diplomatic missions” and that an investigation is ongoing.
SOUTH KURDISTAN (IRAQ) – MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : KURDS BACK TO BAGHDAD AGAIN
By Sami Moubayed – https://gulfnews.com – 2018-11-27 00:08 GMT
Baghdad and Arbil are starting to reconcile, after more than a year of tension caused by a failed Kurdish bid for independence back in September 2017.Last week on November 21, Prime Minister Abdul Mehdi said that he would be unifying customs tariffs with Kurdistan, days after re-starting oil production from Kirkuk, which benefits both his government, sworn-into office last October, and that of Kurdistan. Last Thursday he also received former Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani in the Iraqi capital, who hasn’t visited Baghdad since early 2017.
SOUTH KURDISTAN (IRAQ) – Assyrian Confederation of Europe – 2018-11-24 – (AINA) — The Assyrian Confederation of Europe strongly condemns the illegal occupation of hundreds of homes across Iraq. In particular, the Confederation would like to call urgent attention to the homes seized in the Nineveh Plain, which is Assyrian homeland in Iraq.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS GENERAL COMMENTARY : The Kurdish Referendum & Kirkuk: Lessons for U.S. Policymakers
By Michael Knights is a Boston-based senior fellow of The Washington Institute, specializing in the military and security affairs of Iraq, Iran, and the Persian Gulf states. – Also available in العربية – 19 Nov 2018 – FIKRA FORUM WASHINGTON
Looking back one year on, the September 25, 2017 Kurdistan independence referendum and the October 16, 2017 Iraqi overrun of Kirkuk were disastrous setbacks for U.S. national security interests. With Iraq and the Kurdistan Region—America’s key allies in the counter-Islamic State campaign—having fought each other on the battlefield, these partners remain unable or unwilling to coordinate their military actions along their disputed front line, providing the Islamic State with a vital seam to exploit.
Moreover, the referendum and its aftermath left two long-term U.S. partners—the Barzani-led Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Talabani-led Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)—accusing each other of betraying the Kurdish cause by putting Kurdish control of Kirkuk at risk by including it in the referendum, or by cooperating with non-Kurdish groups that spilled Kurdish blood in Kirkuk.
Though Iran aided Iraq in censuring and attacking the Kurdistan Region, the KDP emerged from the crisis more furious at the United States than Tehran, and has since engaged with Iran more closely.
Iraqi PM’s office: EU ready to support Baghdad on Iran sanctions
John J. Catherine John J. Catherine 17 Nov 2018 – |ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – According to a statement issued on Friday by the Iraqi Prime Minister, the European Union’s foreign policy chief told him that the EU was willing to back Iraq on its stance on sanctions imposed on neighboring Iran by the United States.
The comments were said to have come during a phone call between Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
SOUTH KURDISTAN (IRAQ) – MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : ERDOGAN BOMBS CIVILIAN AREAS IN NORTH IRAQ KURDISTAN
Turkey Bombs Kurdistan Border Village in Response to PKK Attack
Basnews English – 14/11/2018 – 15:52 – ERBIL — The Turkish army on Wednesday heavily bombarded Kurdistan Region’s border villages in Sidakan area.The bombardment started at 09:10 (local time), less than an hour after Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters attacked a Turkish army base in the area, Ehsan Challabi, head of Sidakan administration said.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS “CNN” : US OFFICIALS CLASH WITH LAWMAKERS OVER IRAQ POLICY – 10 November 2018 – CNNReport
Tamr Hussein Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the top Democrat on the panel, questioned why the Kurds as a distinct people aren’t entitled to the same rights of self-determination the Palestinians enjoy. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, a Republican, said the United States shouldn’t be limited by Iraqi borders drawn up by the British Empire a century ago. He suggested an independent Kurdistan and a sovereign Baluchistan ought to be considered
Punitive measures Baghdad imposed on its Kurdish region have sent many Iraqi Kurds on dangerous journeys to Europe. – by Mariya Petkova – 30 Oct 2018 – AL JAZEERA
Zakho is a relatively prosperous town, with many families working in trade and transportation linked to the nearby Ibrahim Khalil border crossing between Turkey and the Kurdish region, the main gateway for the billions-worth of Turkish goods that Iraq imports. Like most Kurdish cities, it remained relatively safe and stable during the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and the subsequent war effort to dismantle it.
For the decade and a half since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the Kurdish region prospered, its residents enjoying a much higher standard of living than the rest of the country. Yet over the past four years, large numbers of Iraqi Kurds have attempted the dangerous journey to Europe.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) currently does not release official statistics on legal and illegal emigration, says Abdel Majid Shoukri, the head of the office of the Ministry of Migration and the Displaced in Dohuk Province, where Zakho is located.
Against US Sanctions, Iraqi Shi’ite Leader Sends Billions of Dollars to Tehran
Basnews English – 07/11/2018 – 16:11 – ERBIL — Deputy Chairman of Iraqi Shi’ite Hashd al-Shaabi militia, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, is accused of transferring billions of dollars to Tehran in an attempt to help the Islamic Republic of Iran survive the US economic sanctions.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : THE PKK OCCUPATION IN SINJAR – IRAQ / PKK Impeding Return of Sinjar to “Legitimate” Local Government
Basnews English – 06/11/2018 – 14:15 – ERBIL — The self-governing council of Sinjar, which is affiliated to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is preventing the return of legitimate Sinjar administration to the city, resorting to Baghdad for help.
The PKK-backed council was established in Sinjar following the security crisis in the region. It has taken over the rule in the Yezidi town since the Kurdish Peshmerga forces were pushed out of the area to take in the Iranian-backed militias of Hashd al-Shaabi.
BasNews has learned that the PKK has recently called on the Iraqi government to fulfill its duties and rule in Sinjar. However, the PKK-backed administration of Sinjar is criticized for imposing its rule on the Yezidis as it has not been elected through a democratic process.Head of the Yazidi Supreme Spiritual Council, Mir Tahseen Said Beg, has already called for the recognition of Sinjar as a separate province which would be annexed to the Kurdistan Region. www.mesop.de