OIC summit seeks strong ‘concerted response’ to Jerusalem crisis

A Palestinian protester throws stones toward Israeli forces during clashes at the main entrance of the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 11 December 2017
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OIC summit seeks strong ‘concerted response’ to Jerusalem crisis

RIYADH: Turkey has called on the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to develop a strong “concerted response” to US President Donald Trump’s belligerent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The call was made here Sunday, ahead of the OIC summit to be convened in Istanbul on Wednesday.
Turkish Ambassador Yunus Demirer, whose country holds the chairmanship of the OIC, called upon the member countries to convene in Istanbul in order “to develop a concerted response in defense of the sanctity of Al-Quds.”
Demirer added: “Turkey deeply resents the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the US.”
He said that “the OIC’s emergency summit will be preceded by the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting on Dec. 13 itself.”
Referring to Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, Ambassador Demirer said: “The US decision does not only go against the rules of rationality and conscience, but it is also a major breach of international law, especially Security Council Resolution 478, which the US endorsed erstwhile.”
“Turkey has also reacted strongly in protest against this decision which threatens to overthrow decades of peace negotiations,” the envoy noted. He described it as an “unsavory move that defiles the sanctity of a city, where the sacred places of the three celestial religions have coexisted.
“The OIC summit will also discuss the repercussions of the recognition by the US of Al-Quds as a capital of Israel,” said astatement released by the Jeddah-based OIC on Sunday.
The statement added that “the OIC foreign ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting on the same morning (Wednesday) to discuss the US move in a unified and coordinated manner.”
The OIC summit has added significance keeping in view the international condemnation and protests that have erupted in many countries following Trump’s announcement.
The issue will also be high on the agenda during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Ankara on Monday. According to reports, the Russian leader, already scheduled to visit Egypt on Monday, will travel to Turkey on the same day for talks with President RecepTayyip Erdogan on the Jerusalem crisis and the situation in Syria.
Predicting the outcome of this emergency OIC summit, Bekir Bozdag, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, said: “The Palestine question goes beyond the Palestinians. We should not consider it a local issue. Palestine and Jerusalem is the common cause for all Muslim countries.”
Speaking to broadcaster Kanal 7, Bozdag said: “Turkey has long supported very clear policies on the Palestine-Jerusalem issue and will continue to advocate these loud and clear policies.”
The minister repeated Erdogan’s remark that the status of Jerusalem was a “red line” for Muslims living in different parts of the world. A number of heads of OIC states, including top diplomats and high-ranking officials, are expected to attend the summit.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Indonesian President Joko Widodo have already confirmed their participation at the Istanbul summit.


Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

Updated 23 min 30 sec ago
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Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

  • The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh
  • This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory”

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s military said Saturday its troops in partnership with security agencies and paramilitary forces launched the second phase of an operation aimed at clearing remnants of the Daesh group from north of Baghdad and surrounding areas.
This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory,” which started two weeks earlier and targeted the area along the border with Syria. The military said the new target area is north of Baghdad and in the Diyala, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces.
Although Iraq declared victory against Daesh in July 2017, the extremists have turned into an insurgency and continue to carry out deadly attacks in the country.
The military said Iraqi troops, Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, the federal police and others are taking part in the operation supported by the Iraqis and the U.S-led international coalition.
On Saturday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi visited the operation room alongside the deputy head of the PMF, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.
Earlier this month, the Iraqi government moved to place the Iranian-backed militias under the command of the armed forces. The move was believed to be an attempt to curb the powerful militias, particularly amid rising tension between Iran and the US, the power brokers in Iraq.
The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh and are a significant political force, with government ministers and 48 seats in the 329-member parliament.