Rivers dry and fields dust, Iranian farmers turn to protest

Farmers in central Iran are increasingly turning to protests, pleading to authorities for a solution as years of drought and government mismanagement of water destroy their livelihoods. (AP/Vahid Salemi)
Updated 19 July 2018
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Rivers dry and fields dust, Iranian farmers turn to protest

  • Protests have repeatedly broken out over economic woes in Iran
  • Every day, farmers hold a small protest outside Varzaneh, gathered around their tractors, long idle

VARZANEH, Iran: Farmers in central Iran are increasingly turning to protests, pleading to authorities for a solution as years of drought and government mismanagement of water destroy their livelihoods.
Protests have repeatedly broken out over economic woes in Iran, which has been enduring its worth drought in decades. Experts say the drought’s impact has been worsened as newly built factories soak up what little water there is.
Every day, farmers hold a small protest outside Varzaneh, gathered around their tractors, long idle, parked at the town entrance next to a canal that once irrigated their fields but has been dry for years.
The rallies have gotten larger, with bursts of violence, at a time when economic woes in the country from inflation to unemployment have fueled unrest repeatedly over the last year.


UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

Khalifa Haftar. (Supplied)
Updated 21 August 2018
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UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

  • Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar
  • Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees

TRIPOLI: The UN has called on Libya’s internationally recognized government to crack down on armed groups obstructing the work of state institutions in the chaos-wracked country.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) late on Sunday night expressed its “strong condemnation of the violence, intimidation and obstruction to the work of Libya’s sovereign institutions by militiamen.”
It called on the UN-backed Government of National Accord to “prosecute those responsible for these criminal actions.”
The GNA’s military and security institutions have failed to place limits on the powerful militias that sprung up in the turmoil that followed the 2011 ouster of dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Several state institutions, including those in Tripoli, have been regular targets of harassment and intimidation by armed groups technically operating under the GNA’s Interior Ministry.
Members of militias “nominally acting under the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Accord are attacking sovereign institutions and preventing them from being able to operate effectively,” UNSMIL said.
Last week, the GNA’s National Oil Corp. said men from the Interior Ministry had forced their way into the headquarters of Brega Petroleum Marketing Company — a distribution outfit — to “arrest” its chief.
The Libyan Investment Authority, the GNA-managed sovereign wealth fund, recently moved from its downtown Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees.
UNSMIL said it would work with the international community and the GNA to “investigate the possibility of bringing sanctions against those interfering with or threatening the operations of any sovereign institution.”
Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
A myriad of militias,terrorist groups and people traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.