Lebanon names 1st female Arab minister in charge of security

The new cabinet, unveiled during a press conference at the presidential palace, includes 30 ministers from Lebanon’s rival political clans. (AFP)
Updated 06 February 2019
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Lebanon names 1st female Arab minister in charge of security

  • The new line-up is to see four women take up office, including the interior and energy ministries
  • She will be in charge of multiple, often competing security agencies, and of maintaining stability in the country

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s new interior minister has taken office, becoming the country and the Arab world’s first female official in charge of powerful security agencies.
Raya El Hassan took over Wednesday as a part of a new government named after nearly nine months of deadlock. She is one of four women in the 30-member Cabinet, a historic record for female political representation in Lebanon.
El Hassan says she is “assuming the challenge” of the ministry in charge of implementing the law and serving citizens. She will be in charge of multiple, often competing security agencies, and of maintaining stability where until recently the country has grappled with militant groups and limited spillover from the war next door in Syria.
El Hassan in 2009 also became the region’s first female finance minister.


Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

Updated 30 min 39 sec ago
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Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

  • Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil
  • Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is suspected to be involved in the killing

ANKARA: Turkey on Thursday launched an air attack on Iraqi Kurdistan in response to the killing of a Turkish diplomat in the region, the country’s defense minister said.
The Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil. Police sources said two other people were also killed.
There was no claim of responsibility for the shooting, but many Iraqi experts have pointed to the probability that the Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist group, was behind the attack.
“Following the evil attack in Irbil, we have launched the most comprehensive air operation on Qandil and dealt a heavy blow to the (PKK) terror organization,” defense minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Targets such as “armaments positions, lodgings, shelters and caves belonging to terrorists” were destroyed.
“Our fight against terror will continue with increasing determination until the last terrorist is neutralized and the blood of our martyrs will be avenged,” he added.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which now leads the regional government, enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.
But Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign since May in the mountainous northern region to root out the PKK which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
Earlier this month, the PKK announced that one of those raids killed senior PKK leader Diyar Gharib Mohammed along with two other fighters.
A spokesman for the PKK’s armed branch denied the group was involved in Wednesday’s shooting.