Kurdish government accepts Baghdad’s conditions to end dispute

A photo taken on October 29, 2017 shows the building of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region's parliament in Arbil, Kurdistan's capital in northern Iraq. (AFP)
Updated 27 December 2017

Kurdish government accepts Baghdad’s conditions to end dispute

BAGHDAD: The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has agreed on the conditions stipulated by Baghdad’s federal government to solve outstanding problems between the two governments.
Talks will be resumed to end the punitive measures in the Kurdish region, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi said on Tuesday.
The KRG held a controversial referendum on independence in late September inside the region and disputed areas seized by the Kurdish forces during the past years.
Baghdad responded by imposing a series of punitive measures on the region including banning international flights into and from the region’s airports, shutting down the border crossings between the region, Turkey and Iran, and launching a huge military campaign to drive the Kurdish forces back to the 2005 constitutionally approved border.
Considering the September referendum illegal, Baghdad took steps to reinforce federal writ in and around the region, which has been autonomous since 2003. Abadi said there is a dispute between Baghdad and the KRG over the border of the region and the running of the border of the country.
“The constitution was clear relating to the border of the region and it was recognized (by the constitution) as the border of the region on March 9, 2001, but the regional (Kurdish) forces were out of these borders,” Abadi said on Tuesday in his weekly press conference.
“Also, the border (of the country) should be exclusively under the control of the federal government… so we took several measures to control the border and the border crossings.
“Now the regional government and the (Kurdish) officials said that they agree on these two points (conditions) and let’s talk,” Abadi said.
“I consider this an essential change… but we want to reiterate two things — which are the referendum was illegal and (there will be) no return to it (the results) again. The second thing is the recognition of the 2003 borders of the region and the borders (of the country) should be under the control of the central government.”


Suspected arson at East Jerusalem mosque

Israeli border policemen take up position during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators at a protest against Trump's decision on Jerusalem, near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank March 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 January 2020

Suspected arson at East Jerusalem mosque

  • The attack had the appearance of a “price tag” attack, a euphemism for Jewish nationalist-motivated hate crimes that generally target Palestinian or Arab Israeli property

JERUSALEM: Israeli police launched a manhunt on Friday after an apparent arson attack, accompanied by Hebrew-language graffiti, at a mosque in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.
“Police were summoned to a mosque in Beit Safafa, in Jerusalem, following a report of arson in one of the building’s rooms and spraying of graffiti on a nearby wall outside the building,” a police statement said.
“A wide-scale search is taking place in Jerusalem,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. “We believe that the incident took place overnight. We are searching for suspects.”
The spokesman would not say if police viewed it as a hate crime. The graffiti, on a wall in the mosque compound and viewed by an AFP journalist, contained the name Kumi Ori, a small settlement outpost in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The Times of Israel newspaper said on Friday that the wildcat outpost “is home to seven families along with roughly a dozen extremist Israeli teens.”
“Earlier this month security forces razed a pair of illegally built settler homes in the outpost,” it reported.
All settlements on occupied Palestinian land are considered illegal under international law, but Israel distinguishes between those it has approved and those it has not.
The paper said: “A number of young settlers living there were involved in a string of violent attacks on Palestinians and (Israeli) security forces.”
Police said that nobody was injured in the mosque incident.
The attack had the appearance of a “price tag” attack, a euphemism for Jewish nationalist-motivated hate crimes that generally target Palestinian or Arab Israeli property in revenge for nationalistic attacks against Israelis or Israeli government moves against unauthorized outposts like Kumi Ori.
“This is price tag,” Israeli Arab lawmaker Osama Saadi told AFP at the scene.
“The settlers didn’t only write words, they also burned the place and they burnt a Qur’an,” said Saadi, who lives in the area.
Ismail Awwad, the local mayor, said he called the police after he found apparent evidence of arson, pointing to an empty can he said had contained petrol or some other accelerant and scorch marks in the burned room.
“The fire in the mosque burned in many straight lines which is a sign that somebody poured inflammable material,” he said.
There was damage to an interior prayer room but the building’s structure was unharmed.
In December, more than 160 cars were vandalized in the Shuafaat neighborhood of east Jerusalem with anti-Arab slogans scrawled nearby.
The slogans read “Arabs=enemies,” “There is no room in the country for enemies” and “When Jews are stabbed we aren’t silent.”
The attackers were described by a local resident as “masked settlers.”