Iraq’s president to visit Saudi Arabia as part of regional tour

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Iraq's President Barham Salih and Jordan's King Abdullah review an honor guard at Amman military airport, Jordan, November 15, 2018. (Reuters)
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Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan meets with Iraq's President Barham Salih during his visit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, November 12, 2018. (Reuters)
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Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah receives Iraq's President Barham Salih during his visit in Kuwait, November 11, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 16 November 2018

Iraq’s president to visit Saudi Arabia as part of regional tour

  • Salih visited the UAE on Monday and Kuwait on Sunday
  • The Iraqi president visited Jordan on Thursday where he met King Abdullah II of Jordan

JEDDAH: Iraq’s President Barham Salih will visit Saudi Arabia as part of a regional tour that will also include a visit to Iran on Saturday.
The Iraqi president visited Jordan on Thursday where he met King Abdullah II of Jordan. The two leaders discussed projects in the fields of energy, the extension of an oil pipeline between the two countries, and supplying electricity to Iraq.
“The governments of Iraq and Jordan will promote economic cooperation: the joint industrial city, energy cooperation, the oil pipeline from Basra to Aqaba,” Salih tweeted.
Salih also visited the UAE on Monday and Kuwait on Sunday.
On Saturday the Kurdish president will meet Hassan Rouhani in Tehran and a number of Iranian leaders and officials to discuss bilateral relations, ways to increase cooperation, and developments in the region, the Iraq state news agency said.
The veteran politician was elected last month as Iraq attempted to form a government after months of deadlock since elections in May.
His meetings in Iran will be dominated by a number of pressing political, economic and security issues.
The election left Iraq’s main political forces divided into pro and anti Iran factions. Many in Iraq have become critical of Iran’s heavy-handed influence in the country and its funding of powerful armed factions.
Because of its economic ties with Iran, Iraq has also been put in a difficult position by fresh US sanctions against Tehran.
Last week, the US said Iraq could continue to import natural gas and energy supplies from Iran for a period of 45 days, after reimposing sanctions on Tehran’s oil sector.
Iraq’s central bank said in August that Baghdad would ask Washington for exemptions from some of the sanctions.


Let militants return home, French anti-terror magistrate urges

In this file photo taken on July 22, 2019 French antiterrorist judge David De Pas poses during a photo session in Paris. (AFP)
Updated 21 October 2019

Let militants return home, French anti-terror magistrate urges

  • Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militia in northeast Syria has sparked fears that some of the 12,000 militants, including thousands of foreigners, being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could escape

PARIS: The refusal of the French government to take back Daesh militants from Syria could fuel a new militant recruitment drive in France, threatening public safety, a leading anti-terrorism investigator has told AFP.
David De Pas, coordinator of France’s 12 anti-terrorism examining magistrates, said it would be “better to know that these people are in the care of the judiciary” in France “than let them roam free.”
Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militia in northeast Syria has sparked fears that some of the 12,000 militants, including thousands of foreigners, being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could escape.
Officials in Paris say 60 to 70 French fighters are among those held, with around 200 adults, including militants’ wives, being held in total, along with some 300 children.

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France has refused to allow the adults return home, saying they must face local justice. So far Paris has only taken back a handful of children, mostly orphans.

France has refused to allow the adults return home, saying they must face local justice. So far Paris has only taken back a handful of children, mostly orphans.
This week, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian traveled to Iraq to try convince Baghdad to take in and try French militants being held in northern Syria. On Friday, in a rare interview, De Pas argued that instability in the region and the “porous nature” of the Syrian Kurdish prison camps risked triggering “uncontrolled migration of jihadists to Europe, with the risk of attacks by very ideological people.”
The Turkish offensive, which has detracted the Kurds’ attention from fighting Daesh, could also facilitate the “re-emergence of battle-hardened, determined terrorist groups.”