Iraqi blogger outspoken about country’s corruption detained

In this Oct. 6, 2019 file photo, anti-government protesters set fires and close a street during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq. A family member of Shujaa al-Khafaji, a popular Iraqi blogger, said authorities have detained him, apparently over his coverage of anti-government protests. (AP)
Updated 17 October 2019

Iraqi blogger outspoken about country’s corruption detained

  • Al-Khafaji, 29, runs a popular Facebook page called “Brothers Iraq” that focuses on human rights violations
  • The relative said Al-Khafaji received threats from unknown people in recent days warning him not to publish posts about the protests

BAGHDAD: A family member of a popular Iraqi blogger says authorities have detained him, apparently over his coverage of anti-government protests.
The family member, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said heavily armed masked gunmen stormed the apartment of Shujaa Al-Khafaji in Baghdad at dawn Thursday and took him away.
Al-Khafaji, 29, runs a popular Facebook page called “Brothers Iraq” that focuses on human rights violations.
On Tuesday the Facebook page, which has 2.1 million likes, posted a video that showed what it said were people setting a checkpoint on fire after the protesters had left. It blamed government supporters for the fire.
The relative said Al-Khafaji received threats from unknown people in recent days warning him not to publish posts about the protests.


Israeli PM: Palestinians in Jordan Valley won’t be citizens

Updated 54 min 11 sec ago

Israeli PM: Palestinians in Jordan Valley won’t be citizens

  • Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with plans to annex the Jordan Valley

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley will remain in what he described as an “enclave” after Israel annexes the territory and will not be granted Israeli citizenship.
Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with plans to annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, in line with President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, a process that could begin as early as July 1.
The annexation of the Jordan Valley and the far-flung settlements would make it virtually impossible to create a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel, which is still widely seen as the only way to resolve the decades-old conflict.
In an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper, Netanyahu said Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, including residents of the city of Jericho, would remain under limited Palestinian self-rule, with Israel having overall security control.
“They will remain a Palestinian enclave,” he said. “You’re not annexing Jericho. There’s a cluster or two. You don’t need to apply sovereignty over them. They will remain Palestinian subjects, if you will. But security control also applies to these places.”
Palestinians in the West Bank have lived under Israeli military rule since the 1967 war, when Israel captured the territory, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza. The Palestinians want all three territories to form their future state.
The Trump plan would grant the Palestinians limited statehood over scattered enclaves surrounded by Israel if they meet a long list of conditions. Israel has embraced the plan, while the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank, has angrily rejected it and cut ties with the US and Israel.
Netanyahu said that if the Palestinians accept all the conditions in the plan, including Israel maintaining overall security control, “then they will have an entity of their own that President Trump defines as a state.”
Under a coalition agreement reached last month, Netanyahu can bring his annexation plans before the government as early as July 1.
The Palestinian Authority has said it is no longer bound by any agreements signed with Israel and the US, and says it has cut off security coordination with Israel. Neighboring Jordan, a close Western ally and one of only two Arab states to have made peace with Israel, has warned of a “massive conflict” if Israel proceeds with annexation.