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Basra Governor invokes constitutional rights, demands establishment of federal region

- BasraRegion - Basra Governor invokes constitutional rights, demands establishment of federal region


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Calls for establishing a federal region in the oil-rich Basra province are on the rise despite opposition. 

The Governor of Basra, Asaad al-Eidani, in a televised speech on Monday, stated that the people of Basra demand their rights to be reinstated after having been stolen by Baghdad, and called for the implementation of the Iraqi constitution, allowing the province to establish a federal region. 

Eidani, who was appointed governor four months ago, said that the establishment of a federal region in Basra does not violate the constitution.  

The Basra Provincial Council appointed Eidani to replace Majid al- Nasrawi who stepped down as Governor of Basra and fled to Iran after the Iraqi Integrity Commission began investigating graft allegations against him.

“The central government in Baghdad refrains from delivering Basra’s dues as outlined in the budget law,” he added, stating that the province’s 25 representatives in the Iraqi parliament were working hard to restore the rights of people of Basra in the 2018 budget law. 

Eidani claimed the Iraqi government had deceived Basra’s MPs in 2017, generating a wave of discontent in the south.

The governor warned Baghdad that if Basra’s financial dues were not delivered, they would get it themselves without offering any further details. 

Eidani rejected the presence of any political conflict in his province, notably since he became governor in September, pointing out that the majority of clashes were between local tribes.

The Iraqi government has repeatedly rejected calls by the provinces politicians and parliamentary members to establish a more autonomous federal region in Basra. 

According to the Iraqi Constitution’s article 119, one or more governorates shall have the right to organize into a region based on a formal request to be voted on in a referendum.

In 2008, Wael Abdul Latif, an Independent Islamist MP backed by tribal leaders, submitted a petition to the Electoral Commission of Iraq signed by 34,800 people calling for a referendum to turn Basra into a federal region. 

The request was vehemently rejected by the Shia-led government and a majority of the Shia political parties, with the Sadrist Movement describing the move as “playing with fire.” 

In response to the governor’s call, Mohammed Hamid al-Shammari, the leader of one of the tribes in Basra, opposed what he calls “attempts to separate the people of Basra from Iraq,” stating that Eidani does not represent all of the province’s inhabitants and could not speak on their behalf.

Shammari added that it was better for the governor to tackle tribal clashes, remove people’s access to heavy weaponry, put an end to drug trafficking and the smuggling of oil, and address widespread corruption before making remarks that lead to the division of Iraq.

Oil-rich Iraq ranks 166st out of 176 nations on Transparency International’s Corruption Index.

Recently, fighting between rival Shia tribes over farmland, state construction contracts, and land ownership has worsened, creating instability in southern Iraq which undermines the government’s plans to attract new foreign investment to the oil and gas sector.

The fighting has forced the Iraqi government to dispatch additional military units to Basra in an attempt to prevent tribal clashes. 

Editing by Nadia Riva



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kurdistan

Turkish President vows to crush any Kurdish protest against Afrin invasion

- TurkisStrikeK24 - Turkish President vows to crush any Kurdish protest against Afrin invasion


HDP’s Co-leader Serpil Kemalbay did not call for an uprising but urged “the people of Turkey not to remain silent to this invasion” which she said Erdogan launched to consolidate his rule.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), however, urged “support for the resistance of Afrin.”

Erdogan equated the opposition HDP which his administration has paralyzed with an ongoing crackdown launched in late 2016 with the PKK—outlawed for waging decades-long guerrilla warfare against the Turkish state over Kurdish self-rule.

With a nation-wide state of emergency in place since a failed military coup a year and a half ago and more powers granted to the judiciary and the national police force, authorities have already banned walks, demonstrations, and public meetings in all provinces.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Ankara launched investigations against HDP lawmakers Ayhan Bilgen and Nadir Yildirim for tweets criticizing Turkey’s offensive in Afrin.

“An operation targeting Afrin, if successful, will drag the country into civil war, and if unsuccessful will create the ground for a coup,” Bilgen tweeted a week ago amid rising threats from Ankara.

“An attempt to invade Afrin means a total war on the Kurdish people. Staying silent to this is dishonorable. Our honorable people in all four parts of Kurdistan will give the necessary response. Today is the day to mobilize,” Yildirim said in a tweet after attacks on Afrin began.

“Mind you, anyone making the mistake of getting out on to public squares will pay the heaviest price. I have to tell you because this is a national struggle. We will pulverize anyone standing in front of us,” Erdogan said, promising a swift victory.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany 



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Barzani and Kosrat Rasoul Meet in Erbil


Barzani and Kosrat Rasoul Meet in Erbil  - 66d399e9ab8adc124c65ca4320e22b6f L - Barzani and Kosrat Rasoul Meet in Erbil

ERBIL — Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani on Sunday met with Kosrat Rasoul, deputy secretary-general for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

The meeting comes after Rasoul had spend weeks in Germany under medical treatment before he came back earlier this month.

The pair exchanged views on the current political situation in Iraq and the region.

No further details on their discussion were revealed to the media.



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Iran latest to condemn Turkish military campaign against Kurds in Afrin

- AfrinTurkey - Iran latest to condemn Turkish military campaign against Kurds in Afrin


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iran on Sunday called on the Turkish government to halt its military campaign against Kurdish forces in the Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) city of Afrin, noting the operation could “help terrorist groups.”

“Iran hopes this process will end immediately to prevent the deepening of the crisis in the border area between Turkey and Syria,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bahram Qasimi was quoted by the state-run IRNA news agency.

On Saturday, the Turkish army stepped up its military incursion against Kurds in the northern Syrian region of Afrin, wounding at least five civilians following bombardments on the outskirts of the city.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the campaign, called “Operation Olive Branch,” was aimed at the People’s Protection Units (YPG) who his country labels “terrorists” for their alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The YPG, who make up a significant majority of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), was an integral part of the war against the Islamic State (IS).

Turkey’s military plans seem to have been accelerated by an announcement from the US that it will help the SDF build a new “border security force” to prevent the return of IS.

The YPG and SDF deny any terrorist links, a claim backed by the US government. However, Turkey’s President Erdogan called the border force a “terror army.”

Meanwhile, the Kurdish forces vowed to defend any attacks on the areas under their control.

“If attacked, we will have no choice but to defend ourselves and our people, but we state in front of the world that we harbor no hostile intent toward Turkey and would only take measures in our own defense in the event of hostile operations against our people,” an SDF statement read.



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