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Friday, December 2, 2022

Center East round-up: A reminder of darkish days in Istanbul | Information

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Right here’s a round-up of Al Jazeera’s Center East protection this week.

Istanbul reels from a lethal bombing, the Arab world is working out of water, and loss of life sentences in Iran. Right here’s your round-up, written by Abubakr Al-Shamahi, Al Jazeera Digital’s Center East and North Africa editor.

The grainy video taken by safety cameras exhibits a lady strolling with what appears to be like like a bag. She stops to sit down on a bench alongside Istiklal Avenue, a packed pedestrian walkway in central Istanbul. She then will get up and walks away. The video high quality isn’t nice, however the Turkish authorities say the girl left her bag behind. A couple of minutes later, there’s an explosion that kills six individuals, together with a toddler.

For many individuals in Istanbul, the bomb assault reminded them of the darker days of 2015 and 2016. Again then, Turkey’s largest metropolis, together with the remainder of the nation, confronted an array of assaults, some by ISIL (ISIS), others by teams affiliated with the Kurdish PKK.

I used to stay in Istanbul, and bear in mind often strolling previous the Reina nightclub, the positioning of one of many worst assaults. That’s the place an ISIL gunman shot and killed 39 individuals celebrating the 2017 New 12 months. I’d say safety in Istanbul has improved so much since then, however the sight of an explosion on Istiklal, within the coronary heart of the town, has introduced again worry, and in some circumstances, defiance.

Authorities say the principle suspect within the assault has been arrested, and that she’s confessed to being skilled by the PKK throughout the border in Syria. The PKK deny that, and have stated they’re not in any method concerned. Whoever did this, don’t rule out Turkey transferring forward with the anti-PKK navy operation in Syria that they’ve been threatening for a number of months now.

Salt encrusts arid farmland in al-Muthanna province as rising ranges of salinity within the soil make giant areas of Iraqi farmland ineffective [Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters]

A water disaster within the Arab world

With the COP27 local weather summit wrapping up in Egypt this week, there’s been numerous consideration on the broader area’s environmental crises. Chief amongst them is the truth that the area’s drying up — and quick. Take Iraq — historic Mesopotamia, actually the “land between the 2 rivers”. Because of decreased rainfall, overuse and dams in Turkey, water ranges within the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers have dropped significantly, resulting in much less fertile lands. Unhealthy for farming, however good for archeology — the reservoir created by the Mosul Dam has dried up a lot that the traditional metropolis of Zakhiku has re-emerged.

In the meantime, on the opposite facet of the Arab world, in Morocco, related issues abound. Dry riverbeds within the Dadès Valley have left locals with solely reminiscences of the waters that used to move by way of their villages. They blame mismanagement of water assets, mining and a close-by solar energy plant.

Demise sentences in Iran

Anti-government protests in Iran have now hit the two-month mark, and present no indicators of letting up. However neither does the federal government crackdown. The primary protest-related loss of life sentence was handed down on Sunday, adopted by 4 extra since then. However you might need seen one other quantity being unfold on-line — specifically that 15,000 executions have been ordered. That’s improper, and we’ll inform you why.

And Now for One thing Totally different

Iraq has had a tumultuous 40 years, and together with it, Baghdad’s well-known Al Rasheed Resort. Positioned on the banks of the Tigris, the resort was the place to be seen — fairly actually. Below Saddam Hussein, the resort was outfitted with two-way mirrors and hidden cameras. Aesthetically, the ground within the foyer as soon as featured a mosaic of President George HW Bush, so individuals might stroll on his face. After the US invasion that deposed Saddam, the resort was looted and shelled, earlier than turning into a base for the US navy. However now, lastly, higher days have returned for the resort, thought to be one of many best within the metropolis.

On the left, a photo of people walking over a mosaic of former US president George Bush while walking into a building, on the right, a photo of a cleaner cleaning the George Bush mosaic.
Left – In November 2002, members of the United Nations workforce of weapons inspectors stroll over the mosaic of former US President George HW Bush [Awad Awad/AFP]. Proper – An worker on the Al Rasheed cleans the resort entrance in 1994 [Jamal Saidi/Reuters]

In Temporary

Iran accused after oil tanker hit by a “bomb-laden” drone off the coast of Oman – UN company for Palestinians is in need of tens of millions in funding – Azerbaijan arrests 5 individuals accused of spying for IranIsraeli air assault kills two troopers in Syria – FIFA publicizes Tel Aviv-Doha constitution flights for the World Cup, however Qatar says no to normalisation – Israel’s Netanyahu given mandate to type authorities – Palestinian shot useless after killing three Israelis in West Financial institution settlement – 15-year-old Palestinian lady shot useless by Israeli militaryShireen Abu Akleh’s household welcome information that US plans to research her killing by Israel – Two Egyptian women discovered useless at Syria camp internet hosting ISIL households

Quote of the Week

“I haven’t celebrated for a very long time, and need to have fun with my cellmates, so deliver a cake.” – Egyptian activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah, in a letter to his mom from jail. Abd el-Fattah had been on a starvation strike, and had stopped ingesting water, to protest towards his imprisonment, attracting consideration at COP27. His household feared the worst after he went silent for just a few days, however he has now instructed them he’ll clarify why he has ended his starvation strike in his weekly assembly together with his mom. Abd el-Fattah is only one of hundreds of political prisoners in Egypt. Critics have accused the nation of utilizing COP27 to gloss over its poor human rights document, and have additionally warned the convention’s attendees that the COP27 app could possibly be used for surveillance.

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