Middle East

Millions of Iraqi Kurds last Monday voted in a referendum on secession from Iraq and to set up an independent state. According to the official organisers, 92.73 percent of voters supported Kurdish independence while the participation rate stood at 72.16 percent. A huge majority of the Iraqi Kurdish people have made it clear that they feel no attachment to the quasi-sectarian Iraqi central government.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has ratified a deal to sell off the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia. The two islands – particularly Tiran Island – had historically played a pivotal role in conflicts between Egypt and Israel. Tiran was occupied by Israel between 1967 and 1982, at which point it was returned to Egypt and has since hosted military bases of the Egyptian army and the Multinational Forces and Observers tasked with monitoring the adjacent sea passage.

There were violent scenes on Al-Warraq Island in the suburbs of Cairo last Sunday as police attempts to evict residents inevitably resulted in brutal clashes. At least one local man was killed and fifty-six injured. The move to force the island's inhabitants onto the streets comes after President Sisi said in a June speech, “There are islands in the Nile... according to the law no one should be present on these islands.” This statement bears no regard for the thirty years that this community had inhabited the island or for the failure of any government during that period to provide them with an alternative.

For the last month the Gulf state of Qatar has been blockaded by its neighbours Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who along with Egypt have severed all diplomatic ties with the country. These events have opened up a crisis situation in the Gulf region, which is being viewed with trepidation by the major powers on the world stage.

Israeli tanks advancing on the Golan Heights. June 1967

On 5th June 1967 the Israeli Air Force launched a surprise attack on Egyptian air bases in the Sinai province, beginning what came to be known as the Six-Day War and ending with Israel occupying the West Bank, Gaza, the whole Sinai Peninsula and shortly afterwards also the Golan Heights. To this day the Palestinians have had to live with the consequences.

The defeat of Isis is imminent – their last pocket in Mosul is about to be wiped out, Raqqa is being encircled and even Deir ez-Zor is under pressure. The end of Isis in Iraq and Syria has begun a struggle for the aftermath.

Iranians are going to the polls today in presidential elections. President Hassan Rouhani has been leading the polls followed by the main principlist unity candidate, Ebrahim Raisi. Yet the result is not the most important aspect here—the elections have brought forward the enormous contradictions in Iranian society.

Türkiye deki referandumda Recep Tayip Erdoğan resmi olarak EVET oyunu kazandı. Ama bu zaferin karakteri neydi ve ne anlama geliyor?

Resmi sonuçlara göre, 48 milyon seçmenin %51.3’ü yeni anayasayı kabul etme yönünde oy verdi. Bunun anlamı ise Cumhurbaşkanına geniş yetkiler ve kontrolsuz güç sağlamaktı. Katılım oranı, Resmi olarak %84’ün üstüne çıktı ve ülkedeki atmosfer kutuplaşmıştı.

Recep Tayyib Erdogan officially won the YES vote in Turkey’s referendum. But what was the character of his victory and what does it mean?

On Sunday, Turkey's electorate will vote in a referendum on a new draft constitution which, if implemented, would concentrate enormous powers in the hands of the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Egypt was rocked yesterday by suicide bombings in major cities which resulted in at least 45 dead and over 100 injured. In the second city Alexandria an attack was carried out at the entrance to St Mark’s Cathedral resulting in the death of 16 people. Two hours earlier in Tanta, a city in the Nile Delta, a bomb attack at a church killed 29. There are unconfirmed reports of further attacks on churches around the country.

Den 9 april skakades flera storstäder i Egypten av självmordsattentat. Attackerna skördade minst 45 människoliv, och över 100 skadades. I den näst största staden Alexandria utfördes en attack vid ingången till St Mark's katedral där 16 dog. Två timmar tidigare hade 29 människor mist livet i ett liknande bombdåd vid en kyrka i staden Tanta, belägen vid Nildeltat. Dessutom finns obekräftade rapporter om ett flertal andra attacker mot kyrkor runt om i landet.

Yesterday the US navy launched a series of missile attacks on the Al Shayrat airbase in the central governorate of Homs in Syria. Seven people are claimed to have been killed and several fighter jets are said to have been damaged.