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Kurdistan’s Weekly Brief, July 27, 2021

28.07.2021
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Iran 

  • Dozens of Kurds protested electricity shortages in Kermanshah city and declared solidarity with demonstrators in Khuzestan. The Hengaw Organization for Human Rights claimed Iranian authorities arrested 20 people after the demonstrations in Kermanshah. Simultaneously, the Iranian regime killed dozens of protestors and arrested hundreds more after a week of anti-government protests sparked by a drought caused by its discriminatory policies in Khuzestan. Additional protests took place in East Azerbaijan, Lorestan, Isfahan, North Khorasan, and Tehran provinces. The Iranian regime responded by criticizing the United Nations for making “false accusations” and claimed the Israeli Mossad was behind the protests.  
  • Iranian security forces arrested several Kurds for suspected political activism, including Ibrahim Muradi in Sanandaj and Yaser Mangori in Piranshahr. Furthermore, three Kurdish activists in Saqqez, Armia Ranjaberi, Hiwa Amini, and Woria Ameni, began serving 130-day jail sentences for “propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” Finally, on Saturday, Oshnavieh’s (Shinno) Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced a Kurdish activist named Salah Barhamian to two years in prison on charges related to Kurdishness. 
  • Iranian intelligence officers (Ettela’at) tortured two sisters of a Kurdish activist living in Norway named Sanar Arsazeh. The Hengaw Organization for Human Rights claimed the Iranian regime is attempting to pressure Arsazeh’s sisters to convince him to return to Iran to face prosecution. 
  • Iranian border guards killed a Kurdish border porter named Faridon Salihi near Baneh on Monday. Concurrently, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) targeted several Kurdish opposition groups near Nowsud and Bokan.  

Iraq 

  • The fourth round of the US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue concluded on Monday with a meeting between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi. Though President Biden announced the US combat mission in Iraq would conclude by the end of 2021, the US will continue to train and advise Iraqi security forces, including the Peshmerga. The US also announced the provision of additional economic, health, humanitarian, and energy assistance to Iraq. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken held a separate meeting with his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials participated in discussions on Thursday and Friday. 
  • Iranian-backed militias attacked US troops based in Iraqi Kurdistan for the fifth time last week, with the latest incident consisting of a drone strike on the Harir Airbase in Erbil Governorate. That said, the US-led coalition announced the attack caused no casualties.   
  • Iraq’s Ministry of Interior began investigating three high-ranking Turkmen police officers for presenting an official salute while an ultranationalist Turkish anthem was played during a ceremony attended by the Turkish ambassador to Iraq, Ali Reza, and several Turkmen politicians in Kirkuk Governorate. Iraqi law forbids the use of official salutes during non-Iraqi anthems, and several activists displayed the hand gesture of the ultranationalist Grey Wolves organization during the event. 
  • KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani announced the end of ongoing austerity measures and the full restoration of KRG employee salaries last week. Barzani’s announcement follows months of back and forth between Baghdad and Erbil regarding the KRG’s share of the federal budget and the passing of Iraq’s 2021 budget law. The Government of Iraq (GOI) has cut or withheld Iraqi Kurdistan’s federal allocations over political disputes with the KRG since 2014. 
  • The KRG announced the arrest of an ISIS (Da’esh) terrorist responsible for the July 19th suicide bombing that killed at least 35 civilians in Baghdad’s Sadr City. Counter-terrorism units in Erbil claimed the Da’esh operative was arrested in a displaced persons camp. 

Syria

  • Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates released a statement criticizing the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) for promoting “separatists projects” that aimed to “weaken Syria.” The statement also criticized French President Emmanuel Macron for meeting with an AANES delegation and lending legitimacy to their project. The AANES responded by saying, “The Foreign Ministry’s talk about the Autonomous Administration project as weakening Syria confirms once again the size of the crack in the regime’s mentality.” The AANES went on to describe the Assad regime’s approach as “an unrealistic reading of the general situation in Syria and a clear adherence to the mentality of exclusion, denial, and insistence on the centralization project that decimated the country.” 
  • Turkey and its Islamist proxies shelled several Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)-controlled areas in Tal Rifaat, Manbij, al Shahba, and the Christian town of Tal Tamer. Four civilians were wounded in the attacks, including two children in al Shahba on Sunday.  
  • The SDF announced the arrest of several Da’esh terrorists in the al Hasakah suburbs and Deir Ez Zor Governorate’s as Shaheel. The SDF also claimed two senior Da’esh operatives and one SDF member were killed during a US-backed raid in Hasakah. That said, Da’esh assassins attacked a house in al Basira town, killing two women and wounding a man and two children. At the same time, a shepherd was killed by an unexploded Da’esh IED in eastern Deir Ez Zor Governorate. 

Turkey 

  • At least 60 Turkish ultranationalists attacked a Kurdish family inside their vehicle in Konya Province’s Meram District on Wednesday and killed a 43-year-old Kurdish man named Hakim Dal. The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) responded by releasing a statement that read, “These racist attacks result from criminalization policies carried out by the AKP-MHP coalition against Kurds and the HDP. The government’s incendiary use of language, the discriminatory practices of the authorities, and the way security forces turn a blind eye combine to form the major reasons behind these racist attacks.” Several Kurds have been killed and wounded by Turkish ultranationalists and racist mobs whipped up by the Turkish government’s incendiary rhetoric and smear campaigns in 2021 so far. 
  • The German government admitted Turkey has compiled “execution lists” targeting opposition figures living in Germany. Germany has seen an increasing number of attacks on Turkish opposition figures, including Kurdish activists, in the country Germany also remains home to hundreds, if not thousands, of members of the Grey Wolves organization. 
  • The HDP lawmakers demanded the release of information of the foreign affairs committee, disclosing their trip to the US without informing the HDP despite having three members in the committee. The HDP said, “Between June 28th and July 2nd, 2021, our party delegation made diplomatic visits to the United States. During the visit, the US State Department Official has informed us that a delegation of parliamentarians from Turkey had visited the US. The US officials also stated that the visit from Turkey between June 19th and 26th, consisted of other political parties and that the HDP’s absence was met with surprise. Our Party Group was not informed about the visit to the US.”
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