11 September 2017- NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa

Articles

Hamas' Ismail Haniya visits Egypt for Gaza siege talks
By Al Jazeera, 11 Sep 2017

Hamas leader heads to Cairo to discuss 'mechanisms to ease Gaza's siege', in first such visit since his election in May. The head of Palestinian group Hamas, Ismail Haniya, has travelled to Cairo to hold talks with senior Egyptian officials about the blockade of Gaza, on his first such visit since his election in May. Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, a densely populated coastal territory that shares borders with Egypt and Israel, with which it has fought three wars since 2008. For much of the last decade, Egypt has joined Israel in enforcing a crippling blockade that has deprived the enclave's roughly two million inhabitants of most basic commodities, including food, fuel and medicine.

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Exclusive: Iraq holding 1,400 foreign wives, children of suspected Islamic State fighters
By Reuters, 10 Sep 2017

SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi authorities are holding 1,400 foreign wives and children of suspected Islamic State fighters after government forces expelled the jihadist group from one of its last remaining strongholds in Iraq, security and aid officials said. Most came from Turkey. Many others were from former Soviet states, such as Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Russia, Iraqi army and intelligence officers said. Other Asians and a “very few” French and Germans were also among them. The wives and children are being held at an Iraqi camp south of Mosul. Most had arrived since Aug. 30, when Iraqi troops drove Islamic State out of Mosul.

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Saudi Arabia suspends dialogue, saying Qatar 'distorting facts'
By The Guardian, 09 Sep 2017

 Move follows earlier report of phone call between leaders of both countries suggested a breakthrough in the Gulf dispute. Saudi Arabia on Saturday suspended any dialogue with Qatar, accusing it of “distorting facts”, just after a report of a phone call between the leaders of both countries suggested a breakthrough in the Gulf dispute. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke by with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Friday when they discussed the dispute, state media from both countries reported. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar on 5 June, suspending air and shipping routes with the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, which is home to the region’s biggest US military base.

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Yemen: Hiding Behind Coalition’s Unlawful Attacks
By Human Rights Watch, 08 Sep 2017

 Members of the Saudi-led coalition have sought to avoid international legal liability by refusing to provide information on their role in alleged unlawful airstrikes in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said today. In 2017, Human Rights Watch wrote to the coalition and its current and former members urging them to release information on their investigations and findings of laws-of-war violations as required by international law. None have replied.The coalition’s unwillingness to conduct serious investigations into alleged violations of the laws of war was evident in its response to airstrikes on apartment buildings in Sanaa, the capital, on August 25 that killed or wounded more than two dozen civilians. “No coalition member can claim clean hands in Yemen until all its members explain their role in scores of documented unlawful attacks,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “It borders on the absurd for the coalition to claim its own investigations are credible when it refuses to release even basic information like which countries participated in an attack and whether anyone has been held accountable.”

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