13 May 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa Democracy


What sanctions did Trump slap on Iran?
Al Jazeera, 13 May 2019

After 17 days of continuous negotiations, marked by sleepless nights, standoffs and shouting, the world "breathed a sigh of relief" on July 14, 2015, when Iran, the United States and five other powers announced a pact to curb Tehran's nuclear programme.[...] Just four years later, the landmark accord is in danger of unravelling, Iran's economy is in crisis, and there are fears that hawks in Washington are trying to provoke a military confrontation between the US and Iran. How did we get here? And what's next?

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Taliban Train Sights on Aid Groups, an Ominous Turn in Afghanistan
The New York Times, 13 May 2019

KABUL, Afghanistan — A Taliban attack on two aid organizations last week, the deadliest episode in a recent surge of violence against humanitarian workers in Afghanistan, is a signal to many that as peace talks falter, the insurgents are lashing out against so-called soft targets. Wednesday’s attack killed three workers for CARE, the American aid group, and at least six others, most of them civilians. Aid workers said the true death toll was 13. In either case, it was the single biggest loss of life among the country’s 2,000 nongovernmental organizations in more than a year.

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Veteran Kurdish leader calls for talks with Damascus
Gulf News, 10 May 2019

Beirut: Veteran Kurdish commander Abdullah Ocalan has issued a groundbreaking statement from his prison cell in Turkey, calling on the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to engage in dialogue with Damascus. The statement, being his first since 2011, was read by his lawyers earlier this week. “We believe that, within the scope of the SDF, problems in Syria should be tackled by staying away from a culture of conflict, with constitutional assurances given within the framework of Syria’s territorial integrity.”

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CIA warned three Khashoggi associates of new Saudi threats: Report
Middle East Eye, 09 May 2019

Three individuals with ties to slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have recently been given security briefings, after security agencies determined they could be "the targets of potential retaliation from Saudi Arabia", TIME reported. The US magazine said on Thursday that the CIA was the source of the threat warnings that have been given to "friends and colleagues" of Khashoggi. The three individuals given security briefings in recent weeks are Iyad el-Baghdadi of Norway; Omar Abdulaziz of Canada, and a third, US-based person who was not identified, TIME said.

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