16 April 2018 - NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa Democracy


Syria: western allies launch diplomatic offensive in wake of strikes
by The Guardian, 16 Apr 2018

Western powers are to attempt to inject diplomatic momentum behind the military strikes against Syrian government chemical weapon sites by calling for the UN to launch a broad investigation into Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. The UN security council’s 15 members will meet on Monday to discuss a call for a wider push to eliminate the covert Syrian government stockpiles, placing pressure on Russia to stop protecting Bashar al-Assad’s regime from a UN inquiry into its use of chemical weapons. The draft resolution will call on the UN to try to reinvigorate the stalled peace talks, accept a ceasefire and restore humanitarian access to besieged areas.

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Iran and Saudi Arabia 'unlikely' to pivot back to diplomacy
by Al Jazeera, 16 Apr 2018

In December 1991, then-Iran's President Hashemi Rafsanjani and Saudi Arabia's then-Crown Prince King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud met on the sideline of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Senegal. In a rare diplomatic gambit, the two agreed to hold talks on restoring ties that crippled for years following the Iran-Iraq War and the deaths of hundreds of Iranians during the 1987 Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. Rafsanjani dispatched Iran's ambassador to Germany, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, to negotiate with the Saudi crown prince, who would later on become king.

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Iraq kicks off election campaign amidst public anger
by The National, Mina Aldroubi, 15 Apr 2018

Iraq's election campaign kicked off amid controversy following the replacement of posters of dead fighters with those of candidates. Party aides and volunteers across the country on Saturday substituted the images of men killed in the battle against ISIS with those of nominees. On Sunday morning angry residents took to social media to vent their frustrations.

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Will Iraq's 'tribal court' undermine rule of law?
by Saudi Gazette, Mustafa Saadoun, 13 Apr 2018

AMID Iraqi calls to reinforce the rule of law and strengthen Iraqi state institutions, the Ministry of Justice announced March 28 a new initiative for “arbitration” among tribes, allowing a team of tribal elders to intervene as arbitrators in resolving all possible disputes and conflicts between Iraqi tribes.

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