21 August 2017 - NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa Democracy


Israeli opposition says Abbas tried to resume security ties with Israel
By Reuters, 20 Aug 2017

 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Israeli opposition lawmakers on Sunday that he had proposed rolling back his month-old suspension of security coordination with Israel, but that it did not respond to the overture, the delegation said. Abbas suspended ties on July 21, demanding that Israel remove metal detectors it had installed outside a Jerusalem compound housing the Al-Aqsa mosque in response to the killing of two of its police guards by gunmen who had holed up there. Amid Palestinian and Jordanian unrest, and U.S. mediation efforts, Israel dismantled the walk-through gates on July 25 and said it would install less obtrusive security measures

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Tunisia Split Along Religious Lines Over Bill Giving Women Equal Property Rights
By Sputnik News, 19 Aug 2017

 Tunisia’s consideration of a bill to grant equal property inheritance rights to women and men has divided the country over a larger question: whether it should be a secular state or one where Islam is the basis for its code of laws. The bill was proposed by Tunisia's first democratically-elected president, Beji Caid Essebsi, a secular leader who ran on a platform of economic and social liberalization. Among the changes to inheritance that the bill would bring if it comes into law is permitting marriages between Muslim women and non-Muslim men in Tunisia.

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Yemen: Houthis Detain Prominent Activist
By Human Rights Watch, 18 Aug 2017

 Houthi authorities in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, should immediately and unconditionally release Hisham al-Omeisy, a prominent activist detained on August 14, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. Al-Omeisy, 38, has been an important public voice in Yemen, providing commentary on the country’s armed conflict. He has used social media, tweeting in English and Arabic, to report on and analyze events in real-time, including airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition that supports the government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. He has also addressed the closing of space for nongovernmental groups and the impact of the war on Yemeni civilians.

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Exclusive: U.S. forces to stay in Syria for decades, say militia allies
By Reuters, 17 Aug 2017

 Washington's main Syrian ally in the fight against Islamic State says the U.S. military will remain in northern Syria long after the jihadists are defeated, predicting enduring ties with the Kurdish-dominated region.  The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of militias dominated by the Kurdish YPG, believes the United States has a "strategic interest" in staying on, SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Reuters. 

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Algeria's PM sacked after less than three months in office
By Daily Nation, 16 Aug 2017

 Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika sacked Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Tuesday, less than three months after appointing him, according to a presidential statement carried by state media. 
"President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Tuesday relieved Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune of his duties and appointed Ahmed Ouyahia", the president's chief of staff, in his place, the presidency said in a statement published by the official APS news agency. According to a government source who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, 71-year-old Tebboune was dismissed because his "vision was not in line" with that of the president.

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