23 July 2018 - NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa Democracy


Iraq protests: What you should know
by Al-Jazeera, 23 Jul 2018

Thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets of Najaf, Basra, Maysan, Dhi Qar and Karbala, rallying against rising unemployment, corruption, poor governance and perceived Iranian interference. 
Smaller protests have also erupted in the capital, Baghdad.
The scale and ferocity of the protests have seen security forces use live ammunition, tear gas, and water cannon on the crowds, killing at least 14 since July 8, according to police and medical sources.

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'Do not play with lion's tail': Rouhani warns Trump
by Al-Jazeera, 23 Jul 2018

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned his US counterpart, Donald Trump, not to escalate tensions with his country, saying a confrontation with the Islamic republic would be the "mother of all wars".
"Do not play with the lion's tail or else you will regret it," Rouhani said on Sunday, reiterating that the US cannot prevent it from exporting its crude oil to the international market.
Earlier this month, Rouhani hinted that Iran may block regional oil exports if its own sales are halted following the US' withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal signed with world powers.
The suggestion, which did not mention the strategic Strait of Hormuz, was in reaction to looming US sanctions and efforts by the Trump administration to prevent countries from purchasing Iranian oil.

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Hundreds of White Helmets evacuated from Syria to Jordan
by Al-Jazeera, 22 Jul 2018

Hundreds of White Helmets rescuers and their families have been evacuated from Syria to Jordan overnight with the help of Israel, the United States and European countries. 
Also known as Syrian Civil Defence, the White Helmets operate in rebel-held parts of war-ravaged Syria. 
The request for the evacuation came as the volunteers and their relatives were threatened by advancing forces of the Syrian government in the south of the country.
Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Twitter that 422 people were evacuated, instead of the initial 800 cleared for the operation. 

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Gaza reporter: 'My brother's body was in pieces in front of me'
by Al-Jazeera, 22 Jul 2018

For journalist Maryam Abu Daqqa, it was another day at work covering the protests near the Israeli fence, in the Gaza Strip's east.
Since March 30, the 24-year-old reporter for the local Sharq news agency had been documenting the weekly Great March of Return demonstrations calling for the right of return of refugees to the areas they were expelled from in 1948.
As Palestinians on Friday renewed their protests, Israel launched dozens of air raids and tank fire against what it said were Hamas positions.

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Israel Picks Identity Over Democracy. More Nations May Follow.
by New York Times, 22 Jul 2018

Amid a moment of national euphoria, Israel’s founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, emerged from retirement in July 1967 to warn Israelis they had sown the seeds of self-destruction.
Israel had just won a stunning military victory against its neighbors, elating Israelis with a sense that the grand experiment of a Jewish state might really work.

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