The Kurdish flag is flying high in the wind from the rooftop of an old brick house inside Kirkuk’s millennia-old citadel, as Rashid – a stern-looking man sitting behind a machine gun – monitors the surroundings.
"Being an atheist isn't something you can easily express in Turkey,” says Sinem Köroğlu, a member of the Atheism Association, the first official organisation for atheists in the country. “It's becoming more difficult with the current government as well,” she adds.
With jihadists leading a Sunni uprising against Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government, the conflicts in Syria and Iraq are beginning to reverberate across the region, raising fears of contagion in divided Lebanon where a suicide bombing took place on Friday after a period of calm.
People with long beards and dressed like Afghans broke into our neighbourhood after they had bombed it. We were lucky to escape from that nightmare,” Aum Ahmad, a46-year-old woman from Mosul – 400 km northwest of Baghdad – told IPS from the recently set up Khazar refugee camp, 25 km east of the besieged city.
The war in Syria has brought back to the forefront the concept of ‘jihad’, with tens of thousands of fighters currently waging what they believe to be a religious war there.
The lengthy prison sentences handed down to 50 Shia activists last week and the refusal of Bahraini courts to hear their allegations of torture once again confirm the regime’s continued repression of the opposition.
On Aug. 14, the 42nd
anniversary of Bahrain’s independence from Britain, an online group called Tarmarod (“rebellion” in Arabic) officially joined Bahrain’s democracy movement that began in February 2011.
The special session of the Bahraini National Assembly held on Sunday Jul. 28 was a spectacle of venom, a display of vulgarity, and an unabashed nod to increased dictatorship.
Human rights groups here are calling for the United States and the European Union (EU) to exert more pressure on Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, to seriously engage its opposition and end its repression of its majority Shi'a population.
A poll released Tuesday shows a stark decline in favourability among Arab and Muslim citizens regarding the Iranian government and its policies.
On the eve of the second anniversary of the uprising in Bahrain, the administration of President Barack Obama is being urged to press the royal family to make genuine compromises with the predominantly Shi’a opposition.
Despite the start of a government-inspired dialogue with the opposition Sunday, the Bahraini government continues to jail dissidents, arrest demonstrators, and use a rigged judicial system to convict them.
Tens of thousands of Sunni Muslims blocked Iraq's main trade route to neighbouring Syria and Jordan in a fourth day of demonstrations against Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.