PYD Condemns Turkish Arrest Warrants as “False, Baseless and Slanderous”
The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) have issued a statement condemning the Turkish arrest warrants that were issued for 48 members of the PYD yesterday, including Salih Muslim, the Co-Chairman of the Party. The arrest warrants accuse the targeted individuals with involvement in an attack against a Turkish military base in the capital, Ankara, which resulted in the deaths of 28 people and the wounding of many others. In response the PYD declared that;
“The accusations constructed against Mr Salih Muslim are false, baseless and slanderous. Once again, this has proved to the world’s public opinion that the Turkish state and Erdogan’s government are hostile to the Kurdish people wherever they might be. Turkey is still continuing with its goal of political, cultural and physical extermination of all its opponents, especially the Kurds”
The northern Syrian region known as Rojava, where the PYD are based, has been the site of an experiment in participatory and direct democracy known as “Democratic Confederalism”. The Syrian Kurds who, although historically marginalised, have been left relatively at peace by the Syrian government since the war began in 2011, have been attacked by the Turkish military, ISIS, and other opposition and rebel forces, including those backed by Turkey and the West.
Israeli Court Protects Archaeologists Engaged in Illegal Digging in Occupied Palestine
The Jerusalem District Court denied freedom of information requests by human rights organization Yesh Den on Monday, ruling that the names of Israeli archaeologists may legally be concealed from the public, to avoid them being subject to academic boycotts for their activities. Although archaeologists, who conduct academic work, are typically expected to publish their names alongside their findings, Israeli archaeologists have avoided publishing their names in recent years, out of concerns that they could face consequences for their illegal digs in the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank. Faced with an appeal by human rights organizations to reveal the names, the Israeli state informed the court that revealing the names of the archaeologists could be useful for the academic boycott movement against Israel and could be harmful for Israel’s international image.
Israeli archaeological organizations such as the Ir David Foundation are heavily funded by the state, and direct their archaeological efforts to support the Zionist narrative in East Jerusalem while destroying historical evidence of non-Jewish cultures in the ancient city. Many historical artefacts have been pillaged by Israeli archaeologists from the West Bank and displayed in Israeli museums, in violation of international law. The court accepted the state’s position, tacitly acknowledging that Israeli archaeologists engage in activity that would indeed damage Israel’s international image were it to be revealed.
ISIS Used Chemical Weapons at Least 52 Times, Report Says
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has used chemical weapons at least 52 times since 2014, according to a report published yesterday by consulting and data-analysis corporation IHS Markit.
The company noted that 19 of these attacks were conducted in the city of Mosul, where a combined attack by the Iraqi military and Kurdish forces to retake the city from ISIS has been underway since October 16th.
The UN warned earlier this month that ISIS was stockpiling sulfur and ammonia in Mosul in civilian areas.
IHS Markit alleges that ISIS has relied on chlorine and mustard agents and that although its chemical weapon capabilities are not well developed, they could improve in the future.
Past instances of illegal use of chemical weapons have been recorded in the region by Iraq’s former government under Saddam Hussein, by Syrian government forces in Syria and by the Israeli military in Gaza.
Chemical weapons were banned by the 1925 Geneva Protocol due to their indiscriminate nature and the horrifying suffering that they cause. Their use is criminal under all circumstances.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was created in 1997 to accompany the Chemical Weapons Convention in order to strengthen the 1925 Protocol by introducing mechanisms to monitor, destroy and prevent chemical weapons stockpiles.
Three Countries Withdraw from Arab-African Summit Due to West Saharan Participation
Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates withdrew from the Arab-African summit yesterday, in protest of a delegation from Western Sahara that was included at the “insistence of the African Union.”
Western Sahara has been under Moroccan military occupation since Spain’s withdrawal in 1975, and repeated rebellions and uprisings have taken place in an effort to achieve Western Sahara’s independence.
This will be the fourth ever pan Arab-African summit. The three previous Arab-African summits took place in 1977, 2010 and 2013.
Facebook Accepts Chinese Censorship Requirements to Enter China
Facebook is developing a software tool which will allow it to censor content depending on the geographical location of its users.
China is expected to allow Facebook to reenter its markets after the country banned it in 2009 due to the unwillingness or inability of the social media platform to adhere to the strict censorship of contents.
The censorship software will enable Facebook to cooperate with the Chinese authorities in deleting content and preventing Facebook users in China from receiving search results or seeing posts which earn government disapproval. It will not be limited to China, but would enable Facebook to censor content based on geographical location in the entire world.
Facebook, owned by the 5th richest person the world, has already agreed to suppress content in twenty different countries at the request of local governments.