Iraq has drawn up a plan dubbed 'Development Road' that wants to connect the south with the Turkish border in the north. An almost 17 billion euro project that involves other partners from Iran to Qatar. In response to the 'Silk Road', the United States - with Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and India - are studying a capillary network from Asia to Europe
The phenomenon of flaring - the burning of gas in reservoirs - is becoming a health emergency. The first reports of cases from refugee camps in Kurdistan, but the increase in incidences of cancer affects the entire population. Fr. Samir: 'Every day we hear of new cases', an 'awareness and prevention campaign' is needed but funds are lacking.
In the detention centres housing jihadists' families in north-east Syria, stories of exploitation of the very young boys, little more than children, emerge. The mission is to provide new recruits for the 'caliphate'. For critics, this is a pretext used by the Kurdish authorities to separate children from their mothers. But there are testimonies that confirm a 'hidden phenomenon'.
On 14 May, the country will go to the polls for parliamentary and presidential elections (with a possible runoff on the 28th) for a round characterised by great uncertainty. Voting abroad began at the end of April and closes today. Great uncertainty among expatriates, fights at the polling stations in France between pro-government and opposition groups. The electorate on its first vote, tired of the sultan's promises.
The kingdom wants to become the region's main digital and technological hub. Bin Salman's nationalism has supplanted religious Wahhabism. Entertainment and modernity, but only with a concession from the state. The node of infrastructure and fibre optics. Social changes are reflected in the real estate market.
The Rusi expert recounts the Islamic Republic between (fading) street protests and the embrace of China and Russia. The resumption of relations with Riyadh important and with "tangible" results in Yemen, but it is too early to speak of peace. The role of women the 'most important' factor in the demonstrations against the veil, but laws have tightened. The difficult international support for the uprising.
The UN and Oman have brought the government and rebels closer to the negotiating table. Saudis released 13 Houthi prisoners. A ceasefire could be announced before the end of the month. Some major issues must still be dealt with before peace is achieved. Meanwhile, other players, like al-Qaeda, could play troublemakers.
Head of the Rossing Centre reflects on the situation in the country with "extremist politicians" with "criminal convictions" that distort the nature of the State. There is a desire to turn the Supreme Court into a 'paper-pusher' for the executive. The reaction of those fighting for liberal values and the future is positive. The haredim seem to have embraced the radical right. For extremists, more freedom to strike, minorities at risk and attacks on Christians 'underestimated'.
A 14-year-old Kurdish boy is beaten and forced to sing the Turkish anthem. At least 25 HDP exponents arrested in Suruc for (alleged) affiliation with "terrorist groups" (read Pkk). Repression is growing in the country ahead of elections and to quell discontent over aid and post-earthquake relief. AsiaNews source in Diyarbakir: the earthquake "has fuelled resentment" towards the Akp.
In recent days, the Syrian president has visited the United Arab Emirates. His wife was also with him, her first visit abroad since the beginning of the conflict. Abu Dhabi leads Damascus' rapprochement policy in the Arab world. The Arab League is also ready to discuss reintegration. The hundreds of phantom deaths in government prisons.
On 20 March 2003, US and British troops launched Operation Iraqi Freedom, which led to the fall of Saddam Hussein. And opened the door wide to terrorism and institutional anarchy, only partly overcome in the last period. The cardinal retraces the country's recent history and the failure of an operation cloaked in freedom and democracy.
The United Nations has made another appeal to donor countries for US$ 4.3 billion in aid. Last year, a similar appeal raised only half of what was requested. Meanwhile, fighting continues and last year’s truce, a distant memory. As the economy gets worse, child soldiers, a halved GDP and shortages remain.
Msgr Gaid, former secretary to the pope, is responsible for the place of worship inaugurated inside the 'House of the Abrahamic Family'. Open also 'to other Christian communities', it aims to be a reference point for the local community composed largely of migrants. The pontiff's "tireless" work on dialogue with Sunnis, Shiites and Jews and the fight "against the haemorrhaging" of Christians in the Middle East.
A Custody delegation visited Iraq in the days of the episcopal ordination of the new Syrian Catholic bishop of Mosul, a country marked by the drama of the Islamic State. The visit to Baghdad Cathedral, theatre of the 2010 massacre. The statue of Our Lady in Basra, where Muslims also stop to pray.
The meeting is scheduled from 13 to 18 February near the shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon. The Maronite Patriarch presided over the commemoration for the earthquake victims and displaced people. The assembly of 120 personalities from the entire region, one third of whom are lay people, is divided into 11 inter-ecclesial working groups.
Faced with the emergency, Caritas responded quickly providing aid to everyone, Catholics and Orthodox, Christians and Muslims, Turks and migrants. “Everything is needed, from food to spiritual comfort and human support even among the refugees,” said the vicar of Anatolia. For the bishop of Aleppo, the tragedy could be an opportunity for Ankara and Damascus to “reflect about peace and working together”.
Speaking to AsiaNews Fr. Aldo Berardi, appointed Jan. 28 as vicar of the North, confesses his "surprise" at the choice, combined with the "awareness" of operating in a territory he knows. His years of mission in Bahrain and visits to the region. Respect for Christian rites, cultures and traditions. Pope Francis' recent apostolic trip was a "historic" occasion to bring together the faithful from across the vicariate.
Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on 14 May, with a run-off two weeks later if no one gets 50 per cent in the first round. The Economist slams the Turkish leader for bringing the country “to the brink". The Kurdish vote, the migrant issue, and Islamic nationalism are expected to play a major role. A silent international community is ready for business as usual, source tells AsiaNews.
At least 80,000 people took to the streets against a bill proposed by Justice Minister Levin. For lawyers, magistrates and critics, it is a coup. For defenders, it is a simple revision to rebalance powers. Netanyahu's corruption and fraud trials loom in the background. President Herzog is trying a difficult mediation.
Despite proclamations from Qatar and FIFA, little has changed in the lives of the workers who built World Cup venues and infrastructure. While the Kafala system may have been abolished, the reimbursement scheme is not working. For many, this is a time of uncertainty and unresolved issues. For Human Rights Watch, what remains is “a legacy of exploitation and shame”.
In September 2012, the pope emeritus made an apostolic journey to Lebanon, his last visit outside Italy of his pontificate before his historic resignation. His exhortation is the fruit of the synod on the Middle East, entrusted to the Eastern Catholic Churches. The silent invasion of modernity is today's challenge, together with extremist violence.
The parish priest recounts the festive atmosphere for the celebrations and fears for an uncertain future. Escape attempts, especially by young people, are "an open wound" for "broken" Palestinian families. Protests against Hamas at the funerals of eight Gazans who drowned while attempting to cross the Mediterranean in barges. Fr. Romanelli: If Israel's policy does not change, the community "is doomed to die."
Photojournalist Omar Sanadiki took a picture that has become a symbol of the poverty in which the population finds itself, especially the youngest. He tells AsiaNews how the photo came about and the prospects of a country that will not emerge from the tunnel of war and poverty anytime soon. Children rummaging through rubbish for survival is a growing phenomenon, exploited by traffickers.
For Riccardo Redaelli, director of the Master in Middle Eastern Studies (MIMES) at the Graduate School of Economics and International Relations of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Milan), protests by young Iranians are the result of the country’s gradual economic, social, and political decline. Within the regime, some are aware that concessions need to be made to avoid a bloodbath, while protesters have no alternative model should the regime fall.
Religious Zionists want to legalise even those small settlements that Israeli law itself deems illegal. Administrative authority in the West Bank’s Area C, which is under Israeli control but largely inhabited by Palestinians, is now in settlers’ hand. The first goal is to rebuild Homesh, one of the settlements Sharon evicted in 2005.
The flag affair dominates the pre-match phase after the US Soccer Federation posts an Iranian flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic. Iran’s revolutionary guards tell the Iranian team to “behave”. The protests that followed the death of Mahsa Amini are overshadowing the sporting event. The two teams met once before, in France 1998, ending in an Iranian victory. Qatar is using the event to boost its regional role as a mediator.
The pontiff's trip to Bahrain and two inter-religious forums have re-energised discussion between different faiths and within Islam. Peace and reconciliation between the two souls of the Muslim world are necessary for stability. Even the Imam of al-Azhar makes a rare appeal for internal dialogue. Analysis and future prospects in an interview with professor and expert Saad Salloum.
The PKK denies any role in the attack on Istanbul's shopping strip. After initially blaming the Kurds, the authorities will not disregard jihadis as possible culprits. The Catholic Church in Turkey offers its prayers for the victims. For the apostolic vicar, “the attack was like a bolt from the blue”, threatening the revival of tourism and pilgrimages. As the country gets ready for a presidential election next year, it faces both domestic and foreign enemies.
A business worth 10 billion euro a year that feeds government and opposition coffers, creating 'unthinkable' alliances. A universal substance consumed by students and professionals, considered less 'forbidden' than alcohol or other drugs. Saudi Arabia the main market destination.
The shah's prison is at the heart of the Islamic Republic's worst atrocities. Common criminals, activists, and dissidents have been executed inside the infamous facility. Scores of reports have highlighted serious human rights abuses and violations. In mid-October, a mysterious fire engulfed the prison for hours. Thousands of people arrested for protesting against the death of Mahsa Amini are set to go on trial together.