In retaliation for the US drone strikes killing an Iranian commander, Iran attacks US-led forces stationed at Iraq. many fear this could lead to a new Middle East war.
According to Iranian state television, Iran fired 15 missiles towards US targets in Iraq on Wednesday. Two Iraqi facilities catering to the US-led coalition were the targets. Iranians were shown celebrating this attack. Thee state television said that 80 American Terrorists were killed in the attack along with damage caused to US helicopter and military pieces of equipment. According to reports from Iraq 22 missiles were launched.
In words of Iranian officials in Tehran, they said that Iran does not want war and these strikes were a response to the killing of Qassem Soleimani, a powerful Iranian general whose burial and mourning end time coincided with the missile launch time.
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020
On the other hand, US President Donald Trump tweets that “All is Well,” and there will be an assessment of casualties and damage from the strikes and he said he would give his statement on Wednesday morning. Other US officials declined to give a comment.
Troops from Germany, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Iraq, were not hurt but British personnel condemns the attack. Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said that the bases targeted were al-Asad air and another facility in Erbil, Iraq. He even said that while they were evaluating the situation they will take all necessary measures to protect and defend US personnel, partners or allies in the region.
Around 5000+ US troops are stationed in Iraq with foreign forces who were fighting the ISIS militants. Iran says that US forces should have left the Middle East long time and asked Washington to withdraw from the region. They even warned allies like Israel to not allow attacks from their territories.
US signs historic peace deal with the Taliban. Check out the details
A peace deal was signed in Qatar on Saturday between the US and Afghanistan militant group Taliban. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said-The agreement with the Taliban will be effective only when the Taliban works towards full peace. For this, the Taliban will have to break all their relations with the terrorist organization Al Qaeda. This agreement is an experiment in this area.
He said – We will keep an eye on the Taliban. The US will withdraw its army from Afghanistan only when it is fully confirmed that the Taliban will not carry out terrorist attacks in the international community. It was quoted by the news agency that the US would withdraw 8600 troops from Afghanistan. Apart from this, the things stated in the agreement will also be completed in 135 days.
The Important Points from US Taliban Deal
- US to reduce the number of forces in Afghanistan to 8,600 within 135 days of this joint declaration
- US and Coalition to complete withdrawal of their remaining forces from Afghanistan within 14 months of joint declaration
- The US commits to seek funds on a yearly basis to support the training, equipping, advising and sustaining of Afghan security forces
- Afghanistan will participate in a US-facilitated discussion with Taliban on confidence-building measures including the feasibility of releasing significant numbers of prisoners on both sides
- Afghanistan will seek to UN Security Council to remove members of the Taliban from the sanctions list by May 29, 2020
What actually happened between the US and the Taliban?
Following the 9/11 attacks, the US sent its troops to Afghanistan in 2001 to wage war against the Taliban. Here 2352 soldiers have been killed in a fight with terrorist groups. The US now wants the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan. For this, he had been in discussions with the Afghan government and Taliban representatives for a long time. However, the agreement on the peace deal was reached this week. President Trump gave the green signal to finalize the deal on Friday night.
President Trump said that if the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban live up to these commitments, then we will have a way to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home. After all, it will depend on the people of Afghanistan to How it will work.
India’s role in the peace agreement
Ambassadors from 30 countries including India were invited to come to Doha for this agreement. This is the first time that India will officially attend an event involving the Taliban. India’s envoy to Qatar, P Kumaran will attend the ceremony after India was invited by the Qatar government. US President Donald Trump, who visited India on 24-25 February, had a discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi about this. Indian Foreign Secretary Harshvardhan Shringla arrived in Kabul on Friday night before the peace deal. He met President Ashraf Ghani and top government officials.
Deadly COVID-19 Infects Iran’s, Deputy Health Minister
The deputy health minister of Iran as well as an MP both have tested positive for Covid-19 as Iran struggles t contain the outbreak that killed around 15 people in the country. The country has become a part of one of the three areas outside China where the virus has turned pandemic.
Iraj Harirchi who is the deputy minister on Monday tried to deny covering up of the scale of the outbreak. He seems uncomfortable while he spoke to the reported. As of the latest reports, Iran has 95 cases of Covid19 but it is claimed that the actual number could be higher. On Tuesday, Mahmoud Sadeghi, an MP from Tehran also said he tested positive for the virus.
According to the WHO, this sudden increase in cases in Iran is deeply concerning. On Tuesday, Mike Pompeo who is the US Secretary of State claimed that Washington was concerned as Iran might have concealed important details about the outbreak asking all countries to tell the truth about what they know.
After China, more people ended up dying in Iran from the virus than any place. The two countries have really strong trading links. Other cases people are concerned about is that of South Korea and Italy.
Worldwide more than 80,000 cases of Covid-19 were registered since the virus strain causing severe respiratory disease emerged in 2019. Out of the total, about 2,700 patients died who were majorly in China. But the situation with Iran is unique as it is home to holy sites attracting millions every year. Secondly, the health systems in the region are weak creating a potential threat of a mass outbreak in the Middle East.
The issue has further gone downhill for Iran as the country is refusing to impose quarantine in areas which are affected by the outbreak as quarantine in the government opinion is old fashioned. The Shia shrines in the cities of Qom and Mashhad are kept open even though Qom is the hotbed of the virus.
Medical equipment have also gone dry and many medical professionals are infected. It won’t be soon when there are hardly enough qualified doctors or nurses to attend the people.
Baghdad, U.S. Embassy struck by Rocket Fire
The U.S Embassy in Baghdad was hit by rocket fire late Sunday, with damage of one hitting a dining facility, injuring one person and causing minor building damage. It is not clear that any of the other four rockets launched in the attack landed inside the embassy compound, but the assault prompted alarm in Washington over how to calibrate the response. For security reasons, neither the Iraqi nor American officials, or the embassy, would discuss locations or other specifics details of the attack.
There has been no claim of responsibility for Sunday’s rocket attack. The military commander of Asaib al-Haq, Jawad Al-Tilaybawi said – a coalition of armed group with links to Iran that opposes America’s presence in Iraq, denied responsibility . “We stress that the recent rocket bombing against the evil embassy in Baghdad is not the action of the Iraqi resistance factions, because we have stressed earlier that the resistance factions will not target the embassies and the diplomatic missions in Iraq” said, the commander of Asaib al-Haq.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi of Iraq said in a statement that “We denounce the continuation of these outlawed actions that have the goal of weakening the Iraqi state and violating its sovereignty and the sanctity of diplomatic missions on its soil”.
He further said that “Iraqi forces had been ordered to “search and investigate to prevent such attacks” and to arrest those who launched the rockets”. Mr. Abdul Mahdi also used the statement as a “way to remind the public, which is divided about whether to have United States troops stay in the country, that using force would risk “dangerous consequences and repercussions” that could damage Iraqi interests and “drag Iraq into a war.”
While rocket fire in the Green Zone in Baghdad has been a regular occurrence in recent months, the rockets fired on Sunday and last week were more accurate, landing closer to the embassy, according to eyewitnesses. Often in the past, the rockets have fallen in a nearby river or far from the embassy compound.
Turkey Parliament To Introduce ” Marry Your Rapist Bill”
Turkish lawmakers are set to introduce a law which would allow men accused of rape or having sex with girls who are under 18 years of age to avoid punishment if they choose to marry their victims. This controversial “marry your rapist bill” has sparked fury among women’s rights activists and advocates in the country. This bill is going to be released by the end of January.
Critics and opposition People’s Democratic Party argue legislation asking the government to axe as it not only legitimises child marriage and statutory rape but it creates a way for child abuse and sexual exploitation. On 2016, a similar bill was declared but after national and global protests the legislation on pardoned men if the sex they had was without force or threat.
Agencies in the United Nations also mentioned that the bill could generate a landscape of impunity for child abuse which might further make victims vulnerable to experiencing more mistreatment and distress from their assailants. Such ” Marry your rapist” bills have been popping out under different legislatures in different countries in the name of protecting family honour.
A campaigner for Equality Now, Suad Abu-Dayyeh said that it was shocking that politicians are trying to pass a bill that could exempt child sexual exploitation from getting punished. She specialises in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan and said after years of campaigning, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia and Palestine were able to remove such loopholes. She says that rather than introducing such legislations Turkish lawmakers should look for ways to repeal gender discriminatory laws.
Though the legal age of consent in Turkey is 18 according to the government reports from the Health Ministry on child marriages in 2018, around 482,908 girls were married in the last decade. Even United Nations reports suggest that around 38 per cent of Turkish women have suffered physical or sexual violence. In another campaign, by We, Will Stop Femicide estimates that in 2017 approximately 409 women were murdered either by a partner or a family member.
70 Yemeni Soldiers Killed in Missile Attack On Mosque By Houthi Rebels
According to medical as well as military sources, Houthi rebels have killed at least 70 Yemeni soldiers in a missile attack on a mosque in the central province of Marib. This attack was done to a mosque which was in a military camp in Marib which 170km east of Sanaa during the evening prayers on Saturday. The casualties were transported to Marib City hospital.
The fight between Yemen’s internationally recognised government backed by a Saudi-led military coalition and Iran-backed Houthis has been going on since 2014 when the rebels were able to seize the northern capital of Sanaa. According to the statement given to Saba News Agency, the Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi condemns this cowardly terrorist attack. The report did not mention the death toll though.
The President calls the actions disgraceful saying that it is confirmed the Houthis do not want to achieve peace. On the other side, the Houthis did not make an immediate claim of responsibility. The President also said that the Houthis knows nothing but death and destruction and is a cheap Iranian tool in the region. According to Al Ekhbariya television, the attack was carried out with ballistic missiles and drones.
Several thousands of Yemeni people which mostly included civilians have been killed were millions have been displaced since 2015 when Saudi Arabia along with its allies gets involved to help the Yemeni government fight the conflict against the Houthi rebels. The Saudi led coalition tried to restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi as the Houthis capture the capital Sanaa now the government is based in the port city of Aden.
The Houthis who still control the important Yemen urban centres deny being puppets of Iran claiming to fight against the corrupt system. This conflict in words of the United Nations is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis pushing the country to the edge of famine.
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