BAGHDAD: Top federal and Kurdish security officials agreed in Baghdad yesterday to “activate” coordinating committees between their forces and work to calm the situation in northern Iraq, a statement said.
Tensions are running high in parts of the country’s north that the autonomous Kurdistan region wants to incorporate over the strong objections of Baghdad, and military reinforcements have been sent to disputed areas.
Parliament speaker Osama Al Nujaifi has been pushing to resolve the crisis between Baghdad and Kurdistan, which he has warned could lead to civil war.
The two sides agreed to continue meeting “and to activate the higher coordinating committees between the (federal) armed forces and the (Kurdish) regional guard forces” known as peshmerga, a statement from military spokesman Colonel Dhia al-Wakil said, without providing details on the committees.
They also agreed to begin “calming the situation and searching for mechanisms to withdraw the units that were mobilised after the crisis to their former locations,” the statement said. The meeting was chaired by national security adviser Falah Al Fayadh and attended by Iraqi General Faruq Al Araji, US Lieutenant General Robert Caslen and delegations from the federal defence ministry and the Kurdistan ministry responsible for the peshmerga forces, it said.
Kuwait to allow protest on poll eve
KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait yesterday issued a permit to allow the opposition to stage a demonstration on the eve of a disputed general election, the interior ministry and activists said.
“We found the request submitted by the organisers fulfilled conditions set by the interior ministry and accordingly we issued the necessary licence,” interior ministry spokesman Colonel Adel Al Hashash told a news conference.
The ministry has insisted the protest be peaceful, he said. Authorities banned two previous protests on October 21 and November 4 but the opposition went ahead and staged processions which turned violent.
More than 150 protesters and 24 policemen were slightly injured when riot police used teargas and stun grenades to disperse the two rallies.
Opposition activists, whose parties have called for an election boycott, said on Twitter that they had received the permit and will go ahead with the protest on Friday, a day before the polls.
The Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition has been protesting against the government for unilaterally amending the electoral law even after the top court in the oil-rich Gulf state ruled the legislation was in line with the constitution. The opposition charges that the amendment clears the way for the election of a pro-government parliament.
Hackers on trial in Turkey for first time
ANKARA: A group of Internet hackers appeared in an Ankara court yesterday on charges of terrorism, the first time alleged cyber criminals have been put on trial in Turkey, local media reported. The 10 members of the “Redhack” group are accused of belonging to an armed terrorist organisation, illegally obtaining confidential documents and personal information, as well as cracking into private systems without authorisation.
The court released three of the suspects who had been in custody since March, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.
The defendants, who deny the charges, risk prison sentences ranging from eight to 24 years if convicted. Redhack claims to be affiliated with the international hackers’ group Anonymous group, and has carried out several online attacks against state and private domains since 1997. Some of the websites they targeted have included the Turkish intelligence agency, the country’s Internet watchdog and Turkish Airlines.