When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

In The News

Glimmers Of Ukraine Hope Despite Offensive Escalation

👋 Demat!*

Welcome to Monday, where Ukraine ceasefire talks show signs of progress, despite continued Russian shelling and mounting death toll. Meanwhile, French daily Les Echos looks at the distant ramifications of the Ukraine invasion in the French Riviera.

[*Breton, France]

Watch Video Show less

Out of Cash, Iran Puts Dream Of Shia Empire On Pause

Under sanctions and deprived of funds, Iran's clerical regime has placed its dreams of regional supremacy on hold, at least until it can reach a multilateral pact on its nuclear program.

-Analysis-

It has been two years since a U.S. drone strike on a convoy in Iraq killed the Iranian Revolutionary guards commander Qasem Soleimani and 10 others, including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, one of the heads of the Iran-backed militia, Hashd al-shaabi.

In spite of his efforts and backing from his government, Soleimani's successor as head of the Revolutionary guards' Quds force, Ismail Qaani, has failed to prevent the depletion of the Axis of Resistance.

Keep reading... Show less

Kim Jong-Un Blames U.S., Iraq Election Results, Bi Superman

👋 Halu!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Iraq's hardline Shia cleric claims election victory, the UK confronts its historic COVID failure and Superman comes out as bisexual. We also look at "silent" Chinese investment in Latin America's railway sector.

[*Inuktitut - Inuit]

Keep reading... Show less

Immigrants Don't Drive Up Crime: Here Are The Facts

Crunch the numbers, or just look around...and we see that immigrants, wherever they may come from, are not a disproportionate cause of crime or cultural degradation across Europe.

Standing outside Hamburg's Arts and Crafts Museum, I observe a little the traffic and bustle of this historic German port, home to two million people. I notice to my right two German women sitting on the grass in the Carl Legien Platz, gaunt but eager as they prepare themselves a syringe full of some drug. To the left, sitting on the museum's steps, is an African man, wearing a pretty checked shirt and white cap. He wipes his face in despair, trying to decipher a manual for a gadget or contraption.

Once they have had their injection, the women recline to enjoy the buzz, until two policemen arrive. They dryly nod at the African and ask the women for their ID. I observed with fascination and must say, no travel journalist should omit to record these little bits of reality. They are as informative to readers as sight-seeing recommendations or dining tips.

Keep reading... Show less
Geopolitics
Ahmad Ra'fat

How Iran's Regional Meddling Could Eventually Backfire

In Lebanon and Iraq, two countries that Iran's clerical regime has long tried to control, some Shias are fed up with Tehran's machinations and affiliated militia groups.

-Analysis-

There is no end for now to the rocket and missile attacks on U.S. and Western coalition forces in Iraq, where six rockets were fired in recent days onto Erbil airport in Iraqi Kurdistan. One of them landed on a Kurdish Democratic Party camp inside Iran.

Watch Video Show less
BBC

The Latest: Wuhan Anniversary, ISIS In Baghdad, Google v. Australia

Welcome to Friday, where it's been a year since the first COVID lockdown began in Wuhan, ISIS is back in Iraq and James Bond fans get a license to kill some more time. Die Welt also takes us on a typographic journey through the infamous story of the Gothic typeface, a.k.a. the "Nazi font."

Biden and Iran: the if, when and how of reopening nuclear talks

Iran's clerical regime is boosting its military and nuclear activities, perhaps in a bid to bolster its position ahead of possible talks to revive the 2015 nuclear pact following the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden. Here's an analysis from Kayhan London's Ahmad Ra'fat:

Donald Trump has vacated the White House, replaced by Democrat Joseph Biden whose team began working immediately to undo many of Trump's policies.

Biden's main foreign policy coordinators are Anthony Blinken, his choice for secretary of state, Jake Sullivan, the next national security adviser, and William Burns as head of the CIA. All three participated in forging the 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and the 5+1 Powers.

Burns is an experienced diplomat who led secret talks with the Islamic Republic under President Barack Obama, to which he devotes a chapter of his book The Back Channel. Iran's president at the time was the conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The choice of this "troika" suggests that Biden is likely to return to the pact, which the United States abandoned in 2018 under President Donald Trump. The question now is: Which is the proper route back to negotiations. Also, when would these begin? U.S. officials and diplomats have not yet given a date for a resumption of talks, in spite of reiterating their support for the pact in principle.

Other signatory states — Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — have also been mum on the timing or possible road map back to the pact, though they have urged that the United States return to the fold.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, wants this to be done by mid-February, as Iran's recent violations of its obligations would, he believes, make a later revival of the pact very difficult. Notably, on Dec. 2, Iran's parliament voted for its bill on Strategic Measures to Suspend Sanctions, obligating the government to immediately resume 20% uranium enrichment.

A member of the Iranian Parliament's presiding board, Ahmad Amirabadi-Farahani, told state television days ago that Biden had one month after taking office to "lift banking and oil sanctions, or the Islamic Republic will, on February 21, stop implementing the Additional Protocol" (to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), and expel IAEA inspectors from Iran. This, he said, "is the law, and the government is obligated to enact it."

In spite of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's declaration that Iran is in "no hurry" to return to the pact, Iran's presidential chief of staff, Mahmud Va'ezi, has voiced optimism that President Hassan Rouhani would hand over the country to the next government without any sanctions. He told the official Iran newspaper that the government was already acting to have "America's unilateral sanctions on Iran lifted." The Rouhani government has even drafted the next budget (for the Persian year beginning on March 21, 2021) based on the projected daily sales of over 2 million barrels of crude, and sent the text to parliament.

In recent weeks, Biden and his team have made contradictory declarations on the issue of talks with Iran. Perhaps a firm decision has yet to be taken. It is not even clear whether or not the United States will talk with Iran, even if it does fully comply again with the NPT. It may seek to include two other dossiers in negotiations: Iran's ballistic program and its regional policies.

Iran is, in turn, strengthening its hand. Khamenei's foreign policy adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, said days ago that "if there is another round of negotiations' the "snapback" mechanism, which allows the Powers to immediately reimpose sanctions in case of violations, must be ditched. This "trigger," he said, was included in the 2015 pact against Khamenei's wishes.

The Islamic Republic has been clocking up treaty violations in recent weeks, as the IAEA and satellite pictures confirm: from 20% enrichment, activities at the Fordu plant and production of uranium metal at a center in Isfahan, to construction of new, underground installations at the Natanz site.

The Islamic Republic is also expanding military activities in a bid to intimidate the region and pressure the Biden administration. These include sending missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen, two naval maneuvers in the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea and an underground missile base near the Persian Gulf, as pictures have shown.

The regime's military and nuclear reactivation in recent weeks, and the possibility of a deal with the Biden administration, are undoubtedly of concern to certain regional states, especially Israel. Its ambassador at the UN has urged an extraordinary session of the Security Council to discuss the Iranian nuclear program's dangers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also sent the head of the Mossad intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen, to Washington for talks with the Biden team. Israel, which considers the Iranian regime a threat to itself and to Middle East stability, wants Biden to adopt harsher positions toward the regime and its regional policies, even if he does adhere to the pact.

Israel's former Labor prime minister Ehud Barak has warned in turn that Israel will do what it must to defend itself if Biden reaches a deal with Iran. Defense Minister Benny Gantz believes Israel must ready a military option, and according to the paper Israel Hayom, the armed forces have been presenting the cabinet with three, as yet unspecified, options against Iran.

In the meantime, Israeli jets have pursued strikes on the Syrian positions of the Revolutionary Guards and Iran-backed militias, the last of which is reported to have killed 50 Iranian soldiers and allied militiamen.

— Ahmad Ra'fat / Kayhan-London

Watch Video Show less
Geopolitics
Piotr Smolar

U.S.-Iran: France May Be Last Best Hope To Prevent All-Out War

PARIS — In diplomacy, there's always room for talk, even when the window for negotiation seems all but shut.

Such is the scenario that Emmanuel Macron faces in wake of the assassination by the United States of Ghassem Soleimani, an act that has kicked up a whirlwind in the Middle East, with consequences that remain unclear.

Watch Video Show less
Iraq
Ahmen Youssef

Inside Iraq's Tuk-Tuk Revolution

What began as a slogan shared among Facebook users has since morphed into a full-blown, youth-led movement for deep structural changes in the war-torn country.

BAGHDAD — "I'm going out to claim my rights." This was the phrase posted by Iraqis on Facebook in the final days of September. Then on Oct. 1, mass demonstrations were mobilized against corruption, unemployment, political quotas, and the interference of neighboring states — particularly Iran — in Iraq's government and policies. Protesters sought to make these demands heard in all of Iraq's provinces. Nearly six weeks later, the protests continue.

The demonstrations did not come out of nowhere. Recent years have seen regular demonstrations in the summer months, as climbing temperatures bring the electrical grid to a halt everywhere in the country but in autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan. Continual power cuts drove Iraqis to turn out every summer to decry poor services and the general political situation. After a few weeks on the streets, the protests would eventually subside after the government purchased electricity from Iran and announced a set of reforms, which would be viewed as superficial. Other demonstrations have been periodically mobilized at the behest of Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia political and religious leader of the Sadrist movement, the most popular grassroots movement in Baghdad and the southern provinces. But something is different about the October protests, which in a matter of days turned into a full-fledged revolution.

Watch Video Show less
Iraq
Hélène Sallon

In Iraq, The Revolt Of Generation 2018

Young people with little memory of the Saddam Hussein era are fed up with unemployment, public sector corruption and unfulfilled government promises.

BASRA — In one photo, Makki Achour stares at the lens, his eyes bright, his hair — like many Iraqis his age — in little tufts. In another, the frail young man appears in a military uniform, smiling proudly. The photo was taken in the field, where, as a member of the Popular Mobilization Front, a state-sponsored paramilitary organization established in 2014, Achour fought the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).

These snapshots, along with those of other young faces, are brandished by demonstrators in Basra, a large city in southern Iraq, and shared on social networks as a sign of solidarity. Achour has become an icon since he died what demonstrators call a martyr's death on Sept. 3. He was 26. The young man was shot and killed during a demonstration in front of the governor's seat in Basra. His death rekindled a dispute that has shaken the Shiite south since July and cost at least 27 people their lives.

Watch Video Show less
Iraq

Watch: OneShot — Sadr City Bus Stop

OneShot — Sadr City bus stop, 2008 (©Andrea Bruce/NOOR)

Watch Video Show less
Sources
Marie-Hélène Miauton

Here We Go Again: Iraq To Syria, Chemical Weapons And Collective Amnesia

-OpEd-

Tensions are reaching a bursting point over Syria! Just as Saddam Hussein's (hypothetical) possession of weapons of mass destruction led U.S. President George W. Bush to invade Iraq, the (alleged) use of lethal gases on Douma, a district in Syria's Eastern Ghouta controlled by Islamists, now allows Donald Trump to announce harsh reprisals.

Watch Video Show less
Iraq

Watch: OneShot — Saving Mosul

OneShot — The Battle for Mosul, 2017 (©Ivor Prickett)

An unidentified young boy who had survived the siege of last ISIS-controlled area in the Old City of Mosul is cared for by Iraqi Special Forces soldiers.

Watch Video Show less
Iraq

Watch: OneShot — The Battle For Mosul

OneShot — The Battle for Mosul, 2017 (©Ivor Prickett)

Watch Video Show less
Iraq

Watch: OneShot — Mother's Comfort

OneShot — Mother's comfort, 2004 (©Andrea Bruce/NOOR)

OneShot is a new digital format to tell the story of a single photograph in an immersive one-minute video.

Watch Video Show less
Iraq
Emilienne Malfatto

In Baghdad's Sadr City, Where Women Practice Weightlifting

BAGHDAD — Her hands, covered in magnesium carbonate for a better grip, are white. Her face is flush. Her gaze fixed. Huda Salem, 20, exhales loudly — twice — into the already sweat-saturated air. Her face contorts. Then, a shout as she lifts 70 kilos of cast iron.

Behind the young woman's massive, muscular figure, hanging from a wall, is an Iraqi flag. Allahu akbar, the flag's giant green letters read: "God is the greatest." The scene takes place in Sadr City, a poor suburb northeast of Baghdad that is better known for bombing attacks than sporting exploits. Inhabited almost exclusively by a Shia Muslim population, Sadr City is regularly targeted by Sunni extremist groups, such as ISIS.

Watch Video Show less
Iraq
Stuart Richardson

Al-Qaeda To ISIS And Beyond, The Battle Is Not About To End

-Analysis-

The Islamic State is now on the run in Syria and Iraq. Following the terror group's defeat this summer in its self-declared Iraqi capital of Mosul, ISIS has now been driven from its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa. This comes more than four years after ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his "Caliphate" from the pulpit of the al-Nuri mosque in Mosul.

Watch Video Show less
EXPLORE OTHER TOPICS