World Bulletin / News Desk
Kurdish militants in Kirkuk are tearing down banners critical of a planned referendum on the proposed secession of the northern Kurdish region from Iraq, the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) said Friday.
A coalition of Turkmen parties and groups, the ITF is regarded as the main representative of Iraqi Turkmen in Iraq’s parliament.
“The tearing down of anti-referendum banners -- which were put up by the Turkmen Nationalist Movement -- is an assault on free expression,” the ITF said in a statement.
“The ITF reiterates its support for the Turkmen Nationalist Movement and its rejection of Iraq’s dissolution,” the statement read.
The ethnically-diverse city of Kirkuk remains the subject of dispute between northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and Iraq’s central government in Baghdad.
“Silencing opposing opinions and anti-referendum sentiment shows the lack of democratic practice in the referendum process,” ITF member Hassan Salman said.
“If the KRG wants to hold a democratic referendum, it should allow all parties to express their opinions without hindrance,” he added.
The non-binding referendum, in which residents of the Kurdish region will vote on whether or not to formally secede from the Iraqi state, is currently slated for Sept. 25.
Baghdad, however, rejects the planned poll, saying it could adversely affect the region’s ongoing fight against the ISIL terrorist group.
The Iraqi government also claims that the poll would violate Iraq’s 2005 constitution and would be “of no political or economic benefit to the region’s Kurds”.
Turkey, too, rejects the planned referendum, saying that maintenance of Iraq’s territorial integrity is inextricably linked to the region’s stability.
The U.S., for its part, has likewise expressed concern that the referendum would serve as a “distraction” from other pressing regional issues, especially the fight against terrorism and the stabilization of war-weary Iraq.
Thousands of supporters poured into the streets of the capital island Male on Friday night and continued their protest rally till early Saturday, the joint opposition said in a statement issued in Colombo.
Also suspended were the accounts of its parent organization, Strategic Communication Laboratories, as well as those of University of Cambridge psychologist Aleksandr Kogan and Christopher Wylie, who runs Eunoia Technologies.
Andrew McCabe was accused of misleading investigators on Clinton Foundation corruption case
Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell told reporters after talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday that the U.S. also wants to see a resumption of talks to reunify the ethnically divided island nation.
"There were seven people aboard, they are all believed to be dead," the official said, adding they were US service members.
A doctor at the private Goyal Hospital told AFP Friday that Clinton had undergone screening after suffering pain in her right hand following a fall.
The alliance is "dealing with the issue around this and in cyber and working to define an understanding of what would be a trigger for Article 5," General Curtis Scaparrotti, the commander of NATO forces in Europe, told a US Senate committee.
Speaking to reporters as he returned from a trip to Oman, Afghanistan and Bahrain, Mattis said officials he met with had expressed frequent concerns about Iranian behavior.
The newspaper said that Trump is discussing potential replacements for McMaster, but is willing to take his time because he wants to avoid humiliating him as well as to have a successor ready.
19 individuals, 5 entities blacklisted by Washington
Saeb Erekat slams recent White House meeting on Gaza's deteriorating humanitarian situation
Salim al-Jabouri says Turkey and Iraq will defeat terrorism together through 'full cooperation'
Oil is the lifeblood of OPEC member Venezuela's economy, but a major wave of political unrest that shows no sign of abating has slashed output.
'We shouldn't have to wake up in fear every day, knowing we can lose our lives in schools,' students says.
Known for his free-market stance, television host criticized Trump's tariff plan like his predecessor