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Erbil's Asayish Directorate confirms arrest of political activist Ali Siyasi

The Erbil Asayish Directorate has confirmed the arrest of well-known political activist Ali Siyasi (Ali Mahmoud Mohammed) earlier this morning. The arrest comes with accusations that Siyasi was "harboring a killing suspect." Siyasi, known for his work in genocide and Anfal, has sparked a public outcry as many believe his arrest was motivated by his activities and views. The Metro Center Journalists Right and Advocacy also express skepticism, demanding Siyasi's immediate release.

The Asayish Directorate has released a statement and video confession, claiming the suspect behind the murder of Kawa Baziani, a political, social, and military figure, was found in Siyasi's home in Erbil's Rasti neighborhood. The Sulaymaniyah Investigation Court has issued an arrest warrant under Article (406) of the Iraqi Penal Code against Baban Ibrahim Habib Qasim, charged with murder.

The statement also notes that after obtaining approval from the Erbil Security Investigation Judge, the suspect was arrested at Siyasi's home, resulting in Siyasi's arrest for harboring a suspect. This is a developing story, and more updates will follow.

Full Asayish statement below:

The Sulaymaniyah Investigation Court issued an arrest warrant under Article (406) of the Iraqi Penal Code against Baban Ibrahim Habib Qasim, who was charged with murder. Upon receiving information that the suspect had fled to Erbil, our teams immediately gathered information, identified the suspect's hiding place, and obtained the approval of the Erbil Security Investigation Judge. The suspect, Baban Ibrahim Habib, was arrested in the house of citizen Ali Mahmoud Mohammed, also known as Ali Siyasi, in the city of Erbil. Siyasi was also arrested on charges of harboring a suspect.

Asayish Directorate


Chamchamal killing: What do we know so far…

  • 21-year-old Sarhad Mubarak, son of Abdullah Kuekha Mubarak, a high-ranking military official in the KDP, was killed near his hoome in city of Chamchamal.

  • A house, said to be belonging to the suspect, was set on fire which was later controlled by firefighters. 

  • NRT English has seen video footage showing heavy security forces moving through the center of Chamchamal. Also, armed men are seen walking through some neighborhoods. Reporters were told to stay away from the area as there is fear of violence.

  • Local media reports that there was a blood feud between the victim's family and a second family. NRT Kurdish reported that there was an arrest warrant on the victim related to a previous murder, but the security forces were not able to arrest him due to his political affiliations.

Iraqi foreign ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Sahaf, tells the semi-official Iraqi News Agency (INA):

The ministry carried out three stages of evacuating Iraqi diplomats and citizens from Sudan. The first stage was the evacuation of the staff of the Iraqi embassy in Khartoum, and the second stage was the evacuation of 14 Iraqis. The third involved evacuating five members of the community

He also said they ministry so far has recieved 165 requests from the Iraqi community in Sudan. There are nearly 300 Iraqis in the warn-torn country.
The anti-ISIS coalition forces said on Monday that this year ISIS activities in Iraq and Syria have declined.

Since the beginning of this year in Iraq – so that’s January 1st through the first week of April – we’ve seen a – recorded a 68 percent reduction in attacks when compared to the same period last year.  In Syria, where our partners in the Syrian Democratic Forces continue to lead the fight against Daesh, we recorded a 55 percent decrease during the same time from last year.  And when I say attacks, a reduction in attacks, I’m talking about opportunistic engagements, so relatively small from one to a few individuals.  ISIS has failed to organize or coordinate anything more than that over the past year.  

Major-General Matthew McFarlane, Commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.

Breaking: Son of high-ranking KDP official reportedly killed in Chamchamal

NRT Kurdish correspondent Soran Mohammed reports that a 21-year-old man, identified as the son of Abdullah Kuekha Mubarak, a high-ranking military official in the KDP, was killed in the Chamchamal district of northern Sulaymaniyah.

Chamchamal health spokesperson Sharif Rahim informed NRT Kurdish that a young man was fatally shot and brought to the emergency room.

Sources told NRT Kurdish that the deceased was indeed the son of the prominent KDP military figure Abdullah Kuekha Mubarak.

At this time, security forces have not issued any official statements regarding the incident.

This is a developing story.
The spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Sahaf, has just issued "an urgent call" for Iraqis who are still in Sudan "to gather in the "Manshiya" area [Khartoum] located on Omak Street near the United Nations headquarters at MTN."

The statement said that the departure time for the transport buses will be on Wednesday at six in the morning, heading to Port Sudan.

It added:

"We urge the honorable members of our community to exercise caution and caution while moving from their homes to the specified location, and for those who want more information, contact the numbers below:

In this article by Kamal Chomani, published by the Kurdish Peace Institute, the author highlights the challenges faced by women in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and the need for a women's revolution. Despite some progress in women's representation in the public sphere, the KRI still struggles with issues such as honor killings, political marginalization, and gender inequality. The article underscores the importance of addressing these issues to foster economic growth and overall societal progress. In addition, it emphasizes the need for a more comprehensive feminist agenda that caters to the needs of all women in the region.

In a particularly dangerous contradiction, the presence of women is often used to demonstrate how progressive the KRI is compared to the rest of Iraq or even the entire region—a clear attempt to boost the region’s image rather than improve the lives of women.

Kamal Chomani


Danish Armed Forces Clarify Stance on Presence in Iraq

In an email to NRT English, the Danish Defence Command confirms that they are withdrawing their contributions from the anti-ISIS alliance but plan to remain in Iraq in cooperation with NATO. The full statement reads as follows:

Since 2016 Danish specialists in airspace surveillance and management of air operations have participated in the fight against the terrorist organizations Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in the US-led 'Operation Inherent Resolve'.The contribution is now being withdrawn as a result of changing needs and priorities. In 2021 the unit moved the majority of its operators from a base in the Middle East to SHAW Air Force Base in South Carolina, where the task of controlling the airspace over Iraq and Syria could now be fully accomplished. It is from SHAW Air Force Base, that the Danish contribution has now been withdrawn.The operator contribution is the last unit contribution to Operation Inherent Resolve, while Danish soldiers are still deployed to the coalition headquarters, just as Danish soldiers are still deployed to Iraq under the auspices of NATO.

Danish Defence Command

Initial reports had suggested that Denmark had completely withdrawn its military from Iraq and Syria. These reports were sourced from Al Mayadeen, a Lebanese outlet considered supportive of Hezbollah and the Syrian government. 

Some local Kurdish news outlets, along with international outlets, had sourced Al-Mayadeen, but the report proved to be not entirely accurate.

Historically, Denmark has been an active participant in the fight against ISIS, contributing to the alliance since 2016. Their decision to withdraw from the anti-ISIS alliance but maintain a presence in Iraq under NATO highlights the evolving nature of international military priorities and the ongoing complexities in the region.

The Danish Defence Command (Forsvarskommandoen) is the primary command authority for the Danish Armed Forces. It manages strategic planning, coordination, and execution of military operations both domestically and internationally. The command supervises the different branches of the Danish military to ensure effective cooperation and efficient operations for national security purposes.


Prime Minister Mr. Mohammed S. Al-Sudani has instructed the relevant authorities to exert all possible efforts to aid in the safe evacuation of Iraqi citizens currently residing in the Republic of Sudan. This directive is a response to the unstable security situation in the area, and ensuring the safety of these citizens is of utmost importance."  ‏

Media Office of the Prime Minister

Mohammed Haji Mahmoud Confirms $1 Million from Iran for 2009 Elections

In an interview with Draw Media, Mohammed Haji Mahmoud confirmed that his electoral alliance in 2009 received $1 million from Iran for the parliamentary elections in Kurdistan. The Service and Reform List, composed of Mahmoud's Kurdistan Democratic Socialist Party (KDSP), two Islamist opposition parties, and a splinter group from the Kurdistan Toilers Party, won 13 seats in the election.

Historically, Iran has wielded significant influence over Kurdish political parties in Iraq, providing financial, military, and strategic assistance to Kurdish armed groups fighting against Saddam Hussein's regime, as well as to previous governments. This support was driven by the intense rivalry and conflict between Iraq and Iran. Mahmoud's ties with Iran have remained strong since then, and he has also developed close ties with the Kurdistan Region's dominant party, the KDP.

The KDP and the PUK, two major political parties in the Kurdistan Region, each control their own military forces and govern separate zones. Mahmoud now commands a 1,000-strong militia based in Halabja, which is governed by the PUK. This militia could potentially be used by the KDP as leverage against the PUK, allowing them to maintain a level of influence in the area. With both the KDP and Iran potentially benefiting from Mahmoud's militia, it highlights the complex and ever-evolving political landscape in the region.
Sulaymaniyah Banks Face Cash Shortage; Municipality Workers Boycott Work Due to Unpaid Salaries

KDP-affiliated Kurdistan 24 has reported that employees of the Sulaymaniyah Municipality have boycotted work today in protest of their salaries not being paid, primarily due to a lack of funds in the city's banks.

The report added that local officials in Sulaymaniyah had promised to distribute the salaries of all employees before the Eid al-Fitr holidays, but some employees have yet to receive their payments.

Dr. Rewaz Fayeq, the Speaker of the Kurdistan Region's Parliament, recently addressed the financial issues in Sulaymaniyah during an interview with Rudaw. He stated that the problems stem primarily from ongoing disputes between the ruling KDP and PUK parties.

Fayeq, a member of the PUK, explained that banks in Erbil rely on oil revenue sales rather than domestic revenue collections. As a result, when oil sales were halted for a month, there was no money left in the banks.

These comments likely come in response to accusations against KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani (KDP deputy leader who is widely believed to be Kurdistan24's benefactor) for not consistently delivering budgets to the Sulaymaniyah Governorate.

Critics argue that this is due to local authorities, specifically the PUK, not returning domestically collected revenues to the government in Erbil.
Head of Iraq's North Oil Company to VOA Kurdish: Kurdistan Region's oil and gas will fall under Iraqi control

Farhad Hamza, the head of Iraq's North Oil Company, told VOA Kurdish that the oil and gas resources in the Kurdistan Region will eventually come under the control of the Iraqi government. He emphasized that oil and hydrocarbon production is a matter of state policy, and all activities in this sector must be carried out with the support of Baghdad.

He further stated that the state must also control sales, as it involves financial matters.

The long-standing dispute between the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over the country's oil and gas sector appears to be resolving, following international rulings.

A few weeks ago, the ICC International Court of Arbitration in Paris, which deals with commercial law, issued a verdict favoring Iraq in its dispute with Turkey over the sale of oil from the Kurdistan Region without Baghdad's consent.

Turkey was ordered to pay $1.5 billion to Baghdad, and in response, halted all oil exports, leaving the KRG in limbo.

A temporary agreement was reached between the KRG and Iraq's federal government, which should have resumed oil exports in theory, but Turkey has yet to give its approval.

This ruling likely followed last year's verdict from the Federal Supreme Court (FSC) of Iraq, which declared the 2007 KRG Oil and Gas Law unconstitutional and required the region to hand over its hydrocarbons to the federal government.

The verdict from Baghdad was likely a bold response to the majoritarian government plans involving the KDP, Sadrist Movement, and Sovereignty Alliance.

Iran-backed groups in the country were displeased with these plans, as they would have been pushed into opposition. These plans, which eventually failed to materialize, were likely instigated by the Gulf and Turkey.
Morning briefing

Good morning and welcome to the NRT English live blog.

Here's the morning briefing to get you started.

  • In an interview with NRT Kurdish, Mohammed Haji Mahmoud, leader of the Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party (KSDP), confirmed that their electoral alliance received $1 million from Iran during the 2009 elections. The alliance included the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), Kurdistan Justice Group (Komal), and Kurdistan Toilers' Party.
  • The head of the engineering team at Iraq's North Oil Company told VOA Kurdish that all oil and gas fields in the Kurdistan Region will eventually fall under the control of the Iraqi government. As a result, he says the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will have no choice but to agree to it.
  • Amid instability in Sudan, Iraq’s foreign ministry announced the rescue of three citizens from Sudan to Saudi Arabia.