The Middle East Channel

Peshmerga and FSA Fighters Join Kurdish Forces in Kobani

Iraqi Kurdish fighters have begun crossing the Turkish border to assist in the battle against Islamic State militants in the Syrian town of Kobani (Ayn al-Arab). More than 80 peshmerga fighters have reached Kobani, while the remaining 70 have traveled into Turkey from Iraq driving in a heavy weapons convoy and are expected to reach ...

SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images
SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images

Iraqi Kurdish fighters have begun crossing the Turkish border to assist in the battle against Islamic State militants in the Syrian town of Kobani (Ayn al-Arab). More than 80 peshmerga fighters have reached Kobani, while the remaining 70 have traveled into Turkey from Iraq driving in a heavy weapons convoy and are expected to reach Syria later on Wednesday. Additionally, up to 200 fighters from the opposition Free Syrian Army have arrived in Kobani to help Kurdish forces defend the town. The U.S.-led coalition has launched more than a hundred airstrikes targeting militants around Kobani, and the United States has provided weapons and ammunition to Kurdish fighters. However, Kurdish officials said Islamic State militants have recovered from losses and currently control about half of the town. Meanwhile, al-Nusra Front fighters are expanding control in northern Syria. The al Qaeda linked group has reportedly seized several villages in Idlib province from the moderate opposition Syria Revolutionaries’ Front. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Islamic State fighters attacked the Shaar gas field in Homs province Tuesday killing at least 30 government and pro-regime fighters.

Headlines

  • Egypt ordered residents living on the border with Gaza to evacuate announcing a plan to demolish homes to create a 500-yard wide and 9 mile long buffer zone to block arms smuggling.
  • A Bahraini court has suspended the main opposition al-Wefaq party a month ahead of parliamentary elections, which the group announced Oct. 11 it would boycott.
  • Security forces are nearing Baiji in a renewed offensive to regain control over Iraq’s largest oil refinery from Islamic State militants, meanwhile the Iraqi army has retaken Jurf al-Sakhar after four months of fighting that left much of the town destroyed.
  • Declining oil prices have prompted Oman to consider reducing energy subsidies.

Arguments and Analysis

Egypt’s 1984‘ (Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Sada)

"In a bid to stamp out any last vestiges of revolutionary fervor and hold at bay the threat of collective empowerment, the Sisi regime has taken concrete steps to quash dissent, silence opposition voices, and consolidate control over the body politic. Under the guise of a war on terror and restoring "stability," President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has enshrined unprecedented authoritarian measures into law. Over the past few months, authorities have imposed a series of decrees and steps designed to expand the security state, increasing its reach and powers across Egyptian society, from university campuses and religious institutions to civil society and the Internet."

The Struggle for Female Political Participation in Tunisia‘ (Afràa Fdhil, Atlantic Council)

"Considering that Tunisia has long been on the frontlines in gender politics, electoral lists for the parliamentary elections that took place on October 26 have proved a disappointment; female candidates led 11 percent of electoral lists. Given that women made up 50.5 percent of registered voters (up from 45 percent in October 2011), the low percentage of female candidates sparked outrage among female activists who had a leading role during the Tunisian revolution in 2011 and who, over the last three years, have stood steadfastly against trends that threatened to derail the democratic movement. Despite their increasing political participation and the constitutional and legislative protection for women’s political and civil rights (such as Article 24 of the Tunisian Electoral Law ensuring parity in electoral lists), Tunisian women find themselves almost excluded from ‘real’ political opportunities."

Mary Casey

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