20 Women Elected to Local Office in Saudi Arabia

Women were allowed to vote and run for office in Saudi Arabia for the first time in municipal elections held on Saturday. Approximately 81 percent of the 130,000 women who were registered to vote cast ballots in the election, according to Saudi Arabia’s General Election Commission. The elections were to select members for 284 municipal ...

GettyImages-501075342
GettyImages-501075342

Women were allowed to vote and run for office in Saudi Arabia for the first time in municipal elections held on Saturday. Approximately 81 percent of the 130,000 women who were registered to vote cast ballots in the election, according to Saudi Arabia’s General Election Commission. The elections were to select members for 284 municipal councils that provide local oversight of government projects and manage budgets for public facilities. At least 20 women won seats in Saturday’s election, including four in Riyadh.

Turkey Withdraws Some Troops from Iraq

Turkey has withdrawn some of its forces from a military camp in Bashiqa, Iraq, near Mosul, according to a Turkish report. Ten or 12 Turkish military vehicles left the area, heading in the direction of northern Iraq, according to the report. Turkish officials said the withdrawal was consistent with a “rearrangement” of its forces, but the move comes after members of the Iraqi government objected to the deployment. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin tomorrow to de-escalate tensions between the two countries, but the Kremlin says the meeting will not take place. Relations have been strained since Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane along the Turkey-Syria border on Nov. 24.

Women were allowed to vote and run for office in Saudi Arabia for the first time in municipal elections held on Saturday. Approximately 81 percent of the 130,000 women who were registered to vote cast ballots in the election, according to Saudi Arabia’s General Election Commission. The elections were to select members for 284 municipal councils that provide local oversight of government projects and manage budgets for public facilities. At least 20 women won seats in Saturday’s election, including four in Riyadh.

Turkey Withdraws Some Troops from Iraq

Turkey has withdrawn some of its forces from a military camp in Bashiqa, Iraq, near Mosul, according to a Turkish report. Ten or 12 Turkish military vehicles left the area, heading in the direction of northern Iraq, according to the report. Turkish officials said the withdrawal was consistent with a “rearrangement” of its forces, but the move comes after members of the Iraqi government objected to the deployment. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin tomorrow to de-escalate tensions between the two countries, but the Kremlin says the meeting will not take place. Relations have been strained since Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane along the Turkey-Syria border on Nov. 24.

Headlines

  • Two officers in the Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen, one Saudi and one Emirati, were killed near the flashpoint city of Taiz; a ceasefire in advance of U.N.-sponsored peace talks is scheduled to take effect shortly before midnight tonight.

 

  • Fighting in Damascus killed at least 48 people over the weekend, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights; rebel shelling killed three, which was followed by regime airstrikes killing 45 yesterday. Strikes continued today in the neighborhood of Daraya, but casualty figures have not been reported.

 

  • Representatives from 17 countries, including the United States, China, Russia, Germany, Egypt, and Turkey, have signed a statement in support of a new unity agreement set to be signed by the rival Libyan governments on Wednesday.

 

  • The Israeli Air Force hit a Hamas maritime police base after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip struck an open field in southern Israel.

 

  • Egyptian investigators released their preliminary report on the Oct. 31 crash of a Russian commercial flight in the Sinai Peninsula; the report states that there has not been evidence of terrorism found by their investigation.

Arguments and Analysis

The Struggle for Azaz Corridor Could Spur a Turkish Intervention” (Fabrice Balanche, Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

“For some time, Syrian rebels have been struggling to hold onto a narrow but crucial strip of territory between the northern border town of Azaz and the contested city of Aleppo. This corridor is the lifeline for antiregime forces in the north because it is their land bridge to Turkey. Yet it now faces imminent threats on several fronts: from the east by the Islamic State (IS), from the west by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), and from the south by the Syrian army and its allies. In fact, the Azaz corridor has become the epicenter of the war, with hostilities intensifying throughout the area over the past two weeks. Everything seems to indicate that a Kurdish offensive supported by Russian aviation is underway to the west, coordinated with a developing campaign by the Syrian army and proxy militias on the outskirts of Aleppo. Meanwhile, Russia is apparently not taking action against the IS forces pushing into the area from the north. And the prospect of direct Turkish intervention looms over the fighting, especially if the corridor should fall.”

 

Syrian Tribal Networks and their Implications for the Syrian Uprising” (Carole A. O’Leary and Nicholas A. Heras, Jamestown Foundation)

“In the post-Assad context, Syrian Kurds will need to negotiate with the Arab tribes and various Christian communities to organize local and regional level governance in these culturally mixed border areas. Syria’s Arab tribes and their shaykhs have a long history of peacefully coexisting with the Kurds in Syria. The Arab tribal shaykhs who have lived alongside and suffered with Syria’s Kurds throughout Syria’s modern history can help keep Syria’s Kurds at the table, negotiating for their political and cultural rights within a united Syria. If Syria’s Kurds believe they have no allies among Syria’s Arab majority community, they may follow the path of the Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan (PKK) and its Syrian affiliates and become proxy agents of Iran and the Assad regime. Substantive discussions and negotiations are already taking place between Arab tribal shaykhs and Kurdish political leaders concerning Kurdish demands and aspirations. This sort of ongoing dialogue between the Kurds and Arab tribal leaders can contribute to a peaceful settlement of the Syrian Kurdish question in a post-Assad Syria.”

-J. Dana Stuster

Jordan Pix/ Getty Images

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