This Week In the Middle East: Contentious Elections in Iraq, Daesh Counterattacks, Kurdish Leaders Call For Unity
17 May 2018 - 3 Sivan 5778 - 2 Ramadan 1439
Thursday Edition - Ramadan Mubarak
This Week in the Middle East is a bi-weekly column edited by Revan Filiaexdeus regularly published on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We draw our information from a wide network of citizen reporters who are often the very ones fighting these conflicts. Our reporting aims to be as objective and fact-based as possible. The opinions expressed herein belong solely to the author.
A note on terminology: We refuse to use any such terms as "Islamic State", "the Caliphate", "ISIS", or "ISIL" when referring to the terror group. Instead, we use the derogatory term Daesh, an abbreviation from the transliterated Arabic. Additionally, we recognize all UN-recognized nationstates, a few micronations, and definitely Kurdistan.
Edited by Revan Filiaexdeus
Contributions from correspondents including Hiwa Musa, Murat Lampard Esmer, and Martin Klamper.
Earlier this week, elections were held in Iraq that resulted in the apparent landslide victory of Iraqi Shiite cleric and leader Moqtada al-Sadr. al-Sadr, a member of the Iraqi Communist Party, has been a continuous part of the Iraqi war effort against Daesh.
However, al-Sadr wasn't even publicly running for prime minister. A powerfully charismatic leader, he has repeatedly taken anti-American and pro-Iranian stances throughout the war. Iraq's incumbent came in third place.
Kurdish correspondents for Zion Free Media report a meeting between Kurdish leader Dr. Barham Salih and Brett H. McGurk. Dr. Salih is the former prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraqi Kurdistan and a leading member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a party pushing for greater cooperation and unity between the various Kurdish political parties. McGurk is an American diplomat appointed by President Barack Obama as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. The two met in Erbil, Kurdistan and discussed the 12 May Iraqi Elections and the contentious issues surrounding them.
The majority of the parties in Kurdistan including Dr. Salih's ”Coalition for Democracy and Justice” refuse the results of the Iraqi elections.
Following the election, Iraqi politics have taken a major polarized turn as Iraqis affirm a pro-American or anti-American stance.
The Kurdish opposition parties Change movement , collation for Democracy and justice, Islamic Kurdistan group, Islamic Union party have refused to participate in Iraqi politics.
In Southern Damascus, the Syrian Arab Army continues to liberate block by bloody city block formerly under the control of Daesh and Turkish-backed rebel forces. Daesh has launched a counterattack of their own, and the SAA is preparing for possibly military operations in Daraa. The Turkish military has expanded it's own territory in Syria following yesterday's Israeli counterattack from the Iron Dome missile defense system.
The SAA has been operating in concert with the Palestinian Liberation Army, Hamas, and Hezbollah. The forces captured several buildings in the northern part of al-Hajar al-Aswad district and in southwestern part of the Yarmuk refugee camp, south of the city of Damascus.
The Syrian Arab News Agency also announced that warplanes of the Syrian Arab Air Force had carried out several airstrikes on Daesh positions in al-Hajar al-Aswad, Tadamon and in the Yarmouk camp.
"According to local observers, this counter attack is a desperate attempt by ISIS to secure its last positions south of Damascus. The terrorist group launched similar attacks before its defeat in Iraq’s Mosul in 2017. However, this tactic was proven to be useless and Daesh ended up losing more men and equipment," reports our correspondents with Southfront.
Russian forces have also been present in Damascus since the 13th.
In other news, the United States has gifted more than two hundred truckloads of armaments and supplies to the Syrian Democratic Forces in Kurdistan.
Sunni Arab tribal leaders have called on the SDF to remove pro-government sleeper cell forces in the Deir-ez-Zor region. Deir-ez-Zor has been a hotbed of conflict between all sides since the height of Daesh's territorial control in 2014.
A spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces reported a false alarm that triggered Israel's Iron Dome defense network. This follow's Israel's counterstrike against Iranian attack that wiped out Iranian forces in Syria.
Revan Filiaexdeus is a freelance journalist and social activist who has been following the Syrian Civil War since it's origins in the Arab Spring of 2010. He is passionately dedicated to an objective covering of these events and works with organizations such as syriancivilwarmap.com and southfront.org