Zachary Weaver

Israel may roll back an extraordinary advisory warning its citizens away from Turkey last week, after an Iranian plot to kidnap or kill Israeli in Istanbul was apparently foiled, according to reports Sunday.

The Israeli travel warning, which called on citizens to avoid travel to Istanbul for any reason and to avoid unnecessary travel to anywhere else in Turkey has been in place since June 13. Officials in both countries indicated recently that they were seeking to have the restriction lifted in time for the summer travel season.

Officially, the government said in a statement Sunday that the warning remains as is, but that they hoped to be able to change their instructions soon so that Israelis would be able to travel to the popular destination “without fear.”

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Iraq’s Parliament swore in dozens of new lawmakers on Thursday, replacing 73 legislators loyal to powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, strengthening the power of rival Iran-backed Shiite factions in the assembly.

According to Iraqi laws, if any seat in parliament becomes vacant, the candidate who obtains the second highest number of votes in their electoral district would replace them. In this case, it made al-Sadr’s opponents from the so-called Coordination Framework, a coalition led by Iran-backed Shiite parties and their allies, the majority with around 122 seats.

It puts al-Sadr out of parliament for the first time since 2005, and allows pro-Iranian factions to determine the makeup of the next government.

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Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati was designated on Thursday to form a new government, but faces a politically difficult path to agree a new cabinet as the country’s devastating financial crisis festers.

Mikati, who has already served as prime minister three times, continues in a caretaker role until a government is formed, a process that typically goes on for months as political factions divvy up roles in cabinet and beyond.

Analysts and politicians expect this cabinet formation process to be further complicated by a looming struggle over who will replace Aoun, the Hezbollah-aligned Maronite Christian head of state, when his term ends on Oct. 31.

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Though Wallk is a Conservative rabbi and Cohn is Reform, they quickly realized they had much in common. Both loved prayer, and each had worked on revamping their movements’ new prayerbooks. In addition to having recently ended decades-long marriages, they were both parents, and each had lost a parent in the past few years.

They began to visit one another. Their communication increased. At one point, they shared the eulogies they had each written about the parent they had recently lost.

But still, they knew they had to be cautious. Dating as a rabbi is always tricky, and that doubles when both people in the relationship have their own congregations. Fortunately, the pieces quickly fell into place: Wallk and Cohn were married on January 2, 2022 at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel, in front of 17 guests.

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Iraq could raise its oil production capacity to 6 million bpd over the next five years but no more than that because of constraints weighing on the industry’s expansion, the Deputy Prime Minister of the country, Ali Allawi, said, as quoted by Energy Intelligence, this week.

Despite political troubles and doubts about the future of investments in Iraq’s oil, the country’s Oil Minister, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail, has the ambition to see production capacity at as much as 8 million barrels daily by 2027.

“I don’t think we’ll be expanding our capacity beyond … another 1 million b/d within five years,” his deputy, Allawi, said. According to him, 6 million bpd was a more realistic target for production capacity expansion.

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This year, for the first time in its long history, Iraq’s Lake Sawa dried up.

A combination of bad ownership by local investors, government neglect and climate change has turned Lake Sawa into a salty, flat area.

The loss of Lake Sawa is only the latest addition to Iraq’s water shortage. Experts say it is caused by climate change. Iraq has had drought and record low rainfall for years. The importance of water is driving up competition among businessmen and farmers. The poorest Iraqis are affected the most by the disaster.

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The United Nations Security Council has a long-standing international travel ban on Taliban leaders, but that ban has been waived to allow for foreign powers to engage in peace and stability talks with the hard-line regime, which is cementing its grip on power in Afghanistan despite having no international recognition as the legitimate Afghan government. The Taliban government is made up largely of wanted terrorists.

So far, the Biden administration hasn’t decided whether to support extending the travel ban waiver, first passed by former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2019, or let it lapse. “Negotiations remain ongoing, and no official decisions have been made,” a U.S. National Security Council spokesperson said.

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Russian forces have conducted a series of operations against the U.S.-led coalition in Syria this month, including one this week at a strategically located base in the southern part of the country, U.S. military officials said.

The initial US assessment is the Russian forces were likely ordered to notify the US ahead of time and conduct the airstrikes knowing they would not hit US troops and that the Americans would warn their allies, the officials said.

But the Russians still likely achieved their goal of “sending a message” to the US that they can strike without being worried about retaliation, one official said.

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Two members of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division died as “martyrs” in Iran in separate incidents over the weekend, Iranian media reported on Monday.

The deaths of the two men come as tensions remain high over Iran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers, and its uranium enrichment program that is now closest it has ever been to weapons-grade levels.

The report of the two men’s deaths come about a week and half after the reported death of Guard Col. Ali Esmailzadeh, a member of its expeditionary Quds Force, under unclear circumstances.

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Zachary Weaver

Zachary Weaver

I am blessed with a funny gene that makes me enjoy life to the fullest. I love to travel, eat and jog. I write interesting topics in middle east and beyond