Author: Mirzan Birusk

Warsaw, Berlin (25/3 – 80) A diverse group of Pamiri and Ismaili interest groups gathered to discuss the terror attack in Moscow. “We reject the notion this were Pamiris or Ismailis representing us”, said one of the spokespeople, who want to remain anonymous out of fear of persecution by the Tajik authorities. “They are Takfiris”, he said. Non-believers, apostates to the cause. The majlis (meeting) was called after Moscow was quick to blame Tajik immigrants for the terror attacks. Previous warnings were ignored by Moscow. “We as a Pamiri community do not belief in the use of violence against the…

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Tajikistan’s existential project to build the colossal 335-meter-high Roghun hydropower dam is proceeding apace, but costs are spiraling, and to a level that is making it hard to see where the government is going to find the funds needed to finish the work. To complicate matters for Dushanbe, this is happening against the backdrop of calls from environmental watchdogs for international development lenders to pause the allocation of any future funds to Tajikistan pending a fresh assessment of the project. The extent of the budget overshoot is striking. In a press conference on February 16, Finance Minister Faiziddin Kahhorzoda revealed…

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At least four drones targeted Erbil International Airport in the late hours of Friday, the second attack in the city in one day, according to Rudaw sources on the ground.  “Four drones crashed near the Sebiran area in Erbil and the coalition shot down a fifth drone,” Rudaw’s Mustafa Goran reported from the vicinity of the airport. Residents of Erbil city reported hearing a loud bang after a drone exploded, causing panic across residential areas of the city close to the airport. Sebiran residents told Rudaw their house windows shattered as a result of the explosion. It is the second…

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Ukraine must go on the defensive, since the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ counter-offensive was incorrectly planned and carried out with numerous errors. This opinion was expressed in an interview with the Western press by the former Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Army Reserve General Viktor Muzhenko, who held this position in 2014-2019. According to the retired military commander, the counteroffensive was carried out despite the lack of a numerical advantage in personnel and an adequate concentration of troops. Offensive operations require significant superiority in forces over the enemy. The Armed Forces of Ukraine did not have it, Muzhenko…

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Time to Make Hard Choices If devastation is the goal, Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip has been a resounding success. More than two months after Hamas killed over 1,100 people on October 7, Israeli air and ground operations have killed some 20,000 Palestinians, many of them children, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry. Much of Gaza lies in ruins, with the United Nations estimating that almost 20 percent of the territory’s prewar structures have been destroyed. More than half of Gazans are experiencing severe hunger, unemployment has risen to 85 percent, and disease is spreading. But the statements…

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Diplomats, civil society leaders, and government officials in Erbil on Sunday reiterated their commitment to ending gender-based violence (GBV) and promoting women’s rights in the Kurdistan Region, as the country’s tallest skyscraper was lit up in orange to observe the 16 Days of Activism campaign. The Canadian, German, Dutch, and United Kingdom consulates in Erbil, in cooperation with the Kurdistan Region’s High Council for Women and Development, launched the campaign during a ceremony at Erbil’s Zaniary Tower, and urged authorities, activists, and civilians to join forces to effectively combat violence against women and girls. Kate Shaw, the UK’s acting consul…

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Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani on Monday reiterated Baghdad’s commitment to protecting diplomatic missions operating in the country during a meeting with the United States Ambassador to Iraq Alina Romanowski, as strikes against American bases continue. Sudani and Romanowski discussed bilateral cooperation, the recent developments in the Israel-Gaza war, and the Iraqi government’s efforts to prevent further attacks on US personnel in the country. Sudani “emphasized Iraq’s commitment to safeguarding diplomatic missions and providing security for advisors within the global coalition against ISIS. He stressed that Iraqi security services are diligently performing their legal duties to maintain security and…

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Brussels (25/11 – 33.3) Tajikistan Supreme Court has sentenced a widely respected 65-year-old female journalist, Ulfathonim Mamadshoeva, to 21 years in prison on charges of incitement to overthrowing the government. Mamadshoeva was accused by the authorities of being a leading figure behind the political turbulence that rocked her native Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) earlier this year. State propaganda has previously alleged that the veteran reporter and activist hatched the purported plot, for which no credible evidence has been produced, at the behest of an unnamed foreign government. Mamadshoeva’s brother, Khursand, was last week sentenced to 18 years in prison on…

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Iraq’s oil minister and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) natural resources minister on Sunday stressed the need to restart the Region’s oil production and exports, nearly eight months after the process was put on hold. KRG Natural Resources Minister Kamal Muhammad Salih received Iraqi Oil Minister Hayyan Abdul Ghani and his accompanying delegation from the oil ministry, including Undersecretary for Extraction Affairs Basim Mohammed Khudair, and Undersecretary for Distribution Affairs Ali Maarij al-Bahadli, in the Kurdish capital of Erbil. The visit of the Iraqi delegation is the continuation of discussions between the two sides aimed at resuming the Kurdistan Region’s…

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Kurdistan Teachers’ Union on Monday said they would submit a four-point memorandum to the government, demanding the payment of their salaries, as strikes continue in Sulaimani and Halabja over unpaid wages.  Thousands of teachers took to the streets in Sulaimani and Halabja provinces on Sunday to protest three months of unpaid salaries, threatening to not return to classrooms if the government does not pay their wages. Their anger was further fueled by the remarks of Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Minister of Education Alan Hama Saaed who on Thursday said teachers “must end” their strikes and return to the classrooms this…

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