Nov. 28, 2019
- Iraqi Protesters Burn Down Iranian Consulate in Najaf – Alissa J. Rubin
Iraqi protesters in the southern city of Najaf burned down the Iranian Consulate there on Wednesday night in an outburst of anger at Iran. Video showed sizable crowds outside the consulate shouting “Out, out Iran!” as the building burned. The attack “sends a clear message that a segment of the Iraqi society rejects the Iranian political presence in the country and holds it accountable for bringing this government,” said Sheikh Fadhil al-Budayri, a senior cleric in Najaf. The demonstrators in Najaf are almost all Shiites, and Shiite religious authorities there have encouraged the protests.
Iran has deep ties to Najaf. Millions of Iranian pilgrims worship at its Shiite shrines, and Iran has invested heavily in projects to refurbish and renovate the religious sites. Iran has also begun to send more of its own clerics to Najaf, pushing its branch of Shiism in which the chief religious leader is also the supreme political leader. Iraq has rejected that form of theocracy and has increasingly chafed against Iran’s interference in Iraq’s political life. (New York Times)
- Ayatollah Khamenei Claims Iran Protests Part of U.S.-Backed Conspiracy
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday claimed that recent protests in his country were part of a conspiracy involving the U.S. Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, a member of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, said more than 7,000 people had been arrested. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said Tuesday that 200,000 people took part in the demonstrations, which damaged 50 police stations, 731 banks and 70 gas stations. (AP-Los Angeles Times)
UN Chief Calls on Lebanon to Disarm Hizbullah – Ariel Kahana (Israel Hayom)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday said, “The Lebanese government must take the necessary steps to disarm Hizbullah and other groups in southern Lebanon.”
Hizbullah has clashed with UNIFIL troops several times over the years and has restricted their movements across southern Lebanon, a move that undermines UNIFIL’s mandate.
On Tuesday, Guterres issued a new report confirming Israeli claims that UNIFIL forces are unable to carry out their mission in Hizbullah-controlled areas.