Saudi Arabia beheads 37 people, puts body on display (while still on UN human rights council)

Leading human rights groups have been scathing over Saudi Arabia’s execution this week of 37 men, mostly from the Shia minority, on terror, violence and unrest-related charges.

The body of one convict was strung up in public, following his execution.

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Anti-US cleric set to win Iraq election

A hardline Shia cleric is on course to become the most powerful figure in Iraqi politics.
Moktada al-Sadr’s coalition appears to have won the parliamentary election, with most votes counted.

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Kurds Lose Oil Fields As Iran and U.S. Battle For Influence in Iraq (HBO)

Since the Kurdish referendum on Independence, Iraqi Kurds have lost their president, control of airspace and disputed territories — including the oil rich province of Kirkuk. It’s meant that hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from oil exports in the disputed territories are now entirely under Baghdad’s control.

The Kurdish region is faced with the sudden loss of resources – which had been vital in its push for independence. Meanwhile many Kurds are also angry at their long-standing allies, the US, for not intervening to stop the Kirkuk offensive – which was carried out by Iraqi forces and the Iranian backed Shia paramilitary group the PMU.

Vice News travels to the Baba Gurgur oil field in Iraq’s disputed territories – newly recaptured by Iraqi forces following the Kurdish vote on independence.

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‘US has bad habit of telling others what to do’ – Former US diplomat

Washington has been urging Iraq to pull Shia militias, backed by Iran, out of the country now that their anti-ISIS mission is over.

However, the response from Baghdad has been harsh. It seems several other countries are also not exactly on the same page with Washington.

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‘They use tanks against civilians’: Saudi crackdown on Shia town described as ‘renovation’

More districts of a small Shia town of Awamiyah in Saudi Arabia have been reduced to rubble by government forces. It’s part of a crackdown that started two and a half months ago, with security forces saying they’re chasing gunmen responsible for attacks on police. But now, the town looks like a warzone.

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Deadly attack: 29 people killed, 64 wounded in explosion in Afghanistan

At least 29 people have been killed and 64 wounded in an explosion at a Shia mosque in Afghanistan. The mosque was packed for evening prayers at the time of the attack. A suicide bomber is said to have stormed into the building and opened fire before blowing himself up. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/8j9z

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Retaking Mosul: Liberators Not Welcome (HBO)

Not everyone in Mosul and the surrounding areas of Iraq is eager to greet liberation forces.

Iraqi troops along the southern front in the battle to retake Mosul are encountering stronger resistance than they’d expected. This region of Iraq has always been hostile to the government in Baghdad and wary of would-be liberators.

“We had Saddam Hussein. So he was a bad person, right?” Pejwani resident Alshad Naffouri told VICE News correspondent Seb Walker. “But then look what came next! What are you going to do? If you’re going to slaughter me, slaughter me.”

Naffouri does not support ISIS, but he is also skeptical of government forces. Sectarian conflict complicates the situation further, as most locals like Naffouri are Sunni, while the advancing military is predominantly Shia.

Many people like Naffouri fear that the battle for Mosul might only be the start of another bloody chapter in Iraq’s history.

This segment originally aired October 24, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

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‘It’s like war here’: Saudi govt cracks down on Shia town as Riyadh welcomes Trump

The Saudi town of Awamiyah with historically Shia population has been effectively besieged by the government forces for over a week following deadly clashes, with roadblocks blocking exits from the city and bulldozers razing homes, local eyewitnesses told RT – READ MORE https://on.rt.com/8c2d

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