Weekly Update: October 17, 2022

Peruvian President Faces Constitutional Complaint

By Ciara Perez

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo is facing a constitutional complaint alleging that he is leading a corruption ring within the government. This complaint was filed by Attorney General Patricia Benavides. Whereas presidents typically have immunity against criminal charges, the filing of a constitutional complaint gives Congress a loophole to carry out its own trial. The complaint “will be examined by parliament and could lead to President Castillo’s suspension from office if more than 65 of the 130 members were to vote in favor”.

In the last week, five of his allies have been arrested for corruption allegations. President Castillo’s sister-in-law, Yenifer Paredes, is currently under pre-trial detention while investigators make inquiries into allegations of influence peddling. No official charges have been made against her so far.

Despite Congress being controlled by the opposing parties, President Castillo has made it through two impeachment attempts and five criminal investigations in the year since he took office. Peru has had five presidents since 2016 – “one of them was ousted through impeachment, another resigned before an impeachment vote and a third one resigned after street protests”.

President Castillo has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and vows to finish his term in 2026. He says that the constitutional complaint, raids, and detentions targeting his allies are a “coup d’état” orchestrated by the Attorney General’s Office.

This Week in the Middle East

By Bushra Bani-Salman

Turkey’s parliament passes new legislation restricting free speech. 

In recent years, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been less forgiving to political dissent and has even called social media a threat to democracy. The new law allows the government to jail journalists and social media users for spreading information the government deems as false or misleading. Publishers may face up to three years in jail. Opposers of the legislation, like lawmaker Burak Erbay, said this law limits freedom of expression. Erbay took to the parliament’s podium, and told lawmakers that they will truly feel dissent when young Turks become of voting age within the next few years and vote the party out.

Biden administration says it is “re-evaluating” its relationship with Saudi Arabia after the kingdom rejects its request

The U.S. Biden administration requested the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to delay its reduction in oil outputs in hopes to deprive Russia’s President Vladimir Putin of oil money, further weakening the country’s position in the Ukraine War. However, Saudi’s Foreign Ministry stated the Biden administration asked them to delay the cuts by one month – suggesting that a month would alleviate any concerns of a price spike before the U.S. midterm elections. Regardless of reasoning, the Saudis rejected the request, saying it would have economic consequences.

Iranian women brave it all during the continued antigovernment protests.

The protests sparked with the death of Jina Mena Amini, a 23 year old Kurdish woman who died in police custody after being arrested for allegedly breaking the country’s modesty law. Women are at the forefront of these protests and risking their jobs, freedom, and especially their lives in hopes to change the government’s strict restrictions and imposed laws that negate self-autonomy. One protestor says, “It’s not just about the scarf. It’s about the whole life they have built for us.”

Tensions rise in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem after Israeli security forces killed two Palestinians in Jenin.

The occupied West Bank is experiencing its deadliest year since 2015. In a morning raid in the Jenin refugee camp, Israeli security forces went to arrest a man accused of terrorism. Palestinian gunmen fired, and Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinian teenagers, as well as wounding at least 11 others. The camp is known to have Palestinian resistance fighters and the Israelis have raided it numerous times. Al Jazeera’s reporter states that there have been more than 114 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2022 in the occupied West Bank. 

Iraqi parliament elects new president, independent and Kurdish politician, Abdul Latif Rashid.

Following his swearing in, President Rashid appoints senior Shiite politician, Mohammed al-Sudani to assemble a cabinet within 30 days and get it approved by Parliament. This may prove difficult with the government’s different religious and ethnic sectarian groups. Additionally, Mr. Sudani said in an interview last week that there may be discussions of removing a number of American forces off Iraqi soil. 

Hamas & Fatah Meet in Algeria: Peace or Continued Rivalry?

By William Lucht

Algeria is preparing to host 12 Palestinian groups at an upcoming two-day summit. Rivaling leaders of the Palestinian groups, Hamas, and Fatah are planned to attend. The proposal to invite both was drawn up after, “months of effort by Algeria to reach a common vision for boosting the Palestinian national action”, Palestinian ambassador Fayez Abu Aita said on Saturday. This latest initiative is another attempt at mending years long distrust and eroding relationships amongst Palestinians and their leadership.  

On the table for discussion, will be how to move forward with Palestinian elections – the first to be held since 2006, payment of salaries for approximately 30,000 Hamas employees, and the future of the contentious militant arm of Hamas, the Qassam Brigade. The military wing of Hamas is set to be a bitterly divided talking point as both Fatah and Israel want to see it completely dismantled.

Those with vested interests in the talks, specifically civilian’s and those living in the West Bank and Gaza, have low expectations these talks will amount to anything fruitful. Previous talks have failed to come to positive conclusions, and now that differences are at an even higher level, successful deliberation is ever more out of reach. Hamas’s control over the Gaza Strip is unlikely to be something they will let go of, especially after their victory coming from the defeat of Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party. This political victory was not recognized by Fatah, and what followed was armed conflict. The Palestinian leadership has since been divided, with a Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) governing the occupied West Bank and Hamas running the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.

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