US Iraq military presence
A top Iraqi official has reiterated that his country doesn’t need US combat troops on its soil anymore. National security advisor, Qasim al-Araji said Baghdad has communicated its stance over the issue to Washington. The comment came ahead of a meeting between senior Iraqi and American officials in Washington on Monday where they are expected to issue a statement on possible exit of US combat troops from Iraq by the end of the year. Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein have also underlined that Washington needs to pull out its forces from the Arab country. In January 2020, Iraq’s parliament issued a resolution demanding the expulsion of American forces. That followed the US assassination of top Iranian General, Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis.
Israeli spyware scandal
The hacking scandal surrounding Israeli spyware Pegasus is deepening. UK Muslim activists from prominent organisations have been on a list of some 400 British citizens hacked by foreign regimes. Press TV’s Robert Carter has spoken with one of those victims. He believes Israel’s regional ally, the UAE, has been spying on him over criticism of their human rights abuses.
Anti-lockdown protesters have clashed with police in the Australian city of Sydney as anger boils over month-long restrictions driven by Delta variant of COVID-19. Several protesters were arrested in the capital city of New South Wales. Similar rallies were also held in Melbourne. The protests held a day after authorities suggested that COVID restrictions could remain in place until October. New South Wales has been under strict stay-at-home orders since late June. However, the state has broken records for daily caseload in recent days. On Saturday, it reported the biggest daily rise in infections, registering 163 cases. Authorities have already declared a national emergency there. The recent outbreak of the virus, largely blamed on the Delta variant, has also prompted restrictions in other Australian states. Around half of Australia's 25 million populations are now under lockdown.