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Jean-Marc Mojon

Baghdad, Iraq
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About Jean-Marc
Iraq bureau chief for Agence France-Presse (AFP) since June 2014. Previously based in Nairobi, Cairo, Jerusalem, Nicosia, Boston. French and British national, born in 1977.
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Fact Checking

Baghdadi 'The Ghost': world jihad's low-profile boss

01 Oct 2023  |  sg.news.yahoo.com
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the reclusive leader of the Islamic State, rose quietly through the ranks to become a significant figure in global jihad. Known for his low profile and strategic acumen, Baghdadi transformed the Islamic State of Iraq into a formidable force, expanding into Syria and launching a major offensive in Iraq. Despite his uncharismatic nature, he incorporated ex-Baathists into his organization, enhancing its military capabilities. Baghdadi has been accused of heinous crimes, including rape and the use of sex slaves. His leadership has been marked by brutality and significant violence, drawing comparisons to other notorious jihadist leaders like Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Arab League voices 'total support' for Palestinians

02 Nov 2022  |  al-monitor.com
Arab leaders at the Arab League summit declared total support for the Palestinian cause amid Benjamin Netanyahu's potential return to Israeli leadership. The summit, the first since the UAE normalized ties with Israel, emphasized the Palestinian right to an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital. The summit's final statement supported Palestinian full membership in the UN and did not mention the Arab-Israeli normalization deals. The summit also addressed regional issues like the Libyan crisis and the Syrian conflict, and backed OPEC's oil production policy. Notable absences included Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

The Takeaway: Iran’s exiled Kurdish opposition wants Biden's attention

01 Nov 2022  |  Al-Monitor: Independent, trusted coverage of the Middle East
As protests continue in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, the exiled Kurdish political opposition, represented by Khalid Azizi of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, is urging the US government to reestablish contact with Iranian political parties. Azizi highlights the lack of communication between the US and Iranian opposition groups, calling for a renewed relationship to support their cause.

The long life of Kozo Okamoto, 50 years after committing an attack in Israel

31 May 2022  |  www.clarin.com
Kozo Okamoto, a former member of the Japanese Red Army, survived a suicide attack he perpetrated in 1972 at Tel Aviv airport, killing 26. Now 74, he lives peacefully in Lebanon as the first and only political refugee from the country. Despite being on Japan's wanted list for the attack committed in the name of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, he is considered a hero among Palestinian refugees. After various imprisonments, he was released by Israel in 1985 and later granted asylum in Lebanon. On the 50th anniversary of the attack, Okamoto made a public appearance with FPLP militants in Beirut.

Kozo Okamoto's Long Life After Israel Suicide Mission

30 May 2022  |  International Business Times
Kozo Okamoto, a member of the Japanese Red Army, survived a suicide attack at Israel's Lod airport in 1972, which resulted in 26 deaths. Despite his involvement, Okamoto lives as Lebanon's only political refugee, supported by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). He has faced imprisonment and a high-profile trial in Israel, where he sought the death penalty but was sentenced to life and later released in a prisoner exchange. Okamoto's life in Lebanon has been marked by a second arrest, a release under pressure, and a quiet existence under the care of the PFLP. He recently made a public appearance at a 50th-anniversary commemoration. Okamoto's life is now sedate, with no threat posed to Israel or Japan, but Japan still seeks his extradition annually.

Tensions flare in Jerusalem over flag march despite caution in Gaza

29 May 2022  |  Al-Monitor: Independent, trusted coverage of the Middle East
Clashes erupted in Jerusalem as nearly 70,000 far-right Israelis participated in a controversial flag march through East Jerusalem, protected by over 3,000 Israeli police. Palestinian factions, including Hamas, had warned against the demonstration, with Hamas threatening to respond with 'all means.' Early on Sunday, Israeli police entered Al-Aqsa Mosque, surrounding worshippers and locking several inside in preparation for the march.

The stumbling blocks facing Turkey’s new operation plan in Syria

01 May 2022  |  al-monitor.com
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is considering a new military operation in Syria to create a safe zone along the border, leveraging more favorable conditions due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Erdogan plans to use Turkey's veto power over Finland's and Sweden's NATO bids as leverage, anticipating that the US might allow the operation to facilitate NATO expansion and that Russia, distracted by Ukraine and sanctions, would not intervene.

Death Of IS Chief: What We Know

04 Feb 2022  |  www.ibtimes.com
Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi was killed during a US raid in the Syrian town of Atme. US officials reported that Qurashi detonated a bomb to avoid capture, resulting in his death and that of his immediate family. The raid followed a significant IS operation at a Kurdish-run prison in Hasakeh. Intelligence opportunities may have arisen from the prison break. The operation's timing suggests a connection to the prison attack, and analysts believe the US may have pressured Turkey for information. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 13 deaths, while Save the Children noted six children were killed. Qurashi's location in HTS-controlled territory was not unexpected, as his predecessor was also found in Idlib. Experts believe the IS group remains weak despite the prison attack and will need to appoint a new leader.

From Hope To Agony, What's Left Of The Arab Spring?

22 Nov 2020  |  International Business Times
The Arab Spring, which began ten years ago with a series of revolts across the Arab world, led to the collapse of long-standing regimes but also to the rise and fall of a jihadist caliphate, leaving the region in a state of upheaval. The initial wave of protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen resulted in varying outcomes, from disappointing reforms to dictatorial backlash and conflict. Despite the setbacks, the spirit of the revolts persists, as seen in subsequent uprisings in Sudan, Algeria, Iraq, and Lebanon. The article reflects on the sense of hope and the subsequent disillusionment, the complex outcomes in different countries, and the enduring impact of the Arab Spring on the region's political consciousness.

Drained Lebanese Shrug Off Hariri Verdict

19 Aug 2020  |  International Business Times
The verdict of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri was met with disappointment by the Lebanese public. After a 15-year wait, the tribunal found one suspect, a presumed member of Hezbollah, guilty and acquitted three others without establishing a direct link to the Hezbollah leadership or Syria. The outcome was seen as anticlimactic and a poor return on the tribunal's significant cost, which is estimated to be between $600 million to one billion dollars. The Lebanese, already dealing with an economic crisis, the aftermath of the Beirut blast, and the COVID-19 pandemic, found the verdict unsatisfactory as it left fundamental questions unanswered and did not lead to any significant political tension or unrest.

Lebanon's Leaders Face Rage, Calls For Reform After Blast

07 Aug 2020  |  International Business Times
Lebanon's leadership faces intense public anger and calls for reform following a devastating explosion in Beirut that killed at least 149 people and injured over 5,000. French President Emmanuel Macron visited the site, pledging international aid and urging urgent reforms to prevent further decline. The International Monetary Fund emphasized the need for critical reforms to secure external funding. Amidst the crisis, there are signs of renewed protest movements and spontaneous acts of solidarity among Lebanese citizens.

Lebanon Protesters Block Roads To Keep Revolt Alive

28 Oct 2019  |  International Business Times
Lebanese protesters have blocked key roads for the 12th consecutive day, demanding an end to corruption and a radical overhaul of the sectarian political system. Despite pleas from top leaders and attempts by security forces to clear roadblocks, demonstrators continue to press their demands. The protests, sparked by a proposed tax on voice calls via messaging apps, have evolved into a massive grassroots movement. The central bank chief warned of economic collapse if the protests continue, while the army and security forces face resistance in their efforts to reopen roads. The movement, driven by a young generation, has seen widespread support and participation, including a human chain event symbolizing national unity.

Sudan's persecuted Christians eye long-sought freedom

26 Aug 2019  |  www.modernghana.com
Sudan's Christian minority, which suffered under the regime of Islamist general Omar al-Bashir, is hopeful for religious freedom following his downfall. The new civilian-majority administration and the transition constitution, which omits Islam as a defining characteristic of the state, have given Christians and other minorities hope for better protection of religious plurality. The inclusion of a Christian woman on the Sovereign Council and public demonstrations by Christians for equal rights are seen as positive signs. However, concerns remain due to the presence of generals associated with Bashir in the council and the enduring Islamist mentality.

Crowds fill Khartoum's streets to hail 'new Sudan'

17 Aug 2019  |  modernghana.com
Sudanese citizens filled the streets of Khartoum to celebrate the signing of a declaration on the country's transitional constitution, marking a move towards civilian rule after 30 years under former president Omar al-Bashir. The constitutional declaration, a compromise between the protest movement and the ruling military council, was signed at the Friendship Hall and is expected to lead to elections in late 2022. While the mood was celebratory, with people of all ages expressing newfound freedoms, there remains cautious optimism about the transition's impact on daily life and economic conditions.

Sudan to launch historic transition to civilian rule

15 Aug 2019  |  au.news.yahoo.com
Sudan is set to sign a deal to transition to civilian rule after a period of upheaval and protests that led to the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir. The agreement, mediated by the African Union and Ethiopia, will establish a civilian-majority ruling council and a government, with elections to follow after a 39-month transitional period. Abdalla Hamdok has been nominated as prime minister, and a legislative body with at least 40 percent female representation will be formed. Concerns remain over the military's retained powers, the influence of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, and the absence of various rebel groups from the deal.

Sudan to launch historic transition to civilian rule

15 Aug 2019  |  modernghana.com
Sudan is set to sign a deal to transition to civilian rule after a period of political crisis and civil unrest. The agreement between the Transitional Military Council and the Alliance for Freedom and Change follows the ousting of Omar al-Bashir and is expected to lead to the lifting of Sudan's suspension from the African Union. The deal allows for a civilian-majority ruling council, but the military retains significant power. Key positions, such as the interior and defense ministers, will be chosen by military members of the council. The legislative body will be at least 40 percent female, and the paramilitary forces and intelligence services will come under the control of the army and sovereign council. However, concerns remain about the military's influence and the fate of Bashir, who faces corruption charges and is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes in Darfur. The power-sharing deal has been criticized for not sufficiently curbing military power or ensuring justice for killed demonstrators.

Leave our graffiti on the walls, say Sudan protesters

14 Aug 2019  |  Arab News
Protest leaders in Sudan have expressed dismay over the erasure of revolutionary graffiti in Khartoum, viewing it as an attempt to suppress the spirit of the uprising that led to the ousting of Omar Al-Bashir. The Alliance for Freedom and Change, which spearheaded the protests, has called for the continuation of mural painting as an exercise of free expression. Despite a transition agreement for shared power and eventual civilian rule, some fear that the forces responsible for repression during the protests may retain power. Graffiti artist Lotfy Abdel Fattah sees the removal of the murals as a sign that the military establishment is not genuinely changing.

With 'Capernaum', Nadine Labaki wants to shake up Lebanon

18 Feb 2019  |  www.lapresse.ca
Nadine Labaki's film 'Capernaum' is competing for an Oscar and aims to leverage the attention it has garnered to drive real change in Lebanon. The film, which has been praised at Cannes and nominated for various international awards, portrays the harsh realities of mistreated children and marginalized individuals in Lebanon. Labaki plans to show the film to the government and organize discussions with legal professionals to initiate change. The film has already improved the lives of its protagonists, including Syrian refugee Zain Al Rafeea, who now resides in Norway with his family.

Ruling parties to keep their clout as Lebanon votes

04 May 2018  |  sg.news.yahoo.com
Lebanon is holding its first parliamentary elections in nine years, with ruling parties aiming to maintain a fragile power-sharing arrangement amid regional tensions. Hezbollah and its allies are poised to dominate parliament, potentially increasing their influence. Despite a new voting system, disillusionment among voters remains high. Key political figures like Nabih Berri and Saad Hariri are expected to retain their positions. The civil society list 'Kulluna Watani' seeks to challenge the status quo, with candidates like Paula Yacoubian advocating against corruption. The elections are set against a backdrop of complex alliances and regional influences, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.

Western strikes on Syria, turning point that never was

14 Apr 2018  |  sg.news.yahoo.com
Western strikes on Syrian regime targets, led by the United States, France, and Britain, aimed to respond to alleged chemical weapon use by Damascus but failed to significantly impact the ongoing seven-year war or reduce civilian casualties. The strikes were seen as a political gesture rather than a decisive action, with international inspectors facing delays in investigating the chemical attack site in Douma. The article highlights the disappointment and skepticism among Syrian civilians and opposition supporters, as well as the diplomatic stalemate involving Russia, Turkey, and Iran. The Western nations' actions were perceived as an attempt to uphold international norms rather than genuinely addressing the humanitarian crisis.

The year the 'caliphate' collapsed

18 Dec 2017  |  sg.news.yahoo.com
2017 marked the end of the Islamic State group's territorial control, with the loss of Mosul in Iraq and Raqa in Syria. The military campaign, supported by the US-led coalition and Russia, now faces the aftermath of destroyed cities and the challenge of preventing the resurgence of extremism. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has maintained his position through the conflict, while the status of the Hashed al-Shaabi and reconstruction efforts pose significant challenges. In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad's regime is less supported internationally, and tensions with US-backed Kurdish forces loom. Despite reduced fighting, the humanitarian crisis persists, with millions displaced in both Iraq and Syria. The treatment of detainees and the pursuit of justice are critical for sustainable peace.

Crisis boosted confidence in Lebanese economy: central bank

15 Dec 2017  |  sg.news.yahoo.com
Lebanon's central bank governor, Riad Salameh, stated that the country's ability to endure the recent crisis, sparked by Prime Minister Saad Hariri's now-rescinded resignation, has bolstered confidence in the Lebanese economy. Despite the crisis, monetary stability was maintained, leading to increased depositor interest rates from 6-7% to 8-9%. Salameh highlighted the resilience of Lebanon's economy and the validation of the central bank's policies, suggesting a positive outlook for future investment.

The year the 'caliphate' collapsed

14 Dec 2017  |  Space War
2017 marked the collapse of the Islamic State's caliphate, with significant losses in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqa, Syria. The US-led coalition and Iraqi forces played crucial roles in reclaiming territory. Despite military victories, Iraq and Syria face extensive reconstruction challenges and ongoing humanitarian crises. The status of the Hashed al-Shaabi in Iraq and Kurdish autonomy in Syria remain contentious issues. The conflict in Syria continues with mixed results from de-escalation zones and ongoing negotiations. Humanitarian needs are critical, with millions displaced and requiring aid.

Baghdadi 'The Ghost': world jihad's low

09 Jul 2017  |  www.france24.com
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the reclusive leader of the Islamic State, rose quietly through the ranks to become a significant figure in global jihad. Known for his low profile and strategic acumen, Baghdadi transformed the Islamic State of Iraq into a formidable force, expanding into Syria and launching a major offensive in Iraq. Despite his uncharismatic nature, he incorporated ex-Baathists into his organization, enhancing its military capabilities. Baghdadi has been accused of severe crimes, including rape and the enslavement of women. His leadership marked a drastic turn for the worse for his so-called caliphate, culminating in the symbolic destruction of the Grand Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul.

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