Your Thursday Briefing: Iran Attacks Kurds in Iraq

Iranian security forces are targeting Kurdish opposition groups in northern Iraq. Tehran accused the groups of sparking protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurdish woman who was killed in police custody.

According to Kurdish officials, drone and missile attacks by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps have targeted paramilitary groups’ offices and bases based in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, including the cities of Erbil, Sulaimaniya and Pirde.

Internal unrest has been especially intense in the Kurdish areas of northwestern Iran, near the Iraqi border. Amini, who lived in the region, was visiting Tehran with her family when she died.

Details: Nine people in Iraq were killed yesterday after Iranian bombing days. At least 32 others, including children, were injured.

Protests: Iran’s demonstrations, mostly led by women, have become the most widespread challenge to authoritarian rule since 2009. Yesterday, students and professors from more than 20 universities staged a massive strike.

Campaign: On Monday, Iranian authorities said 41 protesters had been killed and more than 1,200 arrested. Human rights groups said the number of victims was likely much higher.


But much of the work would take place out of public view, reflecting a struggle to balance independent accountability with the country’s worn-out cocoon of procedural secrecy.

Lawmakers are expected to approve the commission, but questions remain about its transparency. Vaguely defined “exceptional circumstances” would be required to make the hearings public, setting a high standard for public disclosure, beyond what is required by most state anti-corruption agencies with similar mandates.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant and many corruption investigations would not be successful without public hearings,” said Anthony Whealy, attorney and president of the Center for Public Integrity. “In legal terms, ‘exceptional circumstances’ have no real meaning and will act as a brake on the public interest.”

Background: In elections in May, the previous government was removed after a series of scandals related to the diversion of public money to disputed districts for unnecessary projects. The public is also reeling from the bizarre revelation that Scott Morrison, who ran that government, was covertly put in charge of five ministries during the pandemic.


Jury selection begins today in Minnesota in a civil trial against Liu Qiangdong, known as Richard Liu in the English-speaking world. A young woman named Liu Jingyao accused Mr. Liu of raping her after a 2018 dinner for Chinese executives that she attended as a University of Minnesota volunteer.

Mr. Liu, the founder of JD.com, an e-commerce giant in China, has denied the allegations and says the meeting was consensual.

The judgment is significant by the fact that it is happening. In China, where such accusations rarely come to trial, the ruling Communist Party has repeatedly crushed the country’s small but spirited #MeToo movement.

Context: The trial, which has gripped China, comes at a highly sensitive time for the country’s top leader, Xi Jinping. He is expected to take on an unprecedented third term next month. According to court documents, several people linked to China’s business and political elite also attended the dinner.

Details: Local prosecutors declined to charge Mr. Liu with sexual assault in 2018, saying it was highly unlikely that a criminal charge could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Ms. Liu, who has endured a barrage of attacks on Chinese social media, is seeking at least $50,000 in damages through the civil court system, where the burden of proof is lower.

Seoul’s mayor has a proposal to boost South Korea’s low fertility rate: more foreign nannies, which could ease the cost of childcare.

Our Foreign Correspondents are not just reporters. They are also residents of the countries they cover and are privy to soap operas and movies, hit TV shows, and catchy tunes.

In East Africa, a collection of essays started a wave of frank conversations about sex. “Everyone, and I mean everyone, has read, is reading or at some point was embarrassed that they hadn’t read ‘The Sex Lives of African Women,’” said Abdi Latif Dahir, who lives in Nairobi, Kenya.

In Egypt, “The Choice,” a popular television drama, generated controversy for its portrayal of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. “Everyone was excited about it and its political ramifications,” said Vivian Yee, our Cairo bureau chief.

And our Sydney office boss, Damien Cave, said that teen rapper Kid Laroi is “the hottest music act Australia has produced in years.”

You can read more cultural dispatches from South Korea, Iraq, Ukraine, Israel, and many places in between.