Feb. 22 Iran: Ahmadinejad calls for free elections in open letter to Supreme Leader
In an open letter posted on his website Dolat-e Bahar, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, calling for fundamental reforms to the government. He recommended free and immediate presidential and parliamentary elections, the release of political prisoners and the dismissal of judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani.
Feb. 22 The Netherlands: Parliament votes to recognize mass killing of Armenians as genocide
The Dutch parliament voted 147–3 in favor of a motion to recognize the 1915 mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as a genocide. Turkey condemned the decision, saying that while the killings did occur, they did not constitute genocide. The Dutch government stated the motion will not change the Netherlands’ official policy.
Feb. 24 Somalia: al-Shabab claims responsibility for twin car bombings
Islamist militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for two car bomb attacks that killed at least 38 people in Mogadishu. A gun battle followed the first attack, which took place outside the presidential palace. The second blast hit a nearby hotel. The al-Qaeda-linked group has killed hundreds of civilians in East Africa since it began an insurgency in 2007.
Feb. 25 Russia: Thousands march in memory of murdered opposition leader
Thousands of protesters marched through Moscow to commemorate the third anniversary of the death of Boris Nemstov, a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was shot and killed in 2015. Protesters called for Putin to be ousted in the upcoming presidential election, chanting the slogans, “Russia without Putin” and “Russia will be free.” Though some of Nemstov’s supporters blame Putin for the opposition leader’s death, the president never responded to accusations.