Middle East

  • Angry protests in Amman against Jordan-Israel solar power for water deal
    Nicosia [Cyprus]: Thousands of Jordanians took part in a huge protest at the heart of the Jordanian capital Amman on Thursday against the declaration of intent signed last Monday in Dubai for water for energy deal by Jordan, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates. The protesters shouted slogans that normalization of relations with Israel was treason and demanded that the government immediately scrap the deal and sever ties with Israel. Soon after the deal was announced hundreds of students organized protests in various university campuses all over the country.It should be noted that there is a very strong anti-Israel sentiment in Jordan, as almost 10 million of its citizens are Palestinians who were expelled or fled to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the fighting that accompanied the creation of Israel in 1948.The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan condemned the deal and said: “We reject this normalization with the Zionist entity which practices the worst form of terror and crimes against our families and brothers in occupied Palestine. The movement condemns and rejects putting vital and strategic sectors in the hands of a hostile entity that does not respect deals and agreements.”The deal, if finally implemented, will be one of the largest regional cooperation projects between an Arab country and Israel and provides for the building by the UAE of a plant having600 megawatt solar generating capacity to be exported to Israel for 200 million […]
  • Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia suspend travel with African countries over Omicron variant
    Al Masnaah [Oman]: Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait have announced suspending air travel from several African countries amid the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.The Saudi Ministry of Interior said on Sunday that the kingdom is stopping travels with Angola, Zambia, Mauritius, Madagascar, Malawi, the Seychelles and Comoros islands, as well as prohibiting their citizens from entering the Arab country. At the same time, Riyadh will allow entry to those who are coming from a third country, provided they spend 14 days in quarantine there as well as another five days in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Oman has decided to bar entry from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique starting Sunday. According to the state-run Oman News Agency, the ban does not affect the sultanate’s citizens, diplomats and health workers.Kuwait is also postponing passenger flights with the same countries as Oman as well as Malawi and Zambia. Citizens arriving from those countries will be able to enter Kuwait after a 14-day quarantine, government spokesman Tareq Mizrem told the state-run Kuwait News Agency.The World Health Organization (WHO) identified on Friday the new South African strain as one of concern, as it is reported to carry a high number of mutations — 32 — which possibly makes it more transmissible and dangerous. The WHO has dubbed it Omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.
  • Some 1,000 refugees in Belarus ready to return to Iraq
    Minsk [Belarus]: Roughly 1,000 Iraqi refugees in Belarus have expressed their readiness to return home, and a group of refugees returned to Iraq by plane from Minsk airport on Wednesday, reported Belarusian media.The Iraqi side received requests from about 1,000 people wishing to return to Iraq, Majid al-Kinani, the Iraqi consul in Russia and Belarus, was quoted as saying. Thousands of refugees, mostly from the Middle East, are attempting to enter Poland, Lithuania and other European Union countries from Belarus in order to eventually obtain asylum in Western Europe. Countries like Poland have tightened border controls and prevented illegal entry, leaving large numbers of immigrants stuck at the border.
  • Palestine welcomes Belgium’s decision to label Israeli settlements’ products
    Ramallah [Palestine]: Palestine on Wednesday welcomed Belgium’s decision to label products of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, saying it’s a move “in the right direction.”Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye said in a press statement that Belgium’s decision was based on the fact that the Israeli settlements are “contrary to international laws and resolutions,” and expressed its “alignment with the values of truth, justice, and freedom.” He called on countries worldwide “to follow the footsteps of Belgium by labelling the Israeli settlements’ products, condemn settlement expansion and act on putting pressure to halt the growing settlers’ assaults on the Palestinians.”On Wednesday, the Belgian government decided to put clear labels on the products of Israeli settlements to show that these settlements are built on Palestinian lands.According to Israeli media reports, the Israeli Foreign Ministry condemned the Belgian government’s decision, saying in a statement that “it harms the Israelis and the Palestinians alike.”Israel took control of the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war and has ever since built dozens of settlements on it. Such action is considered by the international community as violating international law.
  • Apple files lawsuit against Israeli NSO Group over Pegasus surveillance
    Washington [US]: Apple has filed a lawsuit against Israeli NSO Group holding it accountable for the surveillance and targeting of the company’s customers, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.“Apple today filed a lawsuit against NSO Group and its parent company to hold it accountable for the surveillance and targeting of Apple users,” the company said. “The complaint provides new information on how NSO Group infected victims’ devices with its Pegasus spyware.” To prevent further abuse and harm to its users, Apple is also seeking a permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from using any Apple software, services, or devices, according to the release.“State-sponsored actors like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars on sophisticated surveillance technologies without effective accountability. That needs to change,” Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said in the release.“Apple devices are the most secure consumer hardware on the market — but private companies developing state-sponsored spyware have become even more dangerous. While these cybersecurity threats only impact a very small number of our customers, we take any attack on our users very seriously, and we’re constantly working to strengthen the security and privacy protections in iOS to keep all our users safe.”Earlier this month, the US included NSO in its list of entities engaging in activities contrary to US national security. The group has been involved in a scandal revealing its Pegasus spyware was used […]
  • Saudi-led coalition in Yemen warns of danger to global trade in Red Sea
    Riyadh [Saudi Arabia]: The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthi movement in Yemen said it detected an imminent danger to the global trade in the Red Sea, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday.“There are indicators of the imminent danger to shipping and world trade in the south of the Red Sea. We are taking prompt actions to detect the maritime threat and ensure freedom of navigation,” the coalition said. It also stated that the concerns were raised after the coalition had detected hostile movements by the Yemeni Houthi forces using explosive-laden boats, according to SPA.The statement was delivered after the coalition had intercepted and destroyed remotely piloted aircraft launched by Houthi rebels targeting the Najran airport on Sunday.Yemen’s civil war began in 2014 when Houthi insurgents took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, demanding lower fuel prices and a new government. The rebels seized the presidential palace in January 2015, forcing President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government to resign. In March 2015, the Gulf states coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched a campaign of economic isolation and airstrikes against the Houthi insurgents.
  • US manages to halt construction of secret Chinese port project in UAE
    Washington [US]: The Biden administration has managed to halt the construction of a secret development inside of a Chinese shipping port in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of the US’s closest Mideast allies, after intense pressure from the US.This project, near Abu Dhabi, was halted after several rounds of meetings and visits by US officials, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported citing people familiar with the matter. After the intelligence agencies in Washington learned that Beijing was secretly building what they suspected was a military facility at a port, the Biden administration warned the Emirati government that a Chinese military presence in its country could threaten ties between the two countries.“Last we checked, we had successfully convinced the Emiratis to shut down the project,” said one source familiar with the intelligence, as quoted by CNN. “But it’s still a live issue.”Although the project was portrayed as purely commercial, US intelligence has observed ships disguised as commercial vessels that officials recognized as a type typically used by the Chinese military for signals intelligence collection entering the port, the report said.In a statement, a spokesperson for the UAE Embassy in Washington said that the UAE “never had an agreement, plan, talks or intention to host a Chinese military base or outpost of any kind.”This development comes as Beijing has sought to develop commercial ports in outposts around the world in what experts believe is a […]
  • Iran says IAEA chief to visit Iran “soon”
    Tehran [Iran]: Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will make an official visit to the capital Tehran soon, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh announced on Monday.The Iranian spokesman said that Iran is waiting for Grossi to respond to its invitation. Technical relations between Iran and the IAEA are going in a good direction, he said, adding that “Grossi has very close relations with both our atomic energy organization and our friends at the Iranian embassy in Vienna.”On his next trip, Grossi will meet the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) as well as Iran’s foreign minister, said Khatibzadeh.During a meeting between Mohammad Eslami, vice president and the head of the AEOI, and Grossi in Tehran in September, IAEA’s inspectors were permitted to service the identified monitoring equipment, installed in Iran’s nuclear facilities, and replace their storage media which would be kept in seals in Iran.On February 23, Iran stopped the implementation of voluntary measures envisaged in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, in a reaction to the former US President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA and re-imposition of sanctions against Iran.Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA are set to meet in the Austrian capital of Vienna on November 29 to resume the negotiations which were paused in June due to Iran’s presidential […]
  • Turkey favours lifting of US sanctions against Iran: Foreign Minister
    Ankara [Turkey]: Turkey has urged the United States to lift the unilateral sanctions it imposed on Iran, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday, describing the punitive measures against his country’s eastern neighbour as “inappropriate.” “Unilateral sanctions against Iran are inappropriate, they must be removed,” Cavusoglu said during a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, in Tehran.In 2015, Iran signed a nuclear deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA) with the P5+1 group, which includes the United States, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and the European Union. It required Tehran to scale back its nuclear program and drastically reduce its uranium reserves in exchange for sanctions relief, including the lifting of an arms embargo five years after the deal was made. In May 2018, the US abandoned its conciliatory stance, withdrawing from the JCPOA and implementing hardline policies against Iran, prompting the latter to largely abandon its own obligations under the accord. Since April, Vienna has been hosting talks aimed at preventing the Iran nuclear deal from failing altogether. The sixth round of the talks finished on June 20 and the negotiations have since hit a deadlock. In October, both Tehran and Washington affirmed their readiness to revive the Vienna talks as soon as possible. (ANI/Sputnik)
  • Egypt to host COP27 international climate conference next year
    Glasgow [UK]: The UN climate change conference COP26 in Glasgow has announced that Egypt was chosen to host the upcoming session of the conference in 2022 (COP27).At the summit on Thursday, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for Climate Change congratulated Egypt, highlighting that the UAE will cooperate with partners everywhere to identify lessons learned in order to achieve effective results, Gulf News reported. He added that the UAE will work to ensure that all segments of society are part of this great effort to allow humanity to change course to a better future, extending an open invitation to the world to advance real climate action through inclusion, transparency and responsibility.The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will host the 2023 edition of the conference, Gulf News reported.His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced that the UAE had won its bid to host the COP28 conference in 2023.The UN Climate Change Conference is the largest global conference of heads of states and governments on climate and environmental issues.“We congratulate the UAE for winning bid to host COP28 conference in 2023. It is the most international climate conference. Our country deserves this win. We will put all our potential and capabilities to make this conference a success,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.“The UAE will remain committed to global climate […]
  • Iran to consider experience of past nuclear deal talks in Vienna, says Foreign Minister
    Tehran [Iran]: Tehran will take into account the experience of the previous rounds of nuclear deal talks to promote its interests in the upcoming negotiations in Vienna, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Saturday.“Taking into account the experience and trends of previous negotiations, Iran will work hard to defend its interests during the upcoming negotiations,” he said in a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as quoted by the Iranian Embassy in Moscow in Telegram. In order to see the real progress in the negotiations, European countries (Germany, France and the United Kingdom), as well as the United States, must refrain from excessive demands and proposals that go beyond the nuclear deal and take a constructive approach, Amirabdollahian added.He also noted that no one should doubt Iran’s serious intentions for the upcoming negotiations and stressed the need for all parties to return to compliance with the obligations under the agreement.The Vienna talks on the return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the lifting of US sanctions on Iran will resume on November 29.
  • Teen dies, 70 people injured in clashes between Palestinians, Israeli soldiers
    Gaza [Palestine]: At least 70 Palestinians were injured on Friday in clashes with Israeli soldiers in the vicinity of the West Bank city of Nablus, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said.“Seventy Palestinians were injured today as a result of clashes with Israeli forces in the Bayt and Deir al-Hatab areas near Nablus,” Red Crescent said. Also on Friday, a 13-year-old Palestinian teenager died in hospital after being wounded in clashes with Israeli soldiers to the east of Nablus, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.The Israeli army is conducting an investigation into the incident with the death of the Palestinian, the military press service told Sputnik.In May, the construction of a small Jewish settlement began near Nablus. Every Friday, Palestinians protest the construction of the new Jewish settlement and the confiscation of Palestinian land in the area.The issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, considered to be an occupied territory by the United Nations, is one of the main stumbling blocks in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.The two-state solution to the conflict is an UN-backed principle, under which two independent sovereign states will coexist peacefully. Its implementation remains stalled, however, as the two parties have not yet agreed on where the border between them would run and who would own Jerusalem.
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