Middle East

Human rights activists outraged as Egypt court sentences 75 to death

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Cairo: An Egyptian court has sentenced 75 people to death, including leaders of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, for their involvement in a 2013 sit-in protest in Cairo that spiralled into violence and resulted in… Mohamed Ezz The Sydney Morning Herald New York Times Cairo Criminal Court was considering the case of 739 people facing charges ranging from killing police officers, incitement to violence and damaging property during the 2013 violence in Rabaa al-Adawiya, a square in… Forty-seven people, including the ... Read More »

Yemen’s Geneva talks fall apart after Houthi no-show

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UN-sponsored peace talks falter after Houthi rebels fail to show up, prompting Yemeni government officials to leave. Barbara Bibbo Al Jazeera Geneva, Switzerland – Yemen’s foreign minister has harshly criticised UN diplomats for not putting pressure on the Houthi rebel group to attend peace talks in Geneva, dooming them to failure. Minister Khaled al-Yamani, who was heading the Yemeni delegation, said that Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths was providing the… Yemen’s Geneva talks… Read More »

Is the Yemen Peace Process Coming Back to Life?

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The UN special envoy to Yemen has invited the principal parties in the country’s civil war to Geneva for “consultations”. ICG With the war rapidly approaching its fifth year, Crisis Group Consultant Peter Salisbury explains why any such Geneva talks are important and what should happen next. First of all, what is happening and why does it matter? After two years of political inertia, we should be cautious about what can be achieved. Given the lack of diplomatic progress since ... Read More »

U.S. has seen evidence of Syria preparing chemical weapons in Idlib: envoy

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – There is “lots of evidence” that chemical weapons are being prepared by Syrian government forces in Idlib in northwest Syria, the new U.S. adviser for Syria said on Thursday, as he warned of the risks of an offensive on the… Lesley Wroughton “I am very sure that we have very, very good grounds to be making these warnings,” said Jim Jeffrey, who was named on Aug. 17 as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s special adviser on Syria ... Read More »

Under pressure govt backtracks on Atif Mian appointment; removes economist from advisory council

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The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government has asked Princeton University economist Atif R. Mian to step down from the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led Economic Advisory Council (EAC), PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan announced on Friday. Fahad Chaudhry Dawn The decision follows mounting pressure from religiopolitical partiesagainst the appointment of Dr Mian, who is an Ahmadi. According to a tweet by Senator Javed, Mian has agreed to give up his position on the council. A replacement will be announced later, he… Minister of ... Read More »

Russia and Turkey Will Collide Over End of Syrian Civil War

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This is Washington’s chance to repair ties with Ankara to counter Moscow and Damascus. Gabriel White and Bogdan Belei The National Interest At the beginning of August, the Syrian military planes flew over the northwestern province of Idlib and dropped leaflets urging residents to surrender and threatening military action. It was the latest example of how Bashar al-Assad and his forces have ignored de-escalation agreements and continue a full-scale offensive against their opposition. The city of Idlib—the only majoropposition-held territory left ... Read More »

Foreign Influence in the Balkans

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The Balkans have always been fertile ground for foreign interests. Political intrigue in the region sparked the First World War and nationalist struggles after the dissolution of Yugoslavia filled world headlines in the 1990’s. Krithika Varagur Pulitzer Center It was in the latter period, and specifically during the Bosnian War, that the door was opened to substantial investment from the Middle East. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran helped countries like Bosnia and Kosovo reconstruct their infrastructure, schools, and places of ... Read More »

Protesters torch political party offices in Basra’s fourth night of violence

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BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) – Hundreds of people took to the streets of Iraq’s southern oil city Basra on Thursday for a fourth day of violent protests, where residents, angry over the neglect of their city’s collapsing infrastructure, set… Aref Mohammed, Raya Jalabi Reuters Ten demonstrators have been killed in clashes with security forces and dozens injured since a wave of protests began on Monday. Tens of security forces members have also been injured, some by a hand grenade, health and… ... Read More »

Iran and Turkey Divert Iraq’s River Waters, Leaving Iraq on the Brink of Catastrophe

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Global attention has been focused on the strained Ethiopian-Egyptian relations due to the construction of the Renaissance Dam by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile, whose reservoir – once filled – will probably lower the… Col. (ret) Dr. Jacques Neriah Institute for Contemporary Affairs But little attention has been given to the brewing conflict over the Tigris (Dajla in Arabic) and Euphrates (Furat in Arabic) waters, both iconic rivers on which Iraq’s existence in both ancient and… Deadly riots in Iraq’s ... Read More »

Construction Of TurkStream’s 2nd Leg In Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone Over – Gazprom

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Russian energy giant Gazprom has completed the construction of the second leg of the TurkStream gas pipeline in Russia’s exclusive economic zone, the company said in a statement Wednesday. Rukhshan Mir MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 05th September, 2018) Russian energy giant Gazprom has completed the construction of the second leg of the TurkStream gas pipeline in Russia‘s exclusive economic zone, the… “Gazprom’s Management Committee considered the current status of the TurkStream project. It noted that the… Construction Of ... Read More »

Pentagon Considers Expanding Presence in Greece amid China, Turkey Concerns

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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters during a visit to Greece Tuesday that the Pentagon is considering expanding its cooperation with Athens and its general presence in the… Frances Martel Breitbart Dunford’s announcement, and his visit to the country, also follows months of growing tensions between Greece and Turkey, which is outraged that Athens refuses to hand over former Turkish soldiers believed to… It also follows the publication of reports that China is looking ... Read More »

Why Does the U.S. Support War Crimes in Yemen?

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Washington should rethink its blind support for Riyadh. Paul R. Pillar The National Interest The war in Yemen has been for some time one of the worst current man-made humanitarian disasters. Now comes a report , from the United Nations Human Rights Council and based on extensive investigations by a group of experts examining the past four years of the… By far the most destructive offenses have been committed by the principal external intervenors—Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—and the titular ... Read More »

Prospects for a Deal to Stabilise Syria’s North East

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Much of north-eastern Syria has been safe during the civil war. ICG But in the event of U.S. military withdrawal, a mad scramble for control could be unleashed. Washington and Moscow should help their respective allies in Syria reach a decentralisation deal for the area. What’s new?  In March 2018, President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw U.S. forces from north-eastern Syria and suspended stabilisation funding for the area. His senior foreign policy advisers provided somewhat discordant views. These ... Read More »

An open letter of complaint to the Guardian

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An Open Letter Addressed to the Readers’ Editor of the Guardian newspaper in London, dated 5 September 2018 Dear Sir Re: Image accompanying an article published by the Guardian on 3 September 2018 I am writing to make a complaint about the image of the Eastern Mediterranean accompanying an article by Elif Shafak entitled ‘Even as Turkey pulls away, the west must help its people to resist’ (hereafter ‘the Image’). The Image was published online by the Guardian on 3 September 2018 (at www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/03/turkey-west-erdogan-democracy-civil-rights?CMP=share_btn_tw). I do not know whether the Image was also published in the hard copy of ... Read More »

Turkey Needs the EU—The Question Is How Much Its Relationship Will Cost

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European governments are currently witnessing a seemingly positive move by Turkey’s leadership toward the EU. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe On the surface, this makes sense: Turkey’s economy is in very dire straits (and still depends on European markets and financial flows); the Lira is plummeting; hurtful sanctions have recently been imposed by the United States (and more may be coming); and Russia is having it its way in Syria (which… As a result, the Turkish foreign ministry is issuing statements. ... Read More »

Saving Idlib from Destruction

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Numerous signs point to an imminent Syrian regime offensive to recapture Idlib, the largest remaining rebel-held area. ICG To ward off another humanitarian calamity, Russia, Iran and Turkey should immediately convene talks to extend the truce and seek other ways of removing Idlib’s jihadist hard core. What’s new?  The Syrian regime and its allies look on the verge of attacking the country’s north-western governorate of Idlib, the last remaining stronghold of the armed rebellion, saying they must root out the ... Read More »