Middle East

Israel says it approves of the controversial transfer of two Egyptian islands to Saudi control

The transfer of the islands has provoked anger in Egypt [AFP] Israel says it backs the controversial handover of two Red Sea islands from Egyptian to Saudi control, despite having no formal relations with Riyadh. The New Arab Tiran and Sanafir islands in the Gulf of Aqaba have been under Cairo’s administration since at least the 1950s, but will be handed over to Saudi Arabia later this… Israel says it… Read More »

Turkey Hires More U.S. Lobbying Firms as its Reputation is Further Tarnished

As Turkey becomes the target of worldwide condemnation for its human rights violations, the Turkish government decides to spend a fortune on lobbying and public relations firms to try to cleanse its… Harut Sassounian The Armenian Weekly On the heels of the April 16 flawed referendum which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan barely won to give himself a wide-ranging dictatorial powers, and his bodyguards’ brutal attack in front of the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C., on… Turkey Hires More… Read More »

Turkey’s Evolving Array of Diplomatic Challenges

As the Turkish leadership becomes increasingly isolated from its traditional allies, Ankara seems tempted to seek refuge in an unconvincing regional role. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe Long gone are the happy days when Turkey’s foreign policy motto was “zero problems with neighbors.” Nowadays, Ankara is facing new diplomatic challenges on multiple fronts, at a time when domestic politics are more polarized than ever since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in… The list of headaches is long, ... Read More »

Ali Sherif al-Emadi: Sanctions will not harm economy

Finance minister says Qatar can defend economy and currency against tough sanctions imposed by neighbouring GCC nations. Al Jazeera and news agencies Qatar can easily defend its economy and currency against sanctions by other Arab states, Qatari finance minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi told CNBC television in an interview broadcast on… He said that the countries that had imposed sanctions on Qatar would also lose money because of the damage to business in the… Ali Sherif al… Read More »

Gulf states announce humanitarian gesture to help families with Qatari members

JEDDAH: As the week-long Qatari crisis drags on without a clear commitment from Doha to renounce terrorism, three Gulf states announced on Sunday a humanitarian gesture to help families with… AISHA FAREED Arab News Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE announced hotlines to help affected families, as Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin… Kuwait, which is trying to mediate a solution to the regional crisis, on… Gulf states announce… Read More »

America’s Political Gamble in Syria May Not Pay Off

President Trump’s plan to defeat the Islamic State relies on the complex web of relations between the United States, Turkey and the… Matthew RJ Brodsky The National Interest As the Islamic State’s territory continues to shrink in the Middle East, its henchmen and those inspired by the extremist group are increasingly lashing out at soft targets in the… The types of attacks recently experienced in London and Manchester are likely to continue until the… America’s Political Gamble… Read More »

Egypt Gives Saudi Arabia 2 Islands in a Show of Gratitude

CAIRO — Since King Salman of Saudi Arabia arrived in Cairo on Thursday for a five-day visit, the leader of the oil-rich kingdom has lavished his Egyptian allies with promises of aid and… DECLAN WALSH  The New York Times But this time, instead of writing a blank check with little more than a polite “thank you” to show for it, King Salman will return home Monday with something more substantial in return: two islands in a… Egypt’s cabinet announced on ... Read More »

Qatar blockade: Gulf states silent on Tillerson plea to ease measures

Nations behind a blockade on Qatar have welcomed strong comments from President Donald Trump backing their move, but were silent on calls from his secretary of state to ease the measures. BBC Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain have cut ties, accusing Qatar of funding terrorism. Qatar denies the accusations. The UAE hailed Mr Trump’s “leadership”. But the states did not respond to Secretary of… Qatar blockade: Gulf… Read More »

Bernard-Henri Levy: ‘I’ve always found it quite shocking and beautiful to speak to one’s enemy’

Interview / ‘Coming to the aid of the other is an unconditional commandment’ On recent trip to Israel, French-Jewish intellectual promoted his new book on Judaism and explained what it’s like to be a modern-day Jonah By PIERRE-SIMON ASSOULINE The Times of Israel French-Jewish celebrity intellectual Bernard Henri-Levy was in Israel recently for a whirlwind of events which included the promotion of his new book on Judaism and the presentation of a new documentary on the Iraqi city of… Bernard-Henri ... Read More »

Turkey: NATO’s Odd One Out

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Discounting the sincerity of Turkish President Erdoğan’s fiercely anti-western rhetoric ahead of the April 16 referendum is akin to disregarding bitter facts about once staunch NATO ally Turkey. Burak Bekdil       BESA NATO’s deepening “Turkey problem” is contained in the country’s Islamist ideology, conspicuous “un-likemindedness”, and democratic anomalies, which stand against NATO’s founding values of safeguarding freedom and the… Turkey: NATO’s Odd… Read More »

Analysis: Why is Turkey deploying troops to Qatar?

Turkey’s decision is not necessarily anti-Saudi, but it is definitely pro-Qatari, say analysts. Birce Bora  Al Jazeera Only two days after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar for its alleged support of “terrorist organisations”, Turkey’s parliament has ratified military deals allowing its troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in… Analysis: Why is… Read More »

Iran Unites as Tehran Struck by Middle East’s Proxy Wars

The 7 June attacks in Tehran struck at the symbolic heart of Iran’s revolutionary republic. In this Q&A, Ali Vaez, Senior Analyst for Iran, says the outrages show how the region’s proxy wars are now reaching far beyond the… Ali Vaez ICG How unusual are these attacks for Iran? If this indeed was, as it claimed, an attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), it would constitute the first time the organisation has been able to strike ... Read More »

Hezbollah condemns Tehran’s terrorist attacks

(AhlulBayt News Agency) – Hezbollah denounced on Wednesday the terrorist crime that was committed by the evil doers in the Iranian capital of Tehran and… ABNA Almanar In a statement, Hezbollah considered that the dual crime is an attempt to tamper with the security and stability of Islamic Republic and…“The crimes committed by the terrorists in the region and the whole world are a result of an international destructive scheme which is… Hezbollah condemns Tehran… Read More »

Trump’s FBI pick from law firm that ‘helped Gülen-linked bank go international’

U.S. President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the FBI is a white-collar defense lawyer with a strong law enforcement background. Hurriyet But in Turkey the nomination of Christopher Wray has raised eyebrows, with Turkish media reporting his previous involvement in helping Bank Asya, linked to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, open its… King & Spalding, in which Wray had… Trump’s FBI pick… Read More »

50 Years of Palestinian Rejection

And the world encourages it. The 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, which fell this week, has sparked much hand-wringing about why Israel still controls the West Bank half a century later. Evelyn Gordon  Commentary By sheer coincidence, Haaretz reporter Amir Tibon produced a scoop this week answering that question. It detailed the precise offer the… 50 Years of… Read More »

Israeli Commandos Heading to Cyprus for Largest-ever Drill

The joint drill, which involves 400 Israeli soldiers, has ruffled feathers in Ankara Gili Cohen Haaretz Israeli commandos will be undergoing training in Cyprus next week, the biggest joint military exercise ever undertaken between the two countries in the island nation. Sqaudrons of Black Hawk helicopters will head to Cyprus for the joint exercise, which starts Sunday, Haaretz has learned… Israeli Commandos Heading… Read More »