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As relations thaw, Saudi Arabia and Iraq pledge cooperation against Daesh

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Saudi Arabia and Iraq convened a new joint body to coordinate their fight against Daesh and on rebuilding Iraqi territory wrested from the group, the Saudi King Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in Riyadh on Sunday. The rare senior meeting, signalling a thaw between states that have been at loggerheads for decades, was also attended by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who praised the accord between the two close US allies. Tillerson told reporters: The joint coordination council will not only lead to closer cooperation in the fight against Daesh, but will also help support the rehabilitation of facilities and infrastructure in the areas liberated “The council will also contribute to reforms that will grow and […]

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Trump’s peace envoy conditions Palestinian reconciliation on disarming Hamas

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

US President Donald Trump’s Middle East Peace Envoy Jason Greenblatt released a statement on Thursday, echoing statements by the Israeli government on the recent Palestinian reconciliation deal signed earlier this month by the rival Hamas and Fatah movements. Greenblatt, who has visited Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory a number of times since Trump took office in January, began his statement by saying that “all parties agree that it is essential that the Palestinian Authority be able to assume full, genuine, and unhindered civil and security responsibilities in Gaza and that we work together to improve the humanitarian situation for Palestinians living there.” “The United States reiterates the importance of adherence to the Quartet principles: any Palestinian government must unambiguously […]

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Ashrawi: Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank amounts to war crimes

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Following announcements that Israel had advanced plans for nearly 3,000 illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank, Palestine Liberation Organisation Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi strongly denounced the move as a “blatant disregard for the two-state solution.” The Israeli Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee convened on Tuesday and Wednesday, and advanced plans for 2,615 housing units in illegal Israeli settlements. “In blatant disregard of the requirements for the two-state solution and the chances for peace and stability, Netanyahu and his extremist, racist coalition continue to persist with their egregious policies of colonial-settler expansionism,” Ashrawi said. Israel is deliberately working to enhance its extremist Jewish settler population and to superimpose ‘Greater Israel’ on all of historic Palestine. Undoubtedly, it […]

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Israeli police detain Palestinian in Old City for alleged knife possession

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Israeli police forces detained a Palestinian “youth” in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem Friday morning, according to Israeli media. Israeli media reported that the youth, whose identity remained unknown, was detained for being in possession of a knife. He was reportedly transferred for interrogation. An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. Israeli forces have detained scores of Palestinians, many of the minors, for allegedly being in possession of knives following a spate of alleged and actual small-scale knife attacks by Palestinians that surged in the fall of 2015. Read: Israel charges 5 Jerusalemites over social media ‘incitement’ Rights groups have disputed Israel’s version of events in a number of cases, also denouncing what they have […]

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Egypt says Bahrain, Kuwait and UAE to lift ban on its agriculture exports

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to lift a ban on imports of Egyptian agricultural products, Egypt said on Sunday, as the country works to step up exports to narrow its budget deficit. The agreement came after a series of meetings and negotiations held between an Egyptian delegation and the Gulf countries, the Egyptian agriculture ministry said in a statement. The series of bans, which were said to have been on concerns over pesticide residues, had come at a time where there was an increased appetite for Egyptian exports resulting from a currency float that slashed the pound’s value in half last year. The three Gulf countries had banned various agricultural imports from Egypt, including pepper, lettuce […]

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Russia accuses US-led coalition of ‘barbaric’ bombing of Syria’s Raqqa

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Russia accused the US-led coalition in Syria on Sunday of wiping the city of Raqqa “off the face of the earth” with carpet bombing in the same way the United States and Britain had bombed Germany’s Dresden in 1945. The Russian Defence Ministry, which has itself repeatedly been forced to deny accusations from activists and Western politicians of bombing Syrian civilians, said it looked like the West was now rushing to provide financial aid to Raqqa to cover up evidence of its own crimes. Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Defence Ministry, said in a statement that around 200,000 people had lived in Raqqa before the conflict in Syria, but that not more than 45,000 people remained. US-backed militias […]

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Roadside bomb kills seven outside Somali capital Mogadishu

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

A roadside bomb killed at least seven people on Sunday – mostly women farmers – in an area outside the Somali capital dominated by Islamist insurgents who have defied public protests to end years of violence, residents and the army said. A truck bombing in Mogadishu last weekend killed at least 358 people, with 56 people still missing. Almost all of the dead were civilians and the attack triggered angry demonstrations in the capital. Sunday’s bombing hit a minibus in Daniga village about 40 km (25 miles) to the northwest of Mogadishu. Farmer Nur Abdullahi told Reuters by phone: We heard a huge crash today and we went to the scene, we saw a ruined minibus and at least seven […]

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US-backed militias seize key oil field in east Syria – SDF

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

US-backed militias said they captured a major oil field in Deir al-Zor province on Sunday, pressing their offensive against Daesh fighters in eastern Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they gained control of al-Omar oil field, one of Syria’s largest, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates river. With air strikes and special forces from the US-led coalition, the SDF has been battling Daesh in oil-rich Deir al-Zor, bordering Iraq. The SDF alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias has been focused on territory east of the river, which bisects the province. The Syrian army, with Russian air power and Iran-backed militias, has been waging its own separate offensive against Daesh militants, mostly to the west of the river. Read: […]

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Yemeni PM says fishermen have seized Iranian vessel, sailors

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

An Iranian vessel with 19 sailors on board has been seized near a Yemeni island by local fishermen, Yemen’s prime minister said on Saturday. There was no immediate official Iranian reaction to the comments made by Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr on his Twitter account in which he said the ship was detained off the coast of Socotra, the largest island in an archipelago south of Yemen. He thanked the fishermen of another island in the archipelago, Abd al-Kuri, which lies to the east of Somalia. Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said that the Yemeni government, which Tehran does not recognise, had “claimed” that an Iranian vessel with a crew of 19 had been seized on Friday. US confirms: Iran is […]

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Turkey bank regulator dismisses ‘rumours’ after Iran sanctions report

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Turkey’s banking regulator urged the public on Saturday to ignore rumours about financial institutions, in an apparent dismissal of a report that some Turkish banks face billions of dollars of US fines over alleged violations of Iran sanctions. “It has been brought to the public’s attention that stories, that are rumours in nature, about our banks are not based on documents or facts, and should not be heeded,” the BDDK banking regulator said in a statement, adding that Turkey’s banks were functioning well. The Haberturk newspaper on Saturday reported that six banks potentially face substantial fines, citing senior banking sources. It did not name the banks. One bank faces a penalty in excess of $5 billion, while the rest of […]

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