US Secretary of State arrives in Doha

US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has arrived in Doha today to find a way out of the diplomatic crises in the region which has seen Qatar blockaded by four of its neighbours since 5 June. Tillerson met with the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who has been mediating between Doha and its Gulf neighbours, yesterday. Sheikh Sabah is reported to have told Tillerson about the seriousness of the crises saying: “We are trying to resolve an issue that concerns not just us but the whole world.” During his visit to Qatar, the senior US official will meet with Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, before holding talks with Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. […]

Defiant Qatar redefines the regional landscape

As expected Qatar has defied the extortionate demands made on it by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The stage is now set for a prolonged economic blockade and political isolation. But barring military action, Saudi Arabia and its allies will eventually have to moderate their demands with a view to conducting more realistic negotiations with Qatar. For its part the latter is in a combative mood, as evidenced by its demand for compensation for the damage inflicted on Qatari businesses as a result of the economic blockade. In the immediate term, Qatar’s defiance deepens a split in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and brings to an end Saudi Arabia’s aspiration of dominating the Gulf through this […]

21 Yemeni prisoners released, links to Al-Qaeda

Twenty-one prisoners who supported Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were released from a Hadarmout prison yesterday, Gulf News reported. The released prisoners helped the group make money as accountants and security guards during its rule in Mukalla. A lawyer who witnessed the release, Najeeb Khanbash, said the former detainees were poor residents who were only trying to make a living. He added that they posed no danger. Read: Top Al-Qaeda commander killed in Yemen Some 386 prisoners have been released since 2015, with 175 Al-Qaeda linked prisoners remaining, according to Khanbash. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took over Mukalla, southern Yemen, and surrounding towns and governed the area with its strict interpretation of Islamic law until April 2015. Upon request by […]

Briton admits accidentally killing his wife with a hammer in Dubai

A senior British journalist has “admitted to the police” in Dubai that he threw a hammer at his wife, a blow which led to her death. Francis Matthew, editor-at-large of Gulf News, a broadsheet in the UAE, was arrested on 4 July after his wife was found dead in their Jumeirah home in the Gulf emirate. At first Matthew said 62-year-old Jane had been attacked during a burglary at their home however he later admitted throwing a hammer at her during a row, adding that he did not intend to kill her, authorities said. “The examination revealed that the wife…died from a strong blow on her head with a solid object. There was also a possibility that that the husband […]

Teaching people about Emir Abdelkader is the best antidote to the lure of Daesh

A new documentary by the Algerian director Salem Brahimi is the best antidote to the lure of Daesh. Abd El Kader is based on the life of Emir Abdelkader (Ibn Muhieddine, 1808-83), within whose story we can find contemporary themes such as political Islam, Arab uprisings and religious coexistence. Emir Abdelkader is a little known yet leading figure in Algerian history. He is a nationalist figure for the people of Algeria and an orientalist figure to the French. He was a pioneer and inspired what became the Algerian War of Independence in 1954. Usually depicted draped in a large white garment, his spiritual essays appealed to many people. According to Brahimi, if Algerians don’t really know about him, it is […]

Israel offers tourists the chance to be soldiers

Ever wanted to try and shoot a Palestinian? Israel has set up a military simulator which allows tourists to do just that. Controversial fantasy “anti-terrorism” camps set up in the occupied West Bank provide visitors with the opportunity to play the role of Israeli forces in a variety of situations, ranging from an explosion at a Jerusalem marketplace, to a stabbing attack and sniper tournament, Haaretz reported. The industry has seen a boom in recent years, with six such facilities opening across the country, all of which use live ammunition. Former high ranking officers in the army teach tourists combat skills. Caliber 3, a camp set up in an illegal settlement, also includes a live demonstration of an attacker being […]

Israeli minister: expel 100,000 Palestinians and annex settlements

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz proposed yesterday to annex five major Israeli settlements into Jerusalem and remove 100,000 Palestinians from the city’s census, Israeli media reported. “Those settlements, those towns are Maale Adumim, Gush Etzion, Givat Zeev, Beitar Illit and Efrat. They will become part of Jerusalem but without changing their status,” Katz told reporters. Read: Knesset passes draft bill to annex illegal West Bank settlements The illegal Israeli Jewish settlers living in these illegal settlements will be able to take part in municipal elections, but the settlements would not be under full Israeli sovereignty. This proposal, which Likud is recommending become law, excludes 100,000 Palestinian residents in Shuafat and other areas outside the separation wall from the city even though they are in the […]

Egypt postpones retrial of 21 defendants accused of burning church

The Criminal Court of Cairo has postponed the retrial of 21 people accused of burning the Virgin Mary Church in the Giza province village of  Kfar Hakim on 26 September. The prosecution charged the defendants with joining a banned group and obtaining unlicensed firearms and ammunition, attempted murder and deliberately setting fire to a religious facility. Read: Copts blame Sisi for deadly attacks Seventy-one people were handed life sentences in 2015 for their role in burning the church. The Virgin Mary Church was torched and looted by a mob in August 2013. In addition to those getting life sentences, two minors were sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds (about $1,300), Egypt’s official Egynews reported. Read: Egypt’s Coptic […]

Israel’s government supports terrorists, say Prisoners Committee

The Israeli government officially offer financial support and legal coverage to Israeli terrorists who perpetrate acts of violence against the Palestinians, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs said yesterday. The committee said in a statement reported by Quds Press that a large number of extremists – some of whom were sentenced to life in prison for killing Palestinians – have been indicted by the Israeli judiciary and yet been given amnesty. In the statement the committee listed names of Israeli Jewish settlers who had opened fire on Palestinians. The list included members from the Honenu organisation, run by a group of Israeli lawyers who offer legal coverage to extremist Israelis who have been convicted or are on […]

EgyptAir to buy 38 new planes

EgyptAir is expected to sign a deal which will see it purchase 38 aircrafts to boost its fleet and improve its reach into Europe and Asia, Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation Sherif Fathy revealed yesterday. Read: EgyptAir lost $777 million since 2011 Speaking on the sidelines of an official opening ceremony for the largest duty free market hall at the Cairo International Airport, Chairman of EgyptAir Holding Company, Safwat Musallam, said the new deal may cost up to $3 billion and that the new aircrafts will be added to some of the existing lines or used in the event that new routes are announced. Some will also replace old aircrafts which will be taken out of service.