Israeli police seek to prosecute Shaikh Raed Salah on incitement charges

The Israeli police recommended yesterday that the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement within Israel, Shaikh Raed Salah, should be charged with “incitement”. The move came just days before he is due to be released from Ramon Prison where he has been serving a nine-month sentence on a charge of “incitement to commit violence”. This related to a sermon that he gave in occupied East Jerusalem in 2007 shortly after the Israelis destroyed the historic Bab El-Magharbeh Bridge leading to the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa. A police statement said that officers have finished their investigations and transferred the new file to the Prosecutor General. The case will include the charge of “activity in an outlawed organisation” as […]

UN envoy to Yemen reiterates Hadi’s legitimacy

The UN Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said yesterday evening that the roadmap to peace he put forward to resolve the Yemeni crisis recognises the legitimacy of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi. He told Al Jazeera after arriving in the Qatari capital of Doha yesterday that the initiative presented to the main conflicting parties, the Houthi rebels and the Hadi government, is merely a “roadmap for a temporary solution, not a deal.” The controversial peace plan submitted by the UN envoy suggested Ali Mohsin Al-Ahmar to step down as vice president and for Hadi to essentially forfeit his presidential rights to a new vice president, who will then have the powers to create a new unity government. The […]

Rights group condemns Moroccan expulsion of observers in Western Sahara

Human Rights Watch has condemned the expulsion of several observers in Western Sahara. HRW’s World Report 2017, released on Thursday, refers specifically to the case of Carlos Beristain, a Spanish human rights expert and two of his colleagues who were expelled in October last year by the Moroccan authorities. HRW also criticised the way that rallies supporting self-determination for Western Sahara have been “systematically” prevented. The Spaniards were invited to the territory by the Saharawi Association of Victims of Serious Human Rights Violations (ASVDH) to participate “at a public event organised by the association since it obtained legal recognition in 2015.” The report highlighted a visit by the then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria, […]

Despite Saudi compromise, OPEC unlikely to meet oil cut targets

OPEC is unlikely to deliver fully on its target to cut production despite Saudi Arabia reducing oil output to its lowest in 2 years. Under the deal, every OPEC member committed to cutting production except Iran, which was allowed to increase its output to recover from years of sanctions. The oil cartel agreed a deal last December to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 32.5 million bpd from the first of January to reverse the drop in oil price. Russia and other non-member countries also planned to cut production. Top exporter Saudi Arabia and Kuwait said yesterday they had cut production by more than they committed to. Kuwait, the head of a committee to monitor compliance […]

UN: Yemen farmers need urgent support to ease hunger crisis

In the midst of one of the world’s worst hunger crises, Yemen’s farmers urgently need support so they can grow more food and provide young people with jobs, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said. Nearly two years of war between a Saudi-led Arab coalition and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels has left more than half of Yemen’s 28 million people facing hunger, its economy in ruins and food supplies disrupted. Nearly half of Yemen’s 22 governorates are officially rated as being in an emergency food situation, which is four on a five-point scale, where five is famine, the United Nations said last month. “People’s access to food is rapidly worsening and urgent action is needed,” said Salah Hajj Hassan, […]

Hamas praises South African president’s stand on visits to Israel

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement has praised the stand taken by President Jacob Zuma against South African citizens visiting Israel. Zuma’s expression of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation was reported on Thursday by the Times of Israel. A spokesman for Hamas said that the movement “values” the South African president’s support. Hazem Qassem hailed Zuma’s continuous backing for the Palestinian cause and freedom for the people of Palestine. He called on the world to boycott Israel until the “Zionist occupation” ends and the Palestinian issue is resolved. The leader of the ruling African National Congress repeated his government’s longstanding travel directive on Sunday, urging senior South African officials not to visit Israel. “The people of Palestine […]

Russia: US should be involved in Syria peace talks

Russia has agreed for the United States to be involved in the Syrian peace talks planned for 23 January in Astana, though notably only after US President Barack Obama has left office. The news was confirmed by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who said: “The United States should be definitely invited, and that is what we agreed with Russia.” Cavusoglu was speaking to journalists in Geneva yesterday after an international conference to thrash out a deal on Cyprus’ reunification. Moscow and Ankara last month brokered a fragile Syrian ceasefire, but without the involvement of Washington. The truce – which does not include Daesh or Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (JFS), formerly known as the Al-Nusra Front – has brought a reduction in […]

Syria’s Al-Assad linked to WMD attacks for first time

International investigators have said for the first time that they suspect President Bashar Al-Assad and his brother are responsible for the use of chemical weapons use in the Syrian conflict, Reuters reported, citing a document they had seen. A joint inquiry for the United Nations and global watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), had previously identified only military units and did not name any commanders or officials. Now a list has been produced of individuals whom the investigators have linked to a series of chlorine bomb attacks in 2014-2015 – including Al-Assad, his younger brother Maher and other high-ranking figures – indicating the decision to use toxic weapons came from the very top, according to a […]

Terrorism cannot be defeated without political reform

This week the National Intelligence Council (NIC), which is an arm of the US intelligence community that is in charge of long-term strategic analysis, published its assessment of the future. Taking into account the forces and choices shaping the world, it provided a forecast of the direction the world is heading in over the next two decades. Unsurprisingly, it paints a gloomy picture not least caused by the uncertainty about the United States, an increasingly introverted West, growing repression around the world, the rise of terrorism and the erosion of universal principals and norms. Titled “Global Trends: The Paradox of Progress”, it is the sixth report in a series published every four years. This edition of Global Trends focused on […]