Middle-east

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Iran’s poor forced to seek shelter in graves

Iranian social media activists have disseminated shocking images showing approximately 50 impoverished people living in graves near the capital Tehran, causing widespread outrage against the theocratic regime. Several Iranian celebrities and media figures, including internationally acclaimed film director Asghar Farhadi, have blasted the Iranian authorities for the “shameful” images that show poor Iranians living in pitiful conditions amidst the graves at Shahriar cemetery, west of Tehran. According to an outlet close to the Iranian regime, ISNA, Farhadi wrote a letter to President Hassan Rouhani yesterday lamenting the state of these Iranian citizens: “I saw a report on the lives of the men, women and children in the graves inside a cemetery near Tehran, and my very being was filled with […]


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The Battle of Aleppo is Putin’s gift to Trump

Those who serve as guarantors in the Syrian crisis, as it relates to the Geneva agreement and the beginning of the Vienna peace talks, are the same powers that have a hand in the situation on the ground and are ready to start sharing power in the division of the Syrian pie. They include the US and Europe on one side, the Gulf States and the United Nations. Furthermore, the Turkish, Iranian and Russian defence ministers met this week to discuss the roadmap post-Aleppo and cancel a plan for a transitional operation for a presidential election that had been agreed previously. The survival of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is guaranteed, as are the survival of Russian, Iranian and Turkish interests. […]


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Why can we blame refugee policy for terrorism in Europe but not foreign policy?

When WikiLeaks published an article in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks suggesting that aggressive British, US and French foreign policy might be held partly responsible for the killings in Paris, Julian Assange bore the predictable brunt of an outraged phalanx of armchair warriors. The neoconservatives, muscular liberals and weekend international affairs experts piled into him. It was a familiar pattern. They pulled the “apologist” card, a nonsense term that means anyone not wailing ostentatiously about deaths at the hands of terrorists is actually a heartless traitor. It was as if foreign policy by Western governments towards Muslims countries is always executed so perfectly, and is always so morally unimpeachable, that to do anything after it backfires apart from […]


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UK instrumental in getting anti-settlement resolution passed

Britain played a leading behind the scene role in pushing through last Friday’s UN Security Council resolution, which declared Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal and as having “no legal validity” and a “flagrant violation under international law.” Resolution 2334 was adopted 14-0 with the US abstaining. Israel accused Britain and the US of pulling the strings in making sure it was adopted by the 15 member UN body. Israel has mainly directed its anger towards the Obama administration but Britain’s role has also been singled out. Speaking to the US media, Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, said: “This is not a text that was formulated by the Palestinians or Egypt, but by a […]


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Israel halts aid to Angola over anti-settlement UN vote

Israel has stopped foreign assistance to Angola after it voting in favour of the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements built in the occupied Palestinian territories and demanding their construction be stopped, Israeli radio said on Tuesday. The station added that Israel’s Ambassador to Angola, Oren Rosenblatt, informed Angolan officials of Tel Aviv’s decision. Israel will also shut down an international aid agency it operates in Angola which brings individuals from the country to Israel in order to gain exposure to advanced agricultural and manufacturing technology. Israel has also stopped foreign assistance to Senegal over the vote. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said on Tuesday that Israel was “temporarily reducing” visits and work with embassies of nations that voted […]


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Turkey, Russia have ceasefire plan for Syria

Turkey and Russia have prepared an agreement for a ceasefire in Syria, Turkey’s foreign minister said, adding Ankara would not budge on its opposition to President Bashar Al-Assad staying in power. The comments by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu today appeared to signal a tentative advance in talks aimed at reaching a truce, but the insistence that Al-Assad must go will do little to smooth negotiations with Russia, his biggest backer. Russia, Iran and Turkey said last week they were ready to help broker a peace deal after holding talks in Moscow where they adopted a declaration setting out the principles any agreement should adhere to. “There are two texts ready on a solution in Syria. One is about a political […]


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Daesh member in Bahrain ‘planned to assassinate local officials’

A court in Bahrain has heard that a local Daesh court in Bahrain supporter provided the terrorist group with vital information about officials of the interior ministry so that they might be targeted for assassination, Gulf News has reported. The unnamed 23-year-old man told the court that he became a member of Daesh in 2013 and had planned to travel to fight for them, before he was arrested by the Bahraini authorities in August last year. The accused is a member of a Bahraini group which liaises with Daesh, circulating propaganda material on social media. According to local media reports, the primary aim of the prisoner’s activities was to “undermine the status and reputation of the kingdom.” His trial will […]


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Egyptian delegation visiting Saudi Arabia to ‘clear the air’

Senior Egyptian officials are part of a delegation which travelled by private jet to Riyadh a few days ago for what have been reported as “clear the air” meetings, claim sources in Cairo. According to pro-government newspaper Sadah Al-Balad, although the visit is scheduled to be brief, the delegation will meet with a number of senior Saudi officials and dignitaries to discuss the latest developments in the region, within the framework of the strategic relationship between the two countries. The professor of international relations in the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University pointed out that the main objective of the visit is to clear the air once more. Dr Mohammed Hussein told Sadah Al-Balad that the strained […]


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Syrian opposition denies knowledge of peace talks with regime

One of Syria’s main opposition groups made it clear on Tuesday that it has no knowledge of what Russia claims are peace talks with the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad. “We in the High Negotiations Committee certainly have no connection to this matter,” HNC member George Sabra told Reuters. According to Russia’s Interfax news agency, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed that the Syrian government was consulting with opposition groups ahead of possible peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan. “During the recent meeting in Moscow with my colleagues from Iran and Turkey,” Lavrov explained, “we approved a joint declaration in which we confirmed our readiness to guarantee a future agreement between the Syrian government and the opposition.” Negotiations, he added, are ongoing. […]


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Polygamy sanctioned by Israeli rabbis to counter Arab demographic threat

Israeli rabbis have sanctioned the practice of polygamy to counter what they believe is a demographic threat posed by Arab populations living in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. An expose by Channel 10, an Israeli broadcasting channel, revealed the practice was approved by the rabbinate that has actively encouraged and facilitated polygamy, claiming the practice will give Jews an edge in the demographic race against Arabs in Israel. One rabbi who has been married for 26 years is filmed by an undercover reporter persuading a single woman to become his second wife. “If your parents ask you why you don’t marry like everyone else,” he told her, “tell them that it is a mitzvah [religious commandment] and I want […]