UK calls on Iran to stop escalating Yemen war

Britain has called on Iran to stop fuelling the Yemen conflict, Reuters reported today. “I call on Iran to cease activity which risks escalating the conflict and to support a political solution to the conflict in Yemen,” Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a statement. “I also call on all parties to the conflict to abide fully by applicable international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law.” Deeply concerned by the findings of the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen, including that missiles of Iranian origin were introduced into Yemen despite the targeted arms embargo — Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 19, 2018 The remarks come off the back of a 329-page United Nations report published last […]

Russia calls on US not to play with fire in Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on the United States not to “play with fire” in Syria. “I once again call on our American colleagues to avoid playing with fire and measure their steps proceeding not from immediate needs of today’s political environment, but rather from long-term interests of the Syrian people and of all peoples of this region, including the Kurds, of course, be it Syria or Iraq or other countries of the region,” Lavrov said at the opening of the Valdai Club in Moscow yesterday. Lavrov expressed his country’s concern about American attempts to divide Syria, saying that “such concerns arise after studying the plans which the US is starting to implement on soil, mainly east of the […]

Israel court delays return of Palestinian bodies to their families

Israel’s Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, yesterday agreed to the state’s request to hold a further hearing on the authorities’ withholding of Palestinian bodies, thus “delaying the scheduled repatriation of the bodies to their families”, reported the Times of Israel. In December, the court ruled that Israel could no longer withhold Palestinian bodies “without legislation regulating the practice”, giving the government six months to pass such a law. Now, Israeli Supreme Court Justice Esther Hayut has ruled that the state could delay the return of the bodies until a new ruling is reached. The court also agreed to expand the bench for the new hearing, which will be held in June, from three judges to seven. […]

Saudi cleric tells Libya’s Haftar to ‘protect himself’

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, leader of the self-styled Libyan National Army, must preserve “Muslims and Salafists’ blood” and “protect himself”, a Saudi cleric has said. In a leaked phone conversation Osama Ataya Al-Otaibi allegedly instructs Haftar: “There is an important thing; the flag you raise should be clear; you should focus on supporting the real Islam that is followed by our Salafist brothers.” Al-Otaibi added how the aim of Haftar’s “Dignity Operation” against Islamist militants in the country is to restore the country’s prestige which has been spoiled by “the Muslim Brotherhood and the Khawarij”. Haftar was urged to renounce “democracy” and focus only on supporting “the flag of Islam”. Read: Libya’s mufti accuses Saudi Arabia of supporting Haftar Al-Otaibi […]

Iraq MP accuses PKK of abducting Yazidis to fight in Syria

A Yazidi member of the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament, Sheikh Shamo has accused the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) of kidnapping more than 1,000 young Yazidi men and women from Sinjar district and sending them to conflict areas in Syria. Shamo said the PKK has forced the young Yazidis to take up arms and fight among its ranks. He stressed that the group’s presence in Sinjar is not to protect the area but to recruit young Yazidis to join the fighting. The lawmaker pointed out that the organisation is sending Yazidis to their death. “Like the organisation sent hundreds of innocent young people to their death in Manbaj, they are forcing our young people to fight and die in Afrin, and everyone […]

Yousef hails $9m Qatar aid package to besieged Gaza

Head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza Essam Yousef yesterday hailed Qatar’s assistance to Gaza’s residents in response to their calls for aid. The donations announced by the Qatari Ambassador Mohamed Al-Emadi, which included medicines and fuel for hospitals, aid for university students and poor families in Gaza was in response to the needs of Gazans. In a press conference held at Al-Shifa Hospital, the main medical facility in the Gaza Strip, Al-Emadi along with UN officials announced the different kinds of the Qatari assistance which total $9 million. Yousef thanked Qatar and appreciated its continuous efforts to help the Palestinian people, who have been under strict Israeli siege for 11 years, noting that this assistance reflects the “humanitarian and moral responsibilities” […]

Erekat: Lieberman is the real president of Palestine

Senior Palestinian Liberation Organisation official Saeb Erekat has expressed pessimism as to the likelihood of a two-state solution and the negotiation efforts of the Palestinian Authority (PA), according to the Arab news agency Assabeel. “I think that the real president of the Palestinian people is the [Israeli] Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and the Palestinian prime minister is the coordinator [of Government Affairs in the Occupied Territories], Poly Mordechai,” Erekat said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2. “Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] cannot move from Ramallah without permission from Mordechai and Lieberman.” Erekat was similarly doubtful at the proposed two-state solution as the answer to the conflict stating: “The Palestinian street began to refuse this idea because it sees it […]

US ambassador to Israel says settlers ‘not going anywhere’

The US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, reportedly warned a group of Jewish American leaders that the removal of West Bank settlers could spark civil war, reported Israel’s Channel 10. Friedman made the remarks “during a meeting with a delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organisations”. According to the report, Friedman told the closed-door meeting “that a massive evacuation of Jewish settlements from the West Bank could lead to a civil war in Israel”. The US envoy said that the approximately 400,000 settlers who live in the West Bank “are not going anywhere…and significant evacuation could result in a civil war. This is my opinion”. Friedman also told attendees that: Israel’s military is more and more […]

11 years in jail for man who accused Saudi of blasphemy

A Saudi court sentenced a Saudi citizen to 11 years in jail on several charges including accusing the government of blasphemy, Okaz newspaper reported yesterday. The paper said the Specialised Criminal Court in Riyadh sentenced a member of Daesh to 11 years imprisonment. The man was found guilty of accusing the Saudi government of blasphemy, planning to carry out a terrorist act against security forces, attempting to obtain a firearm and supporting Daesh. The man was also convicted of “preparing and distributing material that would harm public order via a Twitter account he created” as well as following the news of Daesh. The court also banned the man from travel for another 11 years after his release. Read: Saudi activist […]

Iran: We will flatten Tel Aviv if attacked

Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council, Mohsen Rezaie yesterday threatened to level Tel Aviv if Israel moved militarily against the Islamic Republic. “About Netanyahu’s unwise words, I should say that if they carry out the slightest unwise move against Iran, we will level Tel Aviv to the ground and will not give any opportunity to Netanyahu to flee,” Iran’s Fars news agency quoted Rezaie saying. The Iranian official’s comments are in response to threats by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said: “We will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself.” Read: Israel’s Netanyahu could act against Iran’s ’empire’ Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, Netanyahu waved a piece of metal which he said […]