Middle East events and news

Author : Admin | Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Posted in category Special Analysis

Hamas Official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar: The Quran Tells Us To Drive the Jews Out Of Palestine In Its Entirety And To ‘Kill Them Wherever You May Find Them’
Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, one of Hamas’s leaders in Gaza, said that “removing the Jews from the land they occupied in 1948 is an immutable principle” appearing in the Quran, and said: “Our position is: Palestine in its entirety, and not a grain of soil less.” Speaking on Al-Aqsa TV on March 8, Al-Zahhar advised Hamas and the Islamic Jihad never to mention the 1967 borders, as “this becomes like part of a joint plan.”
Saudi Columnist: The Future of Arabs and Muslims Will Remain Dark Unless They Subject Their Values And Heritage To A Critical Assessment
In an article titled “A Critical Look at the Past Is an Absolute Must,” posted on Alarabiya’s English-language website, Saudi columnist Mohammed Al-Shaikh wrote that the current rise of the radical right in the West is a reaction to violent Islamic extremism that espouses the values and culture of the past. He argued that the West discarded such backward ideas by subjecting them to logical critical thinking, and that the Arabs and Muslims will never move forward unless they do the same – namely renew their cultural beliefs using tools of logical criticism and confront the reasons that produced the culture of hate.
Fatah Official: We should launch popular resistance against Israel because what unites us is the struggle against it, not dialogue with itIn a March 21, 2017 article in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds, Fatah Central Committee member ‘Abbas Zaki wrote that nothing has changed since the 1967 defeat. Therefore, he said, Fatah must mobilize its tens of thousands of members and launch a popular resistance campaign against Israel, which all the other Palestinian factions will then join.
ISIS Claimed Responsibility For Attack In London
On March 23, 2017, the Islamic State (ISIS) news agency A’maq claimed responsibility on behalf of the organization for the attack that took place the day before outside the Parliament building in London. The notice, distributed on ISIS Telegram channels, read: “A security source to the A’maq agency: the perpetrator of yesterday’s attack in front of the British Parliament in London is a soldier of the Islamic State. He carried out the attack in response to [ISIS's] calls to target the citizens of the states [participating] in the coalition [against ISIS].”
Palestinian-Jordanian Terrorist Ahlam Al-Tamimi To Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood Mouthpiece: ‘As Long As They [The Zionists] Remain On Our Land, The Jihad Must Continue’
Following a March 20, 2017 decision by the Amman Court of Cassation to reject a U.S. request for her extradition, Palestinian-Jordanian Hamas terrorist Ahlam Al-Tamimi gave an interview, on March 22, 2017, to the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) mouthpiece Al-Sabil.
Boko Haram’s First Message In French Threatens Christians In West Africa
On March 17, 2017, the jihadi group Boko Haram, also known as the West Africa province of the Islamic State (ISIS), released a new video message by its leader Abu Bakr Shekau. The message also included an unprecedented message in French by a French-speaking African fighter, in which he threatens the Christians in the area.
Saudi Shura Council Member Ibrahim Al-Buleihi Criticizes Arab Society: All We Want Today Is To Regress Further
Saudi Shura Council Member Ibrahim Al-Buleihi said that Arab society has become “even more backward than it used to be.” Speaking on Rotana Khalijiyya TV on November 3, 2016, he said: “In the past, we did not create organizations like Al-Qaeda and Taliban. At least we had aspirations and dreams of change.”
by memri.org – march, 2017

THE HORN OF AFRICA: INCREASING INTEREST OF SIGNIFICANT GEOPOLITICAL ACTORS

Author : Admin | Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Special Analysis

Several recent developments but mostly the increasing military presence of some powerful international actors are attracting the analysts’ attention towards the Horn of Africa, one of the most complex and conflicted regions of the world.

For the last 150 years, the Horn has been a theater for strategic power struggles: the British Empire’s demand to control the Red Sea, Egypt’s attempt to control the Nile Waters, the Cold War confrontation in which each of the principal countries of the Horn switched sides, and most recently the U.S. Administration’s “Global War on Terror.” The civil war in Yemen added Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States to the interested actors. Also, China became interested to add a military presence to its economic expansion in the region.

Each of the countries of the Horn Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Sudan suffers from protracted political strife, arising from local and national grievance, identity politics and regional inter-state rivalries.

The most recent example is the civil war in the newly-created state of South Sudan, which became independent in July 2011 and where civil war erupted in 2013. Although a fragile peace agreement was signed in 2015, violence started up again in July 2016, between forces of the South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir (who are mostly Dinka), and rebels loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar (who are mainly Nuer). Also, a famine was declared in the country (as well as several others in the region) on February 20th. In the first week of March as many as 3,000 people were crossing the border to Uganda each day to escape fighting. In 2016, Uganda accepted more people from South Sudan (489,000) than crossed the Mediterranean to reach Europe (362,000).

In this context, observers noted the March 2017 East African tour (including Somalia, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya) of British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, in preparation of a ‘London Conference on Somalia’, which Britain will host next May following a similar summit held in 2013.

The London summit is taking place in the context of the recent announcement of the EU that it plans to roll back its support to AMISOM (the UN and EU-funded force in Somalia that battles against the Somali militant group al-Shabaab) and cut the soldiers’ pay by 20 percent.

However, for Europe, alongside maritime security, the Horn of Africa is important for its main problems. One is the violent extremism represented by al-Shabaab, against which the EU funding of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is the single biggest European security expenditure on the continent. The second issue is migration, since Eritreans fleeing their despotic government are the third largest group of refugees arriving in Europe, behind Syrians and Afghans. Read the rest of this entry »

Tunisia’s PM arrives in Sudan

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, March 25, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Youssef Chahed on Wednesday arrived in Khartoum for an official two-day visit to Sudan during which he is to hold talks with his Sudanese counterpart Bakri Hassan Saleh.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said that the two countries’ prime ministers would hold joint talks which “would review a number of files, while a number of agreements would be signed on Thursday.” Read the rest of this entry »

US to keep some special forces troops in Libya

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, March 25, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgUS Marine General Thomas Waldhauser, head of the US Africa Command, told reporters that the US needs to retain a small special operations force in Libya indefinitely.

Even though he estimated that less than 200 Islamic State fighters remain in Libya, the general still maintained that they were enough of a threat to retain the special operations force there. Read the rest of this entry »

US General: Russia is trying to expand its influence in Libya

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, March 25, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Russia is trying to expand its influence in Libya through a combination of military means and oil and weapons sales, a top US general said Friday.

General Thomas Tom Waldhauser, who heads the US military’s Africa Command, said Russia is “on the ground” in the border region between Egypt and Libya.

“They are trying to influence the action, we watch what they do with great concern,” Waldhauser told Pentagon reporters. Read the rest of this entry »

Algeria condemns terrorist attack in London

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, March 25, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Algeria “strongly” condemned the terrorist attack perpetrated Wednesday, in Westminster, in the British capital.

“The attack that struck, this afternoon, the British capital is a coward terrorist attack that we condemn in the strongest terms, underlined the spokesperson of the ministry of Foreign Affairs Abdelaziz Benali Cherif in a statement to APS. Read the rest of this entry »

Burkina Faso forces kill key jihadist, arrest others

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, March 25, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Burkina Faso’s government says its military forces have killed a key jihadist and arrested 18 others in the country’s north, close to the West African nation’s border with Mali.

Security Minister Simon Compaore said on Friday that forces also seized weapons and ammunition in Wednesday’s operation. Read the rest of this entry »

Somalia: Al-Shabaab claims to kill 17 soldiers in attack

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, March 25, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgAn organisation that monitors extremist groups says al-Shabab has claimed to kill 17 soldiers and wound 22 in an attack in southwestern Somalia.

The SITE Intelligence Group says in a statement Thursday that the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab’s news agency posted a claim on Facebook about attacking the coastal city of Barawe. Read the rest of this entry »

Mubarak freed from detention

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, March 25, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgEgypt’s ousted president Hosni Mubarak left a military hospital on Friday where he had spent much of his six-year detention, his lawyer said.

Mubarak had been cleared for release earlier this month after a top court finally acquitted him of involvement in protester deaths during the 2011 revolt that ousted him.

“Yes,” his lawyer Farid al-Deeb told AFP when asked if Mubarak had left the hospital on Friday. Read the rest of this entry »

At least 50 killed by armed men in CAR

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, March 25, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

At least 50 people have been killed and dozens more injured since Tuesday after armed men attacked three villages in the central Bambari region of the Central African Republic, local residents who fled their homes told AFP.

Prosper Tchoulekrayo, who escaped from Yasseneme village, said the attackers had “fired indiscriminately on the inhabitants”. Read the rest of this entry »

UN peacekeeping chief visits Mali, South Sudan

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, Herve Ladsous, on Friday kicked off his visit to Mali and South Sudan with his successor, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, who was appointed to replace Ladsous next month, a UN spokesman told reporters here. Read the rest of this entry »

Libya’s major ports get ready to resume crude shipments after clashes

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Libya’s major oil ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf are resuming operations and preparing to export crude after a two-week halt in shipments due to armed clashes in the holder of Africa’s largest crude reserves.

Libya’s total production rose on Monday to 646,000 barrels a day from 621,000, mostly due to an increase from Waha Oil Co, Jadalla Alaokali, a National Oil Corp board member, said by phone the Read the rest of this entry »

Lebanon and Egypt discuss bilateral ties

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgLebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has arrived in Egypt where he is scheduled to meet with President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi and Prime Minister Sharif Ismail with the view of strengthening ties between the two countries. Hariri will also meet with Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Church and Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb of Al-Azhar. Read the rest of this entry »

US defense chief discusses defense partnership with Egyptian counterpart

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ spoke with Egyptian Minister of Defense General Sedki Sobhy on Tuesday during which Mattis expressed his “commitment to advancing the US-Egyptian defense partnership.” Read the rest of this entry »

Tunisia’s PM arrives in Sudan for talks

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Youssef Chahed on Wednesday arrived in Khartoum for an official two-day visit to Sudan during which he is to hold talks with his Sudanese counterpart Bakri Hassan Saleh.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said that the two countries’ prime ministers would hold joint talks which “would review a number of files, while a number of agreements would be signed Read the rest of this entry »

France warns against cuts to UN mission in DRC

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

France’s ambassador to the United Nations warned on Tuesday that drastic cuts to the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo would be tantamount to “playing with fire” as the country faces election turmoil.

France has circulated a draft resolution to renew the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission, but is facing scrutiny from the United States which is seeking cuts to UN peace operations. Read the rest of this entry »

Key forces battling for control in Libya

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Dozens of armed factions have battled for control of oil-rich Libya since the 2011 fall of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

This week, four days of intense fighting saw pro-unity government armed forces expand their control in the capital Tripoli, where dozens of militias operate.

Further east, troops commanded by military strongman Khalifa Haftar said on Tuesday they had recaptured two important oil installations seized by a rival Islamist-led force in early March. Read the rest of this entry »

US tells allies to do more to pressure ISIS

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The United States on Wednesday urged coalition partners to step up efforts to defeat Islamic State militants as top officials from 68 nations gathered to assess the fight to retake Iraq’s second largest city and advance on the extremists’ self-declared Syrian capital.

“I recognise there are many pressing challenges in the Middle East, but defeating ISIS is the United States’ number one goal in the region,” Secretary of State Read the rest of this entry »

Egyptian FM will visit Washington to discuss fight against IS

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgEgyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry welcomed the invitation by his US counterpart Rex Tillerson—during a phone call on Saturday—to participate in a ministerial conference titled “Coalition Against ISIS.” The conference will take place in Washington on 22 March. Read the rest of this entry »

Egypt’s Chief of Staff, UN special envoy to Libya discuss political status

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

As part of the efforts to achieve a political concord in Libya, the Chief of Staff of the armed forces, Mahmoud Hegazy, met on Sunday with UN special envoy to Libya Martin Kobler, who is currently visiting Egypt, the army spokesperson said in a statement on Facebook.

The meeting discussed the new updates in Libya following several previous ones that took place between the Libyan National Committee and a number of Libyan political entities to reach a political settlement, according to the statement. Read the rest of this entry »

Africa, EU 5+5 Defense Initiative discuss cooperation

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Senior army chiefs from the 5+5 Defense Initiative have agreed on the necessity to further enhance cooperation and better share experiences mainly on how to combat terrorism, the French Defense Ministry said on Monday.

The 5+5 Defense Initiative includes five Maghreb countries: Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Mauritania, and five EU countries: France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Malta. Read the rest of this entry »

UN: Humanitarian situation continues to worsen in CAR

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned Thursday that the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) continues to deteriorate, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here.

With the upsurge in violence and the spread of hot spots since September 2016, more than 100,000 newly displaced people have been registered, Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here. Read the rest of this entry »

UN air operation disperses CAR militia

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgA United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) air operation dispersed heavily armed militiamen in the remote Central African Republic town of Bambari town on Sunday.

According to a statement on Monday by MINUSCA, about 40 fighters from the Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central African Republic (FPRC) armed with AK-47s and rocket propelled grenades had gathered in the town, but UN forces intervened to prevent them carrying out an attack. Read the rest of this entry »

Algerian army destroys four terrorist bunkers

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Four terrorist bunkers were destroyed Sunday by an Army detachment while seven members of terrorist supporting groups were arrested in Boumerdes and Sid Bel Abbes, the ministry of National Defence said in a statement.

In a counterterrorism operation “a detachment of the People’s National Army destroyed four terrorist bunkers in Bejaia (5th military district) on 19 March 2017, while other detachments and Read the rest of this entry »

UN: Security in Mali ‘worrying’

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The security situation in Mali “remains worrying” despite recent troop deployments and some progress on the country’s peace accord, the head of the UN’s peacekeeping force said on Saturday in Bamako.

“The overall security situation remains worrying. We are all too frequently attacked by armed groups,” Herve Ladsous said at a press conference. Read the rest of this entry »

Egyptian, Palestinian leaders meet for reconciliation talks

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Egyptian and Palestinian leaders are holding talks in Cairo in what Egyptian media reports are branding a “reconciliation” meeting.

Relations between Egypt and President Mahmoud Abbas’ administration have been tense over a range of issues, including Cairo’s contacts with factions in the Gaza Strip that did not involve Abbas’ Palestinian Authority. Read the rest of this entry »

Sisi to visit Washington in April

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgEgyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will visit Washington in April for talks with US President Donald Trump that will include the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace process, his office said on Monday.

A statement by the presidency said “the Palestinian issue will be discussed” with Trump during Sisi’s “visit to Washington early in April”. Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Justice Department Announces Charges Against Hamas Terrorist In Connection With 2001 Jerusalem Bombing

Author : Admin | Friday, March 17, 2017
Posted in category Eurasia

On March 14, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Jordanian national Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, was being charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the U.S., resulting in death. The charge is related to her participation in the August 2001 suicide bomb attack at the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two U.S. nationals.

Kuwaiti Daily: Missile, Arms Factories Built By IRGC In Lebanon Have Recently Been Handed Over To Hizbullah

Author : Admin | Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran

The Kuwaiti daily Al-Jarida reported on March 11, 2017, citing an aid to Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), that Iran established facilities for manufacturing missiles and other weapons in Lebanon and has recently handed them over to the management and oversight of Hizbullah. According to the daily’s source, the facilities are more than 50 meters underground and heavily shielded against aerial attacks. He also clarified that various parts of the missiles are manufactured in different factories and then assembled together.

Egypt condemns recent Mali attacks

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Egypt’s government condemned on Monday the militant attack that killed 12 soldiers earlier this week, which took place in a town in central Mali close to the border with Burkina Faso.

Another five soldiers were injured in the attack. Read the rest of this entry »

Libya’s PM to visit Sudan to discuss bilateral relations

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Libyan prime minister is to start a two-day visit to Sudan on Wednesday to boost bilateral ties, said Sudan’s foreign minister in a statement on Tuesday.

Prime Minister of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, is to meet Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh. Read the rest of this entry »

Algerian FM meets NATO secretary General

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ramtane Lamamra held discussions Monday, with the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg at the headquarters of the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.

During this meeting, the two officials hailed the regularity of political consultations” and “reviewed the ways to strengthen them” particularly as part of the NATO’s Mediterranean dialogue to which Algeria participates since March 2000 alongside six other South Mediterranean countries, according to a diplomatic source.

Lamamra calls for “influential groups to fully fulfill” their role to settle crisis

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The Algerian minister of State, minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ramtane Lamamra said Monday, in Brussels, that the responsibility of the international community towards Libya is “collective,” calling for all the “influential groups” to “fully” fulfill their role in favour of a peaceful settlement to the crisis. Read the rest of this entry »

Mubarak to be released from jail

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

An Egyptian prosecutor allowed on Monday for Hosni Mubarak to be released, his lawyer said, after an appeals court acquitted the ex-president of involvement in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising.

“He can go home now when the doctors decide he is able to,” Farid al-Deeb said, adding that Mubarak is banned from leaving Egypt pending an ongoing graft investigation. Read the rest of this entry »

Forces loyal to Libyan general retake oil installations

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

A Libyan military spokesperson says hundreds of forces loyal to Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter have seized major oil facilities at Ras Lanuf and al-Sidra from Islamist-allied militias.

Faisal al-Zwei, the spokesperson for the 101st Brigade, told The Associated Press that the assault started early on Tuesday and that the fighting is still ongoing. Read the rest of this entry »