Qataris hire Swiss lawyers to sue Gulf ‘siege’ states

28 Jun

A top Qatari human rights group said Wednesday it will employ Swiss lawyers to seek compensation for those impacted by the decision of Gulf countries to cut ties with the emirate.Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri, chairman of Qatar’s National Human Rights Commis…

US Supreme Court to decide on Iran artifact case

27 Jun

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to decide on a long-running legal battle over whether Persian artifacts in Chicago museums can be seized as compensation for victims of a terror attack in Israel.The court will have the final word in the more than…

UN envoy optimistic over Syria talks in July

27 Jun

The UN envoy for Syria said Tuesday he hoped that talks set to begin next week in Astana would help create favorable conditions for the next round of talks scheduled in Geneva, despite rising tensions.Staffan de Mistura’s remarks came a day after the U…

US court halts deportations of Iraqi nationals

27 Jun

A US judge has halted deportations of all Iraqi nationals — some slated for removal as early as Tuesday — on the grounds they could be tortured or killed if returned to the Middle Eastern country.US District Judge Mark Goldsmith on Monday expanded na…

Sniper’s shot puts focus on Canada’s Iraq role

27 Jun

Canada’s supposed non-combat role in Iraq is being questioned after a special forces sniper took out an IS fighter in Iraq.But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday would have none of it, saying Canadian troops training Kurdish fighters have orders …

Israeli spy agency creates fund to invest in tech firms

27 Jun

Israel’s Mossad spy agency is starting a fund to invest in technology firms creating products that could assist its work, including those involving robotics and encryption, the prime minister’s office said Tuesday.The fund, to be called Libertad, will …

Egyptian warplanes hit arms convoy from Libya: army

27 Jun

Egyptian warplanes struck a convoy of 12 vehicles about to be driven across the border from Libya carrying weapons and ammunition, the military said on Tuesday.The military said in a statement that it had acted on “intelligence indicating a number of c…

Former Syrian defence minister dies in Paris

27 Jun

Syria’s former defence minister Mustafa Tlass, a close friend of President Bashar al-Assad’s father and predecessor Hafez, died in Paris on Tuesday, his son Firas said. He was 85.Tlass, whose other son Manaf was among the most high-profile regime offic…

Yemen cholera outbreak shows signs of slowing: UN

27 Jun

A cholera outbreak in Yemen, which has claimed 1,400 lives in two months, shows tentative signs of slowing as fatality rates drop by half, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.Nearly 219,000 suspected cases have been registered since April 27 …

Iraq forces comb west Mosul after IS counter-attacks

26 Jun

Iraqi forces launched a house-to-house search operation Monday in parts of west Mosul after a surprise attack by Islamic State group jihadists recently expelled from the area.Diehard IS fighters are putting up fierce resistance as an Iraqi offensive fo…

Bahrain accuses Qatar of ‘military escalation’

26 Jun

Bahrain’s foreign minister on Monday accused Qatar of a “military escalation” in the Gulf diplomatic crisis, an apparent reference to Doha’s allowing Turkish troops on its territory.”The disagreement with Qatar is a political and security dispute and h…

Morocco king slams development delays in restive north

26 Jun

Morocco’s king has rebuked ministers over delays to a development programme meant to pump investment into a region rocked by months of protests over unemployment and perceived state neglect.Mohammed VI told ministers Sunday of his “disappointment, diss…

The stench of death rises over Mosul’s Old City

25 Jun

Devastated buildings, piles of rubble and putrid corpses of jihadists: apocalyptic scenes unfold in the Old City of Mosul where Iraqi forces are battling the last Islamic State group fighters.Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed al-Tamim walks past the body of …

Iran seeks stronger ties with Qatar: Rouhani

25 Jun

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday said his country wants to bolster ties with Qatar and rejected a Saudi-led blockade of the Gulf Arab emirate.”Iran’s policy is to develop more and more its relations with Doha,” Rouhani said in a phone convers…

US urges Qatar and Saudi-led group to ‘lower rhetoric’

25 Jun

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Sunday for a “lowering of rhetoric” between Qatar and a four-nation group led by Saudi Arabia after Doha denounced their sweeping list of demands.Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt want …

Israel targets Syria after fresh stray fire: army

25 Jun

Israeli forces fired on Syrian regime positions after projectiles from the war-torn country hit the occupied Golan Heights on Sunday, the army said, in the second such exchange in two days. The military “targeted two artillery positions and an ammuniti…

Israel cancels landmark plan for Western Wall mixed prayer

25 Jun

Israel’s government on Sunday cancelled a landmark deal to create a space for women and men to pray together at the Western Wall, angering activists who have fought for the change for years.Women and men currently must pray separately at Jerusalem’s We…

UAE president in first appearance since 2014 stroke

25 Jun

United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan made his first public appearance Sunday since suffering a stroke more than three years ago, to mark the Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday.The official WAM news agency published pictures showing…

Banned Bahraini newspaper fires staff

25 Jun

A independent Bahraini newspaper has sacked its staff three weeks after Sunni-dominated authorities banned it on accusations that it “sows division” in the Shiite-majority Gulf kingdom.”We regret to inform you that the board of directors… has decided…

White House dubs Gulf crisis ‘a family issue’

23 Jun

The White House said Friday it considers the deepening crisis in the Gulf to be primarily “a family issue,” urging regional leaders to chart a way out while offering US help in enabling talks.When asked about a list of demands placed on Doha by Saudi A…

UN offers to help resolve Qatar row

23 Jun

The United Nations on Friday offered to step in to help resolve a deepening crisis in the Gulf after Qatar was confronted with a list of demands from its neighbors, including the closure of Al-Jazeera television.UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ea…

Syria regime penetrates IS-held eastern province: monitor

23 Jun

Syrian regime forces on Friday broke into the eastern Deir Ezzor province for the first time since 2014, a monitor said, after seizing territory from Islamic State group jihadists. Government forces control part of Deir Ezzor city and the adjacent mili…

Yemen cholera cases could jump to 300,000 by September: UN

23 Jun

A cholera outbreak in war-ravaged Yemen will probably have infected more than 300,000 people by September, up sharply from the current tally of nearly 193,000 cases, the United Nations said Friday.”Probably at the end of August we will reach 300,000″ c…

Iran nuclear chief urges West to save historic deal

23 Jun

Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi is urging the West to change course in the Middle East in order to save the historic atomic deal, saying “the moment of truth has arrived”.The accord, reached between Tehran and world powers in Vienna in July 2015,…

Chants against Saudi Arabia as Iran marks Jerusalem Day

23 Jun

Chants against the Saudi royal family and the Islamic State group mingled with the traditional cries of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” at Jerusalem Day rallies across Iran on Friday.The annual show of solidarity with the Palestinians, which s…

US condemns Islamic State demolition of Mosul mosque

22 Jun

The United States on Thursday branded the Islamic State group’s demolition of an 800-year-old mosque in Mosul an attack on world heritage and “an edifice of a great religion.”The Al-Nuri mosque and its iconic leaning minaret were levelled on Wednesday …

Local Qaeda leader in Yemen killed by US air strike

22 Jun

A US air strike has killed a regional Al-Qaeda leader and two associates in Yemen’s Shabwa province, a jihadist stronghold in the south, the Pentagon said Thursday.Abu Khattab al-Awlaqi was emir for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Shabwa, responsi…

Israel accuses Hezbollah of ‘dangerous provocation’

22 Jun

Israel on Thursday accused its Lebanese arch-foe Hezbollah of expanding observation posts along the border under the cover of an environmental NGO, in what it called a “dangerous provocation”.The Israeli military published pictures of a building near t…

Qatar ideal first diplomatic crisis for oilman Tillerson

22 Jun

The Qatar crisis presents Rex Tillerson with his first challenge as Washington’s top diplomat and an opportunity for the former oilman to use his vast network of contacts.But while his former life as chief of energy giant ExxonMobil prepared Tillerson …

Egypt extends state of emergency

22 Jun

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi extended a state of emergency declared after twin church bombings in April by jihadists, in a decree issued in the official gazette on Thursday.The renewed three-month state of emergency will start on July 10, acc…

Gaza restarts power station as Egypt fuel eases crisis

22 Jun

The Gaza Strip’s sole power station has been fired up again, the energy authority in the Palestinian enclave said Thursday, after fuel supplies from Egypt helped to ease an energy crisis.The announcement came after Egypt delivered a million litres of f…

Safety fears raised over Qatar World Cup death

22 Jun

An initial investigation into a British worker’s death at a Qatar World Cup stadium has raised concerns over the construction of the high platform from which he fell.Zac Cox, a rope-access technician, plunged 39 metres (128 feet) to his death in Januar…

US-led coalition building jihadist database: envoy

22 Jun

The US-led coalition battling the Islamic State group is building a database of foreign fighters to track jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria at home, a senior US official said Thursday.Brett McGurk, the White House envoy to the anti-IS coalition, …

Iran sends 1,100 tonnes of food to Qatar daily: report

22 Jun

Iran is shipping more than 1,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables to Qatar every day after Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia cut relations with Doha, Fars news agency reported Thursday.Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain are among several countries which…

UAE runs ‘informal prisons’ in Yemen: HRW

22 Jun

The United Arab Emirates runs at least two “informal detention facilities” in Yemen and has reportedly transferred detainees to a base in Eritrea, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. The UAE is a key member of a Saudi-led military coalition that entered …

Turkey sends first cargo ship with aid for Qatar

22 Jun

Turkey on Thursday sent its first ship loaded with aid for its embattled regional ally Qatar which has been hit by sanctions from Gulf powers led by Saudi Arabia, state media said.Turkey has already sent over 100 planes with food and other aid for Qata…

Removing Assad no longer priority in Syria: Macron

22 Jun

France no longer sees the departure of President Bashar al-Assad as a priority in the Syrian conflict, President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday, making the policy official for the first time. The new French leader said instead that fighting jihadists su…

Defence minister accuses Abbas of wanting Israel-Hamas war

22 Jun

Israel’s defence minister on Thursday accused Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas of trying to spark a fresh conflict between the Jewish state and Abbas’s longtime rivals Hamas.Avigdor Lieberman said Abbas, head of the secular Fatah movement that rules …