Iran Denies Involvement in Baghdad Embassy Attack

Iran has denied allegations that it was involved in last week’s US Embassy attack in Bagdad in which 21 rockets were fired. The attack led to one Iraqi casualty. A building in Baghdad’s Green Zone was also damaged during the attack. In the aftermath, US President Donald Trump issued a warning to Tehran cautioning that if one America gets killed, there will be a huge price to pay.

Anti-ISIS Coalition Handed Over Taji Base To Iraqi Army

US Gen. Kenneth Ackman, who was present at the handover ceremony, described the handover to the Iraqi army as a “historic event.” Maj. Gen. Tahseen al-Khafaji, the official spokesman for the Iraqi Joint Operations Headquarters, said Australian, New Zealand, and US forces were stationed at the base and said $347 million worth of equipment had been delivered to Iraqi forces.

Could Freelance Gigs Be Better for the Arab Economy than Oil?

The inflation rate in the Middle East is now estimated to be 8.8% in 2020. With Egypt, possibly the fastest growing Arab country, growing at only 2%, most oil producing countries in the region are seeing economic contractions. The combination of Covid-19 hitting the local population and the oil decline has severely affected this region.

Arab oil exporters are forecasting oil supply cuts of about 50% in 2020 and 2021, levels that have been approved by OPEC agreements.  The combination of significant cuts in production, $42 a barrel for oil, and Covid affecting local marketplaces, will have a significantly negative impact on regional economies.

Iraq: Two US, One British Soldier Killed in Rocket Attack on Military Base

Three people were killed and 12 others were injured in an attack on an Iraqi base. According to a statement, five fire service personnel were among the most severely injured, and concerns are being raised about the casualties. The statement added, “allied forces and Iraqi security forces are investigating the attack.” The attack happened around 7:30 PM local time on Wednesday.

Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia Suspends Pilgrims, Iraq Closes Public Spaces

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia suspended the entrance of pilgrims visiting the mosque of the Prophet Muhammad and the holy places of Islam in Mecca and Medina. They also banned tourists from countries affected by the coronavirus that causes Covid- 19. The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published a list of measures to “prevent and eliminate” the spread of the new coronavirus, said in a statement on Thursday.

US Imposes Additional Sanctions – How Does It Affect Russia’s Weapons Industry?

The United States imposes sanctions on 13 foreign entities and individuals in Russia, China, Iraq, and Turkey under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA).  The announcement was confirmed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on @twitter.

The Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act authorizes the United States to impose sanctions against foreign individuals, private entities, and governments that engage in proliferation activities.

Iran Admits “Unintentionally” Shooting Down Ukrainian Plane

Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff admitted on Saturday that, by “human error,” a missile launched by its army shot down the Ukrainian Airlines Boeing 737 plane with 176 people aboard. In a statement, the Iranian government said the aircraft was wrongly identified as a “hostile aircraft,” and hit it at the time the enemy threat was “at the highest level.” Tehran has apologized for the incident.

Trump to Attend Davos Summit, Claims Soleimani Killing was Self Defense

US President Donald Trump plans to attend the World Economic Forum in Switzerland later in January. Last year, the President didn’t attend the meeting because of the record-long federal government shutdown. The annual World Economic Forum Summit, held in the popular ski resort of Davos, attracts high-profile businessmen and politicians, as well as academics and other community leaders.

Iran: Ukrainian Airliner Crashes, IRGC Attacks U.S. Bases

A plane flying from Tehran, the capital of Iran, to Kyiv, Ukraine, crashed at dawn Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board, the local Iranian press reported. The aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport. The model is a Boeing 737-800 of the company Ukraine International Airlines, and had 167 passengers and nine crew members on board.

Stampede at Soleimani Funeral Kills 50, Injures 212

More than 50 people were killed and 212 were injured in a stampede today, during during the funeral procession of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Kerman. The semi-official ISNA, citing Kerman relief chief Mohammad Sabéri, said of the 212 people injured in the stampede, “a small number” is in “serious condition.” Abbas Amian, chief of the forensic institute, said the 50 victims were asphyxiated, as reported by the Iranian media.