A senior US administration official said on, Sunday that Jared Kushner, senior adviser to US President Donald Trump, will meet within the next few days, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi city of NEOM and with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha.
The slaying of Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, has threatened to escalate tensions between the United States and Iran. According to reports by Iranian officials, the scientist was ambushed as he headed to his home in Absard. The scheme, which was meticulously planned, involved a squad of over 50 people.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an unannounced visit to Saudi to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the beginning of the week. The Prime Minister did not inform his partner in the government, Benny Gantz, that he was making this trip abroad.
A friend of Jamal Khashoggi said today that the Saudi journalist received threats from an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Twenty Saudis, including two relatives of MBS, are on trial in absentia in Istanbul for the assassination of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
Western Union, the world’s largest money transfer company, spent $200 million to acquire a 15% stake in the digital payment division of STC Group. Saudi Arabia’s largest telecommunications operator said in a statement on Saturday that the acquisition will provide the company with funds and support its long-term expansion plans.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on Taliban leaders to reach an agreement with the Afghan government as soon as possible on a permanent ceasefire and a reduction in violence. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with a Taliban delegation in Doha, Qatar.
A senior US government official says Donald Trump will attend the G20 summit. This year, the summit of the leaders of the top 20 economies in the world will be held in Saudi Arabia virtually. The G20 countries include the top seven economies of the world and 13 emerging powers, and meet as usual in December each year.
The European stock market jumped to an eight-month high today after Pfizer and Biontech announced strong progress in their vaccine against COVID-19. Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election raised hopes for a more stable trade policy for the United States.
A group of Islamic State members attacked a watchtower, as well as popular mobilization positions in Iraq, killing at least eleven people. Eight people were injured in the attack, according to news agencies. Some of the victims were civilians. News agencies reported the new attack by members of the group near Baghdad.
Quite a number of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have strongly condemned Thursday’s terror attack in a church in Nice, southern France, and disassociated it from the values of Islam. Each country put out a statement through their Ministries of Foreign Affairs.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia does not rule out the possibility of delays in OPEC+ production plans. This latest sign indicates that OPEC may limit crude oil production for a longer period of time as the epidemic once again affects demand.
On Thursday, international oil prices bottomed out and rebounded, benefiting from OPEC+’s possible slowdown in production increase. However,the renewed surge in new coronavirus cases in Europe and the United States, the blockage of negotiations on the US stimulus plan, and the increase in US gasoline inventories all indicate a worsening outlook for fuel demand.
Kudos to President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner and their diplomatic team. They have added the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to the list of Arab countries that recognize Israel as a legal entity and via the “Abraham Accords” agree to normalize diplomatic and other relations.
In recognition of President Trump’s brokerage of the Accords, a Norwegian official has nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize, seemingly totally oblivious of the fact that the peace deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain represent only two small steps in a complicated and lengthy process toward Middle East peace. Agreements between Arabs and Palestinians, Sunnis and Shia, Arabs and Iranians must be achieved before a lasting Middle East peace becomes a reality.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has warned the international community against trusting Iran too much and helping it to overcome sanctions. Speaking during the United Nations annual meeting on Wednesday, he underlined that Tehran was dangerous and was only keen on projecting its power in the Middle East.
Following an agreement with UAE, a peace treaty with another Arab country Bahrain is a new step in a cherished dream of Israel and America to win recognition of the Jewish State of Israel without having to complete negotiations for the two state solution which has been most difficult considering the objection of the Palestinians to any type of compromise.
Last, week Haaretz published an opinion piece authored by Chuck Freilich titled “Can a Nuclear-armed Saudi Arabia Be Israel’s Partner for Peace?” The article was written by Charles Freilich, a former Israeli deputy national security adviser and long-time senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center.
Bahrain has opened its airspace for direct flights between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the official state news agency, BNA, reported on Thursday. Saudi Arabia did so earlier this week. The UAE had asked Bahrain to open its airspace to Israeli planes bound for the Emirates.
The German Federal government has announced that their priority is to develop “green” hydrogen, which they are going to produce in North Africa on the basis of electricity from renewable sources. However, one of the main questions ponders, that the import of hydrogen could interfere with the drinking water shortage in Africa.
With dazzling flames, Israel is battling Hamas’ incendiary balloons and rockets shot at them from Gaza. Israeli civilians living along the border have been constantly terrorized by deliberate wildfires caused by incendiary balloons shot at them from Gaza. The attacks began several days before Israel’s peace with the UAE was announced.
The Southern Transitional Council in Yemen said that it had suspended its participation in the ongoing consultations regarding the power-sharing agreement in the south, known as the “Riyadh Agreement.” The council stated that the decision to suspend its participation in the consultations came for several reasons.
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.
The Abraham Accords— the peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates— is exciting to almost all Israelis and brings a new beginning in development of peace in the Middle East. The UAE is the first Gulf Arab nation to make peace with Israel. Egypt and Jordan already have friendly relations with Israel.
Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said that his country had submitted “legitimate requests” to acquire F-35s. On Thursday, CNN cited US State Department sources and members of Congress stating that Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of US President Donald Trump, was behind the push to complete the deal.
According to Reuters, due to concerns about the slow recovery of oil demand, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies (OPEC+) have put pressure on oil-producing countries whose output exceeds their target, requiring them to further reduce production in August-September.
Beirut is reeling from the horrendous, tragic explosion that occurred on August 4th. Thereafter, the Prime Minister resigned amid an investigation of the blast and failure to act previously. Furthermore, civil unrest and anger followed the explosion. There are over 1,000 injured in clashes with the police and the army.
The Hajj pilgrimage has begun in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, but the number of pilgrims has dropped significantly this year due to fears of the spread of the coronavirus. Up to 2 million people from around the world attend the Hajj each year, but only 10,000 Saudis have been allowed to attend this year.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kazemi began his first foreign trip in Iran on Tuesday, Iranian state media reported. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani officially welcomed the Iraqi Prime Minister at a ceremony held at the Tehran Summit Hall. The two will discuss trade and other matters.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that US and allied forces seized a ship carrying Iranian weapons for Houthi rebels in Yemen on June 28. The names of all the passengers are not mentioned. Pompeo also renewed his call for the U.N. Security Council to extend its arms embargo on Iran.
U.S. media have reported that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been ordered to pay fines and compensation to the wounded and first-degree families of the victims of the 1996 terrorist attack on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. The attack killed 20 and wounded 498 others.
On Monday, the government of the United Kingdom announced new sanctions against 25 Russian citizens who say they participated in the mistreatment and murder of lawyer Sergey Magnitsky, and 20 Saudis believed to be involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In Libya, the operation by the forces under the Government of National Accord (GNA) to retake the city of Sirte back from the hands of General Khalifa Haftar continues. Rejecting Haftar’s call for a ceasefire, the Tripoli government, supported by Turkey, say they will not sit at the table without Sirte.
Saudi Arabia has decided to organize the Hajj season with a “very limited” number of pilgrims while the Coronavirus pandemic continues in the Kingdom and the world. The Hajj will be open to Saudi residents only, including foreign nationals residing in the Kingdom. The announcement came via the Saudi Press Agency.
The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen announced Tuesday the interception and destruction of booby-trapped drones and ballistic missiles launched by the Houthi rebels into the Kingdom. That including a ballistic missile launched towards the capital, Riyadh, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.
Kyrgyzstan’s Minister of Health, Sabirzhan Abdikarimov, announced 205 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours. Most of the newly identified 82 people came from the capital, Bishkek. Three of the hospitalized patients died. This is the highest rate since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The atmosphere of Eid Al-Fitr is different this year in almost all Arab countries. This changes the aspects and ceremonies of holidays in different countries, due to the closure restrictions and the bans imposed by the expanding coronavirus epidemic. Eid‘s Day this year is expected to be quieter.
Israel is celebrating Jerusalem Day on Friday, in memory of the day in which Israel took possession of East Jerusalem and the Western Wall during the Six Day War. The State of Israel also observed its 72nd year of independence last month. After three elections, Israel was finally successful in making a united coalition emergency government.
US President Donald Trump allegedly gave the Saudi administration an ultimatum to stop the infamous price war with Russia. On April 2, Trump apparently made a phone call to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), letting him know that unless the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut oil production, he would allow lawmakers to go ahead and legislate a US troop withdrawal from the kingdom.
Hatice Cengiz, fiancé of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is fighting to stop a Saudi consortium controlled by its Crown Prince from buying Premier League football club Newcastle United. In a letter sent by her lawyers, she said that the Saudi acquisition would make English football complicit in Khashoggi’s assassination.
Nepal’s ambassadors to the Gulf countries have sent a report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting quarantine arrangements for workers who must return to Nepal as a matter of urgency. Hundreds of Nepalis working in those countries may have lost their jobs or facilities during the crisis caused by the coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia has banned the death penalty for minors, its state-backed Human Rights Commission announced on Sunday. The move follows a series of reforms that have begun in Saudi Arabia, pushed by the royal family. The day before the ruling, the Saudi government lifted the flogging sentence in the country following sharp international criticism.