Monday, 1st June 2015

GERMANY – The impoverished Gaza Strip is a “powder keg” at risk of exploding, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Monday during a visit to the war-torn territory. The German minister, who arrived in the region on Saturday and held talks with top Israeli and Palestinian officials, called for efforts to rebuild the shattered enclave which was ravaged by a 50-day war last summer, the third in six years. (Al Arabiya)

ISRAEL – Israel on Monday accused a UN committee that oversees non-governmental organizations of granting UN accreditation to an association that it said promotes “anti-Israel propaganda in Europe” and is linked to the militant Palestinian group Hamas. (Jerusalem Post)

LIBYA –A Libyan court will rule on July 28 on a son of Muammar Gaddafi and 36 other former regime officials accused of war crimes and suppressing peaceful protests during the 2011 revolution, a state prosecutor said on Monday. Saif al-Islam, the most high-profile of Gaddafi’s seven sons, has been on trial together with former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi. Any verdict on Saif would be in absentia since he has been held since 2011 by a former rebel group in Zintan that opposes the Tripoli government. (Reuters)

TURKEY – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to punish the editor of a newspaper which published video footage it said showed the MIT state intelligence agency helping send weapons to Syria. The Cumhuriyet newspaper published footage on its website on Friday, which it said showed gendarmerie and police officers opening crates of what it described as weapons and ammunition on the back of three trucks belonging to MIT. (Al Arabiya)

Thursday, 2nd June 2015

EGYPT – A court in Egypt has postponed issuing a final ruling on a death sentence for ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. He was convicted with dozens of Muslim Brotherhood leaders last month over mass jailbreak in 2011. (Deutsche Welle)

ISRAEL – U.S. President Barack Obama said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s terms for diplomacy that might lead to a Palestinian state meant Israel had lost international credibility as a potential peacemaker. (Reuters)

GREECE – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said early on Thursday after late-night talks with senior EU officials that Greece was close to a deal with its creditors and that Athens would make a payment due to the IMF on Friday. (The Guardian)

SYRIA – Turkey and the U.S. have agreed in “principle” to provide air protection to Syrian rebels being trained and equipped to fight Islamic State militants, once they enter Syrian territory for battle, Turkey’s foreign minister said. (Haaretz)

Steady advances by insurgents on key fronts in Syria mean President Bashar al-Assad is under more military pressure than at any point in the four-year-old war. Losses in the north, east and south to groups including al Qaeda’s Syrian arm and Islamic State may test Assad’s hold over western parts of the country that are the most crucial to his survival. After his loss of Palmyra, a symbolic and militarily strategic city, and nearly all of Idlib province, he appears to be circling his wagons more closely to a western region that includes Damascus, Homs, Hama and the coast. (Reuters)

 

Wednesday, 3rd May 2015

EUROPEAN UNION – Work on a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing a European Union naval mission to stem the deadly flow of migrants across the Mediterranean has been put on hold until Libya consents to the operation, diplomats said on Wednesday. The 28-nation bloc wants to capture smugglers and dismantle their boats to help it tackle the rising number of migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. However, it needs Libyan consent and wants U.N. authorization to allow it to operate in Libyan territorial waters and coastal areas. European members of the 15-member Security Council – Britain, France, Lithuania and Spain – have been drafting a resolution to approve the operation under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which allows the use of force. (Reuters)

ISRAEL – The British-based Palestinian Return Center Tuesday threatened Israel’s U.N. mission with legal action after the Jewish state accused it of having ties to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, an allegation the group said was false. The Israeli accusations came after a United Nations committee that oversees non-governmental organizations voted to approve U.N accreditation for the PRC, which Israel’s mission said was not only linked to Hamas but promoted “anti-Israel propaganda in Europe”. (The Daily Star)

SYRIA – The head of al Qaeda’s Syria wing Nusra Front said he saw no solution soon to a conflict with the rival Islamic State group in Syria that has killed hundreds of fighters, according to an interview with Al Jazeera aired on Wednesday. Nusra Front, loyal to the successors of Osama bin Laden, and Islamic State are the two most powerful forces fighting government forces in Syria. The groups have fought each other since a split in 2013 largely due to a power struggle between leaders. (Reuters)

 

 

Tuesday, 4th June 2015

EGYPT – Egypt’s High Court accepted the Public Prosecutor’s appeal and “annulled the acquittal verdict” of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak regarding the trial for the murder of demonstrators in 2011, Mena Agency reported, scheduling the beginning of new trials on November 5. (ANSAMed)

GREECE – No agreement between Greece and its creditors has been reached yet, but leaving the EU Commission late last night, Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem said that yesterday’s meeting “was positive, we will carry on in the next few days”. (ANSAMed)

ISRAEL – The members of the Knesset’s Committee on the Status of Women unanimously elected MK Aida Touma-Suliman chairwoman of the panel on Wednesday, making it the first time that a female MK from one of the Arab parties has named the head of a permanent Knesset committee. Although the Knesset spokesman issued a press release stating it was the first time an Arab MK had chaired a permanent committee, that is not the case; Raleb Majadele (Labor) was chairman of the Interior and Environment Committee from 2005-2007. (Haaretz)

TURKEY – Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against journalists, gays and Armenians and called them “representatives of sedition”, aligned with Kurdish party HDP, during a political rally in Bingol four days from Sunday’s pivotal elections, Hurriyet online reported. (ANSAMed)

 

Friday, 5th June 2015

FRANCE – France is “firmly opposed” to a boycott of Israel, the French foreign minister said Friday, after the partly state-owned French telecommunications company Orange said it would seek to withdraw its brand from the Israeli market. (The New York Times)

SYRIA – Syrian warplanes on Friday bombed Islamic State fighters trying to advance into the northeastern city of Hasaka in an offensive that is adding to the pressure on President Bashar al-Assad following recent defeats elsewhere. (Reuters)