Hamas Strikes Back The UK’s Attempt to Label It As A Terrorist Organization

Plus: spyware scandal in Israel, General Haftar will run in Libya’s presidential elections, Pandora Papers investigation plumbs the UAE’s secret money flows, and much more.

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UK-Hamas

Hamas condemns the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s push to ban the Palestinian movement under the Terrorism Act.

Patel, who will push for the ban in Parliament next week, argued on Friday that it was not possible to distinguish between Hamas’s political and military wings. She called Hamas “fundamentally and rabidly anti-Semitic”, adding the proscription was required to protect the Jewish community.

Hamal issued a statement expressing their shock and dismay about the news. “The UK should stop being biased towards the Israeli narrative and rush to expiate their awful sin against the Palestinian people committed in the Balfour Declaration by supporting the Palestinians’ struggle for liberation, independence, and return,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett applauded the news, calling Hamas “a radical Islamic group that targets innocent Israelis and seeks Israel’s destruction”. The group is already designated a terrorist organization by the US, the EU, and other powers. Read the full story on Al-Jazeera.

Israel

Canada-based researchers say fresh evidence suggests Candiru’s software used to target critics of autocratic regimes. Researchers have suggested that spyware made by an Israeli company that was recently blacklisted in the US has been used to target critics of Saudi Arabia and other autocratic regimes, including some readers of a London-based news website. The researchers found the websites included Middle East Eye, a London-based news website, and multiple websites associated with government ministries in Iran and Yemen.

Candiru and NSO Group, a much more prominent Israeli surveillance company, were both added to a US blacklist this month after the Biden administration took the rare step of accusing the firms of acting against US national security interests. Read the full article on The Guardian.

Libya

Eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar will run in Libya’s presidential elections due next month, he announced in a televised speech. Haftar, commander of a force called the Libyan National Army (LNA), waged war on factions in the west after the country split in 2014, including a 14-month offensive to capture Tripoli which was repelled by the internationally recognized government.

Backed by Russia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, Haftar is a controversial figure, despised by many in western Libya for last year’s devastating Tripoli offensive. He has also been accused of seeking to establish a military dictatorship in the country. On September 22, Haftar provisionally retired from his role as head of the LNA in line with electoral law to allow him to run for president. The election, scheduled in December 2021, is meant as a milestone in the political process to knit Libya back together after a decade of chaos that spiraled out of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi. Read more on Al-Jazeera.

United Arab Emirates

Pandora Papers reveal Emirati royal families’ role in secret money flows. The UAE offers shell companies that mask their real owners’ identities; dozens of internal free-trade zones that provide even more shadows for them to hide in; and a regulatory system known for what anti-corruption advocates call its “ask-no-questions, see-no-evil approach” to dealing with money tied to gold smuggling, arms trafficking, and other crimes. Read the full investigation here.

Lebanon

Lebanon’s economic crisis hit the medical as subsidies on medicines have been partially lifted with no social assistance program put in place. Health Minister Firas Abiad earlier this month announced the partial lifting of subsidies, including on some drugs for chronic illnesses. The move led to prices for these medicines skyrocketing, exacerbating a medical crisis that has crippled Lebanon’s fragile healthcare system.

The price of one hypertension medication has increased ninefold. Other drugs, such as those prescribed for mental health conditions like depression and schizophrenia, are now costing three times as much. Read the full reporting on Al-Jazeera.

Egypt

Egypt joins Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar in banning the movie Eternals. The movie was banned because it contained two LGBTQ+ characters sharing a kiss, noting that Disney refused Saudi, Kuwaiti, and Qatari requests to edit out such scenes. On social media, some expressed frustration because they were looking forward to watching the movie, arguing that the ban decision is an interference in the free choice of viewers. Others supported the ban as they think Eternals contains scenes that do not comply with the values of the Arab society. Read the full story on Al-Monitor.

Morocco

The COVID-19 pandemic cut the number of foreign tourists by 80% in Morocco. But to make matters even worse, the ban on extramarital sex is sweltering the domestic market in hotel beds. Read the full article on The Economist.


That’s all for this week. The main goal of Inshallah is hosting the best of journalism to give you the sharpest information about what is happening in the Middle East and not let you behind.

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About me

My name is Dario Sabaghi, a freelance journalist. I am interested in human rights and international news with a focus on the MENA region.

Check out my work at dariosabaghi.com.

You can follow me on Twitter: @DarioSabaghi

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Cover photo: collage