Lebanese priest sentenced to 15 years for child rape

Plus: Iraqi PM faces assassination attempt, economic consequences of Lebanon-Gulf row, migrants stranded amid Belarus-Poland border crisis.

Hello readers. Welcome back to Inshallah, your newsletter about news from the Middle East delivered to your inbox every week.

I’m Dario Sabaghi, ready to handpick for you the most newsworthy stories of the week. Subscribe to be up to date about the latest development in the Middle East. It’s free.

I want to share two stories I have been reporting from Lebanon this week.

  • I went through the Lebanon-Gulf diplomatic row. Lebanon is once again caught in a regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. But this diplomatic row with the Gulf states could add to the country's political instability and economic crisis. You can read my analysis with comments from several experts on Deutsche Welle.

  • I have also reported the first lawsuit against kafala exploitation in Lebanon. The kafala system is a migrant employment sponsorship system used in Lebanon and in other Middle Eastern countries that legally ties migrants to their employers. However, it is structured to fall into exploitation, as the relationship between foreign domestic workers and their employer is extremely unbalanced. Read the full story on Middle East Eye.


A French The Criminal Court of Caen sentenced Lebanese priest Mansour Labaky to 15 years in prison after convicting him in absentia on charges of child rape and sexual assault.

The Court convicted the 81-year-old Maronite priest and added his name to the list of sex offenders after two hours of deliberations. Labaky has been under investigation in France since 2013 when a Vatican court had found him guilty of sexually abusing three children in the 1990s.

Labaky, who lives in Lebanon and did not attend the session, has not returned to France since the Vatican verdict. In 2017, the Lebanese state refused his extradition. He faces up to 20 years in jail. Read the full reporting on The New Arab.


Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi escaped unharmed from an armed drone assassination attempt in Baghdad, officials said on Sunday, in an incident that raised tension in Iraq weeks after a general election disputed by Iran-backed militia groups. Three drones were used in the attack, including two that were downed by security forces while a third drone hit the residence.

The attack came two days after clashes in Baghdad between government forces and supporters of Iran-backed political parties that lost dozens of parliamentary seats after an Oct. 10 general election. Most of the parties have armed wings. The Iraqi military called it an assassination attempt, while some described it as an attempted “coup” given the entrenched military might of the Iran-linked groups. Read the full article on Reuters.

Next climate conferences in the Middle East

The Middle East will be starring next COP27 and COP28. Egypt has officially been selected to host the UN Climate Change Conference in November 2022 (COP27) while the UAE will host COP28 in 2023, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has officially announced.

Both Middle Eastern countries were announced as the successors to host the climate change summit during COP26, where nearly 200 countries have gathered in Glasgow, in the United Kingdom, to take concerted action to cap global greenhouse gas emissions and unite against climate change. Read comments on the announcement on Al-Arabiya.

Saudi Arabia

A Saudi court overturned a conviction on a death penalty charge for a young man following what rights groups called a "grossly unfair trial" for crimes committed when he was a minor, his family said on Wednesday. Saudi law stipulates that there must now be a retrial in his case. Although he is no longer at risk of imminent execution, Huwaiti could still be sentenced to death at a later stage. Read the full story on Reuters.

Migrants stranded in Europe amid Belarus-Poland tensions

Thousands of migrants and refugees from Iraq, Syria, and other countries have flocked to Belarus’ border with Poland, hoping to get to Western Europe, many of them are now stranded at the frontier, setting up makeshift camps as Polish security forces watch them from behind a razor-wire fence and try to prevent them from entering the country. The European Union has accused the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, of aiding illegal border crossings in retaliation for EU sanctions. Lukashenko denies encouraging migration to Europe. AP provides an explainer on what's behind the crisis at the Belarus-Poland border.

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.

Thanks for reading Inshallah. Share this article and subscribe to be up to date about news from the Middle East every week. It’s free.


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

Did I miss any important news from the Middle East? DM me on Twitter.

Cover photo: Pascal Deloche/ MaxPPP