Lebanon, Israel Clinch Maritime Border Deal
Plus: Lebanon reports first cholera death in a new outbreak, Tunisia's crisis deepens, Russia uses Iranian drones to hit Ukrainian cities, and much more.
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Lebanon is in the midst of a currency crisis and has devalued its local currency. But implementing a new exchange rate policy is set to have catastrophic consequences on people's daily lives.
Lebanon, Israel clinch maritime border deal
Lebanon and Israel have reached a historic agreement demarcating a disputed maritime border between them after years of U.S.-mediated negotiations on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
US President Joe Biden called both Lebanon's President Michel Aoun and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday to congratulate them.
The agreement is meant to resolve a territorial dispute in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in an area where Lebanon aims to explore to find natural gas.
It sets a border between Lebanese and Israeli waters for the first time and establishes a mechanism for both countries to get royalties from TotalEnergies' exploration of an offshore gas field that straddles the boundary.
Once a formal deal is signed, TotalEnergies could begin exploration immediately in Lebanese waters, according to Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
Zelenskyy says Russia used Shahed' suicide drones' it got from Iran in its barrage of attacks on Ukrainian cities
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russia used Shahed drones from Iran in Monday's barrage across Kyiv and several Ukrainian cities and regions, as well as its own missiles.
Iran has supplied Russia with several Shahed-series drones, colloquially known as "suicide" or "kamikaze" drones, with a payload of around 5-30 kg.
Light and quick, they are usually deployed in swarms to confuse air defense systems and act like flying bombs that explode on impact.
Russia has been deploying them on the battlefield, particularly in areas where Ukraine has an artillery advantage.
Protests in Iran over woman's death reach key oil industry
Workers at refineries crucial for Iran's oil and natural gas production protested Monday, Oct. 10, over the death of Mahsa Amini, online videos appeared to show, escalating the crisis faced by Tehran.
While it remains unclear if other workers would follow, the protests come as demonstrations rage on in cities, towns, and villages across Iran over the Sept. 16 death of Amini after her arrest by the country's morality police in Tehran.
Iran's government insists Amini was not mistreated, but her family says her body showed bruises and other signs of beating.
Lebanon reports first cholera death in a new outbreak
Lebanon has recorded the first death case from cholera since detecting the disease in the country in October.
The total number of recorded infections this month so far has reached 26.
Cholera's outbreak in Lebanon is likely the result of a severe outbreak in neighboring Syria crossing the border between the countries and exacerbated by poor sanitation and crumbling infrastructure in Lebanon after three years of unprecedented economic crisis.
Syria has recorded 41 deaths from cholera and more than 700 cases, the country's official SANA news agency reported on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
The United Nations warned earlier this month that the outbreak is "evolving alarmingly."
Empty shelves or unaffordable food: Tunisia's crisis deepens
Tunisians have been hit with soaring food prices and shortages of basic staples in recent weeks.
Sugar, vegetable oil, rice, and even bottled water periodically disappear from supermarkets and grocery stores.
People stand in line for hours for these food essentials that have long been subsidized and are now increasingly available in rations only.
Fights sometimes break out at food market queues, and scattered protests and sporadic clashes with police over rising prices and shortages have occurred around the country.
The government has blamed speculators, black market hoarders, and the war in Ukraine.
However, economic experts say the government's budget crisis and inability to negotiate a long-sought loan from the International Monetary Fund have added to Tunisia's troubles.
Iraq: MPs elect new president, Abdel Latif Rashid
Iraqi MPs elected politician Abdul Latif Rashid as the new president in a meeting on Thursday, Oct. 13, in the fourth attempt to end the year-long political deadlock that has seen deadly violence and protests across the country.
After being formally elected, Rashid reportedly offered a mandate to Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to form a government and replace the interim-prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Rashid, 78, is a former water resources minister and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader. He won a majority vote.
Iraq's deeply divided political factions have failed to form a new government since inconclusive elections in October 2021.
Influential Shia Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was the biggest winner of the elections. But he ordered his MPs to withdraw in June after failing to form a coalition government following months of stalemate.
Meanwhile, Iraqi media reported that nine Katyusha rockets were launched outside the Green Zone on Thursday morning and landed near Iraq's General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers and the House of Representatives, causing injuries to several Iraqi citizens and members of the security forces.
It still needs to be made clear who was responsible for it.
Lebanon to resume sending refugees back to war-damaged Syria
Lebanon will start sending Syrian refugees back home at the end of next week, President Michel Aoun said on Wednesday, Oct. 12, in a process a security official described as voluntary, despite rights groups' fears for their safety.
Lebanon hosts roughly 1.5 million refugees from neighboring Syria.
In July, the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said, "Syria is anything but safe for returnees."
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a sweeping amnesty earlier this year for various crimes, including those committed by Syrians who fled their country during the 11-year conflict.
But rights groups and diplomats have warned that those guarantees are not sufficient.
Saudi Arabia defends oil production cuts after US backlash
The Saudi Arabian government said on Thursday, Oct. 13, that the Opec+ decision to slash oil supply was not influenced by the kingdom's stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine following a backlash from the US.
The Saudi foreign ministry likely suggested that the Biden administration had asked the kingdom to delay a plan to cut oil production by a month.
The move would have reduced the impact of any increase in crude prices until after the US midterm elections, as President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers have defended the party against attacks from Republicans over high inflation and petrol prices.
That's all for this week. 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.
My name is Dario Sabaghi, a freelance journalist. I am interested in human rights and international news focusing on the MENA region.
Check out my work at dariosabaghi.com.
You can follow me on Twitter: @DarioSabaghi
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Cover photo: JACK GUEZ/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES - FOREIGN POLICY