The Queen And The Middle East
Plus: Liz Truss's foreign policy in the Middle East, tensions between Turkey and Greece, and Google and Amazon workers protest against their companies' $1.2 Billion AI contract with Israel.
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The Queen and The Middle East
Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, has died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.
She died peacefully on Thursday afternoon, September 8, at her Scottish estate, where she had spent much of the summer.
The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed enormous social change.
Some Middle Eastern states promptly issued statements on her passing.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid expressed his condolences on Twitter and praised the Queen's leadership.
"She leaves behind an unparalleled legacy of leadership and service," said Lapid. "May her memory be a blessing."
United Arab Emirates President Mohamed Bin Zayed also offered a message of condolence and said the monarch was a friend of the Gulf state.
"Her Majesty was a close friend of the UAE and a beloved & respected leader whose long reign was characterized by dignity, compassion & a tireless commitment to serving her country," Zayed tweeted.
Jordan's King Abdullah II also issued a statement of condolence and declared seven days of mourning in the kingdom.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also expressed condolences in a tweet.
Over her years-long reign, she met the most prominent leaders from the Middle East during their visits to the UK.
She visited the following Middle Eastern and North African countries:
Libya in 1954, Iran in 1961, Turkey in 1971 and 2008, Kuwait in 1979, Bahrain in 1979, Saudi Arabia in 1979, Qatar in 1979, the United Arab States in 1979 and 2010, Oman in 1979 and 2010, Tunisia in 1980, Algeria in 1980, Morocco in 1980, Jordan in 1984.
See the most iconic pictures of Queen Elizabeth II with the most prominent leaders in the region on Middle East Eye.
Read how Middle East newspapers reacted to the monarch's death on The New Arab.
Liz Truss as the UK's new prime minister: What this means for the Middle East
Liz Truss was announced as Britain's next prime minister on Monday, September 5, after a months-long contest prompted by Boris Johnson's resignation in July.
Truss, who was formerly foreign secretary, is expected to expand on her already-existing policies concerning the Middle East and North Africa region.
She has been described as "pragmatic and trade-focused" by the Conservative Middle East Council (CMEC) think-tank.
She will look to prioritize and maximize trade opportunities and relationships with MENA countries, particularly the Gulf states.
She is also likely to explore non-traditional trade deals in the region.
Truss will want to tap into new markets in the MENA region as a 'replacement' to what once was available through the European Union.
According to an expert, Truss will look to Algeria for "possible gas and energy deals" to make up for reduced Russian gas supplies to Europe and the UK.
Truss will also likely explore similar deals in other gas-rich countries in the region.
Experts say that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson's "anti-Palestinian" approach would become "even sharper" under Truss and that she will likely go ahead with bolstering London's already-strong relations with Israel.
Greece warns allies of Turkey conflict danger amid tension
Greece's government wrote this week to the country's NATO and European Union partners and the head of the United Nations, asking them to condemn increasingly aggressive talk by officials in neighboring Turkey formally and suggesting that current bilateral tensions could escalate into a second open conflict on European soil.
Ankara says Greece is violating international agreements by keeping a military presence on islands close to Turkey's Aegean coastline.
It has also accused Greek air defenses of locking on Turkish fighter jets during NATO exercises over the eastern Mediterranean.
Greece says it needs to defend its eastern islands — including tourist hotspots Rhodes and Kos, which are much closer to Turkey than to the Greek mainland — against its larger and militarily stronger neighbor.
Google And Amazon Workers Protest Their Companies' $1.2 Billion AI Contract With Israel
Hundreds of Google and Amazon workers on Thursday, September 8, staged protests around the country to speak out against the two tech giants' cloud contracts with the Israeli government, fearing the military could use the technology to surveil Palestinians.
The demonstration stretched across four US cities — San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Durham, North Carolina — as workers protested Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion contract that both Google and Amazon have signed to provide Israel with artificial intelligence services and other computing tools.
The technology could be used for facial detection and "sentiment analysis," a form of machine learning that purveyors claim can discern someone's feelings by studying their face and speech, according to a report by The Intercept.
The nationwide protests come a week after Ariel Koren, a former Google employee, resigned from the company after what she described as retaliation for publicly criticizing the contract.
In a post detailing her decision to resign, Koren, who is Jewish, said Google "systematically silences Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, and Muslim voices concerned about Google's complicity in violations of Palestinian human rights."
Read more on Forbes.
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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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