The United States threatens escalation with Iran amid the resume of nuclear talks
Plus: pressure mounts on Justine Bieber in Saudi Arabia, China and Jihadism, Gaddafi's son being disqualified from Libya elections, and much more.
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UN has repeatedly ignored requests from bereaved families for information to help the official investigation into the Beirut port explosion which killed 219 people in August last year, BBC reported earlier this week. Meanwhile, the official investigation into the explosion at Beirut port on August 4, 2020, has been stalled several times because senior political figures who were called to give evidence made complaints. Read more here.
Apple on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Israeli company NSO Group over the use of its Pegasus spyware to attack Apple users. The lawsuit is the second of its kind by a private company after Facebook sued NSO Group in 2019 for targeting its users on WhatsApp and represents a growing trend among US tech companies attempting to curb the use of Israeli spyware across their platforms. Read the full story on Middle East Eye.
Iran nuclear deal talks
The United States threatened on Thursday to confront Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency next month if it does not cooperate more with the watchdog - an escalation that could undermine talks on reviving a 2015 big-power deal with Iran. Iran is denying the IAEA access to re-install surveillance cameras at a workshop at the TESA Karaj complex. That could jeopardize indirect talks between Iran and the United States on reviving the 2015 deal, which is due to resume next week. Read the full reporting on Reuters.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing a sharp decline in confidence in his economic management amid the chaotic economic climate he has created by pushing for lower interest rates despite high inflation and a free-falling currency. The consumer confidence index has plunged to its worst level since its introduction in 2004. The index is widely seen as an indicator of confidence in Erdogan, especially in his economic management, and thus a major sign of his political fortunes. The dizzying free fall of the lira brought the price of a dollar to 10 liras in the first half of November from 9 liras only a month ago. With Erdogan ruling out rate hikes, there seems to be little that Ankara could do to curb the fall of the currency. Read the full analysis by Mustafa Sonmez on Al-Monitor.
Libya’s top electoral body on Wednesday disqualified the son and one-time heir apparent of the late dictator Moammar Gaddafi from running for president in elections to be held next month, citing his previous convictions. The name of Seif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared on a list of ineligible candidates issued by the country’s High National Elections Committee. He can appeal the decision in court in the coming days. Libya is set to hold the first round of presidential elections on Dec. 24, after years of U.N.-led attempts to usher in a more democratic future and end the country’s civil war. Read the full reporting on AP.
China and Jihadism
China was long seen as a secondary target by international terrorist organizations, although in the 2010s some Chinese citizens started to be harmed in terrorist incidents. Al Qaeda and then Islamic State leaders released some statements that threatened Beijing for its treatment of Uyghurs, but they were limited and didn’t lead to any major push to target China. But now, it’s undeniable that China is being targeted, especially as its footprint in Afghanistan grows. Read the full analysis on Foreign Policy.
The fiancée of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi wrote an open letter published by the Washington Post calling for Justin Bieber to cancel his upcoming concert in Saudi Arabia. "That's why I am writing to you with a plea: Cancel your Dec. 5 performance in Saudi Arabia," Hatice Cengiz wrote last Saturday. Bieber is set to headline at Saudi Arabia's Formula One Race in December, joined by artists such as ASAP Rocky, David Guetta, and Jason Derulo in Jeddah's inaugural Grand Prix. Read more on CNN.
Egypt has used intelligence supplied by the French military to target and kill civilians suspected of smuggling, according to a report by investigative website Disclose, based on leaked documents. “Sirli”, the name of the mission between the two countries, was designed to provide intelligence on security threats along Egypt’s western border with Libya, Disclose said. Although the mission consisted of searching the Western Desert to find possible terrorist threats coming from Libya, the French members of the team understand that the intelligence supplied to the Egyptians are used to kill civilians suspected of carrying contraband. Read the full story on Al-Jazeera.
United Arab Emirates
Global police agency Interpol elected Emirati Inspector General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi as its president on Thursday, despite accusations from rights groups that he failed to act on allegations of torture of detainees in the United Arab Emirates. Human Rights Watch and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights said in May that Raisi's department had not investigated credible allegations of torture by security forces, and electing Raisi would put Interpol's commitment to human rights in doubt. Read more on Reuters.
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My name is Dario Sabaghi, a freelance journalist. I am interested in human rights and international news with a focus on the MENA region.
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