U.S. Cryptocurrency Exchange Kraken To Open In The UAE
Plus: Israel launches airstrikes against sites in the Gaza Strip, Turkish President Erdogan visits Saudi Arabia, tension between Ankara and Baghdad, and much more.
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U.S. Cryptocurrency Exchange Kraken To Open In The UAE
U.S. cryptocurrency exchange and bank Kraken is expanding into the Middle East. It will open its regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi after receiving a full license to operate a regulated trading platform in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Kraken will become the first cryptocurrency exchange to offer direct funding and trading in UAE dirhams against bitcoin, ether, and other virtual assets after gaining regulatory approval from the ADGM and Financial Services Regulatory Authority for its local launch.
The UAE transacts approximately $25 billion worth of cryptocurrency each year. It ranks third by volume in the region, behind Lebanon (about $26 billion) and Turkey ($132.4 billion), according to Chainalysis data studied between July 2020 and June 2021.
Israel launched airstrikes against sites in the Gaza Strip
Israel launched airstrikes against sites in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Thursday, April 21, after militants in the Palestinian enclave fired rockets at Israeli cities.
The Israeli strikes prompted further rocket attacks by the Palestinian militants.
Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, said it had fired surface-to-air rockets at Israeli planes. So far, there have been no reports of casualties from the Palestinian rocket attacks.
On Tuesday, April 19, Israel carried out its first strike on Gaza in months in response to the first rocket since January from the Palestinian enclave.
The rising violence has raised fears of a repeat of last year's 11-day Israel-Gaza war.
The rising tensions come as the Jewish Passover festival coincides with the Muslim holy month Ramadan, with much violence centered on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount. The site is considered sacred to both Jews and Muslims.
In late March and early April, 14 people in Israel died in four separate attacks carried out by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.
In response, Israel carried out raids across the occupied West Bank, making dozens of arrests. More than 20 Palestinians died, including the attackers and others who took part in clashes with Israeli forces.
Lebanon: Boat sinks in Tripoli port with 60 on board, at least one dead
A boat sank in Lebanon's Tripoli port on Saturday, April 23, with about 60 people on board. One child has died, but more than 40 people have been rescued following the sinking of a boat off the coast of Lebanon's northern port city of Tripoli.
Turkish President Erdogan visits Saudi Arabia
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Saudi Arabia on Thursday, April 28, and he is expected to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler.
The meeting marks a change in Turkey's approach to Saudi Arabia after relations between the two countries reached rock bottom following the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and U.S. resident. He was killed and dismembered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
The rapprochement can be seen as part of a broader trend across the Middle East, where U.S. retrenchment is causing countries to reassess their relationships.
Tension between Ankara and Baghdad amid Turkish military operations in Iraq
On Thursday, April 21, the Turkish foreign ministry summoned the Iraqi charge d'affaires to convey discomfort with statements by Iraqi authorities about a Turkish military operation against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.
The military action was part of a long-running Turkish campaign in Iraq and Syria against militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, both regarded as terrorist groups by Ankara.
Turkish warplanes, helicopters, and drones were part of an air and land operation in northern Iraq against Kurdish facilities ranging from camps to ammunition stores.
Iraq accused Turkey of violating its sovereignty and, on Tuesday, April 26, summoned the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad and delivered a "strongly worded" protest.
Italy's energy company Eni to capitalize on North Africa
Italy's giant energy company Eni has moved quickly to capitalize on North Africa to reduce imports of Russian gas following the invasion of Ukraine. North Africa is one of the most promising regions of interest.
The company has signed recent deals with both Algeria and Egypt to maximize production and increase exports.
Despite the momentum created by Eni's deals, most experts in the gas sector agree that in the short term, it will be difficult for North Africa to substantially increase its gas supply to Europe because there is currently no significant spare capacity. Furthermore, the rising domestic consumption limits North Africa's capacity to increase exports, as do continued political instability and lack of investment.
Egypt: Archaeologists discover a temple in Egypt inspired by the Greek god Zeus
Archaeologists discovered a temple in Egypt inspired by the Greek god Zeus. The temple honors Zeus Kasios, a deity who merges the Greek god Zeus and Mount Kasios. Located on the border of Syria and Turkey, the mountain is associated with a legendary battle between Zeus and the monster Typhon to decide who would rule the cosmos.
In the statement, Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt's antiquities council, said the team identified the Zeus Kasios temple with the help of the remains of a pair of 6.5-foot-tall pink granite pillars that once served as the temple's entrance gate. The columns possibly collapsed due to an earthquake.
EU to offer visa-free travel to Kuwait and Qatar citizens
The European Union plans to offer visa-free travel to Kuwaiti and Qatari citizens in one of several measures announced on Wednesday, April 27, to ease legal migration to the bloc.
The proposal means citizens of the two Gulf countries who have biometric passports could travel to the visa-free Schengen zone for up to 90 days, replicating an agreement signed with the UAE in 2015.
The EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the ultimate objective was for visa waivers to be extended to all members of the Gulf Co-operation Council, which would mean adding Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Bahrain.
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.
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Cover photo: google.com