Waiting for U.S. report on Khashoggi death

Why this delay? plus Biden launches deadly air strikes in Syria, Middle Eastern countries lift off and much more.

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First of all, I want to share with you an article I have written for Middle East Eye about Middle Eastern space exploration. As you know, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) became the first Middle East country to successfully send a spacecraft into orbit around Mars. This success has helped rekindle memories of space programs developed by other countries in the region. Did you know that over half of the countries in the MENA (the Middle East and Africa) region have, or have had government space programs? This is the right article to learn more about it.

Click here to read my latest article

Let’s see the core of this newsletter.

Joe Biden has spoken with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman for the first time as president, ahead of the publication of a US intelligence report expected to implicate the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in the 2018 murder of dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Reuters reported this week.

The officials said the report assessed that MBS approved and likely ordered the murder of Khashoggi, who had criticized the crown prince’s policies.

The report’s release is part of Biden’s policy to realign ties with Saudi Arabia after years of permissive behavior of the Trump administration on Saudi Arabia’s human rights issues and its intervention in Yemen’s civil war.

World Bank warns Lebanon after politicians cut the line for vaccine. This because 16 lawmakers and five of their staff members were vaccinated at the parliament, despite it was planned to prioritize health workers, the elderly, epidemiological staff, and people over 55 years old with medical conditions. The World Bank loaned Lebanon $34 million to cover vaccines last month. The World Bank called for transparency in the distribution process. Read more on Al-Monitor.

Let’s stick to Lebanon. 

Lebanon appoints a new judge to lead the Beirut blast investigation. The Lebanese court of cassation dismissed judge Fadi Sawan from the investigation after a request by two former ministers he had been charged with negligence. The court decided to take Sawan off the case after a request from two of the former ministers he charged. Rights activists immediately condemned Thursday's ruling as the latest example of an entrenched political class placing itself above the law. Following the announcement, dozens of family members of people killed in the port blast rallied outside the main Beirut courthouse. Continue to read the full story on France24.

Biden launches deadly airstrikes against Iran-backed groups in Syria, killing at least 17 pro-Iran fighters. The strike was made in response to rocket attacks against US-led coalition forces in Iraq in mid-February. The Pentagon claimed the strikes were authorized by US President Joe Biden. Read more on Middle East Eye.

More than 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago, the Guardian revealed this week. Data from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka revealed there were 5,927 deaths of migrant workers in the period 2011–2020. Separately, data from Pakistan’s embassy in Qatar reported a further 824 deaths of Pakistani workers, between 2010 and 2020. In the past 10 years, Qatar has embarked on an unprecedented building program for the football World Cup tournament in 2022. Read the full story on The Guardian.

Putin and Erdogan have formed a brotherhood of hard power, although fragile says the Economist, which goes through the relations between Putin’s Russia and Erdogan’s Turkey, Russia, and Turkey have gone to war a dozen times in history. However, since 2016 Erdogan has held more face-to-face meetings with Putin than with any other leader. Russia has turned from being Turkey’s opponent in Syria’s civil war into its most important partner there. Turkey has been able to carry out its military operations in northern Syria only with Russian consent. But why are Russia and Turkey getting closer? Read the full analysis on The Economist.

The next immediate threat to Syria is the economic crisis. As the 10th anniversary of Syria’s civil war looms, Mr. al-Assad’s most immediate threats are not the rebel factions and foreign powers that still control large swaths of the country. Instead, it is the crushing economic crisis that has hobbled the reconstruction of destroyed cities, impoverished the population, and left a growing number of Syrians struggling to get enough food whose prices have more than doubled in the last year, journalists Ben Hubbard and Hwaida Saad reported for The New York Times. The World Food Program warned this month that 60% of Syrians were at risk of going hungry, the highest number ever recorded. Read the full reporting on The New York Times.

The journey to the U.K. as a refugee. Journalist Adnan Sarwar wanted to understand the gangs that smuggle refugees into the U.K., so he infiltrated one. Read his account on Newlines Magazine

This is all for this week. Inshallah provides the most important and accurate Middle East news of the week. The main goal is to host the best of journalism to give you the clearest information about what is happening in the Middle East and not let you behind.

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About me

My name is Dario Sabaghi, a freelance journalist. I am interested in human rights international news with a focus on the MENA area. 

Check out my work at dariosabaghi.com.

You can follow me on Twitter: @DarioSabaghi