Saudi Arabia on Wednesday pulled the plug on medical care for its citizens in Canada, the latest move in a crisis analysts say has less to do with Ottawa and more to do with Riyadh’s desire to project power. The sudden deterioration in ties started with a Tweet. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox Canada’s foreign ministry raised alarm over the arrest of a number of Saudi activists, including Samar Badawi, the sister of the jailed blogger Raif Badawi. Raif’s wife and children reside in Canada. Most irksome to the Saudi authorities, Canada labeled those arrested as “peaceful human rights activists” and called for their “immediate release.” The Saudi foreign ministry snapped back with a barrage of Tweets, calling the Canadian appeal an attack on its sovereignty, announcing a freeze on new trade deals, and declaring the Canadian ambassador a “persona non grata.” Riyadh quickly cancelled all … [Read more...] about Saudi claims ‘badge of pride’ in break with Canada
The Israeli press is awash with reports that US President Donald Trump is faithfully executing a containment strategy against Iran that was scripted in Tel Aviv by none other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This swagger is accompanied by the triumphalist forecast that Iran is wilting and the end is in sight for the four-decade-old Islamic regime in Tehran. Of course, Israel has a record of churning out baloney, but this must be the mother of all fabrications. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox Perhaps, there could be some substance in the claim that Netanyahu influenced Trump. But even here, in the final analysis, Trump weighs in on any issue from one angle: how it may affect his re-election bid in the 2020 election. The developing situation indeed has some similarities with the run-up to the 1980 election in the US. Trump cannot be unaware of it. This is one thing. Iran is denying Trump the privilege of a summit meeting. Iranian Foreign … [Read more...] about Trump scores an own-goal in the game against Iran
The Israeli Supreme Court has approved the evacuation of a small village near the settlement of Kfar Adumim. The evacuees are Bedouins from the Jahalin tribe. This unfortunate group had been the victims of uprooting by Israeli authorities before when they were thrown out of their homes in the Negev desert in the 1950s. The current village, which is essentially a set of bedraggled structures made of tents and sand-covered corrugated-iron shacks, was set up about 40 years ago, without permits on what Israel considers “state lands.” This is the legal term Israel uses for land without clear and documented private ownership. The government wants to move them to an area adjacent to a garbage dump, close to another Bedouin group with whom they have long had tensions. Infamous section of the West Bank Another key element is that the land they currently occupy will almost certainly be used to expand the nearby settlement of the infamous E1 section of the West Bank. If Israeli … [Read more...] about Ruling on Bedouin village could split the West Bank
Middle EastHouthis Mystery surrounds alleged rebel attack on Saudi ship in critical Bab el-Mandeb Strait By Stephen Bryen July 28, 2018 4:39 PM (UTC+8) Share Tweet Linkedin Print Email Share 0 Comment 0 Saudi Arabia has suspended its oil tanker transits through the Red Sea after one of them reportedly was hit by Houthi fire. According to some reports the damaged tanker, which did not leak oil, was being taken to a nearby Saudi port for repairs. Kuwait is also likely to suspend oil-tanker transits through the Bab el-Mandeb strait. The Houthis are fighting Saudi-led coalition forces for control of the strategic Red Sea port city of Hodeida. Hodeida, which is near the Bab-el-Mandeb, is a strategic city for Yemen. More than 70% of its imported supplies, including famine relief and medical aid, flow through the port. For the Saudis and their allies, controlling the port is important in order to stop the Yemeni rebels from affecting the … [Read more...] about Did the Houthis sink a warship or hit an oil tanker?
In the summer months, when the most westerly tail of the Indian Ocean monsoon touches the rugged mountains of southern Oman, the sudden deluge that results produces one of Arabia’s most astonishing sights. For a few weeks, the parched desert turns green, as water flows down long-dried up wadis, while a thick mist rises over the Jebel Al Qamar – the Mountains of the Moon. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox For a short time, these rains, known as the khareef, change the whole landscape – and the inhabitants’ way of life. And then – all too soon – the rains are gone. Then, the blistering sun returns, burning off the green and drying out the streams and rivers. Rapidly, the region returns to desert. In Arabia, there are few such dramatic examples of the transformative power of water and its necessity for life. Yet now, all of the delicate systems that underpin the region’s water resources are under grave … [Read more...] about Climate change, politics and conflict: the Middle East’s volatile mix