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Friday, 24 November 2017 22:07

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Afrasianet - The  Arab Coalition in Yemen announced today, Wednesday, November 22, 2017, that the relevant departments within the Command have completed a comprehensive review of the inspection and verification procedures used to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216, reported Saudi Press Agency.

Houthi Militias launched an Iranian-made ballistic missile, which was smuggled into Yemen, and used by the Houthis to target Riyadh, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The resolution prohibits the provision of weapons and military equipment to the Houthi militia and their supporters, who are using these weapons to sustain their military operations in Yemen.

The Coalition decided to take the following steps following the reviews:

1- The reopening of the Port of Hudaydah to receive urgent humanitarian and relief materials.

2- The reopening of Sanaa airport to UN aircraft, designated for humanitarian and relief efforts.

These steps will be implemented in accordance with the procedures approved by the Evacuation and Humanitarian Operation Cell (EHOC) starting at (1200) on Thursday November 23, 2017.

Further, in continuation of the Coalition's commitment to stand with the people of Yemen, and to alleviate the humanitarian suffering caused by the Houthi militias, the Coalition will soon announce a comprehensive humanitarian operations plan that aims to provide assistance and relief to the Yemeni people, and to facilitate the delivery of food to all the governorates of Yemen.

These measure will be in accordance with the efforts by Coalition members to alleviate the suffering by the people of Yemen.

The Coalition Command also renews its call for the United Nations to urgently send a team of experts to meet with their counterparts in the Coalition to review and enhance the UN's inspection and verification mechanism (UNVIM) in order to implement the best practices that will protect the people of Yemen, and facilitate the entry of aid and humanitarian shipments, while preventing the Houthi Militias from smuggling missiles to target neighboring countries.










Afrasianet - The Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) countries have added two organizations and 11 individuals to their state-sponsor list of terrorism and terror financing.

Among the entities named includes the International Union of Muslim Scholars, headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi and was founded in 2004. It is currently headquartered in Qatar.

The ATQ countries have previously designated several individuals and organizations whom they accuse of financing terror groups across the region, including Doha-based Qaradawi.


1. The International Islamic Council "Massaa'"

2. World Union of Muslim Scholars


1. Khaled Nazem Diab

2. Salem Jaber Omar Ali Sultan Fathallah Jaber

3. Moyasar Ali Musa Abdullah Jubouri

4. Mohammed Ali Saeed Atm

5. Hassan Ali Mohammed Juma Sultan

6. Mohammed Suleiman Haidar Mohammed Al-Haydar

7. Mohammed Jamal Ahmed Hishmat Abdul Hamid

8. Alsayed Mahmoud Ezzat Ibrahim Eissa

9. Yahya Alsayed Ibrahim Mohamed Moussa

10. Qadri Mohamed Fahmy Mahmoud Al-Sheikh

11. Alaa Ali Ali Mohammed Al-Samahi

“The two listed entities are terrorist organizations working to promote terrorism through the exploitation of Islamic discourse and its use as a cover to facilitate various terrorist activities. The Individuals also have carried out various terrorist operations in which they have received direct Qatari support at various levels, including providing them with passports and assigning them to Qatari institutions with a charitable appearance to facilitate their movement,” a statement from the Saudi Press Agency read.

“Through their monitoring, the four countries emphasize continued Qatari authorities' support for and sponsor and finance of terrorism, promotion of extremism and dissemination of hate speech, and that these authorities have not taken effective action to stop terrorist activity,” the statement added.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates make up the quartet.










Afrasianet - Russian President Vladimir Putin says that all major Russian companies, both state-owned and private, must be ready for a rapid transition to war-time operations, adding that the capability is crucial to national security.

According to the Kremlin press service, the Russian president made the statement on Wednesday at a conference with senior defense ministry officials and top managers of major defense companies.

 “I would like to note that the ability of any economy to rapidly increase the output of defense products and services when it is needed is one of the most important conditions of the nation’s military security. All strategic and… large enterprises must be ready for this,” Putin stated.

The Russian leader added that he and senior defense officials already discussed the issue in 2015 and 2016, and asked those attending the meeting to report which problems of the previous years had been dealt with and which had not.

The conference concerned the results of the Zapad 2017 military exercises held by the Russian and Belarusian military forces in September. Russia sent around 3,000 troops to neighboring Belarus, where they trained at six locations, along with 7,000 soldiers and officers from the host nation. Russia accepted Belarusian troops at three of its own military sites.

Fewer than 13,000 troops took part in the exercise in total, according to figures from the defense ministries of Russia and Belarus. Around 70 aircraft, 680 armored vehicles, including 250 tanks, 200 artillery guns, and 10 warships, were deployed by the two nations.










Afrasianet - Russia is open for discussions on establishing a new, truly impartial mission to investigate chemical attacks in Syria, which, Russia’s UN envoy hopes, will not bear the same chronic deficiencies of the OPCW-UN mechanism that expired last week.

 “JIM is dead,” Russia’s UN envoy, Vasily Nebenzya, said Wednesday after the UN Security Council (UNSC) held closed-door discussions on the fate of JIM – the Joint Investigative Mechanism. “JIM has discredited itself completely and cannot continue in the present form. But we are ready to talk about establishing, creating a new mechanism that would replace JIM and do the work in a truly professional, objective and unbiased manner.”

The Russian diplomat pointed out that the basic parameters of such a mechanism were outlined in the Russian draft resolution, and which was rejected by the UNSC last Thursday. Nebenzya said there is still “hope” for further negotiations on the issue.

The mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) expired last Friday following a number of failed attempts by the UNSC to extend its authority. On November 18, Russia vetoed the Japan-initiated draft which aimed to provisionally extend JIM’s mandate by 30 days.

Moscow has repeatedly criticized JIM’s handling of the investigation of chemical attacks in Syria, including the April incident in Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province, which killed about 100 people. Russia especially questioned the findings of the last probe, made public in October, which pinned the blame for the Khan Shaykhun incident on Damascus.

Moscow believes that JIM’s conclusions were full of “systemic deficiencies” and speculation, lacked hard evidence, and were drawn from statements made by questionable sources. The main point of contention in the report, Russia pointed out, is that the UN team did not honor the basic chain-of-custody principle, which required OPCW to obtain on-site biomedical and environmental samples. After examining all the presented evidence, Moscow maintains that the chemical attack in Idlib was likely staged to coincide with the Syrian government’s conventional air strike on the terrorist-controlled area.

Despite this, Russian diplomats have tried to negotiate JIM’s renewal, but firmly held that some fundamental flaws in its mandate must be addressed. The US, however, rejected all the Russian-offered compromises during negotiations at the UN, accusing Moscow of of “undermining” the UN’s ability to prevent chemical attacks in the future.

 “The mechanism personnel behaved shamefully, using data received from NGOs connected with terrorists,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday. “We sincerely tried to find common ground, but the United States rejected any wording that would somehow cast a shadow on this mechanism.”











Afrasianet - Syria's Bashar Assad made a surprise visit to Russia to express thanks for Moscow’s help in the fight against terrorism. At a meeting with President Putin, which began with an embrace, the leaders discussed the Syrian political settlement ahead of Moscow's talks with Iran and Turkey.

The visit by President Assad to the Black Sea resort of Sochi was not revealed until Tuesday, after he had already left Russia. Footage and photos released by the Kremlin after the event show the Syrian leader, dressed in a dark grey suit and light grey tie, embracing Vladimir Putin and shaking his hand on the porch of a presidential residence in the southern Russian city. The two leaders then moved inside for a photo op and formal greeting speeches, before a nearly three-hour round of talks behind closed doors. Afterwards, Putin took his Syrian guest to meet Russian generals who were in Sochi to take part in defense-related government talks.

 “I’d like to introduce you to the people who played a key part in saving Syria,” Putin told Assad as he introduced the men in green uniforms. “Of course, Mr. Assad knows some of you personally. He told me during our talks today that thanks to the Russian Army, Syria has been saved as a state.”

Assad used the opportunity to relay the gratitude of his government and the Syrian people to those involved in the two-year operation in the war-torn nation. “I would like to underline the effort made by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, the sacrifices they have made,” he said.

In 2015, Russia sent its warplanes to help Damascus fight against extremist Islamist forces trying to overthrow the government. The operation prevented a collapse of the secular Syrian state, and paved the way for a political dialogue with opposition groups who see a future for Syria not based on extremist ideology.

The joint Russian-Syrian military operation took place in parallel with diplomatic efforts to establish a ceasefire in large parts of Syria and facilitate direct negotiations between the government and moderate opposition. Turkey and Iran played a crucial role in negotiating the so-called “de-escalation zones” and are actively involved in furthering a political transition in Syria.

The Monday visit by Assad comes two days ahead of a meeting between Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Sochi. The meeting with Assad was intended to ensure that “whatever decisions would be reached [with Erdogan and Rouhani] are viable,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on Tuesday.

Also on Monday, Syrian opposition figure Riyad Hijab announced his resignation as chair of the Saudi-backed umbrella group, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC). Several other members also left, in a move welcomed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

“The retreat of radically minded opposition figures from playing the main role will make it possible to unite this motley opposition – internal and external – on a more reasonable, realistic and constructive platform,” Lavrov told journalists.

The resignations came as the committee was gathering for a meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday. The HNC is expected to select a delegation for the upcoming round of UN-sponsored Syria peace talks in Geneva next week.










Afrasianet - The issue of Syria dominated the more than hour-long phone call between the Russian and American presidents. Putin briefed Trump of his recent meeting with Assad, and both leaders agreed on the importance of the UN-led Syrian peace process.

Putin told Trump that President Bashar Assad confirmed his commitment to political reforms in Syria, including constitutional amendments. Assad also supported the idea of holding presidential and parliamentary elections as part of a transitional political process during his Monday meeting with Putin in Sochi.

The Russian president informed his US counterpart of the forthcoming meeting between the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey aimed at finding ways to further normalize the situation in Syria while contributing to the political process in the Middle Eastern country. The trilateral talks are scheduled for Wednesday, November 22.

“Both the parties expressed satisfaction with the phone call, which was practical and informative,” a statement from the Kremlin reads.

The White House said Washington reaffirmed its support for the Joint Statement of the US and Russia issued at the APEC summit on November 11.

“We’re talking very strongly about bringing peace to Syria, very strongly about North Korea, and about Ukraine," Trump told journalists following the phone call with Putin.

The Russian president said a resolution of the Syrian political crisis must be based on the principles of preserving sovereignty, territorial integrity and the independence of Syria. Putin added that Russia has offered to host the Syrian Congress on National Dialogue in Sochi.

Putin again spoke of normalizing bilateral relations, especially when it comes to fighting terrorism. He added that cooperation between Russian and US security services could be of great practical significance. Trump supported Putin's ideas, the Kremlin said.

Putin and Trump agreed that the crisis around the Korean peninsula should be solved through diplomatic means, according to the Kremlin. While discussing the Iranian nuclear program, the Russian president restated Moscow's commitment to the full implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA). He also called the agreement “an important factor of regional stability” that also contributes to the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Putin and Trump also touched on the terrorist threat and drug production in Afghanistan. Speaking about the situation in Eastern Ukraine, Putin once again underlined that there is no viable alternative other than the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements by all parties to the Ukrainian conflict.

Trump and Putin last spoke on the sidelines of the Vietnam APEC summit in mid-November. And even though there was no official meeting between the two leaders during the gathering, they still managed to hammer out a joint statement on Syria, in which they said the Syrian conflict “does not have a military solution.”

Trump later described his brief encounters with Putin during the summit as “good discussions.” He also slammed those who oppose US rapprochement with Russia, branding them “haters and fools.” He tweeted that “Russia can greatly help” the US in solving many pressing world issues.

Putin also held separate phone conversations with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. The discussions centered on the situation in Syria as well as a range of bilateral issues.










Afrasianet - Lebanon’s Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as prime minister on Nov. 4, returned to Beirut on Wednesday for the first time since he resigned from Saudi Arabia.

Hariri’s sudden resignation thrust Lebanon to the forefront of regional tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, whose powerful Lebanese ally Hezbollah is part of the government.

Hariri was greeted by members of the security forces as he disembarked from a jet at Beirut airport, live footage of his arrival showed.

Hariri cited fear of assassination and meddling by Iran and Hezbollah in the Arab world in his resignation speech.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to accept the resignation until Hariri returns to present it in person.

Earlier, Hariri met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo, for talks in a brief Cairo stopover before a planned return to Lebanon, Egypt state media said on Tuesday.

Hariri had been in Paris since Saturday when he met French President Emmanuel Macron. He has said he will return to Lebanon by Wednesday for the country’s Independence Day celebrations, where he said he will clarify his position.

His surprise resignation announced from Riyadh triggered a political crisis in Lebanon’s power-sharing government.

Hariri said he quit over interference in Lebanon by Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah militia group.

Hariri arrived at Cairo International Airport, where he was received by Egypt’s health minister, the Lebanese ambassador to Cairo and Egypt’s ambassador to Beirut, his press office said.

He went immediately to the presidential palace, it said. A message on Hariri’s Twitter account said the meeting would be followed by a dinner in his honor.

"Saad Hariri arrived in Cairo on Tuesday evening from Paris to meet President Sisi, and he is scheduled to return to Lebanon on Wednesday," MENA state news agency said.

Egypt’s presidency said Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, also spoke with Sisi to discuss developments. Sisi and Aoun "underscored the importance of preserving Lebanon’s stability as well as upholding Lebanon’s national interest."








  • Arab coalition to open port of Hodeidah, Sanaa airport on Thursday

  • Hamas, Fatah agree on Palestinian elections by end of 2018

  • Anti-Terror Quartet adds 2 entities, 11 individuals to terror list

  • Putin orders Russian companies to be ready for urgent transition to war-time operations

  • ‘JIM is dead’: Russia hopes for a new ‘objective & unbiased’ Syria chemical inquiry

  • Warm embrace: Assad in surprise Putin meeting ahead of Moscow’s talks with Turkey, Iran

  • ‘We’re talking strongly about bringing peace to Syria’: Trump after hour-long phone call with Putin

  • Iraq: Deadly suicide car bomb rocks disputed town north of Baghdad

  • Hariri returns to Lebanon after talks with Egyptian President in Cairo

  • US carries out air strikes against ISIS in Libya

Afrasianet - A rocket was launched from the northern Gaza Strip early Sunday morning, according to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

The rocket “exploded mid-air,” according to the IDF announcement posted on Twitter.

No one was injured in the alleged attack, the Israeli military said, without immediately providing any further details.

The alleged projectile was reportedly headed to the Ahskelon coastal region in southern Israel, the Times of Israel reported.

No rocket alert signal was activated as the explosion happened “relatively early” in its flight, Israeli media reported citing officials.

The incident comes amid escalating tensions in the region, with Israel beefing up its military presence in the West Bank.

At least three Israelis were killed and one other injured in a stabbing attack by a 20-year-old Palestinian in the West Bank settlement of Halamish Friday night.

Israel upped its security alert level and dispatched thousands of additional troops to the area following the deadly knife assault, local media reported citing an IDF official.

Late Friday, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas, announced that the PA was freezing all contacts with Israel over the Jerusalem holy site dispute and the violence over the past days.

Clashes have been raging for several days following Tel Aviv’s decision to install metal detectors at the Temple Mount (referred to by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif ) in the Old City in Jerusalem. The site is sacred to both Jews and Muslims, with Abbas having called for the removal of unilaterally installed barriers for people to be able to “pray with dignity.”










Afrasianet - The convoy of the Minister of Education of the National Unity Government, Osman Abdel Jalil, was subjected to heavy gunfire at "Gate 17" at the southern entrance to the city of Sabha on Monday while he was on his way to the city of Marzak.

The Ministry of Education said in a statement posted on its official Facebook page that "the group forced the minister's convoy to stop using arms and assaulted the minister and his companions with his hands, but the security team managed to remove the minister and the undersecretary from the danger zone, while the gunmen detained the rest of the team and forced them With the force of arms to stay in the place of detention for approximately one hour ".

The ministry, which did not specify the identity of the gunmen and did not publish pictures of the site of the attack, said that "the group was detained after the intervention of tribes Altabu who responded firmly to the militants and were able to secure the convoy of the minister and accompany him the rest of the trip."

The city of Sabha and the adjacent areas of southern Libya are characterized by a security breach resulting in repeated incidents of theft, assault and murder. They are controlled by armed groups, most of which are active in smuggling, especially smuggling of illegal immigrants and fuel.











Afrasianet - Riyadh - Saudi Arabia and its allies from the Gulf Arab states said on Monday that the deadline for the Qatari government to respond to its 13 demands, which ended Sunday night, was extended 48 hours at the request of Kuwait's emir, who is mediating the crisis.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt said in a joint statement issued by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) that "in response to a request by Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to extend the special deadline for the government of Qatar for 48 hours since the end of the 10-day deadline, The four states' response will be sent after examining the Qatari government's response and evaluating its response to the full list of demands. "

The four countries said in a statement that they agreed to extend the deadline "because of the Qatari government's assertion that it will send its official response to the list of claims addressed to it on Monday."

The extension came after Qatar implicitly rejected the demands of its neighbors to restore ties with it just hours before the 10-day deadline set for it to respond to its 13 demands.

Earlier this morning, the Emir of Kuwait will receive Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani, who will deliver a written message from Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

The letter contains the response earlier prepared by Qatar on the list of collective claims submitted by Kuwait late last month.










Afrasianet - Eight people were wounded Monday morning in a shooting outside the Mercy Mosque in the southern French city of Avignon.

Two masked men, carrying a pistol and a gun, approached the mosque in a car before opening fire on worshipers as they left the building at about 10:30 am local time (2130 GMT).

According to the local media, four people were injured outside the mosque, in addition to four people from a family, including a seven-year-old girl, with shrapnel inside their house, about 50 meters from the site of the attack.

Two of the wounded were taken to the hospital, and the Public Prosecutor's Office suggested that the incident was the result of a dispute between the youths and not a terrorist act.

France is in a state of security alert after an attack on police in April and other bloody attacks in the months before.










Afrasianet - A suicide bomber has blown himself up in the Syrian capital, Damascus, killing and injuring a number of people, according to media reports.

The bomber was in one of three cars, each with bombs, that had been pursued by Syrian authorities. The two other bombs were destroyed by police at a separate location in western Damascus, state TV said.

“Authorities were pursuing three cars with bombs inside and managed to blow up two of them before entering  the city,” the statement from state TV said, as cited by AFP.

Police surrounded the third car in Tahrir Square, where “the terrorist blew himself up resulting in people dead and injured,”  TV added without elaborating on the figures.

Unverified images circulating on Twitter show pillars of smoke rising over the Syrian capital.










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