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Turkey is now vigorously pursuing its political and/or military penetration in the most sensitive parts of the region


Afrasianet - By Zvi Mazel - TURKISH national flag hangs in the foreground as drilling vessel ‘Fatih’ is seen off the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Turkey, in October. (photo credit: REUTERS)


A startling discovery toward the end of the year revealed a new facet of Turkey’s ongoing efforts to once again become a major player in the Middle East and restore some of the glory of the fallen Ottoman Empire. Huge consignments of arms hidden in two containers from Turkey were discovered by customs authorities in the Libyan Port of Khoms on December 17 and 18. No less than 3,000 hand guns of Turkish manufacture, a number of hunting guns as well as ammunition were found in the first container, and 4.2 million bullets, also of Turkish manufacture, in the second.

Khoms is a relatively minor port in the western part of the country, a mere 100 kilometers from Tripoli and fairly close to Libya’s border with Tunisia and Algiers. It was undoubtedly chosen on the mistaken belief that controls would be more cursory than in the country’s main port in the capital Tripoli. From the nature of the contraband weapons, it is fairly obvious they were not intended for a regular army, but rather for terrorist activities of armed groups, most probably Islamic organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.


The UN Security Council imposed a weapons embargo on Libya – which had plunged into civil war following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 – and renewed it last June. The civil war has not abated, and the country is divided between two rival governments: the Government of National Accord of Fayez al Sarraj in Tripoli, recognized by the UN; and the Tobruk government, formed by the House of Representatives elected in 2014 and dominated by general Khalifa Haftar, the de facto governor of eastern Libya and commander in chief of the Libyan National Army, the largest military force in the country. There are also dozens of Islamic and other armed militias, some supporting the Sarraj regime and others acting independently. The local branch of Islamic State is still active, though greatly diminished after being driven out of the main cities.

The discovery of the containers led to a public outcry and was roundly condemned by both governments. Sarraj ordered a thorough investigation while asking Turkey for explanations. Gen. Haftar demanded that the UN Security Council condemn Ankara for violation of the embargo, and launch an international inquest while accusing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of assisting armed terrorist groups and fomenting chaos. The UN delegation to Libya, striving for neutrality and attempting to reconcile the two governments, found itself forced to act and on December 22, expressed its concern and reiterated the importance of the embargo, stressing that the UN had constituted a panel of experts to examine what had happened.

Turkey, which had refrained from addressing the incident and the reaction of Haftar and Sarraj, could not ignore the stand taken by the UN delegation. On the same day, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s minister for foreign affairs, made an unexpected trip to Tripoli and held talks with his Libyan counterpart, as well as with the head of the parliament, before meeting Sarraj.

CAVUSOGLU TRIED to minimize the incident and accused unnamed “Arab countries” of supplying tanks, missiles and drones to Libya. He probably meant Egypt, which is cooperating with Haftar to control their lengthy border and prevent intrusion by Islamic terrorists.

However, according to a UN report, a dozen countries are supplying weapons to both sides in violation of the embargo. Turkey was already one of them. According to the statement issued by Sarraj’s office after the meeting, Cavusoglu denied any involvement in the incident, adding that it was not representative of Turkey’s policy. Both countries agreed to launch immediately a common investigation. A response deemed unsatisfactory by a member of parliament who demanded that steps be taken against Turkey and requested an international investigation.

Meanwhile, an unnamed security source in Algiers reacted angrily to the discovery and told Saudi daily al Shark al Awsat that dispatching weapons to western Libya, close to the Algerian border, was intended to destabilize the region. As far as he was concerned, he said, it was a declaration of war; the army of his country was in a state of high alert. Both al-Qaeda and Daesh are active between the borders of Libya, Tunisia and Algiers, and there are frequent reports of clashes in the area. Weapons reaching the region, mostly from the Mediterranean, find their way to terrorist organizations in nations of the African Sahel such as Mali, Niger and Chad.

Turkey had sided with Islamic parties led by the Muslim Brotherhood immediately after the fall of Gaddafi. Those parties won the first parliamentary elections held the following year. It maintained its support when they lost the subsequent elections in 2014. The fact that Ankara was helping Islamic organizations involved in the ensuing civil war transpired accidentally already in 2013, when customs agents in Greece found Turkish-made weapons in a ship that had sought shelter from a storm in a Greek port and was bound for Libya.

There have been a number of similar discoveries since, showing a clear pattern of attempts to provide arms to these organizations. In December 2013, Egypt found four containers of contraband armament on a ship which had sailed from Turkey on its way to Libya. Three similar attempts were discovered in 2014: in August, the Libyan army stopped a vessel bringing weapons from Turkey as it was about to enter the Port of Derna, then the stronghold of the largest Jihadi organization at the time, Ansar al Sharia; in November, the Greeks again found arms on a ship coming from Ukraine and going to Libya; and in December, Libyan authorities arrested a Korean vessel carrying a consignment of weapons to Misrata, then the seat of armed militias.


February 07 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet - The discovery last month of 3,000 Turkish-made guns and more than four million bullets hidden in shipping containers arriving in the Libyan port of Khoms revealed a new element to Turkey’s neo-Ottoman effort to again become a major player in the Middle East, the Jerusalem Post said .


Khoms is a relatively minor port, likely chosen because controls might be less rigorous there, Zvi Mazel, former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Romania, and Sweden, and senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, wrote in the Israeli news outlet on Monday.


“From the nature of the contraband weapons, it is fairly obvious they were not intended for a regular army, but rather for terrorist activities of armed groups, most probably Islamic organisations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Mazel.


The shipments violate a United Nations’ Security Council weapons embargo on Libya since the start of the civil war in 2011. Today the country is split between the Government of National Accord, led by Fayez al Sarraj in Tripoli and recognised by the UN, and the Tobruk government, led by General Khalifa Haftar, the de facto ruler of eastern Libya and head of the Libyan National Army.


As violence has continued, dozens of Islamic and other armed militias have emerged, and the local branch of Islamic State (ISIS) is still active, though greatly diminished.


The discovery of the containers was condemned by both Libyan governments, Mazel wrote. Sarraj ordered a thorough investigation while asking Turkey for explanations. Haftar demanded the UN Security Council launch an international inquest and accused President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of assisting armed terrorist groups and fomenting chaos.


On Dec. 22, the UN delegation to Libya reiterated the importance of the embargo and said the UN had constituted a panel of experts to examine what happened. That same day, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey’s foreign minister, arrived in Tripoli and met his Libyan counterpart and Sarraj.


Çavuşoğlu sought to minimise the incident and accused unnamed Arab countries of supplying tanks, missiles and drones to Libya. According to a UN report, a dozen countries, Turkey among them, are supplying weapons to both sides in violation of the embargo. Çavuşoğlu denied any involvement in the incident, adding that it was not representative of Turkey’s policy. Both countries agreed to cooperate on an investigation.


Both al Qaeda and ISIS are active between the borders of Libya, Tunisia and Algeria, and there are frequent reports of clashes in the area. Weapons reaching the region, mostly from the Mediterranean, often find their way to jihadist organisations.


“Turkey had sided with Islamic parties led by the Muslim Brotherhood immediately after the fall of Gaddafi,” wrote Mazel. “Those parties won the first parliamentary elections held the following year. Ankara maintained its support when they lost the subsequent elections in 2014.”


The fact that Ankara was helping Islamic organisations involved in the ensuing civil war was already known. In 2013, Greek customs agents found Turkish-made weapons in a Libya-bound ship that had sought shelter from a storm in a Greek port. There have been similar discoveries since, showing a clear pattern of attempts to provide arms to these organisations.


“Turkey is now vigorously pursuing its political and/or military penetration in the most sensitive parts of the region – from Syria and Iraq to Somalia and Sudan in Red Sea, and Qatar in the Persian Gulf,” wrote Mazel, “for the greater glory of its leader and the supremacy of Islam.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet - Jordan's top priority is to end the crisis in Syria and normalize the situation in the neighboring Arab country, so as the voluntary return of refugees to their homeland is possible, said Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi.


"We encourage the return of the refugees to Syria as quickly as possible", the top diplomat told reporters in a joint press conference with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, referring to burdens Jordan shoulders due to hosting 1.3 million Syrian refugees.


Safadi and Le Drian, who arrived in Amman yesterday, held talks in which bilateral ties, investment, economy, Middle East and security topics defined their one-on-one meeting.


"The French minister's visit to Jordan is the second in less than a year, which reflect the long-standing ties and solid partnership between Amman and Paris that led to a number of meetings and calls between His Majesty King Abdullah II and President Emmanuel Macaron", Safadi stated in the press briefing.


He said number of agreements in various areas, including transport, communications, energy, tourism, culture bind both nations, adding that the volume of trade exchange between them reached more than $ 400 million until last October, noting that the French investments are the largest among non-Arab foreign investments in Jordan.


Safadi pointed out that he held fruitful talks with the French minster on cementing partnership in political, economic, trade, defense and security fields.


The two countries will work together and in partnership with the international community to create a political horizon to progress towards the two-state solution, whose prospects are being undermined due to Israeli unilateral acts, Safadi confirmed .


He underlined France’s stands in support of the two-state solution, citing the Paris Conference on the Middle East in 2017, and the key role Paris played in UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which states that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a "flagrant violation" of international law and has "no legal validity".


He also pointed out that the Syrian crisis figured high during talks, besides ways to consolidate efforts to realize a political solution to the crisis in the neighboring Arab country.


Safadi, moreover, pointed to implications of the U.S. decision to withdraw military forces from Syria, and said Jordan is working with the U.S., France and Russia, among other countries to reach the envisioned solution.


The top diplomats meeting also discussed efforts to break through the current impasse in the peace process, affirming the absence of a solution would further breed despair and frustration with the risk of unleashing yet another threat to regional and international security.


" We will work together in collaboration with the international community on developing a political horizon towards a two-state solution, which Israeli unilateral measures jeopardize chances of its realization", Safadi emphasized.


For his part, Le Drian said he was delighted to be back in Jordan after six months from his last visit to the Kingdom.


"Such visits on a regular basis mirror the long-standing ties between Jordan and France. I have sensed the confidence whilst meeting with King Abdullah and talks with minister Safadi underscore the genuine partnership between our two nations, which never been stronger", Le Drian stated.


He,further, spoke about anti-terrorism efforts and said it was a duty to ward off terrorists and their return to the Middle East.


[1/14/2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet -The new UN envoy to Syria ended his first visit to the war-torn country Thursday, stressing the need for a UN-brokered political solution to the eight-year conflict.


Geir Pedersen, a seasoned Norwegian diplomat, concluded his three-day visit and headed to the Lebanese capital Beirut, a UN source told AFP.


The new envoy on Twitter late Wednesday said he had a "constructive meeting" with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem during his stay in Damascus.


During it, he stressed the need for a "Syrian-led and -owned political solution facilitated by the UN", he added.


Pedersen, who started his new job last week, is the fourth UN envoy to seek a solution to Syria's conflict, after endless rounds of failed UN-brokered peace talks.


In recent years, UN-led efforts have been overshadowed by separate negotiations led by regime allies Russia and Iran, as well as rebel backer Turkey.


After Damascus, Pederson said he was off to meet the Syrian Negotiations Committee, Syria's main opposition group.


But he "agreed to come back to Damascus on a regular basis to discuss commonalities and progress on points of disagreement", he added.


On Tuesday, Muallem expressed Syria's "readiness to cooperate with him... In his mission to facilitate Syrian-Syrian dialogue with the objective of reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis", a foreign ministry statement said.


Pederson takes over from Staffan de Mistura, a Swiss-Italian diplomat who stepped down at the end of last year over "personal reasons".


Officials in the government of President Bashar al-Assad had set the tone for the new envoy's tenure shortly after his appointment was announced in October.


"Syria will cooperate with the new UN envoy Geir Pedersen provided he avoids the methods of his predecessor," Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Meqdad said.


De Mistura ended his four-year tenure with an abortive push to form a committee tasked with drawing up a post-war constitution.


Syria's war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since the war started with the repression of anti-government protests in 2011.


With key military backing from Russia, Assad's forces have retaken large parts of Syria from rebels and extremists, and now control almost two-thirds of the country.


A drive to bring the Syrian regime back into the Arab fold also seems underway, with the UAE reopening their embassy in Damascus last month.


January 17, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


general view shows the Foreign Ministers of Arab countries during a meeting of the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit at Phoenicia hotel in Beirut, Lebanon. EPA


Afrasianet-As the Arab League’s fourth Economic and Social Development Summit officially kicked off Saturday amidst a disappointing turn out, Syria’s absence from the summit was the main topic of conversation, eclipsing the 29 articles on the agenda such as poverty, the role of women, food security and trade.


Since Syrian President Bashar Al Assad regained control of most of the country after an eight-year-long civil war, several Lebanese politicians, including Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, are calling for Syria’s reintegration into the Arab League. Syria’s membership was suspended in late 2011 after bloodshed sparked by anti-government protests.


“Syria is the biggest absentee in our conference ... Syria should be in our arms rather than throwing it in the arms of terrorism,” Mr Bassil said in his speech Friday. “We should not wait to get permission for its return so that we don’t commit a historic shame by suspending a member because of external orders.” Last week, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Alhakim also said he supported Syria’s return to the Arab League.


Lebanese newspaper Al Joumhouria reported on Friday that Mr Bassil invited the Syrian ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim, to attend the summit but he declined, saying that the Arab League’s position regarding Syria was “not correct”.


The Arab League has resisted Lebanon’s lobbying so far. In a joint press conference with Mr Bassil on Friday afternoon, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheith explained that Arab states still disagree on whether Syria should be reinstated or not.


However, in an earlier, separate press conference, assistant secretary general of the Arab League, Hossam Zaki, seemed to be more open the idea. “The return is inevitable. Syria has not lost its seat," he said, pointing out that Syria had only been suspended, not expelled.


Several Lebanese commentators have already called the summit a “failure” because several heads of state, particularly from the Gulf, pulled out at the last minute.


At least eight heads of state were originally expected in Beirut, but only two presidents, from Mauritania and Somalia, had confirmed their presence by Friday.


In a surprise move, Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani confirmed on Saturday that he would arrive in Lebanon the next day to head his country’s delegation.


The UAE delegation is headed by its Economy Minister, Sultan Al Mansouri.


What has become known as “the flag incident” discouraged many heads of state from attending.


Reviving a 40-year old dispute, Hezbollah’s ally Amal removed a Libyan flag to replace it with a party flag a few days before the summit, sparking outrage in Libya which decided to boycott the event.


Amal accuses Libya of being uncooperative about solving the mysterious disappearance of party founder and cleric Musa Sader in Libya back in 1978.


The Lebanese deputy speaker of Parliament, Elie Ferzli, defended Amal’s leader Nabih Berri – also speaker of parliament – on Saturday, arguing that the low turnout was because of the absence of government in Lebanon and not because of the dispute with Libya.


Lebanon has not been able to form a cabinet since the May 2018 parliamentary elections.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet - Lebanon's foreign minister has called for the Arab League to readmit Syria, speaking ahead of a regional economic summit in Beirut and more than seven years after the league suspended Damascus' membership.


"Syria is the most notable absentee at our conference, and we feel the weight of its absence," Gibran Bassil said on Friday.


"Syria should be among us ... without us having to wait for a permission for it to return," he added at a meeting with other ministers from Arab League nations.


When Bashir met Bashar: Sudan's president visits Damascus to meet Assad


But in recent years, President Bashar al-Assad's forces have gained the military upper hand in the country's civil war, and efforts to bring his government back into the Arab fold appear underway.


In December, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir made the first visit by any Arab leader to the Syrian capital since 2011, and the United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus having closed it in 2012.


On Thursday, it was reported that Bassil had decided to withhold an official letter calling for Damascus to be readmitted to the Arab League.


Lebanon Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri’s Future Movement, the Lebanese Forces and the Progressive Socialist Party are all strongly opposed to re-establishing ties with Assad’s government.


Bassil was unable to garner a unified stance over Syria, especially from one of the three parties mentioned above, a senior political source told the Al Bawaba website.


The head of the Arab League, Ahmed Abul Gheit, said on Thursday that member states have not reached a consensus on Syria's return to the 22-member bloc.


"When there is an Arab consensus, and when we are sure there is no objection from one side or the other, it will be as simple as puting it on the agenda of a meeting" of Arab foreign ministers, he said.


'A summit without heads of state'


Rifts among Arab states over Syria and its ally Iran, on top of divisions inside Lebanon, have overshadowed the summit being held this weekend, with several leaders pulling out.


Although at least eight heads of state were originally due in Beirut, only the Somali and Mauritanian presidents were expected to come, a source in the committee organising the event said on Friday.


However, Lebanese President Michel Aoun's office said on Saturday that Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani had informed it he would come to lead the Qatari delegation.


Lebanon's Hezbollah, which fights alongside Assad, and its political allies including Aoun, have stepped up calls for rapprochement with Damascus, a move Doha has opposed.


With the lack of attendees at the summit, Lebanese newspapers ran despairing headlines on Friday.


"The Beirut shock ... a summit without heads of state," the country's oldest Arabic-language newspaper An-Nahar said.


The conference is set to discuss the digital economy, as well as a long-suggested project for an Arab free-trade zone.


Lebanon also hopes to put forward an initiative calling on countries in the region to help spread the burden of 1.5 million refugees living on its soil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


ALGIERS - Afrasianet - Abdelaziz Bouteflika is Algeria's longest-serving president and a veteran of its independence struggle, who has clung to power for two decades, despite years of ill health.


The 81-year-old head of state issued a decree on Friday setting April 18 as the date for the next presidential election.


Rarely seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013 that impaired his speech and left him confined to a wheelchair, Bouteflika has not confirmed whether he will seek a new mandate.


But many observers believe that he will seek a fifth term.


Even before his stroke, a year before the last presidential poll, Bouteflika had repeatedly marked himself out as a wily political survivor.
When he came to power, with the support of an army battling Islamist guerrillas, nobody expected him to stay in office for so long.


But “Boutef”, as many Algerians nickname him, was instrumental in fostering peace after a decade-long civil war in the 1990s.


‘‘I am the whole of Algeria. I am the embodiment of the Algerian people,’’ he said in 1999, the year he became president.


But he has had a long battle with illness, and frequently flew to France for treatment.


Known for wearing a three-piece suit even in the stifling heat, he gained respect from many for his role in ending the civil war, which official figures say killed nearly 200,000 people.


But he has also faced criticism from rights groups and opponents who accuse him of being authoritarian.


After his stroke, Bouteflika consolidated power in a country where the shadowy intelligence service has long been viewed as a ‘‘state within a state’’.


In early 2016, he dissolved the all-powerful DRS intelligence agency after dismissing its leader, Gen. Mohamed Mediene, known as ‘Toufik’, who had clung to the post for a quarter of a century.


Architect of peace


Bouteflika was born in Morocco on March 2, 1937 to a family from western Algeria.


At the age of 19 he joined the National Liberation Front in its struggle against the French colonial rulers.


When independence came in 1962, he was appointed minister of sport and tourism at the age of just 25, under Algeria's first post-independence president, Ahmed Ben Bella.


The following year he became foreign minister, a post he held for more than a decade.


But he was sidelined after the death of president Houari Boumediene in 1978 and went into self-imposed exile.


While he was abroad, the military-backed government cancelled the 1991 elections, which an Islamist party had been poised to win.


That sparked a decade of bloodletting.


Bouteflika returned from Switzerland in 1999 to stand for president, with the backing of the army, which saw him as a potential figure of reconciliation.


He proposed an amnesty for rebels who laid down their arms and twice secured public endorsement for ‘‘national reconciliation’’ through referendums.


The first, in September 1999, was a major gamble — but it paid off, leading to a sharp decrease in violence that helped propel Bouteflika to a second term in 2004.


A constitutional amendment was required to allow him to stand for a third term, which he won in 2009.


When the Arab Spring erupted in January 2011, Bouteflika rode out the storm by lifting a 19-year state of emergency and using oil revenues to grant pay rises.


His supporters argue that under his stewardship, public and private investment have created millions of jobs and dramatically lowered unemployment.


But a lack of opportunities and high youth unemployment continues to drive many Algerians to seek a better life abroad.


Uncertain future


In April 2013, the president was rushed to hospital in France after his stroke, and spent three months recovering.


He had already been hospitalised in Paris in 2005 because of intestinal problems, and in early 2006 spent a week undergoing post-operative medical tests at the same hospital.


In 2016, he flew abroad twice, to France and to Switzerland, for medical checks.


Bouteflika's decision to seek a fourth mandate in 2014 after 15 years in power sparked both criticism and derision from opponents, who questioned his ability to rule.


He did not even campaign, casting his vote from a wheelchair, but still officially won 81 per cent of the vote.


There has been constant speculation over his health and his fourth mandate has been marred by falling oil prices, exposing the country's heavy dependence on hydrocarbons.


Critics argue that uncertainty over Bouteflika's fitness for a fifth term — and speculation over possible successors — has paralysed the government.


Political commentator Rashid Tlemcani argues that the president ‘‘should have left office at the end of his second term, after securing national reconciliation and conquering the hearts of a large part of the population’’.


Jan 19,2019
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Playing host to an Arab economic summit, Lebanon also proposed creating an Arab bank to finance reconstruction in war-torn nations
 
Afrasianet - Lebanon urged world powers to step up efforts for Syrian refugees to return home regardless of a political solution to the conflict in its war-wracked neighbour, as it hosted an Arab economic summit


It also proposed on Sunday the creation of an Arab bank to finance reconstruction in Arab countries devastated by conflicts such as Syria and Yemen.


President Michel Aoun made the calls at the opening of the fourth annual Arab Economic and Social Development Summit, which was marred by the glaring absence of most Arab heads of state.


"Lebanon calls on the international community to make all efforts possible and provide suitable conditions for a safe return of displaced Syrians ... without linking that to a political solution," Aoun said.


There are currently 5.6 million Syrian refugees living in the region, including around one million born into displacement, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR.


Lebanon hosts some 1.5 million Syrians who have fled the civil war raging across the border.


Most live in extreme poverty and have placed an extra burden on Lebanon's fragile economy.


Despite some returns to slivers of Syria, the United Nations says the country as a whole remains still unsafe for civilians to return to.


The refugee issue was to be one of the main points on the agenda of this year's summit, and Aoun said he had put forward measures that would ease their return.


The "establishment of an Arab bank for reconstruction and development" of Arab countries devastated by conflict, would be one of them, he said.


'Summit without leaders'


Aoun also expressed his "regret" that most Arab heads of state had failed to attend the summit hosted by Lebanon and co-organised with the Arab League, saying they had "no excuse for their absence".


Only Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz were present on Sunday for the opening of the meeting, focused on economic development in the region


Aoun said he had hoped the summit would be a chance "to bring together all the Arabs and that there would be no empty seats ... but the obstacles were unfortunately stronger".


When Bashir met Bashar: Sudan's president visits Damascus to meet Assad


He was apparently referring to divisions in the run-up to the summit over whether Syria would be allowed to attend the annual meeting, the AFP news agency reported.


The Arab League suspended Syria's membership in November 2011 as the death toll mounted in its civil war, but several Arab states are seeking to restore ties with Syria President Bashar al-Assad after his forces made decisive gains in the conflict.


But nearly eight years into the war, which has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions, efforts to bring the government of Assad back into the Arab fold appear underway.


With backing from Russia and Iran, Assad's government has expelled various armed groups from large parts of Syria, and now controls almost two-thirds of the country.


On Friday, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil urged the Cairo-based Arab League to readmit Syria.


Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Thursday said Syria's return to the body was awaiting "Arab consensus".


In December, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir made the first visit by any Arab leader to the Syrian capital since 2011, and the United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus after closing it in 2012.


20 January 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Erdogan’s grand plan: Is Libya next?

  • What’s behind Turkey’s secret arms shipments to Libya?

  • Ending Syrian crisis Jordan's priority

  • New envoy stresses need for UN-backed solution to Syria war

  • Syria’s shadow hovers over Arab League summit in Lebanon

  • Lebanon foreign minister urges Arab League to readmit Syria

  • Algeria's Bouteflika — peace architect who has clung to power

  • Lebanon uses Arab summit to call for return of Syria refugees

  • Egypt, Jordan Stress Geneva Process to End Syrian Crisis

  • Diplomat to run business at embassy in Damascus

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