Your Middle East staff
Last updated: 7 September, 2012

This Week’s Newsbrief: 7 September 2012

The tensions between Iran and Israel continue to evolve with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu asking for “a clear red line” in order to avoid war over Iran’s controversial nuclear program. In the US, several senators voiced concerns over the Iranian support to the Syrian regime while the Iranian Revolutionary Guard denounced the US naval presence in the Gulf and stated that Iran was the only country that could secure the Gulf.

The situation in Syria remains dire and fighting in Aleppo continued to rage during the week. The international community frequently discussed the situation but no imminent solution was presented; the Arab League condemned the violence but denounced crimes against humanity, Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan called Syria a “terrorist state”, Russian President Putin called for a reassessment of Western and Arab countries’ position on the situation while France and Britain joined forces and demanded a faster transition from Assad’s regime to a new government. The number of refugees continued to grow, which made Jordan call for 700 million dollars in aid in order to cope with the 240.000 refugees who have crossed the Jordanian border since the start of the conflict.

In Gaza, an Israeli airstrike killed three Palestinians on Wednesday and another strike the day after raised the death toll to six. The attacks “were targeted at a group of terrorists” according to an Israeli military spokesperson. It was also declared that Israeli officials are to meet with the Bulgarian government next week to discuss the bus bombing on July 18th.

In Iraq, the security situation deteriorated with several deadly attacks during the week in the northern area of the country.

The Lebanese raged over the ban on smoking in public areas, while the Dixon football camp assembled 200 refugee children between the age of 6 and 17 for four days of football and it was announced that The Melkite Greek Catholic Church leader will ask the pope to recognise the Palestinian state when he arrives next week for his first visit to Lebanon.

In Egypt, President Morsi continued to voice his support for the Syrian opposition and the Egyptian satellite operator, Nilesat, chose to drop the Syrian state channel as a result of a recommendation from the Arab League. Egypt’s economic situation remains uncertain but the country received good news on Thursday when it was announced that Qatar will invest 18 billion dollars in the country.

In Bahrain, the government continues to sentence opposition figures, which was criticised by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

A Libyan official stated that eight candidates would join the race of becoming Libya’s new Prime Minister, culminating in an election on the 12th of September.

Saudi Arabia have pledged 3.25 billion dollars in aid to Yemen, which makes the Kingdom the largest donor to the poorest nation in the Middle East. The World Bank gave a grant of 400 million dollars along with several pledges from other countries and organizations such as the US, the EU, IMF and the Arab Monetary Fund.

On Thursday, the long awaited alliance between the Australian airline Quantas and the UAE airline Emirates was announced. “This agreement represents a step-change for the aviation industry,”said Qantas chief Alan Joyce.