Sham Jaff
Last updated: 9 February, 2014

This week’s top Middle East news stories

Compensation from Israel to Turkey and Bassem Youssef back on the air. These were the top stories in the Middle East this week.

The UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs on Monday voiced disappointment over the international community’s failure to ensure safe passage for aid to civilians in conflict-torn Syria.

On the same day, Israel has offered Turkey $20 million in compensation to the families of those killed and wounded in its botched 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla and Iran’s heaviest snowstorm has blanketed provinces in northern Iran, cutting power supplies and trapping villagers – the last time this happened was five decades ago.

Two weeks ago Lakhdar Brahimi, the deputy to the United Nations’ Syria mediator said “Nobody is walking out, nobody is running away”. Last week he changed his mind and stepped down. The death toll is still rising.

Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz has announced that the chemical arsenal it inherited from Moamer Gaddafi has been destroyed completely – 10 years after the now slain dictator signed the Chemical Weapons Convention. Unfortunately in the same week, Libya’s former prosecutor general was shot dead by unknown attackers in the eastern city of Derna, the justice minister said, the latest in a series of assassinations that have plagued the country.

Iran agreed on Sunday to take seven more ‘practical steps’ with the UN nuclear watchdog in talks seeking further safeguards to enhance transparency on Tehran’s nuclear drive.

On a more lighthearted note…

Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef is back on air and mocking the personality cult surrounding army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, after his previous show was axed amid fears of growing intolerance for dissent.

And archaeologists working near the ancient settlement of Edfu, in southern Egypt, have uncovered a step pyramid that dates back about 4,600 years, predating the Great Pyramid of Giza by at least a few decades.

Also, we’re happy that this Saudi man has gotten rid of his ‘excruciating pain’ – turns out, causing it was a piece of paper lodged in his ear for almost 20 years that he used as a cheat sheet in school exams.