US calls for UN action against Iran over Yemen missile

The United States accused Iran on Tuesday of supplying Yemen’s Houthi rebels with a missile that was fired into Saudi Arabia in July and called for the United Nations to hold Tehran accountable for violating two UN Security Council resolutions. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said information released by Saudi Arabia showed the missile fired in July was an Iranian Qiam, which she described as “a type of weapon that had not been present in Yemen before the conflict.” Saudi-led forces, which back the government in neighboring Yemen, have been targeting the Iran-allied Houthis in a more than two-year war. Saudi Arabia’s crown prince on Tuesday described Iran’s supply of rockets to the Houthis as “direct military […]

Algerians obsessed with having a “male” child

According to established science, a foetus’ gender is determined at conception by chromosome carried by the male’s sperm. However, this message has clearly not sunken in for many fathers of daughters in Algeria. According to some men, it is their wives that is cause. In fact, many men become so disgruntled that they may seek divorce or marry a second wife. This is the height of injustice and patriarchy. A woman in Ein Bassam (governorate of Bouira) recently reported that this happened to her, while speaking in a court. She recounted details of her life to the judge after her husband refused to pay for food to her six daughters. “My husband divorced me more than a year ago because […]

Britain says Johnson comments do not justify more Iran charges against jailed aid worker

Britain said on Monday that comments by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson about jailed Iranian-British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe should not be used by the Islamic Republic to bring additional charges against her. Johnson told the British parliament’s foreign affairs committee last Wednesday that Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been teaching people journalism, a statement that the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charity organisation for which she works, said was incorrect. “Last week’s remarks by the Foreign Secretary provide no justifiable basis on which to bring any additional charges against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe,” a spokesman for the British Foreign Office said. “While criticising the Iranian case against Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the Foreign Secretary sought to explain that even the most extreme set of unproven Iranian allegations against […]

Saudi Arabia says Lebanon declares war, deepening crisis

Saudi Arabia accused Lebanon on Monday of declaring war against it because of aggression by the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah, a dramatic escalation of a crisis threatening to destabilise the tiny Arab country. Lebanon has been thrust to the centre of regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran since the Saudi-allied Lebanese politician Saad al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Saturday, blaming Iran and Hezbollah in his resignation speech. Saudi Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan said the Lebanese government would “be dealt with as a government declaring war on Saudi Arabia” because of what he described as aggression by Hezbollah. Faulting the Hariri-led administration for failing to take action against Hezbollah during a year in office, Sabhan said “there […]

Saudi-led forces close air, sea and land access to Yemen

The Saudi-led military coalition fighting against the Houthi movement in Yemen said on Monday it would close all air, land and sea ports to the Arabian Peninsula country to stem the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran. The move, which follows the interception of a missile fired towards the Saudi capital Riyadh on Saturday, is likely to worsen a humanitarian crisis in Yemen that according to the United Nations has pushed some seven million people to the brink of famine and left nearly 900,000 infected with cholera. “The Coalition Forces Command decided to temporarily close all Yemeni air, sea and land ports,” the coalition said in a statement on the Saudi state news agency SPA. It said aid […]

Saudi purge takes kingdom into unpredictable new era

The wave of arrests and ministerial changes in Saudi Arabia at the weekend has fundamentally transformed the structure of the state as it has existed since the 1960s. Saudi Arabia has practised a form of collective leadership since the death of the founder King Abdulazziz in 1953 and especially since the abdication of his son King Saud in 1964. The crown has descended among the younger sons of Abdulazziz, with each son and his family tending to control one element of the state. Prince Faisal and then his son controlled the foreign ministry for decades. Prince Sultan controlled the defence ministry; Prince Nayef, the interior ministry and security forces. Prince Abdullah controlled the National Guard, a well-armed militia recruited from […]

Trump praises Saudi purge, voices confidence in King, Crown Prince

US President Donald Trump on Monday endorsed a move by Saudi Arabia’s future king that tightened his grip on power through the arrests of royals, ministers and investors in an anti-corruption purge. The endorsement cemented a US-Saudi relationship that has improved dramatically under Trump’s presidency, partly because of both leaders’ vision of confronting Riyadh’s arch-rival Iran more aggressively in the region. Trump tweeted on Monday that he had “great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia” following the mass arrests – the biggest such purge of the kingdom’s affluent elite in its modern history. Trump also tweeted that “they know exactly what they are doing,” adding: “Some of those they are harshly treating have been ‘milking’ […]

Tunisia: Republican Party resigns from the government

The Tunisian Republican Party announced, Monday, that it is leaving the government of Youssef Chahed and accepting the resignation of Iyad Dahmani from its political body. The secretary-general of the party, Issam Chebbi, stated the reasons of the withdrawal to the impossibility of working within a government which is under pressure from an influential group in Nidaa Tounes. Chebbi said: “We refuse to participate in a government led by Hafedh Caid Essebsi.” He added: “We are afraid that Kasbah (the government) would succumb to the pressures of Lake of Tunis (Nidaa Tounes) and Montplaisir (Ennahdha) or else it would be toppled.” Chebbi stressed that: “This decision is due to a number of reasons, including the government’s position in favour of […]

‘Creeping Annexation’: Why Israel shelved the ‘Greater Jerusalem Law’

The postponing of an Israeli Knesset bill that would have annexed major illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank to the Jerusalem municipality is the result of behind-the-scenes US and, possibly, European pressure. But the story of the so-called “Greater Jerusalem law” does not end there. Israel wants to maintain an absolute demographic Jewish majority in Jerusalem, including in occupied and illegally annexed Palestinian East Jerusalem. There is enough support in the Knesset and among the public to ensure that coveted Jewish dominance. But the political balances, and possible drawbacks, are just too delicate and great for Israel to get exactly what it wants, even if there is a clear consensus among Israeli Jewish politicians and the public to permanently […]

Saudi Attorney General: Detained princes have been questioned

Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General said today detailed questioning of individuals detained on the back of an anti-corruption probe had taken place and “a great deal of evidence” had already been gathered. Dozens of people including royals, ministers and businessmen have been detained in an investigation by a new anti-corruption body headed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. “Yesterday does not represent the start, but the completion of Phase One of our anti-corruption push,” a statement by Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said. The investigations were done in a discreet manner, the statement said, “in order to preserve the integrity of the legal proceedings and ensure there was no flight from justice.” Read: Is Saudi’s Bin Salman tackling corruption or […]