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Palestinian Muslims protest as Jews visit the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem escorted by security forces on March 14, 2019. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP
March 21, 2019 - 18:23 GMT
At first, Israelis tried and succeeded using intimidation. Long after the 2003 decision to ban the use of the Bab Al Rahma (Gate of Mercy) site as office space for the Islamic Heritage Committee of Al Aqsa Mosque, run by activist Sheikh Raed Salah, the Israelis continued pressuring the Jerusalem Awqaf Department (endowment) to keep the location off limits. No explanation was given and the Jordanian-run Islamic awqaf would not challenge the decision in Israeli courts. Instead, Jordan used diplomatic efforts to get the decision reversed. For 16 years, the diplomatic track produced no results.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (C) listens to Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) during a House Education and Labor Committee Markup on the H.R. 582 Raise The Wage Act, in the Rayburn House Office Building on March 6, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP)
March 10, 2019 - 20:12 GMT
After the freshman representative’s controversial remarks and the ensuing firestorm over Israel, anti-Semitism, and other forms of bigotry, there is room for improvement all-around.
Taliban Fighters (AFP File Photo)
March 09, 2019 - 15:00 GMT
There are reasons galore to be skeptical about the current negotiations between the US and the Taliban, which have gone through multiple rounds in recent months. These reasons range from the Taliban’s refusal to let the Afghan government participate in the talks, to the fact that the insurgents’ strong battlefield performance gives them little incentive to stop fighting.
Hamza Bin Laden (AFP/File Photo)
March 07, 2019 - 20:29 GMT
The 15th son of Al-Qaeda former leader Osama Bin Laden has been dealt three painful blows in the past few days. The US State Department has offered one million dollars as reward for any information on Hamza Bin Laden’s whereabouts, the United Nations has named him a global dangerous terrorist, and the Saudi Arabian Official Gazette Umm Al-Qura announced last Friday that he has been stripped of his Saudi citizenship. Apparently, all three parties share the same viewpoint when it comes to Hamza’s role in the international terrorist organization, which he, as it seems, will lead, following in the footsteps of his father.
U.S. President Donald Trump congratulates his son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner after the swearing-in of senior staff at the White House. (AFP/ File Photo)
March 06, 2019 - 12:29 GMT
In his capacity as head of the US peace team in charge of the so-called “deal of the century”, Jared Kushner visited the Gulf region and Turkey last week. Obviously, the visit was part of an ongoing effort to market the project.
National and Liberation Days Kuwait (Twitter)
March 05, 2019 - 15:24 GMT
IT WAS not strange for half a million people to leave the country during the National and Liberation Days last week, heading to destinations where they found what they have been denied in their country.
Jordan PM Omar Razzaz (Twitter)
March 05, 2019 - 11:17 GMT
Optimism in the prime minister and his team has hit a new low. Documents leaked show that the government has appointed new employees with inflated salaries. This leakage has enraged a great number of Jordanians, whose cynical criticism pushed the prime minister to freeze the employment decisions.
March 03, 2019 - 12:42 GMT
There is a fascinating chapter toward the end of Alexis de Toqueville’s Democracy in America titled “What Kind of Despotism Do Democratic Nations Have to Fear?” in which the author attempted something truly extraordinary – to describe a social condition which humankind had never before encountered.
Ramses Station, Cairo (AFP)
March 02, 2019 - 15:00 GMT
Egypt is once again mourning the victims of a rail crash. Last Wednesday, a speeding train smashed into a concrete buffer at the end of Platform No. 6 at Ramses Station, the main railway station in Cairo. The engine’s fuel tank exploded on impact, according to the preliminary prosecution report.
General view of the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project in Nosari, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir’s Neelum Valley. (AFP/ File Photo)
March 02, 2019 - 11:08 GMT
After the terrorist attack on Indian troops in Kashmir two weeks ago that killed 40 Indian soldiers, but before Tuesday’s retaliatory air strikes across the border into Pakistan by the Indian air force, the Indian government did something unprecedented. It threatened to cut off Pakistan’s water. Or at least, it sounded like that.
By the summer of 2011 Riyadh believed that Assad’s departure was inevitable. /AFP
February 21, 2019 - 12:09 GMT
Fearing a power vacuum that would benefit Iran, GCC states are moving quickly behind the scenes to normalize relations with Syria, at the same time as competing between themselves.
US Vice President Mike Pence, Poland's President Andrzej Duda and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Warsaw summit (AFP)
February 18, 2019 - 15:47 GMT
This week’s US-led summit in Warsaw is the most significant event dedicated to discussing issues in the Middle East in a while, as it represents a shift towards the implementation of policies. Iran was a clear priority on the agenda for the US, which sent Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner to the summit with a blunt rebuke to the Europeans, who refused to send their top diplomats, for shielding their businesses from US sanctions on Iran.
US troops prepare to leave north Syria (AFP/File Photo)
February 18, 2019 - 15:15 GMT
Is there a way for the United States and its allies to remain in northeastern Syria, even after President Donald Trump’s pledged withdrawal of U.S. military forces there? Officials are struggling to devise such a “workaround” strategy, but it could carry more risks than keeping the existing advisory force.
Daesh: Have they really been driven out of Syria (AFP/ File Photo)
February 16, 2019 - 10:56 GMT
Last Wednesday, US President Donald Trump said: "It should be announced, probably sometime next week, that we will have 100 per cent of the [Daesh] caliphate." But others, mostly in Washington, will hasten to point out that Daesh is far from defunct as an organisation. It is losing the last of the territory it once held, but it carried out lots of terrorist attacks before it controlled any territory. It will continue to do so after it has lost it all again. You cannot ‘defeat’ terrorism; you can only contain it.
Iranians march towards Azadi Square during Monday's rally. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)
February 13, 2019 - 16:07 GMT
THE regime in Tehran is commemorating the 40th anniversary of toppling the Shah. This is happening at a time Iran is becoming more isolated – while its leaders continue to brag about occupying four Arab capitals, destroying both Israel and the United States of America, and engaging in space war through empty slogans which people in the region have by now become accustomed to.
Jordan Protests. (AFP/ File Photo)
February 12, 2019 - 13:11 GMT
Thus far, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz’s government has not measured up to the people’s expectations.