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Telecom Egypt   11.48        GMC GROUP FOR INDUSTRIAL COMME   1.29        Modern Company For Water Proof   1.03        Ismailia Misr Poultry   2.45        El Arabia for Investment & Dev   0.34        Pioneers Holding   2.84        Ezz Steel   7.86        Egyptian Real Estate Group   6.85        Rakta Paper Manufacturing   4.39        Orascom Telecom Holding (OT)   3.92        Naeem Holding   0.19        Egyptian Iron & Steel   6.87        Northern Upper Egypt Developme   4.93        Canal Shipping Agencies   7.39        Misr Chemical Industries   5.65        United Arab Shipping   0.43        Egyptians Housing Development    1.94        Universal For Paper and Packag   4.94        Egyptian for Tourism Resorts   0.69        Egyptian Financial Group-Herme   7.42        Orascom Construction Industrie   240.82        Modern Shorouk Printing & Pack   7        Upper Egypt Contracting   0.8        Heliopolis Housing   21.65        Raya Holding For Technology An   4.57        United Housing & Development   8.93        International Agricultural Pro   2.1        Gulf Canadian Real Estate Inve   18.08        Alexandria Pharmaceuticals   45.71        Arab Cotton Ginning   2.46        Egyptian Chemical Industries (   7.26        National Real Estate Bank for    11.84        Six of October Development & I   15.03        National Development Bank   6.72        Oriental Weavers   20.66        Arab Gathering Investment   16.29        Egyptians Abroad for Investmen   2.75        Credit Agricole Egypt   9.04        Palm Hills Development Company   1.61        Remco for Touristic Villages C   2.13        Commercial International Bank    29.87        El Ezz Porcelain (Gemma)   1.9        Egyptian Starch & Glucose   5.4        Arab Real Estate Investment (A   0.41        South Valley Cement   3.12        Citadel Capital - Common Share   2.5        Rowad Tourism (Al Rowad)   5.05        Union National Bank - Egypt "    3.25        Ceramic & Porcelain   2.88        El Nasr Transformers (El Maco)   4.78        Egyptian Media Production City   2.31        GB AUTO   27        Sharkia National Food   3.78        Egyptian Transport (EGYTRANS)   7.85        El Kahera Housing   4.97        El Shams Housing & Urbanizatio   2.45        Egyptian Kuwaiti Holding   0.7        ARAB POLVARA SPINNING & WEAVIN   2.11        Cairo Poultry   8.32        Egyptian Financial & Industria   8        T M G Holding   4.03        Asek Company for Mining - Asco   10.66        Misr Hotels   27        Egyptian Electrical Cables   0.56        Medinet Nasr Housing   22.51        Mena Touristic & Real Estate I   1.21        ELSWEDY CABLES   18        Prime Holding   0.91        Al Arafa Investment And Consul   0.17        Alexandria Spinning & Weaving    0.74        Gharbia Islamic Housing Develo   8.41        General Company For Land Recla   16.6        Alexandria Cement   8.9        Arab Valves Company   0.94        Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals   12.4        TransOceans Tours   0.09        Egyptian for Developing Buildi   6.43        Egyptian Gulf Bank   1.24        Kafr El Zayat Pesticides   18.19        Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt -   35.1        National company for maize pro   11.86        Delta Construction & Rebuildin   4.03        Zahraa Maadi Investment & Deve   48.25        Samad Misr -EGYFERT   3.52        Egypt for Poultry   1.41        Cairo Development and Investme   11.7        Cairo Pharmaceuticals   20.1        Maridive & oil services   0.9        Suez Canal Bank   3.75        Nile Pharmaceuticals   15.81        The Arab Dairy Products Co. AR   73.85        National Housing for Professio   14.39        El Ahli Investment and Develop   4.87        Egyptian Saudi Finance Bank   10.79        Ismailia National Food Industr   5.16        National Societe Generale Bank   25.52        Acrow Misr   19.16        Alexandria Mineral Oils Compan   63.63        Paper Middle East (Simo)   5.59        Egypt Aluminum   12.31        Giza General Contracting   13.12        Middle Egypt Flour Mills   5.82        Extracted Oils   0.6        Assiut Islamic Trading   4.56        Engineering Industries (ICON)   3.95        North Cairo Mills   15.3        Arab Pharmaceuticals   11.88        Grand Capital   5.38        El Ahram Co. For Printing And    10.68        Minapharm Pharmaceuticals   25.49        El Arabia Engineering Industri   13.52        El Nasr For Manufacturing Agri   9.71        Naeem portfolio and fund Manag   1.7        Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt -   6.76        Natural Gas & Mining Project (   68.26        Housing & Development Bank   13.95        East Delta Flour Mills   31.5        Orascom Development Holding (A   3.22        Memphis Pharmaceuticals   11.12        Abou Kir Fertilizers   134.23        Delta Insurance   5        Cairo Investment & Real Estate   12.18        Cairo Oils & Soap   12.98        Egyptian Arabian (cmar) Securi   0.36        Egyptian Real Estate Group Bea   15.56        Alexandria Containers and good   85.51        Upper Egypt Flour Mills   45.78        Development & Engineering Cons   9.94        Sinai Cement   15.18        Medical Union Pharmaceuticals   28.01        Torah Cement   24.2        Alexandria New Medical Center   46.55        Export Development Bank of Egy   5.04        Egyptian Company for Mobile Se   92.02        Middle & West Delta Flour Mill   32.7        El Kahera El Watania Investmen   4.18        Mansourah Poultry   12.41        Delta Sugar   11.04        Misr Beni Suef Cement   41.21        Egyptian Satellites (NileSat)   6.14        Cairo Educational Services   17.75        Lecico Egypt   7.55        Sharm Dreams Co. for Tourism I   5.3        General Silos & Storage   10.77        Al Moasher for Programming and   0.66        UTOPIA   5.28        Arab Ceramics (Aracemco)   25.4        Barbary Investment Group ( BIG   0.98        

News - MENA News

Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-04-17 07:37:49
Opposition activists accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces of a new poison gas attack in the Syrian capital on Wednesday, posting footage of four men being treated by medics.  They said the chemical attack, the fourth the opposition has reported this month, was in the Harasta neighborhood. Reuters could not independently verify the footage or the allegation due to restrictions on reporting in Syria.  Activists posted a video on YouTube on Wednesday of four men being treated with oxygen. A voice off-screen gave the date and said Assad's forces used "poison gas in Harasta." It did not say if there were fatalities. The face of one of the men appeared to be covered in vomit. He was shown shaking and moaning as doctors treated him.  The voice off-screen said chemical weapons were also used in Harasta on Friday. A U.N. inquiry found in December that sarin gas had likely been used in Jobar in August and in several other locations, including in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Ghouta, where hundreds of people were killed.  More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-04-16 07:54:27
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will meet on Wednesday to try to extend peace talks beyond an April 29 deadline, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday.  The two sides will meet despite Israeli anger at the killing of an off-duty Israeli policeman in the occupied West Bank on Monday on the eve of the Passover Jewish holiday. The policeman's wife and a child were wounded. "They're going to be meeting again tomorrow," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "The parties are working on determining if there's a path to extend the negotiations for a period of months past April 29th."  Asked about the killing, Psaki urged both sides "to exercise restraint and avoid any actions that would raise tensions." The peace talks appeared on the verge of collapse this month when Israel refused to carry out a promised prisoner release and the Palestinians signed on to 15 international conventions.  Israel called off the prisoner release unless it received assurances the Palestinian leadership would continue the talks past the deadline. In response, the Palestinians signed the treaties, including the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war and occupations, a defiant assertion of statehood that surprised the United States.  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who revived the peace talks in July after a nearly three-year hiatus, has sought to place the onus on the two sides for continuing the negotiations. The main issues in the more than six-decade conflict include borders, security, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the future of Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their capital. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-04-14 07:55:17
For three years, residents of Syria's Mediterranean provinces have watched from their coastal sanctuary as civil war raging further inland tore the country apart, killing tens of thousands of people and devastating historic cities. But a three-week-old offensive by rebel fighters in the north of Latakia province, a bastion of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite minority, has brought the battle ever closer and shattered that sense of relative security. Rebels are now fighting in the hills overlooking the sea, bringing the country's main port of Latakia within their range - rocket-fire killed eight people in one barrage on the city a month ago - and Syria's coast feels under real threat. "They can erase us, even those of us who support them," said a young Alawite woman as she drank coffee with her fiance in a Latakia cafe, 50 km (30 miles) south of where have rebels seized their first toehold on Syria's coast, by the Turkish border. While many Alawites, roughly 10 percent of Syria's 23 million people, have actively supported Assad, others sympathized with the popular revolt against him in 2011 but now fear reprisals from his mainly Sunni Muslim enemies. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-04-13 09:04:17
For three years, residents of Syria's Mediterranean provinces have watched from their coastal sanctuary as civil war raging further inland tore the country apart, killing tens of thousands of people and devastating historic cities. But a three-week-old offensive by rebel fighters in the north of Latakia province, a bastion of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite minority, has brought the battle ever closer and shattered that sense of relative security. Rebels are now fighting in the hills overlooking the sea, bringing the country's main port of Latakia within their range - rocket-fire killed eight people in one barrage on the city a month ago - and Syria's coast feels under real threat. "They can erase us, even those of us who support them," said a young Alawite woman as she drank coffee with her fiance in a Latakia cafe, 50 km (30 miles) south of where have rebels seized their first toehold on Syria's coast, by the Turkish border. While many Alawites, roughly 10 percent of Syria's 23 million people, have actively supported Assad, others sympathized with the popular revolt against him in 2011 but now fear reprisals from his mainly Sunni Muslim enemies. Memories of a rebel offensive in August, when scores of Alawite villagers near Latakia were killed by radical Sunni Islamists and foreign jihadists, heighten tensions in the bustling streets of the city of 400,000. Even as Assad, 300 km to the south in Damascus, sounds ever more confident of holding on [ID:nL6N0N13ZT], the chaotic ebb and flow of civil war has intruded even into this most sheltered part of the state, while the hunt for spies and traitors and losses suffered by Assad loyalists continue to sour daily life. Even before the bombardments started to encroach on the once peaceful city, the cost of Syria's war was plain from the daily funeral processions for fallen soldiers and pro-Assad militia. "Everyone here has been sending their sons to fight the war in other parts of Syria, and every day we hear the sirens and funerals of those soldiers," said Yasmin, a woman in Latakia who has been active in opposing Assad. But the arrival of the war on its doorstep has, she said, unnerved the city: "We thought that we were somewhat invincible, as if the rebels would never reach us. But that's not true". Yasmin said school buildings have filled up with Alawite refugees who fled villages further north to take shelter in the city - a common sight elsewhere but a new phenomenon on the coast: "Now they're like so many other displaced Syrians." WITHIN RANGE The fighting which has brought fear to Latakia started three weeks ago when rebels moved in from Turkey and seized the border crossing at the Armenian Christian village of Kasab - the last crossing point from Turkey into government-controlled territory. They also captured a small beach nearby to give them their first beachhead on Syria's 250 km of Mediterranean coastline - a symbolic though militarily insignificant gain. They battled Assad's forces for control of hilltops that include a satellite communications post known as Observation Point 45. Nervous Latakia city residents say heavy artillery fire could easily strike them from that vantage point. "It's not going to matter if you're with them or not," said a young dentist, speaking in the city centre. "The mortars won't make a distinction. And if the rebels come down here, they won't take time to distinguish between who's with them and who's not." As elsewhere in the tortuous, grinding war that has already killed 150,000 people, there is no indication that the fighting in Latakia marks any decisive shift in the broader conflict. The streets of Latakia are as busy as ever, even if only one ship was visible in the harbor in the first week of April - in ordinary times it handles dozens. On Thursday afternoons, bus tickets out of Latakia sell out fast as college students who board at the local university return home for the weekend. But authorities in the port, which is also a hub for the U.N.-backed international operation to ship out Syria's chemical weapons arsenal by the end of the month, appear anxious. Two months ago, they shut down Internet connections from cafes and other public places along the entire coast, apparently to prevent communications that evade surveillance. One cafe owner in Tartous, a city 40 km north of the Lebanese border which also hosts a Russian naval base, said he had protested in to the authorities about being forced offline. "They told me when people go online from a public place, they can't trace that person like they trace people who surf the net from home," he said. At frequent government checkpoints along the main coastal highway, armed men scrutinize ID cards for clues to travelers' religion and political sympathies. Most security personnel and senior military officers on the coast hail from local Alawite villages, and have a keen eye for spotting outsiders. "What are looking scared about?" barked one armed state security patrolman at a nervous college student on a public bus travelling between Latakia and Tartous. He took the young man's document to "float it" - check it in a computerized system for outstanding warrants or summonses from any of Syria's numerous intelligence agencies. The process takes a few moments, but can feel like an eternity - since the uprising, many people have been detained after their papers were "floated", or have simply disappeared. Local people say they have begun to see Iraqi Shi'ite militiamen along the coast, apparently boosting the ranks of the Syrian military. Iraqis, who speak a distinctive dialect, have joined those from Lebanon's Hezbollah as well as advisers and commanders from Shi'ite regional power Iran in aiding Assad. This correspondent saw unarmed men wearing military fatigues with Shi'ite insignia strolling around several Syrian coastal towns and speaking with Lebanese accents. Alawites consider themselves an offshoot of the Shi'ite branch of Islam. COMMUNAL VIOLENCE The death last month of Hilal al-Assad, a cousin of the president, has added to the new feeling of vulnerability among government loyalists in the coastal provinces. The man, who led the local branch of the National Defense Force militia, died three weeks ago in a battle near the Turkish border with Islamist rebels - the first member of the extended ruling family to be killed since a bombing in Damascus in 2012. Rumors of rebel atrocities against Christians in the ethnic Armenian town of Kasab, circulated among the Armenian diaspora abroad, have added to the febrile atmosphere further down the coast - despite efforts by rebels to disprove the allegations. Communal violence has become a feature of the war. When two people from the ethnic Turkmen community were found dead in a park in Latakia last month, their killing was widely seen as a revenge attack by Alawites for perceived Turkmen support for the rebels and their ties with Assad's enemy Turkey. Sunni neighborhoods on the coast are being increasingly targeted by security forces hunting rebels, residents say. Young men are detained and taken away for interrogation in facilities where rights groups say many have been tortured and killed. On the coast road near Tartous last week, a white minibus drove by escorted by three government vehicles mounted with machineguns. Inside the van, were about a dozen, mostly young, men. Their arms appeared to be shackled behind their backs. Several had their eyes covered by blindfolds. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-04-08 07:41:23
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators on Tuesday ended another U.S.-mediated session with no sign of a breakthrough in efforts to save peace talks from collapse but an Israeli official said they agreed to meet again. In a statement about the latest discussions, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: "Gaps remain but both sides are committed to narrow the gaps." The U.S.-brokered negotiations, which began in July, plunged into crisis last week after Israel, demanding a Palestinian commitment to continue talking beyond an April 29 deadline for a peace deal, failed to carry out a promised release of about two dozen Palestinian prisoners. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded by signing 15 global treaties, including the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war and occupations, on behalf of the State of Palestine, a defiant move that surprised Washington and angered Israel. Israeli Foreign Minister Avidgor Lieberman, speaking on Israel Radio on Tuesday, said Abbas would have to reverse that step in order for the prisoner release to be re-addressed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened unspecified retaliation in response to the signings. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-03-30 16:36:31
Iran has named a member of the militant group that held 52 Americans hostage in Tehran for 444 days to be its next ambassador to the United Nations. The Iranian government has applied for a U.S. visa for Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran’s former ambassador to Belgium and Italy, who was a member of the Muslim Students Following the Imam’s Line, a group of radical students that seized the U.S. embassy on Nov. 4, 1979. Imam was an honorific used for Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic Revolution. Relations between the Islamic Republic and the U.S. and its allies are beginning to emerge from the deep freeze that began when the self-proclaimed Iranian students overrun the embassy and took the hostages. The State Department hasn’t responded to the visa application, according to an Iranian diplomat. A controversy over Aboutalebi’s appointment could spark demands on Capitol Hill and beyond during this congressional election year for the Obama administration to take the unusual step of denying a visa to an official posted to the UN. It also could hamper progress toward a comprehensive agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program, which the U.S. and five other world powers are seeking to negotiate with Iran by July 20. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani chose Aboutalebi to serve at the UN, which is headquartered in New York City on international, soil after the interim nuclear deal was forged last Nov. 24. Compensation Issue “There’ll not be any rapprochement with Iran until hostages are compensated for their torture,” said Tom Lankford, an Alexandria, Virginia-based lawyer who’s been trying to win compensation for the hostages since 2000. “It’s important that no state sponsor of terror can avoid paying for acts of terror.” Anyone connected with the hostage-takers shouldn’t get a U.S. visa, said a former hostage and U.S. diplomat. He requested anonymity to avoid renewed attention. Aboutalebi has said he didn’t take part in the initial occupation of the embassy, and acted as translator and negotiator, according to an interview he gave to the Khabaronline news website in Iran. “On a few other occasions, when they needed to translate something in relation with their contacts with other countries, I translated their material into English or French,” Aboutalebi said, according to Khabaronline. “I did the translation during a press conference when the female and black staffers of the embassy were released, and it was purely based on humanitarian motivations.” He referred to the release of some embassy staff members during the first few weeks of the crisis in November 1979. Photo Displayed Although Aboutalebi downplays his involvement, his photograph is displayed on Taskhir, the website of the Muslim Students Following the Imam’s Line. Taskhir can mean both capture and occupation in Persian. According to Mohammad Hashemi, one of the students who led the occupation of the embassy, Iran’s revolutionary government sent Aboutalebi and Abbas Abdi, another architect of the occupation, as emissaries to Algiers. The Algerian capital at that time was a mecca of third-world liberation movements, including the Palestine Liberation Organization. Hamid Babaei, a spokesman for the Iran’s UN Mission in New York, declined to comment. “We don’t as a matter of practice comment on visa applications.” said Marie Harf, deputy State Department spokeswoman. “People are free to apply,” and the U.S. has a process to review all visas, she said. Asked if the U.S. is aware that Aboutalebi was a member of the hostage-taking group, Harf declined to comment. No Speculation “Anyone can submit a visa application, and it will be evaluated as we do all visa applications, in accordance with our procedures,” she said. “We don’t speculate on what the outcome might be.” The U.S. is obliged to grant entry visas to representatives of UN member-states in accordance with an agreement signed in 1947. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir decided not to attend last year’s General Assembly session after not receiving a response to his visa application from the State Department. Bashir is subject to outstanding arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and referral for trial in The Hague. While the U.S. isn’t a party to the ICC, the court has asked American authorities to surrender Bashir if he enters U.S. territory. Abkhazia Dispute Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin accused the U.S. of denying a visa for Abkhazia’s then-foreign minister Sergei Shamba in 2007, when he sought to attend a Security Council meeting. Then-National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack, now a vice president of Chicago-based Boeing Co. (BA), said Shamba withdrew his visa request before the U.S. made a decision on his application. The U.S. doesn’t recognize Abkhazia as an independent territory because it broke away from Georgia in 2008. Some U.S. foes have received visas in the past, said Gary Sick, the top Iran expert on President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council staff during the hostage crisis. “All kinds of leaders from Cuba to Africa who could be accused of horrible crimes and opposing U.S. policies have received visas,” Sick said. “There is no way to know why some people get the visa and some don’t.” Some of the students who took the hostages formed the backbone of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, according to the book “Guests of the Ayatollah,” by Mark Bowden. Others have had extended political careers. Masoumeh Ebtekar, a former spokeswoman for the hostage-takers, is a vice president in Iran under Rouhani and head of the Department of Environment. Others fell out of favor amid shifting political developments in Iran. Abdi, one of the first to enter the embassy compound, became the editor of reformist newspaper Salaam, which was shut down in 1999. He was sentenced to five years in prison in 2003, and released in 2005. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-03-29 08:08:06
The United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos on Friday urged Syria's government to end needless restrictions on access to areas where besieged Syrians are in desperate need of aid after three years of civil war. She also voiced concern about opposition groups, especially those such as al Qaeda-linked extremist al Nusra, which has said it will not allow foreigners to operate in Syria. "The administrative arrangements that have been put in place for clearance for our convoys are quite convoluted," Amos told Reuters in an interview after briefing the U.N. Security Council about how much-needed aid is still not reaching many in Syria. She said different procedures applied to aid convoys involving multiple agencies and those of individual agencies, making it difficult for aid workers to deliver relief supplies. And even when the Syrian government approves deliveries, it can still be difficult to reach besieged areas. "Even if we have the agreement of the government in Damascus, we have examples of individuals on the ground that support the government...who will prevent us from crossing certain checkpoints or prevent us from delivering aid." More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-03-26 11:56:24
Arab leaders openly feuded over the region's most intractable problems at their annual summit on Tuesday, particularly the inability to resolve Syria's civil war and anger at Qatar for its support of the Muslim Brotherhood. A day of speeches at an opulent Kuwaiti royal palace painted a picture of an Arab leadership crippled by divisions. The Arab world's latest fault lines are surfacing three years after Arab Spring revolts swept the region, removing autocratic leaders in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia and collapsing into interminable war in Syria. The revolts empowered Islamist groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, though the group is now reeling after Egypt's military last summer removed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The region's two powerhouses — Saudi Arabia and Egypt — have declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization. They, along with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar to protest against its support of the group and what they call its meddling in their internal affairs. In the summit's first day, the Saudi Crown Prince, Kuwait's ruler and Egypt's president pushed for a joint approach to terrorism, saying it posed an imminent danger to regional security. The calls amounted to a way to pressure Qatar, which supports the Brotherhood, is home to many of its leaders and is accused by its Gulf neighbors of arming Islamic militants among the Syrian rebels. Egypt's interim president, Adly Mansour, called for Arab interior and justice ministers to meet before June to draft guidelines for what every nation must do to confront terrorism. The implication was that Qatar will be held to any guidelines that emerge — and could face isolation or reprisals if it failed to meet them. In a clear dig at Qatar, Mansour called for the extradition of wanted individuals — a reference to Brotherhood figures — and the "rejection of providing them with shelter and support in any form." Qatar's leader, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, fired back in his own opening address. Tamim called on Egypt to start a "comprehensive political dialogue" to achieve stability. The comment was a veiled criticism of the fierce crackdown on the Brotherhood waged by the military-backed interim government since Morsi's removal. The Brotherhood, which denies being a terrorist organization, says the government is trying to crush it as a political rival. More than 16,000 people have been arrested and hundreds killed in the crackdown, and most of the Brotherhood's leadership — including Morsi — is jailed and facing trials. Tamim also showed differences with Iraq's Shiite prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who recently accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia of supporting Sunni militants in Iraq. Tamim criticized the Iraqi government of discrimination against the country's Sunni minority, which often complains of being excluded from power by the Shiite majority. Iraq saw a wave of Sunni protests the past year, and Sunni extremists have seized control of the western city of Fallujah. "It's about time for Iraq to emerge from the vicious circle of violence and differences," Tamim said. "That cannot come about through the sidelining of entire segments of society or accusing them of terrorism if they demand equality and inclusion." Al-Maliki stayed away from the summit. Vice President Khudeir al-Khuzaie, also a Shiite, led Iraq's delegation. Addressing the summit late on Tuesday, he rejected Tamim's charges and insisted that Iraq was a democratic nation that respected the rights of its ethnic and religious factions. "We will never give up the freedoms we have struggled to win," he said. Another split came with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The Qatari leader renewed calls for an Arab mini-summit to resolve differences between the militant group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and Abbas's Western-backed Fatah group in the West bank. Qatar supports Hamas. In his own speech to the summit hours later, Abbas snubbed the Qatari ruler. He poured lavish praise on Saudi Arabia for what he called its generous financial aid to the Palestinians — and made no mention of a proposal by Qatar's Tamim to set up a $1 billion fund to help the Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem. Tamim said the resolution to set up the fund adopted a year ago was never implemented, so Qatar will go ahead to set it up on its own with $250 million from its coffers. Qatar, a tiny but petro-rich Gulf nation, as well as a U.S. ally and home to one of Washington's largest military bases abroad, has in recent years played an outsized role in Arab affairs, spearheading efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis, mediating in some of Sudan's internal conflicts and attempting to gain influence in Libya and Egypt. Qatar's backing of the Muslim Brotherhood has infuriated Saudi Arabia, other Gulf nations and Egypt. Qatar was a strong supporter of Morsi during his year in office in Egypt. The Egyptian government accuses the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television network of inciting violence and backing Morsi's supporters since his ouster. Saudi Arabia is also angered by what it believes is Qatari support to Shiite rebels in Yemen, an impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation that is of strategic significance to the kingdom. At the summit, the Arab leaders also sounded notes of despair over the bloodshed in Syria. Arab League chief Nabil Elarabi said a negotiated settlement to the conflict remained out of reach. He warned that the civil war was proving "disastrous" for the entire region, threatening the security of Syria's neighbors. The representative of the Syrian opposition in the summit decried that he was not given Syria's seat, as was the case in last year's summit in Qatar. He also made a desperate plea for more Arab aid. "Let me say quite frankly that keeping Syria's seat empty in your midst sends a clear message to Assad that he can kill and that the seat will wait for him to resolve the war," said Ahmad al-Jarba. It is not clear why the summit did not give the opposition Syria's seat this year — despite strong support for it to do so by Saudi Arabia and its allies. "We are puzzled that we don't see the delegates of the (opposition) coalition taking the Syria seat ... we hope that this will be rectified," Crown Prince Salman, representing Saudi Arabia in place of King Abdullah, told the gathering. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-03-25 08:36:51
The Arab League represents 21 states and about 350 million people. Some of the member states own a good part of the world's natural oil reserves - a good base for power and influence. But the league is split. Civil war in Syria, destabilization in Lebanon, the faltering Israeli-Palestinian peace process: there is no lack of problems in the region. When Arab League heads of state get together for their annual summit on March 25 in Kuwait, they will have plenty to discuss. But relations between member states are anything but relaxed. "Improving the atmosphere among the Arab states is of utter importance," Nabil al-Arabi, the League's secretary general, declared ahead of the gathering. Pressure on Qatar Criticism is focussed on the small emirate of Qatar. In early March, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates decided to withdraw their ambassadors to Qatar. "The emirate's foreign policies no longer correspond to the size of the country," said Josef Janning, a Mideast expert at the "That's why, at the moment, everyone is zeroing in on Qatar." Doha's strong support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and other "revolutionary states" is at the root of the problem: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAR accuse Qatar of interfering in other Arab states' domestic affairs. The other Gulf States are doing their best to contain the Brotherhood's influence. They regard the populist Islamist movement as a threat to their own authoritarian rule. Saudi Arabia classifies the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. "The Saudis expect Qatar to give in," Janning said, adding however that so far, a change of heart is not in sight. "The battle lines are more or less drawn." Split on Syria The League's member states are also not of one mind where Syria is concerned. In 2011, the pan-Arab bloc opposed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and put Syria's membership on hold. But Saudi Arabia and Qatar support different wings of the opposition and supply arms to different brigades within the opposition, itself in disarray. The League even disagrees on important issues such whether to involve the US and Russia, as well as cooperation with western states, Janning said. This disunity makes the bloc weak, he added. The League and Lebanon How to react as the conflict spreads to neighboring states like Lebanon? This is yet another issue that has split the League, Janning said. The civil war in Syria has further exacerbated the discrepancies between the religious groups in Lebanon. A few Lebanese Sunnis support parts of the Syrian opposition, and Syrian opposition fighters resort to Lebanon as an area of retreat. The Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah supports Assad, and Hezbollah militia fight on the side of the Assad regime in Syria. The violence is spilling over. There has been fighting between Assad's supporters and opponents, and there have been quite a few bomb attacks. "The League should take resolute action to stabilize Lebanon," Janning said. Lebanese President Michel Sleiman still hopes for more assistance from the Arab League. Sleiman plans to expand the country's relatively weak military forces. The country also needs help providing for the more than 900,000 registered Syrian refugees. Observers estimate that even more Syrians have fled to Lebanon than the official number. One issue the summit is most likely to agree on is Palestine. The Israeli government demands that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has refused to do so. Earlier this month, the Arab League foreign ministers backed Abbas, putting the blame for the stagnating peace talks squarely on Israel. Lacking in leadership Egypthas traditionally been the Arab League's leading country. "The country was a link between the various currents within the Arab League," Josef Janning said, adding that the upheaval in Egypt has put an end to that leadership position. And a successor is not in sight at present. "A forceful Saudi leadership might be in a position to unite the Arab League once again," he said. "But the Saudis aren't currently ruled by a dynamic generation." Leaderless, disunited and without much influence in the region's conflict zones: is there any hope for a more constructive role for the bloc? "Essentially, the Arab leaders shy away from responsibility," said Janning skeptically, adding that they would much prefer to follow another country's lead. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-03-25 08:09:20
In a lecture entitled “The Middle East in search of a new collective security system” at the British University in Egypt, Miguel Moratinos, former Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and former EU envoy to the Middle East, discussed the challenges that face the Middle East’s new collective security system. Moratinos started his lecture by stating that the Middle East needs to move forward and use a new collective security system that could provide a different approach to solving problems, avoiding conflict, and bringing prosperity and dignity to people living in Middle Eastern states. The Arab-Israeli conflict obstructs the path to collective security: “In this part of the world, we have many wars, yet people know how to make peace, Middle Eastern states are pioneers in diplomacy and taught the rest of the world what diplomacy really is” Moratinos stated. “They have the capacity to work out any kind of crisis, using diplomacy” Moratinos said. However, since the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948, the complexity and gravity of the region’s issues have changed. “To be frank with all of you, due to the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is very hard to search for a new secure collective security system that will benefit of all the parties and nations in the region” Moratinos added. More»