Phil Leech


Source: Middle East Monitor

Dozens of supporters of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) in Sudan participated, on Tuesday, in a protest in front of the Public Prosecution headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, to demand the release of leaders of the party detained in connection with the 1989 coup plot.

Supporters of the PCP, founded by the late Hassan Al-Turabi, raised banners that read, “Where is the rule of law” and “Where are the freedoms?”

Protesters also chanted slogans such as “No to politicised justice,” “Try them or release them,” “Freedom  … Peace  … and Justice”, “Freedom for us and others,” reported the Anadolu Agency’s correspondent.

On 20 November 2019, the Public Prosecution Office in Sudan issued an arrest warrant against the Secretary-General of the PCP, Ali Al-Hajj, within the framework of the 1989 coup plot, which brought the ousted President Omar Al-Bashir to power.

On 12 December 2019, head of the PCP’s Shura council, Ibrahim Al-Senussi, was also arrested, followed by party leader Omar Abdel-Marouf, on 2 February, on the same charges.

Read: Missing Syrian activist arrested in Damascus

Member of the defence committee on behalf of the PCP leadership, Baroud Sandal, told the Anadolu Agency’s correspondent, on the sidelines of the protest, that

Source: Middle East Monitor

Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) has given companies listed on the country’s stock exchange, known as Tadawul, until the end of March to disclose its annual reports for 2019.

Local media recently reported that Saudi Aramco – world’s largest oil producer – was yet to announce its business and financial reports, while most of the country’s energy companies have incurred heavy losses, according to analysts.

 Arabi21 yesterday said that 14 Saudi companies had incurred billions in losses during 2019. It added that the state-owned petrochemical giant SABIC had incurred 5.630 billion Saudi riyals ($1.5 billion) in losses, marking 73.84 per cent decline in the company’s sales.

Read: Algerian President to go to Saudi Arabia in first state visit since election

SABIC’s CEO, Youssef Al-Bunyan, said his company had incurred 720 million Saudi riyals ($191.9 million) in losses during the last quarter of 2019 – the first in more than 10 years. He pointed out that the heavy losses were resulting from “a global decline in demand, high feedstock prices, and decrease in the petrochemical products’ prices.”

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia-led non-OPEC oil-producing countries agreed on last December to lower their collective output level

Source: Middle East Monitor

How is one to apply rational political analysis to what is inherently irrational? What kind of political theory must one consult to formulate and test hypotheses when the information at hand is so grizzly, sadistic, and reeking with unbearable contradictions?

Seeing the gaunt body of Mohammed al-Naem hanging from the blades of an Israeli military bulldozer near the fence, which separates besieged Gaza from Israel, left me speechless. There is nothing in the field of political science that can convincingly explain the logic of that heart-rending scene.

Read: Israel hangs dead Palestinian from bulldozer

Come to think of it, killing a Palestinian then dragging his lifeless body using the blades of a bulldozer, thus denying his family the dignity of burying their beloved son or daughter, is unique to Israel; an act that manifests itself in numerous ways every single day in occupied Palestine.

We often speak of Palestinian human rights – thus of Israel’s violation of these rights, of justice and peace – often contending that one is the prerequisite to the other. But how about humiliation, just for the sake of humiliation?

How about the purposeful degradation of Palestinian women and men who, daily, would have to navigate numerous

Source: Middle East Monitor

The leader of the Shi’ite Sadrist movement in Iraq, Muqtada Al-Sadr, yesterday threatened to return his Al-Mehdi Army into the country.

Addressing what he described as “radical Sunni political leaders who want to return the booby traps,” Al-Sadr said that the Mehdi army was “frozen and not cancelled,” warning it would “return again.”

Al-Sadr’s remarks came in an interview with Iraq’s Al-Sharqiya.

Read: Iraq man rapes, murders 8-year-old girl

Sadr disarmed his militia after former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s troops — backed by the United States (US) forces — defeated them in Baghdad and southern cities in 2008. His movement has since become a potent force in mainstream politics.

US and Iraqi security officials say Mehdi Army splinter groups still pose a security risk, emerging in the form of Shi’ite militia that Washington says are backed by Iran.

Source: Middle East Monitor

Fayez Al-Sarraj, Head of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA), expressed his uneasiness about the Arab League “inability” to hold a session to discuss the aggression launched by Khalifa Haftar on the capital, Tripoli.

This came in statements Al-Sarraj made on Monday, during his meeting with delegates and ambassadors of the Arab Group at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, on the sidelines of his participation in the work of the 43rd session of the Council.

Al-Sarraj said: “We have been pained by the position of the Arab League, which has been unable to hold a meeting at the delegate level to discuss the aggression launched against an Arab capital, and we protest against that, while (the Arab League) rushed to hold sessions on issues less severe and important than the Libyan crisis.”

He added: “But we are confident that many of the brothers are keen to achieve stability in Libya, and they will take a fair and effective stance.”

Read: Erdogan says two Turkish troops killed in Libya conflict

Al-Sarraj explained that he was keen to meet with officials from brotherly countries to talk frankly about the aspects of the Libyan crisis, “which constitutes part

Source: Middle East Monitor

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates demanded that international sanctions be imposed on Israel to force it to comply with international will and immediately end its occupation and settlement on State of Palestine territories.

In a statement on Tuesday 25 February 2019, on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the massacre of the Ibrahimi Mosque, the ministry referred to terrorist and armed organisations and militias spread throughout the occupied West Bank under the name of “paying the cost” imposed by Goldstein, the leader of the massacre and his ilk.

It also referred to the organised settlement societies that continue their aggressive work to Judaize and annex the largest possible area of the occupied Palestinian territory.

The ministry said that the Haram massacre and other crimes reflect the spread of hate culture and racism in Israeli society; thus, international sanctions against Israel are needed.

Read: UK hosts second conference for Palestinian medical teams

The ministry added that the memory of the massacre is sad due to its hideousness, whose political contexts continue in various forms.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates stressed that the international community’s feeble response to Israeli crimes is now encouraging the occupation

Source: Middle East Monitor

Iraqi authorities in the country’s northern governorate of Kirkuk yesterday suspended schools and universities across the province after detecting four confirmed new cases of coronavirus.

The country’s health ministry said in a statement that the four infected individuals were from the same family. “The ministry has banned any group events across Kirkuk for 15 days,” the statement added.

The ministry did not provide details about when school attendance would resume.

In a similar move, the local authorities at the Sulaymaniyah governorate were reported to have suspended schools “for 26 days as a precaution.”

Read: Iraq man rapes, murders 8-year-old girl

On Monday, the government authorities confirmed its first coronavirus case for an elderly Iranian national in the southern shrine city of Najaf.

The coronavirus first appeared in China for the first time on 12 December in the city of Wuhan, but Beijing officially revealed it in mid-January. It has sounded the global alarm with China reporting 2,592 deaths from the outbreak on Monday with over 77,000 confirmed cases.

Outside mainland China, the coronavirus has spread to more than 25 other countries, including the US, the UK, Singapore, France, Russia, Spain, and India.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international health emergency.

Source: Middle East Monitor

An Algerian court has ordered Mokhtar Reguieg, Chief of Protocol of the Presidency, to be held under temporary detention, as part of an investigation into corruption cases.

Reguieg is facing charges related to power abuse and smuggling subsidized commodities, in addition to violating the legislation and regulation on exchange and the movement of capital, as well as to granting unjustified privileges.

Read: Jewish ‘hero’ in US Hanukkah attack refused $20,000 reward over Zionism 

It is noteworthy that Requieg’s services as Chief of Protocol of the Presidency were terminated on 17 April 2019, in the context of the political changes that Algeria witnessed.

Since the resignation of former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika last April, the Algerian judiciary has opened a series of investigations into corruption cases against businessmen, politicians and former officials.

Source: Middle East Monitor

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided, on Monday evening, to continue bombing the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu made the announcement, via Twitter, following the security consultations he had with the Minister of Defence Naftali Bennett, Chief of Staff of the Army Aviv Kochavi, head of the Shin Bet security service, Nadav Argaman, and head of the National Security Council, Meir Ben Shabat.

In a related context, the Israeli army spokesman said, in a statement, that the Israeli forces launched new attacks, today, on sites belonging to the Islamic Jihad movement (PIJ) in the Gaza Strip, reported the Israeli Channel 13.

The spokesman said that Israeli fighter aircrafts targeted a military site belonging to the PIJ in Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, used for training and stockpiling weapons, in addition to another site in Bureij refugee camp, in central Gaza Strip.

Read: Beyond Israeli Elections: Israel at the Cusp of a Bleak Era

As reported by the Hebrew media this evening, rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards nearby Israeli towns and settlements, including Netivot and Ashkelon, without causing casualties.

Yedioth Ahronoth said that the rockets, which targeted the settlements of the so-called “Gaza Cover”, had not stopped since

Source: Middle East Monitor

Egyptian media denied yesterday what was published about implementing the death sentence against a former army officer Hisham Ashmawi after a military court convicted him of carrying out “terrorist attacks” against Egyptian police and army forces.

Yesterday morning, Saudi Arabian channel Al-Arabiya in addition to Egyptian media including the online website of the state newspaper Al-Ahram said that the execution of Ashmawy “took place inside the Cairo Appeal Prison in the presence of a number of prison authority leaders, a member of the public prosecution, a forensic doctor and a member of Dar El Iftaa.”

However, a few hours after the publication of that news, Egyptian media said the news was not true, and some even apologised for its publication, stressing that “inaccurate sources” had quoted the news.

Also, Al-Arabiya News channel quoted Egyptian official sources as saying that the death sentence of Hisham Ashmawi was not implemented.

Read: Saudi, Egypt, Bahrain to resume Qatar post services despite dispute

To date, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior has not issued any official statement regarding the implementation of the death sentence against Hisham Ashmawi.

On his part, human rights lawyer Khaled Al-Masry, who is the lawyer of Hisham Ashmawi, asserted that the family of Ashmawi has not been formally notified about his execution. “All that