Archive for Middle East
Kuwait has denied claims that embassy staff beat a Turkish air force pilot in a road rage incident in Ankara. The country’s ambassador to Turkey, Abdullah Al-Duwaikh, denied allegations that Major Hakan Karakus was attacked in front of his wife and baby. The pilot, who had recently returned to Ankara from a NATO exercise, claimed he was taking his six-day-old infant to hospital to be vaccinated on Thursday when he was nearly involved in an accident with a Kuwaiti diplomat’s car in an upmarket district of the capital. Four men got out of the Kuwaiti car and allegedly attacked him. It is said that passersby had to intervene to prevent the officer, who was treated in hospital for his injuries, being more seriously hurt. “It is opposite of what you heard,” said Al-Duwaikh. “There were not four guys in the car, there were just our diplomat and his driver.” Al-Duwaikh claimed the diplomat was going to the bank when Major Karakus blocked his car’s path. “The bank’s security camera, security personnel and workers there are witnesses,” the ambassador said. “He kicked the diplomat’s car, there are pictures, so security told our diplomat not to leave the bank.” Al-Duwaikh also said the accused diplomat did not touch Major Karakus, accusing the flyer of involvement in blackmail. Turkish media reported that the pilot had filed a criminal complaint.
A Colombian man is being investigated for posing as a Lebanese diplomat after giving lectures on the Middle East and advising the Colombian military under a false identity, local media reported. Jeyson Puello, a resident of the northeast city of Valledupar, was using diplomatic papers with a UN seal to pass himself off as Jason Ali Hakim Abdullaziz Al Nayb, supposedly a high-ranking diplomat and former Lebanese foreign minister, news reports said. Despite his perfect Spanish and ordinary clothing, Puello managed to get into official meetings and establish a network of army contacts under the assumed identity. But a curious colonel who noticed the “diplomat” always arrived at meetings on foot contacted the Lebanese embassy in Bogota. “There’s no person by that name,” he was told in a letter printed in newsweekly Semana. The letter called on Colombian authorities to investigate and try the “imposter.” Police caught Puello by sending a fake invitation to “the honourable ambassador.” He was briefly detained but has been released pending further investigation. Puello had two diplomatic accreditations, one from the Colombian foreign ministry and another identifying him as the Lebanese ambassador, said daily newspaper El Tiempo. The Colombian foreign ministry declined to comment. The incident comes 50 years after a seminarian in Neiva, in central Colombia, passed himself off as India’s ambassador, living a lavish life until the ruse was discovered. The episode inspired the 1987 film “El Embajador de la India” (The Indian Ambassador).
Poland temporarily closed its embassy in Baghdad over security concerns in Iraq, which has been plagued by Islamic State militants. “Following the worsening of the security situation in Iraq, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has decided to temporarily suspend the activities of the Polish embassy in Baghdad as of September 9,” the ministry said in a statement. It added that its consular agency in Iraq’s Arbil – the seat of the Kurdish regional government – would remain open.
Saudi Arabia issued orders to shut down its embassy in Sana’a and evacuate Saudi nationals from Yemen, due to the country’s volatile security situation. “Orders were given to shut down the Saudi embassy in Sana’a and evacuate all officials and employees in the embassy until the situation in Yemen improves,” the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan cited an anonymous high-ranking Saudi diplomat as saying. “The charge d’affairs [acting ambassador] at the Saudi Embassy to Yemen, Haza’a Al-Mutairi, along with 50 other Saudi nationals working in the embassy left Sana’a,” said the diplomat. The embassy’s closure follows growing tensions between the Yemeni government and Houthi protesters in Sana’a who are calling for a new government and the reinstatement of fuel subsidies. The closure of the embassy affects Yemeni residents who want to get visas to work in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal inaugurated his country’s largest embassy in the Egyptian capital Cairo. The well-equipped building is built on a 45,000 sq.m. in the heart of Al-Giza province. For his part, Prince Saud Al-Faisal expressed thanks to the Egyptian government officials for the facilities they extended to the concerned bodies to fulfill their obligations to make this building a reality on time.
New Zealand ambassador to Israel Jonathan Curr has been rejected by Israeli officials because the diplomat was reportedly accredited to the Palestinian Authority. According to reports, Curr was scheduled to travel to Israel within the week to present his official documents to Israeli President Reuven. When Curr revealed he was also planning to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, Israel had expressed its disagreement to the said meeting. Israeli ministry officials told Curr he acted against diplomatic protocol. Israeli paper Haretz reported that the new Kiwi ambassador had to cancel his trip for Israel. The rejection may spark a diplomatic row between New Zealand and Israel. New Zealand does not have an embassy in Israel because its relations are maintained in its embassy in Ankara covering several nations in the region. According to reports, New Zealand’s ambassador to Turkey serves as a non-resident diplomat to Israel and visits Jerusalem for monthly meetings. Curr’s visit to Ramallah was not supposed to be a full presentation of his credentials since New Zealand does not recognise Palestine as a state. He was only to give a letter of introduction containing his appointment as New Zealand’s ambassador who also maintains ties with the Palestinian Authority. When Israel’s Foreign Ministry heard of the news, it accused Curr of diplomatic protocol violation. Israel strictly observes rules that prevent an ambassador to gain credentials from both Israel and the Palestine Authority. Israeli officials said that unless Curr will remove his “dual credentials,” he will not be allowed to act as ambassador to Israel. Reports said Curr was surprised to learn of Israel’s rejection since his two predecessors have served as ambassador to Israel and the Palestine Authority without any objection from the officials. He was informed that the previous New Zealand ambassadors who served before him presented their credentials to Abbas without Israel’s knowledge. The Foreign Ministry suggested a low-ranking diplomat from New Zealand’s embassy in Turkey should be the one to present the credentials and handle ties with Palestine. The suggestion had allegedly insulted Curr who told officials they should not be telling New Zealand how to handle its diplomatic affairs.
While President Obama has stepped up efforts to address the growing threat of the Islamic State, Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said the group is still aiming to take over Iraq, and has its eyes set on the country’s capital. “ISIS is a major threat to this country — in the future and right now — to the entirety of Syria and Iraq, and the expanding caliphate,” she said on State of the Union. “I think where they’re going is to Baghdad — it s my belief they will try to attack our embassy.” Feinstein commended President Obama for taking further action, even if it took longer than it should have. “It is overdue, but the president is now there, and I think it’s the right thing for America,” she said.