Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Middle East

Newsline: Jordan king said to urge Israel to wrap up embassy shooting probe

King Abdullah II of Jordan met with representatives of American Jewish organizations in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, reportedly chiding Israel over the pace of an investigation into a deadly shooting at the embassy in Amman in July. Abdullah, who was accompanied by his wife Queen Raina, talked about efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, stressing the important role US President Donald Trump and the US Jewish community play in the process, the royal court said in a statement. According to the Israeli Walla news website, Abdullah also told the participants, who were not identified in the report, that Israel must conclude an investigation into the deadly shooting of one of its citizens by an Israeli embassy guard in Amman. The guard, Ziv Moyal, was stabbed by a Jordanian on July 23, whereupon he shot and killed the attacker along with a bystander, sparking a diplomatic crisis between Jerusalem and Amman. The entire embassy staff returned to Israel a day later, ater intensive diplomatic efforts to gain the guard’s release. Israel has launched a police probe into the deadly shooting but has yet to publicize its results. A source who was present at the meeting quoted Abdullah as saying he was pressing Israel to end the procedure soon — whether it finds Moyal guilty or innocent.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/jordan-king-said-to-urge-israel-to-wrap-up-embassy-shooting-probe/

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Newsline: Saudi government allegedly funded a ‘dry run’ for 9/11

Fresh evidence submitted in a major 9/11 lawsuit moving forward against the Saudi Arabian government reveals its embassy in Washington may have funded a “dry run” for the hijackings carried out by two Saudi employees, further reinforcing the claim employees and agents of the kingdom directed and aided the 9/11 hijackers and plotters. Two years before the airliner attacks, the Saudi Embassy paid for two Saudi nationals, living undercover in the US as students, to fly from Phoenix to Washington “in a dry run for the 9/11 attacks,” alleges the amended complaint filed on behalf of the families of some 1,400 victims who died in the terrorist attacks 16 years ago. The court filing provides new details that paint “a pattern of both financial and operational support” for the 9/11 conspiracy from official Saudi sources, lawyers for the plaintiffs say. In fact, the Saudi government may have been involved in underwriting the attacks from the earliest stages — including testing cockpit security. Lawyers representing Saudi Arabia last month filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which may finally be headed toward trial now that Congress has cleared diplomatic-immunity hurdles. A Manhattan federal judge has asked the 9/11 plaintiffs, represented by lead law firm Cozen O’Connor, to respond to the motion by November.

http://nypost.com/2017/09/09/saudi-government-allegedly-funded-a-dry-run-for-911/

Newsline: Two Turkish-Americans Plead Not Guilty in Embassy Brawl

Two Turkish-American men involved in a brawl at the Turkish Embassy earlier this year pleaded not guilty to assault charges in a Washington, D.C., courtroom Thursday. Sinan Narin of Virginia and Eyup Yildirim of New Jersey faced charges of felony aggravated assault as well as making assault threats. Court documents from Thursday indicate the men both entered pleas of not guilty and asked for a jury trial. Eighteen people, many of whom were members of the Turkish ambassador’s security detail, were indicted for allegedly attacking protesters outside the ambassador’s residence on May 16. All 18 were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, a felony punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison. Several faced additional charges of assault with a deadly weapon. D.C. police have arrested four suspects with U.S. addresses, including including Narin and Yildirim; but warrants are still out for 14 Turkish security officers. Another suspect — Ayten Necmi of New York — is due in court September 22, while the case of the fourth detainee, Jalal Kheirabaoi of Virginia, has been dismissed. The brawl took place outside the residence of Turkey’s ambassador to Washington shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House.

https://www.voanews.com/a/turkish-americans-appear-court-over-embassy-brawl/4019532.html

Newsline: Israeli embassy reopens in Cairo

Israel has returned its diplomatic staff to Egypt some eight months after its embassy’s closure. Whilst the Israeli Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the issue, airport officials anonymously informed reporters that Israeli Ambassador David Govrin flew back to Cairo last night with eight staff members. A large security motorcade escorted the diplomats to their offices in Giza. Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova, a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee who has been urging the return of the diplomats to Cairo, welcomed the move and expressed hope that the return of the embassy staff would “open a window for the expansion of the relations between the two countries in other fields, such as commerce and academia, which in recent years have almost completely disappeared.”

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170830-israeli-embassy-reopens-in-cairo/

Newsline: More arrests in U.S. after attack on protesters at Turkish embassy

A total of 19 people, including 15 identified as Turkish security officials, were indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. capital for attacking protesters in May 2017 during a U.S. visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The indictments charge the defendants with attacking peaceful demonstrators who had gathered on May 16 outside the home of the Turkish ambassador, awaiting Erdogan’s arrival after he had met with President Trump at the White House. All 19 defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, a felony punishable by a statutory maximum of 15 years in prison. Several face additional charges of assault with a deadly weapon. Sixteen of the defendants had already been charged on June 13; Tuesday’s indictment adds three new defendants, all Turkish security officials. Two of the defendants were arrested in June and face an initial court hearing on Sept. 7. The rest remain at large. Several are members of Erdogan’s security detail who returned with him to Turkey, so it is unclear if any will face legal repercussions in the United States. However, they could end up being threatened with arrest if they return to the U.S. If any are still in the country, they could be expelled if Turkey refuses to waive diplomatic immunity.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-arrests-in-attack-on-protests-at-turkish-embassy/

Newsline: Qatari ambassador resumes mission in Iran after 20-month hiatus

Qatar’s ambassador to Iran has officially resumed his diplomatic mission in the Islamic republic on Saturday, Tasnim news agency reported. Qatar’s ambassador to Iran Ali Bin Hamad al-Sulaiti returned to the Iranian capital Tehran on Friday after a 20-month hiatus. The Qatari Foreign Ministry said that it had decided to return its ambassador to Iran and expressed its aspiration to strengthen bilateral ties with Iran in all fields. Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi welcomed Doha’s decision, saying that “the decision is a logical and positive move by Qatar.” Qatar has withdrawn its ambassador from Iran in January 2016, after Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran, accusing the latter of failing to protect its embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad against demonstrators who had ransacked them.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-08/26/c_136557609.htm

Newsline: Qatar orders closure of Chadian embassy

Qatar ordered the embassy of Chad be closed and gave its diplomats 72 hours to leave, the Qatari foreign ministry said, accusing the African country of joining a “campaign of blackmail” with its decision to shutter the Qatari embassy. Qatar is involved in a row with four Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, over allegations that Doha supports terrorism. Qatar denies the charges. Chad said on Wednesday it was giving Qatari diplomats 10 days to leave the country, accusing Qatar of trying to destabilize the central African nation through its northern neighbor Libya. The director of the Qatari foreign ministry’s media department said the timing of the Chadian decision shows that it “comes within the campaign of political blackmail against the State of Qatar with the intention of joining the siege countries for very well known reasons”. Qatar refers to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt as the “siege countries” for imposing sanctions on it. Senegal said this week it had returned its ambassador to Qatar after having recalled him three months ago, in a bid to encourage a peaceful resolution to the feud.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-gulf-qatar-chad-idUSKCN1B42FK?il=0