At least three are known to have occurred in or around Iranian nuclear facilities, and initial reports claimed that the latest explosion was at a missile depot belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Occurring over some ten days, they cannot be easily explained away. The regime is undoubtedly under attack. The question so far unanswered is, from whom?
Travellers entering Jordan must now wear an electronic bracelets to guarantee that they observe home quarantine against the spread of coronavirus. The policy took effect on 4 July.
Around 1,200 families belonging to the ancient Yazidi minority have returned to their home city of Sinjar, north-eastern Iraq, since June 2020. Following the Islamic State (IS) occupation of Sinjar in 2014, many Yazidis have been living in makeshift camps in Sharya, north Mosul, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
More than 190,000 work permits have been issued to Syrian refugees in Jordan, said Jordan’s Minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs, Ayman Safadi, at the recent IVth Brussels Conference on Support for the Future of Syria and the Region.
On 25 June 2020, fourteen members of the Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah (KH) were going about their usual nefarious business. On this occasion they were setting up rocket attacks on Baghdad airport and the US embassy. Much to their astonishment, troops from Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) arrested them. The security forces then proceeded to raid KH headquarters, seize rockets and detain three leaders of the group.
On 1 July 2020, Egypt announced the resumption of international tourism in three coastal governorates – Marsa Matrouh, South Sinai and Red Sea. This is considered to be the first step in a phased reopening of the tourism industry after a 3-month closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The hiring by Saudi Arabia of an international public relations firm to counter doubts about Mohammed bin Salman’s $500 billion USD dream of a futuristic city on the Red Sea suggests that the kingdom’s economic and financial crisis has not dampened his penchant for big ticket, high-profile projects.
On 30 June 2020, the UN raised a total of $7.7 billion in humanitarian aid for Syria at the virtual UN donor conference on Syria in Brussels, Belgium.
Syria has been devastated by more than nine years of war that has displaced half of the country’s population. The war in Syria has killed more than 400,000 people and sparked a refugee exodus to neighbouring countries and Europe.
China was quick to aid coronavirus-stricken Sri Lanka. Chinese magnanimity and speed in responding to the Indian Ocean Island’s request contrasted starkly with Beijing’s more measured response to Africa’s needs, widely expected to be the pandemic’s next hotspot.