14 Kuwaiti Shiite fugitives flee to Iran: report

An Iranian flag flies near a surface-to-surface missile in an undisclosed location (AFP)
Updated 17 July 2017
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14 Kuwaiti Shiite fugitives flee to Iran: report

KUWAIT CITY: -Fourteen Shiite Kuwaiti citizens convicted of forming a cell with ties to Tehran have fled by sea to Iran, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported Monday.
Citing high-ranking security sources, the Al-Seyassah daily said the 14 men fled to Iran on speedboats hours after Kuwait’s supreme court sentenced them to lengthy jail terms for plotting attacks in the Sunni-ruled emirate.
Kuwait’s interior ministry was not immediately available for comment.
The supreme court last month overturned an acquittal by the appeals court and sentenced 21 defendants to jail, including one for life, for forming a cell with ties to both Shiite Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and for planning attacks in Kuwait.
The defendants who fled were not in custody prior to last month’s sentencing because they were freed after their acquittal by the appeals court last year.
Around a third of Kuwait’s native population of 1.35 million is Shiite.
Kuwait is leading mediation efforts in a regional crisis pitting Qatar against Saudi Arabia and its allies over accusations Doha is too close to Iran and funds Islamist groups.
Qatar has denied the allegations.


Minister’s ouster unlikely to slow Sudan’s push to get off US ‘terror’ list

Updated 20 April 2018
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Minister’s ouster unlikely to slow Sudan’s push to get off US ‘terror’ list

  • Ghandour was fired a day after he said in parliament that Sudanese diplomats abroad had not been paid in months.
  • Analysts say his sacking is not expected to derail ties between Khartoum and Washington.

Khartoum: President Omar Al-Bashir’s dismissal of Sudan’s foreign minister, Khartoum’s top negotiator with Washington, is unlikely to affect efforts to have Khartoum removed from a US “terrorism” blacklist, experts say.
On Thursday, Bashir sacked Ibrahim Ghandour, who headed negotiations with Washington that in October helped lift a decades-old US trade embargo on Khartoum.
His dismissal comes amid an economic crisis in the African country and his replacement, who has yet to be named, is set to inherit a complicated case load.
Ghandour, the first official to publicly raise concerns over Sudan’s economic crisis, was fired a day after he said in parliament that Sudanese diplomats abroad had not been paid in months.
But analysts say his sacking is not expected to derail ties between Khartoum and Washington, which have warmed since the sanctions were lifted.
“Ghandour’s loss will be felt, but his going won’t change Khartoum’s policy direction,” Magnus Taylor, Sudan analyst at the International Crisis Group, told AFP.
By dismissing Ghandour, Khartoum is not changing its “moderate” policy toward Washington, he said.
“Generally, Sudanese are focused on getting themselves out of the SSTL,” Taylor said, referring to Washington’s State Sponsors of Terrorism List.
Although Washington lifted sanctions imposed in 1997 over Khartoum’s alleged support of militant groups, it has kept Sudan on the blacklist along with Iran, Syria and North Korea.
Officials say the US terror tag prevents international banks from doing business with Khartoum, in turn hampering Sudan’s economic revival.
Ghandour had been pushing for Khartoum’s removal from the blacklist in a bid to obtain much needed foreign loans.
“He was useful for negotiations with the US because people thought they can deal with him as he was reasonable, eloquent and intelligent,” Taylor said.
“But Sudan will bring someone else who can do that kind of job.”