Arab League calls for Houthis to be classified terror group

Arab League calls for Houthis to be classified terror group
Houthi militia in Sana’a, Yemen, Aug. 1, 2019. (Getty Images)
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Updated 24 January 2022

Arab League calls for Houthis to be classified terror group

Arab League calls for Houthis to be classified terror group
  • The league affirmed its support for “the UAE’s right to self-defense and to respond to aggression under international law”
  • The league also welcomed the UN Security Council’s “unified position” in condemning the Houthi attacks

CAIRO: The Arab League has urged the international community to classify Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia as a terrorist organization after last week’s missile and drone attacks on the UAE.

The call followed an emergency meeting of the Arab League on Sunday to discuss the “brutal and vicious terrorist attack on civilians and civilian targets.”

It said the attacks “constitute a violation of international law and international humanitarian law, and a real threat to vital civilian facilities, energy supplies and the stability of the global economy.

“They also constitute a threat to regional peace and security, undermine Arab national security, harm international peace and security, and pose a threat to international commercial shipping lines.”

The meeting welcomed the solidarity of countries, as well as regional and international organizations, with the UAE.

The Arab League also welcomed the UN Security Council’s “unified position” in condemning the Houthi attacks.

The meeting affirmed the league’s support for “the UAE’s right to self-defense and to respond to aggression under international law.”

It stressed “the need for the international community to stand united in the face of this terrorist act that threatens regional and international peace and stability, and to take immediate and decisive measures to deter the Houthi militias, in order to stop their repeated criminal acts in Yemen and the region.”


Turkey tightens foreign citizenship investment from June

A general view of residential and commercial areas in Ankara, Turkey. (REUTERS)
A general view of residential and commercial areas in Ankara, Turkey. (REUTERS)
Updated 13 sec ago

Turkey tightens foreign citizenship investment from June

A general view of residential and commercial areas in Ankara, Turkey. (REUTERS)
  • Amid widespread criticism of skyrocketing house prices in the country, which has hit Turkish nationals the most, the government recently raised the amount that foreigners must invest in property in order to become eligible for citizenship

ANKARA: A price hike for foreigners seeking citizenship through real estate investment is the latest attempt by the Turkish government to ease the country’s financial woes.

The move is estimated to help Turkey overcome its current account deficit and change the profile of foreign investors.

“Only up to June 3 you can apply for Turkish citizenship by investing $250,000. Obtain a Turkish passport and citizenship in the most prestigious projects in Istanbul,” a popular advertisement reads.

Amid widespread criticism of skyrocketing house prices in the country, which has hit Turkish nationals the most, the government recently raised the amount that foreigners must invest in property in order to become eligible for citizenship.

Accordingly, any foreign national who buys real estate worth at least $400,000 — raised from $250,000 in the previous legislation — can get Turkish citizenship. The money should be deposited to a Turkish bank, and the house should not be sold for three years.

Foreign nationals who fulfill this condition, as well as their spouses and children below 18, automatically receive Turkish passports.

The purchase of housing by foreigners is expected to ease Turkey’s widening current account deficit and support the real estate sector, as well as construction companies.

Turkey’s budget deficit tripled in April compared with the previous year and the fiscal gap reached 50.2 billion liras ($3.23 billion). The country also posted a current account deficit of $5.5 billion.

Foreign nationals who join the private pension system with at least $500,000 or foreign equivalent and stay within the system for three years are also entitled to obtain Turkish citizenship.

Foreign businessmen who provide employment opportunities for 50 people in Turkey or those depositing $500,000 to Turkish banks without withdrawing it for three years can also get Turkish citizenship, according to the amended law.

The legislative change will apply from June 13.

For the moment, Russians, Ukrainians and Gulf nationals are the top clients in the Turkish real estate sector, and are buying up property in southern resort towns and Istanbul.

Russians also established a record number of companies — 64 — in March, quadrupling the figure from the previous month.

The number of houses sold in Turkey to foreign buyers soared 58 percent annually, according to official data. Russians topped the foreign buyers’ list with 1,152 houses. They were followed by Iranians and Iraqis, who bought 905 and 714 houses, respectively.

To facilitate sales, Turkish banks also began opening ruble-based accounts.

From January to April, residential property sales to foreigners increased by 49 percent, reaching 20,791 units.

“As the amount of investments required for citizenship was reduced from $1 million to $250,000 over the last four years, there is an increased demand for acquiring Turkish citizenship. But increasing it to $400,000 will also improve the foreign investors’ profile in Turkey,” said Selen Kolan-Imir, an attorney specializing in citizenship law.

However, experts note that the growing interest in the Turkish real estate market by foreigners risks increasing housing prices to uncontrollable levels.

The depreciation in the Turkish lira has also made Turkey’s real estate market more appealing to foreign investors.

“Rather than asking people to invest in real estate, there is a need to encourage foreigners to generate employment opportunities or open innovative startups to result in long-term advantages for the Turkish economy,” Kolan-Imir told Arab News.

With the increased number of foreign children as a result of Turkish citizenship investments, the country should also provide new educational and social facilities, she added.

“Recently there is a surge of private international schools that are opened for foreign children who are living in Turkey with their families or for those who become a new Turkish citizen.”

Bulut Bagci, president of the World Tourism Forum Institute, said that offering citizenship through investment is common in Europe, and that Turkey is choosing to follow a similar path.

“Compared to the similar cases in Europe, especially in the UK, this amount is still low. However, it will support tourism in Turkey and increase tourism revenues, because people who buy a house will visit the country frequently and go to the touristic destinations,” he told Arab News.

However, last month, some opposition lawmakers submitted a motion to parliament for a temporary ban on property sales to foreigners.

Bagci added that foreign nationals who receive Turkish citizenship should be encouraged to take part in the tourism sector by buying hotels and other facilities.

“Following prolonged conflicts in its neighborhood, Turkey needs tourism revenues to meet its foreign exchange needs. My only concern is that the purchase of houses should not be made open to abuse as it needs to be monitored closely with a strict regulation. I have heard so many cases where people sell their houses after getting citizenship to take benefits from this sector,” he said.

After the government recently revealed a new package to provide cheaper housing loans, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that property prices in Turkey should be tightly monitored.


One killed in renewed anti-coup protests in Sudan

One killed in renewed anti-coup protests in Sudan
Updated 21 May 2022

One killed in renewed anti-coup protests in Sudan

One killed in renewed anti-coup protests in Sudan
  • The victim, who was not identified, died as a result of "a bullet to the chest" in the capital's twin city of Omdurman
  • Saturday's protests came after thousands took to the streets Thursday to oppose the power grab

KHARTOUM: Sudanese security forces killed one protester on Saturday during renewed demonstrations against a military takeover that derailed a transition to civilian rule last year, medics said.
The victim, who was not identified, died as a result of “a bullet to the chest” in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman, the pro-democracy Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said in a statement.
The latest death brings to 96 the toll from a crackdown on anti-coup protests which have taken place regularly since the October 25 military putsch led by army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, the committee said.
Saturday’s protests came after thousands took to the streets Thursday to oppose the power grab, mainly in Khartoum but also elsewhere, renewing demands for civilian rule.
About 100 people were injured during Thursday’s demonstrations, according to the doctors’ committee.
At the same time two leading anti-coup figures from Sudan’s Communist Party were arrested. They were released on Friday.
The United Nations, along with the African Union and regional bloc IGAD, have been pushing to facilitate Sudanese-led talks to resolve the crisis after the latest coup in the northeast African country, one of the world’s poorest.
But civilian forces have refused to enter negotiations involving the military, while Burhan has repeatedly threatened to expel UN envoy Volker Perthes, accusing him of “interference” in the country’s affairs.
In late March Perthes said Sudan was heading toward “an economic and security collapse” unless its civilian-led transition was restored.


Kuwait ministry captures Iranian ship with 240 tons of smuggled diesel: report

Kuwait ministry captures Iranian ship with 240 tons of smuggled diesel: report
Updated 21 May 2022

Kuwait ministry captures Iranian ship with 240 tons of smuggled diesel: report

Kuwait ministry captures Iranian ship with 240 tons of smuggled diesel: report

DUBAI: Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior has seized an Iranian ship carrying 240 tons of smuggled diesel, a report by Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV said Saturday. 

The ministry said it has seized the ship in territorial waters and has arrested its crew members, who were Iranian. 

It said the Iranian ship crew were buying fuel from smaller ships at certain prices. 

The ministry also said an investigation is underway to reveal all the circumstances of the smuggling incident. 


Israeli forces gun down 17-year-old social media activist

Israeli security forces clash with Palestinians in Jerusalem. (AFP file photo)
Israeli security forces clash with Palestinians in Jerusalem. (AFP file photo)
Updated 8 min 15 sec ago

Israeli forces gun down 17-year-old social media activist

Israeli security forces clash with Palestinians in Jerusalem. (AFP file photo)
  • Jenin refugee camp has served as a flashpoint amid recent tensions following a wave of attacks

RAMALLAH: A 17-year-old Palestinian boy was killed and another teenager was critically wounded by Israeli military forces who raided the Jenin refugee camp at dawn on Saturday.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Amjad Al-Fayed died after being shot by the Israeli army.

Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition during violent confrontations with youths on Haifa Street. Local Palestinian sources in Jenin reported that army vehicles had tried to advance toward the outskirts of the camp.

Al-Fayed was the nephew of two previous victims of Israeli barbarity. Their names are associated with the “ambush of the 13 soldiers” in Jenin during a battle in April 2002.

Palestinian sources reported that a march was launched in front of Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin as soon as the killing of Al-Fayed was announced.  Mourners carried his body and roamed the city's streets and its camp. They chanted slogans condemning the crimes of the Israeli occupation and called for strengthening national unity.

Later, large crowds in Jenin attended the teen's funeral and condemned Israeli atrocities.

Palestinian national and Islamic factions in Jenin called for reinforcing national unity to confront Israel's excesses.

The speakers stressed that Israel's crimes would not intimidate the Palestinians and “they would continue to resist until the occupation was defeated.”

A general strike was also observed in Jenin to express anger over Al-Fayed's killing.

Jenin Gov. Maj. Gen. Akram Rajoub told Arab News: "Al-Fayed, who was targeted and killed, was a young man who did not carry a weapon but was active on social media and in the ‘Wasp's Nest’ group, which conveys news of Jenin and the Israeli attacks against it, and they may have killed him for that reason.”

He said that many of those killed by the Israeli army in Jenin were not carrying weapons.

“We cannot understand what the Israelis want except to inflame people's anger and the continuation of attrition and killing to achieve Israel's goals and policy of prolonging its rule for as long as possible at the cost of Palestinian blood.”

Four Palestinians, including Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, have been killed by Israeli forces in the last two weeks. An Israeli soldier was also slain, and four soldiers and settlers were wounded.

With Al-Fayed's death, the number of Palestinian victims of Israeli brutality in Jenin and its camp has reached 20 since the beginning of 2022.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the Israeli army has killed 55 Palestinians in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, since the start of this year.

In recent weeks, the Israeli armed forces, which have occupied the West Bank since 1967, have intensified their military operations in Jenin, especially in its camp, claiming that armed Palestinian factions are active there.

The incursions happen primarily during dawn and are interspersed with clashes between soldiers and Palestinian resistance fighters.

Last week, 13 Palestinians were wounded during an operation launched by the Israeli forces in the camp, in which a Palestinian and an Israeli soldier were killed.

PLO Executive Committee member Hussein Al-Sheikh welcomed the US State Department's call for a comprehensive and transparent investigation into the assassination of Abu Akleh after the Israeli decision to close her investigation file.

Earlier, 55 US Congressmen had signed a petition calling on the FBI to probe the circumstances of her death.

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Israeli missile strikes kill 3 near Syria capital: state media

Israeli F35 I fighter jets take part in an air defence exercise in Eilat. (AFP file photo)
Israeli F35 I fighter jets take part in an air defence exercise in Eilat. (AFP file photo)
Updated 21 May 2022

Israeli missile strikes kill 3 near Syria capital: state media

Israeli F35 I fighter jets take part in an air defence exercise in Eilat. (AFP file photo)
  • Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes there, targeting government positions as well as bases and weapon depots for allied Iran-backed forces and fighters of Lebanon’s Shiite militant group Hezbollah

DAMASCUS: Israeli surface-to-surface missiles killed three people near the Syrian capital Damascus on Friday, state media said quoting a military source.
“The Israeli enemy carried out an aggression... that led to the death of three martyrs and some material losses,” Syria’s official news agency SANA quoted the source as saying.
The missiles came from the Israeli-occupied Golan heights and were intercepted by the Syrian air defenses, the military source said.
AFP correspondents in the Syrian capital said they heard very loud noises in the evening.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said that the three people killed were officers and that four other members of the air defense crew were wounded.
The Israeli strikes targeted Iranian positions and weapon depots near Damascus, the monitor said.
A fire broke at one of the positions near the Damascus airport, where ambulances were seen rushing to the site of the strikes, according to the Observatory.
The latest strike follows one on May 13 that killed five people in central Syria, and another one near Damascus on April 27 which, according to the Observatory, killed 10 combatants, among them six Syrian soldiers, in the deadliest such raid since the start of 2022.
Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes there, targeting government troops as well as allied Iran-backed forces and fighters of Lebanon’s Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
While Israel rarely comments on individual strikes, it has acknowledged carrying out hundreds of them.
The Israeli military has defended them as necessary to prevent its arch-foe Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep.
The conflict in Syria has killed nearly half a million people and forced around half of the country’s pre-war population from their homes.