DUBAI: World leaders have offered their condolences after the UAE announced the death of its President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed on Friday.
US President Joe Biden paid tribute to Sheikh Khalifa, saying he “was a true partner and friend of the United States.”
He continued: “We will honor his memory by continuing to strengthen the longstanding ties between the governments and people of the United States and the United Arab Emirates.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Sheikh Khalifa, adding he was a “wise and respected leader who will be missed enormously“
I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi. pic.twitter.com/mwHerhwEiG
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed said the UAE lost “righteous son and leader” after death of Sheikh Khalifa.
"Khalifa bin Zayed, my brother, my mentor and my teacher, may God have mercy on you with his vast mercy and allow you into his paradise," he wrote.
إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون .. فقدت الإمارات ابنها البار وقائد "مرحلة التمكين" وأمين رحلتها المباركة.. مواقفه وإنجازاته وحكمته وعطاؤه ومبادراته في كل زاوية من زوايا الوطن.. خليفة بن زايد، أخي وعضيدي ومعلمي ، رحمك الله بواسع رحمته وأدخلك في رضوانه وجنانه.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, ruler of Dubai, offered his deepest condolences on Twitter, bidding farewell to the country's leader.
بقلوب يعتصرها الحزن .. وبنفوس مؤمنة بقضاء الله وقدره .. ننعى راعي مسيرتنا .. ورئيس دولتنا الشيخ خليفة بن زايد آل نهيان لشعب الإمارات وللشعوب العربية والإسلامية وللعالم .. اللهم إنه حط رحاله عندك .. فأكرم وفادته.. ووسع مدخله .. وإجعل مثواه الفردوس الأعلى من الجنة .. آمين pic.twitter.com/j1bbuHnC1h
"The UAE and the world have lost a wise leader loyal to his people and his nation who devoted his life since the establishment of the union to serve the Emirates," wrote Anwar Gargash, diplomatic advisor to the UAE president, on Twitter.
فقدت الإمارات والعالم قائداً حكيماً وفياً لشعبه وأمته نذر حياته منذ تأسيس الاتحاد لخدمة الإمارات وإعلاء شأنها، نسأل الله أن يتغمد الشيخ خليفة بن زايد آل نهيان بواسع رحمته ورضوانه وعزاؤنا في قيادتنا الرشيدة لمواصلة مسيرة الخير والتنمية والازدهار. pic.twitter.com/9WhAQ6cL0I
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said that he “mourns one of the most precious men and one of the greatest leaders, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.”
El-Sisi continued to say that the UAE leader was known for his giving nature, offering abundantly to his nation and people.
أنعى بخالص الحزن والأسى رجلًا من أغلى الرجال، وقائدًا من أعظم القادة، الشيخ خليفة بن زايد آل نهيان، رئيس دولة الإمارات، الذي وافته المنية بعد رحلة طويلة من العطاء، قدم فيها الكثير لبلاده وأمته، حتى صارت الإمارات نموذجًا للتطور والحداثة في منطقتنا والعالم.
The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Nayef Al-Hajraf, said, “with the departure of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, we lost a Gulf and Arab leader and pioneer.”
Meanwhile, leaders of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan Morocco, Iraq, France, Oman, Palestine and Turkey, as well as the heads of the Arab Parliament, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, also sent their condolences as the UAE mourned his death.
Kuwait, along with several other countries, announced three days of mourning with all ministries and government departments closing, with the flags at half-mast for 40 days.
Commenting on the tragic loss was the US Embassy in the UAE, which released in a statement that Sheikh Khalifa was a true friend of the United States.
Cyberattack forces Iran steel company to halt production
The state-owned Khuzestan Steel Company said in a statement that experts had determined the firm was unable to continue operations “due to technical problems and will be closed until further notice” following “cyberattacks”
Updated 27 June 2022
DUBAI: One of Iran’s biggest steel companies said on Monday it was forced to halt production after being hit by a cyberattack, apparently marking one of the biggest such assaults on the country’s strategic industrial sector in recent memory.
The state-owned Khuzestan Steel Company said in a statement that experts had determined the firm was unable to continue operations “due to technical problems and will be closed until further notice” following “cyberattacks.” The company’s website appeared to be out of service.
A local news channel, Jamaran, reported that the attack failed to cause any structural damage to the steel mill since the factory happened to be non-operational at the time due to an electricity outage.
The company did not blame any specific group for the assault, which constitutes just the latest example of an attack targeting the country’s services in recent weeks. Iran has previously accused the United States and Israel for cyberattacks that have targeted and crippled the country’s infrastructure.
Khuzestan Steel Company, based in Ahvaz in southwestern Iran, has a monopoly on steel production in Iran along with two other major state-owned firms. Founded before Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, the company for decades afterward had some production lines supplied by German, Italian and Japanese companies.
Iran says ‘ball in US court’ for revival of 2015 nuclear deal
The statement comes amid expectations that talks to save the pact will resume soon after the top EU diplomat’s trip to the Islamic Republic
Updated 27 June 2022
DUBAI: Iran said on Monday that the revival of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers depends on Washington, amid expectations that talks to save the pact will resume soon after the top EU diplomat’s trip to the Islamic Republic.
“The ball is in Washington’s court now,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh told a weekly televised news conference.
Frankly Speaking: Saudi Arabia and UAE could lead world in clean renewable energy, says adviser to UAE climate envoy Dr. Adnan Amin
Green energy initiatives in the UAE and Saudi Arabia could serve as examples for countries seeking to embrace renewables
Climate change is already wreaking havoc across the globe, developed countries must do their part to cut carbon emissions
Updated 27 June 2022
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia and the UAE have the potential to be trailblazers in renewable energy as the devastating effects of climate change become more apparent, according to Adnan Amin, the former director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency and senior adviser to Sultan Al-Jaber, the UAE’s special envoy for climate change.
Amin told Katie Jensen, host of “Frankly Speaking,” the Arab News talk show that features interviews with leading policymakers and business leaders, of the radical changes in the UAE’s push toward green energy and their implications for a regional push toward renewables.
The UAE has the lowest-cost solar energy and one of the largest solar plants in the world, and aims to triple or quadruple its solar energy capacity by 2025. While the country will continue to export fossil fuel products, it is projected to become a leader in renewable energy alongside the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and produce “the lowest carbon intensity oil in the world,” Amin said.
Critics have pointed out that the UAE still has a large per-capita carbon footprint, and that oil and gas make up one-third of the country’s annual gross domestic product. Amin said that this is partially due to extremely high temperatures in the region, and added that the country still contributes less than half a percent of global carbon emissions.
“The commitment of the UAE government on decarbonizing has not been doubted, and they’ve seen carbon intensity decreasing year on year,” he said.
Amin predicts that the UAE’s strides in clean energy infrastructure will encourage other Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, to take similar measures. He called NEOM, a planned smart city and independent economic zone in the Kingdom’s north that will run entirely on renewable energy, “a low carbon city.”
“All of the new investments that you’re seeing in renewables generation in Saudi Arabia are huge. The scientific and technological investment that is taking place in research and development in Saudi Arabia is very impressive. You see Saudi Arabia testing a range of technologies so, you know that green energy, geothermal, new types of solar, new types of construction materials, all kinds of innovation is taking place there.”
Despite a global commitment to turn toward clean energy, complex domestic and international politics has often seen governments forced to scale back their promises of climate-based legislation. US President Joe Biden, who is due to visit the Middle East next month, previously pledged to halve carbon emissions by 2030.
However, increasing fuel costs have forced Biden to call for increasing production of fossil fuels. “High gas prices at the pump are poisonous for the electoral chances for any party in power,” Amin said, alluding to the upcoming US midterm elections in November.
He added that while it is no easy task for governments to move forward with serious action on climate change, “there is an expectation from many that we would love to see more … commitment and serious action from the US on this both domestically and internationally.”
With the world gripped by skyrocketing fuel prices, many countries are ramping up production of fossil fuels and the infrastructure required to produce them. However, this infrastructure has an expiration date, according to Amin.
“There’s a real risk of locking of fossil assets for a longer term in countries that, frankly, have the technological and financial ability to move very fast on clean energy,” he said, adding that states must make an effort to find more clean and advanced solutions to the growing global energy crisis.
“We would expect governments to start focusing much more on that opportunity, not on doubling down and replicating the problems of the past, but looking for the solutions of the future,” he said, clarifying that investment in new infrastructure, clean energy, climate-resilient agriculture, and water security “are the areas where I think there’s really a risk in the future.”
The push to reduce Europe’s dependency on Russian oil and gas amid the war in Ukraine and the fuel crisis may have a detrimental effect on the world’s carbon emissions, though Amin explained that on the positive side, this may push countries to embrace renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric power.
“We need to grow the investment for renewable energy, and we need to start to adopt the infrastructure that will enable it. Part of that is investing in innovation and technology,” he said. While a foundation exists for growth in the renewable energy sector, Amin added that digitalization, ultra-high voltage grids, grid stability, and smart metering must be developed further.
“We need to make this transition happen as a matter of urgency for political leadership because everything we see in terms of projections of climate impacts, it’s becoming more and more severe every year.”
While the UAE recently invested $50 billion in clean energy projects, not every country is doing its part to fight climate change. Developed nations which have been largely responsible for producing the carbon emissions which have devastated the world’s climate have often balked at taking responsibility, Amin said.
“Climate is a global issue and it requires every country in the world to do its part. But what it requires most, and this is the issue that was being discussed in Bonn in the intersectional meetings, is that we share responsibility,” he said, referring to the Bonn Climate Change Conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Germany earlier this month.
The countries that contribute the most to carbon emissions, Amin added, must “contribute to the solution, and contribute to the most vulnerable countries which are now facing very severe climate impacts.”
During the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) held in Glasgow in 2021, world leaders stressed the seriousness of addressing climate change immediately. At the time, Saudi Ambassador to the UK Prince Khalid bin Bandar told Arab News that “Saudi Arabia is ready, willing and able to take its position among the international community to solve the problem and do what it can.”
The Kingdom pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2060 as part of the Saudi Green Initiative during the conference. With the next conference set to be held in Egypt this year and the subsequent COP28 to be held in the UAE next year, Amin explained that future conferences aim to begin to transition climate promises from mere pledges to on-the-ground implementation.
“We’ve talked about the situation with the global energy crisis. We’ve talked about the constraints from many countries. We’ve talked about the fact that financing is not being made available. We have the next COP in Egypt that’s going to be a very important COP. It’s the first COP since Glasgow, that is the implementation COP. This is how the Egyptian government and the rest of the world wants to see it, that we’re moving to implementation and away from negotiations.”
Developed countries which are the largest contributors to climate change are putting up “huge resistance” to helping vulnerable and developing countries deal with the impacts, Amin said. However, he remains optimistic that by the time of the COP28 conference in the UAE, countries will be able to take stock of the world’s efforts in terms of climate action, “and out of that will come a program for what the next five years should look like.”
In addition to being a global issue, Amin pointed out that climate change is an intersectional issue that will have far-reaching and catastrophic effects on the entire world.
“My fear is that we will have multiple crises happening periodically in different parts of the world, which will begin to impact global food chains. We already have vulnerability on food security. We’re seeing a climate-vulnerable agriculture in many, many poor countries where, frankly, you could face very serious food deficit situations in the future.
“We’re facing a situation where we’re seeing an urgent need for water management. Freshwater resources are declining, and there is potential for conflict over resources like food and water.”
He added that drought, rising sea levels, melting ice, the degradation of resources and other effects of climate change have the potential to create massive waves of migration as people are forced to move to other regions for their survival.
“If we allow climate impacts to continue unchecked, all of these multiple crises coming together would create a level of instability in this world that will be almost impossible to manage,” he said.
Mohamed Amar Ampara was caught in the southeastern city of Gaziantep near Turkey’s border with Syria
Updated 27 June 2022
ISTANBUL: Turkey arrested a Greek citizen on Sunday on suspicion of espionage activities, a day after seizing him in an operation coordinated with its spy agency, local police said.
Mohamed Amar Ampara was caught in the southeastern city of Gaziantep near Turkey’s border with Syria.
“The agent, named M.A.A., was detained by the judicial authorities after he was discovered to have connections with the Greek National Intelligence Organization ... compiled information about our country’s border security and transferred it to Greek intelligence,” the police department in Gaziantep said in a statement.
Turkish media reported at the weekend that Ampara operated disguised as a businessman during his trips to Turkey.
The Greek Foreign Ministry said in the meantime that Ampara’s disappearance had been reported to the Greek Embassy in Ankara a few weeks ago.
The embassy had repeatedly raised the subject with the Turkish authorities but the latter had never provided any answers, it added.
Turkey and Greece are allies within NATO but are embroiled in a number of disputes.
Tensions have escalated in recent weeks, with Ankara accusing Athens of stationing troops on islands near its maritime border.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this month that he would no longer hold bilateral meetings with Greek leaders.
Rich heritage buried under impoverished Gaza Strip
In the Gaza Strip, ruled by Hamas and repeatedly ravaged by war, people are more familiar with burying the dead than digging up their heritage
Updated 27 June 2022
JABALIYA, Palestine: While workers labored on a large construction site in the Gaza Strip, a security guard noticed a strange piece of stone sticking out of the earth.
“I thought it was a tunnel,” said Ahmad, the young guard, referring to secret passages dug by the militant group Hamas to help it battle Israel.
In the Gaza Strip, ruled by Hamas and repeatedly ravaged by war, people are more familiar with burying the dead than digging up their heritage.
But what Ahmad found in January was part of a Roman necropolis dating from about 2,000 years ago — representative of the impoverished Palestinian territory’s rich, if under-developed, archaeological treasures.
After the last war between Israel and Hamas in May 2021 left a trail of damage in Gaza, Egypt began a reconstruction initiative worth $500 million.
As part of that project in Jabaliya, in the north of the coastal enclave, bulldozers were digging up the sandy soil in order to build new concrete buildings when Ahmad made his discovery.
“I notified the Egyptian foremen, who immediately contacted local authorities and asked the workers to stop,” said Ahmad, a Palestinian who preferred not to give his full name.
With rumors on social media of a big discovery, Gaza’s antiquities service called in the French nongovernmental group Premiere Urgence Internationale and the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem to evaluate the site’s importance and mark off the area.
“The first excavations permitted the identification of about 40 tombs dating from the ancient Roman period between the first and second centuries AD,” said French archaeologist Rene Elter, who led the team dispatched to Jabaliya.
“The necropolis is larger than these 40 tombs and should have between 80 and 100,” he said.
One of the burial sites found so far is decorated with multi-colored paintings representing crowns and garlands of bay leaves, as well as jars for funereal drinks, the archaeologist added.
Archaeology is a highly political subject in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and discoveries are used to justify the territorial claims of each people.
While the Jewish state has a number of archaeologists reporting on an impressive number of ancient treasures, the sector is largely neglected in Gaza.
Authorities periodically announce discoveries in the territory, but tourism at archaeological sites is limited.
Israel and Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, tightly restrict the flow of people in and out of the enclave administered by Hamas since 2007.
“However, there is no difference between what you can find in Gaza and on the other side of the barrier” in Israel, Elter said. “It’s the same great history.”
“In Gaza, a lot of sites have disappeared because of conflict and construction, but the territory is an immense archaeological site which needs many teams of experts,” he added.
Stakes and fences have been erected around the Roman necropolis, which is watched over constantly by guards as new buildings go up nearby.
“We are trying to fight antiquities trafficking,” said Jamal Abu Rida, director of the local archaeological service tasked with protecting the necropolis and which hopes to find investors for further excavation.
“The image of Gaza is often associated with violence, but its history is bursting with archaeological treasures that need to be protected for future generations,” said Jihad Abu Hassan, director of the local Premiere Urgence mission.
Demographics add to the pressure. Gaza is a tiny, overcrowded strip of land whose population in 15 years has ballooned from 1.4 million to 2.3 million. As a result, building construction has accelerated.
“Some people avoid telling authorities if there is an archaeological discovery on a construction site out of fear of not being compensated” for the resulting work stoppage, Abu Hassan said.
“We lose archaeological sites every day,” which shows the need for a strategy to defend the enclave’s heritage, including training local archaeologists, he said.
Over the last few years, his organization has helped to educate 84 archaeological technicians. Doing so also offers employment prospects, in an impoverished territory where youth joblessness exceeds 60 percent.