Jordanian woman stabbed to death by husband in UAE

Jordanian woman stabbed to death by husband in UAE
The attacker was found and arrested on a beach within two hours of the murder.The attacker was found and arrested on a beach within two hours of the murder. (Sharjah CTDA)
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Updated 26 June 2022

Jordanian woman stabbed to death by husband in UAE

Jordanian woman stabbed to death by husband in UAE
  • CCTV footage shows the victim being stabbed 15 times in her car before the attacker drove off in it
  • Killing triggered widespread anger in Arab world, follows murder of female Jordanian student occurred a few days earlier

LONDON: A Jordanian woman was stabbed to death by her husband in Sharjah, UAE on Friday, local media reported.

The 20-year-old woman was stabbed 15 times following a dispute with her husband, according to Sharjah Police.

The suspect, who fled in the victim's car, was arrested on a beach within two hours of the crime. Col. Faisal bin Nassar, the head of Sharjah Police CID, said CCTV footage from the young woman's residence parking lot showed the suspected killer attacking the woman inside her car.

After the suspected attacker was seen leaving in the vehicle, police were able to trace it and found the victim's body inside it.

The man confessed to killing the woman due to personal differences and has now been transferred to the Public Prosecution.

Following the incident, people took to Twitter to express their outrage.

One user tweeted: “The World is no longer safe for us women.”

Another wrote: “Now tomorrow who is the next victim?”

Only two days prior, a female student was killed by a male shooter inside a private university in Amman, Jordan.


Egypt warns UK not to ‘backtrack’ on climate commitments ahead of COP27

Egypt warns UK not to ‘backtrack’ on climate commitments ahead of COP27
Updated 23 min 8 sec ago

Egypt warns UK not to ‘backtrack’ on climate commitments ahead of COP27

Egypt warns UK not to ‘backtrack’ on climate commitments ahead of COP27
  •  Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry also stressed the need for more money to tackle the climate crisis

LONDON: COP27 host Egypt has warned the UK against “backtracking” from its commitments to the global fight against climate change.

“The COP president designate is disappointed by these reports,” an Egyptian government spokesperson said. “The Egyptian presidency of the climate conference acknowledges the longstanding and strong commitment of His Majesty to the climate cause, and believes that his presence would have been of great added value to the visibility of climate action at this critical moment,” they added.

“We hope that this doesn’t indicate that the UK is backtracking from the global climate agenda after presiding over COP26.

“His Majesty King Charles was invited as a very special guest to COP27. The invitation was extended to His Royal Highness as Prince of Wales, and renewed to His Majesty as King, and he will be most welcomed in Sharm El-Sheikh if he honors us with his presence.”

An Egyptian government spokesperson’s comments, which appear to be a response to concerns over British prime minister Liz Truss’ stance on net zero targets, also came as reports surfaced of Britain’s King Charles III being told not to attend the conference next month.

During pre-COP27 climate talks in Kinshasa on Monday, Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry also stressed the need for more money, noting an unfulfilled promise — dating back to COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 — to provide developing countries with $100 billion dollars a year to fight climate change.

“The picture is not reassuring,” he said.

Delegates from over 50 countries are attending the two-day informal talks in Kinshasa, including US climate envoy John Kerry. The event finishes on Wednesday with side discussions.

No formal announcements are expected in what is billed as a ground-clearing exercise ahead of the next month's conference, taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh from November 6-18. Egypt, as host of COP27, has made implementing the pledge to curb global heating the priority of the November summit.

Greater support from wealthier countries, historically the world's biggest carbon polluters, to their poorer counterparts is expected to dominate the talks. But post-pandemic economic strains and Russia's invasion of Ukraine have cast a pall over the money question.


Fighting erupts in Yemen as Houthis refuse to renew UN-brokered truce

Fighting erupts in Yemen as Houthis refuse to renew UN-brokered truce
Updated 18 min 20 sec ago

Fighting erupts in Yemen as Houthis refuse to renew UN-brokered truce

Fighting erupts in Yemen as Houthis refuse to renew UN-brokered truce
  • PM Saeed urges international community to abandon its soft policy on Iran-backed militia
  • ‘Appeasement … does not increase the likelihood of peace,’ he says

AL-MUKALLA: Heavy fighting between government troops and Iran-backed Houthis broke out across Yemen at the weekend after the militia refused to renew a UN-brokered truce that expired on Sunday, sources said.

The fiercest battles took place outside the central city of Marib and in Al-Fakher area of Dhale province, where the Houthis barraged government forces with mortar rounds, cannonballs, tanks and drones fitted with explosives, an army official told Arab News.

Just minutes after the truce expired on Sunday night, the Houthis began shelling government soldiers with heavy weapons and drones in the area of Al-Baleq mountain, south of Marib. After that, they advanced on the ground in an effort to take control of the hilly territory that overlooks the city.

At the same time, other Houthi fighters launched attacks on government forces in Al-Kasarah, Raghwan and Mas, west of Marib.

The attacks sparked fierce fighting with loyalists, who were able to push them back.

“They have been preparing for these engagements from the beginning of the truce,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous, adding that the Houthis incurred significant losses in the clashes and were unable to advance on the battlefield.

Heavy fighting also erupted in Al-Fakher in Dhale, where pro-independence southern troops said they had repelled Houthi attacks on their positions soon after the truce expired.

There were also sporadic exchanges of heavy machine-gun fire between government troops and the Houthis outside the besieged city of Taiz. The fighting erupted after UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg failed to persuade the Houthis to renew the ceasefire.

He said on Sunday that the UN-brokered truce, which went into effect on April 2 and was renewed twice, would not be renewed a third time. He thanked the Yemeni government for “positively” cooperating with his proposals to end the war.

A few hours before the announcement, Grundberg told Rashad Al-Alimi, the president of Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council, that the Houthis had rejected his latest proposal to extend the truce.

The failure to renew it sparked outrage and criticism, primarily directed at the Houthis, as the truce has significantly reduced violence in Yemen, allowed Sanaa airport to reopen and made it possible for dozens of fuel ships to dock at Hodeidah port.

Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed condemned the Houthis for failing to renew the truce and urged the international community to abandon its soft policy toward the Houthis and take aggressive measures to punish them for sabotaging peace efforts.

“Appeasement policy (from the international community) does not increase the likelihood of peace and instead encourages the Houthis to become more obstinate,” he was quoted as saying by official media, adding that the Houthis interpreted concessions and appeals to them as signs of weakness.

“Whenever an opportunity for peace arises, the Houthi militia, backed by the Iranian regime, chooses to squander it by choosing to go to war,” Saeed said.

International aid organizations working in Yemen also expressed their dismay at the renewed fighting and its impact on civilians and humanitarian efforts in the country.

“We are deeply disappointed that the truce in #Yemen has not been restored,” the Norwegian Refugee Council said on Twitter.

“We call on parties to the conflict to reconsider, refrain from pulling the trigger and extend the arm of diplomacy as they have done for 6 months."

Fabrizio Carboni, the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Near and Middle East director, also appealed for an end to the fighting, saying the truce had allowed Yemenis to live in peace.

“We regret that an agreement was not reached to extend a nationwide ceasefire in #Yemen. Over the past 6 months, the truce had given millions of people respite from fighting,” he tweeted on Monday.


Egyptian Presidential Pardon Committee releases 50 pretrial detainees

Egyptian Presidential Pardon Committee releases 50 pretrial detainees
Updated 34 min 57 sec ago

Egyptian Presidential Pardon Committee releases 50 pretrial detainees

Egyptian Presidential Pardon Committee releases 50 pretrial detainees
  • The legal moves have continued as the government and various political forces in the country prepare for a wide-ranging national conversation on political, economic, and social issues

CAIRO: Egypt’s Presidential Pardon Committee has announced the release of 50 pretrial detainees.
The committee said that it had completed its procedures in coordination with the relevant agencies to release a new batch of detainees who are not involved in violence and do not belong to terrorist groups.
The committee confirmed in a statement the continuation of its work during the coming period in containing and integrating the released persons in accordance with the directives of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, which are implemented in coordination with state agencies and institutions.
The names of the list were announced on Twitter by MP Tarek El-Khouly, a member of the committee, which included 50 detainees who received a presidential pardon.
The committee also confirmed its aspiration for more releases.
Tariq Al-Awadi, a member of the committee, said: “We hope to speed up the pace of consideration of the remaining detainees, close this file permanently, and turn this page completely.”
Al-Awadi continued: “All that concerns me is the release of all those imprisoned in opinion cases, and I am not interested in who or what the reason for their release was.”
Last September, Egypt ordered the release of 39 pretrial detainees.
The legal moves have continued as the government and various political forces in the country prepare for a wide-ranging national conversation on political, economic, and social issues.
The committee was one of the outcomes of the first National Youth Conference in 2016, where Egyptian youth addressed government leaders with presidential engagement.
In April this year, El-Sisi said during his speech at the Egyptian Family Iftar that he would reactivate the work of the Presidential Pardon Committee that was formed as one of the outcomes of the conference.
Since the committee’s formation in 2016, a variety of political parties and organizations, including the National Council for Human Rights and parliament’s Human Rights Committee, have submitted the names of prisoners who are eligible for presidential pardon consideration.


From Yemen to Ukraine, how Iranian drone technology is wreaking havoc

From Yemen to Ukraine, how Iranian drone technology is wreaking havoc
Updated 8 sec ago

From Yemen to Ukraine, how Iranian drone technology is wreaking havoc

From Yemen to Ukraine, how Iranian drone technology is wreaking havoc
  • Yemen’s Houthis and other militias have used Iranian-made drones to target Saudi civilian facilities 
  • Last month Shahed-136 and Mohajer-6 made their combat debut in Ukraine in the service of Russia 

IRBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan: Armed drones designed and manufactured by Iran have given Tehran’s militia proxies across the Middle East a unique capability to wreak havoc throughout the region.

The Houthi militia in Yemen, for instance, has frequently used explosive-laden drones to target Saudi Arabia. Tehran provided these militants with the means and the know-how to assemble and launch these drones to devastating effect.

In September 2019, Iranian drones and cruise missiles were used to attack oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais in eastern Saudi Arabia, causing significant disruption to global oil markets. 

Iranian drones have also been deployed inside Iraq, demonstrating just how widespread their proliferation has been in this volatile region. Last week, US forces said they had shot down an Iranian Mohajer-6 drone heading for Irbil, capital of Iraq’s semiautonomous northern Kurdistan region.

Now, for the first time, Iran’s home-grown unmanned aerial vehicles are being put to the test in a different war altogether. 

In September, Iran’s drones made their combat debut in Ukraine in the service of the Russian military, where they appear poised to play a significant role in the eight-month-old eastern European conflict. Ukrainian forces shot down Iranian kamikaze drones sold to Russia in an effort to target civilians, which led President Volodymyr Zelensky to dismiss Iranian diplomats from the country.

 

“It is sad that we have to recognize that the Iranian government is lying, as the Russian Federation government is, because we had contact with Iran’s leaders at the topmost level. We talked to the embassy, we had the ambassadors called up to the Ministry of External Affairs, and we were assured that nothing was sold to Russia, it wasn’t their drones, and nothing of the kind,” he recently told Arab News’s Frankly Speaking.

“We have a number of these downed Iranian drones, and these have been sold to Russia to kill our people, and they are — you’re right — they are being used against civilian infrastructure and civilians, peaceful civilians. Because of that, we sent Iranian diplomats away from the country. We have nothing to talk with them about.”

Nicholas Heras, director of strategy and innovation at the New Lines Institute, says there are significant differences in how Russia and the Houthis choose to deploy their fleets of Iranian drones. 

“The Houthis are deploying these loitering munitions in a more strategic manner, generally trying to strike high-value targets inside Yemen but beyond their zone of control or inside Saudi Arabia. Iranian drones serve as the Houthis’ air force on the cheap,” he told Arab News.

“In Ukraine, the Russians are using the Iranian drones in a more tactical sense, using them to strike at Ukrainian artillery or arms depots that are closer to the frontlines. The Russians are basically using these drones like another type of artillery round, whereas the Houthis use them more like intermediate missiles.”

 

According to US officials, Iran is supplying Russia with “hundreds” of armed drones in a bid to turn the tide of the war against the Western-backed Ukrainian armed forces, which have reclaimed vast swathes of the country’s eastern territory in recent weeks. 

In an exclusive interview this week with Frankly Speaking host Katie Jensen, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “We have a number of these downed Iranian drones, and these have been sold to Russia to kill our people. 

“They are being used against civilian infrastructure and civilians, peaceful civilians. Because of that, we sent Iranian diplomats away from the country. We have nothing to talk with them about.”

Russia has already used several of its newly acquired Iranian loitering munitions, also referred to as kamikaze or suicide drones, in this war. These particular drones are relatively cheap and can be used in large numbers, enabling them to overwhelm enemy defenses, reach their target and self-destruct.

Russia recently employed, or at least attempted to employ, this technique in Ukraine’s southern Odesa port and the city of Mykolaiv using Iranian Shahed-136 loitering munitions. 

A military parade in Septemberm 2022 in Sanaa, during which drones and missiles that have been hallmarks of the Iran-backed militia's military campaign filed past a grandstand. (AFP/Houthi Media Office)

Iranian-made drones have also targeted Ukrainian artillery positions in the Kharkiv region. Ukraine’s military authorities say they have shot down several such drones, including the larger Mohajer-6 model, in recent days. 

The Shahed-136 and Mohajer-6 are two very different drone types, designed to achieve different objectives. 

“Shahed-136 is a loitering munition with a significant range, while Mohajer-6 is a mid-range ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) and combat drone with a range of around 200 kilometers,” Samuel Bendett, a research analyst with the Center for Naval Analyses, told Arab News. 

“The one Mohajer-6 drone that was recently downed probably fell victim to operator error or Ukrainian EW (electronic warfare) systems.”

Although individually they have different applications, the two drone models have also been known to be used in tandem.

Wreckage of an Iranian Shahed-136, shot down by the Ukrainian armed forces near Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region. (Ministry of Defense of Ukraine/Social Media)

“Russian commentators indicate that Mohajer may have been directing Shahed-136 to target, given that Shahed-136 does not have its own camera and has to rely on GPS for targeting,” said Bendett.

“Mohajer-6 is roughly comparable with the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone in capabilities, which gives the Russians employing it as an ISR and combat system a rough parity with some Ukrainian drone capabilities.”

James Rogers, the DIAS associate professor in war studies within the Center for War Studies at the University of Southern Denmark and non-resident senior fellow within the Cornell Tech Policy Lab at Cornell University, also described the Shahed-136 and Mohajer-6 drones as very different systems, “designed to fulfill important operational gaps for the Russian military.”

“The Shahed-136 can be used in rudimentary swarms of five drones or less and is roughly comparable to a growing family of loitering drones, like the (American) Switchblade 600 or the (Israeli) Harop,” Rogers told Arab News. 

“In contrast, the Mohajer-6 is a weapons platform that can fulfill a surveillance role and also deploy its own missiles and guided bombs. This makes it broadly comparable to the TB2 type of drone, in the fact that it is a longer endurance multi-purpose weapon.”

According to Bendett, some Ukrainian sources estimate the cost of the Shahed-136 is as little as $20,000 per unit, “making it cheap enough to be mass-produced by the Russians.” 

“In fact, some Russian Telegram channels are indicating that such mass production has already commenced at Russian enterprises,” he said. “If used en masse, they can pose a challenge for the Ukrainian air defenses and cause damage.”

n September, Iran’s drones made their combat debut in Ukraine in the service of the Russian military, where they appear poised to play a significant role in the eight-month-old eastern European conflict. (MEHR News Agency)

Nevertheless, Bendett is doubtful Russia’s new Iranian drone capabilities will prove to be a game-changer in the Ukraine conflict.

“They will not be able to reverse Ukrainian gains, since such gains are made by infantry and combined arms operations that hold territory,” he said.

“They can, however, cause a serious headache for the Ukrainians given a possibly high rate of attrition of weapons, systems and personnel due to continued attacks by Shaheds.”

Rogers, meanwhile, believes it is still too soon to determine whether the Shahed-136 and Mohajer-6 “will have a transformative impact” on the Russian war effort.

“A number of the Iranian drones have already been shot down by the Ukrainian military, but there are reports of them being used successfully against the US-supplied High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems that have been indispensable to Ukrainian forces,” he said. 

Indeed, the GPS-guided Shahed-136 has proven remarkably accurate, as demonstrated by the “recent Ukrainian admission that Shaheds have struck artillery batteries as well as stationary targets like buildings in Odesa,” said Bennet. 

However, the drone model lacks sophisticated electronics, and a robust electronic warfare defense “can interfere with their operation,” he added.

Wreckage of another Iranian Shahed-136, shot down by the Ukrainian armed forces near Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region. (Ministry of Defense of Ukraine/Social Media)

It would be wrong to underestimate the significant advantages drone technology can bring to the battlefield.

According to Rogers, the Shahed-136 is comparable to a modern cruise missile “in that it can hit targets with precision and explode on impact but differs in the fact that it can remain airborne, survey the battlefield and adjust its target in reaction to developments on the ground.

“It can also be used in a multi-drone ‘swarming’ deployment to saturate ground defenses, opening the floodgates — so to speak — to a range of other missiles and rockets,” he said. 

Bendett likewise believes the Shahed-136 has given the Russian military the ability “to launch long-range loitering munitions at targets in large numbers at different tactical and operational depths.”

This is significant because it is “something they have struggled to do in the preceding months given their limited stocks of domestic loitering and combat drones.”

He added: “Russia also gains valuable lessons from Iran’s own use of these drones via their multiple proxies across the Middle East, possibly adding to new tactics and procedures in Ukraine.” 

Aside from providing Russia with lessons and doctrines, these drones also serve as substitutes for Russia’s depleting stockpile of cruise missiles, which will likely take Moscow years to replenish to pre-war levels.

A Ukrainian soldier looks up to the sky after hearing the sound of a drone during a patrol in the frontline city of Kupiansk, Kharkiv region, on September 24, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (AFP)

“With trade restrictions and embargoes placed on Russia, the military has found it hard to replace lost military assets,” said Rogers. 

“This is why the convenient arrangement with Iran has emerged. It allows Russia to obtain military capabilities it has run low on or does not have the supplies to produce.”

The more battle testing Iran’s drones rack up in Ukraine and across the Middle East, the more sophisticated they are likely to become. That is why Heras believes both Kyiv and Riyadh need to enhance their air defenses to adequately deal with this threat.

“The Ukrainians have used portable anti-air missiles fired by infantry or vehicles to shoot down the Iranian-made Russian drones, albeit with a mix of success and failure,” he said. 

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has expended a large number of expensive Patriot interceptor missiles, which cost millions of dollars per shot, against Houthi drones that cost mere thousands to manufacture. 

“Eventually, Israeli- and American-developed anti-air systems intended for smaller rocket types could be useful for both Ukraine and Saudi Arabia,” said Heras. 

“Especially for Saudi Arabia, which would need these defenses to protect strategic targets that the Houthis prefer to strike.”


Lebanon to submit final remarks over Israeli maritime border after US mediation

Lebanon to submit final remarks over Israeli maritime border after US mediation
Updated 03 October 2022

Lebanon to submit final remarks over Israeli maritime border after US mediation

Lebanon to submit final remarks over Israeli maritime border after US mediation
  • Specialists were assigned the task of translating the English proposal for the president

BEIRUT: Lebanese officials are presenting a united front in mediations with the US over the country’s maritime border with Israel, with President Michael Aoun saying on Monday that Lebanon would submit its final remarks within days.

However, in order to avoid fears of normalization with Israel, the PM said that Lebanon would avoid signing a direct deal with its neighbor.

Aoun added: “The postulates and things it (Lebanon) wants are complete in the proposal of the US mediator Amos Hochstein regarding the demarcation of the southern maritime borders,” adding: “Some remarks will be submitted to Hochstein.”

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said after meeting with Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Monday that he “had some remarks and the technical committee took them fully into consideration,” adding that “Lebanon will send its response to the US mediator tomorrow.”

Mikati said: “Things are on the right track in the file of the maritime border demarcation and Lebanon’s stance is unified.”

Aoun presided over a technical consultative meeting that examined Hochstein’s written proposal over the southern maritime border. He then held a meeting with Berri and Mikati, joined by the technical and consultative team.

Berri said: “The stance is unified and the result is more than satisfactory,” adding that the US proposal took Lebanon’s requests into consideration.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Elias Bou Saab, who has led negotiations with the US mediator since the beginning of talks, said: “Lebanon will submit its remarks to Hochstein tomorrow at the latest and work is under way speedily.”

Bou Saab added: “We did not give any response, but remarks, and the underlying gaps are now minimal.”

He said: “Lebanon has obtained its full rights in the Qana field. The remarks that we made are legal and rational from a right holder’s point of view. If the remarks are taken into consideration as agreed, the deal will be signed in a matter of days. The disputed areas remain to be settled. We do not recognize the Israeli enemy and we will not co-sign any deal or convention. The US mediator was keen on respecting that and some arrangements were made for the signature.

“The Israeli enemy knows Lebanon’s strength. Talks between Lebanon and Israel are based on a balance stemming from ‘the army, the people and the resistance’ equation, in addition to the unified Lebanese stance.”

In its first response to the US proposal, Hezbollah, through parliamentary bloc chief Mohammed Raad, said that it “will not overlook Lebanon’s rights,” adding that “despite the border demarcation, the conflict with Israel will continue to exist.”

US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea handed the US mediator’s proposal to the Lebanese president, parliament speaker and prime minister last Saturday. The proposal was also presented to Israel, so that both parties can add remarks in preparation for the next stage of negotiations.

According to people familiar with the draft deal and the ongoing negotiations, the deal serves as a settlement between the Lebanese and Israeli parties. It implies sharing the disputed area based on Line 23 and postponing discussions over the land point from which the maritime border demarcation advances to the land border demarcation phase.

Specialists were assigned the task of translating the English proposal for the president, the parliament speaker and the prime minister, as well as thoroughly verifying its texts, figures and attached coordinates.

An official source familiar with the negotiations said: “Lebanon will not sign any direct deal with Israel concerning the settlement being agreed upon and the deal will not be submitted to the Parliament for codification, as it violates the normalization principle.”

The source added: “Moreover, the deal won’t be submitted to the Cabinet for approval. Instead, Lebanon will submit a letter issued by specific parties in the country to the UN including Lebanon’s approval on the maritime demarcation.

“This is what Israel should also do so it (the deal) can be adopted in international law.”

Two separate copies of the US proposal are expected to be signed at UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura. One copy will be signed by Lebanon and another signed by Israel in order to avoid concerns over normalization.

Information was leaked from the US proposal as a result of sharp Israeli political divisions, with parliamentary elections in the country set for Nov. 1. The leak showed discussions over compensation and security safeguards in the event that new gas reserves are discovered in the Qana field.

An Israeli mini cabinet is set to hold a meeting next Thursday to approve the draft and respond to the US in light of the Lebanese stance.

The US State Department said that Hochstein “continues to be fully involved to finalize discussions.”

It added: “We presented a US proposal on a final agreement to demarcate the maritime borders between Lebanon and Israel, and we welcome the consultative spirit between both parties to reach a solution.

“A permanent settlement is possible.”