Iran, the loyal ally of the Syrian Regime of President Bashar al-Assad, has become a huge threat to Saudi Arabia as Syrian talks proceed in the Vienna Summit.
US Secretary of State John Kerry sits down with both sides as he and others attempt to reconcile the two groups who had used covert methods to turn Syria into a proxy war.
Iran’s Presence Would Unlikely Help
Saudi Arabia, who had spoken its negative views on Iran’s nuclear programme that led to its cutoff from the world economy, said Iran’s presence will unlikely help.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that Iran, whose name was not included in the formal invite, said Iran’s presence must mean they are serious. He said that they will know if the country is not serious if there is no certainty that Basahr al-Assad will step down.
A Deep Mistrust
The deep mistrust between the two countries became imminent after Iranian officials accused Saudis of using an incident in Mecca last month to kidnap a prominent Iranian official Ghazanfar Roknabadi.
The Vienna Summit intends to establish a framework for a “managed transition” to ease Assad out of Syria wherein the two countries would need to reconcile to resolve the issue. Concerned parties argue that the continuing conflict will destroy Syria.
An eight-year old girl was one of the victims in an attack by armed men who fired on a group of people leaving a wedding at a Coptic Church in Cairo on Sunday. The wedding, which was late Sunday night, killed a man, a woman and an eight-year old girl and injured nine others. The incident is the latest in the attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt.
The attacks against Coptic Christians have been frequent according to a Coptic Church Bishop. The Bishop said that the political tension in the country is the leading factor in the hate crimes against those who believe otherwise. According to the Bishop, there was no justification for killing an eight year old girl
Many parties claim that Coptic Christians were to blame for the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian military.
The increasing crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic leaders of the party was due to the Coptic Christians backing the Egyptian military during the perceived ouster of the president. The appearance of Coptic Pope Tawadros II beside General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi during the first day of the ouster also strengthened the belief of many Islamists in the country about the intentions of Coptic Christians.
Coptic Christians only account for 10% of Egypt. Aside from Cairo, Coptic Christians in Minya and Assuit in Central Egypt have also had incidences of attacks.
The young Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan, who was shot point blank by the Taliban going home from school, received a letter from a Pakistani Taliban chief. The letter did not provide an apology but instead an explanation of why she was attacked by the Taliban.
Malala, who is still recovering in Britain nine months after she was attacked by masked gunmen with her friends in Mingora, became a symbol for many women who upheld the right of females to receive education. She was even written a letter by Hollywood heavyweight Angelina Jolie.
The letter from the Taliban chief reached four pages. The chief, named Adnan Rasheed said that he warned her not to criticise the Taliban because he had someone from the Yousafzai tribe in the Taliban. He expressed shock at Malala’s incident and wished it did not happen.
Rasheed explained that the Taliban did not shoot Malala because she was campaigning for women’s education in Pakistan. The Taliban believed that Malala intentionally wrote against them and she was running a campaign to hamper the efforts of the Taliban to spread Islam in Swat valley, her hometown. The Taliban claimed her writings were provocative.
He also explained the Taliban did not oppose education for women or for everyone else, but the Taliban only wanted an educational system that did not oppress Pakistanis and left no room for Islam.
Independent Elections Commission spokesman Hussein Bani Hani said as Jordan undergoes political strains and electoral reforms, about 1.3 million Jordanians went to the polls, representing 56.6% of registered voters. The Jordanians completed voting last Wednesday in a landmark election that one outside observer said was free of any violations. For the first time, the country has allowed observers. It was the first time that an independent election commission oversaw polling. In the 17th time Jordan has gone to the polls to elect a parliament since becoming a nation in 1946, Wednesday’s balloting was an election of firsts.
The head of the European Union’s Election Observation Mission in Jordan, David Martin praised measures taken by a newly created commission in managing the elections and said there were no violations. The said mission will hold a press conference by Friday morning. Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said, “These elections today are the culmination of a constitutional process, the beginning of a new phase of reforms. It is a continuing process.”
Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said on Wednesday, he had not yet submitted his resignation to King Abdullah II until elections are completed. Jordanians who are part of the Muslim Brotherhood were said to be boycotting the election, an action he described as not democratic, the state-run news agency Petra reported.
“Elections have been fairly smooth so far,” said David Martin, chief observer of the European Union Election Observing Mission. Some polling stations reported minor technical glitches, but there had been no “signs of intimidation,” he added.
Samih Maaytah, a government spokesman said, Wednesday’s balloting took place under the watchful eye of 47,000 police officers and another 7,000 election observers.
More than 3 million Jordanians were eligible to vote for candidates to the new 150-member House of Deputies, officials said. A field of more than 1,400 candidates vied for the seats.
A young Sri Lankan woman has been beheaded in Saudi Arabia amid much controversy. The former maid, Rizana Nafeek, was convicted in 2007 for the murder of Naif al-Quthaibi, a four month old baby. Saudi officials stated that Nafeek had killed the baby after an argument with its mother who she was working for, and that she had confessed to the murder.
Nafeek had argued that the confession was forced from her. Her supporters also say that she was given no personal legal representation and no assistance with the language and translation problems she had. International human rights groups had also got involved in the case as it emerged that she was only 17 years old at the time she was said to have committed the murder. Although this would mean that Nafeek and/or Sri Lankan employment agencies had made false documents to get her to work in Saudi Arabia, technically she would be classed as a child of 17. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch insist her execution is in violation of a UN Convention that Saudi Arabia had ratified – that for the Right of the Child.
The Sri Lankan government have strongly opposed the conviction and execution of Nafeek, which their foreign ministry said happened ‘despite all efforts at the highest level of government and the outcry of the people locally and internationally.’ There has been new debate about the economic conditions which mean many Sri Lankan people leave their home country to work abroad, mainly in the Middle East, where there is not sufficient safety and protection for domestic workers in particular. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) also announced ‘urgent’ laws are needed to properly cover domestic workers.