A UAE-backed coup attempt to seize power in Tunisia and depose the country’s democratically-elected ruling Ennahda Party was foiled with the help of French, German and Algerian intelligence units, according to a report by French publication Mondafrique.
Aim is to depose of Ennahda
UAE intelligence services held a meeting with former Tunisian Minister of Interior Lotfi Ibrahim on May 29 in Tunisia’s Djerba Island after attending last month’s Libya conference in Paris.
According to the report, the concocted roadmap involved removing 91-year-old Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi from power citing poor health upon obtaining a doctor’s report, in a move that resembled the deposing of founding leader Habib Bourguiba following Tunisia’s independence.
Qatar sues United Arab Emirates at UN rights court
Qatar has filed a lawsuit against the United Arab Emirates at the UN International Court of Justice over "human rights violations", Qatar's Foreign Ministry said Monday."The State of Qatar Initiates Proceedings against the UAE before the International Court of Justice for Human Rights Violations,” the ministry said on Twitter.Efforts to reach the UAE for a comment on the Qatari announcement were unsuccessful.Relations between Qatar and the UAE have been strained since June 2017, when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain severed diplomatic and trade ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorism.The four states have threatened Qatar with additional sanctions if it fails to meet a list of demands, including one for the closure of broadcaster Al-Jazeera.Qatar, however, has refused to comply, denying the accusations against it and describing the Saudi-led embargo as a “breach of its national sovereignty”.
Rejected by Essebsi
According to the roadmap reached during the meeting, Tunisia’s former Zain Alabideen-era Defense Minister Kamel Morjane would replace Prime Minister Chahed after his sacking, however, it is said that this plan was rejected by Essebsi.
UAE transferred three billion dollars to FETÖ
Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Ibrahim was sacked by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed after dozens of illegal immigrants died after their ship drowned in open waters near Kerkennah Island on June 3.
Ibrahim’s UAE-supported coup plan was foiled with the help of French, Algerian and German intelligence units.
The UAE, which had supplied the Fetullah Terror Organization (FETÖ) with three billion dollars prior to the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, is responsible, under the tutelage of Israel, for meddling in several Muslim countries such as Somalia and Syria to incite chaos.
Saudi, Kuwait, UAE pledge $2.5bln in aid to Jordan
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have pledged $2.5 billion in aid to ease Jordan’s economic crisis following a wave of protests against a controversial income tax bill.The money includes a deposit in Jordan’s central bank, funding to support the country’s budget for the next five years, World Bank guarantees and financing of development projects, the summit said in a statement early Monday and cited by the official SPA news agency.The announcement came following a summit called by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in Makkah to discuss Jordan’s economic crisis after a wave of demonstrations rocked the country to protest economic conditions and an income tax bill approved by the government last month.The protests had forced Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki to resign, with the Jordanian king appointing Education Minister Omar al-Razzaz to head up a new government.Amman recently raised subsidized electricity prices for the fifth time this year, leading to further popular discontent. It also announced increases in subsidized fuel prices before swiftly reversing the move following a popular backlash.According to official data, Jordan's budget for this year suffers from a roughly financial deficit of $1.753 billion.
UAE to boost troop presence in Afghanistan for training
Afghanistan has accepted an offer from the United Arab Emirates to boost its presence in training Afghan forces fighting insurgents, senior government officials said, as Kabul seeks to improve ties with majority-Muslim nations.Some 200 UAE soldiers have been stationed in Afghanistan as support staff for more than 10 years, officials involved in security enforcement in Afghanistan told Reuters.Under the new agreement, UAE troops will train recruits enlisted by the Afghan elite forces and can also be called upon to take part in specific operations targeting the insurgents, a senior Afghan official managing the arrival of UAE troops said in Kabul.A second government official said 60 more soldiers would arrive in Afghanistan in July and be based at NATO headquarters. The UAE Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.U.S. President Donald Trump in August unveiled a more hawkish military approach to Afghanistan, including a surge in air strikes, aimed at forcing the Taliban to the negotiating table under the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.Afghan security forces say the impact has been significant, but the Taliban roam huge swaths of the country and, with foreign troop levels at about 15,600 compared with 140,000 in 2014, there appears little hope of outright military victory.The Taliban are seeking to reimpose strict law following their ouster in 2001 at the hands of U.S.-led troops. Afghanistan also faces insurgencies led by Daesh and the Taliban-linked Haqqani network.Several NATO member countries have also agreed to increase their forces as part of Resolute Support.The presidential office and National Security Council said they could not comment on the UAE move but a diplomat said the reinforcements come at a time when President Ashraf Ghani has made a concerted effort to improve ties with Islamic nations.An explosion in southern Kandahar province last year, blamed by security forces on the Taliban, killed five UAE diplomats. The Taliban denied involvement."The UAE troops have been here ever since the beginning of ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) operation but are now being reactivated and reinforced," a senior government source with knowledge of the operation told Reuters."There are about 200, more will be joining soon and they will be here for training and support. They will go into the field only if necessary."NATO-led ISAF was launched in 2001 and wound up operations in Afghanistan in 2014.
Gulf crisis one year on
As the Gulf crisis marks its one year anniversary, settlement seems as distant as ever. Both sides seem to have come to terms with the new reality.While the crisis had certainly been brewing for years, the timing of its outbreak was surprising to many, first and foremost, to Qatar. Only two days after Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad had returned from Riyadh, where he had participated in the summit with President Donald Trump, Saudi and Emirati media outlets broke news of statements attributed to the Qatari sovereign in which he had presumably taken the side of Iran.Following the sudden media offensive, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt announced severing of diplomatic ties with Qatar, in addition to shutting down of their airspace to Qatari flights. Riyadh announced closure of the Salwa/Abu-Samra border crossing, Qatar’s only land outlet.While foreign ministers of the four states later denied it, Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Sabah, during his press conference with President Donald Trump at the White House, said months later that in the early days of the crisis, mediators succeeded in convincing the Saudi-led coalition not to pursue the “military option.”Whether Saudi Arabia and its allies intended to invade Qatar or not remains debatable. What is certain is that the four countries had designed a blitzkrieg style offensive, with or without a military component. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt were probably hoping that a surprise offensive would throw Qatar off balance and force it to offer concessions, 13 of them, as outlined by a list that the four countries put out.Doha was indeed caught off guard, and was forced to turn to its other friends, mainly Turkey, Oman and Kuwait, in an attempt to salvage its lines of imports. The Qatari Central Bank had to act quickly to absorb the financial shock, and reached into the nation’s deep-pocketed sovereign fund to liquidate hard currency and keep the country’s economic machine oiled.The two sides then engaged in diplomatic battle that was fought in every capital around the world.The U.S., Kuwait, and, to an extent, Turkey sprung to mediation. The Saudi-led coalition put out 13 demands that they said would constitute the only way out for Doha. The 13 demands could be summarized into four, including Qatar 1) severing all ties with Iran, 2) closing a Turkish military base on its territory, 3) shutting down Al-Jazeera satellite TV and cutting funds to other media outlets and 4) classifying the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group and repatriating any of the group’s rank and file who are citizens of any of the four countries, alongside cracking down on all funds from Qatar to Islamist groups around the region.Qatar counter-argued that both the UAE and Egypt enjoyed diplomatic ties with Iran, which made it odd for nations with ties to Tehran to ask other countries to cut such ties. Qatar also argued that the remaining Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, namely Kuwait and Oman, also had ties with Iran.Shutting down Al-Jazeera and other Qatari-funded media outlets was a point that mediators, including Kuwait and Washington, rephrased. Mediating capitals believed that no government should have the power of shutting media in other countries, or else, if Al-Jazeera was shutdown, then what will hold back the Saudi-led coalition from demanding the shutdown of other media outlets across the region. Instead, Kuwait suggested that both sides put an end to the mutual media offensive campaigns that government-funded media outlets were running.Qatar did concede on funding of Islamist groups. When President Trump received Sheikh Tamim in Washington in the White House in April, the U.S. president praised his guest for Doha’s cooperation in cracking down on funding of terrorism. “Those countries are stopping the funding of terrorism,” Trump said next to an attentive Sheikh Tamim, “and that includes the UAE; it includes Saudi Arabia; it includes Qatar.”Despite working with Washington to end the funding of terrorism, Doha did not proclaim the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. The group, Qatar argued, operates legally -- and even has some of its officials elected to parliament -- in other Arab countries, such as Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Morocco.Finally, on the Turkish base in Qatar, Doha argued that the issue was a sovereign Qatari decision, and that no country should be able to dictate anything on the foreign ties of other countries.Throughout the year, mediators have tried hard to end the Gulf rift. The closest the mediation efforts got to settlement was when President Trump spoke to the leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. After the call, Doha reached out to Riyadh, and Sheikh Tamim spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. The call seemed to have been cordial, and both sides put out a statement in which they said that their leaders left it to their aids to settle things and organize a meeting.Not so soon. The Qatari emir called the Saudi crown prince, but did not call Emirati Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed. This, the four countries interpreted as Qatari politicking and attempt to divide-and-conquer. Hours after the cordial readout from Doha and Riyadh, the Saudis reversed their position and accused Qatar of persisting with its same old behavior.After the Trump call, Washington and Kuwait renewed their mediation efforts, and Kuwait managed to convince all parties to attend a GCC summit it hosted. As the region held its breath, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Manama sent their foreign ministers, instead of their crown princes, to participate in the summit, thus aborting another effort at reconciliation.With mediation efforts failing, one after another, both parties dug in their heels and intensified their media offensive against one another, next to their lobbying wars in world capitals. For the Saudi-led coalition, the effort against Qatar has yet to bear fruit, other than Doha’s cooperation in cracking down on the funding of terrorism. For Qatar, the old saying applies: What does not kill you only makes you stronger.By Hussain Abdul-Hussain