On Wednesday, during a conference held in Tehran on Muslim unity with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, top Iranian officials and ambassadors of Islamic countries to Iran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said “The Islamic Republic of Iran… will not tolerate the arrogant powers’ violation of Islamic sanctities”. The President made the remarks referring to the US planned move to recognize Quds as the Zionist regime’s capital and cautioned Muslims about the Zionist regime and arrogant powers’ conspiracies against al-Quds and exhorted them to be united against “this big conspiracy” and against enemy plots. He added that Palestinian people should stand up against such a move with more courage. He stressed that Quds belongs to all Muslims and Palestinians and reminded Islamic countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)’s heavy responsibility regarding the issue, describing the US move as the Zionists and global arrogance’s new adventurism in the region. Also Ayatollah Khamenei made a speech in which underlined how the decision to recognize Quds as the capital of the Zionist regime made by enemies of Islam is a sign of weakness and incompetence and results from impotence and frustration. “The Islamic world will definitely stand against this plot and the Zionists will receive a bigger blow in that case (if Quds is announced as the capital of occupied Palestine)”, as Ayatollah Khamenei said. Late Tuesday, three senior US administration officials confirmed that US President Donald Trump is expected to formally recognize Quds as Israel’s capital and begin preparations to move the US embassy to the city.
The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati participated at the conference, organized in Brussels by the German Foundation Hanns Seidel, “High expectations for 2018. Albania’s next step in the European Integration Process”. The Minister underlined the progress made by the government to reach the established priorities, referring in particular to the justice system reform and the fight against organized crime. Thus 2018 is expected to be a ‘decisive year’ for the European Union accession process. In reiterating the government’s willingness to achieve the required objectives, Bushati said he also felt encouraged by the support regarding the enlargement to the Balkans expressed both by the President of the European Commission and by the French President Macron. The Director-General for Enlargement at the European Commission, Mr. Christian Danielson, complimented the Albanian government on the effort of reforms.
Senior Russian MPs have described an allegation by the Pentagon that Moscow and Damascus showed insufficient commitment to defeating IS terrorists as snobbery and lies, designed to cover up US failure to depose the lawful Syrian government. “The statement is nothing new, the same typical snobbery. Even with total resistance from the US special services, those who know how much Russia and the Syrian military forces have done, how many lives were lost, simply cannot say that Russia has done nothing,” Senator Frants Klintsevich, deputy head of the Upper House Committee for Defense and Security, told RBC in response to remarks by Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon. “Nothing is sacred to these people. Now leading news agencies around the world that are being managed by them will tell us that they are the greatest. And we will disprove this”, Klintsevich added. “I think that, in the nearest future, the Americans will face a great disappointment. They have installed so many time bombs for themselves”.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have entered a period reminiscent of the Cold War era, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday, addressing a meeting of the Russian Public Council for International Cooperation and Public Diplomacy dubbed Russia and the US: Problems and Prospects for the Development of Bilateral Relations. “We [Russia and the US] have probably entered a period, which is in many ways reminiscent of the Cold War era”, the senior Russian diplomat said. “The level of negative attitude towards Russia and the deliberate spread of anti-Russian sentiment, particularly in the media, causes concern”, he added. “It is like a tsunami wave that has swept across America, and we need to figure out how it happened that these ideas managed to penetrated US society so deeply,” the Russian deputy foreign minister pointed out. “All the opinion polls show similar results on this matter, but, frankly speaking, not many polls have been conducted”, Ryabkov added.
During the inauguration of the seventh edition of the Basra oil and gas exhibition in Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia have signed 18 memorandums of understanding in the energy field. 22 Saudi companies took part in the exhibition which purpose was to reinforce the “strategic partnership” between the two countries. Saudi Energy Minister Khaled al-Faleh said that improved relations and energy cooperation between Iraq and Saudi Arabia will help bring stability to the international oil market, with both being prominent OPEC members. Over the past two years because of Saudi Arabia’s opposition to the involvement of Iraqi Shia paramilitary forces in the fight against Islamic State, relations between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and the Shia-dominated Iraqi government have been tensional. But in the past months there was a rapprochement between both countries: top-level officials exchanged visits and expressed eagerness to boost political, security and economic cooperation. In July, both countries established a joint coordination council to boost ties on all levels, while in October, more than 60 Saudi companies attended the Baghdad International Exhibition.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands has recorded more than 1,200 incidents involving crimes allegedly committed in Donbas. This is stated in the annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activity, issued by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda. “The Office has recorded more than 1,200 incidents involving crimes allegedly committed since 20 February 2014 in the context of events in eastern Ukraine”, the document says. The Office of the Prosecutor reports that some 10,225 people have been killed and 24,541 injured since the start of the conflict. In particular, at least 2,505 civilians were allegedly killed in armed hostilities between April 2014 and August 2017. In addition, official statistics suggest that more than 15,000 persons have been reported as “missing” in the conflict zone since April 2014. Torture or ill-treatment was reportedly perpetrated in the context of the conflict, involving several hundred alleged victims.
On Monday, speaking at a meeting with Sheikh Humam Hamoudi, the head of Iraq’s Islamic Supreme Council and the country’s first deputy parliament speaker, in Tehran, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani warned against the spread of extremist ideology of Daesh after its collapse in Iraq e Syria. “The patience and perseverance of the Iraqi people and the braveries of the country’s army, security and popular forces, especially Hashd al-Shaabi, led to the destruction of the region’s greatest threat (Daesh), despite the discontent of some countries”, he said. But he underlined that the battle against the terrorist group is continuing in cultural, ideological and security fields with the intention of uprooting “Daesh-creating thinking” supported by some regional countries. Sheikh Hamoudi acclaimed Iran’s major role in fighting terrorist groups in Iraq and the entire region and said Iraqis gained the recent victories despite economic and security problems and will continue along the same path with the support of its “true allies”. Amid tensions in Iraq, Iran is known as the first country to help the Arab country and has always voiced support for Iraq’s solidarity and prosperity.
Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 38 times in the past 24 hours, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action (KIA) and another four as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press center of the Ukrainian Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. “The Russian occupation forces more often shell the Ukrainian positions from weapons that should have been withdrawn from the contact line, including tanks,” the ATO HQ said on Facebook on Monday, December 4. Read also Russian proxies attack Ukraine 19 times on Dec 3 – ATO HQ In the Luhansk sector, the enemy was active near the villages of Troyitske and Luhanske after dark. Here, the militants used 120mm mortars. In addition, the invaders repeatedly fired grenade launchers and small arms to attack ATO positions near the town of Zolote, and the villages of Novo-Oleksandrivka, Zhovte and Krymske.
The former provisional president Moncef Marzouki, founder of the political party “Tounes Al Irada” affirmed that “a struggle for power opposes the presidency of the Republic and the presidency of the Government”. He argued that there is a parallel government in Carthage to block Youssef Chahed and prevent him from winning the 2019 presidential elections. Marzouki asserted that this struggle between the two heads of the executive creates the current crisis and it will complicate the situation, since there should be a harmony between the presidency and the government to carry out actions effective over the next two years of the mandate. Led by the President of the Republic, the National Security Council includes, among others, Youssef Chahed, head of government, Mohamed Ennaceur, president of the Assembly of People’s Representatives (ARP), members of the government and top leaders of the two military and security institutions. The 77 Article of the Constitution stipulates that the Head of State is called upon to preside over the National Security Council and must define the general guidelines for national security, concerning the protection of the State and the national territory to deal with internal and external threats, in consultation with the head of the government.
Saudi Arabia has reasserted its leadership of the oil market on Thursday after brokering its desired extension of output cuts with OPEC and non-OPEC partners through to the end of 2018. The deal – agreed after nearly nine hours of negotiations in Vienna – kept its new ally Russia onside and prevented a sell-off that many analysts had feared, according to Platts. With consensus very much in doubt entering OPEC’s closely watched meeting, Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih emerged from the talks with deal in hand, pledging a firm commitment to completing the rebalancing of the market and promising to keep a close eye on his OPEC counterparts, many of whom have been lax in compliance with their quotas. That had many commentators proclaiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin – and by extension Novak – had effectively wrested control of OPEC from Saudi Arabia, without even being a member of the organization.