November 1 to 5, 2010

– The End of Christianity in the Middle East? (2 November 2010) – Foreign Policy

The eve of the Christian celebration of All Saints’ Day in Iraq was marked by a tragic incident on Sunday evening, in which 53 people were killed by a suicide attack against a Chaldean church in central Baghdad. The suicide bombers, militants of the Islamic State of Iraq, an organization connected to Al Qaeda in Iraq, appeared to demand the immediate release of two Muslim women allegedly held in Coptic Monasteries in Egypt. This is one of the most violent attacks against the Iraqi Christian community, symbolizing the mounting discrimination of Christian community in Iraq. This dramatic event will surely increase the Christian exodus out of Iraq and may well prove to be the final straw for this minority community.


– Saudi Arabia’s shadowy connection (1 November 2010) – BBC News

The intelligence apparatus of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia proved a key player in preventing multiple attacks against cargo planes, by tipping off British, American and UAE intelligence services of Al Qaeda’s plans to strike aircrafts bound for the West thanks to information gathered from detainees once Al Qaeda militants based in Saudi Arabia. The efficiency of Saudi intelligence services has transformed Saudi Arabia into a “difficult country for Al-Qaeda to operate in”, but they have remained strongly criticized for too often operating at the expense of human rights.


– Israel halts UK talks over arrest fears (3 November 2010) – Arab News

Routine strategic talks between British and Israeli Delegations held in the UK have been put on hold by Israel due to concerns that pro-Palestinian activists would seek the arrest of the Israeli delegation for war crime allegations. This halt came during a visit of the British Foreign Secretary William Hague and highlights growing Israeli frustration over Britain’s failure to repeal laws which allow the filing of private war crimes suits against foreign dignitaries.


– GCC halts global free trade talks (5 November 2010) – Gulf News

Talks of free trade agreements between the GCC and potential partners such as the EU will be put on hold while a study is carried out to evaluate the feasibility of such agreements. Results of the study are not expected before March 2011 and the EU Trade Commissioner has planned a visit to the Gulf before the end of the year to revive these talks. Nevertheless, negotiations between the EU and the GCC, which were initiated over two decades ago, are deadlocked as both parties hinge on the issue of export duties. Whatever the outcome of the study will be, a positive outcome to the EU-GCC free trade negotiations seems a difficult goal to achieve.