UN Calls on Iraq to Stop Applying Death Penalty

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On October 20, BBC Arabic reported that the UN has called on the Iraqi government to suspend or stop its use of the death penalty. A UN human rights report stated that Iraq's use of the death penalty has failed to to combat crime and has not been carried out according to appropriate standards.

Article Source: BBC Arabic

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Israeli-Egyptian Negotiations on Natural Gas Deal

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On October 19, Maan News reported that an Israeli energy company with interests in the Tamar natural gas reservoir has signed an agreement with Egyptian firm Dolphinus to supply Egypt with 2.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The same pipeline that will be used to transfer the natural gas to Egypt used to supply Israel with natural gas from Egypt, but militants attacked the pipelines several times.

Article Source: Maan News

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Etihad Airways Offers Concessions in Acquisition Bid

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Picture published by aawsat.com

Picture published by aawsat.com

On October 15, Al Sharq Al Awsat reported that UAE airline company Etihad Airways has agreed to make certain concessions in its bid to acquire a 33-percent stake in Swiss airline Darwin Airlines, which is to re brand itself as Etihad Regional. The concessions include abandoning its ambition to appoint the company's senior executive officers. The acquisition comes amid growing concerns over Etihad's expansion into the European airline market.

Article Source: Al Sharq Al Awsat

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Protests against Houthi Insurgency

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On October 14, Al Arabiya reported that demonstrations erupted in the streets of Sanaa, Yemen against the continued control of large sections of the city by Houthi militants, as well as the coastal city of Hudaida. Political tension has once again ignited the debate in Aden about seceding from Yemen.

Article Source: Al Arabiya

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Kurdish Political Parties Agree to Join Iraqi Government

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On October 13, Al Sumaria reported that Kurdish ministers have agreed to join the Iraqi government under the leadership of Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. The decision comes amid significant differences between the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government over power sharing, oil revenue, and political differences, but prompted by the need for unity during the current crisis.

Article Source: Al Sumaria

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Higher Natural Gas Output Expected in Algeria

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Picture published by aawsat.com

Picture published by aawsat.com

On October 13, Al Sharq Alawsat reported that Algerian Energy Minister Yousif Yousifi declared that Algeria's natural gas production is expected to increase 40 percent over the next five years. Youifi delivered his comments at the opening of an international natural gas conference in the country . Yousifi statements downplayed concerns among some Algerians about declining oil prices, given the amount of Algerians employed in that sector.

Article Source: Al Sharq Alawsat

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Russian Weapons Company to Open Maintenance Facilities in Egypt

Picture published by Reuters

Picture published by Reuters

Article Brief

On October 9, Al Masry Al Youm reported that a Russian helicopter company plans to open maintenance facilities in Egypt and several other countries next year. The article noted that last September it was reported that Egypt would receive Russian weapons for USD 3.5 billion in accordance with a tentative agreement between the two countries. The weapons deal would provide Egypt with an anti-aircraft missile defense system and various types of artillery. 

Article Source: Al Masry Al Youm

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Fears over Fall of Kubani

Article Brief

On October 8, BBC Arabic reported that the U.S. and its allies are concerned over the possibility that the Syrian city of Kobani, or Ain al-Arab, which lies right along the border with Turkey, will fall into ISIS' hands. The terrorist organization has been waging a campaign for weeks against the city, which, if taken, would afford it control over a large strip of of the Turkish border area, where it resupplies its material and personnel.

Article Source: BBC Arabic

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Tension on the Lebanese-Israeli Border

Article Brief

On October 7, An Nahar reported that two Israeli soldiers were wounded by an IED that hit their patrol vehicle in the contested territory of the Shebaa Farms, which was once controlled by Syria, claimed by Lebanon, and occupied by Israel. The incident occurred after a Lebanese soldier was wounded by Israeli gunfire. Following the IED attack, which was claimed by "the Islamic Resistance", Israel fired several artillery rounds into adjacent Lebanese territory.

Article Source: Annahar

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Pakistani Taliban Declares Loyalty to ISIS

Article Brief

On October 5, Al Sharq Alawsat reported that the Pakistani Taliban has offered its loyalty to ISIS and called on extremists throughout the region to support the group. The Nusra Front and other Al Qaeda affiliates have criticized the decision, referring to ISIS as a "cartoonish" group.

Article Source: Al Sharq Alawsat

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Turkey Vows to Defend Ottoman Shrine

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On October 2, BBC Arabic reported that Turkey is determined to protect the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, from ISIS incursions. The shrine, which is located outside of Aleppo, is located in Syria but considered a sovereign enclave of the Turkish state. ISIS militants have been encroaching on the area.

Article Source: BBC Arabic

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ISIS Looking to Open Consulate in Turkey

Article Brief

On October 1, Al Sumaira reported that claims that ISIS is looking to establish a consulate in Turkey, which it allegedly regards as a "friendly state". According to the reports, it would serve as a recruitment center, and a facility to handle the costs of hospital expenses for ISIS members being treated in Syria. The reliability and objectivity of these reports is questionable.

Article Source: Al Sumaira

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Low-Level Smuggling Flourishing on Jordan-West Bank Border

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Picture published by Maan

Picture published by Maan

On October 1, Maan News reported that business for so-called briefcase merchants who illegally smuggle items such as tobacco and sexual stimulants is thriving. Police and customs officials at the Karama border crossing have seized larger than normal amounts of contraband over the past week. Authorities blame an increase in the price of such goods in the West Bank for pushing these traders to smuggle their goods from across the border.

Article Source: Maan News

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Funds to Yemen Stop Amid Power Struggle

Article Brief

On September 30, Al Sharq Al Awsat reported that donors to Yemen are holding off on giving out their money amid the upheavals in the country. A power struggle between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels has left competing axes of power, and potential donors are reluctant to provide funds until the situation is resolved.

Article Source: Al Sharq Alawsat

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Mariam Ibrahim Taking On Religious Oppression

Article Brief

BBC Arabic reported that Mariam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death in that country for converting to Christianity from Islam, is launching a campaign against religious oppression. Ibrahim, who gave birth to a child while in shackles, is currently living in asylum in the U.S.

Article Source: BBC Arabic

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Hamas and Fatah Reach Comprehensive Agreement on Gaza

Article Brief

On September 25, Al Arabiya reported that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which is under the leadership of the Fatah Party, reached a comprehensive agreement over the administration of Gaza. An internal political struggle led to a violent division of power between the West Bank and Gaza in 2007. The agreement covers border control administration and government salaries among other issues.

Article Source: Al Arabiya

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Moroccan Central Bank Lowers Interest Rate

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Picture published by aawsat.com

Picture published by aawsat.com

Al Sharq Al Awsat reported that the Moroccan Central Bank has decided to lower its benchmark interest rates below the 3-percent threshold to 2.75 percent. The move is designed to stimulate investment and comes amid growth in the agricultural sector and improvement in hard currency reserves. 

Article Source: aawsat.com

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Nasrallah Calls US Unqualified to Lead Coalition

Article Brief

On September 23, Maan reported that Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah called the U.S. morally unfit to lead a coalition of mostly Arab states in a military campaign against ISIS. Hezbollah has supported the Assad regime in Syria since the beginning of the civil war. Nasrallah claimed that Hezbollah's disapproval was a reason for Lebanon's not participating in the campaign, but he did not, conveniently, condemn the campaign itself.

Article Source: Maan

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