Minister of Irrigation Says COP27 is an Opportunity to Set Out Egypt's Water Scarcity

The newly appointed Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Hani Swailem (Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation)
The newly appointed Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Hani Swailem (Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation)
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Minister of Irrigation Says COP27 is an Opportunity to Set Out Egypt's Water Scarcity

The newly appointed Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Hani Swailem (Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation)
The newly appointed Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Hani Swailem (Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation)

The newly appointed Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Hani Swailem, said the upcoming COP27 climate summit is "an opportunity" to introduce the world to Egypt's water poverty.

Swailem indicated that Egypt depends on boosting its cooperation with the Nile Basin countries to benefit from its resources and reduce the impact of climate change.

Egypt needs about 114 billion cubic meters of water annually to meet its needs, but the available resources amount to only 74 billion cubics, according to the Ministry.

The Nile water accounts for more than 90 percent of Egypt's needs, or 55.5 billion cubic meters. Cairo fears water shortage after Ethiopia begins operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

In his first extended meeting with the Ministry's officials, Swailem vowed to employ all technical and administrative capabilities to improve the water management process in Egypt and ensure it reaches the beneficiaries.

He reiterated the importance of cooperation with local and international institutions to maintain water security while maximizing reliance on scientific research and expanding the role of the National Water Research Center (NWRC) in serving the state's future projects.

The Minister said that the coming period would witness increased cooperation with the various ministries concerned with managing water resources in Egypt to increase the efficiency of water and land resources.

He stressed the importance of cooperation between all institutions to preserve Egypt's water and manage it in the most efficient and available means, provided the use of scientific and applied research prepared by the National Center.

He indicated that this would help Egypt manage water with the highest efficiency, noting that cooperation will characterize the upcoming stage for the future relations between Egypt and the Nile Basin countries to benefit from its resources.

Foreign relations will help support the plans of the Ministry of Irrigation, said Swailem.

He stressed the importance of scientific research in international universities in coordination and cooperation with the National Center for Water Research to expand the application of research and raise the efficiency of water resources management for Egypt.

The Minister noted that COP27 scheduled for next November in Sharm El-Sheikh would be a good opportunity for the world to review Egypt's progress on climate change issues.

It will help put Egypt's problems on the global agenda and seek solutions to water poverty, said Swailem, explaining that the summit will be an opportunity to benefit from international experiences.



25 Dead as Damascus Loyalists Clash with Kurdish-Led Forces, Says Monitor

Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) gesture as they move from Deir Ezzor to the Dheiban front line in eastern Syria on September 4, 2023, during a guided media tour organized by the SDF. (AFP)
Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) gesture as they move from Deir Ezzor to the Dheiban front line in eastern Syria on September 4, 2023, during a guided media tour organized by the SDF. (AFP)
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25 Dead as Damascus Loyalists Clash with Kurdish-Led Forces, Says Monitor

Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) gesture as they move from Deir Ezzor to the Dheiban front line in eastern Syria on September 4, 2023, during a guided media tour organized by the SDF. (AFP)
Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) gesture as they move from Deir Ezzor to the Dheiban front line in eastern Syria on September 4, 2023, during a guided media tour organized by the SDF. (AFP)

Fighters loyal to the Syrian government have clashed with Kurdish-led forces in a mainly Arab district of eastern Syria, leaving 25 people dead in two days, a war monitor said Tuesday.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are backed by Washington, said they had "driven out the regime gunmen who had infiltrated the Dheiban area" of Deir Ezzor province in the gun battles which erupted on Monday.

Earlier this month, the same area saw 10 days of fighting between the SDF and armed Arab tribesmen in which 90 people were killed.

Britain-based monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the latest clashes erupted when pro-government fighters crossed the Euphrates river, which separates pro-government forces in southwestern Deir Ezzor from the SDF in the northeast.

It said 21 of the dead were Damascus loyalists and three were SDF fighters. A woman was also killed.

The SDF said the loyalist fighters had crossed the Euphrates "under cover of an indiscriminate bombardment" of its positions.

The SDF riposted by bombarding the right bank of the river which is controlled by government troops with support from Iran-backed militias, the Observatory said.

The SDF was Washington's main Syrian ally in its fightback against ISIS, which culminated in the extremists’ defeat in their last Syrian foothold on the left bank of the Euphrates in 2019.

War erupted in Syria after President Bashar al-Assad's government crushed peaceful protests in 2011.

The conflict has killed more than half a million people and driven half the country's pre-war population from their homes.


UN Says Cholera and Dengue Outbreaks Have Been Reported in Eastern Sudan as Conflict Grinds on 

People queue at a medical laboratory to get tested for dengue fever in the eastern Qadarif state of war-torn Sudan on September 22, 2023, amid reports of the spread of the viral infection. (AFP)
People queue at a medical laboratory to get tested for dengue fever in the eastern Qadarif state of war-torn Sudan on September 22, 2023, amid reports of the spread of the viral infection. (AFP)
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UN Says Cholera and Dengue Outbreaks Have Been Reported in Eastern Sudan as Conflict Grinds on 

People queue at a medical laboratory to get tested for dengue fever in the eastern Qadarif state of war-torn Sudan on September 22, 2023, amid reports of the spread of the viral infection. (AFP)
People queue at a medical laboratory to get tested for dengue fever in the eastern Qadarif state of war-torn Sudan on September 22, 2023, amid reports of the spread of the viral infection. (AFP)

Outbreaks of cholera and dengue fever have been reported in eastern Sudan, where thousands of people are sheltering as deadly fighting grinds on between the country's military and a rival paramilitary force, the UN health agency said on Tuesday.

According to the World Health Organization, there have been 162 suspected cholera cases admitted to hospitals in the province of Qadarif and other areas along the border with Ethiopia. Eighty cases have been confirmed and 10 people have died of cholera, a bacterial infection linked to contaminated food or water, WHO said.

Sudan was engulfed in chaos in mid-April, when simmering tensions between the military and a powerful paramilitary group exploded into open warfare in the capital of Khartoum and other areas across the east African nation.

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders has set up two centers to treat cholera patients along with two mobile teams in Qadarif. The UN health and refugee agencies have renovated the isolation center for cholera at the Qadarif Teaching Hospital, the province's main medical facility.

Cholera outbreaks are not uncommon in impoverished Sudan. The disease left at least 700 dead and sickened about 22,000 in less than two months in 2017, the latest major outbreak in the country.

WHO said more than 500 suspected cases of dengue were reported across Sudan, most of them in urban centers in Qadarif. Dengue is caused by the dengue virus transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes.

The reported figure was “the tip of the iceberg” as the actual number is much higher, given that most of the patients rely on home remedies and often do not go to hospitals, WHO said.

The Sudanese doctors union says “hundreds” of dengue patients have died in the east of the country, describing the outbreak as “a health crisis.” It did not give a timeframe for those fatalities or elaborate further but it said that most hospitals in Qadarif have been overwhelmed by patients.

The conflict in Sudan has turned Khartoum and other urban areas into battlefields, wrecking civilian infrastructure and an already battered health care system. Without the basics, many hospitals and medical facilities have closed doors.

At least 5,000 people have been killed and more than 12,000 others wounded, according to the United Nations, though the actual numbers are likely higher. The UN refugee agency said last week that more than 1,200 children under the age of 5 have died in nine camps in Sudan in the past five months because of a deadly combination of measles and malnutrition.

More than 5.2 million people have fled their homes, including more than 1 million who crossed into Sudan’s neighboring countries. Half of the country’s population — around 25 million people — needs humanitarian assistance, including about 6.3 million who are “one step away from famine,” according to UN humanitarian officials.


Allawi: America Ruined Iraq, in Partnership with Iran

Allawi and Al-Maliki in one of their meetings in Baghdad in 2010 (Getty)
Allawi and Al-Maliki in one of their meetings in Baghdad in 2010 (Getty)
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Allawi: America Ruined Iraq, in Partnership with Iran

Allawi and Al-Maliki in one of their meetings in Baghdad in 2010 (Getty)
Allawi and Al-Maliki in one of their meetings in Baghdad in 2010 (Getty)

When the United States invaded Iraq, the Arabs were astonished and worried, and chose to stay away from the Iraqi scene so as not to be accused of supporting the occupation.

Iran took advantage of this Arab absence and launched a massive operation to prevent the establishment of a pro-Western Iraqi regime.

Tehran facilitated the invasion, but hastened to shake the stability that the Americans were betting on to build what they called the new democratic Iraq. Iran also benefited from dangerous decisions taken by Washington, including the dissolution of the Iraqi army, the de-Baathification, and the illusion of being able to rebuild Iraq from scratch after the dismantling of the state.

Once I asked President Jalal Talabani, who was returning from a trip to Tehran, what Iran really wanted from America. He said that he had concluded that it was ready to negotiate with Washington over files ranging from Afghanistan to Lebanon.

He explained: “Iran does not say that it wants a share, but rather that it seeks normal relations with the US, an end to hostility and to the seizure of Iranian funds in America.”

Talabani was more realistic than former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. He realized that the relationship with Washington was not enough, and it was necessary to pass through Tehran.

In 2007, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Baghdad, which was under the US occupation.

As American checkpoints facilitated the passage of the visitor’s convoy, it soon became clear that the Iranian president’s visit constituted a message that the American army would leave one day, but Iran, by virtue of geography, would remain near and inside Iraq. This is what actually happened, especially when slain IRGC Commander Qassem Soleimani began to destabilize Iraqi soil under the feet of the American army.

Iyad Allawi was not pro-American. He did not recognize their right to tailor the new Iraqi political scene as they wanted. Moreover, his meetings with a number of US officials were not fruitful. In parallel, no language of understanding was found with Tehran. He did not accept its terms, while the Iranian capital failed to tolerate his approach.

On March 7, 2010, general elections were held in Iraq. The “Iraqiya” list, led by Allawi, won 91 seats, while the State of Law coalition, led by Nouri al-Maliki, obtained 89 seats.

According to the applicable interpretation of the constitution, Allawi was supposed to be entrusted with the task of forming the new government. Al-Maliki was able to get from the Federal Supreme Court another interpretation of the article that talks about the largest bloc. A severe political crisis erupted that lasted about nine months, and ended in Al-Maliki’s favor.

I asked Allawi about the parties that prevented him from forming the government, he replied: “We achieved victory in the elections despite everything we were exposed to. Five hundred people were subjected to procedures under the pretext of “de-Baathification.” Among them were a number of our candidates. They assassinated nine persons. They closed entire regions to prevent our supporters from voting, and yet we were ahead of them by three seats. In fact, I was surprised by what happened. I did not expect the American and Iranian stances to reach this point. America and Iran prevented me from forming a government. They worked together.”

Allawi continued: “During that period, then-US Vice President Joe Biden visited Baghdad about three times a month. His concern was that I would give up in favor of Al-Maliki. He asked me to assume the presidency of the republic, and I told him that the people elected us to form the government, so how could I become president of the republic without a job or work (the nature of the position is quasi-protocol)... Biden repeated his demand, and I replied: “By God, if you do not allow me to become prime minister, terrorism will grow stronger... as will hatred for the regime...”

“During that period, US-Iranian negotiations were taking place in Muscat. The American delegation was headed by Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor under then-President Barack Obama. The Iranian side conveyed to the Americans a threat, stating that Iran will stop negotiations and cause problems in Iraq if Iyad Allawi becomes prime minister.”

“The truth is that I met Biden about 20 times. I’ve known him since he was in charge of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His personality is shaky, and he is a liar and a hypocrite,” Allawi stated.

I asked the former premier whether the US destroyed Iraq, he replied: “Yes, America ruined Iraq.”

On whether Washington had partners, he said: “Yes, Iran. Beginning with the dissolution of the Iraqi army, to the Popular Mobilization Forces, the armed militias and terrorism, the death of democracy and the spread of political sectarianism...”

I am Major General Qassem Soleimani

After the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, a prominent player appeared on the Iraqi scene: General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Quds Force. His role was not only limited to draining the American army, but went beyond to impose his decision in choosing presidents, forming governments, and determining paths. He assumed a similar role in Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.

I asked Allawi about his relationship with Soleimani, he said: “I met General Soleimani in the house of Adel Abdul Mahdi (later Prime Minister). Adel invited me to dinner, but he did not tell me who would be present... Half an hour later, two men arrived at the place... The first one approached me and said: “I am Major General Qassem Soleimani.” During the meeting, Soleimani told me: “We worked against you all the time.” I replied: “And I was against you all the time.”

Allawi recounted his conversation with the Iranian commander.

“I told him: Why did you work against us? I included you in the Sharm El-Sheikh meeting in defiance of international will. I opened all ways for you. We stopped the activity of the Mujahideen Khalq and seized their heavy weapons. I sent you the strongest economic delegation, on the basis of improving the position of the Iraqi neighborhood. He replied: “We made a mistake, and I am now in the presence of a senior commander.” I told him: “I am neither a big leader nor a watermelon. Do not interfere in Iraq’s internal affairs, and things will return to their normal course.”

Putin: Why don’t you go to Iran?

I asked Allawi to recall the most important pieces of advice he was given to visit Iran, and I will let him narrate it.

“In the seventh month of 2010, I visited Moscow, but I did not have any official status. President Vladimir Putin invited me to a dinner in the Kremlin, attended only by the interpreter. Putin asked me why I don’t go to Iran, and I replied: “Would you, for example, go to Finland to become President of the Republic of Russia?” He said: “No.” I said: “Why do you want me to go to Iran to become their follower? I don’t want the premiership nor the presidency. I am a servant of the Iraqi people and the Arab nation and I am honored to do so, and I am not ready to beg Iran or others for a position.” He asked me: “Do you mind if I send them an advisor of my own?” I replied: “No, but on the condition that I meet them here, in Egypt, or in Baghdad, but I will not go to Iran.”

Allawi continued: “The truth is that Putin is a nice, important and knowledgeable person. My personal opinion is that Russia’s morals are closer to the Arabs than America’s. They are more serious, frank and direct than the Americans.”

Bush does not deserve to be president

I asked Allawi about his impression of his meeting with President George W. Bush. He replied: “He does not deserve to be president of America. I did not see him steadfast in clarity or ideas. They had no policy after the fall of the regime... Disbanding the army, de-Baathification, and all these random practices. I explained this to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and asked him to talk to him more about the Iraqi file.”


Palestinian Authority Welcomes Saudi Ambassador’s Visit

Saudi Ambassador to Palestine Nayef al-Sudairi presenting credentials on August 12 in Amman, Jordan, to Advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas for Diplomatic Affairs, Majdi al-Khalidi. (WAFA)
Saudi Ambassador to Palestine Nayef al-Sudairi presenting credentials on August 12 in Amman, Jordan, to Advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas for Diplomatic Affairs, Majdi al-Khalidi. (WAFA)
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Palestinian Authority Welcomes Saudi Ambassador’s Visit

Saudi Ambassador to Palestine Nayef al-Sudairi presenting credentials on August 12 in Amman, Jordan, to Advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas for Diplomatic Affairs, Majdi al-Khalidi. (WAFA)
Saudi Ambassador to Palestine Nayef al-Sudairi presenting credentials on August 12 in Amman, Jordan, to Advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas for Diplomatic Affairs, Majdi al-Khalidi. (WAFA)

The Palestinian government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) welcomed on Monday the visit of the Saudi ambassador to Palestine and consul in Jerusalem, Nayef al-Sudairi, describing it as a historic milestone for developing fraternal relations between the two countries.

“The visit is considered an important historic milestone for the development of fraternal relations between the two countries and opening more horizons for joint cooperation in all fields,” the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates posted on its official X account.

It added that it values the support of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Prince Mohammad bin Salman, for the just and legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people in all forums.

The visit is a first for a Saudi high-ranking official to the Palestinian territories since the appointment of Al-Sudairi as non-resident ambassador to Palestine and Consul General of Saudi Arabia in Jerusalem.

Al-Sudairi said the step will have positive outcomes that will benefit the Palestinians in terms of organizing relations and giving an official boost to relations between the two countries. “We look forward to a promising future for this relationship to make it even better,” he said.

On Monday, Hussein al-Sheikh, Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee, welcomed the visit of Sudairi.

“The Ambassador will present his official credentials to President Mahmoud Abbas within a few days,” wrote Al-Sheikh in a tweet.

Al-Sudairi had presented on August 12 his letter of credentials to the Palestinian authorities.

He delivered the letter of credentials to Majdi Al-Khalidi, advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas for diplomatic affairs, at the Palestinian Embassy in Jordan.

Al-Sudairi is the first Saudi Ambassador to Palestine.

On Monday, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry had reported that its minister, Riyad al-Maliki, sent a congratulatory letter to his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, congratulating him on the occasion of the 93rd Saudi National Day.


Iraq Announces Arrest of ISIS Leader

An image from a video published by the Iraqi Army's Security Media Cell after the arrest of an ISIS leader in Kirkuk on Monday.
An image from a video published by the Iraqi Army's Security Media Cell after the arrest of an ISIS leader in Kirkuk on Monday.
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Iraq Announces Arrest of ISIS Leader

An image from a video published by the Iraqi Army's Security Media Cell after the arrest of an ISIS leader in Kirkuk on Monday.
An image from a video published by the Iraqi Army's Security Media Cell after the arrest of an ISIS leader in Kirkuk on Monday.

The Iraqi armed forces announced Monday the arrest of an ISIS leader in Kirkuk, on the second day of a security operation launched in the northern provinces of the country to impose security and stability in areas outside the army control.

“The Armed Forces were able to arrest the leading terrorist, Abu Bukhari, in Kirkuk governorate,” the country’s Security Media Cell said in a statement.

It said that “a precise intelligence operation” was carried out by Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service and in coordination with the security forces of the Kurdistan Region and resulted in the arrest of ISIS commander Abu Bukhari in Kirkuk.

On Sunday, Iraq launched a large-scale operation to impose security and stability in areas outside the control of its security forces in the north of the country.

Intelligence information reports the presence of several “security-free” areas that had turned into a haven for militants in Iraq.

A security expert said that Sunday’s operation was part of the pursuit of hundreds of ISIS remnants who fled to areas they believe are far from the reach of the Iraqi security forces.

On Sunday, a Popular Mobilization Forces statement said a force from the Kirkuk and East Tigris Operations Command in the PMF, with the participation of units of military engineering, anti-explosives, and military intelligence, in cooperation with Salah al-Din Operations Command, launched a large security operation on Al-Aith Island in Salah al-Din governorate.

The statement added: “The operation was launched from six location points, with the help of an army force and a force from the Counter-Terrorism Service.”

The Arab World news agency quoted a military intelligence officer as saying that when ISIS controlled the area, a large number of youth from Al-Aith joined the terrorist organization.

After Iraq liberated those areas, Al-Aith remained a haven for ISIS members fleeing from other regions, said the officer, who requested anonymity.

Also on Monday, the Security Media Cell reported in a statement that a force from the Kirkuk and East Tigris Operations Command in the PMF, found three headquarters of ISIS gangs in Al-Aith area, east of Salah al-Din.

 


UN Invitation to Burhan Encourages Coups, Says Sudan’s Hamdok

Smoke rises above buildings after an aerial bombardment during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army, in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023. (Reuters)
Smoke rises above buildings after an aerial bombardment during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army, in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023. (Reuters)
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UN Invitation to Burhan Encourages Coups, Says Sudan’s Hamdok

Smoke rises above buildings after an aerial bombardment during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army, in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023. (Reuters)
Smoke rises above buildings after an aerial bombardment during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army, in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023. (Reuters)

Former Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok condemned the United Nations' invitation to army leader Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to attend the General Assembly meetings in New York.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, he warned that this move sends extremely dangerous signals that encourage military coups in Africa.

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, was signed by members of the Sovereign Council, including Mohamed al-Faki Suleiman, Al-Tahir Hajar, and Mohammed Hassan al-Taishi, and ministers who were overthrown by the October 2021 coup in Sudan. The coup was led by the military and Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

They stressed that the invitation blatantly contradicts global stances that reject the coup, which halted Sudan's democratic transition.

In the letter, Hamdok's transitional civilian government emphasized that the coup led to a complete constitutional downfall in Sudan, giving rise to a de facto regime, which later collapsed with the outbreak of war on April 15. The war was a direct result of the military coup.

The letter also referenced the positions of the African Union (AU), the UN Security Council, and the European Union (EU), that rejected the coup and demanded that power return to civilians.

The letter added that inviting the army leader to represent Sudan at the General Assembly contradicts declared international positions, warning that it could prolong the ongoing war and send very dangerous signals that encourage military revolts across Africa.

In wake of the coup, the African Union suspended Sudan's membership and the US and the World Bank froze assistance to Sudan, demanding a return to civilian rule.

Meanwhile, on the ground, the RSF announced on Monday the downing of a Sudanese MiG military jet, as fighting with the army escalated in various regions around the capital, Khartoum.

The RSF has for days been waging an assault to capture the army headquarters in the area.

Residents of neighborhoods near the headquarters in central Khartoum reported violent clashes and exchanges of artillery fire around the facility.

Witnesses told Asharq Al-Awsat that the army used drones to strike the attacking forces and successively hit an RSF camp south of Khartoum.

In a statement on the X platform, the RSF confirmed the downing of the military jet, the second such incident in two days.

The RSF said the downed aircraft had carried out attacks against innocent civilians, continuously wreaking havoc on public facilities and marketplaces.

It further alleged that remnants of the National Congress regime, led by Burhan, have adopted a scorched earth policy, deliberately targeting residential neighborhoods, markets, and vital facilities, resulting in the deaths and injuries of thousands of innocent civilians.


Jordanian Ministers Resign in Preparation for Cabinet Reshuffle

Jordanian Prime Minister Bishr Khasawneh
Jordanian Prime Minister Bishr Khasawneh
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Jordanian Ministers Resign in Preparation for Cabinet Reshuffle

Jordanian Prime Minister Bishr Khasawneh
Jordanian Prime Minister Bishr Khasawneh

Jordanian government ministers, on Monday, tendered their resignations in anticipation of a cabinet reshuffle, marking the seventh such reshuffle since the formation of Prime Minister Bishr Khasawneh’s government in October 2020.

Meanwhile, government sources have ruled out any changes affecting sovereign portfolios.

The ministerial shake up comes just days after the announcement of the fourth and final session for the Jordanian parliament, whose constitutional term concludes next summer.

This development occurs amidst active party dynamics aiming to participate in upcoming elections.

The electoral law has allocated 41 seats in the upcoming parliament out of a total of 138 exclusively for the party lists.

While it is almost certain that at least two current members of the House of Representatives will join the new ministerial team, sources revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the new ministers will take their constitutional oath before Jordan’s monarch, King Abdullah, on Tuesday.

Sources indicate that Khasawneh’s move to introduce at least two current members of the House of Representatives into the reshuffle may set the stage for an impending confrontation between the two branches of government.

This is especially significant given the desire of other parliamentarians to secure ministerial positions.

As the House of Representatives approaches the end of its constitutional term starting in mid-July, the situation is further complicated by the constitutional requirement to hold parliamentary elections within the four months preceding the end of the House’s four-year term.

The final results for the current House of Representatives were declared on November 15, 2020.

Including lawmakers into the ministerial team requires them to first submit their resignations from parliament before they can take the constitutional oath before the King.

This requirement stems from constitutional amendments approved at the beginning of 2022, which expressly prohibit holding both parliamentary and ministerial positions concurrently.

The current House of Representatives marks a historical departure from previous parliamentary bodies, as it underwent changes with the removal of two deputies, the lifting of parliamentary immunity for MP Imad Al-Adwan, who faces charges of smuggling weapons to Israel, and the passing of two other deputies.

Khasawneh’s leadership may pave the way for the continued connection between the government’s term and that of parliament members. This is particularly notable because the past three parliamentary sessions have completed their constitutional terms.

However, it's worth noting that the previous parliament only dealt with two different government heads: Hani Mulki, who resigned in mid-2018 amidst public protests against the income tax law, was replaced for the remaining two years of the eighteenth parliamentary session by then Prime Minister Omar Razzaz.

Regarding the expected ministerial reshuffle, sources have hinted at possible changes.

These include the departure of ministers responsible for information and water resources, the separation of the Ministry of Transport from the Ministry of Public Works, and the separation of the Ministry of Labor from the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply.

However, sources have not definitively confirmed the rumors regarding ministerial reshuffling.

Among the parliamentarians, Omar Al Ayasra from the governorate of Jerash in northern Amman and Khair Abu Saelik from the fourth district in Amman are considered strong contenders for cabinet positions.


Arab Countries Condemn Tearing up of Quran in The Hague

20 April 2020, North Rhine-Westphalia, Wuppertal: A view of the Holy Quran at a Mosque. (dpa)
20 April 2020, North Rhine-Westphalia, Wuppertal: A view of the Holy Quran at a Mosque. (dpa)
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Arab Countries Condemn Tearing up of Quran in The Hague

20 April 2020, North Rhine-Westphalia, Wuppertal: A view of the Holy Quran at a Mosque. (dpa)
20 April 2020, North Rhine-Westphalia, Wuppertal: A view of the Holy Quran at a Mosque. (dpa)

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates condemned on Monday an extremist group for tearing up copies of the holy Quran in front of various embassies in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the repeated desecration of the Quran, saying such “provocative and reckless” acts are offensive to millions of Muslims and only stoke hatred.

The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the Dutch government to take responsibility to stop these actions.

It emphasized the importance of monitoring hate speech that negatively impacts peace and security, read a statement carried by the UAE state news agency (WAM). Furthermore, the Ministry expressed its rejection of the use of freedom of expression as justification for such heinous acts.

It underscored the UAE's rejection of all practices aimed at undermining security and stability in contravention of human values and principles. It reaffirmed that hate speech and extremism contradict international efforts to spread the values of tolerance, coexistence and peace between peoples.

It underscored the need to respect religious symbols and avoid incitement and polarization at a time when the international community needs to work together to reiterate a commitment to upholding the universal principles of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. The Ministry emphasized that these principles should be promoted and implemented to achieve stability and sustainable development.

The Ministry remarked that hate speech and extremism are closely linked to the spread and escalation of conflict.

Bahrain strongly condemned the tearing up of copies of the Quran.

A Foreign Affairs Ministry statement reiterated a call to stop such hateful provocative actions, viewing them as incitement to hostility and religious and racial hatred.

Such acts contradict international efforts aimed at promoting the values of tolerance, peaceful coexistence, and mutual respect between peoples and cultures, it added.

Al-Azhar Al-Sharif in Egypt expressed its “deep disappointment” in the tearing up of the Quran, saying it was the “latest in a series of crimes against Islam and its sanctities.”

In a statement, it added that such crimes “demonstrate that some western governments are not determined and not serious about consolidating values of world peace and peaceful coexistence that the al-Azhar has been trying to promote.”

It called on “all western governments and people, as well as the entire world, to deeply study Islam and understand its message in a way that reflects the modernity and civility that these countries claim to represent.”

Saudi Arabia had strongly denounced the tearing up of the Quran.

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated the Kingdom’s total rejection of such hateful and repeated acts, saying that these cannot be accepted under any justifications.

“Such acts clearly incite hatred and racism, and directly contradict international efforts seeking to spread the values of tolerance, and moderation, apart from rejecting extremism, and undermining the necessary mutual respect for relations between peoples and countries,” the ministry said in a statement reported by SPA.

Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry condemned the “heinous” tearing up of the Quran, reiterating its call on the international community to stand against such acts that “provoke Muslim sentiments and spread hatred under the excuse of freedom of expression.”

In a statement on the X platform, it underlined the importance of cooperation between all nations to confront such acts.

Oman echoed concerns that such acts incite violence and hatred.


Iraqi PM May Visit Russia Before US Trip

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani walks on to the podium to address world leaders during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 22, 2023 in New York City. (Getty Images/AFP)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani walks on to the podium to address world leaders during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 22, 2023 in New York City. (Getty Images/AFP)
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Iraqi PM May Visit Russia Before US Trip

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani walks on to the podium to address world leaders during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 22, 2023 in New York City. (Getty Images/AFP)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani walks on to the podium to address world leaders during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 22, 2023 in New York City. (Getty Images/AFP)

Russian and Chinese officials have intensified their talks with their Iraqi counterparts in wake of the announcement that Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani was invited to visit the White House.

The Iraqi delegation at the United Nations General Assembly had received the invitation from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein when the invitation was made. He informed him that “Moscow was ready to welcome Sudani within a few weeks.”

In fact, Russia had first invited Sudani to visit Moscow back in July, said a statement by the Russian Ambassador in Baghdad Elbrus Kutrashev.

Russia was keen on confirming the invitation as Iran upped its pressure on Iraqi officials “over issues that Sudani should bring up when he meets US President Joe Biden” at the White House.

A joint statement by Lavrov and Hussein said Sudani’s visit to Moscow would be an opportunity to discuss political and economic issues of common interest.

A leading member of the pro-Iran Coordination Framework in Iraq told Asharq Al-Awsat that Moscow has increased its activity in the country in recent months.

It is in alignment with Tehran over the need to “neutralize” western investment projects in the region, explained the official.

Back in January, Hussein said relations between Iraq and Russia were strong in spite of the sanctions on Moscow and the criticism against it over its conflict with Ukraine.

Some 50 Russian companies operate in Iraq in developing oil fields and exploring and drilling for oil.


Lebanon Arrests Individual Who Fired on US Embassy Last Week 

An external view of the entrance of the US Embassy in Awkar, north of Beirut, Lebanon, 21 September 2023. (EPA)
An external view of the entrance of the US Embassy in Awkar, north of Beirut, Lebanon, 21 September 2023. (EPA)
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Lebanon Arrests Individual Who Fired on US Embassy Last Week 

An external view of the entrance of the US Embassy in Awkar, north of Beirut, Lebanon, 21 September 2023. (EPA)
An external view of the entrance of the US Embassy in Awkar, north of Beirut, Lebanon, 21 September 2023. (EPA)

Lebanon's security forces have arrested at least one individual involved in a shooting at the US embassy last week, two security sources told Reuters.

One security source said the individual was a Lebanese man. The second security source said ammunition he had in his possession had also been seized.

The shooting, which did not result in any injuries, occurred late on Wednesday near the highly secured US embassy north of Beirut, in the town of Awkar. Security incidents around the facility are rare.

US ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea said on Friday the embassy was not intimidated by the incident.

"We know that authorities are investigating this incident," Shea said after meeting Lebanon's caretaker prime minister, Najib Mikati, who condemned the shooting.

Washington moved its embassy to Awkar from Beirut following a 1983 suicide attack in Lebanon's capital that killed more than 60 people.