May 30th – June 3rd

Monday, 30th May 2016

EGYPT – Egyptian prosecutors on Monday ordered the head of the journalists union and two board members to be tried on charges of harboring colleagues wanted by the law, judicial sources said, a move that drew condemnation from rights groups. (The New York Times)

ISRAEL – Israeli and Turkish officials confirmed on Monday that, after six years, the two countries are close to normalizing ties. “We are close to reaching a deal, but we are sill not there,” a senior Israeli official said. (The Jerusalem Post)

MIGRANT CRISIS – One of Europe’s wealthiest villages has decided to pay a £200,000 fine instead of accepting around 10 refugees under its country’s newly imposed quota. Residents in the picturesque Swiss village of Oberwil-Lieli said they voted ‘no’ in a referendum on whether to accept the refugees because “they wouldn’t fit in.” (The Telegraph)

SYRIA – The chief peace negotiator of Syria’s main opposition bloc said on Sunday that he was resigning over the failure of the UN-backed Geneva peace talks to bring a political settlement to the Syria crisis. (Al Jazeera)

WAR ON TERROR – Iraqi troops have wrested back control of districts in the Islamic State-held city of Falluja in a long-awaited operation fraught with fears that the militant group could try to use tens of thousands of civilians as human shields. (The Guardian

Tuesday, 31st May 2016

ISRAEL – Alarmed at the spread of a Palestinian campaign to boycott Israel and particularly its resonance on college campuses, the Israeli Mission to the United Nations and World Jewish Congress held a conference on Tuesday aimed at galvanizing support for an effective counter-message. (The New York Times)

MIGRANT CRISIS – Italian police have arrested 16 people suspected of trafficking migrants across the Mediterranean from Libya after a week in which thousands were rescued and hundreds drowned trying to make the journey. (Reuters)

TURKEY – The Turkish President, no stranger to provocative proclamations, inveighed against the use of contraception, arguing that it does not serve the interests of a “Muslim family.” (The Washington Post)

Turkish police have detained several activists and imposed heavy security on Istanbul, on the third anniversary of protests that posed the biggest challenge yet to the rule of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. (The Guardian)

WESTERN SAHARA – Mohamed Abdelaziz, the secretary general of the Polisario Front, a movement fighting for independence of the largely desert region of Western Sahara, has died. Abdelaziz, in his late sixties, died on Tuesday afternoon after a long battle with illness, the official website of the separatist movement said. (Al Jazeera)

Wednesday, 1st June 2016

ISRAEL – The world greeted with a yawn Tuesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement that the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative contains “positive elements” and that Israel “would be willing to negotiate on the basis of an updated initiative.” While there were no reports of enthusiastic responses either in Western capitals or the Arab world, UN special envoy Nickolay Mladenov issued a statement praising the comments. (The Jerusalem Post)

SYRIA – Thousands of families are fleeing the rebel-held city of Idlib after the heaviest bombardment in months, coinciding with a separate increase in air strikes in Aleppo province. The developments come as Russia faces charges its air strikes have killed dozens of civilians across Idlib province, including in an area near a hospital. (Al Jazeera)

TUNISIA – Rached Ghannouchi announced that the Tunisian Ennahda party that he leads will experience sweeping changes in its leadership and structure during the summer. These changes include a complete division between the political institutions of the party, its charities and its missionary arm in accordance with the resolutions of the party’s tenth conference. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

WAR ON TERROR – Thousands of U.S.-backed fighters in Syria are launching an offensive to capture from Daesh a crucial swathe of northern Syria known as the Manbij pocket following weeks of quiet preparations, U.S. officials disclosed to Reuters. (Reuters)

Thursday, 2nd June 2016

EGYPT – Egypt has received the first of two advanced warships from France in a deal worth $1bn (£692m). The Mistral helicopter carriers were originally made for Russia, but the contract was cancelled in 2014 over the conflict in eastern Ukraine. (BBC)

TURKEY – The German Parliament overwhelmingly adopted a symbolic but fraught resolution on Thursday declaring the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 a genocide, escalating tensions with Turkey at a diplomatically delicate juncture. (The New York Times)

WAR ON TERROR – Three Syrian men have been arrested on suspicion of planning an attack in Düsseldorf for Daesh while a fourth suspect who told officials in Paris about the alleged plot is in custody in France, prosecutors in Germany have said. (The Guardian)

The Turkish army killed five Daesh militants in Syria in cross-border shelling, Turkish military sources said on Thursday. The army targeted positions west of where an offensive on militants was launched by Syrian fighters with U.S. backing. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Friday, 3rd June 2016

ISRAEL – The international community committed Friday to try and push Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks under a French-led initiative, despite a decidedly lukewarm reaction from Washington and hostility from Israel. (Al Monitor)

MIGRANT CRISIS – The bodies of more than 100 people who drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea were found washed up on beaches near the Libyan city of Zuwarah, a Libyan navy spokesman said. (Al Jazeera)

At least four migrants drowned and dozens of others were feared dead after a boat carrying hundreds of immigrants capsized off the coast of the Greek island of Crete on Friday in the latest tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea. (The Telegraph)

SYRIA – Russian President Vladimir Putin may deploy special operations forces on the ground in Syria, a former official has told Al Jazeera, a move that might be made to ensure “a decisive victory.”  (Al Jazeera)

TURKEY – The German parliament’s resolution on 1915 events lacks common sense and overshadows EU’s cooperation with Turkey over the ongoing refugee crisis, Turkey’s EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Omer Celik told Anadolu Agency in an interview Friday. (Anadolu Agency)

WAR ON TERROR – The Moroccan Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) belonging to the national intelligence agency on Thursday announced dismantling a Daesh sleeper terrorist cell in each of the cities of Tétouan, Martil and Casablanca. The ring comprised six members. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

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