November 30, 2022
Middle East round-up: The first Arab World Cup


The World Cup’s on the town, Turkey’s ramping up its strikes on Syria and explosions in Jerusalem. Right here’s your round-up, written by Abubakr Al-Shamahi, Al Jazeera Digital’s Center East and North Africa editor.

If, like me, you have got fond reminiscences of the Nigeria workforce within the 1998 group stage, the Zidane headbutt within the 2006 ultimate, the South African dancing within the 2010 opening match, and England lastly successful a penalty shoot-out in 2018 (simply me?), then I’m guessing you’re at the moment feasting your eyes on the pageant of soccer that’s the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

It’s the first World Cup within the Arab world, and within the Center East. I gained’t go on about what’s occurred on the pitch (nicely carried out Saudi Arabia and Japan), there’s an entire World Cup e-newsletter for that, and in depth protection on our web site. However within the stands, Arab followers – particularly followers of MoroccoSaudi Arabia and Tunisia – have created a cauldron-like environment. It’s actually introduced house how particular it’s to host the most important match on the planet, and on the identical time present a unique aspect to the area, an entire departure from the stereotypes that many have of it.

It’s not been with out controversy, after all. The method of awarding the match to Qatar has been criticised, as has the remedy of migrant employees and the LGBTQ+ group. FIFA banned a number of groups from sporting an armband that includes a rainbow, which has led to protests. And but many, notably within the Center East, have accused European international locations particularly of being hypocritical and Orientalist of their assaults on the match. Qatar itself has reiterated that everybody is welcome.

With the spectacular outcomes in the course of the match up to now, consideration is popping in direction of occasions on the sector, reasonably than off it. However I’m positive we haven’t heard the top of the controversy surrounding this World Cup — there’s discuss that Saudi Arabia desires to host the 2030 version.

Is Turkey bluffing?

There’s been extra fallout from the November 13 bombing in Istanbul, with Turkey launching air raids in Syria and Iraq, focusing on the teams it accuses of being behind the assault, the PKK and the YPG. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that the assaults in Syria had been a part of a new navy operation, which might contain tanks and floor troops “when handy”.

So, are Turkish troops about to roll over the border once more, with the goal of clearing out the YPG? On one hand, Erdogan has been threatening such an operation for months, just for nothing to occur within the face of opposition from the West, Russia and Iran. On the opposite, are Russia and Iran now too distracted with their very own issues?

It’s laborious to inform, however as of this week, there are not any main Turkish navy actions, and the preventing appears restricted to Turkish airstrikes and YPG missile assaults – that are nonetheless taking a heavy toll on civilians.

[READ: Is Turkey set for a new operation in Syria?]

Bombs on the streets of Jerusalem

Two explosions at bus stops in Jerusalem on Wednesday had been harking back to Palestinian assaults that happened on the top of the Second Intifada within the early 2000s, one thing that hasn’t been seen for years. The bombings killed at the very least one Israeli, and injured others. Nobody has claimed accountability for the assault, however it was praised by Hamas. The explosions occurred at a time when there appears to be no finish to the violence within the occupied West Financial institution, with Israeli troopers killing Palestinians throughout almost-daily raids. Two of the newest victims had been a 16-year-old boy, and an 18-year-old on his option to college.

And Now for One thing Completely different

Have you ever ever heard of Al Baik? You probably have, then you recognize. When you haven’t, it’s just like the Center East’s model of KFC, solely higher (Al Baik doesn’t sponsor me or Al Jazeera). The fast-food chain is in every single place in Saudi Arabia’s western Hejaz area, however not likely obtainable anyplace else (besides perhaps in the previous couple of years). In truth, the one purpose plenty of non-Saudis learn about it’s as a result of they could have savoured it’s tasty choices whereas visiting the Muslim holy websites in Mecca and Medina. However now, for the primary time, and due to the World Cup, it’s in Doha. It’s fairly clear from the queues that the folks love their fried hen.

In Transient

Iran assaults Kurdish separatist teams based mostly in northern Iraq – Gasoline cylinder explosion in Iraq kills 15 – Greece’s international minister lands in Libya’s Tripoli, after which promptly leaves after refusing to satisfy his counterpart – Egyptian activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah’s well being is severely deteriorating in jail – Morocco arrests its former human rights minister – Israeli air assaults kill 4 Syrian troopers – Houthi rebels assault Yemeni oil terminal – China indicators 27-year-gas take care of QatarEnergy – Human Rights Watch: Extra should be carried out to assist kids repatriated from camps for suspected ISIL relations in Syria – Egyptian and Turkish leaders shake palms in newest signal that relations are thawing.

Lebanon’s financial institution holdups

Lebanese banks have been within the information in current months for a spate of “financial institution heists” — which really contain folks demanding their very own cash that banks usually are not permitting them to withdraw. The eye has come from the strategies these folks have used, together with coming into with weapons, pretend and actual. On this opinion piece, Nizar Ghanem, the founding father of the motion representing Lebanese depositors, and Alex Ray, an analyst in Beirut, clarify why Lebanese are so indignant with their banking system, and the risks this disaster will carry if it continues.

Quote of the Week

“It’s as if we had been destined in Gaza to stay in increasingly ache” – Khitam Abu Rayya, who misplaced her brother, his spouse, their kids, and her grandchild after 21 folks died in a fireplace in an condo within the Gaza Strip. The household had been celebrating a birthday.

[READ: Gene drug only hope for Turkish child, but costs millions]


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