Following President Trump’s decision on US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, which he terms ‘defective’, will the other signatories be able to ensure the agreement’s viability? International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano on 9 May assured that Iran was continuing to implement its nuclear commitments: ’Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime … [and] as of today, the IAEA can confirm that the nuclear-related commitments are being implemented by Iran.’ While France, Germany and the UK have made clear their commitment to the deal and the need to protect European business interests, in Iran, feelings are running high. The latest military escalation between Iran and Israel, which had vociferously campaigned for an end to the nuclear deal, affects all the parties involved in the Syrian conflict, not least Russia, and highlights the fragile geopolitical situation in the Middle East, where multiple … [Read more...] about Iran nuclear deal: what does US withdrawal mean for the Middle East?
The middle east
It was well telegraphed in advance but that didn't make the punch of the US withdrawal from the Iran deal any less powerful. President Donald Trump has just sent an earthquake though the Middle East and risked alienating key European allies.Anyone who thinks there was a glimmer of optimism, and the door is left open for a new deal, wasn't really listening to what the President had just said.Virtually every aspect of the Iranian regime's foreign agenda was attacked.This was not just about the deal. This was about Iran's aggressive behaviour across the region.The problem with brokering a new deal that would be acceptable to the US is that it would have to encompass so many things - a rowing back of Iranian influence in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon and also a halt to its ballistic missile programme.Iran is unlikely to swallow that pill and be bullied to the table on Mr Trump's terms.And the other factor is that the American withdrawal strengthens the hand of the hardliners who were … [Read more...] about Trump has sent an earthquake through the Middle East by pulling out of Iran deal
Russia’s military intervention in Syria, which began in 2015, was not inevitable. In the first year of the conflict (2011-12), Russia believed the Assad government could survive if it was protected against outside interference. This illusion was dispelled as the fighting intensified. Russia then tried to steer Syria and the international community towards compromise, and Russian leaders began to distinguish between Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian state. Having learned a lesson from Libya, which broke apart after the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, they prioritised protecting Syrian institutions. But they remained convinced that Assad’s presence was vital if the Syrian state was not be dismantled, though this did not guarantee their support for him in perpetuity. The Russian authorities have never fully trusted Assad; after he came to power in 2000, he attempted a rapprochement with Europe, and in particular with France. He turned to Russia only when this foundered, … [Read more...] about What is Russia doing in the Middle East?
Ibiza is renowned for its hedonistic drink and drug-fuelled club nights, where revellers from all over the world come together to party into the early hours, and lose their inhibitions. The Middle East, on the other hand, could hardly be further from this way of life. And yet Ibiza club night, Paradise, has just held its first event in Dubai. This is a place where it's technically illegal to stay in the same room with your partner if you're not married, a place where women are encouraged to keep their skin covered despite the scorching heat, and a place where drug use can land you with a prison sentence or worse. How on earth do you take Ibiza's leading club night and make it work in this city? In fact, Dubai already has a developed and increasingly vibrant nightlife scene. In a city associated with wealth, extravagance and ridiculously ostentatious building design, it’s perhaps no surprise that global restaurant and club chains are taking note and moving in. The likes of Burger … [Read more...] about Dubai Paradise club night: How do you recreate the hedonism of Ibiza in the Middle East?
Hundreds of sheep have been filmed being slowly “cooked alive”, covered in waste and desperately gasping for air and water in extreme heat in new footage that has horrified Australia. The “harrowing” video revealed by Animals Australia, was taken by a whistleblower on board one of the many ships that export animals live to the Middle East every year in “illegal” conditions. The Australian government announced a review of the regulator and a crackdown on illegal practices – but faced calls to ban the trade altogether after the expose prompted widespread anger. Read more Activists say ministers must do more to save animal rights post-Brexit SeaWorld seeks restraining order against animal rights activists Where not to stay in when you visit Perth The future of cloning 15 years after Dolly the sheep's death The footage shows hundreds of sheep packed onto cargo decks so tightly that they cannot move or lie down; many dying en route of thirst and … [Read more...] about Australian sheep bound for the Middle East ‘cooked alive in harrowing and deadly conditions’ on live export ships