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‘All is Well’ For Trump As Iran Missile Attacks US Forces In Iraq

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In retaliation for the US drone strikes killing an Iranian commander, Iran attacks US-led forces stationed at Iraq. many fear this could lead to a new Middle East war.

According to Iranian state television, Iran fired 15 missiles towards US targets in Iraq on Wednesday. Two Iraqi facilities catering to the US-led coalition were the targets. Iranians were shown celebrating this attack. Thee state television said that 80 American Terrorists were killed in the attack along with damage caused to US helicopter and military pieces of equipment. According to reports from Iraq 22 missiles were launched.

In words of Iranian officials in Tehran, they said that Iran does not want war and these strikes were a response to the killing of Qassem Soleimani, a powerful Iranian general whose burial and mourning end time coincided with the missile launch time.

On the other hand, US President Donald Trump tweets that “All is Well,” and there will be an assessment of casualties and damage from the strikes and he said he would give his statement on Wednesday morning. Other US officials declined to give a comment.

Troops from Germany, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Iraq, were not hurt but British personnel condemns the attack. Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said that the bases targeted were al-Asad air and another facility in Erbil, Iraq. He even said that while they were evaluating the situation they will take all necessary measures to protect and defend US personnel, partners or allies in the region.

Around 5000+ US troops are stationed in Iraq with foreign forces who were fighting the ISIS militants. Iran says that US forces should have left the Middle East long time and asked Washington to withdraw from the region. They even warned allies like Israel to not allow attacks from their territories.

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Africa

70 Yemeni Soldiers Killed in Missile Attack On Mosque By Houthi Rebels

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According to medical as well as military sources, Houthi rebels have killed at least 70 Yemeni soldiers in a missile attack on a mosque in the central province of Marib. This attack was done to a mosque which was in a military camp in Marib which 170km east of Sanaa during the evening prayers on Saturday. The casualties were transported to Marib City hospital.

The fight between Yemen’s internationally recognised government backed by a Saudi-led military coalition and Iran-backed Houthis has been going on since 2014 when the rebels were able to seize the northern capital of Sanaa. According to the statement given to Saba News Agency, the Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi condemns this cowardly terrorist attack. The report did not mention the death toll though.

The President calls the actions disgraceful saying that it is confirmed the Houthis do not want to achieve peace. On the other side, the Houthis did not make an immediate claim of responsibility. The President also said that the Houthis knows nothing but death and destruction and is a cheap Iranian tool in the region. According to Al Ekhbariya television, the attack was carried out with ballistic missiles and drones.

Several thousands of Yemeni people which mostly included civilians have been killed were millions have been displaced since 2015 when Saudi Arabia along with its allies gets involved to help the Yemeni government fight the conflict against the Houthi rebels. The Saudi led coalition tried to restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi as the Houthis capture the capital Sanaa now the government is based in the port city of Aden.

The Houthis who still control the important Yemen urban centres deny being puppets of Iran claiming to fight against the corrupt system. This conflict in words of the United Nations is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis pushing the country to the edge of famine.

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Headlines

Who’s Oman’s New Sultan after Sultan Qaboos! Haitham Bin Tariq? Heres all the details

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Oman has named Haitham bin Tariq Al Said as the country’s new ruler succeeding his cousin Sultan Qaboos who has died at age 79 after almost half a century at the country’s helm. Haitham was picked ahead of his brother, Asaad, who was also seen as a potential heir after he was named deputy prime minister in 2017.

The government said in a Twitter post said – “Haitham bin Tariq was sworn in as the new sultan of the country … after a meeting of the family which decided to appoint the one who was chosen by the sultan”

https://twitter.com/OmanNewsAgency/status/1215893649181028353?s=20

Background– The new leader has held governmental positions over the last three decades, including minister of culture and heritage, general secretary of foreign affairs and head of the Anglo-Omani society. He was also head of the Oman Vision 2040 committee, the country’s economic and social development strategy.

The new ruler on his first address to the nation said he would “follow the path of Sultan Qaboos and build upon it.” He promised to continue the path of his predecessor and maintain the Arab country’s foreign policy which, he said, was built on peaceful coexistence and maintaining friendly ties with all nations.

Sultan Haitham bin Tariq also called for efforts to develop the relatively small oil-producing country, continuing the path of his predecessor Sultan Qaboos, who had acted as a regional mediator.

The new ruler also vowed to continue working towards raising the Omani people’s “standard of living”, and to “boost peace and cooperation” among neighboring countries.

Challenges for the New Ruler– “Oman survived the first test, pulling off a well-choreographed transition that transfers the authority and legacy of Sultan Qaboos to his successor,” said Kristin Smith Diwan, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, who researches generational change in the region.

“But the challenges for the new sultan are clear: navigating the regional contest for power and addressing the pressing demands for economic reform,” she said.

But according to a person who worked with Haitham who asked not to be named- “The new sultan may change the government’s economic approach as he’s more inclined toward privatization”.

Although Sultan Qaboos transformed a country with barely any paved roads into an independent nation of 4 million people with a $79 billion economy. He gave women the vote in the early 1990s and enabled them to stand for public office, unprecedented moves for the Gulf while retaining total control over major political decisions.

Haitham’s biggest obstacle is that “he won’t be Qaboos,” Gary Grappo, a former U.S. ambassador to Oman, said before the sultan’s death.

Haitham takes over at a time of heightened tension in the region as Iran, a foe of leading Gulf powers, and the U.S. face off in a confrontation that this month has threatened to spark another Middle East war.

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Headlines

Anti-government Protests Spread In Iran to make Government Apologize for Ukraine plane crash coverup

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Pressure on the Iranian government increases as angry anti-government protests with rises in the country. Protestors make headlines joining in the protest for the second day calling justice for the mistake military shooting down of a Ukranian passenger jet killing around 176 passengers.

Thousands of fearless protestors took to streets without fearing heavy police presence demanding the resignation of the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani while criticizing Ayatollah Ali Khamenei by chanting “death to the dictator” which is an offense punishable by incarceration followed by execution.

Witnesses told New York Times’ Farnaz Fassihi that authorities tried to block Azadi Square as massive crowds gathered. The security forces teargassed and special forces and militia members attacked protestors by firing rubber bullets to curb the violence breakout.

The mob fury was further fueled with on Sunday with Iran’s moderate daily newspaper Etemad asking those who are responsible for the shooting down of a plane crash killing 176 people should apologize and resign. This has overshadowed the earlier government support after the assassination of Qassem Soleimani.

On the other hand, many believed the anti-US sentiments spread across the death of Soleimani while others believed that America is a fake enemy the real enemy is right here in Iran. Iranian regime fears that this widespread protests will bring back the month’s back fierce protests that were held before Soleimani’s death.

In total government’s attempts to suppress further protests are believed to have been brutal taking the lives of around 300-1500 people. But with internet shutdown, there is no way of knowing whether or not the death toll has increased.

On Sunday many gathered at universities campuses to protest while calls for bigger protests increased. In addition to that black-suited Revolutionary Guard members patrolled the capital on motorbikes to curb and protest efforts. US President Trump lauded the protests as well as calling against human rights violations. This has also led many to criticize Trump’s hypocritical statements.

In addition to that, Hossein Salami Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ leader heavily apologized for his forces that shot down a Ukraine International flight 752 saying that he has never been ashamed so much in his life. He further said that he should have been dead along with others in the plane rather than witnessing this tragic event.

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Europe

Ukrainian Plane Crashes In Iran Kills 176

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On Wednesday, an Ukraine International Airlines’ plane carrying 176 people crashed just minutes after take-off from Tehran main airport burning farmlands on the outskirts of Tehran killing everyone on board.

This crash happened a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on US bases in Iraq. Both Iranian and Ukrainian officials suspect that the Boeing 737-800 aircraft was bought down due to some mechanical issue.

The plane had nine crew members and 167 nationals from different countries. Vadim Prystaiko, the foreign minister of Ukraine said that there were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians(Two passengers and nice crew members), 10 Swedish, four Afghans, three Germans and three British nationals.

The officials said that most of the passengers were on their way to Kyiv which is the capital city of Ukraine while going via there to other destinations.

President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky cut his visit to Oman on short notice and returned to Kyiv because of the crash. He further extended his condolences to the family of the victims. He even ordered for sweeping inspection of all civil aeroplanes in the country.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk confirmed the death toll. In a Facebook statement, parliament speaker Dmytro Razumkov said that their primary task is to find the cause of the crash of the Boeing and provide all help necessary to the families of the victims.

According to the data from the flight-tracking website FlightRadar24, the plane was delayed by an hour and took off west from Imam Khomeini International Airport but was not able to reach 8000 feet in the air. Spokesperson of Iran’s Road and Transportation Ministry Qassem Biniaz claims that a fire could have struck one of the plane’s engines which led to the pilot losing control and the plane crashing down to the ground.

The head of air crash investigation committee Hassan Razaeifar said that it seemed like the pilot lost the ability to communicate with the air-traffic control in Tehran during the last moments of the flight.

 

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Economy

Greece and Israel Okays Deal To Build World’s Longest Underwater Gas Pipeline

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Though the European Union(EU) and its members have pledged to cut down the usage of harmful fossil fuels, Greece and Israel agree on a deal to build a new gas pipeline to bring natural gas to Europe.

This new underwater pipeline would be the world’s largest and will cost around €6bn($6.72 USD). It is also predicted that it would suffice for 10 per cent of European’s gas needs by the year 2025. though Italy will be the largest single purchaser of the Israeli gas other European countries will benefit as well.

This EastMed line would run for 1,900km from Israeli and Cypriot gas field to Italy via Greece and is expected to transport around 20 billion cubic metres of gas annually. As of now, the longest underwater pipeline is the Nord Stream running 1,224km through the Baltic Sea from Vyborg in Russia bringing Russian natural gas to the German coast for all of Europe.

The EU last month launched a new Green Deal policy package which aimed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in Europe. The policy package also targets to cut emission from 40 per cent to close to 50 per cent by 2030. But Europe’s gas demands gave risen and according to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies estimates, this demand would overtake the total liquefied natural gas supply within three years.

The President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen said that the commission would use €100bn to invest and help the bloc’s economies be able to pay this switch from fossil fuels. Even The European Investment Bank decided this November that by the end of 2021, they would further stop funding fossil fuel projects.

This weekend in the Jordanian capital city of Amman hundreds of people gathered to protest against this agreement to import natural gas from Israel stating that it is a deal of normalisation with the Jewish state.

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