- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 17, 2008


U.S. bans dealing with Syriatel, Ramak

The U.S. Treasury has banned Americans from dealing with Syria’s Syriatel and Ramak companies because President Bashar Assad’s cousin, Rami Makhlouf, owns more than 50 percent of each.

The United States had previously imposed sanctions on Mr. Makhlouf, who has the biggest stakes in Syriatel, the country’s largest mobile operator, and Ramak, a chain of duty-free shops.


Kuwait to name ambassador to Iraq

Kuwait has announced that it will appoint an ambassador to Iraq soon, citing substantial improved security in the country.

Kuwait said it was encouraged to name an ambassador in Baghdad after “our brothers in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates” appointed envoys there.


Maliki restricts use of public buildings

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has banned ruling religious political parties from using schools, universities and government departments to mark religious occasions.

These parties in central and southern Iraq have turned government buildings into centers to mark their occasions, in violation of the law and using the influence of their militias and loyal government officials.


U.S. concludes uranium transfer

A large stockpile of concentrated natural uranium from Iraq, the last remains of Iraq’s nuclear program, has arrived in Canada in a secret U.S. operation that had been carried out over the past two weeks.

The operation included 550 tons of “yellowcake” sold to Canadian Cameco Corp., a stockpile that the United States and Iraqi government feared could reach the Iranians through insurgents in Iraq.


Iran, India discuss 17 detained sailors

Indian Foreign Minister Shiyshankar Menon said the arrest of 17 Indian sailors by the Iranian authorities for violating Iranian territorial waters near a nuclear plant was “very complicated” issue.

He said the Indian government had contacted its Iranian counterpart to secure their release after they were taken from Saudi boats. The Saudis are still trying to determine the owners of the fishing boats.


Turkey charges 86 with coup plot

The Turkish prosecution charged 86 people with conspiring to topple the government, which the hard-line secularists accuse of seeking to change Turkey into an Islamic state.

The prosecution said the charge sheet includes crimes such as forming an armed terrorist group and attempting to topple the government through force.


Sudan indictment threatens peace talks

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned in talks with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Paris against the repercussions of the escalation by the International Criminal Court against Sudan, saying this trend will complicate matters and threatens to foil negotiation efforts between Khartoum and Darfur rebels.

Egypt is following this issue and doing its utmost to help Sudan overcome this problem with the international court.

Compiled by Sana Abdallah of the Middle East Times in Amman, Jordan.



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