- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 13, 2008


West Bank marks Arafat’s passing

The director of the Arafat Heritage Institute Nasser al-Qudwa said that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died four years ago on Tuesday, was “killed by poison,” adding that he expected solid information on the cause of his death to be revealed soon.

Meanwhile, as the Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip banned any rallies marking the four-year anniversary of Mr. Arafat’s death, the West Bank is due to hold a commemoration ceremony this week that will be attended by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


Lebanon, Syria to coordinate security

The visit of Lebanese Interior Minister Ziad Baroud to Damascus on Monday constituted a political breakthrough in the walls of suspicion and distrust erected between the two countries in the past three years, and for the first time opened the doors for real security cooperation.

Mr. Baroud and his Syrian counterpart, Gen. Bassam Abdul Majeed, agreed to form a coordination committee to activate security coordination in combating terrorism and crimes.


Politicians reject Assad’s criticisms

Iraqi politicians and lawmakers said that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s criticism of an Iraqi-U.S. security pact was unjustified because the Iraqi government and parliament, as well as most of the political forces, reject attacks against any of their neighbors.

The politicians said the Arabs should not fear the pact because the Iraqis will never sign a deal that allows the U.S. forces to launch operations against other countries, noting that this issue is protected by the Iraqi Constitution.


Travels create leadership vacuum

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak paid a historic visit to South Sudan, while Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif left for Moscow to sign several bilateral economic agreements.

Legal analysts said the absence of both men at the same time caused a constitutional vacuum in the country, and thus a “constitutional violation,” and stressed that Mr. Mubarak needs to appoint a vice president.


Livni warns Obama of talks with Iran

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni warned U.S. President-elect Barack Obama against holding direct negotiations with the Iranian leadership on the nuclear crisis, saying such a move would be seen as the international community’s weakness.

She called for tightening the international sanctions against Tehran for its insistence on pursuing its nuclear program, and expressed Israel’s desire to consult with the new U.S. administration on this matter.


‘Backward’ system protected economy

Iraqi Finance Minister Baqer Jaber Solagh said that the “backwardness” of the Iraqi financial system has protected it from being affected by the global financial crisis, insisting that it has not been harmed at all.

Mr. Solagh said the system that Iraq inherited from the former regime, which relied on trading in the local dinar currency, was the reason the country’s markets have not been hurt.


NDP silent on Mubarak successor

Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party concluded its three-day annual conference by again avoiding the question of who will succeed President Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power.

The president’s son and party leader, Gamal Mubarak, refused to give a clear answer to a question on whether he would succeed his father - a move that is unpopular with Egyptians but favored by international investors.


Bin Laden’s son banned from Egypt

Egyptian airport security authorities Sunday refused to grant an entry visa to Omar bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s son, after his return from Spain.

He left Cairo last week for Madrid, but the Spanish authorities would not grant him entry, and the Egyptian authorities this time banned him as well and gave him the choice of going anywhere, so he chose to travel to Qatar.

Compiled by Sana Abdallah of the Middle East Times

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