Morsi's speech embarrassed Iran
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (right) delivers his speech as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (second right) and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (far left) listen at the Non-Alligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran on August 30. Iran's showdown with the UN over its nuclear activities, and clashing speeches over the bloody conflict shaking Syria dominated the open of the summit Thursday. © Raouf Mohseni - AFP
Morsi's speech embarrassed Iran
Your Middle East staff
Last updated: September 2, 2012

This Week's Newsbrief: 31 August 2012

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Iran has dominated the news flow in recent days for several reasons. The Iranian nuclear program has been one topic of discussion and led to criticism from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, whose attendance at the summit was questioned by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Iran’s nuclear capability was however not the only matter on the table, the deteriorating situation in Syria was also discussed at the NAM summit, where Egyptian President Morsi strongly criticized Assad. At the same time, the alliance between Iran and the Syrian regime became even clearer when Ayatollah Khamenei claimed that the conflict was the result of American and Israeli interference.

On the ground in Syria, things are getting worse; sources at the Damascus military hospital stated that 8000 regime soldiers had been killed since the beginning of the revolt in March 2011 and the number of civilian victims, especially in the battered city of Aleppo, is constantly increasing. Yet, no solution appears to be in sight as President Assad rejected moves to create buffer zones and the Security Council meeting in New York failed to bring a positive outcome.

While Egypt’s army claimed to have killed 11 terrorists in Sinai, Israel’s Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, expected an upcoming withdrawal of the reinforced troops in the area. The Egyptian police claimed to have found a decapitated head of a man reportedly kidnapped by Islamist terrorists in the area.

Israel and Jordan reportedly hindered foreign activists to enter the West Bank to provide supplies to students in the Palestinian territory. In Gaza, a woman was in critical condition after being shot at the border by Israeli troops.

The conflict between Israel and Iran has not improved in the last week with foreign leaders, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, urging Israel to give diplomacy a chance in order to avoid further unrest in the Middle East.

Kidnappings continued to be an issue in the region with incidents occurring in both Lebanon and Libya.

In Tunisia, journalists accused the government of limiting freedom of expression while the presidency extended the state of emergency until 30th of September.

In impoverished Yemen the government pleaded for foreign aid and claimed that 11 billion US dollars was needed to rebuild the struggling economy.

Saudi authorities announced that they had foiled a "terror" plot by elements suspected of links to Al-Qaeda and busted two extremist cells. The country’s veteran Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal is still recovering in hospital from an operation earlier this month.

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