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UK Foreign Secretary Urges The West to Provide Weapons to Ukraine

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  • United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss spoke out in a major speech in London, saying that the west “must be prepared for the long haul and double down on our support” for Ukraine. Ukraine has been asking allies, since the beginning of the invasion, for the supply of heavy armaments, like aeroplanes and tanks. NATO has recently only provided light weaponry in fear of escalation from Russia. 
  • Foreign Secretary spoke to an audience urging that “the West cannot be complacent”. Ms. Truss goes on to say that “If Putin succeeds there will be untold further misery across Europe and terrible consequences across the globe. We would never feel safe again…Heavy weapons, tanks, aeroplanes – digging deep into our inventories, ramping up production. We need to do all of this.”
  • The prime minister’s spokesman, Max Blain, “Whilst there are no plans to send things like planes from the UK, certainly we want to work with other countries to ensure that Ukraine has the equipment that it needs.” 
  • Along with the supply that will be sent to Ukraine, Ms. Truss also calls for a boost in the UK defense spending. However, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary David Lammy called the speech an admission of failure after more than a decade of decline in the UK’s commitment to defense and security.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Human Rights

Can the UK be trusted to support women’s rights in Saudi Arabia?

The UK has been found to be providing aid with ambiguous motives. The term “women’s rights” was cast aside when describing the purpose of the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), suggesting that the UK has either opted for silence on the matter or is supporting the discrimination of women.

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The UK is a nation that traditionally champions women’s rights, but sometimes money and politics seem to get in the way. This time, the UK has been found to be providing aid with ambiguous motives. The term “women’s rights” was cast aside when describing the purpose of the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), suggesting that the UK has either opted for silence on the matter or is supporting the discrimination of women.

The GSF addresses various concerns in the gulf region including security, cyber, innovation and leadership and seeks to alleviate problems in the area by encouraging developments in tech and education. The role of women in these endeavours has been obscured, except for events on a small scale like the International Women’s Day Celebrations, Leadership Expos and Exhibitions for artists. The GSF has refused to be transparent regarding organisations to which funding is directly provided and the outcomes achieved through it. It is highly likely that the funding has been allocated to government organisations which are responsible for human rights abuses and oppression in their strict measures against dissent in Saudi Arabia.

Recently, two female Saudi activists were sentenced to prison over their undaunted tweets and social media presence. Broadly perceived as a tool inciting rebellion in Saudi society, Twitter users have often been subjected to severe consequences as a stern warning to the population. Nourah bint Saeed Al-Qahtani was sentenced to 45 years in prison for tweeting in favour of women’s rights, a risky attempt to break through the social structure of the country. And Salma al-Shehab, another activist was given a 34-year sentence for her bold statements, including a demand to release other journalists and activists. The nature of trials for these activists, which normally take place away from the limelight, remains a concern for many human rights institutions Over the years however, the Saudi Kingdom has revised its constitution and allowed women to adopt greater roles in society. This includes the ability to drive, relaxed dress code and more roles in the workforce. Whether or not these changes have made a significant difference to the lives of women in Saudi is debatable.

But Britain’s participation in the GSF is problematic precisely because of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office’s suspicious lack of transparency around why women’s rights is no longer a featured purpose of the fund. In its endeavour to what appears to be not wanting to rock the boat with Saudi Arabia, is the UK compromising and selling out its own long-held principles? How can the UK be expected to be taken seriously when it calls out other regimes on their human rights abuses?  It seems that maybe Britain can look the other way when the price is right.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Religion

Arab Gulf States: “Remove content that violates Islamic values or face legal action, Arab Gulf states tell Netflix”

Six Arab Gulf States as well as Saudi Arabia have threatened Netflix with legal measures if they continue showing content with any kind of LGBTQ+ representation, since it does not align with ‘Islamic values’.

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Six Arab Gulf States as well as Saudi Arabia have threatened Netflix with legal measures if they continue showing content with any kind of LGBTQ+ representation, since it does not align with ‘Islamic values’.

A joint statement was published by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), consisting of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It did not mention any content specifically, but said that it “contradicts Islamic and societal values”.  The statement also mentioned that “the platform was contacted to remove this content, including content directed to children, and to ensure adherence to the laws.”

On Saudi state TV a woman, who was identified as a behavioural consultant, also called Netflix the “official sponsor of homosexuality”. Another segment also suggested that Netflix could be banned in Saudi Arabia due to programming deemed to negatively influence children.

“Even though it might seem harsh to some, these bans are understandable. Since countries like Saudi Arabia are Muslim countries, whose laws are also somewhat based on Islamic values, laws like this are justified. Just because the Western world is normalising these things, doesn’t mean we have to adapt our values to theirs.” Anisa Ali, a Saudi woman living in Germany, told Analyst News.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and 12 other countries have banned movies with gay characters before. Just earlier this year Walt Disney’s new ‘Buzz Lightyear’ movie, a movie based on the Toy Story franchise, was banned in the UAE, due to showing two women kissing. In 2020 the Pixar movie ‘Onward’, an animated movie set in a fantasy world with elves, was banned in Arab Gulf States such as Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, as it showed a female character saying she’s lesbian. Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’, which was released earlier this year, was also banned in some Muslim Arab countries, because it also featured America Chavez, a lesbian character. Some fans even blamed Xochiti Gomez, the actress that played America, for ‘ruining’ the movie, despite the character already being gay in the comics.

As well as content featuring LGBTQ+ themes, an episode of Hasan Minhaj’s show ‘Patriot Act’ criticising Prince Mohammed, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, over the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi as well as Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Yemeni war, was also removed off Saudi Netflix.

These bans are happening due to the contradiction with Islamic values. People of the LGBTQ+ community are seen as sinful, which is why most Muslim countries have not legalised homosexuality. However, countries like Bahrain, which have legalised homosexuality for citizens above the age of 21, still maintain anti-gay views, since they also joined the GCC’s recent statement and have not legalised same-sex marriage.  In Qatar, along with several other Muslim countries such as Kuwait and Somalia, homosexuality is punishable by law for up to 10 years. Other countries such as Sudan or Mauritania have the death penalty for same-sex relationships.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Crime

At least 30 people die in recent violent protests in Baghdad, Iraq

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On August 29th, Iraq’s Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced his withdrawal from political activity via Twitter, criticising the failure of fellow Shiite leaders to reform a corrupt government. He also announced the closing of all his offices nationwide. Al-Sadr’s announcement was followed by violent protests in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, which resulted in at least 30 deaths and 200 injuries.

The protests were started by Al-Sadr’s supporters, who stormed the Republican Palace in Baghdad’s Green Zone, a heavily fortified area that serves as the headquarters of Iraqi regimes. Both foreign embassies and the government are housed there.  But Al-Sadr’s supporters fired rocket propelled grenades and machine guns from there as well.

Due to the protests Iraq’s current Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Khadimi has now put off all government meetings until further notice. Al-Khadimi has also urged Al-Sadr to “help call on the demonstrators to withdraw from government institutions”.

According to some reports Al-Sadr’s supporters had been occupying parliament buildings for a while now. They then charged at the headquarters in the Green Zone. Pictures showed exultant Al-Sadr supporters cheering in the Republican Palace swimming pool,, waving around the Iraqi flag and a photo of Al-Sadr. 

In response to the protests the Iraqi military said they are practising “the highest levels of self-restraint and brotherly behaviour to prevent clashes or the spilling of Iraqi blood.” However, according to reports hundreds of protesters were pushed out of the Republican Palace by tear gas and bullets used by Security forces.

The military also introduced a strict curfew, restricting the movement of vehicles and pedestrians as well, which was in place until further instructions by the government. In Baghdad the curfew was introduced from 3.30pm local time. Later, a nationwide curfew was introduced as well with the aim to urge protestors to leave the Green Zone.

As a response to the violent outbreaks, UN chief Antonio Guterres asked all parties to “take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation.” Stephane Dujarric, his secretary-general, also added in a statement that he “appeals for calm and restraint and urges all relevant actors to take immediate steps to avoid any violence.”

A day later, on Tuesday August 30th, Al-Sadr released a statement via television, apologising for the violence and saying, “the spilling of Iraqi blood is forbidden.” In his statement he also threatened his supporters that “if in the next 60 minutes they do not withdraw, as well as from parliament, then I will abandon these supporters.”

The nationwide curfew was lifted after the new statement.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Initiatives of free international travel for Ukrainian refugees fleeing turmoil

Initiatives of free international travel for Ukrainian refugees fleeing turmoil

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Initiatives of free international travel for Ukrainian refugees fleeing turmoil

At the beginning of March, Hungarian airline, Wizz Air announced that it was going to provide free international travel for Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the conflict to the UK. The airline decided to give 100,000 free tickets to Ukrainians from 14th May, to 15th June 2022.

Many countries came together to help refugees after a meeting of the EU foreign ministries in March. During this meeting, German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock asked to establish air bridges to help evacuate Ukrainians from their besieged country and transport them to host countries, even across the Atlantic. She also added that the countries should be ready to house millions of refugees. 

The free tickets were handed to Ukrainians who fled the country and entered neighbouring countries, such as: Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. To be eligible for the ticket, the person had to fill out a form which at the end would show EUR 0. 

Similarly, Ryanair, a Dublin-based airline announced that it would be airlifting medical supplies for Ukraine and dropping them off in Poland, from where the military will collect them. This airline is not providing free tickets to Ukrainians yet, which did raise some questions among people as they wanted the airline to offer free tickets to the refugees as well. 

Many train companies from many countries have offered free tickets to refugees fleeing Ukraine as well. Countries offering free tickets are Czech, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Netherland, and Switzerland. Most of these countries are also providing free public transport to these refugees. Czech also has free car transport services to and from the Ukrainian border. 

Canada is another country offering free tickets to Ukrainian refugees. The country is doing this through the Ukraine2Canada Travel Fund. In this scheme, Canadians and Canadian businesses can donate money or travel points to this fund. As a result, free tickets will be given to Ukrainians and their family members. 

The Canadian organization is doing this in collaboration with Miles4Migrants that have been helping refugees in Afghanistan escape the war-torn country and relocate as well. However, the tickets provided for Afghanistan prioritize US citizens, US legal permanent residents, and their immediate family members. After this, Afghans eligible for free tickets will be the remaining US Embassy staff, and applicants under the Special Immigrant Visa program for Afghans who worked for the US, according to a document on their website

Hypocrisy and discrimination in asylum policies 

It is, of course, a great thing to see countries coming together to help refugees from Ukraine, as it helps to distribute the burden of the refugees. However, one does wonder, if these countries could help Ukrainians to this degree, why were other asylum seekers denied entry into the same countries?

The hypocrisy of the UK is clear because a few months ago they introduced the Rwanda plan which relocated refugees coming from the English Channel to Rwanda, from where they could not return to the UK. Similarly, in 2021, during the Afghanistan crisis, the UK only took 5,000 refugees to resettle because they, “could not take any more”. In 2020 there were 1,336 asylum applications from Afghanistan out of which only 454 were accepted, making it very hard for the refugees to enter the country legally. 

Moreover, Germany was accused of replacing Afghan refugees with Ukrainian ones. So far, till May 2022 more than 700,000 Ukrainian refugees have been registered to the German authorities, some at the expense of refugees from Afghanistan. 

In short, the very same countries that refused Afghan and Syrian refugees are now accepting Ukrainian ones like Hungary, Poland, Denmark, Austria, Slovakia, Greece, France, and many more. 

When AnalystNews spoke to Tariq Bergovi, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, he admitted that race has a part to play in the reaction against Russia. 

“I don’t think it [the hate] is driven by anti-Russian. I think it is this perception that you can’t do this kind of thing to white people,” he said. 

“The West has been doing this to brown people for centuries, the Nazis started doing it to white people and people are horrified.”

“The idea that you can do what Putin is doing to white people is not acceptable,” he added. 

When the Russia-Ukraine conflict started many news channels expressed how this conflict had white people so European countries could relate to them which made it easier for them to accept the white refugees. Almost like a war in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and Latin America are normal parts of life. 

Likewise, Vogue Magazine edited out “Palestine” from Gigi Hadid, a model’s Instagram post during the Palestinian war against Israel. The same magazine recently dedicated a whole spread to the Ukrainian President and his wife. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Russia Limits Gas Supply to Germany

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  • Gazprom, a major Russian energy provider, has stated it will reduce the supply of gas to Germany by half via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to repair work. 
  • Germany has said that they see no technical reason for the decrease in gas supply. The European Union continues to accuse Russia of weaponizing energy, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stating, “This is an open gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe.”
  • Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement to allow the export of grain via the Black Sea after Russia continued to block millions of tonnes from being exported. The next day, Russia struck missiles at the port, some of which hit the infrastructure of the port.
  • The US and Ukraine are optimistic that the agreement will still be implemented, with the US State Department stating, “Despite these attacks, we do understand that the parties are continuing preparations to open Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for food and fertilizer exports…we also continue to expect that the Black Sea agreement will be implemented.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Geopolitics

Albanian Prime Minister expressed discontent over membership delays for the European Union

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On June 23rd, the leaders of the European Union had a meeting with six Western Balkan Countries. These countries, consisting of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia, have all applied to become part of the EU for years now. 

This time they met to further their integration into the EU. 

The meeting took place amidst tensions between the countries, as Bulgaria’s veto on accession talk with North Macedonia.Bulgaria refuses to recognize Macedonia as a separate country and this veto also put Albanian negotiations on hold. 

Before the summit took place the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, criticised EU leader for their delay. 

“You are a mess guys, you are a big mess and you are a disgrace and I think it’s a shame that a NATO country kidnaps two other NATO countries while in the backyard of Europe there is a hot war and of course, it’s not good to see that 26 other countries sit still in a scary show of impotence,” Rama said.

This frustration came to be due to the long wait of being able to join the European Union. The longest-standing nation dates back to 2005, when North Macedonia applied for EU membership. 

While the Western Balkan country has been applying and waiting for years now, countries like Ukraine and Moldovia are moving in record speed to be granted the candidate status. Which furthers the frustration Western Balkans leaders feel. 

The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz responded:

“The most important [thing] is that the states from Western Balkans will have a good opportunity to become really members of the European Union,” adding “they’ve worked so hard, so it’s our common task this something that will happen.”

Bulgaria seemed to make progress until their opposition appeared to be wanting to advance with opening accession negotiations. Despite the hope it did not further any progress, due to dispute in the parliament. 

The Bulgarian Prime Minister called the opposition leader “most dishonest person I know.”

The European Council President Charles Michel stated that he was watching the development in Bulgaria closely and that starting the negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia were his top priority. 

By the end of the meeting Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama posted on Twitter:

“Nice place nice people nice words nice pictures and just imagine how much nicer could be if nice promises were followed by nice delivery. 
But we Albanians are not as nice as to give up nicely! So, we will keep going and working even harder to make Albania a nice EU member”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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