In written answers to questions posed by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Henry Wooster, President Trump's nominee to be the next ambassador to Jordan, implied that the administration could use aid to Jordan as leverage to secure Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi's extradition. She transported the Hamas suicide bomber responsible for the August 9, 2001 Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing that killed 15 civilians, including two Americans, and has lived in Jordan since Israel released her as part of October 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. On July 15, 2013, the US Justice Department filed criminal charges in the District of Columbia against al-Tamimi for "conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the U.S., resulting in death." She is currently on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists and there is a $5 million reward for information that leads to her arrest or conviction.
Iraqi oil exports fell 300,000 bpd in the first two weeks of June compared to May, a decline of 8 percent, which signals that the hitherto least compliant party to the April OPEC + oil cut agreement is increasingly adhering to the deal. The April agreement committed OPEC+ members to slash production collectively by 9.7 million bpd in May and June before raising output by 2 million bpd in July. Earlier this month, OPEC+ agreed to extend the 9.7 million bpd cut to July if all members stick to their quotas and make up for past overproduction. While Iraq in May only delivered 38 percent of its pledged output cut, it is will reach 60 percent compliance if the 300,000 bpd export reduction in the first half of June continues.
A three-person WTO panel issued a report Tuesday on Qatar's 2018 complaint accusing Riyadh of blocking Qatari-owned broadcaster beIN, which enjoys exclusive broadcasting rights in the Middle East to many major football events, and refusing to take action against beoutQ's pirate broadcasts of beIN content. The WTO report concluded that "beoutQ's piracy was promoted by prominent Saudi nationals" and "Qatar has established that Saudi Arabia has not provided for criminal procedures and penalties to be applied to beoutQ." It then urged Saudi Arabia to meet its copyright obligations under the WTO's TRIPS agreement.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Tuesday expressed concern over videos circulating on social media showing Government of National Accord (GNA) troops abusing Egyptian nationals, forcing them to stand barefooted on one leg with their hands raised and beating them if they refused to curse Egyptian and Libyan leaders. UNSMIL tweeted Tuesday: "UNSMIL is concerned about the arrest, detention & ill-treatment of a large number of Egyptian nationals in the city of Tarhouna in potential violation to Libya's international human rights law obligations on the prohibition of torture, inhuman & degrading treatment or punishment." Nabila Makram, Egypt's Minister of Emigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs, promised a firm response to the mistreatment displayed in the video and referred specifically to the 2015 Egyptian airstrikes on ISIS targets in Libya after the group beheaded 20 Coptic Christians. GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha promised to investigate the video, partially mollifying UNSMIL, which "welcomes the statement released by the Ministry of Interior on this issue and calls on the local authorities in Tripoli to conduct a prompt investigation." On Monday, the GNA officially requested the UN's assistance in investigating mass graves unearthed in recently captured Tarhouna and attributed to Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA).
At the request of the Iranian Embassy in Bucharest, Romania arrested the Iranian judge Gholamreza Mansouri, who is accused of bribery. However, the International Federation of Journalists and Reporters Without Borders would like to see Mansouri prosecuted in Europe for the imprisonment and torture of journalists.
United Arab Emirates
At the 2020 American Jewish Committee Global Forum Tuesday, held virtually due to COVID-19, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash indicated that Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank will not scupper all relations between the UAE and Israel: "The UAE is clearly against any annexation as being proposed by the current Israeli government. Having said that, that is the political domain. Now, do I really have to look at all the other domains and make them basically, almost you know, sort of static because of the political domain? I think we have tried that over many years as a group of Arab countries and I don't think that it has really lead to what we want in terms of bringing stability to the region."
A day after Saudi Arabia destroyed several bomb-laden Houthi drones launched toward its territory, Riyadh announced Tuesday that it intercepted a Houthi missile targeting the kingdom's southern border city of Najran. Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said that since intervening in the Yemeni civil war five years ago to defend the internationally recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi from the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, the kingdom has intercepted 313 missiles and 357 drones targeting civilians.
Several Palestinian security sources told AFP on condition of anonymity that the PA security forces received orders from "high up" to shred confidential documents in case Israel raids their offices. Such raids occurred frequently during the Second Intifada and some in the PA fear they could recur if Israel moves ahead with annexation.
Micah Levinson is the Washington, DC Resident Fellow at the Middle East Forum