The Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) passed a resolution Monday night inviting Egypt to intervene in Libya's civil war to repel the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) forces after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated military preparations are underway to eject the HoR-aligned Libyan National Army (LNA) from Sirte and al-Jufra airbase. The HoR statement said confronting the Turks will protect the "sovereignty and unity of Libya, as well as the wealth and resources of the Libyan people from the ambitions of the colonial invaders." Sirte is the gateway to Libya's oil crescent and Ankara expects hefty oil concessions in exchange for its military assistance to the GNA. Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi stated on June 20 that GNA forces entering Sirte or al-Jufra would cross a red line that might trigger direct Egyptian military intervention. During a Tuesday telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Trump did not appear to address the escalating military situation beyond calling for "a negotiated settlement of regional issues."
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba asserted Tuesday, "It is early to say that the plane [Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752] was shot down as a result of human error, as the Iranian side claims" and "we need a large number of authoritative, unbiased, objective answers about what happened." Iran's Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) released a report Saturday blaming the January 8 downing of the Ukrainian jet on the relocation and improper reorientation of the surface-to-air missile battery responsible as well as a breakdown in communication between the troops operating the battery and their commanders. Tehran has been slow in permitting foreign investigators to examine the flight's black boxes. France's Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety is scheduled to start repairing and downloading data from the Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Flight Data Recorder on July 20.
Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili confirmed Tuesday the execution of Reza Asgari, a former Iranian Aerospace Industries Organization employee accused of working for the CIA and selling information about Iranian missiles. Last year, Iran announced the arrest of 17 purported Iranian CIA recruits and last month executed former Iranian Department of Defense contractor Jalal Haji Zawar, who according to Iran's state-run IRNA news outlet confessed to spying for the CIA. Iran also executed two people Tuesday convicted of involvement in the 2010 military parade bombing in Mahabad that killed 12 spectators and was blamed on Kurdish separatists.
North Darfur state's military governor Maj. Gen. Malik al-Tayeb declared a state of emergency Monday after unidentified militiamen attacked separate sit-ins on Sunday and Monday where demonstrators demanded a civilian state government. Protestors also reportedly torched a police station. At least nine died in the violence.
Sudanese Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari announced Saturday that the country will abolish its apostasy law, end public flogging as a punishment, and permit non-Muslims to drink alcohol. Sudan's Sovereign Council on Thursday ratified a law outlawing female genital mutilation.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told British PM Boris Johnson during a Tuesday telephone call that the PA is ready to join International Quartet-mediated peace talks with Israel if it abandons plans to annex parts of the West Bank.
18 American-Jewish groups issued a statement calling on Washington to "bring all pressure to bear, including but not limited to recent government legislation significantly impacting US financial aid to Jordan" to persuade Amman to extradite Ahlam al-Tamimi. She transported the Hamas suicide bomber responsible for the August 9, 2001 Sbarro restaurant 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.
The UN's International Court of Justice ruled 15-1 Tuesday that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has jurisdiction to determine whether the air blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt violates international law. The blockading states challenged the ICAO's jurisdiction and now, according to the UAE's ambassador to the Netherlands, will seek to persuade the ICAO of the blockade's legitimacy.
Riyadh Tuesday permanently canceled the license of Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports while the kingdom's General Authority for Competition imposed a $2.7 million fine for anti-competitive practices. Saudi Arabia blocked beIN's broadcasts in 2017 and, in June, a WTO panel concluded prominent Saudi nationals were promoting beoutQ's pirate broadcasts of beIN content.
A Tunisian court sentenced blogger Emna Chargui to six months in prison and a $700 fine for sharing a satirical Facebook post last May entitled "the Corona Surah," a poem written in classical Arabic that discusses the COVID-19 pandemic in the style of a Quranic surah. Chargui was convicted of offending religion and "incitement to hatred."
Micah Levinson is the Washington, DC Resident Fellow at the Middle East Forum