The World Cup is approaching, Turkey is stepping up its attack on Syria and explosions in Jerusalem. This is your compilation, written by Abubakr Al-Shamahi, Middle East and North Africa editor of Al Jazeera Digital.
If, like me, you have fond memories of Nigeria in the group stage in 1998, Zidane’s headbutt in the 2006 final, the South Africans’ dancing in the 2010 opening game, and finally is England winning the penalty shootout in 2018 (just me?), then I guess you’re now smitten with the football festival that is World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
That is The first World Cup in the Arab world, and in the Middle East. I won’t go on about what happened on the field (Saudi Arabia and Japan did a great job), there’s a World Cup report on it, and extensive insurance on our website. But in the stands, Arab fans – especially fans of Maroc, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia – created a cauldron-like atmosphere. How special it is to host the biggest tournament in the world, and at the same time to present a different side of the region, a radical departure from the stereotypes many people have of it.
Of course, it is not without controversy. The process of awarding the tournament to Qatar was criticized, as was the treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ community. FIFA bans some teams from wearing rainbow captain’s armbands, led to protests. However, many people, especially in the Middle East, have accused European countries in particular of hypocrite and orientalist in their raids on the league. Qatar itself has reiterated that everyone is welcome.
With spectacular results throughout the tournament so far, attention is turning to on-field events rather than off it. But I’m sure we still haven’t heard the end of the debate around this World Cup – there are rumors that Saudi Arabia wants to host the 2030 edition.
Is Turkey a scam?
There has been more fallout from the November 13 bombing in Istanbul, with Turkey launch air raids on Syria and Iraq, targeting the groups they allege were behind the attack, the PKK and the YPG. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says attacks in Syria are part of new military operationwill involve tanks and infantry “when convenient”.
So is the Turkish army about to cross the border again, for the purpose of wiping out the YPG? On the one hand, Erdogan has been threatening such a campaign for months, just because nothing has happened in the face of opposition from the West, Russia and Iran. On the other hand, are Russia and Iran currently too distracted with their own problems?
It’s hard to say, but as of this week there has been no major Turkish military activity and the fighting seems to be limited to Turkish air strikes and missile strikes by Turkey. YPG – which is still happening heavy damage to civilians.
Bombs on the streets of Jerusalem
Two explosions at the bus stop In Jerusalem on Wednesday was reminiscent of Palestinians The attacks took place at the height of the Second Intifada in the early 2000s, something unheard of in years. The bombings killed at least one Israel, and injure others. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but it was praised by Hamas. The explosions come at a time when violence seems to have no end in the area. Occupied West Bank, with Israeli soldiers killing Palestinians in near-daily raids. Two of the latest victims are a 16-year-old boy, and a 18 years old on the way to school.
And now for something different
Have you ever heard of Al Baik? If you have, then you know. If you haven’t already, it’s like the Middle Eastern version of KFC, only better (Al Baik doesn’t sponsor me or Al Jazeera). Fast food chains are ubiquitous in the western Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia, but not really anywhere else (except maybe in the last few years). In fact, the only reason many non-Saudi people know about it is because they may have enjoyed its delicacies while visiting the Muslim holy sites of Mecca and Medina. But now, for the first time, and thanks for the World Cup, it’s in Doha. It’s pretty clear from the queue that people love their fried chicken.
Iran attack Kurds breakaway group Based in northern Iraq – gas tank explosion In Iraq kill 15 – Greek foreign minister landed in Libya’s Tripoli, and then quickly leave after refusing to meet his partner – Egypt activists Alaa Abd el-Fattah’s The healthy is serious decline in prison – Maroc arrest it former human rights minister – Israel air attack kill four Syria soldiers – Houthis Rebels attack Yemenis oil wharf – China signal 27-year gas contract with QatarEnergy – Human Rights Watch: More must be done to help children repatriated from camps on suspicion ISIL family member In Syria – Egypt and Turkey leader shake hands in the latest sign that relationships are thawing.
Bank of Lebanon holds
Lebanese bank There has been in the news in recent months about a series of “bank robberies” — actually involving people demanding their own money without the banks allowing them to withdraw. Attention came from the methods these people used, including gun entry, fake and real. In this comments section, Nizar Ghanem, founder of the movement representing depositors in Lebanon, and Alex Ray, an analyst in Beirut, explain why Lebanese are angry with their banking system and the dangers that this crisis will bring if it continues.
Quote of the week
“It was as if our fate in Gaza was to live in more and more pain.” – Khitam Abu Rayya, who lost his brother, their wives, children and grandchildren after 21 people died in apartment fire in the Gaza Strip. The family celebrated a birthday.