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US turns up the warmth on Middle East allies in bid to cease Russia’s conflict machine | Mahaz News

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Abu Dhabi, UAE
Mahaz News

As the Ukraine conflict approaches the one-year mark, the United States is ramping up efforts to choke off Russia’s financial system and it has set its sight on the Middle East.

A prime US Treasury official arrived within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday to warn the regional enterprise hub that serving to Moscow evade sanctions wouldn’t be with out penalties.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson, met with senior authorities officers from a number of UAE ministries, the place he mentioned “rooting out evasion of US sanctions, particularly on Russia and Iran,” in addition to the US’ “commitment to take additional actions against those evading or facilitating the evasion of sanctions,” in response to a assertion.

The US Treasury earlier warned that “individuals and institutions operating in permissive jurisdictions,” together with within the UAE and Turkey, threat dropping entry to G7 markets for doing enterprise with sanctioned entities or not conducting acceptable due diligence towards illicit finance.

G7 international locations embrace Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.

The Gulf state has walked a tightrope between Washington and Moscow because the begin of the Ukraine conflict final February, opting to stay impartial because it sees the world order shifting towards multi polarity.

The US has repeatedly referred to as on its Middle Eastern allies to help its efforts in slowing the Russian conflict machine, however a public menace of penalties towards an in depth ally just like the UAE is uncommon.

“What we’re seeing now is a bit more about messaging to the region and indicating the seriousness of these sanctions,” mentioned Justine Walker, international head of sanctions, compliance and threat on the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS). The US is making an attempt to say, “If you are going to do business with Russia, then you do business with Russia but you don’t do business with us,” she informed Mahaz News.

Since the conflict, the UAE has turn into the highest Arab vacation spot for Russian buyers, with the Gulf state’s actual property market surging as Russians flock into Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The US has beforehand sanctioned entities and people within the UAE for sanctions evasion. More lately, it sanctioned two UAE-based air transportation companies for collaborating with a sanctioned Iranian agency to move Iranian UAVs (unmanned aerial autos), personnel, and associated tools from Iran to Russia.

The UAE’s overseas ministry didn’t reply to Mahaz News’s request for remark.

Russia is already underneath a barrage of sanctions from the US, together with the UK and the European Union. But most of these are main sanctions, which solely apply throughout the territory of the sanctioning nation.

For occasion, if a Russian financial institution is underneath main US sanctions, it can’t function in a US market. The financial institution can nonetheless, nonetheless, work with a UAE or Turkish financial institution.

Sanctioned international locations typically keep afloat by discovering loopholes to conduct enterprise outdoors the US. Washington plugs that loophole by imposing secondary sanctions, which punish events conducting business actions with the sanctioned entities – even when the exercise takes place outdoors US territory.

Such sanctions drive international locations and entities to decide on between the sanctioned nation or the US, however not each.

A senior US official informed Mahaz News that the US “will continue to use our authorities and all tools at our disposal to crack down on sanctions evasion that supports Putin’s war machine.”

Asked if the US is successfully imposing secondary sanctions on Russia by asking the UAE to crack down on enterprise with the nation, the official mentioned “no.”

The US sees Russia circumventing sanctions by shifting commerce by the Middle East, in addition to buying and selling straight with the area, mentioned Walker.

As the US dominates the worldwide financial system, secondary sanctions have typically been efficient in inflicting financial harm to the sanctioned nation. But Walker sees their imposition on this case as unlikely, noting that it will be “serious diplomatic escalation in tensions” between the UAE and the US.

The UAE has invested tens of billions of {dollars} within the US financial system, largely by its sovereign wealth funds. In 2020, buyers from the UAE accounted for about $45 billion of funding flows to the US, in response to Abu Dhabi’s state-backed The National newspaper. That’s a 65% rise from the earlier 12 months.

Bilateral commerce between the US and the UAE exceeded $23.03 billion in 2021. The US’ sixth largest commerce surplus globally is with the UAE, and the shut financial partnership between the 2 states helps greater than 120,000 American jobs, in response to the UAE embassy in Washington, DC.

“We are doing a lot of services for the Americans. They should be grateful to us rather than come up with this language,” mentioned Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a UAE political science professor, referring to the US’ warning about G7 markets. “American sanctions are American sanctions. They are not UN sanctions and countries can pick and choose. We have dealings with 190 different countries, and Russia is one of them.”

Abdulla says the US Treasury considerations usually are not new and that Washington is aware of “very well that we (the UAE) have healthy, ongoing conversations on everything, including these sanctions.”

“The UAE is as vigilant as any country, monitoring every single dollar that comes in, every single transaction – be it Russian or otherwise,” Abdulla informed Mahaz News, including that the UAE “should not be singled out” for having an open monetary market.

The US official informed Mahaz News that whereas Washington is “focused on some critical issues” it sees within the UAE and Turkey, the 2 international locations “are not being singled out.”

“This is a conversation we are having with many partners and other countries around the globe,” added the official.

Karen Young, senior analysis scholar at Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy, mentioned the US is unlikely to publicly chastise the UAE because of the two international locations’ cooperation on different information comparable to relations with Israel and power, however added that the financial profit to the UAE from the surge in enterprise from Russians is however too essential to jeopardize.

Israel and Sudan finalize peace settlement draft, Israeli overseas minister says

Israel and Sudan have finalized the textual content of a peace settlement to be signed “later this year,” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen mentioned on Thursday.

  • Background: Sudan was a part of the unique Abraham Accord normalization agreements between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco brokered by the administration of former US President Donald Trump. But after a army coup in Sudan in October 2021, the ultimate steps of the method with Khartoum had been stalled.
  • Why it issues: Cohen mentioned that the signing would “serve as an opportunity for the establishment of relations with other countries in Africa as well as the strengthening of existing ties with African countries.” The settlement comes after Israel swore in probably the most right-wing authorities in its historical past in December, leaving its new Arab allies in an ungainly spot.

Top Iranian filmmaker goes on starvation strike in jail

Iranian movie director and screenwriter Jafar Panahi went on a starvation strike within the infamous Evin jail to protest his detention, in response to the activist group Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

  • Background: Panahi is certainly one of Iran’s most influential filmmakers. He is a Cannes movie pageant award winner and director of flicks comparable to “The White Balloon,” “The Circle” and “No Bears.” In 2010, the director was sentenced to 6 years in jail and banned from filmmaking for 20 years, in addition to from leaving the nation. This verdict was upheld on attraction. On July 11, 2022, Panahi was arrested in entrance of Evin jail to serve his sentence, HRANA reported.
  • Why it issues: According to the Artistic Freedom Initiative (AFI), a New York-based human rights group, Panahi’s sentence is from a decade in the past and in response to Iranian legislation, the statute of limitations for the execution of his sentence has expired. But the Iranian judiciary refused to evaluation his case and let him free, AFI reported.

Norway police ban Quran burning protest after Turkey summons Oslo envoy

Norwegian police on Thursday banned a deliberate anti-Islam protest together with the burning of a duplicate of the Quran for safety causes, hours after the Turkish overseas ministry summoned Norway’s ambassador to complain, Reuters reported. “Burning the Quran remains a legal way to express political views in Norway. But this event cannot be carried out for security reasons,” Oslo police mentioned in an announcement, citing intelligence it had obtained.

  • Background: A bunch of protesters deliberate to burn a duplicate of the Quran outdoors the Turkish embassy in Oslo on Friday, police mentioned, echoing comparable demonstrations final month in Sweden and Denmark. Earlier on Thursday, Ankara strongly condemned the anti-Islam group’s plans, which it mentioned was a “provocative act,” a supply from the Turkish overseas ministry mentioned, including that the ministry had requested for the demonstration to be referred to as off. The police can solely ban an indication if there’s a hazard to the general public.
  • Why it issues: A protest together with burning a duplicate of Quran final month close to the Turkish embassy in Stockholm by an anti-immigrant Danish-Swedish politician from the far-right fringe drew sturdy condemnation from Ankara. Sweden and Finland utilized final 12 months to hitch NATO after Russia invaded Ukraine, however confronted surprising objections from Turkey and have since sought to win its help.

Ankara won’t tie Congress’ approval of the sale to Turkey of F-16 fighter jets to Sweden’s accession to NATO, Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for the Turkish presidency, informed Mahaz News’s Becky Anderson on Wednesday. He added that Turkey is “not without any options.”

“We will support Swedish entry into NATO when they fulfill their promises and deliver on the terms that we agreed together,” he mentioned.

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators mentioned the US Congress can’t help the $20 billion sale of the jets to Turkey till Ankara ratifies the NATO memberships of Sweden and Finland, Reuters reported.

Watch the interview with Kalin right here.

Saudi Arabia: #Stop_AlWaqie_Channel

A Saudi tv channel has discovered itself underneath fireplace after a actuality present featured scenes of younger male contestants appearing affectionately with one another.

An Arabic hashtag calling for the closure of Al Waqie TV went viral on Twitter after the scenes had been broadcast on the fact sequence “The Business,” which follows 40 younger Saudi males dwelling in a single home and competing for a money prize. Inspired by the American actuality TV present “Big Brother,” viewers can vote for and get rid of contestants on-line.

Homosexuality is prohibited in Saudi Arabia and the federal government has of late cracked down on LGBTQ symbols and banned Hollywood movies that present same-sex {couples}. In the clips that induced the controversy, some contestants are seen embracing and exhibiting indicators of affection.

One Twitter person wrote: “It’s very sad and dangerous that the ideas of satanic organizations reach children’s programs.”

“Frankly, I saw clips and was shocked, even if we take them for good faith and intention. You are on a program in front of women and young viewers, you must be disciplined and with limits. You don’t take the situation lightly,” tweeted one other person.

But not everybody had the identical opinion, some Twitter customers defended the lads and mentioned their actions had been misunderstood.

One person wrote: “By God, you are strange people,” referring to critics of the present. “Now someone hugging their friend and showing affection is a crime.”

Another account used the hashtag to advertise the pro-LGBTQ phrase “love is love.”

Several Twitter customers in Saudi Arabia referred to as on the authorities to close down the TV channel and this system.

The present, which is in its second season, has round 41 million views on YouTube, the channel mentioned on its Instagram account.

The channel didn’t reply to Mahaz News’s requests for remark.

By Dalya Al Masri

Palestinian Akram al-Waara shows one of his artworks that he made from tear gas canisters and other non-lethal weapons used by Israeli forces against Palestinian demonstrators, in his workshop near the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, on Thursday.

Source web site: www.cnn.com

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