The Arab summit turns Baghdad into a fortress, but little policy expecte



Preparations for the Arab Summit turn Baghdad into a 'Guantanamo Bay' on the Tigris

The Iraqi capital goes into a week of hibernation as it prepares to host the Arab Summit tomorrow. It is a summit that isn't expected to have any effect on the current state of events since it comes at a time of ambiguity and controversy in terms of leadership in the Arab world, said the columnist Rajeh El Khouri in the Lebanese daily Annahar.

Many Arab countries have been undergoing a change that has yet to reach maturity; therefore, the present Arab Summit will merely be an introductory meeting among the new leaders.

"The title 'The Arab Spring Summit' that was chosen for the conference may have been rash, as the world has yet to determine the shape of the regimes and systems that the spring will yield eventually," opined the writer.

In fact, no one knows who the next president of Egypt, Tunisia or Libya will be. It is also unclear whether President Bashar Al Assad will leave Syria in these dark hours to attend the summit, especially in view of the Arab League's position towards his regime.

Saudi Arabia has decided to participate through its ambassador to the Arab League, while other countries are sending their foreign ministers as representatives, which signals that the Baghdad Summit could be among the least influential Arab summits.

Strangely, previous Arab summits have been equally unlucky in Iraq. The first summit the country hosted in 1978 proclaimed the division among Arabs following the Camp David agreements. And the second Baghdad summit in 1990 ushered in a new phase of Arab division that followed Saddam Hussein's madness as he invaded Kuwait.

"We don't know how is it going to be possible for Iraq, which is going through sharp internal divisions that have crippled the central authority, to help through the summit in bringing together divided Arabs, especially in the absence of the united Arab front that was traditionally represented by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria," said the writer. "Saudi has already announced its non-attendance, Egypt is going through a tumultuous process of transition of power and Syria is on the verge of a civil war."

The Iraqi situation is no better than the overall situation across the Arab world. With strict security measures to secure Baghdad against possible explosions and suicide bombers, the capital city seems hijacked.

"One hundred thousand troops have been deployed to protect the summit. Baghdad, far from being an impregnable fortress, has become a five star Guantanamo concentration camp," he added.

For the duration of seven days, bridges will be cut off and roads will be blocked. Newspapers will be on a compulsory hiatus as well as all banking, cultural, sports, social and artistic activities. It is indeed a summit of silence.

Assad's only interest is in crushing dissent

The UN special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, received the Assad regime's response to its six-point proposals but has yet to divulge the content of the response.

"Some view this as a source of optimism, but I don't think so," said Tariq Al Homayed, the editor of the London-based newspaper Asharq Al Awsat. "No reasonable solutions could possibly come out of a regime that recently accused CNN of sabotage on an oil pipeline in Syria."

This could be another one of the Assad regime's ploys to buy time. Just two days ago, it issued a decision that turns the whole of Syria into one big prison as it banned males under 42 to leave the Syrian territories.

"During an entire year since the start of the revolution, the regime has yet to take any action" to prove that it understands what is going on around it. "This is a regime that believes that killings and terror are potent solution," he added.

The authority's main goal isn't to find a solution to the crisis, but rather to forcibly crush it, but that seems unachievable. Despite the poor armament of the Free Syrian Army, the regime is gradually losing its grip on large parts of the country.

Whether the Assad regime responds to Mr Annan's plan or not is inconsequential for the Syrian revolution. The best and the only way to preserve Syria and guard it against the impending civil war is to force the Damascus dictator out as soon as possible.

Time for a Palestinian spring to emerge?

The Palestinian people are entitled to an uprising of their own to face the divisions that have been present for far too long, said Barakat Shlatweh, a contributing writer with the Sharjah-based newspaper Al Khaleej.

The Israeli occupation forces aren't the only side to blame for Palestinian mistakes and disappointments. Revolt against the warlords in the West Bank and Gaza has become a crucial necessity in light of the digression of the Palestinian cause.

In March last year, a popular campaign was set in motion in the West Bank and Gaza to end the division, but despite the best intentions and the remarkable zeal of the organisers, it stopped short of any results.

"Every now and then, someone comes out pretending to work at ending the division all the while accusing the other side of sabotage. Such people must be reminded that Palestine is getting pillaged,"said the writer.

The agreements of Cairo and Doha must be activated immediately and a new government must be formed to oversee the elections where the people would be heard. The Palestinian people can't possibly continue to be hostages to void agreements and protocol meetings that are nothing more than photo opportunities.

* Digest compiled by Racha Makarem

FFP EXPLAINED

What is Financial Fair Play?
Introduced in 2011 by Uefa, European football’s governing body, it demands that clubs live within their means. Chiefly, spend within their income and not make substantial losses.

What the rules dictate?
The second phase of its implementation limits losses to €30 million (Dh136m) over three seasons. Extra expenditure is permitted for investment in sustainable areas (youth academies, stadium development, etc). Money provided by owners is not viewed as income. Revenue from “related parties” to those owners is assessed by Uefa's “financial control body” to be sure it is a fair value, or in line with market prices.

What are the penalties?
There are a number of punishments, including fines, a loss of prize money or having to reduce squad size for European competition – as happened to PSG in 2014. There is even the threat of a competition ban, which could in theory lead to PSG’s suspension from the Uefa Champions League.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

Cracks in the Wall

Ben White, Pluto Press 

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

THE SPECS

Engine: Four-cylinder 2.5-litre

Transmission: Seven-speed auto

Power: 165hp

Torque: 241Nm

Price: Dh99,900 to Dh134,000

On sale: now

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League last-16, second leg:

Real Madrid 1 (Asensio 70'), Ajax 4 (Ziyech 7', Neres 18', Tadic 62', Schone 72')

Ajax win 5-3 on aggregate

BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE

Director: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano

Rating: 3.5/5

UAE tour of the Netherlands

UAE squad: Rohan Mustafa (captain), Shaiman Anwar, Ghulam Shabber, Mohammed Qasim, Rameez Shahzad, Mohammed Usman, Adnan Mufti, Chirag Suri, Ahmed Raza, Imran Haider, Mohammed Naveed, Amjad Javed, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed

Fixtures: Monday, first 50-over match; Wednesday, second 50-over match; Thursday, third 50-over match

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

THE LOWDOWN

Photograph

Rating: 4/5

Produced by: Poetic License Motion Pictures; RSVP Movies

Director: Ritesh Batra

Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra, Farrukh Jaffar, Deepak Chauhan, Vijay Raaz

Springtime in a Broken Mirror,
Mario Benedetti, Penguin Modern Classics

 

6.30pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round-3 Group 1 (PA) | US$95,000 | (Dirt) 2,000m
7.05pm: Meydan Classic Listed (TB) ) | $175,000) | (Turf) 1,600m
7.40pm: Handicap (TB) ) | $135,000 ) | (D) 1,600m
8.15pm: Nad Al Sheba Trophy Group 3 (TB) ) | $300,000) | (T) 2,810m
8.50pm: Curlin Handicap Listed (TB)) | $160,000) | (D) 2,000m
9.25pm: Handicap (TB)) | $175,000) | (T) 1,400m
10pm: Handicap (TB) ) | $135,000 ) | (T) 2,000m

Iran's dirty tricks to dodge sanctions

There’s increased scrutiny on the tricks being used to keep commodities flowing to and from blacklisted countries. Here’s a description of how some work.

1 Going Dark

A common method to transport Iranian oil with stealth is to turn off the Automatic Identification System, an electronic device that pinpoints a ship’s location. Known as going dark, a vessel flicks the switch before berthing and typically reappears days later, masking the location of its load or discharge port.

2. Ship-to-Ship Transfers

A first vessel will take its clandestine cargo away from the country in question before transferring it to a waiting ship, all of this happening out of sight. The vessels will then sail in different directions. For about a third of Iranian exports, more than one tanker typically handles a load before it’s delivered to its final destination, analysts say.

3. Fake Destinations

Signaling the wrong destination to load or unload is another technique. Ships that intend to take cargo from Iran may indicate their loading ports in sanction-free places like Iraq. Ships can keep changing their destinations and end up not berthing at any of them.

4. Rebranded Barrels

Iranian barrels can also be rebranded as oil from a nation free from sanctions such as Iraq. The countries share fields along their border and the crude has similar characteristics. Oil from these deposits can be trucked out to another port and documents forged to hide Iran as the origin.

* Bloomberg

MATCH INFO

FA Cup fifth round

Chelsea v Manchester United, Monday, 11.30pm (UAE), BeIN Sports

Leaderboard

15 under: Paul Casey (ENG)

-14: Robert MacIntyre (SCO)

-13 Brandon Stone (SA)

-10 Laurie Canter (ENG) , Sergio Garcia (ESP)

-9 Kalle Samooja (FIN)

-8 Thomas Detry (BEL), Justin Harding (SA), Justin Rose (ENG)

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

Key developments

All times UTC+4

Top New Zealand cop on policing the virtual world

New Zealand police began closer scrutiny of social media and online communities after the attacks on two mosques in March, the country's top officer said.

The killing of 51 people in Christchurch and wounding of more than 40 others shocked the world. Brenton Tarrant, a suspected white supremacist, was accused of the killings. His trial is ongoing and he denies the charges.

Mike Bush, commissioner of New Zealand Police, said officers looked closely at how they monitored social media in the wake of the tragedy to see if lessons could be learned.

“We decided that it was fit for purpose but we need to deepen it in terms of community relationships, extending them not only with the traditional community but the virtual one as well," he told The National.

"We want to get ahead of attacks like we suffered in New Zealand so we have to challenge ourselves to be better."

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre, turbo four-cylinder

Transmission: 10-speed auto

Power: 300hp

Torque: 420Nm

Price: Dh189,900

On sale: now