Here’s Al Jazeera’s round-up of Middle East news this week.
How close Saudi Arabia and China can be, Iran’s ethics police are suspended and a Palestinian is killed by an Israeli soldier on camera. This is your compilation, written by Abubakr Al-Shamahi, Middle East and North Africa editor of Al Jazeera Digital.
For the first time in six years, Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Saudi Arabia. That’s pretty important because a) Xi has just started traveling abroad again after suspending all travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic; and b) because of the welcome he received in Riyadh, a welcome that notably included more fanfare than US President Joe Biden received a few months ago.
A sign of the times? Probably. To be sure, Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the US could be described as cold right now, something Biden said in October that Riyadh would face “consequences” for cutting oil production. Saudi Arabia – under the de facto leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – is certainly looking to expand the partnership. And China is definitely trying expand its influence in an area it is important to secure its own energy future. But like Giorgio Cafiero and Shehab Al-Makahleh explainedIn times of trouble, Saudi Arabia is expected to still look west for help, rather than east – at least for now.
Has Iran abolished its moral police?
A lot of people were confused about whether Iran has abolish its moral police. Have it? Well, the short answer is no.
Since September, the force has been less visible on the streets after becoming a lightning rod for the anger of the people – anger directed at them after members of this force arrested Mahsa Amini, 22 years old for allegedly not complying with the dress code of Iranian women. Her subsequent death while in their custody was the cause of the protests that have lasted for the past three months.
Admittedly, the reporting on this matter is a bit lackluster. Several press agencies were seized on the comments of the Iranian prosecutor general. He was quoted Saturday as saying the ethics police had been “shut down”. In turn, it is perhaps conceivably understood that this force has been abolished.
And what’s more, the authorities are also considering scrapping the mandatory hijab law. But, as our Iranian correspondent Maziar Motamedi explainsThe prosecutor general’s comments have not been confirmed by police, nor did he mention whether the closure will be indefinite.
Since then, there have been more protests and on Thursday Iran carried out first implementation related to the demonstration.
‘Done’ on camera
The video that captures the final moments of Ammar Mufleh’s life, 23, has outraged Palestinians. The scene shows him being shot dead by an Israeli soldier at open range. Palestinians have called the killing an executionwhile Israeli police said the soldier was defending himself.
Israeli forces have been accused by the Palestinian Foreign Ministry of ‘executing’ a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank.
– Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) December 3, 2022
And now for something different
As the World Cup enters its final stages, only one team from the Arab world and Africa remains: Morocco. On Tuesday, the Atlas Lions knocked out 2010 world champions Spain, on penalties, spark a party in Moroccoand other parts of Arab world, Africa and Europe which I’m not sure is done. They have now set up a quarter-final clash with another Iberian football superpower – Portugal.
Morocco’s matchmaker, Achraf Hakimi, was actually born in Spain, and his backstory represents that of many diaspora Moroccans in Europe, as well as the intriguing – and sometimes head-scratching – question of national identity that often arises during the World Cup.
Israeli army kill three Palestinians in Jenin – People flee the authorities after a Moroccan-Turkish plane landed in Spain due to a seemed to be held in an emergency on the flight – US courts cite MBS immunity in Drop the case against Khashoggi – Al-Jazeera TV station ask the ICC to investigate the killers by his own journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh – Israel’s incoming far-right minister Itamar Ben-Gvir called for the expulsion of Al Jazeera from the country on requesting the ICC to hear the case of Abu Akleh – Turkey sets two-week deadline for the SDF to withdraw from northern Syria – Israeli President Isaac Herzog visit Bahrain and UAE – Rare Anti-government protests turned deadly in the southern Syrian city of Sweida – US Navy says fishing vessel carrying weapons from Iran on the way to Yemen – The main union of Tunisia says it no longer accepts President Kais Saied’s agenda before the election – Paragliding suspected of being a refugee or migrant cross the border between Morocco and Spain – Yemenis use the World Cup try to forget about war
’33rd country’ at World Cup
One of the most popular flags in the stands at the World Cup represents a country that doesn’t even participate – Palestine. Dima Khatib, managing director at AJ+, argues that it’s because Arabs from different countries, have the rare opportunity to gather in one space, chose to give Palestine an opportunity to take center stage.
Quote of the week
“We negotiated with them [the military] before. We gave them many opportunities. But what did they end up doing? A military coup.” — Dania Atabani, spokeswoman for a resistance committee in Khartoum, reacts to news of a deal between the Sudanese military and leading political parties. This agreement is intended to end months of unrest following the October 2021 coup, but protest groups rejected the dealsays it ignores issues like transitional justice.