Category Archives: MidEast

Secretary Pompeo’s Travel To Beirut, Jerusalem, And Kuwait City

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will travel to Beirut, Jerusalem, and Kuwait City March 19-23.

In Beirut, the Secretary will meet with Lebanese leaders to discuss the political, security, economic, and humanitarian challenges facing Lebanon. The Secretary’s visit will underscore U.S. support for the Lebanese people and Lebanon’s legitimate state institutions.

In Jerusalem, the Secretary will meet with Israeli officials to engage on critical regional issues, including countering the Iranian regime’s malign influence and reaffirming the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security. The Secretary will also discuss the Administration’s dedication to monitoring and combatting anti-Semitism. While in Jerusalem, the Secretary will also participate in a meeting with Israeli, Cypriot, and Greek leaders to discuss key energy and security issues facing the Eastern Mediterranean region.

In Kuwait City, the Secretary will lead the U.S. delegation at the third U.S.-Kuwait Strategic Dialogue. The dialogue will focus on many areas of growing U.S.-Kuwait bilateral cooperation, including defense, counterterrorism, cybersecurity, strengthening trade and investment ties, and education. The Secretary will also meet with Kuwaiti leaders to discuss important regional issues, such as Yemen and Syria, as well as progress on the Middle East Strategic Alliance and the need for GCC unity in order to confront the region’s challenges and advance prosperity, security, and stability.

Leading Lawyers Submit Evidence To ICC, Questioning Its Jurisdiction In Israeli Settlements Cases

The Lawfare Project

The Lawfare Project

Top lawyers specializing in cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC) have filed a submission questioning the admissibility of cases regarding Israeli settlements. Steven Kay QC and Joshua Kern of 9 Bedford Row chambers in London made the submission with support from The Lawfare Project and UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI). An article regarding the submission is available here.

The submission emphasizes that the Israeli Supreme Court (sitting as the High Court of Justice) plays an active role ruling on matters relating to Israeli settlements. Because Israel’s own courts already rule on the issue and have issued several landmark rulings on settlements in the past, such cases are not admissible before the ICC. That is because—according to the core principle of “complementarity” under the Rome Statute, which governs the ICC—the ICC is not supposed to rule on issues where there are genuine proceedings before national courts.

The submission by 9 Bedford Row, with support from The Lawfare Project and UKLFI, comes after the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the ICC published its annual report on preliminary examinations in December 2018. The report discloses that the OTP intends to complete its examination of “the Situation in Palestine” as early possible and is now at “Phase 3”, which is the stage in the process when it considers the admissibility of the situation. At this point, therefore, the OTP needs to consider both the gravity and the complementarity of the situation.

Should the OTP decide to prosecute an Israeli settlements case, it could violate the complementarity principle.

Stephen Kay QC of 9 Bedford Row, who filed the submission, said:

“Israel has a functioning, independent, institutional framework which permits investigation of conduct that would be covered by potential settlements cases at the ICC. Under the core ICC principle of complementarity, prosecutors should accept the validity of decisions taken by Israel’s national courts. If they are not prepared to do that, then the burden of proof will be on them to say why.”

Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, which supported the submission, said:

“An ICC case on ‘settlements’ would totally ignore the fact that Israel’s courts have frequently ruled and continue to rule on these issues. It would be yet another attempt at applying double standards to Israel. Double standards inspire a lack of trust in the international legal system and undermine the sanctity of international law. The Lawfare Project is proud to support this fresh legal approach to challenging lawfare attempts at circumventing the rule of law.”

Jonathan Turner, Chief Executive of UK Lawyers for Israel, said:

“This excellent submission unpicks a number of basic fallacies in claims made by some NGOs in relation to Israel. Further work needs to be done to counter other serious misconceptions.”

A more detailed explanation of the points below.

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Assistant Secretary For The Bureau Of Conflict And Stabilization Operations Denise Natali Travels To Baghdad And Sulaimani, Iraq

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations Denise Natali will travel to Baghdad and Sulaimani, Iraq, March 1–8. During her trip, she will meet with senior government officials and international partners to discuss stabilization challenges and opportunities. Assistant Secretary Natali will also speak on a panel at Sixth Annual Sulaimani Forum at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani. The annual event, hosted by the university, invites policymakers, experts, and scholars to discuss regional conflict dynamics and their resolution. Assistant Secretary Natali will make a presentation on effective stabilization principles and lessons learned that can be applied to Iraq.

Follow @CSOAsstSec on Twitter for trip updates. For press inquiries, please contact CSOPublicAffairs1@state.gov.

Hizballah Banned In The UK

Order proscribing Hizballah, Ansaroul Islam and Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam Wal-Muslimin came into force at midnight

Home Office

Home Office

An order laid in Parliament on Monday (25 February) to proscribe the terrorist organisations Hizballah, Ansaroul Islam and Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam Wal-Muslimin (JNIM) has now come into effect, following debates in the Houses of Parliament.

Under the Terrorism Act 2000, being a member – or inviting support for – these groups will be a criminal offence, carrying a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

All three groups have been assessed as being concerned in terrorism.

Announcing his decision on Monday, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:

My priority as Home Secretary is to protect the British people. As part of this, we identify and ban any terrorist organisation which threatens our safety and security, whatever their motivations or ideology which is why I am taking action against several organisations today.

Hizballah is continuing in its attempts to destabilase the fragile situation in the Middle East – and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party. Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety.

Decisions about whether to proscribe a particular organisation are taken after extensive consideration and in light of a full assessment of available information.

There are now 77 international terrorist organisations proscribed under the terrorism Act 2000, alongside 14 organisations connected to Northern Ireland proscribed under separate legislation.

Help For Vulnerable People To Help Them Get Back Into Work

A new charity in Taunton is helping vulnerable people build their skills and confidence to help them back into work

Department for Works & Pensions

Department for Works & Pensions

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has today (Friday 1 March) opened the new Taunton-based community Link Centre.

The centre will work with people who are socially isolated and less likely to access traditional employment services such as jobcentres.

Amber Rudd also visited jobcentres in Taunton and Chippenham, learning about how their work has contributed to the region’s record-breaking employment (79.8%).

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said:

We can be quick to forget the difference having a job makes.

For most people, being in work is good for their mental and physical health and is the best way for them to secure financial stability.

And I know that’s what our dedicated jobcentre staff want to help people achieve – peace of mind and a path to building a fulfilling future.

I want to make sure that everyone who needs jobcentre support knows how to access it, and that they trust us to help them whatever their circumstances.

As well as continuing her fact-finding tour to establish how Universal Credit is working in local communities across the United Kingdom, Amber Rudd heard from staff in Chippenham about how they were helping homeless people access support. And jobcentre workers in Taunton told her about their efforts to encourage employers to be Disability Confident, opening up their jobs to people with disabilities and health conditions.

Since her appointment in November, Amber Rudd has been reviewing the government’s key welfare reform, Universal Credit, which replaces 6 different benefits with one single payment.

Earlier this year, Amber Rudd announced that the government would not extend the 2-child limit on Universal Credit for children born before April 2017, when the policy came into effect, benefiting around 15,000 families.

She also announced changes designed to make Universal Credit fairer, including pilot schemes to provide more frequent payments for new claimants, a new online system for private landlords and a more flexible approach to childcare provisions.

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