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MER chronology of the week.

ARABS

Aug. 17

--Israel rejects offer from Qatar, Oman to normalize diplomatic ties in return for Israel's ending settlement activity in W. Bank, Jerusalem.

--Israeli Pres. Shimon Peres announces Israel's "will for peace" with Arabs.

Aug 18

--Gulf Arab investors purchase hundreds of dunums of privately-owned land in Galilee; Israeli non-govt groups want sales stopped.

EGYPT

Aug. 17

--Israeli soldiers patrolling the border with Egypt shoot an Egyptian security officer after mistaking him for an enemy infiltrator.

Aug. 17

--Coptic leaders follow Pres. Hosni Mubarak on US visit seeing chance to demonstrate against, pressure Mubarak; President's entourage urges restraint; Call rejected.

Aug 18

--Mubarak in the US says peace first, normal ties with Israel next.

--Egyptian authorities arrest 8 Muslim Brotherhood leaders from 5 provinces; Charge them with belonging to a banned group.

Aug. 20

--Egyptian authorities arrest 30 Muslim Brotherhood activists in the Suez province.

--Mubarak accuses Iran of interfering with the Mideast peace process.

--An Egyptian delegation meets with representatives of Palestinian factions in a bid to resume the Egyptian-mediated dialogue.

Aug. 21

--An Egyptian team holds talks with Damascus-based Palestinian factions in Damascus to urge a renewal of dialogue between Fatah, Hamas.

--Iran slams recent comments by Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak during his visit to Washington, saying such statements do not serve the interests of the region.

--Egypt's Beltone Private Equity, Sudan's Kenana Sugar Company sign joint cooperation agreement aimed at agricultural investment across vast areas in Egypt and Sudan.

IRAN

Aug. 17

--Iranian authorities temporarily close down Etemad-e Melli, website of defeated reformist presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi.

--Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to propose at least 3 female ministers in new cabinet.

--Iran frees on bail Clotilde Reiss, French teaching assistant charged with spying.

Aug 18

--Israel's Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren plays down the prospect of launching an attack on Iran this year.

Aug. 19

--Hariri accuses Iran of meddling with the Lebanese government formation process.

Aug. 20

--Syrian President Bashar al-Assad congratulates Ahmadinejad on his re-election as Iranian president, condemns foreign interference in the Islamic state; Meets Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who welcomes Assad's proposal to form alliance between Iran, Syria.

--Russian firm Rosoboron-export welcomes Iranian requests to order fighters, bombers.

--Egyptian Pres. Hosni Mubarak accuses Iran of interfering with the Mideast peace process.

--Russian Pres. Dmitry Medvedev holds talks with Israeli Pres. Shimon Peres on Iran's nuclear program, the Mideast peace process.

IRAQ

Aug 15

--Iraqi journalists, writers, booksellers, others demonstrate against "state censorship" as govt mulls banning some websites.

Aug. 17

--Iraq abandons plans to hold census due to tensions in northern Kurdish region.

--At least six killed as two bombs explode in mainly Shiite neighborhood of eastern Baghdad.

Aug 18

--The U.S. military commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, suggests forming Kurdish, Iraqi, US security teams to protect volatile north.

--Cabinet approves bill for a referendum on bilateral security SOFA pact between US, Iraq.

--Syria's belated condemnation of Iraq bombings raises eyebrows, attributed to US-Syria talks.

Aug. 19

--PM Nuri al-Maliki meets Syrian PM Naji al-Otari in Syria; Agree to form a multi-level strategic cooperation council; Meets Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad, who stresses support for Iraq's stability.

--Maliki submits to Assad a list of wanted fugitives accused of belonging to armed groups that are active in Iraq, says wants them back.

--Iraqi MPs accuse Saudi, other Muslim states of funding Sunni insurgency; Saudi Foreign Ministry dismisses accusations; U.S., Iraqi diplomats say no evidence of Saudi backing.

Aug. 20

--Multiple blasts in Baghdad target foreign ministry, finance ministry, provincial govt building, others, killing 95; Security spokesman blames Iraqi forces; Negligence of security officials viewed as security breach; 10 detained.

Aug. 21

--Iraqi Kurdistan region President Masoud Barzani is sworn into office in Erbil, vowing to respond to terrorism in Iraq through unity.

--A series of explosions in southern Babel province kill at least seven, wound 55.

ISRAEL

Aug 15

--Israeli Deputy FM Danny Ayalon says govt. spurns Turkish-mediated peace negotiations with Syria, insists new negotiations be direct.

--UN report cites "significant evidence" that Israel violated human rights, international law in Gaza war; Separate UN report cites Israel settler violations against Palestinians.

Aug. 17

--Israeli soldiers patrolling the border with Egypt shoot an Egyptian security officer after mistaking him for an enemy infiltrator.

--PM Benjamin Netanyahu promises to fight "domestic terrorism" after thugs beat to death a man on Tel Aviv Beach, attack his family.

--Israel rejects offer from Qatar, Oman to normalize diplomatic ties in return for Israel's ending settlement activity in W. Bank, Jerusalem.

--Pres. Shimon Peres announces Israel's "will for peace" with Arabs.

--Syrian Foreign Ministry sends UN a report saying Israeli occupation forces continue to violate human rights, freedoms in Golan Heights.

Aug 18

--Israel's Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren plays down the prospect of launching an attack on Iran this year.

--The Israeli govt, US Pres. Barack Obama narrowing in compromise on settlements; Israel says 6 months, US says 1 yr.

Aug 18

--Gulf Arab investors purchase hundreds of dunums of privately-owned land in Galilee; Israeli non-govt groups want sales stopped.

Aug. 19

--Obama, sees encouraging signs of progress over settlement issue.

--Housing Minister Ariel Atias says new govt not issued new tenders for housing; Peace Now says construction continuing on 1,000 housing units.

--Republican senator Mike Huckabee defends Israel's right to settlements in E. Jerusalem.

--Israeli security sources says Hamas has rearmed itself with mid-range and anti-aircraft missiles, bringing in foreign fighters from Iraq.

Aug. 20

--Israel revives an old settlement project to build 450 residential units in a settlement neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

--Hardliner Deputy PM Moshe Yaalon calls anti-settlements group Peace Now a "virus."

--Russian Pres. Dmitry Medvedev holds talks with Peres on Iran's nuclear program, the Mideast peace process.

Aug. 21

--A third of Israeli soldiers will not obey orders to clear settlements--survey.

KUWAIT

Aug. 19

--U.S. authorities warn that US citizens in Kuwait at risk from terrorist attacks.

Aug. 20

--Lebanon, Kuwait sign MoU, agreements with the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development for Beirut, Sidon museum projects.

--Report says company profits in Kuwait fell by 75 percent in the first half of 2009.

LEBANON

Aug 15

--Judge Howard Morrison resigns from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to take up role on judging panel of the Yugoslavia Criminal Court.

--Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah in speech marking the third anniversary of the end of the 2006 war says no war with Israel in foreseeable future, only psychological; Stresses Israeli threats aim to delay govt formation, sow sedition; Calls for solidarity to fend off Israel.

--Taymour Jumblat, son of PSP leader Walid Jumblat, heads PSP delegation to Hizbullah rally.

--Walid Jumblat congratulates the resistance on its victory day.

--Israeli press cites Hizbullah's arms, avenging assassinated Imad Moghnieh as main friction points between group, Israel.

Aug. 17

--Jumblat says he dispatched son to Hizbullah's rally to cement PSP's fight against Israel.

--Minister of Telecoms Gibran Bassil stresses ruling majority ceased to exist following Jumblat's break from March 14; Denies MP Michel Aoun's demands obstructing govt. formation.

--Lebanese tourism sector realizes its full potential after four-year hiatus due to instability.

--The electricity sector has lost $1 billion so far this year--paper.

--Armenian Tashnag Party leaders meet Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea in pursuit of political openness towards all Lebanese sides.

--Independence Movement leader Michel Mouawad confirms the Cedar Revolution will continue despite Jumblat's recent stance.

Aug 18

--Lebanese security authorities foil an attempt by eight inmates to escape from Roumieh prison; Seven recaptured, one on the loose.

--Opposition leader Michel Aoun responds to critics, attacks the majority, says proud to be obstructing govt, Bassil Gibran confronted mafias in the ministry of telecoms.

--Jumblat announces will join House Speaker Nabih Berri in political silence during Ramadan.

--Hariri's press office releases statement responding to Aoun; Will not breach his mandate; but govt-formation is his role.

--Justice ministry official says after investigation that no Internet-based communication system with Israel is in Barouk, as Bassil claimed.

--Druze leader Wiam Wahhab in Syria says all Lebanese Druze now support Syria, resistance.

--Lebanese Forces MP Elie Keirouz warns Syria seeking to break down the March 14 coalition.

Aug. 19

--Health Minister Mohammed Jawad Khalife says been 500 swine flu cases.

--Hariri's bloc reaffirms its support of Hariri, stresses constitutional rights of president, PM.

--Interior Minister Ziad Baroud instigates massive search for Roumieh escapee Taha Hajj Suleiman; announces security reshuffle.

--Druze MP Marwan Hamadeh blasts opposition in response to accusations he covered up an Internet communication system for espionage in Barouk; Denies had anything to do with it.

--Lebanese former Pres. Emile Lahoud calls for investigation results to be publicized.

--Keirouz warns against Syria's planned return to Lebanon.

--Hariri accuses Iran of meddling with the Lebanese government formation process.

--Gas stations are being tested for possible contamination from mixing.

Aug. 20

--March 14 accuses Hizbullah of participating in obstruction of govt. formation by backing Aoun.

--Security authorities re-capture Islamist prison escapee Taha Hajj Suleiman.

--Lebanese army arrests 9-yr long fugitive, Wassim Thaibish, in Ein el-Hilweh.

--Aoun slams Hariri, Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar, judiciary, says not obstructing govt.

--Hizbullah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Kassem restates Hizbullah's plan to "avenge" the death of Imad Moghnieh.

--Lebanon, Kuwait sign MoU, agreements with the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development for Beirut, Sidon museum projects.

Aug. 21

--Hariri meets former PM Omar Karami to discuss govt. formation; Karami backs Hariri's efforts.

--Kassem denies Hizbullah made any commitment to "facilitate govt. formation; only made promises on cabinet's shape.

--Phalange party suspends March 14 coalition membership, says plans to propose reform plan.

--Future Movement MP Mohammad Kabbara attacks Aoun, says controlled by Hizbullah.

--Jumblat sends delegation to Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, says Christian-Druze reconciliation crucial.

--UN official says tensions in southern Lebanon between Hizbullah, UNIFIL are over, resolved.

--Lebanese, Syrian officials meet in Chtaura to discuss border issues, including clashes; prospects of future cooperation.

LIBYA

Aug. 21

--Former Libyan agent Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, jailed for life for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, arrives home after Scottish authorities release him on compassionate grounds because he is dying of cancer; US condemns decision.

--Swiss Pres. Hans-Rudolf Merz apologizes to Libya for the brief detention last year of Hannibal Gaddafi, son of leader Moammer Gaddafi; Opens way for normal close ties, Swiss citizens' return.

MIDDLE EAST

Aug 18

--Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the US says peace first, normal ties with Israel next.

Aug. 19

--U.S. Pres. Barack Obama, sees encouraging signs of progress over settlements issue.

--Mubarak visits US for first time since 2004, meets Obama, discuss ME peace.

Aug. 21

--Obama seeks Arabs, Israelis to make urges simultaneous moves toward peace

--Obama calls on Israel, the Palestinians, Arab states to act simultaneously to help kick-start negotiations; But disagreement continues as to who should make first move.

--US Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell Puts final touches to document by which to resume talks before meeting both sides.

--Hamas warns Arabs against normalizing with Israel in exchange for the latter freezing settlement activity, says would eventually lead to the breakdown of united Arab policy on peace.

--US working on setting up a Palestinian-Israeli-US peace conference.

PALESTINIANS

Aug 15

--Jund Ansar Allah ("Soldiers of God's Army") leader Abdel-Latif Moussa declares 'Islamic emirate' in Gaza challenging Hamas rule; Hamas, pro-Qaeda group clash, 16 die.

--Fatah congress elects new Revolutionary Council (party assembly).

--UN Report Cites significant evidence that Israel violated of human rights, international law in Gaza war; Separate UN report cites Israel settler violations against Palestinians.

Aug. 17

--Hamas govt ends military operation against Jund Ansar Allah; Group's leader Abdul-Latif al-Moussa and number two Abu Abdullah killed; 28 deaths, 130 injuries total; 40 arrested.

--Hamas reasserts itself after brief power struggle with Jund Ansar Allah.

--Fatah Young Guard dominates group's Revolutionary Council elections; 70 from young guard generation, 11 women selected, 6 Christians, and 1 Jewish member elected.

Aug 18

--Ahmad Jibril, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), blasts the new members of the Fatah Central Committee, says they are "spies."

--Saudi's Council of Ministers reiterates to the Palestinians need for them to unite.

--Palestinian Pres. Mahmoud Abbas spearheads a cabinet meeting in Ramallah, lauds govt efforts; Says Israeli settlement freeze essential for talks.

Aug. 19

--Jihadist Salafists vow to fight Hamas if it tries to arrest their members; Group denies blame for Gaza bombs; Hamas says only cracking down on those engaging in violence.

--Republican senator Mike Huckabee defends Israel's right to settlements in E. Jerusalem.

--Israeli security sources says Hamas has rearmed with mid-range, anti-aircraft missiles, bringing in foreign fighters from Iraq.

--Poll reveals rise in Abbas, Fatah's popularity; falling support for Hamas.

Aug. 20

--Hamas frees some 50 Fatah prisoners as a gesture before Ramadan, talks.

--Damascus-based Palestinian factions reject call to convene Palestine National Council.

--An Egyptian delegation meets with representatives of Palestinian factions in a bid to resume the Egyptian-mediated dialogue.

--Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) politburo member Jamil al-Majdalawi says Fatah, Hamas committing crimes against the Palestinians by wanting power at any cost.

Aug. 21

--Former Palestinian Authority PM Ahmad Korei reveals a document agreed upon with former Israeli FM Tzipi Livni and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "defining" the Palestinian state with pre-1967 borders.

--The Palestine National Council (PNC) meets in Amman ahead of session to elect new members.

--An Egyptian team holds talks with Damascus-based Palestinian factions in Syria to urge a renewal of dialogue between Fatah, Hamas.

--Hamas warns Arabs against normalizing ties with Israel in exchange for settlement activity freeze, says would eventually lead to the breakdown of the united Arab policy on peace.

QATAR

Aug. 21

--Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani pays surprise visit to Syria; Discusses regional developments with Pres. Bashar al-Assad.

SAUDI ARABIA

Aug. 17

--Culture and Information Ministry undersecretary says Saudi investors in satellite TV stations cause offence to Saudi by allowing material that violates Islamic teachings to be aired; Does not want TV used to push western ideas.

Aug 18

--Saudi's Council of Ministers reiterates to the Palestinians need for them to unite, take heed of the danger of their prevalent schism.

Aug. 19

--Iraqi MPs accuse Saudi, other Muslim states of funding Sunni insurgency; Saudi Foreign Ministry dismisses accusations; U.S., Iraqi diplomats say no evidence of Saudi backing.

Aug. 20

--Saudi security arrest 44 militants planning attacks; seize weapons; Militants accused of exploiting charity work for their plots.

SUDAN

Aug. 20

--North, South Sudan revive 2005 peace deal to end decades of fighting; Agree to implement previously disputed, neglected elements of plan.

Aug. 21

--Egypt's Beltone Private Equity and Sudan's Kenana Sugar Company sign joint cooperation agreement aimed at agricultural investment across vast areas in Egypt and Sudan.

SYRIA

Aug 15

--Israeli Deputy FM Danny Ayalon says govt. spurns Turkish-mediated peace negotiations with Syria, insists new negotiations be direct.

Aug. 17

--Foreign Ministry sends UN report saying Israeli occupation forces continue to violate human rights and freedoms in the Syrian Golan Heights.

Aug 18

--Syria's belated condemnation of Iraq bombings raises eyebrows, attributed to US-Syria talks.

Aug. 19

--Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki meets Syrian PM Naji al-Otari in Syria; Agree to form a strategic cooperation council at various levels; Meets Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad, who stresses support for the stability of Iraq.

--Maliki submits to Assad a list of wanted fugitives accused of belonging to armed groups that are active in Iraq, says wants them back.

--Lebanese Forces MP Elie Keirouz warns against Syria's planned return to Lebanon.

Aug. 20

--Assad congratulates Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his reelection as Iranian president, condemns foreign interference in Iran; Meets Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who welcomes Assad's proposal to form alliance between Iran, Syria.

Aug. 21

--A Syrian delegation arrives in Moscow to buy and rent Russian civil aircraft.

--Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani pays surprise visit to Damascus; Discusses regional developments with Assad.

--An Egyptian team holds talks with Damascus-based Palestinian factions in Damascus to urge a renewal of dialogue between Fatah, Hamas.

--Lebanese, Syrian officials meet in Chtaura to discuss border issues, including clashes; prospects of future cooperation.

TURKEY

Aug. 17

--Ahmet Turk, head of the Kurdish parliamentary party Democratic Society Party says Turkey's initiative to soothe Kurd's grievances may be stymied if it insists on rebels' disarmament first.

YEMEN

Aug 15

--Govt.-Houthi rebel fighting heightens; 16 rebels, 5 soldiers killed; Red Crescent workers abducted from refugee camp; 17,000 locals displaced.

Aug. 17

--Yemeni forces continue to pound Houthi outposts in Saada; Scores dead on both sides.

Aug 18

--Shiite rebel leader Hussein Kamza killed in battle with Yemeni troops.

--FM Abubakr al-Qirbi holds rebels to blame for latest round of fighting; Says working with US, Saudi against terrorism, but poverty must be addressed if to be successful

--Fifteen Yemeni Red Crescent workers kidnapped last week are released.

Aug. 19

--Hasan Ahmad al-Lawzi, information minister and government spokesman says Iran Involved in Shiite rebellion in Saada through sending financial, political support.

Aug. 20

--Yemeni air force bombs Houthi rebels, killing a reported 500 people; Govt orders the arrest of over 55 Houthi rebel leaders.
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Publication:The Weekly Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Article Type:Calendar
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Aug 22, 2009
Words:2862
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