Bahrain Interior Minister: Iran Harbors 160 Wanted Suspects

Manama- Bahrain’s Interior Minister Lieutenant General Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa uncovered on Monday that Iran harbors 160 suspects wanted by Bahrain for participating in terrorist activities that have threatened the security and safety of the country.

The minister told Asharq Al-Awsat that his country has revoked the citizenship of those terrorists and has issued sentences against them in cases linked to the martyrdom of 25 Bahraini security officials and the severe injury of more than 3,000 others.

Al Khalifa said that the strategy of US President Donald Trump against Iran helped in limiting the indulgent policies used by Iran to interfere in the internal affairs of other states and to export its terrorist activities through the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.

The Bahraini minister praised the US strategy and said that in general, it undoubtedly restored international peace and security and in specific, it protected the regional security of Arab Gulf states.

Al-Khalifa also lauded the announcement of US Secretary of Defense James Mattis that Washington would surely dissuade Iran from shipping explosives to Bahrain.

According to the Bahraini interior minister, there is evidence that Iran has shipped 24 kilograms of explosive materials to Bahrain and it logistically and financially supported terrorist members to carry out terrorist acts against Bahrain and its people.

He said there is a direct relationship between Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and terrorist activities in Bahrain.

“Bahrain faced the threat of terrorism and was able to foil many terrorist acts. Physical evidence and strategic information proved the involvement of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in training terrorist members in Iranian camps on the use of explosives and automatic rifles and contributing to the smuggling of those weapons to Bahrain,” Al Khalifa said.

He added that some arrested suspects have already admitted into being trained on the use of weapons in the military camps run by the Revolutionary Guards, and that their ages range between 20 and 40.

Former Libyan Interior Minister: ‘ISIS Over As Emirate…Now Exists in Cells’

Fighters of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) fire a rocket at ISIS militants in Sirte, Libya.

Tripoli- Former Libyan Interior Minister Fawzi Abdul Ali said that ISIS has ended in his country as an emirate, but still exists as cells.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Abdul Ali expressed concern that ISIS militants move from Iraq to Syria then Libya, especially lately. “These are real concerns,” Abdul Ali stressed.

Abdul Ali, from Misrata, was named minister of interior in the transitional Libyan government that was formed after ousting Muammar Gaddafi, and it was headed by Abdurrahim al-Keib. He now serves as the ambassador of his country to Bahrain.

Regarding the ongoing anarchy since the death of the former regime leader in October 2011 until this day, Abdul Ali, who was a member of the Transitional Council and chairman of the Security Committee then the arming committee, said there were many reasons leading to it. One of these reasons is the deterioration of the official security and military institutions, their weakness, marginalization and rampant corruption during the ruling of the preceding regime, he explained.

Another reason for this security chaos is the political fragility at this stage, according to Abdul Ali. “Part of it is due to actions of political forces in Libya and the role of foreign interventions, all of what created this chaos that is now taking place.”

“There were obstacles that hindered the restoration of the work of police and internal security services with their full capacity after the fall of the former regime,” Abdul Ali said.

When asked about the reason why police and security forces have not yet fully recovered after six years, he said that there were many obstacles, which prevented the normal restoration of the work of the police and the security services at their full strength after the fall of the regime. The most important can be attributed to the fact that a strong movement belonging to the revolution did not want these bodies to function, merely because they belong to the former regime.

“This movement belongs basically to the so-called ‘political Islam’, topped by Muslim Brotherhood, Ansar al-Sharia, Libyan Fighting Group and others,” Abdul Ali explained.

He also pointed out that some parties, belonging to the former regime, also participated in obstructing the restoration of security “because they wanted to disrupt the formation of any state they cannot head. They wanted the February revolution to appear as a failed revolution that is not able to reconstruct the state, in addition to the failure to unite the army, which contributed to the inability to activate other security apparatuses.”

Abdul Ali was previously a member of the local council in Misrata, during the “February 17 Revolution”, and was also in charge of the security file in the city, which is currently one of the largest Libyan cities in terms of military apparatuses.

Facebook Looking forward to Working with Saudi Arabia

Facebook

Dubai – Jonathan Labin, Managing Director of Facebook Middle East, North Africa & Pakistan, said that the social media platform is looking forward to collaborating with the government in Saudi Arabia.

Labin told Asharq Al-Awsat that Facebook will be investing all that is within its ability to back the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 for transformation. He also expressed personal admiration towards what he called a “strategic” roadmap, saying that Facebook can play a role in making the vision come true.

Saudi Vision 2030 shows many common factors with Facebook’s overall strategy, only making it all the more possible for the collaboration to translate those points into physical reality, stated Labin.

When asked about content screening, he stressed that “terror-linked content has no room on Facebook,” and the platform does not allow for exploitation in whatsoever way there is.

According to Labin, Facebook “constantly invests” in both technology and regular human revision to monitor content and remove any suspicious material.

During the last decade, the world has seen a surge in people connecting in both big and small ways using technology. Messaging platforms have a big role to play in our modern-day world.

But nowhere else has the adoption of platforms such as Facebook and Instagram been as rapid as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Powered by mobile, which has leapfrogged over other technologies, people here recognize the possibilities available at the tap of a screen. This is what will shape 2016, and Facebook is investing in MENA to help partners discover their entrepreneurial dreams and reach their customers. Supplementing the growth of mobile will be creative, shareable and engaging in content.

Facebook recently introduced “Watch” in the United States, a new platform for shows on Facebook.

Watch will be available on mobile, on desktop and laptop, and in our TV apps. Shows are made up of episodes — live or recorded — and follow a theme or storyline. To help a user keep up with the shows they follow, Watch has a Watchlist so they never miss out on the latest episodes.

Labin said that when thinking about video, a shift from text messages to video and images is clear in social communication mediums. Video consumption already hit an unprecedented peak.

Saudi Arabia is an example of Middle Eastern countries with the highest video consumption rates worldwide, added Labin.

World Bank Vice President: Our Priorities are Education, Promoting the Private Sector

Interview

Washington – IMF and World Bank meetings come at a time when global growth rates are on the rise after almost 10 years of financial crisis, while growth in the Arab region is witnessing a decline due to the drop in oil prices, continuing conflicts, and geopolitical problems.

In his interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice-President of the World Bank for Sustainable Development, reviews key issues raised at the 2017 Annual Meetings in Washington, new directions in financing and the means to stimulate the private sector to engage in projects traditionally undertaken by governments, as well as the association of funding with sustainable development goals.

“In 2016, the global growth rate was 3.2 percent and reached 3.6 percent in 2017; next year, it is expected to slightly improve to 3.7 percent,” according to Mohieldin.

However, he noted that international institutions have advised not to rush with optimism about a rising trend in growth rates for several factors, including the spread of “protectionist policies” in trade and investment.

“There are also non-economic factors that have been highlighted in some studies, including the impact of political disturbances and conflicts in some cities, the geopolitical dimensions of some areas and the high cost of fighting terrorism,” the World Bank official said.

As for the Middle East, a recent report by the IMF and the World Bank forecasts growth rates in the region at around 2.2 percent, Mohieldin noted.

He said that next year growth is expected to be close to 3 percent, which means that growth rates in the Arab region are below global growth rates.

“The reasons are varied, either because of issues related to the decline in oil prices of the oil-exporting countries, or to the Arab countries that made gains out of the decline in oil prices and did not compensate for the losses incurred by other countries, in addition to conflicts and crises in a number of Arab countries,” he explained.

Asked about this year’s focus on education, healthcare and the strengthening of the private sector, Mohieldin said that the World Bank has published the World Development Report, which includes a presentation on the education crisis.

He noted in this regard that the current crisis had three dimensions: “First, countries lose much when they do not measure well the outcomes of education. The old system of evaluation based on success and failure is a traditional method. There are international standards for measuring the quality of education and its degree of excellence in some fields, in particular when it comes to applied sciences.”

The second dimension, according to Mohieldin, is the means to make schools an adequate arena for learning.

He underlined the importance of going beyond school buildings by promoting the use of information technology, developing sciences to meet challenges of the present century, and competing with the digital economy that may reduce employment opportunities.

“The third dimension relates to the measures required by a country to invest in education. Not only in infrastructure, but also in human structure, health and nutrition, and there is evidence that malnutrition at early stages affects the child’s capacity to absorb, and thus his ability to work,” Mohliedin explained.

As for the strategy to reinforce the private sector, the World Bank official said: “The World Bank wants to encourage the private sector to undertake projects because any country has a ceiling in its financial portfolio. If the state runs out of funds in private sector projects, this will be at the expense of other vital projects that the private sector cannot or will not provide, such as rural girls’ education projects or rehabilitation projects for the poor. The World Bank will focus heavily on this area in the coming period.”

Asked whether Arab countries have moved towards the new era of technological intelligence and behavioral information and whether they had room for new investments, Mohieldin said: “In my view, Arab countries that were late to catch up with the old technology have a better chance of catching up with the new technology if good investment spending is made; it is important not to be a mere user or consumer, but to acquire the ideas behind this technology.”

Swehli: The ‘UN Roadmap’ Is a Practical Plan for the Solution in Libya

Head of Libya’s State Supreme Council Abdulrahman al-Suweihly

Cairo- The head of Libya’s State Supreme Council, Abdulrahman al-Swehly said that international and regional actors have become convinced that “no party to the Libyan conflict can win or defeat the other.”

In an interview with Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Swehly defended the UN plan to amend the Skhirat Agreement and to integrate militants and Islamic organizations into the political life, describing it as “a logical plan and a process that enjoys great consensus among the Libyan political parties.”

Commenting on the reduction of the members of the Presidential Council, according to the UN map, from nine to three, he said: “This is not a matter of disagreement, and will not be, because the practical and popular requirements dictate that.”

According to Swehli, the roadmap, announced by UN Special Envoy for Libya Ghassan Salameh, “is based on three important elements, characterized by a clear sequence for amending the political agreement (signed in the resort of Skhirat, Morocco, December 2015), completing constitutional reforms and ending the transitional period by holding elections in accordance with the new constitution.”

“According to this map, these elements will be dealt with under Article 12 of the Agreement, which states that the Supreme Council of the State and the Parliament are the institutions entrusted with the amendment of the Skhirat Agreement, and on this basis, we see it as a logical and practical plan,” he stated.

Asked about some objections to the second phase of the “international map”, which calls for holding a national conference to integrate the “marginalized” into the political process, Swehli said: “We, in the Supreme Council of the State, agree with Salameh on the importance of looking at the National Conference as an event that will end, not as a basis for a new situation that some fear. We believe that mobilizing support for any agreement before, during and after negotiations is necessary, and is one of the lessons that we learned from the Skhirat Agreement.”

As for the integration of militants and Islamic organizations into the political life, the Libyan official stressed that the political agreement signed in Skhirat described the integration and rehabilitation of members of armed factions as one of the priorities of the national reconciliation government.

“I do not think there is any disagreement about this. As for Islamic organizations or any other organizations that want to engage in the political process and abide by the democratic rules, they can help build a nation that everyone needs,” he noted.

Asked about foreign interference in the ongoing peace talks, Swehli said: “Fortunately, this time, international and regional actors have become convinced that no party to the conflict in Libya can win or cancel the other parties out. This has a positive impact on the dynamics of the scene.”

However, the Libyan official warned that although circumstances have become more favorable than ever before to reach a real consensus, some people might seek to obstruct the implementation of the plan.

“Some parties in the current authority are seeking to thwart the political process. The best way to mitigate this risk is to broaden political participation,” he said.

On the role of Italy in joining efforts to resolve the crisis in Libya, Swehli said: “I believe that Italy shares our view on the importance of concerted efforts at this critical stage in order to comply with the Security Council resolutions on Libya, the plan of action put forward by the UN envoy and the need to support his efforts to facilitate a settlement between the Libyan parties. We hope that these efforts will be in this direction.”

How Technology Changes News Photography

San Francisco – How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Jim Wilson, a photographer for The Times based in San Francisco, discussed the tech he is using.

You’ve been shooting photos for The Times for years. What was one of the most challenging shoots you’ve ever had to do, and what tools did you use?

I started at The Times in 1980 and have been shooting ever since, with the exception of about a seven-year period when I was an editor.

I’ve had many challenging shoots over the years. One that comes to mind was a trip I took with my colleague Kirk Johnson to St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. We flew with a group of scientists who were doing environmental monitoring at a former United States Air Force radar site there from the Cold War. The place was very eerie (think Dr. Strangelove), and from one location at the site, you really could see Russia. We were dropped off at the edge of a gravel runway for a week of camping in one of the most remote places on the planet. I had to carefully plan out what I was going to shoot and how, since every piece of gear I had was dependent on battery power and there weren’t any sources of electricity to recharge.

We had no transportation to get to the survey sites, so had to hike the tundra to each location, sometimes over several miles. For the most part, the weather cooperated, but there was one night when the wind came up and the sky opened, gushing frigid rain along with the howling wind — I worried that my tent would be blown over.

How has tech changed your photography equipment over the years?

There’s no question that tech has made us much more portable than we ever were. The equipment itself is far more sophisticated and capable — we can see what we are shooting in real time; we can fine tune everything to whatever our needs are. We are now able to transmit our pictures from anywhere we can get an internet connection.

When I started, everything was dependent on processed film, which meant having to bring film, a darkroom kit including enlarging and print making equipment, and a transmitter (very much like a souped up fax machine). We’d have to find or at least arrange for a telephone line and telephone access when we needed to send our images. I remember having a small portable typewriter that I’d use to write the captions that were pasted onto the photos before they were put on the drum transmitter and sent back to The Times. The phone lines were all analog, and each picture took around 10 minutes to send — if the line was interrupted for any reason, we’d have to start over. If we got out 10 images in a day, that was huge.

Photographers now can send wide arrays of photos multiple times during a day. The upside of all of this is more time on the scene providing coverage and more choices sent. When we were strictly a print-based operation, the press deadlines ruled our lives — there was a definite point in the day at which no more changes could be made.

What’s the best camera you’ve ever used?

This is a hard question. I always loved using the Leica cameras I started out with. They were solid and dependable gear that were elegant in their simplicity. I loved my battered M2 and M3, was grateful when Leitz brought forth the M4 and thought having the built-in meter of the M6 was such an amazing advance. These cameras just felt so right and so great in one’s hands — they were quiet and unobtrusive.

Then came autofocus lenses and auto functions on the high-end single lens reflex cameras that rolled out from companies like Canon and Nikon. You can customize these cameras for just about any situation you can imagine. With many of these cameras, one can upload directly without even a laptop. The cameras are capable of recording far more detail in poor lighting conditions then we ever could in the film days.

Camera sales have subsided because people use the cameras on their smartphones. How do you feel about smartphone cameras and their impact on digital photography?

The smartphone has killed the lower-end camera market, and if it hasn’t killed the mid-range market, it’s sure breathing down its neck. Everyone has a camera with them now at all times, and there’s no doubt that we’re seeing images that we never before could have contemplated. As we all know, it’s not just still images but also video.

I think it’s the ultimate democratization of photography — anyone at any time from anywhere can produce images that can affect how we think of the world around us.

With each advance in the cellphone market, I wonder what the long-term prognosis is for the high-end cameras. I attended the launch of Apple’s iPhone X with all of the improvements made on that device, many of them involving photo and video capabilities, and I couldn’t help but wonder if there may be a day when companies like Canon and Nikon won’t have the incentive to make the kind of gear that we as pros now use.

Outside of work, what tech product are you currently obsessed with?

I don’t know if this qualifies as a tech product, but we recently bought a new Subaru that has lane departure warnings and automatic braking. We really had to pay close attention when the salesman was demonstrating all of this and were amazed at how it worked. These are safety features that are important and ought to be standard on all vehicles. I see the self-driving cars that are around the Bay Area and know that though it may not be tomorrow, the future is here.

What do you think about drones and 360-degree cameras?

Drones have opened up a whole new way to look at scenes, and I think they’re an incredible tool. When you can get just a little elevation, it’s fantastic how much more depth you can bring to whatever you are seeing.

As for the 360 views, I’ve seen some that are genuinely amazing. The most successful ones give a sense of place that would be difficult to obtain in any other way. One of the most impressive views that I’ve seen was shot by my former colleague Fred Conrad in Haiti after the earthquake — it was a 360 panoramic still that showed the interior of a quake-destroyed building in incredible detail.

Any way of seeing that helps us to tell a story better is a positive development, and I see a great future for both of these technologies.

The New York Times

Lavrov on King Salman’s Visit to Russia: Turning Point in Bilateral, Regional Relations

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov speaks during news conference after meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang in Moscow

Moscow– Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov underlined the importance of Saudi King Salman’s visit to Russia, which will kick off on Thursday, describing it as a “real turning point in the relations between the two countries” to achieve fruitful contribution to stability in the Middle East.

In an interview with Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in Moscow, Lavrov said his country shared Riyadh’s conviction of the need to “further develop bilateral relations at various levels”, and to work towards the establishment of regional and global stability.

He noted that Riyadh and Moscow have maintained a high-level dialogue, which has translated into tangible results.

“We are intensifying efforts to strengthen trade ties and humanitarian relations with the Kingdom. Our common goal is to increase the volume of trade and expand the range of commodities, which both sides see as incompatible with the great potential of the two countries,” Lavrov said.

Touching on cooperation in the oil sector, the Russian foreign minister stated that: “Riyadh and Moscow are jointly working on the implementation of OPEC-Plus agreements to reduce global oil production. We consider it extremely important to continue to coordinate efforts with our partners in Saudi Arabia in this regard.”

Lavrov stressed that King Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin would discuss the need to find sustainable and permanent solutions to the ongoing crises in the region, adding that the visit would represent “a true turning point in our relations and would take cooperation between us to a new level, achieving a fruitful contribution to stability in the Middle East and North Africa.”

Asked whether a political solution to the Syrian crisis would be reached soon, Lavrov said: “Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, Russia has insisted on a solution through peaceful means by holding an extensive dialogue between the various parties. We also called on the international community to extend a helping hand to the Syrian people to end the violence and bloodshed and to prevent the support of criminals and terrorists inside the country.”

The Russian official criticized the international community for exerting pressure to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The Arab League and many regional and international parties have taken a decision to strip Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of his legitimacy for a variety of reasons. In doing so, they have effectively attacked the right of the Syrian people to decide who will rule Syria and in what way. We strongly disagree with this approach,” he firmly stated.

Lavrov went on to say: “In various international forums, we have always supported the independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. We have reiterated that the fate and future of Syria must be in the hands of the Syrian people, in a fully legal manner and through national dialogue.”

He stressed that his country has responded to the demands of the Syrian government to help the country eradicate terrorism.

“At the same time, we continue to believe that the military campaign against extremists must be accompanied by the search for a political solution to the crisis. To this end, we continue to fight terrorist groups, while strengthening our efforts to stop the bloodshed, provide humanitarian assistance to the population and boost the political process as stipulated in UN Security Council Resolution 2254,” he noted.

Lavrov underlined the importance of the Astana meetings on Syria, during which he said the concerned parties have agreed that there was no alternative to a political and diplomatic settlement under the auspices of the United Nations and expressed their commitment to the ceasefire.

“Today, all actors must abandon their own geopolitical ambitions and contribute fully to the restoration of stability and security in Syria and throughout the Middle East and North Africa,” the Russian foreign minister said.

On the relations with Turkey and Iran, especially in the Syrian and Iraqi files, the senior politician said Russia “attaches great importance to cooperation with Turkey and Iran as part of the settlement of the Syrian crisis and to help Baghdad face ISIS terrorist threats.”

“We believe that the joint efforts between Russia, Turkey and Iran have succeeded in improving the situation in Syria, destroying the hubs of ISIS and Al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups, and guaranteeing the conditions for a broad and constructive dialogue between the Syrian parties.”

Asked about the reason behind the deterioration of the Russian-US relations, despite ongoing consultations between the two countries, Lavrov said: “The Russians are not to blame for the current deterioration in US-Russian relations, but this is a direct result of the policies of [former President Barack] Obama’s administration that destroyed the foundations of our cooperation.”

“In addition, before its departure, the administration planted time bombs to make things more difficult for the new government,” he added.

The Russian minister noted however that his country “stands ready to seek new ways, in cooperation with the new US administration, to improve bilateral relations based on the principles of mutual trust and respect to each other’s interests.”

He said that the fabricated anti-Russian campaign inside the US, which included claims of a suspected Russian interference in last year’s US presidential elections “clearly hampers any attempt to normalize dialogue between the two sides.”

“There is an unmistakable impression that some in Washington are not happy with the way the American people have expressed their will, trying to blame us for their failures, and they do not hesitate to use the Russian paper in all their political struggles,” he stated.

Lavrov added: “As for us, we have been careful to exercise restraint, especially considering the complex reality of the internal political scene in which the new US administration must work. However, we cannot remain silent towards the hostile actions, which were translated in the adoption of the law ‘fight America’s enemies’ by imposing sanctions.”

The Russian foreign minister said there was still considerable unexploited potential for Russian-American cooperation in international affairs on many levels.

“We have long urged our counterparts in the United States to build real coordination with us in the fight against terrorism, as well as to deal with other serious challenges, such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the drug trade and cybercrime,” he noted.

On the other hand, he said, there are opportunities for mutually beneficial initiatives in trade and investment.

“It is remarkable that US companies attach great importance to their presence in the Russian market and wish to participate in projects that serve the interests of both sides,” according to Lavrov.

Asked to evaluate the US-led international coalition against ISIS and the extent of the Russian role in fighting the terrorist organization, Lavrov said: “I think one should start by saying that from perspective of the Syrians and international law, this alliance is prying on Syria. For its part, the Syrian government remains tolerant as long as the coalition activities are directed against terrorists inside the Syrian territory.”

“In reality, it was the air strikes by the Russian air force and the Syrian army that forced ISIS to retreat,” he stated.

Libyan Former PM Jibril Says War-Torn Country Is Ready for Peace

Libya

New York- Libya has drawn in a great deal of attention over the past few years as hopes for reviving peace talks were strengthened after the United Nations adopted a comprehensive settlement.

The plan, which began negotiations in Tunisia under the auspices of the UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salama, has many hopes for success. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, former Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril saw that the solution at hand is better than ever.

Jibril refuses to say that without the international community, the Libyan uprising would not have succeeded in February 2011, stressing that “the will of the people is always victorious.”

Libya underwent to main turning points, the first being during the start of the uprising in February 17 against the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and lasted until March 19 and later was the stage which began with the military intervention led by the international community based on United Nations resolutions.

“The military intervention was successfully marketed as an intervention led only by NATO, NATO is only 28 countries, while the countries that partook in the military campaign are 47 countries,” says Jibril.

A third turning point lasted from 20 August to 23 October, the official toppling of Gaddafi’s regime, and rebels taking over Tripoli.

Gaddafi was captured and later killed. Jibril said that “the revolution ended at this point.

“What followed was a conflict of resources between several parties supported by international parties under various pretexts, political, religious, tribal and regional,” he explained.

He stressed that “the conflict was over resources because of the absence of the state, because the fall of the regime in Libya was like a fall of the entire state.”

This led to the proliferation of weapons and for a tribal structure to prevail, creating a recipe for a civil war driven by control of local resources, and fed by external parties.

In Jibril’s view, this has created “fertile ground for terrorism and extremism to propagate and establish an incubator for extremists, because of the extension of its borders and the absence of state authority and proliferation of weapons and the abundance of money.

“The solution lies in finding a national consensus on a national project that does not exclude anyone. And through dialogue between the Libyans themselves, under the umbrella of the United Nations,” he said.

“The international parties must play the role of observer and guarantor of this Libyan dialogue, but without interfering in its content and course.”

“The government should be separated from the presidential council– the government should have a national rescue program,” he added.

Further explaining, Jibril expressed the need to forming a “micro-government,” in order to transfer the responsibility of providing services to municipalities in a decentralized system of governance, and thus it can be said that state-building is done by the parties and not by the central government.

The objectives of the suggested micro government is limited to three objectives, said Jibril.

“First, develop an urgent plan to provide cash, power, security, education and health services as urgent files.”

“Second, start rebuilding the military and security establishment and activate the judiciary.”

“And thirdly, preparations for parliamentary and presidential elections within a period which not exceed18 months.”

Hadi: We are about to Regain the Three Authorities

London– Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi said that the legitimate power was about to restore the state’s three main authorities.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Hadi noted that since his arrival in Aden, he has sought to activate and protect the constitutional institutions, mainly the presidency, “and then we worked to restore the government.”

“We have recently completed the activation of judicial institutions, and soon we will finalize the regulation of the three authorities with the holding of Parliament sessions in Aden”, he added.

The Yemeni president stressed that the coup perpetrated by the Houthis and the supporters of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh was aimed at destroying the country and imposing the Iranian influence.

“We have realized from the start that this coup is not targeting the power, but is aimed at the destruction of the state and the implementation of a hybrid model imported from Iran, based on the idea of the guardianship of the jurist [Welayat al-Faqih – which cannot be tolerated by our people,” Hadi told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Asked about the revenues withheld by the Houthi and Saleh militias and how the legitimacy was dealing with external debt repayment and internal obligations, the Yemeni president said that coup militias have exhausted all the state’s hard currency reserves and seized state resources.

“We have tried to save the situation and protect the Yemeni monetary and banking system by transferring the central bank to Aden to save what can be saved. We succeeded in maintaining international support for Yemen by paying foreign debt service regularly, in addition to the salaries of diplomatic institutions and financial aid for our students abroad,” he noted.

He stressed that despite the scarcity of resources, the legitimate government has “acted responsibly towards all our people without distinction, and we try to cover as much as possible salaries of some vital sectors.”

“In contrast, militias still control more than 70 percent of the State’s resources, which are estimated at five billion dollars annually, from national industries, telecommunications, customs revenues, Hodeidah port revenues and Khat taxes, as well as looting and illegal toll-raising on industries and business people,” Hadi said.

Asked about his recent participation in the UN General Assembly session in New York, the Yemeni president said he had fruitful meetings with international financial and monetary institutions in order to mobilize economic support for Yemen.

“We also discussed the requirements of the Reconstruction Fund and the role of the Yemeni government in overseeing the identification of projects and the urgent need to support the government budget and enable it to meet the basic obligations,” he noted, adding: “We have succeeded in activating the Central Bank’s foreign accounts in a number of financial institutions, most notably the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.”

On the UN envoy’s efforts to reach a political solution to the Libyan crisis, Hadi said: “The coup insurgents have refused to deal with the international envoy, but tried to liquidate him physically, and even today they reject initiatives of Mr. [Ismail] Ould Sheikh Ahmed on the grounds that the Hodeidah initiative would require them to provide the central bank with state resources they are stealing.”

He underlined the legitimate government’s willingness to offer compromises in order to establish peace in the war-torn country.

Bloomberg Media Group Chief Executive Officer: Partnering with SRMG to Have Distinctive Impact

New York- Bloomberg recently signing a long-term agreement with Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) to launch an Arabic multi-platform for business and financial news service is expected to provide a qualitative transition touching on uncharted territory.

The arrangement promises exceptional press, media, technology, businesses, investment and artificial intelligence advances.

According to this agreement, SRMG, publisher of Asharq Al-Awsat, Arab News and al-Eqtisadiah, will launch a 24-hour television and radio network, an integrated digital portal and a dedicated digital platform under the “Bloomberg al-Arabiya” brand.

It will also publish “Bloomberg Businessweek” magazine in Arabic and launch a new conference and live events series.

Bloomberg al-Arabiya platforms will provide Arabic-speaking audiences around the world with news and analysis on the companies, markets, economies and politics shaping the Middle East.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Bloomberg Media Group chief executive officer Justin B. Smith says that Bloomberg has a strong global presence. However, he cites that the group, until this very moment, hasn’t sealed any deep and distinctive partnership or investment in Arabic in the Middle East.

The group realized managing some English media platforms in the Middle East is quite limited, said Smith.

Consequentially, Bloomberg turned its attention to markets in the Middle East and North Africa, which are dynamic markets growing tremendously.

Signing the agreement with a company with a publishing capacity as large as SRMG’s was the first step in entering those markets in Arabic.

With strong regional and local presence, SRMG’s wide-reaching publications and digital platforms are available across the Arab world, said Smith.

This partnership is a bilateral cooperation, that is to say, Bloomberg has the expertise, skills and capabilities in the field of economic and financial reporting and SRMG’s expertise in the Middle East and the Arabic language.

Our goal is to create a leading company for economic journalism in Arabic through various media outlets serving economic and financial decision makers and businessmen, added Smith.

A large part of economy-related media content Bloomberg publishes will be translated from English into Arabic along with other material from within Saudi, Gulf and Arab markets.

Bloomberg’s team is composed of 2,700 editors, journalists and financial and economic analysts spread across the world. The team leads one of journalism’s largest operations internationally.

Thousands of reports on world economy are produced daily, with an estimated 5,000 stories per day, said Smith.

Collaboration with SRMG will be on translating Bloomberg content and adding local, Gulf and Arab content–editors will then identify and select economic content apt for markets.

Investors, whether concerned with the Middle East, the European market or the US want to know as much details and economic news as possible in an immediate and detailed fashion, and not just an overview.
Smith said that it is expected that this partnership and information products it provides will have a huge impact.

Full news coverage of economic events, markets and emerging business play a key factor in directing the interest of investors.

There are already investors in the United States who are particularly interested in the Saudi market, said Smith.

Bloomberg has more financial and economic information than any other company on the planet and offers it across multiple platforms.

Partnering with SRMG is unique because it focuses on the entire Middle East region, explained Smith.
The company’s strong ambitions to maximize their potential also make this partnership unique, he added.