Middle East News – July 3rd

Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity has been recently added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in a move condemned by the United States and Israel for political reasons

– The Human Rights Watch has released a monumental publication detailing the intricate state-sponsored torture of the Assad regime in Syria. According to the report there are twenty seven state facilities used to conduct horrifying torture on political dissidents and even senior citizens, women and children.  Though the Assad administration has continually denied such torture accusations, the mounting pile of evidence to the contrary makes these statements hard to believe – CNN

– Four members of the International Criminal Court have been allowed to leave Libya after they were briefly detained by the Libyan government on accusations of spying – BBC

– Assad has publicly apologized for Syria’s downing of a Turkish jet fighter and said that he will not allow the incident to bring the countries to war – Al-Bawaba

– Iran has begun to publicly discuss passing legistlation that would ban Western ships from entering through the Straits of Hormuz, which would be a monumental act for the consistently sanctioned country – Al-Bawaba – Iran has also shrugged off the latest oil embargo imposed against it by the UN, though outside observers say exports and profits are already falling – Al-Bawaba

– UNESCO, which recently added Palestine’s Church of the Nativity to its World Heritage List, has now agreed to give funds for the necessary repairs to Palestine’s hallowed religious site.  This happens over heated objections by Israel and the United States that UNESCO is doing this for political, and not cultural, reasons – Al-Jazeera

– Richard Falk, a key watchdog for Palestinian human rights for the United Nations, released a scathing indictment of the international community’s latest efforts in the region.  He says that the recent peace process is nothing more than a trick to allow Israel to continue building settlements in Palestine – Al-Bawaba

– In post-Gaddafi Libya there is already open warfare occurring between the splintered tribal groups that were once held together by Gaddafi’s strong armed rule.  This violence could succeed in destabilizing Libya’s new transitional regime and hampering further development – BBC

– Britain has sent a team of advisors to help the Bahraini government to investigate a 100 kg find of explosives.  This find could signal that the dissidents in Bahrain are ‘stepping up’ their resistance to the government with  more sophisticated weapons – BBC

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