🌍 Inside The Middle East — November 5

U.S. Election Mini Reaction, Saudi French Consulate Stabbing, Kabul University Shooting, Turkey Earthquake, Yitzhak Rabin 25th Anniversary, Robert Fisk Passes Away

Hello folks, happy Thursday and welcome to Inside The Middle East where we dissect the most important news from the world’s most important region. We had hoped to gather reactions to the U.S. general election, but with a winner still to be determined we’ll save that for next week.

Instead, we’ll visit Saudi Arabia where a security guard was stabbed outside the French consulate; to Afghanistan where ISIS has claimed responsibility for a deadly shooting at Kabul University; to Turkey where a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck off the Aegean coast; to Israel who marked the 25th anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin; and we finish with the news that long-time Middle East journalist Robert Fisk has passed away.

Check out this week’s free podcast available to all subscribers with Dalal Mawad, senior producer and correspondent for the Associated Press, who’s based in Beirut and experienced August’s explosion first hand. Dalal took us inside what it was like in the immediate aftermath of the blast, and how she composed herself to capture the damage done to her city.

Next week we’ll speak to Amy Harder, energy and climate change reporter at Axios, about future U.S. climate policy. Hopefully we’ll have a winner by then, Right, over to you Aina…

Job Corner

We upped our game to add almost 200 new postings to the job board, taking our total to 900! Help us out be spreading the word!

Job Board — w/c November 2

Data Corner

  1. West Bank Settlements — Statistics on the number of settlements in the West Bank, from peacenow.org.

  2. Earthquakes — Realtime global earthquake data, from the USGS.

U.S. Election Reaction

While we don’t yet have official results, we do know the Iranian government’s views. The country’s Supreme Leader has been as active on Twitter as his American counterpart, tweeting that Iran’s relationship with the U.S. will not change no matter who ends up winning…

Saudi French Consulate Stabbing

We move to Saudi Arabia next where a security guard was wounded in a knife attack outside the French consulate in Jeddah. The guard was taken to hospital and is stable. The attack follows a turbulent few weeks in the region after heightened anti-France sentiment, and happened the same day three people were killed in Nice, and two weeks since a school teacher was beheaded in Paris. Saudi Arabia previously condemned French President Emmanuel Macron linking Islam with terrorism. Elsewhere, ISIS gunmen killed four people and injured 22 in Austria.

Last Time on Inside The Middle East…

🌍 Inside The Middle East — October 28

🌍 Inside The Middle East — October 21

🌍 Inside The Middle East — October 14

🌍 Inside The Middle East — October 7

Deadly Shooting at Kabul University

Islamic State claimed yet another terrorist attack this week, this time in Afghanistan where three of their gunmen left 22 people dead and another 22 injured on the campus of Kabul University. ISIS said it had targeted “the graduation of judges and investigators working for the apostate Afghan government”, just days after it bombed an education center in the city that killed at least 24 people. The Afghan government promised to exact revenge over the attacks, leaving the Afghan people dangerously exposed to being caught up in further violence.

Deadly Earthquake in Turkey and Greece 

Moving to Turkey next where a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck off its Aegean coast on Friday, centred near Izmir, the country’s third largest city. So far the death toll stands at 116 and the number of injured is in the thousands, and is likely to rise as rescuers continue to dig through the rubble. More than 1,200 aftershocks have exacerbated the damage, including causing a small tsunami that flooded Izmir and the Greek island of Samos. There was some positive news as a young girl was found under rubble after 91 hours. Both Turkey and Greece sit on fault lines, making them prone to such disasters. In 1999, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake in northern Turkey killed more than 17,000 people, and left around half a million homeless.

Credit: BBC

Yitzhak Rabin 25th Anniversary

We move to Israel next who yesterday remembered the 25th anniversary of the death of former Labour Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin led the country between 1974 to 1977, and again from 1992 until his assassination in 1995. He was shot twice during a peace rally in Tel Aviv, just a year after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Price along with then foreign minister Shimon Peres, and former chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat.

Rabin’s death changed Israel’s course of history forever by opening the door to Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party in 1996, who have held power for the majority of the time since. Perhaps the starkest change in policy since Rabin’s tenure has been the Israeli government’s stance on Palestine, where the number of West Bank settlements surged in 2019, leaving the number of Palestinians made homeless at a four year high.

Netanyahu, Rabin and the Assassination That Shook History

Robert Fisk Passes Away

We finish today with the news that legendary journalist and author Robert Fisk has died from a suspected stroke at the age of 74. Fisk was primarily a foreign correspondent for The Independent, and covered several of the biggest global events in recent memory, including The Troubles in Northern Ireland; the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979; the Iran-Iraq war in 1980; and the 2011 Arab Spring. Fisk is also well known for being one of only a few Western journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden. His career wasn’t without controversy, however. After Fisk was allowed to report in government-controlled areas of Syria amid its civil war, he was accused of downplaying the regime’s actions, particularly a 2018 chemical gas attack in a Damascus suburb.

Robert Fisk, In Conversation With Conor O'Clery

That’s all for today. See you on tomorrow for a special edition of Picks of the Week! 👋