Arabic press review: UAE wants to hire another UN official


The Emirati Foreign Ministry wants to hire the UN's head of counter-terrorism - and the reason behind the closure of its hospital in Somalia

Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan (AFP)
Mohammad Ayesh's picture
Last update: 
Thursday 19 April 2018 16:19 UTC

UAE seeks to hire UN official

The Emirati Foreign Ministry is seeking to appoint the head of the United Nation's Office of Counter-Terrorism, according to the news site Asrar Arabiya - or "Arab Secrets".

UAE officials asked a member of the ministry to find a job for Jehangir Khan whose service at the UN is coming to an end soon and is scheduled to visit the UAE soon, a source told the website.

UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh, visited the UAE recently and was offered a role advising and training the Southern Transitional Council - the UAE-backed group formed last year to push for the revival of the independent state of South Yemen - after he leaves his post at the UN, the source said.

This is not the first time the Emirates has recruited from the top ranks at the UN. In 2015, after serving as UN envoy to Libya, Bernadino Leon was appointed as the director of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy. Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan heads the academy's board of trustees.

As reported in Middle East Eye, a leaked email from December 2014 suggested that Leon had been working covertly with the UAE to support one side in Libya's civil war while serving as envoy.

Why UAE hospital was closed in Somalia 

The UAE has closed a hospital it was running in Mogadishu as the Somali government moves to curb expanding Emirati influence in the country, a Somali political analyst told electronic newspaper Arabi21.

The closure of Sheikh Zayed Hospital in recent days came after Somali authorities seized $10m in Emirati funds from the UAE ambassador's plane at the capital's Aden Adde International Airport, said analyst Abdullah Mery.

The UAE embassy said it planned to pay the salaries of Somali army units trained by the Emiratis in breakaway Somaliland whose independence is not recognised by Mogadishu.

But the Somali government was concerned the funds would be used for bribery and would destabilise the country, he said.

The government has also protested against the UAE's influence on and efforts to destabilise Somalia at an Arab League meeting earlier this month.

Syrian asylum seeker still stuck at Malaysian airport

A Syrian asylum seeker is still stuck after more than 40 days of living at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, the London-based newspaper, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports.

Hassan Kontar fled Syria in 2006 and found work in the UAE, but was deported in 2016 after losing his work permit as a result of the Syrian civil war. He then went to Malaysia, but overstayed after a three-month visa-free period.

In February, he attempted to fly to Ecuador from Kuala Lumpur, but was turned away from a Turkish Airlines flight at the last minute. His attempts to enter Malaysia and Colombia have also failed even though Syrians are not required visas to enter those countries, according to the paper.

As his story went viral on social media, Kontar has remained in the airport, telling Al-Quds that he had "stopped counting the days".

Former female IS members sentenced to death

Iraqi courts have issued death sentences in recent months against 309 people, including about 100 foreigners, for their membership in the Islamic State group, according to the Saudi newspaper Al-Hayat.

Among those sentenced to death were 97 women, including a German woman. Another 185 others were sentenced to life in prison. Most of the convicted women are from Turkey or countries in Asia or the former Soviet Union. 

Two tribunals specialising in terrorism cases - one near Mosul and the other based in the central criminal court in Baghdad - handed down the sentences.

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.