Middle East - updates

Rappler's latest stories on Middle East

ARTICLE FINDER

Repatriated OFWs from Middle East may be redeployed to other countries – DOLE

Jan 21, 2020 - 5:55 PM

The Department of Foreign Affairs also admits its difficulty in convincing OFWs in the Middle East to come home, as their top concern remains to be job security

REPATRIATION. DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III says OFWs repatriated from the Middle East may be sent to other countries to work instead. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Malacañang: Kuwait OFW deployment ban stays until labor agreement implemented

Jan 17, 2020 - 4:00 PM

The Philippine government says terms in a 2018 labor agreement with Kuwait must be incorporated in every contract with overseas Filipino workers in the Gulf State

1st batch of Filipinos from Iraq to arrive in Manila on January 15

Jan 15, 2020 - 12:30 PM

The Department of Foreign Affairs says the 13 Filipinos are coming from Baghdad and Erbil

FLYING HOME. A first batch of Filipinos will be flying home on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, after evacuating from conflict-threatened Iraq. File photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

Malacañang says 'standby fund' for Middle East evacuation not needed

Jan 14, 2020 - 2:56 PM

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo says President Duterte did not follow through with his request for Congress to hold a special session on the Middle East as tension in the region has so far de-escalted

MANDATORY EVACUATION. The Baghdad International Airport, in a file photo taken April 30, 2019. The Philippine government ordered mandatory evacuation for its citizens in Iraq on January 8, 2020. Photo from Shutterstock

1st batch of Filipinos from Iraq to be flown to Qatar Monday night

Jan 13, 2020 - 6:47 PM

The Department of National Defense says at least 12 Filipinos may return to the Philippines on January 14, though this will depend on the availability of flights

PH will no longer send military 'battalions' to accompany Iraq evacuees

Jan 13, 2020 - 7:00 AM

Officials in charge of the repatriation effort realize 'it may not be wise to send uniformed servicemen to the Middle East due to the sensitivities of the countries there'

NO TROOPS. The government stands down on a plan to send two military battalions to accompany Filipinos evacuating Iraq. Alfred Frias/Presidential photo

1st batch of Filipinos from Iraq to be flown to Manila on Sunday

Jan 11, 2020 - 3:19 PM

Filipinos in and near Tripoli, Libya, must be mandatorily evacuated, too, says the defense department, as tensions escalate in the North African country

FLYING HOME. A first batch of Filipinos will be flying home on Sunday, January 12, 2020, after evacuating from conflict-threatened Iraq. File photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

Iloilo sets up 24/7 help desk for OFWs, families amid tension in Middle East

Jan 11, 2020 - 10:28 AM

The Operation Bulig Ilonggo help desk will attend to queries and emergency needs of distressed Ilonggo OFWs and their families in crisis areas in the Middle East

3 airlines to help in repatriation of OFWs in Middle East

Jan 11, 2020 - 9:54 AM

Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia have committed to help in government repatriation efforts in the Middle East, says the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines

DSWD to assist repatriated OFWs from Middle East

Jan 10, 2020 - 9:48 PM

Repatriation desks will be set up in airports around the country to receive and assist overseas Filipino workers who will go home

Filipina workers returning home from Kuwait arrive at Manila International Airport on February 18, 2018. After a horrific murder of a Philippine maid in Kuwait, hundreds of such women are now streaming back home, recounting their abuse and hardship-- but also saying they are ready to work abroad again. / AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS

DFA raises Alert Level 2 in Lebanon, urges Filipinos to remain vigilant

Jan 10, 2020 - 7:31 PM

The Department of Foreign Affairs says overseas Filipino workers with existing employment contracts and those who are registered under the Balik Manggagawa Program may still return to Lebanon

DFA downgrades alert levels in Iran, Lebanon

Jan 09, 2020 - 5:12 PM

Though Filipinos in Iran and Lebanon are no longer covered by the Philippine government's mandatory repatriation order, the deployment ban to those countries remains in place

Photo from Wikicommons

Cimatu to fly to Middle East to start evacuating Filipinos from Iraq

Jan 08, 2020 - 6:50 PM

'We will do everything to bring out Filipinos there,' says the environment chief who's been appointed special envoy to oversee repatriations from the Middle East

SPECIAL ENVOY. Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu will be traveling to the Middle East to oversee the evacuation of Filipinos from conflict-threatened Iraq. File photo by Angie de Silva

Military to send ships, planes to evacuate Filipinos from Iraq 'ASAP'

Jan 08, 2020 - 3:40 PM

Army and Marine troops will be deployed to secure and assist Filipinos to be repatriated from Iraq, says Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Senator Bong Go and military and police officers during the closing ceremony of the National Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Summit and the 1st Presidential Silent Drill Competition at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on December 20, 2019. Malacañang photo

DOLE to send response teams to Middle East to aid in evacuation

Jan 08, 2020 - 3:25 PM

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III says teams will be deployed to assist in repatriation of Filipino workers in case it is needed

OFWS SAFETY. DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello orders the deployment of rapid response teams to the Middle East. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

[OPINION] Iran takes on the world's leading superpower, the United States

Jan 08, 2020 - 3:19 PM

What is driving Iran to stand up to the world's most formidable military and economic powerhouse?

DBM: Philippines has P1.82 billion for OFW evacuation from Middle East

Jan 08, 2020 - 1:25 PM

The Philippine government can also tap the P13-billion contingent fund for the evacuation of Filipinos from the Middle East, should the budget be insufficient

Philippines orders evacuation of Filipinos in Iraq

Jan 08, 2020 - 9:53 AM

(3rd UPDATE) The Department of Foreign Affairs says Alert Level 4 calling for mandatory evacuation has been raised in the country

2020 with a big bang: This week's outlook

Jan 07, 2020 - 10:00 AM

What’s at stake and what can we expect this week in the aftermath of the assassination of the general who had shaped the battlefield in the Middle East and helped direct Assad’s war in Syria?

Duterte creates body to craft evacuation plan for OFWs in Middle East

Jan 07, 2020 - 9:42 AM

(3rd UPDATE) Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, a former special envoy to the Middle East, is set to fly to the region to meet with officials of countries hosting Filipino workers

EVACAUTION PLANS. President Rodrigo Duterte orders select Cabinet secretaries to draft plans to evacuate Filipinos from the Middle East. Malacañang photo

Military ‘intensifies’ intel on terror groups amid Iran-U.S. crisis

Jan 06, 2020 - 2:30 PM

The military says it is looking out for the security of US and Iranian citizens in the Philippines

MONITORING. The Armed Forces of the Philippines said it has intensified intelligence gathering on groups that might launch sympathy attacks in the wake of the killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani. File photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

AFP ‘ready to deploy anytime’ to evacuate Filipinos in Middle East

Jan 06, 2020 - 12:55 PM

In case violence escalates in the region, the Philippine military says it will deploy aircraft and vessels to take Filipinos out of Iran and Iraq

EMERGENCY MEETING. President Rodrigo Duterte summoned security officials on Sunday, January 5, to discuss the security situation in the Middle East. Photo from Alfred Frias/Presidential Photo

Duterte to AFP: Be ready to evacuate Filipinos if Middle East tensions rise

Jan 05, 2020 - 8:50 PM

There are 1,600 and 6,000 Filipinos in Iran and Iraq, respectively

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte convenes with officials from the security sector at the Malacañan Palace on January 5, 2020. During the meeting, the President discussed security matters regarding the country's contingency measures to ensure the safety of Filipinos based in the Middle East amid the potential tension between the United States and Iran. He also ordered concerned agencies to prepare for any eventualities and possible impact on the country. ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

TUCP pushes for 'early escape plan' for 1.2M OFWs in Middle East

Jan 04, 2020 - 2:23 PM

'There is no harm in being prepared, identifying contingency measures, and taking due diligence in anticipation of a worst-case scenario in the Middle East,' says the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines

EVACUATION PLAN. TUCP Representative Raymond Mendoza urges the Duterte adminisration to craft an evacuation plan for the 1.2 million OFWs in the Middle East to prepare for any eventuality. Photo from TUCP Facebook page

In new pro-Israel shift, U.S. no longer calls settlements illegal

Nov 19, 2019 - 9:24 AM

US State secretary Mike Pompeo tells reporters, the US has concluded that 'the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law'

Israeli soldiers stand guard next to the site where the body of an Israeli soldier was found with multiple stabs near the settlement of Migdal Oz in the occupied West Bank on August 8, 2019. - An Israeli soldier's body was found with multiple stab wounds near a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank in what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a "terrorist" attack. The incident sparked a manhunt by security forces and risked boosting Israeli-Palestinian tensions weeks ahead of September 17 Israeli polls. (Photo by Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

Fugitive Malaysian 1MDB financier offered asylum – spokesperson

Nov 01, 2019 - 9:37 PM

The whereabouts of Low Taek Jho, who has been charged over the scandal in the US and Malaysia, are a mystery but his representatives now say he has been offered asylum, without naming a country

1MDB SAGA. A motorist rides past a hoarding at the construction site of the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) flagship Tun Razak Exchange in Kuala Lumpur on July 8, 2015. File photo by Manan Vatsayana/AFP

Palestinian dies of wounds from Gaza-Israel border clashes

Aug 31, 2019 - 8:54 PM

At least 306 Palestinians have been killed since March 2018 by Israeli fire

BORDER CLASHES. Palestinian protesters flee from tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces during clashes following a demonstration along the border with Israel near Bureij in the central Gaza Strip on August 30, 2019. Photo by Mohammed Abed/AFP

IMF slashes Mideast growth projections over Iran sanctions

Jul 23, 2019 - 11:35 PM

The International Monetary Fund projects 2019 economic growth for the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan would be 1%, its worst since the IMF put them in one group in 2009

Kushner holds open door to wary Palestinians in Bahrain peace push

Jun 27, 2019 - 12:05 AM

Jared Kushner promises to put out the political plan at 'the right time' and says the Palestinian Authority could help its people by embracing the US recommendations

OPEN DOOR. A handout picture released by Bahrain's official news agency (BNA) shows White House adviser Jared Kushner speaking during a US-sponsored Middle East economic conference in Manama on June 25, 2019. AFP PHOTO / HO / BNA

U.S. kicks off Mideast plan, with Palestinians boycotting

Jun 25, 2019 - 4:41 PM

For now, its plan will open over cocktails and dinner Tuesday evening in Bahrain at an intimate two-day 'economic workshop' at a luxury hotel overlooking the Gulf

DENOUNCING THE PLAN. A picture taken on June 16, 2019, shows a poster in Gaza City denouncing the US Middle East peace plan dubbed the "deal of the century". Photo by Mahmud Hams/AFP

Palestinians reject U.S.-Bahrain peace plan as Israel advises 'surrender'

Jun 24, 2019 - 11:38 PM

The Peace to Prosperity economic workshop that begins June 25 is billed as the start of a new approach that will later include political solutions to the long intractable Middle East conflict

PROTEST. Palestinian demonstrators carry caricatures, during a protest against the US-led Peace to Prosperity conference that opens tomorrow in Bahrain, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on June 24, 2019. Photo by Abbas Momani/AFP

[ANALYSIS] Is Duterte ready to handle a looming Middle East crisis?

Jun 24, 2019 - 7:38 PM

The attack on two cargo ships in the Gulf of Oman on June 13 poses a grave problem for President Duterte, as the country risks getting entangled in a larger power play that could result in a major regional conflict

Iran warns U.S. attack would imperil interests across Middle East

Jun 22, 2019 - 9:41 PM

'If the enemy – especially America and its allies in the region – make the military mistake of shooting the powder keg on which America's interests lie, the region will be set on fire,' says Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, Iran military spokesman

PROTEST. The Organization of Iranian American Communities march to urge "recognition of the Iranian people's right for regime change," in front of the White House in Washington DC, on June 21, 2019. Photo by Eric Baradat/AFP

Iran leader condemns U.S. Mideast plan as 'great betrayal'

Jun 05, 2019 - 6:13 PM

Washington is gearing up to roll out economic aspects of its long-awaited plan for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians at a conference in Bahrain

IRAN LEADER. A handout picture provided by the Iranian supreme leader office on June 5, 2019 shows the Islamic republic's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, holding a rifle as he delivers the Eid al-Fitr sermon during prayers at the Imam Khomeini Mausoleum in Tehran to mark the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO / HO / KHAMENEI.IR

Iraq warns of 'danger of war' as Iranian foreign minister visits

May 26, 2019 - 5:53 PM

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi pleads for the 'stability of the region and the upholding of the nuclear deal,' referring to a 2015 agreement between Iran and major powers

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali al-Hakim (R) meets Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Baghdad on May 26, 2019.  SABAH ARAR / AFP

U.S. deploys new Middle East troops to counter Iran 'threat'

May 25, 2019 - 8:22 PM

The escalation of the US military presence follows a decision in early May to send an aircraft carrier strike force and B-52 bombers in a show of force in the region

MUSCLE. In this May 9, 2019, photo released by the US Navy, the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group transits the Suez Canal. Photo by Darion Chanelle Triplett/Navy Office of Information/AFP

Israel to name Golan settlement after Trump

Apr 24, 2019 - 12:02 PM

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to name a new settlement in the occupied Golan after US President Donald Trump in appreciation of his recognition of Israel's claim of sovereignty there

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) holds a proclamation signed by US President Donald Trump recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, during a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on April 14, 2019.  RONEN ZVULUN / POOL / AFP

Kushner: Mideast plan to come after Ramadan

Apr 24, 2019 - 8:13 AM

Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law, says he would present his long-awaited Middle East peace proposal around June and that it would include a 'robust business plan' for the Palestinians

Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner speaks during the Time 100 Summit event April 23, 2019 in New York. Kushner said that he would present his long-awaited Middle East peace plan after the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan ends in early June. Don Emmert / AFP

Netanyahu says Israel prepared for 'comprehensive' Gaza operation

Mar 29, 2019 - 8:39 AM

The prime minister says Israel is prepared for a widespread military campaign in Gaza as tensions simmered following the latest flare-up – but only after all other options were exhausted

An Israeli soldier directs a tank during training in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on April 11, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JALAA MAREY

Pompeo on Middle East tour to counter Iran, boost Netanyahu

Mar 20, 2019 - 8:56 PM

The US secretary of state kicks off his regional tour in Kuwait where he meets Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on the first stop of a trip that will also take him to Israel and Lebanon

MIDDLE EAST TOUR. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah give a joint press conference in Kuwait City on March 20, 2019. Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP

Impunity reigned in Middle East in 2018, says Amnesty International

Feb 27, 2019 - 10:17 AM

'Is it acceptable for activists to undergo arbitrary detention, torture, sexual harassment ... and even enforced disappearances simply for expressing their opinions in a peaceful way,' says rights watchdog

DOH: Patient at RITM tests negative for MERS

Feb 20, 2019 - 9:03 PM

DOH Calabarzon Regional Director Eduardo Janairo says the patient is still under observation to determine the cause of pneumonia

DOH monitoring suspected MERS case in Laguna

Feb 20, 2019 - 2:11 PM

DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo says they are still waiting for the results of lab tests to confirm if the patient has the viral respiratory disease

MERS. This undated handout picture courtesy of the British Health Protection Agency shows the Coronavirus seen under an electron microscope. AFP PHOTO / British Health Protection Agency

Yemen FM says seated next to Netanyahu in 'error'

Feb 15, 2019 - 9:57 PM

'Protocol errors are the responsibility of the organizers, as is always the case in international conferences,' Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani writes on Twitter

U.S. presents Middle East vision in Warsaw, but no converts

Feb 12, 2019 - 9:08 PM

The countries that are sending top officials to Warsaw are pushing for a tough line on Iran

Image via Shutterstock

Pompeo to push for end to Gulf dispute during Qatar visit

Jan 13, 2019 - 6:33 PM

'It is time for old rivalries to end for the sake of the greater good of the region,' says US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo gives a press conference during a NATO Foreign ministers' meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on April 27, 2018.  JOHN THYS / AFP

Iran deal, Saudi murder: Turbulent year shakes up Middle East

Dec 16, 2018 - 10:00 AM

In another turbulent year for the tinderbox region, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad appear ever more powerful and Washington's promised Israeli-Palestinian peace plan seem ever more elusive

Abbas rejects 'biased' U.S. as sole Mideast mediator

Sep 28, 2018 - 3:03 PM

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas says Donald Trump has forfeited his right to be regarded as a neutral broker

PALESTINE'S LEADER. In this file photo, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas speaks during a press conference on August 26, 2014 in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Abbas Momani/AFP

South Korea reports first MERS case in 3 years

Sep 08, 2018 - 7:33 PM

'Authorities have traced and separated 20 people who have come in close contact with the infected person,' says the head of Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Thousands join gay pride parade in conservative Jerusalem

Aug 05, 2018 - 1:00 PM

This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of 'Pride and Tolerance'

Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018. Thousands of people were expected to attend the parade in the holy city under heavy police guard, mindful of a fatal 2015 attack on marchers in the largely conservative city. This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP