middle east - updates

Rappler's latest stories on middle east


Gulf's massive migrant workforce fears virus limbo

Mar 30, 2020 - 11:10 AM

Some laborers in Saudi Arabia, home to 10 million expat workers, complain that they are required by bosses to work while Saudis are permitted paid quarantine leave

WORKERS. Migrant workers are seen walking next to a construction site in the Qatari capital Doha on December 6, 2016. AFP photo

Mideast airlines must tap handouts to survive virus crisis

Mar 27, 2020 - 4:50 PM

The International Air Transport Association says 2020 revenues of Middle Eastern carriers are expected to drop by $19 billion or 39%

IN THE RED. An Etihad Airways plane takes off in London on May 13, 2017. Photo from Shutterstock

IMF urges action to face 'big drop' in Mideast growth

Mar 24, 2020 - 10:45 PM

The International Monetary Fund says governments across the Middle East must swiftly draw up rescue packages to counter the effects of the coronavirus pandemic

This picture taken on March 24, 2020 from al-Hamra Tower, tallest business building in Kuwait, shows a view of the empty streets in Kuwait City during a government-imposed curfew as a measure to prevent further spread of COVID-19 coronavirus disease. (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP)

4 more Middle East nations report coronavirus cases

Feb 25, 2020 - 9:23 AM

Bahrain shuts 3 schools after a man who had transported children to the institutions tested positive after returning from Iran

CHECK. The body temperature of an Iraqi child returning from Iran is measured upon her arrival at the Najaf International Airport on February 21, 2020. Photo by Haidar Hamdani/AFP

U.N. calls for '2 state' solution to be respected in Middle East

Feb 25, 2020 - 9:00 AM

The UN reiterates its support for a solution 'where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders'

UNREST. Palestinians shout slogans against the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem. Photo by Mohammed Abad/AFP

Pompeo says settlement report shows U.N.'s 'unrelenting anti-Israel bias'

Feb 14, 2020 - 11:01 AM

This is in response to the UN's list of 112 companies with activities in Israeli settlements, including major US firms Airbnb, Expedia, and TripAdvisor

SETTLED. Israeli soldiers walk along the buildings of the Jewish settlement of Modiin Illit on January 31, 2020. Photo by Abbas Momani/AFP

U.S. announces partial Taliban truce, Trump says peace deal 'close'

Feb 14, 2020 - 8:28 AM

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reports 'notable progress' in negotiations with the Islamist extremists

SOLDIERS. In this photo taken on June 6, 2019, US soldiers look out over hillsides during a visit of the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan General Scott Miller at the Afghan National Army (ANA) checkpoint in Nerkh district of Wardak province. Photo by Thomas Watkin/AFP

U.S. Senate votes to restrain Trump on Iran

Feb 14, 2020 - 8:09 AM

One Republican who voted yes is Mike Lee, who says a classified session by the Trump administration after the Soleimani killing was the 'worst' defense briefing he ever received

RESTRAINED. US President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order for sanctions on Iran's supreme leader in the Oval Office of the White House on June 24, 2019. Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP

Palestinian leader warns U.N. on Trump's 'Swiss cheese' peace

Feb 12, 2020 - 9:12 AM

'Who among you would accept such a state?' Abbas asks, as he warns that Israel would create an 'apartheid' situation if it moves ahead with annexation

MAPS. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas holds a placard showing maps of (L to R) historical Palestine, the 1947 United Nations partition plan on Palestine, the 1948-1967 borders between the Palestinian territories and Israel, and a current map of the Palestinian territories without Israeli-annexed areas and settlements. Photo by Khaled Desouki/AFP

Lacking support, Palestinians pull request for U.N. vote against Trump plan

Feb 11, 2020 - 11:00 AM

The Trump administration has put heavy pressure on critics of the Israel-friendly Middle East plan, diplomats say

'REGRETTABLE DECISION.' A Palestinian boy sits on a chair with a national flag as Israeli authorities demolish a school site in the village of Yatta on July 11 2018. File Photo by Hazem Bader/AFP

Israel troops wounded in Jerusalem car-ramming as violence flares

Feb 06, 2020 - 11:26 PM

A manhunt is underway for the driver in the car-ramming, who fled the scene in the heart of west Jerusalem after the attack

CAR-RAMMING. Israeli policemen inspect the site of a car-ramming attack targeting Israeli troops in Jerusalem that wounded several people on February 6, 2020. Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon/AFP

Philippines eases deployment ban to Kuwait

Feb 06, 2020 - 7:58 PM

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III says a total lifting of the ban will 'not be happening any time soon'

LABOR SECRETARY. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III during a Senate hearing on February 4, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Pan-Islamic body O.I.C. rejects Trump's Middle East plan

Feb 04, 2020 - 9:57 AM

The pan-Islamic body represents more than 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide

DRACULA. Palestinians carry a mock coffin bearing the portrait of US President Donald Trump during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Nablus on January 28, 2020. Photo by Jaafar Ashitiyeh/AFP

No Palestinian recognition if peace plan goals unmet – Kushner

Feb 03, 2020 - 9:29 AM

Trump's son-in-law says that if Palestinians are unable to meet the conditions of the plan he crafted, Israel should not take 'the risk to recognize them as a state'

KUSHNER. This handout picture provided by the US Embassy in Jerusalem shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shaking hands with the US president's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner in the holy city on May 30, 2019. Photo by Matty Stern/AFP

Arab League rejects Trump's Mideast plan

Feb 01, 2020 - 11:33 PM

The pan-Arab bloc convenes in Cairo days after the US unveils its plan which is seen as favoring Israel

REJECT. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas holds a placard showing maps of  historical Palestine, the 1947 United Nations partition plan on Palestine, the 1948-1967 borders between the Palestinian territories and Israel, and a current map of the Palestinian territories without Israeli-annexed areas and settlements, as he attends an Arab League emergency meeting discussing the US-brokered proposal for a settlement of the Middle East conflict at the league headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on February 1, 2020. Photo by Khaled Desouki/AFP

Filipinos in UAE urged to comply with gov't measures vs virus

Jan 31, 2020 - 8:18 AM

There are approximately 750,000 Filipinos living and working in the UAE

DUBAI. The Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, in the Gulf emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 12 December 2015. Photo by EPA/ALI HAIDER

Palestinians protest against Trump's Middle East peace plan

Jan 30, 2020 - 10:45 AM

The terms of the plan are roundly rejected by Palestinian leaders, with president Mahmud Abbas vowing the proposal would end up in the dustbin of history

DRACULA. Palestinians carry a mock coffin bearing the portrait of US President Donald Trump during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Nablus on January 28, 2020. Photo by Jaafar Ashitiyeh/AFP

Trump peace plan embraced in Israel, rejected by Palestinians

Jan 29, 2020 - 11:13 PM

US President Donald Trump's proposals reportedly include no Palestinian input and grants Israel much of what it has sought in decades of international diplomacy

MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN. US President Donald Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu take part in an announcement of Trump's Middle East peace plan in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 28, 2020. Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP

UAE reports Middle East's 1st cases of new coronavirus

Jan 29, 2020 - 1:53 PM

(UPDATED) The disease spreads to more than 15 countries since it emerged out of Wuhan late last year

People coming from China, leave the Terminal after landing in Charles De Gaulle Airport on January 26, 2020. Alain JOCARD / AFP

How the world is reacting to Trump's Middle East plan

Jan 29, 2020 - 9:14 AM

The plan ignites a furious rebuke from key Muslim countries who denounce it as betrayal of the Palestinians

ANTI. Palestinian demonstrators chant slogans against US President Donald Trump during a protest against his expected announcement of a peace plan, in Rafah in the southern Gaza strip on January 28, 2020. Photo by Said Khatib/AFP

Trump backs Israel, offers limited Palestinian state, in plan

Jan 29, 2020 - 8:07 AM

Here are some of the major points of Trump's plan, which he presented alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and which the Palestinian leadership quickly criticized

CONFLICT. A Palestinian boy sits on a chair with a national flag as Israeli authorities demolish a school site in the village of Yatta, south of the West Bank city of Hebron and to be relocated in another area, on July 11 2018. File Photo by Hazem Bader/AFP

3 rockets hit U.S. embassy in protest-hit Iraqi capital

Jan 27, 2020 - 8:01 AM

One rocket hit an embassy cafeteria at dinner time while two others landed nearby, a security source says

SMOKE. Iraqi protesters react amid tear gas amid clashes with security forces following an anti-government demonstration in Al-Khilani square in the capital Baghdad, on January 26, 2020. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Trump to present long-delayed Middle East peace plan

Jan 24, 2020 - 9:12 AM

Trump repeatedly boasts that he is the most pro-Israeli US president in history

WAR. A Palestinian fighter from Ezz-Al Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, checks debris at the site of an Israeli air strike in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip December 26, 2019.  Photo by Said Khatib/AFP

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