Posts Tagged ‘Jordan’

Saudi Arabia gets high marks for vision to improve economies of Arab nations

April 25, 2017

In an interview with AlArabiya.net’s Editor-in-Chief Mamdouh AlMuhaini, Bassem Awadallah, the Jordanian king’s special envoy to Saudi Arabia, discussed Jordanian-Saudi ties and commended Saudi Vision 2030 and its positive effects on the economy of Arab countries.

Awadallah said Jordanian-Saudi relations are strong, strategic and historical, adding that Jordan believes Saudi Arabia is one of its most important allies.

Image may contain: text

He also said that Jordan and Saudi Arabia have the same stances towards several affairs, adding that the Saudi-Jordanian Coordination Council is a basic pillar towards guaranteeing the sustainability of bilateral relations.

According to Awadallah, Saudi Arabia is Jordan’s biggest commercial partner as the Saudi kingdom invests more than $13 billion in the Jordanian economy.

The Saudi-Jordanian Investment Fund Company will invest in several fields, and the size of these investments is estimated at $3 billion, Awadallah said.

Commenting on Saudi Vision 2030, Awadallah said it’s considered the strongest and most comprehensive reform project on the level of the region and the entire world, adding that implementing this vision will positively affect Arab economies.

He added that reform plans to end dependency on oil in Arab countries, particularly in Saudi Arabia, is the most important step during this phase.

Regarding non-oil producing countries, he said they would need to reform structural projects that end dependency on aid.

Asked about the Arab Spring and its repercussions on the economy of Arab countries, Awadallah said poverty, unemployment and absence of justice were some of the major reasons that lead to the so-called Arab Spring.

He noted that Arab youths’ demands were logical and realistic but their repercussions were disastrous and affected all Arab countries.

Awadallah added that what the region currently needs is an Arab developmental plan like the Marshall Plan which brought Europe out of crisis after World War II.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/04/25/Jordanian-envoy-to-Saudi-Arabia-hails-Vision-2030-is-strongest-in-region-.html

Last Update: Tuesday, 25 April 2017 KSA 10:23 – GMT 07:23

Peace between Israelis and Palestinians requires “the fundamental acceptance of the Jewish State” — Must stop “rewarding those who engage in terrorism”

April 21, 2017

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and suit

Palestinian Authority leader Abbas and Israel’s Netanyahu in 2010. AP photo by Charles Dharapak

Fox News

The spokesman for Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Fox News’ “Hannity” Thursday that peace between the Israelis and Palestinians requires “the fundamental acceptance of the Jewish State.”

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Sean Hannity at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, where Palestinian terrorists shot and killed four Israelis and murdered 16 others last year.

CATCH SEAN HANNITY’S INTERVIEW WITH ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU FRIDAY AT 10 P.M. ON FOX NEWS CHANNEL

“They ordered brownies. They were dressed in suits. They tried to blend in,” Keyes said of the attackers, “and they stood up and they murdered four people in cold blood.”

Keyes noted that “every time we’ve had a real partner for peace, Israel has actually worked out peace deals which have lasted decades, [as] in the case of Egypt and Jordan.”

“Look, everyone in this region deserves to live in peace,” Keyes added, “and there’s nobody who would want peace more than the Israeli people and the Israeli Prime Minister.”

Hannity also toured the market with Dore Gold of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, who decried Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for “rewarding those who engage in terrorism.”

“The real stumbling block for making peace,” Gold said, “is the culture of hatred that the Palestinian Authority has built.”

Includes video:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/04/21/netanyahu-spokesman-mideast-peace-requires-acceptance-israel.html

Related:

Pence praises moderate Islam in Indonesia in bid to heal divisions

April 20, 2017

AFP

© POOL/AFP | US Vice President Mike Pence (L) listens to Indonesian President Joko Widodo during their meeting at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta

JAKARTA (AFP) – US Vice President Mike Pence Thursday praised Indonesia’s moderate form of Islam as “an inspiration” at the start of a visit to the Muslim-majority country seen as a bid by his administration to heal divisions with the Islamic world.

It came ahead of a visit by Pence to the largest mosque in Indonesia, which has the world’s biggest Muslim population, where he will hold a multi-faith dialogue.

His visit represents the most high-profile outreach to Muslims by the Donald Trump administration since the brash billionaire came to office and echoes a similar trip by Barack and Michelle Obama in 2010.

Since becoming president almost 100 days ago, Trump has hosted leaders from majority-Muslim Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

But his administration has also tried to ban travellers from several Muslim-majority nations, citing concerns about terrorism — an effort currently being challenged in US courts.

As a presidential candidate, Trump often appeared to flirt with the far right as he railed against “radical Islamic terrorism”.

Pence arrived at the presidential palace in Jakarta for talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to a colourful official welcome by hundreds of schoolchildren in regional dress.

Indonesia, where most practice a moderate form of Islam, has long been held up as an example of a successful Muslim democracy where followers of the faith live largely peacefully alongside religious minorities.

After talks with Widodo, Pence said: “Indonesia’s tradition of moderate Islam is frankly an inspiration to the world and we commend you and your people.

“In your nation as in mine, religion unifies, it doesn?t divide.”

– Tolerant Islam under threat –

But his optimistic words came as Indonesia’s traditionally inclusive Islam is under threat from the rising influence of hardliners and an increasing trend towards more conservative forms of the faith.

On Wednesday Jakarta’s Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama was defeated in a run-off election to lead the capital by a Muslim challenger who was accused of pandering to hardliners to win votes.

Purnama, known by his nickname Ahok, lost after his once-unassailable lead in opinion polls was dented by allegations he committed blasphemy, claims that sparked mass protests led by radical groups but were seen by his supporters as unfair and politically motivated.

Pence is currently on a tour of South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia that is aimed at smoothing some of the rougher edges of Trump’s rhetoric.

In South Korea and Japan, Pence played down protectionist declarations of “America first” and reaffirmed US treaty commitments to the security of the two countries as tensions rise over Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.

Pence’s Muslim outreach in Indonesia has been welcomed locally, with Maruf Amin, the head of the Indonesian Ulema Council, the country’s top Muslim clerical body, saying he hopes that it “indicates a change in attitude” towards Islam.

But it is unlikely to be enough to assuage fears that the Trump administration is anti-Islam.

“President Trump’s hostile pronouncements on Islam and Muslims have done considerable damage to his reputation in the Islamic world. It would take more than a visit to repair the damage,” said Fawaz Gerges, an expert on the Middle East and Islam from the London School of Economics.

After his talks with Widodo, Pence also said that the US was committed to building a stronger defence partnership with Indonesia to combat the threat of terrorism.

Indonesia has long struggled with Islamic militancy, and in January last year suffered a suicide and gun attack claimed by the Islamic State group that left four assailants and four civilians dead.

He also pledged to uphold the “fundamental freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea. Indonesian and Chinese vessels have clashed repeatedly in recent times in waters near Indonesia’s Natuna Islands, on the fringes of the disputed waters.

Widodo, who wants more foreign investment as he seeks to boost Southeast Asia’s top economy, said the leaders had focused on “the US commitment to enhance the strategic partnership with Indonesia, focusing on cooperation and investment”.

Syria Tells the U.N. Israel Is Supporting The islamic State

April 13, 2017
.
BY 
APRIL 13, 2017 11:27
.

 

Al-Jaafri made this startling accusation during a UNSC session dedicated to a debate about the situation in Syria and made further claims about Israel’s alleged motives in helping the terror group.

Syrian envoy to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafri.

Syrian envoy to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafri. . (photo credit:REUTERS)

“The direct Israeli support to ISIL through attacking Syrian army sites in Palmyra city on March 17, 2017 added fuel to the fire and made things worse,” al-Jaafari said, referring to the most recent strike by the Israel Air Force against a Hezbollah weapons convoy. The Syrian regime launched a surface-to-air missile towards Israel Air Force jets which was intercepted by an Arrow missile.

Another bold accusation al-Jaafari made was that Israel has treated injured al-Qaida terrorists.


Around 2,800 wounded Syrians have entered Israel to receive medical care — and this figure is increasing

Israel has provided humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees and victims of the Syrian Civil War and is known to have treated wounded Syrians who arrive at the border in the Golan Heights seeking assistance since 2013. Overall, Israel has provided medical care to an estimated 3,000 Syrians in the almost four years that have passed since then.

According to al-Jaafari, the United States was complicit in aiding the Islamic State group and other rebel groups fighting the regime, stating that “the same scene on April 7, 2017 when the US administration and its allies felt that the terrorist groups began to retreat, so they committed their flagrant aggression against al-Shayrat airbase under pretexts of using chemical weapons in the terrorist-held town of Khan Sheikhoun,” he said.

 

Furthermore, al-Jaafari said the United States “fabricated” the Khan Sheikhoun attack to “rescue armed terrorist groups,” and was moving from a stage of “proxy aggression” towards one of direct military action. Washington, France, the UK and Israel, as well as several Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan, had supplied rebels and al-Nusra with chemical weapons to use and accuse the Syrian government of using them.

“This serious aggression had been plotted long in advance inside the secret rooms of intelligence agencies of Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Doha, Ankara, Amman, Washington, London and Paris,” he said.

.
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Syrian-representative-to-the-UN-Israel-has-directly-supported-ISIS-486865
.
Des soldats israéliens soignent les victimes du conflit syrien dans le Golan
Unité du Porte-parole de Tsahal — Israeli soldiers evacuate wounded and injured Syrians for treatment.
.
Israeli soldiers treat the victims of the Syrian conflict
https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/diplomacy-defense/142332-170410-israeli-soldiers-treat-the-victims-of-the-syrian-conflict-in-the-golan-heights

Trump calls Egypt’s Sisi an ally against terrorism by Islamic militants

April 4, 2017

Bloomberg View

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Increased Airline passenger Screening to Australia from Dubai, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and Doha, Qatar

April 3, 2017

Emirates, Etihad to boost screening on Australia flights

AFP

© AFP/File | Dubai-based Emirates airline has 11 daily flights to international airports across Australia

DUBAI (AFP) – 

Emirates and Etihad airlines will tighten screening for passengers flying to Australia this week after the country imposed new requirements for enhanced explosives detection, the UAE companies said Monday.

Australia on Friday announced it would increase screening of passenger baggage on flights from Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, as well as Doha, Qatar.

While the directive stops short of the sweeping electronics ban introduced last month by the United States and Britain, it may include targeted screening of passengers’ personal electronic devices.

Emirates and Etihad Airways, two of the largest airlines in the Middle East, said the measures would take effect on Thursday.

“The new directive requires additional screening at the gate, but there is no restriction on electronic devices,” said an Emirates spokesperson.

The new screening requirement covers direct flights on Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways and Qantas Airways. It does not apply to flights bound for the UAE out of Australian airports.

Etihad operates two daily flights to Sydney, while Emirates has 11 daily flights to international airports across Australia.

Regional carriers have since last month scrambled to cope with the US and British bans on laptops and tablets on board direct flights out of key Middle East airports.

Airlines including Emirates and Etihad have introduced complimentary services enabling passengers to continue to use their personal electronics after check-in and until boarding.

Qatar Airways has announced it will offer free laptops for business class passengers flying to the United States.

The US ban went into effect on March 25 on nine airlines in Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

The British ban targets direct flights on all airlines out of Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Lebanon.

Officials from both countries cited security concerns for the ban, which has come under criticism as another measure targeting Muslim-majority countries.

Unlike the United States and Britain, Australian officials say there is no specific threat behind the new screening requirement.

Abbas: Trump ‘serious’ about Israel-Palestine peace

March 30, 2017

AFP

© PPO/AFP | Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas attending talks of the Arab League summit in the Jordanian Dead Sea resort of Sweimeh on March 29, 2017
RAMALLAH (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – President Donald Trump is “serious” about solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas said ahead of a meeting with the US leader.

“The US administration of President Donald Trump is seriously considering a solution to the Palestinian issue,” Abbas told AFP late Wednesday after a meeting of the Arab League in Jordan.

Abbas met with Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt before leaving for the summit and said contacts with the administration were ongoing.

“(There is) continuing dialogue with the American administration and there were a number of issues they wanted our opinion on or our answer to them,” he added.

“We gave them our position on all their questions.”

Abbas is expected to meet with Trump in Washington for the first time in April.

Trump is also expected to meet other Arab leaders in the coming weeks, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Trump caused alarm among Palestinians and many parts of the international community in February when he broke with years of US policy in support of the two-state solution, meaning an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

“I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said at the White House before a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abbas said the Arab League summit on Wednesday confirmed that the Arab world had a “clear” vision for peace on the basis of two-states.

In their final statement, the leaders called for a revival of “serious and productive peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians” and renewed their commitment to a two-state solution.

Chinese drone factory in Saudi Arabia first in Middle East

March 26, 2017

Deal part of US$65b package sealed during visit of King Salman

 

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 March, 2017, 11:02am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 March, 2017, 11:02am

Laptop ban on flights ‘is based on intelligence about an ISIS plot to target the West gathered during the raid on Yemen which killed Navy SEAL’

March 22, 2017

No automatic alt text available.

A hole was blown in the side of a plane last year caused by an explosive-filled laptop CREDIT: AP

  • The intelligence centered around al-Qaeda’s ‘successful development’ of compact battery bombs that fit inside laptops or other devices, sources claimed
  • Bombs would reportedly be manually triggered which explains cabin luggage ban
  • The US and the UK have instituted similar bans on large electronics in carry-on bags for direct flights from certain Middle East and North African nations
  • The US ban applies to 10 airports in Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates 
  • Britain’s restrictions apply to flights originating from the countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia 
  • Electronics cellphone sized and small will still be permitted in passenger cabins 
  • Restrictions come a year after the bombing of Daallo Flight 159, in which a bomber used an explosive hidden inside a laptop  

The ban of carry-on electronics on flights was prompted by intelligence gathered about an ISIS plot to target the West, it has been reported.

The threat was judged by the US to be ‘substantiated’ and ‘credible’.

The US and UK announced restrictions on large electronics in carry-on baggage for direct flights from certain Middle Eastern and North African nations on Tuesday.

The move is allegedly based on the suspicion that Islamic State are working on ways to smuggle explosives on to planes by hiding them in electronics.

Crucial information was apparently gathered during a raid against Al Qaeda in Yemen in January that killed Navy SEAL ‘Ryan’ Owens.

The intelligence centred around al Qaeda’s ‘successful development’ of compact battery bombs that fit inside laptops or other devices, sources claimed.

The ban of carry-on electronics on flights was reportedly prompted by intelligence gathered about an ISIS plot to target the West. Above, the airports and countries targeted by the new American and British policies

The ban of carry-on electronics on flights was reportedly prompted by intelligence gathered about an ISIS plot to target the West. Above, the airports and countries targeted by the new American and British policies

The battery bombs would need to be manually triggered which is why the electronics ban is only for cabin luggage not baggage that is checked in, a source told the Daily Beast.

Al Qaeda’s head bomb maker in the Arabian Peninsula, Ibrahim al-Asiri, has been working on hiding bombs in even smaller devices, the source added.

Lithium batteries ignited and destroyed UPS Flight 6 in September 2010, killing two crew members when it crashed near Dubai – providing inspiration for the terrorist group

The tip-off was deemed to be ‘substantiated’ and ‘credible’ by the US.

Two attacks on flights in the last two years were cited by the US Department of Homeland Security – the crash of a Russian jet over the Egyptian Sinai in October 2015 and a failed attempt to bring down a jet that had taken off from Mogadishu, Somalia last year.

Airlines flying from the 10 mentioned airports will have four days to implement the new ban on carry on electronics including laptops, iPads and cameras. Above, a stock image of a laptop

Airlines flying from the 10 mentioned airports will have four days to implement the new ban on carry on electronics including laptops, iPads and cameras. Above, a stock image of a laptop

The intelligence centred around al Qaeda's 'successful development' of compact battery bombs that fit inside laptops or other devices, sources claimed. Lithium batteries ignited and destroyed UPS Flight 6 in September 2010, killing two crew members when it crashed (pictured) near Dubai - providing inspiration for the terrorist group 

The intelligence centred around al Qaeda’s ‘successful development’ of compact battery bombs that fit inside laptops or other devices, sources claimed. Lithium batteries ignited and destroyed UPS Flight 6 in September 2010, killing two crew members when it crashed (pictured) near Dubai – providing inspiration for the terrorist group

The jet made an emergency landing after insurgent group Al-Shababb reportedly got a laptop onboard the flight that had been rigged as a bomb and tore apart its cabin.

‘Since they weren’t high enough, the explosion wasn’t catastrophic to the plane and they were able to land,’ one source told The Daily Beast. ‘The bomber got sucked out of the hole, but it was proof of concept.’

Eric Swalwell, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC News there was ‘a new aviation threat’.

‘We know that our adversaries, terrorist groups in the United States and outside the United States, seek to bring down a US-bound airliner,’ he said.

‘That’s one of their highest value targets. And we’re doing everything we can right now to prevent that from happening.’

The countries included in the ban were selected due to their exposure to Al Qaeda groups and members who might try to bring a battery bomb on a plane heading for the US, a third source claimed.

Meanwhile, ABC reports claimed the airports affected by the ban were not directly named in the most recent threat intelligence gathered by authorities.

Information was gathered during a raid against al Qaeda in Yemen in January that killed Navy SEAL senior chief petty officer William 'Ryan' Owens (pictured)

Information was gathered during a raid against al Qaeda in Yemen in January that killed Navy SEAL senior chief petty officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens (pictured)

They claimed the list was based on intelligence analysis paired with other government information.

The US names more countries in its list, applying the new restrictions on flights coming from international airports in Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo,Egypt; Istanbul, Turkey; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

The UK ban applies more simply to incoming flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

America’s Department of Homeland Security was the first to announce the decision, saying that passengers on airlines flying directly to the US from 10 airports in eight countries will soon only be allowed to bring cellphones on board with them.

Other electronics, including laptops and tablets, will be indefinitely banned from the passenger cabin, and must be checked in checked baggage if they are brought on the plane at all.

The new restrictions are based on ‘evaluated intelligence’ that terrorist groups are working on ‘innovative methods’ for attacks. Officials didn’t elaborate on the intelligence but CNN reports that Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) is specifically the cause for the changes.

The British government added legitimacy to the concerns by following through with their similar ban.

The British and American bans differ in which countries they target, how they are implemented and their definition of a large electronic.

When asked by the BBC why the US list of nations differs from the UK’s, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said: ‘We have each taken our own decisions.’

THE ELECTRONICS BAN: DIFFERENCES IN THE AMERICAN AND BRITISH RESTRICTIONS

US BOUND FLIGHTS 

Carry-on OK: Cellphones and any electronic smaller than a cellphone

Will need to be checked: Laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, electronic game units larger than a smartphone and tavel printers/scanners

Timeline: Airlines will have four days to implement the new security order or face being barred from flying to the United States

 AIRPORTS

  • Mohammed V. Int’l – Casablanca, Morocco
  • Ataturk Int’l – Istanbul, Turkey
  • Queen Alia Int’l – Amman, Jordan
  • Cairo Int’l – Cairo, Egypt
  • King Abdulaziz Int’l – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • King Khalid Int’l – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Abu Dhabi Int’l – Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Dubai Int’l – Dubai, UAE
  • Kuwait Int’l – Kuwait City, Kuwait
  • Hamad Int’l – Doha, Qatar

 AIRLINES

  • Royal Jordanian
  • Egyptair
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates Air
  • Ethiad Airways

UK BOUND FLIGHTS

Carry-on OK:  Electronics smaller 16cm long by 9.3cm wide by 1.5cm deep

Will need to be checked: Any electronic larger than that size

Timeline: Airlines will be allowed to implement the new rules at their leisure

 COUNTRIES

  • Turkey
  • Lebanon
  • Jordan
  • Egypt
  • Tunisia
  • Saudi Arabia

 AIRLINES 

  • British Airways
  • EasyJet
  • Jet2.com
  • Monarch
  • Thomas Cook
  • Thomson

American officials have given the airlines four days to implement the security order or face being barred from flying to the United States, while in Britain the airlines are being allowed to implement the new measures at their leisure.

The American ban also applies to all electronics larger than a cellphone while the British ban gives the specific measurements of any electronic larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide and 1.5cm deep.

About 50 flights a day, all on foreign carriers, will be impacted in the US. Officials said no US-based airlines have non-stop flights from those cities to the United States, so they will not be impacted.

The officials said the decision was prompted by ‘evaluated intelligence’ about ongoing potential threats to airplanes bound for the United States. The officials would not discuss the timing of the intelligence or if any particular terror group is thought to be planning an attack.

CNN, citing an unnamed .S official, said the ban on electronics on certain airlines was related to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and that some information came from a recent .S special forces raid in Yemen. The group has planned several foiled bombing attempts on Western-bound airlines.

At the daily White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that ‘elevated intelligence’ about international terrorism led the US to make the chance.

Spicer, who was reading aloud from a Department of Homeland Security statement, did not explain what made the intelligence assessment ‘elevated.’ But a different White House spokesman told DailyMail.com after Spicer’s daily briefing that he meant to cite ‘evaluated’ intelligence.

That wording matched a statement that DHS issued earlier in the day.

‘Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items,’ the agency said.

At the daily White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer (pictured) said that 'elevated intelligence' about international terrorism led the US to make the chance

At the daily White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer (pictured) said that ‘elevated intelligence’ about international terrorism led the US to make the chance

‘Based on this information, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Transportation Security Administration Acting Administrator Huban Gowadia have determined it is necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports to the United States.’

Spicer punted further questions to the Transportation Security Administration.

The new carry on restrictions come a little more than a year after the bombing of Daallo Airlines Flight 159, a flight from Somalia to Djibouti.

The bombing took out a piece of the plane a little more than a row, but only resulted in the death of the bomber and two other injuries. It was believed that the bomb was rigged to a timer device on the bomber’s laptop.

The flight had been delayed by 20 minutes, so it was believed that the timing of the bomb was premature and may have been intended to occur about halfway through the flight.

Since it occurred earlier though, the plane was not yet at its cruising altitude which would have been more dangerous. The pilots were able to land the jet safely.

The ban would affect laptops, iPads, cameras and most other electronics. Royal Jordanian Airlines tweeted about the ban Monday, telling passengers that medical devices would be allowed onboard with passengers.

Details of the ban were first disclosed by Royal Jordanian and the official news agency of Saudi Arabia.

In its statement, Royal Jordanian said the electronics ban would affect its flights to New York, Chicago, Detroit and Montreal.

Brian Jenkins, an aviation-security expert at the Rand Corp., said the nature of the security measure suggested that it was driven by intelligence of a possible attack. There could be concern about inadequate passenger screening or even conspiracies involving insiders – airport or airline employees – in some countries, he said.

The new carry on restrictions come a little more than a year after the bombing of Daallo Airlines Flight 159, a flight from Somalia to Djibouti. The bombing took out a piece of the plane a little more than a row, but only resulted in the death of the bomber and two other injuries

The new carry on restrictions come a little more than a year after the bombing of Daallo Airlines Flight 159, a flight from Somalia to Djibouti. The bombing took out a piece of the plane a little more than a row, but only resulted in the death of the bomber and two other injuries

It was believed that the bomb was rigged to a timer device on the bomber's laptop

It was believed that the bomb was rigged to a timer device on the bomber’s laptop

Terrifying footage: On board the Somalian bomb horror jet

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly phoned lawmakers over the weekend to brief them on aviation security issues that have prompted the impending electronics ban, according a congressional aide briefed on the discussion. The aide was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The administration officials who briefed reporters about the ban said foreign officials were told about the impending order starting Sunday.

A US government official said such a ban has been considered for several weeks. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose the internal security discussions by the federal government.

The ban would begin just before Wednesday’s meeting of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Washington. A number of top Arab officials were expected to attend the State Department gathering. It was unclear whether their travel plans were related to any increased worry about security threats.

Another aviation-security expert, Jeffrey Price, said there could be downsides to the policy.

‘There would be a huge disadvantage to having everyone put their electronics in checked baggage,’ said Price, a professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He said thefts from baggage would skyrocket, as when Britain tried a similar ban in 2006, and some laptops have batteries that can catch fire – an event easier to detect in the cabin than the hold.

Most major airports in the United States have a computer tomography or CT scanner for checked baggage, which creates a detailed picture of a bag’s contents. They can warn an operator of potentially dangerous material, and may provide better security than the X-ray machines used to screen passengers and their carry-on bags. All checked baggage must be screened for explosives.

Related:

US bans laptops, tablets from cabins on flights from Middle East, North Africa

March 21, 2017
 Image may contain: 1 person, suit

U.S. Homeland Securuty Secretary John Kelly

WASHINGTON – Travellers flying to the US from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa will have to store most larger electronic devices in checked baggage under a new rule issued by the Trump administration.

The Department of Homeland Security issued an emergency directive at 3am New York time on Tuesday (3pm Tuesday, Singapore time) to carriers that fly between the airports located in eight countries and the US, reported Bloomberg.

Any electronic device larger than a mobile phone – such as laptop computers and portable DVD players – will have to go in the airplane’s cargo hold in a move to address potential security threats, according to administration officials who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity Monday evening.

The airports are located in eight countries – Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Morocco.

The affected airports are: Queen Alia International Airport, Cairo International Airport, Ataturk International Airport, King Abdulaziz International Airport, King Khalid International Airport, Kuwait International Airport, Mohammed V Airport, Hamad International Airport, Dubai International Airport, and Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Officials did not list any immediate, specific threats on the call, but rather said the new rule was based on “evaluated intelligence.” Such electronic devices have been implicated in previous attacks on airlines, one official said, pointing to a February 2016 flight by Somali-owned Daallo Airlines in which a passenger hid a bomb in a laptop computer.

TERRORIST TARGETS

“We have reason to be concerned about attempts by terrorist groups to circumvent aviation security and terrorist groups continue to target aviation interests,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Implementing additional security measures enhances our ability to mitigate further attempts against the overseas aviation industry.”

US domestic flights or flights originating in the US are not affected, according to the statement. Among the nine airlines that will have to comply are three Persian Gulf-area carriers that have grown rapidly in recent years: Emirates, Etihad Airways PJSC and Qatar Airways Ltd. The major US airlines frequently complain that the three Gulf carriers have used generous government subsidies to buy airplanes and compete unfairly.

Other airlines affected by the rule are: Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudia Airlines, Kuwait Airways and Royal Air Maroc.

The US began talking with affected airlines Sunday, one US official on the briefing call said. Airlines will have 96 hours to comply with the directive, and airlines that refuse could see their authority to fly to the US revoked.

The Homeland Security Department statement suggested that some items, such as mobile phones, were left off the restricted list for reasons of practicality.

“They can’t cover everything, they can’t control all vulnerabilities,” said Richard Bloom, an aviation security and terrorism expert at Embry – Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.

Some of the devices that will be stored in cargo holds will contain lithium ion batteries, which have been implicated in airplane fires. The Federal Aviation Administration bans the storing of spare lithium ion batteries that are not installed from cargo holds. The International Civil Aviation Organization also advised global regulators last year to ban carrying bulk shipments of lithium ion batteries in the cargo holds of passenger jets.

But CNN quoted a US aviation official as saying that electronic devices spread out across a person’s luggage pose far less of a threat than palettes of lithium ion batteries.

There are also advantages to screening items in checked baggage instead of as carry-on luggage, reported Associated Press. It said most major airports in the US have a computer tomography or CT scanner for checked baggage, which creates a detailed picture of a bag’s contents. They can warn an operator of potentially dangerous material, and may provide better security than the X-ray machines used to screen passengers and their carry-on bags.

But the measures are likely to have limited success in curbing the terrorist threat since people will still be able to connect via hubs such as Frankfurt to target American passengers or reach the US, said Mark Martin, an aviation consultant in Dubai. He added that “when it comes to aviation, there’s a very thin line between paranoia and precaution”.

The move would be the latest by President Donald Trump’s administration to limit what it says are national security threats coming from a range of nations in the Middle East and Africa. The president earlier this month signed a second travel ban restricting entry into the US by people from six predominantly Muslim countries. That order, like the first, has been held up by the courts.

http://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/us-to-impose-cabin-ban-on-large-electronic-devices-on-middle-east-flights

Related: