Why is India in damage-control mode with Arab countries? CNN

Editor’s Note: A version of this story first appeared in CNN’s Middle East newspaper, which looks inside the area’s biggest stories three times a week. register here,

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and New Delhi, India

took it to india less than 24 hours The two have attracted the attention of their Arab business partners for disciplining politicians after a dispute that has been going on at home for more than a week.

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday suspended a spokesperson and expelled another official after he made derogatory remarks about Islam’s prophet, sparking outrage in Arab countries.

“India was shocked by the response,” said Kabir Taneja, a fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank in New Delhi. “Communal Issues” are not new In India and in previous cases, we have not received such response [from Arab states],

On 26 May, BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma made remarks on an Indian news channel about the Prophet Muhammad, which were deemed offensive and Islamophobic. Qatar, Kuwait and Iran summoned India’s ambassadors and the Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation issued statements of condemnation.

Sharma said on twitter He said “a few things” in response to comments made about a Hindu god but it was “never my intention to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments.”

“If my words have hurt anyone’s religious sentiments or if anyone’s religious sentiments have been hurt, I withdraw my statement unconditionally,” she said.

Most of the Indian news outlets reporting on the story did not directly quote Sharma’s original comments.

The BJP office said that BJP leader Naveen Jindal was expelled from the party for his comments about Islam on social media.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has worked hard to keep his Muslim international allies happy amid pushing his party’s Hindu nationalist agenda at home, analysts said.

Hassan Alhasan, a Bahrain-based fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, which conducts research on Indian foreign policy in the Gulf countries, said, “Modi tries to prevent his party’s domestic political agenda from tarnishing and poisoning India’s ties with the Gulf countries. It took a lot of effort.” , “The extent to which Sharma’s comments have affected India’s relations with the Gulf countries is unprecedented, and it is certainly because she is or was a spokesperson for the BJP.”

Taneja said that the Government of India has realized that a lot religious rhetoric “Happening for a while and going unnoticed, but it won’t happen now.”

Away from all six Gulf countries and Algeria, the hashtag “Anyone but the Prophet, oh Modi” was trending on Twitter with residents of Muslim countries calling for a boycott of Indian products. Sheikh Ahmed al-Khalili, the outspoken Grand Mufti of Oman, the country’s leading religious figure, described Sharma’s comments as a “war on all Muslims” and a case that “calls for all Muslims to rise as one nation.”

Reasons for the objectionable portrayal of the Prophet of Islam in the past mass boycottdiplomatic crises, riots and even terrorist attacks.

The controversy comes as the Gulf states and India look to significantly enhance their economic partnership. India, of the world third largest importer of oil, looks to the Middle East 65% of its crude oil imports, The Asian nation, on the other hand, sends millions of workers to the Gulf countries that send home billions of dollars in remittances.

“There are over 8 million non-residents” Indians across the Gulf, Gulf states are the major source of India’s oil and gas imports, and bilateral trade is over $100 billion,” Alhasan said. “So it’s a very important set of relations from the Indian point of view.”

The United Arab Emirates alone, home to around 3.5 million Indians, accounts for 33 per cent of remittances to India, which is more than $20 billion annually.

UAE has chosen India among seven other countries as its future economic partner, India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has said that the Gulf country is planning to invest $100 billion in its country for manufacturing and infrastructure.

According to news reports, this year, India signed a free trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates, the first in more than a decade, and is eyeing the rest of the Gulf states for similar agreements. The UAE agreement aims to increase annual trade to $100 billion over five years and contribute to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in India.

Abdulaziz Sagar, president and founder of the Gulf Research Center in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, said the nature of India-Saudi relations gives Riyadh a political and economic advantage over the Indian government.

“I don’t think it will have any dangerous implications in terms of economic or political relations because India is still an important country,” Segar said. “This is an important relationship, but Saudi Arabia will not accept any kind of insult to insult the Prophet or to downplay religious Islamic issues,” Sagar said.

there are over 2.2 million According to Indian officials, Indians in Saudi Arabia.

Taneja said that India knows that it is dominated by the Gulf countries because of the diaspora in those countries. “That’s why we saw such a swift response from the government.”

CNN’s Isha Mitra contributed to this report

Biden’s meeting with Saudi Crown Prince goes back to July

a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), are now expected next month, according to an administration official.

  • background, CNN told Before that Biden and the Crown Prince had been planning to meet in late June as part of a broader Gulf countries summit. Officials said the July visit will give more time to plan and set the schedule and agenda. Biden defended the prospect of a meeting with MBS on Friday.
  • why it matters, a personal meeting will be marked with MBS first time Biden ties directly with the de facto Saudi leader since taking office. Biden has so far opted to speak directly to the Crown Prince’s father, King Salman. The meeting will represent a turnabout for Biden, who once suggested that Saudi Arabia be made a “pariah.” There were also two major deals last week – OPEC announces it will increase oil production and the extension of a ceasefire in Yemen – which laid the foundation for a meeting between Biden and the Crown Prince.

Iran’s Khamenei says unrest caused by foreign ‘enemies’ trying to overthrow Islamic republic

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that recent protests across the country are caused by foreign “enemies” calling for the overthrow of the Iranian regime.

  • backgroundProtests have started across Iran in recent weeks over skyrocketing inflation. Anti-government protests also erupted last month after a 10-story commercial building in the city of Abadan collapsed and killed at least 37 people. “Today, the most important hope of the enemies to strike the country is based on popular protests. Khamenei said in a televised speech on the 33rd anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
  • why it mattersIran has suffered one economic setback after its invasion of Ukraine amid a strong budget deficit, rising food prices and uncertainties about its main oil buyer China, amid mounting sanctions on Russia’s oil. Protesters have accused the government of negligence and have repeatedly raised slogans against the Islamic Republic and its rulers.

Britain sentenced to 15 years in prison for smuggling artefacts into Iraq

A retired British geologist was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison by an Iraqi court for attempting to smuggle ancient artifacts out of the country.

  • background: James Fitton, 66, was arrested in March by Iraqi authorities at Baghdad airport for carrying small pieces and ancient pottery in his luggage. Fitton’s attorney said he did not know the pieces were artifacts, and he would appeal the decision on the grounds that there was no criminal intent.
  • why it mattersIraq’s ancient heritage has been hurt by years of conflict, and many of the country’s artifacts were looted between fighting, especially after the 2003 US invasion. The Iraqi government is on a quest to locate and retrieve many of its lost treasures, including those previously smuggled out of the country.

Extreme drought wreaks havoc in Iraq, causing sandstorms thousands of people in hospital, But for some archaeologists it has been a temporary boon.

With the drop in water levels in the Mosul Reservoir late last year, an ancient city emerged, and scientists rushed to study it before disappearing again under the water.

A team of German and Iraqi-Kurdish archaeologists were in a race against time after a 3,400-year-old city under the Tigris River in Iraq’s Kurdistan region was uncovered this year.

As water levels began to rise again, scientists rushed to excavate and document what is believed to be the urban center of the Mitanni Empire, which stretched from northern Iraq to Syria and Turkey.

The researchers, who announced their findings last week, were able to map the walls, storage facilities and vast fortifications of an industrial complex. The team was stunned by how well the city walls were protected with sun-dried clay bricks.

“This good preservation is due to the fact that the city was destroyed in an earthquake of 1350 BC, during which the upper portions of the walls collapsed,” the researchers said in a statement.

To prepare for the city’s impending flooding, the excavated buildings were covered with plastic wrap and gravel. The city is once again under water, waiting to be rediscovered.

by Mohamed Abdelbari