Asylum-seekers increasingly attempt dangerous cross-Channel trek to the U.K.
- Patrol operations in the English Channel have led to the rescue of asylum-seekers attempting to reach the U.K. by small boats, which French and British officials claim is driven by organized smuggling.
- More than 200 have arrived in the U.K. by water since November, which represents more than a tenfold increase from last year.
- Migrants have begun turning to aquatic travel as the British and French governments have increasingly targeted land-based vehicles for inspection and closed shelter camps.
“More migrants and refugees try to reach UK via English Channel” (Al Jazeera | December 2018)
“Five migrant boats rescued in English Channel” (BBC News | December 2018)
“Migrants risk death at sea to reach Britain as prices spike on traditional routes” (CNN | December 2018)
Refugees and immigrants traveling to U.S. reportedly stopped at airports following executive order
- President Donald Trump issued an executive order halting refugee resettlement in the U.S. for 120 days.
- The order also creates a 90-day suspension of visas for nationals from”countries of concern,” expected to include Muslim-majority countries with little to no connection to Trump’s business interests including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
- The suspended visas and refugee ban have led to the detention of and refusal of passage to immigrant airport travelers.
Full Executive Order Text: Trump’s Action Limiting Refugees Into the U.S. (via The New York Times)
(Image Credit: via Politico)
Iran arrests British-Iranian dual national as crackdown continues
- An Iranian prosecutor indicated through state media that an Iranian-British dual national had been arrested for links to British intelligence services.
- The official indicated that the arrest was a part of an ongoing crackdown against Western “infiltration,” which has ramped up in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal.
- The arrest is at least the seventh of such dual nationals—whose non-Iranian citizenship the Iranian government does not recognize—arrested in the last year.
“Iran says it has detained a dual national linked to British intelligence” (Reuters)
“Iran accuses dual national of spying for British intelligence” (BBC)
“Iran arrests suspected British spy” (Bloomberg via The Toronto Star)
Dozens from more than 9 countries dead, hundreds injured after attack on Turkey’s main airport
- Three suicide attackers killed at least 41 and wounded 239 more in Istanbul’s Ataturk airport in an attack claimed by the Islamic State.
- At least 23 victims were Turkish, while others killed included people from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, China, Iran, Jordan, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
- Over the last year, Turkey has experienced multiple terror attacks as the government faces threats from the Islamic State, political divisions between Islamists and secularists, and violent conflict with Kurdish separatists.
“Islamic State prime suspect after suicide bombers kill 41 at Istanbul airport” (Reuters)
“Victims in Istanbul Airport Attack Reflect City’s International Character” (The New York Times)
“At Least 41 Killed Including 13 Foreign Nationals In Attack On Istanbul Airport” (BuzzFeed News)
(Image Credit: Osman Orsal/Reuters, via BuzzFeed News)
Iranian pilgrims denied travel rights as diplomatic row between Iran and Saudi Arabia continues
- Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization announced that Iranians would not be allowed to make the annual trek to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
- Relations between the regional rivals have deteriorated in the wake of Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric, which led to violent protests at the Saudi embassy in Tehran and Riyadh’s severance of diplomatic ties.
- In September 2015, hundreds of Iranians were among the thousands killed in a stampede in Mecca, and the continued absence of an official Saudi report has exacerbated tensions between the two countries.
“Iran says its pilgrims will not attend haj in Saudi” (Reuters)
“Iran pilgrims to miss Hajj amid row with Saudi Arabia” (BBC)
“Iranians will not perform Haj this year” (Gulf News)
(Image Credit: Ahmad Masood/Reuters)
Fourth Iranian American reportedly detained in Iran
- Businessman Siamak Namazi has become the fourth American of Iranian descent detained in the country in recent years, according to Iranian media sources and personal associates.
- What Namazi has been accused of has not been made public, but reports allege he, like the other three Iranian Americans arrested, came under suspicion of Iran’s security forces.
- Dual citizens face vulnerability in Iran as the country does not recognize dual citizenship, making it easier for them to detain Iranian passport-holders without cause.
“Iranian-American Executive Arrested in Iran” (The Wall Street Journal)
“Another Iranian American arrested and imprisoned in Tehran” (Washington Post)
“Iran Is Said to Detain Another Iranian-American” (The New York Times)
Nine Iranian teachers detained in UAE over work permits
- The teachers were accused of having invalid visas, although they claimed that there had never been an issue with the way they had gone about securing their work permits previously.
- With 450 Iranian nationals sent to teach in the UAE this year, the detention prompted a summons of the UAE charge d’affaires in Tehran to demand the teachers’ immediate release.
- The diplomatic disturbance added to ongoing issues between the sect-divided countries, including tensions from their opposing proxy support in Yemen’s civil war.
“Iran summons UAE diplomat over teachers’ arrest” (AFP, via Yahoo! News)
“UAE detention of Iranian teachers prompts diplomatic row” (Reuters)
(Image Credit: Marwan Naamani/AFP, via Yahoo! News)