Diplomatic tensions between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have resurfaced once again after the two sides were engaged in a war of words over the crisis in Libya. In a statement issued on Thursday, the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed its concern over Turkish interference in Libya through the alleged deployment of fighters and smuggling of arms. The UAE ministry also praised the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, and rejected Turkish military intervention on behalf of Libya's UN-recognised government. Responding to the criticism, Hami Aksoy, the Turkish foreign ministry spokesman, accused the UAE of pursuing "destructive" and "two-faced" policies in the region and called on Abu Dhabi to stop its "hostile attitude" towards Ankara. Aksoy said the UAE was backing "putschists" in Libya - a reference to the LNA - by providing them with arms and mercenaries.
As the first anniversary of the blockade on Qatar approaches, the main protagonists have settled into a modus vivendi of sorts. After overcoming the initial psychological and financial shock, Qatar has doubled-down on security relations with the US and Turkey and expanded diplomatic and trade ties with partners old and new across the world. The blockading nations led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continue to blame Doha for this breakdown in intra-Gulf relations, though increasingly they also look to downplay its importance. Speaking in Cairo in March, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described the ongoing standoff as a "very trivial" matter that merits almost no attention back home. The clash with Qatar may not be the top priority in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi or Cairo, but it is not trivial.
As more details emerge about the'electronics ban' imposed by the U.S. on a raft of Middle East airlines, it increasingly looks like a crude attempt to damage those airlines and dissuade people from traveling to the U.S. from the Middle East. News first emerged on March 20 of a new regulation barring passengers from bringing any electronics device larger than a cell phone into the cabin on non-stop flights from the Middle East to the U.S. Since then, further details have been revealed. No on-the-record statements have yet been made by administration officials, but the broad terms of the ban have been set out in anonymous briefings to the media. The routes affected are direct flights to the U.S. from Amman in Jordan; Cairo in Egypt; Istanbul in Turkey; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City in Kuwait; Doha in Qatar; Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; and Casablanca in Morocco. The airlines that fly from these airports to the U.S. are Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad and Royal Air Maroc.
The United States lifted a ban Wednesday that required laptops and other electronic devices to be put in the luggage when flying on Emirates Airlines and Turkish Airlines. U.S. Homeland Security introduced the ban in March over concerns that the large devices could be used to smuggle explosives into the cabins of planes. "Emirates has been working hard in coordination with various aviation stakeholders and the local authorities to implement heightened security measures and protocols that meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's new security guidelines for all U.S. bound flights," the airline said in a statement Wednesday. The ban was put in place in March and restricted items such as laptop computers, tablets, cameras, travel printers and games bigger than a phone. The ban has affected foreign-carrier planes flying from 10 countries to America: Amman, Jordan; Cairo; Istanbul; Jidda and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
WASHINGTON/OTTAWA – U.S. and British officials said Tuesday the decision to bar laptops and tablets from the cabins of some international flights wasn't based on any specific threat but on longstanding concerns about terrorists targeting jetliners. Unimpressed, some travelers and civil liberties groups denounced the ban, raising concerns that included lost worktime on long flights and worries that checking laptops in baggage will make them more vulnerable to theft. Under the new bans, electronic devices larger than smartphones, such as laptops, tablets and gaming devices, will have to be checked on some international flights. American officials announced the U.S. ban early Tuesday, and the British followed later in the day after discussions between the countries. The U.S. ban affects flights from Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.