Increasing tensions between the United States and Russia expand from the Ukraine and Syrian Crisis into the Middle East. Analysts said that there was no possibility of a return to the “Cold War” relationship between the two countries, but that Russia is looking to return its Soviet era dignity as a powerful and diplomatically competitive nation.

Russia’s relationship with different Middle Eastern countries, particularly its support to the Syrian Regime despite the violence in the country today, reflects its footprints all across the region.

Egypt became a focal point when Russia offered to have Egyptian leaders sign an arms sale when the US cut back Egypt’s arms transfers. However, Russia vetoed a US military strike in Syria, showing the diplomatic competition between the two countries. Political analysts scored Russia highly when it successfully brokered a chemical weapons treaty in Syria instead.

According to experts, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s motivation to expand in the Middle East is to be remembered as the Russian leader who had helped regain his country’s legacy and great power since Russia had been politically-absent after the breakdown of the Soviet Union.

However, despite the highly volatile relationship of the US and Russia, experts said that the scenario is far from a return to the Cold War days as both countries are only looking for profit to help their economically-challenged countries.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Iran was fooling the entire world by trying to reduce its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions after the Israeli Defense Force found mortars, rockets, missiles and other assorted ammunitions onboard a ship with a Panamanian flag.

The Israeli Navy captured the ship coming from the Red Sea. The ship included 40 M302 missiles with a 100-mile range, 181 mortars and 400,000 bullets for AK-47s. According to the Israeli Defense Force, the rockets are capable of striking Israel from the Gaza strip.

The Panama-flagged ship is now held at the southern port of Eliat.

Iran rejected the accusations of the Israeli Prime Minister.

Netanyahu said in a statement that the world “softly” condemned the discovery of the ship despite its capability to provide Gaza the means to attack Israel without much trouble.

He added that the weapons ship arrived in Eliat the time “the world shook hands to an agreement reached for Iran’s reduction of nuclear activities.”

Israel has been very vocal in condemning the agreement between the EU, US and Iran regarding its nuclear enrichment program. In exchange for reducing their nuclear activities, Iran will have a fraction of its frozen assets in oil and other exports

Netanyahu said that the world should “wake up from its illusion just in time to stop Iran from achieving their capability to develop nuclear weapons.”


I love the UK. Having lived in it for 30 years, this country is by far the best even if we’re living a bit on the expensive side with the taxes and all. But to keep a country fair, everyone should get what everyone has with equal opportunities and activities. Our ‘compensation culture’ ensures that each of has a right to claim justice in case of any trouble.

However, when you’re the offender, it seems you do not have a say. Victims expect a responsible party to deliver to avoid other legal hassles. But the victim’s effective no win no fee claim expert had me shell out £10,000 for a car accident involving a damaged knee, emotional damages and loss of wages. It was fair for me, but I didn’t like the victim’s idea of lump sum repayments at once.

The incident happened three months ago when I was driving under the influence. I almost ran over a lady who was crossing the street. It was my fault because I was beating the red light. She had a damaged knee that, based on medical reports presented to me and my legal representative, had a hairline fracture.

However, what I’m angry about is that during the time there had been no evidence, the victim expected me to provide compensation. I told her that, to be fair to me and to her, we would need someone to see the facts for us with an objective perspective. However, she pressured me until finally, she called on a claims expert to intervene on our behalf.

I had no say in the matter, but still, I got what I want; for her to contact a claims expert made things easier because I corresponded directly with the claims expert and had my own say.

Violence in Baghdad continues as two car bombs exploded outside the Iraqi Foreign Ministry near the green Green Zone. The two car bombs blew up near a restaurant. One more bomb exploded in Khilani Square and three more in the South East part of the capital.

Authorities claim this to be part of the sectarian violence in Iraq in the past year. The Iraqi government said that 1,000 people died in January alone from the sectarian atrocities. However, no group had claimed responsibility for the car bombings.

The sectarian violence between the Sunni militants, which Iraqi authorities believe to be linked to the Al-Qaeda and the Shia-dominated government continues with this new spur of violence in the capital.

The UN Envoy to Iraq, Nikolay Mladenov, said that Iraq’s political leadership continues to show cooperation as they deal with the terrorism in their country.

Aside from two car bombs, seven died from other bombings. Two stray rockets have also exploded inside the Green Zone of Baghdad.

The Sunni militants continue to dominate the Sunni Cities of Falluja and Ramadi. It is rumoured that al-Qaeda group officials are also based in the cities along with other insurgents.


Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is urging Iraqi tribes and residents in Anbar to fight against operatives of a powerful al-Qaeda linked group to stop a nationwide war against the terrorists in Iraq. In state television, Maliki said that the fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) must be driven out of Fallujah.

He also appointed soldiers to drive the fighting away from residential areas and properties.  According to Sunni Tribal Leader and Awakening Council Head in Anbar Ahmed Abu Risha, the fighters were trying to bring the fighting to the cities of Anbar and Fallujah because of its lax security. They may also think that the residents can be defeated in the desert easily, according to Abu Risha.

Observers said that there are rival tribes in Fallujah who are sympathetic towards the terrorist group and will back the terrorist group’s efforts in scaling Iraq cities.

Currently, the ISIL have taken over Fallujah and parts of Ramadi. Refugees have run from the violence and fled towards Kerbala, a neighbouring city.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the US is very concerned with the events in Iraq and that they will provide any help with the exception of landing US troops to Iraq. According to him, it is Iraq’s fight and they could only supply the necessities the country needs.

Iran had also presented their military support should Iraq need them in fighting against the insurgents.


Three suicide attacks in different areas in Iraq had killed at least 36 people. Authorities believe the attacks are targeting Shia pilgrims as they are about to celebrate a holiday in the following week.

The first suicide bomber approached a funeral tent in the Doura neighbourhood in Iraq. A Sunni-dominated area, the suicide bomber killed at least 16 Shia pilgrims from the tent and left 31 people injured in the southern province.

The second one was set off in Latifiya, 25 miles in southern Baghdad. The bomber positioned himself between a group of Shia pilgrims and Turkmen coming from the Kirkuk province. The blast killed 9 people and injured 14 others. The third attack was also in the same province, which killed another 11 people.

Police are still uncertain about who were responsible for the attacks but the pattern of the attacks are targeted on Shia civilians. The Shias are due to celebrate Arbaeen, the death of the Prophet Mohammad’s Grandson Hussein, in the following week. Hussein is a significant figure in Islam.

After US troops left Iraq in 2011, violence had been in its highest and the resurgence of the division between Sunni and Shia muslims continue.

Meanwhile, there is no evidence pointing the bombings to international terrorist group al-Qaeda.


What might seem as a “game-changer” for Iran in gaining partial relief from sanctions from western countries by reducing their nuclear activity is seen as something disturbing by other Middle Eastern countries. While the United Arab Emirates said that it could greatly stabilize the region and Bahrain said that it eases the fear they’ve had from Iran for quite some time, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that it was a “historic mistake”.

Saudi Arabia also seconded as a policy adviser said that the deal granted Iran a better hand in the Middle Eastern region.

Iran’s history with Israel and other Arab regions is that it had been the sponsor for some of the countries’ many enemies. Israel’s long-time problem aside from Palestine, the Lebanese Hezbollah, Iran had sponsored with advanced weaponry they use against the Israeli Military.

Arab countries said that Iran had undermined the authority of its Sunni-led government by supporting Shia communities. Saudi Arabia was particularly awed by how the United States wanted to cancel its missile strikes against Syria after the August chemical attack. Saudi also found out about the cancellation from American news agencies instead of American officials.

The greatest disappointment for many Middle Eastern countries is that the agreement had failed to address stopping Iran from enriching Uranium completely. Even if heavily reduced, Iran could still use its remaining Uranium supply. Israel is particularly disappointed by such a fact.


Taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group now leads the financial industry in terms of PPI redress amounts. After announcing its third-quarter financial results, Lloyds confirmed it will be adding £750 million for PPI redresses. This makes Lloyds one of the biggest mis sellers of PPI with £8 billion for the PPI compensation package.

Next to Lloyds is RBS, who recently announced an additional £250 million, bringing their total to £2 billion for PPI claims. HSBC announced £92 million for PPI, giving them a total of £1.5 billion for complaints.

PPI or payment protection insurance repays your loan, mortgages and credit cards in case you get sick or have an accident. Because it was indiscriminately mis sold, ineligible consumers could reclaim at least £3000-3500 from their mis sold PPI policies.

According to experts, the PPI compensation bill can possibly reach £20 billion midway through 2014. The amount could still increase as there are no signs of PPI complaints slowing down.

The Financial Ombudsman confirmed this fact as they received a large amount of PPI complaints in the first half of 2013. The FOS said that it received 266,238 PPI complaints, marking a 26% increase in the number of complaints from 2012.

Kamaran Najm and his girlfriend, who was a Dutch national, kissed before a 2009 statue created by Zaher Sidq. With a photograph, Najm started a campaign of protest against those who vandalized the statue in the past and protests against their vandalism of the statue.

Little to Najm’s knowledge was that it was the first public kiss in Azadi park. Two large Islamic groups lashed against the couple’s photo. The Islamic groups believed they were out to offend Islamic sensibilities because it has the potential to disorient Muslim youths.

Local authorities also agreed with the statements of the two Islamic groups and the regional prosecutor had arranged for a lawsuit against Najm for acting against the social and cultural norms.

Najm said that he did not mind the issues he faces in the country because he said that he had seen Kurd couples kissing and posting photos of such online. He also said that he was ready to marry his girlfriend with the picture out in public.

Many protesters against the vandalism saw that the Islamic groups’ anger towards the act was unfounded. According to one protester, the statue shouldn’t have been built if it had offended muslim sensibilities. Many understood the picture but said that since the Islamic culture dominates Kurdistan, it would be wiser to refrain from such actions or activities.

Egyptian police and security forces exchanged fire against the suspected killers of 11 police officers in a town believed to be the home of several pro-Morsi militants. Egyptian security forces finally secured Kerdasa, located near the capital of Cairo arresting 55 suspected militants while security forces lost an Egyptian Police General.

General Nabeel Farrag was killed in action as militants opened fire from the rooftops. Aside from Kerdasa, Egyptian police have also arrested militants in Delga, Minya, which is located at the south of Cairo.

The attacks, which began in the morning, died down in the afternoon despite police presence and military checkpoints. Security forces entered Kerdasa with helicopters. Ground officers were met with explosive grenades.

Before the attack, thousands of residents had attended a pro-Morsi rally in the town. They were protesting against General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and accused him of ensuing a coup that overthrew the legitimate presidency.

Residents did not trust the police or local authorities. They believe that the police will just arrest people even those who are innocent and unlikely suspects. Residents said it was the outsiders who killed the 11 policemen in the area.

The town’s allegiance to ousted President Mohammed Morsi shows in the photographs of the president scattered in the town.