These are some of the headlines we are tracking for you in this episode of On the News Line:
Libyan general in Moscow
Several days ago, Khalifa Haftar, the military commander of the Libyan government based in the country's east, met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for talks over the situation in the North African country. During the meeting, Haftar said he was visiting Moscow to seek Russia’s help in his fight against extremists, who have been ravaging Libya since the downfall of former long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. This was Haftar’s second visit to Moscow since the summer. The ex-Libyan general was quoted as saying at the start of his negotiations with Lavrov, “Our relations [with Russia] are crucial; our goal today is to give life to these relations. We hope we will eliminate terrorism with Russia’s help in the nearest future.”
The smell of victory in Aleppo
Countdown to the full liberation of Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, has begun. Syrian government forces are now said to be in control of over 90 percent of eastern Aleppo, which has been occupied by foreign-backed militants and terrorist groups. The Syrian troops and their allies have made significant gains in Aleppo in recent weeks, tightening the noose around the militants holed up in the flashpoint city. Damascus has called on the militant groups to leave the city. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said victory in Aleppo will pave the way for ending the war in Syria. Assad says the supporters of the militant groups in Syria are struggling to enforce a ceasefire in Aleppo as the groups are in a difficult situation.
UK exchanges human rights for money
Signs are growing that Britain is already bracing for a serious change in its agenda for the Middle East. Prime Minister Theresa May was a guest participant in the meeting of Arab states of the Persian Gulf earlier this week. May, who had just seen Britain open its first permanent military base in the Middle East in Bahrain, voiced the UK’s strong support for the Persian Gulf Arab states of the region. Many expect Britain to have set its eyes on the economic gains that a strategic partnership with the Arab states will bring about. And for the sake of the same economic gains that will be obtained mostly from sales of weapons, London is expected to forego whatever is negative about the Arab states. And with that, the notorious violations of human rights by countries like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia may be the first to have Britain’s blessings.