Several hundred migrants are camping along Serbia’s borders, sleeping rough in makeshift shelters in harsh winter weather, AP reports. Aid groups distributed food and warm drinks in an abandoned factory near Croatia’s border, as migrants are looking for a chance to cross into neighboring EU countries. Officials and aid groups say that some 300-400 migrants have been staying out in the open while an additional 4,000 are in asylum camps in Serbia. Thousands have been stranded in Serbia since “the Balkan migrant route” was closed down in March 2016 to stem the flow into the EU. Many migrants try to cross the borders illegally with the help of smugglers.
Iraq plans to use drones to monitor and protect its export and production pipelines in the first quarter of 2018, its Oil Ministry said on Monday. Security companies will be considered that can supply Iraq with drones and sophisticated camera systems to guard its pipelines, Reuters quoted spokesman Asim Jihad as saying. Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi will also visit Algeria in mid-January, where state-run Sonatrach is interested in investing in Iraq’s energy sector, according the spokesman.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has met with Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The two men discussed bilateral relations and regional developments on Monday, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. Earlier this month, Pompeo said he’d sent a letter to Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite fighting Quds Force, warning him that the US would hold Tehran accountable for any attacks it conducted on American interests in Iraq, AP reports. Iran and Saudi Arabia are regional foes.
The EU’s executive branch has warned the US that its planned tax overhaul could violate some of its international obligations and risks “seriously hampering” trans-Atlantic trade, AP said. The letter to US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin has reinforced similar moves by Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Spain to express serious concerns about several tax initiatives. The EU Commission’s spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Monday that “the draft US tax bill as it currently stands contains elements that risk seriously hampering trade and investment.” Schinas said EU institutions “believe that it is in the joint EU-US interest to avoid this.” EU nations fear that Donald Trump’s domestic tax proposals may hurt world trade and EU companies in particular.
Iran wants to examine missile parts the US ambassador to the UN displayed last week as “undeniable” evidence that Tehran has been arming Yemen’s Shiite rebels, AP said. Tehran will file a complaint to the UN and demand that “parts of the missile be delivered to Iran” for examination, according to Defense Minister Gen. Amir Hatami. He told the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Monday that US claims cannot be “answered remotely.” On Thursday, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley showed off the missile parts to cameras at a military base near Washington. She said the projectile was supplied by Iran and launched by Yemen’s Houthis, targeting an airport in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The statement was dismissed by Iran as a “fake and fabricated” claim.
Gunmen stormed an intelligence agency training facility in Kabul on Monday morning, triggering intense fighting with police in the latest Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) attack to hit the Afghan capital. A group of armed attackers entered an under-construction building in the National Directorate of Security training center in the Afshar area of Kabul, the Interior Ministry said. The security forces launched an operation to combat the militants. IS claimed responsibility for the attack through its propaganda arm, AFP reported. “Two IS attackers raid[ed] the Afghan intelligence center in Kabul,” the jihadist-affiliated Amaq outlet said.