New and Noteworthy in Arab and Islamic affairs – 9-1-17

Apple bans Iranian apps, the UN heralds victory in Raqqa, and a Qatari opposition group emerges in London.
Paul Pilar in The National Interest on the unintended consequences of Iran sanctions: “Apple is attempting to shut down apps developed by Iranians for use on iPhones inside Iran [because] sanctions prohibit Apple from selling its phones in Iran. Impeding the full use by Iranians of their iPhones does absolutely nothing to weaken the Iranian regime. … As with many of the U.S. sanctions, the overall effect on the Iranian economy is to weaken portions of that economy that are outside the regime and to strengthen the regime’s influence over other parts, including the economic activities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”
The Guardian on a UN prediction that Raqqa will fall in October: “The last ISIS Islamic State stronghold in Syria, will fall by the end of October, allowing credible democratic elections to be held within a year, according to the UN special envoy for the country. Setting out a highly optimistic scenario for the end of the civil war, Staffan de Mistura said the country would face a “moment of truth” after the reclaiming of Raqqa. ‘If the international community helps both the opposition and the government by pushing [them] to accept a real negotiation, then within a year it would be a possibility of having a truly credible election.’”
UAE’s The National on a Qatari opposition conference to be held in London on September 14: “Khalid al-Hail, a former associate for Hamid bin Jassim, the ex-prime minister of Qatar, is organizing a one-day meeting to give voice to Qataris that want a change of direction. … According to a position paper released ahead of the conference, ‘Internal pressure from discontented Qatari citizens is increasingly obvious on social media accounts and open source media reports. … The likelihood of a coup from within the Al-Thani family is being discussed among diplomatic circles and has made headline news. Some believe that the presence of Turkish troops on Qatari soil and Turkey’s overt support for the incumbent Qatari government might mitigate the expected rebellion.”
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