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October 5, 2015 / 22 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

5 Arab MKs Travel to Jordan to Meet with King Abdullah II

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Five Arab Knesset members from the Arab Joint List are traveling to Jordan today (Sunday Sept. 20) to meet with King Abdullah II, according to a report on Israel Radio.

MK Ahmed Tibi told the interviewer on the government-run radio network that he and his fellow lawmakers will discuss “the change in the status quo at the Al Aqsa mosque” on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Palestinian Arabs have continued organized disturbances at the site for more than a week, forcing Israel Police to personally escort every single Jewish visitor to the site in order to ensure their physical protection. As a result, a number of police officers were injured in the line of duty.

It is likely the meeting between the Hashemite king and the Israeli Arab lawmakers will focus on the escalating Arab violence and the tensions at the site, which is under the legal custodianship of Jordan, and has been since the signing of the peace treaty with Israel in 1994.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has stated repeatedly this week, publicly and in discussions with world leaders, that his government has no intention of changing the status quo on the Temple Mount.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United States have all weighed in on the importance of bringing the violence under control at the site, although most of the parties appear to be blaming the Israeli government for the attacks on Jewish visitors by Palestinian Arab rioters.

The five Mks are expected to travel to the Turkish capital for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following their meeting with King Abdullah II in Amman.

Saudi Arabia Warns of ‘Religious War’ Over Temple Mount Clashes

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Saudi Arabian King Salman has turned to the United Nations seeking “urgent measures” to stop what he called Israel’s “violations” on the Temple Mount, warning of a possible “religious war” if the violence at the site is not stopped.

Of course, the violence and provocations are started and perpetuated by Palestinian Arab Muslims, each and every time — but somehow that salient fact is disregarded by every single foreign party to the discussion.

Moreover, the so-called “violations” referred to by the king have consisted of measures enforcing the status quo that allows the presence of Jewish and other visitors in the Temple Mount compound for a number of hours each day. No one other than Muslims have ever been allowed to enter the Al Aqsa Mosque.

That changed this week, however, when it became clear that “worshipers” were in fact combatants stockpiling rocks, bottles, firebombs and firecrackers inside the mosque to use as weapons against police and Jewish visitors during the morning hours.

On Wednesday, police entered the mosque after receiving concrete intelligence about the weapons cache, and indeed found what they sought, after a battle with the “worshipers.”

A similar operation had taken place earlier in the week before the start of the Rosh Hashana holiday, when Israeli police seized pipe bombs stockpiled inside the mosque with rocks and other weapons.

The Arabs had started to hurl their projectiles at the Mughrabi Gate, where non-Muslims enter the Temple Mount, prompting police to enter the site and also to search for the weapons cache.

Ignoring all of these religious violations of their own holy sanctuary by the so-called “worshipers,” however, King Salman instead expressed “strong condemnation of the dangerous Israeli escalation” at the site, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The king “called for serious and speedy international efforts and for the intervention of the Security Council to take all urgent measures to stop these violations,” the news agency said.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas also added a few words, telling eastern Jerusalem activists this week at a meeting in Ramallah, “Al Aqsa is ours, the Holy Sepulcher is also ours. They have no right to dirty the mosque with their filthy feet, we won’t let them do it.”

And instead of pouring oil on the troubled waters, Jordanian monarch King Abdullah II has simply added more fuel to the fire despite maintaining a peace treaty with Israel, that gives Amman custodianship rights over Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem since 1994.

The Hashemite monarch warned Tuesday in a statement that “any more provocations in Jerusalem will affect the relationship between Jordan and Israel, and Jordan will have no choice but to take action.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has consistently maintained the country has no interest in changing the status quo. This also includes, however, the rights of Jews and other non-Muslims to visit the site regardless of Muslim opposition to their presence.

Israel Police arrested eight Palestinian Arabs on Thursday, including six minors, all of whom were suspects involved in recent clashes with security forces.

Since the start of this week, at least 14 Israel Police officers have been injured by violent Arabs hurling rocks and firecrackers at them.

At least 36 Palestinian Arabs have been arrested in riots so far this week as well.

Salman complained that the “attack on worshipers” violates the sanctity of faith and “contributes to feeding extremism and violence in the world,” SPA reported, adding that the king said much the same in phone calls to the leaders of Russia, the UK and France.

Hamas Officials, Saudi Arabian Firm Hit by US Sanctions

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions Thursday on four Hamas officials and a Saudi Arabian finance firm.

Two of the Hamas members were high-ranking officers in the Saudi company.

Sanctions were imposed on Abu Ubaydah Khayri Hafiz al-Agha, a Saudi Arabian national, Mahir Salah, a dual UK-Jordanian citizen based in Saudi Arabia who allegedly heads the Hamas Finance Committee in Saudi Arabia.

Also affected were Mohammed Reda Mohammed Anwar Awad, an Egyptian money exchange owner, and Salih Aruri, a member of the Hamas political bureau allegedly responsible for the terror group’s money transfers.

In addition, the U.S. sanctioned the Saudi Arabia-based Asyaf International Holding Group for Trading and Investment, managed by al-Agha. The four Hamas members and the company are all accused of transferring tens of millions of dollars for Hamas and its military wing in Gaza.

Any of the assets owned by the Hamas members are now frozen and Americans are banned from doing business with them.

On Tuesday, the State Department also designated three Hamas military leaders and a spokesperson for the Hezbollah terror organization as “global terrorists.”

Kuwait Says Lebanon, Turkey ‘Better Suited’ for Syrian Refugees

Monday, September 7th, 2015

A Kuwaiti official has cleared up the mystery floating why none of the oil-rich Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia, have yet allowed the Syrian refugees fleeding the savage civil war in their land to set foot on their shores.

Kuwaiti official Fahad Al Shalami told France24 television in a broadcast interview on Sept. 2 that in fact, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) should never accept Syrian refugees.

Kuwait and the other GCC countries are “too valuable to accept any refugees,” Al Shalami said.

“Our countries are only fit for workers. It’s too costly to relocate them here.

“Kuwait is too expensive for them anyway, as opposed to Lebanon and Turkey which are cheap,” he explained. “These countries are better suited for the Syrian refugees.”

But there is also another, equally important reason the oil-rich nations should not welcome the Syrian refugees, Al Shalami said.

“In the end, it is not right for us to accept a people that are different from us. We don’t want people who suffer from internal stress and trauma in our country!”

British MP Accuses UK of Supporting Iran ‘at Expense of Allies’

Friday, September 4th, 2015

By Alexander Apfel

A British Member of Parliament has accused Britain of supporting an “aggressive” Iranian regime “at the expense of our long-term allies in the region” following the British reopening of its embassy in Tehran.

Conservative MP Guto Bebb told Tazpit that UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond’s hopes for Iran as a reformable regime are “misguided” and also warned that the agreement will spawn a nuclear arms race.

The Aberconwy MP, who called for a parliamentary debate in June to discuss the Iranian nuclear deal then under discussion, added that the latitude given to the Iranian government would have been unacceptable to the UK government a year ago.

Bebb stated that he advocated the continuation of sanctions which he said were proving to be effective measures against Iranian aggression.

Rejecting Philip Hammond’s parliamentary remarks that the deal represented a victory for diplomacy and assurances to Prime Minister Netanyahu in July that it removes the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon, Bebb told Tazpit that he is amazed “that the Foreign Secretary seems to consider this a success story; his predecessor Liam Fox considers this to be completely unacceptable.”

He predicted that the deal will likely result in a nuclear arms race in the region beginning with Saudi Arabia. Recounting meetings with representatives of British allies in the region, Bebb claimed that they had all expressed concern for any deal which provides Iran with too much flexibility.

While expressing his concern for Israel’s security, Bebb insisted that fears of a nuclear arms race were not restricted to Israel and that the debate he called “was not an issue for Israel alone.”

Addressing Israel, the MP told Tazpit that it is important to “understand the difference between a peaceful and democratic state that is trying to live within its own borders and Iran that will use its nuclear capacity to dominate the Middle East.”

In July 2014, the British Conservative Friends of Israel, of which Bebb is a member, issued a statement decrying the economic sanctions relief which, they said will serve to embolden terror groups funded by Iran.

Saudis Arrest Mastermind of 1996 Bombing that Killed 19 US Airmen on Iran’s Orders

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

(JNi.media) Ahmed Al-Mughassil, the mastermind of the 1996 bombing in eastern Saudi Arabia that killed 19 US airmen and injured hundreds of international service personnel has been arrested in Beirut and is on his way home to the Kingdom, Saudi security officials told Asharq Al-Awsat.

After living in hiding for 19 years, Mughassil’s capture may have been facilitated by the Iranians, who seek to allay their Gulf neighbors’ fears regarding their expansionism in the region.

The Khobar Towers bombing took place on June 25, 1996, in a housing complex in the city of Khobar, Saudi Arabia, located near the Dhahran Aramco national oil company headquarters. The towers were being used as quarters for foreign military personnel. A truck-bomb was detonated next to an eight-story building that housed US Air Force personnel. In all, 19 US servicemen were killed and 498 men and women of many nationalities were injured. Al-Qaeda was the initial suspect in the bombing, but the official US statement named members of Hezbollah as the culprits. In 2006, a US court found Iran and Hezbollah guilty of orchestrating the attack.

“The operation was carried out in coordination with the concerned bodies,” the Saudi security source told Asharq Al-Awsat, without elaborating on what role the Lebanese authorities had in Mughassil’s arrest and transfer.

Mughassil, 48, is believed to be the leader of the Iran-supported Hezbollah Al-Hejaz group indicted by the US court for the 1996 bombing. He was living in disguise in Beirut.

Saudi Arabia has yet to officially accuse Iran of involvement in the bombing, but the US has specifically blamed the Quds Force, an elite paramilitary unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, of orchestrating the bombing. Tehran has denied any connection to the bombing. Asharq Al-Awsat notes that both Iran’s former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and the current president, Hassan Rouhani, have made over the years behind-the-scene-efforts to contain the crisis between Tehran and Riyadh over the Khobar Towers bombing, stopping short of suggesting that Mughassil was served to the Saudis—and the Americans—by his patrons, as a good will gesture on the heels of the Iran nuclear deal.

US Promises to Protect Israel if Iran Attacks

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

An Obama administration official told Israeli diplomatic journalists Monday that the United States will protect Israel if Iran attacks it.

He also promised that the United States will not sell the F-35 advanced warplane to any other Middle East country besides Israel.

The briefing served the Obama administration’s current priority to make sure that Congress does not reject the nuclear deal with Iran by a veto-proof majority. President Barack Obama has no chance of winning majority support in the Senate, and Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam declared on Monday that a majority of House members have pledged to back a resolution of disapproval of the nuclear deal

In the briefing with Israeli journalists, a defense official said that the government’s commitment to Israel’s security is “something US defense officials live on a daily basis.”

He also asserted that Iran’s continued declaration to annihilate Israel “doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t sign a deal that decreases the likelihood they will be a nuclear state.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has argued that ObamaDeal actually paves the way for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. If that is the case, the Obama administration in effect is creating an existential threat to Israel and then proposing a solution that makes Israel dependent on Washington.

Similarly, the promise not to sell F-35 warplanes to other countries n the region, most notably Egypt and Saudi Arabia which have expressed interest in buying the plane, eventually could be used as a tool to force concession from Israel. For example, President Barack Obama, or his successor, could warn Israel that if does not surrender to the Palestinian Authority, Washington will sell the F-35 to Egypt.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-promises-to-protect-iran-if-iran-attacks/2015/08/04/

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