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July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

ISIS Says it Blew Up Saudi Mosque

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Islamic State took responsibility for a suicide bombing in Saudi Arabia.

The attack killed 21 people inside a Shiite Mosque in the village of al-Qudaih in Eastern Province.

102 people were injured.

Shiites are a minority in Saudi Arabia.

Islamic State also claimed responsibility for a bombing outside a San’a mosque in Yemen that killed 15 people.

Saudi King Snubs Obama, Obama Flubs Names of Saudi Princes

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

You will recall that the King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman, blew off U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent Gulf summit. That snub has been endlessly analyzed to determine whether and how much should be read into that refusal.

Whether Obama felt the King’s absence as a snub is unknown, but given he was hosting the Summit, a snub was not possible. But a flub was. And flub he did.

As Elliot Abrams, the former Assistant Secretary of State, tells it in his blog at the Council on Foreign Relations, the President may have exacerbated the simmering tensions between the two erstwhile friendly nations.

Abrams, reviewing the public remarks from the Summit, realized that President Obama screwed up the names of the two Saudi Princes who were sent to Washington to represent the Kingdom.

President Obama welcomed the Saudi delegation and welcomed “back the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Nayef, as well as Deputy Crown Prince Salmon.”

The U.S. President put his foot further in it when he continued the already flubbed introduction with “As all of you are aware, the United States and Saudi Arabia have an extraordinary friendship and relationship that dates back to Franklin Roosevelt and King Faisal, and we are continuing to build that relationship during a very challenging time.”

Oops. Big time.

As Abrams points out:

First of all, the name of the Deputy Crown Prince is not Salman; that’s his father’s name. His name is Mohammed bin Salman. Minor detail? How about this one: in 1945, FDR met the founder of the modern Saudi kingdom, the grandfather of the two princes he was greeting in the Oval Office. President Obama called him King Faisal, but the founder was King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud. His son Faisal ruled from 1964 to 1975.

Were the flubs the result of the snub? Or perhaps just inadequate staff work?

Abrams runs through a litany of possibilities, and ends with “Yes, getting the names wrong is not a casus belli, but it will deepen the sense in the Gulf and the wider Middle East that the President of the United States does not know what he is doing in their region.”

Secret Arab-Israel Talks in Jordan a Sign of Distrust of Obama

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Israeli and Arab diplomats secretly met in Jordan to explore a new reality of diminishing influence of President Barack Obama in the Middle East and the common interest by both sides for security against growing radical Islamic threats.

Reshet Bet (Voice of Israel) reported that the discussions included diplomats from Arab countries that have no ties with Israel.

The idea of open security cooperation between Arab countries and Israel was nixed because of the issue of the Palestinian Authority, which has dismissed the idea of the American-led “peace process” unless Israel agrees in advance to it terms.

The Saudi 2002 Initiative remains the basis for an agreement between Ramallah and Jerusalem. It calls for Israel’s withdrawal of all of Jerusalem that was restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967, surrender of the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria, and the acceptance by Israel of millions of UNRWA “refugees” in several countries.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, encouraged by years of Arab League talk of “all or nothing,” has convinced himself that he can go for broke, ditch the United States and the European Union and win everything he wants in the United Nations.

When it comes to money on the table, the Arab League has shown it really does not care very much about the Palestinian Authority.

Jordan, despite all of its rhetoric, really does not want to see a weak Arab country on its borders, which Israel now protests from terrorists.

The dual threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) and of a nuclear Iran is much higher on the agenda of Arabs than coercing Israel into making an agreement for a Palestinian Authority country that is likely would turn into another anarchic terrorist state.

So why did the Israeli and Arab diplomats, presumably also those from Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States, meet in Jordan?

To smoke a hookah? The Arab countries know very well that they cannot coordinate security with Israel and suffer a loss of pride in admitting that the Saudi Initiative is dead.

It is just as likely as not, if not more likely, that there was s serious discussion on security coordination behind a thick smokescreen of nasty comments about Israel not wanting to make peace.

Or the secret talks in Jordan might be a spring-board for a new round of charades of renewing the peace process and pacify Abbas while Israel and its Arab enemies work together against their new-found common enemies.

Either way may pave a path for the Arab world to rebuff Iran and the ISIS.

Israel has no problem playing the role of hero in secret.

Obama will continue to play the part of the fool in the new Middle East.

ISIS Takes over Key Iraqi City but US Says ‘Don’t Worry, We Will Win’ [video]

Monday, May 18th, 2015

The Islamic State (ISIS) on Sunday took over the city of Ramadi in one of the last provinces held by government forces, but the Pentagon said Iraqi forces, aided by the U.S. Army, “will take it back later.” But it might need Iran’s help.

A call by the Sunni Muslim government for Shi’ite Muslims to help take back the city is feared by many Sunni Muslims as opening the door for Iran to take over Iraq.

The ISIS executed 503 civilians and soldiers, according to an Iraqi officials in the province of Anbar where Ramadi is located. Iraqi special forces fled the city after more than a dozen fighters were killed by suicide car bombers and before others might become more victims of beheading by the ISIS forces.

The fall of Ramadi followed jubilant announcements the past several weeks that the leader of the Islamic State was seriously wounded and that a deputy commander also was eliminated.

But for every ISIS terrorist who is killed, 10 more replacements come out of the woodwork for the funeral.

The fall of Ramadi is a major setback for the American-aided Iraqi government, but the Pentagon played down the loss and only admitted that it gave the ISIS a “propaganda boost” but defeat

“Ramadi has been contested since last summer and ISIL now has the advantage,” Pentagon “just means the coalition will have to support Iraqi forces to take it back later,” according to Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry could not call the fall of Ramadi a loss. The city “simply target of opportunity,” he commented.

Iranian-backed Shi’ite forces already have answered the call of the Sunni Muslim leader of Anbar. A Shi’ite spokesman said Monday that its fighters will charge in to Ramadi and re-take the city, which is located only 100 miles from Baghdad.

If the Shi’ites succeed, it could be a step towards an Iranian takeover of Iraq and an eventual Iranian Shi’ite Caliphate instead of an ISIS Caliphate in the Arab Middle East .

David Petraeus, who commanded US troops in Iraq during 2007-2008, told the Washington Post in an interview:

If Daesh [ISIS] is driven from Iraq and the consequence is that Iranian-backed militias emerge as the most powerful force in the country – eclipsing the Iraqi security forces, much as Hezbollah does in Lebanon – that would be a very harmful outcome for Iraqi stability and sovereignty, not to mention our own national interests in the region.

Sunni Muslim leaders, especially Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States, might go into action against the prospect of an Iranian-backed Iraq, just as they are doing Yemen where Saudi Arabia-led forces have resumed bombing of Iranian-backed Houthi forces after a five-day humanitarian cease-fire.

Below is a video of armed forces in Ramadi.

Gulf Arab Leaders to Confront Obama on Iran

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama just can’t catch a break.

First he is questioned about Iranian aggression by Israel or members of the U.S. Congress, and now he’s about to be confronted by Arab leaders at a summit.

And that comes after some fast footwork to bring Saudi Arabia back into the loop altogether. Over the weekend King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud decided to excuse himself from Thursday’s upcoming summit, throwing the White House into ‘scramble’ mode.

The king was clearly sending a strong message to Washington: “Stop dithering and making excuses; let’s see some action on Iranian violations and on ending the nightmare in Syria.”

Saudi Arabia itself has led the way in its own mini-war against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen. Its disregard for “collateral” casualties and damage in favor of simply “getting the job done” is a typically Middle Eastern way of doing things but in fact also makes it clear that players in the region expect no less from Obama.

Leaders of Persian Gulf nations are arriving at Camp David to meet Thursday with the U.S. president, according to the Saudi state-run SPA news agency.

Discussion at the summit will focus on Iran’s “aggressive” moves in the region, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Monday.

“We see Iranian support for terrorist organizations and facilitating the work of terrorist organizations, so the challenge will be in how to coordinate US-Gulf efforts in order to collectively face these aggressive moves on the part of Iran,” al-Jubeir told the news agency.

Several weeks ago, Iran captured a cargo ship sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands and seized its crew of 34 sailors. The ship, its cargo and crew was stopped as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and boarded by members of the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Its captain was forced to navigate the vessel into a southern Iranian port city, where it has remained since.

The United States is obligated under a mutual defense treaty to protect vessels and personnel operating under the flag of the Marshall Islands.

For a number of days after the capture, U.S. warships escorted American and British-flagged vessels traveling through the Strait of Hormuz. The escort, however, has since been discontinued, according to media reports.

At least four U.S. citizens still remain captive in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

UN Castigates Saudis for Bombing Houthis and Their Human Shields After 24-Hour Warning

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

We’ve seen this movie before.

A recent exchange between UN representatives in Yemen and Saudi Arabian officials sounded just like the ones that take place between the UN and Israel over Hamas in Gaza.

On Sunday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Johannes Van Der Klauuw said he was “deeply concerned” by the Saudi-led coalition strikes on northern Yemen. The UN warned that the “indiscriminate bombing of populated areas a violation of international law.”

The UN claims the airstrikes have killed at least 1,400 people and more than half of them were civilians.

Saudi’s military spokesperson, Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri, responded to the UN criticism, saying Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are using hospitals and schools to store weapons, which is why they have been targeted by airstrikes.

On Sunday, the Saudis reportedly also targeted the home of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. Saleh is unharmed, according to a BBC report.

The Saudis have declared the northern province of Saada, located on the Saudi border, a “military zone”, and on Friday dropped leaflets warning local civilians to get out before the attacks began.

On Saturday, the Sunni coalition said it has conducted 130 airstrikes in 24-hours against Houthi targets in Saada.

Van Der Klauuw warned that the “indiscriminate bombing of populated areas, with or without prior warning, is in contravention of international humanitarian law. Many civilians are effectively trapped in Saada as they are unable to access transport because of the fuel shortage. The target of an entire governorate will put the countless civilians at risk.”

International law of warfare, as understood by the UN, seems to face an inescapable dilemma.

It calls on both sides to not put civilians in harms way. But when one side purposely does, it doesn’t allows the other side any reasonable means of defense or attack against the initial international law-breakers.

So instead we’re left with laughably ineffectual and meaningless statements such as Van der Klaauw’s suggestion, “all parties must avoid using populated areas as launching grounds for attacks.”

From experience, we all know statements like that really stop Iran’s clients and proxies from using their human shields as they attack their enemies.

It’s about time the international laws of war be updated to reflect how the bad guys are actually fighting.

A five-day, Saudi-initiated, humanitarian truce is set to begin today.

It all sounds so familiar.

Saudi Arabia Snubs US Summit on Iran

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman has screamed its irritation with President Barack Obama’s eagerness to cooperate with Iran on its nuclear program by snubbing a U.S. summit and sending his crown prince instead.

The monarchy explained in its sudden announcement that King Salman won’t attend the planned meeting at Camp David because he is too busy with the crisis in Yemen.

The official version is the king cannot attend “due to the timing of the summit, the scheduled humanitarian cease-fire in Yemen and the opening of the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid.”

Two days earlier, the White House played up the expected meeting between President Barack Obama and King Salman as a venue “to build on their close consultations.”

Close consultations?

Since King Salman ascended to the throne in January after the death of King Abdullah, there have been drastic shifts in Riyadh’s attitude in public. It has been more open about its opposition to how President Obama and the rest of the P5+1 is making a deal with Iran on its nuclear development as an end in itself instead of a means to putting an end to the threat of a nuclear Iran.

It also is scared stiff of Iran’s open desire to take over the entire Middle East.

Saudi Arabia and Israel are on the same page. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went to Washington to preach his gospel against trusting Iran, and President Obama refused to meet him since the speech was two weeks before the general elections in Israel.

Obama was looking forward to meeting King Salman as another opportunity to show how he can continue on a one-way street with Iran while bringing along a passenger who is going the other way.

King Salman, like Prime Minister Netanyahu, is not playing Obama’s political posturing.

There are some analysts who are insisting that the king’s absence from the summit is not a “snub” Obama and that the crisis in Yemen is more urgent.

But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with King Salman on Thursday and said, “I’ll see you next week.” Kerry also was with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Juber when the cease-fire in Yemen was announced.

On Friday, Saudi Arabia sent signals that it was not certain King Salman would arrive, and the kingdom confirmed the king’s absence on Saturday.

The Obama is spinning that it is business as usual with Saudi Arabia and the relationship is as strong as it has been in quite some time, just like it always assures Netanyahu of Washington’s “unbreakable bond” with Israel while it walks with Iran towards a nuclear weapon.

The Washington Post quoted a State Dept. source as saying:

They did not mean it as a snub. They were not trying to send a message.”

The newspaper also quoted Johns Hopkins International Studies lecturer Jean-Francois Seznec as saying, “I do not think this is a snub. I think on the other hand that it is a proof that the Saudis want substantive talks.”

Okay. It’s not a snub. In diplomatic language, it is “a message we aren’t happy with Obama.”

In other words, a snub. Or if not that, a spit in the face.

Or as was said by Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “The king’s decision suggests that, despite all of this, he thinks he has better things to do with his time.”

In other words, a snub to get the message across to President Obama that Prime Minister Netanyahu is not alone.

So who’s coming to the party at Camp David besides the crown prince of Saudi Arabia?

There are five other Gulf States besides Saudi Arabia, and only two of them are sending a king. Two Gulf monarchs are not in good health. The third is from Kuwait, but its king, like King Salman, is sending his crown prince.

Salman’s absence could be seen as a snub to Obama’s administration, said Jon Alterman,

In one of the understatements of the year, Bloomberg News quoted Mustafa Alani, an analyst at the Gulf Research Center in Geneva, as saying that “after six years of empty promises, hesitation, and indecisiveness” by Obama, the Gulf States have a “very deep lack of trust” in his administration.

Hosni Mubarak learned what it means to have friends like President Obama, who panted after the Muslim Brotherhood before turning his back on the political party that he finally realized is a terrorist organization.

Netanyahu knows exactly how mixed-up Obama is when he equates Israeli security interests with America’s.

Saudi Arabia knows how much Washington can be trusted to stand by a decision to bomb Syria because of its use of chemical weapons.

Yes. Obama stepped back by stating that the Assad regime gave up its chemical weapons, which does not exactly explain evidence that surfaced last week of a chemical weapons attack on rebel strongholds.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/saudi-arabia-snubs-us-summit-on-iran/2015/05/11/

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