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December 11, 2016 / 11 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Saudis’

Senate May Block $1.15 Billion Arms Sale to Saudis

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

The Senate on Wednesday will vote on a joint resolution blocking a $1.15 billion sale of as many as 153 tanks, hundreds of machine guns and additional military equipment to Saudi Arabia, over objections by Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee and Democratic Senators Chris Murphy and Al Franken to the Kingdom’s handling of the Yemen situation. Senators Paul and Murphy said they think the US needs to rethink its “automatic support” for the Saudis, Reuters reported.

State Department Spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said on Tuesday that she was “very concerned” about reports of Saudi-led coalition warplanes bombing a potato factory in Yemen’s capital Sana, killing 14 people, mostly women. Trudeau would not say, however, whether the US is concerned that its weapons are being used to target civilians.

“We regularly talk to our partners and our allies around the world. You know, civilian casualties are obviously of grave concern to us,” she said.

Backers of the joint resolution told Reuters they want to block the sale of Abrams tanks and other equipment, noting that even if their measure did not pass, a strong Senate vote would send a strong message about US continued support for Saudi Arabia. Senator Murphy even said supporting the Saudi war against Yemen would damage US security.

“If we are helping to radicalize Yemenis against us, we are participating in the slaughter of civilians, and we are allowing extremist groups that have plans and plots against the United States to grow stronger, how can that be in our security interest?” Murphy asked, according to Reuters.

JNi.Media

White House: Obama to Veto Bill Empowering 9/11 Families to Sue the Saudis

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

President Obama intends to veto a bill which allows families of 9/11 victims to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in US courts, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday.

“The president does plan to veto this legislation,” Earnest said, reiterating, “I do anticipate the president will veto the legislation when it is presented to him. It hasn’t been presented to him yet.”

According to The Hill, this could be the first time Congress would be able to override an Obama veto. Democratic lawmakers have been pressuring the Administration to leave the bill alone for the sake of the 9/11 victims’ families, and for the sake of their reelection come November. Democratic lawmakers are concerned the veto would ignite a showdown between the White House and Congress that would damage the president and make him less effective on the serious issues, namely the fight over the budget in the lame-duck session of Congress. The bill passed unanimously by a voice vote in both the House and Senate.

Earnest cautioned that “this law actually opens up the United States to the risk of being hauled into court in countries around the world,” and added that “the president will continue to explain his opposition to this legislation … up until Congress decides whether to override his veto.”

The Saudi dominated, six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), announced on Monday that the proposed law “contravenes the foundations and principles of relations between states and the principle of sovereign immunity enjoyed by states,” possibly assuming this sovereign immunity includes the right to plot an attack on major civilian centers of the host country.

GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani also said in an unveiled threat that “such laws will negatively affect the international efforts and international cooperation to combat terrorism.”

JNi.Media

Poll: Saudis, Egyptians, Want Regional Peace, Shun Trump, Palestinian Deal

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Ahead of the 16th annual Herzliya Conference, the Institute for Policy & Strategy (IPS) at IDC Herzliya has released the results of two surveys conducted in Egypt and Saudi Arabia relating to the upcoming US Presidential elections.

The key findings of the polls were as follows:

Q: Should the next US President promote an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement or a regional peace agreement?

Egypt: 25.5% – Israeli-Palestinian Agreement 32.1% – Regional Agreement 42.3% – Should Not Promote Peace with Israel

Saudi Arabia: 18.9% – Israeli-Palestinian Agreement 41.6% – Regional Agreement 39.4% – Should Not Promote Peace with Israel

Q: Will the next US President change relations between the US and the Arab world?

Egypt: 31.7% – Change for the better 19.2% – Change for the worse 49.0% – No change

Saudi Arabia: 27.6% – Change for the better 27.4% – Change for the worse 45.0% – No change

Q: Was President Obama a good president for the Muslim world?

Egypt: 2.5% – Very Good 14.2% – Good 38.1% – Mediocre 24.5% – Bad 20.7% – Very Bad

Saudi Arabia: 2.6% – Very Good 17.5% – Good 36.1% – Mediocre 23.8% – Bad 20.1% – Very Bad

Q: Will the next US President cancel the nuclear agreement with Iran?

Egypt: 19.7% – Will cancel 80.3% – Won’t cancel

Saudi Arabia: 13.6% – Will cancel 86.4% – Won’t cancel

Q: Will the next US President be ready to send ground troops to fight ISIS?

Egypt: 32.3% – Yes 48.3% – No 19.4% – Don’t know

Saudi Arabia: 17.9% – Yes 58.1% – No 24.0% – Don’t know

Q: Which (Presidential) candidate do you prefer?

Egypt: 35.9% – Hillary Clinton 3.8% – Donald Trump 8.5% – Bernie Sanders 10.4% – Ted Cruz 41.4% – None of them

Saudi Arabia: 30.2% – Hillary Clinton 6.0% – Donald Trump 7.3% – Bernie Sanders 6.0% – Ted Cruz 50.3% – None of them

The polls were conducted in Arabic over the past 6 weeks using a random sampling from the regions of each country.

471 respondents in Egypt; margin of error +/- 4.5% 464 respondents in Saudi Arabia; margin of error +/- 4.6%

The 16th annual Herzliya Conference starts tomorrow, June 14 and runs through June 16.

JNi.Media

Iranian Arms Delivery to Yemen Rebels Intercepted

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

While European nations and others rush to renew their economic ties with Tehran, Iran’s military has also been busy making sure its arms export mechanism continues to roll out product to the masses.

An Iranian arms delivery to Shi’ite Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen was intercepted last week in the northern Arabian Sea.

It’s not clear whether the interception was carried out by a Saudi-led coalition of by a member of the 30-nation Combined Maritime Forces, (CMF) a U.S.-led multinational coalition.

It is believed the vessel, which was not formally registered to any country, was attempting to smuggle the weapons in to Shi’ite rebels in Yemen.

Crew members on the intercepted vessel said the ship was headed for Somalia, located near Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden.

The ship was a dhow, a large wooden vessel commonly used in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, according to a report by the Associated Press.

It was registered to Hogan Mohammed Hout, an Iranian national, and licensed as a fishing vessel, AP reported, quoting a Saudi coalition engaged in fighting Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The vessel was intercepted while carrying the weapons in international waters, the U.S. Navy said in a statement, contradicting a claim by the Saudi coalition which placed the interception a day later, and by Saudis. An American guided missile destroyer, the Forrest Sherman, reportedly went to provide backup once the arms were discovered.

The U.S. Navy also stated that based on statements by the crew, the port of origin and the arms were believed to be Iranian.

According to the Saudis, the ship was carrying papers indicating it was checked by port and customs officials in the southeastern Iranian ports in Sistan and Baluchistan.

Some of the anti-tank ordnance allegedly originated in Russia as well.

Most of the weapons were dumped into the sea, with the exception of a few retained for analysis, and the vessel was allowed to continue on its way.

The account differs from statements made earlier in the day by the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis. That coalition alleged it had foiled the same smuggling attempt – albeit on Saturday – saying Iran was using the ship to arm the Houthis.

Hana Levi Julian

The Solution: How to Deal with Obama Middle East Policy

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

To see an alternative policy for the Middle East–presented four years ago and still timely, see:

It is likely that the efforts of the Obama Administration during its second term will fail, not only because of its lack of understanding of the region and its ideology but also due to the specific agenda.

NO MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRY OR MOVEMENT–ONLY HOSTILE ONES–CAN DEPEND ON THE UNITED STATES.

And to clarify this further:

NO COUNTRY–INCLUDING ISRAEL–CAN DEPEND ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

But as I noted above, this U.S. policy of Obama’s second term will fail. For example, the main goals of the second term are four big issues:

–Israel-Palestinian peace

–Egypt government coalition with Muslim Brotherhood

–Syrian civil war resolution with rebel victory

–U.S.-Iran rapprochement resolving nuclear issue.

Yet because of irreconcilable differences, these may well be unresolvable. Due to such failures and hardline radical positions (Palestinians, Muslim Brotherhood, Syrian Islamists and regime, Iranian regime), the next administration would probably be forced back on recognition of extremism, support of allies, and U.S. interests.

Thus, regarding the “peace process,” we may well see the typical pattern in which the Palestinians wreck the peace process by rejecting or demanding even more concessions. Once again, it will only be necessary to wait until American negotiators learn better why their goals are impossible. Radicals will just raise their demands and demonstrate their anti-Americanism, and necessary priorities will shift.

The difference this time would be that the policymakers would not learn until the next president. Yet there are other reasons for hope, too, and these must be integrated into the strategies of would-be allies of the United States.

These include several points:

–Since U .S. policies do not take into proper account the legitimate interests of allies, a greater element of defiance will be necessary. With the Saudis, for example, they had to rescue the client regime in Bahrain, because the Obama Administration refused, step in and subsidize the coup regime in Egypt and subsidize the Lebanese opposition.

Countries must be ready for a higher level of potential friction with the Obama Administration, which will not damage future foreign policy when the time comes that the current president will be replaced by a different Democratic or Republican one.

–When required to make a tactical retreat due to lack of U.S. support, it should be stretched out, because the clock is ticking on January 2017.

–Of course the clock is ticking too on wasted time. Iran will be closer to having nuclear weapons, for instance, but that just indicates the actual harm done by the Obama Administration policies. Islamists will also be stronger than would have been true otherwise. This was, however, not true in Egypt, where there was local resistance backed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

–The creation of parallel alliances and what might be called objective alliances, which can include countries that are nominal enemies. These include building bonds with Asia, including China and India, as powers. In other words, if America will not play a leading or supportive role, others must be found to do so.

But the most important single factor is the genie offer. In this scenario, a genie appears and offers the beneficiary three wishes, but with each one, the genie gives his enemy twice that amount.

Okay, says the clever man, I want to go half bankrupt. (This would make his rival fully bankrupt.)

This is not a joke. The instability, bad economic policies, adventurous actions, and other temptations that American weakness and error lured one into are counterproductive and self-damaging. The best examples are the Muslim Brotherhood’s management of politics and the Palestinians’ overplaying of their hand to lose a real chance to get an independent state. And Syria wrecking itself with Islamists and radical nationalists killing each other.

You could call this the “Home Alone strategy,” which is going to be needed by would-be U.S. allies–at least until responsible adults show up to direct U.S. foreign policy. And that will take at least another 3 years and 4 months.

Barry Rubin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/the-solution-how-to-deal-with-obama-middle-east-policy/2013/09/17/

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