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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘UAE’

U.S. VP Joe Biden On His Way to Middle East

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden left Washington Saturday night for a five day trip to the Middle East.

Biden’s itinerary includes stops in the United Arab Emirates, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.

He is set to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) in Ramallah, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman.

A senior White House official told reporters Friday that no major breakthroughs are expected in the Israel-Palestinian Authority conflict on this trip, however.

Nor will Biden make any major recommendations on the issue, according to the official. Instead, he is expected to focus on increasing cooperation between the U.S. and allies on the fight against Da’esh (ISIS), and the Syrian crisis.

Hana Levi Julian

Kerry on Syria: May Be Too Late to Keep Whole, May Get Much Uglier

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday the world community may not be able to save Syria – what once was Syria, anyway – if the current fighting continues much longer.

Speaking at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the State Department’s annual budget request, Kerry had a grim outlook for the future of Syria.

“It may be too late to keep it as a whole Syria if we wait much longer,” the Secretary said, according to Reuters.

Even if the regime’s Russian-backed forces re-take the northern city of Aleppo – the largest commercial hub in the country – Kerry said it is hard to hold territory in Syria at this point.

For starters, the Secretary told the committee that he cannot guarantee that Russia will stick to the new cease-fire signed this week between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and moderate opposition forces. Moscow and Washington also signed on to that truce, which excluded the Da’esh (ISIS), Al Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist groups.

The U.S. military is already looking ahead to a “Plan B,” he said, and will continue to support rebel efforts to overthrow Assad if Russia abandons its obligations under the truce.

“This can get a lot uglier,” Kerry warned. “Even if Russia took Aleppo… holding territory has always been difficult,” he said, according to Foreign Policy magazine. “Russia has to be sitting there evaluating that.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) asked Kerry what would happen if in fact “this cease-fire doesn’t hold? I don’t think Russia believes that anything is going to happen.”

Kerry ducked the question, replying instead, “I’m not going to say this process is sure to work because I don’t know. But I know that it’s the best way to end the war, and it’s the only alternative available to us if indeed we’re going to have a political settlement.”

The Arab world, on the other hand, may not be as willing to wait around and see.

Gulf nation governments and that of Saudi Arabia have already warned their citizens to leave Lebanon if they haven’t already. As early as last week, rumors were flying that Turkey and Saudi Arabia were preparing their troops for a ground invasion of Syria to deal with the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist threat on their own.

Hana Levi Julian

Kuwait Joins Sunni Nations Cutting Ties With Iran

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Kuwait became the fourth Sunni Muslim nation on Tuesday to cut diplomatic ties with Iran following a crisis that began last weekend between the Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia.

Citing “torching and sabotage activities” at the Saudi Arabian embassy by an Iranian mob in Tehran, Kuwait recalled its ambassador from the Iranian capital.

Kuwait follows Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, all of whom have recalled their ambassadors from Tehran over the incident as well.

“Such action constitutes a flagrant breach of international conventions and violation of Iran’s international commitment over security and safety of diplomatic missions on its lands,” said the Kuwaiti foreign ministry in a statement.

Rioters in Tehran stormed the Saudi Arabian embassy over the weekend, smashing furnishings and other items inside the building and then torching the offices. The attack came in response to the execution by Saudi Arabia of prominent Shi’ite Muslim Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The cleric was among 47 convicts executed Saturday in the Sunni Muslim kingdom on charges of terrorism.

The United Nations Security Council has also stepped into the breach, condemning “in the strongest terms” the attack on Saudi Arabia’s embassy, as well as on a Saudi Arabian consulate in Iran.

The Council called on Iran to “protect diplomatic and consular premises against any intrusion or damage.”

But Saudi Arabia is not likely to provide Iran with that opportunity at this point: Riyadh has already severed its ties with Tehran and ejected Iran’s ambassador from the kingdom.

Moreover, an unrepentant President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that Riyadh could not cover its “crime” by severing political relations with Tehran, Press TV reported.

Both Russia and China have issued statements calling on the two sides to “use restraint” and reconsider their actions in view of the impact such a conflict might have on the stability of the region. But the long-simmering tensions between Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims have been cooking in nearly every Arab nation in the Middle East.

Those issues have been responsible to a great extent for the savage civil war that has completely destroyed Syria, and still rages in what once was a single Arab nation in that place. The same issues are responsible for the lack of a new president in Lebanon, for more than a year.

Ultimately, the conflict between Sunni and Shi’a Islam will either be resolved between the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s Ayatollahs — in which case the two will united against Israel — or it will likely become responsible for a new breakdown of order in Arab nations where governments have no adequate grip on their societies.

Hana Levi Julian

Bahrain, UAE, Sudan Join Saudi Arabia, Sever Ties with Shi’ite Iran

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Several Gulf Arab nations and at least one African country have downgraded their ties with Shi’ite Iran after Saudi Arabia cut its ties with the Islamic Republic, with the possibility that more may follow.

The move came after a Tehran mob stormed and torched the Saudi Arabian embassy and consulate buildings. In response, Saudi Arabia suspended all air traffic between the two countries. A letter was also immediately sent to the United Nations Security Council, accusing Iran of failing to protect the Saudi embassy.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Jaberi Ansari denied the charges, saying no Saudi diplomats were harmed in the incident; he added that none were even present during the attack.

He neatly sidestepped the fact that the building was torched and that all the interior furnishings were completely smashed by the mob that stormed the building. Instead, Ansari claimed Saudi Arabia was “looking for some excuses to pursue its own unwise policies to further tension in the region.”

But Iranian security personnel did nothing to stop the destruction of the embassy until after the embassy offices were completely smashed; at which point, authorities called for “calm.”

The destruction of the diplomatic properties came in response to Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shi’ite cleric on Saturday. Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was one of a total of 47 who were executed on charges of terrorism.

Nimr was known as a vocal activist who opposed the Saudi regime, and who led a vigorous Shi’ite Muslim minority movement in Sunni Muslim-led Saudi Arabia. Iran threatened at the time of the execution that Saudi Arabia would “pay dearly” for Nimr’s death.

By Sunday, Saudi Arabia had cut its ties with Iran and expelled the ambassador, giving him 48 hours to leave the kingdom.

The United Arab Emirates and the island nation of Bahrain – Sunni-ruled monarchies – also both notified Iranian diplomats they had 48 hours to leave the kingdom.

The UAE recalled its ambassador from Tehran and announced it would reduce the number of diplomats stationed in Iran, according to the WAM state news agency. The government said in a statement, the UAE “has taken this exceptional step in light of Iran’s ongoing interference in internal [Gulf Cooperation Council] and Arab affairs that has recently reached unprecedented levels.”

Iran was was also accused by Bahraini officials of “increasing, flagrant and dangerous meddling” in the affairs of Gulf states – again, not the first time Iran has been accused of such activity. A similar charge was leveled against the Islamic Republic during the Arab Spring revolutions, when Tehran was accused of stirring uprisings among Shi’ite populations within the Sunni-led kingdoms and emirates. Bahrain also severed its ties with Iran.

Likewise, the majority Sunni Muslim nation of Sudan also expressed its disapproval of the Iranian attack on the Saudi embassy, calling the mob action “barbaric”. As with Bahrain and the UAE, Sudan also severed its diplomatic ties with Iran, expelling the Iranian ambassador and the entire Iranian diplomatic mission from the country. Sudan also recalled its own ambassador from Tehran.

Russia and China have now both released statements calling for “restraint” on the parts of Iran and Saudi Arabia. Both have expressed concern about escalation of tensions in the region, and have asked both parties to work together to “safeguard the region’s peace and stability.”

Hana Levi Julian

Israel Hunts for Abu Dhabi Office After Joining International Renewable Energy Agency

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Israel is hunting for office space in Abu Dhabi as a member of the independent international agency on renewable energy, based in the United Arab Emirates.

The headquarters of IRENA, the 144-member International Renewable Energy Agency, is based in Masdar City, just outside of Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the UAE. But it is not yet clear where Israel will set up its office.

According to an email statement sent to JewishPress.com by IRENA, under the organization’s headquarters agreement, Israel could open an office in Abu Dhabi with the “same privileges and immunities as are accorded to diplomatic missions” in a location approved by the UAE.

“The work of member missions is confined to engagement with the agency … and bears no implication on the relation between the member of IRENA and the host country,” the agency stated.

An Israeli delegation visited Abu Dhabi had “inquired into office space” at the agency’s office in Masdar last week, though no agreement was made, said agency spokesperson Timothy Hurst.

Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold reportedly traveled to Abu Dhabi last Tuesday, a fact confirmed in remarks Sunday morning at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally commended him and the Foreign Ministry as a whole for their work”on the opening of an office in Abu Dhabi. This reflects the fact that Israel is appreciated in many fields including technology, and other fields, both within the Middle East and beyond.”

This is the first formal Israeli presence in the Arabian peninsula in years; Jerusalem currently has no diplomatic relations with Abu Dhabi.

 

A spokesperson for the UAE Foreign Ministry said in response to the announcement, “The move does not represent a change in the UAE’s diplomatic stance towards Israel. It (IRENA) is an independent agency.

“The mission is tasked with and limited to maintaining ties within the organization. The objectives of the mission have no bearing on the host country and its diplomatic relations,” the UAE spokesperson added.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nachshon said the new office will open “soon” under IRENA’s charter. In reality, this is not the first time in which Israelis have entered the UAE, a federation of seven emirates.

In 2010, then-National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau entered the country to participate in an IRENA conference on behalf of Israel. A number of Israeli athletes, business representatives and others are also allowed to enter the country from time to time as well. Officially, however, those who hold Israeli passports are not allowed to enter the UAE.

Hana Levi Julian

UAE Insists Israel’s Abu Dhabi Office Plan Does Not Mean Recognition

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

(JNi.media) The UAE government says it does not plan to change its relationship with Israel any time soon, despite Israel’s announcement of opening its first official diplomatic mission in the UAE, associated with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), headquartered in Abu Dhabi, 7 Days reported.

The UAE Foreign Ministry’s Director of Communications Maryam Al Falasi said on Friday: “The International Renewable Energy Agency is an international, independent agency that works according to the laws, regulations and norms that govern the work of such organizations. Any agreement between IRENA and Israel does not represent any change in the position of the UAE or its relations with Israel.”

The UAE does not recognize the state of Israel, and Al Falasi stated that missions accredited to IRENA are limited to dealings with agency business, nothing more.

“They do not, under any circumstances, cover any other activities and do not involve any obligation upon the host country with regards to its diplomatic relations or any other relations,” she said.

A statement issued by IRENA on Friday said that under its own agreement with UAE, signed back in 2013, the Gulf State host is responsible for facilities and services to ensure the proper functioning of the agency. “The headquarters agreement grants all IRENA members the right to establish permanent missions accredited to the agency, to strengthen the global platform it is creating for cooperation in the field of renewable energy,” the statement said.

The IRENA statement added: “Israel is a member of the agency. Under the agreement, the work of member missions is confined to engagement with the agency in implementation of its work program focused on the uptake of renewable energy, and bears no implication on the relation between the member of IRENA and the host country.”

JNi.Media

US Secy John Kerry Returns to Israel

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to return Sunday to the Middle East for a three-day visit, the State Department announced.

“While in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ramallah, Secretary Kerry will discuss bilateral and regional security issues, including Syria and Da’esh, and continue discussions on stopping the violence in Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank, and improving conditions on the ground,” said a statement issued in Washington DC.

The Secretary will also travel to the United Arab Emirates capital city, Abu Dhabi, for similar talks.

According to the State Department, Kerry will meet with senior UAE government officials to discuss “a range of bilateral and regional political and security issues, with a focus on Syria.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-secy-kerry-returns-to-israel/2015/11/22/

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