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October 7, 2015 / 24 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Yemen’

US Sends Destroyer to Persian Gulf after Iran Boards Freighter

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

The U.S. Navy Farragut destroyer is speeding to the Persian Gulf Wednesday after Iran boarded a Marshall Islands-flagged freighter that the regime said had trespassed into its waters while sailing through the key oil and gas tanker route of the Straits of Hormuz, also known as the Persian Gulf.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Navy fired shots at the ship, which the Pentagon says was in international waters.

The United States also has ordered an aircraft carrier to remain on standby in another mini-crisis that Iran seems to have created to put pressure on the Obama administration during the new round of talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran on an agreement to allow Tehran to continue its nuclear development program.

The Marshall Islands, once an American territory, is independent of the United States but has a “free relationship” with Washington that includes a security pact.

A spokesman for the Maersk shipping company said that the vessel charted by Rickers Shipmanagment was in international waters and was sailing from Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with cargo that could range from  “anything from food to machinery to electronics,” he said.

Rickers spokesman Cor Radings wrote in an e-mail to The New York Times he does not know of any previous incident of Iran seizing a ship in open seas. He stated, “I cannot exclude it has happened before, but would believe we have to go back” to World War II.

Last week, Iran caved into American and Western pressure and turned back one of its ships that was approaching Aden, Yemen with a cargo of what was assumed to be weapons for Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

Jeff Rathke, the State Dept.’s tight-lipped spokesman, told reporters Tuesday:

It’s a key concern of the United States to ensure that sea lanes in the region remain open and safe… We remain committed to our regional partners and to maintaining security in the maritime environment.

So what is the United States going to do about it, especially since the United States has what Rathke called a “security compact” with the Marshall Islands?

“Is the U.S. prepared to use force to defend the Marshall Islands?” one reporter asked.

Rathke answered,” “Well, I think that’s premature to jump to that conclusion.”

And did Iran commit an act of piracy or aggression?

Rathke:  “I’m not going to apply an adjective to it right now. We are following the situation very carefully, but I’m not going to label it.

Well, does the United States condemn it?

Rathke:” Well, again, we’re gathering more information. I don’t have a further reaction at this point.

But what about the security compact that Rathke said “gives the U.S. authority and responsibility for security and defense matters that relate to the Marshall Islands, including matters related to vessels flying the Marshallese flag?”

Well, he says, “Certainly, that’s something we’re looking at.”

And could it be, just possibly by a stretch of the imagination, that Iran the seizure and previous threats from Iran to block the Persian Gulf are linked to the proposed nuclear negotiations?

Rathke, of course, “is not going to speculate on what their motives might be.

In case you missed it, Kerry said yesterday:

We are, in fact, closer than ever to the good, comprehensive deal that we have been seeking, and if we can get there, the entire world will be safer.

If finalized and implemented, (an agreement) will close off all of Iran’s possible pathways to the nuclear material required for a nuclear weapon and give the international community the confidence that it needs to know that Iran’s nuclear program is indeed exclusively peaceful.

And if the United States does not agree, Iran will close the Persian Gulf and raise the price of oil as part of its program to make the entire safer.

Iran’s Meddling in Iraq, Yemen, Bleeds into Kerry- Zarif NY Nuclear Talks

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

U.S. officials have acknowledged that Iran-supported Shiite violence in Iraq and Yemen has been influencing the talks between the U.S. and Iran on the latter’s nuclear program, AFP reported.

Secretary of State John Kerry said before his Monday talk with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that he was “confident that Yemen will be mentioned certainly, because Iran is obviously a supportive party to the Houthis.”

Kerry told reporters: “I will certainly urge that everybody do their part to try to reduce the violence and allow the negotiations to begin,” putting the blame for the Yemen situation on “external parties and proxies.”

Iran and the P5+1 group are negotiating against the clock, which ticks its final tock on June 30.

Kerry and Zarif met at the home of Iran’s permanent representative to the UN, after both had addressed a UN conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Kerry told the conference that “the vast majority of the world has come to the conclusion — united around the belief that nuclear weapons should one day be eliminated. Today the race to nuclear arms that once sparked the fear of imminent Armageddon in billions of human beings and hearts, that has been supplanted in a wary but steady march… toward the promise of peace.”

That’s if one doesn’t count the Saudis, whose response to the U.S. treaty talks with Iran has been a vow to get its own nuclear weapons, most likely from Pakistan.

“If we can get there, the entire world will be safer,” Kerry insisted, not addressing the possibility of a Middle East nuclear arms race and war directly resulting from his success.

Iranian Warships Halt near Yemen Port

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Iranian warships neared the southern Yemen port of Aden Thursday despite the presence of several U.S. warships in the area as well. It is believed the Iranian vessels are carrying weapons to re-arm the Shiite Houthi rebels who have seized control over the port city and the nation’s capital, Sa’ana.

The Iranian vessels since have stopped approaching Aden, but reports that they have turned back have not been confirmed,.

Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, said Wednesday that his nation’s air force had achieved its objectives and has concluded its bombing campaign.

“We destroyed the air force, we destroyed their ballistic missiles as far as we know; we destroyed their command and control; we destroyed much, if not most of their heavy equipment and we made it very difficult for them to move from a strategic perspective,” al-Jubeir said. He added that Saudi forces had “eliminated the threat they posed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” but . said that in the long run, there is “no military solution” to the conflict.

According to the World Health Organization, 1,080 people have been killed in the past month in Yemen, and 4,352 others have been wounded.

Coalition warplanes picked up where Saudi Arabian air force pilots left off and continued on Thursday to pound Houthi rebels in southern Yemen. The international forces targeted rebel positions in Aden and the central city of Taiz, according to Voice of America.

A severe humanitarian crisis has been created in the war-torn region, according to VOA, but the Shi’ite rebels still remain. Yemen President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi has fled for his life to Saudi Arabia.

Although Iran claimed that it welcomes an end to “killing innocent and defenseless civilians” and seeks a political resolution to the conflict, its warships laden with arms for the rebels– as usual – tell a different story.

US Warship Steaming to Head Off Iranian Supply Ships for Yemen

Monday, April 20th, 2015

The U.S.S. carrier Theodore Roosevelt is heading towards the Yemeni shore to join with other American ships preparing to intercept Iranian vessels, Fox News reported on Monday, April 20.

It is believed that Iranian ships are carryng weapons to the Houthi rebels who overthrew the U.S.-backed Yemeni government last month. The Iranian-backed Houthis are attempting to gain control over Yemen.

There are currently approximately nine U.S. warships in the waters near Yemen, including cruisers and destroyers.

Saudis and Egypt Considering Large Scale Military Exercise

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Saudi Arabia and Egypt are considering holding large scale military exercise, according to a Gulf Today report.

The two countries would run the training exercise in Saudi Arabia.

This could be a lead-up to a joint ground offensive in Yemen against the Iranian-backed Houthis.

El-Sisi: Egypt Will Keep Bab-el-Mandeb Open

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

Egyptian President abdel El-Sisi said on Saturday that Egypt will ensure that the El-Mandab strait remains open for traffic, stating, “El-Mandab strait is Egyptian and Arab national security,” according to an Al Ahram report.

Iranian supported Houthi rebels are trying to take over Yemen.

If Iran blocks the El-Mandab strait it would directly and disastrously affect Egypt’s Suez Canal traffic, which is Egypt’s main sources of income.

The Bab-el-Mandeb is a strait located between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, and Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa. It connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. It is sometimes called the Mandab Strait. The Bab-el-Mandeb acts as a strategic link between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, via the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. In 2006, an estimated 3.3 million barrels (520,000 m3) of oil passed through the strait per day, out of a world total of about 43 million barrels per day (6,800,000 m3/d) moved by tankers, according to Wikipedia.

Since the Saudi led intervention in Yemen began, Egypt has sent air and sea support to the region, but no ground troops as of yet. Sending ground troops has not been ruled out, if needed.

El-Sisi vowed to support the Arab Gulf countries, “Our benefit is in the security and stability of the Arab countries, and the whole world if possible… We will not let down our brotherly Gulf countries.”

Obama Stops Punishing Egypt for Dumping Muslim Brotherhood Prez

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

When the people of Egypt decided to overthrow its (allegedly) democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi through a military coup, the United States was not pleased.

Never mind that Morsi, during his exceptionally short 11-month tenure as president, tore up the old constitution and began replacing it with a strict Islamist document that would hurtle Egypt back through time, negating any progress in the area of human and equal rights.

Nope. Obama and his crowd was not interested in punishing Morsi, an anti-West, anti-modernity Egyptian leader who had attained power through the revolutionary crucible of what was initially believed to be an “Arab spring.”

Instead, the U.S. punished the new democratically-elected leader, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, as his rise to power was via the military. Sisi’s, unlike Morsi’s, was not a pure people’s revolutionary paroxysm and therefore was not embraced. The U.S. punished Egypt for this unacceptable folly by imposing an arms freeze.

But on Tuesday, March 31, the White House announced that it was lifting that arms freeze. The U.S. removed its hold on the delivery of F-16 aircraft, Harpoon missiles and M1A1 tank kits, according to the New York Times.

It only took two years, but U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone with Sisi on Tuesday, informing the Egyptian leader that the $1.3 billion annual military assistance to Egypt would continue, despite the 2013 military coup.

In a Middle East realignment that was not what Obama envisioned nor encouraged, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have become the military counterbalances to Iran’s creeping hegemony in the region.

The Saudi Kingdom has been bombing the Iranian-backed revolutionaries in neighboring Yemen, and Egypt has hinted that it may soon send in ground troops to support the Saudi air campaign.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-stops-punishing-egypt-for-dumping-muslim-brotherhood-prez/2015/04/01/

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