Hariri Interview Confirmed Lebanese Impressions about His Resignation: Al-Akhbar

November 13, 2017

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Eight days after his controversial ‘resignation’, the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri held an interview with Future TV aimed at debilitating the suspects cast on his situation in Riyadh as Lebanon’s senior officials and major political parties considered that the premier is under house arrest imposed by Saudi for political reasons.

According to Al-Akhbar newspaper, the interview failed to persuade the Lebanese that Hariri is free and that his resignation was based on a personal will, adding that he appeared to be exhausted and concerned.

The Lebanese daily noted that even the logistical preparations for the interview in addition to the appearance of an unknown Saudi person onstage holding a paper and driving Hariri to look at him increased the Lebanese doubts about his situation.

Hariri announced on November 4 from Riyadh his resignation as a premier in a televised address in which he appeared very tense while reading a statement, which raised prolific questions about the reasons behind his step.

It is worth noting that Hariri was carrying out regularly his scheduled tasks before he was summoned by the Saudi officials to urgently move to Riyadh where he shockingly announced his resignation.

SourceAl-Akhbar Newspaper

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Why ‘Israel’ and Saudi Arabia Are United?

Robert Fisk 

Once upon a time, the Saudi head-choppers and ‘Israeli’ occupiers united into an alliance.

Theresa May


When the wealthiest Saudis fall ill, they have been known to fly into Tel Aviv on their private jets for treatment in the Zionist entity’s finest hospitals. And when Saudi and ‘Israeli’ bombers take to the air, you can be sure they’re going to bomb Shia – in Yemen or Syria respectively.

And when King Salman – or rather Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad – points the finger at Iran as the greatest threat to Gulf security, you can be sure that Bibi Netanyahu will be doing exactly and precisely the same thing, replacing “Gulf security”, of course, with “‘Israeli’ security”. But it’s an odd business when the Saudis set the pace of media suppression only to be supported by that beacon of freedom, democracy, human rights and liberty known in song and legend as ‘Israel’.

For if an unwritten alliance really exists between Saudi Arabia and ‘Israel’, then all options – as US presidents and secretary Hillary Clinton used to say – are “on the table”.

Imprisonment without trial, extrajudicial executions, human rights abuses, corruption, military rule – let’s say this at once: all these characteristics belong to “almost all” Arab nations – and to ‘Israel’ in the lands it occupies.

If you ask why ‘Israel’ has never bombed terrorists based in the Middle East – indeed, ask why ‘Israel’ has given hospital treatment to wounded militants from the al-Nusra terrorist group- in other words, al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11.

Besides, we must not forget that America’s insane President and his weird regime is also part of the Saudi-‘Israeli’ anti-Shiite confederation. Trump’s obscene $350bn arms sales to the Saudis, his fingering of Iran and his hatred of the world’s press and television channels makes him an intimate part of the same alliance.

Indeed, when you look at one of Trump’s saner predecessors – George W Bush, who also hated Iran, kowtowed to the Saudis and actually talked to Tony Blair of bombing Al Jazeera Channel’s headquarters in Qatar, he who made sure the wealthy bin Laden family were flown out of the States after 9/11 – this American-Saudi-‘Israeli’ covenant has a comparatively long history.

Netanyahu wants to close down Al Jazeera’s office in occupied al-Quds. Crown Prince Mohammad wants to close down Al Jazeera’s office in Qatar. Bush actually did bomb Al Jazeera’s offices in Kabul and Baghdad. Theresa May decided to hide a government report on funding terrorism, lest it upset the Saudis – which is precisely the same reason Blair closed down a UK police enquiry into BAE-Saudi bribery 10 years earlier.

And we wonder why we go to war in the Middle East. And we wonder why Daesh [ISIS/ISIL] exists, un-bombed by ‘Israel’, funded by Gulf Arabs, its fellow Sunni Salafists cosseted by our wretched presidents and prime ministers…

Source: The Independent, Edited by website team

11-08-2017 | 15:20

كاتب بريطاني: أثرياء السعودية يطيرون بطائرات خاصة للعلاج في مستشفيات (إسرائيل) الفخمة

نشرت صحيفة “إندبندنت” البريطانية مقالا لمحررها لشؤون الشرق الأوسط، الكاتب البريطاني المعروف روبرت فيسك، تناول خلاله الأزمة الخليجية وتداعياتها الخارجية، كما تناول أيضا قضية غلق قناة “الجزيرة” القطرية.

وقال فيسك، إنه “عندما تطلب السعودية وإسرائيل بغلق قناة “الجزيرة” الفضائية القطرية، فيجب أنها تفعل شيئاً صحيحاً”. و”لكن لا تكن رومانسياً جداً حول هذا الموضوع. فعندما يمرض السعوديون الأثرياء، كان من المعروف أنهم يطيرون إلى تل أبيب على طائراتهم الخاصة لتلقي العلاج في أرقى المستشفيات في إسرائيل. وعندما تقلع المقاتلات السعودية والإسرائيلية إلى الهواء، يمكنك التأكد من أنها سوف تقصف اليمن أو سوريا”.

وأضاف “عندما يشير الملك سلمان — أو بالأحرى ولي العهد السعودي الأمير محمد بن سلمان — بإصبعه على أن إيران هي أكبر تهديد لأمن الخليج، يمكنك أن تتأكد من أن نتنياهو سوف يفعل بالضبط وعلى وجه التحديد نفس الشيء، ولكن يحل محل “أمن الخليج” بطبيعة الحال “الأمن الإسرائيلي”. لكنه عمل غريب عندما يرتبط رفع السعوديون وتيرة قمع وسائل الإعلام بدعم من “منارة الحرية والديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان” إسرائيل ونتنياهو وحكومته”.

ويقول فيسك بسخرية “لذلك دعونا نعرض باختصار آخر مظاهر التسامح الإسرائيلي تجاه حرية التعبير التي نؤيدها جميعا ونعززها ونحبها ونعشقها ونعتبرها حجر الزاوية لديمقراطيتنا وما إلى ذلك، وما إلى ذلك، وما إلى ذلك. خلال هذا الأسبوع، كشف أيوب كارا، وزير الاتصالات الإسرائيلي، عن خطط لسحب تصاريح صحفيي “الجزيرة”، وإغلاق مكتبها في القدس، ووقفها من محطات البث التي تقدم خدمات الكابلات والأقمار الصناعية المحلية”.

ويضيف “اتهم نتنياهو منذ وقت طويل قناة “الجزيرة” بالتحريض على العنف في القدس، وخاصة في تقاريرها عن عمليات القتل الأخيرة في القدس، ولكن كل صحفي أجنبي في “إسرائيل” وخارجها تجرأ على انتقاد الدولة في وقت أو آخر اتهم بالتحريض وكذلك معاداة السامية وغيرها من “الأكاذيب”.

ويقول فيسك “لقد وجدت أنا شخصيا أن تقارير “الجزيرة” من إسرائيل مثيرة للشفقة جداً، لقد كانت تتودد وتبجل بوضوح عندما ظهرت مذيعتها القطرية التي أعربت للمتحدث باسم الحكومة الإسرائيلية على الهواء عن تعازي قناتها في وفاة أرييل شارون، وهو المسؤول عن مذبحة صبرا وشاتيلا التي وقعت في عام 1982 والتي أدت إلى مقتل 1700 فلسطيني”.

ويتابع فيسك في مقاله “مع ذلك اتخذ أيوب كارا نفس موقف زملائه العرب. وقال إن على “إسرائيل” أن تتخذ خطوات ضد “وسائل الإعلام التي تتهمها جميع الدول العربية تقريباً بتأييد الإرهاب”. “إذا كان هناك تحالف غير مكتوب بين المملكة العربية السعودية وإسرائيل، فإن جميع الخيارات — كما قال الرئيس الأمريكي وهيلاري كلينتون — كانت على الطاولة”. “فالسجن دون محاكمة والإعدام خارج نطاق القانون وانتهاكات حقوق الإنسان والفساد والحكم العسكري — كل هذه الخصائص تنتمي إلى “جميع” الدول العربية تقريبا — وإسرائيل في الأراضي التي تحتلها”.

ويضيف “أما بالنسبة لكونها “مؤيدة للإرهاب” (أقتبس من الوزير الإسرائيلي كارا مرة أخرى)، يجب أن نسأل أولا لماذا صدر العرب الخليجيون مقاتليهم وأموالهم إلى الإسلاميين الأكثر شراسة في الشرق الأوسط. ثم نسأل لماذا لم تقصف “إسرائيل” هذه المخلوقات الخبيثة نفسها، بل نسأل لماذا أعطت “إسرائيل” العلاج بالمستشفيات للمقاتلين الجرحى من “جبهة النصرة” أي تنظيم “القاعدة”.

ويتابع فيسك “كما يجب ألا ننسى أن الرئيس الأمريكي ونظامه الغريب هو أيضا جزء من الكونفيدرالية السعودية — الإسرائيلية المناهضة للشيعة. ترامب أبرم صفقات مبيعات أسلحة بـ350 مليار دولار للسعوديين، وموقفه من إيران وكراهيته للصحافة والتلفزيون في العالم يجعله جزءاً حميما من نفس التحالف.

ويضيف “لكن لا يزال هناك إسرائيليون شرفاء يطالبون بدولة للفلسطينيين. وهناك سعوديات متعلمات جيداً يعترضن على “الوهابية المظلمة” التي تأسست عليها مملكتهن، وهناك الملايين من الأميركيين من البحر إلى البحر، الذين لا يعتقدون أن إيران عدوهم ولا السعودية صديقتهم. ولكن المشكلة اليوم في كل من الشرق والغرب هي أن حكوماتنا ليست أصدقائنا. هم مضطهدينا أو أسيادنا، ويقمعون الحقيقة وحلفاء للظالم”.

ويضيف “يريد نتانياهو إغلاق مكتب “الجزيرة” في القدس. وولي العهد السعودي الأمير محمد بن سلمان يريد إغلاق مكتب “الجزيرة” في قطر. بوش فعلا قصف مكاتب “الجزيرة” في كابول وبغداد. وقررت تيريزا ماي إخفاء تقرير حكومي عن تمويل “الإرهاب”، خشية أن يزعج السعوديين — وهذا هو بالضبط السبب الذي أخفاه بلير في تحقيق أجرته الشرطة البريطانية بشأن الرشوة المزعومة من قبل السعودية قبل عشر سنوات”.

“سبوتنيك”

Interview with Flemish priest in Syria: “Putin and Assad saved my life” ~ The Western media coverage of Syria is [according to Father Daniël Maes] the greatest media lie of our time

Source

The Flemish Father Daniël Maes (78) lives in Syria in the sixth-century-old Mar Yakub monastery in the city of Qara, 90 kilometers north of the capital Damascus. Father Daniel has been a witness to the “civil war” and according to him, Western reports on the conflict in Syria are very misleading. In short: “the Americans and their allies want to completely ruin the country”. 


Interviewer: You are very critical of the media coverage on Syria. What is bothering you?

Father Daniel: “The idea that a popular uprising took place against President Assad is completely false. I’ve been in Qara since 2010 and I have seen with my own eyes how agitators from outside Syria organized protests against the government and recruited young people. That was filmed and aired by Al Jazeera to give the impression that a rebellion was taking place. Murders were committed by foreign terrorists, against the Sunni and Christian communities, in an effort to sow religious and ethnic discord among the Syrian people. While in my experience, the Syrian people were actually very united”.


Comment: Notice that Al Jazeera did the exact same thing in Libya:

Behind the Headlines: NATO Slaughter – James and Joanne Moriarty expose the truth about what happened in Libya

If you were a journalist in Libya during this time you were relatively safe; not because these animals respected journalists as neutral observers, but because the journalists were on their side. The Moriartys have evidence of embedded journalists, not least from Qatar-owned Al Jazeera, whose staff were among the terrorists from day one, personally calling in airstrikes and working side-by-side with the terrorists.


Father Daniel: Before the war, this was a harmonious country: a secular state in which different religious communities lived side by side peacefully. There was hardly any poverty, education was free, and health care was goodIt was only not possible to freely express your political views. But most people did not care about that.”

Interviewer: Sister Agnès-Mariam, the Lebanese-French prioress of your Mar Yakub (“Saint Jacob”) monastery, is accused of siding with the regime. She has friends at the highest level. 

Father Daniel: “Sister Agnès-Mariam helps the population: she has recently opened a soup kitchen in Aleppo, where 25,000 meals are prepared five times a week. Look, it is miraculous that we are still alive. We owe that to the army of Assad’s government and to Vladimir Putin, because he decided to intervene when the rebels threatened to take power.


Comment: See also: John Kerry admits that Russia entered Syrian war to stop ISIS, U.S. used ISIS to pressure Assad


Father Daniel: When thousands of terrorists settled in Qara, we became afraid for our lives. They came from the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Turkey, Libya, there were many Chechens. They formed a foreign occupation force, all allied to al-Qaeda and other terrorists. Armed to the teeth by the West and their allies with the intention to act against us, they literally said: “This country belongs to us now.” Often, they were drugged, they fought each other, in the evening they fired randomly. We had to hide in the crypts of the monastery for a long time. When the Syrian army chased them away, everybody was happy: the Syrian citizens because they hate the foreign rebels, and we because peace had returned.”

Interviewer: You say that the Syrian Army protects civilians, yet there are all sorts of reports about war crimes committed by Assad’s forces, such as the bombardments with barrel bombs.

Father Daniel: “Do you not know that the media coverage on Syria is the biggest media lie of our time? They have sold pure nonsense about Assad: It was actually the rebels who plundered and killedDo you think that the Syrian people are stupid? Do you think those people were forced to cheer for Assad and Putin? It is the Americans who have a hand in all of this, for pipelines and natural resources in this region and to thwart Putin.”

Saudi Arabia and Qatar want to establish a Sunni state in Syria, without religious freedom. Therefore, Assad must go. You know, when the Syrian army was preparing for the battle in Aleppo, Muslim soldiers came to me to be blessed. Between ordinary Muslims and Christians, there is no problem. It is those radical Islamic, Western-backed rebels who want to massacre us. They are all al Qaeda and IS. There are not any moderate fighters anymore.

Interviewer: You once mentioned Hillary Clinton to be a ‘devil in holy water’, because as foreign minister, she deliberately worsened the conflict.

Father Daniel: “I am happy with Trump. He sees what every normal person understands: That the United States should stop undermining countries which possess natural resources. The Americans’ attempt to impose a unipolar world is the biggest problem. Trump understands that radical Islam is a bigger threat than Russia.

What do I care whether he occasionally takes off his pants? If Trump practices geopolitics the way he has promised to do so, then the future looks bright. Then it will become similar to Putin’s approach. And hopefully then, there will be a solution for Syria, and peace will return.

Interviewer: You understand that your analysis is controversial and will encounter much criticism?

Father Daniel: “I speak from personal observation. And no one has to believe me, right? But I know one thing: The media can either contribute to the massacre of the Syrian people or help the Syrian people, with their media coverage. Unfortunately, there are too many followers and cowards among journalists”.


RELATED:

Father Daniël Maes (78):
“Western media spreading lies on Syria and Western governments are in alliance with radical Islamists who completely ruining the country”


http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=35.003003&lon=38.430176&z=7&m=bs

click on map to enlarge ~ here for the original link


SOURCES:
Sott.net for the English translation
Original version here 
Submitted by Flyingcuttlefish and SyrianPatriots
War Press Info Network at:
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/putin-assad-saved-life/
~
Re-publications are welcome, but we kindly ask you,
to facilitate the correct information's diffusion,
to cite all these original links and sources.

Saudi Arabia is Weakening US Influence in the Middle East

Saudi Arabia is Weakening US Influence in the Middle East

FEDERICO PIERACCINI | 29.06.2017 | WORLD

Saudi Arabia is Weakening US Influence in the Middle East

As widely anticipated, tensions between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are slowly corroding the unity of Washington’s allies in the Middle East

In a series of almost unprecedented events among Washington’s regional allies, the crisis between Saudi Arabia and Qatar seems to worsen by the day. The long-awaited list of demands presented to Doha by Riyadh seem to be intentionally impractical, as if to oblige Qatar to plead guilty to the crimes alleged by the Saudi kingdom or face the consequences, still unknown.

The surreal requests start with demands to close the international television network Al Jazeera, as well as halt the financing of the Muslim Brotherhood. At the heart of the issue remains the question of political and diplomatic relations with Iran, the bane of the Saudi royal family’s existence. The House of Thani that controls Qatar has until July 3 to accept all the demands presented. At the moment, Doha seems to be sending mixed messages, announcing that it wants to evaluate the Saudis’ proposals, but also letting it be known that most of the demands are «not reasonable».

Another interesting tidbit concerns the removal of Muhammed bin Nayef by the Saudi king as his successor to the throne. Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the young 31-year-old nephew, replaces Muhammed bin Nayef, the former Crown Prince and major ally of the CIA and European and American governments. Mohammad bin Salman is currently the most controversial figure in the Middle East. Responsible for the devastating war in Yemen and the desperate financial state of Riyadh’s finances, he oscillates between his Vision 2030 and an anti-Iranian preoccupation that is likely to bring his kingdom to bankruptcy. In Yemen, he waged a military campaign costing in the tens of billions of dollars, only to lose against the poorest Arab country in the world. His irrational anti-Iranian stance has even led him to risk a conflict within the GCC (thanks to the precious lobbying role of the UAE ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba) over the excessive freedom of Doha’s foreign policy.

Initially, this disaster appeared to be limited only to the two Gulf nations, with Trump’s Twitter account signalling Washington’s immediate backing of Mohammad bin Salman’s crusade against Iran and Qatar. The severity of the situation was immediately perceived by Turkey. Ankara and Doha have always played a leading role in the Muslim Brotherhood, a religious group that Riyadh considers to be terrorist organization and a threat to their Salafi realm.

Turkey reiterated its support for the House of Al Thani by deploying about 3,000 military personal to Doha in the country’s new military base, at the same time dismissing as «useless and unresponsive» the Saudis’ requests to abandon the base and withdraw their troops. In a series of unprecedented moves, bin Salman mooted the possibility of supporting Kurdish troops in Iraq and Syria if Ankara should continue to support Doha. What once seemed to be an indissoluble union between Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia today presents far more than fracture and tension, all to the benefit of the likes of Iran and Russia fighting terrorism in Syria alongside the legitimate government in Damascus. It is a nightmare for those like the United States who hoped to continue to impose their will on the Middle East through the blind obedience of certain vassals like Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. With each one battling the other, the US’s role becomes much more complicated to influence events.

Tensions between Washington’s allies are creating a situation of all against all, indeed a sense and feeling that is all too commonly reflected in Washington these days. After days of silence, the State Department and the Pentagon expressed their support for Qatar, contradicting the President’s indications that Qatar was a terrorist-financing state. Confusion and contradictions in the United States are increasingly having a destabilizing effect, showing a country without a strategic direction. The State Department has strongly criticized Saudi Arabia for its attitude towards Qatar over the last two weeks. This is by no means surprising, as the US Department of State is still infiltrated by former Obama administration loyalists, who themselves are heavily tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, as was the former nominee Hillary Clinton together with her trusted assistant Huma Abedin. The Pentagon, in this deep-state civil war, considers Qatar primarily from a tactical perspective: 90% of US aircraft directed against Syria take off from the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. The sale of $12 billion worth of jets to Qatar is evidence that Qatar is one of the military-industrial complex’s best customers. The contradictory messages emanating from this US administration, unable to speak with one voice, continues to destabilize America’s closest allies in the region.

Another move that has certainly not gone unnoticed concerns the deployment of several Israeli tactical and operational aircraft in Saudi Arabia. The process of rapprochement between these two nations continues unabated, creating even more distrust in the region.

What now seems irreversible is the attitude of Doha’s authorities, who seem to have decided to use this opportunity to chart their own course independently of Riyadh. The Qatar Airways CEO, when interviewed by Al Jazeera, reiterated that, thanks to Iran, there is a chance for the operator to circumvent the skies illegally closed to it by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The CEO, when questioned on how he would proceed given the expected huge losses, stated that the company intends to broaden its horizons towards new routes so far unexplored.

Saudi tactics are likely to create difficulties and problems for Qatar, even with support from Iran and other regional countries. For the moment, Doha’s ships carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) continue to operate freely. In a country that receives almost 90% of its revenue from the sale of LNG, blocking its ships would mean pushing Qatar into a corner, a state of affairs that would closer resemble conventional warfare. Bin Salman’s inexperience and bungling will end up creating problems with Egypt, which currently allows transit of Qatar’s LNG through the Suez Canal to reach the Mediterranean and deliver gas to European customers. A request from Riyadh to Cairo to block Qatari ships would hardly be accepted, creating further fractures and tensions among those participating in the blockade of Qatar.

Perhaps Trump has only now realized how unhelpful these rifts are to his Arab NATO plan. If Turkey and Israel are on opposite sides, and Qatar and Saudi Arabia are on the verge of a war, it is unlikely that Washington could continue to try impose its strategic vision in all the Middle East in the intention of safeguarding its interests.

In this chaotic mess for the US and it’s allies, as always, the axis of the Shiite resistance benefits the most, especially in Syria with the advancement of Assad’s troops in the province of Deir ez-Zor, after almost five years of its absence there. Where Turkey, Iran and Russia have achieved ceasefire agreements, signed in Astana, the majority of remaining problems lie with the terrorist groups supported by Qatar and Turkey or Saudi Arabia. In addition to a series of skirmishes a few days ago, mistrust and the swapping of sides seem to be on the agenda, with Syria decreasingly under the control of terrorists and the prospect of the entire country being liberated coming into vision.

Washington is once again getting itself into an almost unprecedented situation. Whether or not Trump has given his blessing to Saudi Arabia’s actions against Qatar, what matters are the consequences for the region. Iran seems to play more and more the role of a moderate force ready to engage in dialogue with all parties. The Saudi attitude is likely to disaffect two strategic partners, Turkey and Egypt, with the latter ready to abandon the Saudis if pushed too far. Turkey, after intense Russian diplomatic efforts, seems to be on the verge of abandoning its support for anti-Assad forces, but prudence dictates that it tarries awhile before proceeding with these changes. Erdogan has often played a double or triple game.

Bin Salman’s strategy began with the Yemen war, continued with hostility against Qatar, and is now culminating with his appointment as Crown Prince. Trump seems to have climbed onto the chariot of losers, and now it is harder than ever to support a loose cannon like bin Salman who seems to show little hesitation in destroying his kingdom as well as undoing fundamental relations among Washington’s allies.

It is a struggle against time for the American deep state in fight against itself and spinning around in conflict. The risks of Bin Salman’s disruptive actions and Trump’s incompetence could have unimaginable consequences, as the possible collapse of the whole Anglo-American Middle East architecture constructed over a hundred years of wars and abuses.

UAE Asked US to Bomb Al Jazeera, Says 2003 Cable

By Alex MacDonald

Diplomatic cable, published by Wikileaks, refers to Mohammed bin Zayed asking for Qatari channel to be targeted

By Alex MacDonald

June 28, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Abu Dhabi’s crown prince asked the US to bomb Al Jazeera as America was planning its invasion of Iraq, according to a diplomatic cable detailing his conversation with a top US state department mandarin.

According to the cable, Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) “laughingly recalled” to Richard Hass a conversation between his father, Sheikh Zayed, and the emir of Qatar, Hamad Al-Thani, in which Hamad had complained MBZ had asked for the US “to bomb Al Jazeera”.

“According to MBZ, Zayed [his father] derisively responded: ‘Do you blame him?'”

In his comments, made in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, MBZ warned that public opinion in the Arab world over the invasion – which he described as “containable” if the war was short and efficient – could be heavily inflamed by the Qatar TV network’s coverage and advised that its influence be reined in.

MBZ said

“it was a mystery to him why the Qataris continued to inflame public opinion” through Al Jazeera… “and suggested that the US use its weight to pressure Doha”.

The cable added that MBZ had “emphasised the need for US engagement with the Qataris to rein in Al Jazeera”.

In April 2003, the Al-Jazeera office in Baghdad was struck by a US missile killing one staff member and wounding another, though a US Central Command spokesman told BBC News the station “was not and never had been a target.”  In 2001 the station’s Kabul office was hit by two bombs in another US attack, although there were no casualties.

The statement appears to show decades-long emnity between Qatar and the UAE over Al Jazeera, which has boiled to the surface once again with a Saudi, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt-led blockade of Qatar and demands to close the network down.

Last week Riyadh laid down a list of 13 demands for Qatar, which also included ending Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutting of a Turkish military base outside Doha.

According to the cable, however, MBZ downplayed tensions between the Saudis and Qataris, noting the two populations “share Wahhabi roots”.

More concerning, he said, were UAE-Saudi relations, which MBZ reportedly described as “far more complex”.

He drew his attention to Abu Dhabi’s “nagging bilateral border dispute with Riyadh (the al-Shayba oil field)”.

“Nevertheless, the ever pragmatic Emiratis recognised the need to deal with the Saudis and have thus maintained good relations with Riyadh.”

However, the cable noted that MBZ took a “dim view” – in one case literally – of some senior members of the Saudi government – “sardonically noting that interior minister Nayef’s bumbling manner suggested that ‘Darwin was right’,” and went on to say that King Fahd was not “in complete control of his faculties”.

Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud is the father of Mohammed bin Nayef – who was last week stripped of his position of crown prince by the king, Salman, who instated his son Mohammed bin Salman as heir.

Bin Nayef is thought to have held personal antipathy to MBZ.

Recently leaked emails sent from the Emirati ambassador to the US indicated that the UAE was involved in trying to move bin Salman into a position of power in Saudi Arabia.

“I think we should all agree these changes in Saudi are much needed,” said Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the US.

“Our job now is to do everything possible to ensure MBS succeeds.”

The 2003 cable also highlights MBZ’s then apparent tacit support for the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, whose removal from power the Gulf nations are now officially committed to.

MBZ “encouraged continued USG (US government) engagement with Bashar, noting that otherwise, ‘the wrong guys’ will fill the vacuum.”

“In MBZ’s estimation, Bashar is active and ‘wants to do good,’ although his relative youth and inexperience are real drawbacks.”

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Top Senator to Block US Arms Sales to Gulf

Local Editor

27-06-2017 | 11:02

An influential US senator said he will withhold consent for arms sales to Gulf Arab states until there is a “path forward” to resolving the Qatar crisis.

Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee

Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, warned that efforts to fight the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”] and counter Iran were being hurt.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut air, sea and land links with Qatar three weeks ago.

They accused Qatar of aiding terrorist groups – charges it denied.

On Friday, the emirate was presented with a 13-point list of demands to end the crisis that included shutting down the al-Jazeera news network, cutting ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and curbing diplomatic relations with Iran.

A government spokesman in Doha said the list confirmed that “the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism – it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy”.

The restrictions had caused turmoil in the oil- and gas-rich nation, which is dependent on imports to meet the basic needs of its population of 2.7 million.

President Donald Trump initially expressed his support for the actions taken against Qatar despite it hosting the largest US military base in the Middle East.

But his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, acknowledged on Sunday that some of the demands issued by its neighbors would “be very difficult to meet” and called for “dialogue leading to resolution”.

In a letter sent to Tillerson on Monday, Corker said he had been pleased with Trump’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia, where he attended a summit of the Gulf Co-operation Council.

The Republican noted that the president had agreed with the GCC’s six member states, including Qatar, to “ease regional conflicts” and establish “deeper security co-operation”.

“Unfortunately, the GCC did not take advantage of the summit and instead chose to devolve into conflict,” he added.

“All countries in the region need to do more to combat terrorism, but recent disputes among the GCC countries only serve to hurt efforts to fight [‘ISIS’] and counter Iran.”

“For these reasons, before we provide any further clearances during the informal review period on sales of lethal military equipment to the GCC states, we need a better understanding of the path to resolve the current dispute and reunify the GCC.”

Under US law, Congress must be formally notified 30 days before the sale of any weapons to foreign governments, giving lawmakers time to block it if they object.

Last month, a resolution seeking to stop the sale of about $500m [£393m] of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia for use in its aggression on Yemen conflict – part of a $110bn [£86bn] arms deal negotiated by Trump in Riyadh – was only narrowly defeated in the Senate by 53 votes to 47.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

 

Middle East Rapidly Heading To Another Military Conflict. Threat Of Global War Growing

24.06.2017

Middle East Rapidly Heading To Another Military Conflict. Threat Of Global War Growing

Saudi Arabia and its allies have presented Qatar with a 13-point list of demands, incuding shutting the Al-Jazeera TV network, cutting back diplomatic ties with Iran, severing relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and ending the urkish military presence in Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain issued the ultimatum on June 23 and gave Qatar 10 days to respond. This ultimatum amounts to calling for a total capitulation. If Qatar rejects it, the Saudi-led block may consider “other options” in solving the ongoing Qatar crisis. It may attempt to use a military force against the Arab nation or to implement a “cold war” approach against Doha.

On Saturday, Qatar confirmed that it is reviewing the presented demands.

“We are reviewing these demands out of respect for … regional security and there will be an official response from our ministry of foreign affairs,” Sheikh Saif al-Thani, the director of Qatar’s government communications office, said.

BBC reported:

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had asked the four countries to make their demands “reasonable and actionable”.

However, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, quoted by Al-Jazeera, said: “The US secretary of state recently called upon the blockading nations to produce a list of grievances that was ‘reasonable and actionable’.

“The British foreign secretary asked that the demands be ‘measured and realistic.’ This list does not satisfy that [sic] criteria.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have little options to step back following the release of their ultimatum to Qatar. If the Saudi-led block fails, this will lead to a dramatic fall of their public image and political influence in the Arab world.

It’s unlikely that Saudi Arabia and its allies didn’t consider various scenarious of conflict and hold consultations with the US before issuing of the ultimatum.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman appointed his son Mohammad Bin Salman as his successor instead of Mohammad Bin Nayef. This fact was very likely linked with the confrontation against Qatar.

The question is what kind of measures are the Saudis and their allies ready to implement? The Middle East is rapidly heading to another military conflict and a threat of another global war is growing with it.

 

Qatar Crisis
 According to the Qatari state-run media outlet Al-Jazeera, the list of demands includes:

1) Scale down diplomatic ties with Iran and close the Iranian diplomatic missions in Qatar, expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and cut off military and intelligence cooperation with Iran. Trade and commerce with Iran must comply with US and international sanctions in a manner that does not jeopardise the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

2) Immediately shut down the Turkish military base, which is currently under construction, and halt military cooperation with Turkey inside of Qatar.

3) Sever ties to all “terrorist, sectarian and ideological organisations,” specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIL, al-Qaeda, Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as the Nusra Front) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Formally declare these entities as terror groups as per the list announced by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt, and concur with all future updates of this list.

4) Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, US and other countries.

5) Hand over “terrorist figures”, fugitives and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.

6) Shut down Al Jazeera and its affiliate stations.

7) End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.

8) Pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.

9) Align Qatar’s military, political, social and economic policies with the other Gulf and Arab countries, as well as on economic matters, as per the 2014 agreement reached with Saudi Arabia.

10) Cease contact with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over files detailing Qatar’s prior contact with and support for opposition groups, and submit details of their personal information and the support Qatar has provided them.

11) Shut down all news outlets funded directly and indirectly by Qatar, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye, etc.

12) Agree to all the demands within 10 days of list being submitted to Qatar, or the list will become invalid.

13) Consent to monthly compliance audits in the first year after agreeing to the demands, followed by quarterly audits in the second year, and annual audits in the following 10 years.

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