Posts Tagged ‘Yemen’

Saudi Arabia backs new UN move to condemn Iran

February 19, 2018

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir gives a speech during the Munich Security Conference on February 18, 2018 in Munich, southern Germany. (AFP)
MUNICH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday welcomed a draft United Nations resolution offered by Britain, the United States and France that would condemn Iran for failing to stop its ballistic missiles from falling into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi group.
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Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told Reuters the measure, if passed, would help hold Iran accountable for what he described as its “exports of ballistic missiles” to the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, and “radical and aggressive” behavior in the region, including support for terrorist groups.
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A proxy war is playing out in Yemen between Iran and US ally Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting Iran-allied Houthi rebels. Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with weapons.
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“In order to ensure than Iran comports itself with international law, we must have firmer positions with regards to ballistic missiles and with regards to Iran’s support for terrorism,” Al-Jubeir said in an interview during the annual Munich Security Conference. “Iran must be held accountable.”
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He said Iranian missiles were regularly used by Houthis “to target civilians in Yemen as well as inside Saudi Arabia.”
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Al-Jubeir also called for changes to two aspects of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran — cancelation of a so-called sunset provision, and expanded inspections to include non-declared and military sites.
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The draft UN resolution, which needs to be adopted by Feb. 26, is likely to face resistance from Russia. A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain to pass.
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Al-Jubeir said he hoped Russia could be persuaded to support the measure.
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The draft text to renew UN sanctions on Yemen for another year would also allow the 15-member council to impose targeted sanctions for “any activity related to the use of ballistic missiles in Yemen.” Britain drafted the resolution in consultation with the United States and France before giving it to the full council on Friday, diplomats said.
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US President Donald Trump’s administration has been lobbying for months for Iran to be held accountable at the United Nations, while at the same time threatening to quit a 2015 deal among world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program if “disastrous flaws” are not fixed.
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Independent UN experts monitoring the sanctions on Yemen reported to the Security Council in January that they had found missile remnants that are of Iranian origin, and “were brought into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo.”
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The experts said they had “no evidence as to the identity of the supplier, or any intermediary third party” of the missiles fired by the Houthis into neighboring Saudi Arabia, but said Iran had violated sanctions by failing to prevent supply, sale or transfer of the missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

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UAE intercepts Houthi missile fired toward Mokha in Yemen

February 18, 2018

This file photo shows the UAE armed forces, operating within the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, in Yemen. The UAE intercepted a ballistic missile launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Mokha, southern Yemen. (AFP)
MOKHA, Yemen: The UAE armed forces, operating within the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, on Sunday intercepted a ballistic missile launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia.
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The missile, which was intercepted by the UAE’s Patriot Missile Defense System, was fired toward Mokha in the Taiz governorate, according to UAE state news agency WAM.
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The coalition fighters also destroyed a ballistic missile launchpad belonging to the Houthis near Hodeidah airport, where rebels were preparing to launch a missile.
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Yemen’s National Army forces also made progress in regaining control of the territory, following a collapse among the Houthi ranks and mass retreats by militants, WAM reported.
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Meanwhile, coalition forces continued to attack strongholds of the Houthi militias and conduct air raids on vital areas between Hays and Al-Jarrahi in the south of Hodeidah governorate on Yemen’s Red Sea Coast.
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The raids led to numerous lives lost and damaged the Houthi equipment, as the forces loyal to the legitimate Yemeni government blocked their attempts to infiltrate liberated areas.
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An official source from the Yemeni Resistance told WAM that the Arab Coalition Forces carried out air raids last night on areas where militias were gathering in Al-Hameli, Mawza District, and east of Khalid bin Al Walid camp, destroying their military equipment and weapons.
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The source added that the Arab Coalition Forces are still clearing pockets of Houthi militias in areas between eastern Mokha and Hays, while highlighting the violations and crimes carried out by the militias.
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The UAE Armed Forces are providing military and logistical support to ground, air and maritime operations, as part of the Arab Coalition Forces.
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 http://www.arabnews.com/node/1249171/middle-east
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Clashes leave 27 dead as Yemen troops target Al-Qaeda

February 18, 2018

AFP

© AFP/File | A Yemeni fighter loyal to the Saudi-backed Yemeni president stands next to an army Toyota pickup truck in 2017

ADEN (AFP) – Eight soldiers and 19 suspected members of Al-Qaeda were killed in Yemen on Sunday, as the army launched an offensive against key outposts of the extremists, a military official said.General Faraj al-Bahsani, governor of Hadramawt province, told AFP the army had taken control of the Mesini Valley west of Mukalla, a central site for Al-Qaeda in southeast of the country.

Mukalla was the most populated Yemeni city under direct Al-Qaeda control from 2015 to 2016, when the army and its regional military allies seized control of the port city.

Special forces trained by the United Arab Emirates — a key member of a Saudi-led alliance fighting alongside Yemen’s government forces — over the weekend launched the offensive, codenamed “Al-Faisal”, against Al-Qaeda cells in oil-rich Hadramawt province.

Two soldiers were killed on Saturday in the offensive, which targets the Mesini and Amed Valleys — both in the vast province of Hadramawt and home to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The two valleys are critical to control over Yemen’s southeastern coastline.

More than 9,200 people have been killed in the Yemen war since 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition joined the government’s fight against Iran-backed Huthi rebels.

Radical groups, including AQAP and the Islamic State group, have flourished in the chaos of the war, regularly launching attacks on government and military targets.

The United States, the only force known to operate armed drones over Yemen, has ramped up a long-running campaign against AQAP since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.

Saudi Arabia welcomes push for U.N. action against Iran on missiles

February 18, 2018

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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks during an interview with Reuters in Munich, Germany, February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski Reuters

Reuters

By Andrea Shalal

MUNICH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia on Sunday welcomed a draft United Nations resolution offered by Britain, the United States and France that would condemn Iran for failing to stop its ballistic missiles from falling into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi group.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Reuters the measure, if passed, would help hold Iran accountable for what he described as its “exports of ballistic missiles” to the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, and “radical and aggressive” behavior in the region, including support for terrorist groups.

A proxy war is playing out in Yemen between Iran and U.S. ally Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting Iran-allied Houthi rebels. Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with weapons.

“In order to ensure than Iran comports itself with international law, we must have firmer positions with regards to ballistic missiles and with regards to Iran’s support for terrorism,” al-Jubeir said in an interview during the annual Munich Security Conference. “Iran must be held accountable.”

He said Iranian missiles were regularly used by Houthis “to target civilians in Yemen as well as inside Saudi Arabia.”

Al-Jubeir also called for changes to two aspects of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran – cancellation of a so-called sunset provision, and expanded inspections to include non-declared and military sites.

The draft U.N. resolution, which needs to be adopted by Feb. 26, is likely to face resistance from Russia. A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain to pass.

Al-Jubeir said he hoped Russia could be persuaded to support the measure.

The draft text to renew U.N. sanctions on Yemen for another year would also allow the 15-member council to impose targeted sanctions for “any activity related to the use of ballistic missiles in Yemen.” Britain drafted the resolution in consultation with the United States and France before giving it to the full council on Friday, diplomats said.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has been lobbying for months for Iran to be held accountable at the United Nations, while at the same time threatening to quit a 2015 deal among world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program if “disastrous flaws” are not fixed.

Independent U.N. experts monitoring the sanctions on Yemen reported to the Security Council in January that they had found missile remnants that are of Iranian origin, and “were brought into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo.”

The experts said they had “no evidence as to the identity of the supplier, or any intermediary third party” of the missiles fired by the Houthis into neighboring Saudi Arabia, but said Iran had violated sanctions by failing to prevent supply, sale or transfer of the missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Iran’s Zarif says Israel’s ‘myth of invincibility’ has crumbled

February 18, 2018

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad, India, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui Reuters

Reuters

MUNICH (Reuters) – Iran’s Foreign Minister said on Sunday the shooting down of an Israeli jet after it bombed an Iranian site in Syria had shattered Israel’s “so-called invincibility”, reacting to a critical speech delivered earlier by Israel’s premier.

“Israel uses aggression as a policy against its neighbours,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Munich Security Conference, accusing Israel of “mass reprisals against its neighbours and daily incursions into Syria, Lebanon.”

“Once the Syrians have the guts to down one of its planes it’s as if a disaster has happened,” Zarif said.

He was responding to Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the conference hours before, in which the Israeli prime minister, holding a piece of what he said was an Iranian drone, accused Iran of trying to impose an “empire” across the Middle East.

“What has happened in the past several days is the so-called invincibility (of Israel) has crumbled,” Zarif said of Netanyahu’s remarks, which followed the Feb. 10 downing of an Israeli F-16 jet.

David Ivry, a former Israeli Air Force chief, told Reuters earlier this month he believed it was the first time an Israeli F-16 was brought down since Israel began using the jets in the 1980s.

Anti-aircraft fire downed the jet as it was returning from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria.

It was one of at least eight Israeli planes despatched in response to what Israel said was an Iranian drone’s incursion into its airspace earlier on that day.

The jet was hit by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile and crashed in northern Israel, according to an Israeli official.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott and Thomas Escritt)

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Netanyahu says Israel could act against Iran’s ’empire’

February 18, 2018

Reuters

MUNICH (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel would act against Iran, not just its allies in the Middle East, if needed, reiterating his country’s position that Tehran was the world’s greatest threat.

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Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, delivers a speech during the International Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (Sven Hoppe-dpa via AP)

As tensions increase in the Middle East over Iran’s role in Syria and Yemen and as U.S. President Donald Trump presses for a tougher approach on Tehran, Israel is seeking wider support to contain its regional nemesis.

Holding a piece of what he said was an Iranian drone after its incursion into Israeli airspace earlier this month, Netanyahu told the Munich Security Conference: ”Israel will not allow the regime to put a noose of terror around our neck.

“We will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself,” he said.

In his first address to the annual Munich event, which draws security and defense officials and diplomats from across Europe and the United States, Netanyahu urged his audience to counter Iran immediately, displaying a map showing what he said was Iran’s growing presence in the Middle East.

For its part, Iran pushed back. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who also addressed the conference, called Netanyahu’s presentation “a cartoonish circus, which does not even deserve a response”.

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Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Munich, meeting with UK Labour MP Catherine Ashton

Zarif accused the United States of using the conference to “revive hysteria” against Iran, and denied that Tehran was seeking “hegemony” in the Middle East.

But Netanyahu said Iran was increasing its power as a U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria was regaining territory from militants.

“The unfortunate thing is that as ISIS compresses and Iran moves in, it is trying to establish this continuous empire surrounding the Middle East from the south in Yemen but also trying to create a land bridge from Iran to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza,” Netanyahu said.

“This is a very dangerous development for our region.”

Among Israel’s main concerns is Lebanon, where the heavily armed Iran-backed Shi‘ite militia Hezbollah is part of a coalition government. Israel last fought a war against Hezbollah in 2006. Tension between Israel and Lebanon has increased, including over a maritime border dispute.

Lebanon’s Defense Minister, Yacoub Riad Sarraf, who spoke after Netanyahu, said: “Watch out, we will defend ourselves … we also have friends.”

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Lebanon’s Defense Minister, Yacoub Riad Sarraf

Tensions in the region surged on Feb. 10 when anti-aircraft fire downed an Israeli warplane returning from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria.

“PUT OUT THE FIRE”

Netanyahu also reiterated his view, shared by Trump, that world powers needed to scrap or rewrite the 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran that curbs Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions in return for economic sanctions’ relief.

“It’s time to stop them now,” Netanyahu said, without specifying any military action. “They’re aggressive, they are developing ballistic missiles, they’re not inspecting, they have a free highway to massive (uranium) enrichment,” he said of the fuel needed for nuclear weapons.

France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China, which signed the nuclear deal along with Iran and the United States, say the accord cannot be reopened, that it is working and that Iran is allowing inspections.

Russian senator Aleksey Pushkov said that scrapping the agreement was akin to choosing between war and peace, while John Kerry, the former U.S. secretary of state who helped clinch the agreement, said it was wrong to assume that Iran would obtain a nuclear weapon as soon as the 15-year scope of the deal ends.

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John Kerry, former U.S. secretary of state

“If your house is on fire, are you going to refuse to put it out because you are concerned it will light on fire again in 15 years? Or are you going to put it out and use the intervening time to prevent to ever catching fire again?” Kerry said.

Munich Security Conference: Netanyahu, Holding Wreckage of Iranian Drone, Says Israel Will Not Allow Iran ‘Put a Noose of Terror Around Our Neck’

February 18, 2018

Haaretz

More details soon…

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Netanyahu holding up a piece of an Iranian drone shot down last week over Israel.
Netanyahu holding up a piece of an Iranian drone shot down last week over Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Iran is the greatest threat to the world. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, the Israeli premier said Iran was not Nazi Germany, but stated that the two has many similarities.

“Israel will not allow the Iranian regime to put a noose of terror around our neck,” Netanyahu said.

During his speech, Netanyahu held a piece of an Iranian drone Israel shot down last week after it infiltrated its territory.

More details soon…

European Diplomats Aim to Curb Iran Actions, Save Nuclear Deal

February 18, 2018

Talks intended to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to preserve the Iran nuclear deal

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MUNICH—European diplomats met with a senior Iranian official Saturday in a bid to curtail Iran’s regional muscle-flexing and meet a key Trump administration demand.

The push by the European diplomats to check Iranian meddling in Yemen, Syria and other parts of the Middle East is aimed at persuading U.S. President Donald Trump to preserve the Iran nuclear deal and show the U.S. that there are other ways to check Iranian aggression.

Mr. Trump has threatened to kill the Iranian nuclear deal in May, when he must decide whether to keep in place sanctions waivers required under the 2015 agreement. He has made Iran’s regional actions a focus of his foreign policy, committing the U.S. to pushing back Tehran’s regional role.

Saturday’s meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference is a new channel of discussions intended to address Iran’s activity.

Chaired by the European Union, it brings together senior diplomats from Italy, Germany, Britain and France—the E4—and Iran, represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. The focus of Saturday’s discussions was the conflict in Yemen.

The meeting comes as concerns rise about Iran’s role in southern Syria and the possibility of direct conflict there between Iran and Israel.

In Munich on Saturday, U.S. national security adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster said Iran is building a network of proxy forces, like Hezbollah, throughout the region and arming them with increasingly sophisticated weaponry.

“So the time is now…to act against Iran,” Gen. McMaster said.

H. R. McMaster, National security adviser to the US President, delivers his speech on day two of the 54th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany, on Feb. 17, 2018. (AFP)

European governments, who have strongly supported the Iranian nuclear agreement, have pledged to work with Washington to address nonnuclear concerns, such as Iran’s missile program and its regional activities. The U.K., France, Germany and the U.S. set up working groups last month to discuss this although people close to the talks say work is at a very early stage.

At the same time, the Europeans agreed in a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that they would open a channel for discussion of regional issues. Saturday’s meeting was the first one.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

According to officials, European governments are looking to broaden the talks over coming months to cover the conflict in Syria, where Iranian forces and proxies have helped give the Assad regime the upper hand.

Those discussions could include the situation in southern Syria, one of the officials said.

Last weekend, Israel launched attacks on Syrian air defenses and Iranian fighters in Syria after Israel intercepted an Iranian drone fired from Syria. An Israeli jet was shot down during the attacks.

Iran Recruits Afghan and Pakistani Shiites to Fight in Syria

Israel has warned repeatedly it won’t accept an Iranian presence close to its border in southern Syria and said it would strike Iranian built precision missile factories for Hezbollah and other military infrastructure.

On Saturday morning, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned that while the EU would maintain its support for the Iranian nuclear deal, Europe was ready to work with the U.S. against “the destabilizing influence of Iranian policies in the region and to push them back.”

A senior German diplomat said Berlin had warned Tehran after last weekend’s events in southern Syria that Europe could step up pressure if Iran seeks to entrench its presence there.

Most European sanctions against Iran were lifted after the nuclear deal was concluded. France has said Iranian firms or people could be targeted with sanctions over Iran’s missile program.

Iran has refused to enter discussions on ballistic missiles, saying it won’t compromise on its national defense. Iranian officials have said Tehran can’t rein in its missile program when the U.S. is selling arms to regional rivals like Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Trump has also pressed European countries to agree to a follow-up agreement to the nuclear deal that would threaten action if Tehran ramps up its nuclear activities once the original limits start to expire. Iran agreed to scale back its nuclear program under the deal.

European governments have said they won’t renegotiate the nuclear deal. Officials warn that they want firm commitments from Washington that if they address their concerns, Mr. Trump will stand by the deal. There is still uncertainty among European governments about precisely what commitments Washington is demanding to stand by the deal.

In Munich on Saturday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said Washington was seeking “a commitment that we can credibly show to the president (that) we’re making progress to address” flaws in the nuclear deal and to counter Iran’s nonnuclear activities.

He said that could eventually lead to direct talks between the U.S. and Iran but “there will need to be significant progress” in Iranian discussions with Europe first.

Write to Laurence Norman at laurence.norman@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/european-diplomats-aim-to-curb-iran-actions-save-nuclear-deal-1518899767

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Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (AP-Hussein Malla)
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US National Security Adviser McMaster says now is the time to act against Iran

February 17, 2018

 

Herbert Raymond McMaster, National security adviser to the US President, delivers his speech on day two of the 54th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany, on Feb. 17, 2018. (AFP)
MUNICH: Iran is building and arming an increasingly powerful network of proxies in countries like Syria, Yemen and Iraq that can turn against the governments of those states, U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said on Saturday.
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“What’s particularly concerning is that this network of proxies is becoming more and more capable, as Iran seeds more and more …destructive weapons into these networks,” McMaster told the annual Munich Security Conference.
“So the time is now, we think, to act against Iran,” he said.
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With regards to Syria, McMaster told the Conference that, despite denials, public reports showed that Syrian President Bashar Assad was using chemical weapons, and added that it was time for the international community to hold the Syrian government accountable.
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“Public accounts and photos clearly show that Assad’s chemical weapons use is continuing,” McMaster said at the major international security conference taking place in Munich.
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“It is time for all nations to hold the Syrian regime and its sponsors accountable for their actions and support the efforts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” he said.
McMaster did not specify which public accounts or pictures he was referring to.
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French President Emmanuel Macron has said that “France will strike” if chemical weapons are used against civilians in the Syrian conflict in violation of international treaties, but that he had not yet seen proof this was the case.
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The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons and said it targets only armed rebels and militants.
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In recent weeks, rescue workers, aid groups and the United States have accused Syria of repeatedly using chlorine gas as a weapon against civilians in Ghouta and Idlib.
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Earlier this month, Syrian government forces, who are backed by Russia and Iran, bombarded the areas, two of the last major rebel-held parts of Syria.
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Diplomatic efforts have made scant progress toward ending a war now approaching its eighth year, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced half the pre-war Syrian population of 23 million from their homes.

 

Will Netanyahu Scandal Impact Middle east Stability?

February 14, 2018
BY SETH J. FRANTZMAN
 FEBRUARY 14, 2018 18:54

Netanyahu outlasted many of his opponents, from Ahmadinejad in Iran to extremists like Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in Tel Aviv, Israel February 14, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in Tel Aviv, Israel February 14, 2018. (photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)

When news of the corruption scandal affecting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began to be revealed on Wednesday evening, the Middle East was preparing for dinner. In Egypt and Kuwait, major papers reported the scandal on their home pages, but most of the region has remained relatively indifferent. One man from Gaza remarked that Netanyahu’s insistence on staying in office and “talking about conspiracies” reminded him of “some Arab rulers.

It is a testament to Netanyahu’s staying power – almost nine years in office – that he has become one of the stable landmarks of the region.

Those ossifying Arab dictators who were in power when he returned to the Prime Minister’s Office in 2009 – Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen – are gone. Two were brutally murdered. Such was the fate of Arab nationalism.

The region’s rising stars, such as Qatar’s Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (aged 37) and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman in Saudi Arabia (age 32), are young compared to Netanyahu, who is 68. Bashar Assad, who has been in power since 2000, and King Abdullah of Jordan, who assumed the throne in 1999, are both in their 50s. In short, Netanyahu is the elder statesman of the region.

MKs respond to police reccomendations that the AG indict Netanyahu on two accounts of bribery, Febraury 13, 2018. (Reuters)

The corruption scandal casts doubt on his ability to govern in the coming years. For regional actors such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, this presents a problem. Over the past several years there has been a growing sense that Israel and these two Gulf states see the region through a similar lens. They fear Iran and its tentacles. Along with Egypt and Jordan, the two neighboring countries Israel has official peace with, there is a kind of block against the instability that spread with the “Arab Spring” and the rise of Islamic State.

With ISIS mostly defeated in Iraq and Syria, and the US administration seeking to give wind to a post-ISIS Middle East, Israel has a role to play. Netanyahu sought to cast Israel in the role of the realistic state that forgoes idealistic notions of democracy spreading to the region in favor of hard-nosed policies against Iran and talking up fear of Islamist influence. Mr. Security. King Bibi. But corruption and bribery threaten those two pillars of identity.

For Israel’s foreign policy, which has been in Netanyahu’s hands since 2015 as he refuses to relinquish the ministerial portfolio to any rivals, the problems now add up. Iran is near the Golan, and several Shi’a militia leaders from Iraq have recently been in Lebanon. Hezbollah is beating its chest after the downing of an F-16 by Syrian air defense. The “axis of resistance” thinks it smells weakness in Jerusalem. Now all the fears that Netanyahu has played on, his redlines, his constant warnings, could be closer to coming true.

As the Iranian threat manifests itself, the man who was the foremost opponent of it, and someone that some in the region looked to for guidance on the issue, could be leaving power. Nonscientific surveys posted on Twitter show that many in the region fear Iranian influence and quietly applaud when Israel strikes back in Syria. Netanyahu is seen as the driver of that policy, even if under other leadership Israel would likely maintain the same posture.

Netanyahu outlasted many of his opponents, from Ahmadinejad in Iran to extremists like Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. He also outlasted the Obama administration. When US President Donald Trump went to Riyadh to speak and called to drive out Hezbollah and Hamas, it was a speech Netanyahu could have made.

At the precise time that the region seems to be partly cast in his image, his power base in Jerusalem could be teetering. His fall from power would leave the Middle East wondering what comes next and whether Iran and its tentacles might exploit the political process in Israel.

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http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Benjamin-Netanyahu/Will-Netanyahus-scandal-impact-Middle-East-stability-542635

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