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Saudis failing to repel Yemeni drone strikes despite US-supplied Patriot system: UAE report

Press TV – August 23, 2019

Saudi Arabia has failed to repel Yemen’s retaliatory drone strikes despite relying on the US Patriot air defense system, a matter which has caused a slump in Saudi troop morale, according to a UAE intelligence report.

The UAE report revealed critical weaknesses in Saudi Arabia’s ability to thwart the retaliatory attacks, London-based Middle East Eye (MEE) news outlet reported.

The damning report, issued originally in May, had a limited publication intended for top Emirati leadership by the Emirates Policy Center (EPC), a think tank close to the Emirati government and its security services.

“Air defenses such as the Patriot are not capable of spotting these drones because the systems are designed to intercept long and medium range Scud missiles,” the report wrote.

The intelligence assessment highlighted an instance where Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Najran airport, which is used in Riyadh’s operations against Yemen, was hit by Yemeni drones despite the deployment of a Patriot battery.

Riyadh launched a devastating war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing Houthis.

Yemen’s resistance, however, has pushed the Saudi war to a stalemate, with Yemeni forces increasingly using sophisticated weaponry in retaliatory attacks against the Saudi-led coalition.

Referring possibly to a deadly Yemeni drone attack on a large air base occupied by Saudi mercenaries in the southwestern Lahij province in January, the EPC report highlighted the Saudi failure to thwart such attacks.

“The attack on the Lahij Military Base demonstrates a weakness in Saudi air defenses and the lack of capacity in electronic war if we take into account that these drones are basic and are not launched on tarmac,” it wrote.

The EPC reported that there had been as many as 155 Yemeni drone attacks against Saudi targets between January and May, a figure much higher than previously admitted.

Saudi attempts to destroy the drones have also failed, with the report noting that Riyadh has launched numerous airstrikes on caves allegedly used to store the drones, without any success.

Saudi ‘unprofessionalism’

The intelligence assessment also slammed what it described as a sign of Saudi “unprofessionalism”, as Riyadh quickly rushed to attribute attacks to Yemen’s Ansarullah movement without carrying out any investigation first.

The report compared Saudi Arabia’s “panicked” approach to that of Abu Dhabi which, according to the report, has a protocol of falsely denying the occurrence of such strikes when “serious” targets are attacked.

“This is a protocol which the Emiratis follow in time of serious attacks, such as the one that targeted Abu Dhabi airport (and claimed by the Houthis). It left the door open for the investigation to implicate Iran through evidence in these attacks,” the report read.

The July 2018 drone attack on the airport had been previously denied by UAE officials but was later corroborated by footage released by Yemeni forces this year.

Also referring to a mysterious and unclaimed attack on four oil tankers near the UAE’s port of Fujairah in May, the report said the “Emirati position emphasized the importance of completing investigations before taking any decision.”

“The Emiratis were careful not to give the Houthis any credit that may enhance their international status,” it added.

Despite the UAE report’s allegations, however, Saudi authorities are known to have covered and denied successful Yemeni retaliatory drone and missile strikes on numerous occasions.

‘Confused’ policies

The assessment said Riyadh had become extremely dependent on the United States’ “confused” policy with Iran.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who threatened in 2017 to take the “fight” to Iran, has pushed to form an alliance with the UAE and Israel against Tehran.

The US administration, however, is acting quite timidly on its vows to “counter” Iran and the stance is worrying Saudi Arabia, according to the EPC.

American analyst Stephen Walt said the US policy towards Iran is in a “confused” state, swinging between abandoning Washington’s regional allies and pushing for regime change in Iran.

The UAE recently announced the gradual withdrawal of its troops from the Yemen war, largely because it believes the war appears to have become “unwinnable“, according to US reports.

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

The Deeper Meaning in a Lost War

By Alastair Crooke | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 19, 2019

It’s pretty clear. Saudi Arabia has lost, and, notes Bruce Riedel, “the Houthis and Iran are the strategic winners”. Saudi proxies in Aden – the seat of Riyadh’s Yemeni proto-‘government’ – have been turfed out by secular, former Marxist, southern secessionists. What can Saudi Arabia do? It cannot go forward. Even tougher would be retreat. Saudi will have to contend with an Houthi war being waged inside the kingdom’s south; and a second – quite different – war in Yemen’s south. MbS is stuck. The Houthi military leadership are on a roll, and disinterested – for now – in a political settlement. They wish to accumulate more ‘cards’. The UAE, which armed and trained the southern secessionists has opted out. MbS is alone, ‘carrying the can’. It will be messy.

So, what is the meaning in this? It is that MbS cannot ‘deliver’ what Trump and Kushner needed, and demanded from him: He cannot any more deliver the Gulf ‘world’ for their grand projects – let alone garner together the collective Sunni ‘world’ to enlist in a confrontation with Iran, or for hustling the Palestinians into abject subordination, posing as ‘solution’.

What happened? It seems that MbZ must have bought into the Mossad ‘line’ that Iran was a ‘doddle’. Under pressure of global sanctions, Iran would quickly crumble, and would beg for negotiations with Trump. And that the resultant, punishing treaty would see the dismantling of all of Iran’s troublesome allies around the region. The Gulf thus would be free to continue shaping a Middle East free from democracy, reformers and (those detested) Islamists.

What made the UAE – eulogised in the US as tough ‘little Sparta’ – back off? It was not just that the Emirs saw that the Yemen war was unwinnable. That was so; but more significantly, it dawned on them that Iran was going to be no ‘doddle’. But rather, the US attempt to strangulate the Iranian economy risked escalating beyond sanctions war, into military confrontation. And in that eventuality, the UAE would be devastated. Iran warned explicitly that a drone or two landed into the ‘glass houses’ of their financial districts, or onto oil and gas facilities, would set them back twenty years. They believed it.

But there was another factor in the mix. “As the world teeters on the edge of another financial crisis”, Esfandyar Batmanghelidj has noted, “few places are being gripped by anxiety like Dubai. Every week a new headline portends the coming crisis in the city of skyscrapers. Dubai villa prices are at their lowest level in a decade, down 24 percent in just one year. A slump in tourism has seen Dubai hotels hit their lowest occupancy rate since the 2008 financial crisis – even as the country gears up to host Expo 2020 next year. As Bloomberg’s Zainab Fattah reported in November of last year, Dubai has begun to “lose its shine,” its role as a center for global commerce “undermined by a global tariff war—and in particular by the US drive to shut down commerce with nearby Iran””.

An extraneous Houthi drone landing in Dubai’s financial zone would be the ‘final nail in the coffin’ (the expatriates would be out in a flash) – a prospect far more serious than the crisis of 2009, when Dubai’s real estate market collapsed, threatening insolvency for several banks and major development companies, some of them state-linked – and necessitating a $20 billion bailout.

In short, the Gulf realised MbS’ confrontation project with Iran was far too risky, especially with the global financial mood darkening so rapidly. Emirati leaders faced off with MbZ, the confrontation ideologue – and the UAE came out of Yemen formally (though leaving in situ its proxies), and initiated outreach to Iran, to take it out of that war, too.

It is now no longer conceivable that MbS can deliver what Trump and Netanyahu desired. Does this then mean that the US confrontation with Iran, and Jared Kushner’s Deal of the Century, are over? No. Trump has two key US constituencies: AIPAC and the Christian Evangelical ‘Zionists’ to ‘stroke’ electorally in the lead up to the 2020 elections. More ‘gifts’ to Netanyahu in the lead into the latter’s own election campaign are very likely also, as a part of that massaging of domestic constituencies (and donors).

In terms of the US confrontation with Iran, it seems that Trump is turning-down the volume on belligerence toward Iran, hoping that economic sanctions will work their ‘magic’ of bringing the Islamic Republic to its knees. There is no sign of that however – and no sign of any realistic US plan ‘B’. (The Lindsay Graham initiative is not one).

Where does that leave MbS in terms of US and Israeli interests? Well, to be brutal, and despite the family friendships … ’expendable’, perhaps? The scent of an eventual US disengagement from the region is again hanging in the air.

The deeper meaning in the ‘lost Yemen war’, ultimately, is an end to Gulf hopes that ‘magician’ Trump would undo the earlier Gulf panic that the West would normalise with Iran (through the JCPOA), thus leaving Iran as the paramount regional power. The advent of Trump, with all his affinity towards Saudi Arabia, seemed to Gulf States to promise the opportunity again to ‘lock in’ the US security umbrella over Gulf monarchies, protecting these states from significant change, as well as leaving Iran ‘shackled’, and unable to assume regional primacy.

A secondary meaning to Yemen is that Trump and Netanyahu’s heavy investment in MbS and MbZ has proved to be chimeric. These two, it turned out were ‘naked’ all along. And now the world knows it. They can’t deliver. They have been bested by a ragtag army of tough Houthi tribesmen.

The region now observes that ‘war’ isn’t happening (although only by the merest hair’s breadth): Trump is not – of his own volition – going to bomb Iran back to the 1980s. And Gulf States now see that if he did, it is they – the Gulf States – who would pay the highest price. Paradoxically, it has fallen to the UAE, the prime agitator in Washington against Iran, to lead the outreach toward Iran. It represents a salutary lesson in realpolitik for certain Gulf States (and Israel). And now that it has been learned, it is hard to see it being reversed quite so easily.

The strategic shift toward a different security architecture is already underway, with Russia and China proposing an international conference on security in the Persian Gulf: Russia and Iran already have agreed joint naval exercises in in the Indian Ocean and Hormuz, and China is mulling sending its warships there too, to protect its tankers and commercial shipping. Plainly, there will be some competition here, but Iran has the upper hand still in Hormuz. It is a powerful deterrent (though one best threatened, but not used).

Of course, nothing is assured in these changing times. The US President is fickle, and prone to flip-flop. And there are yet powerful interests in the US who do want see Iran comprehensively bombed. But others in DC – more significantly, on the (nationalist) Right – are much more outspoken in challenging the Iran ‘hawks’. Maybe the latter have missed their moment? The fact is, Trump drew back (but not for the stated reasons) from military action. America is now entering election season – and it is fixated on its navel. Foreign policy is already a forgotten, non-issue in the fraught partisan atmospherics of today’s America.

Trump likely will still ‘throw Israel a few bones’, but will that change anything? Probably, not much. That is cold comfort – but it might have been a lot worse for the Palestinians. And Greater Israel? A distant, Promethean hope.

August 19, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Another ‘Arab Revolt’? History never repeats.

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | August 2, 2019

The Arab sheikhs who instigated the US-Iran standoff have heard the African proverb, ‘When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers’. But they chose to ignore it. The assumption in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi was that President Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ strategy would frighten Tehran and life would be back to normal very soon with a weakened Iran bludgeoned into submission.

On the contrary, the gyre of the US-Iran standoff is only widening by the day. What was thought to be a localised affair is acquiring international dimensions. America’s Arab allies no longer have a say in the mutation of the US-Iran standoff.

The Saudi and Emirati role narrows down to bankrolling the Anglo-American project on Iran and to allow the western bases on their territories to be used as launching pads for belligerent acts aimed at provoking the leadership in Tehran into retaliatory moves. In sum, there is growing danger that they might get sucked into a conflict situation in a near future.

The Gulf states lack “strategic depth” vis-a-vis Iran and are sure to find themselves on the frontline of any military conflagration. Conceivably, neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE bargained for such an eventuality.

It is possible to discern amidst the welter of interpretations given to the “partial” pullout of the UAE forces from Yemen, Abu Dhabi’s calculation that safeguarding homeland security comes first, way above any imperial agenda. That sobering thought may also have prompted the UAE to make some overtures most recently toward Tehran.

The UAE has taken a nuanced stance that no country could be held responsible for the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf in June. Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said “clear and convincing evidence” is needed regarding the attacks that targeted four vessels off the UAE coast, including two Saudi oil tankers. In essence he distanced the UAE from the US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s finding that the attacks on oil tankers were the work of “naval mines almost certainly from Iran”.

Significantly, Al-Nahyan made the remark at a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a visit to Moscow in late June, which from all indications focused on the efforts to bring the war in Yemen to an end and on a possible Russian initiative to moderate UAE’s tensions with Iran. (Interestingly, within the week after Al-Nahyan’s visit in late June, Moscow also hosted the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the UN special envoy on Yemen.)

It is entirely conceivable that Russia is doing what it can behind the scenes to lower the tensions between Iran and the UAE and in the Persian Gulf region as a whole. Moscow has lately rebooted its proposal for a collective security system for the Persian Gulf. In fact, on July 29, the Russian concept of collective security in the Persian Gulf has been distributed as an official document approved by the UN.

The Russian document envisages an initiative group to prepare an international conference on security and cooperation in the Persian Gulf, which would later lead to establishing an organisation on security and cooperation in this region. China has welcomed the Russian initiative and offered to contribute to its success — “We would also like to boost cooperation, coordination and communication with all the corresponding parties.”

Clearly, the Russian proposal flies in the face of the Anglo-American project to create a western naval armada led by the US to take control of the 19000 nautical miles in and around the Strait of Hormuz that will put the West effectively as the moderator of the world oil market — with all the implications that go with it for international politics — and literally reduce the oil-rich Persian Gulf countries to de facto pumping stations. For that reason, the Russian initiative will not fly. Simply put, the US and Britain will resent Russia butting in.

However, there are other straws in the wind. The Iran-UAE joint meeting to address littoral security cooperation in Tehran on July 30 is a tell-tale sign that the Persian Gulf states may have begun to realise that the endemic insecurities of the region ultimately require a regional solution. Iran has welcomed the Emirati overture and sees in it a “slight shift” in policy.

The big question is how far the UAE can get away with an independent foreign policy toward Iran. The West traditionally dictates the bottom line and that cannot change fundamentally unless the Arab regimes in the region give way to representative rule.

This is where the real tragedy lies. The big powers — be it the US or Russia — are largely guided by their own mercantilist interests and are stakeholders in the autocratic regimes in the region, which they find easily amenable to manipulation. A century ago, when an Arab Revolt appeared in the region, Britain had engineered it to roll back the Ottoman Empire. Today, there is no such possibility. The dismal ending of the Arab Spring in Egypt was to the advantage and utter delight of both the US and Russia. 

Having said that, the situation is not altogether bleak. The western powers and Russia fiercely competing to secure lucrative arms sales running into tens of billions of dollars annually. This can be turned into opportunity.

The Russia-Saudi axis calibrating the world oil market shows the potential to incrementally shift the locus of Middle East politics.

Similarly, China’s appearance on the scene opens seamless possibilities for the Gulf states. The recent visit by the UAE Crown Prince to China underscores the Arab ingenuity to test the frontiers of strategic autonomy even in such difficult conditions. The fact of the matter is that the UAE has openly defied American pressure and is positioning itself as a hub of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and, furthermore, has become the first country in the Persian Gulf to introduce the 5G technology from China. (See my blog Belt and Road takes a leap forward to the Gulf.)

August 2, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

As US Beefs Up Military Presence in the Gulf, Yemen’s Houthis Turn to Russia for Support

Houthi attempts to engage the UN to broker a peaceful solution to the war on Yemen have stalled. Now, out of options, the movement may have found a willing partner in Moscow.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem | Mint Press News | July 26, 2019

MOSCOW — Yemen’s Houthi movement has reacted with concern to an announcement by Washington that the U.S. is pursuing an increased military presence in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Central Command announced Operation Sentinel on July 19, claiming that a multinational maritime effort is needed to promote “maritime stability, ensure safe passage, and de-escalate tensions in international waters throughout the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the Arabian [Persian] Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and the Gulf of Oman.”

The Houthis’ Supreme Political Council, the highest political authority in Sana`a, held an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the developments. After the meeting Houthi officials released a statement denouncing Operation Sentinel, saying that Yemen is keen on the security of the Red Sea and that any escalation by Coalition countries, including the United States, would be met with a response. The statement went on to say:

What makes waterways safe is an end to the war on Yemen, a lifting of the siege on the country and the end to [the Saudi-led Coalition] restricting access to food and commercial vessels in Yemeni ports, especially the port of Hodeida, not the presence of multinational forces there.”

Houthi officials also weighed in on the arrival of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia as a part of a broader tranche of forces sent to the Gulf region over the past two months following increased tensions between Washington and Tehran. Mohammed Abdulsalam, the spokesman of Houthis and one of the most important decision-makers within the movement, told al-Mayadeen TV that the arrival of 500 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia is “not welcome in the region.” 

On Monday, Abdulsalam ridiculed Saudi Arabia’s celebration of the arrival of the U.S. troops, pointing to the Kingdom’s relying on U.S. and British protection while at the same time not knowing how to extricate itself from Yemen. “On one side, there are the Saudis seeking protection from others and on the other side, we have Yemen facing those superpowers with strength, rigidity and wisdom,” Abudlsalam said in a Facebook post. Abdulsalam also said that the deployment of U.S. troops to the Kingdom was aimed at boosting the morale of Saudi Arabia in the face of Yemen’s ballistic missile and drone attacks.

Abudlsalam’s comments were made during an official visit to Moscow, where a Houthi delegation was visiting at the invitation of the Russian government. The July 24 meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister to the Middle East and North Africa Mikhail Bogdanov was held to discuss, among other things, U.S. military presence in the Gulf. Abdulsalam claimed during the meeting that U.S. and Western visions for a solution to the conflict in Yemen would be unsuccessful, telling his Russian counterpart that there won’t be security and safety in the region without an end to the aggression against Yemen. He went on to say that, “we [Houthis] have common interests with the Russians regarding peace in the region.”

Both Bogdanov and Abdulsalam expressed commitment to abiding by the UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement, which calls for a ceasefire in the Hodeida port in western Yemen. The Houthis also expressed support for Russia’s policy vision for security in the Gulf, which was presented by Bogdanov on Tuesday.

While Russian efforts may not necessarily produce peace in Yemen, they may give the Saudi-led Coalition a chance to see that all options for diplomacy have been fully explored. They will also provide the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — which recently pulled out a significant portion of their military forces from Yemen, amidst fears of Houthi retaliatory attacks on Dubai — a chance to jump on the Russian bandwagon. Saudi Arabia, which has made little progress in its more than four-year-long adventure in Yemen, could also use Russian efforts as a face-saving opportunity, according to Yemeni diplomats who spoke to MintPress.

According to well-informed sources in the Houthi movement, Russia is pushing hard to play a role in bringing an end to the war on Yemen, and Russian and Houthi interests are becoming more aligned, including opposition to an increased U.S. military presence in the region. Houthi officials are also hoping that Russia will use its position in the UN Security Council to veto resolutions adversely affecting the interests of Yemen. One Houthi official, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue, even told MintPress that Russia played a role in the recent withdrawal of the UAE forces from Yemen.

“No subordination to Iran”

Mehdi Al-Mashat, the Head of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, told delegates from the International Crisis Group on Wednesday that the Houthis are ready to stop drones and ballistic attacks on Saudi Arabia if the Kingdom stops its attacks on Yemen. He also expressed readiness to engage in dialogue with Saudi officials to “achieve a just peace for all,” but warned that the “U.S. must know Yemen is a country which has sovereignty and is not subject to anyone.”

Regarding Iran, Al-Mashat told members of the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based NGO that works to resolve violent conflicts around the world, “with regard to the false claims that we are followers of Iran, which the Coalition countries know to be false, we confirm that there is no subordination to Iran.” Tehran’s support for the Houthis is limited to political, diplomatic and media support and the country’s influence in Yemen is marginal at best.

For its part, the United Nations says the years-long war in Yemen can be stopped and is eminently resolvable if the warring sides commit to the UN-brokered Stockholm peace agreement reached in Sweden late last year. Under the agreement, both the Houthis and Coalition forces agreed to withdraw their troops from the Yemeni ports of Hodeida, Salif, and Ras Issa, and to allow the deployment of UN monitors.

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said on Tuesday, “I believe that this war in Yemen is eminently resolvable, both parties continue to insist that they want a political solution and the military solution is not available, they remain committed to the Stockholm agreement in all its different aspects.”

UAE “not leaving Yemen”

While the Houthis have had some success in forcing a dialogue with Coalition leaders through the United Nations, Russia, and various NGOs, it appears that their celebration over the recent announcement that the UAE is withdrawing its troops from Yemen may have been premature. In the Houthis’ first official statement since the UAE announced it was withdrawing its troops from Yemen, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said on Wednesday that “the UAE has not withdrawn any its soldiers from Yemen, and instead has redeployed its forces from a number of areas in Yemen, including battlefields in Hodeida and Marib province in eastern Yemen.” Abdulsalam went on to encourage UAE leaders to pull out of Yemen, saying “the UAE getting out of Yemen is positive and natural and we encourage its leaders to do so.”

The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash, in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post on Monday, confirmed the UAE was not leaving Yemen, saying: “Just to be clear, the UAE and the rest of the Coalition are not leaving Yemen.”

He added, “While we will operate differently, our military presence will remain. In accordance with international law, we will continue to advise and assist local Yemen forces — referring to the myriad UAE-funded Yemeni rebel groups including the Shaban elite forces, the Mahri elite forces, and the Security Belt.

According to Mohammed Abdulsalam, the seemingly contradictory statement coming from the UAE may be a result of Saudi pressure.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu, citing a spokesman for the UAE allies, reported on Wednesday that the Sudanese armed forces had partially withdrawn from parts of Yemen following the withdrawal of UAE troops from the same areas. Yemeni armed forces will replace the Sudanese troops around Hodeida, a Yemeni source told Anadolu.

The UAE and Sudan, parts of a Saudi-led military coalition, have been active members in the brutal Saudi-led Coalition’s war on Yemen since it began in 2015, which the United Nations says has produced the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with millions on the brink of starvation

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media

July 30, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Despite talk of promoting democracy Trudeau in bed with repressive monarchy

By Yves Engler · July 8, 2019

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UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed with Justin Trudeau

Given his personal history perhaps it is no surprise that Justin Trudeau is fond of monarchies.

The United Arab Emirates is a repressive monarchy that pursues violent, anti-democratic, policies in its region. Despite this — or maybe because of it —Trudeau’s Liberal government has strengthened ties to the federation of seven Emirates. And unlike Canada’s claims to be promoting democracy in Venezuela or the Ukraine, there has been little mention of this in the media or scrutiny in Parliament.

The UAE has propped up the Transitional Military Council in Sudan that has faced massive protests calling for civilian rule. Two months ago the oil rich country put up half of a $3 billion package (with Saudi Arabia) to support Sudan’s military rulers and the head of the military council visited powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi in late May. Many pro-democracy activists believe the UAE and Saudi Arabia pushed Sudan’s military to destroy a major protest site that left dozens dead at the start of June.

Abu Dhabi fears democracy in Sudan for various reasons. One immediate concern is the likelihood that a government in Khartoum representing the popular will would withdraw the 10,000 Sudanese soldiers in Yemen. The UAE has played a key role in the war in Yemen, which has left 100,000 dead, millions hungry and sparked a terrible cholera epidemic.

In Libya the UAE was recently caught delivering weapons to warlord Khalifa Haftar in violation of UN sanctions. Abu Dhabi has financed and supported Haftar’s bid to seize the Libyan capital by force. The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord said a UAE F-16 fighter jet was responsible for bombing a migrant detention centre that left some 50 people dead last week.

Elsewhere in the region the UAE has engaged in a two year blockade of Qatar designed to force Doha to heed their and close ally Saudi Arabia’s belligerent, anti-democratic, position towards Iran, Egypt and elsewhere. In recent years UAE helped crush Bahrain’s 2011 uprising, dispatched forces to Libya to support the NATO war and financed the return of military rule to Egypt in 2013. Abu Dhabi also plowed hundreds of millions of dollars of weaponry and other forms of support to Al Qaeda linked rebels in Syria.

Domestically, the UAE is a repressive monarchy that outlaws labour unions and hangs/stones individuals to death. The country heavily restricts religious freedoms and women’s rights. Recently, the wife (one of six) of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum sought asylum in the UK fearing for her life.

From what I could find the Trudeau government has stayed mum on Abu Dhabi’s efforts to derail democracy in Sudan. Nor have they made any comment on its violation of UN sanctions in Libya. Over four years they’ve barely made a peep about the UAE’s bombing and troops in Yemen. Instead of challenging the monarchy’s egregious policies, the Liberals have deepened ties to the Gulf Kingdom.

On July 1 officials from the two countries highlighted “the bond between Canada and the United Arab Emirates” by raising a Canadian flag-inspired display on Abu Dhabi’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Ten days ago, the government announced that Canada would participate in Expo 2020 Dubai. International trade minister Jim Carr declared, “our presence at Expo 2020 affirms the vitality of Canada-UAE relations.”

A UAE delegation led by Minister of Energy and Industry Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei attended the International Economic Forum of the Americas in mid-June. At the Montréal conference Al Mazrouei met economic development minister Navdeep Bains and trade minister Jim Carr. During the opening of the last UN General Assembly session Trudeau met UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and he visited foreign minister Chrystia Freeland in Ottawa last May.

Despite their violence in Yemen, the Trudeau government has deepened military ties to the UAE. There are a small number of Canadian troops in the UAE and Royal Canadian Navy vessels in the region regularly coordinate with their Emirates counterparts. Last week Canada’s ambassador in Abu Dhabi, Masud Husain, met defence minister Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi. Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan also met Al Bowardi there in April. According to Emirates News Agency, Canadian and UAE officials discussed “cooperation  in the military and defence sectors” and “current regional and international developments.” In December 2017 Sajan traveled to the Gulf State to sign the Canada-UAE Defence Cooperation Arrangement.

According to Radio Canada International, the Canada–UAE defence accord “will make it easier for the Canadian defence industry to access one of the world’s most lucrative arms markets.” During the last four years the Trudeau government has promoted arm sales at the Abu Dhabi-based International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX). With support from “15 trade commissioners and representatives from the Government of Ontario, National Defence, Global Affairs Canada, and the Canadian Commercial Corporation”, 50 Canadian arms companies flogged their wares at IDEX in February. To help the arms companies move their products, commander of the Bahrain-based Combined Task Force 150, Commodore Darren Garnier, led a Canadian military delegation to IDEX.

In February of last year Parliamentary Secretary to minister Bains, David Lametti, who is now Justice Minister, promoted Bombardier’s delivery of surveillance planes to the UAE. Montreal-based flight simulator company CAE trains UAE Air Force pilots at a facility in Abu Dhabi. Some UAE pilots bombing Yemen also likely trained at NATO’s Flying Training in Canada, which is run by CAE and the Canadian Forces.

As Anthony Fenton has documented in detail on his fantastic Canada-Gulf focused Twitter handle, armoured vehicles made by Canada’s Streit Group in the UAE have been repeatedly videoed in Yemen. At IDEX 2019 Streit Group officials were photographed pitching their Sherp All-terrain military vehicle to UAE officials.

After a high profile diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia last August Canadian officials privately worried it would negatively impact relations with UAE. That didn’t happen, of course. In fact, the spat may have spurred closer ties to Saudi Arabia’s main regional ally.

It’s time for some mainstream journalists and parliamentarians to devote a little attention to the Trudeau’s government hypocritical embrace of the UAE monarchy.

July 9, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Libya’s GNA forces seize US missiles at captured Haftar base

Press TV – June 30, 2019

Military officials with Libya’s internationally-recognized government say they have seized sophisticated US missiles and weaponry at a base they captured from forces allied to renegade General Khalifa Haftar in the south of the capital, Tripoli.

The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) retook the southern strategic town of Gharyan, home to the main supply base of eastern forces attacking the capital, from Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) on Wednesday.

The GNA announced on Saturday that among the weaponry its forces had seized were four US-made Javelin anti-tank missiles packed in wooden crates marked “armed forces of the United Arab Emirates”.

The GNA officials said the markings indicated that the missiles – jointly manufactured by the arms giants Raytheon and Lockheed Martin – had originally been sold to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a major buyer of US arms and one of Haftar’s main supporters.

“The seized weapons and ammunition have been sent to the specialized experts and have been documented,” Mohammed Qununu, spokesman of the GNA’s military operation, told reporters in Gharyan.

“The military commanders and the political leaders are now fully aware of these weapons and ammunition to make the right decisions that will be announced.”

United Nations reports have previously said that the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been arming Haftar’s forces since 2014.

UN arms embargo violation

The New York Times, confirming the discovery of American missiles by the GNA in a report on Saturday, said the UAE’s Ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba had declined to answer questions about the provenance of the missiles.

The American daily, however, said it would be in breach of both the terms of the sale and a UN arms embargo on the conflict-ridden Libya if the missiles were found to have been sold or transferred to forces under Haftar’s command.

The GNA has reportedly launched a fact-finding mission with the goal of producing a report that would be submitted to the United Nations as well as other international organizations.

Officials at the US State Department and the Pentagon also said they had opened investigations into how the weapons had ended up on the Libyan battlefield.

“We take all allegations of misuse of US origin defense articles very seriously. We are aware of these reports and are seeking additional information,” a State Department spokesperson said on condition of anonymity. “We expect all recipients of US origin defense equipment to abide by their end-use obligations.”

The US government’s support for Haftar, however, is beyond doubt.

Libya’s GNA headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has already called on US President Donald Trump to stop support for “aspiring military dictator”.

The US president, in a phone call with the military strongman in April, “recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources.”

Forces loyal to Haftar launched an offensive on April 4 to capture Tripoli. Since then, fighting has killed 653 people, wounded more than 2,000 and displaced over 93,000, according to the UN.

Libya has been the scene of increasing violence since 2011, when former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from power after an uprising and a NATO military intervention.

His ouster created a huge power vacuum, leading to chaos and the emergence of numerous militant outfits, including the Daesh terrorist group.

The country has been divided between two rival governments, the House of Representatives based in the eastern city of Tobruk and the GNA in Tripoli.

June 30, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

‘This Is Popular Resistance’: US War With Iran Spells Victory for Houthis in Yemen

Sputnik – June 27, 2019

If the US goes to war with Iran, the biggest losers will be the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, an Iranian scholar told Sputnik Wednesday. With the Houthis on the offensive already, an Iranian attack on Saudi infrastructure in the early hours of the war would open the door to Houthi invasion.

In recent months, the Houthi rebels in Yemen have stepped up their attacks on Saudi soil, launching ballistic missile attacks as well as drone strikes against nine different urban locations across southwestern Saudi Arabia. While the Saudis and their US allies have tried to point the finger at Iran, accusing it of waging a proxy war against Riyadh by way of its fellow Shiite Houthis, the truth is that for all their technical sophistication, the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen has failed to destroy the resistance to its onslaught and instead steeled Yemeni resolve like never before.

Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear Wednesday that as the US and Saudi Arabia have had Yemen under an effective state of siege for years, there has been “really no way for Iran to give them substantial support.”

“My assumption is that Iran does give them support, but that support is almost nothing compared to what the Saudis have and what the Emiratis have. It would be almost nothing in comparison.”

Indeed, Sputnik reported in February on multiple exposes by Amnesty International and CNN that showed the extent to which the United Arab Emirates has supplied its proxies in Yemen with Western-made weapons, including American MRAPs, Serbian machine guns and French-made LeClerc main battle tanks. Among the recipients of that aid was Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which controls substantial territory in southeastern Yemen.

Further, Sputnik reported last week that the type of anti-air missile used by Houthi forces to shoot down a US MQ-9 Reaper drone over Yemen earlier in the month, the Soviet-made SA-6 Kub, is so heavily proliferated across the world that US Central Command’s attempt to use it as proof of Iranian patronage is all but impossible.

“So the fact that the Yemeni people, despite the overwhelming support of Western countries for Saudi Arabia, and the infinite amount of money that the Saudis and the Emiratis have spent on waging war against the Yemeni people – the very fact that they’ve been able to stand up and to prevent the United States’ allies or their clients in the region from winning and taking the country shows that this is not a proxy war; this is a popular resistance,” Marandi said.

However, you wouldn’t be able to tell that if you read the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

“Yemen’s Houthi rebels have accelerated missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, highlighting the kingdom’s military vulnerabilities in defending itself against an Iranian ally amid a crisis in US-Iran relations,” WSJ’s Jared Malsin wrote.

“Everything points toward the direction that Iran and the Houthis have teamed up for their mutual benefit to increase missile and drone attacks against targets in recent days and weeks,” Fabian Hinz, an independent analyst based in Germany, told the paper for the story.

Marandi told Sputnik the reason why the Western media and Western think tanks call it a proxy war is “because they want to escape the fact that they are not calling out their governments for the crimes against humanity that they are involved in. In other words, they want to create a moral equivalent between the Saudis and the Yemeni people who are being massacred so that they won’t be answerable in the eyes of public opinion.”

“So, they say it’s a proxy war, so it’s, you know, it’s two bad guys fighting each other. This way, when their governments give hundreds of millions of dollars, or in the case of the Europeans, tens of millions of dollars each of weapons to the Saudis or the Emiratis, they don’t have to feel ashamed about it, or they don’t have to shame their governments,” he said.

That said, Marandi told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that the tide was clearly turning against the Saudi-led alliance, which includes not only the UAE and the Yemeni government-in-exile, but also Sudan, which has sent thousands of warriors from its Janjaweed militia – the paramilitary group responsible for a large part of the genocide in Darfur – to fight in Yemen. Other countries, such as Senegal, have sent troops to fight with the coalition as well.

The conflict broke out slowly in Yemen beginning in September 2014, amid a rising tide of dissent. When Ansar Allah, a militia drawn from northern Yemen’s Zaidi Shiite Muslim minority that followed their late leader Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, joined by supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, seized the capital of Sanaa in March 2015 and forced Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to flee the country, Hadi escaped to Riyadh, seeking help in returning to power. Saudi airstrikes began almost immediately.

The Houthis’ September Revolution rode on dissent over the outcome of the country’s 2011-12 revolution, part of the Arab Spring uprisings that saw Saleh thrown from power and Hadi, his vice president, assume Saleh’s former office. The revolution promised to address issues of chronic mass unemployment and a poor economy, as well as to restructure the country’s administration for the first time since North and South Yemen were reunited in 1990.

The Houthis helped make the 2012 revolution, but rejected the federalization proposed by Hadi as a move that would entrench, not alleviate, regional poverty. The final straw came in 2014, when a sharp spike in gas prices, combined with a slew of right-wing proposals by Hadi that included slashing social program funding, drove Saleh supporters into the streets and the ranks of the rising Houthis.

“Now, for the first time, we’re beginning to see the Yemenis go on the offensive, and they are striking vulnerable targets inside Saudi Arabia,” Marandi said. He predicted that in the event of an all-out war between the US and Iran, the Saudis and Emiratis would suffer such terrible consequences in just the first few hours of the conflict that the Houthis or other anti-Saudi Yemeni forces would immediately seize the opportunity and likely invade Saudi Arabia “within days.”

“There would be chaos in these countries,” Marandi noted. “Therefore, it’s not simply Iran. If the United States thinks they can wage a war against Iran and that it will be something manageable, they are deeply mistaken.”

June 27, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Iran’s UK Ambassador: “Unfortunately We Are Heading Towards A Confrontation” With The US

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 06/17/2019

The Iranian Ambassador to the UK Hamid Baeidinejad warned that the United States and Iran are “unfortunately headed toward a confrontation which is very serious for everybody in the region.”

In an interview with Christiane Amanpour, the Ambassador reacted to rapidly escalating tensions between the two countries – late on Monday the US announced it was sending another 1,000 troops to the Middle East – as the United States continues to blame Iran for an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Ambassador Baeidinejad, a senior Iranian official within the Foreign Ministry, denied the allegations, and cautioned the White House would be “very sorry” to underestimate Iran, should a military conflict ensue. Baeidinejad stopped short of predicting the possibility of U.S. plans for a limited strike in the Persian Gulf, but argued that such plans may already be underway in a bid to spark a fight.

“I’m sure this is a scenario where some people are forcefully working on it, they will drag the United States into a confrontation. I hope that the people in Washington will be very careful not to underestimate the Iranian determination,” Baeidinejad told CNN. “If they wrongly enter into a conflict, they would be very sorry about that, because we are fully prepared by our government and our forces that we would not be submitting to the United States.”

He explained that Iran was not opposed to negotiations but that the U.S. should “not interfere” Iran’s economic relationships with other countries, a tactic he referred to as “economic terrorism.”

When asked who else could be responsible for the attack, Baeidinejad pointed to other countries in the region “who have invested heavily, billions and billions of dollars to draft the United States into a military conflict with Iran.”

And since everyone knows who they are, he didn’t even have to name them.

June 18, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Gulf of Credibility

By Craig Murray | June 17, 2019

I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly, US-disapproved talks in Tehran on economic cooperation that can help Iran survive the effects of US economic sanctions.

The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous was holed above the water line. That rules out a torpedo attack, which is the explanation being touted by the neo-cons.

The second vessel, the Front Altair, is Norwegian owned and 50% Russian crewed (the others being Filipinos). It is owned by Frontline, a massive tanker leasing company that also has a specific record of being helpful to Iran in continuing to ship oil despite sanctions.

It was Iran that rescued the crews and helped bring the damaged vessels under control.

That Iran would target a Japanese ship and a friendly Russian crewed ship is a ludicrous allegation. They are however very much the targets that the USA allies in the region – the Saudis, their Gulf Cooperation Council colleagues, and Israel – would target for a false flag. It is worth noting that John Bolton was meeting with United Arab Emirates ministers two weeks ago – both ships had just left the UAE.

The USA and their UK stooges have both immediately leapt in to blame Iran. The media is amplifying this with almost none of the scepticism which is required. I cannot think of a single reason why anybody would believe this particular false flag. It is notable that neither Norway nor Japan has joined in with this ridiculous assertion.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Iran can be Trump’s nemesis

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | June 15, 2019

What a coincidence that a leaked document from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) just exposed that the chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria in April, 2018 was most likely staged. In security parlance, it was a false flag operation — stage-managed cunningly to create the alibi for a ‘humanitarian intervention’ by the West in Syria.

As it happened, the US and France did stage a missile strike at Syrian government targets in July that year, alleging that Damascus was culpable for what happened in Douma, ignoring the protests by Russia.

False flag operations are not uncommon, but the US holds a PhD on that genre. The most famous one in modern history was the Gulf of Tonkin incident of August 1964 where the US government deliberately misrepresented facts to justify a war against Vietnam.

Prima facie, there is enough circumstantial evidence to estimate that the attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman on June 13 has been a false flag operation. The attack on the two tankers with cargo heading for Japan took place just as the Japanese PM Shinzo Abe sat down for the meeting yesterday with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran.

The fact of the matter is that Abe was on a delicate mission to try to kickstart talks between the US and Iran. It is one of those delicate moments when a slight push can derail or even undermine the nascent move for dialogue. True, in the first round, Khamenei rejected talks with the US. But, as Abe said later, more efforts are needed for easing tensions between the US and Iran.

Therefore, as regards the incident yesterday in the Gulf of Oman, the question to be asked is: Who stands to gain? Most certainly, it cannot be Iran, which has just laid on the table in plain terms what it takes for negotiations to commence between the US and Iran — President Trump abandoning what Tehran calls the US’ ‘economic terrorism’ against it. Khamenei told Abe with great frankness that it is futile to negotiate with the US, which keeps resiling from international agreements. No doubt, Trump has been highly erratic by making overtures to Iran on the one hand and tightening the screw on the other hand. (See my blog Abe’s mediatory mission to Tehran hangs in the balance.)

Simply put, Iran has no axe to grind by undermining Abe’s mission, especially since Japan is the only western power, which, historically speaking, never ever acted against Iran but on the contrary consistently maintained friendly ties and showed goodwill. (Once in 1953, Japan even ignored the British-American embargo against Iran and went ahead to import Iranian oil.)

However, this much cannot be said about certain regional states  — which Iran has called the ‘B Team’ — that are bent on perpetuating the US-Iran standoff and incrementally degrade Iran to a point that a military confrontation ensues at some point in which American power dispatches that country to the “Stone Age”, as the present US National Security Advisor John Bolton once put it.

In this rogues’ gallery, apart from Israel, there is also Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Bolton, of course, is mentored by Israel and it is an established fact that he has received money for services rendered from the Mojahedin-e Khalq, the anti-Iran terrorist group based in France, which espouses the overthrow of the Islamic regime in Tehran.

Iran has sounded warnings in recent weeks, including at the level of Foreign Minister Javad Zarif,  that this ‘B Team’ would at some point stage false flag operations to ratchet up tensions and/ or precipitate a crisis situation, that would in turn prompt Trump to order some sort of military action against Iran.

To be sure, the stakes are very high for Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE if Abe’s mission advances further and the current tensions begin to ease. An added factor for the ‘B Team’ is that time is the essence of the matter. It increasingly seems that Bolton’s job as NSA is in danger. Trump has hinted more than once that he does not subscribe to Bolton’s warmongering. The well-known ex-CIA officer and commentator John Kiriakou wrote this week that the White House has “very quietly and discreetly begun informal meetings with a list of a half-dozen possible replacements for Bolton.” (See the commentary in Consortium News titled JOHN KIRIAKOU: Bolton’s Long Goodbye.) It is crucial for the ‘B Team’ that Bolton keeps his job in the White House. And there is no better way to hold back Trump from sacking his NSA when a crisis situation looms large in the Middle East.

Be that as it may, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that Iran is responsible for the incident in the Gulf of Oman. He claimed in a statement, “This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.”

Now, doesn’t Israel too have the intelligence capability, weapons and expertise to execute such a false flag operation? Read Pompeo’s statement carefully and its laboured tone gives away that the ex-CIA Director (who recently even bragged openly about the art of lying in diplomacy and politics) was  far from convincing.

So, where’s the beef? Pompeo has instructed that the UN Ambassador Jonathan Cohen raise the matter in the UN Security Council. There is an eerie similarity to what once one of Pompeo’s predecessors as state secretary, Colin Powell did — manufacturing evidence of WMD program by Saddam Hussein to pave the way for the US to invade Iraq.

What needs to be factored in is that the US anticipates that in another fortnight, Iran’s 60-day deadline for the European countries to come up with concrete steps to fulfil their commitments under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal will expire. The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’s visit to Tehran last week was a calculated attempt to persuade Iran to accept the stark reality that it must unilaterally fulfil its commitments under the nuclear deal while there is little the EU can do in practical terms to defy the US sanctions. Maas tried to persuade Iran to accept the US’ demand that non-nuclear issues (such as Iran’s missile programme, regional policies, etc.) also be negotiated under a new pact. Quite obviously, the European powers, despite their bravado (in words), are falling in line with Trump’s strategy of ‘maximum pressure’ against Iran.

If Iran decides to reject the idea of unilaterally observing the 2015 deal (without any reciprocal acts by the international community), the US and its western allies will want to take the matter to the UNSC to revive the UN’s past (pre-2015) sanctions against Iran. The big question is whether Russia and China would allow such a turn of events. Tehran has categorically denied any involvement in yesterday’s incident. And Iran is playing it cool. President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif left Tehran for Bishkek on June 13, as scheduled previously, to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation summit.    

Meanwhile, the US has made an additional deployment to the region. But then, the US Central Command has also signalled to Tehran in a statement: “We have no interest in engaging in a new conflict in the Middle East. We will defend our interests, but a war with Iran is not in our strategic interest, nor in the best interest of the international community.”

At this point, the logical thing to do will be to insist on an impartial investigation by the UNSC on the incident. But, curiously, no country is willing to bell the cat. Russia, which is usually quick on demanding facts before reaching any definitive opinion on such murky situations, is also not in a hurry to demand investigation. Can it be that everyone understands that this was a false flag operation and could only be Bolton’s last waltz with Netanyahu?

Trump is walking a fine line. He has blamed Iran, but refrained from saying what he proposed to do. The fact remains that a highly dangerous situation is developing in and around the Straits of Hormuz, which is a choke point for oil tankers.

An entanglement with Iran’s Pasdaran is the last thing Trump would want as he plans to announce shortly his candidacy for the 2020 election. The situation is fraught with grave political risks, if one recalls how the Iran crisis spelt doom for Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign in 1980.

Trump has bitten more than he could chew, as the strong rebuke Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei administered to him underscores. Iran may turn out to be Trump’s nemesis.

Read the CNN ‘analysis’ here taunting Trump to walk the talk on Iran.

June 15, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Probe says ‘state actor’ likely behind attack on tankers off UAE, doesn’t mention Iran – report

RT | June 7, 2019

After the US put the blame squarely on Iran for sabotaging four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a preliminary probe concluded that a ‘state actor’ was likely behind the raid, but made no mention of Iran.

According to reports by Reuters and Bloomberg, preliminary findings from the investigation jointly conducted by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Norway and presented at an informal UN briefing on Thursday, describe the attack as a complex effort that required significant resources.

The investigators argue that the attackers, who inflicted damage on the tankers, but did not cause casualties or an oil spill, required “high degree sophistication”, precise intelligence and “expert navigation of fast boats” to pick the targets, get in and get out undetected. All of this, they claim, are signs a ‘state actor’ was likely responsible.

This wording allows the countries behind the report, two of which are among the US’ main allies and arms sales clients in the Middle East, to maintain a neutral image without actually contradicting Washington, which accused Iran out of hand.

US President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton said last month that the attacks were “almost certainly” perpetrated by Iran, accusing it of planting “naval mines” under the ships. It’s unclear if Bolton’s assertion relied on any intelligence.

The UAE emirate of Fujairah, off the cost of which the attack took place, lies outside the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway that separates the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The strait is immensely important for oil transportation, with tankers carrying crude from the oil-rich Gulf countries must pass through it.

Previously, Iran threatened to block the oil shipments through the waterway in response to the US’ intent to bring Tehran’s oil exports to ‘zero.’

In a series of sharply escalating moves, the US recently declared Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization, then sent an aircraft carrier group to the Gulf, while signaling a possible massive boost to the number of American troops in the region.

The May 12 attack came at the height of the latest round of tension and targeted four commercial tankers, including two Saudi, one Emirati and one Norwegian ship. Iran has dismissed the accusations against it, calling the Bolton’s statement “ridiculous.”

June 6, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , , , | 4 Comments

Defense Cooperation Agreement Between US, UAE Now in Effect – White House

Sputnik – May 29, 2019

The White House issued a press release Wednesday, revealing that US National Security Advisor John Bolton and United Arab Emirates National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA).

“The DCA will enhance military coordination between the United States and the United Arab Emirates, further advancing an already robust military, political, and economic partnership at a critical time,” reads the statement. “The United States and the United Arab Emirates share a deep interest in promoting prosperity and stability in the region.”

“The DCA will advance that interest by fostering closer collaboration on defense and security matters and supporting efforts by both nations to maintain security in the Gulf region,” it adds.

The US also has defense cooperation agreements with Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait.

​The latest agreement comes days after the US Defense Department announced that officials from the US and Estonia signed a five-year document to continue a defense cooperation between the two countries through 2024. According to a release from the defense agency, Estonia joins fellow Baltic states Lithuania and Latvia in the move.

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment