U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad will visit Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar this month to push for peace negotiations with the Afghan Taliban, the State Department says.
Cradling an AK-47 and sucking a lollipop, the former American Green Beret bumped along in the back of an armored SUV as it wound through the darkened streets of Aden. Two other commandos on the mission were former Navy SEALs. As elite US special operations fighters, they had years of specialized training by the US military to protect America. But now they were working for a different master: a private US company that had been hired by the United Arab Emirates, a tiny desert monarchy on the Persian Gulf.
While President Donald Trump condemned Iran in his address Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, a small but influential group of countries gathered elsewhere in New York City in an attempt to rally support for an increasingly controversial cause among the international community.
The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the ambassadors of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to Washington and the director of Israel’s Mossad spy agency were among those who spoke alongside two of President Donald Trump’s most senior officials at the 2018 United Against Nuclear Iran summit.
(22.9.2018) President Donald Trump has backed plans to offer a Middle East Security Alliance (MESA) to members of the GCC supportive of America’s stand on Iran, a proposal that is expected to be discussed behind the scenes at the UNGA meetings in New York.
Diplomats see the evolving position of Washington towards a new core group as a product of the Iran situation but also a plank of the Middle East peace process review undertaken by Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
“Following my trip to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf countries opened a new center to target terrorist financing. They are enforcing new sanctions, working with us to identify and track terrorist networks and taking more responsibility for fighting terrorism and extremism in their own region,” Trump told the crowd of world leaders.
“The United States is working with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jordan, and Egypt to establish a strategic alliance so Middle Eastern nations can advance security and stability across their home region,” he added.
The certification, announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was legally required to allow American military aircraft to continue refueling warplanes belonging to the two Gulf nations, the dominant members of an Arab coalition fighting a brutal war in Yemen that has helped create the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
A draft report prepared by a United Nations human rights panel has spelled out in detail the massive and savage war crimes that have been carried out against the people of Yemen in the three-year-old war waged by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with indispensable military and political backing from Washington.
The United Arab Emirates said on Sunday it had halted its military campaign against the Iran-aligned Houthis for control of Yemen’s main port city of Hodeida to support UN efforts to reach a political solution.
(18.5.2018) “It is unlikely we will have a dialogue with Iran in light of them supplying missiles to Al Houthis (in Yemen) to launch attacks on Saudi Arabia,” Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said.
Dr Gargash made these remarks during a discussion on ‘Middle East in Turmoil: Achieving Lasting Stability’ at the annual Globsec forum in Bratislava.
Tehran is much weaker than in 2014 and 2015 because of the economic problems, following the reinstatement of US sanctions, Dr Gargash said.
(1.6.2018) In addition, Vladimir Putin and Mohammed Al Nahyan signed the Declaration on Strategic Partnership between the Russian Federation and the United Arab Emirates.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is also seeking to procure the F-35 jets, and talks are making an important progress, as stated by officials who refused to be named.
(6.4.2018) George Nader, a convicted child molester and adviser to the UAE’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan – often called MBZ – who attended the Seychelles gathering, has reportedly testified to a grand jury that Dmitriev met Prince in Seychelles.
The testimony came in relation to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s election campaign team and Russian officials.
(10.4.2018) That’s big because Nader helped organize, and attended, that curious Seychelles meeting on January 11, 2017, shortly before Trump’s inauguration. The meeting brought together Erik Prince, Trump donor and founder of the private security company Blackwater, with Kirill Dmitriev, who manages a Russian sovereign wealth fund and is thought to be close to Vladimir Putin.
There were concerns inside the company, Psy-Group, about the plan’s legality, according to one person familiar with the effort. The company, whose motto is “shape reality,” consulted an American law firm, and was told that it would be illegal if any non-Americans were involved in the effort.
Mr. Zamel, the founder of Psy-Group and one of its owners, has been questioned about the August 2016 meeting by investigators for the special counsel, and at least two F.B.I. agents working on the inquiry have traveled to Israel to interview employees of the company who worked on the proposal.
The report, citing four sources, said that a company linked to Zamel, Psy-Group, was working on an online manipulation campaign that involved usage thousands of fake social media accounts to help Trump get elected. The report, Zamel himself was questioned by Mueller’s investigators and at least two FBI agents were sent to Israel to interview the company’s employees. Mueller’s team also worked with the Israel Police to seize computers of one of Zamel’s firms. The New York Times notes that there were concerns inside the company about the plan’s legality, since U.S. law prohibits non-Americans from being involved in the election.
On May 1, the developers of the Signal encrypted messaging application revealed that over the previous month, Google and Amazon took steps to stop Signal from continuing to bypass censorship measures in place in Egypt, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Workers, youth, journalists, lawyers and human rights advocates will no longer be able to use the application to send encrypted messages and evade government surveillance.
Riyadh, UAE and Bahrain, staunch rivals of Islamic Republic, join Israel in offering rare support for US decision to reimpose sanctions
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, said Tuesday that Saudi Arabia is engaged in talks with the US and would consider sending forces to Syria along with other Arab countries as part of this contingent.
Jubeir also noted that the idea is not necessarily new, as Saudi Arabia made a similar proposal to the Obama administration, but that the US did not take them up on the offer.
Already this devastating conflict has cost more than 500,000 lives and led to 5 million refugees being forced to flee Syria, and 6 million internally displaced. We must put negotiations for a political settlement centre stage, and not slip into a new cycle of military reaction and counter-reaction.
Protracted external military intervention in Syria – from funding and arms supplies to bombing and boots on the ground – has not helped in the slightest. Syria has become the theatre for military action by regional and international powers – the United States, Britain, Russia, France, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates among them.
(8.3.2018) In remarks reportedly made this week in a meeting with Egyptian newspaper editors, he pointed to a “triangle of evil” in the Middle East made up of Iran — Riyadh’s perennial foe — Islamist extremist groups and Turkey. His rhetoric seemed to echo the notorious „axis of evil“ bluster of the George W. Bush administration.
The inclusion of Turkey raised eyebrows and sparked an angry backlash on Turkish social media.