Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

(Update 29 June 2014 from Debka File online)

iraqsyriaFullMid East is sizzling: Armed US drones over Baghdad, Saudi, Jordanian tanks deploy
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis June 28, 2014 (IDT)

The Obama administration announced Friday, June 27, that unmanned aerial vehicles flying over Baghdad would henceforth be armed in order to defend the US Embassy in the Green Zone. The embassy was originally assigned the tasks of guardian of Iraq’s central government and symbol of post-Saddam national unity. These roles have remained out of reach ever since the Americans invaded Iraq in 2003.

Today, the armed drones overhead are reduced to holding back the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and its local Sunni allies from overrunning the Green Zone and seizing the embassy, most of whose 5,000 staff were evacuated as a precaution.

President Barack Obama has again decreed that no US soldiers will take part in combat in Iraq. Therefore, American military personnel on the ground will be there to guide the drones to their targets.

Those targets were defined Saturday, June 28, by Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, as striking at ISIS leaders and defending Iraq’s strategic facilities. He did not elaborate.

Debkafile reports that he was referring to the Haditha dam on the Euphrates. ISIS fighters have been battered the town of Haditha on and off for some days.

Its dam is the key to the water supply of most of Iraq, including Baghdad. With its capture, Al Qaeda’s affiliates will have gained control of northern Iraq’s oil refineries and pipeline networks.

US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jordan Friday laid out another piece of the Iraq-Syria imbroglio. He estimated that the Syrian rebel recruits enlisted from among the nearly one million Syrian refugees sheltering in Jordan could be deployed in Iraq for fighting ISIS.

His words were accompanied by the Obama administration’s application to Congress for half a billion dollars to arm and train such a force.

President Obama is therefore in the midst of yet another U-turn on the Syrian-Iraqi war scene – this one involving Israel too.

(Continued)
http://www.debka.com/article/24042/Mid-East-is-sizzling-Armed-US-drones-over-Baghdad-Saudi-Jordanian-tanks-deploy

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(Here’s some information you probably won’t read in the US mainline media. Long but well worth reading.)

King Abdullah calls up Saudi armed forces on high preparedness. Egyptian troops ready to fly to kingdom.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 26, 2014 (IDT)

Thursday, June 26, the day before US Secretary of State John Kerry was due in Riyadh, King Abdullah summoned a National Security Council meeting “upon the current security events in the region, especially in Iraq,” and ordered “all necessary measures to protect the kingdom against terrorist threats.” This meant a general call-up of military units for a high level of preparedness.

Debkafile’s military sources disclose that Egypt is assembling an expeditionary commando force to fly to Saudi Arabia and bolster its border defenses.

This flurry of Saudi-Egyptian military steps comes in the wake of intelligence gathered by Saudi reconnaissance planes showing Iraqi Al Qaeda-linked Sunni fighters (ISIS) heading for the Saudi border and aiming to seize control of the Iraqi-Saudi crossing at Ar Ar (pop: 200,000).

ISIS and its Sunni allies are still on the march after capturing Iraq’s border crossings with Syria and Jordan earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Kerry warned Mideast nations against taking new military action in Iraq that might heighten sectarian divisions. By then, he had been overtaken by a rush of events, as Debkafile reported this morning.

When the first of the 300 military advisers US President Barack Obama promised the Iraqi government arrived in Baghdad Wednesday, June 25, Iranian and Saudi Arabian arms shipments were already in full flow to opposing sides in embattled Iraq, Debkafile’s military sources report.

At least two cargo planes from bases in Iran were landing daily at Baghdad’s military airport, carrying 150 tons of military equipment. More than 1,000 tons were flown in this past week alone.

Tehran has replicated for the Iraqi army the routine it established for Bashar Assad’s army, furnishing its needs on a daily basis as per its commanders’ requests. Those requests come before a joint Iranian-Iraqi headquarters set up at the Iraqi high command in Baghdad for approval and the assigning of priorities for shipment.

At the same time, Saudi arms are flowing to the Iraqi Sunni tribes fighting alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) against the Iraqi army and the Shiite Nouri al-Maliki’s government.

They are coming in both overland and by airlift. Saudi arms convoys are crossing the border into Iraq with Saudi and Jordanian air force cover and heading north up to the Al-Qa’im district near the Syrian border. There, Sunni and ISIS fighters, after capturing this key Anbar district, have begun refurbishing the bases and runways at H-2, once one of Saddam Hussein’s largest airbases. Situated 350 kilometers west of Baghdad, this air base has two long runways and hangars for fighter planes and helicopters.

Debkafile’s military sources disclose that, on Tuesday June 24, unmarked civilian cargo planes landed at the base, bringing arms shipments from Saudi Arabia.

The response was swift. Syrian warplanes, on their first bombing mission inside Iraq, tried to damage the partially repaired runways at H-2 to prevent any more Saudi air shipments from landing.

Military sources in Washington confirmed Wednesday June 25 that those air strikes were conducted by the Syrian Air Force “in Anbar province” and left at least 57 people dead and 120 wounded – most of them Iraqi civilians. They declined to say what was attacked, referring only to ISIS-related targets.

That incident was a striking demonstration of the tight operational sync between the Iranian command centers in Damascus and Baghdad, which are attached respectively to the high commands of the Syrian and Iraqi armies.

This coordination offers Tehran the flexibility for its command centers in both Arab capitals to send Iranian drones aloft from Syrian or Iraqi airbases to feed those centers with the intelligence they need for the strategic planning of military operations to be conducted by the Syrian and Iraqi armies.

Iranian command centers in Baghdad and Damascus are fully equipped therefore to decide which Syrian, Iraqi or Hizballah force carries out a planned operation in either Syria or Iraq. Both are now pushing back against further ISIS advances towards its goal of a Sunni caliphate spanning both countries.

This is just what US Secretary of State John Kerry meant when he said in Brussels Wednesday June 25, after two days of talks in Iraq, that “the war in Iraq is being widened.”

He had good reason to sound worried. Shortly before he spoke, the first group of US military personnel, out of the 300 that President Obama had promised, had arrived in Baghdad. But neither Tehran nor Riyadh had consulted Washington before they organized heavy arms shipments to their respective allies in Iraq.

The Iraqi battle arena is become a veritable Babel of war. So far, six countries are involved in varying degrees: the US, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

http://www.debka.com/article/24034/King-Abdullah-calls-up-Saudi-armed-forces-on-high-preparedness-Egyptian-troops-ready-to-fly-to-kingdom

As I read internet news today, I have to wonder about the spreading protests in the Arab world. Muslim against Muslim, it seems… the people against their governments in country after country. The headlines and the shouted messages seem to say, the people want freedom. Freedom from corrupt governments, freedom from economic woes, freedom from oppressive rules and regulations.

So far we’ve heard about Algeria. Tunisia. Egypt. Jordan. Lebanon. Yemen. Djibouti – yes, that tiny little country too. Worries from Saudi Arabia and Syria. Maybe Kuwait.

I did a bit of research into the differences between two major Muslim groups today. Here’s an abbreviated synopsis.

“Sunnis elect, Shias appoint”

Sunni Muslims make up the majority (85%) of Muslims all over the world. They elect their leaders.

Sunni = “one who follows the traditions of the Prophet.” Sunni Muslims agree with the position taken by many of the Prophet’s companions, that the new leader should be elected from among those capable of the job. They believe leadership is not a birthright, but a trust that is earned and which may be given or taken away by the people themselves. No basis for veneration of leaders.

Shias (or Shi’ites) constitute only 10-15% of overall Muslim population worldwide. Their leaders are appointed by Allah or his representatives.

Shia = “a group or supportive party of people.” The commonly-known term is shortened from the historical “Shia-t-Ali,” or “the Party of Ali.” They are also known as followers of “Ahl-al-Bayt” or “People of the Household” (of the Prophet). They believe that following the Prophet Muhammad’s death, leadership should have passed directly to his cousin/son-in-law, Ali. They do not recognize authority of elected Muslim leaders, believe leadership should have stayed within the Prophet’s own family, among those specifically appointed by him, or among Imams appointed by God Himself.

Shias follow a line of Imams which they believe have been appointed by the Prophet Muhammad or God (Allah) Himself. Shias believe the Imam – such as Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran – is sinless by nature, and that his authority is infallible as it comes directly from God. They do venerate their leaders.

So, with the above in mind, let’s look at the Arab world and those countries which are in turmoil right now. (Percentages obtained from Wikipedia, may not be totally accurate.)

Although Sunni Muslims constitute 85% of all Muslims, Shias form a majority of the population in Iran, Yemen (? – see * below) and Azerbaijan, Bahrain and 60% of the population of Iraq. There are also sizable Shia communities along the east coast of Saudi Arabia and in Lebanon.

Iran – majority (89%) Shia. Ayatollah Khamenei (Iranian Supreme Leader) is a fundamentalist Shia. He supports the policies of Iran’s President Ahmadinajab, who says that the “12th Imam” is causing all the uprisings in the Arab world now so that Islam can take over the world. See Joel Rosenberg’s blog 18 Feb 2011: Ahmadinejad claims 12th Imam behind current events. http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/

Note that Hezbollah is a Shi’ite terrorist group funded and supported by Iran and Syria. This well-known guerilla organization forced the Israelis out of southern Lebanon in 2000 and is still causing problems for Israel. Hezbollah recently caused the government of Lebanon to fall. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezbollah

Does Iran have a hand in instigating the various Arab world riots, working behind the scenes and perhaps using Hezbollah to do it?

Bahrain – majority of the population is Shia but the King is Sunni. Extreme violence today as police opened fire on protesters, then blocked ambulances from reaching wounded.

Libya – majority Sunni but in 2007 Gaddafi said he wants all of N. Africa to be Shi’ite (in an overture to Iran) – a statement that was considered idiotic by many people in his own country. http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/2137.htm Protests in Libya turned violent today with a number of people killed and many wounded as the government cracks down on protesters.

* Yemen – 52% Sunni, 46% Shia. President is Shia. Prime Minister (appointed by President) is Sunni. Both are men of very bad reputation, associated with Saddam Hussein, terrorists.

Dijbouti – 90% of population Muslim, nearly all Sunni. President is Sunni. Has just started having protests in the streets today.

All of these protests are for better economic conditions, with food and fuel prices high and unemployment also high. Large populations of young people cannot find work after finishing their education. It doesn’t appear to matter whether the government is by a dictator, elected President, military generals or a monarch, they want the government pulled down. To be replaced by who? How, and how soon?

It looks to me like a set-up for a charismatic leader to emerge. It’s going to be an interesting year.

To follow events in these and other middle eastern countries, read “Arab Awakening” in The Star online.
http://www.thestar.com/topic/arabawakening

DEBKAfile 14 Feb 2011

Hosni Mubarak denies that he voluntarily resigned or passed any powers to the army. “I had no idea Omar Suleiman was about to read out that statement. I would never have signed it or allowed it to be published,” said Mubarak.

Mubarak has moved vast assets from European banks to Saudi Arabia; salvaged financial fortune with Saudi help.

Hosni Mubarak and his family have moved a large part of their assets – guesstimated at between $20 and $70 billion – from European banks to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Republics against personal guarantees from King Abdullah and Sheik Al Nahyan to block access to outside parties.This is reported by Gulf and West European sources.

Tunisian ex-ruler Zein Al Abdain Ben Ali received the same guarantee when he fled his country and received asylum in the oil kingdom.

A Swiss financial source commented: “If he had any real money in Zurich, it may be gone by now.” According to debkafile’s sources, the transfers took place on Feb. 12-13. Although a weekend when European banks are closed, high-ranking officials in Riyadh had their managers hauled out of home to execute Mubarak’s transfer orders without delay.

The ousted Egyptian ruler was on the phone to Saudi King Abdullah Friday, Feb. 11, immediately after his vice president Omar Suleiman went on state television to announce his resignation and handover of rule to the army.

Mubarak called it a military putsch conducted under pressure from Washington. He denied he had resigned or passed any powers to the army. “I had no idea Omar Suleiman was about to read out that statement. I would never have signed it or allowed it to be published,” said Mubarak.

The Saudi king voiced understanding for the ex-president’s plight and said the Riyadh government was under orders to meet any requests for assistance received from him.

Mubarak views himself still as the rightful president of Egypt. Aware of this, the High Military Council Sunday, Feb. 13, abolished the constitution. Otherwise, Mubarak would have been correct and the military would have had no authority to issue decrees and pass laws without his signature.

The military junta’s Western sympathizers were quick to read in the military statement a pledge to call an election in six months. This was not exactly stated. The military council announced that the incumbent (Mubarak-appointed) cabinet would stay in office “for six months or until elections.”

Elections cannot be held until a new a new constitution is enacted because the old one has been abolished leaving a void which is filled by martial law and no clear obligation for an election date. One major obstacle confronting orderly transition to civilian rule is the opposition’s clamor for an all-inclusive investigation of corruption within the Mubarak family and its ruling circle. As one of the opposition leaders George Ishak put it: “We will research everything, all of them: the families of the ministers, the family of the president, everyone.”

Prof. Samer Soliman, of the American University in Cairo said: “The corruption of the Mubarak family was not stealing from the budget; it was transforming political capital into private capital.”

Debkafile’s military sources stress that all 25 generals serving in the High Army Council can be relied on to raise a high wall against any such probe. Members of Egypt’s high officer class are heavily invested in Egyptian industry, financial institutions and banks, having built their personal fortunes by the same methods as the Mubarak clan and its hangers-on.

An exhaustive investigation might also bring to light American and Israel capital interests linked to businesses close to the Mubarak regime. The military will not doubt use its powers under martial law to put a spoke in the opposition’s demand for an inquiry.

http://www.debka.com/article/20666/

The Saudis have facilitated the construction of a secret IAF forward base, five miles outside the city of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis and Israelis, as usual, pretend not to know each other. The Saudis have closed Tabuk airport for civilian flights for several days as the Israeli Air Force landed jet fighter aircraft and military supplies. Civilians were not told of the purpose of the closure, but were accommodated by the Saudi government elsewhere.

The base outside Tabuk, according to unconfirmed sources, is a ‘forward’ operating base for combat assault helicopters along the ‘corridor’ that has been created for the free passage of IAF combat assets on their way into Iran… greatly reducing the distance that Israeli aircraft would have to travel to reach their targets in Iran…

Israel’s recent additions to its defensive/offensive capability include a new secret combat satellite system launched into low earth orbit on June 24. The Israeli military would only say that the new satellite, Ofek 9, has unprecedented military capabilities. Ofek joins two other Israeli satellites presently in orbit and has Tehran in a quandary, as the resolution from the orbiting satellites is said to be less than a meter. You can run but you can’t hide, seems to be the message. Video about Israel’s new satellite system:

The United States has several naval carrier strike forces including an anti-submarine strike group and amphibious landing ‘Expeditionary Strike Group 5′, which includes elements of the United States Marine Corps 15th Expeditionary Brigade from Camp Pendleton, California, said to number some 6,000 Marines and sailors.

With American, German, Israeli and Canadian Naval assets now in position and Israeli land air and sea assets at the ready, it would seem that hostilities are imminent. Click the link for the complete story.

http://thenextright.com/skip-maclure/israel-on-the-brink-reported-secret-base-near-tabuk-saudi-arabia

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Related articles:

Reports: IAF Landed at Saudi Base, US Troops near Iran Border
23 June 2010

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/news.aspx/138231

IAF Landed at Saudi Base, US Troops near Iran Border
By: Various on: 23.06.2010 [15:29 ]

http://www.iraq-war.ru/article/227933

Israel Air Force Planes Land in Saudi Arabian Military Base, Unload Military Equipment
Posted by RafiF on Jun 23, 2010 |

http://www.worldofjudaica.com/jewish-news/israel/report-israel-air-force-planes-land-in-saudi-arabian-military-base-unload-military-equipment/246/45/

by JPOST.COM STAFF
06/12/2010 08:03

Israeli jets ok’d to fly over Saudi Arabia reports ‘The Times’.

(Bette: Iran has made alliances with most of the Persian Gulf nations to prevent such flights; guess they couldn’t get to Saudi Arabia.)

Saudi Arabia will allow Israeli jets to use its airspace to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, reported The Times of London on Saturday.

The report cited a US defense source as saying the Saudis have already done tests to ensure no jet is shot down in the event of an Israeli attack. The source added that the US State Department is aware of the action and agrees with it.

A Saudi government source confirmed that a blind eye would be turned to Israeli jets attacking Iran, according to the report.

An Israeli attempt to destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities would target uranium enrichment facilities at Qom and Natanz as well as a heavy water reactor at Arak and a gas storage development at Isfahan.

The UN Security Council passed a fourth set of sanctions against Iran on Wednesday in the hopes of diplomatically stopping Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry released a statement following the passing of the sanctions which said that the resolution was “not enough,” and that what was necessary now was for additional “significant steps” to be taken by various countries and international groupings.

http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?ID=178190

Aljazeera 11 Nov 09

yemensoldiersIran has said that it is ready to help restore security in Yemen, which is currently engaged in a deadly conflict with an armed Houthi opposition group.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Hossein Shobakshi, a columnist with the Arabic Asharq Alawsat newspaper, was critical of Iran’s offer to help.

“It is a very odd situation that Iran threatens anybody that interferes in Yemeni affairs. This is an internal issue between the Yemenis. Saudi Arabia is protecting its borders. What business does Iran have stating what it has stated?”

“But it falls in sync with what Iran has been doing, interfering in other countries’ affairs – we have seen it in Jordan, Sudan, Palestine, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Iraq – creating pockets of influence and trying to control its puppets in every part of the Arab world.”

http://bit.ly/4aZO4J