# Saudi Arabia
Middle East analysis
Yemen - The deployment of armed forces on the strategic island of Maon in Bab al-Mandav has been approved

Yemen - The deployment of armed forces on the strategic island of Maon in Bab al-Mandav has been approved

Brigadier General Tariq Saleh, an armed militia commander and nephew of the late Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, admitted that his forces, backed by the UAE, are stationed on the strategic island of Maon near Egypt in Bab al-Nadav, where there is a secret air base currently under construction.

A report by the AP news agency published late last month claimed that the UAE was building a "secret air base on the strategic island of Maon in the Bab al-Mandab Strait".

However, Saudi Arabia, which leads Arab allied forces in Yemen, has denied reports of the presence of UAE forces in the Yemeni islands of Socotra and Maon.

The official Saudi news agency, Spa, quoted a coalition official as saying that "there is no truth in the news that there is a presence of UAE forces in the islands of Socotra and Maon."

Information coming from a website that tracks the movement of ships shows that at least two ships owned by UAE have sailed to the island since it was published in May by the AP news agency about the construction of the base.

The UAE has not responded to repeated requests for comment about the base. However, the Saudi-led coalition later acknowledged the presence of "equipment" on the island in the Bab al-Mandab Strait.

Although no country has announced its connection with the air base under construction, the cargo movement linked to the construction of a huge 5.6-kilometer runway across the island is linked to the UAE. Legislative Yemeni officials have demanded an official inquiry into the base.

In an interview published in the Arabic-language news site of the Russian news agency Sputnik, on Monday, Saleh admitted in the presence of his national resistance forces on the island.

Saleh said, "We have forces belonging to the Yemeni Coast Guard… located on the island of Maon, and there is also a small force of Arab coalition forces on the island represented by Saudi forces. The route was established to provide future logistical support to joint forces on the west coast of Yemen, or any other side."

He added that the island of Maon "is a Yemeni island and will continue to belong to Yemen."

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# UAE # War in Yemen # Saudi Arabia
Middle East News
Saudi-led Coalition Intercepts Houthi Drone

Saudi Arabian air defenses intercepted and destroyed an armed drone launched by Yemen's Houthi group towards the southern Saudi city of Khamis Mushait, state television said on Monday.

It cited the Saudi-led military coalition, which has been battling the Houthis for over six years, as saying it was taking operational measures to protect civilians from such assaults.

On Sunday, Saudi state media said a drone rigged with explosives fell on a school in the kingdom's Aseer province but that no injuries were reported.

The Iran-aligned Houthis have frequently launched cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities in the war. 

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# Yemen # Middle East # Iran # Houthi Terrorists # War in Yemen # Saudi Arabia
Middle East analysis
Report: Turkey has supplied Saudi Arabia with military UAVs

If indeed this supply was actually made, then it is a unique deal between two countries that have different alliances and are in different coalitions in the Middle East

The website JANES reports that Turkey recently reported to the UN Convention on Arms Control (UNROCA) that it has supplied three UAVs to Saudi Arabia. The UAV models were not reported in the report, but they were classified in category IV-B, which means armed UAVs.

According to the site, two types of UAVs from this category are manufactured in Turkey: Baykar Bayraktar TB2 and the larger UAV Anka, both of which can carry guided armament produced by the Turkish company Roketsan.

If indeed this supply was actually made, then it is a unique and exceptional deal between two countries that have different alliances and are in different coalitions in the Middle East. While Turkey heads the militant Sunni coalition that also includes Qatar and the Libyan government in Western Libya, Saudi Arabia leads the moderate pro-Western Sunni camp.

This deal may be one of the first signs of the disintegration of this coalition structure (which also includes the Iranian-led Shiite-radical camp), when at the beginning of the year the first rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Qatar was recorded and the boycott imposed on Qatar was lifted.

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# Middle East # Turkey # Saudi Arabia
Middle East analysis
Cartoon from the Arab press: Water is the "weapon of future wars"

The Saudi newspaper, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, sheds light on the new weapons that countries will soon use in wars: The "water" weapon. This will be the most powerful weapon ever, whithout which humans die without the blood and the horrors of war.

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# Middle East # Saudi Arabia
Middle East News
A Houthi Minefield was Discovered in the Red Sea

Arab Coalition forces, led by Saudi Arabia, active on the west coast of Yemen announced on Monday the discovery of a network of naval mines left by the Houthi militia. The mines are reportedly located south of the large island of Hanish, in the Southern Red Sea near Bab al-Mandab, one of the world's most important trade routes.

A security source noted that the size of the network was sufficient to improve the scope of the danger and threat to Iranian militias on the international shipping line.

It was also reported that the Arab coalition and Coast Guard engineering forces had dismantled the network, stressing that the quality of the naval mines confirms that it is one of the known weapons belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

International reports have suggested that the Iranian-affiliated Houthi militia has planted extensive minefields in the Red Sea, posing a major danger to both international shipping and fishing vessels.

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# Yemen # Middle East # Iran # Saudi Arabia
The Iranian Threat
Israel Should Respond To Hamas Missiles By Attacking Iranian Targets In The Region

Saudi Journalist Prof. Safouq Al-Shammari: Israel Should Respond To Hamas Missiles By Attacking Iranian Targets In The Region


Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), May 27, 2021

"The title of this article may seem somewhat strange, especially since [I am addressing] a prime minister with whom I tend to disagree. However I believe that this disagreement enables us to be more objective, since, when presenting a position to someone you disagree with, emotions play no part. Someone might [also] ask, What is the point of presenting a proposal to the prime minister of a country with which you have no relations? The answer is simple: We have a specific [shared] interest, which I will discuss below…

"[The results] of the last war in Gaza were lamentable and destructive, especially for the civilians. This war was between Israel and Iran's proxy in Gaza, the Hamas movement, and it is possible that neither side suffered as much as the civilians on both sides. Israel bombed thousands of [targets] in densely-populated Gaza, and Hamas launched thousands of rockets. Numerous civilians on both sides were injured and killed.

"What is amazing is that, despite adopting a very pragmatic policy, Israel – or more precisely, Netanyahu, or Bibi, as he is known – does not attempt to punish the chief instigator [responsible] for this ongoing war, i.e. Iran! There is no doubt that, without Iranian incitement, this war would have been shorter, with less damage to civilians and infrastructure. [In fact,] this war could have been over before it began if Israel had performed a simple action, which could prevent all future wars and bring an end to the suffering of the poor civilians, who have nothing to do with these wars! Very simply, what will happen if Israel decides that every rocket fired by Hamas will be met with an attack on Iranian targets in Syria and elsewhere? After all, the Israelis have a list of thousands of Iranian targets in the area. The result will be that Iran will be the one restraining Hamas from launching missiles and [thus] preventing the fighting.

"[What actually happened was that] Israel attacked [Iran's] arm, namely Hamas, harmed the civilians among whom Hamas operatives take cover, while disregarding the head, which is Iran. But  if,  every time [Hamas launched rockets, Israel]  attacked Iranian targets, the world would not have conducted [smear] campaigns against Israel, and perhaps even the Palestinians themselves would have supported these actions and perceived them as revenge for the thousands of Palestinians Iran has killed in Syria. Arab countries would not condemn these actions either, and even the Abraham Accords would be strengthened. Israel would be presented as the country that fights the destruction sown by Iran in the region, and the picture would thus reverse itself: the sweeping Arab and international anger at Israel would turn into satisfaction! The Israeli home front would [also] enjoy quiet, and the Israeli citizens would be protected.

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# Iran # Saudi Arabia # Israel
Middle East News
Mysterious technical problem temporarily Saudi stock exchange

Saudi stock exchange, Tadawul, was out of service for two hours following a 'technical problem' as authorities report. The cause and scale of the problem was not reported. It is an irregular incident raising issues about its origin. The authorities had announced the problem was solved and trading resumes. 

Saudi stock market is valued at $2.6 billion, which puts it at the top stock exchange in the Arab world. Over 200 companies participate in the Saudi stock market, the most prominent one is "Aramco". The technical problem did not disrupt the market, as it  showed an increase of 0.56%. 

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# Middle East # Saudi Arabia
Middle East News
Pentagon chief, Saudi crown prince discuss regional security, Yemen war

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday and emphasized U.S. commitment to helping Saudi Arabia defend its territory and people, the Pentagon said.

Austin and Prince Mohammed discussed regional security, particularly efforts to end the war in Yemen, and "ongoing bilateral efforts to improve Saudi Arabia’s defenses," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, who have controlled most of northern Yemen since 2014, have kept up cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia and are pressing an offensive to seize Yemen's gas-rich Marib region.

A Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Houthis ousted a Saudi-backed government from the capital Sanaa. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.

Austin "noted Saudi Arabia’s recent successes in defeating Houthi attacks on the Kingdom" and thanked the crown prince for working with U.S. special envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking to end the Yemen war, Kirby said.

Last month, Lenderking criticized the Houthis for not engaging seriously in stalled efforts to secure a ceasefire. He also urged the coalition to remove restrictions on all Yemeni ports and airports.

More than 100,000 people have been killed in the war, most of them civilians, and millions of Yemenis rely on humanitarian assistance to survive.

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# War in Yemen # US Government # Saudi Arabia
Middle East analysis
Saudi Journalist: Israel Should Respond To Hamas Missiles By Attacking Iranian Targets In The Region

"The title of this article may seem somewhat strange, especially since [I am addressing] a prime minister with whom I tend to disagree. However I believe that this disagreement enables us to be more objective, since, when presenting a position to someone you disagree with, emotions play no part. Someone might [also] ask, What is the point of presenting a proposal to the prime minister of a country with which you have no relations? The answer is simple: We have a specific [shared] interest, which I will discuss below…

"[The results] of the last war in Gaza were lamentable and destructive, especially for the civilians. This war was between Israel and Iran's proxy in Gaza, the Hamas movement, and it is possible that neither side suffered as much as the civilians on both sides. Israel bombed thousands of [targets] in densely-populated Gaza, and Hamas launched thousands of rockets. Numerous civilians on both sides were injured and killed.

"What is amazing is that, despite adopting a very pragmatic policy, Israel  or more precisely, Netanyahu, or Bibi, as he is known – does not attempt to punish the chief instigator [responsible] for this ongoing war, i.e. Iran! There is no doubt that, without Iranian incitement, this war would have been shorter, with less damage to civilians and infrastructure. [In fact,] this war could have been over before it began if Israel had performed a simple action, which could prevent all future wars and bring an end to the suffering of the poor civilians, who have nothing to do with these wars! Very simply, what will happen if Israel decides that every rocket fired by Hamas will be met with an attack on Iranian targets in Syria and elsewhere? After all, the Israelis have a list of thousands of Iranian targets in the area. The result will be that Iran will be the one restraining Hamas from launching missiles and [thus] preventing the fighting.

"[What actually happened was that] Israel attacked [Iran's] arm, namely Hamas, harmed the civilians among whom Hamas operatives take cover, while disregarding the head, which is Iran. But  if,  every time [Hamas launched rockets, Israel]  attacked Iranian targets, the world would not have conducted [smear] campaigns against Israel, and perhaps even the Palestinians themselves would have supported these actions and perceived them as revenge for the thousands of Palestinians Iran has killed in Syria. Arab countries would not condemn these actions either, and even the Abraham Accords would be strengthened. Israel would be presented as the country that fights the destruction sown by Iran in the region, and the picture would thus reverse itself: the sweeping Arab and international anger at Israel would turn into satisfaction! The Israeli home front would [also] enjoy quiet, and the Israeli citizens would be protected.

"Israel relies on the principle of deterrence in its military operations, but this time it lost some of its power of deterrence, so much so that Iran [dared to] launch an attack drone against it. If every rocket fired by Hamas was met with a similar Israeli rocket fired on the Iranian forces in Syria or elsewhere, this would be the best possible application of the principle of deterrence. Because Iran is not interested in Hamas or the Palestinians. For Iran, the destruction of Gaza and [even] the death of all Hamas leaders are a mere blip. But the minute the fire burns Iran's hands, it will understand how boiling hot the situation is!

"Again we ask: Why is it important for us to advise the prime minister of Israel? First of all, it is important for us to protect the poor civilians on both sides from [the damages of] war: both those in overcrowded Gaza and also those in Israel. One cannot condemn the killing of civilians and children in Gaza without condemning the killing of civilians in Israel. Second, we don't want another war, or a constant repetition of the same scenario: Iran incites Hamas, Gaza is destroyed, the Arab countries finance its reconstruction, while some of the funds go to the leaders of Hamas and their relatives, who enjoy themselves in hotels while the suffering of the Gazans continues. Thus the money of the Arabs is wasted over and over again for the destruction and rebuilding of Gaza.

"Third, it appears that Israel plays a vital role in the war against Iran's actions in the region though its secret and military operations. These operations are vital to maintaining the stability in the region in the face of the abominable Iranian conduct. An Israeli focus on Iran is crucial at this stage, and is preferable to trying to preoccupy Israel with side campaigns against Hamas and other elements, especially when the U.S. administration is pandering to Iran and trying, along with its allies, to clasp it in a bear hug, which enables its current conduct.

"If the Israeli leaders think that an attack in Gaza and an attempt to assassinate some of the local leaders of Hamas… will teach Hamas a lesson, then they have lost their way. Far from it, Hamas will continue to be the Iranian tail, which will grow ever longer, while the brain that does the planning and the leaders who reap the benefits remain outside [the circle of fighting]. Israel will gain nothing but condemnations for its attacks on Gaza and a worldwide media campaign against it. It will [all] be a waste of time and a distraction from the real problem, which is Iran. However, if the Israeli security apparatuses and army direct against Iran the efforts they devoted to the war on Gaza, the results will be much more positive, and perhaps the Americans will awaken from the illusion that concessions can be made [to Iran], and [understand] that there are other ways to stop the Iranian nuclear program."

 
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# Hamas # Iran # Saudi Arabia
Middle East News
Saudi-led coalition destroys explosives-laden drone, Claim Earlier Houthi Border Attack "Fabricated"

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said early on Sunday it destroyed an explosives-laden drone headed towards Khamis Mushait launched by Houthi militia in Yemen, Saudi state TV al-Ekhbariya reported.

In a tweet early on Sunday, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree stated that an operation targeted Saudi Arabia's King Khalid Air Base in Khamis Mushait with explosives-laden drones, and the hit was accurate.

The coalition earlier dismissed as "fabricated" video footage issued by the Houthi movement on Saturday purportedly showing an incursion by its fighters into a Saudi Arabian border area on the frontlines. 

Houthi-run Al Masirah television cited a military source as saying more than 80 Saudi soldiers and Sudanese "mercenaries" were killed or injured, while tens were captured in the operation near Al Khoubah in the southern Saudi region of Jazan.

"Claims by the Houthi militia about executing a military operation on the Jazan border are media fabrications," Saudi state television cited coalition spokesman Brigadier General Turki al-Malki as saying.

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# Middle East # Iran # War in Yemen # Saudi Arabia
Middle East News
Saudi-led coalition destroys explosives-laden drone

The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen on Friday said it intercepted and destroyed an explosive-laden drone launched by the Iran-aligned group towards the city of Khamis Mushait, Saudi state TV Al-Ekhbariya reported.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said in a tweet early on Saturday that an operation targeted Saudi Arabia's King Khalid Air Base in Khamis Mushait with two explosives-laden drones, and the hit was accurate.

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# Yemen # Iran # Saudi Arabia
Middle East News
Palestinians to Gulf States looking for money

A Palestinian delegation led by Prime Minister Muhammad a-Shtiya will travel to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait next week to raise funds for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

# Middle East # Palestinian Authority # Saudi Arabia
Middle East News
Saudi Arabia temporarily closes airspace to Israeli flights

Saudi Arabia reportedly closed its airspace to Israeli flights on Tuesday morning for unknown reasons, delaying an Israir Airlines flight for five hours at Ben Gurion Airport before departing for Dubai, i24NEWS reports.

Israir flight 661, which was scheduled to take off at 9:00 a.m. local time, was apparently held up because Saudi Arabia refused to grant the necessary permits even though an El Al flight took off for Dubai on Tuesday afternoon with permission to fly through Saudi airspace.

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# UAE # Saudi Arabia
Operation "Guardian of the Walls"
Saudi king condemns Israeli 'aggression' in Jerusalem, Gaza Strip

Saudi Arabia's King Salman condemned what he called Israeli aggression in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip during a phone call on Friday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

King Salman also said the kingdom will keep reaching out to all parties to put pressure on Israel's "occupation government".

Saudi Arabia earlier on Friday welcomed the declaration of a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and said it appreciates Egyptian and international mediation efforts, state news agency (SPA) said, citing a Foreign Ministry statement.

The statement reaffirmed the kingdom's continuation of efforts with allies to reach a resolution.

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# Middle East # Saudi Arabia
Middle East analysis
What is the truth about the rapprochement between the Assad regime and Saudi Arabia?
Media sources claimed that there was a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and the Assad regime, as both sides agreed that the kingdom would reopen its embassy in Damascus. These sources claimed that a Saudi delegation had informed a Syrian delegation that the kingdom welcomed the regimeโ€™s return to the Arab League and its participation in the Arab summit conference scheduled to take place in Algeria. In contrast, a senior Saudi official denied all reports claiming that a Saudi delegation led by the head of the intelligence service, Major General Khaled al-Hamidan, had visited the Syrian capital, Damascus. The source said in a statement to the Altrik website that what was being distributed was not entirely true, explaining that the kingdom was firm in its position on the Syrian issue, based on the need to implement UN resolutions to resolve the internal conflict in Syria. Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan reaffirmed that the kingdom places the political settlement as a condition for contributing to the reconstruction process in Syria, noting the lack of international will to implement decisions made at international institutions, particularly Security Council Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Declaration. ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ IF YOU LOVE ISRAEL - SHARE NEWSRAEL! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ
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# Syria # Saudi Arabia
Middle East analysis
Iran has a plan to destroy Saudi, Gulf youth with drugs
Former Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Dr. Ali Asseri" Iran has a plan to destroy Saudi, Gulf youth with drugs; it exploits the weakness of Lebanon, Syria to manufacture, smuggle drugs with Hezbollah protection
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# Iran # Saudi Arabia
Middle East News
Saudi Arabia, Iran Held Talks in Iraq
Iraq has hosted more than one round of talks between regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia, Iraqi President Barham Salih announced today. Salih made his remarks during an interview broadcast live online with the Beirut Institute think tank. He gave no more details. Asked how many rounds of Saudi-Iranian talks Iraq had hosted, Salih replied: "More than once." "It is ongoing, and it is important and it is significant, and for Iraq to be able to play that convening role between these regional actors is important," he added, although he gave no further details on the talks.
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# Middle East # Iran # Iraq # Saudi Arabia
Middle East News
Saudi Arabia to Open a New Page With Iran?
The Joe Biden effect. The Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar says that Saudi Arabia has informed Iran that it does not want to normalize relations with Israel but rather to open a new page in relations with Tehran.
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# Iran # Lebanon # Joe Biden # Saudi Arabia
Nuclear Iran
U.S. in the Middle East
The United States has sent a delegation of foreign and defense officials to visit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan, to try and allay their concerns about regional security and a return to the nuclear deal.
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# Middle East # Iran # UAE # Egypt # Saudi Arabia
Middle East analysis
Senior Lebanese columnist In Saudi Daily: The Arab countries cannot be expected to sacrifice their national interests for the Palestinian cause
In his December 13, 2020 column in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, senior Lebanese journalist Hazem Saghiya defends the countries that recently normalized their relations with Israel. These countries, he says, have crucial existential concerns and national needs of their own, and they cannot be expected to sacrifice them for the sake of the Palestinian cause, "to which nobody ascribes much importance any longer." He stressed that, although everyone recognizes the Palestinians' right to an independent state, their cause is no longer consistent with the national interests of other Arab states, and sometimes even contravenes these interests. He adds that over the years, the gap - and even conflict - between the Palestinian and Arab interests gradually increased, while the number of countries engaged in war with Israel steadily declined. At the same time, various elements in the Arab world, such as Iran and Syria, as well as Islamists, leftists and pan-Arab nationalists, exploited the Palestinian cause for their own ends, brandishing bombastic slogans about Arab unity and defeating the West, which only served to render the Palestinian issue unsolvable. Nostalgia for these slogans will not bring the Palestinians any achievements, he warns.
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# Lebanon # Saudi Arabia