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Found 7 results

  1. Allying against Iran: US is creating Arab NATO While the US envisages a new military alliance as a tool to counter potential threats from Iran towards the Gulf monarchies and the Middle East, there are a number of obstacles in the way of creating an Arab military bloc. According to Defense News, an Arab NATO would consist of six Gulf states, i.e. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, plus Egypt and Jordan. The commander of the Royal Bahraini Air Force, Maj. Gen. al-Khalifah, said that this is an American idea which was approved by the Arab Gulf countries, "but didn't take shape yet." He expects this alliance to be successful, although "we are still at the beginning." Back in October, the Bahraini foreign minister said that the Gulf security alliance could be formed by next year. Defense News sees at least one sign of progress there, as the Gulf countries are already involved in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen that fights against Houthi rebels, mainly by carrying out airstrikes. "We have been sharing information between coalition fighters all along the operations [in Yemen], and we have been training alongside with the Gulf countries through joint exercises, and this enhances our capabilities," al-Khalifah said. Incompatible with Iran On the other hand, there are clear and tangible challenges on the way to creating this new military alliance, not least of them being the issues of interoperability. All the potential members operate different types of weapons and military equipment: the Egyptian Air Force operates the Russian MIG and the American F-16, while the Saudi Air Force has the American F-15SA and the European Eurofighter Typhoon, and the UAE is equipped with the F-16 and the French Mirage. But the issue of interoperability is not the only impediment for creating an Arab NATO as the relations between Qatar and other Gulf countries have not been fully restored since 2017 when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar. All eight potential members of the new military alliance have concerns related to Iran and Iranian-backed armed groups operating in numerous countries across the Middle East. "Iran continues to cause risks to other nations and act as a destabilizing agent across this region. They aim to disrupt the balance of power and place at risk the livelihood of citizens," Commander of the US Air Forces Central Command Lt. General Joseph Guastella said during the 2nd Manama Airpower Symposium. According to Guastella, the experience of setting up and operating NATO itself could prove useful in establishing an Arab version of the alliance: "There is value in looking at what NATO has been able to do and the successes of an alliance that has guaranteed essentially stability for the region there for decades." Adding America and Israel into the mix "People have been talking about an Arab NATO for several years now," said Vladimir Sazhin, Senior Researcher at the Middle East Department of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. According to him, there are plans to get Israel to participate in the alliance that would bring together six monarchies of the Persian Gulf, Egypt, and Jordan. However, instead of becoming a full-fledged member of the Arab NATO, Israel would supply intelligence to the alliance. The US is expected to participate in a similar manner, providing all the necessary resources without officially joining the organization. "The idea to call it an 'Arab NATO' is something journalists came up with. In all of the relevant areas, this potential new alliance will be very much inferior to NATO. I don't believe that it will ever reach the level of NATO," said Sazhin. According to him, even if the bloc is ever established, it is unlikely to resemble NATO at all. There may be some formal organizational structures established, but there are serious doubts regarding their effectiveness and efficiency. Ultimately, all we see is propaganda and media noise, and not much actual progress, Sazhin said. Just how capable the Gulf monarchies are in terms of setting up a united front against Iran remains to be seen. "I very much doubt they would go through with this without the support of other countries. There is a very broad range of attitudes towards Iran among the Gulf states," Sazhin stressed. On one end of the spectrum, there is Saudi Arabia, on the other – countries like Qatar and Oman. The last two are not particularly anti-Iran. As for economic relations, the United Arab Emirates have very close ties with Iran. Tehran's relationship with Abu Dhabi provides it an opportunity to evade US financial and economic sanctions, the expert stated "I think that if there were an Arab military organization then it would most likely be lacking in efficiency and decision-making, but would be very active publicity-wise," Vladimir Sazhin said. "A summit with US President Donald Trump and monarchs of the Gulf countries was expected to take place back in autumn this year in the United States. It was believed that the main topic on the agenda would be the creation of a strategic Middle East alliance that experts already call an Arab NATO for the sake of simplicity," Elena Suponina, adviser to the director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, said. That summit was postponed until the first half of 2019. One of the reasons was the scandal around the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi political analyst. It created an atmosphere that compelled the US to refrain from any discussions regarding strategic cooperation. According to Suponina, that is not the only obstacle that stands in the way of creating such an organization. Firstly, relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar are somewhat clouded; secondly, there is still too much turbulence in the region. The plans are in place, but it would be very difficult for the Americans to make them come true, Suponina believes. Nevertheless, there is every reason to believe that the US is not giving up on these plans since in the upcoming years the main goal of the US in the region will be to contain Iran. This is exactly why America pursues the creation of, if not a full-fledged military organization, then at least something very close to it. Even that kind of alliance would be very useful for the US, the expert thinks. "Donald Trump's idea is to form an Arab NATO that would include Arabian monarchies and – by a long stretch of the imagination – Israel. This idea may sound benevolent, but so do many other plans that are not meant to happen," Evgeny Satanovsky, president of the Institute for Middle East Studies, said. Satanovsky believes that the new military alliance is meant to zero in on Iran. There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia wants to establish that alliance. However, it is very unlikely that the US will succeed in convincing Israel to join the club. Israeli society will never accept that offer. There is zero chance that an Arab NATO will become a reality, he said, adding that Israel doesn't really need any military help from the Arab countries to fight Iran. The Arab armies do not constitute any significant military power nor they are organized enough to be a force others can rely on if it comes to that. For the Arab countries, it is absolutely out of the question to be part of the same military alliance with Israel due to the kind of narrative that permeates their societies. The State Department and the White House – unsurprisingly – do not understand this, Satanovsky claims. It is absolutely clear that Saudi Arabia seeks to create an Arab or Islamic military alliance and to be at the helm. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has already damaged relations with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, cut relations with Qatar, and raised tensions between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan – all in pursuit of this goal. ARAB NATO
  2. AOA Momeneen, I am a Pakistani in Saudi Arabia and I recently got a job offer from Dubai, UAE. Now I am seeing on the internet and some friends told me as well, that UAE government is mostly rejecting any work visa application if your name includes Syed, Ali, Hussain, Hassan , Naqvi etc. Since my name includes both Syed and Ali plus I also travel on visit visa to UAE where in the online application when it asks for Sect I always select Shia; I am now worried that if i quit my job and go to Pakistan with my family and on other hand UAE government may reject my application. can anyone comment / share his/her experience?
  3. Asa, Recently the UAE has started deporting Shias from the country, giving no valid reason. They are given 48 hours to leave the country. I personally know people who have been deported just because they are Shias. Detail: www.shiitenews.com/index.php/middle-east/6201-thousands-of-shias-forcedly-deported-from-uae
  4. Only in Saudi Arabia... http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2310526/Three-men-deported-Saudi-Arabia-irresistible-women.html It's just too comical.
  5. Iran vows to hit US bases if Israel strikes US bases in Qatar, Afghanistan and Bahrain will be targets if Israel attacks Iran, senior military official says Iran will target US bases in the Gulf should a war break out with Israel, a senior Iranian military official has said. General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a commander with Iran’s revolutionary guards, said on Sunday that US military bases in Qatar, Bahrain and Afghanistan are legitimate targets, because Israel would not attack the Islamic Republic without US involvement. "The Islamic Republic of Iran considers the US bases in the region as part of American soil and will definitely target them if a war breaks out," he was quoted as saying. A spokesman for the US Department of Defence told Al Jazeera: "Inflammatory rhetoric of this sort is unhelpful." "The United States stands ready to defend itself against any threat in the Middle East or elsewhere," Jim Gregory, a Department of Defence spokesman, told Al Jazeera by email. The US Navy's Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, while Qatar and Afghanistan host large military bases and thousands of troops. 'Pre-emptive attack' "We see the United States and the Zionist regime [of Israel] alongside one another and we can by no means imagine that the Zionist regime would initiate a war [against Iran] without the US support." Should Israel and Iran engage militarily, "nothing is predictable... and it will turn into World War III," Hajizadeh said, adding that some countries might enter the war in favor of or against Iran, likely in reference to the oil-rich Gulf states. Hajizadeh’s statement, made during an interview with Iran's state sponsored Al-Alam television, is the latest salvo in a long-running war of words over Iran’s nuclear programme. Iran says its nuclear programme is intended solely for peaceful purposes, while the West and Israel believe Tehran wants to develop weapons. "Iran will not start any war but it could launch a pre-emptive attack if it was sure that the enemies are putting the final touches to attack it," Al-Alam TV said, paraphrasing the military commander. Aljazeera ----------------------------------- If Iran attacks these countries in times of war, it will receive the absolute support and backing of the entire Shia community worldwide!
  6. The outcome of the war in Iraq and the de-facto takeover of Iraqi politics by Shia parties as resulted in "push-back" reaction in many Sunni Arab states, in particular in Bahrain and Syria. The behind-the-scenes but direct involvement of Gulf States like Qatar in the war in Libya and the transformation of the Arab League into a "US/NATO invitation committee" clearly shows that the rich oil sheikdoms are becoming concerned and have decided to counter what they perceive as the "Shia crescent's" threat. But let's remind ourselves of what we are talking about here: the Shia crescent is nothing else but a list of countries where the Shia have been systematically and brutally repressed and excluded from the political process either by secularist (Shah in Iran, Saddam in Iraq), Wahabi zealots (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia) or a mix of both (Lebanon). It also happens that these are the parts of the Middle-East in which most oil can be found. In other words, the Shia crescent is nothing else but the territories where the Western Empires have used local Sunni proxies to oppress and impoverish the majority population while stealing their natural wealth. This is what all this nonsense about the "terrorist Mullahs" and the "Shia threat" really is designed to conceal: that the Shia, inspired by Iran and Hezbollah, are engaged in a national liberation struggle which threatens all those billionaires which have been in bed with the British, the USA and the Israelis since day one. Everywhere you look, Sunni leaders, and in particular of the Wahabi type, have been working hand-in-hand with the Zio-American interests, even at the clear detriment of the interests of the local Muslim population (Balkans, Caucasus, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, etc.). Oh sure, there are regular clashes between the US and various Wahabi groups worldwide, but they are tactical, local, in nature. In the big picture the West and the Wahabis have always walked in lockstep with each other (as seen recently in the case of Libya). And don't let the fact that the Shia mostly deny all this deceive you: that denial of the obvious reality is an old Shia survival technique destined to blame any Shia-Sunni tensions on any and all conceivable causes but the obvious one: the religious one. I think that this is a very misguided approach, but it has been historically the one most Shia have chosen: Shias much rather believe themselves to be a part of the big Islamic "Ummah" than to contemplate the outright distressing possibility that most of the Muslim world is hostile towards them (which is what the historical record shows). The civil war in Syria really brought it all out in the open and if in the past one could debate the putative successes of Iranian diplomacy with its Gulf neighbors and the various smiles and hugs it resulted in, but the fact is that Iran's neighbors are now all joining forces against it. Even Turkey, which tends to be cautious in its policies towards Iran is now fully involved in the external intervention in Syria, which is another bad sign for Iran. As for Hezbollah, it always new that all the Arab and Sunni expressions of support for its causes were just that - empty words, lip-service to the personal popularity of Hassan Nasrallah, but that in reality Hezbollah had no other friend or ally except Iran. In his famous 2006 "Divine Victory speech" Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah said the following: The people of Lebanon gave strong proof to all the peoples of the world. The Lebanese resistance provided strong proof to all Arab and Islamic armies. Arab armies and peoples are not only able to liberate Gaza and the West Bank and East Jerusalem, they are simply capable of regaining Palestine from sea to river by one small decision and with some determination. The problem is that when one is torn between two choices and is asked to choose between his people and his throne, he chooses his throne. When he is asked to choose between Jerusalem and his throne, he chooses his throne. When he is asked to choose between the dignity of his homeland and his throne, he chooses his throne. What is distinct about the resistance movements in Lebanon and Palestine is that they chose the dignity of their people, holy places, and freedom and offer their leaders, sons, and dear ones as sacrifices to join the throne of God Almighty. These words are a direct slap in the face of all the hapless Sunni and secular (Baathist) Arab leaders who literally for decades drowned the world in fiery speeches and yet have never achieved anything: from the Wahabi fat cats of the Gulf, to the Masonic Baath leaders of Lebanon, to the "progressive/popular" secular leftists leaders of the various Palestinian factions, none of them ever managed to scure even a modest victory against Israel. Compare that to the Shia who defeated the USA in Iran, then defeated the USA again in Iraq, and then defeated Israel's four brigades, three reserve divisions and entire Air Force and Navy with roughly one thousand second rate Hezbollah soldiers (the best Hezbollah fighters were all kept north of the Litani river). What Hassan Nasrallah is saying is this: the reason why the Arab and Islamic world was always defeated is because it was lead by unworthy leaders who care about their thrones more than anything else. Such talk is tantamount to a death threat to all these leaders and they are now "circling the wagons" under the protection of Uncle Sam and his Israeli overlords to stop the Shia liberation movement.
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