UN member states warned of Iran’s deadly policies

Wide view of the General Assembly meeting, in this October 26, 2016 photo, at the thirty-second plenary meeting of the General Assembly, at the UN in New York. (AFP)
Updated 13 November 2016

UN member states warned of Iran’s deadly policies

NEW YORK: Iran’s repeated intervention in the internal affairs of Arab countries has come under severe criticism in a letter delivered to the UN General Assembly.

In their letter to UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson, 11 countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Sudan and Yemen, also condemned Iran’s sponsoring of terrorism in the region — particularly in Yemen — where it financially, strategically and militarily supports the Houthis.
The group warned the UN member states about Iran’s expansionist policies, flagrant violations of the principle of sovereignty, constant interference in the internal affairs of Arab states, as well as destabilizing and fomenting tension in the Middle East.
Iran’s training of Houthi militias and illegal shipments of weapons and ammunitions into Yemen are in blatant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 2216 (2015) and 2231 (2015), said the group.
The countries condemned the Houthi attack on a UAE civilian vessel ‘Swift’ in the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab on Oct. 1 — a clear violation of international law that the members of the UN Security Council considered a threat to freedom of navigation in the shipping passage.
The group stated that the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen was launched in response to a request for assistance from the Government of Yemen in full conformity with international law and the right to self-defense stipulated in Article 51 of the UN Charter.
This request was noted in UN Security Council Resolution 2216, 2015.
The Saudi-led coalition aims to protect Yemen and its people from the continuing aggression of the Iran-backed Houthis and to help Yemen counter terrorism.
The group of co-signatories confirmed the importance of the work of Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN special envoy on Yemen, in achieving a comprehensive peace agreement to end the conflict in Yemen, in accordance with the GCC initiative, the National Dialogue Conference outcome and its implementation mechanism, and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
The group reiterated that any interference by Iran is unacceptable and must be confronted.
The countries called on Iran to stop promoting regional insecurity and stressed that “the stability and economic prosperity in the Arabian Gulf region is founded on the importance of maintaining good neighborliness and the principles of sovereignty, independence, and non-interference in domestic affairs.”
The letter also reaffirmed that the three islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa in the Arabian Gulf are an integral part of UAE territory, and called on Iran to return the occupied islands to their rightful owner.
Though affirming support for the nuclear deal reached with Iran, the co-signatories highlighted that although this agreement provided an opportunity for Iran to develop normal relations with its neighbors and demonstrate a commitment to regional stability, Iranian aggression in the region has instead continued, along with Iran’s support for terrorist groups.
The letter to the UN General Assembly was in response to the right of reply made by an Iranian representative at the end of the general debate of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly on Sept. 26.
The letter, signed by each country’s permanent representative, was sent to UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson. It was also delivered to all 193 member states.

Is a spate of terror incidents in Egypt a ‘last dance’ for militants or a failure in security operations

Updated 6 min 35 sec ago

Is a spate of terror incidents in Egypt a ‘last dance’ for militants or a failure in security operations

  • Some have speculated that the sudden spate of incidents is the militants lashing out to spoil the image that Egypt is returning to stability

CAIRO: Three terrorist attacks in the space of as many days have raised questions over whether the Egyptian security forces have brought extremist militancy in the country under control.

The attacks between Friday and Monday came after a period of relative calm. The Egyptian military has been involved in an extensive operation against terrorist groups in their stronghold in the Sinai Peninsula for more than a year. Police forces have also been carrying out operations against cells in a large number of governorates.

The first of the three incidents was a failed attempt to plant a bomb near security forces in Cairo on Friday. On Saturday, however, a massive blast killed 14 members of the military on a security mission near El-Arish in Sinai.
The third bombing on Monday could have been just as deadly. A suicide bomber blew himself up after he was chased by police in the densely populated Al-Hussein district of Cairo near Al-Azhar Mosque. In the end three officers were killed.
The attacks came after months of relative calm in an insurgency that began after the Muslim Brotherhood president Muhammad Mursi was removed from power in 2012.
Since then, militants have targeted the Egyptian security forces, churches, coptic Christians, tourists and ordinary Egyptians, killing hundreds.
In November 2017, gunmen carried out the deadliest terror attack in Egyptian history — killing more than 300 people at a Sufi mosque in northern Sinai.

In response, the military launched a vast operation in February last year to “eliminate terrorism in Egypt.” The operation is ongoing.

Some have speculated that the sudden spate of incidents is the militants lashing out to spoil the image that Egypt is returning to stability.

“[Terrorists] want to give Egypt a bad image to foreigners living abroad, on order to make a point. They want to abort the democratic reform process that Egypt’s been implementing in the past period,” MP Mohamed Maher Hamed told Arab News.

Author and political analyst Walid Qutb said Egypt is keen to host more important regional and international events and forums, including the African Nations football tournament, and a drop in terror-related incidents is key to this.

He said the return of terrorist operations at this time is an attempt to send a clear message that Egypt is not a safe country. What the extremists have done recently is a final dance and lost, Qutb said.
But political analyst Nabil Omar told Arab News that the elimination of terrorism requires more than just maintaining security forces.
There needs to be improved education and the spreading of correct information to improve the mentality of Egyptians, he said.
“I don’t think that the return of terrorist operations happening currently is linked to changes in politics in Egypt,” Omar said. “It has nothing to do with how well security is either. “Terrorist attacks are happening because the terrorists in question have decided to do so.”
The recent incidents in Cairo are both strange, Omar said. They targeted police forces in locations packed with civilians.
This could mean that terrorists want their attacks to be even bigger and deadlier, even if that comes at the cost of the innocent or unarmed.
“The positive thing here is that these recent terrorist attacks came after a long period of silence. During that period of time, the Egyptian military had the upper hand in relation to the terrorists – who used to be more in control before,” Omar said.
The attacks came after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi described to the Munich Security Summit this week the Egyptian experience in regards to terrorism.