Arab League to meet on Iran 'violations'

In this Sept. 21, 2012 file photo, a Qiam missile is displayed by Iran's Revolutionary Guard during a military parade outside Tehran. Saudi Arabia and the US now accuse Iran of supplying ballistic missiles to Houthi insurgents in Yemen, including this model. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
Updated 13 November 2017
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Arab League to meet on Iran 'violations'

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia has called for an urgent meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo on Sunday to discuss Iran’s destructive meddling in the region.
The call follows the launch of an Iranian-supplied ballistic missile at Riyadh from Houthi militia-held territory in Yemen on Nov. 4, and an explosion and fire at a Bahraini oil pipeline last Friday, also blamed on Iran. 
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman later accused Iran of “direct military aggression” against the Kingdom by supplying the Houthis with ballistic missiles.
Bahrain and the UAE supported the Saudi request, which was also approved by Djibouti, the current chair of the League. 
In a memo requesting the meeting, Saudi Arabia attacked the “sabotage” and “terrorism” of the pipeline fire, which temporarily halted oil supplies from its territory. The memo referred to the fire and the missile attack “in addition to the violations committed by Iran in the Arab region, which undermine security and peace, not only in the Arab region, but around the globe.”
On Saturday, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa blamed Iran for the pipeline explosion. “The attempt to blow up the Saudi-Bahraini pipeline is a dangerous escalation on Iran’s part that aims to terrorize citizens and to harm the world oil industry,” he said.
Yousef Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, expressed full solidarity with Bahrain in combating all forms of terrorism.
Abdullatif Al-Zayani, the Gulf Cooperation Council secretary-general, said: “The attack was a serious terror crime, which endangers Bahrain’s supreme interests and terrifies both citizens and residents.”
According to Reuters, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels threatened on Sunday to attack warships and oil tankers “from enemy countries” in retaliation for the closure of Yemeni ports last week by the Saudi-led coalition fighting to restore Yemen’s legitimate government.
The coalition has said aid workers and supplies would continue to have access to Yemen.


Extremists kill 9 Syria regime fighters near Idlib: monitor

Updated 16 November 2018
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Extremists kill 9 Syria regime fighters near Idlib: monitor

  • Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people since it erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests
  • Extremist groups attacked government forces in the northwest of Hama province near a planned buffer zone

BEIRUT: Extremists on Friday killed nine Syrian regime fighters near a planned buffer zone around the country’s last major rebel bastion, a monitor said.
A September deal between government ally Russia and opposition backer Turkey aimed to set up a de-militarised zone around the northwestern region of Idlib to protect it from a regime assault.
But its implementation has been stalled since extremists who hold around 70 percent of the planned buffer area failed to withdraw by mid-October, and sporadic clashes have rocked the area since.
Early Friday, extremist groups attacked government forces in the northwest of Hama province near the planned buffer zone, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
“Nine regime fighters and five assailants were killed” in the attack, causing government forces to respond with artillery fire, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The attackers included the Al-Qaeda-linked Hurras Al-Deen group, which has publicly rejected the Russian-Turkish deal, he said.
The lion’s share of Idlib is held by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, an alliance led by Al-Qaeda’s former Syrian affiliate.
Under the September 17 deal, all fighters in the zone were supposed to withdraw their heavy weapons and militants including HTS and Hurras Al-Deen were supposed to leave.
On Thursday, Russian spokeswoman Maria Zakharova criticized “sporadic clashes,” as well as “provocations” by HTS in northwestern Syria.
Late last month, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem expressed dissatisfaction with the implementation of the Idlib deal, and criticized Turkey for shortcomings.
He said heavy weapons had not been withdrawn and accused Turkey of not wanting to “respect its obligations.”
Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people since it erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.