Jordan foils militant pipeline smuggling plot, says army

A view of the Trans-Arabian Pipeline in 1950. (Ryan Navion/Wikimedia Commons)
Updated 17 February 2018
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Jordan foils militant pipeline smuggling plot, says army

AMMAN: Jordan’s army said on Saturday it has foiled a plot to smuggle arms, drugs and “terrorists” through a disused oil pipeline along its border with Syria.
“The Jordanian armed forces were able... to thwart a plan to smuggle weapons, drugs and terrorists” through the pipeline, an official in the general command said in a statement.
“A group of terrorists and drug traffickers” had used a house near the Jordan-Syria border and the disused Trans-Arabian Pipeline (Tapline) to “dig and prepare a series of tunnels for use in smuggling operations and to carry out terrorist attacks,” the official said.
Authorities have ordered the destruction of the tunnels and instructed army engineering units to unearth the pipeline to prevent other “smugglers and terrorists” from using it.
Tapline used to transport Saudi oil through Jordan, Syria’s Golan Heights — parts of which have been occupied by Israel since 1967 — onto Lebanon and the Mediterranean.
The 1,200-km pipeline was built in 1950 and links the Saudi oilfield of Abqaiq to the Mediterranean terminal of Zahrani, 40 km south of Beirut.
Oil transport through Tapline to Lebanon stopped in 1981 because of the Lebanese civil war.


Australia recognizes west Jerusalem as capital of Israel

Updated 15 December 2018
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Australia recognizes west Jerusalem as capital of Israel

  • The prime minister is also committed to recognizing a future state of Palestine with east Jerusalem as its capital when the city’s status is determined in a peace deal
  • The embassy will be moved to west Jerusalem, and defense and trade offices will also be established

SYDNEY: Australia now recognizes west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Saturday, but a contentious embassy shift from Tel Aviv will not occur until a peace settlement is achieved.
Morrison is also committed to recognizing a future state of Palestine with east Jerusalem as its capital when the city’s status is determined in a peace deal.
“Australia now recognizes west Jerusalem — being the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government — is the capital of Israel,” Morrison said in a speech in Sydney on Saturday.
“And we look forward to moving our embassy to west Jerusalem when practical, in support of and after final status of determination,” he said, adding that work on a new site for the embassy was under way.
In the interim, Morrison said, Australia would establish a defense and trade office in the west of the holy city.
“Furthermore, recognizing our commitment to a two-state solution, the Australian government is also resolved to acknowledge the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a future state with its capital in east Jerusalem,” he added.
Both Israel and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital.
Most foreign nations have avoided moving embassies there to prevent inflaming peace talks on the city’s final status — until US President Trump unilaterally moved the US embassy there earlier this year.
Morrison first floated a shift in foreign policy in October, which angered Australia’s immediate neighbor Indonesia — the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
The issue has put a halt on years-long negotiations on a bilateral trade deal.
Canberra on Friday told its citizens traveling to Indonesia to “exercise a high degree of caution,” warning of protests in the Indonesian capital Jakarta and popular holiday hotspots, including Bali.
Morrison said it was in Australia’s interests to support “liberal democracy” in the Middle East, and took aim at the United Nations he said was a place Israel is “bullied.”