Fugitive Bahrain militants die at sea while fleeing to Iran

The Iran-flagged boat Ya-Hussayn taken from the US Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy in the Arabian Gulf on Jan. 10, 2012. (Reuters)
Updated 22 February 2018
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Fugitive Bahrain militants die at sea while fleeing to Iran

DUBAI: Three Bahraini militants wanted on terrorism charges have died at sea and another is missing after they fled the country by boat headed for Iran.
The incident shines a light on links between a small, armed fringe of Bahrain’s opposition and Iran, which authorities accuse of stoking years of attacks against its police.
“It’s the latest in a pattern of fugitives wanted for serious acts of terrorism fleeing to Iran in coordination with authorities in Tehran and other exiles there,” a Bahraini official said
A militant commander was killed in a Bahraini commando raid last year along with several other extremists headed to Iran on a speedboat after they staged a prison break.
Three wanted militants who also took part in the escape did arrive in Iran. They appeared at a lecture in the Iranian holy city of Qom praising their dead fellows, according to a video filmed and distributed by activists.
At a wake held in Qom for the three militants lost at sea on Tuesday, an exiled Bahraini leader mourned their death in a videotaped statement.
“We heard about their departure but they were missing for a long time at sea and the boat was found after three days ... from the first moments the Iranian authorities were looking for them,” Sheikh Abdullah Al-Duqaq said.


Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

Updated 21 May 2019
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Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

  • Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Lebanon insists that the area lies within its economic zone and refuses to give up a single part of it

BEIRUT: Lebanon has hinted that progress is being made in efforts to resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel following the return of a US mediator from talks with Israeli officials.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield returned to Lebanon following talks in Israel where he outlined Lebanese demands regarding the disputed area and the mechanism to reach a settlement.

The US mediator has signaled a new push to resolve the dispute after meetings with both Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to begin offshore oil and gas production in the offshore Block 9 as it grapples with an economic crisis.

A source close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Satterfield on Monday after his return to Lebanon, told Arab News that “there is progress in the efforts, but the discussion is not yet over.” He did not provide further details.

Sources close to the Lebanese presidency confirmed that Lebanon is counting on the US to help solve the demarcation dispute and would like to accelerate the process to allow exploration for oil and gas to begin in the disputed area.

Companies that will handle the exploration require stability in the area before they start working, the sources said.

Previous efforts by Satterfield to end the dispute failed in 2012 and again last year after Lebanon rejected a proposal by US diplomat Frederick Hoff that offered 65 percent of the disputed area to Lebanon and 35 percent to Israel. Lebanon insisted that the area lies within its economic zone and refused to give up a single part of it.

Satterfield has acknowledged Lebanon’s ownership of around 500 sq km of the disputed 850 sq km area.

Lebanon renewed its commitment to a mechanism for setting the negotiations in motion, including the formation of a tripartite committee with representatives of Lebanon, Israel and the UN, in addition to the participation of the US mediator. Beirut also repeated its refusal to negotiate directly with Israel.

Two months ago, Lebanon launched a marine environmental survey in blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanese waters to allow a consortium of French, Italian and Russian companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the area.