Mattis in Oman to meet with Sultan Qaboos

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, right, shakes hands with Omani Brig. Saleh bin Ahmed Al-Hinai, Head of the Oman Military Protocols and Public Relations, at Seeb Air Base, northwest of Muscat, Oman. (Photo: Oman News Agency via AP)
Updated 11 March 2018
0

Mattis in Oman to meet with Sultan Qaboos

MUSCAT: US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Oman on Sunday ahead of a meeting with Sultan Qaboos to discuss ongoing security concerns, including the situation in neighboring Yemen.
Mattis’s visit, his first as Pentagon chief, comes amid regional strains over the Yemen conflict and a diplomatic rift between Qatar and a bloc of countries led by Saudi Arabia.
“The unity of the (Gulf Cooperation Council) has been strained, to put it mildly, so I am also wanting to hear what the sultan says can be done about that, as well as the situation on his border in Yemen with the various factions that are fighting there and certainly the civil war,” Mattis told reporters accompanying him on the trip.
“The Gulf’s cohesion is critical we believe to maintaining stability in the region.”
Under Qaboos, Oman has maintained good ties with countries outside the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) bloc to which it belongs, including neighboring Yemen.
In March 2015, the sultanate was the only GCC country not to join the Saudi-led coalition air war on Iran-backed rebels in Yemen, but also maintained solid relations with Riyadh.
Muscat hosted talks with Yemeni rebels toward resolving the war, as well as discussions between Iran and Western powers that led to a landmark July 2015 deal to curb the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.
Mattis is also slated to meet with Oman’s defense minister Monday and other senior Omani officials.


Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

Updated 19 July 2019
0

Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

  • Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil
  • Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is suspected to be involved in the killing

ANKARA: Turkey on Thursday launched an air attack on Iraqi Kurdistan in response to the killing of a Turkish diplomat in the region, the country’s defense minister said.
The Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil. Police sources said two other people were also killed.
There was no claim of responsibility for the shooting, but many Iraqi experts have pointed to the probability that the Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist group, was behind the attack.
“Following the evil attack in Irbil, we have launched the most comprehensive air operation on Qandil and dealt a heavy blow to the (PKK) terror organization,” defense minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Targets such as “armaments positions, lodgings, shelters and caves belonging to terrorists” were destroyed.
“Our fight against terror will continue with increasing determination until the last terrorist is neutralized and the blood of our martyrs will be avenged,” he added.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which now leads the regional government, enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.
But Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign since May in the mountainous northern region to root out the PKK which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
Earlier this month, the PKK announced that one of those raids killed senior PKK leader Diyar Gharib Mohammed along with two other fighters.
A spokesman for the PKK’s armed branch denied the group was involved in Wednesday’s shooting.