US troops to stay in Syria as long as Iran forces operate on foreign soil — Bolton

John Bolton warned against Iran's role in other Middle East countries. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2018
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US troops to stay in Syria as long as Iran forces operate on foreign soil — Bolton

  • John Bolton says Iran 'responsible for attacks in Syria, Lebanon and responsible for the shooting down of a Russian military aircraft,"
  • Israel has carried out strikes against many sites in Syria linked to Iranian militias

NEW YORK: US troops would not leave Syria as long as Iranian forces its proxies were operting in foreign countries, one of Donald Trump's closest advisors warned on Monday.

The warning from US National Security adviser John Bolton was a clear statement of the White Houses intent to curtail Tehran's influence in Syria and other countries in the region.

Iran was responsible for attacks in Syria, and Lebanon and was responsible for the shooting down of a Russian military aircraft last week, Bolton said.

Bolton said the US would keep a military presence in Syria until Iran is no longer active there.

"We're not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders and that includes Iranian proxies and militias," he said.

Both Israel ths US and neighboring Arab countries have all expressed their deep concern about Iran's powerful presence in Syria and how long it plans to stay.

Israel has carried out strikes against many sites in Syria linked to Iranian militias. Last week, it was during an Israeli air raid that Syrian air defenses shot down an aircraft belonging to the Russian military, which is a key supporter of President Bashar Al-Assad. 

Bolton on Monday warned Russia that its decision to respond by supplying Syria with an advanced missile defense system would be a "major mistake" and should be reconsidered, AP reported.
"We have American forces in the area we're concerned about," Bolton said. "The Israelis have a legitimate right to self-defense against this Iranian aggressive behavior, and what we're all trying to do is reduce tensions, reduce the possibility of major new hostilities."
Shortly before the downing, Israeli strikes had hit targets inside Syria, reportedly preventing an arms shipment to the Iranian-backed militant Hezbollah group.

Bolton's warning on Iran came as France warned Monday that the Middle East risked “perpetual war” unless a peace agreement can be reached in Syria.

Syrian President “Bashar Assad but also those who support him have a responsiblity to work for a political solution,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters at the United Nations.
“If not, we risk heading toward a sort of perpetual war in the area,” he said.

Meanwhile, France has called for stronger international sanctions on Libyans who stand in the way of a political solution in the conflict-ridden country.
The current situation "forces us to show greater firmness toward those who want to insist on the status quo for their sole benefit," Le Drian said, urging sanctions against the "militia members who threaten Tripoli."


Jordan’s king urged to bolster UNESCO resolutions on Jerusalem

Girls play in their school yard in the Palestinian village of Khan Al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem. Israel has frozen plans to demolish the village that has drawn the world’s attention. (AFP)
Updated 24 October 2018
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Jordan’s king urged to bolster UNESCO resolutions on Jerusalem

  • The call came in an open letter to King Abdullah in his capacity as custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian holy sites
  • If a UNESCO fact-finding mission arrives in Jerusalem too late, it may not find real facts to be documented: letter

AMMAN: Religious and political figures in Jerusalem urged Jordan’s king to coordinate with the Palestinian president and the UN to obligate Israel to implement resolutions passed by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regarding the city.

The call came in an open letter to King Abdullah in his capacity as custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian holy sites. 

“If a UNESCO fact-finding mission arrives in Jerusalem too late, it may not find real facts to be documented,” the letter said.

“The mission will find only an altered status quo, faked history, and important monuments and archaeological layers would be removed or Judaized.”

Wasfi Kailani, director of the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told Arab News: “The issue of Jerusalem is always a high priority for the king, and Jordan will be studying the appeal from all aspects before making a decision as to the next steps.”

Hanna Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim-Christian Committee and a signatory to the letter, told Arab News: “This appeal reflects clear Christian-Muslim unity in the face of continued and daily Israeli violations, especially in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

He expressed hope that the issue will reach the International Criminal Court (ICC), but said: “Unfortunately, US hegemony has rendered many of these institutions totally impotent.”

The latest UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem — sponsored by Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan — said: “The Old City of Jerusalem and its walls, a site inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger, is the sacred city of the three monotheistic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam.” 

It reaffirmed that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem… are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.”