UAE slams Iranian aggression but calls for calm amid oil tanker attack investigation

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Saudi oil tanker Al-Marzoqah, one of the four tankers damaged in sabotage attacks. (AFP)
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UAE Navy boats next to Al Marzoqah Saudi Arabia tanker are seen off the Port of Fujairah, UAE May 13, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 16 May 2019
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UAE slams Iranian aggression but calls for calm amid oil tanker attack investigation

  • Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash says investigation underway
  • Too early to say who is responsible but Iranian behavior central to regional problems

DUBAI: The UAE is “very committed to de-escalation” after the sabotage of four oil tankers off the coast of Fujairah on Sunday, a senior minister said Wednesday.

An investigation is underway and due to be completed within days, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said, refusing to state who was responsible. But speaking in Dubai, he added that “Iranian behavior” was at the center of regional problems.

Though declining to name a suspect in the sabotage, Gargash says “Iranian behavior” is at the center of regional problems.
“We need to emphasize caution and good judgment. It is easy to throw accusations but it is a difficult situation, there are serious issues and among them is Iranian behavior,” he said. “We have been bullied by Iran, we have seen aggressive Iranian action in the region.”

He added that the UAE has handed a letter to the security council on the sabotage of the oil tankers. 

Gargash also talked about the threat from Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, where the UAE is part of a coalition supporting the government against the militants.

On Tuesday, drones attacked two pumping stations on a pipeline running between the country’s east and west coasts.

“We will also retaliate and retaliate hard when we see the Houthis hit civilian targets within Saudi Arabia,” Gargash said.

His comments come as tensions escalate in the region, with the US deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers in response to Iran-related threats. The US and other European countries on Wednesday announced they were scaling back their presence in Iraq where powerful Iran-backed armed groups hold sway.

Ratcheting up the rhetoric, the commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Major Gen.Hossein Salami, said on Wednesday they were "on the cusp of a full-scale confrontation with the enemy."

 


Hate preacher Al-Qaradawi gets ‘best seat in house’ at Qatar emir’s banquet

Yusuf Al-Qaradawi pictured with Sheikh Tamim in Qatar Television footage. (YouTube)
Updated 4 min 2 sec ago
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Hate preacher Al-Qaradawi gets ‘best seat in house’ at Qatar emir’s banquet

  • Appearance came within 24 hours of latest anti-Semitic rant
  • Cleric known for extreme views, including justifying suicide bombings

LONDON: A notorious hate preacher has been pictured at the top table at a Ramadan banquet thrown by Qatar’s emir, pictures on state TV show.

Yusuf Al-Qaradawi — who is known for his extreme views, including justifying suicide bombings and attacks on Jews — was pictured at the iftar reception hosted by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the current emir of Qatar.

In lengthy footage of the reception, Qatar Television shows Al-Qaradawi as apparent guest of honor, sitting next to Sheikh Tamim and chatting cordially with him. Sheikh Tamim apparently kissed Al-Qaradawi, who was sitting in a wheelchair, on the forehead.

Al-Qaradawi’s appearance at the iftar came in the same 24 hours in which he published a vile anti-Semitic rant in a Qatari publication.

It quoted claims that “the straight path is a separate way (for the Muslims); it is not the path of the Jews,” according to the Middle East Media Research Institute. 

David A. Weinberg, Washington Director for international affairs at the Anti-Defamation League, flagged Al-Qaradawi’s appearance in a tweet.

“Fact: In the same 24 hours extremist preacher Yousef Al-Qaradawi published his latest dehumanizing slander against the Jewish people, he was also kissed on the forehead by #Qatar’s ruler and given the best iftar seat in the house, by Tamim’s side & ahead of all other preachers,” he wrote.

Al-Qaradawi has been a guest at such events for several years running, Weinberg said.

Named in Arab News’ series “Preachers of Hate,” Al-Qaradawi has justified suicide bombings, especially in Palestine, has repeatedly spoken out against Jews as a community, and has issued fatwas (religious edicts) that demean women.

On Al Jazeera Arabic in January 2009, he said: “Oh God, take Your enemies, the enemies of Islam … Oh God, take the treacherous Jewish aggressors … Oh God, count their numbers, slay them one by one and spare none.” 

Despite such hate speech, Al-Qaradawi continues to be based in Qatar, where he is given a platform by the government, said a member of the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), a non-profit organization that combats extremist groups.

“Yusuf Al-Qaradawi remains a vociferous purveyor of Islamist propaganda and bigotry. Rather than condemn his vile rhetoric, the Qatari government continues to provide Al-Qaradawi with a platform and hold him in a place of esteem,” Josh Lipowsky, senior research analyst at the CEP, told Arab News. 

“It is incumbent on the Qatari government to recognize Al-Qaradawi’s hateful propaganda and cease providing him with a safe haven and media platforms.”