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."

 


Houthi radio station posts video with ‘death to America, death to Israel’ chant in Hezbollah fundraiser

Updated 5 min 46 sec ago
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Houthi radio station posts video with ‘death to America, death to Israel’ chant in Hezbollah fundraiser

  • The radio station claims that the campaign raised $295,000
  • The fundraising came after Hezbollah called on its supporters in March to donate money

DUBAI: A Houthi affiliated radio station released a video showing four men standing in front of wads of cash claimed to be for Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

In the video, which has been circulated on social media this week, the director-general of Houthi-affiliated radio station Sam FM, Hamoud Mohammad Sharaf, is seen leading a chant, praising a fundraising campaign for the Iran-backed Lebanese militia group, Hezbollah.

“From Yemen’s faith to Lebanon’s Resistance! God is great! Death to America! Death to Israel! Curses upon the Jews! Victory for Islam,” the men chant.

The Houthi Sam FM radio station held a fundraising campaign for Hezbollah called “Goodness of Yemen” between May 20 and June 30, 2019, during Ramadan.

The radio station claims that the campaign raised $295,000 (74,010,000 Yemeni rial).

The fundraising came after Hezbollah called on its supporters in March to donate money as it came under increasing pressure from sanctions intended to isolate it financially.

The United States, United Kingdom, member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Argentina deem Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Yemeni political analyst, Fatima Alasrar, wrote in May that the Houthis’ fundraising for Hezbollah is not surprising, as the militia’s ties to the group are “undeniable.”

Military support for the Houthis from Iran and Hezbollah “comes in different ways” and is “well documented,” Alasrar says, referencing a 2015 Financial Times article where two senior Hezbollah sources said that “hundreds of Lebanese and Iranian trainers and military advisers are in Yemen already.”

Meanwhile, a 2014 article by Reuters quoted a senior Iranian official saying that “the Quds Force, the external arm of the Revolutionary Guard, had a “few hundred” military personnel in Yemen who trained Houthi fighters.”