Extremism ‘weakening Arab states,’ Arab Parliament forum told

Former and current Arab heads of government and ministers attend the forum in Cairo on Saturday. (SPA)
Updated 09 February 2019

Extremism ‘weakening Arab states,’ Arab Parliament forum told

  • The coalition will “restore the institutions of the Yemeni state, which were seized by the Iranian Houthi group by force,” Al-Salami said
  • Arab leaders urged to ‘reject conflict, seek solidarity’

JEDDAH: Extremism and terrorism have led to a “weakening of the social fabric” in Arab states, an Arab Parliament conference in Cairo has been warned. The Parliament’s speaker, Dr. Mishaal bin Fahm Al-Salami, told the high-level forum that political militancy and terrorist activity had paved the way for external interference in some states, particularly by neighboring countries.
“Some of these countries have been able to establish groups within Arab states that owe them allegiance ... and benefit from inter-Arab conflicts,” he said.
Al-Salami made his remarks while presiding over the “Achieving Peace and Stability” conference at the Arab League’s headquarters on Saturday.
The forum was attended by former and current Arab heads of government and ministers, including Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.
In his opening statement, Al-Salami praised Saudi Arabia for its “pivotal role in maintaining Arab security” and called for greater solidarity among Arab states to deal with external interference.
“This should be based on a thorough and comprehensive vision that strengthens the Arab states and protects their sanctities,” he said.
“By holding this conference, the Arab Parliament is acknowledging the great challenges facing our region today. This move is in line with our people’s will.”
Al-Salami urged Arab leaders to reject conflict, saying: “This will enable us to thwart (those) targeting us and our Arab national security.”
The conference promotes “Arab solidarity and cooperation, allowing Arab states to confront current and future challenges and threats,” he said.
Al-Salami welcomed the Kingdom’s support for the Yemeni people and the establishment of the Arab coalition to support the legitimacy of Yemen.
The coalition will “restore the institutions of the Yemeni state, which were seized by the Iranian Houthi group by force,” Al-Salami said.
He also praised King Salman’s efforts to achieve peace and historic reconciliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea and between Djibouti and Eritrea to improve security in the Red Sea and Horn of Africa.
Al-Salami highlighted the Kingdom’s Neom project, launched with Egypt and Jordan, as an example of Arab economic integration that will also strengthen national security.


US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

Updated 10 July 2020

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

  • The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material for the attack
  • The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia were housing US forces when it was bombed in 1996

DUBAI: A United States federal court held Iran responsible for the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia where US forces were housed, and ordered Tehran to pay $879 million to survivors. 

The Khobar Towers was a housing complex in the eastern city of Khobar, near the Abdulaziz Air Base and Saudi Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran, that housed American servicemen working on Operation Southern Watch.

A truck bomb was detonated on June 25, 1996, near an eight-story building of the housing complex, which killed 19 US Air Force personnel and a Saudi national and wounded 498 others.

The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material support to Hezbollah who detonated the 5,000-pound truck bomb, a Chicago law firm press release said. The attackers reportedly smuggled the explosives used in the attack from Lebanon. 


The lawsuit was brought under the terrorism exception of the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act by the 14 injured US airmen and 21 of their immediate family members.

The defendants in the case were listed as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

 

 

“We will continue to seek to hold the Government of Iran accountable for this terrorist attack as long as is necessary,” said Adora Sauer, the lead attorney of MM LAW LLC.

US District Judge Beryl A. Howell found the defendants liable and awarded the plaintiffs $132 million for pain and suffering, as well as prejudgment interest, for a total compensatory damage award of $747 million and $132 million for punitive damages.


The court also said the plaintiffs are eligible for partial payments from the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which compensates American victims of acts of international terrorism with funds obtained from fines and forfeitures levied against companies caught illegally laundering money for sanctioned countries and persons. 

The attorneys also intend to pursue enforcement of the judgments through litigation intended to seize Iranian assets.

“The physical and psychological toll on our families has been extremely high, but this judgment is welcome news. More than 20 years on, we want the world to remember the evil that Iran did at the Khobar Towers. Through the work of our attorneys, we intend to do just that,” said Glenn Christie, a retired Air Force staff sergeant crew chief who was severely injured in the bombing.


“The massive explosion took so much from their minds and bodies on the day of the attack in 1996 and every day and night since then. They can now live with that balance justice provides,” according to John Urquhart of the Urquhart Law Firm, who also represents the bombing victims.