Arab leaders condemn Iran’s Gulf actions, tell regime to stop funding terror

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King Salman said Iran perpetrates terrorist acts directly or through proxies to undermine Arab security. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia's King Salman has started receiving Arab and Muslim leaders at Safa Royal Palace in Makkah ahead of a series of summits. (Screenshot)
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Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed lands in Saudi Arabia for the GCC Arab Summit in Makkah. (Screenshot)
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Some shots from the media center in the Four Point by Sheraton hotel where dignitaries and representatives from the various different countries are attending the Makkah summits. (SPA)
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Iraqi President Barham Salih arrives in Saudi Arabia to attend the three Makkah summits. (SPA)
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Qatar's Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa arrives in Jeddah to attend the three Makkah summits. (SPA)
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President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou arrives in Jeddah to participate in the three Makkah summits in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 31 May 2019

Arab leaders condemn Iran’s Gulf actions, tell regime to stop funding terror

  • Leaders have asked the international community to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities

MAKKAH: Arab and Muslim heads of state on Friday denounced Iranian actions in the Gulf as destabilizing to regional security and urged that the International community takes “strict measures” against the Iranian regime.

In a gathering in Makkah early Friday, the Arab League heads of nations issued a final communique demanding that the Iranian regime must stop funding terror and and to abide by commitments it has made.

The leaders condemned the sabotage of four commercial ships in the Emirates, which has escalated tensions in the region and precipitated a summit in the Muslim holy city.

They asked the international community to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities.

The final communique also:

• denounced Iranian intervention in the Syrian crisis and its impact on Syria’s unity;

• condemned the launching of Iranian-made ballistic missiles from Yemen toward Saudi Arabia;

• condemned Iran’s interference in the affairs of Bahrain, and its support of terrorist groups there; and

• condemned Iran’s occupation of three islands belonging to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Gulf and Arab League emergency summits kicked off on Thursday in Makkah for the start of a trio of high-level summits after Saudi Arabian King Salman convened the gatherings earlier this month. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit will be held later Friday, entitled the Makkah Summit: Hand in Hand Towards the Future (Together towards the Future).

Also on the agenda is Palestine, which Saudi Arabian foreign minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf spoke about on Wednesday at a preparatory conference saying: “I would like to emphasize that the Palestinian issue is a paramount issue for Saudi Arabia, in particular the Palestinian people's full legitimate rights and the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

He added: “Our Islamic world is facing the most serious challenges of interfering in its internal affairs.”

OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen said Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia will be discussed at the Islamic Summit.

He told Saudi TV that all countries share common interests regardless of religion or race. He condemned interference in other countries’ internal affairs.  

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told Arab News that his country is willing to help resolve “longstanding issues” between Muslim countries.

“Pakistan believes that this region is in flux,” he said. “Our message is that we have to join hands. We have to understand each other’s concerns, and have a collective objective of peace and stability so that our region can develop like other parts of the world.”


03:40 GMT: Arab Summit final statement: Confirms the unity and solidarity of the GCC, highlighting their unified stance



03:30 GMT: Arab Summit final statement: Iran has to stop supporting and financing Houthi and terrorist militias.



03:20 GMT:  Arab Summit final statement: Condemns the sabotage of 4 commercial ships in the Emirates.



03:10 GMT:  Arab Summit final statement: Condemns the Houthi militia attacks on Saudi oil tankers. The Houthi militia attacks are a dangerous threat against the region’s security.




03:00 GMT: Sudanese head of transitional council: We condemn the attacks on Saudi Arabia and the emirates and we stand by our brothers against these attacks



02:50 GMT: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: We do not accept any threat against Arab countries. We condemn the attacks on oil tankers in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.



02:40 GMT: The Emir of Kuwait: Holding the Arab summit now shows the dangers we are facing today. We are afraid that the escalation in our region will deepen our previous wounds.



02:24 GMT: Iraq’s President Barham Salih: Any attack on the Gulf security is an attack on the security of Arab and Islamic countries.


02:20 GMT: Jordan’s King Abdullah II: The security of Gulf countries is the main pillar for the stability of the region. We stand by our Arab brothers to defend their interests and security.



02:15 GMT: Iraq’s President Barham Salih says regional crisis may lead to war if not addressed properly. Iran is neighbor and its security should be preserved, hopes peace efforts will prevail in the region.



02:12 GMT: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi:We should strengthen our ability to face these terrorist threats and sources of threat in the region should be addressed.



02:09 GMT: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi: The attacks on oil tankers in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf are clear terrorist acts.



01:53 GMT: King Salman at Makkah Summit says our hand is extended to cooperate with the countries of the region, including the Iranian people, to promote development.



01:47 GMT: King Salman says the Iranian regime continues to break international laws.



01:43 GMT: King Salman says Iran is perpetrating terrorist acts directly or through proxies to undermine Arab security.



21:30 GMT: King Salman starts the summit with an address to the gathered dignitaries, citing the threat of Iran as the main reason for convening the summit.

21:10 GMT: The UAE delegation - led by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed - have arrived at Safa Palace in Makkah, and have been received by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

21:00 GMT: The Emir of Kuwait, King of Bahrain and Sayyid Shihab, advisor to Oman's Sultan Qaboos all arrive at Safa Palace in Makkah, where Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman joins them for the upcoming discussions.

20:45 GMT: Saudi Arabia's King Salman has started receiving Arab and Muslim leaders at Safa Royal Palace in Makkah ahead of a series of summits.

20:00 GMT: Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed lands in Saudi Arabia for the GCC Arab Summit in Makkah, closely followed by the presidents of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.

17:45 GMT: Some shots from the media center in the Four Point by Sheraton hotel where dignitaries and representatives from the various different countries are attending the Makkah summits, with messages from King Salman displayed in different languages.

17:15 GMT: The PM of Qatar has landed in Jeddah for the summits in Makkah.

16:25 GMT: Bahrain's King Hamad is now in Saudi Arabia for the summits. His kingdom will next month be hosting a workshop of Middle Eastern and other countries to discuss the international approach to a Middle East peace plan and the Palestinian issue.

15:45 GMT: We've also had the arrival of the Chadian president and the president of Afghanistan on Thursday who will also be attending one of the Makkah summits. The eyes of the Islamic world will certainly be on Saudi Arabia this weekend.

15:30 GMT: Another arrival, another Arab world leader - this time it is Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi who touches down in the Kingdom.




14:30 GMT: Iraqi President Barham Salih arrives in Saudi Arabia to attend the three Makkah summits.

14:05 GMT: The King of Jordan Abdullah II is met by the Governor of Makkah Prince Khalid bin Faisal as he also arrives for this week's talks in Makkah.

12:10 GMT: Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is received in Saudi Arabia as he touches down for the summits.

11:30 GMT: The Emir of Kuwait arrives in Saudi Arabia for the series of summits

How Saudi Arabia turned back to the future

Updated 10 sec ago

How Saudi Arabia turned back to the future

  • When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged to bring back moderate Islam, he referenced a time before the developments of 1979 halted the Kingdom’s progress

Saudi Arabia was on a roll in the 1970s, enjoying the social and cultural developments that had begun in the previous two decades, and buoyed by the rising price of oil and the Kingdom’s first Development Plan.

But 1979 changed everything. Saudi Arabia took a conservative turn, prompted by two events: the Iranian Revolution in February, which brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power, and the siege by religious extremists of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.  As Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told 2017’s Future Investment Initiative: “We were not like this in the past. We only want to go back to what we were, the moderate Islam that is open to the world, open to all the religions … And quite frankly, we will not waste 30 years of our lives in dealing with extremist ideas … We want to live a normal life, a life that translates our moderate religion, our good customs.”

And that’s what has happened. Under Vision 2030 and a flurry of life-altering developments – movies and concerts, greater freedom for women, fitness in schools, to name just a few – the Kingdom is on a trajectory back to the future.



1955 - Saudi Arabia’s first private school for girls, Dar Al-Hanan, is founded in Jeddah by Princess Effat, with the support of her husband, Crown Prince Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, amid a social outcry. 

1960 - Royal decree approves public education for girls; schools are established in Riyadh, Makkah and other cities.

1962 - The non-profit women’s organization, Al-Nahda, is established by Princess Effat and a number of prominent Saudi women.


  • The Council of Ministers approves a project to establish television in the Kingdom.
  • The Department of Youth Welfare (previously the Department of Sport) creates four federations: volleyball, basketball, athletic and cycling.

1965 - King Faisal approves the first national television broadcast, a reading of the Qur’an, amid protests from conservatives.


King Faisal (right) and US President Richard Nixon.
  • The first TV broadcast in Saudi Arabia is launched from the US Consulate in Dhahran; “The Eye of the Desert” is broadcast in English and only to the Dhahran area. 


  • The Kingdom’s first institute of higher education, King Saud University, is opened in Riyadh.
  • The launch of Aramco TV, with a wider broadcasting range that reaches Al-Hofuf and other areas across the Gulf. Broadcasts are in both Arabic and English.




January 22 - Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and his wife leave Tehran.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

February 1 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Iran from exile in France.

February 11 - Khomeini officially assumes power when troops loyal to the shah surrender.

February 16 - Iran’s revolutionary authorities start executions of leading supporters of the shah, including four top generals.

November 4 - US embassy in Tehran stormed by Iranian students who take 52 Americans hostage, demanding the extradition of the shah.



November 20 - A well-organized group led by Saudi militant Juhayman Al-Otaibi storms the Grand Mosque with weapons smuggled in coffins and vehicles using members pretending to be there to pray. Al-Otaibi is a member of Al-Jamaa Al-Salafiya Al-

Militants arrested after the Makkah Siege of 1979 are escorted to prison. (File photo) 

Muhtasiba (Salafi Group that Commands Right and Forbids Wrong), which is angered by Western social influence, women’s presence in the Saudi workforce, TV and other issues. Worshippers are prevented from leaving after the announcement of a takeover over a microphone. Hostages are forced to pledge allegiance to the group’s leader, Mohammed bin Abduallah Al-Qahtani, Al-Otaibi and their followers.

December 4 - The siege lasts for two weeks and ends after an intervention by Saudi special forces and their allies, leaving hundreds dead, including Saudi officers, soldiers and civilians as well as Al-Qahtani and his followers. Al-Otaibi is arrested and executed on Jan. 9, 1980.




  • Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveils Vision 2030, a road map for Saudi Arabia’s future.
  • The Saudi Cabinet approves a new law restricting the religious police from questioning, pursuing or arresting violators; they must instead report them to the police or anti-narcotics officers.
  • Princess Reema bint Bandar is appointed vice president for women’s affairs at the General Sports Authwority.
  • Kariman Abuljadayel is the first Saudi woman to compete in the 100-meter event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
  • The General Authority for Entertainment and the General Sports Authority are established by royal decree.



  • King Salman appoints Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince ofSaudi Arabia.
  • The Saudi Stock Exchange appoints a woman, Sarah Al-Suhaimi, as chairperson for the first time.
    King Salman and Crown Prince Mohamme bin Salman.
  • In one of the first public music performances in many years, Mohammed Abdo performs for a men-only audience in Jeddah.
  • Giga-projects are launched: NEOM, a $500-billion megacity in theTabuk region, and the RedSea tourism project (right).
  • Saudi state schools announce that they will offer physical education classes for female students.
  • At the inaugural Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledges a return to moderate Islam.



  • Female fans are allowed to attend football matches for the first time in Saudi Arabia; the match was Al-Ahli vs. Al-Batin in Jeddah on Jan. 12. 
  • Ending a 35-year ban on cinemas, the first commercial movie theater opens in Riyadh with a screening of “Black Panther” on April 18.
  • A ban on Saudi women driving is lifted on June 24.
  • An anti-harassment law, approved by the Shoura Council, receives praise from around the world.
  • King Salman launches plans for Qiddiya, expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city.
  • The Culture Ministry, headed by Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al-Saud, is established (right).
  • Al-Ahsa Oasis is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Weam Al-Dakheel becomes the first Saudi woman to anchor the main evening news on Saudi TV.
  • Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab and the Black Eyed Peas are among the first international performers at the Formula E in Riyadh, for which the first trial tourist visas are granted.
  • The WWE’s Royal Rumble takes place at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, beginning a 10-year partnership with the General Sports Authority.



  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launches a mega tourism project in AlUla which will include a resort designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel and a nature reserve dubbed Sharaan.


  • Lubna Al-Olayan becomes the first Saudi chairwoman to run a Saudi bank, a merger between Alawwal and Saudi British Bank.
  • Saudi Arabia’s first female ambassador, Princess Reema bint Bandar (top center), is appointed to Washington.
  • The Saudi Cabinet approves a “Privileged Iqama residency permit,” which will allow foreign nationals to work and live in Saudi Arabia without a sponsor, offered to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds.
  • By royal decree, Saudi women no longer require permission from a male guardian to travel or obtain a passport.
  • A lineup of superstars perform in concerts across the Kingdom: Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and 50 Cent in Jeddah; Andrea Bocelli in AlUla (below); Pitbull and Akon in the Eastern Province.
  • High-profile sports events include the Italian Super Cup between Juventus and AC Milan; Fight Night between world boxing champion Amir Khan (left)and Billy Dib; and the largest Battle Royale in WWE history.