Tehran seeks to ‘divide the world,’ says Saudi Arabia’s Adel Al-Jubeir

Saudi Arabian minister of state for foreign affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said on Saturday Iran bore responsibility for the attacks on Saudi Aramco. (AP)
Updated 22 September 2019

Tehran seeks to ‘divide the world,’ says Saudi Arabia’s Adel Al-Jubeir

  • Saudi-led investigations so far show that Iranian weapons were used, attack came from the north
  • Kingdom consulting with allies to "take necessary steps"

RIYADH: Attacks last week on Saudi oil facilities were “an attack against all mankind” and Iran was trying to divide the world, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs said on Saturday.

Al-Jubeir said the attacks were undertaken with Iranian weapons and it was for this reason that Iran should be held accountable for the incident, adding: “We are certain that the attacks did not come from Yemen but from the north. Investigations will prove that.”

“The Iranian position is to try to divide the world and in that it is not succeeding, he said.

In a press conference held in the Saudi capital, Al-Jubeir also said that the attacks on Aramco facilities were also targeting global energy security and that Saudi Arabia would take appropriate steps to respond if investigations confirm that Iran is responsible.

“The Kingdom will take the appropriate measures based on the results of the investigation, to ensure its security and stability,” Al-Jubeir said.

“Saudi Arabia has taken a defensive stance, as opposed to Iran which has fired 260 Iranian-made ballistic missiles through its militias, and more than 150 drones.

The Kingdom, unlike Iran, has not fired a missile, a drone or a bullet toward Iran. This demonstrates that we seek good while they seek evil.

Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs

“The Kingdom, unlike Iran, has not fired a missile, a drone or a bullet toward Iran. This demonstrates that we seek good while they seek evil,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has rejected claims from Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthis that they carried out the strikes, the largest-ever assault on Saudi oil facilities in the world’s top oil exporter. Tehran has denied any involvement in the attacks.

Saudi Arabia is consulting with its allies to “take the necessary steps”, Al-Jubeir said, urging the international community to take a stand.

“The Kingdom calls upon the international community to assume its responsibility in condemning those that stand behind this act, and to take a firm and clear position against this reckless behavior that threatens the global economy,” he said.

More than 80 countries have condemned the attacks, he said. 

The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Saturday any country that attacked Iran would become a battlefield, after the US ordered reinforcements to the Gulf following last week’s attacks.

Washington approved the deployment to Saudi Arabia at “the Kingdom’s request,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said, and the forces would be focused on air and missile defense. IRGC commander Major General Hossein Salami said: “Whoever wants their land to become the main battlefield, go ahead. We will never allow any war to encroach upon Iran’s territory.”

The US this week imposed more sanctions on Iran and approved the sending of American troops to the region.

(With agencies)


Israeli leader’s son takes center stage in corruption sagas

Updated 15 min 14 sec ago

Israeli leader’s son takes center stage in corruption sagas

  • Yair Netanyahu is considered a key adviser and the mastermind of his father’s increasingly confrontational social media strategy

JERUSALEM: As scandal-plagued Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands trial for corruption, his 28-year-old son has emerged as a driving force in a counterattack against critics and the state institutions prosecuting the longtime Israeli leader.
A favorite of the prime minister’s nationalistic base and far right leaders around the world, Yair Netanyahu has become a fixture in the news, clashing with journalists on social media, threatening lawsuits against his father’s adversaries and posting online content deemed so offensive that Facebook briefly suspended his account.
In the past month alone, he has called to banish minorities from Tel Aviv, tweeted a discredited conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and intimated that a critical Israeli broadcast journalist slept her way up to her coveted job.
But his toughest broadsides have been directed at the Israeli media, judiciary and law enforcement for conducting what he has called a leftist, ideological crusade to topple his father. He’s called for the attorney general to be investigated for his “crimes,” compared the police chief to fictional mob boss Tony Soprano and described investigators as the Stasi, Gestapo and “the political police of the Israeli junta.”
It’s part of a campaign, echoed to a lesser degree by his father, that critics warn is eroding public faith in Israel’s democratic institutions.
“We would love to just disregard him as a curiosity, as this difficult kid who keeps embarrassing his father. But the truth is there is evidence that he is very influential,” said Raviv Drucker, a well-respected investigative TV reporter and favorite target of the Netanyahus, whom both father and son recently tweeted they would like to see imprisoned. “He holds very extreme positions and it affects the prime minister’s actions.”
Though he holds no official position, Yair Netanyahu is considered a key adviser and the mastermind of his father’s increasingly confrontational social media strategy.
Netanyahu faces charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in a series of corruption cases stemming from ties to wealthy friends. He denies the charges, which follow years of scandals swirling around the family.
For years, it was his wife, Sara, who drew most of the fire because of her extravagant tastes, misuse of state funds and alleged abuse of her staff. But recently, his eldest son has taken center stage. He’s figured prominently in various scandals while earning a reputation of living a life of privilege at taxpayers’ expense.
Australian billionaire James Packer, one of the figures in the prime minister’s corruption indictments, reportedly gave the younger Netanyahu gifts that included stays at luxury hotels in Tel Aviv, New York and Aspen, Colorado, as well as the use of his private jet and dozens of tickets for concerts by Packer’s former fiancée, Mariah Carey. Nir Hefetz, a former Netanyahu aide turned state witness against him, told police that Yair Netanyahu was the major instigator of the bribery case against his father.
Yair Netanyahu has also sparked controversy by posting an anti-Semitic caricature aimed at his father’s critics, vulgarly confronting a woman who told him to pick up after his dog at a park, and tweeting that he hoped elderly leftist protesters would die of COVID-19.
The prime minister has been forced to denounce some of his son’s behavior, like a particularly lewd outing to a strip club with wealthy friends. But generally, he staunchly defends his son.
Anshel Pfeffer, a columnist for the Haaretz daily and author of a recent biography of the prime minister, said Yair Netanyahu enables his father to test boundaries of what the public will accept.
“If he goes too far, they can say it’s only Yair,” he said. “It gives him deniability, creates a gray area and blurs the lines on what the prime minister is saying on record.”
Yair Netanyahu was only 4 when his father first became prime minister in 1996 and has grown up in the limelight. During his compulsory army service, he was assigned as a liaison to foreign media. He was once court-marshaled for taking an unauthorized furlough.
He’s volunteered for local animal welfare organizations and briefly worked as a social media director for an Israeli NGO providing legal services to victims of Palestinian attacks. But he was put on leave after attacking Israel’s figurehead president for advocating Jewish-Arab coexistence.
As a private citizen, Yair Netanyahu has published op-eds for Breitbart, gone on US and European speaking tours and voiced support for right-wing extremists in the US and Europe. He has earned their praise in return.
Supporters claim he is a victim of the same people targeting his father. But the media have largely ignored his older half-sister Noa and his younger brother Avner, an unassuming 26-year-old university student who generally keeps to himself.
Yair Netanyahu, who still lives with his parents and declined to comment, claims to have no political aspirations. In his lone interview to Israeli media, he lamented last year to the pro-Netanyahu Channel 20 about the cost his family pays for their status. He said the three years his father was out of politics in the early 2000s were their happiest ever.
“My father decided to put the good life he had aside and get back into all this mud because of his calling,” he said. “My only political involvement is what you see on my private Facebook and Twitter.”
On Twitter, where he has more than 80,000 followers, he lashes out dozens of times a day and his feed often dictates the following news cycle. Facebook blocked his account for 24 hours in 2018 for sharing banned content and writing that he would prefer an Israel without Muslims.
His brand of provocation has proven irresistible to politicians, journalists and commentators alike, many of whom have been drawn into bouts of mud-slinging with him. Even so, at least a half dozen of his former targets refused to comment, citing his unofficial role and litigious nature.