US, European, Asian chiefs of staff support Saudi Arabia's right to self-defense

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Representatives from more than 60 countries including Israel but not Iran met in Bahrain on Monday to discuss maritime security following attacks on tankers in the Gulf and Saudi oil installations. (SPA)
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Representatives from more than 60 countries including Israel but not Iran met in Bahrain on Monday to discuss maritime security following attacks on tankers in the Gulf and Saudi oil installations. (SPA)
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Representatives from more than 60 countries including Israel but not Iran met in Bahrain on Monday to discuss maritime security following attacks on tankers in the Gulf and Saudi oil installations. (SPA)
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Representatives from more than 60 countries including Israel but not Iran met in Bahrain on Monday to discuss maritime security following attacks on tankers in the Gulf and Saudi oil installations. (SPA)
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Representatives from more than 60 countries including Israel but not Iran met in Bahrain on Monday to discuss maritime security following attacks on tankers in the Gulf and Saudi oil installations. (SPA)
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Representatives from more than 60 countries including Israel but not Iran met in Bahrain on Monday to discuss maritime security following attacks on tankers in the Gulf and Saudi oil installations. (SPA)
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Representatives from more than 60 countries including Israel but not Iran met in Bahrain on Monday to discuss maritime security following attacks on tankers in the Gulf and Saudi oil installations. (SPA)
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Representatives from more than 60 countries including Israel but not Iran met in Bahrain on Monday to discuss maritime security following attacks on tankers in the Gulf and Saudi oil installations. (SPA)
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Representatives from more than 60 countries including Israel but not Iran met in Bahrain on Monday to discuss maritime security following attacks on tankers in the Gulf and Saudi oil installations. (SPA)
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Representatives from more than 60 countries including Israel but not Iran met in Bahrain on Monday to discuss maritime security following attacks on tankers in the Gulf and Saudi oil installations. (SPA)
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Representatives from more than 60 countries including Israel but not Iran met in Bahrain on Monday to discuss maritime security following attacks on tankers in the Gulf and Saudi oil installations. (SPA)
Updated 22 October 2019

US, European, Asian chiefs of staff support Saudi Arabia's right to self-defense

  • Following recent attacks against tankers in the Gulf, the United States formed a naval coalition to protect navigation in a region that is critical to global oil supplies
  • Tension between Tehran and Washington has grown since the United States abandoned a multinational deal on curbing Iran’s nuclear program last year

JEDDAH: Saudi Military Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Fayyad bin Hamad Al-Ruwaili said the Kingdom’s armed forces are confronting all threats from Iran and its allies, adding that he is looking forward to producing a stance that stresses international support in protecting oil facilities and ensuring their protection from future attacks.
He pointed out that everyone should actively be involved in strengthening the capabilities to resist Iran’s threats and those of its allies.
Al-Ruwaili’s statement came during the Security and Defense Conference of the chiefs of staff of GCC states and other countries including Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Britain, the US, France, South Korea, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, New Zealand and Greece.
The aim of the conference was to emphasize maritime and air protection, discuss Iranian hostilities and participate in the procurement of capabilities needed for the security of the region.
Highlighting the importance of the region, Al-Ruwaili said it contains about 30 percent of the world energy supplies and shipping lanes that constitue 20 percent of the global trade paths, which is equivalent to 4 percent of the world gross domestic product.
He said: “Today’s meeting aims to find appropriate ways for joint military cooperation to ensure the protection of vital and sensitive facilities, as the region continues to suffer from ongoing crises since the time the regime came to power following (1979) revolution in Iran, which aims to export the revolution to other countries, in contradiction with international conventions and treaties.”
He added that this has contributed to “spreading chaos by using religious sectarianism to serve political objectives, adopting and supporting loyal armed groups and forming parties and militias that contribute to destabilizing security and stability in several countries in the region.
The participants visited an exhibition, in which they were briefed on the unprecedented attack on vital facilities in the Kingdom as well as intercepted ballistic missiles, Iranian drones and photos of Iranian terrorist tools used to destabilize the region.
Participants issued a joint statement denouncing the attacks on the Kingdom, and expressing their determination to deter future attacks on vital facilities that are crucial for the global economy.
They also expressed their full support for Saudi Arabia’s efforts to deal with attacks, and affirmed its right and the right of its neighbors to self-defense in accordance with international law.
They also stressed the need to identify the best ways to support the Kingdom, deter threats against vital infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and the safety of navigation in its waters, which will be discussed in the upcoming meeting on Nov. 4.

 


Syrian pound plummets as new US sanctions loom

Updated 06 June 2020

Syrian pound plummets as new US sanctions loom

  • Syria is in the thick of an economic crisis compounded by a coronavirus lockdown and a dollar liquidity crunch in neighboring Lebanon
  • The UN food agency said any further depreciation risked increasing the cost of imported basic food items

BEIRUT: Syria’s pound hit record lows on the black market Saturday trading at over 2,300 to the dollar, less than a third of its official value, traders said, ahead of new US sanctions.
Three traders in Damascus told AFP by phone that the dollar bought more than 2,300 Syrian pounds for the first time, though the official exchange rate remained fixed at around 700 pounds to the greenback.
After nine years of war, Syria is in the thick of an economic crisis compounded by a coronavirus lockdown and a dollar liquidity crunch in neighboring Lebanon.
Last month, the central bank warned it would clamp down on currency “manipulators.”
Analysts said concerns over the June 17 implementation of the US Caesar Act, which aims to sanction foreign persons who assist the Syrian government or help in post-war reconstruction, also contributed to the de fact devaluation.
Zaki Mehchy, a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House, said foreign companies — including from regime ally Russia — were already opting not to take any risks.
With money transactions requiring two to three weeks to implement, “today’s transactions will be paid after June 17,” he said.
Heiko Wimmen, Syria project director at the conflict tracker Crisis Group, said that with the act coming into force, “doing business with Syria will become even more difficult and risky.”
Both analysts said the fall from grace of top business tycoon Rami Makhlouf despite being a cousin of the president was also affecting confidence.
“The Makhlouf saga is spooking the rich,” Wimmen said.
After the Damascus government froze assets of the head of the country’s largest mobile phone operator and slapped a travel ban on him, the wealthy feel “nobody is safe,” he said.
They are thinking “you better get your assets and perhaps yourself out preparing for further shakedowns,” he said.
Mehchy said the impact of the pound’s decline and ensuing price hikes on Syrians would be “catastrophic.”
Most of Syria’s population lives in poverty, according to the United Nations, and food prices have doubled over the past year.
The UN food agency’s Jessica Lawson said any further depreciation risked increasing the cost of imported basic food items such as rice, pasta and lentils.
“These price increases risk pushing even more people into hunger, poverty and food insecurity as Syrians’ purchasing power continues to erode,” the World Food Programme spokeswoman said.
“Families may be forced to cut the quality and quantity of food they buy.”