UAE calls for de-escalation amid reactions to Iran missile attacks

An image grab from footage obtained from Iran Press news agency on Jan. 8, 2020 allegedly shows rockets launched from Iran against the US military base in Ein-Al Asad in Iraq the prevous night. (AFP)
Updated 08 January 2020

UAE calls for de-escalation amid reactions to Iran missile attacks

  • Iraq’s President Barham Salih condemned Iran’s missile strikes on Iraqi bases, saying he feared “dangerous developments” in the region
  • US President Donald Trump also condemned the strike and tweeted “All is well! … Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!”

PARIS: The UAE’s foreign ministry called for a de-escalation in the region on Wednesday and said “rational dialogue” is the best solution after Iran carried out a missile attack on Iraqi bases housing US and other foreign troops.
The UAE’s foreign ministry also said that current developments will not affect the country, its citizens or residents, and that “all activities … in all sectors are proceeding normally.”
Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles in the early hours of Wednesday, officials in Washington and Tehran said.
Iran said it was responding to the US killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani last week, warning it would hit back even harder if Washington responded.
Iraq’s President Barham Salih condemned Iran’s missile strikes on Iraqi bases, saying he feared “dangerous developments” in the region.
“We denounce the Iranian missile bombing that hit military installations on Iraqi territory and renew our rejection of the repeated violation of state sovereignty and the transformation of Iraq into a battlefield for warring sides,” his office said in a statement.

Iraq’s foreign ministry said that Iran’s missile strikes on Iraqi bases was a “violation” of the country’s sovereignty and urged all concerned parties to show restraint in a statement.

The statement added that Iraq should not be allowed to turn into a battle field where scores are settled, and that Iran’s ambassador to Iraq would be summoned to discuss the matter. 
US President Donald Trump also condemned the strike and tweeted “All is well! … Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!” 

During a statement on Wednesday, Trump said Iran "appears to be standing down" and credited an early warning system “that worked very well" for the fact that no Americans or Iraqis were killed.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II expressed his country’s support for Iraq’s security and stability in a telephone call with Iraqi PM Adel Abdul Mahdi on Wednesday. During the call, he stressed the importance of cooperation to remove the threat of war from people in the region.
The United Nations mission in Iraq said the country should not be made to “pay the price” in the escalating conflict between Tehran and Washington.
The UN mission said in a statement that the latest strikes “again violate Iraqi sovereignty” and added: “We call for urgent restraint and a resumption of dialogue. Iraq should not pay the price for external rivalries.”

Influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr said the crisis Iraq was experiencing is over following de-escalation rhetoric from both Iran and the US and called on militia groups not to carry out attacks.
A new strong Iraqi government able to protect the nation's sovereignty and independence should be formed in the next 15 days and usher in an early election, the populist cleric said in a statement, adding that Iraqis should still seek to expel foreign troops, however.
"I call on the Iraqi factions to be deliberate, patient, and not to start military actions, and to shut down the extremist voices of some rogue elements until all political, parliamentary and international methods have been exhausted," he said. 
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the UK’s parliament: “Iran should not repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks but should instead pursue urgent de-escalation.”
Earlier, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warned that another war in the Middle East would only benefit the Daesh group “and other terrorist groups.”

US President Donald Trump discussed the situation in the Middle East with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday and "emphasized the value of NATO increasing its role in preventing conflict and preserving peace in the Middle East," the White House said.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said: “I condemn the Iranian missile attacks on US and coalition forces in Iraq. NATO calls on Iran to refrain from further violence.”
A NATO official said none of its troops in Iraq had been hurt in the strikes.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has described Soleimani as Iran’s “terrorist-in-chief,” made it clear Israel would strike back if attacked.
“Anyone who attacks us will receive a resounding blow,” he warned.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the attack was yet another example of “escalation and increased confrontation.”
“It is in no-one’s interest to turn up the spiral of violence even further,” he added, warning that the crisis was hampering the fight against Islamic State.
EU foreign ministers will hold emergency talks on the Iran crisis Friday to discuss what the bloc can do to reduce tensions.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement: “The priority is more than ever for a de-escalation.
“France remains determined to work to ease tensions and is in contact with all the parties to encourage restraint and responsibility.”
In the wake of the Iranian attack, a number of airlines said they were avoiding Iranian and Iraqi airspace.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said it was banning US-registered carriers from flying over Iraq, Iran and the Gulf.
Its Russian counterpart, the Federal Air Transport Agency, recommended airlines avoid the air space over Iran, Iraq and the Arabian and Oman Gulfs.

Related


Israel, Palestinians face new restrictions amid virus surge

Updated 17 min 31 sec ago

Israel, Palestinians face new restrictions amid virus surge

  • The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that more than 30,000 people were notified they must enter quarantine since Thursday
  • Israel and the Palestinian territories appeared to have contained their outbreaks, with each reporting only a few dozen new cases a day in May

TEL AVIV, Israel: Israel ordered thousands of people into quarantine after a contentious phone surveillance program resumed as Palestinians in the West Bank returned to life under lockdown after both areas saw surges in coronavirus cases.
A statement Sunday from Israel’s Health Ministry said “many” messages had been sent to Israelis following the renewed involvement of the Shin Bet domestic security agency. The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that more than 30,000 people were notified they must enter quarantine since Thursday.
After imposing strict measures early on during a first wave of infections, Israel and the Palestinian territories appeared to have contained their outbreaks, with each reporting only a few dozen new cases a day in May. But an easing of restrictions led to a steady uptick in cases over the past month.
“We are at the height of a new corona offensive. This is a very strong outbreak that is growing and spreading in the world and also here,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a meeting of his Cabinet Sunday.
“We are in a state of emergency,” he said, adding that Israel would need to further clamp down to rein in the virus.
Israel is now reporting around 1,000 new cases a day, higher than its peak during the previous wave and it is set to reimpose restrictions in response, limiting occupancy in bars, places of worship and event spaces to 50 people. It is requiring citizens wear masks and has urged more stringent social distancing.
With its contact tracing apparatus struggling to keep up with the mounting caseload, Israel last week redeployed the Shin Bet to use its sophisticated phone surveillance technology to track Israelis who have come in contact with infected people and then notify them that they must enter home quarantine. The measure is typically used to thwart attacks by tracking Palestinian militants.
The contentious tactic was used when the outbreak first emerged earlier this year, and when civil rights groups challenged it in the country’s Supreme Court, the court threatened to halt its use unless it was put under legislative oversight. The Israeli Knesset has since done so twice using temporary legislation, most recently on Wednesday.
While officials have defended the practice as a life-saving measure, civil rights groups attacked it as an assault on privacy rights. Analysts say the measure may act as a dragnet that could needlessly force some into quarantine.
Israeli media reported that of the thousands ordered into home quarantine, many Israelis complained that they struggled to appeal quarantine orders because the Health Ministry’s hotline was overwhelmed and ill-equipped to handle such a deluge.
Israel appeared to have put the pandemic behind it in May, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proudly urging Israelis to go out, grab a coffee or a beer and “have fun.” Critics have charged that amid the dwindling cases, Israel let down its guard, reopened too quickly and failed to capitalize on its gained time to improve its contact tracing capabilities to contend with a second wave.
Netanyahu, who was largely seen as having capably handled the first wave, has suffered in public opinion polls from his approach this time around.
Since the start of the outbreak, Israel has seen more than 29,000 cases and 330 deaths. More than 17,000 people have recovered.
In the West Bank, residents have been ordered since Friday to remain at home unless they need to purchase food or medicine. Movement between cities and towns is heavily restricted. The lock down is expected to last five days.
On Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas extended a state of emergency in the territory for 30 days, a measure that allows officials to impose additional virus restrictions, including extending lock downs, banning movement between cities and deploying security forces.
Palestinian authorities fear that if the outbreak spirals out of control it could overwhelm its under-resourced health care system.
In the past two weeks, Palestinian health authorities have reported more than 1,700 confirmed coronavirus cases in the West Bank city of Hebron and hundreds more in Bethlehem and Nablus.
The West Bank has reported more than 3,700 cases since the outbreak began. More than 400 have died.