West Asia News and Discussions

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Ambar » 13 Aug 2020 23:47

Unofficially Israel and Israelis have had a lengthy relationship in UAE. There are many Israeli funded businesses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and frequent travelers from Israel who visit UAE for leisure and business. I remember reading about Israel's operation opera in the early 80s it was said that Israel has always maintained a secret relationship even with Saudi Arabia , and their interests align in trying to contain Iran and Iraq. I wouldnt be too surprised if Saudi Arabia too under MBS normalize relationship with Israel at some point, and when benefactors of pakis accept Israel, can the pakis stay too far ? This has wide reaching implications.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby mmasand » 21 Aug 2020 03:19

Fun fact: Netanyahu met with Otaiba (UAE Ambassador to the US), Bahrain several times in DC, in addition to the Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed in NY in the last two years. Recently they have jointly engaged lobbying organisations to shore up support to extend sanctions against Iran. Relations have been warming up for a while now, except for Mahbouh's sloppy assassination by Mossad.

A few years ago, I was interviewed by an Israeli (dual citizen) for a job ,who was handpicked to head a state funded educational enterprise in Abu Dhabi.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Ambar » 31 Aug 2020 22:24

Wonder what's going on in UAE ? Two explosions in two different places , multiple casualties reported. Saw some disturbing images of people on fire. This follows a large fire in Ajman market earlier this month. I suspect Qatar/Iranian proxies at play here probably to further weaken UAE's economy and maybe to sow some sort of doubt in its citizens about the UAE-Israel normalization .

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Mukesh.Kumar » 01 Sep 2020 17:16

X-Posting from Intelligence thread.

Mukesh.Kumar wrote:Very interesting development in UAE on hawala operators. This had potential of radically cutting down on money laundering, terror financing, crime.

Gulf News Report- for hawala service providers to register

The UAE has made it mandatory for Hawala service providers in the country to register, as the country strengthens its anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CFT) framework, the Central Bank said in a statement on Monday.
Hawala, or hundi, is an unofficial and informal channel to transfer money mainly used among South Asians whereby they give money to agents who then instruct their associates in the country to deliver it to the customer's house. It is estimated that between $100 billion to $300 billion flow through this informal transfer system globally every year.

With UAE being a one of the major markets for remittances, regulating this informal industry will help monitor money-laundering and counter terror funding. Remittances from the UAE amounted to some Dh165 billion in 2019, led by India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Egypt, the UK, and Bangladesh.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby SSridhar » 02 Sep 2020 10:18

Spurned by allies, Saudi Arabia rethinks chequebook diplomacy - AFP
From Pakistan to Lebanon, Saudi Arabia is scaling back its famed chequebook diplomacy, a longstanding policy of splashing petro-dollars in exchange for influence, which observers say has yielded few tangible gains.

For decades, the wealthy kingdom funnelled billions in aid to its allies -- and to its enemies' enemies -- in a bid to bolster its position as an Arab powerhouse and leader of the Muslim world.

But as plummeting demand has sapped its oil revenues, the kingdom is rethinking old alliances that Saudi observers say have swallowed their cash while offering little in return, at a time when its quest for regional supremacy is increasingly challenged by rivals Iran, Turkey and Qatar.

A swathe of regional countries, from Jordan and Lebanon to Egypt, Palestine and Pakistan, have been the top recipients of Saudi aid over the past decade, said Middle East expert Yasmine Farouk.

"The dual economic impact of the coronavirus and low oil prices, however, may lead Saudi Arabia to restructure and rationalise its aid," said Farouk, from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"The country is already seeking to end the perception of being 'an ATM'."

The kingdom has contributed billions to Lebanon's post-civil war reconstruction, but it has voiced frustration over its failure to rein in Hezbollah, a powerful group backed by its arch-enemy Iran.

"Saudi Arabia will not continue to pay Hezbollah's bills, and the Lebanese have to shoulder their responsibilities towards their country," Saudi columnist Khalid al-Sulaiman wrote recently for the pro-government Okaz newspaper.

"It is no longer possible for Saudi Arabia to continue paying billions to Lebanon in the morning and receive insults at night.

"This situation is no longer compatible with the new Saudi foreign policy, as Saudi money does not fall from the sky or grow in the desert."

Saudi Arabia also appears frustrated with Pakistan after the longstanding ally pushed Riyadh to take a firm stand on Kashmir and threatened to take the issue to other Muslim forums.

Such a threat is particularly disconcerting for Saudi Arabia, which is home to Islam's holiest sites and views itself as the leader of the Muslim world.
The kingdom recently recalled $1 billion of a $3 billion loan from cash-strapped Pakistan, and an expired multi-billion dollar oil credit facility to Islamabad has not been renewed, a diplomatic source told AFP.

"Pakistani elites have a bad habit of taking Saudi support for granted, given what Saudi has done for Pakistan over the decades," tweeted Ali Shihabi, a Saudi author and analyst.

"Well the party is over, and Pakistan needs to deliver value to this relationship. It's no longer a free lunch or a one-way street."

Riyadh's ties with Pakistan have historically been "very warm" but the relationship has been lopsided, said Saudi prince Talal bin Mohammad al-Faisal.
"It (has) only benefited one side in 'real world' terms," he tweeted.

"That side is Pakistan."

Pakistan and Egypt, another ally which has received billions in aid, rebuffed calls for ground troops to support the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen against Iran-linked Huthi rebels.

Further stirring consternation in Riyadh, a leaked 2015 audio recording showed Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi allegedly mocking Gulf powers including Saudi Arabia, saying they were rolling in money "like rice".

That sentiment was echoed in 2018 by US President Donald Trump when he hosted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office and held up a chart listing military hardware sales worth billions to Riyadh.

"Take their money," Trump told NBC News the following year, justifying backing the kingdom's rulers after journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder sparked global uproar.

With so many of its relationships rendered transactional, Riyadh is struggling to win respect and its once-leading role in the Muslim world is increasingly challenged by its rivals, observers say.

The Saudis are increasingly resentful of "ungrateful" allies, said Farouk.

States that have traditionally benefited from Saudi largesse, including Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine, have "already seen instances in which aid was frozen, decreased or cut off", she added.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby V_Raman » 02 Sep 2020 10:37

The natural protector of the sunni saudi world is India - a non-transactional power interested in the welfare of the people. But India has to solve the Pakistan problem.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby anmol » 09 Sep 2020 17:26

Steve Herman

Senior administration official tells reporters on Air Force One to expect an announcement tomorrow on further US troop withdrawals from #Iraq and another announcement in the coming days about #Afghanistan.
https://mobile.twitter.com/W7VOA/status ... 4233508864

New York Times World

Amrullah Saleh, Afghanistan’s senior vice president and a staunch opponent of the Taliban, survived a bombing in Kabul that killed at least 10 people, the second deadly attack against him in a little over a year
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/09/worl ... &smtyp=cur

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby IndraD » 10 Sep 2020 03:18

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/09/ ... 39884.html
United States: End of Qatar blockade possibly 'in weeks'
Top US diplomat for Middle East expresses cautious optimism that three-year siege of Qatar by Arab states may soon end

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby pankajs » 12 Sep 2020 02:30

https://twitter.com/AmichaiStein1/statu ... 3042684940
#BREAKING: #Bahrain will normalize ties with Israel, Bahrain Crown prince will be in DC Monday, officials confirm to me

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Ambar » 12 Sep 2020 05:02

Wonder how long before the Pakis follow their masters ? Its rumored that US has negotiated with UAE/Saudi Arabia/Bahrain to lift sanctions and open airspace to Qatar, i get a feeling that this entire orchestration is to alienate Iran and Turkey. Net net i think its a positive development for India overall.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Philip » 19 Sep 2020 08:59

Happy Rosh- Hashanah to all our Jewish friends around the globe!
The Jewish New Year. Wishing all " Shana Tova U'Metukah."

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby g.sarkar » 24 Nov 2020 13:44

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/23/worl ... alman.html
Israeli Reports Say Netanyahu Met Saudi Crown Prince. Saudis Deny It.
Clashing reports about the meeting, which would be the first between high-level Israeli and Saudi leaders, show how far apart the two countries remain.
By Ben Hubbard, David M. Halbfinger and Ronen Bergman, Nov. 23, 2020

BEIRUT, Lebanon — A covert meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia would be a historic first, suggesting that the two countries were making progress toward establishing formal diplomatic relations.
But the contradictory news on Monday about such a meeting — with unsourced Israeli media reports saying it had taken place clashing with a denial from the Saudi foreign minister — highlighted the domestic politics in each country and signaled how far apart the two countries remained from the prospect of exchanging ambassadors.
Israeli news outlets reported early Monday that Mr. Netanyahu and the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, Yossi Cohen, had flown to Saudi Arabia on a private jet on Sunday evening. In a meeting with Prince Mohammed in Neom, a futuristic city planned near the Red Sea coast, the three men discussed Iran, which both countries consider a threat, and the possible normalization of relations, the Israeli reports said.
Mr. Netanyahu refused to comment, but Israeli journalists close to him were among the first to report the story. Flight tracking websites documented the jet’s trip from Tel Aviv to Saudi Arabia, and three officials close to Mr. Netanyahu alluded to the meeting’s significance, appearing to confirm that it happened.
“The fact that the meeting took place and was made public — even if it was in only a semiofficial way — is something of great importance,” Yoav Galant, the education minister, said in a radio interview. “This is something our ancestors dreamed about.”
But hours after the news echoed around the world, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, denied that any meeting with Mr. Netanyahu had taken place, insisting that Prince Mohammed had met only with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was completing a seven-nation farewell tour.
“There was no meeting,” Prince Faisal wrote in a text message. He said that he had accompanied Mr. Pompeo throughout his visit and that “Saudi and American officials were the only ones present.”
The conflicting statements reflected different priorities: Israel and the Trump administration have promoted the idea that a diplomatic opening between Saudi Arabia and Israel is only a matter of time, while the Saudis have insisted that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal must come first.
Mr. Netanyahu, who has often been accused of leaking reports for political gain, had ample reason to trumpet any incremental steps in building relations with Saudi Arabia. He is eager to improve his standing at home as a leader who can turn Israel’s foes into friends and to divert attention from corruption allegations.

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