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Ed Webb

How Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen has made al Qaeda stronger and richer - 0 views

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    Mohamed bin Salman's war is an utter disaster.
Ed Webb

Chinese drones: Cheap, lethal and flying in the Middle East | Middle East Eye - 0 views

  • China’s new hit product: the CH-4 Caihong, or "Rainbow", drone.
  • The Middle East is no stranger to drones flown by the US, which have killed thousands of people over the last decade.

    But more nations are entering the game thanks to a new player in the market: Chinese manufacturers offering cheap hardware with a no-questions-asked sales policy.

    China has been aggressively marketing the CH-4, which bears a striking resemblance to the US MQ-9 Reaper and has similar capabilities.

  • Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt are now believed to operate variants of Chinese armed drones
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  • China has not signed the international Arms Trade Treaty, or ATT, meaning it has fewer restrictions on the sale of drone technology
  • “Countries with less-than-ideal human rights records tend to use their weapons in less-than-ideal human rights manners, whether it’s a drone or a water cannon."
  • Saudi Arabia and the UAE are believed to have used the drones in their war in Yemen. While there are not verified reports of drone attacks, evidence of their use includes satellite photographs, as well as images of a drone resembling a CH-4 shot down by Houthi fighters.

    Saudi Arabia has been condemned by a host of bodies including the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the European Parliament for apparent indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Yemen.

  • while drones offer safety for operators, leaked reports from the US drone programme suggest that up to 90 percent of those killed in drone strikes may be unintended targets, or "collateral damage". 
Ed Webb

Egyptian satellite stops broadcasting Hezbollah-controlled TV station | Reuters - 0 views

  • Egyptian satellite company NileSat has stopped broadcasting Hezbollah-controlled Lebanese television channel Al Manar, an official said on Wednesday, a move the Iranian-backed group condemned as part of a campaign by Gulf Arab states against it.
  • On Friday, the Saudi-owned television news channel Al Arabiya shut its offices in Lebanon. On the same day, protesters attacked the Beirut office of Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al-Awsat in response to a cartoon published by the paper criticizing the Lebanese state.
  • Saudi Arabia has lavished aid on Egypt since its military overthrew an Islamist government in 2013, and while ties have been strained over the past year, Cairo has broadly followed Riyadh's lead on regional politics.

    NileSat stopped broadcasting Al Manar to subscribers late on Tuesday, although the channel can be received in Lebanon through other broadcast media.

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  • "The usual terms (of the company) prohibit the use of satellite media to broadcast programs which call for violence or racism or incite sectarianism."
  • "NileSat is trading in flimsy excuses and its claims of inciting discord do not fool anyone."
Ed Webb

Widespread Iraqi anger threatens Saudi ties - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East - 0 views

  • In light of this commotion on the streets, the Iraqi government has distanced itself from the strained Saudi-Iranian ties following the execution of Nimr and other developments, such as the storming of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran on Jan. 2 and the rupture of ties between the two countries. The government also turned a deaf ear to Iraqi Shiite forces close to Iran that demanded that ties be cut with Saudi Arabia.
  • The official Iraqi position was incomprehensible to some extremist circles. Although it has condemned the execution of Nimr, Iraq also supported the Saudi position against Iran in the closing statement of the Arab League meeting on Jan. 10. This statement condemned the attack against the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and supported the Saudi position against Iran, demanding that Iran stop interfering in Saudi affairs.
  • Iraq’s situation is currently complicated by the war against IS and the economic crisis caused by declining oil prices. Abadi seems to be looking to preserve any potential support in the fight against IS, which challenges the existence of the Iraqi state itself.
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    The three-way game between Riyadh, Tehran, and Baghdad begins to reassert itself?
Ed Webb

Can Oman help Saudis save face in Yemen? - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East - 1 views

  • Muscat’s understanding of Yemeni history, where no fighting force has ever been able to seize control of the entire nation. Conflict resolution in Yemen will require a power-sharing agreement in which all sides have a voice at the table, rather than a military campaign aimed at crushing the Houthi rebel movement.
  • the Omani leadership is most unsettled by the threat that a prolonged conflict poses to the security of Oman’s Dhofar governorate, situated along the Gulf Arab nation’s 187-mile border with Yemen
  • As Omanis face the challenges associated with the succession issue, Muscat officials are unsettled by the potential for groups in the historically neglected Dhofar governorate to reject the legitimacy of Qaboos’ successor. Within this context, promoting a peaceful resolution to the Yemeni crisis at the roundtable serves Oman’s national interests.
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  • That Saudi Arabia, the wealthiest Arab country and the world’s top arms importer, cannot defeat an insurgency from the most underserved region of the poorest Arab country is a source of humiliation
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