US ratchets up pressure on Iran, Pompeo on Gulf tour

By Eudore R. Chand

Sheikh Mohamed with Mike Pompeo

Coalition vows ‘urgent and timely measures’

NEW YORK 25 June 2019: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned on Monday the Abha airport attack in Saudi Arabia, saying “these Iranian-backed attacks are unacceptable.”

The US top diplomat in a statement carried by Wam, called on the “the Iran-backed Houthis to end these reckless and provocative attacks on behalf of the Iranian regime,” saying “the Houthis should engage constructively in the UN-led political process to end the conflict and adhere to the commitments they made in Sweden.

“Some want to portray the Yemen conflict as an isolated civil war, without a clear aggressor. It is neither. It is spreading conflict and humanitarian disaster that was conceived of and perpetuated by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he added.

He noted that the Iranian regime “has spent years funneling cash, weapons, and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps support to the Houthis. With every attack conducted by an Iranian proxy, the regime tacks another day onto its forty-year track record of spreading death and chaos in the region, and beyond.”

The US Secretary of State has been in Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Mohamed bin Zayed, Pompeo discuss developments

ABU DHABI: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Sheikh Mohamed discussed with Pompeo, who is currently on a tour of the region, the prospects for further consolidating the friendship and strategic ties between the two countries in addition to a number of issues of common interest.

They exchanged views over the regional and international developments, including the latest incidents that have posed menacing threats to regional stability and safety of international maritime navigation.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and the US top diplomat reiterated that both countries are standing side by side toward the challenges besetting the region.

The meeting, which was attended by H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser, and H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, addressed existing areas of cooperation and means of cementing coordination and joint action to the best interest of the two countries. Attending the meeting as well were Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority, and Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, the Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court.

Saudi Crown Prince Meets US Secretary of State

JEDDAH: Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, met here today with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

During the meeting, they reviewed historical relations between the two friendly countries and aspects of bilateral cooperation in various fields.

They also discussed the developments in the region and affirmed the standing of the two countries in confronting the hostile Iranian activities and combating extremism and terrorism, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

US to announce fresh sanctions against Iran

ABU DHABI: The United States was to announce fresh sanctions against Iran on Monday evening, a senior US official confirmed.

Brian Hook, US Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary of State, said that Iran has denounced the US diplomatic efforts for a dialogue to defuse the tension in the region.

The new sanctions, which will be announced “later today” are meant to encourage Iran to engage in dialogue, Hook told journalists in a telephonic press briefing from Muscat, Oman, without revealing the details of the sanctions. He said that the US did not want to give a chance to Iran to take precautionary measures against the impending sanctions.

Brian Hook, US Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary of State

He also accused Iran of engaging in proxy wars in the region, while answering questions from journalists across the globe.

Hook added that when attacks by Houthi and Hezbollah militias in the region are reported, Iran’s name never comes up. However, those militias are supported and funded by Iran, therefore, the US will consider such attacks as perpetrated by Iran. “This is the US policy now,” Hook affirmed.

The recent attacks on oil tankers off the coast of Fujairah in the UAE affected the equities of as many as 17 countries, he added.

Abha airport attack injured rises to 21

RIYADH: As the number of people injured in the terrorist attack by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia on the Abha International Airport has risen to 21, the Joint Command of the Coalition Forces to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen has said that it will take “urgent and timely measures” to deter this terrorist militia and ensure the protection of civilians and their properties.

The command also said that terrorist operatives responsible for the planning and execution of the attack will be held accountable, in accordance with international humanitarian law and its customary rules.

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency, Colonel Turki Al Malki, the official Spokesman for the Coalition, said that the terrorist attack has resulted in the martyrdom of a Syrian resident, and the injury of 21 civilians of different nationalities, which include 13 Saudis, four Indians, two Egyptians, and two Bangladeshis.

“Among the injured were three women – one Egyptian and two Saudis – and 2 children of Indian nationality,” the statement said.

Colonel Al Malki pointed out that all people with injuries were transferred to the hospital for treatment. Three of them have left the hospital, and 18 are still being treated, among them, 13 have minor injuries, three moderate, and two are critical cases.

There was also some physical damages to one of the restaurants at the airport and also to 18 vehicles, he added.


One killed, 7 hurt in terrorist attack on Abha airport

Colonel Al Malki said that the Houthi terrorist militia have continued its immoral practices by targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure protected under international humanitarian law and its customary rules. “The Iranian-backed Houthi militia claimed full responsibility for the attack through its media, saying it used unmanned aerial vehicle ‘Ababil’, which constitutes a clear recognition and full responsibility for targeting civilians and their properties that are subject to special protection under international humanitarian law. Thus, it could amount to a war crime,” he said.

The spokesman added that the continuation of such terrorist acts with high-quality capabilities proves the Iranian regime’s involvement in supporting the Houthi militia and the continued violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 2216 and Resolution 2231.

Al Malki stressed that in the face of the Houthi militia attack, as well as its immoral violations, the Joint Forces Command of the Coalition will take urgent and timely measures to deter this terrorist militia and ensure the protection of civilians and their properties.

“In addition, terrorist operatives responsible for the planning and execution of this attack will be held accountable, in accordance with international humanitarian law and its customary rules,” he concluded.

Kuwait condemns Abha attack

KUWAIT: Kuwait has strongly condemned attack on Abha International Airport in southern Saudi Arabia on Sunday, which led to the martyrdom of one person and injury of seven others.

According to the Kuwait News Agency, a source at the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry said that such “terrorist” act targeting a civilian airport is a flagrant violation of international laws and a dangerous escalation that threatens security and stability in the region as well as undermining all chances for peace.

The ministry also stressed Kuwait’s stand alongside Saudi Arabia and its full support in taken all measures necessary to ensure security and stability of the kingdom.

It also expressed sincere condolences to the family of the victim, and wished a speedy recovery to all injured in the attack.