Christian Integrity, What Is It

Christian Integrity, What Is It

 

Last evening I had a phone conversation with a man who has been in the states for many years but who’s family members still live in their original homeland. This is a man I have been coming to know the past couple of months because of a business deal we both have interest in. I have met this man, his wife and their children a couple of times in person and among the things my wife and I both noticed was their integrity as individuals and as a family unit. This helps bring me to one of the points that came up last evening during our phone conversation, the integrity of the people in the area (and those that stop in off of the interstate and stop in at his business). There were a few other issues that we spoke of like education and basic intelligence of the area but I would like to stick to the one issue today. The issue is/was about the people in this area and our faith as a Christian people, and our overall attitudes as a people concerning our/the personal level of Christian ethics and integrity.

 

The man I spoke of in the previous paragraph was from India, these next people are from Saudi Arabia. They own a local convenience store in my neighborhood so I got used to their faces and they to mine. The main sellers at this store was gas, beer, and cigarettes. As I got to know this family (just the men, no women) one of the things they were having to get used to was having the “customers” stealing from them. I am sorry to burst any bubbles but if we steal from anyone, that is a major red flag that we are lacking in our personal integrity. A couple of times these gentlemen spoke of their homeland where store owners could leave their wares on tables on the sidewalks and go home at night without worry of being robbed. Unfortunately I don’t know of places like that here in the States where I would feel totally secure doing this, do you? I hope you do but I just don’t.

 

To be honest with you when I started typing the title I realized that I didn’t know how to spell the word integrity. I don’t know how many years it had been since I spelled the word. Come to think of it, integrity isn’t a word that I ever hear bounced along our airwaves or in personal daily conversation, do you? When I looked the word up in the dictionary it gave me three definitions which I would like to relay to you to see what you think. (1) Adherence to a moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. (2) The state of being whole, entire, or undiminished. (3) A sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition. Am I pointing a finger at you, only if I am also pointing a finger at myself. I’m not here to point any fingers though, I’m here to ask each of us to look inside our own selves if we say we are Christians (followers of Christ) and asking those of you who are not to please also take some quiet time to be honest with our self, our family, and with God. To be honest with you, God already knows just how honest we are, He already knows our integrity level. Folks, our family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, these people all (most likely) already know what our moral character really is, even if we don’t.

It’s Called ‘Trickle Up’ Economics

IT’S CALLED ‘TRICKLE UP’ ECONOMICS

     

(1-9-2015)

    These days we are again hearing the old term in politics that I first heard from the Reagan era, people in Washington call it the Trickle Down Theory. The concept is being practiced by both parties, though they would probably deny it. Today these people tend to use the words “Stimulus Package”. If you remember, We tried this approach shortly before he (W) got out of office. Then came Mr. Obama, he tried his own version of a stimulus package, bailing out the banks and Wall Street, the very people who caused almost all of the problems in the first place. The idea of this scam was to strengthen our country’s financial base from the top down. You see, neither party “get’s it”, you give the top one percent all the financial means and they just hold onto it. I have a question for you, how many of We The People have been able to get a loan, for personal or for small or medium size businesses since the banks got “our” money handed to them? Do you remember just a couple of months ago Mr. Obama was caught on camera at some conference table filled with his cronies and he said in reference of his stimulus package, “I guess that the country wasn’t as shovel ready as we had thought” and he and his cronies had a good laugh about it.

    Now Mr. Obama is prancing out another stimulus package under the cloak of it creating jobs in our country for our people. Odd isn’t it, the things these politicians try just before an election season fires up? Mr. Obama, and the Congress should have taken the other stimulus package a couple of years ago and put Americans to work then. I am a long haul truck driver by trade, a person sees and hears many things as we go around the country from the people and the local radio stations. Our nation’s roads and bridges are in lousy condition all over the country. Most all of our big cities are completely falling apart, above ground and below them. If the stimulus money from the past had been used to rebuild our country from the inside, which would have put many people to work all over our country. As you go around the country you see things like all these oil wells that are capped, even in the oil fields of West Texas. We have found lots of oil in Wyoming and the Dakotas, but as soon as they are drilled, there capped. You see, this country doesn’t have enough refineries to produce the products and we don’t have anywhere near enough storage facilities to store all the oil we already have here in our own country. These days we hear a lot about clean coal technologies and that we are the Saudi Arabia of Natural gas. Why are we selling oil abroad? People, why are we giving billions to people who use that money to finance means to kill all of us?

    Here is the simple economics behind this writing, if the money had been given out through work programs, the people of America would have been working several years ago, on good full-time jobs for good pay. Then the people would not have been losing their homes. People would have been able to have purchasing power which would have stimulated our economy putting even more people back to work. If this had happened, the Banks would have had earned a lot of money from the bottom up and the governments at all levels would have been reaping the benefits of increased tax revenue which would have keep our civil servants employed. What our country needs are politicians who are able to realize that there is nothing wrong if the bottom 99% have 95% of the money going through their hands. Then the top 1% of the population would still be getting about 5%, this would still make that small and very important group of people very, very wealthy. They are very important because they are the risk takers who have the ability to create many of our nation’s jobs, these people must be well compensated, five for one is very nice compensation. Friends, this is what I call, Trickle Up Economics.

 

                                                                                  Thank you for your time,

                                                                                  oldpoet56   

    

OIC Summit Stresses Rejection of US Decision on Jerusalem

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

OIC Summit Stresses Rejection of US Decision on Jerusalem

Wednesday, 13 December, 2017 – 10:45
Asharq Al Awsat

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed Muslim leaders on Wednesday stressing that a US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a crime which showed that Washington can no longer be an honest broker in Middle East peace talks.

During an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Turkey, Abbas said President Donald Trump was giving Jerusalem away as if it were an American city.

“Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Palestine,” he said, adding Trump’s decision was “the greatest crime” and a flagrant violation of international law.

Wednesday’s summit was hosted by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who has piercingly slammed the United States for its stance on Jerusalem.

“I invite all countries supporting international law to recognize Jerusalem as the occupied capital of Palestine. We cannot be late any more,” Erdogan told leaders and ministers from more than 50 Muslim countries.

He described Trump’s decision last week as a reward for Israeli actions including occupation, settlement construction, land seizure and “disproportionate violence and murder”.

“Israel is an occupying state (and) Israel is a terror state,” he said.

Jerusalem, cherished by Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike, is home to Islam’s third holiest site and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in an action not recognized internationally.

Ahead of the meeting, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Muslim nations should urge the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state within its pre-1967 borders.

He said this week Turkey was not seeking sanctions in response to the US move, but wanted the summit to issue a strong rejection of the US decision.

Trump’s announcement last week prompted an outpouring of anger in the Muslim and Arab world, where tens of thousands of people took to the streets to denounce the Jewish state and show solidarity with the Palestinians.

The decision sparked protests in Palestinian territories, with four Palestinians killed so far in clashes or Israeli air strikes in response to rocket fire from Gaza and hundreds wounded.
US ‘BIAS’

The Trump administration says it remains committed to reaching a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its decision does not affect Jerusalem’s future borders or status.

It says any credible future peace deal will place the Israeli capital in Jerusalem, and ditching old policies is needed to revive a peace process frozen since 2014.

Abbas told the leaders in Istanbul that Washington should no longer play a role in the peace talks.

“It will be unacceptable for it (the United States) to have a role in the political process any longer since it is biased in favor of Israel,” he said. “This is our position and we hope you support us in this.”

King Abdullah of Jordan told the Istanbul summit that he rejected any attempt to change the status quo of Jerusalem and its holy sites.

The summit was also attended by leaders including Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir. Rouhani tweeted that Trump’s decision showed the United States had no respect for Palestinian rights and could never be an honest mediator.

Riyadh, Beijing Launch Digital Silk Road Initiative

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Riyadh, Beijing Launch Digital Silk Road Initiative

Tuesday, 12 December, 2017 – 12:15
Riyadh – Asharq Al-Awsat

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology for Saudi Planning and Development Dr. Mohammed al-Mishaigeh revealed that his country has embarked on transformation programs and developing young talents and establishing innovation labs during his participation in the World Internet Conference, which concluded Monday in Wuzhen City, east China.

Mishaigeh said that the Kingdom and China have also launched Digital Silk Road initiative, and he called on the Chinese to boost partnerships and benefit from Saudi investment and geographical capabilities to transfer knowledge and achieve progress in the field of technology, which the Kingdom is betting on as a knowledge and economic resource.

He pointed out that the city of NEOM will be the focus of artificial intelligence, automation, manufacturing and renewable energy in the world.

Speaking at the conference, Mishaigeh said that his country has started implementing the desired social and economic transformation led by Vision 2030, which aims to bring about profound changes that will extend to many aspects of life reaching the lead in all aspects.

Notably, the Saudi participating delegation has visited the Huawei Research Center in Shanghai to learn about the latest technologies in infrastructure, smart cities and the Chinese experience in enabling the digital economy in the indoor environment.

On the sidelines of the conference, the delegation held a meeting with the National Development and Reform Commission, during which a mechanism was discussed to activate the terms of the memorandum of understanding signed between the two parties in January 2016 on promoting the development of the Digital Silk Road as well as a review of the Chinese experience in building smart cities.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, represented by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, has participated in the World Internet Conference, which was organized by Chinese Electronic Space Administration and Zhejiang Province’s Government with participation of leading figures from governments, international organizations, companies, competent technical sector departments as well as non-government relevant agencies.

Iran & Hezbollah Prove They Don’t Give A Damn About Lebanon’s Laws

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Lebanon Investigates Visit of Iraqi Militia Leader to the South

Sunday, 10 December, 2017 – 10:30
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks after a cabinet meeting in Baabda near Beirut, Lebanon December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/ File Photo
Beirut- Caroline Akoum

The appearance of the head of an Iran-backed Iraqi militia during a visit to Lebanon’s border with Israel, accompanied by Hezbollah fighters, sparked a wave of anger, especially as it came shortly after the government announced the adoption of a policy to dissociate the country from external conflicts.

In a video released on Saturday, Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Iraqi paramilitary group Asaib Ahl al-Haq, declared his readiness “to stand together with the Lebanese people and the Palestinian cause”, just four days after the Lebanese political parties announced the adoption of the policy of “dissociation” from external and regional conflicts.

The video showed an unidentified commander, presumably from Hezbollah, gesturing toward military outposts located along the borders, while Khazali was talking to another person through a wireless device, telling him: “ I am now with the brothers in Hezbollah in the area of Kfarkila, which is a few meters away from occupied Palestine; we declare the full readiness to stand together with the Lebanese people and the Palestinian cause.”

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri ordered the security apparatus to conduct the necessary investigations into the presence of the Iraqi leader on the Lebanese territories, which he said violated the Lebanese laws.

Presidential sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that President Michel Aoun has requested further information about the video, while military sources denied that Khazali has entered the Lebanese territories in a legitimate way.

“The entry of any foreigner to this border area requires a permit from the Lebanese Army, which did not happen,” the sources said, stressing that Khazali has entered the area illegaly.

A statement issued by the premier’s office said: “Hariri contacted the concerned military and security officials to conduct the necessary investigations and take measures to prevent any person or party from carrying out any military activity on the Lebanese territory, and to thwart any illegal act as shown in the video.”

The Lebanese prime minister also ordered that Qais Al-Khazali would be banned from entering Lebanon again, the statement added.

AHEAD OF TRUMP ANNOUNCEMENT, MUSLIM LEADERS WARN OF BACKLASH

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JERUSALEM POST)

 

AHEAD OF TRUMP ANNOUNCEMENT, MUSLIM LEADERS WARN OF BACKLASH

BY SETH J. FRANTZMAN
 DECEMBER 6, 2017 17:48

 

All have warned against moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

4 minute read.

 

erdogan abbas

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) address the media at the Presidential Palace in Ankara January 12, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Ayman Safadi, the foreign minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, has been actively campaigning on Twitter against US President Donald Trump’s plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. His is one of many voices throughout the region, among countries the Jewish state has relations with and those it doesn’t, among its enemies and luke-warm friends, warning of the consequences of such a move.

On December 3, Safadi tweeted that he had spoken with his counterpart in the United States, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “on dangerous consequences of recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel. Such a decision would trigger anger across Arab, Muslim worlds, fuel tension and jeopardize peace efforts.”

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Safadi had reached out to the Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which represents 57 Muslim countries, for support against the US move, he said. He went further on December 4, tweeting that he had spoken with foreign ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Iraq, Oman and Tunisia.

Jordan appears to see the recognition as a serious crisis. This is compounded by Israel’s lack of an ambassador in Jordan since July, after an Israeli security guard shot two Jordanians.

Egypt, the other Arab country in the region at peace with Israel, has also opposed Trump’s declaration. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry spoke with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on December 5 about the potential embassy move.

“The two expressed their hope that the US administration reconsiders its plan before making a final decision, due to its potentially dangerous impact on the region and the peace negotiations,” Egypt Today reported. Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also spoke with Trump and said the decision would “complicate” issues in the Middle East. The relatively ambiguous statement from Cairo notes that Sisi “affirmed the Egyptian position on preserving the legal status of Jerusalem within the framework of international references and relevant UN resolutions.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a vociferous critic of Trump’s recognition. On December 5, Hurriyet reported that he said “this could go as far as cutting our diplomatic relations with Israel. You cannot take such a step.” He added that this is a “red line” for Muslims.

King Abdullah of Jordan traveled to Ankara on Wednesday, December 6 at the height of the Jerusalem crisis with intentions of discussing Jerusalem and de-escalation zones in southern Syria.

“I would like to call out to the entire world from here and say Jerusalem is protected by UN resolutions and is a legal status and any steps that would challenge this status should be shied away from, no one has the right to play with the destinies of billions of people for personal gain, because such a move would only serve the purposes of terrorist organizations,” Erdogan said in comments on December 6 with King Abdullah.

In Lebanon, The Daily Star’s front page ran a photo of the Dome of the Rock across the entire page claiming “no offense Mr. President, Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.” Walid Joumblatt, the Druze leader of the Progressive Socialist Party in Lebanon tweeted a petition on December 5 calling on world leaders to remember that “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.” He also tweeted a lyrical discussion about how moving the embassy to Jerusalem was an “abhorrence” that involved moving stones while forgetting the humans.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman told Trump on December 5 that moving the embassy would be a dangerous step that would provoke Muslims in the region. It would have “gravely negative consequences,” the Kingdom said.  But Saudi Arabia has also been accused by commentators in the region of giving Trump a “wink and a nod,” on the Jerusalem issue. The Kingdom is trying to lead a peace push with the Palestinians at the same time.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, chairman of the Quds Committee in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, warned the US that the OIC “expresses its deep concern and strong condemnation of the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transfer its embassy.” The UAE’s foreign ministry also warned of “grave consequences of US recognition.” Qatar also “rejected any measure,” that would lead to recognition its foreign ministry said on December 4.

Iraq, which is recovering from years of war on Islamic State, has also expressed concern about Jerusalem. The cabinet said in a statement that it saw the decision with “utmost worry and warns of this decision’s ramifications on the stability of the region and the world.”

“Today the enemies and others have lined up against the Islamic Ummah and the Prophet of Islamc’s path [are]: US, global arrogance, [and the] Zionist regime,” tweeted Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. He went on to claim that the US and “Zionists” represent a new “Pharoah,” a religious reference. “It is out of despair and debility that they want to declare Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as capital of the Zionist regime.” Iranian president Hassan Rouhani also joined the condemnations. “We call on Muslim peoples to enter into a big uprising against the plot of transferring the US Embassy to Jerusalem.” Iranian allies among the Houthis in Yemen have also held a rally against the Jerusalem move.

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Saudi Arabia arrests second richest man in kingdom

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR)

 

Saudi Arabia arrests second richest man in kingdom

Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi [Capital/Facebook]

Saudi authorities have arrested Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi, a dual national with Saudi and Ethiopian citizenship and is reportedly the second richest Saudi, after Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

While bin Talal’s arrest has gained most media attention. Al-Amoudi’s arrest is especially important because it could potentially destabilize the economy of an entire country, according to Middle East Eye.

Al-Amoudi, who is also known as “the Sheikh”, has invested in almost every sector of Ethiopia’s economy, including hotels, agriculture and astrology.

According to a leaked diplomatic cable from 2008 “the Sheikh’s influence on the Ethiopian economy cannot be underestimated.”

In the nearly ten years a since then it has become even harder to estimate the exact value of Al-Amoudi’s total investment in Ethiopia, which is among the fastest developing countries in Africa. One analyst estimated the value of the Sheikh’s investment at $3.4 billion, which represents 4.7 per cent of Ethiopia’s current GDP.

Another said his companies employ about 100,000 people, which represent 14 per cent of the Ethiopian private sector, according to the latest Labour Force Survey, 2013. However, World Bank analysts warn that these figures might have markedly increased over the past four years as the sector has developed since then.

Report: Saudi arrests army officers in anti-corruption purge

Al-Amoudi has occupied the front pages of Ethiopia’s most prominent magazines since his arrest. News agencies have covered news of his detention, including the rumours that have been circulating on social media websites, as breaking news.

“They are now panicking” said Henok Gabisa, a Visiting Academic Fellow at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Virginia and an Ethiopian researcher.

In the few days after Al-Amoudi’s arrest, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn felt the need to hold his first press conference in two months. During the conference, he answered questions related to Al-Amoudi and stressed that the government does not believe that this will affect Al-Amoudi’s investments in Ethiopia.

An Ethiopian Investment Authority official rejected the notion that Al Amoudi’s arrest might create chaos in the government, “The country’s economy is not based on one investor. For heaven’s sake, we are 100 million people, how can we depend on one investment?! This is funny.”

#MBS

“Investments outside Saudi Arabia that are owned by the Sheikh have not been yet affected by these changes,” said Tim Pendry, Al-Amoudi’s spokesman in the UK.

Although they acknowledge that Chinese people who are heavily investing in Ethiopia have now a much larger stake than Al-Amoudi in Ethiopia, analysts suggest that even if the government is not in a state of panic at present, there would definitely be future concerns about the extent to which a conflict with Saudi Arabia would affect the Ethiopian economy.

Dr Awol Allo, a law lecturer at the Keele University, said:

He is a person whose presence or absence might affect the country’s economy.

He added: “He has an impact and in light of all the problems that are associated with his investments in the country, this makes him an influential figure.”

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AfricaEthiopiaMiddle EastNewsSaudi Arabia

Reforms Facilitating Business Boost Investment in Saudi Arabia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Reforms Facilitating Business Boost Investment in Saudi Arabia

Saturday, 18 November, 2017 – 12:00
Cars drive past the King Abdullah Financial District, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser/File Photo
Riyadh – Shujah Baqmi

The investment climate in Saudi Arabia enjoys an advanced position among world economies. This climate resulted from the record-breaking number of reforms carried out by the kingdom, as part of its pursuit to enhance business climate for small and medium projects.

The report issued by the World Bank Doing Business 2018 confirmed this fact.

The report, released on Thursday, showed that the kingdom conducted six reforms – the highest number of reforms in the MENA in 2017.

The kingdom implemented 30 reforms since 2003, majorly focusing on starting a business (seven reforms), real-estate registration (five reforms) and getting credit (four reforms), showed the report. It added that now it takes 18 days to start a business in Riyadh compared to 81.5 days, 15 years ago.

The report revealed that procedures to start a business were facilitated through installing an e-system. As for real-estate registration, efficiency in administering lands has been enhanced through developing an e-portal.

Further, protection of minority investment was consolidated through increasing shareholders rights and their role in major decisions, setting conditions to increase transparency and organize disclosure. Also, the time required for importing and exporting has been shortened through reducing required documents for the customs.

Rita Ramalho, Acting Director of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, declared that the completed reforms during the last year are quite comprehensive and they cover six out of 10 fields linked to the business performance used to determine the countries’ position.

The kingdom’s performance is considered good in regards to protecting minority’s investors (10th rank worldwide), and it occupies rank 24 as to property registration and ranks 38 in granting licenses.

Nader Mohamed, Country Director of the GCC Countries in the MENA region of the World Bank, stated that the huge progress achieved by the kingdom in one year is a proof of the government commitment to reform investment climate.

Mohamed pointed out that the coordinated efforts among governmental parties send a strong indicator for investors interested in the kingdom – he noted that the World Bank is delighted with the foundation in which reforms were based, ensuring that the ambitious vision of the kingdom requires succession and continuity of economic reforms.

He described ongoing reforms that aim at reducing dependency on oil as significant, the thing that demands to transfer five percent of Aramco and supporting the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia to become the biggest sovereign fund in the world.

France Adopting Biased Stance on Regional Crises: Iran

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TASNIM NEWS AGENCY OF IRAN)

 

France Adopting Biased Stance on Regional Crises: Iran

News ID: 1576462 Service: Politics

بهرام قاسمی

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi slammed French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for his recent anti-Tehran remarks and said the western European country has a “one-sided and biased” stance on crises facing the Middle East region.

Qassemi made the remarks on Thursday in response to comments made by Le Drian, who earlier in the day expressed concern about what he called Iran’s “hegemonic” intentions in the Middle East.

At a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir during a trip to Saudi Arabia, Le Drian said, “I’m thinking specifically about Iran’s ballistic program.”

In reply, Qassemi said, “Unfortunately, it seems that France has a one-sided and biased view of the crises and humanitarian catastrophes in the Middle East.”

This view only exacerbates regional conflicts, “whether intentionally or unintentionally,” he added.

The Iranian spokesman also stressed the need for stability and security in the region and advised leaders of France and other nations to take a “realistic and responsible” stance on the conflicts.

Qassemi also pointed to arms sales by “trans-regional countries” to Middle Eastern governments, including those used in Saudi Arabia’s ongoing military aggression against Yemen and said the western support has only led to “more instability and insecurity” in the region.

Yemen’s defenseless people have been under massive attacks by the coalition for more than two years but Riyadh has reached none of its objectives in Yemen so far.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

Over 14,000 Yemenis, including thousands of women and children, have lost their lives in the deadly military campaign.

US Air Force official: Missile targeting Saudis was Iranian

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNBC NEWS)

 

US Air Force official: Missile targeting Saudis was Iranian

  • Iran manufactured the ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Shiite rebels toward the Saudi capital, says the top U.S. Air Force official in the Mideast.
  • Saudi Arabia long has accused Iran of giving weapons to the Shiite rebels and their allies, though Tehran has just as long denied supplying them.
  • “There have been Iranian markings on those missiles,” Harrigian told journalists. “To me, that connects the dots to Iran.”

A still image taken from a video distributed by Yemen's pro-Houthi Al Masirah television station on November 5, 2017, shows what it says was the launch by Houthi forces of a ballistic missile aimed at Riyadh's King Khaled Airport on Saturday.

Houthi Military Media Unit | Reuters
A still image taken from a video distributed by Yemen’s pro-Houthi Al Masirah television station on November 5, 2017, shows what it says was the launch by Houthi forces of a ballistic missile aimed at Riyadh’s King Khaled Airport on Saturday.

Iran manufactured the ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Shiite rebels toward the Saudi capital and remnants of it bore “Iranian markings,” the top U.S. Air Force official in the Mideast said Friday, backing the kingdom’s earlier allegations.

The comments by Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, who oversees the Air Force’s Central Command in Qatar, further internationalizes the yearslong conflict in Yemen — the Arab world’s poorest country.

Saudi Arabia long has accused Iran of giving weapons to the Shiite rebels known as Houthis and their allies, though Tehran has just as long denied supplying them.

“There have been Iranian markings on those missiles,” Harrigian told journalists at a news conference in Dubai ahead of the Dubai Air Show. “To me, that connects the dots to Iran.”

There was no immediate reaction from Tehran.

Saudi Arabia says it shot down the missile Nov. 4 near Riyadh’s international airport, the deepest yet to reach into the kingdom. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry later said investigators examining the remains of the rocket found evidence proving “the role of Iranian regime in manufacturing them.” It did not elaborate, though it also mentioned it found similar evidence after a July 22 missile launch. French President Emmanuel Macron similarly this week described the missile as “obviously” Iranian.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement Tuesday that the July launch involved an Iranian Qiam-1, a liquid-fueled, short-range Scud missile variant. Iran used a Qiam-1 in combat for the first time in June when it targeted Islamic State group militants in Syria over twin militant attacks in Tehran.

Harrigian declined to offer any specifics on what type of missile U.S. officials believed it was, nor did he show any images of the debris. He also didn’t explain how Iran evaded the blockade by the Saudi-led coalition, which intensified after the missile targeting Riyadh.

“How they got it there is probably something that will continue to be investigated over time,” the lieutenant general said. “What has been demonstrated and shown based on the findings of that missile is that it had Iranian markings on it. That in itself provides evidence of where it came from.”

The Houthis have described using Burkan-2 or “Volcano” Scud variants in their recent attacks, including the one Nov. 4. Those finless missiles are reminiscent of the Qiam, wrote Jeremy Binnie of Jane’s Defense Weekly in a February analysis.

“The Burkan-2 is likely to heighten suspicions that Iran is helping Yemen’s rebel forces to develop their ballistic missile capabilities,” Binnie wrote.

Adding to that suspicion is the fact that Yemen’s missile forces previously never had experience in disassembling and rebuilding the weapons, said Michael Knights, a fellow at The Washington Institute For Near East Policy who previously worked in Yemen.

It is “not a stretch to believe that Tehran is supporting the Houthi missile program with technical advice and specialized components,” Knights wrote in an analysis Thursday. “After all, the Houthis have rapidly fielded three major new missile systems in less than two years while under wartime conditions and international blockade.”

The U.S. already is involved in the war in Yemen and has launched drone strikes targeting the local branch of al-Qaida, though it stopped offering targeting information under the Obama administration over concerns about civilian casualties. That prohibition continues today, though the Air Force continues to refuel warplanes in the Yemen theater and offers support in managing airspace over the country, Harrigian said. The Saudi-led coalition also uses American-made bombs and ordinance in its attacks.

Yemen long has had ballistic missiles, dating back to the 1970s when Yemen was split between the socialist South Yemen and North Yemen. After unification in 1990 and a later civil war, Yemen largely moved its ballistic missile stockpile to a mountain base in Sanaa, the capital. It also purchased more from North Korea.

When the Houthis seized Sanaa in September 2014, their allied fighters also held control of the ballistic missiles. The Yemeni military was widely believed to possess around 300 Scud missiles at the time, though exact figures remain unknown.

The Saudi-led coalition entered the war in March 2015 on the side of Yemen’s internationally recognized government. It then attacked the ballistic missile base in April 2015, touching off massive explosions that killed several dozen people. Saudi Arabia implied at the time that the Scud arsenal in Yemen had been seriously degraded, if not entirely destroyed, as a result of the airstrikes.

It soon would become clear that wasn’t the case. In June 2015, the rebels fired their first ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia near the southwestern city of Khamis Mushait. In the time since, Yemen’s rebels have fired over 70 ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia, according to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies’ missile defense project.

For its part, Iran long has denied offering any arms to Yemen, though it has backed the Houthis and highlighted the high civilian casualties from the Saudi-led coalition’s campaign of airstrikes.

But others in Iran have been coy about the ballistic missiles in Yemen. Mehdi Taeb, an influential hard-line cleric who is a brother to the intelligence chief of the hard-line Revolutionary Guard, said in April that Iran tried three times to send missiles to Yemen. The Guard, answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, oversees Iran’s missile program.

“We did it one time via an airplane, one time via a Navy boat and one time with a ship,” Taeb said in an online video.

The cleric said ultimately the administration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered the transfers stopped over negotiations on the nuclear deal with world powers, without offering a specific time for the attempted shipments.

“They said come back because the Americans said, ‘If you send missiles to Yemen, we will end the negotiations,'” Taeb said.