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Oud 11 november 2017, 03:46   #497
Secretaris-Generaal VN
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Trump may have pushed Saudi Arabia and Iran closer to war

-Saudi Arabia's moves over the past few days are bringing it closer to direct war with Iran.
-But this process seems to have been kick started by the new Saudi crown prince's meeting with President Trump in March.
-It's crucial to keep this conflict contained to the Middle East.

Vers van de pers (2u geleden):

National Security
U.S. warns Saudis, Iran of threats to stability in Lebanon


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday called on “all parties both within Lebanon and outside” to back off from actions that could threaten that country’s stability, a warning that senior administration officials said was directed at Saudi Arabia as well as at Iran and Hezbollah.

“The United States cautions against any party . . . using Lebanon as a venue for proxy conflicts or in any manner contributing to instability in that country,” Tillerson said in a statement issued by the State Department.

The warning followed several events that have led to growing fear of a war in Lebanon — intended or not — that could engulf the region. Some U.S. and foreign officials worry that strong support for Saudi Arabia by President Trump and presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner may have helped motivate Riyadh to overplay its hand.

The United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel share concern about expanding Iranian influence in the region. Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanon-based proxy, now controls significant territory in Syria, near its border with Israel, and in Lebanon. While some Israeli officials have voiced support for moving to constrain Hezbollah, others have urged caution.

Saudi allies such as Egypt have strongly opposed military action against Iran or Hezbollah. “We have to deal with great care so as not to add to the challenges and troubles of the region,” Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi told reporters this week. “I am against war.”

[Saudi Arabia forcibly detained Lebanon’s prime minister, sources say]

Renewed conflict inside Lebanon, where a fragile peace has been maintained for nearly a decade, could endanger the Trump administration’s goal of forging an Israeli-Palestinian settlement and complicate the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Steps leading to the current crisis began last Saturday, when the Saudis accused Iran and Hezbollah of carrying out an “act of war” with a missile they said was fired at Riyadh by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen.

On the same day, Saudi-backed Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who shares power with Hezbollah in an uneasy coalition government, suddenly appeared in the Saudi capital and abruptly announced his resignation from office. The announcement threw Lebanon into confusion and raised fears of war.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait ordered their citizens out of Lebanon, saying their safety was at risk.

The Saudis have suggested that Hariri was escaping a Hezbollah assassination plot.

In Lebanon, political leaders from differing factions called on Hariri to return and address his political situation from Beirut. His Future Movement political bloc says it does not recognize the resignation.


Hezbollah has expanded its political role in the complex Lebanese coalition during Hariri’s 11 months in office. The prime minister had been living in exile in Saudi Arabia before his return last year to politics and the job once held by his assassinated father, Rafik.

Saad Hariri’s abrupt arrival in Saudi Arabia is seen by many in Lebanon as a blunt signal from Riyadh that he had not done enough to rebuff Hezbollah and Iranian influence, and that Saudi Arabia intends to assert its influence in Lebanon against Iran.

U.S. and European diplomats have met with Hariri in Riyadh, but a senior administration official, asked if Hariri was free to leave Saudi Arabia, said, “We don’t know.” In conversations with diplomats, the official said, “there is a question mark as to his ability to speak freely.”

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