JERUSALEM — Three hundred kilometers by high-speed rail between the cities of Eilat and Ashdod, connecting the Red Sea coast to the Mediterranean: They call it the “Red-Med” Project.
Financed by Beijing and launched from Jerusalem, China has revealed its strategy for “West Asia” — the term that the China Shipping Container Lines company uses to delineate the area of operations between Hormuz, Suez and Haifa.
The use of the term West Asia rather than Middle East is no accident — this gives precedence to the size of the economic link with China rather than the ever troublesome geopolitics of the region. Continue reading
TEL AVIV – The Palestinian Authority received a pledge from the U.S. that by the end of 2014, the Obama administration will issue an official written declaration presenting general highlights of a future Palestinian state, a senior Palestinian negotiator told WND.
The negotiator further said the goal is to have the general framework for a deal ironed out by April. Continue reading
Last month, America’s top Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman had some bad news for ambassadors from America’s Arab allies. In a meeting with envoys from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states, Sherman said that any bargain with Iran would likely leave Tehran, the Gulf states long-time enemy, with the capacity to enrich uranium, according to U.S. officials briefed on the encounter.
Sherman regularly briefs these allies after diplomatic talks with Iran, but in recent weeks those conversations have been different. While most of America’s Middle East allies—with the exception of Israel—have publicly supported the current Iran negotiations, behind the scenes, envoys from the region have expressed grave concerns that Iran could be left with a break out capacity to make the fuel for a nuclear weapon at a time of their choosing. Continue reading
The seeds were sewn when the Obama administration decided to overthrow the Mubarak regime and replace it with the Muslim Brotherhood, which subsequently failed as his military reinstated the previous government.
Egyptian army chief and probable next president, Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, landed in Moscow Wednesday and is expected to sign up with Russia for a $2 million arms deal in another move that could diminish American influence over Cairo as well as the entire Middle East.
The United States pooh-poohed the idea that it was losing its clout in Cairo, but Russia now is set to take advantage of Saudi financial aid to Egypt and boost its defense sales and to further erode the Obama administration’s position. Continue reading
There is an unmistakeable sense among Western decision-makers of power slipping away.
It’s not an argument about American abstention or decline, although that plays into it for some critics of the Obama administration.
It is more to do with the exhaustion – moral, political and economic – of nations that have been in the forefront of the international security business, and the vibrant ascendancy of some other players. Continue reading
Iraq’s goal of pumping 9m barrels a day of crude could be a game changer for oil prices and British companies
Iraq is poised to flood the oil market by tripling its capacity to pump crude by 2020 and is collaborating with Iran on strategy in a move that will challenge Saudi Arabia’s grip on the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
“We feel the world needs to be assured of fuel for economic growth,” Hussain al-Shahristani, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy in Iraq told oil industry delegates attending a Chatham House Middle East energy conference. Continue reading
Many observers are correct in noting that the Middle East is undergoing yet another seismic shift – that the Russian-brokered destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, a US-Iranian rapprochement, the diminished strategic value of Saudi Arabia and Israel, and a US withdrawal from Afghanistan will all contribute to changing regional dynamics considerably.
But what is this new direction? Where will it come from, who will lead it, what will define it? Continue reading
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to London has claimed the country is determined to independently arm Syria rebels after rejecting the diplomatic tactics of its Western allies
Saudi Arabia has warned it has been forced to go its own way in foreign policy as its Western allies seek diplomatic solutions to the war in Syria and crisis with Iran. Continue reading
The flood of North American crude oil is set to become a deluge as Mexico dismantles a 75-year-old barrier to foreign investment in its oilfields.
Plagued by almost a decade of slumping output that has degraded Mexico’s take from a $100-a-barrel oil market, President Enrique Pena Nieto is seeking an end to the state monopoly over one of the biggest crude resources in the Western Hemisphere. The doubling in Mexican oil output that Citigroup Inc. said may result from inviting international explorers to drill would be equivalent to adding another Nigeria to world supply, or about 2.5 million barrels a day. Continue reading
BEIRUT — No one is expecting a tank invasion of Saudi Arabia anytime soon, but the kingdom just put in a huge order for U.S.-made anti-tank missiles that has Saudi-watchers scratching their heads and wondering whether the deal is related to Riyadh’s support for the Syrian rebels.
The proposed weapons deal, which the Pentagon notified Congress of in early December, would provide Riyadh with more than 15,000 Raytheon anti-tank missiles at a cost of over $1 billion. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Military Balance report, Saudi Arabia’s total stockpile this year amounted to slightly more than 4,000 anti-tank missiles. In the past decade, the Pentagon has notified Congress of only one other sale of anti-tank missiles to Saudi Arabia — a 2009 deal that shipped roughly 5,000 missiles to the kingdom. Continue reading
After a lecture captioned “Islamic Revolution against Global Arrogance,” which he delivered at the Imam Sadegh University in Tehran Wednesday, Dec. 11, a student asked the Revolutionary Guards commander whether any of the Western powers in Geneva had asked for Iran’s missiles to be reduced.
“We will never do this,” he replied.
Asked by another student to clarify his statement that Iranian missiles can reach Israel, Jafari replied: “We are still increasing the range of our missiles, but currently the Supreme Leader has commanded that we limit the range of our missiles to 2,000 km.” Continue reading
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab neighbors wrapped up a summit meeting in Kuwait on Wednesday by agreeing to establish a joint military command, paving the way for tighter security coordination even as their regional rival Iran pursues outreach efforts in the wake of its interim nuclear deal.
The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council also agreed to lay the foundations for a joint Gulf police force and a strategic studies academy, according to a summary of the group’s closing statement carried by the official Kuwait News Agency. Continue reading