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Iran n-deal will make Egypt, region safer: Kerry

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Cairo: US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the world powers would make Egypt and the region “safer than they otherwise would be”.

“We are completely grateful for Egypt’s support in the Iranian nuclear deal,” Xinhua quoted Kerry as saying at a press conference in Cairo.

“Iran is part of the instability in several countries in the region and the nuclear programme should be peaceful so we can discuss the future of security in the region.”

“But there is a fact, that if Iran is a problem, the nuclear weapons disarmament will improve security in the region,” he said, adding that Iran has chosen to abide by the deal.

Kerry will travel to Doha later on Sunday to meet his counterparts from the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states.

He said that in case of Iranian violation of the deal, all choices will open in the future.

Experts said Kerry’s trip, which ends on August 8, came to assure the region, the Gulf countries in particular, over the expansion of the Iranian influence after the nuclear deal was signed on July 14.

On US-Egyptian ties, Kerry said the two countries were returning to a “stronger base” in their relationship despite tensions and concerns over human rights and democracy.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said at the joint news conference that his country has “no major disagreements with the United States but there are differences in points of view over some issues, which is natural”.

“During the dialogue, we discussed our shared interests in issues related to democracy and human rights, and I affirmed Egypt’s commitment to paying attention to these issues as they fulfill the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” Shukri said.

Kerry’s visit comes days after the US released its first delivery of F-16 warplanes to Egypt.

“The American people are committed to the security and economic well-being of the Egyptian people,” Kerry said.

(IANS)

 

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Why are the Arab countries Cutting ties with Qatar?

The ban on Qatar is the result of retribution by Saudi so that Qatari government works on the lines similar to that of Saudis

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Arab Countries
Map of 6 Countries- Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates
  • Four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates– severed their relations with Qatar
  • Saudi wanted to lead the group of six Arab countries, however, Qatar did not support the rationale of the Saudis
  • Qatar publicly disagreed with the US and Saudi in a statement

By Naina Mishra

June 10, 2017:

Background

Four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates– severed their relations with Qatar on Monday over its alleged support of terrorism. The Saudis, the UAE, and Bahrain have given the Qataris two weeks to leave, and only 48 hours for its diplomats to quit. This has resulted in fall of the stock market by 7.2 percent. Qatar is energy-rich country, however, it remains heavily reliant on Saudi Arabia for food and other commodities that are traded across borders.

Last month in May, US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and censured Iran – adversary of Saudi Arabia. An impulsive reaction from a Qatari leader Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani came forward where he questioned U.S. hostility toward Iran and claimed tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The quote from the leader spread widely and induced anger among the Saudis.

Past: Saudi and Qatar Relationship

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are both the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which insinuates that the relations were in the mild phase previously. The two countries also share several common geopolitical interests as well. In Syria, both the countries support the rebel groups who want to overthrow Bashar-al- Assad government.

The Bone of Contention: Why was Saudi Arabia fumed at Qatar since 2011?

Rise of Muslim Brotherhood

Saudi Arabia did not support the “Rise of Muslim Brotherhood” which initiated with the ‘Arab Spring’ and fall of Egypt leader back in 2011. Saudi primarily prefers political stability in the Arab nations so that it can use it against Iran. Saudi wanted to lead the group of six Arab countries, however Qatar, unlike UAE and Bahrain, did not support the rationale of the Saudis. Qatar conversely has always supported the rise of Muslim Brotherhood. In 2013, Qatar supported the fall of the draconian regime of Egypt brazenly which infuriated Saudi Arabia and as a result of which the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi cut the diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Gas reserves: Iran and Qatar Relations

There is a great demand for Gas reserves in the present world. Qatar is known to have massive gas reserves. The South Pars/North Dome field is a natural gas condensate field located in the Persian Gulf, which is the world’s largest natural gas field shared between Iran and Qatar. Qatar thus maintains a cordial relation with Iran to extract natural gas under the Iran’s premises.

Animosity Sprouts: Qatar – the world’s Richest Nation

The wealth that followed after export of Natural Gas turned Qatar into the world’s richest nation and the largest LNG exporter. The rising wealth of Qatar envied the neighbouring nations of the country. Qatar began to form their own foreign policies, build warm relations with Iran and support Hezbollah in Israel.  Recently, Qatar invested $2bn in Russia’s state-run oil giant Rosneft. The recent development by the Qatari government maddened Saudi Arabia even more.

ALSO READ: Gulf Countries assure welfare of Large Indian Diaspora amid Qatar Crisis

Donald Trump Effect on the New Development

During the U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, he called on “all nations of conscience” to isolate Iran. Iran is expected to run a nuclear program which is not welcomed by Israel, an ally of US. On the other side, Qatar publicly disagreed with the US and Saudi in a statement which the government later said was a result of hacking.

The ban on Qatar is the result of retribution by Saudi so that Qatari government works on the lines similar to that of Saudis.


–  by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: @Nainamishr94

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Terror Strikes Again: Several injured in car bombing in Damascus, Syria

The explosion took place Monday in the Kafr Sousa neighborhood of Damascus, which houses many security installations.

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Car bombing in Damascus, several injured. Image Source: aljazeera
  • The explosion took place Monday in the Kafr Sousa neighborhood of Damascus, which houses many security installations
  • In another development Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government helicopter gunships dropped barrel bombs on residential neighborhoods in Aleppo, killing at least 12 people
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed trying to establish closer military cooperation and intelligence-sharing with Russia to fight extremist groups in Syria

A car bomb exploded in a heavily policed area of Syria’s capital, causing several injuries as well as damage to government buildings, according to Syria’s state media.

Car bombing in Damascus. Image Source: aljazeera
Car bombing in Damascus. Image Source: aljazeera

The explosion took place Monday in the Kafr Sousa neighborhood of Damascus, which houses many security installations.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the violence in Syria, said the blast was near an Iranian school and caused causalities, but did not give further details.

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Car bombings in the central part of Damascus are relatively rare.

In another development Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government helicopter gunships dropped barrel bombs on residential neighborhoods in Aleppo, killing at least 12 people.

Israeli missiles caused material damage. Image Source: VoaNews
Israeli missiles caused material damage. Image Source: VoaNews

Also Monday, the Israeli military said it struck a target in Syria in response to mortar fire that hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Syria’s military said the Israeli missiles caused only material damage.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said any military cooperation between the Untied States and Russia to strike targets in Syria would be transactional and not based on trust. At a news conference at the Pentagon, Carter and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said any cooperation with Russia would include measures to ensure U.S. operation security.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed trying to establish closer military cooperation and intelligence-sharing with Russia to fight extremist groups in Syria.

State Secretary John Kerry. Image Source: VoaNews
State Secretary John Kerry. Image Source: VoaNews

Following a meeting with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Kerry responded to comments made by Carter and Dunford by saying that he still has some concerns about whether Russia is really prepared to step up and work with U.S. forces in Syria. That’s why, Kerry said, he didn’t publicly announce any kind of cooperation with Russia.

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“Because we’ve been disappointed in the past,” he said.

Kerry said “a lot of homework” still needs to be completed before either Russia or the U.S. makes any public announcements, but discussions will continue to be held “quietly.” He said he hopes to make a public announcement about a plan by the first week in August.

Source: VoaNews

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Obama, Sharif to talk nukes, but no nuclear deal

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Washington: Amid reports that the US is exploring a deal to limit Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, White House acknowledged that President Barack Obama will discuss nuclear safety and security with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

But a civil nuclear deal like the one with India is unlikely “to come to fruition” when Sharif comes calling to meet Obama next week, his Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters here Thursday.

“I would not be overly excited about the prospects of reaching the kind of agreement that is being speculated about publicly,” he said when asked if the US is in fact serious about trying to work out a civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan.

“The expectation that we have is that a deal like the one that’s been discussed publicly is not something that’s likely to come to fruition next week,” Earnest said when pressed about whether Obama and Sharif would talk about it.

“But the United States and Pakistan are regularly engaged in a dialogue about the importance of nuclear security,” he said. “And I would anticipate that dialogue would include conversations between the leaders of our two countries.”

“At this point, the United States has been engaged with Pakistan, as well as the rest of the international community on issues related to nuclear safety and security,” Earnest said.

The spokesman said the US continued “to have confidence that the government of Pakistan is well aware of the range of potential threats to its nuclear arsenal.”

“We continue to be confident that Pakistan has a professional and dedicated security force that understands the importance and the high priority that the world places on nuclear security,” Earnest added.

Earlier, the New York Times reported Thursday that the Obama administration is exploring a deal to limit the scope of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, but Islamabad was not ready to curb a programme that it regards as its only real defence against India.

The talks being held ahead of Sharif’s arrival “focus on American concern that Pakistan might be on the verge of deploying a small tactical nuclear weapon that would be far harder to secure than the country’s arsenal of larger weapons,” it said.

The discussions, they said, are being led by Peter R Lavoy, a longtime intelligence expert on the Pakistani programme who is now on the staff of the National Security Council.

The central element of the proposal, according to officials and outside experts cited by the Times, would be a relaxation of the strict controls imposed on Pakistan by the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The Times said Pakistani officials have demanded an India-like nuclear deal that splits India’s nuclear infrastructure into a civilian programme that is under international inspection, and a military programme that is not.

“That does not appear to be on the table,” it said. “Instead, the United States is exploring ways to relax restrictions on nuclear-related technology to Pakistan, perhaps with a long-term goal of allowing the country to join the NSG.”

David Ignatius, a columnist for The Washington Post, first disclosed the exploratory talks in a column last week.

In a sharp reaction to the report, India then said Islamabad’s track record on proliferation should be taken into account in reaching a nuclear deal with Pakistan.

“All I would say is whosoever is examining that particular dossier should be well aware of Pakistan’s track record in the area of proliferation,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup then said.

(By Arun Kumar, IANS)