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Iran, Saudi Arabia tensions grow with Trump visit

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Iran, Saudi Arabia tensions grow with Trump visit

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Tehran tells Trump to ask Riyadh for help in preventing another 9/11

By Abu Turab

West Asia seems to be on the road to confrontation on sectarian lines. The region has witnessed two major developments during last two days. US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia attracted world media attention where he emphasised to work together against terrorism by highlighting Iran’s “destabilizing role” in the region. But, just one day prior to Trump’s address to 55 Muslim heads of states in Riyadh, Hassan Rouhani, the re-elected President of Iran, clearly communicated that his country “does not want to accept any humiliation or threat”.

During his 34-minute, 3,416-word speech, Trump mentioned Iran 10 times, while describing the growing menace of terrorism in the region. Trump said, “No discussion of stamping out of this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists all three: safe harbor, financial backing and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. I am speaking, of course, of Iran.”

He elaborated, “From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms and trains terrorists, militants and other extremist groups and spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.”

While describing recent US strikes against Syria, President Donald Trump said, “Among Iran’s most tragic and destabilizing interventions have been in Syria. Bolstered by Iran, (President) Assad has committed unspeakable crimes and the US has taken firm action in response to the use of banned chemical weapons by Assad regime- launching 59 tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base from where that murderous attack originated.” Trump mentioned Saudi Arabia, the host of the summit, just nine times.

On May 20, Hassan Rouhani, while addressing the nation after being re-elected for another four years as President, sent a clear message to the outside world. He was quoted as saying, “Our nation wants to live in peace and friendship with the world but, in the meantime, does not want to accept any humiliation or threat.” He further asserted, “This is the most important message that our nation expects to be heard clearly by all governments, neighbors and, especially world powers.”

Without mentioning the names of regional monarchies, Rouhani said, “Our election announced to our neighbours and the region that the way of ensuring security in the region is strengthening democracy and respecting people’s votes, but not relying on foreign powers.”

Rouhani did not name Saudi Arabia or the United States throughout his speech.

Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, in an editorial published by London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed website, advised Trump to discuss how to avoid another September 11 terrorist attack with the Saudi hosts in his first official visit abroad.

He wrote “(Trump) must enter into dialogue with them about ways to prevent terrorists and Takfiris from continuing to fuel the fire in the region and repeating the likes of September 11 by their sponsors in Western countries.”

Most of the 19 terrorists who killed nearly 3,000 people in New York in 2001 were Saudi citizens and there have been repeated accusations that members of the Saudi monarchy were complicit in the attack.

Among the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, Saudi Arabia and Oman are absolute monarchies, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain are constitutional monarchies while United Arab Emirates, composed of seven member states, is a federal monarchy. All are US allies.

Meanwhile, in another development, Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, witnessed a massive demonstration on Saturday against President’s Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia. Martin Smith of Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), an American public broadcaster, reported that posters were marked with slogans “down with America, “down with Israel.”

Martin said, “There were a series of speakers of anti-American chants, anti-Saudi chants. They are particularly upset that President Trump arrived in Riyadh to sign a $ 110 billion arms deal. These arms will go to the Saudis, and they will use these arms in their war in Yemen. And the country’s been through two years of war, and the people feel broken.”

The American journalist quoted WHO estimates that the cholera epidemic will probably infect two to three lakh Yemenis. UNICEF says that 70 percent of Yemenis were in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance. Nineteen million people were in need of food.

On May 19, just a few hours prior to Trump’s arrival in Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s Ansarullah fighters, headed by Abdul Malik al-Houthi, and their allies in the army (headed by former President Saleh Abdullah) had reportedly fired Volcano 2, a long range ballistic missile at Riyadh. A statement by Yemeni army said that the missile strike conveyed “a clear and important message that we are all ready to the aggression”.

However, Saudi military announced that it had intercepted and destroyed a projectile some 200 km west of Riyadh, without giving more details.

Earlier on March 8, Ansarullah had claimed of launching a missile attack at King Salman Air Base in the vicinity of Riyadh.

According to Press TV, Yemenis are particularly angry at Washington for being complicit in the Saudi crimes against Yemeni nation by providing Saudi Arabia with conventional and banned weapons.

It would be reasonable to recall that after the US invasion of Iraq, Iranian influence has grown in the region. Tehran is the closest ally of Baghdad government headed by Shias, despite US pressure. It is considered to be playing important role in combating Daesh (IS) terrorists in Syria and Iraq. It had also influenced Hezbollah of Lebanon to help Assad regime in its fight against all terror groups. Saudi Arabia alleges that Iran was supporting Ansarullah in Yemen and opposition forces in Bahrain.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Bear takes 400 selfies with a sensory camera in USA’s Colorado, Twitter user amused

According to reports, the OSMP authorities had installed nine cameras to cover and click images of the wildlife land which is situated and spread out across 46,000 acres.

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The notion of clicking selfies has transgressed and gone beyond species as an amusing story has come to light from USA’s Colorado’s Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) where a bear hijacked a sensory camera and took 400 selfies. According to reports, the officials of Space and Mountain parks in Colorado had installed a camera in order to shoot the wildlife activities.

It was reported that when the officials took out the snaps that the sensory camera had clicked, they learnt that 580 images were clicked and out of the 580 images, the 400 of the images were selfies taken by a bear.

According to reports, the OSMP authorities had installed nine cameras to cover and click images of the wildlife land which is situated and spread out across 46,000 acres. The sensory cameras work on motion sensing and when an animal steps in the frame, the camera automatically captures the pictures of the subject that is in front of it.

The cameras also have features of taking pictures at night by using infrared light which cause less disruption to the animals who can get irritated by the flash.

The Tweet shows the images of the bear posing from all angles as it, for a moment, seems to be a model that is accustomed to pose for pictures.

See Tweet here:

Twitter reactions

After the tweet showing the selfies of the bear surfaced, many users came forward to add their take on the incident as one user wrote and said this pose by the bear looks to be inspired from the film Lolita.

One user wrote and praised the posing skills of the bear as the user wrote and said that the bear looks good and could be a professional model. Another user also amusingly added and wrote that they used to be as handsome as the bear a while ago. The user also wrote and said that nature is the champ.

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US intervention prevented India-Pakistan nuclear war post 2019 Balakot strike: Mike Pompeo

A timely intervention by the Trump administration prevented a potential nuclear war between India and Pakistan after the 2019 airstrikes, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has claimed in his new book.

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former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo

A timely intervention by the Trump administration prevented a potential nuclear war between India and Pakistan after the 2019 airstrikes, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has claimed in his new book.

In his book, “Never Give an Inch”, a memoir of his time as a top diplomat in Donald Trump regime and earlier as the CIA chief, Pompeo writes that the world doesn’t properly know how close the India-Pakistan rivalry came to spilling over into a nuclear war in February 2019.

The Indian Air Force on February 26, 2019 launched targeted airstrikes inside Pakistan targeting terrorist training camps of terror outfit of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Balakot region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

India’s response came after 41 CRPF men were killed in a suicide bombing in Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14, 2019.

India shot down an F-16 during an aerial combat in which an Indian warplane was shot down by Pakistan and the pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was captured.

Pompeo, seen by many as a potential future presidential contender, reveals that he was in Hanoi for a summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, when he woke up to an urgent call from a senior Indian official.

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The official told Pompeo that he believed that Pakistan was prepping their nuclear weapons for a strike and India was preparing its own response.

Pompeo says he told the official to give the US time to sort things out and eventually US diplomats managed to convince the arch rivals that neither of them was going for the nuclear option, thus deescalating the situation.

The former Trump diplomat in his book says he believes that Pakistan “probably enabled” the Kashmir attack. Pompeo says he spoke to the Pakistan’s “actual leader” then army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, alluding to the weakness of civilian governments in the country.

Pompeo says that no other nation could have done what the US did that night to avoid “a horrible outcome.”

Pompeo had publicly defended India’s right to act during his stint as US secretary of state.

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India invites Pak foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto to SCO meet

India has reportedly invited Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial, to attend in the foreign ministers’ and chief justices’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

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Pak foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto

India has reportedly invited Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial, to attend in the foreign ministers’ and chief justices’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

As per reports, India, who was appointed to chair the regional grouping in September 2022, has sent the invitations to Bhutto and Bandial through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

The invites come as a surprise to many as bilateral ties between the two subcontinental neighbors are going through a rough patch in recent times.

India is set to host key ministerial meeting summit in Goa in the first week of May of the nine-member Asian grouping which also consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and its new member Iran, which will attend its first SCO meeting as a full member.

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The last meeting of the SCO was held in Samarkand in Uzbekistan.

Pakistan has yet to respond to the invite and if Bilawal Bhutto accepts, it will be the first such visit from a Pakistani foreign minister in nearly a decade since Hina Rabbani Khar paid a visit to India in 2011.

India-Pakistan ties have been at an all-time low since 2019 when the Centre abolished Article 370 which formerly bestowed special status upon the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Islamabad is seeking its restoration and considers the Kashmir issue, a burning point between the two nations.

Making matters worse, last month, Bilawal Bhutto sparked a row when he called PM Modi the “butcher of Gujarat”.

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