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US Leaves Saudi Arabia Vulnerable To Iran; Removes Vital Military Equipment From The Kingdom

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As tensions between the US and Saudi Arabia escalates, Washington plans to remove four Patriot missile batteries and dozens of troops stationed in the kingdom. This could leave Saudi Arabia vulnerable to Iranian attacks, claims an expert talking to the EurAsian Times.

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The military equipment was transferred to Saudi Arabia after an attack on oil facilities paralysed the Kingdom’s production. Riyadh and Washington have consistently accused Iran of the attacks, a claim Tehran vehemently denies.

Both the US and Saudi have also accused Tehran of having any hand unclaimed attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf that transpired over several months before the September attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities.

In addition to removing the Patriot systems and troops, the US has already moved two fighter jet squadrons and is contemplating scaling down its naval presence in the Persian Gulf, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Patriot defence system removal is presently underway, and is based on the understanding among “some officials” that Iran “no longer poses an urgent threat to American strategic interests,” it said.

The officials also that Washington believe the assets should be redeployed to face other provocations, including China’s growing role in Asia, while others believe that the withdrawal could encourage Tehran in the region, especially as the US maintains its policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran.

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“The underlying pressure on Iran and the propensity to act out militarily as their only outlet of trying to relieve that pressure still exists with the maximum pressure campaign,” one official told the WSJ. “As long as the maximum pressure campaign continues, there’s a feeling that we need a strong deterrent to prevent Iran from acting out in the region.”

When Saudi Arabia ramped up oil production and slashed prices this year, Republicans accused the kingdom of exacerbating instability in the oil market, which was already suffering because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The volatility and price crash in oil hurt U.S. shale producers, leading to layoffs in the industry, particularly in Republican-run states.

Some Republican senators warned in late March that if Saudi Arabia did not change course, it risked losing American defense support and facing a range of potential “levers of statecraft” such as tariffs and other trade restrictions, investigations and sanctions.

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EurAsian Region

From Syria To Libya, Turkish Drones Outsmarting Russian Air Defence Systems?

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Turkey and Russia have been at opposite ends in both Syria and Libya. Just like Syria where Turkish drones excelled against the Russian air defence systems, the situation in Libya looks almost similar. 

Turkish drones have yet again battered Russian air-defence systems. According to TRT World, the introduction of drones in Libya by Turkey has caused the tide of the war to swing in its favour.

To understand the Libyan war is not easy as different countries support different leaders and this has caused widespread chaos in the region. Much like Syria, Russia and Turkey are supporting different groups in Libya.

Moscow backs and supports Khalil Haftar of the Libyan National Army (LNA) based in Benghazi. Haftar also has allies in France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The LNA recruits from all over Africa and its aim are to wrest control of the capital, Tripoli, from the Government of National Accord (GNA) and rule over the African country.

The GNA is the internationally recognised government in Libya and the defence of the government lies in the hands of Turkey, Qatar and Italy and its army. The LNA, under Haftar, launched a military campaign in April 2019 to take control of Tripoli even though the UN Secretary-General had requested him not to do so.

A year on, Haftar’s self-styled LNA is on verge of defeat as Turkey’s drones have wreaked havoc on LNA controlled territories.

Turkish Drones – Changing the Tide

According to reports, Turkish drones started arriving in late 2019 and the Turkish Army assisted the GNA to familiarize Libyans with the new weapons.

Prior to the arrival of the drones, Haftar’s own air force, supported by the UAE, Egyptians and Russians had devastated the GNA forces resulting in heavy casualties.

However, the drones have proved to be the game-changer yet again. Using their experience from Idlib in Syria, Ankara mastered the use of sophisticated unmanned aerial warfare, hitting targets at distance and assisting ground troops.

Now using the same technology and experience, Turkish drones have been vital in assisting GNA claim nearly all of western Libya from Haftar’s forces. Since April, the GNA has captured numerous cities between Tripoli and the Tunisian border.

The latest feather in the GNA’s cap is the seizure of the Al-Vatiya, HQ of the LNA’s western operations, and the largest airbase across Western Libya. The Turks reported the destruction of two Russian anti-aircraft missile-cannon systems (ZRPK) “Pantsir-C1”.

This is the first time that the GNA has announced hitting the Russian air defence system since the start of the assault on Tripoli forces in April 2019.

Russia Wounded Yet Again?

For the Russian forces, the latest advance in Libya is a flashback of Syria. As reported by EurAsian Times in March, drones from Turkey had destroyed several Russian-made, Syrian-operated air defence vehicles. The Russian Ministry of Defence later confirmed that two Pantsir air-defence systems were destroyed in the Turkish onslaught.

In Libya, the air defence system has met the same fate and has now raised questions over its efficacy. The aerial offensive from Ankara has put Moscow on the backfoot. But like always, analysts agree that the Russian will not go out without a fight.

In an effort to counter GNA and its allies, Moscow has sent 6 MiG-29 fighter jets and 2 Su-24 attack planes to the LNA-controlled al Jufra airbase. The Russians did get some positive news as the LNA was able to destroy 4 Turkish drones last week. Haftar’s only hope to stem the GNA’s advance is to regain air superiority.

The Libyan war has been going on since 2011 and while the tide has now swung in the GNA’s favour, it does not mean the war will end anytime soon. Experts speaking to EurAsian Times believe that there is no military solution to Libya and Haftar must be removed from the scene in Tripoli.

Written by – Armaan Srivastava

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Palestine Ends All Pacts with US, Israel; Experts Fear Big Turmoil In The Middle-East

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Palestine has ended all agreements and understandings with the US and Israel. The announcement comes as the US-backed annexation of the West Bank by Israel nears. The Palestinian leader believes that Israeli annexation plans would end all chances for peace. 

“The Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including security ones,” Palestinian news agency Wafa cited Abbas as saying at an emergency meeting.

After the meeting with top Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, President Abbas said that annexation of the West Bank threatens a two-state solution. While the PLO ended ties with the US and Israel in 2018, it was left up to Abbas to implement this decision.

As of now, it remains unclear what the declaration would mean in practice especially in terms of Palestinian security apparatus.

The 85-year-old said that Israel would be responsible for the security and obligations as it remains the occupying power over the occupied land of Palestine. The United States, as a “primary partner with the Israeli occupation government,” will be “fully responsible for the oppression of the Palestinian people,” Abbas added. Palestine had rejected the Peace treaty soon after it was announced by the US.

Tension is building up in the region as the Israeli annexations plan nears. On Sunday, Benyamin Nethanyahu swore in the new government under a sharing agreement with former rival Benny Gantz.

According to reports, the government can start discussing annexation plans for the West Bank and Jordan Valley from July 2020.

King Abdullah II of Jordan had earlier threatened Israel with ‘massive conflict’ if the government chose to move ahead with the annexation. The monarch even put the Israel-Jordan peace treaty on the line.

The European Union also confirmed that it was taking diplomatic measures to deter Israeli annexation of the West Bank and the United Kingdom also maintained its position for a two-state solution.

The West Bank annexation is primarily backed by the Donald Trump Administration under the Middle East Peace plan. The controversial plan gives a green light for Israel to annex about a third of the occupied West Bank, leaving the Palestinians with heavily conditioned statehood in scattered territorial enclaves surrounded by Israel.

Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, is urging annexation before the U.S. elections in December. He believes that both Israel and the US have a window of opportunity because come November Joe Biden may be sworn in and make a complete U-turn from the current American position.

As July nears, many questions remain unanswered. Annexation would surely draw a reaction, even a violent one from Palestinians or Iran and lead to more chaos and instability in the region. Experts talking to EurAsian Times state that it could be a prelude to an Iran-Israel War.

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Middle East

The US Will Be Expelled From Iraq, Syria – Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei

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Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said that the U.S.will be expelled from Iraq and Syria. The statement was posted on the Iranian leaders’ official website and backs Iran’s growing demands for the U.S. to vacate from the Middle East nations.

According to a transcript of Khamenei’s speech posted on the website, the 81-year-old said that American actions’ in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have led them to be hated. “The Americans won’t stay in Iraq and Syria and will be expelled,” Khamenei said.

Arch-enemies Iran and the US are currently dealing with a crisis in Latin America. Iran is supplying oil to crisis-stricken Venezuela, even though both remain under strict U.S. sanctions.

The U.S considers this illegal and as per a EurAsian Times report earlier, the US Navy has sent four warships and a Boeing P-8 Poseidon from the VP-26 squadron to the Caribbean region to deter Caracas bound Iranian ships.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned Washington of retaliation if American takes action against the fuel deliveries to crisis-hit Venezuela. The US bears responsibility for the consequences of any illegal actions ….Iran has the right to take any necessary measures to counter these threats,’’ Zarif said in a letter to the United Nations.

Following this, Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister summoned the Swiss ambassador Markus Leitner in Tehran and issued a similar warning. He told the Leitner, who represent U.S. interests in Iran, that any U.S. threat against the tankers will be met with an “immediate and firm response.”

American-Iran relations hit their lowest levels in January this year after a US strike in Baghdad killed Iraqi Shia militia commander Abu Mahdi Muhandis and Qasem Soleimani, chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.

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