Already seven of the 10 countries in the world with the highest military budgets are in the Middle East. The development of nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia has many speculating that it could mark the beginning of an even more dangerous era for the war-torn region.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, has secretly approved the sale of nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, Reutersrevealed this week. Saudi Arabia is reportedly attempting to construct at least two nuclear power plants as part of its effort to diversify its energy sector and its economy as a whole. As part of this plan it has accepted bids from Russia, South Korea and the U.S. for the lucrative contract. Perry’s approval is known as a Part 810 authorization, which allows energy companies to begin the process of planning and starting preliminary work in anticipation of the closing of a formal deal in the future.
While the Saudi proposals are presented as civilian and do not mention nuclear weaponry, U.S. approval and sale of nuclear technology has been seen by many as a prelude to the development of a Saudi nuclear weapon, which could potentially spark a nuclear arms race in the region. Riyadh has long coveted atomic weaponry and has considered developing its own in its quest to maintain military dominance in the region. “If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit” Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the United States, told the Guardian in 2011, noting that the kingdom may feel “compelled” to pursue the option in the future, if tensions with Iran remain high. Continue reading →
An Israeli soldier in the Golan Heights, 2006. (Photo: David Poe, Flickr)
Critics on Thursday swiftly condemned an announcement by President Donald Trump that he believes the U.S. should recognize Israel’s claim over the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory Israel has illegally occupied for over half a century.
“After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” the president said on Twitter, “which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” Continue reading →
The intent behind Trump’s new rules of engagement and considerable militarization of the U.S. border appears to be greenlighting the U.S. military to function as an IDF-style military police force whenever the next “threat” emerges, whether it be “foreign invaders” or “internal enemies.”
Since President Donald Trump first directed the outrage of his supporters at a Central American migrant caravan making its way towards the United States a little over a week ago, his plan to deploy between 5,200 and 15,000 active-duty U.S. soldiers to the border has provoked mixed reactions within the United States. However, Trump’s more recent announcement that armed U.S. soldiers have been instructed to target any migrants who resort to throwing stones as though they were firing rifles has evoked an even wider range of reactions.
On Thursday afternoon, Trump detailed in a speech that “Anybody [in the caravan] throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm.” He then elaborated that “we will consider it [stone throwing], the maximum that we can consider that…We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back….I told them to consider it a rifle.” Continue reading →
With its government openly admitting Israel’s rogue-state status and its intention to act without regard to international norms or basic human decency, Israel has indicated that it is hell-bent on ethnically cleansing Palestine and eliminating the “demographic threat” once and for all.
Beit Hanoun region of Gaza, August 2014, after Israeli bombardments. Photo: btselem [CC BY 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons
During an ongoing court case regarding the legality of Israel’s controversial Settlement Regularization Law, the Israeli government has argued that the Israeli Knesset can “legislate anywhere in the world” and is “allowed to ignore the directive of international law in any field it desires.” The statements, delivered to Israel’s Supreme Court last month, show clear proof that the Israeli government is openly defying international law with the full approval of its top officials in its bid to annex occupied Palestine and wipe out any hope of a future Palestinian state.
Following the passage of the Settlement Regularization Law last year, several Palestinian rights groups led by Adalah — The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel — filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court arguing that the Knesset is not legally permitted to enact or impose laws on territory occupied by the State of Israel that is not officially Israeli territory. As a consequence, according to the petition, the Knesset cannot pass laws that annex the West Bank or violate the rights of Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank. Continue reading →
Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, a coalition of Israel’s four Arab-dominated political parties, said that with this new law, Israel has told Arabs “that we will always be second-class citizens.” (Photo: @AyOdeh/Twitter)
The Knesset, Israel’s legislature, provoked immediate outrage early Thursday when it passed a controversial law that critics within and beyond Israel have denounced as “an apartheid bill.” It proclaims “the state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people” and “the actualization of the right of national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”
Following the 62-55 vote—with two abstentions—Arab lawmakers reportedly ripped up paper copies of the legislation in protest, then were forced to leave the Knesset hall. Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, a coalition of Israel’s four Arab-dominated political parties, said in a statement that Israel has “declared it does not want us here,” and that it “passed a law of Jewish supremacy and told us that we will always be second-class citizens.” Continue reading →
Israel announced on Monday new restrictions for the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main cargo entry point into Gaza. (Photo: David Katz/The Israel Project/Flickr)
In a move condemned by human rights advocates as another of the Israeli government’s “genocidal policies of collective punishment” in Gaza, Israel has announced stringent new import rules for the territory’s main cargo crossing.
As Israel and Egypt have maintained a naval, aerial, and land blockade of the occupied territory for more than a decade, the Kerem Shalom crossing is how most commercial goods and foreign aid reach Gazans. Under the new restrictions, only food, medicine, and “humanitarian equipment” can come through the entry point. Continue reading →
“The move further perpetuates the longstanding impunity granted to Israel in the face of its continuous and systematic violations of international law, including by endorsing the illegal annexation of Jerusalem.” (Photo: @omdimbeyachad/Twitter)
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, April 29, 2018. Photo: US State Department
Wasting no time confirming fears that he would would bring his disdain for diplomacy and zeal for war to the world stage if confirmed as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo used his first official visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel this weekend to escalate the Trump administration’s anti-Iran rhetoric while ignoring the horrific atrocities currently being committed by America’s key Middle East allies.
Speaking alongside Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Riyadh on Sunday, Pompeo claimed Iran is “the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world” and said the Trump administration is “determined to make sure it never possesses a nuclear weapon.” Continue reading →
Having announced his intention to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in December of last year, reversing years of U.S. policy and violating international law, President Donald Trump seems determined to further rub salt in the wound.
He announced weeks ago that the new embassy would open on May 15. No more provocative a date could have been chosen.
May 15 marks 70 years since the state of Israel was established in a process that saw 750,000 Palestinians expelled from their homes and over 450 towns and villages destroyed. Continue reading →
At least three Palestinians reportedly have been killed by gunfire, and more than a hundred injured, in clashes with Israeli forces on Friday, during large-scale protests against enhanced security measures at the Al-Aqsa mosque, according to reports from the Ma’an News Agency and Al-Jazeera.
“An Israeli settler killed an 18-year-old Palestinian man in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood,” Al-Jazeera reports. Hospital officials confirmed a second Palestinian was killed by live fire during the demonstrations after Friday prayer, and a third man died during clashes in the West Bank. Continue reading →