Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Will The U.S. Reinstate Houthi A Terrorist Designation After U.A.E. Attack

Secretary of State Tony Blinken (left) listens to United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan during a joint news conference at the State Department iin October. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP  

Axios: UAE asks U.S. to reinstate Houthi terrorist designation after attack 

Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed asked Secretary of State Tony Blinken in a phone call Monday to re-designate the Houthi rebels in Yemen as a terrorist organization, a senior Emirati official told Axios.  

Why it matters: Less than a month after he assumed office, President Biden rolled back the Trump administration’s decision to make the designation. He said it hampered humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people. Since then, the Houthis have escalated their attacks against Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region — including an attack Monday in Abu Dhabi.  

What they are saying: “During the call between Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed and Secretary Blinken, there was a discussion regarding the idea of re-designation of the Houthis based on their current actions," a senior Emirati official told Axios. 

* "The latest attack on civilian targets in Abu Dhabi, and the hijacking of a UAE-flagged ship, fall squarely in that category.”  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I do not expect the White House will reverse their designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization. I only expect rhetoric like this .... US condemns deadly Houthi drone attack on UAE oil facility near Al-Dhafra (AP).

Oil Hits Seven-Year High After Houthi Attack On UAE

 

CNBC: Oil hits seven-year high as Houthi attack on UAE rattles regional tensions 

* The United Arab Emirates has vowed to retaliate against Houthi militants for a deadly attack on its capital Abu Dhabi on Monday that killed three people. 

* International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $87.25 on Tuesday around noon on Wall Street, its highest level since 2014. 

* The UAE is the world’s seventh-biggest oil producer, pumping just over 4 million barrels per day. 

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates has vowed to retaliate against Houthi militants for a deadly attack on its capital Abu Dhabi on Monday that killed three people, as fresh tensions in the region helped push oil prices to their highest level in seven years. 

“We condemn the Houthi militia’s targeting of civilian areas and facilities on UAE soil today,” the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement following the attacks. “We reiterate that those responsible for this unlawful targeting of our country will be held accountable.” 

The ministry added that the UAE “reserves the right to respond to these terrorist attacks and criminal escalation.”  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Oil Jumps To Highest Level Since 2014 On UAE Drone Attack (OilPrice.com) 

Update #2: A drone attack in Abu Dhabi could mark a dangerous turning point for the Middle East. Here's what to know (CNN)  

WNU Editor: If trends continue the price of oil will exceed even this prediction .... Oil prices will surge to $100 this year, Goldman Sachs warns (CNN).

170 Members Of Qatar's Air Force To Come To The U.S. To Fly The Newest Model Of The F-15 Fighter

F-15E Strike Eagles from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. (John T. Winn/Air Force National Guard) 

Stars and Stripes/Idaho Statesman: $12 billion deal may bring hundreds of Qatar, US Air Force members to Idaho base 

BOISE, Idaho (Tribune News Service) — The U.S. Air Force soon may bring 170 members of Qatar's air force to live on the Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. They would be coming to learn to fly the newest model of the F-15 fighter jet specially modified for the Persian Gulf state. 

The Qatar trainees may be in for a culture shock should they find themselves in the city of Mountain Home. More than 90% of Qataris live in the capital of Doha, which is full of skyscrapers, luxury hotels and attractions, museums and world-class food. 

The country is also incredibly flat and dry, with the majority of its land being desert. Qatar is one of just four areas in the world without a single forest. Not to mention the differing temperatures between Qatar and Idaho: Qatar averages 107 degrees in July and rarely gets below 50 degrees even in winter.  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: Qatar received its first batch of F-15s last year .... Qatar receives first batch of US-made F-15 combat planes (Al Jazeera).

Russian Putin To Host Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi In Moscow On Wednesday

The combo image shows Iran’s President Ebrahim Raeisi (L) and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.  

RFE: Russian, Iranian Presidents To Hold Talks In Moscow 

The Kremlin says President Vladimir Putin will host his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi, in Moscow on January 19, amid negotiations aimed at reviving a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. 

 It will be Raisi's third visit outside Iran -- after Tajikistan and neighboring Turkmenistan -- since he took over the presidency in August, and the first trip by an Iranian president to Russia since 2017. 

Moscow and Tehran have strong political, economic, and military ties and are key allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country's decade-long civil war.  

Read more .... 

Russian Putin To Host Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi In Moscow On Wednesday  

Putin to host Iran’s Raisi in Moscow amid nuclear talks -- Moscow Times/AFP  

Expansion of ties in focus as President Raeisi visits Moscow Wednesday -- Press TV (Iran)  

Iran’s Tilt To Moscow Casts Shadow Over Vienna Talks -- Iran International  

Iran-Russia talks: Why Raisi's meeting with Putin is crucial for Iran's future -- Fardin Eftekhari, Middle East Eye

Iran And Saudi Arabia In Talks To Reopen Their Embassies

Smoke rises from Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran after it was set on fire by Iranian protesters on January 2, 2016. (REUTERS file photo)  

Zero Hedge: Iran & Saudis Preparing To Reopen Embassies After Decade Of Regional Proxy War 

In a highly unexpected and unusual development, and coming off a possible diplomatic breakthrough amid recent talks aimed at opening up relations, Iranian diplomats arrived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia this weekend for the first time in a half-decade. 

The two countries haven't had diplomatic relations since 2016, when Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran following the kingdom's execution of a popular Shia cleric. They are reportedly preparing to reopen embassies. 

The Saudis and Iranians have further been waging fierce proxy wars against the other in places like Syria and Yemen over a period of years. 

Shia Iran has long funded and sent weapons primarily to Hezbollah, as well as Yemen's Houthi rebels, while the Saudis have funded Sunni jihadists including ISIS. 

The two sides have also long vied for influence in Lebanon's politics, with Washington consistently backing the Saudis.  

Read more ....  

Update: Iran, Saudi Arabia Close To Reopening Consulates: Diplomatic Source (Iran International)  

WNU Editor: I am sure in these talks the Saudis are making it very clear that they do not want a repeat of this .... Tehran protesters torch, ransack Saudi embassy after Shia cleric's execution (CBC/AP).

China Tells Its Citizens To Avoid Mail From Abroad Due To Covid Fears

 

Insider: China tells citizens to avoid mail from abroad and open packages with gloves, claiming that Omicron is spreading through foreign post 

* China is advising people to avoid foreign mail and open packages outside, citing COVID-19 risks. 

* Beijing's disease center said an Omicron infection could have come through international mail. 

* Experts say the virus is unlikely to spread via mail, as it doesn't last long on surfaces. 

Officials in Beijing are telling people to avoid international mail and to open their packages outdoors and with gloves, saying cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant could have spread through foreign mail. 

Experts have repeatedly said that there is little risk of getting the coronavirus from mail. 

There is no indication that this has changed with the Omicron variant, though it is more infectious.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: China Halts All Foreign Mail Due To COVID Threat As Tianjin Reports 80 New Cases (Zero Hedge)  

Update #2: Omicron cases in Beijing, Shenzhen suspected of links to packages from North America (Global times)  

WNU Editor: The experts are saying that these claims are ridiculous .... China's claim that Omicron came from Canadian mail dismissed as 'ludicrous' (Canadian Press). 

As to what is my take. 

The Chinese are positioning themselves to blame foreigners/outsiders in the event that Covid infections do spread during the Olympics.

Tweets Of The Day

British C-17 Transport Aircraft Ferrying Weapons To Ukraine Are Avoiding Germany

WNU Editor: The German foreign minister is in Moscow this week. The Germans do not want anything to disrupt these talks.

Picture Of The Day

A medical worker takes a swab sample from a woman for nucleic acid testing at a testing site in Beijing, China January 17, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins  

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... COVID tests and vaccination lines continue amid Omicron spread (Reuters).

President Biden: 'Dr. King’s Assassination Did Not Have The Worldwide Impact That George Floyd’s Death Did'

WNU Editor: Wow!