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Saudis Escalate Against Iran

Nov. 6, 2017 (EIRNS)—Events in and around Saudi Arabia over the past 48 hours show a Saudi escalation against Iran, adding further conflict to the region. The immediate focus was a Houthi missile fired towards Riyadh on Nov. 4 which was reportedly successfully intercepted by Saudi air defenses. The Saudis responded by blaming Iran.

"Iran’s role and its direct command of its Houthi proxy in this matter constitutes a clear act of aggression that targets neighboring countries, and threatens peace and security in the region and globally,"

the Saudi-led coalition said in a widely reported statement.

"Therefore, the coalition’s command considers this a blatant act of military aggression by the Iranian regime, and could rise to be considered as an act of war against the kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

On a Saturday phone call, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Sultan briefed President Trump. A White House read-out yesterday said that Trump agreed with the Saudi claims on the attack.

"A shot was just taken by Iran, in my opinion, at Saudi Arabia. And our system knocked it down," Trump said, referring to the U.S.-made Patriot missile batteries that the Saudis used.

The IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a unit of the Iranian military) has angrily rejected the Saudi-U.S. accusation. "The claim that the missile was delivered to Yemen by Iran is baseless," Major General Mohamed Ali Jafari, the commander of the IRGC, told reporters in Tehran yesterday. The allegations are unfounded because, basically, the Islamic Republic does not have access to Yemen to transfer such missiles, he added, reported Tasnim. "These missiles have been manufactured by the Yemenis and their military industries," the commander stressed.

The Saudi-led coalition has also responded to the missile attack by announcing that it will temporarily close all air, land, and sea ports to Yemen, supposedly to stem the flow of arms to Houthi rebels from Iran, though they claim that humanitarian work will be allowed to continue. Al Masdar News reports that Yemeni Minister of Transportation Zakaria al-Shami said today in Sanaa that the closure of the port of Hodeida, Yemen’s only deep water port, "would mean the death of the Yemeni people."

The Houthi missile strike, which a Houthi military spokesman said, "was in response to the massacres committed by the U.S.-Saudi coalition in Yemen," followed by only hours the resignation of Saad Hariri as Prime Minister of Lebanon. He spoke from Riyadh.

Most commentary reviewed by the news services indicate that Hariri is a Saudi asset and that his resignation was forced by the Saudis as part of a scheme to bring pressure on Hezbollah.

"The Saudis want to create a situation of political crisis, to break the political stability in Lebanon so that Hezbollah will be more busy in Lebanese internal politics than in Syria,"

Hebrew University scholar Yusri Hazran told the Jerusalem Post. "But I’m not sure this will be achieved." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during an appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday, clearly indicated that he is aligned with the Saudi view of Iran.

"I think this is a wake-up call for everyone ... the attempt of Iran to conquer the Middle East, to dominate it and subjugate it. We should stop this Iranian takeover,"

Netanyahu said in reference to Hariri’s resignation.

In the middle of all of this, stands Defense Minister and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose weekend purge of at least eleven princes and other powerful figures in the Saudi hierarchy appears to be an effort to solidify his own power as the heir to the throne. Prince Mohammed led Saudi Arabia into the now two-and-one-half-year-old war in Yemen as well as the diplomatic/economic assault in Qatar.

A major opponent of Prince Mohammed died in a helicopter crash late yesterday night, in Saudi Arabia, near the Yemen border. Killed along with seven officials, Prince Mansour bin Muqrin was the son of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, who had been crown prince between January and April 2015, at which time, he was set aside by Prince Mohammed’s father King Salman.

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