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Danger Escalates: Saudis Call for Emergency Arab League Meeting in Midst of British/Israeli-Driven Conflict

Nov. 13, 2017 (EIRNS)—The Saudis, pushing for further escalation against Iran in the region, issued a call yesterday for an emergency meeting of the Arab League to discuss "violations" committed by Iran in the region. A date has now been set for Nov. 19, according to Agence France Presse and other media accounts, which report that the meeting will be held in Cairo, at the Arab League headquarters.

This Saudi call comes amidst developments in which the British and Israelis are prominent. The BBC issued a report on Friday, claiming that Iran is building a military base south of Damascus, about 50 kilometers from the Israeli border in the Golan Heights. This claim is based on satellite photos of a compound that the BBC commissioned. The photos, taken in January, July and October of this year show a compound with what appears to be a headquarters building on one end, several buildings that could be vehicle garages on the north side and a similar number of buildings on the south side that look like they could be barracks buildings. Over the period from January to October, new construction in the compound is visible. But the BBC itself states, "However, it is impossible to independently verify the purpose of the site and the presence of the Iranian military."

Despite the lack of certainty about the alleged Iranian military base in Syria, the BBC report was enough to prompt Israeli Defense Force Chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eizonkot to fly to Brussels for what Arutz Sheva described as a "secret meeting" with NATO Commander Gen. Curtis Scapporotti. "The two military leaders reportedly discussed the Iranian military build-up in Syria as the country’s civil war winds down," says Arutz Sheva.

"The speed with which the second meeting was held indicated that a significant development had taken place which affects Israel and America’s strategic position,"

the report continues, adding that "The meeting follows a report by the BBC that Iran is establishing a permanent military base in Syria."

Eizonkot’s flight to Europe also apparently came on the heals of the new de-escalation agreement announced over the weekend between Russia, the United States, and Jordan. A U.S. State Department background briefer told reporters during a telephone briefing on Nov. 11, that, among other things, Russia agreed to work with the Syrian government to remove Iranian-backed forces from within a defined distance of the Israeli border. Regardless, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz told The Associated Press that while the agreement is a positive development, Israel is not a party to the agreement and will defend its interests.

At the same time, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh al-Shukri is touring Arab capitals in a bid to "reduce tensions in the region," reports Al Jazeera. The Qatar-based network also notes that While Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has condemned Iran interference in Arab affairs, he has also said more than once that he is against any war in the region, and that he will not take action against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.

Saad Hariri, the resigned prime minister of Lebanon, meanwhile vowed in an interview to his party’s Future TV, on Nov. 12, that he will return to Lebanon within a few days. Despite his assertions to the contrary, there is still a great deal of doubt within Lebanon that Hariri is able to speak freely while he is in Riyadh. This is indicated, reports the Daily Sabah of Turkey, by the fact that five Lebanese TV broadcasters, including the state broadcaster and Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV, have refused to air the Hariri interview.