Is the London Couple, Alleged To Be Human-Traffickers, Saudi?

[Would Brit authorities hide their identities if they were not Saudis?]

South London slave investigation: as it happened

the telegraph

Investigations continue following the rescue of 69-year-old Malaysian woman, 57-year-old Irish woman and 30-year-old British woman by Met Police after being held captive for 30 years
The

Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland addresses the media outside New Scotland Yard  Photo: BEN STANSTALL/AFP
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As it happened:

16.32 We’re closing the live blog now. The latest on this story will appear online later today.

15.45 Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, says the whole of the Met’s Human Trafficking Unit is working on the investigation.

“Specially trained officers are working with the women to try and understand their lives, and what has taken place over the course of the last 30 years. This may take weeks and many months. The HTU have had a great deal of experience in obtaining accounts from victims who have suffered physical, sexual and emotional abuse. The very process of explaining what has happened to them is in itself a very traumatising experience.

Saudis Claim Gopher Holes Are Mortar “Craters”

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mortar hole

Six shells crash near Iraq-Kuwait border: KSA

 the nation pakistan

RIYADH : Six mortar rounds crashed into a remote area of northeastern Saudi Arabia near a border triangle with Iraq and Kuwait, without causing damage, a border guard spokesman said Thursday.

General Mohammed al-Ghamidi said Saudi authorities were in “direct contact” with their neighbours to identify the source of Wednesday’s shelling and to prevent a repetition.According to Okaz newspaper’s website, the rounds were fired “from the Iraqi side of the border.”
“Six mortar rounds fell Wednesday in an uninhabited area near Al-Awja border crossing… in Hafr al-Batin in (oil-rich) Eastern Province, and no damage was caused,” the official SPA news agency quoted Ghamidi as saying. The report gave no further details of the incident. Residents said Saudi warplanes were flying over the area early on Thursday.
Hafr al-Batin, a desert region near Iraq and Kuwait, was a command headquarters for US forces during the 1991 Gulf War which expelled Iraqi occupation forces from the emirate.
The incident comes amid regional turmoil fuelled by the Syrian conflict, with Riyadh backing rebels against the regime of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, who is strongly supported by Iran.

Saudi-Bahrain report is a whitewash

[REPORT IN FULL— The UKs relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain]

Saudi-Bahrain report is a whitewash

campaign against arms trade

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has condemned the Foreign Affairs Committee’s new report on UK’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain as a whitewash.

CAAT had high hopes when the inquiry was announced in September 2012. However, earlier this year, CAAT began to have major concerns about the way the inquiry was being conducted. These included:

  • the appointment of Sir William Patey, former UK Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, as Specialist Adviser to the Committee. He could not have been expected to act in a disinterested and questioning manner
  • an informal meeting with the representatives from BAE Systems, the UK’s largest arms company and major arms supplier to Saudi Arabia, with Sir Sherrard Cowper Coles, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and now international business adviser to BAE, and Bob Keen, BAE head of government relations
  • the seven-month delay in publishing some of the written evidence to the inquiry, including that of CAAT and other critical voices. While it was said some of the delayed evidence raised concerns about individual safety, CAAT’s did not and was eventually published in full.

Ann Feltham, CAAT’s Parliamentary Co-ordinator, who has been following the progress of the inquiry, said:

Unfortunately it looks as though arms company and establishment interests reached into the heart of this inquiry. The Foreign Affairs Committee is giving cover to the UK government as it continues the policy of pandering to despicable regimes in its desire to drum up sales for BAE Systems.

She added:

The problem is not that the UK government is failing to explain its approach to Saudi Arabia to the UK public; it is the approach itself that is the problem. The Government needs to put human rights at the heart of its policy towards Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, not the interests of the arms companies. Otherwise it is a betrayal of those protesters who seek human rights and democratic freedoms.

ENDS

For further information contact CAAT at press@caat.org.uk or call 020 7281 0297 or 07990 673 232.

The Saudis, Iran and the spreading Islamic Cold War in the Middle East

The Saudis, Iran and the spreading Islamic Cold War in the Middle East

worldtriblogo

Special to WorldTribune.com

By Fariborz Saremi

In 632 the Prophet Mohammad died, leaving behind a struggle between Shi’ites and Sunnis over the true line of succession. Today this rivalry is still alive and well in the Middle East, in particular, between the Sunni/Wahabi Muslim Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Shi’ite Islamic republic of Iran.

To add to the bad blood running between the two countries, Saudi Arabia is a kingdom of ethnic Arabs and Iran is populated by ethnic Persians. The new Middle East Cold War comes complete with its own spy-versus-spy intrigues, disinformation campaign, shadowy Proxy war and supercharged state rhetoric and very high stakes.

sunnishia-300x194Tensions between the two countries were exacerbated by the 1979 Iranian revolution. Saudi Arabia, largely pro-west in its political orientation, has had to live in fear that Iran’s expressed aim of seeing its revolution internationalized would indeed succeed.

There is a relatively large population of Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province (10-15 percent of the overall population of Saudi Arabia), and allegedly they have been demonstrating against the Saudi government’s neglect of their interests. By and large their complaints revolve around religious discrimination, marginalization and economic misery.

Their agitation is a serious worry for the Saudi government because the Eastern province contains the bulk of the Kingdom’s oil reserves, which of course must be defended.

Unfortunately, the government has not seen it necessary to allow the Shia population in the Province to benefit from the oil revenues to the same degree as Sunnis living in the Nejad region, for example.

In Bahrain too the Shi’ite majority has been voicing its deep dissatisfaction.

Moreover, the Saudis are convinced that Iran is fomenting a rebellion in Yemen’s north among a Shi’ite-dominated rebel group known as the Houthis. It would seem this is a view only held by the Saudi’s since few external observers see such close ties between Iran and the Houthis. In fact, it is clear that the Saudis are financially supporting separatist movements on the borders of Iran.

These days, geopolitics plays a major role. The two sides have assembled allied camps. Iran holds its sway in Syria and the militant Arab groups such as Hizbullah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories and Shiite radical factions in Iraq.

In the Saudi sphere are the Sunni-Muslim Gulf monarchies, Morocco and the other main Palestinian faction, Fatah. The Saudi Camp is pro-Western and leans toward tolerating the state of Israel. There are even speculations that Israeli-Saudi intelligence services cooperate in the Middle East and the Israeli-Saudi Lobbies coordinate their policies in Washington, D.C. The Iranian grouping defiantly opposes Israel.

Given that both Iran and Saudi Arabia fear large democracy movements in their countries, the recent pro-democracy movements in the region have had a very unsettling effect. The Saudis, in particular, are worried that the general discontent may inspire its own population to rise up.

Iran on the other hand has been relatively happy to see the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt as they could be interpreted as having been inspired by the 1979 Revolution.

Both countries have not been shy about interfering in the affairs of other countries, either in order to further their own agendas or to prevent outside influences spilling over into their sphere of influence. Over the decades, they have conducted a series of complicated game of moves and counter moves to weaken each other. They have built up various militias through which they carry out proxy and covert operations.

For example, during the long Lebanese civil war in the 1980s, Iran helped to form the Hizbullah, and the Saudis backed Sunni militias. As might be expected they are heavily engaged in Iraq and Syria through their proxies there.

Saudi Arabia indeed has been using its considerable wealth to exert influence all over the globe, whether in Germany or Afghanistan, where it has given substantial support to the Taliban.

Saudi Arabia was one of the three countries in the world to give official recognition to the Taliban government before 9/11, 2001. Moreover, the Saudi government is a keen funder of the Wahhabi radical groups operating within Pakistan, home to some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists.

Now Saudi Arabia, a long term ally of the USA and frequent customer of its weapons industry is showing signs of being rattled by the impending rapprochement between Iran and the USA.

The Saudis object to Washington’s current policies regarding both Iran and Syria because it threatens their deeply rooted anti-Shiite outlook.

The government in Riyadh has been pursuing systematic discrimination against the local Shi’ite population for quite some time. Furthermore, it also know that the U.S. might very soon become entirely independent of Saudi and Middle Eastern oil.

Dr. Fariborz Saremi is a strategic analyst based in Hamburg/Germany. He is a regular contributor to World Tribune.com, Freepressers.com and Defense & Foreign Affairs.