Category Archives: America

FBI offers $1M reward for info on American journalist Austin Tice, missing in Syria


FBI offers $1M reward for info on American journalist Austin Tice, missing in Syria

A picture shows freelance journalist Austin Tice in Cairo in March 2012. CHRISTY WILCOX/AFP/GETTYIMAGES
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The FBI is offering a $1 million reward “for information leading directly to the safe location, recovery, and return of Austin Bennett Tice ” CBS News’ Andres Triay reports. Tice, a former Marine and an American journalist from Houston, Texas, disappeared in August 2012 while covering Syria’s civil war. A video released a month later showed him blindfolded and held by armed men saying “Oh, Jesus.” He has not been heard from since.

Tice, a freelance reporter, was working for McClatchy at the time he was kidnapped. He had done work for CBS News as well as other outlets. He disappeared shortly after his 31st birthday.

The circumstances surrounding Tice’s disappearance remain a mystery. It’s not clear what entity is holding him and no ransom demand has ever been made.

Many believe he is being held by the Syrian government or its affiliated groups, although that has not been proven, CBS News’ Triay reports.

The FBI did not say why it was offering the reward money now, only that it was unrelated to any specific event or new piece of information. An FBI spokeswoman would not say how officials settled on the $1 million sum, stating that reward payment amounts are based on a number of factors including “the severity of the danger or injury” to a U.S. citizen and the risk to the source providing the information.

Tice’s parents have said they believe he is still alive and the U.S. and Syrian governments have assured them they are working to secure his safe release.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Syria crisis


Don’t scrap Iran deal,500 MPs from UK, France and Germany urge US

Donald Trump

Don’t scrap Iran deal, MPs from UK, France and Germany urge US

Joint statement published in Guardian calls for rethink before 12 May deadline set by Trump

Donald Trump
 Donald Trump is concerned that Iran could obtain nuclear capability at the end of the 10-year deal. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

More than 500 parliamentarians from France, Germany and the UK have written to their US counterparts urging them to persuade Donald Trump not to abandon the Iran nuclear deal.

In a joint statement published in the Guardian, Der Spiegel, the New York Times and Le Monde, they urged a White House rethink before the 12 May deadline set by Trump to pull out of the deal, known as the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA), unless Europe can come up with a new policy that will meet his concerns.

“The US government threatens to abandon the JCPOA, although Iran fulfils its obligations under the agreement,” the letter said. They warn that “an exit from the US would have fatal consequences”.

France, Germany and the UK negotiated the landmark deal in 2015 that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for strict limits on its nuclear programme, and are using all their leverage to try to persuade Trump that the deal is salvageable.

“The short-term impact of this move would put an end to Iran’s nuclear programme controls, which could provide a new source of devastating conflict in the Middle East and beyond,” it said.

But it said even more serious were the long-term risks: damage to the credibility of the signatories as partners in international negotiations and more generally to diplomacy as a tool to secure lasting peace and security.

“Leaving the agreement would diminish the value of all the promises and threats our countries make,” the parliamentarians said.

They added that if the deal broke down it would be nigh on impossible to assemble another grand coalition built around sanctions against Iran.

DHS: Fears over journalist database ‘fit for tin foil hat wearing … conspiracy theorists’

home land security

DHS: Fears over journalist database ‘fit for tin foil hat wearing … conspiracy theorists’

(CNN)The Department of Homeland Security is pushing back on reaction to reports that it’s seeking access to a database of journalists and bloggers, arguing that the move is “standard practice.”

A solicitation posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website, the main contracting website used by the federal government, outlines a number of requests from DHS related to media monitoring — including 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week access to a “media influencer” database that would be made up of reporters, editors and bloggers.
In a Friday column that was tweeted out by the Committee to Protect JournalistsForbes writer Michelle Fabio referred to the move as “today’s installment of ‘I’m Not Terrified, You Are,'” and said the details of the plan “are enough to cause nightmares of constitutional proportions, particularly as the freedom of the press is under attack worldwide.”
A DHS spokesperson took to Twitter on Friday to emphasize that the request is nothing out of the ordinary.
“Despite what some reporters may suggest, this is nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring current events in the media,” DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton tweeted after the Committee to Protect Journalists tweeted out a link to a Forbes article about the request. “Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists.”
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DHS is seeking a contractor that can provide “traditional and social media monitoring,” which will help its national protection and programs directorate track reporting and media coverage about the department, according to the solicitation.
“Given this administration’s denigration of most media outlets, I understand why the timing of this bid might look suspicious,” John Kirby, a CNN military and diplomatic analyst, said in an e-mail. “But from what I can tell, this is nothing more than an attempt at media analysis. It’s not at all different from what I have seen other agencies undertake to better understand the communication landscape. In fact, it would be PR malpractice not to put something like this together.”

52 Brazilian women sports journalists launch their #MeToo campaign against seuxal harrasment #deixaelatrabalhar

brazilian sport journalsit

Association of North American ( Canada – USA ) Ethnic Journalists and writers support Brazilian women journalist campaign against Sexual misconduct and harassment support #deixaelatrabalhar
March 31 -2018

 52 Brazilian  women sports journalists launch  their #MeToo moment

A man gave Bruna Dealtry an unwanted kiss as she was reporting on live television. She and other female sports journalists in Brazil made a video about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault on the job.

(CNN)It’s Tuesday night in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Januario stadium is packed with people. The host football club, Vasco, is making its debut in the prestigious Libertadores soccer tournament against visitor Universidad de Chile.

Fans in black and white jerseys pour into the stadium, cheering and pounding cans of beer. Reporter Bruna Dealtry positions herself in the middle of the action for her upcoming live shot. She’s on the air describing the atmosphere for Esporte Interativo’s viewers, when a shirtless man kisses her on the lips mid-sentence. Dealtry shrieks for a second and says on camera “That wasn’t cool. I didn’t really need that, but it happened.”
“I felt humiliated,” Dealtry told CNN. “If this can happen to me with the camera rolling, imagine what other women go through. I couldn’t just stay silent.”
That night, Dealtry wrote about the incident on her professional Facebook page, and posted an excerpt of the video.
“I’ve always been a reporter who loves to celebrate with the fans. I don’t get bothered by people soaking me in beer, jumping around me or stepping on my foot,” Dealtry wrote. “But today, I experienced first-hand the impotence so many women feel in the stadium, on the subway, even walking in the street. I was kissed on the lips, without my permission, while I was doing my job. I didn’t know how to react and couldn’t understand how someone could think they have the right to act that way.”
Dealtry’s post generated an immediate response — especially among other female journalist who cover sports.
“Somebody had to take that first step,” sports producer Paula Pereira Ab told CNN. “We knew we had something in common that went beyond being female journalists. We had all been victims of harassment, mansplaining and sexism in general, as minorities in the sports world.”
For Ab, the issue went beyond what the journalists face from the fans in the stadium. A veteran sports producer, Ab said she was fired from one of her previous employers after speaking out against a superior who she accused of harassment.
“It’s been years since this happened and I still shake when I think about it,” Ab told CNN. “I was at the height of my career and had just come back from an international assignment when I presented my claim against my harasser. I was fired almost instantly and told I wasn’t the right fit anymore.”


Eight women who connected over Dealtry’s Facebook post banded together and formed a messaging group on WhatsApp.
Two weeks later, the group had 52 members. They began discussing strategies to take action, and, inspired in part by the #MeToo movement, decided to use social media to spread their message.
They agreed to make a one-minute video about their experiences with harassment — many of which had been caught on camera — and the hashtag #deixaelatrabalhar (Portuguese for #LetHerDoHerJob).
They published the video on Sunday, March 25; since then, local media reported that it’s been viewed millions of times across different platforms, citing the social media data aggregator CrowdTangle.
Interspersed with clips of harassment and assault — including Dealtry’s unwanted kiss — the women speak to the camera about their experiences, demanding respect and saying they’ve had enough.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the response we got,” Mayra Siqueira, a freelance journalist and commentator, told CNN. “A lot of people retweeted our post, including some of the football clubs and male fans.”
Vasco, the team Dealtry was covering the night a fan kissed her, was among those who shared the video, along with Brazilian character artist Renato Peters and soccer legend Zico.

What’s next

Siqueira said the Whatsapp group has now grown to nearly 100 women, who work in sports journalism all over Brazil. The women have received messages of support from people all over the world and hope to broaden the campaign to include international journalists as well.
“We are part of a global movement,” Siqueira told CNN. “Our fight can be any woman’s fight. We’ve shown that when a group of us come together, our voices become louder and we cannot be ignored.”
Siqueira said the group has no definite plans for a follow-up to the video, but they are discussing their next steps.
Nearly a week after the women posted their video, Brazil’s Sports Ministry and the National Secretariat for Women’s Policies launched a campaign featuring female athletes speaking out against sexual harassment in sport and denouncing it as a crime. It also included a call for action for women to report the incidents to an emergency hotline.
“We’ve been experiencing sexism and harassment in our society for a long time and tolerating it because it was considered normal,” Dealtry said. “I think my experience caused an impact because it happened live, on camera and in the context of football. … I’m hoping this example will leave an impact and make men think twice before doing something like that again.” support #metoo campaign 

Mexican police officers found guilty of murdering journalist


Mexican police officers found guilty of murdering journalist in rare conviction
Two officers sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted in the killing of newspaper owner Moisés Sánchez in Veracruz

March 28-2018
Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and Writers welcoming news on conviction of Newspaper owner Journalist in Mexico .

Two police officers have been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of a Mexican journalist, marking a rare conviction in a country where crimes committed against media members almost always remain in the realm of impunity.

The police officers, identified as Luigui Heriberto N and José Francisco N, were convicted of killing newspaper owner Moisés Sánchez in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, the most lethal jurisdiction for journalists in the hemisphere.

They were also ordered to pay $18,000 (£12,900) in compensation, according to a statement from the Veracruz prosecutor’s office.

Mexican town’s entire police force detained over journalist disappearance
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Press freedom advocates and members of Sánchez’s own family say the convictions fall short as the local mayor – who is accused of ordering the murder – remains a fugitive, and six other police officers – accused of forming a drug-dealing gang and acting on the mayor’s orders – have not been prosecuted.

During the initial murder investigation, state prosecutors detained 36 officers – the entire police force of the town of Medellín de Bravo – for questioning.

“Two convictions of former police officers for breach of their legal duties is progress, but it is not justice,” Sánchez’s son Jorge wrote in Plumas Libres, an online news organisation.

Sánchez was kidnapped 2 January 2015 outside his home in the municipality of Medellín de Bravo in Veracruz state. His lifeless body was found three weeks later.

As he was pulled from his home, Sánchez pleaded with the assailants, “Please don’t hurt my family,” CPJ reported.

Veracruz officials originally said that Sánchez was not a journalist – a common practice by the authorities in states with atrocious records of infringing on press freedoms.

Sánchez moonlighted as a taxi driver to sustain his weekly newspaper, La Unión, and had reportedly angered the mayor by highlighting the poor state of municipal services and revealing the existence of citizen vigilante groups forming as a response to rampant insecurity.

Mexico remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for reporters and media workers.

Three journalists have been murdered in Mexico so far in 2015. Leobardo Vázquez was shot dead on 21 March in northern Veracruz as he worked at a taco stand next to his home. Like Sánchez, he worked in his taco business to subsidise a news venture.

Another Journalist shot dead Mexico journalist shot dead in Gulf state of Veracruz Leobardo Vázquez, 48, killed in town of Gutiérrez Zamora Vázquez ran news website in area known for drug cartel activity

Leobardo Vázquez

Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and Writers ( Canada – USA ) condolences death of Leobardo Vázquez Mexican journalist . We call on Mexico police and Government to bring those responsible before court of law.
Another Journalist shot dead Mexico journalist shot dead in Gulf state of Veracruz Leobardo Vázquez, 48, killed in town of Gutiérrez Zamora Vázquez ran news website in area known for drug cartel activity

A Mexican journalist has been shot dead in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, becoming the latest victim in a relentless string of attacks on the country’s press.

Leobardo Vázquez ran an online news outlet called Enlace Informative Regional and previously reported for other media in the region.

He was shot dead on Monday night at the taco stand he operated next to his home in the vanilla-producing municipality of Gutiérrez Zamora, according to a statement by Veracruz state officials.

‘We work under siege’: the journalists who risk death for doing their jobs
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Officials have offered no motive for the slaying, though Mexican media reported he has received threats over his reporting on an illegal land “invasion” by squatters.

Vázquez moonlighted at his fast-food stand to make ends meet, while also covering crime and the police in northern Veracruz, an area rife with underworld activity.

Press freedom groups consider the region a “zone of silence”, where the reporters practise self-censorship to stay safe and keep the details of crime and corruption cases vague.

Vázquez was the third Mexican reporter to be killed in 2018. Last year 12 media members were murdered in the country.

Quick guide
Mexico’s war on drugs

2017 was Mexico’s deadliest year on record, and the murder rate has kept climbing in 2018: in the first two months of the year, Mexico recorded 4,937 homicides, an 18% increase the same period of 2017.

Violence against the media has been especially acute in the state of Veracruz. During the 2010-2016 administration of the governor Javier Duarte – currently in jail on corruption charges – at least 20 media workers were murdered and many more were forced to flee the state.

“The death of Leobardo Vázquez is a clear sign that the conditions for journalists in the state have not improved since Duarte left,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, Mexico representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“Reporters are still badly exposed to violence. Nearly all of the murders of journalists in Veracruz remain unpunished and the impunity incentivises more violence.”

Mexico has implemented some measures to prevent the bloodshed, including a mechanism for protecting journalists under threat and a special prosecutor’s office for investigating the crimes committed against them. But reporters and press freedom groups have complained that the official response has been half-hearted and ineffective.

Mario Vargas Llosa: murder of Mexican journalists is due to press freedom
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Earlier this week, the noble laureate Mario Vargas Llosa provoked outrage by asserting that the targeting of journalists was a reflection of improved press freedoms.

“The fact that more than 100 journalists were murdered is, in grand part, to be blamed on the freedom today, which allows journalists to say things that were not permitted previously. Narcotics trafficking plays an absolutely central part in all of this,” he said in a radio interview.

Many journalists rebuked Vargas Llosa, saying he had failed to consider Mexico’s rampant impunity – and the close connection between organised crime and the country’s politicians.

Article 19, a freedom of expression advocacy organisation, issued a report earlier in March noting that only 8% of the nearly 2,000 aggressions – threats, harassment or attacks – against journalists in Mexico last year could be attributed to organised crime.

Public officials, meanwhile, committed 48% of the aggressions against journalists.

big corporations mislead public on E-cigarette


big corporations mislead public on E-cigarette

Teens using e-cigarettes show evidence of same toxic chemicals as smokers: Study

PHOTO: A man smokes an e-cigarette in this undated stock photo.STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
A man smokes an e-cigarette in this undated stock photo.

Using e-cigarettes has been promoted as a way to help adult smokers cut back or quit smoking, or at least to minimize the health damage that smoking causes. Teens, even middle schoolers, have taken up e-cigarettes as well. But as researchers continue to study their safety, a new report in Pediatrics shows vaping could lead to the presence of concerning levels of toxic chemicals.

Almost 100 teens from the San Francisco Bay area were examined in the University of California-San Francisco study: 67 teens used e-cigarettes only, 16 used both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes and 20 didn’t smoke or vape at all.

Urine and salivary gland testing looked for breakdown products of toxic chemicals that have been associated with cancer — and found them in both smokers and vapers — but not those who didn’t smoke at all.

PHOTO: A variety of electronic cigarette flavors are displayed for sale at an electronic cigarette store, June 10, 2013, in New York City.Spencer Platt/Getty Images FILE
A variety of electronic cigarette flavors are displayed for sale at an electronic cigarette store, June 10, 2013, in New York City.

Those who smoked cigarettes and used e-cigarettes had urine samples that indicated a higher presence of benzene, ethylene oxide, acrylonitrile, acrolein and acrylamide (all associated with higher risks of cancer). Levels were three times as high as those who used just e-cigarettes.

In turn, the “e-cigarette only” group had three times more evidence of the presence of acrylonitrile, acrolein, propylene oxide, acrylamide, and crotonaldehyde as non-users. Those chemicals, as well, are associated with a higher cancer risk.

The researchers write, “The presence of harmful ingredients in e-cigarette vapor has been established; we can now say that these chemicals are found in the body of human adolescents who use these products.”

PHOTO: A cigarette and an e-cigarettes are displayed in this undated stock photo.STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
A cigarette and an e-cigarettes are displayed in this undated stock photo.

Apparently, the “flavor” of the e-cigarette cartridge matters. Among e-cigarette-users, the levels of acrylonitrile were higher in those who preferred fruit flavors — compared to candy, tobacco or menthol flavors.

This is significant because 55 percent of e-cigarette users — and 67 percent of those who smoked and used e-cigs — preferred fruit flavors.

The study did not go on to see if any of these teens developed cancer.

This is the first study to assess the chemicals in e-cigarettes among adolescent use, highlighting the need to warn teenagers that there is not much known about the possible negative health risks associated with e-cigarettes.

Dr. Najibah Rehman is a third-year resident in preventative medicine at the University of Michigan, working in the ABC News Medical Unit.

Ex-ESPN host sues network, claims it is ‘rife with misogyny’

ex spen

Ex-ESPN host sues network, claims it is ‘rife with misogyny’

Former ESPN host and legal analyst Adrienne Lawrence sued the network in federal court on Monday, claiming the company is “rife with misogyny” and asserting that she was fired after complaining about being sexual harassed by a senior anchor.

In the 84-page complaint, filed in United States District Court in Connecticut, Lawrence allegges that male employees kept scorecards for female colleagues and casually watched pornography and made sexually explicit comments.

Image: Adrienne Lawrence
Adrienne Lawrence Joe Faraoni / ESPN

In a statement, ESPN said it conducted a “thorough investigation” and found Lawrence’s allegations to be “entirely without merit.”

Lawrence was hired into a two-year talent development program and was told her contract wouldn’t be renewed, the statement said, adding that the network told the same thing to others with more experience.

“The company will vigorously defend its position and we are confident we will prevail in court,” the statement said.

The suit says Lawrence quit her job as a lawyer in 2015 to join the network as a fellow. Senior “SportsCenter” anchor John Buccigross, who has worked at the network since 1996, offered to mentor her, though he was soon making unwelcome advances and using “calculated grooming” tactics, the suit says.

In text messages, the suit says, 52-year-old Buccigross commented on Lawrence’s “#longlegs” and “pretty face,” and sent her shirtless photos of himself, saying: “I’m a white boy and I’m jacked.”

In another text, he asked for a photo of her and offered to oil himself up “like a flag bearer from Tonga.”

John Buccigross Courtesy ESPN

When Lawrence, who is nearly 20 years younger than Buccigross, rebuffed him during a visit to his home, the suit says, he told her something he said he’d never told anyone — not even his ex-wife: he was a sexual assault victim. The suit describes the move as a tactic designed to elicit sympathy.

Buccigross then did something the suit claims is a common practice at the network — he spread false rumors that Lawrence was “sleeping her way to the top.” When Lawrence reported this to the network’s human resources department, the suit says, she was asked “to give him a chance” and told to “get used” to Buccigross’ behavior.

Related: Since Weinstein, here’s a growing list of men accused of sexual misconduct

ESPN did not respond to a request for comment from Buccigross, but in a statement to the Boston Globe in December, he said he’d sent the photos to Lawrence but denied starting rumors.

“I considered Adrienne to be a friend,” he said. “I’m sorry if anything I did or said offended Adrienne. It certainly wasn’t my intent.”

When Lawrence complained to a supervisor about HR’s handling of her complaint, she was told to “let it go,” the suit says, adding that Lawrence’s contract was then not renewed — even though she’d won praise from the network in a 2016 profile and was asked by former ESPN president John Skipper to stay long term.

The suit, which does not specify damages, names four network executives as defendants and cites confidential sources to back up its claims of a widespread misogynistic and predatory culture, including former employees in security, corporate communications and production.

The suit attributed the witnesses’ request for anonymity to a fear of retaliation by ESPN or other media outlets.

The suit also alleges that longtime ESPN host Chris Berman left a “threatening and racially disparaging” voicemail for Jemelle Hill, The Undefeated columnist. But Hill, in a Twitter post on Monday, said he’d done no such thing.

“A few years ago, I had a personal conflict with Chris Berman, but the way this conflict has been characterized is dangerously inaccurate,” she wrote. “Chris never left any racially disparaging remarks on my voicemail and our conflict was handled swiftly and with the utmost professionalism.”

Hill said she was disappointed that “someone I considered to be a friend at one point would misrepresent and relay a private conversation without my knowledge.”

increase social and political cricis in USA – Cameron Ross Burgess? 26-year-old Alabama shot himself near White House


َUS citizens on daily basis shoot other fellow citizens or such as Cameron Ross Burgess 26 year old university shot himself in front of White House. it shows there is no dialogue within US nation . Crisis  will be  more deepen since “Gun” looks  is  “Sacred” which no body wants to sit and talk on Gun.

Assocaiton of North american  ( Canada _ USA ) Ethnic Journalist and writes .

Who is Cameron Ross Burgess? 26-year-old Alabama man fatally shot himself near White House

Law enforcement officers gather in front of the White House in Washington, after the area was closed to pedestrian traffic, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Authorities said a man shot himself to death outside the White House midday. The District of Columbia Police Department says in a tweet that "adult make has been declared deceased. We are working to notify next of kin." (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Law enforcement officers gather in front of the White House in Washington, after the area was closed to pedestrian traffic, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Authorities said a man shot himself to death outside the White House midday. The District of Columbia Police Department says in a tweet that “adult make has been declared deceased. We are working to notify next of kin.” (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)(Pablo Martinez Monsivais)By Ashley Remkus

Cameron Ross Burgess, a 26-year-old from Alabama, has been identified by D.C. police as the man who died by suicide near the White House on Saturday.

Burgess was from Maylene, Alabama. That’s a small community in Shelby County.

Burgess graduated at Auburn University in Spring 2013, a school spokesman confirmed to He lived near campus in student housing and previously was registered to vote in Lee County, public records show.

He was a member of the Thompson High School Class of 2009.

Burgess also has lived in Birmingham. Searches of state and federal court records revealed no criminal history except a speeding ticket issued in Tallapoosa County in 2010.

The Secret Service said Burgess shot himself as he stood near the fence on the north side of the White House. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were in Florida at the time, the Associate Press reported. The president was briefed on the shooting, the White House said.

Man shoots himself to death near White House, authorities say

Man shoots himself to death near White House, authorities say

The incident took place before President Donald Trump’s scheduled late afternoon return to the White House from Florida.

The man took out a concealed handgun and fired multiple rounds just before noon, CNN reported, noting none of the shots appeared to be aimed at the White House. No other injuries were reported.

Burgess was standing in a crowded area when he shot himself, witnesses told The Washington Post. After pulling the gun, Burgess fell to the ground, and the more than 100 people in the crowd fled.

A Honda Accord with Alabama license plates was searched for about four hours near the Capital Hilton Hotel, according to CNN. The car was parked on the street near the hotel, a few blocks from the White House. After a bomb squad did a sweep, several items, including apparent pictures and documents, were taken from the car, the report says.

Trump wrong approch in Middle East / signs Iran Saudi preparing for war

saudi iran

The signs that Iran and Saudi Arabia preparing for war

The Islamic rivals are already battling indirectly in several countries. Their enmity may pose a bigger global risk than North Korea.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. His country has been leading a bombing campaign in Yemen, targeting a group they believe to be backed militarily by regional Shia power Iran.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. His country has been leading a bombing campaign in Yemen, targeting a group they believe to be backed militarily by regional Shia power Iran.  (PRESIDENCY PRESS SERVICE / AP)

Where will the world’s next catastrophic war erupt? And what will trigger it?

However risky the North Korean nuclear stalemate remains, the more likely battleground once again appears to be the Middle East.

And the growing rivalry between the region’s most powerful countries — Iran and Saudi Arabia — will be what triggers it.

In recent weeks, the potential flashpoints across the Middle East have been dangerously intersecting with each other.

They include the deepening war in Syria, the risk of Israeli involvement, the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, the disarray within Lebanon, the continuing sectarian conflict in Iraq and the fear that new nuclear weapons may be introduced in the region.

But magnifying the risk is what looms above all these conflicts.

In varying degrees, all are being fuelled or influenced — as a form of proxy war — by what many Middle East analysts fear is the coming showdown between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

This is not only a showdown over religion, dividing all of Islam, with Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia at the opposite ends of an Islamic rift that dates to the 7th century.

Above all, it is a showdown about power and history in the Middle East. Who will dominate the region? Who will shape the future? And who will lose?

It is impossible to sort through the many crises within the region without understanding the historical context of this crucial relationship. And that is particularly important now.

In recent days, an excellent two-part, three-hour PBS FRONTLINE documentary, titled “Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia,” has been broadcast. It can be watched online at

With correspondent Martin Smith, FRONTLINE teams in the past two years visited seven countries in the region and pulled together a portrait of what drives Iran and Saudi Arabia. In doing so, they explained the many complicated forces that dominate today’s crises.

Although the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia has its roots deep in history, the most recent transition came in 2011 in response to the so-called Arab Spring.

Saudi Arabia’s monarchy felt threatened by the popular revolts throughout the Arab world, and accused Iran of fuelling the flames. Iran’s ruling clerics, for their part, worried that their own survival was at stake.

When he was U.S. president, Barack Obama tried — unsuccessfully — to lower tensions between the two Middle Eastern powers. His appeal was that they should learn “to share the neighbourhood.” Although that angered the Saudis, it is hard not to conclude that, on this point at least, Obama was on the right side of history.

However, President Donald Trump has moved in an entirely different direction. He wants to scrap the historic nuclear deal the world’s major powers made with Iran, which he views as a global pariah.

Unlike Obama, he has placed no limits on Saudi Arabia, a position that has been evident in Yemen where Saudi Arabia is being accused of war crimes. Iran, meanwhile, has been involved in the support of the Assad regime in Syria, as well financing the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.

In the PBS documentary, it was pointed out that if more than a million people have died in the region’s conflicts in the past decade, few have been Iranian or Saudi citizens.

The program is probably most revealing in placing the Iranian and Saudi stories in their historical context. Americans, in particular, often forget the enormous role — frequently destructive — of their own government and military in modern Middle Eastern history. People in the Middle East don’t suffer the same amnesia.

The program devoted its opening segment to something that illustrated this point. It was an event that haunts Iranians to this day, but which few Americans know anything about.

In 1953, Iran’s secular, democratic government, led by Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, was overthrown in a coup funded and organized by the CIA and Britain’s intelligence service, known as M16.

That led to the return of the Shah of Iran, and his despotic regime, which was finally toppled in 1979 by Iran’s ayatollahs and their Islamic Revolution.

As Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said in the program about his own country’s relationship with the U.S.: “It is a very unfortunate fact that people have short memories, when actually some of them may not want to remember what happened.”

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