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'Manama Dialogue' Reiterates Importance of Confronting Iran, Houthis

'Manama Dialogue' Reiterates Importance of Confronting Iran, Houthis

Sunday, 10 December, 2017 - 09:15
Second session of Manama Dialogue ( IISS Manama Dialogue Official website)

Manama Dialogue 2017 reiterated the importance of confronting Houthis in Yemen and all the forces supporting them and destabilizing the region, namely Iran.

The 13th Manama Dialogue, which began on Friday, brought together a huge number of security and military experts and academics to discuss threats of extremism and terrorism.

The first session entitled: "Creating a Stable Regional Security Architecture", Jordan's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi, Bahrain's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, and Chairman KKR Global Institute General David Petraeus.

The second session, "Political and Military Responses to Extremism in the Middle East", featured UK defense secretary Gavin Williamson, Iraqi National Security Advisor Faleh al-Fayad, and UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash.

Bahraini foreign minister confirmed that the stability and security of the region face a lot of challenges especially with the support all terrorist receive. He added that insurgency in Yemen rejected any positive role in rebuilding their country and sought to establish a terrorist state affiliated with Iran, that which can’t be accepted.

Hezbollah's activities in Lebanon provide a model for what might happen if a “terrorist organization takes control of the political decision” according to the Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Khalid.

“This is in addition to the smuggling of weapons and explosives and training of terrorists to carry out terrorist operations in Bahrain, Kuwait and other countries," he added.

He also stressed that the decision taken by the Arab quartet to boycott Qatar is a result of decades-long attempts of some countries to destroy the security and stability of other countries.

“Our actions against Qatar are the result of decades of Qatari policies that threatened and jeopardized our national security, and came as a last resort after Qatar failed to honor agreement after agreement,” Shaikh Khalid said.

He explained that the aim of the actions is to stop Qatar from plotting to undermine and weaken the governments and from supporting terrorist groups that destabilize countries like Egypt, Yemen, and Libya and to stop their interference in other countries.

The minister announced that Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt are ready to re-establish relations with Qatar if it agrees to the set of demands proposed by the Arab alliance and stop its support for terrorism.

“We had always given Qatar the benefit of the doubt, we have always sought to work out our differences with Qatar in a quiet manner, with the close cooperation of GCC members for the sake of preserving GCC unity. But unfortunately, that approach was not sufficient, and we realized that more urgent measures were required,” Sheikh Khalid said.

The minister warned that Iran undermines regional security and destabilize governments of other countries, as well as supports terrorist militias to implement its own agenda.

Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel threatens to bring further instability in the region, dashing the hopes of peace, said Sheikh Khalid, who reiterated that East Jerusalem must be free of Israeli occupation.

He said that US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a clear violation of the international resolutions.

UK Secretary of Defence Gavin Williamson also addressed the second session of the conference and declared that the UK will invest at least £10 million to strengthen Iraqi counter-terrorism. He said that terrorism must be fought not only on the ground but also by “shutting down their social media mouthpieces”.

Williamson stated that Assad is a barrier to peace in Syria who has used chemical weapons on his own people.

UAE Minister of State Anwar Gargash said on Saturday that US president Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was a gift to radicalism as radicals will use it to fan the language of hate.

“These issues are a gift to radicalism. Radicals and extremists will use that to fan the language of hate,” Gargash told the Manama Dialogue security conference.

He went on to say: "I am not worried about today, tomorrow and the day after, I am worried that some people will see the decision as a turning point, like the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. I hope this is not a watershed, but it is a worry."

Iran's sectarian rhetoric and proxies are disrupting the region, stated Gargash, adding: “We're very worried by Iran's missile capability.”

Gargash pointed out that killing former Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh surely complicated things in Yemen, however, on the medium term it will expose Houthis as the ones rejecting the political solution and stability.

Speaking at a session during the Manama Dialogue 2017, Iraq's Vice President Iyad Allawi warned that the Middle East security climate is unbalanced and may get much worse. He indicated that Trump's Jerusalem announcement will be used by terrorist recruiters, adding that there is a power struggle in the region between forces of extremism and moderation and a roadmap should be set to contain terrorism and extremism.

Organised annually, the IISS Manama Dialogue provides a platform for participating states to exchange views on regional challenges. The conference provides a vital forum for some of the most powerful policymakers from the region and beyond to agree on ways to address pressing challenges collectively.

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