Bomb-laden drones of Yemen's Houthi rebels seen threatening Arabian Peninsula

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - A Yemen rebel drone strike this week on a critical Saudi oil pipeline shows that the otherwise-peaceful sandy reaches of the Arabian Peninsula now are at risk of similar assault, including an under-construction nuclear power plant and Dubai International Airport, among the world's busiest. U.N. investigators said the Houthis' new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 km (930 miles). That puts the far reaches of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the two main opponents of the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, within reach of drones difficult to detect and track. Their relatively simple design, coupled with readily available information online, makes targeting even easier, analysts say. "These installations are easily findable, like on Google Earth," said Tim Michetti, an expert on illicit weapons technology with experience in Yemen.


Amid Persian Gulf tensions, unclear threats raise risks of miscalculation and conflict

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Murky claims of sabotage to oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The events roiling the Persian Gulf in recent days have the potential to affect everything from the price of a gallon of gas to the fate of nations. And for those feeling confused by it all, don't worry: Everyone else seems to be puzzled too, only raising the possibility of a miscalculation. Just as what sparked the rapid series of market-moving events remains unclear; so does the reason for the White House deploying warships and B-52 bombers to the region. Days later, Iran marked the anniversary of President Donald Trump withdrawing the U.S. from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers by announcing it also would begin backing away from the accord.


Trump tweets if Tehran attacks, it will be the 'official end of Iran'

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump issued an ominous warning to Iran on Sunday, suggesting that if the Islamic republic attacks American interests, it will be destroyed. "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again," Trump said in a tweet. Tensions between Washington and Tehran have been on the rise as the United States has deployed a carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf over what it termed Iranian "threats." This account has been met with widespread skepticism outside the United States.


As U.S.-Iran tensions flare, Iraq is once again caught in the middle

The Japan Times

BAGHDAD - When U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down with Iraqi officials in Baghdad last week as tensions mounted between America and Iran, he delivered a nuanced message: If you're not going to stand with us, stand aside. The message, confirmed by two Iraqi government officials, underscores Iraq's delicate position: Its government is allied with both sides of an increasingly contentious confrontation. As tensions escalate, there are concerns that Baghdad could once again get caught in the middle, just as it is on the path to recovery. The country hosts more than 5,000 U.S. troops and is home to powerful Iranian-backed militias, some of whom want those U.S. forces to leave. "The big question is how Iraqi leaders will deal with (their) national interests in a country where loyalty to external powers is widespread at the expense of their own nation," Iraqi political analyst Watheq al-Hashimi said.


The Latest: Qatar trying to defuse tensions amid Iran crisis

FOX News

Saudi Arabia says its oil tankers were attacked Sunday off the coast of UAE port city of Fujairah.; In this Friday, May 10, 2019 photo released by the U.S. Navy, logistics specialists attach cargo to an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf. The aircraft carrier strike group is being deployed to the Persian Gulf to counter an alleged but still-unspecified threat from Iran. DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Latest on developments in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere in the Mideast amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local): The Qatar-funded satellite news broadcaster Al-Jazeera says that Doha is trying to "defuse escalating tensions" across the Persian Gulf. Al-Jazeera cited an anonymous official on Wednesday night as saying that Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani had traveled to Tehran in recent days to speak with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.