AMMAN — A top US official on Wednesday said that the US “has not and will not” pressure Jordan to give up its role as the custodian of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.
In a Tweet on Wednesday, Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations by President Donald Trump Jason Greenblatt said: “The United States has not and will not pressure Jordan to give up its special role with regard to the Muslim Holy Shrines as set forth in Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel.”
“Speculation to the contrary is completely false,” Greenblatt added on his official Twitter account.
Greenblatt is part of the US administration team responsible for drafting a proposal to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, dubbed as “the deal of the century”.
The contents of the proposal have not been revealed so far, and no date has been set for its roll-out.
US President Donald Trump broke global consensus in 2017 by recognising occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy there last May.Section: LocalJournalists: JTImage Position: Full Width
AMMAN — Over 35 per cent of Jordanians and 44 per cent of opinion leaders believe that the overall situation in Jordan is going in the right direction, an opinion poll revealed on Wednesday.
The poll, conducted by the University of Jordan’s Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS) on Jordanians’ trust in Prime Minister Omar Razzaz’s government a year after its formation and current challenges, surveyed 1,800 Jordanians aged over 18 and a smaller group of 700 “opinion leaders”, including academics, intellectuals, media and businesspeople and politicians.
“The 58 per cent of respondents who believe that things are going in the wrong direction in Jordan attribute [their] stance to the bad economic situation, financial and administrative corruption, unemployment and wasta [favouritism],” CSS Director Musa Shteiwi said.
Meanwhile, opinion leaders stated that the main reason “things are going in the wrong direction was the absence of reforms and government decisions that are not in favour of its citizens, as well as the difficult economic situation,” Shteiwi told reporters at a press conference held at the CSS.
The surveyed believed that the main problems facing the Kingdom are “unemployment, poverty, a bad economic situation, an increase in prices of commodities and corruption”, according to Shteiwi.
The survey also revealed that Razzaz and his government garnered the second lowest evaluation since 2011, after former prime minister Hani Mulki’s government, according to Shteiwi.
Turning to Razzaz’s performance, 47 per cent of the grassroots sample said he was capable of bearing the current challenges, while the opinion-leader sample was close with 46 per cent, Shteiwi said.
Razzaz’s team also received lower rates of trust among both the grassroots and the opinion-leader samples, with 33 per cent voting that the government team was capable of bearing the responsibilities expected from them, Shteiwi told reporters.
As for the economic situation, Shteiwi added, 77 per cent of the grassroots sample stated that the Jordanian economy is going in the wrong direction, while the opinion leader’s percentage was 75.
“Over 45 of the grassroots and 41 per cent from opinion leaders surveyed expressed optimism that the Jordanian economy would improve in the next two years,” Shteiwi added.
Meanwhile, more than 90 per cent of those surveyed expressed trust in the military and security agencies, while their trust in the Lower House and political parties was as low as 16 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively, Shteiwi said.
“This contrast in numbers between the low trust percentages in the elected, civil and government institutions versus the high trust in the security agencies should be examined carefully by the government,” Shteiwi said.Section: LocalJournalists: Rana HusseiniImage Position: Full Width
ANKARA — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday vowed to try to ensure the Egyptian government is tried in international courts for the death of former president Mohamed Morsi, who suffered a fatal heart attack in a Cairo court earlier this week.
“Muhamed Morsi flailed on the courtroom floor for 20 minutes and the authorities did not help him. This is why I say Morsi did not die, he was murdered,” Erdogan told supporters at an election rally in Istanbul.
“We, as Turkey, will follow this issue and do everything possible for Egypt to be tried in international courts for Morsi’s death,” he said, calling on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to take action towards this end.
He spoke a day after he called Morsi a “marytr” and said he did not believe the former president died due to natural causes.
Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood Islamist group which is now banned in Egypt, died on Monday after collapsing in a Cairo court while on trial on espionage charges.
The 67-year-old — the first democratically elected head of state in Egypt’s modern history — had been in jail since the army commanded by Egypt’s current president Abdel Fattah Sisi toppled him in 2013 after barely a year in power following mass protests against his rule.
Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party supported Morsi’s short-lived Egyptian government, and many Brotherhood members and supporters have fled to Turkey since its activities were banned in Egypt.
Erdogan added he would raise the issue at the G-20 summit in Japan at the end of the month.
Rights groups have called for an investigation into Morsi’s death and raised questions about his treatment in prison. Egypt’s government has dismissed accusations that he was badly treated.Image: Section: RegionDisplay Lead for: SectionAgency: ReutersImage Position: Right
KHARTOUM — Sudan's army ruler Wednesday called on protest leaders to resume talks on the transfer of power without any conditions, as tension between the two sides persists after the bloody dispersal of demonstrators.
Dozens of protesters were killed and hundreds wounded on June 3 when a weeks-long protest camp was violently dispersed by gunmen in military fatigues, who stormed the site shooting and beating demonstrators outside the army headquarters in Khartoum.
The raid came after the collapse of earlier negotiations between the ruling generals and protest leaders in which they were unable to agree on who should lead a new governing body — a civilian or soldier.
The generals, who seized power after the army ousted longtime ruler Omar Al Bashir on April 11, have resisted calls to hand power to civilians as demanded by the protesters.
But on Wednesday, Sudan's army ruler General Abdel Fattah Al Burhan said the ruling military council was ready to hold talks with the umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, and other political groups without any pre-conditions.
"We are calling on the Alliance for Freedom and Change and all political powers to come and sit without any conditions... we need a solution that satisfies all people," Burhan said in a speech in Khartoum broadcast on state television.
"The country has been without a government for three months... the Sudanese people and foreign policy have been affected by the lack of government," Burhan said.
"We don't want the situation to get out of control. We don't want to see another coup," he said.
Burhan defends RSF
The generals said last week that more than one coup attempt had been planned against the ruling military council since it took power, but they were thwarted and two groups of officers had been taken into custody.
As tensions between the two sides soared after the June 3 crackdown, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed led mediation efforts after which protest leaders agreed to resume talks but only under certain conditions.
Protest leaders insist an internet blackout imposed when the protesters launched a civil disobedience campaign this month be brought to an end.
They are also seeking an international probe be launched into the killings and the acceptance of all earlier agreements reached in previous negotiations with the generals prior to the crackdown.
Before the talks were suspended and the protest crackdown happened, the generals and protest leaders had agreed on a three-year transition period and the creation of a 300-member parliament dominated by lawmakers from the protesters’ umbrella group.
Protesters and rights groups say the brutal crackdown was carried out by members of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy chief of the ruling military council.
On Wednesday, Burhan defended the paramilitary group.
“There are some groups raising suspicions about the RSF to try to get them out of the political scene, but the RSF are an integral part of the armed forces,” he said.
The military council has expressed “regret” over what happened but insists it had only ordered the clearing of an area near the protest camp where drug dealers had reportedly operated.
“I think we need to see measures from the military council that build trust, build confidence” among the Sudanese public and the international community, Britain’s ambassador to Khartoum, Irfan Siddiq, told AFP.
Image: Section: RegionDisplay Lead for: SectionAgency: AFPImage Position: Right
BASRA, Iraq — A rocket hit a site in southern Iraq used by foreign oil companies on Wednesday, including US energy giant ExxonMobil, wounding three people and threatening to further escalate US-Iran tensions in the region.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack near Iraq’s southern city of Basra, the fourth time in a week that rockets have struck near US installations.
Three previous attacks on or near military bases housing US forces near Baghdad and Mosul caused no casualties or major damage. None of those incidents were claimed.
An Iraqi security source said it appeared that Iran-backed groups in southern Iraq were behind the Basra incident.
“According to our sources, the team [that launched the rocket] is made up of more than one group and were well trained in missile launching,” the security source said.
He said they had received a tip-off several days ago the US consulate in Basra might be targeted but were taken by surprise when the rocket hit the oil site.
Abbas Maher, mayor of the nearby town of Zubair, said he believed Iran-backed groups had specifically targeted Exxon to “send a message” to the United States.
US-Iranian hostility has risen since President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and other world powers in May last year.
Trump has since reimposed and extended US sanctions on Iran, forcing states to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own. Tehran has threatened to abandon the nuclear pact unless other signatories act to rein in the United States.
The US face-off with Iran reached a new pitch following attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf in May and June that Washington blames on Tehran. Iran denies any involvement.
While the long-time foes say they do not want war, the United States has reinforced its military presence in the region and analysts say violence could nonetheless escalate.
Some Western officials have said the recent attacks appear designed to show Iran could sow chaos if it wanted.
Iraqi officials fear their country, where powerful Iran-backed Shiite Muslim militias operate in close proximity to some 5,200 US troops, could become an arena for escalation.
The United States has pressed Iraq’s government to rein in Iran-backed paramilitary groups, a tall order for a Cabinet that suffers from its own political divisions.
Iraq’s military said three people were wounded in Wednesday’s strike by a short-range Katyusha missile. It struck the Burjesia site, west of Basra, which is near the Zubair Oilfield operated Italy’s Eni SpA.
Police said the rocket landed 100 metres from the part of the site used as a residence and operations centre by Exxon. Some 21 Exxon staff were evacuated by plane to Dubai, a security source said.
Zubair mayor Maher said the rocket was fired from farmland around three to 4 kilometres from the site. A second rocket landed to the northwest of Burjesia, near a site of oil services company Oilserv, but did not explode, he said.
“We cannot separate this from regional developments, meaning the US-Iranian conflict,” Maher said.
“These incidents have political objectives... it seems some sides did not like the return of Exxon staff.”
Exxon had evacuated its staff from Basra after a partial US Baghdad embassy evacuation in May and staff had just begun to return.
Burjesia is also used as a headquarters by Royal Dutch Shell Plc. and Eni., according to Iraqi oil officials.
The officials said operations including exports from southern Iraq were not affected.
A separate Iraqi oil official, who oversees foreign operations in the south, said the other foreign firms had no plans to evacuate and would operate as normal.
A Shell spokesman said its employees had “not been subject to the attack... and we continue normal operations in Iraq”.
Wednesday’s rocket strike fits into a pattern of attacks since May, when four tankers in the Gulf and two Saudi oil pumping stations were attacked.
They have been accompanied by a spate of incidents inside Shiite-dominated Iraq, which is allied both to the United States and fellow Shiite Muslim Iran.
The attacks in Iraq have caused less damage but have all taken place near US military, diplomatic or civilian installations, raising suspicions they were part of a campaign.
A rocket landed near the US embassy in Baghdad last month causing no damage or casualties. The United States had already evacuated hundreds of diplomatic staff from the embassy, citing unspecified threats from Iran.
Iran backs a number of Iraqi Shiite militias which have grown more powerful after helping defeat Daesh.
Iraqi officials say that threats from Iran cited by Washington when it sent additional forces to the Middle East last month included the positioning by Iran-backed militias of rockets near US forces.
Rockets hit on or near three separate military bases housing US forces near Baghdad and in the northern city of Mosul in three separate attacks since Friday.Image: Section: RegionDisplay Lead for: SectionAgency: ReutersImage Position: Right
UNITED NATIONS, United States — UN chief Antonio Guterres called on Russia and Turkey Tuesday to "stabilise the situation" in the Syrian province of Idlib, rocked by intense fighting that the UN body warned is creating a humanitarian disaster.
"I am deeply concerned about the escalation of the fighting in Idlib and the situation is especially dangerous given the involvement of an increased number of actors. Yet again civilians are paying a horrific price," Guterres told reporters.
His comments came ahead of a UN Security Council session on Tuesday to discuss the situation.
The world is facing "a humanitarian disaster unfolding before our eyes", Mark Lowcock, the UN's humanitarian chief, told the council.
Parts of Aleppo, Hama and Idlib — the last bastion of extremist forces in Syria — are supposed to be protected from a massive regime offensive by a buffer zone deal that Russia and Turkey signed in September.
But it was never fully implemented as militants refused to withdraw from a planned demilitarised zone.
In January, terrorist group Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS) — led by a former Al Qaeda affiliate — extended its administrative control over the region.
The Syrian government and allies have upped their bombardment of the region in Syria's northwest since late April.
Several diplomats indicated that the aim of the council meeting was to "renew attention" on Idlib and maintain pressure on Russia and Syria to stop their attacks.
Guterres appealed to Russia and Turkey, as signatories of the September deal, to stabilise the situation "without delay".
The latest meeting
"There is no military solution to the Syrian crisis. The solution must be political," he said, stressing the need to respect human rights and international humanitarian law "even in the fight against terrorism".
Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia responded that "we never attack civilian installations", and added that the September accord is being "fully implemented".
His Turkish counterpart disagreed.
According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 14 pro-government forces and 41 extremists and rebel fighters were killed in clashes on Tuesday.
The fighting flared on the edge of Hama province when HTS launched a dawn attack on regime positions, the observatory said.
UN Undersecretary General for Political and Peace-building Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo explained to the council the contrasting priorities of Russia and Turkey.
HTS's presence in the de-escalation area "is not tolerable" for Moscow, while for Ankara, "time is required to effectively isolate and address HTS's most hardline fighters", she said.
Tuesday's council meeting occurred at the request of Belgium, Germany, the US and Kuwait.
In May, the council held several meetings on Syria and the situation in Idlib.
Syria's war began in 2011 and has now claimed more than 370,000 lives. Several million more have been displaced.Image: Section: RegionDisplay Lead for: SectionAgency: AFPImage Position: Right
ISTANBUL — He does not like fighting, preaches reconciliation rather than confrontation, and campaigns through social media rather than television.
That approach has made Ekrem Imamoglu, the opposition candidate in this week’s rerun vote for Istanbul mayor, the antithesis of the man who has dominated Turkish politics for much of the past two decades: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Throughout his career, Erdogan has made a virtue of political street-fighting, often accusing opponents of links to terror groups or seeking to undermine the country.
Imamoglu seems to have come from nowhere in the last few months with a radically different approach: “I have never fought in my life but have never been beaten either,” he tells rallies.
In a country deeply divided between secularists and religious conservatives, Imamoglu’s decision to use unifying rhetoric has been a breath of fresh air for many voters.
It is starkly different from the style of previous figures from his Republican People’s Party (CHP).
In 2018, for example, when the CHP’s Muharrem Ince challenged Erdogan in the presidential election, his tough-talking oratory was taken straight out of his opponent’s playbook.
‘I see hope’
Even after being controversially stripped of his narrow victory in the March mayoral election — forcing this Sunday’s rerun — Imamoglu has still tried to keep the mood positive.
That decision by the election authorities followed claims of “serious corruption” by Erdogan, whose political party and its predecessors have controlled the metropolis for 25 years.
Despite huge anger among his supporters, Imamoglu did not call people out on to the streets, although there were some small protests. Intead, he vowed to fight to get back “what we have already won”.
“There is no need for protests or that kind of action. This is not our method,” he told AFP in an interview. “We will fight for democracy at the ballot box.”
The imagery and messaging has clear parallels to positive campaigns from around the world, with photos that recall the iconic posters of Barack Obama from his 2008 presidential run.
“I look at the people of Istanbul and I see hope. You know what hope is? To see the light even in the dark,” Imamoglu said when he kicked off the latest campaign in May.
Born in 1970 in the Black Sea coastal city of Trabzon in northeast Turkey, Imamoglu worked in the family construction business before entering local politics a decade ago.
Elected mayor of Istanbul’s Beylikduzu district in 2014, Imamoglu was almost unknown at the beginning of the March campaign when his party fielded him as a surprise candidate for the mega-city of 15 million people.
Although he was not running himself, Erdogan dominated the airwaves.
The president’s almost daily speeches described the local elections as crucial to the nation’s survival as he called on voters to back his party’s candidate, former prime minister Binali Yildirim.
Anthony Skinner, director at the risk assessment firm Verisk Maplecroft, said Imamoglu’s focus on inclusivity, dignity and compassion — coupled with his record as a competent administrator — accounts for his large and expanded base of support in Istanbul.
“Imamoglu has risen from being a relatively obscure underdog prior to the abortive March [vote] to the chief flag-bearer of hope for constituents across Turkey who do not support the AKP” and it’s right-wing ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
‘Night and day’
Although he has recently found some space in mainstream media, which is often accused of following the government line, Imamoglu has been forced to focus primarily on social media.
“My people are already following me from the screen in their hands,” Imamoglu said.
Zilan Karakurt, who regularly films live videos of Imamoglu’s campaign, described social media as their primary weapon.
“The state of Turkey’s media is well known. We couldn’t find enough space ahead of the March 31 campaign,” he told AFP between rallies.
“Social media is right now the biggest strength in our hands, so we’ve been using it effectively since the very beginning.”
Karakurt said Imamoglu’s popularity had grown enormously since being stripped of his election victory. His clips had gone from around 25-30,000 views in March to a million or more. His Twitter following had also grown dramatically, from 350,000 to 2.6 million.
The difference between his first campaign and the one for the rerun, said Karakurt, had been like “night and day”.
Some pro-government outlets have tried to suggest that Imamoglu is backed by Turkey’s historic rival, Greece — or even that he is secretly Greek himself.
But such tactics appear to have backfired, said Skinner.
“The fact that Imamoglu has largely resisted being drawn into a dirty campaign of mud-slinging is strength and differentiates him from other politicians in Turkey,” Skinner said.
Karakurt meanwhile, remained confident about Imamoglu’s style.
“We believe a positive campaign will always win because the truth always wins... Our mayor has changed the language in politics.”Image: Section: RegionDisplay Lead for: SectionAgency: AFPImage Position: Right
AMMAN — Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Tareq Hammouri on Wednesday stressed the importance of boosting Jordanian-Singaporean cooperation especially in the fields of trade, economy and investment.
In his address to the Jordanian-Singaporean Business Forum held on the sidelines of His Majesty King Abdullah’s visit to Singapore with the participation of representatives from the Jordanian and Singaporean private sectors, Hammouri highlighted the two countries' “willingness” to increase trade exchange and investments in light of their capabilities.
Singapore is regarded a model in businesses and economic development, he added, as it has achieved remarkable progress within a relatively short span of time to become one of the world’s most developed economies, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
He also touched on the Kingdom's reforms implemented for achieving economic stability and improving the business environment in light of the challenges facing the region, starting with the easing of regulations that attract foreign investors through granting customs and tax exemptions in addition to lifting restrictions on the capital value of foreign investments in free zones.
"Jordan digitisation" tops the government's agenda, he said, emphasising that the government takes into consideration automating the services related to companies' registration, noting the launch of 34 services in 2018.
About 90 per cent of the e-services are expected to be completed by the end of 2019, Petra added.
Jordan is a hub for various neighbouring countries, he said, adding that the Kingdom and Singapore should work hand in hand to bridge the trade balance gap, pointing out that Jordanian exports to Singapore reached $6 million in 2018 compared with $27 million in imports from Singapore.
Haitham Rawajbeh, the Jordan Chamber of Commerce’s (JCC) representative of the ICT sector, called for building on the King's visit to Singapore and drawing on Singaporean experience of using technology in all sectors and services, underlining that Jordan with its investment privileges and human resources is capable of becoming a regional centre in this field, according to a JCC statement.
The Royal visit to Singapore paves the way for businesspeople and opens new prospects of cooperation between Jordanian and Singaporean companies, Rawajbeh, who is a member in the Jordanian and delegation in Singapore, said.
Ten companies working in the field of IT will take part in the Jordanian- Singaporean Business Forum, scheduled to coincide with the King's visit, the statement added.Section: LocalJournalists: JTImage Position: Full Width
AMMAN — Despite Jordan’s generous welcoming and support of over 660,000 Syrian refugees over the last eight years, hosting large numbers of displaced people is a challenge in any country; placing a heavy burden on economies that are already struggling to survive, and leaving Syrians in a state of uncertainty and economic adversity.
No one feels this way more than Sleiman, a Syrian refugee living in Irbid, some 90 kilometres north of Amman, where around 70,00 Syrian refugees live.
“I feel like my hands are tied most of the time. I want to work and allow my family to live comfortably just like everyone else, but I left home with nothing, and there’s nothing that I can do about it,” he reflects.
Sleiman’s frustrations are not unusual. Back in his hometown of Daraa, southern Syria, he worked as an electrician where he had a roof over his head and was able to make a decent living to provide for his wife and four children. But in Jordan, work opportunities for refugees are scarce, and life often leaves him feeling too powerless to help. And while he does his best to try and rebuild his life, he often falls short.
Like the majority of the Syrian refugees living in Jordan, Sleiman’s family lives below the poverty line and relied for many years on cash assistance from the UNHCR to survive. But with four children, a wife and a mother to take care of, it was barely enough to cover basic living expenses including food, rent and transportation.
After living in Jordan for five years, Sleiman’s family was rotated off of UNHCR cash assistance in order to make room for new households to receive support. According to him, cash assistance was a blessing because it meant he had money — albeit a small amount — regularly coming in every month even if he could not find any work opportunities.
This made it crucial for Sleiman to find a job, “any job” he says. However, the number of Syrians legally employed in Jordan is low, forcing the majority to work in the informal sector, where wages are low and conditions are very difficult and physically challenging.
As part of a partnership with the UNHCR, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) in Jordan receives lists of households recently rotated off of cash assistance to target, for support accessing wage employment, skills development training or small grants to purchase tools to work as self-employed individuals.
Sleiman’s name was on the list, and after assessing his skills and needs, the DRC determined that he was eligible for support, and began with giving him a number of training courses. The trainings were aimed at increasing his ability to manage his finances, and included topics such as financial literacy, household savings and a few others similar trainings.
At the beginning of the refugee crisis, the focus of most aid organisations was to help refugees survive by providing shelter, cash assistance, food, etc. Now the focus shifted to helping them find work opportunities, receive vocational education or start their own businesses in order to become self-reliant. However, despite large-scale efforts such as the Jordan Compact to ease the process of working legally, many refugees still find it difficult to find decent employment and navigate the process of acquiring a work permit.
With that in mind, the DRC provides two forms of livelihood assistance by helping individuals like Sleiman obtain a work permit in the construction sector as well as providing a small grant to access the tools he needs to find decent work. Sleiman received his work permit in 2018 and he can now work formally in Jordan without having to worry about being caught. “I no longer have to hide from the police or authorities whenever I’m working just to avoid being fired,” he said.
It has been a few months now since Sleiman received the grant and started working formally as an electrician, and while he still sometimes struggles to find regular work opportunities, he says the difference between his life then and now is incomparable.
“My earnings have increased because I’m working formally and I’m aware of all my rights. The difference that a small piece of paper can make is incredible,” he said.
Providing the opportunity to refugees to find decent work not only decreases dependency on humanitarian assistance, but positively affects the Jordanian economy.
When given the opportunity to rebuild their lives, people who come from tough circumstances often grab the opportunity in both hands and go on to make incredible contributions to their community.
“We don’t want to be handed money,” said Sleiman. “We just want to be allowed to work and make our own money just like we did back home.”
(The Danish Refugee Council contributed this article to The Jordan Times on the occasion of World Refugee Day)Section: LocalJournalists: DRCImage Position: Full Width
FUJAIRAH, United Arab Emirates — A Japanese tanker attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week was damaged by a limpet mine resembling Iranian mines, the US military in the Middle East said on Wednesday.
“The limpet mine that was used in the attack is distinguishable and it is also strikingly bearing a resemblance to Iranian mines that have already been publicly displayed in Iranian military parades,” Commander Sean Kido of US Naval Forces Central Command said.
Kido told reporters in the UAE emirate of Fujairah that the US military has recovered “biometric information” of the assailants on the Japanese ship Kokuka Courageous including “hand and finger prints”.
This information “can be used to build a criminal case”, Kido told reporters.
Two oil tankers were partially damaged in an attack close to the Iranian coast on June 13, just outside the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
“Right now, there is an ongoing joint and combined investigation with our regional partners into the attacks on motor vessel Kokuka Courageous as well as motor vessel Front Altair,” Kido said.
Kido said that based on NAVCENT assessment, Japanese tanker Kokuka Courageous was damaged by a limpet mine that was attached to the skin of the vessel.
“The limpet mine was placed above the water, and it does not appear that the intention was to sink the vessel,” he said.
He reiterated US claims that an Iranian revolutionary guard patrol vessel approached the Japanese ship and removed an unexploded limpet mine from the hull.
The two vessels have already been towed safely to the UAE coast.
Iran has categorically denied any hand in the attack, the second on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in a month.
On May 12, four tankers, two of them Saudi, were damaged in a “sabotage attack” off the coast of Fujairah.
Kido said a US military team quickly arrived on the Japanese ship on June 13 and was able to examine the site where the limpet mine was attached to the ship as well as the site where the damage occurred.
“The damage at the blast hull is consistent with a limpet mine. It is not consistent with an external flying object striking the ship,” Kido said.
In addition, the team was able to recover fragmentation caused by the detonation of the limpet mine, which was composed of aluminium as well as composite material.Image: Section: WorldDisplay Lead for: SectionAgency: AFPImage Position: Right
الرياض (رويترز) – كشف تقرير للأمم المتحدة نُشر اليوم الأربعاء أنه قبل لحظات من مقتل الصحفي السعودي جمال خاشقجي وتجزئة جسده في أكتوبر تشرين الأول كان اثنان من القتلة المشتبه بهم ينتظران في قنصلية المملكة في اسطنبول وسط حالة من القلق بشأن المهمة الوشيكة التي بانتظارهما.
وجاء في تقرير لمقررة الأمم المتحدة الخاصة بالإعدام خارج نطاق القضاء أن ماهر المطرب وهو ضابط بالمخابرات السعودية وكان يعمل مع مستشار كبير لولي عهد السعودية تساءل قائلا هل ”من الممكن وضع الجذع في حقيبة؟“.
ورد صلاح الطبيقي وهو طبيب شرعي بوزارة الداخلية متهم بتقطيع الجثة والتخلص منها قائلا ”لا. إنه ثقيل جدا“. وعبر الطبيقي عن أمله في أن تكون مهمته ”سهلة“.
وواصل الطبيقي قائلا : ”سيتم بتر الأطراف. هذه ليست مشكلة. الجثة ثقيلة. هذه أول مرة أقوم بالتقطيع على الأرض. إذا أخذنا أكياسا بلاستيكية وقطعناها (الجثة) إلى أجزاء سينتهي الأمر. سنقوم بلف كل جزء منها“.
ويحاكم المطرب وعشرة آخرون حاليا في جلسات مغلقة في السعودية لدورهم في الجريمة.
ورفض وزير الدولة السعودي للشؤون الخارجية عادل الجبير تقرير المحققة ووصفه بأنه لا يحمل أي جديد.
وأضاف في تغريدة على تويتر ”يتضمن تقرير المقررة في مجلس حقوق الإنسان تناقضات واضحة وادعاءات لا أساس لها تطعن في مصداقيته“.
ويطالب التقرير بالتحقيق مع ولي عهد السعودية الأمير محمد بن سلمان ومسؤولين سعوديين آخرين فيما يتعلق بمسؤوليتهم عن قتل خاشقجي. ويعتمد التقرير على تسجيلات وأعمال بحث جنائي قام بها محققون أتراك ومعلومات من محاكمات للمشتبه بهم في السعودية.
وكانت آخر مرة شوهد فيها خاشقجي، الذي كان ينتقد الأمير محمد وكان يكتب مقالات في صحيفة واشنطن بوست، عند القنصلية السعودية في اسطنبول في الثاني من أكتوبر تشرين الأول حيث كان سيتسلم وثائق قبل زواجه.
وقد خلص التقرير إلى أن مقتل خاشقجي كان متعمدا ومدبرا. وتعتقد وكالة المخابرات المركزية الأمريكية (سي.آي.إيه) وبعض الدول الغربية بأن ولي العهد أمر بقتل خاشقجي وهو ما ينفيه المسؤولون السعوديون.
ونشرت تقارير إعلامية محتويات بعض التسجيلات التي حصلت عليها من داخل القنصلية لكن تقرير الأمم المتحدة يكشف عن تفاصيل جديدة تقشعر لها الأبدان.
وفي نهاية الحوار مع الطبيقي سأل المطرب إن كان ”خروف العيد“ قد وصل. ولم يشر الحوار إلى خاشقجي بالاسم ولكن بعد ذلك بدقيقتين دخل المبنى.
وبعد دخول خاشقجي المبنى تم اصطحابه إلى مكتب القنصل العام في الطابق الثاني حيث التقى مع المطرب الذي كان يعرفه عندما كانا يعملان سويا في السفارة السعودية في لندن قبل سنوات.
وطلب المطرب من خاشقجي أن يبعث لابنه رسالة نصية على الموبايل.
ورد خاشقجي قائلا ”ما الذي أقوله له؟ أراك قريبا؟ لا أستطيع أن أقول إني مخطوف“.
وجاء الرد قائلا ”اختصر.. اخلع معطفك“.
وقال خاشقجي ”كيف يمكن أن يحدث هذا في سفارة؟.. لن أكتب أي شيء“.
وقال المطرب ”اكتبها (الرسالة) يا سيد جمال. أسرع. ساعدنا حتى نستطيع مساعدتك لأننا سنعود بك إلى السعودية في نهاية الأمر وإذا لم تساعدنا فأنت تعرف ما الذي سيحدث في النهاية; لننهي المسألة على خير“.
ويقول التقرير إن بقية التسجيلات تحتوي على أصوات حركة وأصوات لاهثة بشكل كبير وصوت أغطية بلاستيكية يتم لفها وهو ما خلصت إليه المخابرات التركية بعد مقتل خاشقجي بأن المسؤولين السعوديين قطّعوا جثته.