Ammon News, Main News

Trump to sanction Iranian ship ‘Saviz’ for role in Houthi attacks in Red Sea

[8/16/2018 6:16:52 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The Trump administration will take action against an Iranian ship that has been stationed at a key choke point in the Red Sea for months and is believed to be providing significant military and logistic aid to the Houthi militias Yemen. Washington Free Beacon website quoted on Tuesday US officials and military experts familiar with the situation as saying that the ship which is identified as “Saviz” is an Iranian ship believed to be masked as a cargo vessel has been identified as the “mother ship” stationed in the Red Sea providing targeting information for Houthi anti-ship attacks, which have increased in recent months, including a late July attack by Iranian-backed rebels on a Saudi oil tanker. The ship was delisted from US sanctions by the Obama administration as part of its efforts to uphold the landmark nuclear deal with Iran, US officials confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon. Upcoming Trump administration action against the Saviz and other Iranian vessels is part of a broader package of sanctions expected to kick back in on November 5, officials confirmed. Sanctions will target Iran’s port operations, shipping and shipbuilding sectors, and other affiliates. Saviz aids Houthi militias’ boats The Iranian ship “Saviz” , which has been anchored for more than a year in the Red Sea, near the Straits of Bab al-Mandeb in international waters, according to satellite shows, where the ship, which has been carrying commercial containers officially, since mid-2017. Following the comments by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander Nasser Shabani on the commanding of the Houthi militias to strike two Saudi oil tankers near Bab al-Mandab, observers highlighted Iran’s role in threatening the navigation of the Red Sea through this sophisticated radar-equipped vessel and boats equipped with guns to guide militia boats. According to Iranian news outlets, many of the weapons handed over by the Iranian regime to the Houthi militias were carried out by speedboats from the same vessel. The boats were equipped with 23 mm ZU guns. Saviz itself is equipped with a radar rarely seen on cargo ships, but used to steer the Houthi militias’ boats when attacking Saudi oil tankers. The commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Qasim Suleimani, said that “the Red Sea is no longer safe,” referring to the attack by the Houthi militias, backed by Tehran, an attack on two Saudi oil tankers, indicating Iran’s involvement directly, threatening the navigation in the Red Sea by instructing their Houthi militias to attack tankers. US officials familiar with the Saviz’s actions in the Red Sea told the Free Beacon the Iranian vessel is barely attempting to obfuscate its military role in aiding Houthi rebels in Yemen. “The Iranians aren’t even trying to disguise the military use of the ship,” said one US official familiar, who was not authorized to speak on record about the situation. “You don’t need classified intelligence or satellite photos of the decks to know that merchant ships simply don’t act this way.” “If you’re moving goods, you don’t anchor in the same place for weeks at a time, let alone outside a war zone, let alone a war zone where militias are firing missiles at other ships,” the source said. “The Obama administration enabled the Saviz to sail globally. President Trump will put a stop to that.” The Iranian ship’s suspicious activities have been cited in recent months by US military experts and foreign governments, including the Saudi government, which has been targeted by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. “A ship like Saviz could carry [Iranian military] Qods Force command and control elements and host berthing and logistics, while controlling the activities of smaller, lower-profile craft,” according to J.E. Dyer, a retired Naval intelligence officier who recently published a lengthy analysis on the ship. “The maritime problem in a chokepoint is short-legged but very multifaceted. It’s time to get the sanctions game face back on, and pay Saviz or her sister ships a visit with a US cruiser or destroyer.” Military use of a commercial vessel For their part, US officials familiar with the movements of the ship “Saviz” in the Red Sea, told the Washington Free Beacon “It is certainly that the Iranian ship provides logistical support for the Houthis in Yemen.” An American official said “The Iranians are not even trying to hide the military use of the commercial ship.” US defense experts with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, or WINEP, also have cited the Saviz as providing potential support and logistics to Houthi rebels as they commit acts of terrorism in the region. WINEP’s experts have advocated that the Trump administration “direct more intelligence gathering against the Iranian ‘mothership’ Saviz, a cargo vessel moored off the Red Sea archipelago of Dahlak.” “The Iranian military is likely using the Saviz to provide targeting data for Houthi anti-shipping attacks,” according to WINEP. “Closer observation of the vessel and the threat of exposing its suspected intelligence role might be enough to make it leave the area. Alternatively, if authorities are able to prove its complicity in military activities, they may have a case for boarding and seizing it, which could yield further evidence that Iran is violating UN sanctions and supporting attacks on civilian vessels.” The Saudi government has been tracking the Saviz for more than a year and has documented its extended stay in the Red Sea, activity usual for a typical cargo ship. “Saviz appears to have remained there for extended periods in the months since,” Dyer noted in her analysis. “This is not the typical profile of a large, modern, ocean-going cargo ship, which would be expensively ill-employed lingering among islands in the southern Red Sea.” US officials confirm the Obama administration removed sanctions on the Saviz in January 2016, enabling its free travel across the region. Sanctions were lifted as part of US commitments agreed upon under the nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump recently abandoned, paving the way for new economic sanctions on Tehran. The Saviz is just one of numerous Iran-related vessels that received a pass from US sanctions in 2016. Sanctions on the Saviz and other Iranian vessels are set to be re-imposed by November 5, according to information published by the Treasury Department. US military officials with Central Command, or Centcom, which controls American operations in the region, declined Free Beacon requests for information on the Saviz and its operations. *Agencies

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UNRWA announces its schools for Palestinian refugees will open on time

[8/16/2018 6:13:43 AM]

AMMONNEWS - UNRWA announces its schools for Palestinian refugees will open on time.

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Summer conditions will prevail over weekend

[8/16/2018 6:14:40 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Normal summer conditions are expected to prevail Thursday and Friday across the Kingdom, with scattered low clouds in the central and northern parts, according to the Jordan Meteorological Department(JMD) daily brief. Daytime temperatures forecast for today in Amman and the northern cities will hover around 31 degrees Celsius dropping down to 22 in both areas, while in the southern governorates they will range between a high of 31 and a low of 19. The weather will be hotter in the port city of Aqaba with highs reaching 42 degrees and lows standing at 29, the JMD added. Similar weather conditions will continue on Saturday with scattered low- altitude clouds and northwesterly moderate winds, picking up at times, the department said further.

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Conviction of Jordanian Man Highlights the Reality of Honor Killings in the US

[8/15/2018 9:29:01 AM]

AMMONNEWS - A Jordanian man is awaiting sentencing for murder in an honor killing of two people in Texas. The trial has brought national attention to the practice of honor killings in the United States. It's something typically associated with Middle Eastern countries and within Muslim families. Relatives of the victims say in places where honor killings are accepted, they can be carried out by people even outside the immediate family. Ali , a Jordanian immigrant, participated in and had other family members help carry out, the honor killings of his daughter's husband and her close friend according to reports in The Houston Chronicle. *CBN

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Detainees in the Salt city operation face terror charges

[8/15/2018 9:26:26 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The State Security Court’s (SSC) prosecutor general indicted the suspects, detained in a joint security raid last Saturday in the city of Salt, with carrying out terrorist acts. The suspects have been charged with carrying out terrorist acts that led to the death of a person, possessing and manufacturing of explosives for use in illegal activities, and demolishing a building, a SSC source told Petra on Wednesday. The source said the investigations are still ongoing, and the SSC will begin proceedings of the public trial to announce rulings for the criminals if convicted. According to the Prevention of Terrorism Law of 2006 and its amendments, the charges of the detainees are punishable by death by hanging if convicted by the SSC.

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Gov’t amends fuel prices

[5/31/2018 5:34:35 PM]

AMMONNEWS - The government pricing committee on Thursday set the price of unleaded 90-octane gasoline at JD0.860 per litre for June instead of JD0.815, while unleaded 95-octane gasoline will be sold at JD0.1100 per litre instead of JD0.1050. Kerosene and solar were priced at JD0.645 per litre instead of JD 0.615, according to the committee. The committee noted that the price of gas cylinder will remain unchanged at JD7 despite their actual increase to JD8.60 internationally. The fuel pricing committee meets monthly to adjust fuel prices to correspond with a formula applied since February 2008 according to a Cabinet decision.

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King receives phone call from King of Bahrain

[5/7/2018 1:08:04 PM]

AMMONNEWS - His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday received a telephone call from His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain, during which they discussed bilateral relations and means of enhancing them as well as a number of regional issues.

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