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2021.04.04 國際新聞導讀-約旦破獲政變企圖、伊朗核協議各方下週維也納高峰會談、巴勒斯坦國會大選火熱、美國繼續自中東撤軍

外交官的國際新聞導覽及中東中亞的歷史故事 Diplomat's daily news review and history research on Middle East and Central Asia
2021-04-04
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封面圖片為約旦國王阿布都拉二世。片首片尾音樂提供者:溫啟道 約旦挫敗了推翻阿卜杜拉國王的陰謀- 在約旦很少逮捕高級官員和王室成員。 由KHALED ABU TOAMEH 2021年4月3日23:29 約旦 前王儲哈姆扎·本·侯賽因被軟禁,原因是有報導稱該國的安全部隊挫敗了對阿卜杜拉二世國王的政變。至少有20名約旦人因涉嫌政變而被捕。 根據《華盛頓郵報》的報導,在據稱密謀殺害阿卜杜拉二世國王的陰謀中,哈姆扎被限制在他的安曼宮中。 報告稱:“此舉是在發現宮殿官員所說的複雜而影響深遠的陰謀之後進行的,該陰謀包括至少一名其他約旦王室成員以及部落首領和該國安全機構的成員。” 約旦官方媒體最初報導說,Hamzah已被軟禁。 然而,後來有人引述約旦官員的話說:“與媒體報導相反,哈馬扎·本·侯賽因親王殿下並未遭到軟禁或拘留。” 哈姆扎(Hamzah)是已故的侯賽因國王和他在美國出生的妻子努爾皇后(Queen Noor)的長子。他於1999年被任命為約旦王儲,直到他的同父異母兄弟阿卜杜拉二世國王於2004年廢除該職位。 坦率地批評約旦腐敗的哈姆扎(Hamzah)呼籲追究責任者。 約旦的消息來源說,一支龐大的安全部隊在下午突襲了安曼的哈姆扎的宮殿,並下達了一項軟禁令。 消息人士說,Hamzah的許多同夥,包括其辦公室主任Yasser Suleiman al-Majali,均被約旦情報總局的官員逮捕。他們補充說,哈姆扎宮的負責人阿德南·阿布·哈馬德(Adnan Abu Hammad)也被拘留。 其他消息人士說,約旦安全部隊撤回了哈姆扎的安全細節。 Hamzah辦公室被拘留主任的親戚Rasheed al-Majali說,數名全副武裝的安全人員參與了逮捕。 他說:“他們帶著武器面對婦女和兒童,並將亞西(al-Majali)帶到一個未公開的地點。” “亞瑟(Yasser)患有心臟疾病,需要全天候服用各種藥物。” 馬賈利(Majali)是總部設在Al-Karak鎮的約旦著名政治家族。家庭成員從西岸希伯倫市移居到約旦。該家庭的一些成員以前曾在約旦擔任高級職務。前總理是哈扎·馬賈利(Hazza'Majali)和阿卜杜勒薩蘭·馬哈里(Abdelsalam al-Majali)中的兩個。 約旦官方通訊社佩特拉發表的聲明說:“約旦公民哈桑·本·扎伊德(Hassan bin Zaid),巴瑟姆·易卜拉欣·阿瓦達拉(Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah)和其他人因安全原因而被捕。” 聲明沒有提及所謂的推翻約旦君主或哈姆扎的陰謀。該機構說:“逮捕是在密切的安全跟進之後進行的,並且出於安全原因而被執行。” 本·扎伊德(Bin Zaid)是約旦王室成員。 出生於耶路撒冷的約旦公民阿瓦達拉(Awadallah)曾擔任阿卜杜拉二世國王辦公室主任和皇家哈希姆法院院長。阿瓦達拉還曾是約旦的一個非正式沙特阿拉伯使節,據說與利雅得王室保持著密切聯繫。 美國國務院週六說,阿卜杜拉國王是美國的“重要夥伴”,“得到我們的全力支持”。 國務院發言人內德·普里斯(Ned Price)在一封電子郵件中說:“我們正在密切關注這些報導,並與約旦官員保持聯繫。阿卜杜拉國王是美國的重要夥伴,他得到我們的全力支持。” 海灣合作委員會秘書長在星期六的一份聲明中說,海灣合作委員會與約旦一道,並採取一切措施維護其安全與穩定。 另外,巴林國王哈馬德·本·伊薩·哈利法國王也表示支持約旦國王阿卜杜拉,並表示“他採取措施維護兄弟般的約旦的安全與穩定,並化解一切企圖影響他們的努力”。 埃及總統府發言人在臉書上寫道,埃及也在周六表示支持約旦國王阿卜杜拉(Abdullah)及其努力,“以維持王國的安全與穩定,防止任何破壞埃及的企圖。” Jordan reportedly foils plot to topple King Abdullah Arrests of top officials and royal family members are rare in Jordan. By KHALED ABU TOAMEH APRIL 3, 2021 23:29 Former Jordanian Crown Prince Hamzah bin Hussein has been placed under house arrest amid reports that the kingdom’s security forces have foiled a coup against King Abdullah II. At least 20 Jordanians have been arrested in connection with the alleged coup. According to The Washington Post, Hamzah was placed under restriction at his Amman palace amid an alleged plot to unseat King Abdullah II. “The move followed the discovery of what palace officials described as a complex and far-reaching plot that included at least one other Jordanian royal, as well as tribal leaders and members of the country’s security establishment,” the report said. The official Jordanian media initially reported that Hamzah has been placed under house arrest. Later, however, a Jordanian official was quoted as saying that “His Royal Highness, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein was not under house arrest or detention, contrary to reports in the media.” Hamzah is the elder son of the late King Hussein and his American-born wife, Queen Noor. He was named Crown Prince of Jordan in 1999, a position he held until his half-brother, King Abdullah II, rescinded it in 2004. Hamzah, an outspoken critic of corruption in Jordan, had called for holding those responsible to account. Sources in Jordan said that a large security force raided Hamzah’s palace in Amman in the afternoon and handed him a house arrest order. A number of Hamzah’s associates, including the director of his office, Yasser Suleiman al-Majali, were arrested by officers belonging to the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate, the sources said. The director of Hamzah’s palace, Adnan Abu Hammad, was also taken into custody, they added. Other sources said that the Jordanian security forces withdrew the security detail of Hamzah. Rasheed al-Majali, a relative of the detained director of Hamzah’s office, said that several heavily-armed security officers took part in the arrest. “They drew their weapons in the face of women and children and took Yasser [al-Majali] to an undisclosed location,” he said. “Yasser has a heart issue and needs various round-the-clock medication.” Majali is a prominent Jordanian political family based in the town of Al-Karak. Members of the family emigrated to Jordan from the West Bank city of Hebron. Some members of the family previously served in senior positions in Jordan. Two of them, Hazza’ Majali and Abdelsalam al-Majali, are former prime ministers. A statement published by Jordan’s official news agency Petra said that “Jordanian citizens Hassan bin Zaid, Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah and others were arrested for security reasons.” The statement did not make any reference to the alleged plot to overthrow the Jordanian monarch or to Hamzah. “The arrest was made after close security follow-up and was executed for security reasons,” the agency said. Bin Zaid is a member of the royal family in Jordan. Awadallah, a Jordanian citizen born in Jerusalem, previously served as Director of the Office of King Abdullah II and Chief of the Royal Hashemite Court. Awadallah also served as an unofficial Jordanian envoy to Saudi Arabia and is said to maintain close ties with the royal family in Riyadh. The US State Department said on Saturday that King Abdullah is a "key partner" of the United States and "has our full support." In an email, State Department spokesman Ned Price said, "We are closely following the reports and in touch with Jordanian officials. King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support." The Gulf Cooperation Council's secretary-general said in a statement on Saturday that the GCC stands with Jordan and all its measures to maintain its security and stability. Separately, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa also voiced his support for Jordan's King Abdullah and "his measures to maintain security and stability in brotherly Jordan, and defuse every attempt to influence them," state news agency (BNA) reported. Egypt also voiced its support on Saturday for Jordan's King Abdullah and his efforts "to maintain the security and stability of the kingdom against any attempts to undermine it," Egypt's presidency spokesman wrote on Facebook. 伊朗外交部拒絕“逐步”取消制裁 伊朗外交部發言人賽義德·哈蒂布扎德週六表示,德黑蘭反對逐步放鬆制裁。 由路透社 2021年4月3日17:55 布什爾主核反應堆伊朗概覽 (照片來源:REUTERS / RAHEB HOMAVANDI) 伊朗外交部周六表示,伊朗希望美國取消所有制裁措施,並拒絕任何只是「逐步的」限制放鬆措施,伊朗計劃在下周於維也納舉行有關恢復德黑蘭與全球大國之間的2015年核協議的計劃會談。 法國敦促伊朗在與華盛頓進行的間接談判中表現出建設性立場,這將是更廣泛談判的一部分。 伊朗外交部發言人賽義德·哈蒂布扎德說,德黑蘭反對逐步放鬆制裁。 卡蒂布扎德對國家廣播公司新聞電視台說:“沒有分步計劃被考慮。” “伊朗伊斯蘭共和國的最終政策是取消所有美國製裁。” 前總統唐納德·特朗普(Donald Trump)在2018年將美國從核協議中撤出,並對伊朗實施制裁,促使德黑蘭違反了該協議的某些核限制。 特朗普的繼任者喬·拜登(Joe Biden)想恢復該協議,但華盛頓和德黑蘭在誰應該邁出第一步方面一直存在分歧。 美國國務院表示,維也納會談的重點將是“伊朗必須採取核步驟,才能恢復遵守核協議”。 伊朗,中國,俄羅斯,法國,德國和英國-2015年協議的所有各方-週五舉行了虛擬會談,討論美國可能重返該協定。 法國外交大臣讓·伊夫·勒·德里安(Jean-Yves Le Drian)在周六與伊朗外長穆罕默德·賈瓦德·扎里夫(Mohammad Javad Zarif)通話後,在一份聲明中表示,他已要求伊朗避免進一步違反其核承諾。 勒德里安說:“我鼓勵伊朗在即將進行的討論中發揮建設性作用。” “它們的目的是幫助在未來幾週內確定將需要採取的步驟,以便恢復對核交易的全面遵守。” 扎里夫(Zarif)在關於電話的推文中說:“我呼籲法國遵守該協定下的承諾,並停止遵守美國施加的非法制裁。” Iran's foreign ministry rejects 'step-by-step' lifting of sanctions Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Saturday that Tehran was opposed to any gradual easing of sanctions. By REUTERS APRIL 3, 2021 17:55 Iran wants the United States to lift all sanctions and rejects any "step-by-step" easing of restrictions, the foreign ministry said on Saturday ahead of planned talks in Vienna next week on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and global powers. The comments came as France urged Iran to show a constructive stance in the indirect talks with Washington in the Austrian capital, which will be part of broader negotiations. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that Tehran opposed any gradual easing of sanctions. "No step-by-step plan is being considered," Khatibzadeh told state broadcaster Press TV. "The definitive policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifting of all U.S. sanctions." Former president Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear pact in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to breach some of the accord's nuclear restrictions. Trump's successor Joe Biden wants to revive the agreement but Washington and Tehran have been at odds over who should take the first step. The U.S. State Department has said the focus of the Vienna talks will be on "the nuclear steps that Iran would need to take in order to return to compliance" with the nuclear accord. Iran, China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain - all parties to the 2015 deal - held virtual talks on Friday to discuss the possible return of the United States to the accord. Following a call with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement that he had asked Iran to avoid further violations of its nuclear commitments. "I encouraged Iran to be constructive in the discussions that are set to take place," Le Drian said. "They are meant to help identify in the coming weeks the steps that will be needed in order to return to full compliance with the nuclear deal." In a tweet about the phone call, Zarif said: "I called on France to honor its commitments under the accord, and to cease abiding by illegal sanctions imposed by the US." 在以巴勒斯坦權力機構主席阿巴斯(Mahmoud Abbas)為首的執政派向巴勒斯坦中央選舉委員會(CEC)提交了即將舉行的議會選舉的候選人名單之後,法塔赫的分裂加劇了。 一些巴勒斯坦人周六說,緊張局勢加劇標誌著對阿巴斯和資深法塔赫領導人的空前叛變的開始。 一些法塔赫活動家和知名人士指責阿巴斯將他們排除在派別的官方名單之外。有些人甚至公開譴責阿巴斯是“獨裁者”,而法塔赫和巴勒斯坦權力機構則是一個單人表演。 法塔赫革命委員會成員說:“阿巴斯總統正面臨真正的叛亂。” “許多法塔赫活動家對選舉名單不滿意,併計劃投票支持其他政黨。” 同時,法塔赫候選人扎卡里亞·塔爾馬斯(Zakaria al-Talmas)警告說,他的派系正面臨許多外國情報機構和其他政黨的“大陰謀”。他沒有提供有關涉嫌同謀者的詳細信息。 在約旦河西岸的某些地區,法塔赫持槍者走上街頭表達了他們反對清單的反對意見,該清單已於上週三提交給了CEC。 在傑寧,數十名法塔赫持槍者宣布他們已暫停加入該派系。槍手向空中開槍,指責阿巴斯和法塔赫領導層將其許多支持者從名單中排除。 法塔赫高級活動家穆罕默德·薩巴格(Mohammed al-Sabbagh)向阿巴斯呼籲成立調查委員會,以確定在傑寧地區“陰謀”反對派系代表的人的身份。薩巴赫(Sabbagh)指控法塔赫領導層中的“有影響力的人”在各派支持者之間撒下不和並破壞了團結。 在希伯倫附近的Fawwar難民營中,身份不明的持槍者向定於5月22日舉行的法塔赫活動家齊亞德·哈莫茲(Ziyad al-Hamouz)的住所開槍,他的名字出現在議會選舉名單上。哈穆茲說,至少有九發子彈打他的家,打碎窗戶,損壞其中一扇門。沒人受傷。 法塔赫領導人在拉馬拉的CEC辦公室展示了派系名單後不久發生了槍擊事件。 在耶路撒冷以北的舒法特難民營中,縱火犯縱火燒毀了由法塔赫領先活動家,前議會巴勒斯坦立法委員會成員吉哈德·阿布·茲尼德(Jihad Abu Zneid)領導的婦女中心。 該事件發生在星期五早上,也被認為與民意調查之前著名的法塔赫活動家之間的糾紛有關。 Shuafat由聯合國巴勒斯坦難民救濟和工作局(UNRWA)於1965年建立,是位於耶路撒冷市範圍內的唯一難民營。 法塔赫資深官員,前巴勒斯坦權力機構部長哈特姆·阿卜杜勒·卡德爾(Hatem Abdel Qader)抱怨說,東耶路撒冷只有兩名候選人在該派的名單上。他指控:“法塔赫領導層並不關心耶路撒冷。” 來自東耶路撒冷的另一名法塔赫高級官員塔拉勒·阿布·阿菲菲(Talal Abu Afifeh)也抱怨耶路撒冷阿拉伯人在該派名單中缺乏代表權。他說:“可悲的是,被佔領的首都耶路撒冷沒有在名單中得到充分代表。” “另一方面,名單上的弱勢人物對法塔赫而言並不好。我相信法塔赫在擁有132個成員的巴勒斯坦立法委員會中不會贏得超過30個席位。” 法塔赫的危機在派係被監禁的領導人馬萬·巴爾古提(Marwan Barghouti)決定與納賽爾·基德瓦(Nasser al-Kidwa)聯手後,達到頂峰。 基德瓦(Kidwa)在宣布打算組成自己的議會選舉名單後,最近被法塔赫(Fatah)開除。許多巴勒斯坦人認為,Barghouti-Kidwa聯盟是對阿巴斯統治法塔赫的主要威脅。 因在第二次起義期間在恐怖襲擊中的作用而在以色列監獄服刑5年,並被判處40年徒刑的巴爾古提(Barghouti)沒有參加議會選舉。相反,他的妻子Fadwa Barghouti在Barghouti-Kidwa名單上排名第二。 巴爾古蒂的同夥表示,他正計劃提出定於7月31日舉行的巴勒斯坦權力機構總統選舉的候選人資格。 第三次與法塔赫有聯繫的與議會選舉有關的名單由阿巴斯的競爭對手穆罕默德·達赫蘭(Mohammed Dahlan)領導, 他是10年前被法塔赫驅逐出境的。該名單被稱為Al-Mustaqbal(未來),由來自西岸,加沙地帶和東耶路撒冷的數十名心懷不滿的法塔赫活動分子組成。 “法塔赫的房屋著火了,”西岸法塔赫高級官員西爾漢·德威卡特(Sirhan Dweikat)警告說。“那些點燃大火的人必須撲滅大火。法塔赫正在吞噬自己的兒子。法塔赫在燃燒。” Palestinian Elections: Abbas faces ‘revolt’ over Fatah’s electoral list Some Palestinians said on Saturday that the mounting tensions marked the beginning of an unprecedented mutiny against Abbas and the veteran Fatah leadership. By KHALED ABU TOAMEH APRIL 3, 2021 22:52 Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas (photo credit: FLASH90) Advertisement The schism in Fatah has deepened after the ruling faction, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, submitted its list of candidates for the upcoming parliamentary election to the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC). Some Palestinians said on Saturday that the mounting tensions marked the beginning of an unprecedented mutiny against Abbas and the veteran Fatah leadership. Several Fatah activists and prominent figures accused Abbas of excluding them from the faction’s official list. Some went as far as publicly denouncing Abbas as a “dictator” running Fatah and the PA as a one-man show. “President Abbas is facing a real rebellion,” said a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council. “Many Fatah activists are unhappy with the electoral list and are planning to vote for other parties.” Fatah candidate Zakaria al-Talmas, meanwhile, warned that his faction was facing a “big conspiracy” by a number of foreign intelligence agencies and other parties. He did not provide details about the alleged conspirators. In some parts of the West Bank, Fatah gunmen took to the streets to voice their opposition to the list, which was presented to the CEC last Wednesday. In Jenin, scores of Fatah gunmen announced that they have suspended their membership in the faction. Firing a volley of shots into the air, the gunmen accused Abbas and the Fatah leadership of excluding many of their supporters from the list. Mohammed al-Sabbagh, a senior Fatah activist, appealed to Abbas to form a commission of inquiry to determine the identity of those who “conspired” against the faction’s representatives in the Jenin area. Sabbagh accused “influential people” in the Fatah leadership of sowing discord and undermining unity among the faction’s supporters. Latest articles from Jpost Top Articles In the Fawwar refugee camp near Hebron, unidentified gunmen opened fire at the home of Ziyad al-Hamouz, a Fatah activist whose name appeared on the list for the parliamentary election, set to take place on May 22. Hamouz said that at least nine bullets hit his home, shattering windows and damaging one of the doors. No one was hurt. The shooting incident occurred shortly after Fatah leaders presented their faction’s list to the CEC offices in Ramallah. In the Shuafat refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, arsonists set fire to a women’s center headed by Jihad Abu Zneid, a leading Fatah activist and former member of the parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council. The incident, which took place on Friday morning, is also believed to be related to disputes among prominent Fatah activists ahead of the polls. Established by the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in 1965, Shuafat is the only refugee camp located within the boundaries of the Jerusalem Municipality. Hatem Abdel Qader, a veteran Fatah official and former PA minister, complained that only two candidates from east Jerusalem were on the faction’s list. “The Fatah leadership does not care about Jerusalem,” he charged. Another senior Fatah official from east Jerusalem, Talal Abu Afifeh, also complained about the lack of representation of Jerusalem Arabs in the faction’s list. “Sadly, Jerusalem, the occupied capital, is not sufficiently represented in the list,” he said. “On the other hand, the presence of weak figures on the list does not bode well for Fatah. I believe that Fatah won’t win more than 30 seats in the 132-member Palestinian Legislative Council.” The crisis in Fatah reached its peak last week after the faction’s jailed leader, Marwan Barghouti, decided to join forces with Nasser al-Kidwa, a nephew of Yasser Arafat and former PA foreign minister. Kidwa was recently expelled from Fatah after announcing his intention to form his own list for the parliamentary election. The Barghouti-Kidwa alliance is seen by many Palestinians as a major threat to Abbas’s rule over Fatah. Barghouti, who is serving a five-life term sentence plus 40 years in an Israeli prison for his role in terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada, is not running in the parliamentary election. Instead, his wife, Fadwa Barghouti, is No. 2 on the Barghouti-Kidwa list. Barghouti’s associates said that he is planning to present his candidacy for the PA presidential election, slated for July 31. A third Fatah-affiliated list contesting the parliamentary election is headed by Mohammed Dahlan, an archrival of Abbas who was expelled from Fatah 10 years ago. The list, called Al-Mustaqbal (The Future), consists of dozens of disgruntled Fatah activists from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. “The Fatah house is on fire,” warned Sirhan Dweikat, a senior Fatah official in the West Bank. “Those who ignited the fire must extinguish it. Fatah is devouring its own sons. Fatah is burning.” 美國在胡迪無人機襲擊中拆除海灣防空電池-報告 報告稱,撤軍是政府為進一步減少美國在中東的存在而進行的嘗試的一部分。 由TZVI JOFFRE 2021年4月2日08:51 特溫·豪和專家愛德華·馬丁內斯專家於2019年1月12日在阿拉伯聯合酋長國Al Dhafra空軍基地參加了美國陸軍愛國者地對空導彈發射器的培訓。圖片攝於2019年1月12日。美國空軍/科技 (照片來源:SGT。DARNELL T. CANNADY / HANDOUT通過路透社) 據《華爾街日報》報導,儘管最近有胡塞族無人機和導彈襲擊沙特阿拉伯的目標,但美國已從海灣地區撤出至少三枚愛國者反導砲彈,這是從中東轉移軍事能力的一部分。週四。 美國官員告訴《華爾街日報》,除愛國者砲彈外,航空母艦和監視系統也正在轉移到其他地方,以滿足其他地方的軍事需求,並在考慮進一步削減兵力。 官員還補充說,還提議拆除終端高空地區防禦系統(THAAD)的導彈防禦系統,但目前仍將保留在該地區。 報告稱,撤軍是拜登政府為進一步減少美國在中東的存在而進行的嘗試的早期階段的一部分。某些設備可能會重新部署,以專注於中國和俄羅斯。 儘管撤軍,五角大樓團隊仍在研究與沙特阿拉伯共享的設備和培訓,以幫助他們保護自己免受來自伊朗支持的也門和伊拉克部隊的導彈,火箭和無人機襲擊。 官員們告訴《華爾街日報》,這些選擇包括出售王國防禦武器,擴大情報共享,增加培訓以及軍對軍事交流計劃。 “沙特人在擊倒這些東西方面非常有效。他們做得越來越好。”一位美國高級官員告訴《華爾街日報》。 US removes Gulf air defense batteries amid Houthi drone strikes - report The withdrawals are part of an attempt by the administration to further reduce the US's presence in the Middle East, according to the report. By TZVI JOFFRE APRIL 2, 2021 08:51 The US has removed at least three Patriot antimissile batteries from the Gulf region, despite recent waves of Houthi drone and missile strikes against targets in Saudi Arabia, as part of a move to shift military capabilities from the Middle East, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. In addition to the Patriot batteries, an aircraft carrier and surveillance systems are also being moved to other locations to answer military needs elsewhere, with additional reductions under consideration, US officials told The Wall Street Journal. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile defense system was also proposed for removal, but is currently set to remain in the region, the officials added. The withdrawals are part of the early stages of an attempt by the Biden administration to further reduce the US's presence in the Middle East, according to the report. Some equipment may be redeployed to focus on China and Russia instead. Despite the withdrawals, a Pentagon team is looking into equipment and training that can be shared with Saudi Arabia to help them protect itself from missile, rocket and drone attacks from Iranian-backed forces in Yemen and Iraq. Options include selling the kingdom defensive weapons, expanding intelligence-sharing, additional training and military-to-military exchange programs, officials told The Wall Street Journal. “The Saudis have been pretty effective at knocking this stuff down. They are doing better and better,” a senior US official told The Wall Street Journal. “The bottom line is that the Houthis need to know that we are standing with the Saudis and we will continue to support their right to self-defense,” another US official stated. In January, the Biden administration froze the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, with US officials working to define which defensive weapons they would allow the Gulf nation to buy. The new administration's relationship with the kingdom has been somewhat stricter, with Biden pledging to recalibrate the relationship after he took office and publishing an intelligence reports which blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for approving the operation that led to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Despite the report, US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood told the Saudi news outlet Al-Arabiya on Thursday that no final decisions had been made by the Department of Defense yet and that he "wouldn’t make any predictions on any of them." Hood stressed that troops and equipment "redeploy all the time" and that the US's "commitment to the safety, security and stability of [its] partners throughout the Middle East is not changing, and it never will." The state department official added, however, that countries in the region were becoming more capable of protecting themselves, meaning that the US didn't need to station as much equipment or people in the region anymore. “As our partners become more and more capable and able to take on more tasks by themselves, well, it doesn’t make as much sense for us to have people and expensive capabilities there. So that’s actually a mark of success in many ways,” said Hood to Al-Arabiya. Additionally, in response to questions about the Wall Street Journal report, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby stressed during an off-camera press briefing that the US continues "to support the defense of Saudi Arabia in partnership with the Saudi military, including their abilities to counter inbound threats." "I am -- am not going to get into specific capabilities that are in specific places, and for how long they will be. I -- I think I need to just leave it at that," added Kirby, who stressed multiple times that he would not confirm the report, "particularly in that part of the world." In response to a question about whether the US is moving resources to face China, Kirby stated that "it should be lost on nobody" that the secretary of defense's first overseas trip was to the Indo-Pacific region to meet with US allies and partners on tensions in the region, which he added were "in many ways, being propelled by China's aggressive activities and their excessive maritime claims and - and military modernization." Tensions between China and the US have increased in recent years, with both the Trump and Biden administrations taking a hard stance on their global rival. In a March meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan and China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi and State Councilor Wang Yi in Anchorage, the two sides sparred with unusually blunt public remarks, according to Reuters. "We will…discuss our deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, economic coercion of our allies," said Blinken at the time. "Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability." "The United States uses its military force and financial hegemony to carry out long arm jurisdiction and suppress other countries," said Yang. "It abuses so-called notions of national security to obstruct normal trade exchanges, and incite some countries to attack China."

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