The director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, met with the head of Mossad and several senior Israeli intelligence officials last month on the sidelines of the Geneva nuclear talks between the P5+1 world powers and Iran, according to the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars.
Citing the Twitter account of a source “who is well connected with the inner circles of the Saudi secret service,” Fars reported that the meeting took place on November 27 and focused on “containing Iran by any possible means, exercising stronger control over Syria’s jihadist forces, sidelining Muslim Brotherhood and stopping the waves of the Arab Spring.”
Last month, the Sunday Times reported that Israel was working with Saudi Arabia on coordinating plans for a possible military strike on Iran, with Riyadh prepared to provide tactical support to Jerusalem.
Japanese media outlets have been feverishly dreaming up scenarios of war with China as soon as next year in response to Beijing’s imposition of an air defense zone over the disputed Senkaku Islands.
As the Japan Times notes, “Five out of nine weekly magazines that went on sale last Monday and Tuesday contained scenarios that raised the possibility of a shooting war.”
The Sunday Mainichi ran an article entitled Sino-Japanese war to break out in January, which speculated that a worsening Chinese economy and a real estate crash may provoke Beijing to stage an incident “accidentally on purpose,” which could take the form of a civilian airliner being forced to land and the passengers held hostage.
Another scenario revolves around China targeting oil supertankers bound for Japan. “If China were to target them, nothing could be worse to contemplate,” wrote author author Osamu Eya.
Shukan Gendai, a weekly magazine sold by the largest publishing house in Japan, even speculated that Chinese President Xi Jinping could order the shoot down of a Japanese civilian airliner, prompting a response from the United States that could lead to a fighter jet battle.
“Unlike Japan, the U.S. military would immediately respond to a radar lock-on threat by shooting down the Chinese planes,” asserts military analyst Mitsuhiro Sera. “It would naturally regard an aircraft flying overhead as hostile. They would shoot at it even if that were to risk discrediting the Obama administration.”
According to Saburo Takai, writing for Flash, China is intent on reclaiming the Senkaku Islands, by force if necessary, but still fears a military confrontation with the United States, a concern emphasized by Beijing’s failure to respond to America’s provocative B-52 bomber incursion of the “air defense zone” last month.
“The game of chicken between two great superpowers is about to begin,” concludes the Japan Times.
Although a shooting war between China and Japan remains unlikely, respected observers like Ambrose Evans-Pritchard have warned that the escalating crisis represents a “watershed moment for the world” and means “Asia is on the cusp of a full-blown arms race.”
A full blown arms race between two major superpowers who are on the verge of conflict over a fiercely fought territorial dispute. That’s somewhat more weighty than the assassination of a relatively obscure Austrian Archduke….and we all know what that led to.
As fear and nationalism rise in Japan (and Abe's grip on the people founders amid falling approval ratings and underperforming economic indicators such as GDP tonight), so another party has joined the debacle in the East China Sea. AsNHK World reports, South Korea has officially announced that it will expand its air defense identification zone, making it partially overlap those of Japan and China. The game of chicken over small islands (and submerged rocks!) in the middle of nowhere continues...
South Korea has officially announced that it will expand its air defense identification zone, making it partially overlap those of Japan and China.
South Korea's Defense Ministry said on Sunday that the expansion will go into effect on December 15th.
The move comes after China established its air defense zone over a wide area of the East China Sea last month.
The zone includes the Senkaku Islands, which are controlled by Japan and claimed by China and Taiwan.
Seoul has been demanding that Beijing redraw the zone because it partially overlaps the one set by South Korea and includes a submerged rock called Ieodo claimed by both nations. The Chinese call the rock Suyan.
The South Korean Defense Ministry said the expanded zone will also cover 2 small islands whose airspace partially overlaps Japan's defense zone.
The ministry said it briefed Japan, the United States and China on the matter beforehand and the 3 countries suggested that the expansion is in line with international rules and is not an excessive measure.
America’s “schizophrenic” approach to the Middle East could result in many key Arab states deciding to align themselves more closely with Russia, the rulers of Bahrain warned on Sunday.
In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, warned that Barack Obama's administration would lose influence in the region if it persisted with what a “transient and reactive” foreign policy.
There has been a sharp rise in tensions between Washington and several major Arab states in the wake of last month’s controversial interim agreement with Iran over its nuclear programme.
Citing President Obama’s handling of the recent crisis over Syria’s chemical weapons, which allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin to seize the initiative, Sheikh Salman said some states were now seriously reviewing their relations with the US.
“The Russians have proved they are reliable friends,” said Sheikh Salman, referring to Mr Putin’s diplomatic intervention to prevent Western military action against Bashar al-Assad.
The Washington and Cambridge-educated Sheikh Salman, 44, who also serves at Bahrain’s First Deputy Prime Minister, said America’s recent involvement in the region’s conflicts meant many Arab states now doubted whether they could rely on the West to protect their interests
Bahrain is one of several Gulf states which were angered by the Obama administration’s decision to call for the removal of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak three years ago following widespread anti-government protests, even though Mr Mubarak has been a staunch pro-Western ally for thirty years. Sheikh Salman said this was an example of the “transient and reactive” nature of American policy-making.