newsIsrael at War

Arab states show ‘restraint’ when it comes to denouncing Iran

The Sunni regimes urged all parties to exercise "utmost restraint" after Tehran's aerial assault on Israel.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II review an honor guard in Ramallah, Aug. 7, 2017. Credit: Flash90.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II review an honor guard in Ramallah, Aug. 7, 2017. Credit: Flash90.

With virtually identical verbiage following the Islamic State’s massive aerial attack on Israel overnight Saturday, Arab states called for de-escalation, urged all parties to exercise “utmost restraint” and carefully avoided condemning Iran.

Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh said on Sunday that escalation would lead the region down “dangerous paths” and called for all parties to stand down.

While Amman has been given high marks for helping to shoot down dozens of Iranian drones and missiles flying over its territory, (interpreted by some commentators as support for its neighbor Israel), it didn’t refer to aiding Israel as the reason for its actions.

“Some objects that entered our airspace last night were intercepted because they posed a threat to our people and populated areas,” the government said in a statement, adding that the military “will confront anything that would expose the security and safety of the nation … to any danger or transgression by any party.”

Rather than condemn Iran, Jordan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi appeared to blame Israel, telling the Jordan News Agency (Petra) on Sunday that “launching a comprehensive plan to end the Israeli occupation and achieve a just peace through a two-state solution is the way to stop the dangerous escalation in the region.”

Safadi called on the U.N. Security Council to halt Israel’s “aggression against Gaza,” the news agency reported.

Cairo also refrained from condemning Iran, with its Foreign Ministry only expressing “deep concern” and urging all sides to exercise “utmost restraint.” (In contrast, Egypt did condemn the April 1 attack attributed to Israel that killed an Iranian general in Syria.)

Qatar, an Iranian ally, also expressed “deep concern,” calling on “all parties to halt escalation, promote calm and exercise maximum restraint.”

Saudi Arabia also did not condemn Iran. Its Foreign Ministry expressed “deep concern … regarding the developments of the military escalation in the region and the seriousness of its repercussions.” It called “on all parties to exercise the utmost levels of restraint and spare the region and its peoples from the dangers of war.”

It also urged the U.N. Security Council to fulfill its responsibilities in maintaining international peace.

The United Arab Emirates, the first signatory to the 2020 Abraham Accords, similarly urged “utmost restraint,” with its Foreign Ministry calling for “resolving conflicts through dialogue and diplomatic channels.”

“Furthermore, the ministry called on the United Nations and the U.N. Security Council to fulfill their responsibilities to enhance international peace and security by resolving long-standing issues and conflicts in the region that threaten global security and stability,” the statement said.

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