News

    Arab States Hold War Games as Tensions With Iran Mount

    Abu Musa, the island at the center of an ongoing territorial dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates.
    Abu Musa, the island at the center of an ongoing territorial dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

    Gulf Arab states are beginning two days of joint military exercises, as fears of an armed conflict with Iran continue to grow.

    The drills, dubbed "Islands of Loyalty," come amid an escalating territorial dispute between the United Arab Emirates and Iran over three strategic islands in the Persian Gulf.

    Earlier this month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited one of the islands, Abu Musa, sparking a war of words between Abu Dhabi and Tehran.

    The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Mohammed Gargash, said his nation was “fed up” with the Iranians’ “occupation” of the land.

    Iran’s FARS news agency on Saturday provided one of the starkest warnings yet the dispute could result in war, quoting an unnamed military official as saying, “serious damage to the United Arab Emirates would be the first outcome.”

    Despite the strong rhetoric analyst David Roberts, the deputy director of the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies in Qatar, says both countries would prefer to avoid a serious confrontation.

    "It is certainly for show, but that is absolutely not to ignore the potential prospect that something could accidentally spark off here,"said Roberts. "If you put all of these forces in a small proximity in a slightly fevered atmosphere, anything could happen."

    Research Director Theodore Karasik, of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, agrees.

    "It only takes one little accident or incident to set off a chain of events that could ultimately lead to some kind of military confrontation and it is possible that the islands' issue could do that," said Karasik.

    All three of the disputed islands are controlled by Iran and lie near the Strait of Hormuz, through which roughly one-fifth of the world’s oil supplies are shipped.

    Tehran has threatened to close the Strait in response to sanctions targeting its nuclear program and would likely use troops stationed on Abu Musa to do so.

    Political risks analyst Andrew Bond, of the Institute of Gulf Affairs in Washington D. C., says many countries, including the United States, are concerned the islands confrontation could have a future impact on global oil supplies.

    "There are some people in the [U.S.] administration who are nervous right now with what is going on," said Bond.

    On Sunday, Iran’s Majlis (legislature) National Security and Foreign Policy Committee reportedly held a meeting on Abu Musa to coincide with the Arab military drills.

    The drills are being carried out by the Peninsula Shield Force, the joint army of the Gulf Arab states, to test the ability of ground, air and naval troops to carry out missions along coasts and on islands in territorial waters.

    Peninsula Shield soldiers were used to quell Bahrain’s anti-government uprising last year.

    The United Arab Emirates says it is willing to take the islands dispute to international arbitration if a compromise cannot be reached diplomatically. Iran says its ownership if the islands is not negotiable.

     

    In an earlier version of this story we incorrectly spelled the last name of Theodore Karasik. VOA regrets the error.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora