Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Western forces fueling Gulf regional tension

Western forces fueling Gulf regional tension

Iraq's Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali al-Hakim has said Israel's participation in a USA -led coalition to protect shipping in the region is "unacceptable".

Hakim called Israel "a Zionist entity" in a tweet, but at the same time called the Persian Gulf, the "Arabian Gulf"; a term that angers the Iranian government and Iranians in general.

He added that Iraq was "seeking to reduce tensions in the region through negotiations, while the presence of Western forces in the region is increasing them".

The statement was in response to efforts by the Trump administration to set up a US-led naval security mission in the Strait of Hormuz.

Al-Hakim stressed Israel's participation in such a mission was unacceptable. The strait, that runs between Iran, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, is one of the world's most strategically important locations Iran recently seized several oil tankers amid escalating tensions following USA sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Britain said last week it would join the mission; no other USA allies have committed themselves so far.

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"The United States and the United Kingdom must assume responsibility for the Zionists regime's illegal presence in the Persian Gulf waters", IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri told Lebanese TV channel Al Mayadeen Sunday.

Israel Katz attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on February 17, 2019.

Katz claimed that Israel was determined to stop "Iranian entrenchment" in the Middle East region and strengthen Tel Aviv's relationship with the Persian Gulf countries, Israeli news website Ynet reported. Israel's contribution to the mission would be limited to intelligence.

His comments came after Iran's defense minister said last week that the formation of a US-led flotilla would "increase insecurity" and any Israeli involvement would have "disastrous consequences" for the region.

Washington and its Arab allies in the Gulf have accused Iran of carrying out the tanker attacks, allegations that Tehran denies. About 20 percent of the world's oil passes through that area.

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