November 14, 2018 Special Dispatch No. 7761

UAE Businessman Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor: 'Hizbullah Needs To Be Eliminated'

November 14, 2018
Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, The Gulf | Special Dispatch No. 7761

Speaking at the 27th Annual Arab-US Policymakers Conference, held on October 31-November 1, 2018 in Washington DC, UAE businessman Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor urged the world to take firm action against Iran "by eliminating its global terrorist arm Hizbullah." He argued that the current method being used against Iran – economic sanctions – is insufficient for it has rarely achieved results against any country, and criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for hesitating to take more meaningful action against Iran. Habtoor stressed that he was not calling for war against Iran or for harming the Iranian people. The way to restrain Iran, he said, is by targeting its proxy Hizbullah, whose "criminal activities" span the Middle East. Western and Israeli intelligence apparatuses surely know where this organization's leaders are hiding, he hinted. In addition, he proposed to fight Iran by empowering the persecuted minorities within it.

The following are excerpts from Al-Habtoor's address, as published in the English-language Saudi daily Arab News.[1]  

Habtoor addressing the conference (image: Arab News, Saudi Arabia, November 4, 2018)

"Last week, on the 35th anniversary of the attack on US Marines in Beirut, President Donald Trump signed new sanctions targeting Iran’s proxy Hizbullah. President Trump referred to them as 'the highest sanctions ever imposed on Hizbullah.' Too little, too late!

"I have to wonder why economic sanctions are the ‘go-to mechanism’ to punish countries that do not fall in line. They rarely work! Yes, they have been cited as bringing North Korea to the table. However, sanctioning Iran has not changed its aggressive behavior towards its neighbors. Just the opposite! Tehran is more vocal than ever in its support of terrorism and hostility of the West. The US Foreign Ministry tweeted that since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Iran has led terrorist attacks and assassinations in more than 20 countries worldwide.

"Two years ago, I stood before you and appealed to you to act against the biggest threats facing our world. Then as now, I addressed the lack of action taken by the US in putting a stop to terrorism’s biggest sponsor, Iran. I asked why nothing has been done to curb the destructive activities of Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards, Shiite militias, and Hizbullah that suffocates beautiful Lebanon and is partnering with Syria’s butcher...

"Over the past decade America has had two presidents with polar opposite foreign policies on a range of issues. Yet when it comes to dealing with the threats posed by Iran, nothing changes. President Obama was soft on Iran. President Trump talks a good talk but hesitates to walk in a meaningful fashion. President Donald Trump criticized Iran’s corrupt dictatorship last month at the United Nations General Assembly. His administration issued new economic sanctions against Iran and Hizbullah earlier this month. But these steps are not sufficient! They will not hurt. Russia, China and Europe are not on board. We need real action!

"Please do not imagine I am calling for war; far from it! We have nothing against the Iranian people. Iranians are good people. We have traded and socialized with them. We have welcomed them in our country. They are a poor people, an oppressed people with little freedom; they live in fear. They should be empowered by all means to rewrite their own future.

"As for the Iranian regime’s support of terrorism, it can be stopped by eliminating its global terrorist arm Hizbullah and also by empowering the Iranian minorities who are continuously abused and crushed by the Revolutionary Guard, in particular the occupied Ahwazi people living in extreme poverty and stripped of their basic human right to freely practice their religion.

"Hizbullah’s criminal activities have spread out from Lebanon to Iraq, Syria, Yemen, South America and elsewhere, even the United States. Its leadership’s hideout is no secret given Western intelligence capabilities. Israel can pinpoint their whereabouts. What are you waiting for?

"The patience with which Iran is dealt with surprises me. Why are the United States and its Western allies so patient with Iran? Do they hope that Iran is the Prodigal Son who will one day return to the West’s arms and repent? That is a pipe dream. Iran’s defiance of the United States and the civilized world will never cease.

"It is time the world took real action to terminate this threat to the peaceful future of our children, once and for all!"

[1] Arab News (Saudi Arabia), November 4, 2018.

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