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Satellite images ‘show US military buildup in Saudi Arabia’ amid Iran tensions

Satellite images ‘show US military buildup in Saudi Arabia’ amid Iran tensionsThe United States is preparing to send hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia where satellite images appear to show a build up of American forces on the ground. Up to 500 soldiers are to be sent to the Prince Sultan Airbase in the desert to the east of the capital Riyadh, two officials told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity. Preparations are also reportedly underway for a large missile installation from which Patriot surface-to-air missiles can be launched to protect the base from incoming threats. The moves would likely strengthen the US' controversial relationship with Saudi Arabia, while also responding to rising tensions with Iran which escalated dramatically in recent months. After the US unilaterally withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal last year and reimposed tight sanctions, Iran announced in July that it had surpassed limits on enriched uranium imposed in the agreement. The country insists it is not trying to build nuclear weapons.A standoff has also ensued in the Gulf, with sabotage attacks on foreign tankers, blamed on Iran by the US. In the latest incident Tehran said it had seized a foreign-owned vessel suspected of being used for oil smuggling out of the country/ The Trump administration has long sought to base troops in the remote region, but the decision to send them to Saudi Arabia comes amid outrage over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A United Nations report concluded his death at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul was "an extrajudicial execution" sanctioned Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.The Trump administration has also been criticised for its response to the murder.Despite these issues, the US has said it is committed to helping protect Saudi Arabia from Iranian aggression, and last month said 1,000 troops were being sent to the middle east, but did not say which countries they were going to.Photographs taken by high-resolution commercial satellites, captured by satellite imagery company Planet Labs, show a deployment of US troops and support personnel who arrived at the air base in mid-June, according to Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Project at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, who has studied the new images.Pictures of the site taken in late June and early July show preparations being made for the arrival of troops, Mr Lewis told CNN.“A small encampment and construction equipment appeared at the end of a runway by June 27, suggesting that improvements are already underway. The encampment to the east of the runway is typical of Air Force engineering squadrons deployed overseas,” he said. The US is reportedly hoping to be able to fly stealth, fifth-generation F-22 jets and other fighter planes from the base.Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told the New York Times there was “no official announcement” of the deployment to the Middle East but said the American military “continually works to manage our force posture in the region.”Amid rising tensions between Iran and the US last month, Mr Trump said he was not seeking war with the country but warned, if pushed, the country would face “obliteration like you’ve never seen before”.



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House votes to block Trump administration's weapons deal with Saudi Arabia amid veto threat

House votes to block Trump administration's weapons deal with Saudi Arabia amid veto threatThe vote highlights backlash against a weapons deal for $ 8.1 billion in bombs, precision-guided missiles and other weapons to the Saudis and its allies.



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Sister of Saudi crown prince tried in France over 'beaten workman'

Sister of Saudi crown prince tried in France over 'beaten workman'A sister of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia went on trial Tuesday in a French court over the alleged beating of a workman who was carrying out repairs in her ultra-luxury Paris apartment. Hassa bint Salman is a daughter of King Salman and a sister of powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman who is known by his initial “MBS” and is seen by many analysts as the de-facto leader of the kingdom.



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Saudi princess tried in absentia for alleged Paris beating

Saudi princess tried in absentia for alleged Paris beatingThe only daughter of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman was put on trial in absentia Tuesday in Paris for allegedly ordering her bodyguard to strike a plumber she suspected of taking photos and video at the Saudi royal family’s apartment in the French capital. Prosecutors allege Princess Hessa bint Salman became enraged when she saw the plumber allegedly capturing her image, fearing the pictures could be used to harm her as the Saudi monarch’s daughter due to her country’s conservative traditions. The princess’ lawyer said she was not present because correspondence was sent to the Paris address, not to the royal palace in Saudi Arabia.



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A Saudi princess, a bodyguard and a workman: French trial to open

A Saudi princess, a bodyguard and a workman: French trial to openThe king of Saudi Arabia’s daughter is a “caring, humble” person who is the victim of false allegations that she ordered a bodyguard to beat up a workman in her luxury flat in Paris, the princess’ lawyer said. Princess Hassa bint Salman is due to go on trial in absentia on Tuesday on charges of complicity to violence with a weapon and complicity to kidnap an Egyptian-born artisan who was carrying out repairs at her father’s residence on the exclusive Avenue Foch in September 2016. According to the indictment, seen by Reuters, workman Ashraf Eid told police the bodyguard bound his hands, punched and kicked him and forced him to kiss the princess’ feet after she accused him of filming her on his cell phone.



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Saudi carrier cancels troubled Boeing 737 order for Airbus

Saudi carrier cancels troubled Boeing 737 order for AirbusBoeing’s campaign to restore the reputation of its best-selling plane after two deadly crashes suffered a blow with a Saudi airline canceling an order worth up to $ 5.9 billion in favor of a European rival of the U.S. manufacturer. Flyadeal, the budget airline arm of Saudi Arabian Airlines Corp., ordered 30 A320neo jets from Airbus and took options on 20 more, meaning that its entire fleet will consist of planes from that company. It’s a potentially troubling sign for Boeing, which has not seen customers divert orders to Airbus en masse.



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A Saudi princess, a bodyguard and a workman: French trial to open

A Saudi princess, a bodyguard and a workman: French trial to openThe king of Saudi Arabia’s daughter is a “caring, humble” person who is the victim of false allegations that she ordered a bodyguard to beat up a workman in her luxury flat in Paris, the princess’ lawyer said. Princess Hassa bint Salman is due to go on trial in absentia on Tuesday on charges of complicity to violence with a weapon and complicity to kidnap an Egyptian-born artisan who was carrying out repairs at her father’s residence on the exclusive Avenue Foch in September 2016. According to the indictment, seen by Reuters, workman Ashraf Eid told police the bodyguard bound his hands, punched and kicked him and forced him to kiss the princess’ feet after she accused him of filming her on his cell phone.



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Sister of Saudi leader MBS faces verdict over 'beaten workman'

Sister of Saudi leader MBS faces verdict over 'beaten workman'The sister of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia faces a verdict Tuesday in a French trial over the alleged beating of a workman who was refurbishing her ultra-luxury apartment in Paris. Hassa bint Salman, sister of powerful Mohammed bin Salman who is known by his initial “MBS”, stands accused of ordering her bodyguard to beat up the workman after he was seen taking a photo inside her home in September 2016. The princess, who denies the allegations, allegedly suspected the man of planning to sell the photo of her apartment on the Avenue Foch, long a favourite destination for foreign millionaires in western Paris.



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Saudi envoy blasts UN expert's report on Khashoggi killing

Saudi envoy blasts UN expert's report on Khashoggi killingIn what amounted to a face-off at the U.N’s top human rights body, Ambassador Abdulaziz Alwasil insisted that special rapporteur Agnes Callamard had failed to follow proper procedures and used flawed sourcing in her 101-page report made public last week. “Accusations have been launched, and fingers have been pointed — (she is) supporting herself on non-credible articles or sources,” he told the Human Rights Council, in Arabic through a U.N. interpreter.



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Saudi minister says whatever the Palestinians accept, everyone else will accept

Saudi minister says whatever the Palestinians accept, everyone else will acceptA Saudi minister said on Sunday that improving the Palestinians’ situation should be welcomed but that addressing the political process in resolving the conflict with Israel is “extremely important”. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Jubeir was responding to questions from broadcaster France 24 about U.S. proposals for economic development as part of the Middle East peace process. “I think anything that improves the situation of the Palestinian people is something that should be welcomed.



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