Saudi crown prince’s carefully managed rise hides dark side

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF YAHOO NEWS)

 

Saudi crown prince’s carefully managed rise hides dark side

Jon Gambrell, Associated Press
Associated Press 
Saudi crown prince's carefully managed rise hides dark side
FILE – In this March 22, 2018, file photo, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Pentagon in Washington. In a kingdom once ruled by an-ever aging rotation of elderly monarchs, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stands out as a youthful face of a youthful nation. But behind a carefully coiffed public-relations operation highlighting images of him smiling in meetings with the world’s top business executives and leaders like President Donald Trump, a darker side lurks as well.(AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In a kingdom once ruled by an ever-aging rotation of elderly monarchs, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stands out as the youthful face of a youthful nation. But behind the carefully calibrated public-relations campaign pushing images of the smiling prince meeting with the world’s top leaders and business executives lurks a darker side.

Last year, at age 31, Mohammed became the kingdom’s crown prince, next in line to the throne now held by his octogenarian father, King Salman. While pushing for women to drive, he has overseen the arrest of women’s rights activists. While calling for foreign investment, he has imprisoned businessmen, royals and others in a crackdown on corruption that soon resembled a shakedown of the kingdom’s most powerful people.

As Saudi defense minister from the age of 29, he pursued a war in Yemen against Shiite rebels that began a month after he took the helm and wears on today.

What the crown prince chooses next likely will affect the world’s largest oil producer for decades to come. And as the disappearance and feared death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul may show, the young prince will brook no dissent in reshaping the kingdom in his image.

“I don’t want to waste my time,” he told Time Magazine in a cover story this year. “I am young.”

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident who wrote several columns for The Washington Post critical of Prince Mohammed, disappeared Oct. 2 on a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials have offered no evidence, but say they fear the writer was killed and dismembered by a Saudi team of 15 men — an operation that, if carried out, would have to have been authorized by the top of the Al Saud monarchy. The kingdom describes the allegation as “baseless,” but has provided no proof that Khashoggi ever left the consulate.

For decades in Saudi Arabia, succession passed down among the dozens of sons of the kingdom’s founder, King Abdul-Aziz. And, over time, the sons have grown older and older upon reaching the throne.

When King Salman took power in January of 2015 and quickly appointed Prince Mohammed as defense minister, it took the kingdom by surprise, especially given the importance of the position and the prince’s age.

He was little-known among the many grandchildren of Saudi Arabia’s patriarch, a young man educated only in the kingdom who stuck close to his father, who previously served as the governor of Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

As defense minister, he entered office facing a crisis in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, which lies south of the kingdom. Shiite rebels known as Houthis had overrun the country’s capital, Sanaa, unseating the deeply unpopular government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

When Hadi fled and it appeared the country’s port city of Aden would fall to the rebels, Saudi Arabia launched a coalition war against the Houthis — a conflict that soon became a stalemate.

The United Nations estimates 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s conflict, and activists say that number is likely far higher. It has exacerbated what the U.N. calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with hunger and cholera stalking civilians, worsened by the kingdom’s blockade of ports.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition has faced widespread criticism for its airstrikes hitting clinics and marketplaces, which have killed civilians. The Houthis, as well, have indiscriminately used landmines and arrested political opponents.

The coalition says Iran has funneled weapons to the Houthis ranging from small arms to the ballistic missiles now regularly fired into the kingdom, which Iran denies.

For Prince Mohammed, the conflict remains part of what he sees as an existential struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran for the future of the Middle East. Asked about Western concerns over civilian casualties, he offers this: “Mistakes happen in all wars.”

“We don’t need to have a new Hezbollah in the Arabian Peninsula. This is a red line not only for Saudi Arabia but for the whole world,” the prince recently told Bloomberg, referring to the Iran-allied Shiite militant group and political party dominant in Lebanon.

The prince also found himself involved in the bizarre resignation-by-television address of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who announced he would step down during a visit to the kingdom in November 2017, fueling suspicion he was coerced into doing so.

Story Continues

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Humiliated by Attack, Vow to Retaliate

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Humiliated by Attack, Vow to Retaliate

Image
A funeral ceremony in Ahvaz, Iran, on Monday for the victims of the attack on a military parade. Credit Attention Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Soldiers in dress uniform lay prone in the street. Others, apparently heavily armed, faced the assailants, then threw themselves to the ground without firing back. Some just ran for their lives.

Captured on video and widely shared on social media, the attack over the weekend on an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps parade in Iran was a humiliating blow. A local Arab separatist group claimed responsibility, but Iran said the perpetrators were backed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

The moment terrorists struck a military parade in Ahvaz, Iran Credit Video by Press TV

On Monday, Iranian officials vowed revenge against all three countries and Israel.

The attack has escalated tensions between Iran and the Persian Gulf states and their American allies. The Trump White House has taken a hard line against Iran, withdrawing from a nuclear agreement and imposing sanctions that have damaged Iran’s flailing economy.

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Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have clashed with Iran over Yemen, Qatar and Syria. The conflicts are expected to take center stage at the United Nations General Assembly this week.

The attack on Saturday in Ahvaz, Iran, killed at least 25 people, including some children and other civilians who had been among the spectators, according to Iran’s state news agency, IRNA, and a dozen members of the elite Revolutionary Guards.

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Iranians at the funeral on Monday. Iranian news accounts said the four assailants had worn Iranian uniforms.CreditEbrahim Noroozi/Associated Press

A widely posted image on Facebook showed members of the Revolutionary Guards military band, wearing tricolor sashes and carrying musical instruments, hiding in a drainage ditch — described by many commentators as a sewer — during the attack.

Iranian officials, including the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, focused blame on Arab kingdoms on the Persian Gulf, as well as the United States. “This cowardly act was carried out by those who are rescued by Americans wherever they are entangled in Syria and Iraq and their hands are in the Saudi and Emirati pockets,” Ayatollah Khamenei said on Monday, the Fars news agency reported.

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In a speech on Monday at a funeral ceremony for the victims of the attack, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami, said, “You have seen our revenge before,” according to the news agency Al Ahed, which is run by the pro-Iranian organization Hezbollah in Lebanon. “You will see that our response will be crushing and devastating, and you will regret what you have done.”

The Ahvaz National Resistance, a little-known group with roots among the Arab minority of Iran, claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday. So did the Islamic State, though the links to that group were ambiguous. It was the worst attack inside the country since an Islamic State-claimed assault on Parliament in 2017.

Ahvaz is the capital of Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran, where many of the country’s Arabs live. The Islamic State posted a video that it said showed three of its fighters on their way to the attack, according to IRNA. Two of the fighters were speaking Arabic with an Iraqi accent.

الجزيرة مباشر الآن

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عاجل | مراسل الجزيرة: وزير الاستخبارات الإيراني يعلن اعتقال شبكة من الأفراد لصلتهم بهجوم

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The Islamic State claimed responsibility with bulletins on its Amaq news service, which also ran the video of the fighters. But the video did not explicitly say the attackers belonged to the Islamic State, nor did they pledge allegiance to the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as similar claims from the group have done in the past.

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The attack killed 25, including children and other civilians who had been among the spectators, according to the state news agency IRNA.CreditEbrahim Noroozi/Associated Press

Iranian news accounts said there had been at least four assailants, who disguised themselves in Iranian uniforms and attacked from behind the viewing bleachers at the parade. They said three of the assailants had been killed and one captured.

Iranian officials provided no evidence that the countries they blamed were behind the attack. The United States and the Emirates issued statements dismissing the accusation.

But the attack came at a volatile time in Iran’s relations with those countries.

A prominent academic in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, added fuel to that fire by saying the attack had been part of an effort to bring the fight against Iran inside the country. Mr. Abdulla, who has frequently been described as an adviser to the Emirate government and as close to the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, suggested support for the attack in a Twitter post on Saturday: “A military attack against a military target is not a terrorist act,” he said.

Abdulkhaleq Abdulla@Abdulkhaleq_UAE

هجوم عسكري ضد هدف عسكري ليس بعمل إرهابي.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned an Emirati envoy to complain about Mr. Abdulla’s remarks and warned that the Emirates “would be held accountable for individuals affiliated with official Emirati agencies that show clear support for terrorist acts,” the ministry said in a statement.

Analysts said the Revolutionary Guards, an elite militia that operates independently of the Iranian government, were bound to react strongly to such a public humiliation.

“They’re going to go for a strong reaction to remedy the horrible image this attack has given them, the imagery that they are running away, falling down on the ground and so on,” said Ahmad Moussalli, a regional expert and professor of political science at the American University of Beirut. “They could correct that with a heavy military blow somewhere.”

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The scene of the attack on Saturday. The Ahvaz National Resistance, a little-known group with roots among Iran’s Arab minority, claimed responsibility for the attack, as did the Islamic State.CreditMorteza Jaberian/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

He said that he doubted the Revolutionary Guards would risk a direct military confrontation with the Emirates or Saudi Arabia and that the response would more likely occur in Syria or Iraq. The attack, though embarrassing, Mr. Moussalli said, “shows that the gulf and the United States is targeting Iran now, and gives Iran a pretext to flex their military power.”

The Emirates were not the only regional power cheering on internal resistance to the Iranian government recently.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, suggested a year ago that it was time to turn from external pressure on Iran to internal pressure. Prince Mohammed, in repeated interviews in the United States this year, also likened Ayatollah Khamenei to Hitler, saying at one point, “I believe the Iranian supreme leader makes Hitler look good.”

Saudi Arabia had also bitterly opposed the nuclear deal Iran signed with the United States and other world leaders, and it had cheered the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the agreement.

President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, fueled claims of an American campaign against Iran when he addressed an “Iranian uprising summit” in New York on Saturday — hours after the attack in Ahvaz — saying that a leadership change in Iran was inevitable because of United States sanctions.

“I don’t know when we’re going to overthrow them,” Mr. Giuliani said, according to a Reuters report. “It could be in a few days, months, a couple of years. But it’s going to happen.”

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Mohammad Taha Eghadami, the father of a 4-year-old boy killed in the attack, at the mass funeral on Monday.CreditEbrahim Noroozi/Associated Press

The American ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, insisted that the Trump administration was not seeking a leadership change in Iran. In response to President Hassan Rouhani’s criticism of the United States, she said in an interview with CNN: “He can blame us all he wants. The thing he’s got to do is look in the mirror.”

After attacks in Tehran last year, the Revolutionary Guards said that Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States were responsible, but most government officials blamed terrorists. This time, Iranian leaders described the attack not as terrorism, but as an act of foreign aggression — a significant difference, said Hussein Allawi, a national security analyst at Al Nahrain University in Iraq.

“The Iranian authorities denied that a terrorist organization did the operation,” he said. “Instead it accused states in the Middle East of carrying out the operation, even though signs of terrorism in the operation were clear.”

Despite the bellicose language from the supreme leader and the Revolutionary Guards in Iran, other officials seemed to adopt a more cautious reaction, at least initially.

Speaking at the funeral for the Ahvaz victims on Monday, the deputy commander of Iran’s regular army, Brig. Gen. Nozar Nemati, said it was too early to say whether Western intelligence agencies had been involved in the attack, and suggested it may have originated closer to home.

“They are the same people who were followers of Saddam at the onset of the war, and they are pursuing the same goal,” IRNA quoted him as saying. He was referring to the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who fought a bitter war in an attempt to destroy Iran in the 1980s.

Follow Rod Nordland on Twitter: @rodnordland.

Hwaida Saad contributed reporting from Beirut, Falih Hassan from Baghdad, and Rukmini Callimachi from New York.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A11 of the New York edition with the headline: Blaming U.S. and Gulf States, Iran Vows Revenge for Humiliating Attack. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

Yemeni Government Adopts Currency-Reviving Economic Measures

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Yemeni Government Adopts Currency-Reviving Economic Measures

Monday, 10 September, 2018 – 11:00
An employee counts stacks of Yemeni currency at Yemen’s central bank in Sanaa. (AFP)
Aden – Asharq Al-Awsat
In an effort to save the war-torn nation’s faltering currency and to address a diminishing economy, the Yemeni government announced executive measures on reforms approved by the national Economic Committee.

The government said it will withhold docking permits for luxury cargo, while reassuring that licenses for fuel shipments and five food commodities – wheat, rice, sugar, milk and edible oil– and medicine will continue being issued.

As head of the legitimate government, President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi had ordered forming a national Economic Committee presided by presidential adviser and economic and financial expert Hafez Moayad.

Barring the entry of non-basic shipments comes in an effort to reduce hard currency depletion lost through the import of luxury goods.

Economic Committee Head Moayad, in an official statement, confirmed that the committee has devised a mechanism for import processes relevant to five main commodities (wheat, rice, sugar, milk and edible oil), as well as means to resolve the problem facing the oil derivatives market– both with domestic consumption and the export of surplus.

He said that the committee handed a detailed briefing to authorities on Saturday.

In the document, the committee recommended establishing a workshop with traders and concerned parties to discuss mechanisms to be implemented and clarify them to commercial sector parties.

The mechanisms are claimed to be able to stabilize the currency and keep it from collapsing.

Moayad revealed that the Economic Committee, which consists of seven members, including the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank, has completed its research functions and will be ready to assume other duties.

He added that it will follow up with bodies responsible for implementation.

In the meantime, the Yemeni Ministry of Transport began implementing procedures prohibiting the import of luxury goods.

According to the ministry, the government decided to restrict imports to basic commodities and oil derivatives by means of appropriations, collections and remittances based on Economic Committee mechanisms.

The mechanisms took effect on Sunday.

The government had decided earlier to raise salaries of government employees by 30 percent and production capacity in oil and gas fields after providing security guarantees for the resumption of export.

Practices of Iran-backed Houthi coup militias in Yemen, such as looting and pillaging of Sanaa Central Bank assets, have played a huge part in the national currency’s collapse.

Yemen

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Yemen

Introduction North Yemen became independent of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The British, who had set up a protectorate area around the southern port of Aden in the 19th century, withdrew in 1967 from what became South Yemen. Three years later, the southern government adopted a Marxist orientation. The massive exodus of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis from the south to the north contributed to two decades of hostility between the states. The two countries were formally unified as the Republic of Yemen in 1990. A southern secessionist movement in 1994 was quickly subdued. In 2000, Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreed to a delimitation of their border.
History Between 2200 BCE and the 6th century CE, Yemen was part of the Sabaean, Awsanian, Minaean, Qatabanian, Hadhramawtian, Himyarite, and some other kingdoms, which controlled the lucrative spice trade. It was known to the ancient Romans as Arabia Felix (“Happy Arabia”) because of the riches its trade generated. Augustus attempted to annex it, but the expedition failed. In the 3rd century and again and early seventh century, many Sabaean and Himyarite people migrated out of the land of Yemen following the destructions of the Ma’rib Dam (sadd Ma’rib) and migrated to North Africa and the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula. In the 6th century, Islamic caliphs began to exert control over the area. After the caliphate broke up, the former North Yemen came under the control of imams of various dynasties usually of the Zaidi sect, who established a theocratic political structure that survived until modern times. Egyptian Sunni caliphs occupied much of North Yemen throughout the eleventh century. By the sixteenth century and again in the nineteenth century, north Yemen was part of the Ottoman Empire, and during several periods its imams exerted control over south Yemen.

In 1839, the British occupied the port of Aden and established it as a colony in September of that year. They also set up a zone of loose alliances (known as protectorates) around Aden to act as a protective buffer. North Yemen became independent of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 and became a republic in 1962. In 1967, the British withdrew and gave back Aden to Yemen due to the extreme pressure of battles with the North and its Egyptian allies. After the British withdrawal, this area became known as South Yemen. The two countries were formally united as the Republic of Yemen on May 22, 1990.

Geography Location: Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 48 00 E
Map references: Middle East
Area: total: 527,970 sq km
land: 527,970 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Perim, Socotra, the former Yemen Arab Republic (YAR or North Yemen), and the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY or South Yemen)
Area – comparative: slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming
Land boundaries: total: 1,746 km
border countries: Oman 288 km, Saudi Arabia 1,458 km
Coastline: 1,906 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: mostly desert; hot and humid along west coast; temperate in western mountains affected by seasonal monsoon; extraordinarily hot, dry, harsh desert in east
Terrain: narrow coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and rugged mountains; dissected upland desert plains in center slope into the desert interior of the Arabian Peninsula
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal an Nabi Shu’ayb 3,760 m
Natural resources: petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble; small deposits of coal, gold, lead, nickel, and copper; fertile soil in west
Land use: arable land: 2.91%
permanent crops: 0.25%
other: 96.84% (2005)
Irrigated land: 5,500 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 4.1 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 6.63 cu km/yr (4%/1%/95%)
per capita: 316 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: sandstorms and dust storms in summer
Environment – current issues: limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: strategic location on Bab el Mandeb, the strait linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, one of world’s most active shipping lanes
Politics Yemen is a Presidential republic with a bicameral legislature. Under the constitution, an elected president, an elected 301-seat House of Representatives, and an appointed 111-member Shura Council share power. The president is head of state, and the prime minister is head of government. The constitution provides that the president be elected by popular vote from at least two candidates endorsed by at least fifteen members of the Parliament. The prime minister, in turn, is appointed by the president and must be approved by two thirds of the Parliament. The presidential term of office is seven years, and the parliamentary term of elected office is six years. Suffrage is universal for people age 18 and older.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh became the first elected President in reunified Yemen in 1999 (though he had been President of unified Yemen since 1990 and President of North Yemen since 1978). He was re-elected to office in September 2006. Although he had been reluctant to run again, popular demonstrations and editorials offering support in major newspapers helped persuade him to run. Saleh’s victory was marked by an election that international observers judged to be generally “free and fair”.

Parliamentary elections were held in April 2003, and the General People’s Congress (GPC) maintained an absolute majority. There was a marked decrease from previous years in election-related violence.

The constitution calls for an independent judiciary. The former northern and southern legal codes have been unified. The legal system includes separate commercial courts and a Supreme Court based in Sana’a. Since the country is an Islamic state, the Islamic Law (Sharia) is the main source for laws. Indeed, many court cases are debated according to the religious basis of law, and many judges are religious scholars as well as legal authorities. Unlike Saudi Arabia and other Islamic states, however, consumption of alcohol by non-Muslims is tolerated.

People Population: 23,822,783 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 46.2% (male 5,602,590/female 5,398,103)
15-64 years: 51.3% (male 6,212,378/female 6,009,401)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 288,501/female 311,810) (2009 est.)
Median age: total: 16.8 years
male: 16.7 years
female: 16.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 3.453% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 42.42 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 7.83 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (2009 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 54.7 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 59.12 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 50.07 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 63.27 years
male: 61.3 years
female: 65.33 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate: 6.32 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 12,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2008)
Nationality: noun: Yemeni(s)
adjective: Yemeni
Ethnic groups: predominantly Arab; but also Afro-Arab, South Asians, Europeans
Religions: Muslim including Shaf’i (Sunni) and Zaydi (Shia), small numbers of Jewish, Christian, and Hindu
Languages: Arabic
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 50.2%
male: 70.5%
female: 30% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 9 years
male: 11 years
female: 7 years (2005)
Education expenditures: 9.6% of GDP (2001)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Yemen
conventional short form: Yemen
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah
local short form: Al Yaman
former: Yemen Arab Republic [Yemen (Sanaa) or North Yemen] and People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen [Yemen (Aden) or South Yemen]
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Sanaa
geographic coordinates: 15 21 N, 44 12 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 19 governorates (muhafazat, singular – muhafazah); Abyan, ‘Adan, Ad Dali’, Al Bayda’, Al Hudaydah, Al Jawf, Al Mahrah, Al Mahwit, ‘Amran, Dhamar, Hadramawt, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahij, Ma’rib, Sa’dah, San’a’, Shabwah, Ta’izz
note: for electoral and administrative purposes, the capital city of Sanaa is treated as an additional governorate
Independence: 22 May 1990 (Republic of Yemen was established with the merger of the Yemen Arab Republic [Yemen (Sanaa) or North Yemen] and the Marxist-dominated People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen [Yemen (Aden) or South Yemen]); note – previously North Yemen became independent in November 1918 (from the Ottoman Empire) and became a republic with the overthrow of the theocratic Imamate in 1962; South Yemen became independent on 30 November 1967 (from the UK)
National holiday: Unification Day, 22 May (1990)
Constitution: 16 May 1991; amended 29 September 1994 and February 2001
Legal system: based on Islamic law, Turkish law, English common law, and local tribal customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Ali Abdallah SALIH (since 22 May 1990, the former president of North Yemen, assumed office upon the merger of North and South Yemen); Vice President Maj. Gen. Abd al-Rab Mansur al-HADI (since 3 October 1994)
head of government: Prime Minister Ali Muhammad MUJAWWAR (since 31 March 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held 20 September 2006 (next to be held in September 2013); vice president appointed by the president; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president
election results: Ali Abdallah SALIH elected president; percent of vote – Ali Abdallah SALIH 77.2%, Faysal BIN SHAMLAN 21.8%
Legislative branch: a bicameral legislature consisting of a Shura Council (111 seats; members appointed by the president) and a House of Representatives (301 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)
elections: last held on 27 April 2003 (next to be held in April 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – GPC 228, Islah 47, YSP 7, Nasserite Unionist Party 3, National Arab Socialist Ba’th Party 2, independents 14
Judicial branch: Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders: General People’s Congress or GPC [Abdul-Kader BAJAMMAL]; Islamic Reform Grouping or Islah [Mohammed Abdullah AL-YADOUMI (acting)]; Nasserite Unionist Party [Abdal Malik al-MAKHLAFI]; National Arab Socialist Ba’th Party [Dr. Qasim SALAM]; Yemeni Socialist Party or YSP [Ali Salih MUQBIL]; note – there are at least seven more active political parties
Political pressure groups and leaders: Muslim Brotherhood; Women National Committee
other: conservative tribal groups
International organization participation: AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, MINURCAT, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Abd al-Wahab Abdallah al-HAJRI
chancery: 2319 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 965-4760
FAX: [1] (202) 337-2017
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Stephen A. SECHE
embassy: Sa’awan Street, Sanaa
mailing address: P. O. Box 22347, Sanaa
telephone: [967] (1) 755-2000 ext. 2153 or 2266
FAX: [967] (1) 303-182
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; similar to the flag of Syria, which has two green stars in the white band, and of Iraq, which has an Arabic inscription centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Egypt, which has a heraldic eagle centered in the white band
Culture Yemen is a culturally rich country with influence from many civilizations, such as the early civilization of Sheba.

Qat

Qat, also known as Khat (Catha edulis) is a large, slow growing, evergreen shrub, reaching a height of between 1 and 6 meters, in equatorial regions it may reach a height of 10 meters. This plant is widely cultivated in Yemen and is generally used for chewing. When Khat juice is swallowed, its leaf juice has a caffeine-like effect. It is deeply rooted in Yemeni culture, which it has exported to its neighbours across the Gulf of Aden, Somalia, Djibouti and, to a lesser degree, Eritrea (where it is mainly consumed by ethnic Arabs of Yemeni and Rashaida origins). Khat is chewed by men and women.

Cinema

The Yemeni film industry is in its early stages, there being only two Yemeni films as of 2008. Released in 2005, A New Day in Old Sana’a deals with a young man struggling between whether to go ahead with a traditional marriage or go with the woman he loves.

In August 2008, Yemen’s Interior Minister Mutahar al-Masri supported the launch of a new feature film to educate the public about the consequences of Islamist extremism. “The Losing Bet” was produced by Fadl al-Olfi. The plot follows two Yemeni jihadis, who return from years living abroad. They are sent home by an Al Qaeda mastermind to recruit new members and carry out deadly operations in Yemen.

Economy Economy – overview: Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, reported average annual growth in the range of 3-4% from 2000 through 2007. In 2008, growth dropped below 3% as the price of oil declined and the slowing global economy reduced demand for oil. Yemen’s economic fortunes depend mostly on declining oil resources, but the country is trying to diversify its earnings. In 2006 Yemen began an economic reform program designed to bolster non-oil sectors of the economy and foreign investment. As a result of the program, international donors pledged about $5 billion for development projects. A liquefied natural gas facility is scheduled to open in 2009. Yemen has limited exposure to the international financial system and no capital markets, however, the global financial crisis probably will reduce international aid in 2009.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $60.48 billion (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $27.56 billion (2008 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 3.2% (2008 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $2,600 (2008 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 9.4%
industry: 52.4%
services: 38.1% (2008 est.)
Labor force: 6.494 million (2008 est.)
Labor force – by occupation: note: most people are employed in agriculture and herding; services, construction, industry, and commerce account for less than one-fourth of the labor force
Unemployment rate: 35% (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line: 45.2% (2003)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 25.9% (2003)
Distribution of family income – Gini index: 37.7 (2005)
Investment (gross fixed): 26.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budget: revenues: $9.097 billion
expenditures: $10.55 billion (2008 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Public debt: 31.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 18% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate: NA
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 18% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $3.076 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $4.526 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $2.224 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Agriculture – products: grain, fruits, vegetables, pulses, qat, coffee, cotton; dairy products, livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, camels), poultry; fish
Industries: crude oil production and petroleum refining; small-scale production of cotton textiles and leather goods; food processing; handicrafts; small aluminum products factory; cement; commercial ship repair
Industrial production growth rate: 2.5% (2008 est.)
Electricity – production: 5.017 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – consumption: 3.804 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – imports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil – production: 320,600 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil – consumption: 135,400 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil – exports: 336,600 bbl/day (2005)
Oil – imports: 62,850 bbl/day (2005)
Oil – proved reserves: 3 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
Natural gas – production: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 478.5 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
Current account balance: -$2.175 billion (2008 est.)
Exports: $9.234 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Exports – commodities: crude oil, coffee, dried and salted fish
Exports – partners: China 23.3%, India 20.4%, Thailand 19.1%, Japan 7.2%, UAE 5%, US 4.2% (2007)
Imports: $9.215 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Imports – commodities: food and live animals, machinery and equipment, chemicals
Imports – partners: UAE 15.1%, China 11.6%, US 7.8%, Saudi Arabia 7.1%, Kuwait 5.3%, Germany 4.8% (2007)
Economic aid – recipient: $2.3 billion (2003-07 disbursements)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $8.306 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt – external: $6.472 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Currency (code): Yemeni rial (YER)
Currency code: YER
Exchange rates: Yemeni rials (YER) per US dollar – 199.76 (2008 est.), 199.14 (2007), 197.18 (2006), 192.67 (2005), 184.78 (2004)
Communications Telephones – main lines in use: 968,300 (2006)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 2.978 million (2006)
Telephone system: general assessment: since unification in 1990, efforts have been made to create a national telecommunications network
domestic: the national network consists of microwave radio relay, cable, tropospheric scatter, GSM and CDMA mobile-cellular telephone systems; fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity remains low by regional standards
international: country code – 967; landing point for the international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); satellite earth stations – 3 Intelsat (2 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean), 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region), and 2 Arabsat; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia and Djibouti
Radio broadcast stations: AM 6, FM 1, shortwave 2 (1998)
Radios: 1.05 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 3 (including one Egypt-based station that broadcasts in Yemen); plus several repeaters (2007)
Televisions: 470,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .ye
Internet hosts: 167 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 320,000 (2007)
Transportation Airports: 50 (2007)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 17
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 33
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 4 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 96 km; liquid petroleum gas 22 km; oil 1,367 km (2008)
Roadways: total: 71,300 km
paved: 6,200 km
unpaved: 65,100 km (2005)
Merchant marine: total: 4
by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1
registered in other countries: 13 (North Korea 2, Moldova 1, Panama 6, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Sierra Leone 2, unknown 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Aden, Hudaydah, Mukalla
Transportation – note: the International Maritime Bureau reports offshore waters in the Gulf of Aden are high risk for piracy; numerous vessels, including commercial shipping and pleasure craft, have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crew, passengers, and cargo are held for ransom
Military Military branches: Army (includes Republican Guard), Navy (includes Marines), Yemen Air Force (Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Jamahiriya al Yemeniya; includes Air Defense Force) (2008)
Military service age and obligation: voluntary military service program authorized in 2001; 2-year service obligation (2006)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 5,080,038
females age 16-49: 4,852,555 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 3,733,704
females age 16-49: 3,773,626 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 273,624
female: 263,402 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures: 6.6% of GDP (2006)
Military – note: a Coast Guard was established in 2002
Transnational Issues Disputes – international: Saudi Arabia has reinforced its concrete-filled security barrier along sections of the fully demarcated border with Yemen to stem illegal cross-border activities
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 91,587 (Somalia) (2007)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Has Arrived In London

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

 0:45
Mohammed bin Salman arrives at Downing Street to meet Theresa May

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in London March 7 for a three-day visit to the United Kingdom as part of his first official overseas tour. 

Mohammed bin Salman, the divisive crown prince of Saudi Arabia, arrived in London on Wednesday for a three-day state visit. The 32-year-old was greeted at the airport by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and had lunch with Queen Elizabeth II, a rare honor for a man not yet head of state.

Later, he will dine with Prince Charles and Prince William — two British royals who are, like him, next in line to the throne, although they hold a small fraction of his political power.

But the pomp and the red carpet notwithstanding, Mohammed’s visit already has turned into a bitter PR battle between those who support the moves he is making for Saudi Arabia and those who call him a “war criminal.”

In some cases, the battle veered into absurd territory, such as when pro-Saudi advertisements were placed next to online articles criticizing the crown prince.

Although Mohammed has pushed through some liberal policies at home — including his dramatic decision to allow women to drive — and he is viewed as a key economic ally for a post-Brexit Britain, his foreign policy is controversial in London.

Notably, the crown prince is the architect of a Saudi-led intervention against Iran-allied rebels in Yemen. Critics say Saudi Arabia’s indiscriminate use of force in that conflict has had disastrous consequences for Yemeni civilians, exacerbating what may be the worst humanitarian disaster on earth.


Vans bearing messages of welcome for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are parked in Whitehall in central London on March 7. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/getty Images)

According to U.N. estimates from last year, more than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015. More than 3 million people have been displaced, the United Nations estimated, and 80 percent of the population is in need of humanitarian aid.

Awkwardly for Johnson and Prime Minister Theresa May, Britain is a key military supplier of Saudi Arabia. According to one estimate, sales of British weapons to Saudi Arabiaincreased almost 500 percent, to 4.6 billion pounds ($6.4 billion), after 2015, when the Saudi intervention in Yemen began. Saudi Arabia is now the top destination for British-manufactured weapons.

A poll commissioned by the Campaign Against Arms Trade and carried out by Populus found that 6 percent of the British public supported arms sales to Saudi Arabia; 37 percent opposed Mohammed’s visit to Britain.

Amid this public mistrust, advertisements praising Mohammed’s reforms have been blanketing London — in an apparent bid to woo Britons. The advertisements have appeared on billboards, on taxis, on trucks and in newspapers.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Feels like arriving in – when entering London from the M4 & M40 one is greeted by the “beloved leader” @AEISaudi & the lobby try to turn around the kingdom’s image in a not so subtle way @alekhbariyatv

I count one full-page and three half-page “yay for Saudi Arabia” ads in today’s @FT

AEI Saudi, the firm behind the advertisements, is a consulting business that was registered in Riyadh in 2002. In a blog post, the firm’s founder highlighted the significant changes he has seen in recent years in Saudi Arabia, such as a new inclusion of Saudi women in public life.

“If there is one individual who has been the driving force behind these changes it is ‘MbS’, as he is often known,” wrote Adam Hosier, the British-born founder of the firm. “He has faced resistance of course, both internally and from powers outside the Kingdom, yet he has not faltered.”

But these were not the only advertisements greeting the crown prince. In central London, buses were emblazoned with messages accusing Mohammed of being a “war criminal,” while social media users used hashtags to let the Saudi royal know that he was “not welcome.”

Activists from Avaaz, a global activism group, parked a van outside Parliament and had two figures dressed as Mohammed and May drop off child-size body bags. A sign on the van said May should tell the crown prince: “Stop the slaughter, start peace talks!”


Activists from Avaaz stage a protest outside Parliament timed to coincide with the visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in London on March 7. (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)

Save the Children, a London-based charity, also highlighted the plight of children in Yemen by placing outside Parliament a small statue of a child standing in rubble and staring at the sky.

Meanwhile, the Arab Organization for Human Rights in UK has scheduled a protest outside Downing Street, due to start at 5 p.m. local time.

Join us outside Downing Street from 5pm this evening to oppose the Crown Prince and all UK arms sales to his regime. http://aje.io/24aln 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman begins official UK visit

As ruling party welcomes Gulf royal, protesters and opposition politicians call on prime minister to challenge kingdom.

aljazeera.com

It is unclear who is winning the PR battle — other than advertising agencies, of course. The pro-Saudi messages were certainly mocked: Some noted that the advertisements looked better suited to a “sleazy gentlemen’s club” and pointed out that online ads praising Mohammed had appeared next to articles about Saudi corruption.

These adverts for the Saudi Crown Prince are everywhere! Even on articles about Saudi corruption in the Guardian. Cc @claytonswisher.

Many of the billboards welcoming the crown prince appeared along the motorways that connect Heathrow Airport to central London — suggesting that Mohammed may have been the intended audience.

Ads praising MBS all along the M4 this morning. Are they targeted at Brits, or at the Crown Prince’s motorcade?

However, the protests outside Parliament seem to have resonated inside Westminster. During the weekly Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday afternoon, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn criticized Saudi Arabia’s record on human rights and accused May of “colluding” in suspected war crimes in Yemen.

“The link that we have with Saudi Arabia is historic, it is an important one, and it has saved the lives of potentially hundreds of people in this country,” May responded, as opposition lawmakers shouted “shame.”

Jeremy Corbyn was accused of “mansplaining” by the Prime Minister as he raised concerns of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia

May later said that she would raise the issue of human rights with the crown prince when she met him and that she had spoken with him about humanitarian concerns in Yemen during a visit to Riyadh in December.

The controversy over Saudi Arabia puts May in a tight spot politically. Britain is looking for bigger trading partners as it leaves the European Union, and broadening its economic relationship with Saudi Arabia would help it do that. The two nations are planning to create a joint Strategic Partnership Council that could lead to Saudi investment of up to 100 billion pounds ($139 billion) in the next 10 years, according to the BBC.

However, the visit is also important for the Saudi crown prince, who is seeking foreign investment as part of Vision 2030, his ambitious plan to reform his country. There are also hopes that the long-awaited public listing of the state oil firm Saudi Aramco might take place on the London Stock Exchange.

 1:34
Saudi Arabia loosens rules around women driving, gender segregation

As Saudi Arabia tries to shake a conservative image, it’s increasing entertainment events and backing off on gender-based rules in 2018.

Mohammed also is planning to visit the United States, home to the New York Stock Exchange, for an investment-focused visit set to start March 19.

Islamic Civil War Is Going On Right Now: Which Side Is Your Government Fighting On

Islamic Civil War Is Going On Right Now: Which Side Is Your Government Fighting On

 

Look at all the different wars going on right now within countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa, within the Islamic World. ISIS helped bring this obvious situation to light when they set up their own country within the long understood boundaries of the Islamic Shiite countries of Syria and Iraq. As most folks in the wired world know there are two main divisions within Islam, Sunni and Shiite. ISIS is a Sunni group and they seem intent on following the letter of their Islamic laws as they understand them. Groups like al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Boko Haram as well as Nations like Saudi Arabia are also Sunni. If I remember the stats I read while back in school 8-10 yrs ago they said about 80% of the people who believe in Islam, are Sunni, 20% Shiite. Countries like Syria and Iran as well as Terrorist groups like Hezbollah are Shiite. All of the Islamic governments military have mixtures of both in their ranks. It is very plain in Islam that Religion is far more important to many soldiers and ordinary people than their allegiance to a National Flag. If you are a soldier in a combat situation and you totally believe that at least one in five of your comrades will either shoot you in the back, stab you in your sleep, or run away when those seeking to kill you approach, it makes it a very difficult thing to keep a stiff upper lip.

 

 

In the country of Yemen on the southern tip of Saudi Arabia there is a proxy war going on right now. A few months ago a Shiite militia in Yemen took over control of the Sunni nation’s government. This Shiite  militia is of course backed by the Shiite powerhouse Iran. Yemen and it’s people are the fodder in this game of thrones. Who will be the winner? Just how far will this fighting continue? This is pretty much a show case of hatred verses hatred. They both want Islam to rule the Earth for Allah by his will for his will. One of their problems is that they can not stand, or in many cases, even tolerate each others existence.

 

Back to the ISIS situation, the American Government and some of our allies are bombing ISIS locations throughout large swaths of the Shiite countries of Syria and Iraq. All Countries Governments want to govern stable countries from their insides so that they can withstand their enemies from outside their gates. When the Royal Saudi family see time and again the American Government policies turn more in the favor of Shiite Governments the more reason they must have to not trust in us (our Government). Now back to my original question, which side of this Islamic Civil War is your Government fighting on? If your country’s leadership is spending money or blood to help either side, the leadership of these Religion first Governments and groups are being given more fuel for their hatred of us and our Governments. Everything and everyone is looked at in the scope of their Islamic views.

 

Hate against hate, whichever one wins, they have the same plan, conquer the world for Allah. Folks, that means simply, submit to the will of Allah, or die. There is no intelligence in it for anyone to deny that the world is not right now in the beginning stages of a World at war. World War 3 has started friends, the world that we all grew up in is on its last breaths. All this hatred, so sickening, and so sad, and so very real.

Houthi missile attack on Riyadh sparks global outrage

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘ARAB NEWS’)

 

SAUDI ARABIA

Houthi missile attack on Riyadh sparks global outrage

The attempted attack comes just weeks after Houthi militias launched a missile at Riyadh on November 4, targeting King Khalid International Airport. The missile was downed by Patriot air defense batteries. (AFP)

DUBAI: A number of countries and organizations have condemned the launch of a ballistic missile by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen aimed at Riyadh.
Houthi forces fired a ballistic missile toward Riyadh on Tuesday, targeting the Al-Yamamah Royal Palace in the Saudi capital. Royal Saudi Air Defense forces intercepted the missile and shot it down and prevented damage.
The attempted attack comes just weeks after the group in Yemen launched a missile at Riyadh on Nov. 4, targeting King Khalid International Airport.
A UN Security Council-appointed panel confirmed the missile was manufactured in Iran, along with three other missiles fired from Yemen toward the Kingdom this year.
US
The United States strongly condemned the missile attack on Riyadh. In a statement issued by US Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert, it was confirmed that the US remains deeply disturbed by aggressive Houthi actions supported by Iran’s provision of advanced weapons, which threaten regional security and prolong the Yemen conflict.
“The United States calls on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to stop arming and enabling the Houthis’ violent actions against Yemen’s neighbors, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Nauert added.
Italy
Italy also condemned the launch of the ballistic missile. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alvano said in a statement today: “This terrorist act constitutes a threat to regional peace and stability and undermines the prospects for a negotiated and comprehensive solution to the crisis.”
UAE
The UAE condemned the missile launch and said that the attack drew attention to the dangerous and negative role played by Iran in supporting the militia and its insistence on continuing its hostile practices by providing the Houthi group with ballistic missiles that threaten peace and security in the region.
In a statement, the UAE emphasized its full support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against any party that tries to threaten its security or harms peace and stability in its territory, while reaffirming the organic link between the security of Saudi Arabia and the security of the UAE.
The UAE reiterated its commitment to the Arab Coalition to achieve security and stability in Yemen.
Jordan
Jordan on Tuesday condemned the Houthi’s attempt to target Saudi Arabia and denounced it as a belligerent act.
Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Mohammed Al-Momani voiced Jordan’s unwavering support for Saudi Arabia in its efforts to counter recurrent aggressions initiated by the Houthi faction.
Jordan, he said, unequivocally backs Saudi maneuvers to reach a peaceful settlement to the Yemeni crisis.
Bahrain
In a statement issued by Bahrain News Agency, the Kingdom of Bahrain stressed that it stands by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against any attempt to threat its security and stability.
It renewed its commitment to support the legitimate Yemeni government headed by President Abdu Rabbo Mansur Hadi through participation in the Arab Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen.
Morocco
The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement on Wednesday that the Kingdom of Morocco strongly condemned the missile launched at the city of Riyadh, while renewing its solidarity with Saudi Arabia against any act that harms the safety of its territory and the peace of its inhabitants.
Morocco also expressed its deep concern at the escalation, which further deepens the Yemeni crisis due to its negative impact on the stability of the region.
Djibouti
Ambassador of the Republic of Djibouti to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Dyauddin Said Bamakhrama condemned the act.
Bamakhrama expressed the solidarity of the Republic of Djibouti with Saudi Arabia and added that the country considers any act of aggression against Saudi Arabia as an act of aggression against Djibouti.
Lebanon
Prime Minister Saad Hariri condemned the act in a released statement, saying: “The repeated targeting of Saudi territory by missile attacks from Yemeni territory not only threatens the security of the Kingdom and the safety of its people, but also exposes the region to serious dangers and exacerbates existing divisions and conflicts.
“We strongly condemn such attacks,” he said. “We stress that these aggressive methods must be abandoned and we must refrain from policies that fuel conflicts and conduct dialogue through solving the intractable problems.”
Organization of Islamic Cooperation
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemned the missile launch.
OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen stressed that the continued launch of ballistic missiles toward the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia confirms that Houthi militias are continuing their hostile approach that aims at destabilizing the security and stability of Saudi Arabia.
The secretary general reiterated the OIC’s support and solidarity with Saudi Arabia in all actions and measures it takes to maintain its security and stability.
Meanwhile, the internationally-recognized government of Yemen also strongly condemned the Iranian-backed Houthi’s targeting of the city of Riyadh.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement: “This aggressive behavior of targeting Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles reflects the extent of the danger that this extremist group has become and the level to which Iranian influence has reached it, which seeks to be used to harm regional and Arab security after helping them to cause massive destruction in all the Yemeni cities and towns that were invaded by the militias.”
The statement called on the international community and the UN Security Council to take strict measures against the Houthis and called for them to be considered as a terrorist organization.

Yemen rebel ballistic missile ‘intercepted over Riyadh’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Yemen rebel ballistic missile ‘intercepted over Riyadh’

Image circulated by Houthi-aligned Almasirah network purportedly showing Burkan 2 ballistic missilesImage copyrightALMASIRAH
Image captionThe Houthi movement unveiled the Burkan 2 missile in February 2017

The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi rebels says it has intercepted a ballistic missile near Riyadh, Saudi state media report.

Witnesses in the Saudi capital posted pictures on social media showing a cloud of smoke in the air, and there were no reports of any damage.

The Houthi movement’s al-Masirah TV said rebel fighters had fired a Burkan-2 missile at the al-Yamama Palace.

Last month, a similar missile came close to hitting Riyadh’s airport.

Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of supplying the Houthis with the missile.

Iran has denied arming the Houthi movement, which has been fighting a war against Yemen’s government and the Saudi-led coalition since 2015.

A report on al-Masirah’s website cited the Houthis’ Missile Forces as announcing the launch of a Burkan-2 missile on Tuesday afternoon.

The missile targeted “a meeting of the leadership of the Saudi regime in al-Yamama Palace in Riyadh”, it said.

The palace is the main headquarters of the king’s office and the royal court.

Minutes later, Saudi state-run al-Ikhbariya TV said a missile had been intercepted south of the capital.

Videos and photos posted online showed smoke resulting from the interception.

One clip posted by a man who said he was in the Olaya district shows a white cloud above the city. The sound of an explosion can then be heard.

Map showing distance between rebel-held Yemen and Riyadh

France Adopting Biased Stance on Regional Crises: Iran

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TASNIM NEWS AGENCY OF IRAN)

 

France Adopting Biased Stance on Regional Crises: Iran

News ID: 1576462 Service: Politics

بهرام قاسمی

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi slammed French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for his recent anti-Tehran remarks and said the western European country has a “one-sided and biased” stance on crises facing the Middle East region.

Qassemi made the remarks on Thursday in response to comments made by Le Drian, who earlier in the day expressed concern about what he called Iran’s “hegemonic” intentions in the Middle East.

At a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir during a trip to Saudi Arabia, Le Drian said, “I’m thinking specifically about Iran’s ballistic program.”

In reply, Qassemi said, “Unfortunately, it seems that France has a one-sided and biased view of the crises and humanitarian catastrophes in the Middle East.”

This view only exacerbates regional conflicts, “whether intentionally or unintentionally,” he added.

The Iranian spokesman also stressed the need for stability and security in the region and advised leaders of France and other nations to take a “realistic and responsible” stance on the conflicts.

Qassemi also pointed to arms sales by “trans-regional countries” to Middle Eastern governments, including those used in Saudi Arabia’s ongoing military aggression against Yemen and said the western support has only led to “more instability and insecurity” in the region.

Yemen’s defenseless people have been under massive attacks by the coalition for more than two years but Riyadh has reached none of its objectives in Yemen so far.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

Over 14,000 Yemenis, including thousands of women and children, have lost their lives in the deadly military campaign.

US Air Force official: Missile targeting Saudis was Iranian

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNBC NEWS)

 

US Air Force official: Missile targeting Saudis was Iranian

  • Iran manufactured the ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Shiite rebels toward the Saudi capital, says the top U.S. Air Force official in the Mideast.
  • Saudi Arabia long has accused Iran of giving weapons to the Shiite rebels and their allies, though Tehran has just as long denied supplying them.
  • “There have been Iranian markings on those missiles,” Harrigian told journalists. “To me, that connects the dots to Iran.”

A still image taken from a video distributed by Yemen's pro-Houthi Al Masirah television station on November 5, 2017, shows what it says was the launch by Houthi forces of a ballistic missile aimed at Riyadh's King Khaled Airport on Saturday.

Houthi Military Media Unit | Reuters
A still image taken from a video distributed by Yemen’s pro-Houthi Al Masirah television station on November 5, 2017, shows what it says was the launch by Houthi forces of a ballistic missile aimed at Riyadh’s King Khaled Airport on Saturday.

Iran manufactured the ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Shiite rebels toward the Saudi capital and remnants of it bore “Iranian markings,” the top U.S. Air Force official in the Mideast said Friday, backing the kingdom’s earlier allegations.

The comments by Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, who oversees the Air Force’s Central Command in Qatar, further internationalizes the yearslong conflict in Yemen — the Arab world’s poorest country.

Saudi Arabia long has accused Iran of giving weapons to the Shiite rebels known as Houthis and their allies, though Tehran has just as long denied supplying them.

“There have been Iranian markings on those missiles,” Harrigian told journalists at a news conference in Dubai ahead of the Dubai Air Show. “To me, that connects the dots to Iran.”

There was no immediate reaction from Tehran.

Saudi Arabia says it shot down the missile Nov. 4 near Riyadh’s international airport, the deepest yet to reach into the kingdom. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry later said investigators examining the remains of the rocket found evidence proving “the role of Iranian regime in manufacturing them.” It did not elaborate, though it also mentioned it found similar evidence after a July 22 missile launch. French President Emmanuel Macron similarly this week described the missile as “obviously” Iranian.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement Tuesday that the July launch involved an Iranian Qiam-1, a liquid-fueled, short-range Scud missile variant. Iran used a Qiam-1 in combat for the first time in June when it targeted Islamic State group militants in Syria over twin militant attacks in Tehran.

Harrigian declined to offer any specifics on what type of missile U.S. officials believed it was, nor did he show any images of the debris. He also didn’t explain how Iran evaded the blockade by the Saudi-led coalition, which intensified after the missile targeting Riyadh.

“How they got it there is probably something that will continue to be investigated over time,” the lieutenant general said. “What has been demonstrated and shown based on the findings of that missile is that it had Iranian markings on it. That in itself provides evidence of where it came from.”

The Houthis have described using Burkan-2 or “Volcano” Scud variants in their recent attacks, including the one Nov. 4. Those finless missiles are reminiscent of the Qiam, wrote Jeremy Binnie of Jane’s Defense Weekly in a February analysis.

“The Burkan-2 is likely to heighten suspicions that Iran is helping Yemen’s rebel forces to develop their ballistic missile capabilities,” Binnie wrote.

Adding to that suspicion is the fact that Yemen’s missile forces previously never had experience in disassembling and rebuilding the weapons, said Michael Knights, a fellow at The Washington Institute For Near East Policy who previously worked in Yemen.

It is “not a stretch to believe that Tehran is supporting the Houthi missile program with technical advice and specialized components,” Knights wrote in an analysis Thursday. “After all, the Houthis have rapidly fielded three major new missile systems in less than two years while under wartime conditions and international blockade.”

The U.S. already is involved in the war in Yemen and has launched drone strikes targeting the local branch of al-Qaida, though it stopped offering targeting information under the Obama administration over concerns about civilian casualties. That prohibition continues today, though the Air Force continues to refuel warplanes in the Yemen theater and offers support in managing airspace over the country, Harrigian said. The Saudi-led coalition also uses American-made bombs and ordinance in its attacks.

Yemen long has had ballistic missiles, dating back to the 1970s when Yemen was split between the socialist South Yemen and North Yemen. After unification in 1990 and a later civil war, Yemen largely moved its ballistic missile stockpile to a mountain base in Sanaa, the capital. It also purchased more from North Korea.

When the Houthis seized Sanaa in September 2014, their allied fighters also held control of the ballistic missiles. The Yemeni military was widely believed to possess around 300 Scud missiles at the time, though exact figures remain unknown.

The Saudi-led coalition entered the war in March 2015 on the side of Yemen’s internationally recognized government. It then attacked the ballistic missile base in April 2015, touching off massive explosions that killed several dozen people. Saudi Arabia implied at the time that the Scud arsenal in Yemen had been seriously degraded, if not entirely destroyed, as a result of the airstrikes.

It soon would become clear that wasn’t the case. In June 2015, the rebels fired their first ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia near the southwestern city of Khamis Mushait. In the time since, Yemen’s rebels have fired over 70 ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia, according to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies’ missile defense project.

For its part, Iran long has denied offering any arms to Yemen, though it has backed the Houthis and highlighted the high civilian casualties from the Saudi-led coalition’s campaign of airstrikes.

But others in Iran have been coy about the ballistic missiles in Yemen. Mehdi Taeb, an influential hard-line cleric who is a brother to the intelligence chief of the hard-line Revolutionary Guard, said in April that Iran tried three times to send missiles to Yemen. The Guard, answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, oversees Iran’s missile program.

“We did it one time via an airplane, one time via a Navy boat and one time with a ship,” Taeb said in an online video.

The cleric said ultimately the administration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered the transfers stopped over negotiations on the nuclear deal with world powers, without offering a specific time for the attempted shipments.

“They said come back because the Americans said, ‘If you send missiles to Yemen, we will end the negotiations,'” Taeb said.