UN envoy: International community committed to peace in Yemen

The United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. (AP file photo)
Updated 03 December 2016
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UN envoy: International community committed to peace in Yemen

ADEN: The UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Friday confirmed the international community’s commitment and responsibility to achieving peace in Yemen based on the agreed-upon terms of reference of the Gulf initiative, the National Dialogue and UN Security Council resolutions.
Following his meeting with Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Friday in Aden, Ahmed said the international community, the UN Security Council and 18 countries sponsoring peace efforts reconfirmed the legitimacy of Hadi and the government of Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid bin Dagher.
The envoy said the meeting was “positive,” and included discussion of peace efforts and opportunities in Yemen.
Hadi said rebels were continuing their hostilities, and were not serious about achieving peace.
He presided over an extraordinary meeting of the government in Aden on Friday, attended by bin Dagher.
During the meeting, Hadi stressed the importance of merging efforts to defeat the rebels in all areas of Yemen, especially in Taiz.
“Battles of honor and perseverance continue in the face of invaders seeking to destroy the city and kill and displace the population,” said the president.
The official Yemeni News Agency reported that the meeting included discussion on issues related to the status of services, development and field work in Yemen in the face of the coup and Houthi militias.
Hadi touched on the government’s peace efforts as per the agreed-upon references of the Gulf initiative, the National Dialogue, and UN Security Council resolutions such as 2216.
He referred to “important” steps taken, namely that “the state has agreed to issue salaries of state employees in the civil and military sectors in the coming days.”
Mohammed Mousa Al-Ameri, advisor to the president, said the government was determined to proceed with military operations against the rebels, especially after they had rejected peace initiatives and recently formed their own government.
“There is no choice before Yemenis but to build a federal state and continue in the regional project that will allow all Yemenis to achieve and live in justice, quality, and resolution of their issues,” Ameri said during a meeting on Friday in Al-Baidaa province with leaders of the popular resistance.
Those leaders praised the role of the Arab coalition in standing by the legitimate government in order to restore the state and its institutions, and assisting the popular resistance in Al-Baidaa against the Houthi rebels.
Meanwhile, the coalition said 172 civilians were killed and several hundred injured, including women and children, in November by “indiscriminate and heavy shelling” by rebels targeting residential neighborhoods in Taiz.
The coalition added that dozens of homes, commercial and civilian establishments were partially or totally destroyed by rebel shelling.
It said schools, mosques, government buildings and health facilities were bombed, while 36 schools in Al-Salu in Taiz were shut down due to weeks of shelling and targeted attacks.
Water and electricity are still cut off in Taiz, and most health and medical facilities have been destroyed.
Aid organizations have still not reached Taiz since the partial lifting of the siege on the city from its western port in mid-August.
The coalition said 752 families had been forcefully displaced from their homes due to armed combat and indiscriminate shelling in the Taiz countryside.


Is a spate of terror incidents in Egypt a ‘last dance’ for militants or a failure in security operations

Updated 6 min 11 sec ago
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Is a spate of terror incidents in Egypt a ‘last dance’ for militants or a failure in security operations

  • Some have speculated that the sudden spate of incidents is the militants lashing out to spoil the image that Egypt is returning to stability

CAIRO: Three terrorist attacks in the space of as many days have raised questions over whether the Egyptian security forces have brought extremist militancy in the country under control.

The attacks between Friday and Monday came after a period of relative calm. The Egyptian military has been involved in an extensive operation against terrorist groups in their stronghold in the Sinai Peninsula for more than a year. Police forces have also been carrying out operations against cells in a large number of governorates.

The first of the three incidents was a failed attempt to plant a bomb near security forces in Cairo on Friday. On Saturday, however, a massive blast killed 14 members of the military on a security mission near El-Arish in Sinai.
The third bombing on Monday could have been just as deadly. A suicide bomber blew himself up after he was chased by police in the densely populated Al-Hussein district of Cairo near Al-Azhar Mosque. In the end three officers were killed.
The attacks came after months of relative calm in an insurgency that began after the Muslim Brotherhood president Muhammad Mursi was removed from power in 2012.
Since then, militants have targeted the Egyptian security forces, churches, coptic Christians, tourists and ordinary Egyptians, killing hundreds.
In November 2017, gunmen carried out the deadliest terror attack in Egyptian history — killing more than 300 people at a Sufi mosque in northern Sinai.

In response, the military launched a vast operation in February last year to “eliminate terrorism in Egypt.” The operation is ongoing.

Some have speculated that the sudden spate of incidents is the militants lashing out to spoil the image that Egypt is returning to stability.

“[Terrorists] want to give Egypt a bad image to foreigners living abroad, on order to make a point. They want to abort the democratic reform process that Egypt’s been implementing in the past period,” MP Mohamed Maher Hamed told Arab News.

Author and political analyst Walid Qutb said Egypt is keen to host more important regional and international events and forums, including the African Nations football tournament, and a drop in terror-related incidents is key to this.

He said the return of terrorist operations at this time is an attempt to send a clear message that Egypt is not a safe country. What the extremists have done recently is a final dance and lost, Qutb said.
But political analyst Nabil Omar told Arab News that the elimination of terrorism requires more than just maintaining security forces.
There needs to be improved education and the spreading of correct information to improve the mentality of Egyptians, he said.
“I don’t think that the return of terrorist operations happening currently is linked to changes in politics in Egypt,” Omar said. “It has nothing to do with how well security is either. “Terrorist attacks are happening because the terrorists in question have decided to do so.”
The recent incidents in Cairo are both strange, Omar said. They targeted police forces in locations packed with civilians.
This could mean that terrorists want their attacks to be even bigger and deadlier, even if that comes at the cost of the innocent or unarmed.
“The positive thing here is that these recent terrorist attacks came after a long period of silence. During that period of time, the Egyptian military had the upper hand in relation to the terrorists – who used to be more in control before,” Omar said.
The attacks came after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi described to the Munich Security Summit this week the Egyptian experience in regards to terrorism.