Liberation of Al-Mokha ‘blow to Houthis and Iran’

Pro-government fighters give food to Yemeni children on the road leading to the southwestern port city of Mokha, in this January 26, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 09 February 2017
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Liberation of Al-Mokha ‘blow to Houthis and Iran’

ADEN: The Yemeni Army on Wednesday announced that it has liberated Al-Mokha strategic port and its surroundings from the grip of Houthi and deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s militias.
The army said in a statement that the operation was backed by the Saudi-led Arab alliance. It added that the coup militia elements fled toward the road leading to the city of Al-Hodeidah, west of the country.
Arab News called Rajeh Badi, a Yemeni government’s spokesman, for comment, but he didn’t reply.
Al-Mokha’s liberation has allowed coalition, government and Popular Resistance forces to link fronts in their battle against the militias.
The liberation has allowed for the elimination of Houthi rebels hiding in the city, and led to the deaths of 27 Daesh militants who were also holed up there.
The liberation represents a double strike against rebel militias and Iran, as the coalition, the Yemeni Army and Popular Resistance forces have cut off their last lifeline for the smuggling of Iranian weapons via the strategic port.
This has allowed for the halting of contraband trade by Houthis to finance their operations. Military analysts say it is also a blow to Iran, which had announced its readiness to establish naval bases close to Bab Al-Mandab, having expected continuous Houthi control of the coast of Taiz.
According to analysts, Al-Mokha’s liberation will open two main fronts: One headed toward the city of Al-Hodeidah and from there to Sanaa, and the other eastward to complete the liberation of Taiz and head toward the provinces of Ibb and Dhamar in order to fully encircle Sanaa.
The importance of control of Al-Mokha and its port lies in the fact that it secures the Bab Al-Mandab strategic naval passage, as the city links the province of Taiz with Al-Hodeidah. This allows for control over it and to regain what is left of towns along the Al-Hodeidah–Taiz route.
Analysts said control of Al-Mokha enables legitimate forces to launch military operations in the direction of the directorates on the western coast of Al-Hodeidah, and in the direction of Khaled Camp east of Al-Mokha, the largest rebel camp in Taiz, thus cutting off the main artery for arms supplies via the Red Sea.
The liberation of Al-Mokha aims to guarantee the entry of assistance to the city, and to enable preparations for the launch of the second phase of the Golden Spear operation in Yemen.
Apache helicopters played a big role in targeting Houthi boats, which had been transporting military equipment and reinforcements to rebels.
Analysts said isolating militias geographically by preventing them from controlling ports that provide financial assistance and smuggled weapons will hasten the end of the war.
Militias had been using the port of Al-Mokha to receive arms shipments from Iranian vessels, as well as for sending weapons to Al-Hodeidah port.


Sudan generals, protesters split on who will lead transition

Updated 36 min 53 sec ago
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Sudan generals, protesters split on who will lead transition

  • Demonstrators want to limit the role of the military in the transitional council
  • They are represented by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change during the talks

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s ruling generals and protesters behind months of mass demonstrations that drove autocrat Omar Al-Bashir from power are divided over who will lead the country during its transition period.
The issue remains a stumbling block in the negotiations between the two sides. Their latest round of talks ended early on Tuesday without agreement.
The protesters, represented by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, insist on a “limited military representation” in a sovereign council that will guide Sudan through the three-year transition.
The military insists it play the lead role in the council.
The protesters fear the generals intend to hold on to power or cut a deal with other factions that would leave much of Al-Bashir’s regime intact.
Since his ouster, Al-Bashir has been jailed in Khartoum.