Yemen’s ambassador to the US: ‘Houthis provoking humanitarian disaster’

A Yemeni girl awaits humanitarian aid supplies given by the Russian humanitarian relief mission in a camp on the outskirts of the capital Sanaa on March 16, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2017
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Yemen’s ambassador to the US: ‘Houthis provoking humanitarian disaster’

DUBAI: Houthis have directly contributed to the humanitarian disaster in Yemen by preventing aid from reaching vulnerable members of the population, Yemen’s ambassador to the US said in a recently-penned opinion editorial published in Newsweek.
Ambassador Ahmed Awad BinMubarak raises the question of why “thousands have lost their lives and tens of thousands more have lost their homes and livelihoods” when these communities live nearby one of Yemen’s major aid delivery gateways – Hodeidah port.
“One would presume that these communities would be flushed with aid goods, but regrettably, this has not been the case,” he wrote in the editorial titled “How the Houthis Have Provoked a Human Disaster in Yemen” published Monday.
“There is a reason for this absurdity: The Hodeidah port is still under the control of the Houthis,” BinMubarak wrote.
The ambassador goes on to detail how the Houthis create revenue streams from “illegitimate” customs and taxes imposed on incoming goods.
“Additionally, the Houthis have worked on deconstructing Yemen’s economy and financial system, creating profitable black markets for their own economic gain, which has become a key funding source for their war efforts,” he added.
The ambassador highlights a statement released by the Norwegian Refugee Council on February 20, 2017, in which they detail how six aid workers were detained by Houthis for a week because the products they were distributing had Saudi markings.
“This sort of detention unmistakably demonstrates how the Houthis are undermining relief efforts,” BinMubarak wrote.
The ambassador is, however, also concerned about the “continued arbitrary arrests and forced disappearances are going unchecked in Hodeidah, Taiz and elsewhere.”
In the opinion piece, he states that “recapturing Hodeidah is necessary to bring back stability to Yemen’s west coast,” adding that this is a necessary because the Houthis have targeted maritime navigation and shipping routes and there is a risk, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence, that the Houthis could places sea mines in the strategic Bab Al-Mandeb strait.
“Subsequently,” the ambassador wrote, “government forces have started to target Houthi armed positions in the outskirts of Hodeidah.”
BinMubarak insists, however, that “reaching a peaceful resolution is our government’s ultimate objective.
“Our country has been put through extraordinary conditions, and we are keen to rebuild our country for the sake of our people and the generations to come,” he wrote.


Israel drops leaflets warning Gazans not to approach border

Updated 20 April 2018
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Israel drops leaflets warning Gazans not to approach border

GAZA: Israel dropped leaflets in the Gaza Strip on Friday warning Palestinians not to approach its border fence as the military braced for fresh clashes along the frontier.
Thousands of Palestinians were expected to gather along the Israel-Gaza border, as they have every Friday over the past month for mass demonstrations that have turned violent and during which Israeli forces have killed thirty-one Palestinians and wounded hundreds.
Each week, some Gazans have hurled stones and burning tires near the frontier fence, where Israeli army sharpshooters are deployed.
The soldiers have opened fire at those who come too close to the fence, drawing international criticism for the lethal tactics used.
Israel has blamed the Islamist militant group Hamas of staging riots and trying to carry out attacks.
It was the first time leaflets were dropped in the recent round of violence.
“The Hamas terror organization is taking advantage of you in order to carry out terror attacks. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is prepared for all scenarios. Stay away from the fence and do not attempt to harm it,” said the leaflets scattered by Israeli aircraft in the early morning in areas along the border.
The mass protest, dubbed “The Great March of Return” — evoking a longtime call for refugees to regain ancestral homes in what is now Israel — began on March 30 and is expected to culminate on May 15.