Feeling the pinch in Syria, Iran ups ante in Yemen

Saudi Patriot missiles enhance the Kingdom’s defense capability against the Houthi threat from Yemen. (Photo courtesy: Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces.
Updated 09 April 2017
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Feeling the pinch in Syria, Iran ups ante in Yemen

JEDDAH: Feeling the heat from the US, Iran is attempting to shift global attention to Yemen, an analyst told Arab News, as Arab Coalition Forces intercepted 12 ballistic missiles launched by Houthi militias toward the Yemeni city of Al-Mokha.
In the early hours of Saturday, the Patriot system intercepted the missiles, which were launched within less than one hour, and prevented the deaths of civilians, Rajeh Badi, Yemeni government spokesman, told Arab News on Saturday.
Twelve ballistic missiles launched in less than one hour is an extraordinary attack, he said.
He called on the international community to move vigorously to disarm the militia, which poses a risk to the lives of Yemenis.
Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations expert, told Arab News that the launching of a large number of ballistic missiles in a short time constitutes a serious escalation by the Iran-backed rebels. He added that the Houthi attacks call for an international response to curb the Iranian intervention not only in Yemen but in the region.
“The Iranians have been supplying Houthis with weapons for years, and will continue to do so,” Al-Shehri said. “The US strike in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons was decisive; a similar action must be taken against Iran in Yemen in order to bring the Yemeni crisis to a peaceful settlement.”
He said: “Iran is suspected of having a hand in Syria’s chemical attack just as it is behind the launch of the ballistic missiles on a densely populated Yemeni city of Al-Mokha. Fortunately, the coalition’s air defense system intercepted the missiles and prevented carnage of civilians. The international community should take this Houthi crime as a serious escalation and act without delay.”
Yemeni spokesman Badi said Iran is still supplying the Houthi militia with weapons and missiles via more than one route including Yemeni seaports, which are still under the control of these militias such as Al-Hodeida Port.
He called on the international community to liberate all Yemeni ports from the Houthis. He said missiles are being launched daily on the cities of Marib, Aden and Taiz.
In the meantime, the Yemeni Army has regained two new locations in Hijah Province after a fierce battle with the Houthi militia, army sources said.
The sources said the Yemeni forces captured three members of the Houthi militia in the two captured posts, while a number of deaths and injuries were reported among the militia during the Yemeni Army’s attack on the militia in Tiba Sofa and Bihan fronts.
Meanwhile, the Yemeni Army foiled an infiltration attempt by the Houthis in the Isailan area, sources said.


Bahrain says conference co-hosted with US aimed at helping Palestinians

Updated 21 May 2019
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Bahrain says conference co-hosted with US aimed at helping Palestinians

DUBAI: Bahrain said Tuesday a peace conference it is co-hosting next month with the US is aimed at helping the Palestinians, who have criticized the kingdom for failing to consult them about the event.
The conference “serves no other purpose” than to help the Palestinian people “through developing their abilities and enhancing their resources,” said Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa.
The kingdom “remains supportive of the brotherly Palestinian people in restoring their legitimate rights on their land as well as establishing an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” Bahrain’s top diplomat said in a statement.
The White House announced Sunday it would co-host the June 25-26 conference with Bahrain focusing on economic aspects of the long-delayed US peace plan, with the declared aim of achieving Palestinian prosperity.
“We were not consulted by any party on the announced meeting to take place in Manama, Bahrain,” Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said in a statement.
“We have not mandated any party to negotiate on our behalf.”
The Palestinians have boycotted the US administration since President Donald Trump broke with decades of consensus and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.
They consider the eastern part of the city the capital of their future state and have shown little interest in the US peace plan, which they fear will be heavily biased in favor of Israel.
Dubbed “Peace for Prosperity,” the conference is expected to bring together leaders from several governments, civil society and the business sector.
Trump’s office said the conference was a “pivotal opportunity... to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanize support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement.”
The Palestinians see this as offering financial rewards in exchange for accepting ongoing Israeli occupation.
“Attempts at promoting an economic normalization of the Israeli occupation of Palestine will be rejected,” Erekat said.