Expected military operations to restore Hodeidah dismay Houthi rebels

A view of the container terminal at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen, in this file photo taken on November 16, 2016. (Reuters)
Updated 11 April 2017

Expected military operations to restore Hodeidah dismay Houthi rebels

JEDDAH: The Yemeni port of Hodeidah has been suspended, after it recently became the only outlet for arms smuggling and financial funding the coup militia could obtain through controlling the movement of trade in the port, Deputy Minister of Transport Nasser Sharif said.
He also confirmed that efforts are underway to complete the opening of Al-Mokha Port.
“The ministry is working on allocating alternative ports to the port of Hodeidah and land ports for the introduction of humanitarian aid through the ports controlled by the legitimate authority, including the ports of Aden, Mukalla, Mukha and Nashton,” he said.
He also pointed out that the ministry is studying legal, administrative, technical and financial procedures to transfer the presidency of the Red Sea Ports Corporation to Mukha after the government’s approval.
The port of Hodeidah, controlled by the coup militia, is the only window for the militants and the remaining outlet to obtain their sources of income after the legitimate forces and the popular resistance with the support of the Arab coalition that liberated the ports of the Mukha and Midi on the Red Sea.
The Houthis control the most populous areas, which helped them collect taxes and customs from the people living in these areas. The bulk of the revenue comes from the imposition of increased customs and taxes on goods.
The militias of Houthi and ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh are currently active in inviting the tribes in order to mobilize the largest number of people to counter what they called “plots” of the Arab alliance in the western coasts, referring to the expected battle of Hodeidah.
The Houthis also organized many events in the provinces under their control, including Hodeidah, where they gathered a number of tribes under the banner “General Mobilization” to defend the port of Hodeidah.
The spokesman for the Yemeni army, Maj. Gen. Abdo Majali, said that the rebels are living in a state of panic with the start of the Arab alliance aircraft the preliminary fire operations to liberate the province, confirming that “the military operation will be carried out by land, sea and air.”

Visit to Pakistan, India and China proves strategic for Saudi Arabia

Updated 24 February 2019

Visit to Pakistan, India and China proves strategic for Saudi Arabia

  • Benefits of three-country tour include billions in economic deals as well as security initiatives

JEDDAH: The three-country tour of Asia by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that came to a close this weekend was an economic and strategic success, experts say.

“Saudi Arabia might be seen by some as moving to the East,” Salman Al-Ansari, founder of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC), told Arab News. “The correct way to put it is that it’s spreading its wings East and West.

“Economic diversification requires strategic diversification. This should not be seen in any way as Saudi Arabia giving the cold shoulder to its most trusted allies, specifically the US,” he said. “And as Joseph Parry said: ‘Make new friends but keep the old; those are silver, these are gold.’”

The tour, which saw Saudi Arabia’s crown prince warmly welcomed by the leaders of Pakistan, India and China, is in line with the crown prince’s Vision 2030, which plans to transform Saudi Arabia’s economy that relies on crude oil exports into a vibrant, diversified economy. The tour resulted in billions of dollars in economic deals as well as initiatives to increase security and combat terrorism.

“Saudi Arabia is the one and only country that can take the leadership position on the global efforts of combating terrorism, specifically in the ideological front,” Al-Ansari said.

Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations scholar, said that China and Saudi Arabia have the same goals of security and stability. “China shares the Kingdom’s concerns and it knows that our continent has suffered from terrorism issues and international interventions and also troubles in the region.”

The two countries also improved on their mutually beneficial economic ties. As Al-Shehri pointed out: “China needs a huge energy source, and Saudi Arabia is one of these sources that can provide China with energy.”

One significant deal is the $10 billion refining and petrochemical complex, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Norinco, to be developed in the Chinese city of Panjin.

Also of great geopolitical significance is the $10-billion oil-refinery in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, as it is one of the most important parts of China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative, Al-Shehri said. “Global players are willing to invest in this project. The Kingdom’s investment in this field will serve Pakistan and will benefit the Kingdom as well as the (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor).”

And despite its historical relationship with Pakistan, Al-Shehri said that the Kingdom also found common ground with India. For instance, the two countries agreed to set up a working group on counter-terrorism. 

“India shares the Kingdom’s concern about instability in the seas, such as the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. These are all places of global trade,” Al-Shehri said, adding that he hopes the Kingdom will play a role in resolving border points of contention between Pakistan and India as it did between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

It wasn’t all just business. The crown prince’s tour included some other announcements, including that 2,100 Pakistani and 850 Indian prisoners will be released from the Kingdom’s jails, that the Chinese language will be introduced in the Saudi school curriculum and that Saudi Arabia will soon host several concerts featuring major Bollywood performers.

The crown prince also called for the creation of a health center in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province dedicated to the memory of a Pakistani hero who saved 14 lives in Jeddah’s 2009 floods.