Dubai ruler takes to verse to urge Qatar turnabout

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. (AFP)
Updated 29 June 2017
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Dubai ruler takes to verse to urge Qatar turnabout

DUBAI: The ruler of Dubai has taken to verse to urge Qatar to concede to the demands of Saudi Arabia and its allies for an end to a crippling embargo.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who is also vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, is the latest in a long line of world leaders to turn to poetry to convey their message.
In the poem, posted on Instagram late on Wednesday, Sheikh Mohammed urged Qatar to abandon its independent foreign policy and return to the Gulf fold.
“Of one origin, people, existence/one flesh and blood, one land and faith,” he wrote.
“Yet Qatar turns to the nearby stranger, to the weak,” he added, alluding to Doha’s refusal to join the Riyadh-led boycott of Tehran.
“Now is the time to unite, one heart/to protect one another beyond hate.”
The poem garnered more than 80,000 likes overnight.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and its allies Egypt and Bahrain severed all ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of support for extremist groups — a claim Doha denies.
Last week, Riyadh laid down a list of 13 “non-negotiable” demands for Doha, including ending its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the closure of Al-Jazeera television, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base in the emirate.
The UAE ambassador to Russia Omar Ghobash warned in comments published by Britain’s Guardian newspaper on Tuesday that Qatar could face further sanctions if it failed to meet the demands.
Sheikh Mohammed is by no means the first world leader to turn to poetry.
Former US president Jimmy Carter is a published poet. Barack Obama dabbled in poetry in the 1980s and his successor Donald Trump is now the unintentional author of a compilation of tweets and quotes entitled “Bard of the Deal: The poetry of Donald Trump.”
Bosnian Serb psychiatrist-turned-politician Radovan Karadzic, sentenced to 40 years in jail by a UN court last year for his part in the 1995 genocide of Muslims in the town of Srebrenica, also fancied himself as a poet, releasing a collection of poetry and a novel, “Miraculous Chronicles of the Night.”


Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

Pro-government drive in an industrial district in the eastern outskirts of the port city Hodeidah. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2018
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Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

  • Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday
  • UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week

SANAA: Iran-backed Houthi militias have said they are ready to mobilize more fighters to the frontline despite a lull in battleground Hodeidah, as the UN envoy prepares to visit the country to boost peace efforts.

Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday, apparently getting ready to head toward Hodeidah, a Red Sea city home to a vital port.

Men, some of whom looked very young, were lining up with bandoliers around their shoulders and rifles in their hands, chanting Houthi slogans.

Residents said on Sunday that relative calm had held in Hodeidah city since pro-government forces announced a pause in their offensive last week amid international calls for a cease-fire and UN-led peace efforts.  They added, however, that they remain on edge.

Meanwhile, coalition fighter jets on Sunday carried out a series of strikes targeting Houthi positions west of Marib. The strikes, which were accompanied by shelling, came after the Iranian-supported militia launched ballistic missiles toward the city of Marib. Coalition forces successfully intercepted the missiles, Yemeni army media said.

UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week to finalize arrangements for peace talks to take place in Sweden soon.

Hameed Assem, a member of the militia delegation expected to take part in the negotiations, said that Houthis will continue to mobilize if UN efforts for peace fail to materialize.

Pro-government forces on Wednesday suspended their 12-day offensive in Hodeidah.

Griffiths said on Friday that both the government and the Houthis have shown a “renewed commitment” to work on a political solution and have given “firm assurances” that they will attend the talks. No date has yet been set.

(AFP)