Riyadh refutes Tehran claim on mediation request with Houthis

Houthis raise their weapons in the air during a demonstration. (Reuters)
Updated 16 September 2017
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Riyadh refutes Tehran claim on mediation request with Houthis

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has refuted Iranian statements that the Kingdom has requested Iranian mediation with Al-Houthis in Yemen, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.
The director of media affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Osama Ahmed Nugali, refuted the statement of Hossein Amir Abdollahian, senior adviser to the Iranian Parliament speaker, carried by Iranian News Agency (IRNA), that Saudi Arabia requested Iranian mediation with Houthis in Yemen.
He further confirmed that these claims are baseless and unfounded.
On the other hand, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the UAE Anwar Qarqash said Houthi statements threatening the UAE and its capital is substantial evidence of the necessity for the Decisive Storm operation and that Iran’s militias (Houthi) have despicable objectives and their danger is real.
On his Twitter account, he said the decisive king launched the “storm” due to his knowledge of the danger of changing the strategic balance, and Houthi threats have proved that. Arab coalition forces are fighting the necessary battle for the future of the region, he said.
“Houthi threats and their follies do not frighten us and expose the desperation of those who are defending faded illusions, but they reveal their ill-intentions on the security and stability of the Gulf,” he said.
Qarqash’s remarks come following recent threats made by Houthi leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi where he threatened to attack neighboring countries and oil tanks off the Yemeni coasts with missiles in case the legitimate government and Arab coalition forces advance to the Yemeni port of Al-Hodeida.
Meanwhile, Reuters quoted a local official as saying that three persons suspected of belonging to Al-Qaeda terror group were killed in an attack launched by drones in southern parts of Yemen late Thursday. The attack targeted the Modiya region, in Abyan province, and the suspected members were killed while riding a motorcycles. The US has repeatedly attacked Al-Qaeda elements with helicopters and drones in a campaign to eliminate the terror group’s ability to launch attacks.
In a related development, an officer of the demobilized Republican Guard loyal to deposed President Saleh said Houthi militia were training women to use weapons and in other war skills. Female trainers from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, who were brought in by the Houthi militia in 2014, are carrying out the training.
A report carried by Al-Asima.online affirmed the existence of Iranian female trainers and exploitation of women prisoners and girls by the Houthi militia in this regard.
The website quoted an officer, who asked for anonymity, as saying that nearly 500 Yemeni girls were conscripted in Sanaa and are in the hands of Iranian and Iraqi female trainers. Zumar province, in southern Sanaa, is reported to have the largest training camp for women.
Girls and school students are taken for training either forcibly, threating their fathers with killing, or bribing their families with money, exploiting their difficult living conditions, he said.
He said Houthi conscription training courses do not come directly but start with so-called “cultural courses” which are purely religious courses before enrollment in the real conscription courses.


US denies ‘final conclusion’ reached on Khashoggi case

Updated 49 min 24 sec ago
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US denies ‘final conclusion’ reached on Khashoggi case

  • A US newspaper published what it claimed were details of an intelligence report on the case
  • ‘The State Department will continue to seek all relevant facts’

JEDDAH: The US government denied on Saturday it had reached a final conclusion over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi after a US newspaper published what it claimed were details of an intelligence report on the case. 
“Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
“There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. The State Department will continue to seek all relevant facts,” she said.
“In the meantime, we will continue to consult Congress, and work with other nations to hold accountable those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.”
The Washington Post published an article citing anonymous sources, who it says are close to the CIA which suggests the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the killing — something Saudi Arabia vehemently denies.
The Kingdom’s public prosecutor on Thursday released details of its investigation, saying the decision to kill the journalist was made by the head of a rogue mission during an attempt to repatriate him. The prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five of the suspects. 
On Saturday, Donald Trump spoke with CIA Director Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from Air Force One, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. 
Trump praised US relations with Saudi Arabia when he was asked about the case. Saudi Arabia is “a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development,” the US president said.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US Prince Khalid bin Salman, strongly denied the Washington Post story, and said he did not tell Khashoggi to go to Turkey, as the report claimed. 
“I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim,” Prince Khalid said
Khashoggi, a Saudi who lived in the United States, was a columnist for the Post.
He was killed on Oct. 2 at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul after he went to get marriage documents.