MWL rejects UN report on children in conflict

Updated 08 October 2017
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MWL rejects UN report on children in conflict

JEDDAH: The Muslim World League (MWL) on Saturday criticized the methodology and findings of a UN report on children in armed conflict.
The report commended the Saudi-led coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen for its actions to improve child protection, and for its cooperation with the UN.
However, the report by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, which was submitted to the Security Council last week, also blamed the coalition and Iran-backed Houthi rebels for causing the deaths of children in the conflict in Yemen.
The MWL said that, on behalf of the Muslim world and the many organizations, Islamic and non-Islamic, with which it was affiliated, it rejected the findings of the report.
It pointed out that in August, the UN itself had applauded the work undertaken by the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSRelief) and the center for the rehabilitation of Yemeni children.
The MWL said the documentation in the UN report failed to reach international standards, and the report had failed to determine liability with a proper investigation.
“The Houthi militias have thwarted relief efforts between 2015 and 2017 — 65 aid ships, 124 relief convoys, 628 trucks, 5,500 food baskets and 6,000 bags of flour were looted by the militias during this period,” the MWL said.
“Furthermore, between 2015 and 2017, Houthi militias have carried out numerous attacks against many UN and other relief organizations and aid workers in Sanaa, Taiz, Hajjah, Al-Hudeidah, Ibb and Aden. They have committed acts of murder and kidnapping and blocked entry to, looted and forcibly closed aid offices. This has been part of the Iran-backed Houthis’ crimes against the Yemeni people since they hijacked legitimacy in the country.
“The UN secretary-general’s report should have drawn on the apparent physical evidence of all the tragedies and challenges, and the UN must reveal the truth about those who committed those crimes and support the coalition in overcoming the challenges.”
The MWL said the coalition was “more than glad to restore happiness and stability in Yemen and ensure its children’s safety and prosperous future. The coalition has taken upon itself to unite Yemen under one legitimate government. It sees the beauty of the country’s diversity and believes it is the source of its wealth, prosperity and development, and aims to renew its political, intellectual and social unity under an independent, civilized government that enjoys sovereignty.”


Israel quiet on US claims it hit Iraq militia in Syria

Updated 19 June 2018
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Israel quiet on US claims it hit Iraq militia in Syria

  • The Sunday evening strike against the Al-Hari base on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq came less than 24 hours after Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would strike Iran’s “proxies” anywhere in Syria
  • Syrian authorities and the Iraqi paramilitaries both blamed Washington for the strike, which killed at least 52 fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

JERUSALEM: Israel declined to comment on Tuesday on a weekend air strike against an Iraqi paramilitary base in eastern Syria after its US ally implicated it in the attack.
The Sunday evening strike against the Al-Hari base on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq came less than 24 hours after Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would strike Iran’s “proxies” anywhere in Syria.
Fighters of Iraq’s Hashed Al-Shaabi paramilitary force, mainly composed of Iran-trained Shiite militia, have played a major role in the war against the Sunni extremists of the Daesh group in Syria as well as Iraq.
But their presence has sparked confrontations with both Washington, which has been supporting a Kurdish-led alliance that controls other parts of eastern Syria, and Israel, which fears Iranian-inspired attacks on its forces in the occupied Golan Heights.
Syrian authorities and the Iraqi paramilitaries both blamed Washington for the strike, which killed at least 52 fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
But US officials denied any involvement and instead pointed the finger at Israel.
“We have reasons to believe that it was an Israeli strike,” one US official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The Israeli military declined to be drawn on the US claims. “We are not commenting on foreign reports,” a spokeswoman said.
The military has carried out previous strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, but most have been significantly closer to Israel or the Israeli-occupied Golan.
Last month, Israel launched a large-scale attack on what it said were Iranian targets in Syria, raising fears of a major confrontation.
Those strikes followed a barrage of rockets that Israel said was fired toward its forces in the occupied Golan by Iran from Syria.
Even before that, Israel had been blamed for a series of recent strikes inside Syria that killed Iranians, though it has not acknowledged them.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday morning, Netanyahu reiterated his position that “Iran needs to withdraw from all of Syria.”
“We will take action — and are already taking action — against efforts to establish a military presence by Iran and its proxies in Syria both close to the border and deep inside Syria,” the prime minister said.
“We will act against these efforts anywhere in Syria.”
Israeli seized a large swathe of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.
Iran has been a close ally of the Syrian regime for some four decades and, with Russia, has been a key supporter in the civil war that broke out in 2011.