Yemen radical party members held, ratcheting up tensions

Pro-government fighters are seen outside a military camp near airport in the southern Yemeni city of Aden in this file photo. Security forces have arrested 10 members of an Islamist partner in the internationally-recognized government, increasing tensions, the Islah party said on Wednesday. (AFP file photo)
Updated 12 October 2017
0

Yemen radical party members held, ratcheting up tensions

ADEN: Security forces in the southern Yemeni city of Aden arrested 10 members of a radical partner in the internationally recognized government, the Islah party said on Wednesday.
Aden is dominated by local forces backed by the UAE, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to restore President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power but is hostile toward hard-liners.
The arrests could raise tension within the coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi movement and forces loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh who seized much of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.
Islah said security forces raided the home of its No. 2 man in Aden, Mohammed Abdel-Malek, and arrested him, along with a member of the party’s local Shoura Council as well as a local militia commander.
Security forces also closed down the party’s office in Al-Qaloua district of Aden, Islah said in a statement.
A security source in Aden confirmed four people were arrested and said the move was related to the assassination of a Salafi imam in Aden on Tuesday by a bomb planted in his car.
While both in the radical camp, Salafis and Islah are at odds as some of the former back a secession of south Yemen while the latter wants the Arabian Peninsula state to remain intact.
It was unclear if the arrested Islah members had been formally charged.
“(Islah) directs a call to public opinion, the government and the coalition demanding they shoulder their responsibility to swiftly release brother Abdel-Malek and his colleagues and to stop these arbitrary measures,” Islah’s statement said.
With thousands of fighters deployed on battlefronts against the Houthis, Islah has been an important ally of Hadi and the Saudi-led coalition trying to reinstate his government.
But Islah, seen as linked with the Muslim Brotherhood, has come under pressure since a rift erupted between Qatar and the Anti-Terror Quartet — comprising the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia — in June over allegations Qatar backs radical militants. Qatar denies this.
Since the coalition intervened in Yemen, Islah has tried to distance itself from the Brotherhood in an effort to ease Gulf rulers’ anxiety about its radical ideology.
The Brotherhood denies accusations from conservative Arab governments of involvement in terrorism, saying it seeks change only by peaceful means.


US diplomat briefs Iraqi cardinal on aid after critique

Updated 19 October 2018
0

US diplomat briefs Iraqi cardinal on aid after critique

  • Mark Green was in Rome to tell Vatican officials about on-the-ground results from US development assistance to Iraq’s religious minorities
  • Cardinal Sako had accused the US of failing to help rebuild Christian villages devastated by Daesh in Iraq

ROME: A senior American diplomat briefed the leader of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholics on US development aid after the cardinal accused the US of failing to help rebuild Christian villages devastated by Daesh.

Mark Green, administrator of the State Department’s USAID development agency, said he disagreed with Cardinal Luis Sako’s claims at a Vatican news conference on Tuesday that promised US aid for Iraq’s religious minorities had not materialized.

But Green said Sako’s complaints were “a reminder that it is not only important to execute and deliver results, it is (important) to be able to constantly stay in touch and make people aware of what we’re doing and involve them in guiding it.”

Green was in Rome to tell Vatican officials about on-the-ground results from US development assistance to Iraq’s religious minorities and about the near-doubling of aid to about $300 million since last year.

The funds are being used to help rebuild water and electricity systems, provide security for schools and other projects meant to help Christians and other religious minorities who fled during the conflict with Daesh’s return to Iraq and build a viable future.

Green declined to speculate why Sako seemed unaware of how the US aid was used. 

He said he viewed their meeting, scheduled before the cardinal’s comments, as “an opportunity to show him some of the work that we’re doing, both directly in his constituency (and) throughout the region in northern Iraq.”

Sako had strongly criticized US policy in the region, suggesting the US invasion of Iraq, which gave way to years of instability that facilitated the birth of Daesh, was responsible for the exodus of Christians from communities that have existed since the time of Jesus.

Asked about US aid aimed at encouraging them to return, Sako said it had not materialized.

“There are promises, but the reality is that there’s been nothing up to now,” Sako said after a Vatican briefing Tuesday.