US Treasury secretary leads Middle East trip focused on combatting terror financing

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. (AP)
Updated 23 October 2017
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US Treasury secretary leads Middle East trip focused on combatting terror financing

RIYADH: US Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin will embark on a four-nation trip to the Middle East including Saudi Arabia on Wednesday with plans to discuss combatting terror financing on top of his agenda.
During his stay in Riyadh, Mnuchin will hold talks with top Saudi officials, including Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, on a range of bilateral, regional and international issues.
According to the itinerary of the US treasury secretary released on Sunday by the US Embassy in Riyadh: “Mnuchin will commemorate the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, and deliver the keynote address at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Summit on Wednesday.” The US secretary will meet top officials of the Kingdom, the UAE, Qatar and Israel during this trip.
“This White House support mission is a follow-up to President Donald J. Trump’s first foreign trip in May, when he visited the region to announce the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC) memorandum of understanding,” said the embassy statement.
Mnuchin, accompanied by Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker, will lead the delegation that includes senior Treasury staff to discuss the TFTC partnership, and other initiatives to combat illicit finance.
“While in Saudi Arabia, Mnuchin will commemorate the opening of the TFTC, and meet with his official government counterparts,” said the statement. “The secretary will then proceed to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss terrorist financing and other national security issues. After Israel, Mnuchin will then hold meetings on terrorist financing with his counterparts in the UAE and Qatar.”


Hodeidah offensive: Coalition forces seize weapons supplied by Iran to Houthis

Updated 20 June 2018
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Hodeidah offensive: Coalition forces seize weapons supplied by Iran to Houthis

  • The arsenal included drones, a sniper rifle, roadside bombs disguised as rocks and even a “drone boat” which had been filled with explosives that failed to detonate.
  • Equipment used to produce and load fuel for rockets that target Saudi Arabia contained Iranian labels.

JEDDAH: Saudi-led coalition officials on Tuesday displayed weapons and explosives supplied by Iran to Houthi militias in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah. 

The arsenal included drones, a sniper rifle, roadside bombs disguised as rocks and even a “drone boat” which had been filled with explosives that failed to detonate.

Equipment used to produce and load fuel for rockets that target Saudi Arabia contained Iranian labels. The weapons were captured on the battlefield in Hodeidah and displayed at a military base in the UAE. 

“Unsurprisingly, there are advanced military components in the Houthi militias’ hands,” said Talal Al-Teneiji, an official at the UAE Foreign Ministry.

“We took time to inspect and disassemble these to figure out the source ... and we can say that these elements are military-grade materials imported from Iran to the Houthi militias.”

As the week-long offensive in Hodeidah intensified on Tuesday, coalition forces consolidated their grip on the city’s airport and there was new fighting on the main coast road leading to the city center, with Apache helicopters providing air support to the coalition. 

“We can hear the sounds of artillery, mortars and sporadic machinegun fire. The Houthis have been using tanks,” one civilian on the coastal strip said. 

“Water has been cut off to many of the areas near the corniche area because the Houthis have dug trenches and closed water pipes.”

At the airport, which the coalition has controlled since Saturday, their forces stormed the main compound and took full command.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said: “We are waiting for the Houthis to realize the sort of military and psychological blow that they got with the airport ... we are giving them time to decide if they want to save the city ... and pull out.”

Oubai Shahbandar, a strategic communications adviser, told Arab News that “without the sea and airport of Hodeidah, the Houthi militia has effectively lost the war.”

They should agree to UN-hosted peace talks and not prolong the fighting. “The tide in this conflict has clearly turned in favor of the Arab coalition and the welfare of the Yemeni people ought to be paramount,” he said.