Houthi threat to cut off Red Sea shipping ‘flagrant’ challenge to law

A ship is docked at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen on March 23, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 09 January 2018
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Houthi threat to cut off Red Sea shipping ‘flagrant’ challenge to law

SANAA: A threat by Houthi militias to cut off vital Red Sea shipping routes is a “flagrant” challenge to international law, according to a Yemeni minister.
Abdul-Raqib Fat’h, a minister and chairman of the Yemeni Higher Relief Committee, said in a statement to a Yemeni news agency, and quoted by SPA, that the threat to cut off international navigation in the Red Sea is an “open and flagrant challenge to international and humanitarian laws and the United Nations.”
Saleh Al-Samad, head of the unrecognized coup council in Sana’a, earlier warned that — should a political solution to the conflict in Yemen reach a dead end — they will consider “strategic options” including “cutting off the Red Sea and international navigation,” according to local media reports.
The threat was reportedly made during a meeting with the UN’s special envoy for Yemen, Ma’ain Shuraim, and follows hefty losses suffered by Houthi militias on more than one front in Yemen.
Al-Samad also attacked UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, criticizing the role of the UN, which he described as “disappointing,” questioning its credibility in the treatment of the Yemeni crisis.
Several countries have already identified the Houthi threat to navigation in the Bab Al-Mandab Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, and where the Iranian-backed militias have targeted ships and boats on several occasions.
Saudi-led coalition forces and their Yemeni allies last year regained control of several strategic ports, waging an assault against the Houthis. The Saudi Navy has also engaged in numerous mine-sweeping missions on Yemeni shores, amid warnings over explosives planted by the militias.


Son of Iranian-American detainee asks Tehran ‘to show mercy’

Baquer Namazi. (Twitter)
Updated 16 November 2018
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Son of Iranian-American detainee asks Tehran ‘to show mercy’

  • Baquer Namazi, 81, has been held in Iran for over two years

WASHINGTON: The family and attorney of an Iranian-American dual national held in Tehran say his health is rapidly deteriorating and are appealing to the Iranian authorities to allow him to leave for medical treatment.
Babak Namazi, the son of Baquer Namazi, is asking Iran “to show mercy to my father.”
Baquer Namazi, 81, has been held in Iran for over two years. He and his son Siamak Namazi were convicted of collaborating with a hostile power in 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The elder Namazi has been diagnosed with narcolepsy in addition to battling a heart condition in prison.
Babak Namazi and the family’s attorney say they believe direct engagement between the US and Iran is “critically important” to secure the release of the elder Namazi.