Separatists pin down Yemen govt in Aden

People gather outside a car parts store hit by shells during the conflict in the port city of Aden on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Updated 31 January 2018
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Separatists pin down Yemen govt in Aden

ADEN: Yemeni ministers were holed up in Aden’s presidential palace on Wednesday after separatist forces seized effective control of the southern port city.
Pro-separatist forces fanned out across the city — the country’s de facto capital — after three days of fighting that left 38 people dead.
In the wake of these developments, the Arab coalition supporting the legitimate government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has urged the separatists to exercise restraint and called on the government to weigh up the demands of its rivals.
While Yemen’s president resides in the Saudi capital, the infighting in the anti-Houthi camp has left Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher and a number of senior government figures holed up in the Aden presidential palace.
A high-ranking military source said the separatists had also taken over the prime minister’s office chief overnight. By Wednesday morning, the clashes appeared to subside.
The UN raised alarm bells on Wednesday over the impact of the violent standoff on more than 40,000 Yemenis recently displaced to Aden, and now cut off from aid.
“UNHCR emergency aid distributions and humanitarian assessments planned this week for vulnerable, displaced Yemenis have now been postponed and UNHCR humanitarian cargo remains at Aden port unable to be released,” the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said via Twitter.
“We are also particularly concerned for those newly displaced in Aden who have fled other areas in Yemen. More than 40,000 people fled to Aden and nearby governorates since December and we anticipate more displacement as people continue to flee from hostilities in the west coast.”
At least 38 people have been killed and 222 wounded in Aden since Sunday, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The separatists, who for months have pushed for the reinstatement of South Yemen as an independent country, now control most of the city.
Since 2015, Aden had served as a refuge for tens of thousands of Yemenis fleeing conflict in their hometowns across the country, as the government battled Houthi rebels allied with Iran.
Separatists, mainly based in Aden, have gained traction since April in their push for self-rule, demanding the reinstatement of South Yemen under a self-proclaimed Southern Transitional Council (STC).
Before the fighting broke out, the STC had called on Hadi to make changes to his government, accusing it of corruption and mismanagement.
The clashes have sparked fears of a repeat of South Yemen’s 1986 civil war, a failed socialist coup which killed thousands in just six days and helped pave the way for the 1991 unification of South and North Yemen.
The separatists, who enjoy popular support and are backed by some regular troops, have rapidly gained control over all but one district in Aden since Sunday.
The Arab coalition said it would take “all necessary steps to restore security” in Aden but has not intervened on the government’s behalf.


Hezbollah names Beirut street after Rafiq Hariri assassin

Rafiq Hariri was assassinated in a blast in Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005. (AFP)
Updated 3 min 38 sec ago
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Hezbollah names Beirut street after Rafiq Hariri assassin

  • The decision to name the street after him was “unconstitutional” and “an unnecessary act of provocation,” a source at the Interior Ministry told Arab News

BEIRUT: Pro-Hezbollah politicians in south Beirut were accused of provocation on Tuesday for naming a street after the assassin who plotted the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

To rub salt in the wound, the street is adjacent to the city’s Rafiq Hariri University Hospital. Hariri’s son, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, described the decision by Ghobeiry municipality as “sedition.” 

Hezbollah commander and bomb-maker Mustafa Badreddine was described last week by the prosecution at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague as “the main conspirer” in the assassination of Hariri, who died when his motorcade was blown up in central Beirut in February 2005. Badreddine himself was murdered in Damascus in 2016.

The decision to name the street after him was “unconstitutional” and “an unnecessary act of provocation,” a source at the Interior Ministry told Arab News.

“There is no precedent for resorting to these methods in naming streets, especially when the name is the subject of political and sectarian dispute between the people of Lebanon and may pose a threat to security and public order.”

A Future Movement official said: “What has happened proves that Hezbollah has an absurd mentality. There are people in Lebanon who care about the country, and others who don’t. This group considers the murderers of Rafiq Hariri its heroes, but they are illusory heroes.”