Haley puts UN pressure on Iran over Houthi missiles

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley briefs the media in front of remains of Iranian "Qiam" ballistic missile provided by Pentagon at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington. (Reuters)
Updated 17 February 2018
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Haley puts UN pressure on Iran over Houthi missiles

NEW YORK: Washington’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Thursday intensified pressure on Iran over its arming of Yemeni rebels, but it remained unclear whether US efforts for new international action against Tehran would succeed.
Haley said it was “time for the Security Council to act” after the release of a long-awaited report by UN experts that concluded that Iran had violated an arms embargo on Yemen by providing rebels with short-range ballistic missiles and drones.
“This report highlights what we’ve been saying for months: Iran has been illegally transferring weapons in violation of multiple Security Council resolutions,” Haley said after the report’s release on Thursday.
“The United States will continue to call out Iran’s dangerous actions, but the world cannot continue to allow these blatant violations to go unanswered. Iran needs to know that there are consequences for defying the international community.”
Iran has strongly denied arming the Houthi militias, who rule northern Yemen and the capital, Sanaa, and has accused Haley of presenting “fabricated” evidence that a Nov. 4 missile fired at Riyadh airport was Iranian-made.
Iran “failed to take the necessary measures” to stop arms flowing to Houthis, the UN report concludes. It paints a bleak portrait of Yemen disintegrating into several “warring statelets” after three years of civil conflict.
The UN experts accuse all sides of abuses in a war that pits Yemen’s UN-recognized President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his military backers in the Arab coalition against the Houthis and those loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed last year.
Under a UN resolution that enshrines the Iran nuclear deal with world powers, Tehran is barred from selling, supplying or transferring weapons beyond its borders without UN approval. A separate UN resolution bans the arming of top Houthis or those aligned with Saleh.
According to diplomats, Iranian violations are likely to be addressed in a draft resolution renewing sanctions on Yemen, which is set to be adopted by the council later this month. It remains unclear whether Russia will back a move that punishes Iran.
Last month, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia queried the UN report and said the US had not made a case for UN action against Iran, after Haley showed her Security Council colleagues a display of allegedly Iran-supplied Houthi rocket fragments at a hangar near Washington.
Speaking at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Friday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis continued building the Trump administration’s case against Iran, accusing Tehran of fomenting unrest across from Lebanon to the Gulf. 
After alluding to missiles into Saudi Arabi, problems in Lebanon and Syria “where Iran has propped up Assad” and Yemen “where they’re using it for a launching platform,” Mattis said: “I cannot explain why Iran insists on many of the things it does.”


Anti-Daesh coalition raids kill 43 in east Syria: monitor

Updated 17 November 2018
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Anti-Daesh coalition raids kill 43 in east Syria: monitor

  • Seventeen children were among 36 Daesh family members killed in Abu Husn village of Deir Ezzor province near the Iraqi border
  • Another seven victims had not yet been identified as either civilians or Daesh fighters

BEIRUT: Air strikes by the US-led coalition Saturday killed 43 people, mostly civilians, in a Daesh holdout in eastern Syria, a Britain-based monitor said.
Seventeen children were among 36 Daesh family members killed in Abu Husn village of Deir Ezzor province near the Iraqi border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Another seven victims had not yet been identified as either civilians or Daesh fighters, it said.
The US-led coalition has been backing a Kurdish-Arab alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting to expel the extremists from the pocket around Abu Husn.
"It's the highest death toll in coalition air strikes since the SDF launched its attack against the IS pocket" in September, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The coalition has repeatedly said it does its utmost to prevent civilian casualties.
"The avoidance of civilian casualties is our highest priority when conducting strikes against legitimate military targets with precision munitions," spokesman Sean Ryan told AFP this week.
Daesh overran large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a "caliphate" in land it controlled.
But the militant group has since lost most of it to various offensives in both countries.
In Syria, the group has seen its presence reduced to parts of the vast Badia desert and the pocket in Deir Ezzor.
The coalition has since 2014 acknowledged direct responsibility for over 1,100 civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq, but rights groups put the number killed much higher.