British MP praises Saudi crown prince for ‘ideological commitment’ to women’s rights

British MP Naz Shah praised Crown Prince Mohammed for promoting a moderate interpretation of Islam. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2018
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British MP praises Saudi crown prince for ‘ideological commitment’ to women’s rights

LONDON: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has made important steps toward improving the rights of women in the Kingdom, a prominent British female MP said this week.
Writing for the UK’s news website on Tuesday, Naz Shah, vice chair of the all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims, praised Crown Prince Mohammed for promoting a moderate interpretation of Islam.
She said that he had acted out of both “ideological commitment and practical necessity” by diluting the powers of Saudi Arabia’s religious police, granting women the right to drive and tackling corruption.
Shah, an MP for the opposition Labour Party, urged Britain to be a “candid friend” to Crown Prince Mohammed during and after his visit to the country.
“Like many British Muslim girls, I was taught to look to Saudi Arabia as an example in religious matters. Many Muslim Brits won’t even start their Ramadan fast until the Saudi clergy have confirmed the moon sighting, and I have family and friends whose lives have been changed through a pilgrimage there,” she wrote.
“This makes it all the more painful when the example that is set is one of the default marginalization and subjugation of women and girls. This has been the case for too long. But in the past few months things have started to change,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, another Labour MP, Graham Jones, called on his party’s leadership to rethink its critical stance toward Saudi military involvement in Yemen.
Writing on the PoliticsHome website on Tuesday, the chair of the committee on arms export controls said: “No government in the world would accept a rebel force in a neighboring country attacking its citizens and its territory. Why should we expect Saudi, and its allies, to be any different?”


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.