Iran wants to form another Hezbollah in Yemen, says Saudi ambassador to US

Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Khalid bin Salman gives CNN’s Wolf Blitzer his first televised interview.
Updated 20 March 2018
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Iran wants to form another Hezbollah in Yemen, says Saudi ambassador to US

WASHINGTON: Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the US, said on Monday that Iran wants to form another Hezbollah in Yemen through its support of Houthi militia.
He told CNN that Iran wants to destabilize Saudi Arabia, and that it poses a threat to the entire region and international security.
“Here’s what happening in Yemen: (Iran is trying to create) another Hezbollah in Yemen, which will not just threaten our security and Yemeni security, but also regional security.”
“We’ve been focusing on the weapon of mass destruction, the WMD. What we should really be focusing on is the MD, the mass destruction that Iran is committing in the region.”
He stressed to CNN that Tehran was stirring unrest, and said the so-called “nuclear deal” between Iran and Western powers needs “to be fixed.” 
In the interview, the ambassador was asked about the changes going on in Saudi Arabia and he pointed to Saudi Vision 2030, a long-term strategy toward "fascinating change and transformation."
"We want to reform our economy, we want to modernize our society, we want to empower our youth, including women," he said.
"On the women issues, currently in Saudi Arabia, we have more percentage of women in the Shoura Council, equivalent to Congress. In municipal elections, women are allowed to run and vote, and they have run, they have voted and won seats. Women are allowed to drive, and the biggest stock market in the Middle East and Africa, the Saudi stock market, is headed by women," he said.
The ambassador was speaking as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman begins a multi-city trip to the US, where he is due to meet President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
Crown Prince Mohammed is also due to meet with Vice President Mike Pence, administration officials and religious leaders in the US.
He will meet financiers and think tank chiefs in New York, entertainment executives and technology entrepreneurs in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and key figures of the energy industry in Houston.


Kiswa of Kaaba raised in preparation for Hajj

Updated 9 min 19 sec ago
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Kiswa of Kaaba raised in preparation for Hajj

  • Up to 50 people worked on the raising of Kiswa this year
  • The Kiswa is replaced with white cloth during Hajj

DUBAI: The lower part of Kaaba’s Kiswa, the black cloth draped around the holy shrine, was raised 3 meters in preparation for the new Hajj season and was replaced with white cloth instead, Reasah Al-Harmain said on Friday.
The procedure is done every year before the Hajj season in order to protect the Kiswa, as some pilgrims touch and pull on the black cloth when they circumambulate the Kaaba.

Up to 50 technicians and specialists oversaw the annual process, head of the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Ahmad bin Muhammad Al-Mansouri said.
What some pilgrims do to the Kiswa stems from wrongful beliefs, which is why the black cloth is raised and replaced with white textile during Hajj, he added.
The original Kiswa will be draped again after the Hajj season concludes, Al-Mansouri said.