Houthis on back foot as Yemeni army advances

Photo showing Saudi-led Arab coalition Spokesperson Colonel Turki Al-Maliki addressing a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, June 18, 2018. (AN, Basheer Saleh)
Updated 19 June 2018
0

Houthis on back foot as Yemeni army advances

RIYADH: Iran-backed Houthi militants have been outmaneuvered as the military operations by the Yemeni army and the resistance forces supported by the Arab coalition continue to achieve success, said coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki.

The Yemeni army has taken control of Hodeidah airport as the Arab coalition entered the main compound of the airport on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday night, Al-Maliki said: “As the Yemeni army carried out a military offensive on the Houthi areas, the militias received heavy blows in Hodeidah and Saada.”

The national army carried out military operations in several areas and continued their progress in Hodeidah, Saada, Medi, Hajjah and Nahm, he said. This gave the national army control on these fronts, putting the militants on the defensive and leading to the breaking up of their ranks.

Al-Maliki said that the Houthi militias deliberately lied to hide their defeats. Yemenis should be alerted to the lies propagated by this Iran-backed sectarian militia and its claim that it controls the military position, with the aim of intimidating them and misleading them to enroll them in their ranks.

He said that the port was a strategic military target through which terrorist militias received weapons from Iran to provoke chaos and corruption in Yemen, and continue tampering through acts of terrorism and threatening maritime navigation in the Straits of Bab Al-Mandab.

“Houthi militia defeats, losses in Hodeidah will cut them from Iranian logistic access,” he said.

“The liberation of the city of Hodeidah and its harbor is an inherent right of the Yemeni government based on international laws and in accordance with Resolution 2216,” he said, adding “the liberation of Hodeidah will lead to the cutting off of Iranian hands, which will stop the smuggling of Iranian weapons to the Houthis.”

Al-Maliki said that humanitarian aid continued to enter Hodeidah and all areas despite hostilities from the Iran-backed militia.

The coalition continued to give maritime, land and air permits for aid to enter Yemen, he said.

Al-Maliki reviewed the efforts of the Joint Forces Command in securing international humanitarian organizations in Yemen, protecting roads for humanitarian operations and granting permits for campaigns and cargo loaded with relief and humanitarian aid through land, air and sea crossings, which according to him last week included 65 flights, carrying more than 4,000 passengers, 41 permits for ships anchored in all Yemeni ports, and one for the shipment of aid arriving by road.

He said that assistance coming to Yemen included oil derivatives and therapeutic, food and shelter services.

Al-Maliki referred to the process and political efforts in Yemen, the most recent of which was the visit of UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffith in early June, during which he met with Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and representatives of the countries of the region, before moving to Sanaa. 

He said his efforts and initiatives within the general framework for finding an amicable political solution in Yemen were rejected by the Houthi militias, as were the efforts by former UN Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who was unable to find a solution to the Yemeni crisis because of the rejection of solutions by the Houthi militias and their lack of interest in finding solutions.

Al-Maliki said this information was included in the recent briefing to the Security Council by the former UN envoy, in which he stated the rejection of the Houthi militias of all political efforts and their deliberately obstructing the political solution.

He made a visual presentation giving a description of military targeting by coalition forces of the Iranian-backed militia’s vehicles used for war supplies to various sites.

Al-Maliki said the coalition forces would continue to support the legitimacy in Yemen to ensure the success of international organizations working to improve the infrastructure in Yemen and to work to restore security and stability in line with international and humanitarian laws.


Visit to Pakistan, India and China proves strategic for Saudi Arabia

Updated 24 February 2019
0

Visit to Pakistan, India and China proves strategic for Saudi Arabia

  • Benefits of three-country tour include billions in economic deals as well as security initiatives

JEDDAH: The three-country tour of Asia by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that came to a close this weekend was an economic and strategic success, experts say.

“Saudi Arabia might be seen by some as moving to the East,” Salman Al-Ansari, founder of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC), told Arab News. “The correct way to put it is that it’s spreading its wings East and West.

“Economic diversification requires strategic diversification. This should not be seen in any way as Saudi Arabia giving the cold shoulder to its most trusted allies, specifically the US,” he said. “And as Joseph Parry said: ‘Make new friends but keep the old; those are silver, these are gold.’”

The tour, which saw Saudi Arabia’s crown prince warmly welcomed by the leaders of Pakistan, India and China, is in line with the crown prince’s Vision 2030, which plans to transform Saudi Arabia’s economy that relies on crude oil exports into a vibrant, diversified economy. The tour resulted in billions of dollars in economic deals as well as initiatives to increase security and combat terrorism.

“Saudi Arabia is the one and only country that can take the leadership position on the global efforts of combating terrorism, specifically in the ideological front,” Al-Ansari said.

Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations scholar, said that China and Saudi Arabia have the same goals of security and stability. “China shares the Kingdom’s concerns and it knows that our continent has suffered from terrorism issues and international interventions and also troubles in the region.”

The two countries also improved on their mutually beneficial economic ties. As Al-Shehri pointed out: “China needs a huge energy source, and Saudi Arabia is one of these sources that can provide China with energy.”

One significant deal is the $10 billion refining and petrochemical complex, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Norinco, to be developed in the Chinese city of Panjin.

Also of great geopolitical significance is the $10-billion oil-refinery in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, as it is one of the most important parts of China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative, Al-Shehri said. “Global players are willing to invest in this project. The Kingdom’s investment in this field will serve Pakistan and will benefit the Kingdom as well as the (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor).”

And despite its historical relationship with Pakistan, Al-Shehri said that the Kingdom also found common ground with India. For instance, the two countries agreed to set up a working group on counter-terrorism. 

“India shares the Kingdom’s concern about instability in the seas, such as the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. These are all places of global trade,” Al-Shehri said, adding that he hopes the Kingdom will play a role in resolving border points of contention between Pakistan and India as it did between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

It wasn’t all just business. The crown prince’s tour included some other announcements, including that 2,100 Pakistani and 850 Indian prisoners will be released from the Kingdom’s jails, that the Chinese language will be introduced in the Saudi school curriculum and that Saudi Arabia will soon host several concerts featuring major Bollywood performers.

The crown prince also called for the creation of a health center in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province dedicated to the memory of a Pakistani hero who saved 14 lives in Jeddah’s 2009 floods.