UAE announces pause in offensive on Yemen’s Hodeidah

“We have paused our campaign to allow enough time for this option to be fully explored,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter. (AFP)
Updated 01 July 2018
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UAE announces pause in offensive on Yemen’s Hodeidah

  • “We welcome continuing efforts by UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, to achieve an unconditional Houthi withdrawal from Hodeida city and port”
  • “We have paused our campaign to allow enough time for this option to be fully explored. We hope he will succeed”

ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates on Sunday announced a pause in the offensive it is backing against Houthi rebels in Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah, to give a chance to UN peace efforts.
“We welcome continuing efforts by UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, to achieve an unconditional Houthi withdrawal from Hodeida city and port,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter.
“We have paused our campaign to allow enough time for this option to be fully explored. We hope he will succeed.”
The announcement comes after Griffiths met with President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, whose troops are battling the Houthi rebels for control of the Red Sea port city, earlier this week.


Hadi demanded a full rebel withdrawal from the city, which has been the target of a weeks-long military offensive by the Yemeni government and its regional allies, led by the UAE on the ground.
Diplomatic sources have said Griffiths has been pushing for the Iran-backed Houthis to cede control of the port to the United Nations and there have been some reports they have agreed.


The Houthis have controlled the western city of Hodeidah, and its port, since 2014, when they drove the Hadi government out of the capital and seized large swathes of northern Yemen.
On June 13, the UAE and its allies, including Saudi Arabia, launched a massive military operation — dubbed “Golden Victory” — to drive the rebels out of the Hodeidah port.
Some 70 percent of imports to Yemen, where eight million people face imminent famine, flow through the port of Hodeidah.
The United Nations has called Yemen the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

Meanwhile members of Yemen’s army captured 30 Houthi militia as they attempted to attack an area previously liberated south of Hodeidah.


Iran video threatens missile strikes on UAE, Saudi Arabia

Updated 21 min 8 sec ago
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Iran video threatens missile strikes on UAE, Saudi Arabia

TEHRAN: An Iranian media outlet close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) published a video on Tuesday threatening the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE with missile attacks.
The video tweeted and later deleted by the semi-official Fars news agency comes as Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed Riyadh and Abu Dhabi for an attack on a military parade in the city of Ahvaz on Saturday.
The video shows file footage of previous ballistic missile attacks launched by the Guard, then a graphic of a sniper rifle scope homing in on Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The video also threatened Israel.
"The era of the hit-and-run has expired," Khamenei's voice is heard in the video, the segment taken from an April speech by the supreme leader. "A heavy punishment is underway."
Iran has fired its ballistic missiles twice in anger in recent years. In 2017, responding to an Daesh attack on Tehran, the IRGC fired missiles striking targets in Syria. Then, earlier this month, it launched a strike on a meeting of Iranian Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq.
The IRGC, a paramilitary force answerable only to Khamenei, has sole control over Iran's ballistic missile program.
Under Khamenei's orders, Iran now limits its ballistic missiles to a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles), which gives Tehran the range to strike Israel, Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as regional American military bases.
Saturday's attack targeted one of many parades in Iran marking the start of the country's long 1980s war with Iraq, part of a commemoration known as "Sacred Defense Week." Militants disguised as soldiers opened fire as rows of troops marched past officials in Ahvaz.
Arab separatists in the region claimed the attack and Iranian officials have blamed them for the assault. The separatists accuse Iran's government of discriminating against its ethnic Arab minority. Iran's Khuzestan province, where Ahvaz is the provincial capital, also has seen recent protests over Iran's nationwide drought, as well as economic protests.
Daesh also claimed Saturday's attack, initially offering incorrect information about it and later publishing a video of three men it identified as the attackers. The men in the video, however, did not pledge allegiance or otherwise identify themselves as Daesh followers.
Iranian state TV reported that authorities have detained 22 people linked to the group behind the attack and confiscated ammunition and communication equipment. Fars also reported that five militants took part in the assault, all of whom were killed. It said two of them were brothers and another one was their cousin.
On Monday, the IRGC's acting commander, Gen. Hossein Salami, vowed revenge against the perpetrators and what he called the "triangle" of Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.
"You are responsible for these actions; you will face the repercussions," the general said. "We warn all of those behind the story, we will take revenge."
Khamenei said Monday that the attack showed Iran has "a lot of enemies." He linked the attackers to the United States, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
"Definitely, we will harshly punish the operatives" behind the terror attack, he said.