Rein in Hezbollah, Yemeni foreign minister tells Lebanon

Al-Yamani said that Hezbollah’s support for the Houthis was evident. (Reuters/File)
Updated 12 July 2018
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Rein in Hezbollah, Yemeni foreign minister tells Lebanon

  • The Arab coalition said on Monday that it had evidence of Hezbollah’s involvement in training Houthi militias
  • The Lebanese Foreign Ministry did not comment on the Yemeni demand

BEIRUT: Yemen’s foreign minister has called on Lebanon’s caretaker government to “rein in” Hezbollah and its aggressive tactics in support of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia.

“The Republic of Yemen reserves the right to present the matter to the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Security Council,” Khalid Hussein Al-Yamani said in a letter to Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil. The contents of the letter were aired by Sky News. 

Al-Yamani said that Hezbollah’s support for the Houthis was evident in a recent televised address by its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, who called on the Houthis to fight the Yemeni government forces, and expressed “his party’s ambition to fight in Yemen against the internationally recognized legitimate authority.”

The foreign minister described the address as “blatant interference in the internal affairs of my country, which would seriously damage Yemen’s national security and fuel the flames of war.”

“The Yemeni government condemns Hezbollah’s statements and practices, including participation in training, planning and incitement and supporting the coup movements,” he said.

The Arab coalition said on Monday that it had evidence of Hezbollah’s involvement in training Houthi militias.

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry did not comment on the Yemeni demand.

However, Mustafa Alloush, of the Future Movement, told Arab News: “The meaning of this message is that Hezbollah’s damage to Lebanon continues. 

“The Lebanese government will not respond to this message, not because it supports Hezbollah but because it is unable to restrain the party,” he said.

The situation in Yemen was the focus of a recent meeting between UAE Ambassador to Lebanon Hamad Said Al-Shamsi and the UN Coordinator in Lebanon, Bernell Dahler Cardel.

Al-Yamani said that talks focused on “the integrated humanitarian plan that is being implemented to ensure easy access and provision of aid, as well as the protection of unarmed civilians through close coordination between the legitimate forces and international humanitarian organizations.”

He highlighted support for the efforts of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths, confirming that Houthi militias should withdraw from territories they occupied illegally as a prerequisite for accelerating peace negotiations.


Iraqi police arresting protesters in the south — activists

Updated 16 July 2018
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Iraqi police arresting protesters in the south — activists

  • The government rushed to contain the protests with promises of thousands of jobs, mainly in the oil sector
  • Basra is home to about 70 percent of Iraq’s proven oil reserves of 153.1 billion barrels

BAGHDAD: Iraqi security forces in the southern oil-rich province of Basra have started arresting protesters who took part in the week-long demonstrations there to demand more jobs and better services, activists said Monday.
Protests in the city of Basra, the provincial capital and Iraq’s second-largest city, are not unusual in scorching summer weather but they boiled over last Tuesday, when security forces opened fire, killing one person and wounding five.
Within days the rallies spread to other provinces. In some places, protesters broke into local government buildings and burned the offices of some political parties.
The government rushed to contain the protests with promises of thousands of jobs, mainly in the oil sector, and an urgent allocation of 3.5 trillion Iraqi dinars ($3 billion) for electricity and water projects. It blamed “infiltrators” for the damages.
The arrests started on Sunday night, with police chasing protesters down main roads and alleys following demonstrations in the city of Basra, and also in the countryside and around oil fields, two activists told The Associated Press.
The activists could not give a specific number for those arrested, saying only “hundreds.” They spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for their safety. Officials were not immediately available to comment.
The activists said Internet was back on after a two-day shutdown, but a heavy deployment of security forces outside the local government building in Basra prevented protesters from gathering there Monday.
Police also closed off surrounding streets with barbed wire.
Meanwhile, authorities reopened the country’s second-busiest airport, in the city of Najaf, following a two-day shutdown after a mob broke into the facility on Friday, damaging the passenger terminal and vandalizing equipment.
Transportation Minister Kadhim Finjan Al-Hamai was at the Najaf airport to announce the reopening on the Iraqi state TV as an Iraqi Airways plane landed behind him. He said 18 local and international flights were to land on Monday.
The shutdown had caused “heavy losses” to the government, the airport and airline companies, he said without elaborating.
Kuwait Airways, the Royal Jordanian and Iran’s Aviation Authority suspended their flights to Najaf on Sunday, citing security concerns. The United Arab Emirates’ FlyDubai canceled Saturday’s flights to Najaf and said it was suspending its flights until July 22.
Iraq’s vital Um Qasr port on the Arabian Gulf, and two main border crossings — Safwan with Kuwait and Shalamcheh with Iran — were closed to both passengers and goods as protesters had blocked the main roads leading to the sites.
Basra is home to about 70 percent of Iraq’s proven oil reserves of 153.1 billion barrels. It is located on the Arabian Gulf bordering Kuwait and Iran, and is Iraq’s only hub these days for all oil exports to the international market.