Saada tribal leaders demand Saudi-led coalition continue military operations in Yemen

1 / 2
Tribal leaders from Saada attend a press conference by the Saudi-led coalition on military opertaion in Yemen. (Screengrab)
2 / 2
Tribal leaders from Saada attend a press conference by the Saudi-led coalition on military opertaion in Yemen. (Screengrab)
Updated 17 July 2018
0

Saada tribal leaders demand Saudi-led coalition continue military operations in Yemen

  • Saada does not belong to Houthis, say tribal chiefs
  • Iran accused of trying to drive a wedge between Arab countries using its Houthi proxies

RIYADH: Condemning Iranian interference in Yemen and its support for the Houthi militia, tribal leaders of Yemen's Saada province expressed their unflinching support to the Arab military coalition seeking to restore the legitimate government in the war-torn country.

The Yemeni tribal chiefs attended the coalition press conference in Riyadh on Monday to convey a message to the world on behalf of the inhabitants of Saada province and the Yemenis in general.

“Saada region is an extension of the Arab tribes — a fact that strengthens our fraternal bonds,” said Fahad Al-Sharafy, a tribal leader. 

He said Iran is bent on destroying these ties and is making efforts to drive a wedge between Arab countries using its proxies.  

“The sons of Saada have always opposed Iranian designs. For a decade, we resisted Iran and offered stiff resistance,” he said.

Al-Sharafy categorically said Saada does not belong to the Iranian-backed Houthis. 

“Saada does not follow a certain sect. Saada is for all of Yemen. Today, we stand hand-in-hand with our brothers from the coalition,” he said.

Abdul Khalek Bishr, another tribal leader, said “the sons of Saada’s governorate still raise the banners of sacrifice and struggle against the Iranian-backed militia, which has lasted more than a decade and half until now.”

“We appeal to our legitimate government and the coalition to continue the battle for Saada’s liberation.”

“We have opposed and resisted for years. The Iranian militia does not represent us and we do not accept the Persian interference,” he added. 

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki denied signing of a formal agreement with the tribal elders. He called it mutual cooperation that is necessary for “post-military operations.” 

Al-Maliki said the Houthis are trying to portray the Arab military alliance as an occupying force. “Through effective communication, we wish to dispel this wrong image.” Al-Sharafy said the tribal leaders of Saada have agreed on a mechanism with their brothers in the coalition.

“Our message is that we are coming in peace, and for the reconstruction of buildings and the coexistence of all groups in Saada,” he said.

Al-Sharafy told Arab News that people of Saada had become used to the war before the intervention of the Arab coalition. 

He said: “We stand by the coalition and resist all anti-Yemen forces.” 

The coalition spokesman told Arab News that the tribal elders of Saada represented the views of other tribal chiefs in the war-torn country.

He said they wanted to inform the world about the atrocities committed by the Iranian-backed Houthis. 


Gruelling Dakar Rally route through Saudi Arabia’s ‘captivating’ deserts revealed by Sports Authority

Updated 25 April 2019
0

Gruelling Dakar Rally route through Saudi Arabia’s ‘captivating’ deserts revealed by Sports Authority

AL-QADDIYA: More details about the Dakar Rally expected to take place in January 2020 in Saudi Arabia were released on Thursday by the Kingdom's General Sports Authority at an event in Al-Qaddiya.

The race starts on Jan. 5 in Jeddah, with the drivers set to race through Al-Madinah, Tabuk and Ha’il regions before a having a rest day in Riyadh. From the capital, the route winds its way back toward the coast through the Asir region and ends in the city of Al-Qaddiya on Jan. 12.

Speaking at the event, the chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA) Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal announced a 10-year partnership with the Dakar Rally, saying: "We want the world to see the captivating desert of Saudi Arabia and to get to know the good and hospitable people of the Kingdom that looks forward to receiving the world.

“Our country is extremely passionate about sport and our strategic goal is to feed that appetite as we move further towards achieving Vision 2030 of which sport is a basic pillar.

“In hosting Dakar Rally we aim to produce an unbelievable and unforgettable experience for drivers as they discover the beauty of Saudi nature and a unique spectacle for motorsport fans not only in Saudi Arabia but also in the region and around the world.”

It was announced earlier this month that the race would be held in Saudi Arabia, and for the first time in the Middle East.

The Dakar has been held in South America since 2009. The gruelling multi-stage rally was previously held in Africa but was relocated after terrorist threats in Mauritania in 2008.

Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, said when the race announcement was made: “I have always wanted to participate in Dakar Rally, while I wasn’t fortunate to achieve that ambition, I’m now part of achieving a much bigger dream for my country as Dakar comes to the Middle East region for the first time ever.”

CEO of Qiddiya project Michael Reininger said: "Qiddiya will soon become the centre of the motorsports world by virtue of an unparalleled collection of on track and off road facilities and a set of experiences and events that have never been assembled in one place before.”

The CEO of the rally's organizing company, Amaury Sport Organization, Yann Le Moenner thanked the princes for their commitment to bringing the rally to Saudi Arabia, adding: “Crossing the best deserts of the world has always been in the DNA of the Dakar, to discover and share.”

Meanwhile, the drivers involved in the rally have been in Saudi Arabia soaking up local culture and experiencing some of the desert landscapes they will drive through in January.