Yemen vice president: Houthi attack on Saudi oil tanker obstructs peace process

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Houthis dressed in army fatigues march in a parade during a gathering in the capital Sanaa on January 1, 2017. (File photo: AFP)
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Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar listens to a question during an interview with AFP in Sanaa on February 18, 2012. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 27 July 2018

Yemen vice president: Houthi attack on Saudi oil tanker obstructs peace process

  • Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar said repeated targeting of shipping lines in international waters by the Houthis continues to obstruct the peace process
  • Leaders from the Arab world also condemned the attack, highlighting the urgency to liberate Hodeidah from the Houthis

Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar said on Wednesday that the targeting of the Saudi oil tanker in international waters west of the port of Hodeidah is a deliberate terror attack by the Houthis to disrupt maritime traffic that hinders peace efforts.

According to the official Yemeni news agency, the vice president said that the repeated targeting of shipping lines in international waters by the Houthis continues to obstruct the peace process led by United Nations' special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths. Al-Ahmar added that the militia continued to use the port of Hodeidah to launch terror attacks.  

The vice president reiterated the keenness of the Yemeni government, supported by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, to liberate Hodeidah and put a stop to the dangers of the Iran-backed Houthis who pose a threat to regional and international security and the movement of navigation and international trade.

Meanwhile, Kuwait announced that it is also considering halting all oil shipments through Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

Regional outcry 

The attack was met by a regional outcry. The Arab Parliament condemned the targeting of the oil tanker in the Red Sea, calling it “a serious threat to international peace and security.”

The head of the Arab Parliament, Meshal Al-Sulami, said “the targeting of oil tankers by the Iranian Houthi militia in the Red Sea is a terrorist act.”

He called on the international community to take immediate decisive action to secure the oil pipelines to the world and hold the Houthis militia and groups who support them accountable.

Al-Sulami recently called on the United Nations to take urgent and firm measures against the Houthis for recruiting child soldiers and putting them in battlefields.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Bahrain and the UAE also condemned the attack. The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, said the incident highlights the urgent need to liberate Hodeidah from the Houthis.

“The cowardly attack constitutes a flagrant violation of all international laws and norms and poses a serious threat to the freedom of international trade and maritime navigation in Bab Al-Mandab Strait and the Red Sea,” Bahrain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. 

“Whilst reiterating its full solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and supporting the measures it takes to preserve its resources and deter attempts to harm its security, Bahrain emphasizes the need for immediate global action to put an end to such dangerous acts,” the ministry stressed in a statement issued on Thursday.

The ministry called upon the international community to confront the terror acts of the Houthi coup militias in Yemen and to stand up to all those who support them and provide them with funds in order to protect international navigation in Bab Al-Mandab Strait.

The Secretary-General of the OIC, Dr. Yousef  Al-Othaimeen said, “The repeated attacks by Houthi militias on vessels passing through this strategic corridor negatively affect the security of the important waterways of trade and the global economy, exacerbate the instability in this region of the world and affirm the aggressive policy of these militias aiming to threaten the security of navigation in the Red Sea and destabilize the countries bordering it. ”

Al-Othaimeen added, “The targeting of giant oil tankers passing through Bab Al-Mandab does not only jeopardize the global economy, but also jeopardizes the safety of crews and seriously damages the marine environment as such aggression could cause large quantities of oil leaking which threatens maritime environment with pollution.”

Syria flare-up kills 35 fighters, including 26 pro-regime forces

Updated 16 June 2019

Syria flare-up kills 35 fighters, including 26 pro-regime forces

  • Russian-backed regime forces try to retake villages seized by opposition forces and allied fighters
  • The clashes also left 26 pro-regime forces dead in the north of Hama province


BEIRUT: At least 10 civilians and 35 combatants, mostly pro-regime forces, were killed on Saturday in clashes and airstrikes that erupted at dawn in northwestern Syria, a war monitor said.

The flare-up came as Russian-backed regime forces tried to retake two villages seized by opposition forces and allied fighters earlier this month, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“Since this morning, the Syrian regime and allied fighters have launched five failed attempts to regain control of Jibine and Tal Maleh in northwestern Hama province,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Syrian regime airstrikes killed nine opposition fighters, the war monitor said.

Ensuing clashes in the north of Hama province left 26 pro-regime forces dead, including eight who were killed in a mine explosion, the Observatory said.

In neighboring Idlib, regime airstrikes killed 10 civilians, including three children, the Observatory said.

The strikes hit the towns of Maaret Al-Numan and Al-Bara as well as the village of Al-Ftira, according to the war monitor.

The Idlib region of some 3 million people is supposed to be protected from a massive regime offensive by a buffer zone deal that Russia and Turkey signed in September.

But it was never fully implemented, as opposition refused to withdraw from a planned demilitarized zone.

In January, the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham alliance led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate extended its administrative control over the region, which includes most of Idlib province as well as adjacent slivers of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo provinces.

The Syrian regime and Russia have upped their bombardment of the region since late April, killing nearly 400 civilians, according to the Observatory.

Turkey said on Friday that it did not accept Russia’s “excuse” that it had no ability to stop the Syrian regime’s continued bombardments in the last opposition bastion of Idlib.

“In Syria, who are the regime’s guarantors? Russia and Iran,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told state news agency Anadolu in a televised interview.

“Thus we do not accept the excuse that ‘We cannot make the regime listen to us’,” he said.

His comments came as Turkey disagreed with Russia earlier this week after Moscow claimed a new cease-fire had been secured in the province following weeks of regime bombardments — a claim that was denied by Ankara.

Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with the repression of anti-regime protests.

Russia launched a military intervention in support of the regime in 2015, helping its forces reclaim large parts of the country from opposition fighters and militants.