Houthis accused of threatening world’s electricity supplies

The tanker ‘Arsan’ suffered minor damage in the Houthi missile attack. (Courtesy: marinetraffic.com)
Updated 27 July 2018
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Houthis accused of threatening world’s electricity supplies

  • Saudi Arabia suspended oil shipments through the Bab Al-Mandeb strait after the missile attacks
  • The protection of Red Sea shipping is one of the aims of the Saudi-led coalition fighting to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized government

JEDDAH: Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen were accused on Thursday of threatening the world’s electricity supplies after they attacked two oil tankers in a crucial Red Sea shipping lane.

Saudi Arabia suspended oil shipments through the Bab Al-Mandeb strait after the missile attacks, in which one tanker — the Arsan, operated by the Saudi shipping company Bahri — suffered minor damage.

The Houthis have threatened before to block the strait, and said on Thursday they had the naval capability to hit Saudi ports and other Red Sea targets. Iran has also threatened to block another strategic shipping route, the Strait of Hormuz.

The protection of Red Sea shipping is one of the aims of the Saudi-led coalition fighting to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized government. The rest of the world must now be alert to the threat posed by Iran and its Houthi proxies, analysts told Arab News.

“Saudi Arabia cannot put the lives of its men and material in danger. It is too risky in Bab Al-Mandeb, as evident from the Houthi attacks,” said Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar in Riyadh.

“Had the attacks succeeded, it would have been catastrophic. The world, especially the European nations, must step up to the plate and play their part in neutralizing the threat from Iran and the Houthis.

“All this while Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have been fighting this scourge of terrorism and blackmail with little or no help from the Europeans. This is not just our fight. These militias, who are armed to teeth by Iran, pose a threat not just to us but to the entire global economy.

“Iran has repeatedly threatened that it will attack oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. And what has been the response from Europe? Criticism of the Saudi efforts and more pandering and cajoling of Tehran. Well, this cannot go on. They need to decide, and fast, what they want — oil to keep their economies running, or ties with Iran. Now is the time for them to take a stand.”

Oubai Shahbandar, a Syrian-American analyst and fellow at the New America Foundation’s International Security Program, echoed that view. 

“Disrupting the freedom of movement of oil shipments and threatening the sanctity of global energy markets will be viewed by the international community as a red line,” he said.

 “Targeting international shipping through the Bab Al-Mandeb really highlights the strategic threat to regional stability posed by Houthi militants and their missile arsenal.”

 


Saudi efforts to promote tolerance, moderation lauded

Updated 23 July 2019
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Saudi efforts to promote tolerance, moderation lauded

RIYADH: The rector of the Islamic University of Brussels hailed Saudi efforts to promote moderate Islam, reject extremism, fight against terrorism, serve the religion and its followers, and respond to aberrant ideologies that have harmed the Muslim world.

Dr. Mustafa Khader Donmez also praised the programs carried out by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance.

“The Kingdom has established specialized scientific, educational and media institutions, called for the unity of the Islamic nation, and cooperated with all that strengthens the nation’s unity and preserves its security,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia has been holding conferences inside and outside the Kingdom, to which it invited scholars and specialists, in cooperation with regional and international bodies to promote Islamic tolerance and address the causes of extremism and terrorism.”

Donmez said the Kingdom has invited Islamic institutions and international bodies to implement programs and events that fight extremism and condemn terrorism.

“The Kingdom is keen to promote international peace and communication between cultures and the followers of different religions through calling for interreligious and intercultural dialogue, a domain in which the Kingdom has been a pioneer,” he added.

Saudi Arabia “has taken the lead in spending for this purpose as it is in line with its high status on the Islamic and international levels,” he said. SPA Riyadh