Yemeni minister lambasts Iran, Houthis for killing 1,372 children

Saudi security forces keep watch along the border with Yemen in the Al-Khubah area in the southern Jazan province. (AFP/File)
Updated 29 August 2018
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Yemeni minister lambasts Iran, Houthis for killing 1,372 children

  • Houthis have ruthlessly killed 1,372 children and 814 women since war broke out in Yemen in 2014
  • Hundreds of children and women have been killed also from March to August this year, says Yemeni minister

A senior Yemeni official has put Iran and Iranian-backed Houthi militias on notice, revealing for the first time that Houthis have ruthlessly killed 1,372 children and 814 women since war broke out in Yemen in 2014. 

Mohammed Askar, the Yemeni human rights minister, said: “Hundreds of children and women have been killed also from March to August this year.” The killings are being documented by the ministry in the form of a report to be released soon, he said.

Askar, while appreciating the support of Saudi Arabia and the Arab coalition, said: “The Kingdom and the UAE together have provided half of the humanitarian aid and assistance as per the target set by the UN for 2018. 

“Saudi Arabia has also provided a $2 billion bank deposit to curb the collapse of Yemen’s national currency and to stimulate the economy,” said Askar, referring to the continuous humanitarian support extended by Riyadh.

In a toughly worded warning, Askar also lambasted the destabilizing behavior of Iran, noting the observation of a UN panel, which said that the Houthis are using “winning weapons including missiles and anti-tank guns smuggled from Iran. 

“Iran has succeeded in turning the Houthis into a military tool that threatens international peace and security, especially in the navigational corridors of Yemen like Bab Al-Mandab and adjoining waters.”

Askar said: “Iran finds in the collapse of countries (like Yemen) an ideal opportunity to export its ideology of Khomeini revolution, and expand its regional influence.” 

The Iran-Houthi nexus has led to the killings of more than 814 innocent Yemeni women since 2014 as well as 89 detainees, who died in the Houthi-run illegal prisons due to torture and even executions,” he added.

“Iran has poured funds and arms in a fervent bid to expand their hegemony in the region. The Iranian intransigence has kept the war raging, which has shattered the lives of Yemenis,” he said. 

He pointed out that a large number of civilians, including women and children, have been arrested and kept in illegal detention centers by Houthis.

“This year alone until today, 12 detainees have been killed by Houthis in their prisons,” said the minister.

Asked about the systematic genocide committed by Houthi militants, Askar said: “The Houthis have transformed a large number of schools and hospitals into military barracks and prison houses. 

“The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights has documented 13,389 dead, including 1,372 children, since the Houthis declared war and stormed the capital Saana on Dec. 12, 2014, until February this year.”

He said the total number of arrests since the beginning of the coup exceeds 21,706. “The number of detainees, who are still in the prisons of the militias, exceeds 2,652; while a large number of men, women and children are either missing or languishing in secret prisons of the Houthi militants,” said the minister, putting a question mark on the fate of more than 17 journalists abducted and imprisoned by the Houthi militias.

The Houthis, he said, have also abducted 941 people since January. “While these numbers are documented by the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights, undocumented cases will be much higher,” he noted. 

On the question of UN intervention to secure the release of detainees, who are mostly Yemeni activists, academics, politicians, and journalists; Askar said that the UN Resolution 2216, which has mentioned the detainees, has called for their release. But the Houthis have not released them so far, he said, expressing his grave concerns.


Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program ‘fundamental to Kingdom’s energy sector’

Updated 18 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program ‘fundamental to Kingdom’s energy sector’

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s atomic energy program is fundamental for developing a sustainable energy sector, a senior minister told the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday.
The Kingdom plans to start building its first two nuclear power reactors this year and as many as 16 over the next 25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion. The plan is to provide 15 percent of Saudi Arabia’s power from nuclear by 2032.
Speaking at the IAEA’s annual conference in Vienna, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the atomic reactor projects were were part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to diversify its energy sources to nuclear and renewables.
The program “abides by all international treaties and conventions and best practices, adhering to the highest standards of safety, security and transparency,” Al Falih said.
The minister said Saudi Arabia was committed to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which calls for nuclear disarmament and stresses the commitment of nuclear power states to share their peaceful technologies with abiding member states.
He also said the Kingdom had called for cooperation with the international community to make the Middle East a nuclear weapons free area.
The US has started to reintroduce heavy sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, after Donald Trump pulled out of a deal with the country earlier this year to curb its atomic ambitions.
Al-Falih called on the international community to take a more stringent stance against all threats to regional and international security, particularly Iran, given its “alarming efforts to build its nuclear capabilities, in tandem with its increasing acts of sabotage and aggression against other states in the region.”