Kuwait military says US withdrawal of Patriot missiles ‘routine’

Kuwait said the US military’s decision to withdraw Patriot missile systems from the country was a “routine procedure.” (Reuters)
Updated 27 September 2018
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Kuwait military says US withdrawal of Patriot missiles ‘routine’

LONDON: Kuwait said the US military’s decision to withdraw Patriot missile systems from the country was a “routine procedure.”
The Pentagon is removing four Patriot missile systems from Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain.
A US defense official told Reuters on Wednesday that Washington was making the decision as part of a shift in focus away from the fight against extremist militants in order to address tensions with China and Russia.
Kuwait army’s General Chief of staff Lt. Gen. Mohammad Al-Khuder said the decision was an interior routine procedure and in coordination with the Kuwaiti army.
“Kuwait’s Patriot missile system, independently, protects and covers all its geographical borders,” he said in a statement.
Patriots are designed to intercept ballistic and cruise missiles and other airborne threats.
The redeployment of the missiles comes at a time of increased tension between the US and Iran, which President Donald Trump and his national security adviser John Bolton this week assailed at the United Nations.
When approached by Pentagon reporters, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declined to comment on the matter, AFP reported.
Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebarich said that due to operational security “we’re not going to discuss the movement of specific capabilities into and out of the US Central Command area of responsibility.”


Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

Pro-government drive in an industrial district in the eastern outskirts of the port city Hodeidah. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2018
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Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

  • Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday
  • UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week

SANAA: Iran-backed Houthi militias have said they are ready to mobilize more fighters to the frontline despite a lull in battleground Hodeidah, as the UN envoy prepares to visit the country to boost peace efforts.

Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday, apparently getting ready to head toward Hodeidah, a Red Sea city home to a vital port.

Men, some of whom looked very young, were lining up with bandoliers around their shoulders and rifles in their hands, chanting Houthi slogans.

Residents said on Sunday that relative calm had held in Hodeidah city since pro-government forces announced a pause in their offensive last week amid international calls for a cease-fire and UN-led peace efforts.  They added, however, that they remain on edge.

UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week to finalize arrangements for peace talks to take place in Sweden soon.

Hameed Assem, a member of the militia delegation expected to take part in the negotiations, said that Houthis will continue to mobilize if UN efforts for peace fail to materialize.

Pro-government forces on Wednesday suspended their 12-day offensive in Hodeidah.

Griffiths said on Friday that both the government and the Houthis have shown a “renewed commitment” to work on a political solution and have given “firm assurances” that they will attend the talks. No date has yet been set.