Houthi claims of UAE airport drone attacks were ‘propaganda fabrications’

Houthi militia claims that they attacked UAE airports with drones are probably “propaganda fabrications,” according to a report from investigative website Bellingcat. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018
0

Houthi claims of UAE airport drone attacks were ‘propaganda fabrications’

  • Bellingcat report debunks Houthi claims of drone attacks on UAE airports
  • The report also implicated Iran in arming the Houthis, citing the militia’s use or Iranian-made drones

LONDON: Houthi militia claims that they attacked UAE airports with drones are probably “propaganda fabrications,” according to a report from investigative website Bellingcat.
The alleged attacks had been used by the Iran-backed Houthis as a tool to give the impression they had the capability of attacking strategic sites inside the Emirates, the report by risk consultant Khalil Dewan said.
In July and August, Houthi media claimed that Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports had been targeted by their forces with Sammad-3 drones. The claims, which were denied by the UAE, were also found to be baseless by the Bellingcat investigation.
The report also implicated Iran in arming the Houthis, citing the militia’s use of Hudhuh-1, Qasef-1 and Sammad unmanned craft, all of which “resemble Iranian-made drones.”
“The Houthi’s primary method (of propaganda) is to show they have the capability to strike the UAE,” the report said.
On both occasions of the alleged attacks, flights continued to operate unaffected — despite claims by the Houthis of flights redirecting from Abu Dhabi to Dubai.
The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority at the time denied the claims and said air traffic was operating as usual.
The Bellingcat report cited the lack of mobile footage captured by passengers of disruptions as they traveled through the airports as evidence that the attack did not take place.
“The disruption that occurred and the scale of it would not suggest that a lethal attack occurred,” the report said.
The report also debunked Houthi claims that drone attacks had been carried out in Saudi Arabia.
Charts and infographics released by the militia list alleged drone operations in the Kingdom between December 2017 and July 2018, as well as the type of drones supposedly deployed.
While the drones may have entered Saudi Arabian airspace, the Bellingcat report said it was unlikely the drones actually carried out strikes.
On April 11, Saudi Arabia’s air defense systems downed two Houthi drones in the south at Abha International Airport and Jazan. According to Arab Coalition spokesman, Col. Turki Al-Maliki, an “unidentified body” flew toward Abha International Airport but was destroyed.
Al-Maliki confirmed the remnants appeared to be those of a Houthi drone. On the same day in Jazan, Saudi defense forces destroyed another Houthi drone and according to Al-Maliki, the drone was identical to the remnants of the one downed at Abha International Airport.
According to a Conflict Armament Research report, the use of drones shows the Houthis’ ability to use “low-cost technology” against the Arab coalition’s “sophisticated military assets,” but that the use of the Iranian-designed Qasef-1 drones supports the claim that Iran is arming the Houthis in Yemen.


Egypt offers residency to foreign investors

Updated 43 min 21 sec ago
0

Egypt offers residency to foreign investors

  • A three-year residency is on offer for those who invest $200,000, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000
  • To begin the process for obtaining Egyptian residency, a preliminary contract must be agreed between the property owner and the foreign investor

CAIRO: In an attempt to further boost its booming real estate sector and attract foreign investment, Egypt will grant residency permits to foreigners who invest at least $100,000 in the country’s property market.
The growth rate of Egypt’s property market stands at 133 percent in 2018. This has been fueled by strong demand for housing, along with the sporadic launch of residential construction projects.
The minimum investment required to obtain a residency permit is $100,000. A three-year residency is on offer for those who invest $200,000, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000. The offer also applies to properties that are still under construction.
Khaled Abbas, the deputy minister of housing, said the procedures for the scheme are being set up in consultation with the Passport, Immigration and Nationality Administration.
To begin the process for obtaining Egyptian residency, a preliminary contract must be agreed between the property owner and the foreign investor, and then signed by an authorized body, such the Urban Communities Authority, the Tourism Development Authority or the governorate in which the property is located. Bank statements must also be provided confirming that the money has been transferred from overseas. The passport office will then approve the period of residence.
Members of the House of Representatives welcomed the announcement as a positive move for Egypt and an incentive for foreign investment, which it is hoped will create jobs and economic opportunities.
Whether the public will be so keen remains to be seen.
“This might be a bit problematic,” said Aly Salem, a resident of Cairo. “The housing demand in Egypt is already high, with the surging youth population and more and more people looking to get married each year. Where will they stay, if foreigners start swooping in and acquiring both residency and a huge housing unit with just $100,000?”
Offering further details, Gen. Kamel Amer, the head of the Parliament’s Defense and National Security Committee, said foreigners will not have any political rights for the first five years of residency and they will not be eligible to vote for 10 years. He also said spouses and children of investors will not be granted residency unless they live in Egypt.
Spain and Portugal have implemented similar programs in an attempt to boost their property markets. Previously, a foreigner had to live in Egypt for 10 consecutive years to be eligible for naturalization.
The new residency law is part of the efforts to repair the damage to Egypt’s economy caused by severe austerity measures imposed after the $12 billion loan package from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.
The cost and size of properties in Egypt, which are often large and lavish apartments, compare favorably to those in many other countries. Despite this, few Egyptians can afford to pay for a house upfront, but some private property developers are offering 10-year, interest-free installment plans.