Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militants threaten to target Riyadh and Abu Dhabi

A man brandishes a knife as tribal gunmen loyal to the Houthi militia protest in Sanaa on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 17 March 2019
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Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militants threaten to target Riyadh and Abu Dhabi

  • The Iran-backed Houthis have targeted Saudi border towns and Riyadh with ballistic missiles
  • Threat came as the United Nations tries to salvage a truce deal in Hodeidah

SANAA: Yemen’s Houthi militia warned on Saturday they could launch attacks against the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The threat came as the United Nations was trying to salvage a truce deal in Yemen, seen as crucial to diplomatic efforts to end the country’s four-year war.
The Iran-backed Houthis have targeted Saudi border towns and Riyadh with ballistic missiles.
“We have aerial photographs and coordinates of dozens of headquarters, facilities and military bases of the enemy,” militant military spokesman Yahya Saree said in comments carried by the group’s Al-Masirah channel.
“The legitimate targets of our forces extend to the capital of Saudi Arabia and to the emirate of Abu Dhabi,” he said.
“We have manufactured advanced generations of attack aircraft, and new systems will soon be functional.”
The militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab Coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.
On Wednesday the UN Security Council met to discuss the stalled truce deal that had been agreed in Sweden in December between the Yemeni government and the Houthis.
The deal – which called for a cease-fire, rebel pullback and mutual redeployment from Hodeidah, Yemen’s main Red Sea port controlled by the militants — offered the best hope in years of moving toward an end to the conflict.
While the fighting in Hodeida has eased, redeployment efforts have stalled in recent weeks.
UN envoy Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on Wednesday he was still working to make the redeployment a “reality.”
The World Health Organization estimates nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

The latest warning “shows the extent of the Houthi threat,” the Saudi political analyst Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News.

“The longer the international community does not take any action against the Houthis, the more difficult it will be to achieve stability and security.

“Sadly, the Stockholm agreement was just ink on paper that the Houthis did not abide by. Houthis kill civilians in Yemen every day and breach agreements.

“In fact, if they are not stopped, the Yemeni conflict will take even longer and may never reach a solution. 

“Saudi Arabia and the UAE have supported Yemen for decades. The Houthis are terrorist militias and we are countries that respect international law. This is the difference between us and them.”

• With AFP

 

 


Iraq exhumes bodies thought to be Kurds killed by Saddam

Updated 23 July 2019
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Iraq exhumes bodies thought to be Kurds killed by Saddam

  • “More than 70 bodies including women and children, ranging from newborns to 10 years old” have so far been exhumed
  • “The evidence collected indicates they were summarily executed in 1988,” said the head of Baghdad’s Medico-Legal Directorate

BAGHDAD: Iraq on Tuesday began exhuming the remains of dozens of victims, including children, likely killed during ex-dictator Saddam Hussein’s campaign against the country’s Kurds, a forensics official told AFP.
The mass grave was uncovered in Tal Al-Sheikhiya, about 300 kilometers (200 miles) south of Baghdad, said Zaid Al-Youssef, the head of Baghdad’s Medico-Legal Directorate which is tasked with identifying the remains.
“More than 70 bodies including women and children, ranging from newborns to 10 years old” have so far been exhumed, Youssef said.
Those remains were recovered from the surface layer of the site, he said, but “there could be a second deeper layer” with additional bodies.
“The evidence collected indicates they were summarily executed in 1988,” said Youssef, which coincides with Saddam’s brutal “Anfal” campaign against Iraq’s Kurds.
The operation took place between 1987 and 1988 and saw nearly 180,000 Kurds killed and more than 3,000 villages destroyed.
“The female victims were blindfolded and killed by gunshots to the head, but also have traces on various parts of their bodies of bullets that were fired randomly,” Youssef said.
The grave lies in the southern province of Mutahanna, also home to the notorious Nigrat Salman prison camp.
Many Kurds and political opponents of the previous regime were held there, and survivors shared tales of humiliation, rape and detention of minors as part of Saddam’s 2006 trial.
Iraq has been hit by wave after wave of conflict in recent decades, culminating in the fight against the Daesh group which ended in late 2017.
Those years of conflict left grave sites all across the country where the remains of thousands of victims from Iraq’s diverse ethnic and religious communities have been uncovered.
IS alone left behind an estimated 200 mass graves that could hold up to 12,000 bodies, the United Nations has said.
Authorities are testing remains from the most recent conflict as well as wars dating back three decades in an effort to identify the fates of missing Iraqis.
According to Iraqi authorities, Saddam’s regime forcefully disappeared more than one million people in the 1980s and 1990s, and many of their families are still trying to find out what happened to them.