Arab Parliament classifies Houthis as a terrorist group, calls on UN and Arab League to do the same

The Arab Parliament’s spokesperson said Houthis threaten Yemeni MPs who attend Parliament sessions. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 June 2019
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Arab Parliament classifies Houthis as a terrorist group, calls on UN and Arab League to do the same

  • The Parliament voted on the draft resolution before submitting it to the UN and Arab League
  • The spokesperson called the Houthi attacks a war crime

CAIRO: The Arab Parliament announced on Wednesday that it has designated the Iranian-backed Houthi militia as a terrorist group for its role in deliberately targeting civilians and civilian installations, calling on the League of Arab States and the UN to take similar action.
The resolution was issued during an Arab Parliament meeting in Cairo in the wake of the “terrorist attack on civilian installations in Saudi Arabia and commercial vessels in the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates and the Sea of Oman,” reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA). 
The Arab Parliament called on the UN and the Security Council to adopt a firm and immediate position to classify the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization; for its flagrant violation of international law and its deliberate targeting of civilian and vital installations in Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles and aircraft.
It also called on the world body to also pursue its leaders, financiers and supporters, whether they are states or groups.
Meshaal bin Fahm Al-Sulami, spokesperson of the Arab Parliament, said the Parliament will not condone any group targeting civilian areas, such as the Houthi attacks on neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia.
“These attacks are a war crime,” he said.
He also mentioned that the Houthis are threatening Yemeni MPs for attending parliament sessions. The parliament condemned in the strongest terms the Houthi attack targeting two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom’s Abha International Airport in the southwest.
It also condemned the sabotage of four commercial vessels of a number of countries near the UAE’s territorial waters and two vessels for transporting oil in the Sea of Oman, affirming its full solidarity with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in maintaining their security and stability and the measures they take to protect their security and the safety of their citizens.
The Arab Parliament denounced Iran’s negative interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries, directly or indirectly, as well as threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is an international strait for international navigation and can not be attacked or harmed, or to mobilize its terrorist organizations within Arab countries to destabilize security and stability.
The parliament also denounced the continued launching of Iranian-made ballistic missiles by the Houthi militia on Saudi Arabia, which has seen more than 225 rockets launched toward the Kingfom and have even targeted toward the holy city of Makkah.
The Arab Parliament gave its full support for the resolutions issued by the Arab emergency summit held in Makkah in May, calling on the Arab League to raise the issue of Iranian threats and its interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries to the UN Security Council to halt these interventions.
The Parliament called on the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and the Inter-Parliamentary Union to shoulder their responsibilities toward Iran’s violation of Yemen’s sovereign rights and the smuggling of weapons and ballistic missiles to the Houthi militia with the aim of destabilizing the region and maintaining chaos. It also urged the UN to compel Iran to comply with Security Council Resolution 2216, which prohibits the supply of arms to the Houthis.
The Arab Parliament also condemned the continuing Iranian interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs, including the formation and support of militias, supporting extremist groups and terrorist organizations, training terrorists, supplying weapons and fueling sectarianism to destabilize security and stability in the kingdom.
It also condemned Iran’s continued occupation of three occupied islands of the United Arab Emirates: Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa, and stressed its full support for the UAE in all its actions to restore its three islands.
The Arab Parliament appreciated the leading and pivotal role played by Saudi Arabia and the great efforts of King Salman to host the two Arab and Gulf emergency summits in Makkah on May 29.


Emirati astronaut prepares to join elite Arab space club

Updated 20 July 2019
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Emirati astronaut prepares to join elite Arab space club

  • Hazza Al-Mansoori 'living a dream' as he and backup astronaut train for space mission in September
  • Soyuz-MS 15 launch could be the beginning of a bold new era of Arab exploration of space

DUBAI: More than 30 years after an Arab first journeyed into space, an  Emirati is preparing to become the latest Arab space traveler when he joins a team of astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS) in September.

For months, Hazza Al-Mansoori and backup pilot Sultan Al-Neyadi have been undergoing intensive training in Russia, Germany and the US to prepare for the mission. The first Emirati to travel into space will make the historic journey on board a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft due to take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 25.

During the eight-day mission, he will conduct a tour of the ISS for Arabic viewers on Earth and carry out 15 experiments for the Science in Space schools competition conducted by Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center.

The crew, who will include an American and a Russian, are allowed to take up to 1 kg of personal items with them on the mission.

“I will take my family photo and share the experience of being in space with them,” Al-Mansoori said. There will also be an image of Sheikh Zayed, the UAE’s founding father, meeting American astronauts in 1976.

“I am also going to take an Emirati flag. I am living my dream and want to give something back to my country.”

‘I will take an Emirati flag into space. I am living my dream and want to give something back to my country.’

Emirati astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori

Al-Mansoori will join an elite space club comprising Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan bin Salman and Syria’s Muhammed Faris. Prince Sultan became the first Arab to travel to space as part of space shuttle Discovery’s crew in 1985. Faris was a crew member of USSR’s Soyuz spacecraft in 1987.

The Emirati astronaut is aware that history is resting on his shoulders. Speaking to the media recently during his training program in Houston, Al-Mansoori  said it is a huge personal honor to be the first Emirati chosen for space exploration.

“I’m excited about the whole mission, but especially to experience the microgravity and be living in the ISS, and conducting daily experiments and working with the amazing group on board,” he said.

Al-Mansoori and Al-Neyadi have been undergoing rigorous training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The program includes familiarization with NASA equipment on board the space station, and handling emergency situations, such as ammonia gas leaks and depressurization.

The Emiratis have been trained to fend for themselves if the return goes off course and they land in the wilderness of Russia.

Speaking of the Soyuz-MS 15 mission, Yousuf Al-Shaibani, director general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center, said: “We strive to see the UAE Astronaut Program achieve its objective of preparing generations of Emiratis who will contribute to enhancing the country’s position in space science and research to serve the ambitious aspirations aimed at building a national knowledge-based economy.”

The September launch could prove to be the beginning of a bold new era for Arabs and space. Al-Neyadi, the backup pilot, has been promised a seat on a future mission, and the UAE and Saudi Arabia are drawing up ambitious plans for the development of the region’s space industry.