Arab coalition in Yemen: We respect humanitarian rights

HELPING THE WAR-HIT: Aid for all Yemenis affected by war, regardless of religious views or backgrounds, is the motto of the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Works.
Updated 26 May 2016
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Arab coalition in Yemen: We respect humanitarian rights

RIYADH: The Saudi-led Arab military coalition fighting Iran-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen said Thursday it respects international humanitarian law, denying accusations by rights groups.
The coalition command, in a statement, gave assurances that it “respects the rules of international humanitarian law and human rights in all its military operations” in Yemen.
“To defend civilians and shelter them from the impact of the conflict,” the coalition had imposed “strict... rules of engagement in accordance with the principles of international humanitarian law.”
As well as identifying targets, these rules also focused on the use of precision weapons and dropping leaflets warning people in areas with military targets, it added.
The coalition was also evaluating its air strikes in Yemen and investigates allegations about some incidents, the command said.
The coalition intervened in Yemen in April 2015 after Iran-backed Houthi militias, conspiring with loyalists of the
Non-governmental organizations have repeatedly accused the coalition of being responsible for the deaths of civilians in Yemen since intervening on the side of the country’s internationally recognized government in March 2015.
Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch accused the Arab coalition of indiscriminate bombing in Yemen, but also said the Houthis were to blame for abuses committed on the ground.
In late February, Amnesty International said it had documented a series of serious humanitarian and rights violations, including war crimes, since the Arab intervention.
The United Nations has repeatedly warned about the threat of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Yemen, where more than 6,400 people have been killed in 14 months of war. 


Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

Updated 9 min 8 sec ago
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Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

  • President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist group
  • Tehran reacted to the designation by naming the US Central Command a terrorist organization

DUBAI: Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to “terrorist actions” by US forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington’s blacklisting of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on US forces.
Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the US Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the US government a sponsor of terrorism.
“The bill authorizes the government to take firm and retaliatory measures against terrorist activities of American forces that endangers Iran’s interests,” TV reported.
“The government should use legal, political and diplomatic measures in response to the American actions.”
Highly loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the IRGC is a powerful force which controls much of the Iranian economy and wields political influence in the country’s faction-ridden clerical establishment.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said some 168 lawmakers out of 210 present at the parliament voted for the bill.
Tensions have been on the rise between Tehran and Washington since last year, when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.
In recent years, there have been periodic confrontations between the IRGC and US military in the Gulf.
The new chief commander of the IRGC Hossein Salami, appointed after the US blacklisting, has warned in the past that Iran could use its cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, mines, speedboats, and missile launchers in the Gulf area to confront the United States.
The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, said in a statement on Monday that the president has decided not to reissue waivers in May allowing importers to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the heightening economic pressure on Iran showed that Washington was in panic.
“Escalating #EconomicTERRORISM against Iranians exposes panic & desperation of US regime — and chronic failures of its client co-conspirators,” Zarif Tweeted on Tuesday.
A commander of Iran’s IRGC said on Monday that Tehran would block all exports through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if Tehran is barred from using the waterway, where a fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle East producers to major markets.