Houthi ballistic missile shot down near Makkah

Saudi soldiers fire artillery toward Houthi positions in this file photo. (AP)
Updated 30 October 2016

Houthi ballistic missile shot down near Makkah

JEDDAH: Saudi ground defenses intercepted late on Thursday a ballistic missile launched by Houthi militias targeting the holy city of Makkah.
The Arab coalition said in a statement that the missile was downed 65 km from Makkah, adding that the coalition jet fighters attacked the rocket launchers in Saada and destroyed them.
Meanwhile, Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr on Thursday said Iran has trained thousands of Houthi fighters in Iran and Beirut, paving the way for the rebel militias' aggression.
“The war in Yemen did not start on March 26, 2015. It, in fact, started when Houthis raised the guns against their political rivals and against the state with clear support from Iran, which trained around 6,000 Houthis in Iran or in Beirut under military experts,” Bin Daghr said following a meeting with French Ambassador to Yemen Christian Tisti.
“The government never sought war, but it was imposed on us and on the Yemeni people when Houthis mobilized their war machines from Sida to Imran to Sanaa and to the rest of the Yemeni governorates and started killing people and bombing houses,” he said.
“The world will eventually realize that the Houthis are a problem not only for Yemen but also for the region and beyond,” the Yemeni official said, stressing that the Yemeni government, while seeking to arrive at a truce, is actively pursuing a long-lasting, permanent peace based on UN resolutions, the GCC initiative and the outcomes of the Yemeni national dialogue.
Meanwhile, US Navy and allied nations' warships have intercepted four shipments of weapons from Iran to war-ravaged Yemen since April 2015, a US admiral said Thursday.
Saudi Arabia has been repeatedly saying that Iran must be stopped from sending weapons to the Houthi militias, and called on the UN Security Council to take action against Iran for violating UN resolutions pertaining to it, particularly Resolution 2216.
In a previous interview with Arab News, Saudi Ambassador to the UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said Iran’s intervention in Yemen is in total violation of the United Nations' resolutions; he called on the international community to stop Iran's interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
US Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan told reporters at an undisclosed military base in Southwest Asia: “Either US ships or coalition ships... intercepted four weapon shipments from Iran to Yemen.  We know they came from Iran and we know the destination.” 
Donegal said the shipments contained thousands of AK-47 assault rifles, anti-tank missiles, sniper rifles and “other pieces of equipment (and) higher-end weapons systems.”
Naval officials were able to determine the destination of the boats by analyzing GPS settings and interviewing the crew. One of the shipments had been declared an illegal weapon shipment by the UN, said Donegal.
His comments come after last week's US military's Central Command head Gen. Joseph Votel's declaration that Iran may have played a role in suspected Houthi missile attacks against US warships in the Red Sea.
“We believe that Iran is connected to this in some way,” Donegan said.
Given the heavy traffic around the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf, the three-star admiral said “plenty” of other shipments would have gone through to Yemen.
In April 2015, Iran tried to send a convoy of seven ships, guarded by two Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels, to Yemen.
Donegan said these were filled with coastal-defense cruise missiles, explosives and other weapons.
The Shiite Houthi militias are believed to be behind this month's attacks in which surface-to-surface missiles were fired at the USS Mason on at least two occasions.
In response, on Oct. 13, US cruise missiles struck Houthi radar sites believed to have been used to target the ships.
The Mason and two other warships were likely targeted in a third missile attack on Oct. 15, but officials have not conclusively confirmed what the threat was or where it was coming from.


Saudi Ministry of Culture launches platform for scholarship applications

Updated 20 January 2020

Saudi Ministry of Culture launches platform for scholarship applications

  • The scholarship program is open to those who wish to obtain a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. degree in various cultural and arts fields
  • The courses provided by the program include music, theater, visual arts

RIYADH: The Ministry of Culture has launched a website for applications from students who wish to join the Culture Scholarship Program. From Sunday, applications can be made at https://engage.moc.gov.sa/scholarships on three tracks: Self-financed students, pre-accepted students and the new students. The website features the application forms, benefits and general conditions for each track, as well as a list of relevant educational institutions.
The scholarship program is open to those who wish to obtain a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. degree in various cultural and arts fields from the world’s most prominent educational institutions.
The courses provided by the program include music, theater, visual arts (drawing, sculpture, art theory, calligraphy, art history, photography and cinematography) filmmaking, literature and linguistics, archaeology, culinary arts, design, architecture and libraries and museums.
The program offers several advantages for both self-financed students and pre-accepted students. Scholarships cover all tuition fees, financial support, living expenses, health care and return flights to the scholarship’s location for both the student and their companion.
Students in these two tracks are offered guidance and assessment programs to check their academic development during the program, as well as getting support in other aspects needed for their advancement. After their graduation, students in these two tracks can also join training programs abroad for a maximum of two years.
The program offers several advantages to new students who have not yet received acceptance. The program helps them to get the qualifications they need to be accepted by universities by offering assistance in overcoming obstacles such as language proficiency and interpersonal skills.
The program supports the students by organizing training workshops to develop their talents and skills. It introduces them to specialized experts in the field related to their scholarships. The program saves students time and effort and supports them throughout the whole registration process, by helping them write their resumes and complete their portfolios professionally.
The scholarship program is an educational first in Saudi Arabia, and is part of a Ministry of Culture initiative to develop national cadres specialized in cultural and arts fields so as to develop the sector and meet the increasing requirements of the labor market.