Differences, tensions run high with rebels in Sanaa

In this April 16, 2015 file photo, The shadow of Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, are cast on a large representation of the Yemeni flag as they attend a demonstration against an arms embargo imposed by the U.N. Security Council on Houthi leaders, in Sanaa, Yemen. (AP)
Updated 06 April 2017

Differences, tensions run high with rebels in Sanaa

HAIL: Adel Al-Shujaa, senior member of General People’s Congress (GPC) party in Yemen filed a case against Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, leader of the Houthi militias following a speech Al-Houthi gave last week.
Al-Shujaa deemed the speech an act of racism, hatred and sectarianism, adding that it was a blatant violation of the rights of the Yemeni people. He said the speech contained direct instructions to practice violence against those who do not abide by the Houthi ways, and clearly called for eliminating those who stand in opposition.
“Ignoring or turning a blind eye to this speech will lead to bloodshed of groups who are incited against them, and will lead to more massacres than those of the Nazis,” he added.
“This speech cheapens and devalues the blood of all Yemenis and calls for continual war without any regard for people’s lives and futures.”
Sources have reported that the ongoing conflict between ousted-president Ali Abdullah Saleh and leaders of the Houthi group in Sana’a have intensified, as Saleh ordered the detention of the brother of Houthi leader Abdulkhaliq Al-Houthi in a cell inside the Saleh reserve forces camp in Sawad Haziz south of Sana’a, along with a number of companions.
They were imprisoned for hours before they were released due to the intervention of both groups’ leaders. Houthis continue to target media outlets and journalists loyal to Saleh, cracking down on them and preventing them from reporting information freely.
Head of Al-Thawra Press Foundation, under directives from Houthi leadership, suspended 16 employees from their work and transferred them over to prosecutors on charges of destabilizing peace and making death threats against the head of the foundation.
According to sources in Sana’a, Houthis have been pressuring GPC’s media officials, using various means to force them to abandon certain demands related to media outlets.
The sources pointed to continual Houthi pressures of this nature on other congress members, given the GPC’s inability to confront them.


German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

Updated 24 November 2020

German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

  • Germany insists it acted correctly in boarding a Turkish ship to enforce arms embargo of Libya
  • Turkey summoned European diplomats to complain at the operation

BERLIN: Germany’s defense minister on Tuesday rejected Turkey’s complaints over the search of a Turkish freighter in the Mediterranean Sea by a German frigate participating in a European mission, insisting that German sailors acted correctly.
Sunday’s incident prompted Turkey to summon diplomats representing the European Union, Germany and Italy and assert that the Libya-bound freighter Rosaline-A was subjected to an “illegal” search by personnel from the German frigate Hamburg. The German ship is part of the European Union’s Irini naval mission, which is enforcing an arms embargo against Libya.
German officials say that the order to board the ship came from Irini’s headquarters in Rome and that Turkey protested while the team was on board. The search was then ended.
Turkey says the search was “unauthorized and conducted by force.”
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer backed the German crew’s actions.
“It is important to me to make really clear that the Bundeswehr soldiers behaved completely correctly,” she said during an appearance in Berlin. “They did what is asked of them in the framework of the European Irini mandate.”
“That there is this debate with the Turkish side points to one of the fundamental problems of this European mission,” Kramp-Karrenbauer added, without elaborating. “But it is very important to me to say clearly here that there are no grounds for these accusations that are now being made against the soldiers.”
This was the second incident between Turkey and naval forces from a NATO ally enforcing an arms blockade against Libya.
In June, NATO launched an investigation over an incident between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean, after France said one of its frigates was “lit up” three times by Turkish naval targeting radar when it tried to approach a Turkish civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking.
Turkey supports a UN-backed government in Tripoli against rival forces based in the country’s east. It has complained that the EU naval operation focuses its efforts too much on the Tripoli administration and turns a blind eye to weapons sent to the eastern-based forces.
In Ankara, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Irini was “flawed from the onset.”
“It is not based on firm international legal foundations,” Akar said. He renewed Turkey’s criticism of the German ship’s actions.
“The incident was against international laws and practices. It was wrong,” he said.
Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed that “Turkey is still an important partner for us in NATO.” Turkey being outside the military alliance would make the situation even more difficult, she argued, and Turkish soldiers are “absolutely reliable partners” in NATO missions.
But she conceded that Turkey poses “a big challenge” because of how its domestic politics have developed and because it has its “own agenda, which is difficult to reconcile with European questions in particular.”