Yemen announces reopening of Al-Mokha port after its liberation from Houthis

Pro-government forces walk in the port of the western Yemeni coastal town of Mokha as they advance in a bid to try to drive the Shiite Huthi rebels away from the Red Sea coast, in this photo taken on February 9, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 09 April 2017

Yemen announces reopening of Al-Mokha port after its liberation from Houthis

JEDDAH: The government of Yemen announced that work is underway to reopen Al-Mokha port on the country’s Red Sea coast, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.
Yemen’s Deputy Minister of Transport Nasser Sharif told his country’s news agency, “The ministry is working to take the necessary measures to conduct work in the ports of Al-Hodeidah and Al-Mokha" after their liberation from Houthis and that it is assessing procedures to “transfer the presidency of the Red Sea Ports to Al-Mokha after the government's approval.”
Sharif said the port of Al-Hodeidah has been stopped, noting that it has become an outlet for smuggling of weapons and money, which the militia are benefiting from by controlling the port’s trade activities.
The restoration of the port of Al-Hodeidah by the Yemeni government and their coalition partners will be a major blow to the Houthis who use the port as a channel to transport weapons and as well as disrupt maritime navigation.



Protests rage in sanctions-hit Iran amid regime crackdown

Updated 2 min 3 sec ago

Protests rage in sanctions-hit Iran amid regime crackdown

  • Police officer dies in confrontation with protesters in the western city of Kermanshah
  • US condemns regime's ‘attempted shutdown of internet’

JEDDAH: Protests in Iran are a continuation of popular discontent among citizens, a regional expert told Arab News on Sunday, as a policeman was shot dead amid unrest at rising oil prices.

Maj. Iraj Javaheri died of his wounds a day after a confrontation with protesters in the western city of Kermanshah on Saturday, provincial Police Chief Ali Akbar Javidan said.

President Hassan Rouhani defended the controversial hike in gasoline prices during Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, arguing the alternatives were less favorable.

 Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backed the sharp gasoline price rises and blamed the protests on Iran’s opponents and an act of “sabotage” by foreign foes.

But Dr. Mohammed Al-Sulami, an expert in Iranian affairs, said that Rouhani’s remarks “may be read by protesters as a sign of weakness from the government and thus lead to raising the ceiling of popular demands, especially as most of the slogans chanted by the demonstrators hit Khamenei personally and the regime of the Islamic Republic, burning images of Khamenei and attacking the headquarters of the Basij forces.

“The coming days remain important, especially if the protests continue until Friday,” he said. “The protests are expected to widen and increase in frequency.”

Access to the internet has been restricted since the demonstrations broke out.

Netblocks, an internet monitoring website, said the country was in the grip of a shutdown.

“Confirmed: Iran is now in the midst of a near-total national internet shutdown; realtime network data show connectivity at 7 percent of ordinary levels after 12 hours of progressive network disconnections,” it said on Twitter.

The internet curbs are apparently aimed at preventing protesters from communicating with each other and sharing videos on social media.

“We condemn the attempted shutdown of the internet. Let them speak!” US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Twitter on Sunday.

Al-Sulami also said it was clear that US sanctions on Tehran “have strained the Iranian budget, making it move toward the easiest option to absorb funds from inside Iran.”

He added: “All this was the spark that encouraged the Iranian people to start a new wave of demonstrations.”