Saudi-led Coalition closes land, sea and air ports in Yemen to stop Iranian arms smuggling

Weapons and equipment, believed to be from Iran, are displayed aboard the deck of USS Forrest Sherman after they were seized from a smuggling boat on Sept. 27, 2015 off the coast of Yemen. The Saudi-led Coalition on Sunday said Iran has stepped up its smuggling of weapons, including ballistic missiles, for Yemen's Houthi insurgents. (Combined Maritime Forces photo via AP, file)
Updated 06 November 2017
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Saudi-led Coalition closes land, sea and air ports in Yemen to stop Iranian arms smuggling

JEDDAH: The Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen’s UN-recognized government on Sunday said it was temporarily closing all land, sea and air ports in Yemen to stop Iranian weapons from reaching Shiite Houthi insurgents.
A press statement by the coalition’s command said the decision was made after experts ascertained that the ballistic missiles being fired by Houthis from Yemen toward Saudi Arabia, including the one intercepted over Riyadh on Saturday night, were manufactured in Iran.
“A thorough examination of the debris of these missiles, including the missile launched on July 22, 2017, has confirmed the role of Iran’s regime in manufacturing these missiles and smuggling them to the Houthi militias in Yemen for the purpose of attacking the Kingdom, its people, and vital interests,” said the statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Saudi air defense forces shot down the ballistic missile before it could hit the airport in the national capital on Saturday night.
“The coalition’s command considers the Iranian regime’s action in supplying the Houthi militias that it commands with these missiles to be a blatant violation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions that prohibit nations from arming these militias, specifically UNSC Resolution 2216,” the statement said.
It also said it considers “Iran’s role and its direct command of its Houthi proxy” a “blatant act of military aggression by the Iranian regime, and could be considered as an act of war against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
While closing all points of entry to Yemen, the coalition command said it will “take into consideration the continuation of the entry and exit of humanitarian supplies and crews in accordance with the coalition’s updated procedures.”
It urged Yemeni civilian and humanitarian crews and diplomatic missions to avoid areas of combat operations; areas populated by armed militias; and Houthi smuggling routes and missile launch sites. 
Western analysts have said the smuggling of Iranian weapons to Houthi insurgents have continued despite efforts to stop them since the coalition sent forces to Yemen to restore the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in March 2015.
A Reuters report on March 23, 2017, had said that from September 2015 until March 2016, “the French and Australian navies frequently intercepted weapons which officials said were most likely bound for the Houthis.”
It also quoted a US defense official as saying Iranian weapons smuggling to the Houthis had continued since March 2016, and that the equipment included “long-range ballistic missiles capable of reaching deep into Saudi Arabia.”
Nic Jenzen-Jones, a military arms specialist and director of Armament Research Services, which has tracked Iranian equipment ending up in Yemen, also said quantities had increased, the same report said.
Conflict Armament Research (CAR) also said in a study that it had evidence showing that the Qasef-1 UAV drone that Houthis claimed to have made were actually traced to Iran.

Flights canceled
Yemen’s national airline said Monday it has canceled all flights to the country’s only two functioning airports after the Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi rebels announced the closure of all land, air and sea ports, reported The Associated Press (AP).
Yemenia airlines said that the coalition, which controls Yemen’s airspace, had denied permission to fly out of Aden and Sayoun, both in areas of southern Yemen controlled by coalition allies.


Clean sweep: Marine waste targeted in Red Sea tourism program

The program for eliminating marine debris will play an important material and moral role with the support of the residents of areas surrounding the seafront. (SPA)
Updated 22 September 2019

Clean sweep: Marine waste targeted in Red Sea tourism program

  • Debris major cause of death for marine life
  • Disintegration of plastic waste threaten human food resources

JEDDAH: A beach cleanup program targeting marine waste has been launched by the Red Sea Development Co. (TRSDC), the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The firm, which is behind the development of a luxury seafront tourism destination in Saudi Arabia, is already developing a range of environment-friendly policies such as zero-waste-to-landfill, zero-discharge-to-the-sea, zero-single-use plastics, and achieving 100 percent carbon neutrality. On Saturday it launched the Marine Debris Beach Clean Up Program as part of the Red Sea Project. “Eliminating marine debris is receiving increasing attention from the media that it has become a global cause, urging us to participate in protecting our virgin environment for which our seafront is known,” said TRSDC CEO John Pagano.
“The program for eliminating marine debris will play an important material and moral role with the support of the residents of areas surrounding the seafront. It will also shed light on the importance of reducing the use of nonrecyclable plastics, in addition to encouraging the disposing of these substances in a safe and sustainable manner.”
The TRSDC will continue to explore ways for recycled materials to be a source of employment opportunities for the area’s residents, he added. 
TRSDC is an official partner of the United Nations’ initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the cleanup program will initially support two SDGs: Life Below Water and Life on Land. It will expand to support other SDGs, including Responsible Consumption and Production, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and the Growth of the Economy, Ending Poverty, and Quality Education.

HIGHLIGHTS

• TRSDC is an official partner of the United Nations’ initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the cleanup program will initially support two SDGs: Life Below Water and Life on Land.

• It will expand to support other SDGs, including Responsible Consumption and Production, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and the Growth of the Economy, Ending Poverty, and Quality Education.

• Institutions or individuals wishing to take part in the beach cleanup program can find more details here: www.act4sdgs.org/partner/TheRedSeaProject

Dr. Rusty Brainard, chief environment officer at TRSDC, said: “Marine debris causes significant damage to the environment and is a major cause of death for many marine organism species, which may ingest these substances. Moreover, the disintegration of plastic waste into small pieces that penetrate into the food web base may also threaten human food resources. Our program for eliminating marine litter is a long-term project that includes ongoing monitoring of environmental health, as well as periodic intervention to clean up any waste in the Red Sea Project.”
TRSDC has teamed up with leading academic institutions in the Kingdom, such as King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the University of Tabuk, on a number of educational initiatives, added Brainard.
The partnership between TRSDC and KAUST has led to an international competition — “Brains for Brine” — that encourages academics, scientists, engineers and the water industry to find solutions for managing the disposal of brine, which is a waste product of water desalination, in a sustainable and commercially viable way.
KAUST has also helped TRSDC with marine spatial planning for the Red Sea Project.
As part of the planning process, major environmental studies were carried out to ensure that the area’s sensitive ecology was protected both during and after completion of the development.
The final master plan, which preserves around 75 percent of the destination’s islands for conservation and designates nine islands as sites of significant ecological value, required several redesigns to avoid potential disruption to endangered species native to the area.
Institutions or individuals wishing to take part in the beach clean-up program can find more details here: www.act4sdgs.org/partner/TheRedSeaProject