KSRelief chief: Yemeni ports under legitimate control open to aid

KSRelief General Supervisor Abdullah Al-Rabeeah addresses a high-level meeting in Rome on Friday. (SPA)
Updated 18 November 2017

KSRelief chief: Yemeni ports under legitimate control open to aid

ROME: Yemeni ports under the control of the legitimate government can receive humanitarian aid, Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), has said.
Al-Rabeeah said that the Kingdom had offered the Saudi Port of Jazan to be used along with other ports to help the flow of humanitarian aid into Yemen.
Al-Rabeeah, who is at a high-level meeting in Rome for the Partnership for Permanent Peace in Yemen, condemned the 16 attacks of Houthi militias against UN and other relief organizations during 2015-2017, which involved murder, kidnapping, imprisonment and closure of offices, as well as extortion and looting.
The Houthi militias had closed ports and offices of international organizations working in Yemen and seized 65 ships, 124 relief convoys, and 628 aid shipments. He said the Houthi militias were targeting residential areas, humanitarian aid and humanitarian workers.
Al-Rabeeah said that the UN and international community should do more to hold militias accountable for hampering humanitarian work, and for their targeting of civilians and use of children in war crimes. Houthi militias had recruited more than 20,000 Yemeni children, according to human rights organizations. He said that the Kingdom was rehabilitating 2,000 children who were previously recruited by the militias.
Al-Rabeeah said that total aid provided by the Kingdom to Yemen from April 2015 to October 2017 reached $8.27 billion, noting that (KSRelief) delivered aid used airdrops of food and medical aid in the city of Taiz to break the blockade of the militias.
KSRelief delivered 161 projects in Yemen through 86 local and international partners. These projects included food security, nutrition, shelters, social support, and environmental sanitation.
Al-Rabeeah said that KSRelief was particularly interested in programs helping women and children, and ran 148 such programs in Yemen. KSRelief work covered 80 projects in education, protection, food security, health, nutrition, water, environmental sanitation, and personal hygiene.
Al-Rabeeah said that the Kingdom had been working to limit the spread of cholera in Yemen. It donated more than $76 million to the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population, the WHO, and UNICEF. KSRelief sent a convoy carrying more than 550,000 tons of medical equipment to Yemeni regions to fight the epidemic. The rate of recovery, he said, had reached 99.5 percent, which meant many organizations could close Cholera treatment centers in some areas.
He also called on UN and humanitarian organizations in Yemen to decentralize their humanitarian efforts and avoid opening their headquarters in one city only.


Saudis unite in condemnation of US Navy base attack

Updated 08 December 2019

Saudis unite in condemnation of US Navy base attack

  • The attack, in which a Saudi gunman killed three Americans, is viewed as an act that does not represent Saudi people
  • The OIC has said the attacker did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people

From the king and top-level Saudi government officials to everyday Saudi citizens, all are united in condemning the attack on a US Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, calling it as “un-Islamic” and barbaric.

The shooting of three Americans by a Saudi gunman was an individual attack that does not represent the Kingdom’s people, it has been widely  stressed. 

For decades, many Saudis have lived in the US for work or attended universities across many states, becoming their own ambassadors. 

Nedda Akhonbay, a communications professional working in Jeddah, expressed her sadness when she heard the news.

“My condolences go out to the families of the victims as I hope they find peace in their lives after facing such a tragedy. As a Saudi-American and having spent many formative years in the US and made friends who became like family, I thought this attack was very close to home and I hope both people work together to get past it.”

“As a student who lived in the States, I never faced any problems for being a Muslim,” said Alaa Sendi, an American-Saudi lecturer working in Jeddah University.

Having obtained a PhD in electrical engineering, Dr. Nazih Al-Othmani lived between the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania for ten years in the late 1990s and was in the US during the 9/11 attacks. He recalled how Americans understood that such atrocious attacks never represented a community, and this one was no exception.

“The tragic event that took place yesterday does not represent us, this attack is unacceptable regardless of any reason and no sane person can ever accept it,” he said. “I lived in the States for many years, I was also there on 9/11, and made many American friends throughout my time there. They stood by us, they helped us, protected us and our relationship was very civil and courteous. We need to stand together to combat this dangerous tendency that can be found in every community.”

The attack at the US naval station in Pensacola, Florida, was the second incident at an American military base in this week, following another shooting at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Wednesday. (
Josh Brasted / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

Many Saudis are angered over the actions of this one individual. Dr. Al-Othmani expressed his concerns about those who would take advantage of the situation and try to point a finger at Saudis.

“Though right-wingers will take advantage of the event and attack Saudi Arabia, I don’t believe many Americans will see it that way. Americans are aware enough to differentiate between the nationality of an individual and his actions,” he said.

Al-Othmani recommends that Saudi students communicate, cooperate and extend a hand of friendship to their respective communities.

In the decades of friendship and cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia, many Americans have come to work in the Kingdom and some have made it their home. 

Dr. Alia Mitchell, vice dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, is an American citizen who has been a Muslim for more than 30 years and has lived in the Kingdom for more than 20 years. She has chosen to live in the Kingdom as she sees the beauty of the religion interwoven into society, one that she believes is not represented by the shooter. 

“When something tragic that happens like this, it’s on the individual,” she said. “it doesn’t go back to the community or the society.

“I’m still sickened and mostly very, very saddened with this tragedy,” said Melanie H. “I’ve a son the same age as the shooter and can’t imagine what the pain and grief his actions would do to me as a parent. To learn that your son has caused so much hell… that he has taken others’ lives.”

She said: “I lived in Saudi Arabia for over 10 years and I have experienced Saudi’s hospitality, warmth — nothing like what I imagined or expected before arriving. It isn’t perfect but then what country or nation is?” 

“Now that the country has opened its doors to the world, people really shouldn’t judge the book by its cover especially when criminals like this shooter make such a false, misleading cover.” 

Melanie H continued: “Do not judge a people by an individual — that’s what we Americans are all about. No judging.”


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“This crime does not represent us as Saudis,” said Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, minister of Islamic Affairs, on his personal Twitter account. “We reject such criminal acts and we sympathize with the injured and the families of the victims. It is a horrible crime and a dishonest act.

“We condemn crimes anywhere and anytime, and we stress our complete rejection of such horrible criminal acts which Islam forbids.”

Saudi scholar and Imam of Quba Mosque in Madinah Saleh Al-Maghamsi shared the same notion. He said: “This incident should be stripped away from religion and from the country to which whoever committed this criminal act is affiliated. The Shariah does not approve of this act for it violates the texts of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet, which is based on the principle of no bloodshed. Logic also does not approve of this action.” 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said the aggressor did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people and all Muslims who believe in tolerance, moderation and coexistence.

The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia also condemned the shooting incident in Florida and called it a heinous crime. 

Describing it as a crime against humanity, the senior scholars stressed that such actions were against the true teachings of Islam. They said that the Saudi people will continue to uphold their noble values and contribute to the progress and prosperity of the world and humanity.