Houthi militia target Saudi Arabian oil tanker in Red Sea, causing “minor damage”

Houthi militant walks at Red Sea port of Al-Hudaydah in Yemen. (Reuters)
Updated 04 April 2018

Houthi militia target Saudi Arabian oil tanker in Red Sea, causing “minor damage”

  • Houthi and Iran attack Saudi Arabian tanker near Port of Hudaydah
  • Saudi-led Arab Coalition's navy repelled the attack on tanker in Red Sea

JEDDAH: A Saudi oil tanker was attacked by Houthi militia off the coast of Yemen on Tuesday, raising concern over the threat to shipping in one of the world’s busiest maritime routes.
The afternoon attack took place in international waters west of Hodeidah port, which is controlled by the Iran-backed Houthis, Col. Turki Al-Malki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said.
A coalition warship conducted a “swift intervention” foiling the attack, a statement said. The tanker suffered minor damage and continued its course under escort.
“The attack is a serious threat to the freedom of maritime navigation and international trade in the Red Sea and Bab Al-Mandab Strait,” Al-Malki said
Houthi control of sections of the Red Sea coast has been a concern for international shipping since the militants seized the capital Sanaa and territory across the country’s north. 
An EU naval force that operates in the region confirmed the ship was underway, adding that the crew were safe and unharmed, Reuters reported. 
The Houthis have carried out several attacks on coalition ships, including in Jan. 2017 when two crew members of a Saudi frigate were killed. The militants have also targeted US warships. 
The attack came after Saudi air defenses last week intercepted a flurry of ballistic missiles fired by the Houthis, which drew international condemnation. 
Saudi Arabia, Arab countries and the US say the missiles and other weaponry come from Iran and are smuggled into Yemen.
The Saudi coalition is supporting the internationally recognized government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi against the Houthis.
In Geneva on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the sides in Yemen to reach a political settlement. 
Speaking at a fund-raising conference for Yemen, Guterres said his Special Envoy Martin Griffiths will head to the UAE, Oman and the Yemeni government-held city of Aden in the drive for peace, Reuters reported.
Guterres said he saw “positive perspectives” for preparing a plan of action “to lead to an effective inter-Yemeni dialogue able to achieve a political solution, with of course the involvement of all those that are relevant in this conflict”.
He announced that more than $2 billion has been pledged toward a UN humanitarian appeal of $3 billion for Yemen this year. It includes $930 million from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek Al-Mekhlafi called for a return to the negotiating table to end the war.
On Monday, King Salman stressed in a phone call with Donald Trump the Kingdom’s efforts to find a political solution to the Yemen crisis and provide humanitarian relief and support to its people, Saudi Press Agency reported.
They also discussed Iran’s attempts to destabilize the region.


Climate change inspires prestigious Saudi art exhibition

We hope visitors would be inspired by the works they see, says Hamza Serafi, head of the curatorial committee at the Saudi Art Council. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
Updated 29 January 2020

Climate change inspires prestigious Saudi art exhibition

  • The seventh ‘21,39 Jeddah Arts’ event addresses the global environmental crisis under the title ‘I Love You, Urgently’

JEDDAH: The seventh 21,39 Jeddah Arts is back in town, addressing the global environmental crisis under the title “I Love You, Urgently.” Based at the Saudi Art Council’s hub in Jeddah, it parades the work of local artists.

Muhammad Hafiz, vice-chairman of Saudi Art Council, emphasized the importance of art in complementing societies, and how it is now being carried out by the state. He said: “This year we’re supported by the Ministry of Culture, who have kindly reached out to support us.”
Maya El Khalil, the curator of “I Love You, Urgently” paid tribute to Frei Otto, the masterful architect who has painstakingly contributed to memorable sights in the Kingdom and has been the inspiration for this year’s concept.
“In our part of the world, for the time being, these concerns (sustainability of the environment) aren’t a priority,” she said during the press conference to launch the exhibition.
 “It was interesting to see the artists go through a long process of research and study, building their awareness of their surroundings,” she said.
Hamza Serafi, head of the curatorial committee at the Saudi Art Council, said that they hoped visitors would be inspired by the works they see.
He thanked the curator for choosing Frei Otto, one of the pioneers of biomimicry — the imitation of nature.
“With that humane concept, the artists started expressing their feelings about how they see nature; some went into architectural forms, filming, music; it’s really diverse,” he said.
Visual artist Marwah Al-Mugait is one of 21 artists who have participated in the main exhibition this year, making her third appearance thanks to the Saudi Art Council.
Al-Mugait’s creation can be sensed upon entry to the cavernous venue, where women’s chants can be heard. Upon inspection, behind a lavish white curtain, a video filmed in Riyadh is playing across a curved wall where a group of women come together in self-expression and self-preservation, before they huddle against an ancient tree and embrace it.
“This year is exceptional because of the theme; I’m so happy and honored to work with Maya El Khalil, who presented the concept of biomimicry,” Al-Mugait told Arab News.

FASTFACT

The exhibition hosts visits from schools organized by the Ministry of Education.

Al-Mugait began to work toward unseen elements to display “multi-layered emotional details” in her work in order to depict the senses rather than what meets the eye. Initially, the Riyadh-based artist felt anxious about applying this new concept to her background in film and performance.
 “Throughout my research, I was driven towards the topic of the defense mechanisms of species, plantations and human beings, specifically Mimosa pudica, which closes in on itself whenever a predator is trying to touch it,” she explained.
Al-Mugait also drew inspiration from the way bees deal with predators who attack their hive, during which they perform a shimmering wave collectively.
As she struggled to translate these mechanical moves into a body language that conveys how humans can defend themselves from inner and outer harm, psychological harm and abuse, she came across Movers in Riyadh, and two of their choreographers helped her shape her performance.
Al-Mugait chose 14 female dancers to depict empowered women, two Jamaican-British and 12 Saudis. “I wanted to trace that power which you cannot see with my camera, along with their interaction with nature. That moment when they hug the tree at the end is similar to the one you would get from a mother.”
During the first week of 21,39 Jeddah Arts, a forum will be held with talks and panel discussions by the curator El Khalil and the artists of “I Love You, Urgently.”
The exhibition is open to the public, and also hosts visits from schools as part of educational trips orchestrated by the Ministry of Education, said Hafiz.
The event will run from January 28 to April 18, with further exhibitions taking place besides “I Love You, Urgently,” including “Architecture of Tomorrow: Frei Otto’s Legacy in Saudi Arabia,” which pays tribute to the inspiration behind this year’s theme, and “Sculpting Spaces — Architectural Desert Dwellings for AlUla”.
The Saudi Art Council is a non-profit initiative founded in 2014 by a number of art enthusiasts, and has been supportive of local artists and art movements in the Kingdom.