Yemeni forces make further progress against Houthi militias in Saada province

File photo showing Yemeni army troops advancing further in Saada Province. (AFP)
Updated 22 June 2018

Yemeni forces make further progress against Houthi militias in Saada province

  • Yemeni Commander: Army units succeeded in cutting the Houthi militias’ supply lines to Harad and Al-Malahiz in Saada province
  • Col. Al-Maliki: The pace of military operations in Saada is moving rapidly and troops have made progress and gained new territory from the Houthis in Saada

LONDON: The commander of Yemen’s special forces brigade, General Adel Al-Mosaabi, said that his troops took over control of the route connecting Maran and Al-Malahiz in the south-west of Saada province – the Houthi militias’ key area of support.
Al-Mosaabi said, in a statement published on the Yemeni army’s web page, that his units advanced to the road connecting the city of Saadah with the Al-Malahiz-Harad road junction. 
The general declared that his forces succeeded, with air support from the Saudi-led Arab coalition, in cutting the Houthi militias’ supply lines to Harad and Al-Malahiz after a battle that cost the Houthis at least 12 dead and the destruction of several of their armored vehicles.

In Hodeidah, on Friday, the 'Amalika' army brigade announced that it has repelled a Houthi counter attack on Hodeidah airport. The statement posted on the brigade's web page said that the Iran backed Houthi militia tried to infiltrate the Yemeni army's lines at Hodeidah airport. The attack was thwarted, and a senior Houthi militia commander was captured.  

Earlier, the Saudi-led Arab coalition spokesperson said Friday that military operations in Saada are picking up momentum. 
Col. Turki Al-Maliki was speaking at a press conference in Brussels, where he added that the pace of military operations in Saada- the Iran backed Houthi militia’s stronghold, is moving rapidly, stressing that military operations in Saada have made progress and gained new territory from the Houthis.
Al-Maliki, who was in Belgium to hold talks with European officials on the situation in Yemen and aid delivery to the war-torn country, added that the coalition’s operations in Yemen are “aimed at pressuring the Houthi militias to accept the political solution,” and that “the safety of people in Yemen was the coalition’s top priority.”
Col. Turki Al-Maliki explained at the press conference that the Saudi-led coalition's control of Hodeidah will safeguard maritime navigation in the Bab Al-Mandab strait in the Red sea. 
“The political diplomatic solution is always the best option for the Yemeni people,” he added, stating that the coalition was continuing its efforts to restore the legitimately elected government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Yemen.
The Yemeni national army, backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, launched last week an operation to liberate Hodeidah and its strategic port from the Iran-backed Houthi militias.

Al-Maliki also accused the Houthis of using civilian residences as military fortifications. They have also imposed additional taxes on business owners to fund their war effort he said.
On the Humanitarian aid front, Col Al-Maliki said that the coalition has been using all possible ways to deliver medical and food aid to Hodeidah. “Aid is being delivered throughout Yemen without discrimination,” he said.

On the other hand, Al-Maliki said that the Houthis have arrested several human rights groups workers. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement Friday that civilians have been fleeing the combat zones in Hoddeidah province.
"More people are fleeing areas of conflict and seeking shelter in safer locations, including in the capital Sanaa," 150 kilometres (95 miles) to the northeast and also under Houthi control, the Humanitarian agency (OCHA) said in a statement.
It said some of the displaced had arrived in the capital but specific figures were not yet available.


Zarif ‘desperate’ to blame Saudi Arabia for anything negative that happens in Iran: Al-Jubeir

Updated 17 min 59 sec ago

Zarif ‘desperate’ to blame Saudi Arabia for anything negative that happens in Iran: Al-Jubeir

  • “It is not the policy of Saudi Arabia to engage in assasinations; unlike Iran” minister tweeted

JEDDAH: Iran’s parliament on Tuesday approved a bill requiring the government to boost uranium enrichment by 20 percent and end UN inspections of its nuclear facilities.

The move is being viewed by analysts as a show of defiance after the recent killing of prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an assassination for which Tehran has accused other countries of masterminding.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said on Tuesday that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif was “desperate” to blame the Kingdom for anything negative that happened in Iran.

“Will he blame us for the next earthquake or flood?” he tweeted. “It is not the policy of Saudi Arabia to engage in assassinations; unlike Iran, which has done so since the Khomeini Revolution in 1979.

“Ask us and ask many other countries who have lost many of their citizens due to Iran’s criminal and illegal behavior,” Al-Jubeir added.

The latest bill would require another parliamentary vote to pass, as well as approval by the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog. Moreover, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the final say on all nuclear policies.

“There is no doubt that this step constitutes a threat, raising it to 20 percent means that it is close to building a nuclear bomb,” political analyst and international relations scholar Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News. “The region is promised with a dark and unstable period.”

He said that the move indicated the Iranian regime’s insistence on destabilizing the region, and its determination to win the race to obtain nuclear weapons.

Enriching uranium to 20 percent is below the threshold needed for nuclear weapons but higher than that required for civilian applications. It would also commission new centrifuges at nuclear facilities at Natanz and the underground Fordo site.

“Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons or its proximity to achieving that goal will be a great danger to the region, and countries will seek to protect themselves, which will mean that everyone will resort to obtaining nuclear weapons. Fakhrizadeh’s death suggests that Iran was waiting for this opportunity to escalate,” Al-Shehri added.

The official IRNA news agency said 251 lawmakers in the 290-seat chamber voted in favor, after which many began chanting slogans against the US and Israel.

The bill would give European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal three months to ease sanctions on Iran’s key oil and gas sector, and to restore its access to the international banking system.

“Many technical issues related to the nuclear bomb creation were not closely followed up by P5+1 (the UN Security Council’s permanent members of China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US, plus Germany),” said Al-Shehri.

“We also should not forget that Iran was not clear and was preventing and limiting inspections at its nuclear facilities, moreover, the International Atomic Energy Agency did not do its work properly so that the world could breathe easily.

“Iran may have the nuclear bomb by now without the international community taking any action against it.

“The assassination of a scientist will not change the equation, even the strikes on Iranian facilities would not affect the real Iranian infrastructure.

“Iran wasn’t confronted the way that would make the world comfortable, nor the way that a terrorist rogue state should have been treated as it distributed terrorism through its militias, ballistic missiles, and drones in the region,” he added.