Yemen vice president: Houthi attack on Saudi oil tanker obstructs peace process

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Houthis dressed in army fatigues march in a parade during a gathering in the capital Sanaa on January 1, 2017. (File photo: AFP)
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Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar listens to a question during an interview with AFP in Sanaa on February 18, 2012. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 27 July 2018

Yemen vice president: Houthi attack on Saudi oil tanker obstructs peace process

  • Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar said repeated targeting of shipping lines in international waters by the Houthis continues to obstruct the peace process
  • Leaders from the Arab world also condemned the attack, highlighting the urgency to liberate Hodeidah from the Houthis

Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar said on Wednesday that the targeting of the Saudi oil tanker in international waters west of the port of Hodeidah is a deliberate terror attack by the Houthis to disrupt maritime traffic that hinders peace efforts.

According to the official Yemeni news agency, the vice president said that the repeated targeting of shipping lines in international waters by the Houthis continues to obstruct the peace process led by United Nations' special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths. Al-Ahmar added that the militia continued to use the port of Hodeidah to launch terror attacks.  

The vice president reiterated the keenness of the Yemeni government, supported by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, to liberate Hodeidah and put a stop to the dangers of the Iran-backed Houthis who pose a threat to regional and international security and the movement of navigation and international trade.

Meanwhile, Kuwait announced that it is also considering halting all oil shipments through Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

Regional outcry 

The attack was met by a regional outcry. The Arab Parliament condemned the targeting of the oil tanker in the Red Sea, calling it “a serious threat to international peace and security.”

The head of the Arab Parliament, Meshal Al-Sulami, said “the targeting of oil tankers by the Iranian Houthi militia in the Red Sea is a terrorist act.”

He called on the international community to take immediate decisive action to secure the oil pipelines to the world and hold the Houthis militia and groups who support them accountable.

Al-Sulami recently called on the United Nations to take urgent and firm measures against the Houthis for recruiting child soldiers and putting them in battlefields.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Bahrain and the UAE also condemned the attack. The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, said the incident highlights the urgent need to liberate Hodeidah from the Houthis.

“The cowardly attack constitutes a flagrant violation of all international laws and norms and poses a serious threat to the freedom of international trade and maritime navigation in Bab Al-Mandab Strait and the Red Sea,” Bahrain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. 

“Whilst reiterating its full solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and supporting the measures it takes to preserve its resources and deter attempts to harm its security, Bahrain emphasizes the need for immediate global action to put an end to such dangerous acts,” the ministry stressed in a statement issued on Thursday.

The ministry called upon the international community to confront the terror acts of the Houthi coup militias in Yemen and to stand up to all those who support them and provide them with funds in order to protect international navigation in Bab Al-Mandab Strait.

The Secretary-General of the OIC, Dr. Yousef  Al-Othaimeen said, “The repeated attacks by Houthi militias on vessels passing through this strategic corridor negatively affect the security of the important waterways of trade and the global economy, exacerbate the instability in this region of the world and affirm the aggressive policy of these militias aiming to threaten the security of navigation in the Red Sea and destabilize the countries bordering it. ”

Al-Othaimeen added, “The targeting of giant oil tankers passing through Bab Al-Mandab does not only jeopardize the global economy, but also jeopardizes the safety of crews and seriously damages the marine environment as such aggression could cause large quantities of oil leaking which threatens maritime environment with pollution.”

Lebanese block roads as protests enter fourth month

Updated 17 January 2020

Lebanese block roads as protests enter fourth month

  • The protest movement rocking Lebanon since October 17
  • The protest movement is in part fueled by the worst economic crisis

BEIRUT: Protesters blocked several main roads across Lebanon on Friday as unprecedented demonstrations against a political elite accused of corruption and incompetence entered their fourth month.
The protest movement rocking Lebanon since October 17 has resurged this week, over delays in forming a new cabinet to address the country’s growing economic crisis.
No progress seemed to have been made on a final lineup, which protesters demand be made up solely of independent experts and empty of traditional political parties.
In central Beirut, dozens of protesters Friday stood between parked cars blocking a key thoroughfare linking the city’s east and west.
“We blocked the road with cars because it’s something they can’t move,” Marwan Karam said.
The protester condemned what he regarded as efforts to form yet another government representing the usual carve-up of power between the traditional parties.
“We don’t want a government of masked political figures,” the 30-year-old told AFP. “Any such government will fall. We won’t give it any chance in the street.”
Forming a new cabinet is often a drawn-out process in Lebanon, where a complex system seeks to maintain balance between the various political parties and a multitude of religious confessions.
Nearby, Carlos Yammine, 32, said he did not want yet another “cake-sharing government.”
“What we have asked for from the start of the movement is a reduced, transitional, emergency government of independents,” he said, leaning against his car.

Elsewhere, demonstrators closed roads including in Lebanon’s second city of Tripoli, though some were later reopened, the National News Agency said.
The protest movement is in part fueled by the worst economic crisis that Lebanon has witnessed since its 1975-1990 civil war.
The protests this week saw angry demonstrators attack banks following the imposition of sharp curbs on cash withdrawals to stem a liquidity crisis.
On Thursday night, protesters vandalized three more banks in the capital’s Hamra district, smashing their glass fronts and graffitiing ATMs, an AFP photographer said.
Earlier, Lebanon’s security services released most of the 100-plus protesters detained over the previous 48 hours, lawyers said.
Human Rights Watch on Friday condemned the arrests and the response of security forces to protests outside a police station on Wednesday night demanding detainees be released.
“The unacceptable level of violence against overwhelmingly peaceful protesters on January 15 calls for a swift independent and transparent investigation,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at the rights watchdog.
Over the past few months, the Lebanese pound — long pegged to the US dollar at 1,507 — has fallen in value on the unofficial market to around 2,500.
The World Bank has warned that the poverty rate in Lebanon could rise from a third to a half if the political crisis is not remedied fast.