UN silence on Houthi aid truck attacks in Yemen ‘unacceptable’

The army launched artillery raids targeting Houthi reinforcements sent to Sufyan directorate in an effort to retake strategic sites it had lost. (File/AFP)
Updated 02 September 2018

UN silence on Houthi aid truck attacks in Yemen ‘unacceptable’

  • A Yemeni military source said the army continued its advance toward Hajjah province, where it liberated several villages and other strategic locations
  • Yemen’s army killed more than 140 Houthi militants during clashes in the northwestern province of Saada

JEDDAH: Yemen’s High Relief Committee (HRC) has condemned an attack by the Houthi militia, which targeted a truck carrying relief supplies from the World Food Programme (WFP) in Hodeidah.
The committee said in a press statement that the Iranian-backed militia had bombed a truck carrying relief and humanitarian aid for the residents of the Al-Tahita directorate, killing the driver.
The statement added that the committee has previously alerted to such actions by the Houthis, which are aimed at obstructing the safe access of relief materials to the directorates of Al-Tahita and Al-Drehami, in particular, and other directorates in Hodeidah province, in general, and have a direct impact on the humanitarian situation in the area.
Yemeni Minister of Local Administration and HRC Chairman, Abdul Raqeeb Fateh, blamed the Houthi militia for impeding rapid humanitarian access to those in need, the bombing of trucks and relief vessels in Hodeidah port, and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the province.
He said in a statement to the official Yemeni news agency that the “continuous and guaranteed targeting of relief trucks and field personnel, especially from UN organizations, by the Houthi militants places the United Nations and other organizations in a position of humanitarian and moral responsibility to defend its staff working in the humanitarian field in Yemen.”
Fatah called on Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Lisa Grande, to condemn the “criminal act, which contravenes all international and humanitarian laws,” and to notify the UN, including the Security Council, of all violations committed by the Houthi militias against relief work and to make the necessary and significant solutions to stop these acts and violations.
The minister denounced the continued silence of the humanitarian affairs coordinator and international organizations on these incidents as unacceptable, calling on the international community to take full responsibility for the suffering of the people in Hodeidah and to take the necessary measures to immediately halt all violations by militias against relief efforts, especially since the terrorist group has committed many violations that have paralyzed the work of relief organizations and kidnapped many relief and humanitarian workers in the province.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s army, backed by the Arab Coalition, killed more than 140 Houthi militants during clashes in the northwestern province of Saada, according to Saudi state-news channel Al-Ekhbariya.
A Yemeni military source said the army continued its advance toward Hajjah province, where it liberated several villages and other strategic locations.
Elsewhere, the army launched artillery raids targeting Houthi reinforcements sent to Sufyan directorate in an effort to retake strategic sites it had lost.


US officials: Iran sent emails intimidating American voters

Updated 22 October 2020

US officials: Iran sent emails intimidating American voters

  • Intelligence director: “These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries”

WASHINGTON: US officials accused Iran on Wednesday of being behind a flurry of emails sent to Democratic voters in multiple battleground states that appeared to be aimed at intimidating them into voting for President Donald Trump.
The announcement at a rare, hastily called news conference just two weeks before the election underscored the concern within the US government about efforts by foreign countries to spread false information meant to suppress voter turnout and undermine American confidence in the vote.
The activities attributed to Iran would mark a significant escalation for a nation that some cybersecurity experts regard as a second-rate player in online espionage, with the announcement coming as most public discussion surrounding election interference has centered on Russia, which hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 election, and China, a Trump administration adversary.
“These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries,” said John Ratcliffe, the government’s top intelligence official, who, along with FBI Director Chris Wray, insisted the US would impose costs on any foreign countries that interfere in the 2020 US election and that the integrity of the election is still sound.
“You should be confident that your vote counts,” Wray said. “Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.”
Wray and Ratcliffe did not describe the emails linked to Iran, but officials familiar with the matter said the US has linked Tehran to messages sent to Democratic voters in at least four battleground states that falsely purported to be from the neo-fascist group Proud Boys and that warned “we will come after you” if the recipients didn’t vote for Trump.
The officials also said Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration data, though such data is considered easily, publicly accessible. Tehran used the information to send out the spoofed emails, which were sent to voters in states including Pennsylvania and Florida.
Ratcliffe said the spoofed emails were intended to hurt Trump, though he did not elaborate on how. An intelligence assessment released in August said: “Iran seeks to undermine US democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections. Iran’s efforts along these lines probably will focus on online influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-US content.”
Trump, speaking at a rally in North Carolina, made no reference to the press conference but repeated a familiar campaign assertion that Iran is opposed to his reelection. He promised that if he wins another term he will swiftly reach a new accord with Iran over its nuclear program.
“Iran doesn’t want to let me win. China doesn’t want to let me win,” Trump said. “The first call I’ll get after we win, the first call I’ll get will be from Iran saying let’s make a deal.”
Both Russia and Iran also obtained voter registration information, though such data is considered easily, publicly accessible. Tehran used the information to send out the spoofed emails, which were sent to voters in states including Pennsylvania and Florida.
Asked about the emails during an online forum Wednesday, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said she lacked specific information. “I am aware that they were sent to voters in multiple swing states and we are working closely with the attorney general on these types of things and others,” she said.
While state-backed Russian hackers are known to have infiltrated US election infrastructure in 2016, there is no evidence that Iran has ever done so.
The voter intimidation operation apparently used email addresses obtained from state voter registration lists, which include party affiliation and home addresses and can include email addresses and phone numbers. Those addresses were then used in an apparently widespread targeted spamming operation. The senders claimed they would know which candidate the recipient was voting for in the Nov. 3 election, for which early voting is ongoing.
Federal officials have long warned about the possibility of this type of operation, as such registration lists are not difficult to obtain.
“These emails are meant to intimidate and undermine American voters’ confidence in our elections,” Christopher Krebs, the top election security official at the Department of Homeland Security, tweeted Tuesday night after reports of the emails first surfaced.