KSRelief chief urges UN to condemn Iranian violence in Yemen

KSRelief General Supervisor Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah speaks during a press briefing at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. (AN photo)
Updated 20 September 2019

KSRelief chief urges UN to condemn Iranian violence in Yemen

  • Iran-backed Houthi militias had been shelling government-controlled civilian areas in the past five years
  • So far 113 Yemeni civilians have been killed, 1,030 have been injured and 20,357 Saudis have been displaced from border regions

CHICAGO: The head of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) called on the UN to pass a resolution condemning the Iranian government for its support of a wave of violence by the Houthis against civilian targets in Yemen.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said the violence is having a “significant negative impact” on the people of Yemen and on the humanitarian aid effort led by the Saudi government.

Referring to the recent drone strikes against the Aramco fields in Saudi Arabia that sent a shockwave through the oil industry and spiked oil and gasoline prices around the world, Al-Rabeeah said it was obvious the Houthis are not capable of mounting such high-tech strikes.

“The initial info indicates that the incident is an Iranian-made attack. We feel there is a need for an investigation by the UN,” Al-Rabeeah said. “Iran is behind many attacks against the region. The UN should take action. There should be a resolution against Iran. The involvement of the UN delivers a message.”

Although he said that the attack is still under investigation, he said that “drones are a technology that the Houthis do not have … the technology is beyond the abilities of the Houthis. There must be a country behind it.”

During a press briefing at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, Al-Rabeeah said as many as 20 humanitarian aid workers funded by a coalition of 80 nations led by Saudi Arabia have been injured or targeted.

He said providing humanitarian aid to the people of Yemen faces many challenges, including the targeting of women and the recruitment of children by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias.

“There is a need for the international community to unify and have the political will to fight any violations against humanitarian support,” Al-Rabeeah said.

Despite attacks by the Houthis against civilian and military targets and humanitarian aid workers, Al-Rabeeah said King Salman has made a commitment to ensure that the aid reaches civilians in areas controlled by the Houthis.

He said that the humanitarian effort has been hampered by the Houthi militia’s shelling of government-controlled civilian areas, releasing data showing 66,403 rocket attacks, 264 Scud missiles, and 233 drone assaults “that continues to increase,” such as the drone assault on the Aramco oil fields last week.

So far 113 Yemeni civilians have been killed, 1,030 have been injured and 20,357 Saudis have been displaced from border regions. Damage has been caused to 41 schools, six hospitals, and 20 mosques.

Despite the challenges, Al-Rabeeah said the humanitarian drive will continue until the conflict is brought to an end.

“We do not call for war against the region. Those attacks are not against Saudi Arabia. They are against all of us,” Al-Rabeeah said.

 

 


Pentagon chief visits Saudi Arabia as tensions simmer with Iran

Updated 21 October 2019

Pentagon chief visits Saudi Arabia as tensions simmer with Iran

  • The visit comes days after Pentagon said it was bolstering its forces in the Kingdom amid tensions with Iran
  • In October, the Pentagon said it was deploying new US troops to Saudi Arabia following attacks on Saudi oil plants

RIYADH: US Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday, with tensions simmering between the United States and Iran, and Russia seeking to increase its regional influence.
Al-Ekhbariyah television gave no details on the previously unannounced visit, which comes after Esper visited Afghanistan.
Esper is likely to meet King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his first trip to the key Middle East ally since he took office this summer, a visit intended partly to reassure Riyadh over bilateral ties.

US-Iran tensions have risen to new highs since May 2018, when the Trump administration withdrew from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran that put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of sanctions.
The United States has deployed military forces to Saudi Arabia to bolster the Kingdom’s defenses after an attack on oil sites last month.
The Sept. 14 attack knocked out two major processing facilities of state oil giant Aramco in Khurais and Abqaiq, roughly halving Saudi Arabia’s oil production.
Washington condemned the attacks as a “act of war” but neither the Saudis nor the United States have overtly retaliated.

Esper said that two fighter squadrons and additional missile defense batteries were being sent to Saudi Arabia, bringing to about 3,000 the total number of troops deployed there since last month.
Despite the additional troops, there are questions about the US commitment to allies in the region after Trump announced a sudden withdrawal from northeastern Syria, opening the door for Russia to increase its influence in the Middle East.
A senior US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States still wanted to be seen as the partner of choice in the region and Russia was not as dependable, whether it be the level of training or the military equipment it can provide.
President Vladimir Putin signalled Moscow’s growing Middle East clout last week on his first visit to Saudi Arabia in over a decade, buoyed by Russian military gains in Syria, strong ties with Riyadh’s regional rivals and energy cooperation.
(With Reuters and AFP)