Hezbollah leader warns US troops will have to leave region dead or alive

A Hezbollah supporter, carrying a portrait of Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, slain chief of the Hashd Al-Shaabi militia, watches as Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech on a screen in Nabatieh, Lebanon on Sunday. (AFP)
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Updated 13 January 2020

Hezbollah leader warns US troops will have to leave region dead or alive

  • Anti-Western power bloc must take action, says Hassan Nasrallah

BEIRUT: The leader of Hezbollah warned that US troops would have to leave the region dead or alive, and that their withdrawal from the Middle East was a long process rather than a single operation. 

Hassan Nasrallah made the threat more than a week after a US drone strike killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the late commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

He addressed his supporters on giant screens that had been set up in Bekaa and southern Lebanon in tribute to Soleimani and the deputy leader of the paramilitary group Hashd Al-Shaabi, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. Both men were killed by the US strike on Jan. 2. 

Iran in retaliation fired missiles last week at air bases in Iraq used by US forces.

The response to Soleimani’s death was a long process that should lead to the eventual withdrawal of Americans from the region, the Hezbollah secretary-general said. 

“What happened in Ain Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq is a mere slap on the US and not a full reprisal, and whoever thinks otherwise is wrong, yet it is a very strong military response and a first step on a long path in reaction to the crime. After this slap, the Axis of Resistance should go to action,” he said referring to an anti-Western, anti-Israeli power bloc. “The Americans have to either leave the region vertically or horizontally (in coffins) and this is the ultimate resolution of the Axis of Resistance, and it is a matter of time for this to be achieved. It is a new era in the region and the upcoming days will prove it.”

He said the attack on Al-Asad had put the region on the brink of war, demonstrating “an unprecedented Iranian courage” as it targeted a US base and forces, something which had not happened since World War II, and that the strike was led by a state rather than an organization or resistance group.

It showed the “might of Iranian military capabilities,” which meant all US bases in the region could be subjected to similar missile attacks, he added, pointing out that Iran had more sophisticated and accurate missiles than the ones used in the Al-Asad attack.

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He addressed his supporters on giant screens that had been set up in Bekaa and southern Lebanon in tribute to Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, the deputy leader of Hashd Al-Shaabi.

Nasrallah said the strike was also a message to anyone who conspired with the US against Iran. He urged the chief of the Iraqi Kurds, Masoud Barzani, to recognize what Soleimani had done for him. 

Barzani had contacted the Iranians asking for help when Iraqi Kurdistan almost fell to Daesh, he claimed, and they swiftly responded by sending aid overnight. Soleimani went with the Lebanese to Erbil to support the Kurds, and what was expected now was for them to press for a US withdrawal from the region, he added. 

Nasrallah then turned his focus toward US President Donald Trump, branding him a liar and denying his accusation that Soleimani was planning to target the US Embassy in Baghdad.

He said that the huge crowds participating in Soleimani’s funeral terrified Trump and his administration.

“During the Israeli aggression against Lebanon in 2006, Soleimani came to Beirut via Syria, and stayed with us in the southern suburb of Beirut throughout the war in the military command headquarters under heavy bombing. After the war ended, he asked us about our needs, which resulted in Iranian assistance for the reconstruction of Lebanon.”

He heaped praise on Soleimani, saying the slain military man had stood alongside Syrians in the fight against Daesh. 

“Had Daesh not been defeated in Iraq, it would have threatened all countries of the region, and its defeat in Iraq led to its defeat also in Syria, and had this not happened all Gulf states, in addition to Iran and Turkey, would have been in danger; this is why the peoples of the region should thank the Hashd Al-Shaabi for saving them and the region too.”


Yemeni president in US for annual medical checkup

Updated 13 August 2020

Yemeni president in US for annual medical checkup

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi touched down in the US for his annual medical checkup on Thursday, the Yemeni Embassy in the US said.
Ambassador Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak received Hadi at the airport in Cleveland, Ohio, where the appointment is due to take place, and “reaffirmed his utmost best wishes to the president for continued good health,” the embassy said in a brief statement.
Hadi left for the US after appointing a new governor and a new security chief in Aden, and mandating new Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed to form a new government. Hadi has travelled regularly to Cleveland for medical treatment since becoming president in early 2012, reportedly suffering from heart problems.
Saeed asked the governor, Ahmed Hamid Lamlis, to focus his efforts on reviving public institutions in Aden, restoring peace and security and fixing basic services that have been hit hard by years of instability. The official Saba news agency reported that the prime minister pledged Lamlis his government’s full support.
Saeed also entered discussions with various political factions in Yemen with a view to forming his government. Abdul Malik Al-Mekhlafi, an adviser to President Hadi, said on Twitter that the administration would be announced within a month, as the internationally recognized government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) enacted security and military components of the Riyadh Agreement.
The STC recently rescinded a controversial declaration of self-rule under a new Saudi-brokered proposal to accelerate the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.
Signed by both sides in late 2019, the agreement was designed to end hostilities in Aden and other southern provinces. Under the deal, the government and the STC were agreed to withdraw their forces from contested areas in southern Yemen, move heavy weapons and military units from Aden and allow the new government to resume duties.
Meanwhile, a judiciary committee assigned by the country’s attorney general to investigate reports of thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate stored at Aden’s port found hat the material was in fact a different fertilizer, urea, which could also prove hazardous if mixed with other materials.
In a letter addressed to the Yemen Gulf of Aden Ports Corporation, Judge Anes Nasser Ali, a local prosecutor, ordered the port’s authorities to remove the urea from the city.
Shortly after the tragic explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut last Tuesday, Fatehi Ben Lazerq, editor of the Aden Al-Ghad newspaper, ignited public uproar after suggesting 4,900 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in 130 containers had been gathering dust at the port for the last three years, which could cause an equally destructive explosion. The story prompted the country’s chief prosecutor, politicians and the public to call for an investigation.