Houthis slammed for recruiting primary school students for war

Houthis slammed for recruiting primary school students for war
A boy carries a weapon as he and Houthi supporters are seen during a gathering in Sanaa, Yemen. (REUTERS file photo)
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Updated 25 April 2021

Houthis slammed for recruiting primary school students for war

Houthis slammed for recruiting primary school students for war
  • The Houthis had also made changes to the education curriculum and were turning schools into military training camps, according to Education Minister Tareq Salim Al-Akbari

AL-MUKALLA: Yemeni government officials and local human rights activists have accused the Houthis of brainwashing and training primary school students for war.

Their criticism came as videos on social media showed pupils wearing military attire and inciting each other to take up arms to fight the Houthis’ enemies.

In one video, filmed at a Sanaa primary school, a child pretending to be a soldier appealed to another child to send him into battle so he could fight the enemies of Islam and Muslims.

“We must sacrifice so that the future generation lives in dignity and honor,” the first child told the second, who was pretending to be the mother. The “mother” later told him to fight with “the House of the Prophet,” a reference to the Houthis.

Officials said the videos showed the scale of Houthi indoctrination and the group’s exploitation of children. They said the videos supported long-held accusations that the rebels were recruiting children to fight in the war.




Schools in Houthi-controlled territories have radicalized youngsters. (File/AFP)

The Houthis had also made changes to the education curriculum and were turning schools into military training camps, according to Education Minister Tareq Salim Al-Akbari.

We repeat our condemnation of militarizing schools and students and exploiting educational facilities under Houthi control in their war against the state.

Tareq Salim Al-Akbari, Education minister

“We repeat our condemnation of militarizing schools and students and exploiting educational facilities under Houthi control in their war against the state,” the minister told Arab News, saying the group was seeking to pass its radical ideologies to students through school books and activities. “They have injected sectarian changes in the curricula that have nothing to do with the Yemeni identity and culture.”

Officials said the Houthis had added some chapters to primary education books that glorified the group’s founder, Hussein Al-Houthi, and Shiite figures.

The minister warned that the Houthis were raising a generation of extremists who would pose a threat to Yemen, the region and the world.

“The impact of the Houthi indoctrination of children is disastrous. It brings up a generation carrying sectarian ideology, away from the Yemeni peace-loving identity.”

Activists who saw the videos also expressed concern.

Zafaran Zaid said that schools in Houthi-controlled territories had radicalized children.

“Schools in the areas controlled by the Houthi militia have posed a serious threat to the mentality and psyche of children,” she tweeted.

Ali Al-Bukhaiti, a former spokesperson for the Houthi movement who switched sides and left Yemen, said the Houthis were exploiting schools to spread their ideologies as a way to keep the younger generation under their control.

“Watch how the Houthis cultivate violence in children through school,” he tweeted. “They rig their minds with superstitions to direct them to the front of death.”

Rights groups documenting Houthi abuse said the group had recruited thousands of children since the beginning of its military expansion in late 2014, with hundreds dying in battle last year.

Addressing human rights activists in the central city of Marib last week, lawyer Huda Al-Sarari said that 1,410 children, aged between 10 and 15 and recruited by the militia, had been killed in fighting in 2020.

She added the Houthis had set up 52 military points for indoctrinating and training children, and that they had incorporated more than 40,000 children into the war during the last seven years.

 


Iran says nuclear talks with world powers to resume in a few weeks

Iran says nuclear talks with world powers to resume in a few weeks
Updated 9 sec ago

Iran says nuclear talks with world powers to resume in a few weeks

Iran says nuclear talks with world powers to resume in a few weeks
  • World powers held six rounds of indirect talks between the US and Iran in Vienna
  • The talks stopped in June, pending the start of Iran’s new government

DUBAI: Iran said on Tuesday that talks with world powers over reviving its 2015 nuclear deal would resume in a few weeks, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
“Every meeting requires prior coordination and the preparation of an agenda. As previously emphasized, the Vienna talks will resume soon and over the next few weeks,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, according to IRNA.
The world powers held six rounds of indirect talks between the United States and Iran in Vienna to try and work out how both can return to compliance with the nuclear pact, which was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump in 2018. The talks stopped in June, pending the start of Iran’s new government.


Libya’s eastern parliament pulls confidence from unity government

Libya’s eastern parliament pulls confidence from unity government
Updated 21 September 2021

Libya’s eastern parliament pulls confidence from unity government

Libya’s eastern parliament pulls confidence from unity government

TRIPOLI: Libya’s eastern-based parliament said on Tuesday it had withdrawn confidence from the unity government, though it would continue to operate as a caretaker administration.
The vote in the House of Representatives exemplifies the wrangling between rival factions and state bodies that has plagued UN-backed efforts to resolve Libya’s decade-long crisis by establishing a unity government and holding national elections.
In 2014, eastern and western factions split Libya in two in a civil war, with an internationally recognized government in Tripoli and a rival administration backed by the House of Representatives in the east.
Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah’s unity government was selected through a UN-sponsored dialogue and his government was installed by the House of Representatives in March.
Dbeibeh has a mandate to unify state institutions, improve government services and prepare for national presidential and parliamentary elections.
However, on Tuesday, after parliament summoned Dbeibeh and his ministers to answer questions this month, 89 of the 113 members present voted to withdraw confidence in him, the chamber’s spokesman and several other parliament members said.
There was no immediate comment from the government.
The UN forum decided that presidential and parliamentary elections should take place on Dec. 24, but disagreements now rage over the legal basis for the votes and the laws that will govern them.
This month, parliamentary speaker Aguila Saleh said the House of Representatives had passed a law for the presidential election, though it did not hold a final vote on the bill.
The validity of that law was promptly challenged by the High Council of State based in Tripoli, in the west, which produced its own, alternative election law.
The House of Representatives, which was elected seven years ago but divided when Libya split, has not yet produced a law for a parliamentary election. 


Egypt offers to host 2022 UN Climate Change Summit

Egypt offers to host 2022 UN Climate Change Summit
Updated 21 September 2021

Egypt offers to host 2022 UN Climate Change Summit

Egypt offers to host 2022 UN Climate Change Summit
  • El-Sisi’s announcement came during his virtual participation in the Heads of State and Government on Climate meeting

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has announced Egypt’s aspiration to host the UN Climate Change Summit in 2022 on behalf of Africa. Britain will host this year’s summit in Glasgow in November.

El-Sisi’s announcement came during his virtual participation in the Heads of State and Government on Climate meeting on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.

During the meeting, he stressed the importance of developed countries shouldering their responsibilities within the framework of the Paris Agreement and the UN Convention on Climate Change.

He also stressed the need to deal seriously with any unilateral measures that contribute to exacerbating the consequences of climate change, including construction of dams on international rivers without agreement with downstream countries.


El-Sisi: Egypt seeks comprehensive political solution to Yemeni crisis

El-Sisi: Egypt seeks comprehensive political solution to Yemeni crisis
Updated 21 September 2021

El-Sisi: Egypt seeks comprehensive political solution to Yemeni crisis

El-Sisi: Egypt seeks comprehensive political solution to Yemeni crisis

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi affirmed his country’s support all efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis.

Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said Yemen’s Defense Minister Muhammad Ali Al-Maqdashi conveyed the greetings of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to El-Sisi and praised bilateral cooperation in all fields, especially military and security.

Radi added that El-Sisi asked to convey his greetings to Hadi and stressed the need for a solution that achieves Yemeni stability and unity, meets its people’s aspirations and ends foreign interference in the country.

El-Sisi said Egypt will spare no effort to assist Yemen in achieving these goals.


Sudanese coup attempt failed, army in control – officials

Sudanese coup attempt failed, army in control – officials
Updated 21 September 2021

Sudanese coup attempt failed, army in control – officials

Sudanese coup attempt failed, army in control – officials
  • Government claims the coup plotters were linked to the ousted Al-Bashir regime

DUBAI/KHARTOUM: An attempted coup in Sudan was organized by elements inside and outside the military establishment, leading to the first arrests of those involved in such a plot, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Tuesday.

The failed attempt was preceded by attempts to sow insecurity, especially in the east of Sudan, but had failed to undermine the country's democratic transition, Hamdok said in a televised statement.

The development underscored the fragility of Sudan’s path to democracy, more than two years after the military’s overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar Al-Bashir amid a public uprising against his three-decade rule.

Sudan’s state-run television called on the public “to counter” the coup attempt but did not provide further details.

“All is under control. The revolution is victorious,” Mohammed Al-Fiky Suliman, a member of the ruling military-civilian council, wrote on Facebook. He also called on the Sudanese to protect the transition.

The government claimed the coup plotters were linked to the ousted Al-Bashir regime.

A military official said an unspecified number of troops from the armored corps were behind the attempt and that they tried to take over several government institutions but were stopped in their tracks. He said they had aimed to seize the military headquarters and the state television.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media, said over three dozen troops, including high-ranking officers, have been arrested. He did not provide further details, saying that a military statement would be released shorty.

The state-run SUNA news agency quoted Brig. Al-Tahir Abu Hajja, a media consultant for the military’s chief, as saying that the armed forces “thwarted the attempted coup and that all is completely under control.”

The agency said all troops taking part in the attempt were detained and that investigations have started. It did not provide further details.

Footage circulated online showing troops and armored vehicles deployed to main roads and intersections in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Security was also boosted at the military headquarters and other government buildings in the city.

Mohammed Hassan Al-Taishi, a member of the sovereign council, called the attempt a “foolish and bad choice.”

“The option of military coups has left us only a failed and weak country,” he wrote on Twitter. “The path toward democratic transition and securing the country’s political future and unity remains one option.”

Later, in a statement read on the state-run TV, Culture and Information Minister Hamza Baloul said security forces have arrested civilian and military leaders of the coup attempt, and that they have been interrogated after the military managed to get the armored corps camp south of Khartoum under control.

Baloul, who also the government spokesman, said authorities were chasing others “from the remnants” of Al-Bashir’s regime who were suspects in orchestrated the attempted coup. He did not give further details.

Sudan has been on a fragile path to democratic rule since the military’s ouster of Al-Bashir in April 2019, following four months of mass protests. The country is now ruled by a joint civilian and military government.

The transitional government has been under increasing pressure to end wars with rebel groups as it seeks to rehabilitate the country’s battered economy, attract much-needed foreign aid and deliver the democracy it promised.