Four dead in Aden gun battle as Yemen’s separatists go to war

Members of the separatist Southern Transitional Council man a checkpoint in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Saturday as residents were urged to remain at home. (Reuters)
Members of the separatist Southern Transitional Council man a checkpoint in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Saturday as residents were urged to remain at home. (Reuters)
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Updated 03 October 2021

Four dead in Aden gun battle as Yemen’s separatists go to war

Four dead in Aden gun battle  as Yemen’s separatists go to war
  • Residents of Crater district urged to stay home
  • Armored vehicles deployed to restore order

JEDDAH: At least four fighters died in gun battles in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Saturday in a power struggle among separatist forces.

Residents in the city’s centralCrater district were urged to remain at home and armored vehicles were deployed by the separatist Southern Transitional Council to restore order.

There was heavy gunfire throughout the day in Crater, the area that houses government headquarters and the central bank. Aden has been the focal point of tension between the internationally recognized government and the STC over control of the south of the country.

“We ask citizens in Crater to remain at home during the next few hours as security and counterterrorism forces clean the city from some ... outlaw elements,” the STC’s Security Belt Forces unit said on Saturday. Armored vehicles later entered the area, residents said.

Yemen’s Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed returned to Aden last week from Saudi Arabia, and is in residence at the presidential palace in Crater along with other government ministers. President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is based in Riyadh.

South Yemen has been paralyzed by the power struggle between the government and the STC, leading to protests in recent months over widespread poverty and poor public services. The Yemeni riyal has plunged in value, which the government blames on currency speculators and a “shadow economy” operated by the Iran-backed Houthi militia, who control most of northern Yemen.

Saudi Arabia mediated an agreement aimed at ending the standoff between the government and the STC, including a new Cabinet that includes separatists, but a planned troop redeployment by both sides outside Aden and other southern areas has not taken place.

The Arab coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 against the Houthis but the conflict has dragged on, killing tens of thousands and pushing the country to the brink of famine.

In northern Yemen, fighting continued on Saturday around the strategically important city of Marib.

The Houthis launched an offensive in February to capture the city, which controls most of Yemen’s oil reserves, but have been repelled by government forces and allied tribesmen, backed by Saudi air power.

Falling debris from an explosives-laden Houthi drone intercepted by Saudi air defenses early on Saturday damaged homes and shops in the southern region of Jazan.

The drone fragments scattered over a residential neighborhood in Uhud Al-Masarah governorate, but did not result in death or injury, said Col. Mohammed Al-Ghamdi, spokesperson for the Civil Defense Directorate in Jazan.


Lebanese parliament fails to elect new head of state

Lebanese parliament fails to elect new head of state
Updated 20 min 32 sec ago

Lebanese parliament fails to elect new head of state

Lebanese parliament fails to elect new head of state
  • Michel Aoun’s mandate runs out at the end of October
  • No candidate has emerged as a front-runner among the hopefuls

BEIRUT: The Lebanese parliament failed to elect a new head of state on Thursday to replace President Michel Aoun when his term ends on Oct. 31, and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said he would call another session when consensus emerged on a candidate.

The bulk of votes cast by lawmakers at Thursday’s session — 63 — were blank. Christian politician Michel Moawad won the backing of 36 of 122 lawmakers who attended.

Unless consensus emerges on a candidate, the presidency looks set to fall vacant when Aoun’s term ends, at a time of deep financial crisis.

Reserved for a Maronite Christian in Lebanon’s sectarian system, the presidency has fallen vacant several times since the 1975-90 civil war.

Anticipating a presidential vacuum, politicians have stepped up efforts to agree a new cabinet led by the Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Najib Mikati — who is currently serving in a caretaker capacity — to which presidential powers could pass until a president can be agreed.


Rockets hit central Baghdad for second day in escalating unrest

Rockets hit central Baghdad for second day in escalating unrest
Updated 29 September 2022

Rockets hit central Baghdad for second day in escalating unrest

Rockets hit central Baghdad for second day in escalating unrest
  • A similar attack on Wednesday wounded seven members of the Iraqi security forces in the Green Zone

BAGHDAD: Four rockets fired from eastern Baghdad on Thursday landed around the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone, home to government buildings and foreign missions, police said, as political unrest intensified.
There were no immediate reports of casualties from the strikes and no claim of responsibility, two police officers said. A number of Shiite Muslim militant groups have offices and supporters in eastern Baghdad.
A similar attack on Wednesday wounded seven members of the Iraqi security forces in the Green Zone, and appeared to add a new dimension to a contest among power-hungry politicians.
Rocket attacks on the Green Zone have been regular in recent years but they are normally directed at Western targets by Iran-backed militia groups.
Those attacks have been rare in recent months. Wednesday’s attack took place as parliament was holding a vote to confirm its speaker.
The political crisis has left Iraq without a government for nearly a year after elections last October.
The crisis broadly pits the powerful populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, a political, religious and militia leader, against an array of mostly Iran-aligned political and militant groups.
Sadr, the biggest winner of the election, withdrew all his lawmakers from parliament in June and has sworn not to let parliament convene, fearing other parties will form a government without him.
The standoff spiralled into street clashes killing dozens of people in central Baghdad in August. Many Iraqis fear the same could happen again.


Kuwait’s military receives third batch of Eurofighter Typhoon jets

Kuwait’s military receives third batch of Eurofighter Typhoon jets
Updated 29 September 2022

Kuwait’s military receives third batch of Eurofighter Typhoon jets

Kuwait’s military receives third batch of Eurofighter Typhoon jets
  • Eurofighter Typhoon fleet aims to enhance the combat readiness of the Kuwait Air Force

DUBAI: Kuwait’s military said it received two more Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 3 jets, making it the third batch out of a total of 28 aircraft the country has ordered, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported.
The jets, one of the latest multi-role fighters, characterized by electronic warfare and high-speed response capabilities, aim to enhance the combat readiness of the Kuwait Air Force, the air force said in a statement.
The jets that Kuwait has received so far have achieved 100 flying hours, the statement added.
A ceremony was held at the Ali Al-Salem Al-Sabah Air Base to mark the aircraft’s landing, according to KUNA.


Yemen condemns attacks by Iran on Iraq’s Kurdistan region

Yemen condemns attacks by Iran on Iraq’s Kurdistan region
Updated 28 min 15 sec ago

Yemen condemns attacks by Iran on Iraq’s Kurdistan region

Yemen condemns attacks by Iran on Iraq’s Kurdistan region
  • Iraq’s state agency reported 58 injuries as a result of the attacks

DUBAI: Yemen’s government has condemned the attacks carried out by Iran on Iraq’s Kurdistan region, which has seen 13 reported deaths.

Yemen has accused Iran of targeting ‘security and stability in the region in a miserable attempt to create an external crisis for internal reasons’, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement released on state agency SABA.
It also said the Iranian regime ‘seeks to veer attention off the renewing revolution’ by the Iranian people against the government in Tehran.
“In this regard, the Yemeni government is following with great concern the excessive use of force and brutal repression by the Iranian regime against the brotherly Iranian people, and affirms its support for the people and their aspirations to achieve their legitimate rights to freedom, dignity and equal citizenship,” the statement added.
Iraq’s state agency reported 58 injuries as a result of the attacks, which occurred near Irbil and Sulaimaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Iran launched the attacks after the country’s authorities accused armed Iranian Kurdish dissidents of being involved in the unrest currently shaking the country, especially in the northwest.


Former Iranian president Rafsanjani’s daughter arrested for ‘inciting riots’

Former Iranian president Rafsanjani’s daughter arrested for ‘inciting riots’
Updated 27 min 56 sec ago

Former Iranian president Rafsanjani’s daughter arrested for ‘inciting riots’

Former Iranian president Rafsanjani’s daughter arrested for ‘inciting riots’
  • Iranian government had been referring to the protests as ‘riots’ and ‘sedition’ to suppress them

DUBAI: Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been arrested in Tehran by security forces for ‘inciting riots’ that were triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while on police custody.

Before her arrest, Hashemi had said that the Iranian government has been referring to the protests for the past days as ‘riots’ and ‘sedition’ to suppress them, was used as the basis for her detention, news website Radio Farda reported.

Amini, who is Kurdish, was visiting Tehran with her family to visit relatives when she was accosted by the notorious morality police for allegedly breaching Iran’s strict dress code – including wearing of the hijab or head covering – and eventually arrested.

Her relatives claimed the beatings Amini received from the morality police, including a violent blow to the head that caused her death.

“What [authorities] want to convey is that these are not protests, they’re riots, but in fact they are protests,” Radio Farda quoted Hashemi in an audio recording it obtained.

“Those who have seen the protests know that, for example, if the youth set fire to garbage cans, it’s because the [security forces] have used tear gas and they want to neutralize it; or when they beat a member of the security forces it’s because they have been attacked and they’re defending themselves,” she said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of academics issued an open letter urging feminist communities to join them in building transnational solidarity with women and marginalized groups in Iran.

The letter was signed by academics including those from universities in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia who said that the death of Amini was ‘among many other state murders committed systemically and purposefully by the gender-apartheid regime of Iran.’

“This country-wide revolt is against not only the brutal murder of Mahsa but also the essence of the Islamic regime,” the letter said. “The demand is loud and clear: an end to a theocratic regime whose multi-faceted violence against marginalized bodies is manifested in Mahsa’s death.”