Arab coalition in Yemen: We respect humanitarian rights

Arab coalition in Yemen: We respect humanitarian rights
HELPING THE WAR-HIT: Aid for all Yemenis affected by war, regardless of religious views or backgrounds, is the motto of the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Works.
Updated 26 May 2016

Arab coalition in Yemen: We respect humanitarian rights

Arab coalition in Yemen: We respect humanitarian rights

RIYADH: The Saudi-led Arab military coalition fighting Iran-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen said Thursday it respects international humanitarian law, denying accusations by rights groups.
The coalition command, in a statement, gave assurances that it “respects the rules of international humanitarian law and human rights in all its military operations” in Yemen.
“To defend civilians and shelter them from the impact of the conflict,” the coalition had imposed “strict... rules of engagement in accordance with the principles of international humanitarian law.”
As well as identifying targets, these rules also focused on the use of precision weapons and dropping leaflets warning people in areas with military targets, it added.
The coalition was also evaluating its air strikes in Yemen and investigates allegations about some incidents, the command said.
The coalition intervened in Yemen in April 2015 after Iran-backed Houthi militias, conspiring with loyalists of the
Non-governmental organizations have repeatedly accused the coalition of being responsible for the deaths of civilians in Yemen since intervening on the side of the country’s internationally recognized government in March 2015.
Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch accused the Arab coalition of indiscriminate bombing in Yemen, but also said the Houthis were to blame for abuses committed on the ground.
In late February, Amnesty International said it had documented a series of serious humanitarian and rights violations, including war crimes, since the Arab intervention.
The United Nations has repeatedly warned about the threat of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Yemen, where more than 6,400 people have been killed in 14 months of war. 


Lebanese trade unions launch general strike to demand new govt

Lebanese trade unions launch general strike to demand new govt
Vehicles are stuck in a traffic jam in Beirut, Lebanon. (File/Reuters)
Updated 4 min 42 sec ago

Lebanese trade unions launch general strike to demand new govt

Lebanese trade unions launch general strike to demand new govt
  • Food industries, bakeries, transport workers and taxi drivers announce support for the move

BEIRUT: Public prosecutors in Lebanon have been instructed to crack down on the monopoly on foodstuffs and oil derivatives as political, security and diplomatic concerns grow over explosive daily protests.

The spontaneous protests are also demanding access to medicine, fuel, hospitalization and electricity.
The Crisis Observatory at the American University of Beirut warned that “the risk of Lebanon falling into the rank of failed states has become a reality after it fell 36 places over five years.” Its rank in 2021 was among the 34 most failed states out of 179 states.
The Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, Judge Ghassan Oueidat, on Monday called on public prosecutors in Lebanon to “strictly pursue the monopoly of foodstuffs and oil derivatives, after there has been a lot of refraining from selling these subsidized materials, or selling them at prices that exceed the set price.”
Judge Oueidat said that what is happening “are crimes stipulated by law and must be prosecuted, and shops, warehouses and stations belonging to the suspects must be sealed with red wax.”
The judicial procedure came as trade unions and civil bodies prepare for a general strike that begins on Thursday to push for the formation of a government.
On Monday, unions of food industries, bakeries, transport workers and taxi drivers announced that they would respond to Thursday’s strike.
Bechara Al-Asmar, head of the General Labor Union, told Arab News: “Our move will be escalatory. I don’t know if the strike will last more than a day; we will see what happens Thursday.”
On the possibility of controlling the street in light of the current mood, Al-Asmar said: “Today, the prices of dairy and cheese have increased by 40 percent without anyone being held accountable.”
He added: “The argument for raising prices was electricity rationing and the difficulty of obtaining diesel to run private generators.
“In this case, we must raise our voices. We cannot remain silent about this chaos that is taking place in the absence of any executive reference in the country.
“There is a positive response from unions and civil society to Thursday’s move through carrying out central sit-ins so as not to easily breach them and turn them into riots or chaos.
“I know that there are caveats, but we must raise our voices,” Al-Asmar said.
The union chief added: “If they form a government before Thursday, we will stop our movements.”

FASTFACT

The Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, Judge Ghassan Oueidat, called on public prosecutors in Lebanon to ‘strictly pursue the monopoly of foodstuffs and oil derivatives, after there has been a lot of refraining from selling these subsidized materials, or selling them at prices that exceed the set price.’

In the Observatory report — obtained by Arab News on Monday — the caretaker government came under criticism for dealing in “an amateur way in negotiations with international bodies and donor funds.”
The observatory feared that “the government’s handling of multiple crises has become a threat to the lives of citizens.”
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is mediating between Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and his political opponent, the head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), Gebran Bassil, to find solutions for the formation of a government.
The mediation, which has been going on for two weeks, has not yet succeeded.
Last Saturday, a meeting of the Supreme Islamic Shariah Council, on behalf of the Sunni community, expressed strong support for Hariri, declaring him the first and last candidate to head the government.
Berri and Hezbollah support the designation of Hariri as prime minister, according to their declared position.
In a statement on Monday, the Amal Movement, headed by Berri, indirectly criticized the presidential team, which insists on naming Christian ministers and having the blocking third in the government.
The statement spoke of “some people persisting in violating the constitutional rules by trying to create new norms that affect the foundations of national balances and the foundations established by the Taif Agreement.”
The Lady of the Mountain Gathering, which is a political group opposed to the policies of Hezbollah and its allies, said that Hezbollah “does not want a government. Otherwise it would have imposed a government on Lebanon. It is carrying out Iranian orders.” Meanwhile, the head of the finance and budget committee, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, reported that the World Bank had “expressed willingness to reconsider allocating $1 billion of its loans in accordance with the urgent needs of Lebanon. They can be used in the context of addressing subsidy lifting or rationalization, i.e. the social safety net will have an executive path that ranges between three and six months, in accordance with the response of the Lebanese government.”
The MP’s remarks came after a review session of unimplemented loans with the World Bank.The dollar exchange rate on the black market stabilized at the beginning of the week at a new record level, in light of the citizens’ distrust of the political and monetary authority.
The US dollar was traded at about LBP15,000, while the rush for fuel continued.
Queues of cars waited in front of gas stations in Beirut and most areas because importers reassured “that the quantities supplied as of Monday will be sufficient for the next two weeks, and they are rationed to limit smuggling to Syria and to prolong subsidy.”
The observatory report cited a growing set of indicators in Lebanon. They included “the security threat and political violence, the division of elites and political groups, the economic decline, the loss of state legitimacy, the increase in foreign interference, the deterioration of the human rights situation and the rule of law, and displacement, especially after the explosion of the port of Beirut.”
The observatory warned that “the political class deals with all living issues from the perspective of its narrow accounts and interests.”
It said the caretaker government’s reluctance to take proactive measures had exacerbated the collapse. “The government’s policy has no policy anymore.”
The observatory noted that “the ministers of the caretaker government do not seem interested in addressing the Lebanese and explaining anything related to their food, health or living security.”
It added that certain employees of the Banque du Liban (BDL) and other institutions “are the ones who determine all policies, without the slightest accountability or coordination.”
The observatory said that “the caretaker government deals with the situation in an amateur way in negotiations with international bodies and donor funds, so the signing of the agreement with the World Bank (WB) to finance the social safety net program is delayed by seven months after the approval of the WB’s board of directors on the loan, while the Lebanese poor are in dire need of immediate support.
“This government also seems incapable of dealing with issues of monopoly and smuggling, and the resulting bleeding in times of scarcity,” it said.


Biden, Erdogan upbeat about ties but disclose no breakthrough

Biden, Erdogan upbeat about ties but disclose no breakthrough
Updated 39 min 55 sec ago

Biden, Erdogan upbeat about ties but disclose no breakthrough

Biden, Erdogan upbeat about ties but disclose no breakthrough
BRUSSELS: US President Joe Biden and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan sounded upbeat after their first face-to-face talks on Monday, although they did not announce major breakthroughs in the relationship between the two allies, at odds over Russian weapons, Syria, Libya and other issues.
“We had a positive and productive meeting, much of it one-on-one,” Biden told a news conference after their meeting in Brussels.
“Our teams are going to continue our discussions and I’m confident we’ll make real progress with Turkey and the United States,” he added.
Erdogan characterised his talks with Biden on the sidelines of a NATO summit as “productive and sincere.”
“We think that there are no issues between US and Turkey relationship that are unsolvable and that areas of cooperation for us are richer and larger than problems,” he said.
Despite their publicly optimistic tone, neither provided any details on how exactly they would mend the relationship or lay out steps that would help ease tensions between the NATO allies.
Turkey, with NATO’s second-largest military, has angered its allies in the Western military alliance by buying Russian surface-to-air missiles and intervening in wars in Syria and Libya. It is also in a standoff with Greece and Cyprus over territory in the Eastern Mediterranean.
As president, Biden has adopted a cooler tone than predecessor Donald Trump toward Erdogan. Biden quickly recognized the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide — a position that angers Turkey — and stepped up criticism of Turkey’s human rights record.
Washington has already removed Ankara from the F-35 fighter jet program and imposed sanctions over Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missiles.
One area where Erdogan hoped to showcase a central Turkish role in NATO is Afghanistan, where Ankara has offered to guard and operate Kabul airport after US and NATO forces withdraw in coming weeks. NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said Turkey would play a key role but that no decision was made at the Monday summit.
At the start of the main leaders’ session at NATO, Biden spoke to Erdogan at length in a small group before they took their seats.
Later in the day, the two leaders and their top aides sat mostly silently on opposite sides of a conference table, ignoring questions shouted to them by journalists briefly invited into the room.
Erdogan also met French President Emmanuel Macron. Ankara and Paris have been at odds over Syria, Libya and Turkish criticism of the fight against what Macron calls Islamist separatism, among other issues.
“President Erdogan confirmed during our meeting his wish that the foreign mercenaries, the foreign militias, operating on Libyan soil leave as soon as possible,” Macron told a news conference afterwards.

COVID-19 vaccines distributed at makeshift camp in Syria's Idlib

COVID-19 vaccines distributed at makeshift camp in Syria's Idlib
Updated 57 min 19 sec ago

COVID-19 vaccines distributed at makeshift camp in Syria's Idlib

COVID-19 vaccines distributed at makeshift camp in Syria's Idlib

Bahrain and UAE congratulate newly formed Israeli government

Bahrain and UAE congratulate newly formed Israeli government
Updated 50 min 19 sec ago

Bahrain and UAE congratulate newly formed Israeli government

Bahrain and UAE congratulate newly formed Israeli government
  • Bahrain's crown prince sent a congratulatory telegraph to new Israeli Prime Minister
  • UAE’s foreign minister congratulated Israeli foreign minister on his new position

CAIRO: Bahrain’s crown prince sent a congratulatory telegraph to new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
The crown prince expressed his sincere wishes to the formed government for success in its tasks “in a way that strengthen the pillars of development, stability, and peace in the region and the world,” Bahrain state news agency (BNA) said on Monday.
Meanwhile, the UAE’s foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed discussed in a phone call with his Israeli counterpart “the bilateral cooperation between the two countries in addition to the Abraham Accords,” the minister’s office tweeted on Monday.
Bin Zayed congratulated the Israeli foreign minister, Yair Lapid, on his new position and wished him success, the tweet said.


Gaza children fly kites with portraits of kids killed in last conflict with Israel

Gaza children fly kites with portraits of kids killed in last conflict with Israel
Updated 14 June 2021

Gaza children fly kites with portraits of kids killed in last conflict with Israel

Gaza children fly kites with portraits of kids killed in last conflict with Israel

Palestinian children fly kites on a beach of Gaza City carrying the portraits of the 66 children killed in the Palestinian enclave by Israeli airstrikes during the last conflict between the Jewish state and Hamas.