JIAT to join Yemen bombing probe, US advice to be sought

Yemenis are complaining that Houthi militias have blocked instant messaging application, WhatsApp, to sabotage calls for mass protests against their atrocities (Source: Twitter)
Updated 10 October 2016

JIAT to join Yemen bombing probe, US advice to be sought

JEDDAH: The Saudi-led coalition, supporting the legitimate government in Yemen, said on Sunday it was deeply saddened by the regrettable and painful bombing of the great hall in Sanaa on Saturday, which reportedly led to deaths and injuries.

“The coalition will immediately investigate this case along with the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen, and the team will seek advice from the US which can help with their experiences and lessons learned in such investigations,” the coalition said in a statement sent to Arab News.
“The coalition is also willing to provide the investigation team with any data and information related to its military operations on Sunday, at the incident’s location and surrounding areas. The result of the investigation should be announced as soon as it’s completed,” added the statement.
“The coalition expressed its deepest condolences and support to the families of the victims of hostilities since the coup in Yemen in 2014. The coalition confirms that its troops have clear instructions not to target populated areas and to avoid civilians,” the statement added
Also on Sunday, Saudi air defenses intercepted two ballistic missiles launched by Houthi militias targeting Maarib, and Taif inside the Kingdom. Earlier in the day, the coalition forces repelled an attack by Houthi militias and forces loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh, which tried to reach the Saudi border off Al-Khubah in Jazan region.
The militias’ infantry tried to attack the Saudi border on several points through the Yemeni mountains bordering Saudi Arabia, especially Mount Razih, but was foiled by an attack carried out by the coalition jet fighters and artillery.
Military sources said dozens of militants died in the attack. Their military vehicles and missile launchers were also destroyed.
The coalition takes all measures to ensure that its airstrikes are precisely conducted to avoid civilian gatherings, its spokesman Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri told Arab News earlier.
“The coalition has always avoided such gatherings and these have never been targets of the air raids,” Al-Assiri explained. Accusations against the coalition come as Yemeni citizens in Sanaa continue to stage massive demonstrations against the Houthi militias, who have caused damage and wreaked havoc on Yemen since they took over the capital two years ago, helped by the forces supporting former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Meanwhile, in a desperate attempt, Houthis set up roadblocks and disperse their troops in the streets to prevent citizens from responding to calls on social media to gather in the center of the capital, eyewitnesses from Sanaa said.
Over the past two days, the hashtag “ana nazel” (I am participating) has been trending on social media, vowing to sustain the protest against the Houthi militias, accused of starving the Yemeni people and failing to pay public servants’ salaries for the past two months. Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi had transferred the Yemeni Central Bank from Sanaa to Aden two months back.


Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

  • “You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness,” Prince Khalid said
  • The ambassador encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it

LONDON: Riyadh does not seek conflict with Tehran but will not let “Iran’s meddling in the region” go unchecked, said the Saudi ambassador to Britain. 
“We do not seek conflict. We do not seek escalation. We have always been supporters of taking a firm stand against Iran. Our issue is not with the people of Iran, it is with the regime running the country,” Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan told the Daily Telegraph. 
“But we do not believe in appeasement. At no point in history has appeasement proved to be a successful strategy. You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness.”
France, Germany and the UK, three of the signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), triggered a “dispute resolution mechanism” recently in response to Iran ramping up its nuclear program in violation of the deal.
Prince Khalid criticized the JCPOA because it does not address “all the other things that Iran” is doing in the region.
“Iran’s meddling in the region is as challenging as the nuclear program. This is why we were concerned with the nuclear deal,” he said.
The ambassador also touched on recent allegations that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in hacking the phone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
“It is very easy for people to throw these unsubstantiated allegations against Saudi Arabia because they know that it is very difficult for Riyadh to defend itself when it does not have proper access to the details,” Prince Khalid said.
“We need to see the evidence before we make any response, because the evidence made public so far is circumstantial at best.”
Saudis do not always represent themselves well because they are “a reticent people and our culture does not push us to talking about ourselves,” he said. “We need to do a better job on showing the world who we really are.” 
The ambassador, who was appointed last year, encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it. 
“There are a lot of misconceptions about Saudi Arabia. We want people to come and see Saudi Arabia for themselves, and not rely on what they have read somewhere or heard somewhere to form their opinion of the country,” he said.
“There is plenty to see, and you will find a warm, generous and hospitable people there waiting to greet you.”