Yemeni Government Appreciates Role of Arab Coalition in Protecting Yemen from Iranian Project

The Yemeni Government praised today the role played by the Arab coalition countries to protect Yemen from the Iranian project, said the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Ben Dagher said in a meeting with local authority leaders and the security and military committee in Hadramout valley and desert that his government needs to build the Yemeni state that was destroyed by Iran-allied Houthi militias and armed loyalists backing ousted president Abdullah Saleh, praising the efforts of the Saudi-led Arab alliance.

Earlier in July, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalek al-Mekhlafi also hailed the Saudi-led Arab coalition that is combating militants in his country, saying that it has thwarted Iran’s ambitions in Yemen.

He said: “The coalition has prevented Tehran from expanding its influence in Yemen.”

Mekhlafi said that the cooperation between various Arab forces in the coalition have helped liberate 80 percent of Yemeni territories from the clutches of the coup militias.

The Yemeni people refuse to be governed by various militias that are being controlled by regional powers that seek to target Arab national security, continued the minister.

The militias do not recognize any commitments or responsibilities towards the people and they do not care for their suffering, Mekhlafi added.

Furthermore, he blamed coup practices for the spread of famine in the regions that are under their control. He also held them accountable for the destruction of infrastructure and the outbreak of diseases, most notably cholera.

For their part, the Arab diplomats voiced the keenness of their countries on the achievement of peace in Yemen, expressing their support for the legitimate forces in the country and hoping that security and stability are restored.

Yemen: Arab Coalition Aircraft Targets Militia Communication Center in Hajjah

Aden- Saudi-led Arab Coalition air forces, backing the official government in Yemen, pounded a military target in Hajjah governorate, said well-informed sources within the coalition.

More importantly, the target destroyed was a telecommunications base used by Houthi militiamen, and was taken out two days after coalition forces destroyed a ballistic missile launchpad, delivering a severe blow to militia ranks.

Sources also pointed out that the communications center was active at the time of targeting.

“The center is a legitimate military target wedged in rural area in-between mountains, isolated on high altitude. Available intelligence showed that this center was being utilized by Houthi armed militias to direct combatants,” sources added.

Coalition aircraft destroyed two days ago a platform to launch ballistic missiles, in the province of Hajjah northwest of Yemen.

Sources pointed out that coalition forces launched several raids on putschist targets in that region, which compromised their military might and managed to exact losses among militia personnel.

The ballistic missile launchpad was destroyed shortly after it had launched a projectile pointed towards Saudi borders. Despite camouflage, the missile launchpad was successfully taken out.

The Yemeni army earlier announced the death of a high-ranking Houthi commander named Ali Abdul-Malik Sharafuddin, who was killed in a coalition airstrike alongside a number of his companions in Midi, another Hajjah governorate city.

On the other hand, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement announced being deeply saddened by the death of Dr. Abdulah Alkhamesi, founder of the Yemen Red Crescent Society in 1973 and its leader for nearly three decades.

Alkhamesi was known within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement as a man with a deep belief in humanity, who worked tirelessly in the service of his fellow human beings.

The death of Alkhamesi was hastened by a lack of essential medical supplies, yet another indication of the collapsing health system in Yemen—a direct consequence of the conflict and the debilitating restrictions on imports such as much-needed drugs and medical supplies.

The situation in Yemen is dire, with less than half of the hospitals and clinics still open. Medical staff and Yemen Red Crescent staff and volunteers continue to carry out their tasks as best they can despite acute shortages.

The Yemen Red Crescent Society (YRCS), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) continue to uphold the same humanitarian commitment that guided Alkhamesi throughout his life—to help and support the people living in Yemen, said the organization in a statement published to their official website.

Arab Coalition Committed to Protecting Yemeni Civilians

Riyadh- Children were among at least 14 people killed in an airstrike that toppled residential blocks in Yemen’s capital Sana’a on Friday, witnesses and medics said.

Spokesman for the Arab coalition in Yemen Turki al-Malki reaffirmed the coalition’s commitment to protecting Yemeni civilians.

In a statement, Malki said that the Arab coalition adopts rules of engagement in accordance with the provisions of international humanitarian law.

“All operations launched south of Sana’a are being reviewed upon allegations on targeting a home in the district, and results will be announced immediately after the investigation is completed,” he added.

“We always make sure that the targets are totally military to avoid civilian casualties,” the spokesman stressed.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat in a phone call that the leadership of the Arab Coalition to support the legitimacy of Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia, recalls its obligations to protect civilians and spare them the effects of the conflict.

They stressed that the coalition’s operations are conducted according to the mechanisms and procedures of targeting military sites.

These procedures and mechanisms start with detecting the military target through several sources to prevent errors in the targeting mechanism, assuming that every location in Yemen is a civilian site until the contrary is proven.

On the other hand, Arab Coalition forces announced that it has intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the militias of Houthi and Saleh on Mokha city.

Coup Militias Suffer Blow as Yemeni Govt. Forces Advance, Solidify Positions in Taiz

Taiz

Taiz – The military command tasked with restoring Taiz into full government control in Yemen launched a large-scale operation west of the city on Monday morning, aiming to complete the liberation of its western areas.

Several pro-government brigades and military police joined the Taiz operation, which is receiving aerial coverage by the Arab coalition. Most of these forces aided in targeting remaining militia positions.

A local military source, who spoke under anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the operation made great progress.

The army has managed to liberate a number of positions that were under putschist control. Clashes left dozens dead and wounded among militia ranks, in addition to significant material losses.

“The army completed the security clearance of al-Qadra, Hamli and Madarat areas, and west of Taiz— freeing them from militias hold,” the military source added.

“Ultimately, the goal is to control vital sites, securing the strategic ‘60’s’ route, which links Taiz to Ibb province, Sana’a and the northern provinces,” the source said.

Further explaining the importance of the land passage, the source stated that it is a key supply route for armed coupists and plays a role in aiding advances from the west coast.

As fighting intensified, locals reported that Taiz’s factory had been evacuated from its workers and guards.

Responding to the advance of the national army on the western front, Iran-aligned militias amped violent artillery bombardment of eastern and southern countryside neighborhoods.

In Taiz’s western region, government forces, backed by Arab Coalition air fighters, continued their push to control Mokha.

In this context, the military source pointed out that “militiamen shelled the area of Madarat in a failed attempt to impede the progress of the national army.”

The army troops bypassed coup barracks and strongholds, despite the fire exchange.

Houthi leader Hussain Rajih and a number of his companions were killed just off Najran, in the Sa’ada governorate, by coalition air strikes that coincided with an ambush. Government forces successfully destroyed an insurgency arms depot, southwest of the capital Sana’a.

Sana’a Insurgents Officially Acknowledge Targeting Mecca

Mecca

Jeddah – The insurgents in Yemen recently acknowledged that they had launched on Thursday a ballistic missile towards a military base in the Mecca region in Saudi Arabia, reported a news agency affiliated with the coup in the war-torn country.

An observer only needs Google Maps or any similar app to determine just how close the King Fahad Air Base is to the Great Mosque of Mecca. The Arab Coalition air defense had managed to intercept Thursday’s missile. The launch was deemed by observers as an attempt to “ruin the Hajj pilgrimage season.”

This is not the first time that the insurgents acknowledged that they had targeted Saudi Arabia. They sought in October 2016 to strike Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, which also lies in the Mecca region. The facility is the primary arrival point of the majority of pilgrims headed to Mecca.

What is worrisome is not the ballistic threat alone, but the fact that the missile, according to experts, could be manipulated to increase its range. This consequently reduces its accuracy and makes it veer off its trajectory, which means it could land in civilian areas, most notably injure pilgrims.

The Islamic world and international community are expecting the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to hold an emergency meeting within the upcoming days to address the Houthi and Saleh militias’ targeting of Mecca.

Political observers expect the 56-member OIC to hold a meeting that would call for tangible action to thwart the Houthi and Saleh violations. This stance will come in light of a November 2016 meeting of Islamic country foreign ministers, who had taken a collective stand against the first Mecca attack and those behind it.

OIC Secretary General Dr. Youssef al-Othaimeen condemned Thursday’s failed attack, saying that it confirms “without a doubt, the Houthi and Saleh militias’ insistence to target holy sites in Saudi Arabia.”

These attacks are part of conspiracies against the kingdom and its residents and are a “desperate” attempt to destabilize the Hajj season, said an OIC statement quoting Othaimeen.

This is an attack against all Muslims throughout the world due to the holiness of the Great Mecca Mosque and its importance in Islam, he continued, noting that the assault “clearly demonstrates that the Houthi and Saleh militias are not serious about ending the Yemen conflict in peaceful means.”

He renewed his support for the legitimate Yemen government and United Nations efforts aimed at finding political solutions that would achieve the country’s security while preserving the unity of its territories. He also hailed Saudi Arabia’s constant efforts to achieve peace in Yemen, voicing the OIC’s solidarity with it and all the measures it takes to maintain its stability and security.

An Arab Coalition statement revealed that Thursday’s missile landed 69 kilometers away from Mecca city. It fell in the al-Wasiliya, which is one of the main travel routes taken by the pilgrims on their way to Mecca.

The statement added that the continuation of the smuggling of rockets to Yemen stems from the lack of monitoring of the Hodeidah Port. It can also be attributed for the misuse of permits granted by the Coalition to relief and goods shipments at a time when the international community has been unable to take a decision that would thwart these violations that are prolonging the war and endangering the lives of civilians.

Political expert Nayef al-Raqaa revealed that Thursday’s missile was a Scud that was developed by Iran. It has a range of 300 to 700 kilometers and is not effective as its warhead weighs no more than 250 kilograms. It is inaccurate and should it strike its target, there would be no trace of the rocket.

Arab Coalition Appoints Col. Turki al-Maliki as New Official Spokesman

Coalition forces in Yemen on Thursday announced the official appointment of a new spokesperson, Colonel Turki bin Saleh al-Maliki, who will be replacing the outgoing Major General Ahmad Asiri.

Maj.Gen Asiri had served as the coalition’s spokesperson for Operation Decisive Storm and Operation Restoring Hope.

“‏Colonel Turki bin Saleh al-Maliki has been appointed as the official spokesman for the Coalition and has begun his duties,” the coalition’s command in a press release.

The Coalition leadership said it would continue its policy of communicating transparently and openly about its military campaign to support the legitimate government of Yemen.

Colonel Turki will hold regular press conferences, and will be available to all local, regional and international media.

Arab Coalition Source: Report on Meeting with Saleh’s Son is False

London- A senior source in the Arab coalition backing the legitimate government in Yemen denied on Monday a report on a meeting between spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition Ahmad Asiri and the son of deposed Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In a phone call to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, the source said that Asiri did not sit down with Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh as was mentioned by an online French journal.

Saleh, who was deposed in 2011 during Yemen’s “Arab Spring”, is currently in league with the Iran-backed Houthi movement.

The source, who spoke under anonymity , also denounced the “false news which claimed that the coalition seeks to drop support for the constitutionally elected leader President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

“The coalition supports the legitimate Yemeni government headed by President Hadi and his internationally recognized government under UN Resolution 2216,” the source added.

Sanaa ‘Presidential Palace’ Comes Under Arab Coalition Heavy Airstrikes

Aden – Saudi-led Arab coalition fighters carried out air raids on military positions controlled by coupists in the vicinity of the “Presidential Palace” in Sanaa, in keep with intensifying clashes in Jawf and Shabwa and Hajjah.

Eyewitnesses told Asharq Al-Awsat that battles are by far the most violent the war-torn country has seen in over a month.

Air strikes have surgically pounded military positions affiliated with armed loyalists backing deposed president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Jabal al-Nahdeen– other raids targeted a missile Launchpad in Faj Atan south of Sanaa.

Pro-Saleh armed loyalists have joined forces with Houthi insurgents pushing an Iranian agenda in Yemen. In 2014 insurgents overrun the capital and undermined its institutions setting ground for a ravaging civil war which had endured till the present day.

Saudi Arabia had led an intervention coalition made up of a number of Arab states to support the elected Yemen government headed by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and restore it to power.

While Iran funds and arms Houthi militias staging attacks and imposing rouge rule over territory, the Arab Coalition stages counter-operations to aid in stabilizing the country.

Locals in Sanaa, the putschists’ de facto capital, said that violent explosions ripped through militia territory accompanied by increased flight activity by Arab coalition fighters that combed the city’s airspace for hours.

Coalition fighters also launched heavy air raids on Houthi reinforcements and militia barracks in the Nihm District (40 km east of Sanaa), artillery shelling and exchange of gunfire were registered.

Fighting between national army forces and militias continued on a number of fronts in Houthi-run provinces.
National Army units launched a fierce attack on reinforcements and a militia gathering in Khabb wa ash Sha’af District, killing and wounding a number of militia combatants, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Militia gear and military arsenal were heavily destroyed.

Arab Coalition Forces Restore Order at Aden International Airport after Clashes

Saudi soldier stands guard at the international airport of Yemen's southern port city of Aden

Aden- A state of calm returned to Aden’s airport, in the interim capital of Yemen, after clashes erupted on Wednesday between two factions of the forces charged with protecting the security of the airport.

Forces directed by coalition forces stepped in to stop clashes between airport security forces, on the one hand, and forces loyal to another military commander, a Yemeni military commander told Asharq Al-Awsat.

One combatant was killed and the fighting ended when other forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition intervened.

Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr had reviewed post-clashes developments at the airport with Arab Coalition Brigadier General Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed.

The airport was scheduled to receive various flights early-on Thursday, meaning coalition forces had to swiftly intervene and reinforce order, reinstating airport security, PM Daghr said.

The prime minister’s bureau issued a statement stressing the need to avoid shedding more blood in the airport infighting between the forces backing airport commander Saleh al-Omari and forces backing his deputy al-Khodr Kurdah.

“The coalition commander told the prime minister that the coalition forces tried to intervene to prevent the fighting from escalating after it had already resulted in the death of a security member and the injury of many,” the statement said.

“Kurdah refused the request for calm, prompting coalition forces to step in and issue a serious warning against both parties, ordering them to abandon arms and exit the premise,” it added.

Later on, Aden’s security service announced that it had officially regained full supervision over the Aden International Airport.

“The situation at the airport is calm now. Forces of the Arab coalition forces backed by local security units are now fully in control of the airport,” Aden police spokesman Abdul Rahman al-Naqib was quoted as saying.

The security chiefs who caused the security situation on Wednesday handed themselves over to the authorities.

Naqib also named Major General Shalal Ali Shaya as the new security chief assigned with supervising, securing and protecting the Aden International Airport.

Yemeni Foreign Minister: We Have Documents on Iran’s Crimes

Jeddah- Yemen is in possession of documents that reveal the crimes committed by Iran, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdul Malik al-Mekhlafi has said.

The minister pointed out that the Yemeni government intends to arrange a meeting with US officials in Riyadh, on the sidelines of the Arab-Islamic-US Summit to discuss the Yemeni file.

Mekhlafi ensured, during a phone call with Asharq Al-Awsat, that Yemen will be a focal point in the summit through the participation of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in the meeting with US President Donald Trump, based on the invitation of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The Yemeni minister considered this summit a significant opportunity for Yemen to tackle Arab topics, adding that the Arab Coalition led by Saudi Arabia and supporting legitimacy, has a message to deliver regarding the Iranian intervention in Yemen.

The meddling – via Iran’s support to Houthis and Saleh militias – has sparked the war in Yemen, he said. It also led to the country’s involvement in a long-lasting destructive war, not to mention that part of Yemen was transformed by Iran to a base to target Saudi Arabia.

Mekhlafi continued that the government will assign a high-ranking delegation to visit the US and meet with a number of officials, especially that there is a great US understanding of what is happening in Yemen with the presence of the new administration.

On proof of Tehran’s involvement in Yemen, he said that the Yemeni government has several documents and pieces of evidence on the crimes committed by Iran.

The minister added that Yemen will present them to the international community.

Commenting on his meeting with UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Mekhlafi affirmed that the government did not object to anything and demanded that the envoy provide guarantees on behalf of the other party that is hindering the peace process.