President Hadi: Iranian Plots Failed in Yemen

Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi said that Iranian plots meant for his country have failed and has found rejection among the Yemeni People.

Hadi’s comments came during his meeting here today with Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen Saleh, Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Dagher, and a number of Yemeni senior officials.

Hadi reiterated that the outcome of the national dialogue and the building of a federal Yemen based on partnership, justice and equality is the choice of the Yemeni people, pointing out at the same time that the coupist militia continues its rejection of the peace calls based on the three authorities.

In 2014, Iran-allied Houthi militias joined forces with armed loyalists backing the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh and overran the capital Sana’a. Armed and funded by Iran, each of Saudi Arabia and the United States consider the coup to be part and parcel of Iran’s expansionist ambitions in the region.

After insurgency militias took over Sana’a, the internationally-backed government led by Hadi was forced to relocate to the now-temporary capital, Aden. A Saudi-led Arab coalition has also entered Yemen to back pro-legitimacy forces against Iran-backed putschists and help re-establish national authority in the war-torn country.

Houthi Minister Confesses Plotting President Hadi’s Assassination

Yemen

Riyadh- In a rare confession, Hassan Zaid, a “minister” of youth and sports working with the Houthis, said he had asked the head of the so-called Supreme Political Council, Saleh al-Samad, to assassinate President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi while he was placed under house arrest in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, around two years ago.

In a post published on his Facebook page on Monday, Zaid revealed that during a telephone conversation conducted following confrontations between the presidential guards and Houthi militias in 2014, he had advised al-Samad to keep Abd Rabu under house arrest even if he had to kill him.

Zaid wrote: “This is the first time in my life that I confess about advising the killing or imprisoning of a person. When I learned about the confrontations between Ansr Allah and Abd Rabu’s guards, I told Mr. Saleh: Abd Rabu cannot leave the house, kill him if you must or arrest him if you are unable to, for his escape will be considered a sedition and a disaster.”

Following their invasion of Sana’a in 2014, Houthi militias had besieged the house of Hadi.

Saudi lawyer Dr. Majed Karoub said Zaid’s confession stipulates the trial of Hassan Zaid as a war criminal and a traitor of his state and national.

“The confession is considered as an evidence that Houthis are mercenaries. There is a need to trial him for conspiring against the state and for plotting the assassination of the legitimate president,” Karoub told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday.

Zaid also revealed on his Facebook post that his request was religiously thoughtful and a hasty reaction.

“Today, I cannot advise the killing of any person, because I fear holding the responsibility of such an act and I am not in a position of decision-making,” he added.

Hadi: Yemen on Verge of Important Victories

Aden, Taiz- Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi called on the army and security forces in the province of Hadramout to improve their military presence and strike with an iron fist anyone who tries to upset calm.

In a telephone conversation conducted with Brigadier General Farag Salem al-Bahsani, commander of the Mukalla-based 2nd Military District, Hadi said the Yemeni army must continue to advance in the country and defeat insurgents.

For his part, Bahsani informed the Yemeni president about the latest field developments and the trainings of military staff in the region, the official Yemeni news agency reported on Sunday.

Hadi also praised the Saudi efforts in supporting legitimacy in Yemen, in a speech addressed to the Yemeni people on the occasion of the holy Eid al-Fitr.

He also congratulated the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on the occasion.

“Yemen stands on the verge of important victories embodied in the will of the Yemeni people and their determination to defend their land and honor,” the Yemeni president said.

Meanwhile, a military official said that Houthi militias pounded on Sunday residential areas in the province of Taiz on the first day of the Eid.

“Rebels shelled army positions and residential areas directly after dawn prayers and then escalated their attack between the Eid and noon prayers,” Colonel Abdul Baset al-Bahar, deputy spokesperson for the Taiz front, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Al-Bahar said the shells drove fear among children and women and had left evident material damage.

The colonel added that rebel militias were not targeting specific locations in Taiz, but were now dropping their shells in the entire city, targeting women, children and the elderly.

Also, on Sunday, the Arab Coalition Forces were capable to carry out a qualitative intelligence operation, targeting a meeting headquarters of prominent Houthi leaders in Marib.

According to Al-Arabiya news channel, local sources said the meeting included a large number of prominent leaders of the militias, including Mubarak al-Mashn, a Houthi leader and a member of the so-called Political Council of the coup, and Nasser al-Zabli, one of the prominent leaders.

Hadi Rejects ‘South Council,’ Urges Members to Clarify their Stances

Jeddah, London- Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi has totally rejected the so-called “transitional political council of the south” to administer and represent the region, asserting that such behaviors and actions totally contradict the three references based on the Gulf initiative, outcomes of Yemeni national dialogue and UN resolution 2216.

A statement issued Thursday following a special meeting between Hadi and his advisors, announced that all officials and other parties whose names were mentioned in the council should announce their clear positions from the new declaration.

The statement also considered the “transitional political council of the south” as only benefiting insurgents and those who support them.

The meeting, presided over by Hadi, was attended by Yemeni Vice-President Lt. General Ali Mohsen Saleh and Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr.

On Thursday, former governor of Aden Aidaroos al-Zubaidi said that senior tribal, military and political leaders have formed a new council seeking the secession of southern Yemen.

Zubaidi said a “national political leadership” under his presidency would administer and represent the south.

However, the statement of the legitimate government of Yemen called on all parties who worked on producing the so-called transition political council of the south “to reconsider their positions, engage in the legitimate framework, and consolidate all efforts to achieve the aspirations of our dear Yemeni nation.”

Separately, a source at the office of UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that the envoy had presented new proposals to solve the Yemeni crisis during five meetings held in Riyadh.

The source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the issue of al-Hodeidah is now part of the UN’s security plan on Yemen.

“In the new proposals, the UN envoy plans to reach a comprehensive and peaceful solution in Yemen,” the source said.

Houthi Putschists Deprive Eight Yemeni Cities from Water

Jeddah – Yemeni areas under insurgency control continue to register deteriorating humanitarian conditions, with worsening water supply shortages. The internationally backed government estimated that eight Houthi-held areas have poor water supply.

With every day that passes by Yemenis locked in Houthi-held areas face worsening survival conditions with access to drinkable water dropping. High levels of contamination of water sources have been recorded.

The water supply and sanitation ministry in Yemen refrained from declaring a state of emergency, in an aim to curb the outbreak of panic and further disorder in the war-torn country.

Partnered with international bodies, the ministry will spare no effort in the quest to containing the crisis.

Most of the areas suffering water shortages are located in Tihamah which is a Red Sea coastal plain stretching from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Bab el Mandeb Strait, government official Hibatalllah Saghir Sharim told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Parched tracts of land include Hajjah Governorate, Hodeida, and Sana’a districts all of which are held under Iran-aligned Houthi militias, the official said.

Local authorities have sent out a cry of help warning the human catastrophe right around the corner.

Water pumping has dropped by a disastrous 50 percent in militia-held areas, the government has been working day and night to enhance water provisions to districts in need. However, water supplies pumped or channeled to insurgency areas are appropriated by militiamen to be sold at rocketing prices to impoverished civilians.

Sharim said that ministerial staffs have contacted a number of international parties officially relaying the growing fears for civilians entrapped in coup-held areas. Some organizations have responded positively to the call for help.

The only challenge remaining at hand is delivering aid and humanitarian assistance to people undergoing a hostile and oppressive insurgency rule.

Yemen will soon be facing the worst drought in almost 70 years with a significant risk of starvation leading to “mass deaths”, the United Nations refugee agency had also warned.

Four countries – Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen – stand on the brink of a new humanitarian crisis brought about by drought and famine.

Yemen Sends Letter to United Nations Chief on Iranian Transgressions

File photo of Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi during a news conference in Sanaa

New York- The Yemeni government presented Sunday a complaint letter to United Nations Chief António Guterres on Iran’s continued interference with Yemen’s national affairs.

Iran negatively influences regional peace, security and stability, the letter also demanded Iran-aligned Houthis be deemed a terrorist organization.

In the letter, of which Asharq Al-Awsat received a copy, the Yemeni government notes and with a profound anxiety and frustration that Iran’s policy of domination and expansionism and its flagrant transgressions against Yemeni sovereignty continue.

Iran still eggs on the war in Yemen, attacking neighboring countries and terrorizing the international shipping routes in the southern Red Sea and the Strait of Bab el Mandeb.
The Tehran administration continues to fund coup militias, Houthis, in Yemen.

Iran supports Houthi groups both in military and strategy through funding, training of fighters, and delivery of arms shipments in a clear violation against U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231.

Shipments containing smuggled Iranian weapons have been intercepted on several occasions.

Meanwhile, Houthis sent 7,000 Yemeni students on scholarships to Qom, Iran, to study.

Facing threats of indoctrination of youth, the Yemeni Ministry of Education, loyal to the legitimate government headed by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, said it would not accept any foreign curriculum contradictory to Yemeni patriotism.

The circumstances created by the coup militias caused a deep rift in the educational infrastructure at the physical and intellectual levels, notably the changes to the curriculum, and the introduction of sectarian and revolutionary tendencies.

Hadi from Socotra: We Won’t Hand Over Yemen to Insurgents

Aden- Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi said on Tuesday he is working on a plan to build a new federal Yemen based on the principles of justice, citizenship and equality that would protect the rights of all people away from discrimination.

Speaking from the province of Socotra, Hadi said: “The blood of our martyrs will not be lost. We will build new federal Yemen and raise our dear flag on the mountains of Amran. Iran will not have any role in Yemen.”

Hadi said that 2,600 men from Socotra were enrolled in the National Army forces and 545 men in the Border Guards forces, adding that this procedure would allow Socotra residents to join other governorates and districts in defending and protecting their nation.

Hadi said a decision would be taken to announce Socotra an independent governorate after he realized the area was marginalized and needed much attention.

The Yemeni president reiterated his gratitude to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States and King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Works for all aid provided to the people of Socotra in all fields.

Separately, GCC member states reiterated their support on Tuesday for a political solution in Yemen.

GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani said during a meeting with Yemeni ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr. Shaiee Mohsen Al-Zandani that Gulf countries would continue to support a political solution in Yemen based on the terms of reference stated in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216, the GCC initiative, its implementation mechanism and the outcome of the comprehensive national dialogue.

During the meeting, both men discussed the latest developments in Yemen’s military, political and humanitarian fields.

Yemen’s National Army Secures Key Mokha-Taiz Route, Cutting off Insurgency Arms Supply

Taiz- The Yemeni National Army, backed by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition air power, continued its push against coup militias overrunning governorates. Renewed clashes erupted with massive losses being registered on behalf of coup militants composed of loyalists fighting by the side of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Iran-aligned Houthis.

Army forces in Taiz, located in northern Yemen, announced sweeping advances towards the full liberation of the area from coup militias.

National army units made the announcement after liberating the key port city of Mokha, in Taiz. The whopping advance was a chief target accomplished in keep with the military coalition-backed operation ‘Golden Spear.’ Yemeni forces backed by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition freed the strategic Red Sea port city from Iran-aligned Houthis Monday afternoon.

Houthi forces had controlled Mokha since they overran the capital Sana’a in September 2014 and advanced on other regions aided by troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

“The battle taking place at the west coast means that the power balance has shifted to its final position in Yemen—the artillery pipeline supplying coup militants has been completely cut off, scattering their factions across mountains terrain and leaving them besieged,” political analyst Bassim al Hakimi says.

Forces supporting President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, launched a vast offensive on January 7 to retake the coastline overlooking the Bab Al Mandab strait.

The strait is a strategically vital maritime route connecting the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

“The victory has torn apart the coup militias’ symbolic sovereignty embodied in their control over key ports and vital institutes,” he added.

“Taiz’s liberation now is a matter of resolution alone, freeing the key port city, Mokha will open up the road before pro-government forces to go in with full-blown force to the eastern side of the country,” Hakimi said.

“Outbreak of civilian revolt supporting legitimacy forces would fire up crowds, burning down militias at once,” he explained.

Many militants had surrendered to army units, while others fled the site, field sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. More so, Houthi combatants would leave behind all those killed and injured, as well as artillery, while escaping the battlefield.

“The liberation of Mokha will push forward more advances—most important being the lifting Taiz’ militia-imposed siege,” said another political analyst, Rashad Ali al-Sharbaai.

“Liberating the rest of Taiz is a plus, not to mention that the main supply pipeline arming coup factions would be cut off,” Sharbaai added.

Other analysts said that freeing Mokha has facilitated moving to the operation’s next target, Hodeidah, the largest port in territory controlled by Iran-backed militants.

President Hadi congratulated pro-government forces and the people of Yemen on the victory in Mokha, and urged the forces to push forth across the country’s many front lines – which until now have mostly fallen into stalemate – until they liberate the whole country from the rebels, Yemen’s official Saba news agency as reported.

Hadi’s Advisor: We Did Not Ask Al-Houthi and Saleh to Leave

Yemen

Aden – A high-ranking Yemeni official said on Tuesday that his country’s government deals with the international community represented by the U.N. and the ambassadors of states sponsoring peace in Yemen in an official and positive way, adding that the Yemeni negotiating team has not received any information about the place and date of the new round of peace talks.

Yemeni presidential adviser Yasin Makkawi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the negotiating team which represents the recognized government has not yet received any information about a planned new round of peace talks on Yemen.

Makkawi showed resentment regarding the latest efforts made to solve the Yemeni crisis. “There are question marks on all efforts exerted outside the framework of the U.N. and those efforts are therefore considered as playing with wasted time particularly that the Yemeni government has not participated in them. Any plan that does not end the coup would not be accepted.”

The presidential advisor said that the Yemeni government had already offered a clear analysis of U.N. envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s roadmap. “At the same time, the government offered a substitute roadmap.”

Early this month, Yemen rejected a U.N. roadmap to end its civil war, saying it would create a “dangerous international precedent” by legitimizing Houthis against the country’s internationally recognized government.

On Monday, the Foreign Ministers of the Quartet meeting (U.S., U.K., Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.) affirmed in the joint statement following Riyadh’s meeting that the powers of the Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi will not be transferred until parties commence to execute the security and political steps mentioned in the U.N. roadmap.

Makkawi asserted that it was not enough today to speak about the references based on the Gulf initiative, outcomes of Yemeni national dialogue and the U.N. resolution 2216 and at the same time have some parties bypassing those three references.

The Yemeni advisor denied rumors saying Hadi had asked the U.N. envoy to include in his substitute plan a request to exile former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Houthi leader Abdel Malik al-Houthi to outside Yemen. “We did not speak about this and we refuse such request. We said that their presence is a threat and their departure is also a threat.”

Makkawi asked that both men be prosecuted for their involvement in the coup. “We ask that they be trialed as war criminals,” he said.

Makkawi uncovered that the recognized Yemeni government had received during the Kuwait talks several requests to facilitate the departure of Saleh and al-Houthi from Yemen, adding that the Yemeni government had refused such requests.

Yemeni Army Advances In Saada

Yemen

Aden, Jeddah – Informed Yemeni sources asserted on Sunday that the National Army has advanced in the Saada province northern Yemen, the basic stronghold of Houthi rebels.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the National Army forces were able to recuperate the strategic region of Mandaba overlooking the Baqim district, one of the most important Houthi strongholds in the area.

Amid the military developments, Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi returned on Sunday to Aden following a short visit to the UAE. Sources close to the Yemeni presidency told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hadi’s return does not only aim to follow up Yemen’s field developments, “but also aims to organize the internal state in light of the rebels’ insistence not to respect international resolutions and to foil all attempts to reach peace in the country.”

Meanwhile, other Yemeni sources reported that large forces from the National Army and the Coalition were getting prepared to conduct a wide operation in the southwestern coast with an aim to remove rebel militias from the area of Zhabab, near Bab al-Mandeb, and the surrounding areas before reaching the district of Khawkha in Al-Hudaydah governorate.

Local sources in Al-Hudaydah said that the coalition jets destroyed three military boats in the Salif port, which is considered the rebels’ base for military operations near the Yemen-Saudi borders. They said a number of militias were killed and injured.

The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat the Yemeni Army and the Coalition were also planning to control the entire Yemeni shores, and have started on Sunday deploying their forces along the southern coastline of Shabwah province.

Khaled Al-Azhmi military commander in Balhaf told Asharq Al-Awsat that the aim of the security forces in the port city of Balhaf was to protect the port based on an advanced plan between the Arab Coalition, the legitimate forces and the Resistance. The security forces also aim to keep the trafficking port closed and to limit the smuggling of Africans from the shores of Shabwah.

In a separate development, Houthi rebels have cancelled the National anthem at schools located in the areas under their control. The rebels also forced students to sing a sectarian anthem known by the name of “Iranian Voice,” and they have also forced the heads of schools to fill students’ heads with sectarian speeches every morning before classes start.