Yemeni Interior Minister: Saleh in Poor Health

Yemeni Minister of Interior General Hussein Arab (R) meets with Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Rabiah (L).

Riyadh- Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior General Hussein Arab said that ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is in a poor health condition.

Saleh was suffering from a disease that required the intervention of a medical team from Russia to treat him at the Russian Embassy in Yemen, he added.

During his meeting with Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Rabiah, Consultant at the Royal Court and General Supervisor of King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSRelief) in Riyadh on Monday, Arab said that the coup in Yemen led to the destruction of the infrastructure since all the establishments of the Interior Ministry were destroyed by Houthi militias, who also looted all the ministry’s equipment.

Arab pointed out that Yemen’s interior ministry was able to re-establish its building and role in the country with the help of coalition countries.

He added that the KSRelief has saved many lives in Yemen and the rest countries of the world, confirming that the center supports Yemeni hospitals and health centers through providing medical supplies and medicines.

The great support, upon directives by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, led to a decline in the cholera epidemic in Yemen, Arab stressed.

The Yemeni minister added that the Kingdom provided treatment to the injured people inside and outside Yemen as well as in the hospitals of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Sudan.

“Iran has goals in Yemen,” Arab said, adding that “the Persian plan in Yemen is clear, and everyone knows that the Iranian mentality continues to try to reach its goals, and the intervention of the Arab coalition obstructed the achievement of these goals.”

He also talked about the latest report issued by the United Nations and said that the report was based on false information, explaining that the information given to the UN was from people who tried to find incorrect information and upload pictures of crimes carried out by the Houthi militias in Taiz and claiming they were carried out by Arab coalition forces.

Arab stressed that the Arab coalition is keen on following the rules of engagement and to refuse to carry out random military strikes, fearing for the lives of civilians or women.

Saudi Arabia Disagrees with Houthi Militias, Not Citizens

Washington- Adviser at the Saudi Royal Court and General Supervisor of Riyadh-based King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSRelief) Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Rabeeah said that the center has implemented 153 projects with a total value of 629,388,898 dollars with no partiality and respect for international humanitarian law and participation of 86 UN, regional and local partners.

He pointed out to the KSRelief interest in programs and projects directed to women and children as it implemented 103 projects, benefiting 31,954,655 women in the amount of $157,389,667; including 68 projects in the fields of education, protection, food security, health, water and environmental sanitation for Yemeni women.

He added that the center also implemented 116 projects for children in the world, including 60,329,694 children.

Rabeeah stressed that the projects for children in Yemen focused on protection, rehabilitation, food, nutrition, health and environmental sanitation.

During a press conference in the Saudi Embassy in Washington, Rabeeah highlighted the challenges facing humanitarian action in Yemen, stressing importance of benefiting from all the sea, land and air ports for the entry of humanitarian aid and not relying on Hodeidah port, which is exposed to violations committed by Houthi militias.

He stressed the great role played by the coalition forces to facilitate the entry of aid and issuance of air, sea and land permits that reached 14,444 permits for the UN and international organizations in addition to the Coalition Forces’ keenness to protect civilians, children and women through more than 40,000 protection zones.

He said that his country doesn’t have any problem or disagreement with Yemeni citizens in general, even if they were supporters for Houthis or are Yazidis; however, their disagreement is with armed militias that fight the citizens, threaten the stability and violate the Saudi-Yemeni borders.

“We want this crisis to end in accordance with what Yemeni people want, and we want to restore power to the legitimate government and to achieve peace and security.”

Yemeni Government Awaits UN Special Envoy’s Response on Hodeidah Plan

Riyadh- The Yemeni government is still waiting for the response of UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to the proposals it has made concerning Hodeidah, mechanism of supplying its port revenues to the Central Bank and the payment of salaries.

A Yemeni government official said that Ould Cheikh did not provide any response to the plan to hand over the port of Hodeidah to a third party, under international supervision.

Yemeni Government Spokesman Rajeh Badi told Asharq Al-Awsat Tuesday that the initiative has many benefits for ensuring that port revenues reach the state treasury, consequently paying salaries of public sector employees.

The initiative would also stop weapons smuggling to coup militias in Yemen as well as end financing of arms dealers, who are still active in the black market and are dragging the country to conflicts among the Yemeni parties.

Badi referred to the tension and differences between the coup parties in Yemen, saying that what recently took place in the capital Sana’a is normal for an alliance that has been founded on the destruction of the country and lacks the right bases for the establishment of legal alliances. The skirmishes also indicate their fake intentions towards the Yemeni people.

Houthi and Saleh militias have more differences than similarities, the Yemeni government spokesman stressed, noting that observers and government officials have bet on the failure of this alliance because it is based on making personal gains and destroying Yemen.

The conflict in the capital Sana’a is prone to escalate and cause deaths among the ranks of coup leaders, Badi said, pointing out that they have never fulfilled their obligations and are not committed to any international agreements or peace treaties to avoid further conflict.

Notably, Houthi militias have carried out attacks and violations on UN and relief organizations in the period from 2015 to 2017 in the cities of Sana’a, Taiz, Hajja, Hodeidah, Ibb and Aden. They killed, kidnapped, closed outlets and offices and looted them, which confirms their efforts to block the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.

Ould Cheikh: ‘No Solution in Yemen but for Institutions to Work under Legitimate Government’


London- UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed revealed Friday that a close meeting between the United Nations and representatives of the Houthi militias will take place in Geneva or in any other regional countries, such as Muscat or Cairo.

He said in an interview with Al Arabiya channel that the upcoming meeting will discuss the details of the initiative of al-Hodeida port and Sana’a airport, adding that the Hodeidah plan allows for the entry of humanitarian aid and food.

Regarding the Houthi and Saleh’s militia, he added, “they are closing the door, but we are still trying with them.”

Ould Cheikh Ahmed pointed out that there is difficulty in reaching an agreement with them during negotiations, expressing concern about the consequences of the clashes between the Houthis and Saleh’s militia.

The UN envoy said that the city of Taiz has reached a catastrophic humanitarian situation and that there is no solution but for all institutions to work under the control of the legitimate government.

He praised Yemen’s government for backing up his efforts.

On the other hand, quoted Yemen’s Foreign Minister as saying that Iran has a project, replacing the state with the sect and the army with militias.

Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi blamed Iran and its support for Houthi Shi’ite rebels for causing the country’s civil war and said it can’t be part of the solution.

He said at a press conference at the United Nations in New York that Iranian weapons are still being smuggled into Yemen.

The poor humanitarian situation in Yemen was imposed by the Houthi coup, Mekhlafi added, pointing out that international organizations are trying to find humanitarian solutions at the expense of the national cause.

The Yemeni Foreign Minister said the United Nations would not accept for airplanes to use a Houthi-controlled airport.

He noted that UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien “has promised to visit Taiz, but the militias did not allow him and he did not talk about it.”

Mekhlafi explained that there are talks about Sana’a airport, but no one is mentioning the siege imposed on Taiz, stressing that ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh hates Taiz since demonstrations against him started there.

“We have also moved the Central Bank to Aden after billions disappeared from it,” Mekhlafi further noted.

Houthi Insurgents Accused of Selling Free Cholera Medicines


Jeddah- The local administration of the legitimate government in Yemen has monitored the involvement of the Houthi rebels in selling free medicines provided by Saudi Arabia and the UAE for cholera patients in the areas under their control, mainly in Sana’a.

It called on all international organizations concerned with monitoring the humanitarian situation in Yemen to work on monitoring the performance of the Houthi rebels and to ensure that they do not trade with the conditions of people living in areas under their control.

Yemen’s Minister of Local Administration Abdel-Raqib Fath strongly condemned the trading in the medicines of the cholera epidemic, selling them in the black market in Hodeidah, Hajja, Ibb and Dhamar provinces and depriving patients from obtaining them.

The Yemeni Minister called on the Executive Committee on Humanitarian Affairs (ECHA) in the World Health Organization, the UNICEF and other international agencies to monitor the performance of armed Houthi militias in areas under their control and their acts of selling free-of-charge treatments to cholera patients.

Fath, who is also the head of the Higher Relief Committee, said that the liberated areas have been under strict supervision through a certain mechanism followed by the Ministry of Health and its offices at the levels of the governorates and districts in order to ensure the delivery of the free cholera drugs to infected patients.

Fath called on international organizations to work on following up on the sale of free medicines, issue clear statements condemning the violation of the rights of patients by militias, and denounce the involvement in the sale of medicines provided for free.

He confirmed that these drugs were sent by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud along with some other countries that donated them for the Yemeni people.

These treatments are for free, any practices outside this framework should be condemned and international organizations should confront them and condemn anyone who commits this inhumane act, Fath stressed.

Yemen: Hadi Dismisses Three Governors

Yemen's President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi

Aden- Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi dismissed on Thursday three governors of the liberated provinces for supporting the secession of the southern part of the country in the framework of organizing the situation in liberated areas, state television reported.

Hadi issued a decree dismissing the governors of Hadramaut and Shabwa, located in the southeastern part of the country as well as the governor of the remote island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean.

The three conservatives are members of the Southern Transitional Council, which was formed last April by Aden’s governor, also dismissed, aiming at fomenting secession in the southern part of the country and acting against President Hadi.

Hadi assigned Major General Saleh Qaid al-Zindani as Deputy Chief of General Staff and Major General Nasser Abdullah Nasser Rweis as Head of the Operations Authority of the Armed Forces.

The official Saba news agency said that a presidential decree was issued on Wednesday to appoint Maj. Gen. Faraj Salemin al-Bahssani as governor of Hadramout, replacing Brigadier General Ahmed Said Ben Brik, while Bahssani retained the command of the second military zone in Sayoun city based in the capital of Hadramaut Valley.

The order also assigned Ali bin Rashid al-Harthi, governor of Shabwa, replacing Ahmed Lamels. Ahmed Abdullah Ali al-Soctori was also appointed as governor of Socotra, replacing Salam al-Soctori.

Hadi’s new decisions have provoked a storm of reactions, most of which were supportive, given the significant progress made by the National Army forces on the front lines and the continued tightening of the grip on the coup in Sanaa.

Head of Masarat Center for Strategy and Media Bassem al-Shaabi told Asharq Al-Awsat that President Hadis’ decisions are appropriate and right.

“We hope they contribute to enhancing the situation in these provinces,” Shaabi said. He stressed the importance of not being complacent with the issue of ending the coup and its negative effects.

Some observers and political analysts described the decisions as “historic,” and were made to arrange liberated provinces in Yemen in light of the presence of pro-Houthi and Saleh cells that work on destabilizing the situation in areas under the control of the legitimate government.

Yemen’s Ministry of Health: Insurgents Hinder Training of Medical Teams


London – The Ministry of Health in Yemen is focusing on environmental sanitation to eradicate cholera, spokesman Mohammed al-Saadi told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He however noted the collapse of the coup-controlled areas due to the lack of proper sanitation and the accumulation of waste.

Saadi added that epidemic monitoring teams are unable to operate in areas under the control of the Houthis, explaining that technical training for workers needs time, while experience is limited in this field.

He complained of the militias’ obstruction of their work, revealing that doctors in the areas of control of the coup have not been allowed to go to Aden to join the workshops organized by the Yemeni Ministry of Health.

Houthis are making threats to the medical staff who want to go to Aden or cooperate with the legitimate government. Saadi also said that the number of confirmed cholera cases in Yemen is 432, noting that the number of suspected cases is 2,914.

Dr. Saadi explained that there is a difference between suspected cholera cases and suspected acute water diarrhea cases.

The suspected cases of diarrhea amount to around 129,000, while 126,000 patients have been discharged from hospitals. He pointed out that the figures are not released by the Yemeni Ministry of Health, but by the World Health Organization.

The number of deaths has meanwhile reached 942. International circles said these are the numbers of cholera deaths, but the spokesman said that this figure may not be accurate.

Saadi confirmed that the Ministry has requested a laboratory test for every case declared to be death due to cholera, but cooperation with medical facilities in the coup control areas is very difficult.

“We are now relying on international organizations in preparation and training. The insurgents are putting pressure on international organizations to work with local organizations that are affiliated to them,” he said.

Yemeni Govt Stresses Implementation of Ould Cheikh’s Proposals in Hodeidah

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. Reuters

Riyadh- The Yemeni government has announced its support to the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh’s proposal on insurgent militias withdrawing from Hodeidah in light of the peace talks that were sponsored by the UN in Kuwait in 2016 and approved by the Yemeni government.

In a statement issued by Yemen’s Permanent Mission to the UN, the government said it is fully ready to discuss in details the proposed withdrawal from the Yemeni province.

The statement read: “The Yemeni Government confirms its full support to the proposals and ideas presented by the Special Envoy and its readiness to discuss details of the proposals related to the arrangements for the withdrawal of the militias from the province of Hodeidah, in light of the UN-sponsored peace consultations in Kuwait last year approved by the Yemeni government and forming a technical committee of economic and financial experts to help the government find an appropriate and urgent mechanism to pay salaries to the administrative employees of the state and deal with revenues in areas under the control of the coup forces in order to provide the necessary liquidity to cover these expenses.”

The government appreciated the Special Envoy’s efforts in alleviating the suffering of the Yemeni people, which reached unprecedented levels due to the war, famine, and epidemics caused by the Houthi militia in alliance with former president Saleh.

The Yemeni Government seized this opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to peace against violence and called upon the international community, the Security Council members, and the G18 sponsoring the political process in Yemen to pressure the coup forces to engage sincerely and urgently in discussing the proposals with a view to reaching an agreement that would end the tragedy of Yemen and its people.

For his part, official spokesman for the government Rajeh Badi told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that the government fully supports the UN efforts that aim at ending the crisis.

He said that the proposals have not been implemented yet due to the intransigence of the Houthi militias and Saleh.

Badi held them responsible for the citizens’ situation, especially when it comes to the deterioration of their health conditions, and the continuation of the siege imposed by coup parties on those areas.

Saleh Defends Iran’s Interference in Iraq and Syria

Riyadh-Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has defended Iran’s intervention in Iraq and Syria, saying it aims at combating terrorism.

In his statements to pro-General People’s Congress journalists, Saleh, who heads the party, expressed his support to Iran’s meddling in Arab states.

In his remarks, which were published on his Facebook page, Saleh also expressed his support to the Lebanese “Hezbollah,” saying “Shi’ites in South Lebanon are opposing Israel, under the leadership of Hassan Nasrallah.”

“So, why put them on the terrorist list?” he asked.

Meanwhile, a report has been published by the “War on the Rocks” website on the rising death of members from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and “Hezbollah” in Yemen.

The website, which specializes in analyzing foreign and security policies, began its report by refering to a failed incursion into the Saudi border by an officer from the Revolutionary Guards in Yemen in March 2016.

The report said that he took advantage of a massive dust storm that blocked the sky in southwest Saudi Arabia, reduced ground visibility to less than a meter and obscured satellite coverage, leading the government to close schools.

“Against the Madar’s cloaking headwinds, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officer, whose nom de guerre is ‘Abu Ali,’ led a 52-man Houthi armored assault convoy armed with Katyusha missile launchers out of the northern Yemeni governorate of Saada, and into Saudi Arabia’s Asir border province. Their aim was to conduct a series of early morning raids,” the report said.

“Using their missiles for suppressive fire, the Houthi militias attacked the Saudi border village of Dharan al-Janub before veering south to seize the Saudi al-Alab border station.”

According to the report, Riyadh reacted quickly with Saudi aircraft killing the IRGC officer along with 40 Houthis and injuring 12 others. Their vehicles and missile launchers were also destroyed.

The writer of the report said that the slain IRGC commander was known for leading prior Houthi raids against Saudi Arabia and providing training and operational supervision for the “Hussein Brigades,” an elite Houthi ground unit in northern and central Yemen.

The report also said that 44 IRGC and “Hezbollah” operatives have been killed or captured in Yemen’s civil war, based upon an analysis of Yemeni and Gulf Arab news reports on killed, captured, and wounded advisers in Yemen over the last two years.

New Evidence on Houthi Use of African Migrants as Human Shields


Jeddah – The legitimate Yemeni government has found new evidence on the Houthi militia’s involvement in “using displaced foreigners as human shields on the battle frontline.”

The government also found other evidence that confirms Houthi involvement in attracting non-Yemeni fighters from the Horn of Africa to join the frontlines after making them undergo intensive training.

Non-Yemeni fighters arrive in Yemen for different purposes. Some seek financial gains for participating in the fighting and others arrive with the goal of migration, but then find themselves recruited to fight after undergoing training by Iranian experts, premiership sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Sources noted that the government is preparing a comprehensive file that proves the involvement of Houthi rebels and the Iranian regime in recruiting foreigners to fight against legitimate forces.

The file will be referred to the United Nations Security Council, according to the sources, especially after the conflicts in Mokha and Taiz revealed the presence of fighters from the Horn of Africa among rebel ranks.

According to sources, the file includes documents that prove the involvement of the Iranian regime in sending dozens of ships carrying weapons and mercenaries to support the Houthi rebellion.

They explained that shipments that have been monitored and were conducted over phases during the past 12 months.

Legitimate government agencies noted that non-Yemeni infiltrators, who have been spotted among the ranks of the Houthi rebellion, include Somalis and Ethiopians.

Yemeni Minister of Local Administration Abd al-Raqib Fatah confirmed, in a phone call with Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday, that the Houthi insurgency has indeed been involved in using refugees from the Horn of Africa as human shields.

This was revealed days after the International Organization for Migration announced the voluntary evacuation of some 130 Somali refugees in Yemen to their country through the port of Aden in southern Yemen.