Tag Archives: Yemen

GCC to hold Riyadh summit on Yemen crisis

A general view of the last session of the 34th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit held in Kuwait, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.

A general view of the last session of the 34th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit held in Kuwait, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.

The six-state Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states will meet in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Monday to discuss regional developments, most significantly the ongoing crisis in Yemen.

Alongside the Gulf heads of state, will be French President Francois Hollande who will be the first foreign leader to attend a GCC Summit since its inception in 1981. Hollande will be on an important tour of Qatar and Saudi Arabia as he continues to foster strong ties between France and the GCC.

The GCC Summit will be also be an opportunity for the Gulf leaders to discuss bilateral relations and ways to strengthen their close ties in the face of regional challenges including the situations in Syria, Iraq, as well as Yemen.

In Yemen, a Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries is trying to stop Iranian-backed Houthi militias and forces loyal to deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh from taking control of the country.

Peace talks had collapsed after Houthi militias went on the offensive in recent months, seizing the capital Sanaa and advancing on Aden, forcing President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi to flee into exile in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign on Houthi targets in Yemen on March 26 to prevent the militia from taking the entire territory and to restore Hadi’s legitimate authority.

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Saudi-led coalition denies Aden ground operation

In this photo provided by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Royal Saudi Land Forces and units of Special Forces of the Pakistani army take part in a joint military exercise.

In this photo provided by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Royal Saudi Land Forces and units of Special Forces of the Pakistani army take part in a joint military exercise.

The Saudi-led coalition has not started any major ground operation in the Yemeni port of Aden, coalition spokesman Ahmed al-Asiri said on Sunday, denying previous reports from Yemeni sources that ground troops had arrived and had began to fight.

“There are no foreign forces in Aden but coalition continues to help fight against the Houthi militia,” Asiri said in a statement.

It was earlier reported that a “limited coalition force entered Aden and another force is on its way” to the southern port city, a Yemeni official who requested anonymity, was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s Aden al-Ghad newspaper had reported that “the first push of the Arab ground force arrived on Sunday morning in Aden and began to take part in battle,” citing its reporters. The newspaper is linked to southern separatists demanding the restoration of the southern state that merged with North Yemen in 1990.

Aden has been the center of an offensive between forces loyal to the internationally-recognized government of Hadi battling the Houthis.

The Saudi-led coalition has been conducting an air war against the Houthi rebels and their allies since March 26 but the earlier reports were the first news of a ground deployment inside the country.

‘Limited’ coalition ground force in Aden, Yemen, more coming – reports

A “limited” Saudi-led force is on the ground in Yemen‘s strategic port of Aden and more troops are on their way, a government official has confirmed to AFP. About 20 troops have landed in the city for a “reconnaissance” mission, AP reports.”A limited coalition force entered Aden and another force is on its way” to Aden, the official and commander told the agency on terms of anonymity.

The Saudi-led forces “will start helping us in fighting” the Houthi rebels, a leading member of the popular committees, a locally recruited militia loyal to expelled President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, also told the agency.

Similar reports appeared in the local Al-Ghad daily, which claimed the ground forces have entered the airport. The newspaper is linked to southern separatists, who demand the restoration of the southern state that merged with North Yemen 15 years ago.

Between 40-50 Arab special forces soldiers have arrived in the city, Ali al-Ahmed, spokesman for the Southern Popular Resistance, anti-Houthi group said.

“Joint land forces from the Arab coalition landed in Aden on Sunday and are now participating with the southern resistance to fight around Aden airport,” he said, “It’s a limited force – 40-50 from special forces.”

However, AP reported 20 troops deployed by Saudi-led coalition in Aden.

A spokesman from the Saudi-led coalition, Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, denied the information, saying the Arab states haven’t stared any major ground operation in Aden. He then added there are no foreign troops in the port city, but the coalition continues to battle Houthi rebels.

“There are no foreign forces in Aden but the coalition continues to help fight against the Houthi militia,” Asseri said in a statement.

Fighting continued in the strategic port city of Aden on Sunday, local sources told Reuters, adding that the city has seen fierce battles for three days. The attacks were reported in the city’s central districts of Mualla and Khor Maksar, near the main commercial port, as well as around a military camp and the airport.

Houthi rebels took control of the capital Sanaa in September 2014, in a move that forced Sunni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia. They are fighting to control of Aden, which is home to about 800,000 people.

On April 21, Saudi Arabia said the first phase of the campaign, codenamed operation “Decisive Storm”, had achieved all its goals and was concluded. The new phase, operation “Restoring Hope”, was announced with a focus on diplomacy, but didn’t rule out new airstrikes.

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Sisi in Riyadh to congratulate Saudi royals

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has paid a short visit Saturday to Saudi Arabia, coming in the wake of a major reshuffle in the kingdom’s royal court.

The visit, that lasted less than 90 minutes, comes in the framework of continuous coordination and consulting between the two countries, Egypt’s ambassador to Riyadh Afify Abdel Wahab told state media.

Crown Prince Mohamed bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman welcomed Al-Sisi upon his arrival.

Al-Sisi congratulated King Salman bin Abdul Aziz for the appointment of bin Nayef and bin Salman, as the two leaders discussed regional and international developments, Saudi state news agency reported.

Al-Sisi was accompanied by Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Head of General Intelligence Service (GIS) Khaled Fawzy, Head of the President’s Office Abbas Kamel, and ambassador Abdel Wahab.

King Salman executed a major reshuffle in his country’s administration on Wednesday, replacing his Crown Prince, the  Foreign Minister and naming his son as Deputy Crown Prince.

Bin Nayef is the former defence minister and incumbent interior minister, who is known for having strong ties with the US, where he was educated. He also has well-known ties to the security forces, and will be the first grandson of the founding king Abdul Aziz to lead the kingdom, if the current line of succession remains unchanged.

Saudi-led warplanes pound Houthis in Yemen

Members of the Southern Resistance Committees man a tank during clashes with Houthi fighters in Yemen's southern city of Aden

A Saudi-led coalition pressed on with air strikes Thursday against a militia group in south Yemen where fierce clashes raged between the insurgents and southern pro-government fighters, sources said.

Warplanes hit Houthi militia positions in the main southern city of Aden, in the districts of Khor Maksar and Dar Saad, helping pro-government forces to retake positions, sources among the southern fighters said.

Eight people were killed in overnight clashes in Aden, including five pro-government fighters and three civilians, according to the city’s health chief Al-Khader Laswar.

He said 44 others were wounded. Details of losses on the rebel side were not available.

Shiite Houthi fighters backed by troops loyal to former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh had made advances in Aden, which is now defended by local militia dubbed “popular resistance” units that have sided with forces loyal to embattled President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Saudi Arabia assembled a multi-country coalition last month that launched attacks on the rebels following a request by Hadi, who has since fled Aden to Riyadh.

Although the coalition said it had halted its air campaign on April 21, strikes have continued to pound rebel positions throughout Yemen.

Overnight raids targeted Houthis in the southern provinces of Lahj and Abyan, southern fighters said.

The United Nations says more than 1,000 people have been killed in fighting in Yemen since late March.

 

‘We’ve arrived’: ISIS wing in Yemen releases first video, threatens Houthis

Screenshot from youtube video by Vocativ

The Islamic State has declared its official presence in war-torn Yemen as the jihadists posted a video online, threating to “cut the throats” of Shiite Houthi rebels.

Like most Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) videos, the 9-minute-long clip was professionally shot and edited – with CGs and catchy background music.

It showed around two dozen IS fighters in full military gear training in the desert area, which is claimed to be located near the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

The jihadist carried AK-47s, heavy machine guns and RPGs and then fired from some of their weapons.

After that, the apparent commander of the group stuck the black IS flag into the sand and pronounced that the “soldiers of the Caliphate” have arrived in Yemen to “cut the throats” of the Houthis.

“We have come to Yemen, with men hungry for your blood to avenge the Sunnis and take back the land they have occupied,” the IS commander said in a video, the International Business Times reported.

He then addressed all able-bodied Sunni men in Yemen to join him the battle against the Houthis.

The video was posted online on Friday, a day after a newly-announced division of the IS, the Green Brigade, claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on the Shiite rebels.

On Wednesday, five Houthi militia members were killed in the car bombing in Ibb province in central Yemen.

It became the second attack claimed by the IS in the country after 142 people were killed and another 350 injured in a series of suicide bombings at Shia mosques in Sanaa on March 20.

The Sunni IS and Al-Qaeda, which has traditionally been the dominant jihadist group in Yemen, view the Shiite Houthis as heretics.

READ MORE: Al-Qaeda seizes key military camp in Yemen, snatches tanks and artillery

The Houthi rebels took control of Sanaa in September 2014, forcing Sunni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia and are now fighting for the strategic port city of Aden.

Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies have been bombing the Shiite rebels since March 25, with over 550 civilians having been killed since the start of the airstrikes, according to UN estimations.

US operates global drone war from German base – ex-pilot

A testimony by a former US Air Force drone pilot has revealed that the US is using its Ramstein Air Base in Germany to wage highly controversial drone warfare in Africa, Yemen, and Pakistan.

“The entire drone war of the US military wouldn’t be possible without Germany,” Brandon Bryant, who resigned in 2011, told NDR television and Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

Last year, German media revealed that the US uses its military bases in Germany to conduct targeted killings of suspected terrorists in Somalia. But Bryant now says that Ramstein Air Base in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate is involved in strikes on Pakistan and Yemen.

During his five years of service, Bryant flew more than 1,000 operations in Pakistan and Yemen. Although Bryant was seated at his control pad in New Mexico – far from the actual drones – there is mounting evidence that the base in Germany plays a key role.

Data from the remote controlled drones is transmitted via satellite to Germany. It is then sent back to America via fiber optic cable. Live pictures are analyzed and classified by teams of US intelligence officers in Germany, suggesting Ramstein is the nerve center behind the operations.

Bryant said that Ramstein was always “the first port of call” during any strike.

Supporters of Pakistan’s outlawed Islamic hardline Jamaat ud Dawa (JD) carry placards as they shout anti-US slogans during a protest against the US drone strikes in the Pakistani tribal region, in Islamabad on November 8, 2013.

Polls show that the majority of Germans have consistently disapproved of drone strikes, saying they are secretive, do not follow a legal process, and can prove ineffective if the wrong targets are eliminated.

Aware of these concerns, the United States – which has a military presence in the country guaranteed by post-WWII agreements – has denied that its German base, which houses over 600 personnel, is directly involved in the strikes.

“The US government has confirmed that such armed and remote aircrafts are not flown or controlled from US bases in Germany,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters on Friday.

In total, up to 900 people may have been killed in Yemen since strikes began in 2002. More than 3,700 people have died in Pakistan since 2004. The figures were collated on the basis of reports by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent online news source, as the CIA and the Pentagon do not reveal official figures.

In the wake of the revelation, foreign policy spokesperson for the Greens party, Omid Nouripour, urged Angela Merkel’s government to take action. “It is shameful that the German government simply closes its eyes to violations of international law on German territory,” Nouripour told DPA news agency.

While the new revelations may put further strain on the relationship between Washington and Berlin – which is already tense due to Edward Snowden‘s leaks about NSA surveillance – they are unlikely to lead to specific measures from Germany.

Berlin cannot freely inspect – much less close down – US bases without pulling out of key military cooperation agreements.

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رسمياً الحكومة المصريه تعلن تنظيم “الإخوان المسلمين” منظمه إرهابية

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قرر مجلس الوزراء المصرى – الاربعاء 25 ديسمبر – اعلان جماعة الإخوان المسلمين وتنظيمها فى الداخل والخارج “منظمه إرهابية”..‏ وجاء قرار المجلس مشمولا بتوقيع العقوبات المقررة على كل من يروج لها وللإرهاب ومن يمول أنشطتها،‏ ومن انضم للجماعة بعد صدور القرار‏، وقال نائب رئيس مجلس الوزراء الدكتور حسام عيسى- فى بيان للمجلس تلاه فى مؤتمر صحفى أمس- أن المجلس قرر إعلان جماعة الإخوان المسلمين “جماعة إرهابية” و”تنظيمها تنظيما إرهابيا”.. وفقا لنص المادة 86 من قانون العقوبات بكل ما يترتب على ذلك من آثار، أهمها توقيع العقوبات المقررة قانونا لجريمة الإرهاب على كل من يشترك فى نشاط الجماعة أو التنظيم أو يروج لها بالقول أو الكتابة أو بأى طريقة أخرى، وكل من يمول أنشطتها، كما قرر المجلس أيضا توقيع العقوبات المقررة قانونا على من انضم إلى الجماعة أو التنظيم واستمر عضوا فيهما بعد صدور هذا القرار، وإخطار الدول العربية المنضمة لاتفاقية مكافحة الإرهاب عام 1998 بهذا القرار

من جانبه قال وزير التضامن الاجتماعي أحمد البرعي في تصريح اليوم إن جميع أنشطة “الإخوان المسلمين” باتت محظورة بعد قرار مجلس الوزراء بإعلانها جماعة إرهابية، وإنه حتى التظاهر لم يعد مسموحا به لهم
يأتي ذلك بعد يوم على مقتل وجرح العشرات في انفجار استهدف مبنى مديرية أمن محافظة الدقهلية بمدينة المنصورة أودى بحياة 15 شخصا

قوة خليجية بـ 100 ألف شخص قيادتها في الرياض

الرياض، المملكة العربية السعودية (CNN)

أعلن وزير الحرس الوطني في المملكة العربية السعودية الأمير متعب بن عبدالله بن عبد العزيز أنّ القوة الخليجية المزمع إنشاؤها ستضم قوات قتالية، وستعدّ 100 ألف عسكري تحت قيادة موحدة تابعة لمجلس التعاون الخليجي

ونقلت وكالة الأنباء السعودية عن الأمير متعب، قوله في حديث عقب اختتام تمارين “ولاء وفداء” الرابع، بعد مناورات عسكرية استمرت أسبوعين، إن مهمة القوة الخليجية هي ردّ أي اعتداء قد يستهدف أي عضو من مجلس التعاون، مضيفا أنّ الحرس الوطني السعودي جاهز للمشاركة في القوة الخليجية إذا طلب منها المشاركة، مبينا أن الحرس الوطني مهمته معروفة فمع وزارة الدفاع عن الوطن، ومع وزارة الداخلية لحفظ الأمن والاستقرار داخل المملكة.(رأي: هل تستعد إيران لرد ثأري ضد السعودية؟)

وسبق لمجلس التعاون الخليجي أن قرر أن تكون الرياض مقرا للقيادة المشتركة الجديدة للقوة الخليجية. كما سبق للأمين العام للمجلس عبد اللطيف الزياني في الآونة الأخيرة أن اعتبر أن السعودية التي تحتضن قوات درع شبه الجزيرة العربية التي تضمّ ما لا يقل عن 40 ألف عسكري، تعد المكان الأمثل للقيادة

واعتبر محللون خليجيون أنّ القرار الجديد مهم بالنظر “للتغيرات التي طرأت على مواقف الدول الغربية” فيما يتعلق بمسائل حيوية تهم منطقة الشرق الأوسط ولاسيما دول الخليج