Posts Tagged ‘cholera’

40,000 displaced Yemenis stranded without aid in Aden: UN

January 31, 2018

A Yemeni child looks out of a window as food aid is distributed by a local charity at a camp for the displaced, in the northern province of Hajjah on Dec. 23, 2017. (AFP)
ADEN: The UN expressed concern on Wednesday for more than 40,000 displaced Yemenis who had sought refuge in second city Aden, only to find themselves caught in deadly fighting between troops and separatist militia.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said it had been unable to distribute aid since the southern separatists overran most of the city at the weekend opening up a new front in Yemen’s devastating three-year civil war.
“UNHCR emergency aid distributions and humanitarian assessments planned this week for vulnerable, displaced Yemenis have now been postponed and UNHCR humanitarian cargo remains at Aden port unable to be released,” the agency said on Twitter.
“We are also particularly concerned for those newly displaced in Aden who have fled other areas in Yemen. More than 40,000 people fled to Aden and nearby governorates since December and we anticipate more displacement as people continue to flee from hostilities in the west coast.”
The separatists, who had been in an uneasy alliance with the beleaguered government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, launched their assault in Aden on Sunday and swiftly overran his troops, laying siege to the presidential palace.
Aden has been the headquarters of Hadi’s ministers since 2015, when Shiite rebels overran the capital Sanaa and much of the north.
International charity Save the Children said on Tuesday that it too had been forced to suspend its work in Aden out of fear for the safety of its staff.
Even before the latest fighting, Yemen already faced the world’s most serious humanitarian crisis, with some 8.4 million of its 22.2 million population at risk of famine, according to the UN.


Yemen separatists surround Aden presidential palace

January 30, 2018


© AFP | Yemeni separatists are seen in the southern city of Aden on January 28, 2018

ADEN (AFP) – Separatists in war-ravaged Yemen have surrounded the presidential palace in the government’s de facto capital Aden, moving closer Tuesday to taking full control of the southern city.The government has accused the separatists of attempting a coup in Aden, where more than 36 people have been killed in clashes that opened yet another front in the country’s devastating conflict.

The southern port city has served as the government’s base since 2014 after the Iran-backed Huthi rebels — who hail from northern Yemen — took control of the capital Sanaa in their fight against the state.

While President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi now resides in Riyadh, two military officials said Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher and a number of senior government figures were holed up in the Aden presidential palace.

“The separatists have surrounded the palace and now control the main gate. Those inside are unofficially under house arrest at this point,” said a high-ranking officer with the Yemeni army.

For three years, Hadi’s Saudi-backed administration was allied with the separatists, driving the Huthi rebels out of the south and back into their strongholds in the north.

But tension between the allies began to surface in April when Hadi dismissed a cabinet minister and the Aden governor in a move that was widely seen as reflecting divisions among his supporters.

Tensions boiled over into armed clashes between the separatists and pro-government forces on Sunday, fuelling chaos in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country where a civil war has already left thousands dead and millions on the brink of starvation.

– Demand for self-rule –

Under the self-proclaimed Southern Transitional Council (STC), the separatists have gained traction since April in their push for self-rule, demanding the reinstatement of South Yemen as an independent entity.

The STC this month called on Hadi to make changes in his government, accusing him of corruption and mismanagement.

The clashes have sparked fears of a repeat of the 1986 South Yemen civil war, a failed socialist coup which killed thousands in just six days and helped pave the way for the 1991 unification of South and North Yemen.

The separatists, who enjoy popular support and are backed by some military troops, have rapidly gained control over all but one district in Aden since Sunday.

More than 36 people have been killed and 186 wounded in Aden in two days, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Brigadier Saleh al-Sayyed, who heads troops that have fought alongside the separatists since Sunday, announced his forces had seized control of the Fourth Brigade, the presidential guard in Aden.

Yemen’s president has urged Saudi Arabia and its allies to intervene in the government’s defence.

The coalition said it would take “all necessary steps to restore security” but has not announced any new operation to help the government in Aden since Sunday.

– Ceasefire plea –

More than 9,200 Yemenis have been killed since the coalition intervened in the war in 2015, triggering what the UN has called the world’s largest humanitarian disaster.

Nearly 2,200 more have died of cholera amid deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions, the World Health Organization says.

The United Arab Emirates is a key member of the military alliance, but also has close ties to one of the leaders of the STC — Hani bin Breik, the cabinet minister sacked by Hadi in April.

The UAE has trained a special operations force in the Yemeni army, dubbed the “security belt”, stationed in southern Yemen.

The force supports the STC. Some troops in the Yemeni army are also loyal to the separatists.

Both the coalition and the Hadi government have called for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen, and the interior ministry has publicly called on state troops to stop fighting.

The coalition on Monday called on the separatists to exercise restraint while urging the Yemeni government to “take into consideration the demands of the social and political movement” in the south.

Saudi Arabia fifth relief campaign to Yemen’s Al-Fasht and Balkan islanders

January 27, 2018

The islands are located near Midi port in the Hajjah province. It was fifth relief campaign carried out for the two islands, and it reached 43 families comprising 205 individuals. (Saudi Press Agency)
RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) supplied food to Yemen’s Al-Fasht and Balkan islanders on Thursday who are trapped by Houthi-laid mines, an official from the organization told Arab News on Friday.
He said that it was fifth relief campaign carried out for the two islands, and it reached 43 families comprising 205 individuals.
The islands are located near Midi port in the Hajjah province.
The mines are a threat to inhabitants of the isolated islands as the population depends solely depend on donated food.
Each family was given a basket of dates and others rations for their daily needs.
The project was started by the organization last June and supplies are delivered as and when required by the islanders.
During this week, the center distributed 3.5 tons (500 cartons) of dates in the Al-Hazm district of Al-Jawf governorate of Yemen. This project is being carried out as part of its extensive humanitarian efforts which include 175 projects throughout the country.
Last week, KSRelief announced it had 85 percent completed a project to build 300 high-quality dwellings for Yemeni refugees living at the Obock camp in Northern Djibouti.
The project provides air-conditioned housing units, health care and schools for 2,000 Yemenis. The priority is to protect camp residents from the difficult weather conditions, particularly during the hot summer months.
KSRelief has also implemented other projects for Yemeni refugees in Djibouti such as supplying food baskets and safe drinking water, and establishing health care facilities for use by both Yemeni refugees and Djiboutians.


UAE-backed group vows to ‘overthrow’ Yemen’s government

January 25, 2018

Al Jazeera

Aidarous al-Zubaidi held a meeting in Aden on the future of South Yemen [Courtesy of Southern Transitional Council]
Aidarous al-Zubaidi held a meeting in Aden on the future of South Yemen [Courtesy of Southern Transitional Council]

A group of separatists in southern Yemen, backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has declared a state of emergency in the port city of Aden and vowed to overthrow the country’s internationally recognised government within the next week.

Aidarous al-Zubaidi, the leader of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), said Yemen’s parliament would be barred from convening in Aden or anywhere else in southern Yemen unless President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi replaced Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghr and his entire cabinet.

Speaking at a meeting on Sunday, al-Zubaidi accused Hadi’s government of “rampant corruption” and of “waging a misinformation campaign against the southern leaders using state funds”.

“The Southern Resistance Forces (SRF) declare a state of emergency in Aden and announce that it has begun the process of overthrowing the legitimate government and replacing it with a cabinet of technocrats,” a statement issued by the STC said.

The SRF, an armed group that has clashed with forces loyal to Hadi for control of strategic areas including Aden airport, will “become the core of a new force that will rebuild South Yemen’s security and military institutions,” the statement added.

Several commanders from security forces set up by the UAE attended the meeting and declared their support for the announcement.

The statement, however, did not give details on how it intended to topple Hadi’s government, only that he had a week to comply.

Different agendas?

The announcement underscores rising tensions between Hadi’s government, which is supported by Saudi Arabia, and the southern separatists, who are backed by the UAE.

The UAE entered Yemen’s war in March 2015 as part of a Saudi-led coalition after Houthi rebels, traditionally based in the northwest of the country, overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa, in 2014.

Nearly three years on, Saudi Arabia has said it “wants out” of the war, but the UAE has become more involved in the conflict, indicating a divide in the two countries’ agendas.

The UAE has been financing and training armed groups in the south of the country who answer to al-Zubaidi, a 50-year-old militia leader who emerged from relative obscurity in late 2015 after helping purge the Houthis from Aden.

Al-Zubaidi was initially rewarded and made governor of Aden by Hadi, but soon fell out of favour after reports emerged he was receiving patronage from the UAE to campaign for secession.

The Middle East Eye news website, quoting sources, reported that Hadi was incensed with the UAE, accusing Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of acting as an occupying force, as opposed to a liberation force.

Hadi’s weakening has gone hand-in-hand with the UAE’s growing power in southern Yemen.

The Gulf nation has financed a network of militias that only answer to it, set up prisons, and created a security establishment parallel to Hadi’s government, according to Human Rights Watch.

The Arab coalition has so far failed to achieve its stated aims as Houthi rebels continue to hold the capital Sanaa and much of the north.

The war has taken a huge toll on the country with more than 60,000 people killed and wounded by fighting, and millions of Yemenis at risk of famine amid a massive cholera outbreak.


Saudi Arabia’s life or death mission in Yemen war

December 28, 2017

By Khalid Al-Karimi

Image may contain: car and outdoor

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict since the coalition’s intervention [Getty]

Missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthis keep targeting Saudi cities, and Saudi airstrikes carry on tirelessly pounding diverse locations across Yemen. Three years of war have neither subdued the Houthis nor brought an overall victory to Saudi Arabia. As the conflict rages on, the kingdom firmly deems the Yemen war a matter of life and death.

Last week, the Saudi-led coalition intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh. The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the missile targeted the Yamama Palace in Riyadh. The range of such a Houthi missile has been further a shocking eye-opener for Saudis. Previously, a ballistic missile was intercepted near a vital international airport in Riyadh on November 4.

On December 4, the Houthis killed former president Ali Saleh after he said he was willing to open a new page with the Saudi-led coalition. His death has dashed the hope that diplomacy could work to resolve Yemen conflict.

Amidst these escalations, the three-year war has brought the kingdom to the point of no return. Given this bitter scenario, it would not be plausible or feasible for Saudi Arabia to withdraw from Yemen war or just leave this country alone.

Amidst these escalations, the three-year war has brought the kingdom to the point of no return. Given this bitter scenario, it would not be plausible or feasible for Saudi Arabia to withdraw from Yemen war or just leave this country alone

The kingdom began its military intervention in Yemen in 2015, seeking to encounter the growing expansion of the Houthi movement, an armed movement allied with Iran.

Today, the battle is unstoppable and the two opponents are resolute that they will not give up.

The war ‘justified’

Sanaa fell to the Houthis in September of 2014. The neighbouring kingdom kept watching the drama unfold in Yemen at the time. Matters spiralled out of the Saudi control when the legitimate government fled the country on the heels of the wake of the Houthi tightening grip of state institutions after their seizure of the capital and their rapid accumulation of power.  

Following six months of watching Yemen’s alarming political unrest late 2014 and early 2015, Saudi Arabia embarked on what it is known as the Operation Decisive Storm on March 26 of 2015. The objective was pronounced: incapacitating the Houthis and restoring the legitimate government of Yemen.   

The Saudi war in Yemen began out of fear: Saudi leadership sees Iran as the engine of the Houthis in Yemen.

Consequently, the kingdom opted for war. Today, the Saudi-led coalition deems it impossible to lose to the Houthi group, bearing in mind that its loss in Yemen will consolidate the Iranian clout in the region.

The Saudi war in Yemen began out of fear: Saudi leadership sees Iran as the engine of the Houthis in Yemen

In 2015, the Houthi group launched a manoeuvre in Yemen’s Saada near the Saudi border, hammering a message of power and ambition. That happened after their seizure of several Yemeni provinces including the capital. The Houthi group conveyed the signs of their preparedness for war, but Saudi Arabia was readying for it stealthily.

In a previous interview this year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed what he does not want to happen in Yemen and why.

He said: “We’re pursuing until we can be sure that nothing will happen there like Hizballah again, because Yemen is more dangerous than Lebanon.”

Saudi Arabia believes it is waging a war in Yemen to prevent the multiplying of another Hizballah on its border. Yet the Houthis state they fight to defend Yemen, its dignity and sovereignty.

In his latest speech this month, Houthis’ chief Abdulmalek Al-Houthi said: “If the free and honoured men decided to surrender, it would be a wrong decision in every sense of the word. It would a disgraceful and humiliating decision and a an everlasting stigma.”

While the Iranian arming of the Houthis remains a contentious topic, it is evident that the Houthi movement has developed a strong militant force, trained fighters and tribal alliances.

They seized the state institutions and military camps particularly in the northern Yemen, paving the way for their military expansion and tight control. This reality has worried the Saudi leadership, goading them into stepping in militarily.

Saudi Arabia believes it is waging a war in Yemen to prevent the multiplying of another Hizballah on its border

After three years of Saudi aerial bombardment and ground fighting, the Houthi group continues to be in control of many provinces including the capital Sanaa.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict since the coalition’s intervention in the impoverished country, where more than 2,000 people have also died of cholera this year.

It is true that the war has left heavy losses on the group and Yemen in entirety, but the coalition has not achieved thus far what it believed to be accomplishable within a brief time span.

The war in Yemen does not appear to approach an end soon. Political and media terms such as “negotiating table, dialogue and consensus” have vanished when speaking about this quagmire. Instead, the military prowess is the alternative which the warring sides hinge on now.

Certain ingredients make the end of the conflict very hard to happen. These ingredients can be simply explained.

Anti-Saudi Yemeni fighters deeply believe that they combat to defend their nation, integrity, freedom and beliefs. Thus, these combatants will not be crushed overnight. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia and allies in Yemen believe that they fight to keep the Iranian leverage at bay.

They want an Arab Yemen, not a Persian Yemen. On top of that, Saudi Arabia’s military campaign receives staunch support from world powers including the US and UK, and this adds to the Saudi confidence in their life-or death Yemen war.

Khalid Al-Karimi is a freelance reporter and translator. He is a staff member of the Sanaa-based Yemeni Media Center and previously worked as a full-time editor and reporter for the Yemen Times newspaper.

Abducted Yemenis kept in chains in Houthi jails

December 25, 2017


Yemeni tribesmen from the Popular Resistance Committees, loyal to Yemen’s Saudi-backed President, disembark from a pickup truck carrying an anti-aircraft gun as they park on a desert road in Beihan, in the Shabwa province, on December 18, 2017. / AFP / ABDULLAH AL-QADRY

JEDDAH: Iran-backed Houthi militias are keeping abducted Yemeni civilians imprisoned in chains, and forcing them to wear thin prison clothing in sub-zero temperatures.

Yemenis illegally detained in the Houthis’ “political security” jail in Sanaa have been denied family visits, and relatives are banned from bringing them food, water, medicines and clothes, or to check on their well-being, the Mothers’ Association of the Kidnapped Yemenis said on Sunday.
“Despite the fact that these are the coldest days of winter, the prison supervisors have tortured our sons physically and psychologically, tied their legs with chains and withdrawn all their clothes,” the organization said. Sanaa is currently enduring temperatures of five degrees below zero for the first time in 29 years.
Abducted Yemenis in Houthi prisons have also been tortured, and are suffering from serious illnesses because they are denied access to daylight and their health is being deliberately neglected, the mothers’ group said.
They called on the UN special envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to fulfill his humanitarian commitment to the abducted Yemenis, and appealed to the Red Crescent to visit them.
The group also urged the UNHRC and other human rights groups to exert pressure on the Houthi militias to release the prisoners unconditionally.
Houthi prisons, both official and clandestine, hold thousands of innocent Yemenis who opposed the militias’ 2014 coup.
The campaign of kidnappings and abductions intensified after popular uprisings against the Houthis by Yemenis loyal to the late former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was murdered by the militias on Dec. 4.
The Houthi militias have also recruited child soldiers to fight for them, and Saudi Arabia is leading efforts to rehabilitate these traumatized children. The King Salman Centre for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSRelief) concluded the second phase of one such project on Saturday, along with the Withaq Foundation, the local company that implements it.
The project helped 40 children under 15 from Taiz Governorate in south-western Yemen and Imran Governorate in the north.
Over a month, the children were rehabilitated psychologically, socially and culturally to reintegrate them into the community. There were also awareness and entertainment trips and lectures for the children’s carers.
The scheme will eventually rehabilitate about 2,000 children from throughout Yemen who have been recruited by the Houthis as child soldiers and human shields.

Suspected cholera cases reach one million in Yemen

December 21, 2017


© AFP/File | A Yemeni child suspected of being infected with cholera cries at a hospital in the coastal city of Hodeida on November 5, 2017

SANAA (AFP) – The number of suspected cholera cases in war-torn Yemen has reached one million, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday.”Yemen suspected cholera cases has reached the threshold of one million, amplifying the suffering of the country caught up in a brutal war,” the ICRC said on its Yemen Twitter account.

The WHO warned last month that some 2,200 people have already died from the waterborne disease, which has propagated rapidly due to deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions.

Yemen is in the midst of a bloody war between pro-government forces and Huthi rebels who control the capital.

Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies intervened in the conflict on the side of the government in 2015 with air strikes and a far-reaching blockade on its neighbour’s air and sea ports.

In early November, the coalition tightened that blockade in response to a missile fired by the Shiite Huthis that was intercepted near Riyadh airport.

At the time, the UN aid chief warned the move would exacerbate an already dire humanitarian situation.

The blockade was partially lifted three weeks later under massive international pressure, namely over the closure of Hodeida port — key to humanitarian and commercial deliveries.

The Iran-backed Huthis on Tuesday conducted another failed missile strike against Riyadh to mark the 1,000th day since the Saudi-led intervention.

The coalition said in a statement Wednesday that it would not resort to closing Hodeida in the wake of the attack.

More than 8,750 people have been killed since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the government’s fight against the rebels, triggering what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

US to display evidence of Iran backing Houthis in Yemen

December 14, 2017

The Telegraph

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, says she will produce evidence of Iran arming the Houthi rebels in Yemen CREDIT:  DREW ANGERER/GETTY

The United States is reportedly set to unveil what it says is  evidence of Iran giving missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador tot he United Nations, was set to show in Washington parts of a short-range ballistic missile launched by Houthi rebels into Saudi Arabia, NBC News reported.

Mrs Haley was also expected to present other examples of Iran flouting UN sanctions.

 Scud-type ballistic missiles

On November 4 the missile launched form Yemen was shot down by a Saudi surface-to-air missile, and came down near Riyadh airport. Saudi Arabia said it held Iran responsible, with Iran calling the claim “malicious”.

The latest US move came as suspected Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen killed at least 23 people, including prisoners, at a rebel military police camp.

The Saudi-led coalition has intensified its campaign against the Shia Houthi rebels since the killing of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh earlier this month.

Saudi Arabia has been fighting the Iran-backed Houthis since March 2015 and has imposed a blockade on the impoverished country, allowing only occasional humanitarian access.

The stalemate war has killed more than 10,000 civilians, displaced three million, crippled Yemen’s health system and pushed the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine.

Saudi air strikes on Yemen intensify, residents in capital stay indoors

December 6, 2017


ADEN/DUBAI (Reuters) – A Saudi-led coalition stepped up air strikes on Yemen’s Houthis on Wednesday as the Iran-allied armed movement tightened its grip on Sanaa a day after the son of slain former president Ali Abdullah Saleh vowed revenge for his father’s death.

People load belongings on a van as they evacuate their house located on a street where Houthis have recently clashed with forces loyal to slain Yemeni former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Former president Saleh plunged the country deeper into turmoil last week by switching allegiances after years helping the Houthis win control of much of the country’s north including the capital. He was killed in an attack on his convoy on Monday.

The pro-Houthi Al Masirah television station said on Wednesday Saudi Arabia and its allies had bombed Saleh’s residence and other houses of his family members now controlled by the Houthis. Air strikes also hit northern provinces including Taiz, Hajjah, Midi and Saada, it said.

FILE PHOTO — Houthi fighters

There was no immediate word on casualties.

The intervention by Saleh’s son Ahmed Ali, a former commander of the elite Republican Guard who lives in exile in the United Arab Emirates and was once seen as a successor to his father, has provided the anti-Houthi movement with a potential figurehead.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, the de facto leader of the UAE, visited Ahmed Ali at his residence to offer his condolences, according to Sheikh Mohammed’s Twitter account. He posted a picture of himself sitting near Ahmed Ali.

Ahmed Ali had been widely expected to leave the UAE, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis, for Yemen to help in the war amid media reports that some Saleh loyalists have been switching sides.

Many Sanaa residents were staying indoors on Wednesday out of fear of a Houthi crackdown. On Tuesday, Saleh supporters said his nephew Tareq, another top commander, and the head of his party, Aref Zouka, had both been killed.

“There’s a scary calm in the city,” said Ali, a 47-year-old businessman who declined to use his full name.

“People are reporting that there are many arrests and they are trying to shoot military men and (Saleh party) members.”

Yemen’s conflict, pitting the Houthis against the Saudi-led military alliance which backs a government based in the south, has unleashed what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.


The proxy war between regional arch-rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia – armed and given intelligence by the West — has killed more than 10,000 people, with more than two million displaced.

Workers remove debris from a damaged restaurant on a street where Houthis have recently clashed with forces loyal to slain Yemeni former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Saleh’s decision to abandon the Houthis was the most dramatic development in three years of stalemate. Top Houthi officials called it high treason backed by their Saudi enemies.

Tens of thousands of Houthi supporters staged a rally in Sanaa on Tuesday to celebrate what the Houthis had said was the defeat of a major conspiracy by Saleh, chanting slogans against Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Political sources said the Houthis had arrested dozens of Saleh’s allies and army officers affiliated with his party in and around the city. Several had been killed in the raids.

On Wednesday, several dozen women gathered in a main Sanaa square holding Saleh’s portrait and demanding his body be handed over for burial, but they were forcibly dispersed by Houthi security forces, eyewitnesses said.

The Houthi-controlled interior ministry distributed a video of dozens of seated barefoot men it said were pro-Saleh fighters detained in one of its party headquarters.

Slideshow (6 Images)

Media rights group Reporters Without Borders appealed for the release of 41 journalists it said have been held “hostage” by the group since it overran the headquarters of the Saleh-owned al-Yemen al-Youm TV station on Saturday.


Nearly a million people in Yemen have been hit by a cholera outbreak, and famine caused by warring parties blocking food supplies threatens much of the country.

The UN secretary-general’s special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, called on all parties to show restraint.

“Increased hostilities will further threaten civilian lives and exacerbate their suffering,” he said in a briefing to the Security Council on Tuesday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday that the killing of Saleh would likely worsen an already dire humanitarian situation in the country in the short term.

Speaking with reporters on a military aircraft en route to Washington, Mattis said his death could either push the conflict towards U.N. peace negotiations or make it an “even more vicious war.”

The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, praised what he called the Houthis’ swift quashing of the “coup against the holy warriors”, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Image result for Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari,, photos

The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari

Much is likely to depend on the future allegiances of Saleh loyalists who previously helped the Houthi group, which hails from the Zaidi branch of Shi‘ite Islam that ruled a thousand-year kingdom in northern Yemen until 1962.

Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Michael Georgy, Richard Balmforth and Sonya Hepinstall

Yemen rebels holding more than 40 media staff: watchdogs

December 6, 2017


© AFP | A Yemeni rebel fighter stands guard outside the residence of slain former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa on December 4, 2017

SANAA (AFP) – Yemeni rebels who seized full control of the capital Sanaa over the past week have detained more than 40 media staff, press watchdogs said on Wednesday, demanding their immediate release.They include staff of Yemen Today — a television channel affiliated with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whom the Huthi rebels killed on Monday as he fled the capital following the collapse of their uneasy three-year alliance, the watchdogs said.

The rebels overran the television’s Sanaa offices on Saturday after attacking it with rocket-propelled grenades and wounding three guards, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.

“This hostage-taking is typical of the climate of hostility in Yemen towards journalists, who are often targeted in this conflict,” said RSF’s Alexandra El Khazen.

A spokesman for the Committee to Protect Journalists called for the immediate release of the journalists, saying the Huthi attack on Yemen Today “shows a profound contempt for press freedom”.

Saleh, who ruled Yemen for three decades, had joined forces with the Huthis in 2014 when they took control of large parts of the country, including the capital.

But that alliance unravelled over the past week as the former leader reached out to the Saudi-led coalition that has waged an air campaign against the Huthis since March 2015.

A least 234 people were killed in fighting that the International Committee of the Red Cross described as the fiercest since the start of the conflict.

An official of Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) said some of the detained staff had since been transferred to prison while others were still being held in the television’s offices.

“The Huthis were exerting pressure on them to change their coverage, to issue certain statements and report the betrayal of former president Saleh and accuse him of working for the Arab coalition.

“But the journalists refused to do it,” the official said.

Addressing a mass rally in Sanaa on Tuesday, the head of the rebels’ revolutionary council, Mohammed Ali al-Huthi, said they had been left with no choice but to “confront” their former ally but were now “ensuring the safety” of his supporters.

“They are being treated in hospitals and no one is looking to eliminate them,” Huthi said.

But Yemen’s Sanaa-based national syndicate of journalists said the Huthis were posting the names of employees of media they regarded as hostile at checkpoints around the capital and demanded “an end to abuses”.