Yemen - Civil War

Khafee

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Houthi Leadership Frayed by Internal Quarrels, Regional Condemnation
Tuesday, 4 June, 2019

View attachment 7512

Aden - Ali Rabih

After receiving fierce condemnation in three Makkah summits in Saudi Arabia, Houthi militias in Yemen not only found themselves isolated from Arab and Muslim countries, but also closer to their regional backer, Iran. Amid rising tensions, Houthis are also threatened with dissolution as internal squabbling seems to peak to new heights.

Whilst convening for an emergency meeting, the Houthi self-proclaimed government in Sanaa was stripped bare before political analysts who were able to spot strong rivalries and deep divisions within the coup leadership.

The meeting was headed by Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the Houthi movement leader’s cousin, not Mahdi al-Mashat, who was appointed as the group’s president to the so-called Supreme Political Council.

A photo was published showing Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, 39, heading the council despite senior coup members and ministers attending. Removing Mashat from the picture, according to well-informed sources, suggests a widening rift among Houthi ranks.

Many observers suggest that Mashat was downgraded due to the insurgency’s policy to maintain lineage when it comes to leadership positions. This means only members belonging to al-Houthi family, after which the Houthi movement was named, will be allowed to hold decision-making positions.

Many warn that Mashat’s absence from the meeting also indicates the young politician’s nearing termination within the Houthi group.

During the meeting, al-Houthi vowed to scale up military offensives across the country tattered by war, and promised to reboot drone and rocket cross-border attacks targeting Saudi Arabia.

The coup meeting, which was rushed to retaliate against condemnation Houthis faced at the three Makkah summits, stressed the strong ties shared between Houthis and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

Both backed by Iran, Houthis and Hezbollah have co-conducted operations and are believed to retain some level of regional coordination.

More so, the Houthi meeting released a communique saying that the militia categorically rejects withdrawing from the strategic Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, which was a key condition in a UN-brokered ceasefire agreement last December.

Yemeni politicians rule out that Houthis will ever be serious about establishing peace without losing significant military levers they are pulling. Peace planners suggested that if Houthis redeploy from or are defeated in Hodeidah and the rest of Yemen's western coast they could be pressured into complying with international peace efforts.

 

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Mega Funds Pumped into Houthification of Yemen’s Health Sector
Tuesday, 4 June, 2019

Yemeni suffering from cholera symptoms receives treatment at health center in Hajjah province Yemen. AFP file photo

Sanaa - Asharq Al-Awsat

As Houthis continue to run a shadow government in areas overrun by coup militias, the group’s self-styled health ministry sponsored a 25-day campaign whereby medical staffers and physicians were put through extensive sectarian indoctrination.

What gave the Houthi plan a boost was that the campaign was held in parallel with Ramadan, Islam’s holy month of fasting and during which Muslims worldwide observe religious traditions.

A Sanaa-based media official told Asharq Al-Awsat that medical staffs in Sanaa, Mahweit, Umran, Sadah, Hodeidah, Remyyiah, Dhamar and Ibb were targeted by the Houthi sectarian-inspired program.

Under the misleading label of ‘Ramadan evenings’ Houthi top brass leaders would mingle with teams from area hospitals with a goal to reshape social and cultural values.

These evening seminaries, according to local media reports, have included at least 14 health unit managers, 90 hospital managers, nine heads of independent health commissions, 30 physicians and 55 nurses.

An official, who requested anonymity for security reasons, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Houthis are serious with their efforts to radicalize specialists and medics so that they would later deploy them in war zones.

During sessions, Houthi speakers would egg on medics to undertake or accept violence and killing when needed in order to advance the “Houthi cause.” They also called upon attendees to contribute to the insurgency’s war effort, if not by service or combat, with funds.

Ideological slogans and chants were also integrated to the program.

Militia leaders also used the events as a platform to speak out against international health organizations operating in Yemen, inciting Yemenis against health aid from abroad.

Houthi fanaticism comes despite each of the World Health Organization (WHO), Doctors without Borders (MSF), UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the International Red Cross and others providing crucial assistance to civilians in areas run by the group.

The Iran-backed militia continues to spend funds on indoctrinating and brainwashing Yemenis at a time the population suffers from famine and humanitarian disasters.



 

Khafee

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Mega Funds Pumped into Houthification of Yemen’s Health Sector
Tuesday, 4 June, 2019

Yemeni suffering from cholera symptoms receives treatment at health center in Hajjah province Yemen. AFP file photo

Sanaa - Asharq Al-Awsat

As Houthis continue to run a shadow government in areas overrun by coup militias, the group’s self-styled health ministry sponsored a 25-day campaign whereby medical staffers and physicians were put through extensive sectarian indoctrination.

What gave the Houthi plan a boost was that the campaign was held in parallel with Ramadan, Islam’s holy month of fasting and during which Muslims worldwide observe religious traditions.

A Sanaa-based media official told Asharq Al-Awsat that medical staffs in Sanaa, Mahweit, Umran, Sadah, Hodeidah, Remyyiah, Dhamar and Ibb were targeted by the Houthi sectarian-inspired program.

Under the misleading label of ‘Ramadan evenings’ Houthi top brass leaders would mingle with teams from area hospitals with a goal to reshape social and cultural values.

These evening seminaries, according to local media reports, have included at least 14 health unit managers, 90 hospital managers, nine heads of independent health commissions, 30 physicians and 55 nurses.

An official, who requested anonymity for security reasons, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Houthis are serious with their efforts to radicalize specialists and medics so that they would later deploy them in war zones.

During sessions, Houthi speakers would egg on medics to undertake or accept violence and killing when needed in order to advance the “Houthi cause.” They also called upon attendees to contribute to the insurgency’s war effort, if not by service or combat, with funds.

Ideological slogans and chants were also integrated to the program.

Militia leaders also used the events as a platform to speak out against international health organizations operating in Yemen, inciting Yemenis against health aid from abroad.

Houthi fanaticism comes despite each of the World Health Organization (WHO), Doctors without Borders (MSF), UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the International Red Cross and others providing crucial assistance to civilians in areas run by the group.

The Iran-backed militia continues to spend funds on indoctrinating and brainwashing Yemenis at a time the population suffers from famine and humanitarian disasters.



 

Khafee

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Saudis Rescue Injured Iranian Sailor From Covert Mothership Supporting Yemeni Rebels
Saudi Arabia said it treated the request for aid as a humanitarian issue even though it sees the ship as a threat to regional security.

By Joseph Trevithick
June 5, 2019
7603


Saudi Arabia says that it has rescued an injured sailor from a ship in the Red Sea belonging to its arch-rival Iran. The incident is even more unusual given that authorities in Riyadh have accused the Iranians of using the M/V Saviz to aid Houthi rebels in their fight against the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. The medical evacuation also comes amid an uptick in Houthi strikes on Saudi Arabia proper, as well as attacks on tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, which the Saudis, as well as the United States, have blamed on Iran and its regional proxies. In addition, the U.S. government continues to issue vague warnings about the increased potential for Iranian attacks on American interests, and those of its allies, throughout the Middle East.

Saudi Arabian Colonel Turki Al Maliki announced the operation publicly on June 4, 2019. He said that pararescue personnel from the Saudi military had flown to the Saviz, which was anchored approximately 95 miles northwest of Hodeida, a highly contested Yemeni port city, and retrieved the injured individual. Saudi forces then flew them to a military hospital in Saudi Arabia's port city of Jizan, further to the north. Saudi Arabia has not indicated it has any plans to detain the sailor, but it is unclear how and when they might be repatriated to Iran after they recover.

Al Maliki did not say what Saudi military aircraft were involved, but the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) operates French-made AS532 Cougar helicopters in the combat search and rescue role. Some of these helicopters are also capable of refueling in flight with the help of the RSAF's KC-130 Hercules tankers, though, with a range of more than 350 miles, they may have been able to fly from Jizan to the Saviz and back without support.

1559846316300.png

A map showing Jizan in the north, Hodeidah in the south, and the approximate location of the M/V Saviz in the Red Sea.

Al Maliki said that Iran, which does not have diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, had relayed the request for help through its mission at the United Nations. Iranian officials have not yet confirmed this, according to the Associated Press, but it is not the first time this has occurred. In May 2019, the Iranian-flagged oil tanker Happiness I experienced a mechanical malfunction in the Red Sea and Saudi authorities towed it to the port of Jeddah, where it reportedly remains.

But the Saviz is an entirely different beast from an oil tanker. "The leadership of the joint forces has dealt with the situation according to what is dictated by our Islamic religion and human values, despite the threat represented by this suspect vessel, and the hostile acts it carries out against coalition forces and the interests of the Yemeni people and its continued threats to maritime routes and global trade in the Red Sea," Maliki said in his statement about the latest rescue.

News of the ship its potential covert mission first emerged in November 2017, more than 10 months after Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi frigate in the Red Sea using a remote-controlled explosive-laden boat. The cargo ship is linked to business enterprises that Iran's powerful quasi-military Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) operate and Saudi Arabia has alleged that the vessel may have actively supported the Houthi attack on its warship, as well as subsequent attacks on military and commercial vessels. Saudi officials have also said that it may serve as a trans-shipment point for smuggling arms to the Yemeni rebels.

Saudi Arabia has released photos of Saviz with speed boats lashed to its upper deck and personnel on board in camouflage uniforms. The IRGC's naval forces operate a number of types of boats in this general category, which it can use in swarming attacks, to lay naval mines, or otherwise conduct hit-and-run attacks at sea. They could also carry light cargo loads and move small numbers of personnel back and forth between their mother ship and shore.


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1559846456400.png

Saviz has been in the Red Sea continuously since 2017, even receiving supplies at sea from the Iranian-flagged container ship Arzin in 2018, as seen in the video below. Saudi coalition forces are actively monitoring Saviz, but have not otherwise taken any action against it.


Al Maliki's appeal to piety and basic humanity no doubt factored into Saudi Arabia's decision to come to the aid of the Iranian sailor, but there would have been potential intelligence value to doing so, too. The rescue mission certainly afforded the Saudis an opportunity to get a closer look at the ship externally and now they can indirectly interrogate one of its crew as they are recovering in the Jizan hospital. Saudi intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets were very likely monitoring the medical evacuation operation to try to garner additional information about the Saviz and its activities. Iran may also have been equally able to garner useful information from Saudi search and rescue and other capabilities as a result.

Whether either country might have been able to glean about the other from this incident, it will also be interesting to see what happens now that the sailor is in Saudi Arabian custody of sorts. Tensions between the Saudis and Iranians have been steadily growing in recent years, especially with regards to controversial and brutal conflict in Yemen.

The regime in Tehran has been actively supporting the Yemeni rebels since at least 2015 and has assisted them in fielding a number of increasingly advanced capabilities, including suicide drones and short-range ballistic missiles. The Houthis have used both drones and ballistic missiles to attack Saudi coalition forces in Yemen, as well as to strike at targets inside Saudi Arabia proper. The group has also claimed to have attacked the United Arab Emirates with unmanned aircraft. Just in May, the Houthis have launched drone attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure and ballistic missile strikes on Saudi cities, including Jizan. The Saudis and the Yemeni rebels dispute the damage these incidents have actually caused.

Beyond that, Saudi Arabia, along with the United States, has blamed Iran, or its proxies, such as the Houthis, for attacks on four oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of the UAE, which also occurred in May. No group has yet publicly claimed responsibility for that operation.


Of course, it is entirely possible that the Saudis could release the Iranian sailor after they recover as a goodwill gesture in line with Colonel Al Maliki's about "our Islamic religion and human values." At the same time, if officials in Saudi Arabia determine that this individual has knowledge of the Saviz's covert operations against the Saudi coalition in Yemen, it could easily turn a humanitarian mission into an international incident.

It's worth remembering that, at present, the Iranian-flagged tanker Happiness I is effectively impounded in Jeddah and its unclear when that ship will be able to leave. Among many other factors, Saudi Arabian policies toward Iran, which it views as a hostile power, and U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports might make it difficult legally to allow the ship to leave.

This all also comes amid a spike in U.S.-Iran tensions, which began in early May after the U.S. government said it had begun receiving intelligence that showed Iranian forces and proxies potentially preparing for attacks on American and allied forces in the region. To date, there has been no publicly released evidence to support this assertion. The reports have led the U.S. military to deploy, or expedite the deployment, of various additional forces to the Middle East. This has included rushing the Lincoln Carrier Strike Group to the Gulf of Oman, sending various additional aircraft, including B-52 bombers, to bases in the region, and extending the tours of duty for Army Patriot surface-to-air missile batteries. You can read more about these developments here and here.

With all this in mind, and given the existing allegations surrounding the Saviz's activities, it will be very interesting to see if Saudi Arabia's response to Iran's request for assistance helps at all in defusing the present situation or ends up fueling those tensions instead.

 

Scorpion

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Posted that already but yours is detailed.


@Persian Gulf

They guy seemed seriously ill after 3 years of being onboard. Any details from your side?
 

Khafee

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Posted that already but yours is detailed.

Yes, that is why I posted. Specifics, help people understand, what is really going on.
 

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Several Houthi rebels killed and injured in Al-Dhale
07 June 2019
7724


A number of Houthi militiamen were killed and injured on Friday during clashes with national army in the north of Al-Dhale province.

The clashes broke out after the Houthi militia tried to sneak into army’s positions in Morais district, but were beaten and forced to flee.

 

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Several Houthi rebels killed and injured in Al-Dhale
07 June 2019
View attachment 7724

A number of Houthi militiamen were killed and injured on Friday during clashes with national army in the north of Al-Dhale province.

The clashes broke out after the Houthi militia tried to sneak into army’s positions in Morais district, but were beaten and forced to flee.

 

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Army launches military operation, liberates key areas in Hajjah
08 June 2019
7726

National Army forces backed by Arab coalition have launched Saturday morning a large-scale military operation, controlling important sites in Hajjah province northwestern of the country.

The villages of Alkos, Gibran, Bani Awaid, Hajaurah, Al-Matryeh, Al-Kdmyh, El-Hajar”,”Al-Mashaybeh, and Beni-Fardh located between Harad and Medi districts, were liberated by army.

Al-Naseem farmers, which is about 10 kilometres, taken by the militia as a barracks for its militants were also freed during the operation.

The army has cut militia’s supply line connects between Medi and Harad north of the province.

Meanwhile, coalition fighters bombed Houthi militia sites and reinforcements in the same area.

Army’s engineering teams have removed large quantities of mines and improvised explosive devices planted by the coup militia in the former areas.

Even now, the military operation still ongoing, leaving scores killed and injured among the Houthi rebels, as well as the destruction of a number of its affiliated mechanisms.

 

Khafee

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Army launches military operation, liberates key areas in Hajjah
08 June 2019
View attachment 7726
National Army forces backed by Arab coalition have launched Saturday morning a large-scale military operation, controlling important sites in Hajjah province northwestern of the country.

The villages of Alkos, Gibran, Bani Awaid, Hajaurah, Al-Matryeh, Al-Kdmyh, El-Hajar”,”Al-Mashaybeh, and Beni-Fardh located between Harad and Medi districts, were liberated by army.

Al-Naseem farmers, which is about 10 kilometres, taken by the militia as a barracks for its militants were also freed during the operation.

The army has cut militia’s supply line connects between Medi and Harad north of the province.

Meanwhile, coalition fighters bombed Houthi militia sites and reinforcements in the same area.

Army’s engineering teams have removed large quantities of mines and improvised explosive devices planted by the coup militia in the former areas.

Even now, the military operation still ongoing, leaving scores killed and injured among the Houthi rebels, as well as the destruction of a number of its affiliated mechanisms.

 

Khafee

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Houthi militia shells residential neighborhoods in Hodiedah
08 June 2019
7728


The Iran-back Houthi militia launched intensive and indiscriminate shelling on residential neighborhoods in the western province of Hodeidah.

Local sources told September Net that the Houthi rebels stationed in the south and east of Tohaita district launched heavy artillery shelling on populated neighborhoods inside the city.

“The militia’s shelling resulted in serious damage to a number of houses, causing a state of great panic among the citizens, mostly women and children”, according to the sources.

 

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Houthi militia shells residential neighborhoods in Hodiedah
08 June 2019
View attachment 7728

The Iran-back Houthi militia launched intensive and indiscriminate shelling on residential neighborhoods in the western province of Hodeidah.

Local sources told September Net that the Houthi rebels stationed in the south and east of Tohaita district launched heavy artillery shelling on populated neighborhoods inside the city.

“The militia’s shelling resulted in serious damage to a number of houses, causing a state of great panic among the citizens, mostly women and children”, according to the sources.

 

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Official in Marib Slams Targeting Yemen’s Central Bank Governor
9 June, 2019

Central Bank of Yemen (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Marib- Asharq Al-Awsat

The meetings held between Marib province’s current leadership and the successive leaders of the Central Bank of Yemen in the interim capital, Aden, tackled completing the remaining technical procedures for networking between the branch and the main center, according to an official source in the local authority in Marib.

The latest meeting, the source confirmed, was held with the current Governor, Hafez Mead, on May 31.

The bank’s leadership was requested to send its technical team as the local authority will provide all necessary facilitation.

Saba news agency quoted him as saying that targeting the Governor at this sensitive stage aims at disrupting the recovery of the national economic system.

“The fury Houthi campaigns targeting Mead revealed the apparent harmony between leaders of the Houthi coup and some of those promoting the group,” he added.

The source also pointed to the statement published by Mead on his official page on Saturday, in which he mentioned re-linking and collecting revenues of the bank’s branch in Marib and linking them directly to the central headquarters.

He explained that the Mead’s statement was wrongly interpreted as explained by the Governor himself.

The source confirmed that Marib and its leadership have been working hard since the coup to maintain the state institutions, and particularly the central bank and national companies.

The Central Bank’s branch also worked to support Yemen’s governorates in Aden and Saba’s regions and parts of Azal province, the source stressed, adding that it also played its national role in accordance with the directives of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and the government.

He said the government has an account to which all revenues are credited, stressing that this branch continues to operate according to the Central Bank’s system and without changing the procedures in force.

 

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Official in Marib Slams Targeting Yemen’s Central Bank Governor
9 June, 2019

Central Bank of Yemen (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Marib- Asharq Al-Awsat

The meetings held between Marib province’s current leadership and the successive leaders of the Central Bank of Yemen in the interim capital, Aden, tackled completing the remaining technical procedures for networking between the branch and the main center, according to an official source in the local authority in Marib.

The latest meeting, the source confirmed, was held with the current Governor, Hafez Mead, on May 31.

The bank’s leadership was requested to send its technical team as the local authority will provide all necessary facilitation.

Saba news agency quoted him as saying that targeting the Governor at this sensitive stage aims at disrupting the recovery of the national economic system.

“The fury Houthi campaigns targeting Mead revealed the apparent harmony between leaders of the Houthi coup and some of those promoting the group,” he added.

The source also pointed to the statement published by Mead on his official page on Saturday, in which he mentioned re-linking and collecting revenues of the bank’s branch in Marib and linking them directly to the central headquarters.

He explained that the Mead’s statement was wrongly interpreted as explained by the Governor himself.

The source confirmed that Marib and its leadership have been working hard since the coup to maintain the state institutions, and particularly the central bank and national companies.

The Central Bank’s branch also worked to support Yemen’s governorates in Aden and Saba’s regions and parts of Azal province, the source stressed, adding that it also played its national role in accordance with the directives of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and the government.

He said the government has an account to which all revenues are credited, stressing that this branch continues to operate according to the Central Bank’s system and without changing the procedures in force.

 

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UN Attempts to Whitewash Griffiths’ Actions
9 June, 2019


UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths (File photo: EPA)

Aden- Ali Rabee

The United Nations and its Secretary General Antonio Guterres are seeking to whitewash UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths’ actions after the legitimate government in Yemen accused him of bias in implementing the Swedish agreement and the redeployment in Hodeidah and its ports.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo will visit Riyadh on Monday and Tuesday to meet with Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and other officials to discuss the situation with Griffiths, news agencies reported.

During her visit to Riyadh, DiCarlo will meet with “Saudi and Yemeni officials to discuss regional peace and security issues, including the situation in Yemen,” announced the UN.

The legitimate government and Yemeni activists stepped up their rhetoric against the envoy and accused him of bias towards Houthis and attempting to legitimize the Houthis’ security forces, which the militias claimed would take over the security and management of ports after their withdrawal.

The Yemeni campaign culminated three weeks ago with a letter sent by the Yemeni President to the Sec-Gen confirming the accusations against Griffiths and demanding a review of his performance, a message to which the UN Secretary-General responded by asserting his confidence in the UN envoy.

However, the ongoing campaign prompted Guterres to send his political assistance to Riyadh to meet Hadi in an attempt to whitewash Griffiths’ actions and reassure the legitimacy that the latter will abide by his mission.

The President sent a letter to UN Sec-Gen accusing Griffiths of bias towards Houthis, saying he worked to provide Houthis guarantees to stay in Hodeidah port under UN umbrella.

“We will give a final and final opportunity to the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Martin Griffiths, to confirm his commitment to the three terms of reference in all his efforts and to enforce the Stockholm Agreement,” the letter read.

“I also want to stress that I can not accept the excesses that your Special Envoy is offering and that threaten to break the chances of a solution that the people are looking for,” he said.

The Sec-Gen responded to Hadi saying that the international organization will spare no effort to maintain Sweden agreements.

“I can also assure you that the United Nations has no intention of establishing an international administration in Hodeidah,” said Guterres.

Griffiths is expected to present his briefing on June 17 where he is likely to report that progress is being achieved in the implementation of the Sweden Agreement, even though the government delegation of the UN mission to monitor the deal, led by Lt. Gen. Michael Lollesgaard, suspended meetings with the Envoy in protest against abuses in the implementation of unilateral redeployment.

Yemeni officials assert that the Swedish agreement means the withdrawal of Houthi militias while government forces and legitimate local authorities manage and secure the Hodeidah port.

Houthis say that the agreement provides international monitoring over the ports and the redeployment process only. Regarding the city and the three ports, the militias believe they must remain under its security and administrative control, as stated in previous statements of its leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi.

Yemeni government accuses Griffiths and Lollesgaard of trying to break the solution in Hodeidah, while the militias continue to consolidate their forces in various areas of Hodeidah and its southern countryside.

Meanwhile, Houthi militias refused to grant entry visas to their areas for about 60 UN observers sent by the Security Council.

Houthis also seek to persuade the UN to transfer the inspection and verification mechanism of vessels and goods arriving in Yemen from Djibouti port to Hodeidah port itself, which is seen by the legitimate government as a step to facilitate the smuggling of weapons.

Many observers believe the UN Envoy will not be able to lead the negotiation phase of a comprehensive political and military solution, which will not be initiated, according to legitimacy, unless measures to establish trust and good intentions of Sweden’s agreement are established.


 

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