UN accuses Al Houthis of derailing aid efforts in Yemen

World body says relief material being hijacked in many cases and pushes for political solution to crisis wracking Yemen

United Nations: UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator, Jaime McGoldrick, has accused Al Houthi insurgents and troops loyal to deposed president Ali Saleh of derailing relief work in Yemen in the areas they are still controlling, reported the Saudi Press Agency, SPA.

According to the agency, McGoldrick said that, for months, humanitarian agencies have had to put up with delays on the part of Al Houthi rebels in facilitating the entry of humanitarian aid workers into Yemen, leading to serious hurdles in the delivery of assistance and the hijacking of aid vehicles.

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Guidance On Transits Through The Bab El Mandeb and Associated Waters

UKMTO operating from Dubai, has issued an advisory following information from the UK government relating to ship transits through the Bab El Mandeb (BeM) and associated waters.  This UKMTO Notice 001 August /2017 replaces previous guidance UKMTO Notice 001 July 2017 (which refers to CMF advice dated 16 July 2017) and UKMTO Notice 002 July 2017.

Recent attacks against merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Bab El Mandeb have highlighted the risks associated with transiting these waters. Daylight attacks by small boats were conducted against two tankers in the southern approaches to the BeM. The method of these attacks has seen two or more skiffs approaching at high speed. In each case, one or more have fired small arms and Rocket Propelled Grenades and carried explosives. In both attacks, the skiffs carrying explosives detonated at a distance from the target vessel, but the presumed intent was to detonate the explosives against the hull.   The assessment of the attacks against merchant vessels in the southern approaches to the BeM indicates that due to the low levels of sophistication, the exposure to the threat is greater in daylight hours. However, an attack during the hours of darkness cannot be excluded.

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Kuwait denies its waters used for Iran supplies to Al Houthis

Iran shipping weapons and military advisers to Al Houthis either directly to Yemen or via Somalia

Dubai: Kuwait on Wednesday denied a Reuters report that Iran was using the Gulf Arab state’s waters to smuggle weapons and equipment to Al Houthi forces in Yemen.

“The State of Kuwait refuted news by the Reuters news agency regarding Iran’s exploitation of Kuwaiti waters to deliver arms and military assistance to Al Houthis in Yemen,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

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Exclusive: Iran Revolutionary Guards find new route to arm Yemen rebels

By Jonathan Saul

LONDON (Reuters) – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have started using a new route across the Gulf to funnel covert arms shipments to their Houthi allies in Yemen’s civil war, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

In March, regional and Western sources told Reuters that Iran was shipping weapons and military advisers to the Houthis either directly to Yemen or via Somalia. This route however risked contact with international naval vessels on patrol in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.

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Iranian Naval Capabilities in the Red Sea

[By James Fargher]

International attention has focused on the possibilities of an Iranian closure of the Straits of Hormuz, and the catastrophic effect a blockade would likely have on global energy supplies. Even a temporary closure or military disruption in the waterway would cause energy prices to soar and could politically destabilize the Persian Gulf region. Far less attention has been paid to Iranian activity in the Red Sea, however, despite the crucial importance of the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait to world oil shipments.

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Yemen forces prepare to move on main port, agencies say civilians at risk

Government forces ready to attack port but Unclear if US administration approves assault.

Dubai: Yemeni government forces and their Arab allies are massing north and south of the Al Houthi-held Red Sea port of Hodeidah despite United Nations and aid groups warnings that a military operation there would put millions of civilians at risk.

Hodeidah port and province is controlled by the Iran-aligned Al Houthis and has been the entry point for 70 per cent of Yemen’s food supplies as well as humanitarian aid.

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Gulf-backed Yemeni forces capture Red Sea coast city: agency

Yemeni government forces backed by Gulf Arab troops have secured the Red Sea coast city of al-Mokha, United Arab Emirates news agency WAM reported on Tuesday, in a push that paves the way for an advance on the country’s main port city of Hodeidah.

Supporters of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi have been fighting for weeks to capture the small town, which once served as a main port for exporting coffee, from the Iran-aligned Houthi that has held it since early 2015.

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18 rebel fighters killed in Yemen’s Taiz

Government forces say they have foiled all attempts by Al Houthis to make headway in Taiz

Saeed Al Batati

Al Mukalla: Bloody clashes broke out between the government forces and Al Houthis on many fronts across Yemen as the government loyalists push to fully break the rebels’ siege on Yemen’s third largest city, local army commanders and allied tribal leaders said on Tuesday.

In the southern city of Taiz, army commanders said that as many as 18 Al Houthis were killed in clashes with the government forces in many battlefields, mainly on the eastern edges of the city.

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Yemen ship sinking: 35 rescued off coast

At least 35 of the almost 60 people who were on board a ship that sank in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Yemen have been rescued, officials say.

The cargo vessel disappeared about 48km (26 nautical miles) north-west of the remote island of Socotra while sailing from the eastern province of Hadramawt.

The government says the incident took place five days ago, but it appears that it was only confirmed on Tuesday.

The cause of the disaster is not clear, but a minister said it was an accident.

The government has asked merchant vessels and warships in the area to help search for survivors, some of whom are believed to have escaped in lifeboats.

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Belhaf battle helps to rebuild Yemen

Even as the war in Yemen continues in the western parts of the country, there is a second war happening in the eastern and southern parts.

In the west, along the Red Sea coast, the Saudi-led Arab coalition continues to fight to restore the legitimate Yemeni government to power and remove the Houthi rebels from Sanaa. That endeavour has been complicated by extensive support from the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and forces loyal to him, and from Iran. In the past week, the Houthis and Mr Saleh’s factions announced they would form a new “government”, called the Supreme Political Council. This group has no democratic mandate, nor is it clear if it has any popular support. It has simply been enforced on those parts of Yemen that remain controlled by the Houthi rebels.

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