Bab el-Mandeb navigation

US general: Washington cooperating with Riyadh to secure Bab el-Mandeb navigation

US general: Washington cooperating with Riyadh to secure Bab el-Mandeb navigation

Bab el-Mandeb

Bab el-Mandeb Strait

The US general said that Washington is cooperating with Riyadh in order to secure navigation in the area. (Reuters)

The US is worried about Yemen’s Houthi militia threatening international navigation in Bab el-Mandeb, Joseph Votel, the commander of the United States Central Command, said speaking to a House of Representatives Armed Services Committee hearing.

The US general said that Washington is cooperating with Riyadh in order to secure navigation in the area, adding that sly Iranian activity poses a real threat on its long term stability.

Votel also clarified that the US’s intervention in Syria is solely to fight ISIS after the Syrian regime showed a lack of seriousness in fighting the extremist organization.

He accused Russia of playing a destabilizing role in Syria as both arsonist and firefighter”, saying Moscow had failed to rein in its Syrian ally.

Diplomatically and militarily, Moscow plays both arsonist and firefighter, fueling tensions among all parties in Syria… then serving as an arbitrator, to resolve disputes, attempting to undermine and weaken each party’s bargaining positions,” Votel said.

“I think either Russia has to admit that it is not capable, or it doesn’t want to play a role in ending the Syrian conflict. I think their role is incredibly destabilizing at this point,” he added.
Source: Al Arabiya, in English, February 28, 2018
Source Description: Arabic news and information portal covering news, politics, business, sports, variety and transcripts of Al Arabiya programs. Country of origin: United Arab Emirates
© 2018, Al Arabiya, All rights Reserved.

US General: Iran achieved in 5 years in Yemen what took two decades in Lebanon

A senior US military commander sounded the alarm on Iran’s role in Yemen on Tuesday, telling Congress that Tehran has accelerated the pace in arming and supporting the Houthis, and has achieved in five years in the war-ravaged country what took it two decades in Lebanon with Hezbollah.

US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief general Joseph Votel said on Tuesday that Iran has enhanced” its support and funding for proxy forces in the Middle East following the nuclear agreement signed in July 2015.

Iran has extended its tentacles across the region through numerous proxies, including Lebanese Hezbollah operating in multiple countries, hardline Iranian-backed Shia militia groups (SMGs) in Iraq and Syria, and Iranian support has enabled the Houth’s [in Yemen],” Mr Votel told the House Armed Services Committee. The result he said is prolonging the civil war in Yemen, threatening Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and risking expansion of Yemen’s civil war into a regional conflict.”

The general accused Tehran of continuing to develop advanced ballistic missile capabilities and transfer them to the Houthis. This threat, he said, will enable them to strike US partners and allies” in the Gulf region.

We go to China Lake to test our weapons systems. [Iran] go to test their weapons systems in Yemen,” Mr Votel said. Across the Middle East, Iran was the major threat to US interests and partnerships”, and is working through proxies and friendly political allies in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon to establish an arc of influence,” which general Votel called the ‘Shia Crescent’.

Separately, at the United Nations in New York, the Security Council held closed consultations about the conflict in Yemen, coinciding with UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed concluding his mission and passing the torch to Martin Griffiths.

In his departing remarks Mr Ahmed blamed the destructive pattern of zero-sum politics which has led [Yemen] to plunge into more poverty and destruction.”

After three years in the job, Mr Ahmed revealed that the Yemeni parties squandered an opportunity for a political settlement in Kuwait in 2016. I would like to announce, for the first time, that we were about to reach agreement on a peace proposal, developed in consultation with the parties, but they refused to sign in the last minute” he said. _________

In the end of the consultations, it became clear that the Houthis were not prepared to make concessions on the proposed security arrangements” the UN envoy said.

Mr Ahmed spoke of renewed and large-scale escalation of military confrontations in Al-Hodeidah, Al-Jawf, Sana’a and Al-Baida as well as areas along the Yemeni-Saudi border. The Houthis continue to fire ballistic missiles into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

He reiterated his concern by reports from several humanitarian organisations on the recruitment of thousands of child soldiers by all parties to the conflict.” Mr Ahmed added that the systematic recruitment of children by the Houthis may have negative implications on the future of the country.”

In his parting remarks, Mr Ould Cheikh Ahmed stressed twice that only the Yemeni decision-makers are able to stop the war and the bloodshed” as the humanitarian toll of the war now affect more than 22 million Yemenis in need of some assistance.
Source: Joyce Karam, The National, in English, February 27, 2018
Source Description: The National is Abu Dhabi Media Company’s English-language newspaper and was born out of a vision that recognizes the key role that a free, professional and enlightened press plays in the national development process. Country of origin: United Arab Emirates
© 2018 . Abu Dhabi Media Company, All Rights Reserved.

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