<![CDATA[rss-Politics]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Politics]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Five challenges for Ukraine's new president]]>
Zelenskiy is the latest anti-establishment figure to unseat an incumbent leader, both in Europe and further afield, but he has a lot to get to grips with. Below are five big questions investors and the international community have.

1/STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT?

Zelenskiy is expected to take office next month and his ability to work with Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada, will be crucial to meeting the expectations of his voters.

The president appoints the head of the state security service, the head of the military, the general prosecutor, the central bank governor and the foreign and defense ministers. But parliament must confirm each appointment — and there’s the rub.

While Zelenskiy beat incumbent Petro Poroshenko decisively in Sunday’s presidential vote, parliamentary elections are not due until October and opinion polls suggest he is unlikely to win an outright majority.

That means he would need to ally with at least one other party if he is to get many of his policies and appointments through. The other alternative is to try to bring the elections forward in order to capitalize on the momentum from his presidential victory.

2/TEAM BUILDING EXERCISE

With no political experience himself, investors want Zelenskiy to build a team with enough know-how to avoid any policy missteps.

He does not actually have a full slate of policies yet but he brought in two former ministers as advisers for his campaign: former finance minister Oleksandr Danylyuk and former economy minister Aivaras Abromavicius.

Danylyuk is rumored to be in line to become either foreign minister or the head of the presidential administration, which would give him a powerful gatekeeper role.

“Zelenskiy might be inexperienced in foreign affairs but I think he will have plenty of choice of experienced individuals to serve as foreign minister, and will receive plenty of support, advice from Western governments,” wrote Timothy Ash of BlueBay Asset Management.

3/IMF

International Monetary Fund aid has kept Ukraine’s economy above water so its ongoing support is seen as crucial, especially with around $3 billion (about 2 percent of GDP) of external debt obligations, including interest, coming due in the remainder of 2019. Another $5.5 billion (about 4 percent of GDP) must be repaid in 2020.

But Ukraine’s patchy reform efforts led to repeated delays in its previous IMF program that ended up disbursing only $8.7 billion of a planned $17.5 billion.

That was replaced by a new $3.9 billion Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) in December. While Kiev hopes for another tranche of that money as early as next month, investors will want to see a fuller program put back in place soon.

It could be an interesting negotiation. Zelenskiy already wants to talk the IMF about reversing some gas price rises the Fund saw as crucial to mending Kiev’s finances.

Ukraine’s economic backdrop has improved in recent years though, with much smaller twin deficits (2-3 percent of GDP), lower public sector debt (just over 60 percent) and a stable currency. It also has over $20 billion in FX reserves, which is over four months of import cover, according to S&P Global.

One concern is Zelenskiy’s ties to oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, the former owner of Ukraine’s biggest lender PrivatBank, which was nationalized in 2016.

With the international community already concerned about corruption and influence, some have raised questions about what their relationship might mean for the future of PrivatBank and other interests of Kolomoisky in Ukraine.

A court ruling last week could threaten to overturn the nationalization of PrivatBank.

The central bank has said it will appeal — in fact there could be many appeals as well as other legal manoeuvres — but any sign that Zelenskiy might be in Kolomoisky’s camp on this could do serious damage, not least to relations with the IMF.

5/RUSSIA RELATIONS

As world leaders clamored to offer their congratulations to Zelenskiy, one notable name was absent: Russian President Vladimir Putin. How the Russian-speaking Zelenskiy handles Ukraine’s relationship with Moscow will go a long way to determining the success of his term in office.

He has already suggested taking a fresh perspective to try to secure peace with Moscow, while pushing ahead with European Union-friendly moves. That could prove a difficult path to tread.

For its part, Russia has signaled it intends to respect the vote of the Ukraine people, although Putin is not planning talks with Zelenskiy.

Also rumbling in the background is a legal dispute between the two surrounding Ukraine’s $3 billion Eurobond, which Moscow wants repaid in full but which Kiev argues should have been written down along with most of its other debt in 2015.

Any repairing of ties could also bring rewards for Ukraine. Improved relations could help it regain control over the separatist-controlled east, as well as cheap gas and major investment, a Kremlin ally in Ukraine said last week.]]>
4/24/2019 12:07:54 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi to attend forum on ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ in Beijing]]>
Before his departure, the President laid two wreaths at the Unknown Soldier Memorial and the tomb of late President Anwar al-Sadat as April 25 marks the 37th anniversary of Sinai Liberation. Sisi was accompanied by Minister of Defense Mohamed Zaki, Chief of Staff Mohamed Farid, House of Representatives Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli, Minister of Interior Mahmoud Tawfik, and Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb.

The president has paid five state visits to China since he came to power mid-2014. In March, President Sisi and Chinese Minister of Defense Wei Fenghe discussed in Cairo the Belt and Road initiative. The Belt and Road Initiative was launched by the Chinese government to enhance trade, investments, and infrastructure in more than 150 countries in Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. The initiative is a revival to what was known as “The Silk Road.”

President Sisi affirmed that the Belt and Road Initiative is complementary to Egypt’s development efforts to attract more investments and build new megaprojects across the country, including the Suez Canal Corridor, logistic industrial zones, and new ports on the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

Chinese exports to Egypt hit $11 billion in 2018 against imports worth just $1.8 billion. On Monday, Cairo Chamber of Commerce received a delegation from Tong'an City, China Tuesday. The delegation, headed by Zhang Guazi, includes more than 22 specialized companies in various fields including technology, mobile and electronic industries.

The second edition of BRFIC is taking place on April 25 - 27, and attended by 37 heads of state, the United Nations secretary-general and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). That is in addition to 5,000 from more than 150 countries, and 90 international organizations, according to CGTN.

The initiative was launched in 2013. Since then, BRI agreements were signed by 126 countries and 29 international organizations with China.

$1.2B deal signed to fund New Administrative Capital train

CAIRO - 16 January 2019: Exim Bank of China will provide Egypt with a soft loan worth $1.2 billion to finance all costs of the construction of the electric train connecting Salam City and the New Administrative Capital.



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4/24/2019 11:53:06 AM
<![CDATA[Boosting human rights top priority of Egypt's Vision 2030: Sisi]]>
This came during his meeting with Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights Soyata Maiga.

President Sisi reviewed the huge developments and efforts undertaken by the state in recent years to improve the economic, social and living standards, especially in slum eradication and the provision of adequate housing for about 1 million slum residents.

Sisi also referred to the campaigns aiming to eliminate virus C and end patient waiting lists, pointing out to the efforts exerted in the education sector, which is witnessing unprecedented modernization.

This is in addition to the peerless efforts exerted by the government to enhance social protection programs and support and empower women, youth and people with special needs.

The president highlighted the achievements of the state in spreading the culture of citizenship and religious tolerance and underscored the services provided by the state to the millions from different nationalities who have been displaced to Egypt due to their political and security circumstances.

At the end of the meeting, Sisi asserted that all these efforts come within the common framework of human rights in accordance with the relevant United Nations charters.

For her part, Maiga expressed appreciation of Egypt's hosting of the commission's session, affirming Egypt's central role at the African level to advance human rights across the continent, especially in light of Egypt's current presidency of the African Union (AU).
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4/23/2019 5:07:20 PM
<![CDATA[Most prominent scenes from referendum on constitutional amendments]]>
Egypt Today highlights the most significant scenes from the referendum on the constitutional amendments:

Egyptian female expats vote in referendum on constitutional amendments
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Egyptian women voting in the referendum on constitutional amendments in Saudi Arabia. April 19, 2019. Press Photo

Egyptian female expats made up a remarkable portion of the turnout at embassies worldwide to cast their ballots in the referendum on draft constitutional amendments.

Disabled people vote in referendum on constitutional amendments
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Many disabled people have been seen casting their vote in the referendum – Press photo

Many disabled people were seen casting their votes in the referendum on constitutional amendments, which if approved, will significantly expand the president's authority and extend presidential terms to six years instead of four.

Ashraf Sobhi, the minister of youth, said that the participation of the disabled people in the referendum reflects the ministry's success to reach and integrate them into the society.

Voters in Badr City form 'longest' queue on referendum's 2nd day
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FILE - Queues of voters lined up outside polling stations in Giza to vote in referendum - Photo by Karim Abdel Aziz/Egypt Today

A very long queue of citizens was seen before the polling station of El-Ferdaous Secondary School in Cairo's Badr City to vote on theproposed constitutional amendments. It is reportedly the longest queue seen so far on the second day of the referendum.

NEA to print Braille ballot papers for 1st time in referendum
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FILE – Person’s hand reading braille language - Reuters

The blind voters were able to cast their ballot secretly for the first time, as the National Election Authority printed Braille ballot papers, Mahmoud al-Sherif, deputy head of the NEA said.

Braille allows blind people and those who have low vision to read documents through touching raised dots representing the letters of alphabet.

In December 2017, “Alashan Tbneeha” (To Build It), a former campaign that backed President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, issued forms in Braille giving blind citizens the chance to participate in demanding that Sisi runs for a second term as president of Egypt.

Armed Forces secure nearly 11K polling stations nationwide
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Armed forces securing polling stations in 2019 referendum - Amr Mostafa/Egypt Today

Military Spokesman Tamer el Refai said on April 21 that the plan of the Armed Forces aimed to provide security for 10,878 polling stations during the referendum on the constitutional amendments nationwide.

He detailed in a statement that the plan has been implemented in full coordination and cooperation with the Ministry of Interior under the directives of the minister of defense.
He added that the armed forces have taken all security and medical measures to facilitate the voting process, which lasted until Monday.

Ideal mother votes in favor of constitutional amendments
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Ideal Mother RedaKhaled - Press photo

Reda Khaled, the ideal mother, voted in favor of the constitutional amendments in 15th of May City.

Khaled asserted that women gained unprecedented achievements in President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s era,stressing that Egyptian women regained all their stolen rights in the president's era, especially that the new constitutional amendments will offer one fourth of Parliament seats to women.

“All Egyptian women have to support Sisi in his war against terrorism, uniting to continue the journey of stability and development.Thus,we all have to vote in favor of the constitutional amendments,” Khaled said in an exclusive statement to Egypt Today.

Centenarian women seen voting on constitutional amendments
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Sarriya Hassan Sorour, a 105-year-old woman participates in the referendum in Qalubiya – Press photo

Many centenarian women were seen casting their votes on the referendum on constitutional amendments which has taken place over three days ending Monday for Egyptians inside the country.

On Monday April 22, Shafika Badr, 108, cast her ballot in the referendum, inside a polling station in Menoufia's Menouf.

Meanwhile in Matrouh, a 125-year old woman cast her vote in a polling station in Sallum, east of the border with Libya on Saturday.

Outlawed Muslim Brotherhood tries to distort Egypt's referendum
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Queues of voters lined up outside polling stations in Giza to vote in the referendum - Photo by Karim Abdel Aziz/Egypt Today

The electronic committees linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood posted fabricated photos of the ongoing referendum on the constitutional amendments in Egypt, the photos claim that the Egyptian army is distributing foodstuffs to Egyptian voters in order to make them vote in favor of the amendments.

However, the photos have been confirmed to date back to June 2018, where the army distributed foodstuffs to poor citizens in El-Mahalla governorate.

Another distortion attempt was the photos of foodstuffs boxes with the logo of Nation's Future Party on them. The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood electronic committees circulated the photos claiming that the party is giving away the foodstuffs as a bribe to encourage citizens into voting.

The photos date back to January 2019 part of a charity campaign in Marsa Matruh governorate, the campaign was organized by the party’s officials to aid disadvantaged families.

Youth noticed in a number of polling places in referendum
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Youth standing in a queue at a polling place in Egypt. April 21, 2019. Egypt Today/Hossam Atef

The presence of youth was noticed at a number of polling places across the country as they have been queuing to cast their ballots in the referendum on constitutional amendments.

Queues having a remarkable number of youth were noticed in Greater Cairo’s Al Salam, 6th of October City, Zamalek, and Heliopolis. As for governorates, young voters were present in Port Said, Fayoum, and Aswan. Also, a number of Egyptian students showed up at the embassy in Moscow to vote.
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4/23/2019 3:10:17 PM
<![CDATA[Somali president displays latest developments in meeting with Sisi ]]>
Farmaajo presented the latest developments in Somalia, and the steps followed by the central government to reinstate security and stability, and to overcome different challenges.

Presidency Spokesperson Bassam Rady said in a statement that President Sisi expressed Egypt’s keenness to continue strengthening all aspects of bilateral cooperation, and provide all types of support needed by Somalis to build state institutions, and establish peace and security.

On his side, the Somali president expressed his appreciation for the historic relations between both countries praising the historic role played by Egypt to back the country’s efforts to achieve security and stability.

Farmaajo affirmed eagerness to pursue coordination and consultation with Egypt upon different matters. The Somali president also praised Egypt for hosting two African summit meetings on Sudan and Libya on Tuesday, and for its effective role on the continental scale, particularly in light of its chairmanship of the African Union (AU).
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4/23/2019 3:00:39 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi asserts ‘African solutions for African problems’ in summit on Sudan ]]>
“This meeting embodies our faith in our joint responsibility and our eagerness to reinforce African collective work. That (meeting) corresponds to the spirit and principles of solidarity, fraternity, and unity with Sudan, which is going through an extraordinary stage at present, and is an enactment of the concept called ‘African solutions for African problems,’” President Sisi.

The president saluted the Sudanese people “for its civil and peaceful behavior, ability to express its willpower and legitimate ambitions for change, and aspiration for democratic transition embedded in the rule of law, freedom principles, justice establishment, building state institutions, and development accomplishment.”

President Sisi affirmed Egypt’s “full support for the choices of the Sudanese people, its free willpower in shaping its country’s future, and what it will agree upon in such crucial and determining phase of its history.”

“Our meeting today aims at discussing the consecutive developments in Sudan and backing the efforts of the Sudanese people to fulfill its hopes and ambitions in its struggle for building a better future. Meanwhile, we must take into consideration the efforts deployed by the transitional military council, and the Sudanese political and civil powers to reach a national accord that enables them to go through such critical and challenging stage, and achieve a smooth and peaceful circulation of power. That is in addition to the accomplishment of the goals of the transitional phase, the preservation of the state institutions, and the unity and territorial integrity (of Sudan) inhibiting the country from falling into chaos and avoiding its subsequent destructive impact on Sudan, its people, and the entire region,” President Sisi said.

The president asserted that the solution must be produced by the Sudanese through an inclusive dialogue among different political powers, and the solution must lead to free and fair elections and a clear vision of the goals of the transitional phase.

“Establishing the concept of “African solutions for African problems” is the only way to deal with joint challenges. The African states are the most able to understand the complications of their issues, and the uniqueness of its affairs. Hence, (African states) are the most capable of finding serious and realistic solutions that achieve the interests of its peoples and shield their internal affairs from foreign interventions or imposition of foreign solutions that do not match their reality,” President Sisi stated.

African leaders
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi posing for a group photo with African leaders in the summit held on Sudan in Cairo, Egypt. April 23, 2019. Press Photo


The president stated that the purpose of the meeting is getting acquainted with the developments in Sudan and anticipating what the Sudanese want with regard to their future.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Faki will present his vision to deal with the situation in Sudan and the efforts he is making following a recent visit to Khartoum.

President Sisi called upon the international community to be understanding of the situation in Sudan and to alleviate the impact of the pressing economic crisis, which constitutes an obstacle to stability and aspired ambitions.

Egypt is hosting two African summits on Sudan and Libya on Tuesday. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has met early on Tuesday South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi 'Farmaajo.'

The summit meetings will include Chad President Idriss Déby, Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi 'Farmaajo,' South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, South African President’s Advisor on Security Affairs Tut Kew Gatluak, Ugandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa, Kenyan Minister of Foreign Affairs Monica Juma, Nigerian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mustapha Lawal Suleiman and Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Faki.

The summit on Sudan is aimed at discussing the political developments in the country, consulting over the most suitable methods to deal with them, reinforcing joint work, and exploring mechanisms to support stability and peace.

Sudan

Protests had started on December 19 demanding the overthrow of Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. On April 11, Former Sudanese Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf announced that “the regime was headed off and (its ruler) is under arrest in a safe place.” He also declared the suspension of the constitution, and the formation of a transitional military council to rule the country.

On April 12, Ibn Auf was sworn in as head of interim military council. The following day, the council affirmed that Bashir, who ruled Sudan for 26 years, would be prosecuted in the country. In 2009, the U.N.’s International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted Bashir and Arab tribal allies, Janjaweed militias, of committing a genocide in Darfur and South Sudan between 2003 and 2007 against non-Arab Sudanese. The conflict with rebel groups caused the death of 200,000 and the displacement of two million.

On April 13, Lieutenant General Abdel Fatah al-Burhan was sworn in as head of the transitional military council of Sudan instead of Ibn Auf. On the same day, the council announced that a new interim civilian government would be formed after a dialogue was held with all political parties, and lifting the one-month curfew imposed after the ouster of former President Omar al-Bashir.

On April 16, the council declared that Sudanese forces would not be pulled out the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthis in Yemen.

On April 17, the Egyptian delegation that visited Sudan stated that Egypt has “full confidence” in the ability of the Sudanese people and their “loyal” national army to overcome the challenges of such “decisive” stage and meet the Sudanese people’s aspiration to achieve stability, progress and prosperity. On the same day, the council stated that measures against corruption would be taken.
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4/23/2019 2:26:11 PM
<![CDATA[UK government focused on passing Brexit law, talks with Labour Party continue: spokesman]]>
The spokesman told reporters talks with the opposition Labour Party on finding a way forward on Brexit would require compromise on both sides, and that the legislation could be introduced to make progress with the Brexit process.]]>
4/23/2019 12:46:13 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, Ramaphosa discuss African affairs, bilateral relations ]]>
Presidency Spokesperson Bassam Rady revealed in a statement that the talks covered strengthening bilateral relations and continuous consultation over African affairs of mutual interest.

Ramaphosa thanked his Egyptian counterpart for hosting a consultative meeting on Sudan, and Troika summit on Libya.

President Sisi stated that Egypt works on coordinating stances on pressing African issues underlining the importance of developing an African vision to deal with crises that occur in the continent’s states. The president highlighted that the vision must be rooted in the concept of “African solutions for African crises.”

President Sisi expressed Egypt’s eagerness to further consultation and coordination with South Africa on coming up with that vision in light of Egypt’s chairmanship of the African Union (AU), and South Africa’s membership of the Troika and the UN Security Council.

The bilateral meeting has also included discussions on the situation in Sudan. President Sisi affirmed Egypt’s support for the choices of the Sudanese people, and the necessity of concerting efforts to aid Sudan to overcome the current stage successfully in a manner that preserves the willpower of the Sudanese people and the state institutions.

Two African summit meetings are held on Tuesday in Cairo on Libya and Sudan.
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4/23/2019 12:39:14 PM
<![CDATA[Myanmar court rejects appeal of jailed Reuters reporters]]>
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo earlier this month shared with their colleagues the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, one of journalism's highest honors.

The reporters were arrested in December 2017 and sentenced last September after being accused of illegally possessing official documents.

The court did not give a reason for its decision. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who are being held in a prison in Yangon, were not present for the ruling.

Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, had denied the charges against them and contended they were framed by police.

Myanmar's military launched a counterinsurgency campaign in the western state of Rakhine in 2017, driving more than 700,000 members of the Muslim Rohingya minority to flee to Bangladesh.

The Reuters reporters had worked on an investigation of the killing of 10 Rohingya villagers in Inn Din village, for which the government last year said seven soldiers were sentenced to up 10 years in prison with hard labor.]]>
4/23/2019 11:48:38 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi previews human rights in Egypt with ACHPR]]>
Headed by Soyata Maiga, ACHPR heard a preview by Sisi about the developments and efforts exerted over the last few years to improve economic, social, service and living standards.

The president emphasized that promoting human rights is one of Egypt’s priorities in Vision 2030.

He referred to the achievements accomplished thus far in eliminating slums and unsafe areas, providing over a million of their inhabitants with proper housing.

Social housing for young people, the major anti-Hepatitis C campaign that erased patient waiting lists, the “unprecedented educational makeover,” and the empowerment of women, people with special needs and the youth were also among the projects Sisi highlighted in the meeting.

He also emphasized the state’s role in promoting religious tolerance, acceptance and coexistence, as well as entrenching the concept of citizenship.

As Egypt hosts millions of expats and refugees, Sisi said they practice all their rights and activities freely according to UN conventions.

On Saturday-Monday, ACHPR held a forum in Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss detention, combating torture and ill-treatment.

The forum also tackled issues of displacement and immigration, activating the economic and social rights, protecting the minorities and promoting cultural freedoms.

Over 120 participants from 70 Egyptian, African and international organizations are participating in the forum.

The organizations include the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, the Arab Organization for Human Rights, the African Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights.

Moreover, the forum focused on the importance of the role played by the civil society in boosting and enriching human rights in Africa, as well as a number of main issues related to the democratic transaction in several countries including Algeria and Sudan.
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4/22/2019 7:56:51 PM
<![CDATA[Interview: Egyptian Ambassador in Berlin praises high referendum turnout and golden phase in Egyptian-German relations]]>
“They came from everywhere; north, south, east, west,” Dr. Abdelatty stated, stressing the significance of the diverse participation. “Many youths participated, especially on the second day; this reflects a desire to play a role in the future of the political, economic and social life in Egypt and to enjoy their constitutional right. There was a big presence of female voters and elderly voters were also keen to take part,” Dr. Abdelatty said.

The Egyptian community in Germany was able to cast their votes at three ballot points in Berlin, Hamburg and Frankfurt. Nevertheless, some still had to travel 600 or 700 kilometers to reach the stations, the Egyptian ambassador said, adding “people made a lot of effort and were keen to come because they are convinced that the country is going through a modernization phase and that they have to have a role in that by casting their votes. They have also become convinced that their votes make a difference, whether they say yes or no.”

Egyptian students in Germany, a delegation from the Orthodox Church, families with their children, women, persons with disabilities and elderly citizens cast their ballots, the Egyptian ambassador said, adding that the embassy provided all facilitations for a convenient process. “I am very happy with the level of participation and the diversity,” Dr. Abdelatty said.

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PRESS - Egyptian Ambassador to Berlin Dr. Badr Abdelatty and Egyptian expatriates after casting their ballots at the Egyptian Embassy in Berlin on 19 April 2019.

The Egyptian ambassador further affirmed that the embassy was encouraging all citizens to practice their constitutional right, without any intervention in their votes. “This is up to their individual consciousness and choices. We have encouraged them to participate because this reflects a sense of belonging to the nation; secondly it reflects a positive and effective participation; thirdly it reflects a role in defining the future of their country and pertaining the modernization and stability process in the country,” he stated.


“The most successful way is social media. We have a database of Egyptian citizens in Berlin. We posted on Facebook and communicated with them through email. We also have groups on Facebook [and] we communicate through them,” Dr. Abdelatty explained. “Once the national electoral authority declared the [dates] of the referendum, we informed the Egyptian community... Egyptians were keen to come and participate,” he said, further praising the role played by the symbols of the Egyptian community in Germany. “Any Egyptian was welcomed here, whether coming with family or children,” Dr. Abdelatti said, adding that the embassy also provided waiting areas for convenience.

WhatsApp_Image_2019-04-22_at_11.39.45_AM.jpeg

Thanks to the facilitations made by the national electoral authority, even Egyptians on a short visit to Germany or those with an expired national ID were able to cast their vote.

“We followed the directions of the national electoral authority… The fact that the authority allowed even those with expired IDs to vote was very positive and facilitated the process for many citizens,” Dr. Abdelatty stated.

In preparation for the referendum, the embassy first communicated with the German competent security authorities to secure the electoral process in Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg so that there were no disruptions, the Egyptian ambassador said. “The most important thing for the citizen is to arrive safely without disruption from any person affiliated with the terrorist organization,” he explained.

“Many people, who were here on temporary visits in Germany during the referendum contacted us for logistical information and showed interest to come,” Dr. Abdelatty said.

Egyptian-German relations: a golden phase

“With all objectivity, I can say that Egyptian-German relations are based on a real partnership; and this is a realistic statement without any exaggeration,” Dr. Abdelatty told Egypt Today. “The consecutive visits of H.E President El Sisi to Germany was the cornerstone for developing a new phase in the bilateral relations. President Sisi visited Germany four times; in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019. There is no doubt that these visits and the president’s meetings with German Chancellor Merkel created a kind of big and mutual trust between the leaderships of the two countries,” the Egyptian ambassador said, stressing the charisma of the Egyptian president in bilateral meetings and his honesty, “which is something that the German side cares about a lot.”

Referring to the importance of the issue of illegal immigration for Germany, Dr. Abdelatty affirmed that “the stability of Egypt and preventing any boats carrying illegal immigrants from exiting the Egyptian ports since September 2016 has been a big accomplishment,” further stressing Egypt’s role in trying to contain, control and achieve political settlements in the regional crises in Libya, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and others.

“The relations are going through a golden and very progressive and advanced phase in all fields. It is not only limited to political coordination or a relation of trust between the leaderships of the two countries but it also extends to include all economic, trade, social, education and cultural sectors and vocational training,” Dr. Abdelatti said.

Firstly in the political field, the ambassador highlighted the frequent meetings between the Egyptian president and the German chancellor, as well as the foreign minister’s visits to Germany, and joint consultations between the two countries with regards to immigration, combating terrorism and regional issues, especially the peace process and Libya and Yemen. “All of this reflects the [depth] of the political relations between the two countries,” Dr. Abdelatty said.

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FILE - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al Sisi shake hands following a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany June 3, 2015. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

As for the economic relations, Egypt is Germany’s third partner in the Middle East, after the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the Egyptian ambassador stated.

“In light of the economic reform in Egypt, especially after the start of the reform program with the IMF and the flotation of the exchange rate, it [Egypt] became a safe and attractive destiny for German investments,” Dr. Abdelatty said, stressing “a leap in German investments in Egypt.”

The Egyptian ambassador also pointed out an important mechanism to issue investment guarantees that has been endorsed by Germany, following bilateral communications, “to stimulate and encourage small and medium enterprises in Germany to invest in Egypt.”

“These companies represent 80 percent of the economic activities in Germany. But they are afraid because they are owned by families. Everyone is convinced that Egypt is stable, but they are afraid of the instability in the region... Hence, a mechanism has been created by which the German government offers guarantees to these companies to invest in Egypt. This is very good because the company owners will not be afraid of losing their money. In case of any losses, they are compensated by the government,” Dr. Abdelatty said.

And concerning commercial relations, the ambassador referred to “a leap forward in 2018, with a 30 percent increase in nontraditional Egyptian exports to Germany (other than petrochemicals), including fruits and vegetables and textile industries.”

Moreover, “2018 witnessed unprecedented tourism rates in the history of Egyptian-German relations,” Dr. Abdelatty said. “The highest tourism rates were in 2010 before the revolution at 1.3 million. In 2018, we by far exceeded this number and we have high confidence that in 2019 we will achieve a more ambitious number,” he explained.

The education sector is also one of the most important cooperation areas between Egypt and Germany, according to the Egyptian ambassador. “Four cooperation agreements were signed during the president’s visit to Germany in October 2018. We have started implementing these agreements,” Dr. Abdelatty said, referring to the recent establishment of an institution to measure quality control of the education process, an academy to train teachers, full cooperation in the field of vocational education and the establishment of a new university in the New Administrative Capital (The German International University for Applied Sciences GIU), in cooperation with Germany, which is set to open in June 2020.

“There are also the postgraduate scholarships for Master’s and PhD students. We are [launching] new specializations like artificial intelligence, space sciences and digitalization,” Dr. Abdelatty said.

Germany is also financing the refurbishing of Minia Akhnatun museum in Mallawi in Minia.

“Briefly, the relations are developing and flourishing in all fields, which serve the interests of Egypt, especially with regards to the transfer of technology. Germany has very advanced technology and it is keen to transfer this technology to Egypt,” the Egyptian ambassador concluded, listing cooperation in the automotive industry and electro mobility, agreements with Mercedes Benz, cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence, and waste management and recycling.

In a nutshell, Egypt and Germany have strategic relations on all levels and in all fields, based on mutual respect, transparency, friendship and a win –win relation... it is based on true partnership, the Egyptian ambassador stated.

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PRESS - President Sisi (R) meets with the German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (L) on October, 31, 2018


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4/22/2019 5:55:00 PM
<![CDATA[Sudanese military chief thanks Egypt for backing Sudanese people]]>
The military chief gave his remarks during an interview aired by a Sudanese TV channel.

He also hailed the role Egypt plays during its current chairmanship of the African Union (AU) to promote the bloc's understanding of the situation in Khartoum.

Burhan said that the council has been in contact with a large number of states, including Egypt, Russia, the United States and other friendly nations, adding they all appreciate the current situation in Sudan.

"What happened in Sudan is a revolution, not a military coup," he asserted.

A high-level Sudanese delegation will go to the US soon to explore the possibility of removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, Burhan added, welcoming any collective or individual international efforts to support the Sudanese people without dictating any policies or conditions.

As for the council's talks with the political parties in Sudan, Burhan noted that they have submitted more than 100 visions on the transitional period, adding that a political committee is working on them.

Burhan promised that the council will respond to these visions before the weekend.

He stressed that the council is not greedy for power, noting that the transitional period will be manged under the supervision of a technocratic government.

Burhan further highlighted the need for reaching a political consensus as a prerequisite for setting the transitional period in motion. ]]>
4/22/2019 10:40:29 AM
<![CDATA[LIVE UPDATE: Last day of referendum on constitutional amendments kicks off ]]>
Voting for expats was held on April 19 - 21 in 140 polling places located in 124 countries where members of the Egyptian communities were able to cast their ballots between 9:00 and 21:00 in each country’s local time.

Expat voters need to bring a valid Egyptian passport or an Egyptian national ID whether valid or expired as stated by the rules set by the National Elections Authority (NEA).

Resident Egyptians are invited to vote on April 20 - 22. The parliament passed a draft to amend and add 25 articles to the constitution. Those are mainly on the length of presidential terms, introduction of a senate, quotas in the House of Representatives, the selection mechanisms of courts presidents, and the role of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

The electoral database includes 61, 344, 503 citizens. Of which, 30,446,134 are women. The number of polling places is 10,878. The voting process is observed by 15,324 judges, who are actually present in the polling places, and administered by 120,000 employees.

The NEA has dismissed a rumor claiming that the voting would be extended for a fourth day.



Here is the live update on the referendum process:

Official statements

Deputy Chairman and Spokesperson of NEA Judge Mahmoud Helmy Sherif stated that the turnout was high, and that no complaints regarding the referendum process have been submitted so far. Sherif added that the referendum is observed by 22 international organizations and entities including 14 embassies, the European Union, and the Arab League. That is in addition to 58 local organizations.

Chairman of the Press Center at the State Information Service (SIS) Mohamed Imam said that no complaints have been submitted by any of the foreign reporters accredited by the center. Imam clarifies that there is no single reporter of those has been banned from doing their job or entering the polling places or reporting on the referendum process.

The NEA Press Conference

Judge Sherif stated that the results of expats’ voting were received by the NEA from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday as the diplomatic envoys do the sorting at the embassies.

Polling places

Queues of voters at polling places across the country have been building up.

Greater Cairo



Citizens are turning out at a polling place in Cairo’s Garden City.

Garden City

Citizens are turning out at a polling place in Cairo’s Rawd El Farag.



Citizens are turning out at polling places in Giza’s Awsim and Warraq.

Long queues are seen in front of Talaat Harb School in Shampoleon Street. Young voters make up a remarkable portion of the line.



Citizens are turning out at polling places in Cairo’s Gamaleya.

Long queues are seen in front of a polling place in Bab Al Sheareya. Young voters make up a remarkable portion of the line.



Long queues of young voters are seen in front of Workers University in Nasr City.



Long queue of voters at a polling place located in Ramses Railway Station

Railway 2

Railway 3

Railway Station

Governorates



The Kharga Municipal Authority in New Valley governorate has secured a shuttle bus to transport the residents of the remote oasis to polling places, and back to their home free of charge.

Kharga
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4/22/2019 10:32:10 AM
<![CDATA[SIS analyzes foreign media coverslip of the referendum, highlights press freedom]]>
The SIS granted permits to 548 correspondents from the world’s top media organizations that work in several languages, rejecting only one permit.

As of releasing the statement, the SIS received no complaints from the hundreds of foreign correspondents practicing their jobs.

The coverage largely referred to the safety enjoyed by voters, the SIS said, adding that the claim of providing voters with food and transport in exchange for voting is “contradictory” because polling stations are available in every village, and the state would not resort to such individual practices to influence voters.

Further, such limited reports noted that businessmen were behind these acts, and not any state entity.

Below is the full SIS statement:

Statement by the State Information Service

Foreign Media Coverage of the
Referendum on Constitutional Amendments

The State Information Service (SIS) followed up international media coverage of the referendum on the constitutional amendments in Egypt, for the second day of voting at home and the last day of voting abroad. The following points were observed:

First: Size and Scope of Coverage

The referendum on Egypt's constitutional amendments has received widespread media attention worldwide, including the broadcast and publication of thousands of news and video reports in thousands of newspapers, television channels and websites throughout the world and in all its languages.

In Egypt, 549 foreign media correspondents submitted requests for coverage permits, where the National Election Authority granted permits to (548) correspondents, and only one request by the British Broadcasting Corporation was rejected, while the list of organizations that received permits includes the biggest international media organizations such as Reuters, AFP, and the Associated Press.

Newspapers include the Washington Post, the New York Times, le Monde and The Times of London.

Television channels include: CNN, Al Arabiya News, German Television, Sky News, France 24 and US Al Hurra.

This coverage reflects the international interest in this great political event in Egypt, while at the same time highlighting Egypt's keenness to ensure and encourage media participation from all over the world in the coverage of the referendum with transparency.

Second: Freedom of International Media Outlets Conducing Field Coverage of all the Referendum Stages in all Premises.

Media outlets have covered both inside and outside the premises of the polling stations, and conducted hundreds of interviews with voters, officials, judges, opposition figures and others. All means of follow-up: print, audio and video were used freely in about 13919 electoral subcommittees in 10878 polling centers and 368 general committees, in addition to voting stations for Egyptians abroad.

At the time of preparing this statement, no complaints were received from any correspondent that he/she was prevented from practicing his/her work or from entering the committees, or moving freely, or being restricted in any form. All correspondents were enabled to practice their profession and facilities were made available them to give them access to everything related to the referendum process.

Third: International Media Coverage Trends

There is a global consensus on the integrity of the referendum procedures, a consensus on an atmosphere of complete stability and a 100% safe environment on the entire Egyptian territory, despite all the dangers of terrorism in the past.
There was also no single media report on any difficulty faced by citizens in reaching their electoral premises, regardless of their political positions or party affiliations. There was also no complaint from any citizen regarding the accuracy and integrity of the voters lists, which makes the referendum one of the most accurate and successful logistical operations in the history of polling in Egypt.

In terms of the freedom of the participants to vote or to influence their choices, the international media did not monitor in any way any intervention by the security, executive or other state agencies to influence the positions of voters in the referendum in any specific direction, despite the intensive presence of all parties concerned with maintaining the security and protection of citizens and the democratic process.

In certain instances, some media outlets have published reports that have not been verified on “bags of food” being given to some voters. Noteworthy:

The coverage of such claims was limited, not exceeding (4) media reports.
The claims in these reports are contradictory, two of which referred to the transfer of citizens from villages and giving them food in return for voting, which is not true in light of the existence of electoral committees everywhere near the residence of all citizens.
These reports mentioned that the purpose is to encourage the exercise of the right to vote and not to influence voters in a certain direction, which confirms the opposite of what the writers of such reports intended. There is no doubt that should the State with all its organs present at all the referendum premises, wishes to counter the will of the voters or influence them, did not need these limited individual practices to encourage voters to cast their ballots in the way they want.

That in the four instances, it was noted that businessmen or party delegates are the ones who provided this assistance and not any State entity.

In one of these reports, readers were misled by using old photos of food supply, including a photo that was published more than a year ago, to think that these photos were taken during the current referendum.

Fourth:
Several international media outlets traced the views, positions and activities of the parties and people opposing the constitutional amendments, including the activities of the Civil Democratic Movement, which many media outlets described as including 10 parties and which held a press conference calling for a “no” vote on the amendments, as well as other websites which some media outlets said they had tens of thousands of followers and invited them to vote against the amendments.

The international media also polled the views of dozens of opposition figures on the constitutional amendments from all political spectrum, calling on citizens to vote against the amendments. All this has confirmed to everyone the utterly expansive atmosphere for all political parties to freely express their views and practice their political activities.

Fifth:
Regarding all that has been published in the media outlets around the world, or through some other organizations on the content of the constitutional amendments themselves, and the jurisprudence on what such amendments mean for the political system and political institutions in Egypt, all that has said in this regard is worthless false readings. The people of Egypt is the only entity, that has the right to express its decisive opinion about these amendments in a unique way known in the world and in all democratic systems through casting ballots. No one has the right to confiscate the will of the Egyptian people, or to jump on its position and decision, which is determined by the results of the voting on the referendum.

All that is allowed for everyone is to make sure that the Egyptian people has been empowered to exercise the right to vote freely in the referendum. This is a fact recognized by all the political parties in Egypt and the media outlets that covered all stages of the voting process both in Egypt and abroad.]]>
4/21/2019 9:47:39 PM
<![CDATA[President Sisi receives US Senator Ron Wyden in Cairo]]>
President Sisi highlighted the strategic relation between Egypt and the United States that has extended for decades, stressing Egypt’s keenness to boost bilateral ties on all fronts, especially amid the disturbed situation in the region and the escalating challenges of instability and terrorism.

“President Sisi is keen to contact all Congress’ leaders within the framework of mutual cooperation and consultation between the two countries. Sisi reviewed Egypt’s efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and underscored the country's peerless trials to carry out comprehensive economic reform and sustainable development and settle disagreements and political conflicts in the region,” presidency spokesperson Bassam Rady stated.

For his part, Wyden said that Egypt is the pillar of security, stability, and peace in the Middle East, as well as being a strategic partner to the US in the region.

Wyden further lauded Egypt’s successful role in sustaining peacekeeping forces, combating terrorism, renewing religious discourse and stressing the code of ethics.

During the meeting, the officials discussed the situation in Libya and Syria, asserting the necessity to find political solutions to these conflicts in a way to conserve the unity and sovereignty of these countries.

President Sisi affirmed Egypt's full support for the Palestinian stance to reach a political settlement, highlighting the need to reach a just and comprehensive solution leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
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4/21/2019 5:32:40 PM
<![CDATA[Abbas lauds Egypt's efforts to resolve Palestinian cause]]>CAIRO – 21 April 2019: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas praised Egypt's efforts at various levels to resolve the Palestinian cause and protect the rights of the Palestinian people during his meeting in Cairo with the Egyptian president, presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said.

The meeting was attended by Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri and Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel. Secretary-General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat, Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki, and Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt Diab al-Louh also attended.

abbas_sisi_2

During the meeting, Abbas stressed the importance he attaches to the coordination with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi concerning the Palestinian situation and ways to deal with the challenges facing the Palestinian people.

He also reviewed the determinants of the Palestinian situation in light of the recent developments.

For his part, President Sisi affirmed Egypt's full support for the Palestinian stance to reach a political settlement, highlighting the need to reach a just and comprehensive solution leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The meeting also reviewed the challenges currently faced by the Palestinian Authority, especially following Israel's deduction of the clearing funds, and the negative repercussions of such issue on the status of the authority.

Sisi affirmed Egypt's keenness to exert efforts with the concerned parties in this regard to prevent further escalation.

The Egyptian efforts to stabilize the Gaza Strip were also discussed during the meeting. President Sisi pointed out that the Egyptian moves always aim at maintaining the security and stability of the Palestinian people and improving the humanitarian and economic conditions in the Gaza Strip

Egypt continues its efforts to complete the reconciliation process and achieve political consensus within the framework of a unified vision among all Palestinian forces and factions, and in accordance with an Egyptian strategy to support the Palestinian Authority and its role in the Gaza Strip, Radi said.

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4/21/2019 5:26:11 PM
<![CDATA[Arab FMs hold emergency meeting on Palestinian cause]]>
Abbas is to brief the Arab foreign ministers on the latest developments in Palestine in the aftermath of reports that the Palestinian cause is being liquidated.

He is expected to call for putting into effect the resolutions of a recent Arab summit in Tunisia.

The Arab foreign ministers are due to issue a statement at the end of their meeting to express their unified stance against recent Israeli escalations in the Palestinian territories.]]>
4/21/2019 4:07:39 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian ambassadors reveal referendum turnout]]>
The following are the statements of Egypt’s ambassadors on the turnout.

Ambassador to Algeria Ayman Mosharafa said that the turnout on the second day of the referendum was high,explaining that the majority are expats working for Egyptian companies in Algeria.

Mosharafa added that workers, youth, and women had cast their ballots and that the turnout was high at noon and in the afternoon despite the cold weather and heavy rain.

Ambassador to the United States Yasser Reda attributed the high turnout on Saturday to the fact that is the first day of the weekend in the country. Reda revealed that many Expats drove for long hours to reach Egyptian consulates in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Houston. The ambassador added that Bishop Michael of Virginia had cast his ballot in the referendum.

Ambassador to Kuwait Tarek al-Kouny stated that the turnout was unprecedented in the second half of the second day when temperatures declined. Ambassador to New Zealand Tarek al-Wassimy said the members of the Egyptian community were eager to take part in the referendum.

Ambassador to Australia Mohamed Khairat said that Egyptian expats took part in the referendum remarkably over the weekend. The polling places were located in the embassy in Canberra, and in the consulates in Sydney, and Melbourne.

Ambassador to Iraq Alaa Mousa revealed that the turnout over the three days has been high, and that women have composed a remarkable share of voters. Ambassador to Morocco stated that a big number of Egyptian expats came from all cities to the embassy in Rabat to cast their ballots.

Ambassador to Germany Badr Abdel Aati said that members of the Egyptian community, particularly youth, were eager to cast their ballots.

Expat voters need to bring a valid Egyptian passport or an Egyptian national ID whether valid or expired as stated by the rules set by the National Elections Authority (NEA).

Resident Egyptians are invited to vote on April 20 - 22. The Parliament passed a draft to amend and add 25 articles to the Constitution. Those are mainly on the length of presidential terms, introduction of a senate, quotas in the House of Representatives, the selection mechanisms of courts' presidents, and the role of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

The electoral database includes 61, 344, 503 citizens, of which, 30,446,134 are women. The number of polling stations is 10,878. The voting process is observed by 15,324 judges, who are actually present in the polling places, and is administered by 120,000 employees.
]]>
4/21/2019 2:21:54 PM
<![CDATA[Elderly come out in high numbers to vote in referendum]]>
Elderly men and women from all over Egypt have gone to submit their votes in the referendum.

It seems that, as always, the elderly are setting a role model for the younger generations and are taking the lead in securing the future of the country by putting their opinion forward, and saying what they believe.

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Earlier Sunday, Matrouh Governorate saw the oldest voter in the referendum yet. The 104-year-old was so adamant on voting that she was taken via a wheelchair to the polling station, where she was given a ballot and voted in the referendum.

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Elderly come out in high numbers to vote in referendum

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-21 at 1.07.25 PM (2)
Elderly come out in high numbers to vote in referendum

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-21 at 1.07.25 PM
Elderly come out in high numbers to vote in referendum

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Elderly come out in high numbers to vote in referendum

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Elderly come out in high numbers to vote in referendum
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4/21/2019 1:27:10 PM
<![CDATA[Zuhair Garana acquitted in ‘Companies licenses’ case ]]>
The Cassation Court listened to lawyer Mohamed Abu Shoka's appeal where he claimed that Garana was the best minister of tourism according to tourism records and the high rate of growth achieved during his tenure.

“Garana did not make any profits from his position and worked on increasing the number of tourism companies in Egypt. All the established tourism companies brought huge income to Egypt,” Abu Shoka further elaborated.

It is worth mentioning that the court acquitted Garana and two other defendants of charges of profiteering and squandering public money, cancelling the five-year prison sentence imposed on them.

In March 2014, a Cairo criminal court sentenced Garana to fiveyears in prison after he was found guilty of corruption and violation of auction laws, buying land in the resort “Gamsha” in AinSohkna.He appealed the decision.

Two other defendants were sentenced in absentia to five-years in prison in the same trial.

The prosecution already accused the defendants of several criminal charges including profiteering and squandering public money.

ZuhairGarana, who was the minister of tourism during former President Hosni Mubarak's rule from 2006 to 2011, has been facing a number of corruption-related charges and trials since he left office in 2011.

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4/21/2019 1:24:25 PM
<![CDATA[ACHPR forum Kicks off in Sharm El Sheikh ]]>The forum will last for three days until April 22.

Among the topics that will be discussed during the forum are immigration, asylum,displacement, women and children's rights, and ways of applying the African Charter for Human and Peoples' Rights.

The forum is held in partnership between the African Commission, the African Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, the National Council for Human Rights in Morocco and the Arab Organization for Human Rights.

The forum was inaugurated by Ambassador Youssef Zadeh, representative of the Egyptian Foreign Minister;Maitra Sweata, head of The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR), Mabasa Fall and Hanna Forster of the African Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies along with Alaa Shalaby, president of the Arab Organization for Human Rights.

The opening speeches emphasized the importance of the role played by the civil society in enriching and strengthening the African human rights system, in addition to other key issues related to public mobility and democratization of African countries including Algeria and Sudan and the suffering of people in turbulent areas, including Libya.

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4/21/2019 1:03:49 PM
<![CDATA[Disabled people keen to vote on constitutional amendments]]>


This referendum witnesses debut printing of ballot papers using Braille writing system, which uses embossed paper and designed to allow people who are visually impaired to read. The Braille ballot papers will allow blind citizens to practice their constitutional right, and vote in the referendum unassisted.

Braille allows blind people and those who have low vision to read documents through touching raised dots representing the letters of alphabet.

A blind local was keen to cast his vote in a polling station in Giza's Al-Warraq.

While Giza's Kirdasah has reportedly witnessed a large turnout, especially after the participation of people with special needs, the youth, women, and elders.



Accompanying a relative, a blind person in Menoufia was able to cast his ballot. Also a 44-year old physically disabled man, who is unable to use his legs, were seen crawling to a polling station in Cairo's Rod Al-Farag.



Also in Beni Suef, security forces have helped disabled people and older people by accompanying them on wheel chairs, so they can cast their ballot. Also female police personnel were seen organizing female queues before their polling stations.

According to Article 244 of the Constitution, according to the amendment proposed, the State shall ensure that the youth, Christians, persons with disabilities and Egyptians residing abroad are represented in an appropriate manner, as specified by law.

While before the amendment, the article stipulated that these sectors shall be represented appropriately in the first parliament elected after this constitution comes into effect, as specified by law.

Polling stations nationwide have started to receive voters inside Egypt on Saturday to cast their ballots in the referendum, over three consecutive days, while expats have been allowed to vote since Friday, according to each country's local time. The referendum is held under full judicial supervision with the participation of 19,339 judges.

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What state did for disabled

In January, Egyptian Parliament gave a final approval on a draft law submitted by the government to establish the National Council for People with Disabilities, away from the National Council for Disabled Affairs (NCDA).

According to the draft law, the new Disabilities Council is an independent body that aims to promote, develop and protect the rights of persons with disabilities and their constitutional dignity.

The council shall enjoy technical, financial and administrative independence in performing its activities, functions and competences.

Concerning administration, the council shall consist of a president, a vice-president and 17 members with disabilities in addition to public figures with experience.

The formation decree shall be issued by Egypt's president based on the decision of the majority of members of the Parliament within three months from the date of promulgation of the law.

In December, Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi allocated LE 80 million ($4.46 million) of the Tahya Misr Fund in support of people with special needs.

The president made the announcement while attending a celebration marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. "People with special needs in Egypt represent 9-10 percent of the total population", Sisi said.

In July 2018, President Sisi announced establishing a technical center for services for disabled persons, to be the first of its kind in Africa. The center will enable people with hearing or speech related disability to use technology to communicate through mobile phones.

During the inauguration of the seventh International Conference on Information Technology Convergence and Services for People with Disabilities (ICT4PwDs), Sisi also announced establishing an initiative that aims to enable disabled people to get services and information introduced by online websites of governmental institutions.
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4/21/2019 12:28:04 PM
<![CDATA[NGOs have great role in constitutional referendum: NEA]]>
He also lauded the NGOs role regarding holding the referendum process.

Ibrahim met on Saturday with delegations from three NGOs including that of Volunteers Without Borders. During the meeting he reviewed the efforts of the NEA to prepare for the referendum, provide technical and logistical support to ensure that referendum is held in a fair and transparent way.

The first day of the referendum kicked off in Egypt, where polling stations across governorates have opened their doors at 9 a.m., and will close at 9 p.m. for three consecutive days.

TV channels showed queues of voters at some polling stations waiting minutes before the doors were opened and they were allowed in to cast their ballot by either agree or disagree on a set of proposed constitutional amendments passed by the parliament Tuesday.

A number of societal dialogues were held over the past weeks attended by various segments and experts in the country, to discuss the amendments ahead of a plenary session at the House of Representatives, where parliamentarians voted for passing them.

A total of 61 million eligible voters were called for casting their ballots in the public referendum on the constitutional amendments.]]>
4/20/2019 5:46:26 PM
<![CDATA[EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Egypt’s Parliament Speaker on constitutional amendments]]>
Opposition was welcomed in the parliament sessions because “we do not have something to hide, or anything to fear”
• Parliament is a platform for open dialogue and national debate where everyone is heard
• The dialogue sessions had a good impression and established a “freedom of opinion era” in Egypt.
• The circumstances of the 2014 Constitution were “difficult.”
• The constitutional amendments have been suggested for a long time; ‘hence “not new.”
• Egypt’s National Election Authority (NEA) is an independent body, same as the judiciary.
• What has been achieved for the country in the past 5 years is a “miracle.”
• President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi did not interfere in any way in the constitutional amendments.
• Egyptian women are “real heroines and now is the time to empower them.”
• The government did not intervene in the constitutional amendments and did not attend its parliament meetings.
• Egypt needs to draft a new constitution; only the House of Representatives has the power to to amend some of the current constitution articles.
• Egypt’s Senate will contribute to improving Parliament performance, and I expect its election by 2020


Translated from Arabic into English by: Aya Samir



CAIRO – 20 April 2019: Egypt’s Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal revealed “backstage-details” regarding the session in which the constitutional amendments were decided at the House of Representatives during an exclusive interview with Youm7 Editor-in-Chief Khaled Salah.


Abdel Aal stressed that the idea of submitting amendments to the Egyptian constitution had been “on the table” since the first session of Parliament, and cannot be considered a “new suggestion.”



HUSS0089

2014 constitution, drafted following the ouster of an Islamist regime, did not respond to reality


“We all know the circumstances in which the 2014’s constitution was written; they were difficult and unusual circumstances. Many articles were written depending on members’ reactions and past political experiences,” Abdel Aal said. He added that this way produced some articles that were “not appropriate for the reality.”


Abdel Aal said "the proposed amendments will develop Egypt’s constitution and deal with a number of its current problems.” He pointed out that the current amendments make up an “integrated package of modifications” to the current constitution, of which empower women, establish Egypt’s Senate (also known as the Shura Council), set a position for a vice president, amend the presidency term and balance the relation between the state and judiciary.


HUSS0454

He explained that Parliament dealt with “rumors” about the constitutional amendments with “transparency,” which he described as the “best weapon.”


The speaker underscored that opposition to the amendments were “heard” and approved,” such as applying the new presidency term immediately on the current presidency.


HUSS0344

Regarding the guarantees provided for Egypt’s judiciary independence, Abdel Aal explained that the international standards of judicial independence require judiciary access to sufficient financial resources allowing it to carry out its tasks. “These International standards have also established that the allocation of an independent budget is one of the essential elements of judicial independence, and that the best way to ensure the independence of the judiciary lies in the fact that the responsibility of managing the budget is entrusted to the judiciary itself,” Abdel Aal said.


Regarding Egypt’s Senate elections, Abdel Aal expected it to be held by 2020, especially that drafting its law needs a long time.


HUSS0480

On the amended presidency term, Abdel Aal said it was one of the most important articles discussed by the lawmakers. “We considered it as one of the main articles to maintain political stability.”


He added that “we asked ourselves: does the constitution's period of four years in presidency achieves the country’s stability? The answer was no.” Abdel Aal explained that the presidency terms in other countries are being reviewed, and have been expanded from five to seven years in several countries. He noted that Egypt needs a longer presidency terms for the sake of its economic plans.


“Presidency terms in other countries are being reviewed, and have been expanded from five to seven years in several countries,” Abdel Aal said. He noted that Egypt needs a longer presidency terms for the sake of its economic plans.


“According to Egypt’s circumstances, I think that no one can deny the stability that has been achieved recently. Living in a region full of conflicts, having more than 3,000 kilometers of open borders that need to be secured and protected, long-term economic plans of which a huge part has already been achieved… all of this means that we need to expand our political options to enhance the country’s stability,” Abdel Aal explained.



Women’s Parliament share rectified in amendments


On Women’s share of the new amendments, Abdel Aal said there is nearly 90 women currently in parliament, and their performance has been “honorable.” He explained that the current percentage of women’s seats in Parliament gives Egypt an “international privilege, especially that the International Parliament Union does not allow you to vote unless the voting delegation has female members.” According to his statements, the amendments will enhance women’s role and their participation in political life.


“ The amendments will enhance women’s role and their participation in political life,” Abdel Aal.


HUSS0104

According to the amended Article (102, Paragraph 1), women will be given one fourth of the number of Parliament seats.


The article reads “[t]he House of Representatives shall consist of at least 450 members, elected through direct and secret ballot. At least quarter the number of the parliamentary seats shall be given to women.”


Since the establishment of the Egyptian House of Representatives, the number of women parliamentarians has never reached such percentage. In 1979, 1984 and 2010, when Egypt applied the quota, the Parliament witnessed a high female representation as a result of the application of the quota, according to a report by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) in 2014, which called for at least 30 percent of Parliament to be allocated for women.


HUSS0113

In 2010, 64 seats were allocated for women in Parliament, constituting 12 percent. But the figure declined to only 2 percent in the 2011/2012 Parliament, which was dominated by Islamists, after the country allocated a quota for candidates without specifying women’s order in electoral lists for political parties in elections, according to the ECWR report.



Sisi did not intervene in amendments, Parliament did not coordinate election with NEA


HUSS0450

Egypt’s Parliament Speaker also emphasized that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi did not intervene in the constitutional amendments, and only parliamentarians proposed and deliberated them. He denounced all “rumors” regarding alleged government interventions in the constitutional amendments. He affirmed that there were no contacts between Parliament and the government regarding the amendments.


“The constitutional amendments were submitted by Parliament members and discussed only within the Council,” Abdel Aal said.


“The constitutional amendments were submitted by Parliament members and discussed only within the Council,” Abdel Aal.


He added that “the government did not even attend our meetings or any of our discussions.”


Abdel Aal also stressed that Egypt’s National Election Authority (NEA) is an independent body, much like the judiciary. He said Parliament did not even coordinate anything about the public voting procedures, including the voting date, with the NEA.



Parliament heard opposition, entrenches pluralistic community


Abdel Aal also noted that opposition members had their “full opportunity” to expresses their point of view. He said he was shocked hearing that some of the opposition members called for a protest. “Why would they organize a protest while we have a parliament where we can discuss everything and debate,” Egypt’s speaker exclaimed.


HUSS0190

“A health community is diverse and pluralistic. We must hear the opposition and welcome it; however, the opinion in the end should be for the majority,” Abdel Aal said.


“A health community is diverse and pluralistic. We must hear the opposition and welcome it; however, the opinion in the end should be for the majority,” Abdel Aal.


On April 16, a total number of 531 parliamentarians approved a draft report of a number of constitutional amendments presented earlier by its legislative committee. Only 22 parliament members refused the amendments while one member abstained from voting.


HUSS0196

On the following day, April 17, Lasheen Ibrahim, head Egypt’s NEA, announced that the referendum on the constitutional amendments will be held Friday, April 19, to Sunday, April 21 for Egypt’s expats, and will take place starting from Saturday, April 20 to Monday, April 22 for citizens inside the country.


Ibrahim urged voters to take part in the poll, accompany their children, and enjoy their constitutional right, urging them to ignore the boycott calls, and to cast their ballot in the polling stations nationwide.




Khaled Salah is the editor-in-chief and father of Egyptian influential daily Youm7; the paper was twice selected by Forbes Middle East as having the most effective news website in the Middle East.

Khaled Salah
Khaled Salah, editor-in-chief of influential daily Youm7 ]]>
4/20/2019 5:28:46 PM
<![CDATA[In pics: Voters nationwide vote on constitutional amendments]]>
Cairo has seen a relatively high turnout of voters so far, as has the Giza governorate.

Also, Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani was seen casting his ballot in a polling station in Luxor, due to his presence there during the discovery of a new tomb at the Draa Abul Naga necropolis in Luxor’s West Bank.

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Halayeb and Shalateen witness high turnout in referendum

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Halayeb and Shalateen witness high turnout in referendum

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Halayeb and Shalateen witness high turnout in referendum

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Halayeb and Shalateen witness high turnout in referendum


The approved amendments expand each of the two presidential terms allowed for any president to six years instead of four, while a separate transitional article gives an exceptional right to incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was re-elected in 2018, to run for a third 6-year term after he finishes his second term in 2024 instead of 2022.

Over 4 million eligible voters can cast their ballots in 762 polling stations across Alexandria, while in Upper Egypt's Minya, voters are around 3.36 million, and cast their vote in 737 polling stations.

Policemen, in coordination with the Armed Forces, station around the polling stations to secure voters, and protect the citizens' constitutional right to vote.

Menoufia Governor Saeed Abbas said that all 611 polling stations in the governorate have been well prepared to receive 2.621 million voters, calling on all the residents of the governorate to take part in the referendum.

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-20 at 1.47.53 PM
A blind voter cast his ballot in Menoufia – Press photo

In the Mediterranean governorate of Matrouh, 159 polling stations could receive voters to take part in the referendum. The number of eligible voters in the governorate is assumed at 286,059 voters.

Meanwhile, residents of Beheira flocked to 908 polling stations throughout the governorate, which has 3.895 million eligible voters, accounting for 6.36 percent of the total voters nationwide.

Behira governorate has been known for supporting the state, as more than 1.5 million Beheira citizens renewed their trust in President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in the 2018 election, and elected him for a second term, according to official results.

In Upper Egypt's Aswan, about a million people are eligible to vote in the referendum, with 252 polling stations distributed across the Upper Egyptian governorate, while in Luxor, around 800,000 eligible voters can vote in 195 polling stations.

In Qena, over 1.96 million voters can visit over 400 polling stations to cast their ballot.


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Voters cast their ballot in Qena – Press photo

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Woman voting in Alexandria

Women in Alexandria have gone out in especially high numbers.

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4/20/2019 1:59:19 PM
<![CDATA[Foreign media referendum coverage biased, irregular: Media Council]]>
In his remarks, Salim said that the chamber monitors all that is issued by the local and foreign media and that it prepares a report every two hours that is sent to the National Elections Commission and the Information Center of the Council of Ministers.

He also added that the Chamber monitored the local media's commitment to professionalism and accuracy in its coverage of the referendum, pointing out that it detected irregularities and bias in covering foreign media sites.

The National Elections Committee has previously stated that the number of general committees to vote for Egyptians inside is 368 committees, which include 10,878 polling stations and 13,919 sub-committees, stressing that it is important for those eligible to vote to do so, noting that there will be a LE 500 fine for those who do not vote.

Lashin Ibrahim, Head of the National Electoral Commission and Vice-President of the Court of Cassation, called on voters whose names are registered in the voters' database to participate in the constitutional referendum. The elections will take place outside Egypt on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 19-21, And on Monday, 20, 21 and 22 April.

Of those eligible to vote, 61,344,503 voters, 50.37% are men and 49.63% are women.

The referendum process is subject to full judicial supervision, with 19,339 judges (basic and reserve), of whom 15,324 are actual judges at the ballot box.
]]>
4/20/2019 12:45:57 PM
<![CDATA[NPA chief: Egyptians are convinced of importance of constitutional amendments]]>
The NPA chief made the remarks after casting his ballot in the referendum in New Cairo's Fifth Settlement district.

The constitutional amendments outline a road for the future and protect gains and achievements of the Egyptian State, Gabr said, adding that they also help expand public participation, mainly women, youths and Copts, in the political process.]]>
4/20/2019 12:22:16 PM
<![CDATA[Live Update: 1st day of referendum on constitutional amendments for resident Egyptians kicks off ]]>
Voting for expats is held on April 19 - 21 in 140 polling places located in 124 countries where members of the Egyptian communities can cast their ballots between 9:00 and 21:00 in each country’s local time.

Expat voters need to bring a valid Egyptian passport or an Egyptian national ID whether valid or expired as stated by the rules set by the National Elections Authority (NEA).

Resident Egyptians are invited to vote on April 20 - 22. The parliament passed a draft to amend and add 25 articles to the constitution. Those are mainly on the length of presidential terms, introduction of a senate, quotas in the House of Representatives, the selection mechanisms of courts presidents, and the role of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

The electoral database includes 61, 344, 503 citizens. Of which, 30,446,134 are women. The number of polling places is 10,878. The voting process is observed by 15,324 judges, who are actually present in the polling places, and administered by 120,000 employees.



Here is the live update on the referendum process:

Greater Cairo

IMBABA
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Imbaba. April 20, 2019.


Agouza
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Agouza. April 20, 2019.

Badr City
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Badr City. April 20, 2019.


Banha
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Qalyoubeya's capital, Banha. April 20, 2019.


Boulaq
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Boulaq. April 20, 2019.


Hadayek Al Ahram
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Hadayek Al Ahram. April 20, 2019.


Manshaat Al Qanater
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Manshaat Al Qanater. April 20, 2019.


Nasr City
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Nasr City. April 20, 2019.


Nasr City 2
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Nasr City. April 20, 2019.

Salam City
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Salam City. April 20, 2019.


Sharabeya
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Sharabeya. April 20, 2019.


Sayeda Zeinab
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Sayeda Zeinab. April 20, 2019.


Qattameyah
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Qattameyah. April 20, 2019.

Also, a remarkable turnout was seen in Madinaty, Al Rehab, Heliopolis, Al Marg, Abdeen, Ezbet Al Nakhl, Nahya, and the New Administrative Capital.



Upper Egypt

Aswan
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Aswan. April 20, 2019.


Qena
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Qena. April 20, 2019.


Delta and Coastal Governorates

Al Alamein
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Al Alamein city located in Matrouh governorate. April 20, 2019.


Mahala
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Mahala located in Gharbeya governorate. April 20, 2019.


Beheira
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Beheira. April 20, 2019.


Daqahleya
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Daqahleya. April 20, 2019.


Ismailiyah
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Ismailiyah. April 20, 2019.


Sharqeya
Voters standing in a queue in front of a polling place in Sharqeya. April 20, 2019.


Sinai

North Sinai
Voters standing in a line in front of a polling place to cast their ballots in the referendum on draft constitutional amendments in North Sinai. April 20, 2019.


Sheikh Zowayed
Voters standing in a line in front of a polling place to cast their ballots in the referendum on draft constitutional amendments in North Sinai's Sheikh Zowayed. April 20, 2019.


Sharm El Sheikh
Voters standing in a line in front of a polling place to cast their ballots in the referendum on draft constitutional amendments in South Sinai's Sharm El Sheikh. April 20, 2019.


Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has cast his vote in the National School of Hadayek Al Maadi.

Mahlab

Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Abou El Gheit has cast his vote in Al Nogoum School located in Misr Al Guadida.

Abou El Gheit

Minister of Interior Mahmoud Tawfik has cast his ballot.

Interior

Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali al-Meselhy has cast his vote in Talaat Harb Primary School located in Mohandessin.

Supply

Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Ezz El Din Abou Steit has cast his ballot in Dokki.

Agriculture

Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad has cast her ballot in Ibn Sina School located in Misr Al Gadida.

Environment

Minister of Education and Technical Education Tarek Shawki has cast his ballot in Al Monira School located in Cairo’s downtown.

Education

Chairperson of the National Council for Women Maya Morsi has cast her vote. She urged Egyptian women to participate in the referendum.

Maya Morsi

Minister of Immigration and Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram has cast her ballot in the The British School located in Rehab City.

Migration

House of Representatives Speaker Ali Abdel Aal has cast his ballot in Workers University located in Nasr City. Abdel Aal called on citizens to participate in the referendum stressing that these amendments prepare for a new phase of political and social reform. The speaker considered voting in the referendum as a constitutional duty.

Speaker

Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb has cast his ballot in El-Shaheed Yousry Emara School in Heliopolis.

Ahmed Al Tayeb

Former First Lady Gihan al-Sadat has cast her ballot in a polling place in Dokki.

Gihan

Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr has cast her ballot in Misr Al Guadida School for Girls located in Misr Al Guadida.

Investment 1

Former Interim President Adly Mansour has cast his ballot in a polling place in 6th of October City.

Mansour

Minister of Industry and Trade Amr Nassar has cast his ballot in Koleyat Al Tarbeya School in Dokki.

Trade

Minister of Housing, Facilities, and Urban Communities Assem Al Gazzar has cast his ballot in Al Moqatam Official Language School located in Al Moqatam.

Housing


Mufti Shawky Allam has cast his ballot in Al Hussein Middle School for Girls located in Al Hussein.

Mufti

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has cast his ballot in a polling place in Sheikh Zayed.

ICT

President of the State Lawsuits Authority Judge Hussein Abdo Khalil has cast his ballot in Al Helal Experimental School in New Maadi.

Judge

Minister of Finance Mohamed Maeit has cast his ballot in Khaled Ibn Al Waleed School located in 6th of October City.

Finance

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar has cast his ballot in the youth center of New Cairo’s First Settlement.

Higher education

Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria has cast his ballot in Al Sarayat School located in Al Wayly.

Pope

Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Shaarawy has cast his ballot in Al Horreya School located in Misr al-Gadida.

local development

Minister of Endowments Mokhtar Gomaa has cast his ballot in Al Shaheed Pilot Mohamed Gamal located in Al Manyal.

endowments

Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed has cast her ballot in Mostafa Kamel School located in Sheraton Residences. The minister urged Egyptians to vote stressing that their participation is a national duty.

Health

Minister of Culture Inas Abdel Dayed has cast her ballot in Abou Bakr Al Sediq School located in Sheikh Zayed. The minister called for Egyptians to exercise their right of voting.

culture

Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel Aty has cast his ballot in Al Canal School located in Maadi.

Irrigation

Minister of State for Military Production Mohamed al-Assar has cast his ballot in Siza El Nabarawy School in New Cairo’s Fifth Settlement.

Assar

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has cast his ballot in polling place in Sheikh Zayed.

PM

First Lady Intissar al-Sisi has cast her ballot in El-Shaheed Yousry Emara School in Heliopolis.

First Lady

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has cast his ballot in El-Shaheed Yousry Emara School in Heliopolis.

President


]]>
4/20/2019 11:55:16 AM
<![CDATA[US envoy denies 'Deal of Century' to give portion of Egypt's Sinai to Palestinians]]>
Greenblatt denied "fake stories" about the plan, which is known in Arabic as the "deal of the century," as false. The plan, yet its details has not been disclosed, includes the US vision for the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. In his tweet, the US envoy advised people not to believe everything they read.




Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and a senior adviser in the deal efforts, previously said that details about the plan would be released after April 9 elections in Israel; however, he did not determine a certain time. ]]>
4/20/2019 3:59:36 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptians in Tunisia vote on constitutional amendments ]]>
Voting for expats is held on April 19 - 21 in 140 polling places located in 124 countries where members of the Egyptian communities can cast their ballots between 9:00 and 21:00 in each country’s local time.

Voters need to bring a valid Egyptian passport or an Egyptian national ID whether valid or expired as stated by the rules set by the National Elections Authority (NEA).

Resident Egyptians are invited to vote on April 20 - 22. The parliament passed a draft to amend and add 25 articles to the constitution. Those are mainly on the length of presidential terms, introduction of a senate, quotas in the House of Representatives, the selection mechanisms of courts presidents, and the role of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
]]>
4/19/2019 5:21:31 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptians in France take part in referendum on constitution ]]>
Voting for expats is held on April 19 - 21 in 140 polling places located in 124 countries where members of the Egyptian communities can cast their ballots between 9:00 and 21:00 in each country’s local time.

Voters need to bring a valid Egyptian passport or an Egyptian national ID whether valid or expired as stated by the rules set by the National Elections Authority (NEA).

Resident Egyptians are invited to vote on April 20 - 22. The parliament passed a draft to amend and add 25 articles to the constitution. Those are mainly on the length of presidential terms, introduction of a senate, quotas in the House of Representatives, the selection mechanisms of courts presidents, and the role of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
]]>
4/19/2019 5:10:43 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptians in Turkey take part in referendum on constitution]]>
Voting for expats is held on April 19 - 21 in 140 polling places located in 124 countries where members of the Egyptian communities can cast their ballots between 9:00 and 21:00 in each country’s local time.

Voters need to bring a valid Egyptian passport or an Egyptian national ID whether valid or expired as stated by the rules set by the National Elections Authority (NEA).

Resident Egyptians are invited to vote on April 20 - 22. The parliament passed a draft to amend and add 25 articles to the constitution. Those are mainly on the length of presidential terms, introduction of a senate, quotas in the House of Representatives, the selection mechanisms of courts presidents, and the role of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
]]>
4/19/2019 4:51:21 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptians in Ethiopia cast ballots in referendum on constitutional amendments]]>
Voting for expats is held on April 19 - 21 in 140 polling places located in 124 countries where members of the Egyptian communities can cast their ballots between 9:00 and 21:00 in each country’s local time.

Voters need to bring a valid Egyptian passport or an Egyptian national ID whether valid or expired as stated by the rules set by the National Elections Authority (NEA).

Resident Egyptians are invited to vote on April 20 - 22. The parliament passed a draft to amend and add 25 articles to the constitution. Those are mainly on the length of presidential terms, introduction of a senate, quotas in the House of Representatives, the selection mechanisms of courts presidents, and the role of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

E2

E3

E4

E5
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4/19/2019 4:40:56 PM
<![CDATA[Expats take part in referendum on constitution in India]]>
Voting for expats is held on April 19 - 21 in 140 polling places located in 124 countries where members of the Egyptian communities can cast their ballots between 9:00 and 21:00 in each country’s local time.

Voters need to bring a valid Egyptian passport or an Egyptian national ID whether valid or expired as stated by the rules set by the National Elections Authority (NEA).

Resident Egyptians are invited to vote on April 20 - 22. The parliament passed a draft to amend and add 25 articles to the constitution. Those are mainly on the length of presidential terms, introduction of a senate, quotas in the House of Representatives, the selection mechanisms of courts presidents, and the role of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

نيودلهي 1

نيودلهي 2

نيودلهي 3
]]>
4/19/2019 4:24:15 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptians in Morocco vote on constitutional amendments]]>
Voting for expats is held on April 19 - 21 in 140 polling places located in 124 countries where members of the Egyptian communities can cast their ballots between 9:00 and 21:00 in each country’s local time.

Voters need to bring a valid Egyptian passport or an Egyptian national ID whether valid or expired as stated by the rules set by the National Elections Authority (NEA).

Resident Egyptians are invited to vote on April 20 - 22. The parliament passed a draft to amend and add 25 articles to the constitution. Those are mainly on the length of presidential terms, introduction of a senate, quotas in the House of Representatives, the selection mechanisms of courts presidents, and the role of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
]]>
4/19/2019 4:10:13 PM
<![CDATA[ High turnout of voters worldwide in referendum on amendments: Ministry]]>
The citizens abroad were welcomed to vote their ballot in the referendum on some constitutional amendments that started on Friday, and is set to continue until Sunday, according to the local time of each country.

Also a large number of women, youth, people with special needs, old citizens have flocked to the polling stations in the headquarters of the Egyptian diplomatic offices.

The chamber has received around 30 inquiries regarding the document needed for voting, the statement said, adding that the chamber said that expats can vote by their passports. Also the chamber responded to other inquiries facing each person, according to the statement.

The chamber also explained that those who have no address on their national ID cards cannot currently vote, as they are not registered in the voters' database.

Minister of Immigration Nabila Makram earlier held a meeting on Friday morning, with the members of the operations chamber, where she directed receiving complaints and inquiries and deal with them. She also ordered to activate the hotline with the National Election Authority (NEA) to respond to inquiries about the voting process abroad.

Egyptian expatriates started a three-day voting on the new constitutional amendments in 140 embassies and consulates of 125 countries worldwide, amid massive campaigning for the amendments abroad and domestically.

“The referendum on constitutional amendments will be completely supervised by the judiciary,” said Judge Lasheen Ibrahim, head of the National Election Authority, at a press conference held at the headquarters of the State Information Service in Cairo’s Nasser City district. “There will be a judge at every ballot box. The media and civil society will be able to follow the process.”

Egypt’s Ministry of Migration dedicated hotlines for Egyptian expatriates to receive any complaints or questions related to the three-day public referendum.

Egyptian expatriates could contact the Ministry of Migration on the following phone numbers: +201289850655/ +201017071810 / +201159476593.

They also can contact the ministry via mail: Info.elections@emigration.gov.eg , the minister said in a statement on Thursday.]]>
4/19/2019 4:04:05 PM
<![CDATA[EOHR allowed to follow up on referendum: Abu Saada]]>
The planned amendments expand the presidential term, charge the national army with "protecting the constitution and democracy," and grant the president some unprecedented rights.

Abu Saada said that the organization will expectedly send 1100-1200 followers, adding that it will check the transparency, the turnout, and the procedures to secure the polling stations. He added that it is unlikely that problems will emerge, as unlike elections, referendums have no contenders.

Lasheen Ibrahim, head of the National Election Authority (NEA), called on the Egyptian expatriates to vote in the referendum from Friday, April 19, to Sunday, April 21.

He also announced that the public referendum for the locals inside the country will take place from Saturday, April 20 to Monday, April 22.

Ibrahim urged the citizens to accompany their children and enjoy their constitutional right, urging them to ignore the boycott calls, and to cast their ballot in polling stations nationwide.

There will be a judge to supervise each of the ballot boxes, Ibrahim said, affirming that the NEA, the body charged with managing the electoral process, is keen to ensure the transparency of the voting process.]]>
4/19/2019 3:55:02 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptians in Afghanistan vote on constitutional amendments ]]>
A1

Voting for expats is held on April 19 - 21 in 140 polling places located in 124 countries where members of the Egyptian communities can cast their ballots between 9:00 and 21:00 in each country’s local time.

A2

Voters need to bring a valid Egyptian passport or an Egyptian national ID whether valid or expired as stated by the rules set by the National Elections Authority (NEA).

A3

Resident Egyptians are invited to vote on April 20 - 22. The parliament passed a draft to amend and add 25 articles to the constitution. Those are mainly on the length of presidential terms, introduction of a senate, quotas in the House of Representatives, the selection mechanisms of courts presidents, and the role of the Egyptian Armed Forces.



]]>
4/19/2019 2:56:25 PM
<![CDATA[Expats take part in referendum on constitution in Tehran]]>
Last month, floods across Iran caused 18 deaths, 70 injuries, blockage of roads, and landslides.

Voting for expats is held on April 19 - 21 in 140 polling places located in 124 countries where members of the Egyptian communities can cast their ballots between 9:00 and 21:00 in each country’s local time.

Voters need to bring a valid Egyptian passport or an Egyptian national ID whether valid or expired as stated by the rules set by the National Elections Authority (NEA).

Resident Egyptians are invited to vote on April 20 - 22. The parliament passed a draft to amend and add 25 articles to the constitution. Those are mainly on the length of presidential terms, introduction of a senate, quotas in the House of Representatives, the selection mechanisms of courts presidents, and the role of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
]]>
4/19/2019 2:36:30 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian female expats vote in referendum on constitutional amendments ]]>
1
An Egyptian woman voting on draft constitutional amendments in Saudi Arabia. April 19, 2019. Press Photo

The first ever woman to take part in this referendum is Manal al-Hossainy who is living in New Zealand as the Egyptian embassy there was the first to open its doors for voters.

5

6


Voting for expats is held on April 19 - 21 in 140 polling places located in 124 countries where members of the Egyptian communities can cast their ballots between 9:00 and 21:00 in each country’s local time.

3

4

Voters need to bring a valid Egyptian passport or an Egyptian national ID whether valid or expired as stated by the rules set by the National Elections Authority (NEA).

Resident Egyptians are invited to vote on April 20 - 22. The parliament passed a draft to amend and add 25 articles to the constitution. Those are mainly on the length of presidential terms, introduction of a senate, quotas in the House of Representatives, the selection mechanisms of courts presidents, and the role of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

2

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4/19/2019 12:55:17 PM
<![CDATA[Live Update: Egyptian expatriates vote on constitutional amendments]]>
The amendments include a “transitional article” that allows President Sisi to remain in power until 2024; Sisi will also have the right to run for a new 6-year term. The amendments also give the president the right to choose heads of courts, judicial bodies, the Supreme Constitutional Court, and the Attorney General, Egypt's top prosecutor from some nominees.

Immediately after the Egyptian House of Representatives approved the new amendments to the 2014 Constitution on Tuesday, head of the National Election Authority (NEA) Lachine Ibrahim, called on the Egyptian expatriates to vote in the planned referendum on constitutional amendments from Friday, April 19, to Sunday, April 21. Meanwhile, a total of 61 million eligible voters were called for casting their ballots in the public referendum domestically started on Sunday for three successive days.

There will be a judge to supervise each of the ballot boxes, Ibrahim said, affirming that the NEA, the body charged with managing the electoral process, is keen to ensure the transparency of the voting process.

Egypt’s Ministry of Migration allocated hotlines for Egyptian expatriates to receive any complaints or questions related to the three-day public referendum.

Egyptian expatriates could contact the Ministry of Migration on the following phone numbers: +201289850655/ +201017071810 / +201159476593. They also can contact the ministry via mail: Info.elections@emigration.gov.eg , the minister said in a statement on Thursday.

Live update

16:22 - London
Egyptian expats continue flocking to the Egyptian embassy in London to vote on the new amendments.

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Egyptian expats celebrate after casting their votes in the public referendum on the constitutional amendments- press photo


15:22 - USA and Canada

Egyptian embassy in Washington and Ottawa and consulate in New York opened their doors for the Egyptian expats to ballot their votes on the amendments.
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Egyptian expats head from New Jersey to New York to vote in the constitutional amendments- press photo


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Egyptian ambassador to Canada ballots his vote- Press Photo


14:34- Jordan
Egyptian expats in Jordan after cast their votes in the public referendum on the constitutional amendments. Jordan is one of the Arab countries that host large number of Egyptian community.

342253-العاملون-بشركات-البترول-المصرية-أمام-مقر-الانتخابات
Egyptian expats, who are working at the petroleum sector in Jordan, pose for a picture after casting their ballots


14:32 - Morocco

Members of the Egyptian community in Morocco voted in the headquarters of the embassy in Rabat on draft constitutional amendments.

13:46 - Qatar

Egyptian citizens in Qatar headed to the Egyptian Embassy in Doha to vote on the new amendments to the Egyptian Constitution.

13:18 - Afghanistan

Members of the Egyptian community in Afghanistan voted in the headquarters of the embassy in Kabul on draft constitutional amendments.

12:32 - Germany

The Egyptian Embassy in Berlin on Friday witnessed a high turnout of voters who flocked to the embassy to cast their ballots on the new amendments to the Egyptian Constitution.

برلين 4
Egyptian expats and Egyptian ambassador to Germany Badr Abdel-Atti pose for a picture after casting their votes on the constitutional amendments - press photo


The voting process in Germany is being supervised by Egyptian ambassador to Germany Badr Abdel Atty and will last until April 21.

12:21 - Iran

Members of the Egyptian community in Iran voted on Friday in the headquarters of the “Egyptian Interest Section in Tehran” on draft constitutional amendments despite bad weather embodied in rain, wind, and the possibility of thunderstorms.

11:56 - India

Members of the Egyptian community in India voted on the constitutional amendments in the headquarters of the embassy in New Delhi on Friday.

expats in India
An Egyptian woman casts her vote in the Egyptian embassy in New Delhi - press photo


11:40 - Switzerland

The Egyptian embassy in Bern opened its door for the Egyptian expats to vote on the amendments.

11:28 - South Africa

Egyptians headed to the Egyptian Embassy in South Africa’s Pretoria to cast their ballots on the new amendments to the Egyptian Constitution.

Egyptian ambassador to South Africa Sherif Eissa has affirmed that the Egyptian embassy in South Africa has finished all the necessary preparations to facilitate and enable Egyptians to participate in the voting process.

11:00 - New Zealand
Voting process on the constitutional amendments ended in New Zealand after the embassy opened its door for the voters since 11:00 p.m. on Thursday (Cairo local time).

Egyptian ambassador in New Zealand Tarek al-Wasimi told Egypt Today the embassy saw a high turnout.

10:00 - Italy
After casting their ballots at the Egyptian embassy and consulate in Rome and Milan respectively, Egyptian expats celebrated their participating into the public referendum on the constitutional amendments.



09:15 – The UAE
The Egyptian embassy in Dubai saw high turnout of voters, who cast their ballots on the amendments. Some voters sent Egypt Today their photos inside the embassy to share their moment of voting.

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-19 at 10.29.44 AM
Egyptian expats head to the Egyptian embassy in Dubai to vote on the constitutional amendments - press photo


09:01 – Bahrain
Expatriates of the Egyptian community in Bahrain headed to Manama-based embassy to
08:33 – Kuwait
Expatriates outside the Egyptian embassy in Kuwait lined up in a long queue, waiting to cast their votes on the constitutional amendments.



08:30 – Lebanon
The Egyptian embassy in Beirut received Egyptian expatriates to vote in the public referendum. Also the member of diplomatic staff cast their ballot.

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-19 at 11.16.40 AM
Egyptian family at the Egyptian embassy in Beirut to vote on the new constitutional amendments- press photo


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An expatriate casts his vote on the new constitutional amendments at the Egyptian embassy in Beirut- press photo


08:24 - Saudi Arabia
In Saudi Arabia, where hosts the largest Egyptian community in the Arab world, Egyptian expatriates cast their votes in Riyadh-based embassy amid high turnout.

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-19 at 10.30.23 AM
Egyptian expats participate in a three-day voting on the new constitutional amendments in Riyadh-based embassy - press photo


08:21 – Iraq
Egyptian expatriates in Iraq headed to vote. Egyptian ambassador to Iraq Alaa Morsi and a dipmoatic mission also cast their ballots.

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-19 at 10.23.59 AM
Egyptian ambassador to Iraq Alaa Morsi casts his vote on the constitutional amendments- press photo


08:19 - Oman Sultanate
Many Egyptian citizens cast their votes normally at the Egyptian embassy in Muscat, Egyptian ambassador to the Sultanate told Extra News, he added that the number of voters could rise after Friday Prayer.


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An expat casts his vote on the constitutional amendments- press poto


He added that the embassy is encouraging the Egyptian expatriates and their relatives to vote in the referendum.

Early Friday, the Egyptian embassies in Australia, New Zealand, and South Koreas receives Egyptian expatriates to vote in the referendum on constitutional amendments.
The first cities of which the public referendum has kicked off includes; Wellington’s New Zealand, Canberra and Sydney in Australia, Seoul of South Korea, Tokyo of Japan and China’s Capital Beijing according to their local timing.

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-19 at 10.30.01 AM
Egyptian expats vote on the constitutional amendments in Asturias - press photo


New Zealand was the first country to welcome Egyptians to cast their ballot.




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4/19/2019 11:35:32 AM
<![CDATA[In Pic: Citizens walk across Cairo to urge for constitutional amendments]]>
The rally participants were putting on white tops, with words encouraging other citizens to cast their ballot printed on them, including "participate," and "Long Live Egypt," which the incumbent president always says in his speeches.

99
Hundreds of Egyptian citizens took part in an election rally in Cairo's Abdeen square – Egypt Today/Hossam Atef


On Saturday, the registered voters inside Egypt will be able cast their ballot over three consecutive days, in a referendum on a set of constitutional amendments, including granting the president some unprecedented rights.

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Hundreds of Egyptian citizens took part in an election rally in Cairo's Abdeen square – Egypt Today/Hossam Atef


The rally is organized by the Cairo Governorate authority, in cooperation with the Sport and Youth Directorate, and under the auspices of Cairo governor Khaled Abdel Aal, who is set to personally take part in the rally, along with a number of public figures.

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Hundreds of Egyptian citizens took part in an election rally in Cairo's Abdeen square – Egypt Today/Hossam Atef


The participators are set to walk across the governorate, and will be present in some places including al-Tahrir Square, which witnessed the January 25 revolution in 2011, ousting former President Hosni Mubarak, and June 30 revolution in 2013, which ousted former President Mohamed Morsi.

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Hundreds of Egyptian citizens took part in an election rally in Cairo's Abdeen square – Egypt Today/Hossam Atef


The security forces always station in Al-Tahrir square to prevent further unlicensed protests and illegal gathering.

A Tanoura show was seen during the rally, while participators have raised Egyptian flags and released many balloons.

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Hundreds of Egyptian citizens took part in an election rally in Cairo's Abdeen square – Egypt Today/Hossam Atef


The approved amendments expand each of the two presidential terms allowed for any president to six years instead of four, while a separate transitional article gives an exceptional right to incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was re-elected in 2018, to run for a third 6-year term after he finishes his second term in 2024 instead of 2022.

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Hundreds of Egyptian citizens took part in an election rally in Cairo's Abdeen square – Egypt Today/Hossam Atef


The amendments also give the president the right to choose heads of courts, judicial bodies, the Supreme Constitutional Court, and the Attorney General, Egypt's top prosecutor from some nominees. He would also appoint one third of the members of the Shura Council, which was revived, this time under the name "The Senate."

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4/19/2019 11:22:50 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian embassies, consulates ready to receive expats to vote in referendum]]>
The Egyptian embassies abroad invited citizens to participate in the referendum.

In South Africa, the embassy called on the Egyptian community to read the constitutional amendments and then head to the polling station at the embassy to cast their votes.

In Copenhagen, the embassy stressed the secrecy of the vote, affirming that registered voters will only be able to cast their votes through their valid passports, or national IDs even if they are expired.

Also, embassies in Norway, Canada, Singapore, Belgium, Los Angeles and Riyadh called on the citizens to cast their ballots to enjoy their constitutional right.

Lasheen Ibrahim, head of the National Election Authority (NEA), called on the Egyptian expatriates to vote in the planned referendum on constitutional amendments from Friday, April 19, to Sunday, April 21.

He also announced that the public referendum for the locals inside the country will take place from Saturday, April 20 to Monday, April 22.

Ibrahim urged the citizens to accompany their children and enjoy their constitutional right, urging them to ignore the boycott calls, and to cast their ballot in polling stations nationwide.

There will be a judge to supervise each of the ballot boxes, Ibrahim said, affirming that the NEA, the body charged with managing the electoral process, is keen to ensure the transparency of the voting process.

14 constitutional articles subject to amendment: what changed?

CAIRO – 16 April 2019: The report of the Parliament’s legislative committee has embedded the final legal context of the proposed constitutional amendments, including adding 10 new articles and amending 14 others.

]]>
4/19/2019 12:29:00 AM
<![CDATA[The truth behind 4 rumors about constitutional amendments ]]>
There were claims that the amendments would reduce the powers of the House of Representatives. That is false as the draft does not include any articles on the powers of the House of Representatives.

There were rumors that the ballot papers were printed before the social dialogue held by the House of Representatives had been finished. That piece of information was denied by Speaker Ali Abdel Aal who said that such act would be irrational as it would be preceding the final phrasing of the amendments.

Another rumor stated that the amendments were an attempt to turn Egypt into a pure military state. In reality, military institutions and the presidency have never proposed the amendments or intervened in the process. The proposal was put forward by Parliamentarian Abdel Hady al-Qasabi, who is the leader of the majority at the House of Representatives, and President of the Support Egypt Coalition.

The amended Article 200 provides that: "The Egyptian Armed Forces are owned by the people having as mission protecting the country, preserving its security and the safety of its territories, maintaining the constitution and democracy, preserving the founding principles of the state and its civil status, the earned rights of the people, the rights and freedoms of individuals. The state has the exclusive right to form forces. It is prohibited that any individual, agency, entity or group forms any military or paramilitary formations, troops or groups."

The amendments are introducing a quota for women to occupy 25 percent of the House of Representatives' seats. That is in addition to ensuring that youth, Christians, expats, the disabled, workers, and farmers get a decent representation in the way that will be indicated by the executive law.

The fourth rumor was a claim that shops would be fined LE5,000, if they did not hang banners supporting the amendments. The rumor was dismissed by the Ministry of Local Development that asserted its respect for all opinions by citizens.

Expats voting will start on Friday to end Monday, while voting for residing citizens will take place on April 20-22. ]]>
4/18/2019 10:12:53 PM
<![CDATA[NEA to print Braille ballot papers for 1st time in planned referendum]]>
Braille allows blind people and those who have low vision to read documents through touching raised dots representing the letters of alphabet.

In December 2017, “Alashan Tbneeha” (To Build It), a former campaign that backed President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, issued forms in Braille giving blind citizens the chance to participate in demanding that Sisi runs for a second term as president of Egypt.

As many as 531 out of 554 Parliament members approved on Tuesday a set of constitutional amendments. The NEA announced on Wednesday that a referendum on the amendments will take place for the expatriates from Friday, April 19, to Sunday, April 21.

Locals inside the country will be able to cast their ballot starting Saturday, April 20 to Monday, April 22.

Printing Braille ballot papers comes as part of the efforts exerted by the NEA to facilitate the voting process for people with disabilities. Sherif said that the NEA decided to enable the disabled citizens to vote in ground floors of polling stations that are close to their houses.

According to information announced by the NEA, the number of registered voters is 61,344,503; the number of male voters is slightly bigger that those of females. The voters can cast their votes in 13,919 polling subcommittees. Over 15,000 judges will supervise the voting process, according to information obtained by Egypt Today.

Head of the NEA Lasheen Ibrahim urged the citizens to accompany their children, enjoy their constitutional right, ignore the boycott calls, and cast their ballot in polling stations nationwide.

There will be a judge to supervise each of the ballot boxes, Ibrahim said, affirming that the NEA, the body charged with managing the electoral process, is keen to ensure the transparency of the voting process.

The approved amendments expand each of the two presidential terms allowed for any president to six years instead of four, while a separate transitional article gives an exceptional right to incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was re-elected in 2018, to run for a third 6-year term after he finishes his second term in 2024 instead of 2022.

The amendments also give the president the right to choose heads of courts, judicial bodies, the Supreme Constitutional Court, and the Attorney General from some nominees. He would also appoint one third of the members of the Shura Council, which was revived, this time under the name "The Senate."

14 constitutional articles subject to amendment: what changed?

CAIRO – 16 April 2019: The report of the Parliament’s legislative committee has embedded the final legal context of the proposed constitutional amendments, including adding 10 new articles and amending 14 others.

]]>
4/18/2019 6:55:01 PM
<![CDATA[ What are Women, youth, handicapped shares of constitutional amendments?]]>
According to the amended Article (102, Paragraph 1), women will be given one fourth of the number of Parliament seats.

The article, approved by Egypt’s House of Representatives during a public discussion and voting session, reads: “The House of Representatives shall consist of at least 450 members, elected through direct and secret ballot. At least quarter the number of the parliamentary seats shall be given to women.”

Since the establishment of the Egyptian House, the number of women parliamentarians has never reached such percentage. During 1979, 1984 and 2010, when Egypt applied the quota, the Parliament witnessed high female representation as a result of the application of the quota, according to a report by The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) in 2014, which called for at least 30 percent of the Parliament to be allocated for women.

In 2010, 64 seats were allocated for women at the Parliament, constituting 12 percent. But the figure declined to only 2 percent in 2011/2012 Parliament after the country allocated a quota for candidates without specifying women’s order in electoral list for political parties in elections, according to ECWR report.

What new bill gives Egyptian women

CAIRO - 19 February 2019: Egyptian women will be granted one fourth the number of Parliament seats according to the proposed constitutional amendments to increase women quota in the House. The bill, upon which the public might be soon invited to vote, has collected different opinions on its proposed articles, with the women's representation although considered the highest ever, some parliamentarians argued "less appropriate."



Also, article 244 assured that youth, Christians, persons with disabilities and Egyptians residing abroad will be represented in Parliament in an appropriate manner. The full amended article states: “The State shall ensure that youth, Christians, persons with disabilities and Egyptians residing abroad are represented in an appropriate manner, as specified by law.”

The constitution also mentioned workers and peasants in the new amendments, especially in article number 243, which clarifies: “The State shall ensure that workers and peasants are properly represented in the Parliament as specified by law.”

A New article (Number 248) has been added to the constitution stating that “The Senate (previously known as Shura council) shall study and propose what it deems necessary to consolidate the pillars of democracy, social peace, and the basic values of society, as well as rights, freedoms and public duties. It is also assigned to deepen the democratic system and expand its fields.”

The controversy regarding the amendments has been politically-regarded since it was first suggested as a draft proposal in the Parliament.

MPs rejecting, backing amendments got chance to express themselves: opposition bloc

CAIRO -16 April 2019: As a parliamentary legislative subcommittee already approved a proposed set of constitutional amendments, a number of MPs who earlier voiced rejection of the amendments praised the societal dialogue that took place in the Parliament, hoping that more youth could be present.




In mid-February, members of the House of Representatives approved in principle the proposed amendments after the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee in the Parliament reviewed and passed the draft.

The proposal was submitted in the first place by leader of the majority bloc at the Parliament and President of the Support Egypt Coalition Abdel Hady al-Qasabi to Speaker Abdel Aal earlier in February. The proposal was signed by one-fifth of the Parliament members.

On Tuesday, April 16, a total of 531 Parliamentarians approved the draft report of constitutional amendments. Only 22 parliament members refused the amendments while one member abstained from voting.

By announcing this approval, the parliament gave the state’s National Elections Authority (NEA) the green light to announce a public referendum within 30 days. On Wednesday, April 17, Lasheen Ibrahim, head of NEA, called on the Egyptian expatriates to vote in the planned referendum on the amendments from Friday, April 19, to Sunday, April 21.

He also announced that the public referendum for Egyptians inside the country will take place starting Saturday, April 20 to Monday, April 22.

Ibrahim urged the citizens to accompany their children and enjoy their constitutional right, urging them to ignore the boycott calls, and to cast their ballot in polling stations nationwide.


Before vote: Know about powers granted to president by constitutional amendments

CAIRO - 16 April 2019: The parliamentary legislative subcommittee, headed by Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, approved on Sunday a set of proposed constitutional amendments paving the way for the Parliament to hold a final vote on them on Tuesday.




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4/18/2019 2:49:57 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan Parliament committee calls on int’l action to confront Qatar, Libya interference]]>
The committee also demanded international support for the Libyan National Army in its war against the last terrorism hideouts in Tripoli, calling for lifting arms embargo on Libya.

In its statement, the committee denounced the “blatant and unacceptable Qatari and Turkish interference in Libya's affairs and financing terrorism to maintain a state of chaos and instability in the country.”

The committee cited the last statements by the Qatari foreign minister, who called on the United Nations on Tuesday for an effective arms embargo against eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar.

The committee further condemned the violation of the Libyan territorial waters by Turkish warships “in a desperate attempt to support terrorist groups through sea and air ports in the cities of Tripoli and Zuwara.”

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4/18/2019 12:06:57 PM
<![CDATA[Vote in Egypt’s referendum on amendments starts in New Zealand]]>
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New Zealand, according to Egypt’s time, is considered to be the first country to vote in all presidential elections.

Further information about how election goes in New Zealand and other countries will later be provided.
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Manar El Husseini

Egypt Today monitors Manar El Husseini who is considered the first Egyptian woman to vote in the constitutional referendum at the Egyptian Embassy in New Zealand.

Lasheen Ibrahim, head of the National Election Authority (NEA), called on the Egyptian expatriates to vote in the planned referendum on constitutional amendments from Friday, April 19, to Sunday, April 21.

He also announced that the public referendum for the locals inside the country will take place from Saturday, April 20 to Monday, April 22.

Ibrahim urged the citizens to accompany their children and enjoy their constitutional right, urging them to ignore the boycott calls, and to cast their ballot in polling stations nationwide.

There will be a judge to supervise each of the ballot boxes, Ibrahim said, affirming that the NEA, the body charged with managing the electoral process, is keen to ensure the transparency of the voting process.

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4/18/2019 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Proposed amendments ensure judicial independence: Abu Shoka]]>
Abu Shoka affirmed that the amended articles do not affect the independence of the judiciary, adding that it is an essential component of a state.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has not requested amending any of the constitutional articles, Abu Shoka swore.



The approved amendments expand each of the two presidential terms allowed for any president to six years instead of four, while a separate transitional article gives an exceptional right to incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was re-elected in 2018, to run for a third 6-year term after he finishes his second term in 2024 instead of 2022.

The amendments also give the president the right to choose heads of courts, judicial bodies, the Supreme Constitutional Court, and the Attorney General, Egypt's top prosecutor from some nominees. He would also appoint one third of the members of the Shura Council, which was revived, this time under the name "The Senate.”
]]>
4/17/2019 5:46:21 PM
<![CDATA[BREAKING| Referendum on constitutional amendments to be held starting Friday: NEA]]>
He also announced that the public referendum for the locals inside the country will take place starting Saturday, April 20 to Monday, April 22.

Ibrahim urged the citizens to accompany their children, enjoy their constitutional right, urging them to ignore the boycott calls, and to cast their ballot in the polling stations nationwide.

There will be a judge to supervise each of the ballot boxes, Ibrahim said, affirming that the NEA, the body charged with managing the electoral process, is keen to ensure the transparency of the voting process.

Before vote: Know about powers granted to president by constitutional amendments

CAIRO – 16 April 2019: The parliamentary legislative subcommittee, headed by Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, approved on Sunday a set of proposed constitutional amendments.

]]>
4/17/2019 3:52:59 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's NEA to announce referendum on constitutional amendments Wednesday]]>
The amendments were approved on Tuesday by 531 out of 554 Parliament members. Subsequently, the NEA finds itself obliged, according to law, to announce the referendum within 30 days. Many reports claimed that the referendum will be held next week.

According to information obtained by Egypt Today, the number of registered voters, according to the databases, is 61,344,503; the number of male voters is slightly bigger that those of females. The voters can cast their votes in 13,919 polling subcommittees. Over 15,000 judges will supervise the voting process, according to the information.

Mahmoud al-Sherif, the deputy head of the NEA told Egypt Today that the referendum will take place over three consecutive days to facilitate the voting process for the voters.

During the referendum days, the voters who are residing in governorates that are not stated in their national IDs can till vote in any of the polling stations without prior registration, such as in the presidential elections, Sherif said.

The approved amendments expand each of the two presidential terms allowed for any president to six years instead of four, while a separate transitional article gives an exceptional right to incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was re-elected in 2018, to run for a third 6-year term after he finishes his second term in 2024 instead of 2022.

The amendments also give the president the right to choose heads of courts, judicial bodies, the Supreme Constitutional Court, and the Attorney General, Egypt's top prosecutor from some nominees. He would also appoint one third of the members of the Shura Council, which was revived, this time under the name "The Senate.”


Before vote: Know about powers granted to president by constitutional amendments

CAIRO – 16 April 2019: The parliamentary legislative subcommittee, headed by Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, approved on Sunday a set of proposed constitutional amendments.




Additional reporting by Amr Mohamed Kandil ]]>
4/17/2019 1:54:15 PM
<![CDATA[Instagram blocks accounts of Iran’s supreme leader, IRGC Leaders]]>
Instagram began deleting the account of Sepah News - the Revolutionary Guards mouthpiece - before news spread about the blocking of the accounts of the group’s leaders, in line with a decision taken by US President Donald Trump to put the IRGC on a terrorism list.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on April 8 that it has designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.

The Instagram laws prohibit activities that advocate violence, discrimination, hostility, hatred and pornography.

In remarks to AFP, an Instagram spokesperson said it was operating “under the constraints of US sanctions laws.”

“We work with appropriate government authorities to ensure we meet our legal obligations, including those relating to the recent designation of the IRGC,” the agency quoted the spokesperson as saying.

Few hours after blocking the accounts of IRGC leaders, Instagram also suspended Khamenei’s Instagram account in English. The Iranian Supreme Leader’s account had at least 21,400 followers before it was suspended. His main Farsi account on Instagram with 2.5 million followers is still online.

Also on Tuesday, Iran’s parliament officially approved a law that would put US troops in the Middle East on a terrorism list in a move similar to the Trump decision. The law includes states and entities that support the US decision.
]]>
4/17/2019 1:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Iran requests militias in Iraq, Lebanon to defend against flood protests]]>
"Currently, a significant number of young Lebanese are involved in relief operations across Iran, while many more are on their way to the flood-stricken regions in the country," Sheik Daqiq maintained.

Hezbollah is almost exclusively made of Lebanon’s Shiites and is dependent on Iran’s Islamic Republic for financial and military resources.

The news about the arrival of the Lebanese allies of the Islamic Republic follows Iraqi Shiite militia crossing into Iran in their hundreds since last week, which has led to passionate reactions among opponents of the Iranian regime and social media users.

Meanwhile, the senior spokesman of the Iranian Armed Forces, Abolfazl Shekarchi said on Tuesday, April 16, "It is natural that the forces of the Iranian Militia in Iraq and Syria (IMIS) are present at the front lines to help our flood-hit people."

The IMIS is an armed group established by Iran's Islamic republic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force.

"IMIS members were invited by the Chief Commander of Qods Force, IRGC Major General Qassem Soleimani, to help Iranian relief operations," ultraconservative daily Kayhan reported.

Furthermore, Kayhan said that the members of Liwa Fatemiyoun (Fatemiyoun Division) have also rushed to participate in relief operations across the country.

The Division is an armed group of mainly Afhan Shi'ites established by Quds Force to fight against anti-Bashar al-Assad forces along with the IRGC in Syria.

However, critics say that Iran, with hundreds of thousands of military personnel does not need to invite foreign militia fighters to come to help relief efforts.

Some critics charge that the real reason for the presence of loyal foreign militias, under the cover of flood relief, is to prevent protests by Iran’s flood-stricken population. The disaster of three weeks of floods has left millions in need of humanitarian and reconstruction needs. The government has failed to react to the crisis in a coordinated and efficient manner, angering the population.]]>
4/17/2019 12:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[Erdogan’s AKP demands formal rerun of Istanbul vote]]>
Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) got most votes nationwide in the March 31 election but its loss of the capital Ankara and Istanbul, the country’s economy hub, was a major setback after a decade and half in power.

The AKP had demanded a recount and vowed to appeal for a new vote in Istanbul, citing alleged irregularities, after the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) won the city by a slim margin.

The Supreme Electoral Council, known by its Turkish initials YSK, must now rule on whether the AKP’s formal demand for a new election has any merit.

“We have come here to submit our extraordinary request for the election for the Istanbul metropolitan municipality to be annulled and repeated,” AKP deputy chief Ali Ihsan Yavuz told reporters outside the YSK.

Local media showed images of AKP officials wheeling suitcases containing what they said was evidence of electoral irregularities into the YSK headquarters in Ankara.

It was unclear how long YSK officials could take to rule on the appeal, but lingering uncertainty over the Istanbul result more than two weeks after the ballot is one factor worrying foreign investors and weighing on the lira.

A new Istanbul election would be held in June 2 if the appeal is recognized, according to local media.

A recount of void ballots in Istanbul is still ongoing after the AKP said it found irregularities in several districts.

Opposition candidate CHP Ekrem Imamoglu has accused the AKP of “unfair play” and declared himself mayor. But the margin between him and the AKP’s Binali Yildirim remains very tight.

A defeat in Istanbul would be especially sensitive for Erdogan, who grew up in one of its deprived neighborhoods and built his political career after being Istanbul mayor himself in the 1990s.

The AKP has won every election since it came to power 17 years ago. But voters appeared to punish the party this time after a currency crisis last year badly hurt Turkish households and pitched the economy into recession.

Erdogan himself has described the Istanbul vote as marred by “organized crimes” and last week called for the ballot to be annulled.

After the ballot, electoral authorities had said CHP’s Imamoglu was ahead by nearly 30,000 ballots. But that margin has narrowed to around 14,000 after a recount of void ballots over the last fortnight.

The CHP said on Tuesday the margin was now around 13,800 ballots in favor of its candidate with only around 80 ballot boxes left to count. Each candidate had won around 4 million votes.

Although he was not personally running in the election Erdogan campaigned hard in the city, presenting the vote as a matter of national survival. He put forward Yildirim, a former premier and AKP heavyweight, as the party candidate.

Imamoglu, a former mayor of a local Istanbul district, ran a low-key campaign, rallying door to door to talk over local issues. He is already being credited with having revived the opposition’s profile nationwide.
]]>
4/17/2019 12:00:12 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian delegation in Sudan to show support for people’s choices ]]>
The Egyptian delegation are there to ensure Egypt’s full support to the choices and the will of the Sudanese people.

Following the rapid escalation in the situation in Sudan last week, Egypt expressed its “full confidence” in the ability of the Sudanese people and their “loyal” national army to overcome the challenges of such “decisive” stage and meet the Sudanese people’s aspiration to achieve stability, progress and prosperity.

After the overthrow of the Sudanese regime led by Omar el-Bashir, the Sudanese transitional military council took over the power. Lieutenant General Abdel Fatah al-Burhan was sworn in as head of the transitional military council of Sudan.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry affirmed in a statement Egypt’s full support of the choices made by the Sudanese people, voicing respect for their will in shaping the future of their country. The ministry also stressed Egypt’s unchangeable stance toward respecting the sovereignty of Sudan and its national decision.

The ministry called on the international community to support the choices of the Sudanese people in this “historical decisive stage.” It also urged the brotherly countries to help Sudan achieve a peaceful transition toward a better future, in a way that meets the people’s aspirations. ]]>
4/17/2019 11:59:58 AM
<![CDATA[New head of Algerian constitutional council named]]>
A statement from the presidency said Kamel Feniche would be the new council president, replacing Tayeb Belaiz, who the state news agency APS earlier reported had submitted his resignation to Bensalah. Feniche, a magistrate, has been a member of the council since 2016.

Belaiz is one of three figures in the interim government whose removal has been demanded by pro-democracy protesters. They are seen as part of the discredited regime of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who resigned April 2 after six weeks of nationwide demonstrations calling for an end to his two-decade rule.

Belaiz’s departure could help calm protesters by clearing the way for someone considered more independent.

Also Tuesday, the military chief called on Algerians to show “patience” during the political transition ahead.

A presidential election has been set for July 4 to choose the successor to Bouteflika, who stepped down under pressure from the military’s chief of staff, Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah.]]>
4/17/2019 11:56:51 AM
<![CDATA[Trump vetoes congressional resolution to end US involvement in Yemen war]]>
“This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,” Trump said in the veto message.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the move “is a positive signal of US resolve towards America’s allies” in a Tweet early on Wednesday.







The resolution passed the House of Representatives in April and the Senate in March, marking the first time both chambers of Congress had supported a War Powers resolution, which limits the president’s ability to send troops into action.

Neither the 247-175 tally in the Democratic-majority House nor the 54-46 vote in the Republican-led Senate would be enough to override the veto, which would require two-thirds majorities in both chambers.]]>
4/17/2019 11:54:31 AM
<![CDATA[IRGC former general says they were in Bosnia disguised as aid workers]]>
According to RadioFarda, Saeed Qassemi, a retired IRGC General, is an outspoken ultraconservative, renowned for his vitriolic attacks on reformist former President Mohammad Khatami, and the incumbent "moderate" President Hassan Rouhani.

In an interview with the state-approved internet channel, Aparat, Qassemi maintained on April 14 that he had visited Bosnia in the 1990s to train Bosnian Muslim fighters against the Serbs while wearing the Iranian Red Crescent uniform.

In the same interview, Qassemi admits that he is divulging the fact since the Americans had already discovered the ruse and written about it.

IRGC's spokesman, Ramazan Sharif dismissing Qassemi's rmarks said, "Mr. Saeed Qassemi's remarks, who for a while was in Bosnia voluntarily and has retired a long time ago, are his personal views, devoid of credibility and are not shared by the IRGC", according to ISNA.

An hour after the IRGC statement, President Hassan Rouhani's office also dismissed Qassemi's remarks, saying that his claims help "the enemy".

Qassemi's remarks come just days after the U.S. State Department listed the IRGC as a "Foreign Terrorist Organization", accusing it of supporting militant groups around the world.

The Iranian Red Crescent has also officially dismissed Qassemi's claims and has threatened to sue him. "If an individual or a state entity has used the logo or uniform of the IRCS for operations against the aims and principles of the International Red Cross Society, it definitely happened without the permission of the IRCS or in coordination with it", IRCS announced.

Even if the IRCS permission was sought, the statement argues, it would have never been given.

"Based on the four conventions ratified in Geneva, the IRCS is impartial in armed conflicts since it has the important responsibility of supporting the humanity, and the civilians," the statement has insisted.

In his interview with Aparat, Qassemi, 59, has revealed information concerning the presence of the Islamic Republic armed forces in Bosnia that might place the IRCS and the Islamic Republic in a tough position.

During the interview, the former IRGC Commander boasted about his role and that of his comrades in the Bosnian civil war, while they were wearing the IRCS uniforms.
]]>
4/17/2019 11:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[ 14 constitutional articles subject to amendment: what changed?]]>
Egypt Today has received a copy of the report, through which the legislative committee viewed the 14 amended articles of the 2014 Constitution, before and after being amended.

Article 102, Paragraph 1

Before:The House of Representatives shall consist of at least 450 members, elected through a direct and secret ballot.

After:The House of Representatives shall consist of at least 450 members, elected through a direct and secret ballot. At least quarter the number of the parliamentary seats shall be given to women.

Article 102, Paragraph 3

Before:The law shall specify the other conditions of nomination (for the Parliament), the electoral system, and the division of the constituencies while taking into consideration the fair representation of the population, the governorates and the equal representation of the electorate. Nomination for the Parliament can take place through single-member election or multi-member election, or both together.

After:The underlined part of the article was removed.

Article 140, Paragraph 1

Before:The president of the Republic shall be elected for four Gregorian years starting on the day following the expiry of his predecessor's term, and cannot be reelected except for only one time.

After:The president of the republic shall be elected for a term of six Gregorian years, starting on the day following the expiry of his predecessor's term, and may not hold office for more than two consecutive terms.

Article 160, Paragraph 1

Before: If a temporary impediment prevents the president of the republic from performing his duties, he shall be (temporarily) replaced by the prime minister.

After:If a temporary impediment prevents the president of the republic from performing his duties, he shall be (temporarily) replaced by the vice-president of the Republic or by the prime minister when there is no vice-president or when the vice-president cannot replace the president (then).

Article 160, last paragraph

Before:The interim president cannot run for this position, request amending the Constitution, dissolving the House of Representatives or dismissing the Government.

After:No one replacing the president of the Republic or the acting president can request amending the Constitution, dissolving the House of Representatives or the Senate, or dismissing the Government. Also, the interim president of the republic cannot run for this position.

Article 185

Before: Each of the judicial bodies or authorities shall have its own affairs and shall have its own independent budget, with all its (the budget’s) elements discussed by the Parliament … and shall be consulted in terms of the draft laws organizing its affairs.

After: Each of the judicial bodies or authorities shall have its own affairs, and shall be consulted concerning the draft laws regulating its affairs; each of these bodies shall have an independent budget.

The president of the Republic shall appoint the heads of the judicial bodies or authorities, out of the oldest seven deputies of each of the heads, for a period of four years, or until their retirement age, whichever is earlier, and for one time throughout their terms of office, as regulated by law.

A supreme council for the judicial authorities headed by the president of the Republic shall hold these authorities' common affairs. The members of the council would include the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the heads of the judicial authorities, the head of Cairo Appeal Court, and the Attorney-General.

The council shall have a secretary who is appointed by the president of the republic for a period of time specified by the law.

In the absence of the president of the republic, he shall be replaced temporarily by who he authorizes from among the heads of the judicial authorities.

Article 189, Paragraph 2

Before: The Public Prosecutor shall be chosen by the Supreme Judicial Council from among the deputy heads of the Court of Cassation, or the heads of the courts of appeal, or and the assistant attorneys for a period of four years or until reaching retirement age, whichever earlier, and for once.

After: The Public Prosecutor shall be appointed by a decision of the president of the republic out of three nominees from the Supreme Judicial Council, the deputy heads of the Court of Cassation and the heads of the courts of appeal and the assistant attorneys for a period of four years or until reaching retirement age, whichever comes first, and for once.

Article 190

Before: The State Council is an independent judicial body exclusively concerned with the adjudication of administrative disputes, disputes concerning the implementation of all its provisions, as well as the adjudication of disciplinary cases and appeals. It is the only one concerned with giving opinions for the legal issues of the bodies determined by the law, revising the draft laws, the decisions that have a legislative character, the draft contracts which the law determines them and their values, and which the state or one of the public authorities is one of their parties.

After: The word “only” was removed, and the adjudication of the decisions of disciplinary boards was added to its responsibilities.

Article 193, Paragraph 3

Before: The general assembly shall choose the head of the Constitutional Court from among the oldest three deputies of the Court’s head. It also chooses the deputies of the head and the members of its board of commissioners. The president of the Republic shall issue their appointment decree, all as prescribed by law.

After:The president of the Republic shall choose the head of the Constitutional Court from among the five oldest deputy heads of the Court. The president of the Republic shall also appoint the deputy head of the Court from among two candidates, one of whom shall be nominated by the general assembly of the Court, while the head of the court shall nominate the other.

The head of the board of commissioners and its members shall be appointed by a decision of the president of the republic based on the nomination of the head of the Court, and after consulting the general assembly of the court, all as prescribed by law.

Article 200, Paragraph 1

Before: The Armed Forces belong to the people, and its mission is to protect the country, preserve its security and territorial integrity. Only the state is charged with forming these forces and it is prohibited for any person, authority, body or group to form military or paramilitary formations.

After: The Armed Forces belong to the people, and its mission is to protect the country, preserve its security and territorial integrity, safeguard the constitution and democracy, and preserve the basic elements of the state and its civil character, the people's gains and the rights and liberties of individuals. Only the state is charged with forming these forces and it is prohibited for any person, authority, body or group to form military or paramilitary formations.

Article 204, Paragraph 2

Before: A civilian shall not be tried before a military court except for crimes that constitute a direct attack on military installations, camps of the Armed Forces or the like, the military or border areas, the forces' equipment, vehicles, weapons, ammunition, documents, military secrets, its public funds, military factories, or crimes related to recruitment, or crimes that constitute a direct attack on its officers or members for the performance of their duties.

After: A civilian shall not be tried before a military court except for crimes that constitute an (direct was removed) attack on military installations, camps of the Armed Forces or the like, the facilities that are being protected by the Armed Forces, the military or border areas, the forces' equipment, vehicles, weapons, ammunition, documents, military secrets, its public funds, military factories, or crimes related to recruitment, or crimes that constitute a direct attack on its officers or members for the performance of their duties.

Article 234

Before: The minister of defense shall be appointed after the approval of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The provisions of this article shall apply to two full presidential terms once the constitution comes into effect.

After: The minister of defense shall be appointed after the approval of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. (The last phrase was removed).

Article 243

Before: The State shall ensure that workers and peasants are properly represented in the first parliament elected after this constitution comes into effect, as specified by law.

After: The State shall ensure that workers and peasants are properly represented in the Parliament, as specified by law.

Article 244

Before: The State shall ensure that the youth, Christians, persons with disabilities and Egyptians residing abroad are represented in an appropriate manner, in the first parliament elected after this constitution comes into effect, as specified by law.

After: The State shall ensure that the youth, Christians, persons with disabilities and Egyptians residing abroad are represented in an appropriate manner, as specified by law.

Article (150 bis) Addendum:

The President of the Republic may appoint a large number of deputies, determine their competencies, and may delegate them in some of his duties, relieve them of their posts, and accept their resignation. The Vice-Presidents of the Republic shall take the oath before assuming office Provided for in article 144 of the Constitution before the President of the Republic. The provisions of the Constitution shall apply to the Vice-Presidents of the Republic.

Article (241 bis) Addendum:

The president of the republic shall be elected for a term of six Gregorian years, starting on the day following the expiry of his predecessor's term, and may hold office for more than two consecutive terms.

Article (244 bis) Addendum

The provisions of the first paragraph of Article 102 shall apply as of the next legislative chapter.


Article 248

The Senate is concerned with studying and proposing what it sees as a tool to consolidate democracy, support national unity, social peace, the basic values of society, supreme values, rights, freedoms and public duties, and deepen and expand the democratic system.

Article 249

The opinion of the Senate shall be taken as follows:

- Proposals for the amendment of one or more articles of the Constitution.

- Projects concerning the general plan for Social and Economic Development

- Treaties of reconciliation and alliance and all treaties relating to the rights of sovereignty.

- Draft laws supplementing the Constitution and others referred to Senate by the President of the Republic.

- What the President of the Republic refers to the Senate concerning the general policy of the State or its policy in Arab or foreign affairs.

The Council shall give its opinion on these matters to the President of the Republic and the President of the Council of Representatives.

Article 250

The Senate shall consist of a number of members determined by law, not less than 180 members. Two-thirds of the members of the Council shall be elected by direct secret universal suffrage. The President of the Republic shall appoint the remaining third and the elections shall be held in accordance with the law.


Article (251) (Added):
A candidate for membership in the Senate or the person who appoints him must be an Egyptian with civil and political rights. He must have at least a university degree or equivalent, and his age must be less than thirty five years. The law specifies the conditions of candidacy, electoral system and the division of constituencies to take into account the equitable representation of the population and the governorates. Nomination can take place through single-member election or multi-member election, or both together.


Article (252) (Added):

The membership of the Senate and House of Representatives shall not be combined.


Article (253) (Added):
The Prime Minister, his deputies, ministers and other members of the government are not accountable to the Senate.


Article (254) (Added):

The provisions of the Constitution shall apply to the Senate in articles 103, 104, 105, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 1, 2, 132, 133, 136 and 137, in a manner not inconsistent with the provisions of this section, provided that the specializations in the said articles shall be exercised by the Senate and its President.
]]>
4/16/2019 9:53:52 PM
<![CDATA[Wrap up: Parliament approves constitutional amendments by a majority of 531 members]]>
By announcing this approval, the parliament is giving the state’s National Elections Authority (NEA) the green light to announce a public referendum within 30 days.

BREAKING: Parl't approves planned constitutional amendments, referendum to be held soon

CAIRO - 16 April 2019: The Parliament approved on Tuesday a draft report of a number of constitutional amendments presented earlier by its legislative committee, giving the state's National Elections Authority (NEA) the green light to announce a public referendum within 30 days.





Number of political parties announced in the plenary session on Tuesday, endorsing the amendments including Al-Wafd, Mostaqbal Watan and al-Nour parties. Chairmen of the parliamentary commissions at Mostaqbal Watan Party and Al Wafd Party, Atef Nassef and Hany Abaza, announced their parties' approval of the draft constitutional amendments.

Mostaqbal Watan, Al Wafd endorse draft constitutional amendments

CAIRO - 16 April 2019: Chairmen of the parliamentary commissions at Mostaqbal Watan Party and Al Wafd Party, Atef Nassef and Hany Abaza, respectively, announced in the plenary session on Tuesday their parties' approval of the draft constitutional amendments. Nassef thanked Speaker Ali Abdel Aal for "the professional phrasing of the draft amendments."




Nassef thanked Speaker Ali Abdel Aal for "the professional phrasing of the draft amendments."

The parliament discussions lasted for nearly nine hours, during three following sessions.

Among the approved articles, (Article 102), guaranteeing Egyptian women at least one fourth of the number of the parliamentary seats. Also, (Article 244), ensuring that the youth, Christians, persons with disabilities and Egyptians residing abroad are represented appropriately in the Parliament.

Article 140 of the amended constitution, aims at extending each of the two presidential terms allowed for each president to 6 years instead of only 4. (Article 200-1), reads: "the protection of the constitution, democracy, the basic elements of the state and its civil character, the people's gains and the rights and liberties of individuals" to the armed forces' responsibilities.”

MPs rejecting, backing amendments got chance to express themselves: opposition bloc

CAIRO -16 April 2019: As a parliamentary legislative subcommittee already approved a proposed set of constitutional amendments, a number of MPs who earlier voiced rejection of the amendments praised the societal dialogue that took place in the Parliament, hoping that more youth could be present.




The approved amendments expand each of the two presidential terms allowed for any president to six years instead of four, while a separate transitional article gives an exceptional right to incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was re-elected in 2018, to run for a third 6-year term after he finishes his second term in 2024 instead of 2022.

The amendments also give the president the right to choose heads of courts, judicial bodies, the Supreme Constitutional Court, and the Attorney General, Egypt's top prosecutor from some nominees. He would also appoint one third of the members of the Shura Council, which was revived, this time under the name "The Senate.”

One of the amendments stipulates that women shall hold quarter the number of seats of the Parliament, while another guarantees a fair representation for peasants, workers, Christians and the disabled. Moreoever, the amendments revive the formerly-dissolved Shura Council under the name “The Senate,” and also give the president the right to appoint one or more deputies.

In mid-February, members of the House of Representatives approved in principle the proposed amendments after the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee in the Parliament reviewed and passed the draft.

The proposal was submitted in the first place by the leader of the majority at the Parliament and President of the Support Egypt Coalition Abdel Hady al-Qasabi to Speaker Abdel Aal earlier in February.

Dialogues with representatives of concerned entities and social segments were held by the Parliament. Parliamentarians belonging to Al Nour Party-affiliated with the Salafist Group-expressed their objection to describing the Egyptian state as a "civil state" and allocating a quota for women representing 25 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives.
]]>
4/16/2019 9:26:49 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament holds plenary session to vote on constitutional amendments]]>
House of Representatives Speaker Dr Ali Abdel Aal said Tuesday the parliament has done its best, and has created a platform for discussing the amendments during the societal dialogue sessions held over the past weeks.

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Parliament vote on constitutional amendments - photo by Khaled Mashaal


During the session, the speaker said the efforts were exerted out of a wish to reach stability and eventually development.

"Today we come to the end of a long road of reviewing the constitutional amendments which started in February," he said.

The House has abided over two months by the constitution and the parliamentary rules with the aim of carrying out its national duty in full, he added.

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Parliament vote on constitutional amendments - photo by Khaled Mashaal

The House of Representatives Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee Tuesday asserted that the proposed constitutional amendments are “key steps” toward developing the Egyptian constitutional system and fall within democratic practicing and improving the constitutional structure of the country's political system.

Committee Chairman Baha el-Din Abu Shokka said the proposed amendments aim to strengthen the state and its institutions and enhance democratic values.

The suggested amendments were mostly in line with the views of the participants in the hearing sessions and a large part of the texts were formulated upon consensus among the committee members, he added.

Ali Abdel Aal further explained that the proposed amendments represent a practice of what is known by the created [formed] authority, which amends one or more articles of the constitution, rather than re-drafting the whole articles of the constitution, which is known as constituent authority.

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Parliament vote on constitutional amendments - photo by Khaled Mashaal

“There is a big difference between constituent authority and the created one. The public gets confused out of their belief that the proposed constitutional amendments are going to change the whole constitution which is definitely wrong,” Aal said today.

Moreover, Parliamentarian Mohammed el-Swedi showed his approval to the proposed Constitutional amendments, explaining that “the amendments are necessary and that the constitution is not a holy book to not be changed.”

Swedi affirmed that the 4-year term is not sufficient, so we [Parliamentarians] proposed to extend it by another two years; giving examples by other countries around the world that have their presidential terms exceeding 4 years such as Russia, Kyrgyzstan, India, and others.

Parliamentarian Saeed Hassasseen denied all news claiming that the proposed Constitutional amendments are not reviewed or revised enough.

Hassassin assured that more than 150 parliamentarians proposed these amendments where each article was carefully revised before setting it to public vote.

“Parliament played a patriotic role; history will always remember it. All Egyptians deep down want to amend some articles in the Constitution. Parliament’s sessions reflected a democratic atmosphere where all shared their opinions and thoughts neutrally,” Hassassin stated.

Member of Parliament Mostafa Bakry said he supports the amendments, but disagrees with re-introducing the upper chamber “Shura Council” as unnecessary, adding “either we cancel it, or assign it tasks…we should not waste our money.”

However, Spokesperson Ali Abdel Aal said that assigning the Shura Council with certain tasks and specialties “would require re-structuring the current political system, and this is unsuitable now.”

During the session, a number of political parties and members voiced their approval and disapproval to the amendments.

At the end of the plenary session, a roll-call vote from each parliamentarian will be counted for the amendments.

MENA contributed to this report ]]>
4/16/2019 4:38:31 PM
<![CDATA[Mostaqbal Watan, Al Wafd endorse draft constitutional amendments]]>
Nassef thanked Speaker Ali Abdel Aal for "the professional phrasing of the draft amendments."

The Parliament members will vote today on the proposed amendments during the plenary session. If the draft is passed, a referendum will be held mostly by the end of this month for the public to vote.

In mid-February, members of the House of Representatives approved in principle the proposed amendments after the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee in the Parliament reviewed and passed the draft.

The proposal was submitted in the first place by the leader of the majority at the Parliament and President of the Support Egypt Coalition Abdel Hady al-Qasabi to Speaker Abdel Aal earlier in February.

Dialogues with representatives of concerned entities and social segments were held by the Parliament. Parliamentarians belonging to Al Nour Party-affiliated with the Salafist Group-expressed their objection to describing the Egyptian state as a "civil state" and allocating a quota for women representing 25 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives.

What to know about Egypt's constitutional amendment process

CAIRO - 6 February 2019: The process to amend the constitution involves the House of Representatives, and the people who is expected to participate in the referendum to be held few months from now. Below are the details of measures to be taken.




]]>
4/16/2019 4:35:29 PM
<![CDATA[MPs rejecting, backing amendments got chance to express themselves: opposition bloc]]>
The Parliament will likely give a final approval on the amendments on Tuesday. Subsequently, the National Elections Authority (NEA) will have to organize and announce a referendum on the amendments within 30 days. According to some reports, the referendum will take place during the next week.

The presence of former MP Mohamed Anwar al-Sadar, whose membership had been dropped, was a surprise, said Diaa Dawoud, a member of the Parliament's 25-30 opposition bloc, adding that his presence proved the that Parliament’s prior intention is to listen to all opinions, and that the Parliament has its own real and strong opposition.



Nadia Henry, a member of the same bloc, said that Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal allowed all the attendees, guests and parliamentarians, to express their opinions during the sessions, giving them appropriate time.

Henry said that she would prefer that more youth could participate, as the sessions have witnessed remarkable freedom of expression.

The opposition was fairly represented during the societal dialogue sessions, MP Mohamed al-Etmani said, adding that the opposition aimed, during the sessions, at presenting alternatives and suggestions.

The parliamentary legislative subcommittee, headed by Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, approved on Sunday a set of proposed constitutional amendments paving the way for the Parliament to hold a final vote on them on Tuesday.

The societal dialogue sessions that took place earlier were concerned with listening to politicians, political parties, public figures, the civil society, businessmen, and financial and economic institutions.

The 10-member committee, which was concerned with writing the current constitution, thought at the time that four years is a short period for a presidential term. However, the committee approved it due to the past state of emergency and the war against the Muslim Brotherhood group, Abdel Aal said in March.

The amendment concerning extending the presidential term is just a proposal, Abdel Aal said, affirming that this dialogue around the amendments is serious and not for show.

He added that all categories of representatives were given the opportunity to express themselves, including judges, constitutional law, professors, Al-Azhar and the Church's representatives, and the heads of parties.

Even those who object to the amendments think that four years are a short period of time, he said, adding that according to his experience as a professor of law, and an author of legal books, presidential terms must have a limit.

"The amendments did not address a certain person, not even the current president," he stated.

Amending the constitution is considered the most important duty that the Parliament must be concerned with, Abdel Aal said, adding that such duty falls under his personal responsibility and the responsibility of others.]]>
4/16/2019 3:41:35 PM
<![CDATA[Macron's European election campaign suspended after Notre Dame fire: Loiseau]]>
spearheading the campaign.

“We are all going through a moment of extreme sadness. The ‘Renaissance’ list is understandably part of this moment of national unity. We are therefore suspending the campaign until further notice,” Loiseau wrote on her Twitter account.

Macron’s ruling LREM party has put up candidates for the EU election under a list called ‘Renaissance’.]]>
4/16/2019 1:49:31 PM
<![CDATA[How the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral unfolded]]>
Following is a timeline of events:

- Around 6:50pm local time (1650 GMT): Fire starts in roof of Notre-Dame cathedral, according to firefighters.

- Around 7:07 pm: A Reuters journalist sees smoke and flames at Notre-Dame from a distance.

- 7:40 pm: Fire spreads to the giant spire of Notre-Dame cathedral.

French President Macron cancels planned TV address to the nation because of the blaze.

- 7:53 pm: Cathedral’s spire collapses.

- 7:59 pm: French president’s office says Macron is rushing to the scene.

- 8:07 pm: Entire roof of Notre-Dame collapses, according to a Reuters correspondent at the scene.

- 8:25 pm: Paris’ Ile de la Cité, the island on which Notre-Dame sits, is evacuated by police.]]>
4/16/2019 12:29:24 PM
<![CDATA[Before vote: Know about powers granted to president by constitutional amendments]]>
The approved amendments expand each of the two presidential terms allowed for any president to six years instead of four, while a separate transitional article gives an exceptional right to incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was re-elected in 2018, to run for a third 6-year term after he finishes his second term in 2024 instead of 2022.

Abdel Aal affirmed many times that President Sisi did not ask for amending Article No. 140 extending the presidential term.

"I have repeatedly said … that the president did not intervene in the amendments and did not request them, but [they] were a pure parliamentary seedling … that began since the first year of the House of Representatives’ [term],” the speaker said.

The amendments also give the president the right to choose heads of courts, judicial bodies, the Supreme Constitutional Court, and the Attorney General, Egypt's top prosecutor from some nominees. He would also appoint one third of the members of the Shura Council, which was revived, this time under the name "The Senate."

Although the Parliament has not yet approved the final report of amendments wrote by its legislative subcommittee, sources told the state's Ahram Online that a public referendum will be held next week.

Egypt Today displays the articles approved:

Article 102, Paragraph 1

The House of Representatives shall consist of at least 450 members, elected through direct and secret ballot. At least quarter the number of the parliamentary seats shall be given to women.

Article 102, Paragraph 3

The law shall specify the other conditions of nomination (for the Parliament), the electoral system, and the division of the constituencies, while taking into consideration the fair representation of the population and the governorates.

Nomination for the Parliament can take place through single-member election or multi-member election, or both together.

Article 140, Paragraph 1

The president of the republic shall be elected for a term of six Gregorian years, starting on the day following the expiry of his predecessor's term, and may not hold office for more than two consecutive terms.




Transitional Article No. 241 bis

The term of the current president of the republic shall expire six years after the date of the announcement of his election as president of the republic in 2018, and he may be re-elected for a next term.

Article 151 bis: (NEW)

The president of the republic can appoint one or more deputies, determine their terms of reference, and may delegate some of his terms of reference to them. He can also relieve them of their posts and accept their resignations.

The provisions of the Constitution in articles 141, 144, 145, 148 and 173 shall apply to the vice-presidents.

Article 160, Paragraph 1:

If a temporary impediment prevents the president of the republic from performing his duties, he shall be (temporarily) replaced by the vice-president of the republic or by the prime minister when there is no vice-president or when the vice-president cannot replace the president (then).

Article 160, Paragraph 2

No one replacing the president of the republic or the acting president can request amending the Constitution, dissolving the House of Representatives or the Senate, or dismissing the Government. Also, the interim president of the republic cannot run for this position.

Article 185

Each of the judicial bodies or authorities shall have its own affairs, and shall be consulted concerning the draft laws regulating its affairs; each of these bodies shall have an independent budget.

The president of the republic shall appoint the heads of the judicial bodies or authorities, out of the oldest seven deputies of each of the heads, for a period of four years, or until their retirement age, whichever is earlier, and for one time throughout their terms of office, as regulated by law.

A supreme council for the judicial authorities headed by the president of the republic shall hold these authorities' common affairs. The members of the council would include the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the heads of the judicial authorities, the head of Cairo Appeal Court, and the Attorney-General.

The council shall have a secretary who is appointed by the president of the republic for a period of time specified by the law.

In the absence of the president of the republic, he shall be replaced temporarily by who he authorizes from among the heads of the judicial authorities.

Article 189, Paragraph 2

The Public Prosecutor shall be appointed by a decision of the president of the republic out of three nominees from the Supreme Judicial Council, the deputy heads of the Court of Cassation and the heads of the courts of appeal and the assistant attorneys for a period of four years or until reaching retirement age, whichever comes first, and for once.

Article 190

The State Council is an independent judicial body exclusively concerned with the adjudication of administrative disputes, disputes concerning the implementation of all its provisions, as well as the adjudication of disciplinary cases and appeals, and the decisions of disciplinary boards. It is also concerned with giving opinions for the legal issues of the bodies determined by the law, revising the draft laws, the decisions that have a legislative character, the draft contracts which the law determines them and their values, and which the state or one of the public authorities are one of their parties.

Article 193 Paragraph 3

The president of the republic shall choose the head of the Constitutional Court from among the five oldest deputy heads of the Court. The president of the republic shall also appoint the deputy head of the Court from among two candidates, one of whom shall be nominated by the general assembly of the Court, while the head of the court shall nominate the other.

The head of the board of commissioners and its members shall be appointed by a decision of the president of the republic based on the nomination of the head of the Court, and after consulting the general assembly of the court, all as prescribed by law.

Article 200, Paragraph 1

The Armed Forces belong to the people, and its mission is to protect the country, preserve its security and territorial integrity, safeguard the constitution and democracy, and preserve the basic elements of the state and its civil character, the people's gains and the rights and liberties of individuals.




Only the state is charged with forming these forces and it is prohibited for any person, authority, body or group to form military or paramilitary formations.

Article 204, Paragraph 2

A civilian shall not be tried before a military court except for crimes that constitute an attack on military installations, camps of the Armed Forces or the like, the facilities that are being protected by the Armed Forces, the military or border areas, the forces' equipment, vehicles, weapons, ammunition, documents, military secrets, its public funds, military factories, or crimes related to recruitment, or crimes that constitute a direct attack on its officers or members for the performance of their duties.

Article 234

The minister of defense shall be appointed after the approval of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Article 243

The State shall ensure that workers and peasants are properly represented in the Parliament as specified by law.

Article 244

The State shall ensure that the youth, Christians, persons with disabilities and Egyptians residing abroad are represented in an appropriate manner, as specified by law.

Article 244 bis

The provision of the first paragraph of the amended article no. 102 shall come into effect starting from the next legislative term.

New articles concerning the Senate (formerly Shura Council)



Article 248 (NEW)

The Senate shall study and propose what it deems necessary to consolidate the pillars of democracy, social peace, and the basic values of society, besides rights, freedoms and public duties. It is also assigned to deepen the democratic system and expand its fields.

Article 249 (NEW)

The Senate would be consulted in the following cases:

- Proposals for the amendment of one or more articles of the Constitution.

- Drafts of the general plan for social and economic development

- Treaties of peace, alliance and all other treaties related to sovereign rights.

- Draft laws supplementing the Constitution and others referred to the council by the president of the republic.

- Issues related to general policy of the State and its Arab or foreign affairs, which are referred to the council by the president of the republic.

- The Council shall say its opinion about these issues to the president of the republic and the parliament speaker.

- The Senate shall consist of a number of members specified by law, not less than 180 members. Two-thirds of the members of the Council shall be elected by direct secret vote, while the president of the republic shall appoint the remaining third. The elections shall be held in accordance with the law.

- Nominees for membership of the Senate or those appointed must be Egyptians with civil and political rights, have at least a university qualification or an equivalent, and must not be less than 35 years of age on the day nomination opens.

- An individual cannot be a member of both the Parliament and the Senate.

- The prime minister, his deputy, ministers and other members of the Government cannot be held accountable by the Senate.
]]>
4/16/2019 11:21:46 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi, Merkel discuss Libya, Sudan political escalations]]>
According to a statement issued by spokesman Bassam Rady, Sisi and Merkel discussed a number of regional issues. Sisi highlighted the significance of the unity and stability of Libya as well as Egypt's support of efforts aiming at combating terror groups and extremist militias which pose threats not only to Libya but to the Middle Eastern and European countries.

For her part, Merkel expressed her country's keenness on reaching a political solution to the Libyan crisis in light of a dialogue among the Libyan parties and stressed the importance of the efforts targeting to end the deterioration of conditions in the Arab country.

Moreover, President Sisi asserted that Egypt is closely following up conditions in Sudan, pointing out that Egypt backs the choices of the Sudanese people without interfering in the African country's internal affairs.

Merkel received Sisi in Berlin in June 2015, marking the end of strained relations, and a number of protests were launched in support of Sisi in Berlin, according to Berlin police.

During Sisi's historical visit, an €8 billion ($9.1 billion) deal was signed with German Siemens AG to build gas and wind power plants in Egypt. According to media reports, it is the largest single order in Siemen's history.

In January 2017, Sisi spoke with Merkel, where they discussed cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts. The two officials also discussed a future visit by Merkel to Cairo, said a statement by the Egyptian Presidency Office.

In March of the same year, Merkel visited the Egyptian capital, where she discussed with President Sisi issues including illegal migration, terrorism and the latest developments in the region.

Following the meeting, Sisi praised, in a press conference, the developed relations between the two states in various fields.

Sisi and Merkel also watched a video conference of the opening ceremony of the German Siemens' three power plants established in Egypt.

During his speech in the inauguration of the megaprojects in July, CEO of Siemens Joe Kaiser said that the three giant electricity plants, provided by Siemens, produce electric power for 40 million citizens, in addition to the provision of power to companies and factories for many years to come.]]>
4/16/2019 11:19:15 AM
<![CDATA[9 candidates to run for Algeria president]]>
Algeria will hold a presidential election on July 4.]]>
4/16/2019 11:09:49 AM
<![CDATA[After 5 year halt, Libyan House of Representative held its first meeting ]]>
“On this historic day, the House of Representatives holds its first meeting in Benghazi. Libyans reject all negotiations that might threaten stability,” Saleh stated in his opening speech.

“Thanks to the Libyan army and Libya's noble people who exerted their utmost efforts to end the conflict, Libya is not limited to a certain party or group, but includes all segments of society,” Saleh stressed.

“We appreciate all the great sacrifices of our armed forces and young people.We feel sorry for all martyrs and the wounded and thank the friendly and brotherly countries that gave us a hand in our war against terrorism,”Saleh continued.

Saleh asserted in his speech that all Libyans combat terrorism to form a comprehensive unified national group, adding that the reform process does not aim to restrict freedom but aims to restore stability and fight terrorism.

He further elaborated that the National army is the defender of democracy, noting that the supreme interest of the nation, overcoming past conflicts and turning a new page to rebuild Libya must be prioritized.

“The House of Representatives issued amnesty laws for extremists and political prisoners to unify Libya once again,” Saleh revealed.

The House of Representatives was resolved to form a Presidential Council consisting of a President and two deputies but the Council of State did not approve, according to Saleh.

"I am sure that the House of Representatives has done what is necessary,"he affirmed.
Saleh stated that without coexistence and acceptance, Libyans will not be able to overcome the current dilemma.He highlighted the vital role played by media, urging press to call for unity and democracy.

Saleh concluded his speech by thanking all Libyans for their wisdom and patience in dealing with the crisis, assuring that holding fair elections is the only way to democracy.
]]>
4/15/2019 6:09:15 PM
<![CDATA[NEA denies holding public referendum on constitution amendments Apr. 20]]>
NEA Vice-President Helmy al-Sherif said that the schedule of the public referendum on the constitutional amendments has not yet been set, saying that the social media reports are “groundless”.

A post that went viral on social media said that the public referendum on the constitutional amendments will be held on April 20 for Egyptian expatriates worldwide, adding that 55 million eligible voters will vote domestically for three days starting from April 22.

In his remarks, Sherif said that the social media report also claimed that the number of eligible voters is 55 million, while the correct figure is 61 voters in 2019.


The NEA should hold a meeting immediately after approving the new amendments by the House of Representatives to draw up the referendum schedule, he added.

Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal announced on Sunday that if the Parliament’s general assembly approves the new amendments on Tuesday, a public referendum will be conducted to give the final word on the matter to the people.

Coincidently, the Parliament's legislative committee approved on Sunday the amendments, including a “transitional article” that allows President Sisi to remain in power until 2024; Sisi will also have the right to run for a new 6-year term.

“The current president has the right at the end of his current term to re-run as stated in the amended Article 140 of the constitution,” the transitional article stipulates.

Article 140 provides that the presidential term shall be extended for 6 years instead of 4 years and the president has the right to run for another term.

Although many political experts and politicians said that the new amendments are essential for Egypt’s current development program, many critic voices expressed objection as such the amendments contradict with the freedom principles.
]]>
4/15/2019 4:01:29 PM
<![CDATA[Celebrities, public figures participate in ‘Emal el-Sah’ Campaign]]>
The campaign is set to kick off in April and end in the beginning of May.

In a broadcast video, a large number of Egyptian actors and public figures urged the public to vote in favor of the constitutional amendments to make a difference and continue living in a state of stability.



The celebrities participating in the campaign include Laila Elwi, Nabila Ebeid, Hani Shaker, Mohamed Henedi, Angham, Mohammad Fouad, Somaya el Khashab, Ahmed Adam, Maged el Masry, Ragaa al Giddawy, Sabreen, Sherif Mounir, Ashraf Abdel Baqi, Hala Fakher, Ahmed Salah Hosny, Mostafa Khater, Wafaa Amer, Menna Fadali, Reem el Baroudy, Shaaban Abdel Rehim, Magdy Kamel, Mohamed Ragab, Nahed el Sebaï, Ahmed Rizk, Mohamed Lotfy, Khaled Zaki, Lotfy Labib, Moufida Shiha, Ahmed Hatem, Mohamed Nagaty, Nihal Anber, Salwa Osman, Nadia Rashad, Hossam Dagher, Mohamed Nour, Mahmoud e Leithy, Badriya Tolba, Zizi Adel, Hoda, Egyptian producer Raymond Makar, Shaimaa Saif, Alaa Zinhom, Donia Abdel Aziz, Haggag Abdul Azim, Diab, Osama Mounir, Oka Wi Ortega, Essaf, Eman el Sayed, Bassant el Nabrawy, Rami Sabry, Nermin Maher, Hisham Abbas, Hind Abdul Halim, Mohamed Zidan, Ghada Ragab, Said Abdel Hafiz, Egyptian footballer Mohamed Nagy, Ahmed el Shamy, Donia el Masry, Ahmed Bedier, and Essam el Hadary.
]]>
4/15/2019 12:33:24 PM
<![CDATA[Parl't to say final vote on constitutional amendments Tuesday: Abdel Aal]]>
The members of the Parliament's legislative committee will meet after the plenary session on Sunday to discuss the final report, said Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal.

Three important general sessions will be held on Tuesday to probe the amendments stated in the report, Abdel Aal said, adding that MPs will vote on the amendments in the third session.

The Parliament earlier gave a preliminary approval of the constitutional amendments submitted by 155 Parliament members. After holding a societal dialogue, the amendments will come up for vote in a parliamentary plenary meeting after being drafted in a final legal context, and approved by the legislative committee.

If the amendments are approved, presidential terms in general will be extended to six years instead of four for each of the two terms, while the incumbent president will be allowed to run for a third exceptional term. Also, heads of the judicial bodies would be appointed by the president.

The proposed amendments also include restoring Shura Council – a senate- to broaden representation at the Parliamentary Councils- after it was dissolved in 2012. The appointment of deputy president is also one of the amendments. Supporting women, Youth, Christian minority, the disabled, and the Egyptian expatriates community by solid constitutional articles are included in the amendments.

One of the amendments stipulates, “The Armed Forces are the guarantor of the democracy and civil state, and the appointment way of defense minister should be reconsidered.”
]]>
4/15/2019 11:15:53 AM
<![CDATA[Exclusive - French Historian Charles Saint-Prot: Constitutional amendments ‘key’ to Egypt’s progress, stability]]>
• Saint-Prot: No violation in changing the presidential term.

• Saint-Prot: Nations' policies no 'gambling game' and need enough time for good establishment.

• Saint-Prot: U.S., Europe media talk about certain points in the amendments to create confusion.

• Saint-Prot: France 24 claimed Algerian army fire tear gas on protesters, and ignored clashes between police, yellow vests protesters in Paris.

• Saint-Prot: No such thing called the Arab Spring, it was a ridiculous joke.

• Saint-Prot: Yemen is paying price for Saleh-Obama relations.

• Saint-Prot: West should feel ashamed of advising what they do not follow.

• Saint-Prot: Egypt is facing “Ideological Mafia” from the west.

CAIRO – 15 April 2019: Although the current political situation in Egypt witnesses an overwhelming endorsement from internal voices supporting the political leadership, there are still obstacles facing the country represented in the war on terrorism, and the ongoing criticism by western media.

A “fair evaluation” by the west to the Egyptian situation is considered rare.
One of those rare voices was the French Historian Charles Saint-Prot who released a book a few years ago discussing Egypt’s changing politics. He recently made positive remarks on the country’s proposed constitutional amendments, which is considered an unusual opinion from the western arena.

As Saint-Prot likes to put it down, Egypt “deserves stability and progress…this will never be achieved unless the current political regime has fully taken its chance, which obviously requires much time.”

According to Saint-Prot, another book about President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s leadership is in the making to document Egypt’s political experience since 2014, its future and the new constitutional amendments.

Currently concluding a short visit to Egypt, Saint-Prot made headlines weeks ago after he published an article in the French weekly political magazine Le Point explaining his support to the amendments on which Egypt gears up for a vote this month.

In his article, he said that the proposed constitutional amendments are important to resume the re-construction path launched under President Sisi, blaming those who criticize only the changes regarding the presidential term as “blatantly ignoring other amendments concerning women empowerment and others.”

During a seminar hosted by Egypt Today, the French historian described President Sisi as “Egypt’s Charle de Gaulle,” saying that “he is creating a real renaissance…which will need a proper time to be achieved.”

He further went on explaining advantages of the amendments, saying that re-introducing an upper house (Shura Council) is an advantage, as he argues “this chamber will not make decision in a haze, and its members are selected according to their professionalism.”

Saint-Pro is the director of the Observatoire d'études Géopolitiques (Observatory of geopolitical studies) in Paris.

Below is part of the discussion with Saint-Prot

ET: Do you think Egypt is on the right path in light of the proposed constitutional amendments?

Saint-Pro: I am following up intensively on the situation in Egypt with all its important political stages. During the Muslim Brotherhood reign, the Brotherhood's Guide tried to contact me, but I refused to engage in a dialogue with them due to their unilateral discourse. They do not heed to any opposing opinion, and rely heavily on obedience among the group’s members.

The Brotherhood is a very dangerous political system that sought to change all institutions and control ministries and administrations, which rendered Egypt’s future at that time ambiguous, and destined to dictatorship.

Although the Brotherhood has claimed the June 30 Uprising was a coup d'etat, everyone knows that it was a great popular revolution against an authoritarian similar to [Soviet politician Joseph] Stalin, which was an important step to put the country on the right path.

President Sisi’s reign started after transparent elections witnessed by the whole world; he has managed to achieve progress. The government now sees a necessity in going into the next stage, which requires constitutional amendments.

Some media outlets in the U.S. and Europe are talking about certain points in the amendments to create confusion, although there are necessary articles that address women, youths, and Copts representation in the Parliament; however, we do not see those who defend women rights speaking about these achievements.

I do not see any violation in changing the presidential term in the constitution, because Egypt is adopting a presidential system, and France has witnessed a similar situation in Charle de Gaulle’s reign. In Egypt, there is a strong relation between the regime and the people, who willingly choose their president.

For those who are opposing the amendments, they have to know that the issue is not only about changing a president every four terms; the nations’ politics are not like a “gambling game,” but are rather based on an established control, which needs enough time to be achieved.

There are several civic associations and media outlets seeking to spread chaos in France. For example, France 24 recently reported that the Algerian army threw teargas bombs on the protesters; however, it never aired the same thing when the French police did it with the yellow vests protesters.

The West is always lecturing others, and accusing them of corruption. The West should feel ashamed and should stop giving advice they never follow. What is happening now can only be described as “occupational thought” practiced by persons, who are mostly unknown to the people, but form what we can call “Ideological Mafia.”

ET: What if France were in Egypt’s shoes, and faced a similar fierce smear campaign?

Saint-Pro: We know very well who is trying to launch such campaign; they are those who yearn for Obama’s reign and the Brotherhood. Unfortunately, we have in France a large sector that thinks the same way. Such people will never talk positively about Egypt or objectively discuss its amendments.

I want to remind you of what happened in Paris in Charle de Gaulle’s reign. Although many have criticized de Gaulle, he managed to establish a strong regime and state. But now we are witnessing an “unserious” leadership, and I am concerned about the future of France.

ET: In your opinion, why are U.S. media outlets streaming positive content on the Muslim Brotherhood?

Saint-Pro: There are three U.S. newspapers; unfortunately the most famous are promoting Brotherhood thoughts; however, there are dozens of U.S. media outlets that do not work the same way.

ET: You have visited Cairo several times, what difference do you see this time?

Saint-Pro: The current situation in Egypt is much better than before. It is more stable now, and tourism has started to flourish with many tourists heading back to Egypt due to the dramatically improved security status.

ET: You are about to release a new book about President Sisi; would you give us some details about it?

Saint-Pro: The book objectively discusses President Sisi’s achievements during the period from 2014 and until now, and it is expected to be out by the end of this year. I am trying through this book to study Egypt’s political and economic experience, and how Egypt was able to set stability bases and establish a strong regime.

ET: Would you tell us your opinion about Egypt’s economic reform program?

Saint-Pro: Like many other Arab countries, Egypt is facing a demographic problem, but the economic indications are good now. That is in addition to the discovery of natural gas fields, which supported the economy. President Sisi wants for Egypt to be economically independent, and if this is achieved, Egypt will reach a comprehensive renaissance stage.

ET: Aren’t you afraid of criticism by “Ideological Mafia” over your support for Egypt’s regime?

Saint-Pro: I am not the spokesperson for any entity. We have to objectively evaluate the situation in Egypt; the country has a leader, and the Egyptians are in fact different from how they are framed in the western media. Egyptians want stability, construction and safety, and these are the bases to development.

ET: Do you think France is supporting LNA to correct NATO’s mistake in toppling Qaddafi’s regime in 2011?

Saint-Pro: Former President Nicolas Sarkozy was right in his decision to get rid of Qaddafi’s regime due to the latter’s anti-France politics, and because it was not a good regime that did not provide services and good education for its people. All those who claim that Qaddafi had funded Sarkozy’s electoral campaign [in 2007] have no evidence for that. And I want to simply say that those who finance campaigns in U.S. or Germany or France for political goals, they will not retrieve their money.

ET: Does the Libyan issue witness a behind-the-scenes conflict between France and Italy?

Saint-Pro: Italy supports Fayez el-Sarraj, the chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, while in France, we support the political solution in Libya that was signed in Skhirat [Agreement], and we also recognize the Presidential Council of Libya and we cooperate with all parties in the Libyan scene objectively. France recently hosted a conference to near approaches between Haftar [the head of the Libyan National Army] and Sarraj, aiming to avoid military conflicts in Libya.

As for the European Union and whether its internal issues would affect the Libyan situation, let me tell you that there is nothing called the EU’s foreign policies, there are only [those of] France, Germany, England, and many others inside the union.

ET: In your opinion, who are the main players in the region on the local and international levels?

Saint-Pro: First, I want to clarify that there is no such thing called “Arab Spring,” this is a ridiculous joke invented by US businessman George Soros. Yemen is now paying the price of the relations between [late Yemeni president] Ali Abdullah Saleh and Obama in the past.

Yemen has been divided into tribes, separatist forces, Iranian-backed militias and other groups that are claiming that the Arab coalition is bombing civilians in Yemen, and these are all unacceptable allegations.

I hope US President Donald Trump will eventually support the right of Yemenis to life.

Translated by Nourhan Magdi

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4/15/2019 4:28:12 AM
<![CDATA[All you need to know about the military role in Egypt’s constitutional amendments ]]>
The article states that the Armed Forces are owned by the people, and carry the responsibility of protecting the country; preserving the safety and security of its lands; protecting the constitution and democracy; and preserving the pillars of the civil state, as well as the gains of the people and the rights and freedoms of the individuals. The article further states that only the state establishes these forces; and that all individuals, bodies or organizations are forbidden from establishing military or quasi-military formations, groups or arrangements.

Abd El Al affirmed that the “civil state” does not refer in any way to secularism, religion or militarism, adding that the second article in the constitution states that Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic is the official language, and that Shari’a law is the main source for legislation. In addition, article 3 states that for Egyptian Christians and Jews, the principles of their religious law will be the main source in regulating their personal status, matters pertaining to their religion, and the selection of their spiritual leadership. "The amendments do not at all refer to the secularism of the state, neither to religiosity or militarism,” he said.

The members also approved article 204 paragraph 2, stating that a civilian cannot be tried in front of a military court, unless in crimes such as attacking a military institution, camps of the armed forces or establishments protected by the latter, military areas or borders; or attacking military tools, vehicles, armoury, documents, secrets, public assets or military factories; as well as crimes related to transcription; or crimes that constitute a direct attack on military officers and individuals because of performing their jobs.

The parliament members also approved article 234; stating that the minister of defense is hired after the approval of The Supreme Council of Armed Forces.]]>
4/14/2019 11:50:47 PM
<![CDATA[Amendments of Egyptian constitution: current president to serve 6 yrs instead of 4, can run for another term]]>
Article 140 states in its first paragraph: The President of the Republic shall be elected for a term of six Gregorian years, beginning on the day following the expiry of his predecessors' term, and may not serve for more than two consecutive terms of office.

Transitional Article No. (241 bis) The current term of the President of the Republic shall expire on the expiration of six years from the date of the announcement of his election as President of the Republic of 2018, and may be re-elected for the next time.

This came during a meeting of the Committee of Constitutional and Legislative Affairs of the House of Representatives, chaired by Dr. Ali Abdel-Al, on Sunday to vote on the draft report on the proposed constitutional amendments of the Egyptian Support Coalition to the Constitution of 2014, including the final wording of the articles, especially after the opportunity to hear all the views of society In addition to all the views of the Committee and the deputies of the Council during the two sessions of the discussion of the report of the Sub-Committee on the classification and cataloging of all proposals submitted orally or what has been submitted in writing during the last period.]]>
4/14/2019 6:50:59 PM
<![CDATA[Legislative committee to vote on constitutional amendments]]>
According to Article 138 of the Parliament's bylaws, passing the amendments in such draft report would require the approval of the majority of the committee's members. As the legislative committee currently includes 53 Parliament members, 27 MPs have to approve the report to pass it.

The Parliament’s legislative committee approved on Wednesday the formation of a subcommittee to write the final draft of the proposed constitutional amendments. The subcommittee will be headed by Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal.

The subcommittee’s members include Bahaa Abu Shoka, the legislative committee’s head; MPs Ahmed Helmy al-Sherif and Nabil al-Gamal, the committee’s deputy heads; and Ihab al-Tamawi, the committee’s secretary.

The Parliament earlier gave a preliminary approval ofthe constitutional amendments submitted by 155 Parliament members.After a societal dialogue was held by the government, the amendments will come up for vote in a parliamentary plenary meeting after being drafted in a final legal context, and approved by the legislative committee.

The streets and public squares have been overwhelmed with banners calling on citizens to vote in the planned referendum on the amendments. Having the name of the pro-government Nation’s Future Party written on them, the banners urged people to vote in favor of the amendments.

If the amendments are approved, presidential terms in general will be extended to six years instead of four for each of the two terms, while the incumbent president will be allowed to run for a third exceptional term. Also, heads of the judicial bodies would be appointed by the president.

Abdel Aal affirmed many times that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi did not ask for amending Article No. 140 extending the presidential term.

The proposed amendments also include restoring Shura Council – a senate- to broaden representation at the Parliamentary Councils- after it was dissolved in 2012. The appointment of deputy president is also one of the amendments. Supporting women, Youth, Christian minority, the disabled, and the Egyptian expatriates community by solid constitutional articles are included in the amendments.

One of the amendments stipulates, “The Armed Forces are the guarantor of the democracy and civil state, and the appointment way of defense minister should be reconsidered.”
]]>
4/14/2019 3:34:40 PM
<![CDATA[Personal-status law of non-Muslims to be unified]]>
Bakhoum stated that Pope Tawadros II,pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church; André Zaki, the vice president of the Evangelical Community in Egypt; Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac; and Bishop Ibrahim Hanna agreed on all arguable articles that Christians call to change it.

Moreover, the church spokesperson affirmed that the personal-status law will be drafted by churches' legal advisors and handed to specialized authorities to be publicly stated.

Some 90 percent of the Evangelical Christian Church members rejected the personal status law proposed by the Evangelical denominations’ legal committee in mid-June 2016 that called for civil marriage and not to limiting reasons of divorce to adultery and religious conversion,preferring to follow the old law set in 1902.

The rejected law allowed multiple reasons for divorce, mainly adultery, religious conversion, long separation, abandonment and imprisonment of one of the partners.
Pope Tawadros II mentioned that the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church allows divorce in cases of adultery and religious conversion.

Following discussions, it was decided that a civil judge will allow divorce for partners separated for more than 3 years and have no children and for those separated for 5 years and have children.]]>
4/14/2019 2:31:26 PM
<![CDATA[Map of parties in Yemen ... How do they affect the political scene?]]>

Parliament of Yemen

It is noteworthy that the parties before 1990 were active in secrecy, fearing security pursuits, as a result of this the Popular Congress Party in the northern part of it and the Yemeni Socialist Party in the southern part of Yemen, where the party was forbidden and Has been criminalized at the time.


Party expert

At the beginning of our observation of the Yemeni political scene at the present time, we had a meeting with Dr. Nashwan Naji Nashwan, a political researcher, who said that the transi-tion from secrecy to public life in political work and the establishment of pluralism at the beginning of the unification phase in Yemen was not the result of smooth democratic accu-mulation. It was a principle at the time that "democracy has been achieved unity and the achievement of unity came democracy."


Party expert

He added that the many stages of change that Yemen have passed through affected the par-ties in the political scene, some of them have played a role in the coup, some of them led the post- Houthi coup period. Actually, the number of organizations and political parties that de-clared themselves in the early years of the democratic experience was more than «46» Polit-ical party and organization, encompassing all national, leftist and centrist ideological trends.



Inside El Watan Camp In Marib


According to Dr. Nashwan, the map of parties and political organizations were rearranged; some of them existed prior to the announcement of the re-unification. their number are 12, namely the General People's Congress, the Socialist Party of Yemen, the Arab National Baath Party, the Iraqi Wing, the Baath Party, The Syrian Wing, the Nasserist Unionist Or-ganization, the Muslim Brotherhood, the National Democratic Front, the Sons of the South Party "were active abroad", the Nasserist revolutionary Organization, the Popular Forces Union "was active abroad", the Right Union Rally "was active abroad", and the People's Or-ganization of the Revolutionary Forces of the Front Liberation «was active abroad».


Army of Yemen


The political researcher Dr. Nashwan Naji pointed out that there are new national organiza-tions that were formed during the period of the re-unification of Yemen. Their number is 14 including the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, the Unionist Union, the Sovereign Organization, the Liberal Party, The right-wing Shura Party, the Liberation Front Party, the Guard of Unity Party, the Republican Party, the Free Manbar Party, the United Democratic Front, the Revo-lutionary Correction Front, the Yemeni Girl Party.

There are four Nasserist organizations, which split from the Nasserist trend; Progressive Popular Organization Nasseri, the organization of Nasserite hawks, the Nasserist factions, Nasserist Democratic Party.

There are also eight Yemeni parties formed after the announcement of the Yemeni reunifica-tion, namely the Yemeni Reform Party, Al-Haq Party, the Sunni Al-Muhammadiyah Groups, the Yemeni Al-Nahda Organization, the Islamic Labor Party, the Islamic Union Party and the Popular Front for Salvation.

He stressed that the first year of the unity was characterized by a strong rush towards the formation of political parties and organizations, because of the flexibility of the law at the time, which allowed anyone who wants to establish a party to do. Whereas the law provides for each Yemeni group organized on the basis of common principles and objectives in ac-cordance with constitutional legitimacy, to practice its activities in a peaceful and democratic way, with the aim of peacefully rotating or participating in power, but in the following peri-ods and until 2015, the number of active parties decreased to 22 parties even before the coup.


Mohammed Jameh is a Yemeni political analyst


As for the period before 2011, we were told by the Yemeni political expert Mohammed Jameh that the parties became just the General People's Congress and the opposition, the joint meeting which included the Nasserite Rally, the Socialist Unionist, the Reform and the Union of Popular Forces. in March 2015, after war,the Reform Party became a mixture of Islamists and tribes in support of legitimacy, and joined part of the General People's Con-gress of President Abdurbo Mansour, as the President of the Conference after the martyrdom of Saleh, as for the Right Party and the popular forces, they supported Houthis.

"After the events of December 2017 and the separation of Abdullah Saleh from the Houthis and then his death, a large part joined to support the legitimacy, and some took a middle po-sition, and became part of the Congress Party, wrapped around Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, On the other hand, the Houthis forced the leaders of the conference in Sana'a to remain in the Supreme Political Council, which was formed between the Congress Party and the Houthis before the death of Saleh.

Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh

On the other hand, there was a split in the legitimacy camp, where the Southern Transitional Council was formed, headed by Aidros al-Zubadi, who wants to re-divide the north and the south. Consequently, the southern forces that still support the legitimacy had to form a new coalition to support the legitimacy. it was named the National Southern Coalition with the aim of supporting the legitimacy, The coalition and the federal state, which includes six administrative regions.


Vice president of the biggest party in Yemen

As for what is happening now inside the General People's Congress, we met with Saud al-Yousufi, deputy chairman of the General People's Congress Party, a member of the Standing Committee in Marib province, who confirmed to the «seventh day» that the party is now reuniting and forming a collective leadership according to the internal system, pointing out that the members of the Standing Committee are 1,200 members, while the General Committee are 28 members, and the total membership of 6,300 members, and its members are increasing, especially after the assassination of Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the number of detainees held by the Houthis are 1,721 members.


"Most of the General People's Congress supports Abed Rabbo Mansour and Ahmad Ali Ab-dullah Salih from the party leadership," al-Yousufi said. "He is entitled to stand as a candi-date in the elections, but according to the regulations, the deputy is the one who is president. The situation applies to President Abd Rabo Mansour.



President of Yemen


As for the procedures to be followed in the party, Al-Yousufi said, the General Committee must be held in the presence of 28 members. It will be a preparatory committee and its meeting will be held in Cairo or Riyadh. The elections will be held through the Permanent Committee, which will elect the Secretary-General. The president needs to hold the party's eighth general conference in the presence of all party leaders, and hold direct free elections, but this is difficult now.

As for the future of negotiations held in Amman, Riyadh and the UAE concerning the party, Al-Yousufi stressed that the leaders are on the basis of unifying the party. We expect within two months and according to the rules of the internal system there will be a restructuring of this party. This will have a positive effect on the war fronts. And there are military leaders who are encouraged to join the army again, as well as the elders of the tribes and the sur-rounding areas in Sana'a will join us, and there are some of them joined the legitimacy re-cently and officers of the guard against Abdullah Saleh and leaders of the second row joined the legitimacy.

Ahmed Ali Meftah, head of the youth sector in the General People's Congress Party, said that youth represent 60% of the members and leaders, and we count on them very much in as-sembling the party in the coming period.

The Yemeni Tagammu Party for reform or "Reform Party" is one of the influential parties in the Yemeni political scene, both before and after the coup. There has been a lot of debate over the nature of its relation with the Brotherhood, which was denied by Adnan al-Adini, deputy head of the party's cultural and media department. An entity called Muslim Brothers, and we have already confirmed that reform is a Yemeni party and has no administrative rela-tionship with any organization outside the country, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Adnan al-Adaini said that the Yemeni reform group is present in every governorate and is still strong in its presence. It is the most important pillar of Yemeni political legitimacy and the political force that stands with all its social strength in facing the coup project. It plays this role in its entire organizational structure and leadership bodies, which have not been di-vided on this issue but united behind a historic decision that rejects the coup and supports the legitimacy and demands of the Yemeni state.

On what is said that «Reform» had a hand in support of the coup, indirectly, through the opening of squares and fields for the Houthis, Adnan stressed that this accusation is com-pletely false, because the squares are not owned by the Reform, it has just been there like other parties. furthermore, Houthis attended a tent, while there was a strong military cooper-ation between Saleh and al-Houthi, how then to cooperate with his allies against it!

As for the party's vision for the future of Yemen, Al-Adaini said: "We believe that no one is able to monopolize the government in Yemen in the short and medium term. The country needs a political action formula that is formulated and implemented by the Yemeni political spectrum without exception.

On the role of Egypt in the war in Yemen, the deputy head of the cultural and media depart-ment of the Islah Party said that it is important for Egypt to play a role in restoring stability in the region and for the interest of Arab national security. As for Yemen, its security is linked to security in Egypt.

As for the role of the General People's Congress Party, al-Idaini stressed that it is an im-portant party and its return to work will serve the political process. In the reform, we hope that it will resume its activity with full national strength and serve the restoration of the state, defeat the coup and strengthen political legitimacy that will protect us from fragmentation. In addition to establishing state organizations on national foundations and confronting poverty and terrorism, challenges that require a comprehensive national vision to deal with them.



Official spokesman of the Islah party

As for the future formation of the party map in Yemen, al-'Adini said: No one can talk in de-tail about this map until the first elections are held. The electorate is the one who determines the weights of the political forces and the weight of each party and its size.

The Nasserist Popular Unity Organization is the "Nasserist Party" is considered one of the important parties in Yemen, along with the General People's Congress, Socialism and Re-form. The role of this party in the political scene in Yemen was discussed by Dr. Abdullah Dahan, Deputy Minister of Health and member of the General Secretariat of the Organiza-tion. He said that the party's role in the pre-coup and the Houthi war was a prominent and in-fluential one. As well as the National Council for the Revolution and Peaceful Change, which was formed in 2011 as a result of the peaceful youth movement, as well as commit-ment to what was agreed upon and signed within the framework of the Gulf initiative and its executive mechanism, and participated actively in the national reconciliation government through its sole representative, and in implementation of what attached to the terms of the Gulf initiative in the election of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.


Abdullah Dahan Al - Nasseri Party

Dr. Abdullah Dahan, member of the General Secretariat of the Popular Unity Organization Nasseri said that the party also participated in the comprehensive national dialogue confer-ence to reach the completion of the document of the outputs of the national dialogue, which has become one of the most important documents of the political process in the country. The dialogue conference and its aftermath emphasizes its adherence to the principle of partner-ship and consensus among different parties and the rejection of the use of force and violence or the imposition of positions with the force of arms from any party.

The Nasserite Party was the first to work on finding solutions and solutions through its fa-mous initiative on August 20, 2014, which was widely welcomed by various parties to pre-vent deterioration of the situation and spare the country in general and the capital Sana'a cat-astrophic disasters that threaten people's lives and risks the entire political process.

In the aftermath of the war, Dr. Abdullah Dahan said that the Nasserite Party, whose stated and known positions were known to all Yemeni political components, was to support and uphold the constitutional legitimacy of the President and the legitimate government to com-plete the tasks of the transitional phase and complete the process of political settlement.

One of the active parties in Yemen is also the Yemeni Socialist Party. Asaad Omar, a mem-ber of the party's Central Committee, said: After the war, the party suffered a lot of blows through the series of practices committed by the victorious party in the war. Its headquarters were confiscated, and the formation of a coalition alliance between the opposition parties, which included the parties of the Nasserist organization, the Baath Party, the Union of Popu-lar Forces and the Haq Party. After the breakup of the partnership between the two par-ties,the party contributed to the establishment of a new alliance between the parties of the Coordination and Reform Council known as the Joint Meeting Alliance, which represented a unique experience not only at the level of Yemen but also at the level of the region. The par-ty paid a great price for that by the assassination of the Secretary General of the Party Martyr Jarallah Omar who was assassinated as a result of the danger that President Saleh and his re-gime felt from the success of the idea of a joint meeting.


Asaad Omar Socialist Party

Asad Omar, Secretary General of the Yemeni Socialist Party, Dr. Abdulrahman Omar Al-Saqqaf, called for the rapid formation of the National Caucus of Parties, which had been initiated to be prepared in Riyadh by the parties supporting the legitimacy under the auspices of the President of the Republic Abd Rabo Mansour and the coalition supporting legitimacy.

As one of those who were assigned by the party leadership to participate in the preparation of this alliance, I am sure that the party is keen on this alliance, which is supposed to include forces and parties wider than the joint meeting as a national framework based on a vision that meets the needs of the moment and reserve for the parties their status and its political role as one of the components of constitutional legitimacy and consensus.

We have been able to complete the documents of the coalition represented by the political document, the executive program and the regulations, and were signed by the secretaries of the public. We then have the task of publicizing the alliance, which we do not see as pre-venting this for any reason. We can advertise it from any liberated spot in the country. The present moment and the next stage of its requirements impose on everyone urgent action to achieve this framework. It will be the most important instrument of legitimacy to fulfill its leadership and supporting alliance. The most prominent parties involved in the preparation of this alliance alongside the Socialists are the Yemeni Rally for Reform, the General People's Congress, the Nasserist Unity Organization, the Southern Movement, the Renaissance Movement for Change, the Justice and Building Party, the Union of Popular Forces Party and the National Solidarity Party. The atmosphere is opened for other parties and political forces.



To understand more about this matter, we sat down with Acting Minister of Defense, Mohamed Ali al-Maqdashi, who told us, “We have restored 85% of the country's territory. ... We liberated 16 provinces from 22 and we are progressing on all fronts.”



Minister of Defense Muhammad alMaqdashi


"The national army of 170 thousand soldiers and their leaders received training in Egypt and we never forget Nasser's role in freeing us from 'darkness of the Imamate'," he continued.

In the area of Major General 14 in the courtyard of the homeland in the province of Marib in Yemen, where the headquarters of the coalition forces in support of legitimacy, we met with the team Mohammed Ali al-Maqdashi, Acting Minister of Defense of Yemen, in light of the fate of the Minister of Defense Subyhi is still unknown since his abduction by the Houthis in 2015. Al-Maqdashi, confirmed that the Yemeni army is now in the stage of reconstruction, after it was one of the strongest Arab armies, before being subjected to internal betrayals led to his handover and most of his equipment to the Houthis.




Minister of Defense

He also praised the Egyptian army strength, pointing out that most of the leaders of the Yemeni army received training in Egypt, That the number of the Yemeni army is 170 thousands, Which is fairly enough to overcome the difficult stage our country going through. he emphasized that 16 16 provinces have been liberated within 22 governorates, he also talked about the situation of military areas of engagement, and the role of the alliance of legitimate support in the war waged by Yemen forces.

Here is the interview:

At first would you brief us on the current situation of the Yemeni army?

The National Army is still undergoing a reconstruction phase. We first worked on rebuilding new cadres instead of the ones we lost before. We started the organizational preparations for the construction of the military units and we started preparing the military units. We are working within the operational division of the army, in this context, we have reconstituted the military units.

In the reconstruction phase, Egypt played a large role. A number of our soldiers were trained in the Egyptian colleges and institutes. The Yemeni officers were rehabilitated. Our army recovered 80% of its strength and size. As for the equipments, only 20% were prepared, in-cluding a part not taken by the Houthis in the first and second regions , And the Yemeni ar-my was one of the strongest Arab armies in terms of cadres and gear, and we had sophisti-cated weapons such as the modern tanks 82 and 72, and it was not to fall but betrayals that occurred from weak souls, and today we are in a good stage but continue to strengthen .. Today our army size is 170 thousand soldiers, and that is enough to go beyond the stage for a war with the Houthis.

What about the situation at military confrontations?

The army is progressing in all areas of engagement. The number of liberated governorates reached 16 governorates out of a total of 22 Yemeni governorates, as we have control over 85%. The army also made progress in the places where fighting has been fought so far, most importantly In Hodeidah. The Yemeni army reached Haith northwest of the Mukha, on the west coast, ie, on the outskirts of Hodeidah, That is, we are on the outskirts of Hodeidah, and we all know that it is the province, which represents the lifeline of the Houthis, to have the port of Hodeidah, through which they get the various supplies of food and armament. actu-ally, all smuggling to Iran through the port of Hodeidah, especially after they left Aden.

Also in Nhm we reached the outskirts of the most important Directorate in Sana'a, and access to it means a great victory, and the front of Sarawah also has significant developments, the fronts in Taiz, conditions have become much better because the popular resistance there is large, and we controlled the majority of directorates there.

We are also advanced in the battles of Saada, a stronghold of the Houthis, and on the out-skirts of Sanaa. In Hodeidah, the forces are advanced in the coast, and also in Baidah, and the time is approaching to resolve all these battles.

How do you describe the relationship between the Egyptian and Yemeni armies?

At the beginning, I would like to point out that the Yemeni army is a copy of the Egyptian army and we are all leaders who graduated by the leaders of the Egyptian army. The military colleges assisted in the rehabilitation of the Yemeni officers and the leader Gamal Abdel Nasser managed to get us out of the darkness of the imamate. The Republican regime in 1962, and hundreds of martyrs of the Egyptians and continued the Egyptian army here in Yemen until the year 1967, and played during this period a large role in many areas of Yemen.

What is the role of the coalition forces in general and Egypt in particular in the battle of Yemen?
Egypt is part of the coalition forces supporting the legitimacy, in addition to the humanitari-an side, but the Egyptian forces have no presence on the ground in the battle.

The role of the coalition led by Saudi Arabia is to recover 85% of the Yemeni land that was in the hands of the Houthis. The coalition was able to rescue Yemen from those who tried to eradicate it after the Houthis, with the support of the late President Ali Abdullah Saleh's forces, seized all its equipments and weapons. So they entered the markets of Marib, even if Marib fell, the entire areas would have been seized by the Houthis.

When King Salman led the Decisive Storm war, he was able to prove to the world that there is still an Arab nation and that the battle is continuing and Yemen will remain, before it, the Yemeni army was completely collapsed and the people were under the control of Houthi. We started the process of rebuilding the army again in 2015 and the possibilities were limited. The president appointed a new army leadership. The members of the military units were called. In other words, we started the restructuring of the army. There was great cooperation from the UAE to liberate Aden as a first step to liberate Yemen as a whole. Yemen, with the coalition air support, and the resistance could only free Aden, Dali, Lahj and Abyan, and then we integrated the resistance into the army, now our situation is much better and the end of the battles is coming soon.

What is the most important battles currently taking place in Yemen?

One of the important battles Front is Sarawah in the direction of Marib, which is still in place and the battles of the Front «Nahm» of Sanaa and the army controlled large areas of them, despite the difficult terrain of the region. Now our soldiers reached the outskirts of the Di-rectorate of Arhab of Sanaa and the arrival of the National Army to this Directorate will be a major gain for the benefit of Legitimacy; Sana'a Airport on the outskirts of Arhabe as it leads us to the heart of the capital and easy to defeat the secretariat of the capital, and we will win the solidarity and support of the tribes.

Taiz is also one of the important battles, although the situation is better than before because there is no complete control as before, and the supply now reach the people and most im-portantly, the popular resistance continues and we insist on the continuation of the resistance, we are working through several axes of resistance and the army and the coalition.

What is the role of Iran in Yemen and the Arab region as a whole?

Iran was the main supporter of the Houthis, and Iranian ships and missiles were seized on Saudi Arabia. The missiles in the Yemeni army were limited in range. Iran supported the Houthis with missiles with a range of 1,000 kilometers. Immediately after the coup,

Some accuse the coalition forces that their strikes fall civilians… How true is that?
War is always subject to mistakes, and even American forces in their wars did not avoid mistakes, but for the coalition are very few mistakes and the alliance is keen not to approach areas with civilians, and has a list of areas that are forbidden to approach, and is committed to this list.

We have noticed the spread of weapons on the Yemeni street. How can we control the proliferation of weapons that act as a threat to security?

This is a big and old problem. We have a plan to control and eliminate it, but our priorities are to end the battle with the Houthis and eliminate terrorism. But the Yemeni people are less dangerous than others in using weapons.

"Al-Qaeda" was rooted in some areas in Yemen; how much is the size of the current presence and do you have a plan to eliminate the remnants?

Al-Qaeda exists but in a limited a few numbers is not as it was in the past. It has no fixed place. If its members feel the presence of the army, it will move from one place to another without a stable stronghold, and it will end with the end of the Houthis because Shiite ex-tremism creates Sunni extremism.

What is the relationship between you and the forces of Ali Abdullah Saleh?

We were all in the national army under Abdullah Saleh, but when he allied with the Houthis, we rejected his approach, and now we have with us in the army a large number of his former forces, and we have no objection to cooperating with any of his family as long as they are subject to legitimacy.




Yemen

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hannah. Hannah has taken a 30-day trip to monitor Houthi crimes, the suffering of the people and the role of the coalition forces in restoring the Arab country from the hands of Iran's allies, documents revealing Houthi plan to spread the Shiite ideology, the mandate of the Faqih, and change the curriculum.


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<![CDATA[The port of Aden overcomes the crisis, regains its strength]]>
The port is one of the most famous landmarks and economic pillars in Yemen. It is the largest natural port in the world. It is surrounded by the Shamsan mountain range and Jabal al-Muzlqam, which is the natural harbor of the port, adding to it a competitive advantage as a wall against seasonal winds and waves so that it works at any time of year without stopping. On the quay, we saw the work being done in full swing, unloading containers from a 200-meter Singaporean vessel, and another German vessel “Elabella”, one of the most active lines before the war, port officials told us.



port of Aden
The port of Aden also follows the ports of Al-Ma'ala and Al-Zait, where the city derives its importance from the port of Aden, which is an important pillar of the Yemeni economy. It is the second largest natural port in the world.

The port of Aden, which dates back to 1999, passed through difficult periods following the Houthi attack in March 2015. However, it is trying to recover. It has started to take its first steps as it has witnessed a lot of progress under difficult and complicated conditions, the workers confirmed during our tour.

Aden port


The moment we entered the main gates, we were surprised by the big number of cars carrying goods, unloaded from the ships to begin the journey of land transport, dozens of cars and traders and goods on the sidewalks and another on a huge truck waiting to unload its cargo.. An activity that does not make you feel that it is a port still taking its first steps to restore its strength after the events Aden, which affected the global trade movement, nevertheless, it refused to surrender and rose again.

Chairman of Aden Ports Authority and reporter of the newspaper




Zahir Al Sayyad, Director of Operations at the port, explained that the port consists of a container berth with a length of 700 m. It accommodates 3 vessels, a storage and unloading station and “Dahroga” berth dedicated to liquid goods, but the container activity represents 70% of the total port activity. The oil port of Aden is also owned by Aden refinery supervised by Aden’s Refinery Authority. There are also 31 storage units working 24 hours. It receives commercial and aid ships coming from various Arab and foreign countries. However, security situation is more stable, which helps that the port regain its activity, even though we passed through very tough circumstances, either during war or after it directly. Nowadays, The Aden port container terminal is being developed and supported by new equipments. The number of vessels and containers is increasing. The port of Aden is fully dependent on the Yemeni market, and most of our imports are foodstuffs.



On the commercial traffic inside the port, Ashraf Kardash, Commercial Director of Aden Port, explained that there are 15 thousand containers in the container port of with the capacity of 20 thousand containers per day. The port contains 31 Block; the freezing container storage unit, with a capacity of 300 freezing containers. He confirmed that the political solution affected work routine in the port. For example, the Aden Container Terminal has a capacity of up to one million containers per year, but currently there is only 40% to 50% of this capacity. Before the war, the port received ships up to 350 meters long It was called the "Mather Ship" that connected the harbor head to Singapore and East Asia. But what we receive now is «Vedders» length of about 200 meters comes from Singapore to Jeddah to Ade. China is our largest supplier, and 65% of our imports from China, it still considered the largest trading partner with us.

Workers inside the port of Aden with the reporter

He said about the main factors that affect the customers of the station: It is limited to the accumulation of containers for several days in the port because of problems in land transport due to the Houthis’ control on parts of Yemen, and also the demographic distribution has an effect, as a large number of the population of Yemen in the north, and 85% of the trade in the north is controlled by the Houthis, in addition to the high value of the insurance fees. All this created another land competitor such as “Al-Wadeeah” port and shipping port and other ports linking Yemen to Saudi Arabia and also linking Yemen to Oman. Qardash said about the mechanisms used to receive relief shipments: Aden port is the main port for receiving any relief shipments to Yemen. In recent days, a large number of vessels of the World Food Organization have been received. We provide large facilities for unloading and fastening anchoring. We set a special place for Shipments to be unloaded and moved to the customs area quickly and then to the market and the Yemeni citizen.

Mohammed Alawi Amzrabh Chairman of the Ports Authority Egypt Today, “The decision to liberalize the oil derivatives market increases the port's activity
We have developed the container terminal. The port and the Suez Canal are complementary to each other. The stability of the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb and Yemen as a whole is important for Egypt. The situation has improved compared to previous years, however, the port needs huge funding. We expect the number of containers to exceed rates before 2011.”

There were no cases of assault or theft of containers until the war, and we have taken high security measures.

To learn about the challenges facing the port's work after the war, the future of the port and the most important countries that are still using it, and many details related to the port, we met with Mohammed Alawi Amzrabeh, head of Aden Ports Authority.

Tell us about the current situation of Yemen's ports in general?

Yemen has three main ports: Aden, Mukalla and Hodeidah, which are still under the control of Houthis. Mukalla port suffered many problems because of the war. The most important of these is the decline of two thirds of the GDP, according to estimates of the Ministry of Planning. Yemen has become the 10th. country in the world in inflation, the decrease in purchasing power and the high rates of insurance on vessels ranged between 1200 and 1500 dollars for the ship, which represents twice the value imposed by the ports of neighboring countries. So,this reduced the competitive advantages of the port of Aden, because Yemen is classified as a high-risk country, and thus increased the value of insurance.

There are no direct flights from the export ports to the port of Aden, there must be an intermediary port, formerly it was Salalah, Djibouti and Jeddah, and now most of them are in Jeddah. Now 45% of our imports come from Southeast Asia and are unloaded in Dubai or Jeddah which forms a burden over the cost of operating compared to the ports of neighboring countries, which is witnessing huge funding for development, like Egypt when it established the new Suez Canal. This is an important project which generates huge revenues, and provides a competitive advantage on the Canal in general. They signed an agreement with Dubai Ports Authority to establish a logistics industrial zone in Ain Sukhna, Aden port and the Suez Canal which are two complementary to each other. There is also the establishment of Sheikh Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi which has importance for being electronic, and the port of Dubai, which is the largest industrial port in the region as well as the development of the port of Berbera in Somalia.

What is the importance of Aden port?

Aden is the main and largest port in Yemen, with a capacity of 10 million tons for “Al-Zayt” port and 3 million tons for “Mualla” port .

The ports of Aden, Al-Muala and Al-Zayt witnessed a development in the services provided in 1800, especially, the service of refueling, coal and water for steam vessels. Services offered expanded after the Suez Canal was opened in 1869. Aden port became one of the busiest fueling ports in the year 1950, and a shopping and trade center in the world.

The maritime economy and maritime transport industry is the international trade artery and 80% of the goods are transported by sea because of the low cost. The port of Aden is located in the Gulf of Aden on the southern coast of Yemen, about 95 nautical miles east of Bab al-Mandab, the southern gate of the Red Sea. The international shipping line is only 4 miles far. The port covers an area of 8 nautical miles from east to west and 5 nautical miles from north to south. It consists of 3 sectors, the container terminal, the berths of the port and “Al-Zayt” port. 10% of the maritime transport traffic passes through the territorial waters and Bab al-Mandeb, along with many goods, which are transported and pass in front of the Yemeni coast, especially the port of Aden, and carry more than 60 thousand ships annually of all types of goods passing near the port, the daily number of ships is 57. Aden Port is the nearest port to the international shipping line as it is about 4 miles away.

Would you tell us also about the movement of transportation and trade in Aden port after the war?

The situation varied widely. For example, in 2014, the number of containers reached 650 thousands. In 2015, when the war was running, it reached 178 thousand containers. In 2016, it reached 270 thousands, and it improved in 2017 to reach 330 thousand containers. As for the operating fuel, it costs 40 million Yemeni riyals which is very high price. However, despite the challenges, we are working as much as we can to improve and develop it according to the available resource. Compared to previous years, the situation has improved a lot.

For in the last 9 months of last year (2017), the movement in Mualla port (part of the port of Aden), reached thousand tons - 2 million and 200 thousand metric tons compared to 800 thousand tons in 2016. While the terminal container of Aden port, in the last 9 months of the year 2017, reached 245 thousand, compared with only 200 thousand in 2016.

We have imported the full container handling equipment, “Al-Reish Sticker”, which are the latest at all Yemeni ports. We also imported 12 new locomotives and we are working on the maintenance of the marine locomotives. An agreement was signed for the construction of large bridge cranes. New generators with a capacity of 3 and half megawatts were purchased to boost the power of the port. In the coming period, we expect the number of containers to exceed 320,000 containers. This figure has not been achieved since the years prior to 2011, and we are endeavoring to supply the terminal with container handling equipment to speed up handling and to improve performance.

Are there still obstacles facing the port?

The port faces challenging for sure but we exert a lot of efforts to overcome obstacles. Despite of the near location of the port which is important to the international shipping line, the war has affected stability, leading to higher insurance costs in the port compared to neighboring countries, and the increase in the customs tariff in force. We hope to implement the President’s orders to reduce tariffs. The high freight charges on the vessels traders switch to the ports of neighboring countries. In addition, the importers rent small vessels «Feder» for the transport of goods, which in turn leads to increased cost in transport, because the larger the size of the vessel and the quantity of cargo loaded, the less transportation costs. Before the war, we suffered from the lack of direct flights from the manufacturing facilities to the port of Aden. Besides, the purchasing power of the citizen became less. We also suffer from the system of remittances under an observable banking system, to purchase equipment in the port and spare parts such as locomotives and marine parts. The purchase of parts and equipment has been stopped for years.

The port also needs specialized companies, and requires huge funds to promote it, and the state at present time is not able to do all this because of the conditions of war and instability. As a matter of fact, the war froze a lot of investment and port movement, while investors prefer stable countries, so, they switched to neighboring countries for investment. For, maritime transport requires security and stability, while Yemen is still suffering because of the circumstances of war and terrorist operations.

Our biggest problem now the “Al-Zayt” port which is specialized in Petroleum products as oil and gas production in Yemen has been stopped. Before the war, 12 million tons of petroleum products were traded. The rate is now 2 million tons per year. There are many services that are stopped such as the supply of ships with a rate of 300 ships a year before the war, now completely stopped, as well as the supply of water to the ships, the rates were up to 250 thousand ships a year, which also stopped, because the region is still troubled, and the entry permits for ships needed long procedures and a long time. Anyhow, Coalition Forces Supporting Legitimacy now contributes to overcome this obstacle and to accelerate procedures.

How did the liberalization of the oil derivatives market affect the movement of the port?

The decision of Yemeni President Abderbo Mansour Hadi to liberalize the market for the importation and marketing of oil derivatives has had a positive effect on the port's activity and facilitated the passage of these derivatives, which form more than 60% of the size of imports in Aden port.

This decision along with the suspension of customs duties charges also greatly helps to strengthen the business environment, and we wish the private sector to take its responsibility towards this stimulating and encouraging decision for further supply.

Tell us about the size of containers related to relief received by the port?

Most of the relief to Yemen is received through our country as we have recently received 40 rice containers from the Chinese government. The World Food Program (WFP) ships bring aids for the operation of grain mills which are handled by the shipping agent who is responsible for those trucks.

Were the containers subjected to special robberies or thefts during the war of Aden?

There were no cases of aggression or theft of containers even during the war, and high security measures and strict security have been taken, and popular resistance supported us in this regard, although in the year 2015 the management of the port was between the legitimate government and the coup forces.

Were the ports affected by the Arab spring revolutions since 2011 and what followed?

Certainly the entire Arab region was affected, including the movement of the port. In 2011, several provinces in Yemen witnessed chaos, Abyan fell into the hands of al-Qaeda, and the capital of Aden witnessed great chaos as well. The number of containers dropped down to 80 thousand containers and from 2012 to 2014, the number of containers did not exceed 290 thousand container per year, but before 2011 things were stable from 2007 to 2010 and the average number of containers was 500 to 550 thousand.

Are there new ports to be established in Yemen within the coming period?

There is “Broome” Port in Hadramout which is supported by Saudi Arabia with a loan of about $ 100 million, and it is under construction, it is essential because the current port “Mukalla” is small while Hadramout is a large governorate.

What is the relationship between the port of Aden and the Suez Canal?

The port of Aden and the Suez Canal are complementary to each other, and they are the north and the south gates on the Red Sea. Stability of Bab al-Mandab Strait and Yemen as a whole is important for the Suez Canal and vice versa. The trade size between Asia and Europe is 700 billion passing through the international shipping line from Bab El Mandab. The port of Aden is the closest to the international shipping line.



Gas stations are empty. Citizens are screaming because of a shortage of gas cylinders. The gasoline crisis stifles Yemenis and freeze transportation.

On the tour in the streets of various provinces in Yemen, we noticed that the petrol stations became deserted places, inhabited by insects and crows, with old equipment and counters rusted and chairs broken.

We approached one of them, one of the citizens told us: since the beginning of the war of the Houthis, there have been nothing called "petrol"; that is the name Yemenis call for “gasoline”. The citizen continues: People search for days and may not find any depending on their luck. Traders of black market sell it on roads or in isolated areas with prices that could reach 6000 to 8000 riyals for 20 liters. We went to those places until we saw is the selling and buying, we searched a lot with a friend who needs to "fill" his car, and he is afraid because if he does not find a petrol station, he will have to take a break from work.


Oil traders in Yemen
Alaa Mohammed assured us that this is the case of all people since three years. He explained that every family is reducing its movements in order to save oil because even the black market merchants do not stay in specific places. They are accidentally found in different places.

Finally, after hours of searching, we found someone putting a number of gasoline jacks in the trunk of his car and the place is crowded, we could hardly reach him and we found him taking the jerk and fill every car with a hose as required. The roads are almost empty of cars, transportation are few, and the streets are quiet but it is a quietness under which a burning crisis is hidden.

Amr Rabie tells us that the strainers in Aden, Mukalla and Shabwa have been closed since the war and the crisis is growing and traders are monopolizing oil. After the war of the Houthis, a Yemeni company took the process of marketing gasoline imported by the government through traders and the oil company entered into competition with traders, and there has been a price conflict; the price of the gasoline subsidized by the government is 3700 riyals, while its normal price is 6500 riyals. Currently, the oil company started a strike in front of the refinery because it has been turned into gasoline tanks for traders who sell it to citizens at double prices. In areas that are not liberated yet , it reaches 8000 riyals. Gasoline subsidized by the government to a big extent, and it is subsidizing as much as it can but it cannot covered the market.

The tariffs for transportation have increased significantly," says Ahmad al-Faqih of Aden. "For example, the tariff has reached 250 riyals, so we may stay in the house for days because we cannot pay for transportation, we also know people who are stuck in areas of conflict with the Houthis. Until now, they are unable to leave because they do not have money for transportation to bring them here. "

Mr. Hayel is a citizen with a disability in his leg from Taiz. He cannot go to the artificial limbs center in Marib because he does not have the money he needs to travel from Taiz to Marib.

The fuel crisis is not limited to gasoline cars, but the biggest crisis is the household fuel which most families are not able to afford to buy, so, most families cannot afford for the gas "cylinder". Mamina Mohammed from Sanaa says: “we are no more able to buy gas for home, because we have to stand in a big line for hours. We paid for 400 riyals for card and 250 for guarding the gas tank in the line and 3000 for the gas. So, we resorted to using plastic and wood materials in the stoves instead of the gas, the children can be hungry and I feed them only bread because I cannot cook without gas.”

“We all started to search for firewood since Houthis came, we collect plastic and firewood which is sold now and has market. Even those who can pay for gas, have to wait for days and sometimes weeks," adds Aisha Mohammadi from Taiz.


Yemeni Minister of Petroleum and the reporter

Ous Al-Oud, Yemeni Minister of Petroleum, spoke to us on theHouthis trade oil and its derivatives on the black market.

We are working to close the port of Hodeidah for oil derivatives in cooperation with the United Nations and the Arab Alliance .. And supply all the derivatives of oil through the refineries of Aden .. And we have developed a new strategy to resolve fuel crises and have break in 3 months. Companies are reluctant to invest under unstable conditions. We brought the fuel crises and tried to transfer the suffering of the Yemenis to the Minister of Oil and Minerals, Ous Al-Oud, to inform us of the real reasons behind the fuel crises and the legitimate government's plans to confront the greed of traders in the liberated areas and the greed of the Houthis in the not liberated areas.

The Minister assured us that there are several provinces that contain oil fields, including Marib Jouf, Hadramout and Shabwa, and until now only 25% of the oil fields in Yemen have been discovered, which is considered as one of the richest oil countries in the world. There are undiscovered marine fields and the Houthi war stopped exploration and production. Before the war there were 30 exploration companies and 11 producing companies, including famous international companies and 3 national companies. The main reason for the crisis is that the country did not restore the same amount of previous production in all the oil fields. It also revealed the government's plan to solve the oil crisis.

Now to the text of the dialogue.

At first we would like to know the oil-rich provinces in Yemen?

There are several provinces with oil fields, including Marib Jouf, Hadramout and Shabwa, and until now only 25% of them are discovered in Yemen, which is one of the richest countries in the world with oil, as there are undiscovered marine fields and the war has stopped the exploration and production. Before the war there were 30 companies working in exploration and 11 producing companies, including many international famous companies and 3 national companies.

What are the reasons behind the severe fuel crisis, whether cars or homes?

There is already a big crisis since the Houthi coup and the main reason for the crisis is that the country did not restore the same amount of previous production in all the oil fields. Aden’s main refinery had a capacity of 120 thousand barrels per day, stopped production due to war and the second one is in Marib with the capacity of 10 thousand barrels per day.

After the Houthi’ coup The entire business of oil companies stopped, after the extension of Houthi to the oil regions, the companies announced a freeze of their work until further notice due to the unstable security situation. We found it very difficult to provide oil derivatives, and resorted to liberalize the price of oil derivatives to eliminate the black market, and import from abroad to cover the requirements of local market. We have created a mechanism to control the black market and prevent manipulation between the local price subsidized by the government, which is 3700 riyals for 20 liters of gasoline, and the world price which is 5200 or 5300 riyals for the tank. But unfortunately it has created a black market and thus is sold with more than 6500 or 7000 riyals in Yemen, so the President of the Republic recently decided to stop his support and liberalize the price of petroleum derivatives to eliminate the black market.

When we went to markets we did not see any working gas stations… why?

Companies have been reluctant to invest in Yemen under unstable conditions. We used to buy oil at the subsidized price and gave it to the stations, then the traders gathered and stored it and the citizen did not benefit. Therefore, the republican decision was recently issued to liberalize the price of petroleum derivatives. I think this is a partial solution to the crisis.

But the crisis is not only an outcome of war.

Yes, it existed before but after war it was doubled. In the events of the Arab Spring in 2011, the oil pipeline in Shabwa, which pumped to the Aden refinery and closed 750 days after the Arab Spring, was hit. Production fell to 1110 thousand barrels per day for the export pipeline, and fell further during sabotage of extraneous parties In Marib, as part of the sabotage of the economy. The price of the bear was 9 thousand riyals in Sanaa, but before 2011 was stable and the production reached 170 thousand barrels per day, and was working in 12 oil fields, Aden refinery and Marib, and 13 productive companies.

Between 2015 and 2017, the oil markets witnessed a significant change in crude oil prices of $ 37 per barrel, with a high production cost of $ 274 per barrel in Yemen. These companies did not find it useful to invest in Yemen. Norwegian companies withdrew before the end of the employment contract because the cost of production is high. So, the number of producing companies is 4 companies and almost 12 explored companies. Now we rely on imports

What is size of the monthly import?

We rely on the import of about 35 thousand tons of diesel and 35 thousand tons of gasoline covering Aden, Lahj, Abyan and Dhalia. As for the rest of the provinces, we have implementers for the import as Aden refinery and the port of Hadramout, where there are tanks in the oil company in Hadramaut imports quantities covering the needs of Hadramout and also import from the private sector According to the bids submitted.

You did not mention Taiz and Sanaa .. from where their needs are covered?

As for the Taiz sometimes covered from Aden, and Marib covers Aljuf and Al-Baidaa while in Sanaa, traders buy quantities and supply them through the port of Hodeidah, a large quantities which reached in 2017 to two million tons, and traded on the black market and the price reached 9000 riyals per barrel of oil.

Are there recent solutions to the crisis?

We will work soon to try to reproduce from the fields of Shabwa and Marib and restart Aden refinery to reduce the import bill for these derivatives, because the Yemeni market needs up to 230 thousand tons of these derivatives monthly. The implementation of the Republican decision to liberalize the price of oil derivatives will solve a lot of crises but there are quantities remaining in the market which must be withdrawn first so as not to speculate. We also set conditions for companies wishing to work in this field to register with the National Oil Company to obtain the necessary permits after providing all the necessary guarantees to comply with the standards and specifications, the most important of which is financial resources and commitment to technical specifications required in the petroleum materials and adherence to timeline of supply. We officially announce, through Aden’s strainers, about tenders for the private sector and international companies, and there is a committee for tenders to decide the best price and the strongest offer and I expect there will be high demand from companies.

One of the destroyed petrol stations in Aden



Will this strategy include areas under the control of the Houthis, which are more affected?

The Houthis will continue to trade oil derivatives, because they no longer have any source of income. So, the solution is to close the port of Hodeidah for oil derivatives in those areas in cooperation with the United Nations and the Arab Alliance, and to supply oil derivatives through the refineries of Aden which have a large storage capacity. We are in the process of studying this strategy.

Is there a communication between you and the Houthi side?

No, there is no communication, only though the UN.

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hannah. Hannah has taken a 30-day trip to monitor Houthi crimes, the suffering of the people and the role of the coalition forces in restoring the Arab country from the hands of Iran's allies, documents revealing Houthi plan to spread the Shiite ideology, the mandate of the Faqih, and change the curriculum.



87699-اليوم-السابع
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4/14/2019 2:18:45 PM
<![CDATA[Yemeni Foreign Minister speaks about Houthi defeats... 'The end of Houthis is coming']]>
"The turbulent scene in Yemen is approaching its end," said Dr. Abdul Malik al-Makhlafi, deputy prime minister and Yemeni foreign minis-ter. He submitted evidencesof this; most importantly is the stable situation of the international community towards The Yemeni issue, although it has bben 3 years since the beginning of the war. He also expressed optimism towards appointing a new UN envoy, under a set of factors that give him the opportunity to achieve his percep-tions which hesubmitted to the Yemeni officials and members of the coalition forces during a recent tour after his appointment. And he confirmed that his perceptions are consistent with need to apply the solution based on the three references.



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Al-Makhlafy, in his dialogue, discussed files that must be closed be-fore starting talks with the Houthis, especially the file of detainees, besieged cities such as Taiz, and the reliefs which are attacked in various forms like shooting and random missiles.

Here is the dailouge:

How do you see the Yemeni scene three years since the war be-gan?

I can say that after Three years since the beginning of the war waged by our enemy the Houthi with its coup in Sana'a and its invasion of the provinces and cities, we are at the end of the scene. What dis-tinguishes the situation in Yemen compared to the crises in the re-gion is that the international situation is still cohesive and preserving its unity and support for Yemeni legitimacy. It agreed to determine the nature of this war, which is between two parties; legitimacy supported by the alliance on the one hand, and an internationally renegade rebellious militia on the other. The way to solve this war is is the commitment of the three institutions, namely the Gulf Initia-tive, the outputs of the national dialogue, and the UN resolution 2216. Recently a presidential statement was issued and a UV security resolution was issued Under Chapter VII, and the Russian decision to renew the sanctions. This confirms the cohesion of the international position despite the divisions in the world on many issues, which suggests that the solution can be reached according to the terms of references, and that the extension of the duration of the war was not imposed by the Houthis as facto reality on the international community.



Foreign Ministers of Yemen and Egypt


This is supported by the military scene which indicates that there is progress of the national army, and that the Houthis are facing multi-ple defeats in Nahm, Baidah, Hodeidah and the West Coast, and in Saada which is the stronghold of the Houthi rebellion. All that assure us that the Yemeni scene is coing to an end.

So, do you think that the decision to renew the sanctions came in favor of Yemen?

The sanctions were not imposed on Yemen, but on those who [ut obstcals to a political settlement; The son of Abdullah Saleh, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Abdul Hakim al-Houthi and Abu Ali al-Hakim. The sanctions decions were issued because they obstructed the imple-mentation of the settlement, which was unanimously voted upon by Russia. It confirmed all previous resolutions related to Yemen in-cluding resolution No. 2216, as well as Yemen's unity, independence and integrity of its territorial, the support of the legitimate govern-ment, the presidential statement. Actually, the presidential state-ments are unanimous, and overall positive, although it was about humanitarian issues in Yemen, but it clearly condemned the Houthis for obstructing the arrival of relief for the Yemeni people and the neediest groups, which amounted up to 11.3 million people, this confirms the steadiness and power of the international position.


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Are there also problems related to reliefs?

Yes, there are attacks on caravans and food trucks directed to Yemen by the Houthi militia. The Yemeni government has already demand-ed the expulsion of the former OCHA coordinator because he was complicit with the coupists, covering their looting practices and ob-structing the work of international organizations. Grandi was opinted instead of him and is currently doing her job.

What about the economic situation in Yemen?

There is an improvement in the economic conditions supported by the Coalition forces for the Support of Legitimacy and the United Na-tions. There is a plan of action to improve the humanitarian situa-tion. Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait provided $ 1.2 billion during the recent Geneva conference. They allocated 2 billion dollars to im-prove the Yemeni humanitarian and economic situation, and there are side plans for humanitarian assistance to rehabilitate the infra-structure, and the delivering aid to all Yemeni cities through safe cor-ridors.

Saudi Arabia has also provided a deposit of two billion dollars to support the central bank and the cash reserve, and there is an eco-nomic recovery plan to solve the issues of services.

The appointment of the British UN envoy comes at a sensitive time and influential for the Yemeni file, how do you see its impact on the overall events?

The new envoy, supported by the legitimate authority and the coali-tion forces, held meetings with President Abderbo Mansour Hadi, in the presence of MP Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, Prime Minister Ben Dagher, and my presence. The meetings dealt with the peace plans in Yemen and are supported unanimously by the international com-munity and the legitimate government. There is no doubt that the envoy has a great opportunity under the cohesion of the interna-tional community on the one hand, and the progress of the national army on the other, the decline of the Huthi militia on the third, and the split between Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthis, which made some of Saleh's forces join the banner of legitimacy. All these add to our strength. He also went to Sana'a and will have a tour at some Arab countries. He will then submit to the Security Council his views on the overall situation, solutions and how to implement them. We have his perceptions that come in line with the three references and the importance of putting pressure on the coups for real talks that begin with building confidence.

And the first steps to build confidence is to close a number of files, in particular the release of detainees, and to end of the siege of cities, such as Taiz, the file of the port of Hodeidah, Sanaa airport, and sala-ries, so that to know to what extent the Houthis are ready to end these crises, and go to the joint talks, which the convy confirmed that envoy that it builds on what has been done previously, we do not go back to zero, and we do not accept to start again. In the past, we have reached certain criteria; these talks are based on the fact that they are between a coup and a legitimate government based on the three pre-mentioned references. It aims to solve the security and military problem, which starts with withdrawal and surrender of weapons, because any talk about negotiations on the political aspect without resolving the security aspect has no meaning, and becomes a mere enhancement of the coup. The beginning of the political solu-tion is based on the above, the latest was Kuwait Agreement, refused by Houthi, and signed by the legitimate government, And called for the withdrawal from Sanaa, Taiz and Hodeidah, and then start talks to form a government of national unity and the return of the legiti-mate government to Sanaa.

Are you optimistic about changes in the coming period?

We are aware of the difficulty of the Houthis' return to negotiations and political solution or concessions for the sake of the Yemeni peo-ple, and that due to their ideological and doctrinal structure resulted to their association with Iran, believes that they should continue the war, indifferent to what the Yemenis ordeal. They are the extension of the idea of the imamate upon which the 26 September revolution was launched, which led Yemen to be classified as the "unknown Yemen", a country of poverty, ignorance and disease. And now they are restoring this trinity, but I do not think they have many opportu-nities to continue this war because of the public pressure, and mili-tary, and political pressure abroad, and their failure to market themselves to the international community as a Peace traitor, and therefore the international community has become confident that they do not fit as partners for peace, all this makes us optimistic that the coming period will witness wide mobility.

But there are a group of political detainees in the legitimate government; will there be a breakthrough in their file?

Al-Houthi Mahmoud al-Subaihi, Minister of Defense, brother of President Abdurbo Mansour Hadi, Major General Nasser Mansour, Political Security Undersecretary in Aden, Dhali and Lahj, and Faisal Rajab, commander of the 31 Armored Brigade, whom are referred to by the UN resolution to be released unconditionally, But Houthi still blocking their release, or reaching a settlement to close this file. Furthermore, all the international efforts made in the past period just to know their fate failed, even the family of Abdullah Saleh does not know anything about the fate of his body.

What is the position of the United Nations from the issue of the-se detainees?

We have already addressed the Security Council, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, and there is support for the legitimate government to form a national commission of inquiry, which has been in operation for some time. The international community knows that the Houthis are a gang. They continue to condemn it. We understand the nature of the work of the United Nations. They can not implement everything they want, or take real action on the ground, but we are satisfied that the coups are classified that they are perform arrests and forced disap-pearance, which promot the international community to condemn them, and support the legitimate government and the coalition.

From what you told, it became clear that reaching any agreement or negotiations with the Houthi Part is practically impossible. There-fore, on what the legitimate government and UN envoy is betting to resolve the crisis?

We are working in two directions. The first is the continuation of the military confrontation, which was done by the Yemeni people from the beginning, through the resistance, the national army, the popular resistance and rejection of the militia, and we are betting on the countries' support for us and support of the alliance, our army’s mil-itary progress, and losses seized by Houthis.

If you assess the role played by the United Nations, whether during the period of Ould Sheikh or the current period… How do you see the size of their contributions?

We are not betting that the United Nations will solve the crisis unless there is a desire in reality of the conflict parties, or defeat the intran-sigent part. The role of the United Nations is complementary, but coherent and solid, and is committing to the same position from the beginning.

How do you evaluate Iran's role in the region?

Iran's interference in Yemen is an additional disaster for the suffering of the people. We have talked with the European Community very frankly that Yemen is part of the Arabian Peninsula, the Gulf and the Arab world. There is no place for Iran in solving this crisis. It must avoid interfering in Arab and Gulf affairs. Iran is the problem In Yemen, and can not be part of the solution, and they must be de-ported to their borders. Iran is trying to tamper with the region, and this is clear, and there are efforts from the international community to prevent Tehran from tampering with Yemen, but it is trying to convince everyone to contribute to the solution. This Iranian position remains an attempt to ease the pressure exerted by the United Na-tions on it to get out of Yemen, and to be committed not to supply Houthi group with any assistance, or the ballistic missiles it launches on Saudi territory.

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The tragic humanitarian situation suffered by the Yemeni people is imposed by the rebellion, and the Huthis never care about the suf-fering of the people, further they steal humanitarian aid.There is a complaint by United Nations staff in this regard. One of the latest vi-olations by the Houthis was capturing 19 oil-laden ships which are currently outside the port of Hodeidah, where the Houthis prevent to allow them to enter the port.

What is the expected political role by the family of Ali Abdullah Saleh?

They do not play any political role, even inside the PDP, his son is not a member of the party, so how will he lead it as some claim, and they belong to the past, and can not be part of the future.

Would you sum up Yemen's relationship with Egypt, Saudi Ara-bia, UAE, Qatar and Sudan?

First, Yemen and Egypt have a historical relationship. Bloods were mixed in the 1960s. After the Imamate, the Egyptian and Yemeni races merged within the construction, education and rehabilitation projects. Generations of Yemenis were educated by Egyptians in Egyptian universities. Egypt is the closest country to Yemen, and its security, stability and progress is the security of all the Arabs, and we wish them welfare. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will resume his role in maintaining Egypt and its security and the establishment of major projects, because this serves the stability of the Arab nation as a whole.

The United Arab Emirates is one of the countries of the Arab Coali-tion which support the legitimacy and has made many sacrifices for Yemen and the restoration of the state, and whatever the differ-ences we must resume the dialogue so that the noble role remains in the service of the Yemeni people, and serves the common Arab rela-tions, and the unity of the alliance will last as it supports Yemeni le-gitimacy, preserves Yemen's security, stability, unity and territorial integrity.


Saudi Arabia is the neighbor and incubator, and we have a joint secu-rity, and we share marriage relations. We remember its position in the leadership of the coalition, and help us to restore the state, and we count on correcting all the differences within the coalition in the framework of common interests.

You met with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo. What the meeting dealt with, and are any new solutions been introduced?
Egypt, as I have always said, is the supporter and baker to us, and it always confirms this. During my meeting with Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, we agreed on full coordination in all international fo-rums and the development of bilateral relations between the two countries in all fields. We also agreed on the importance of imple-menting the three references of the political solution. They Include the withdrawal of militia weapons, preventing Iranian intervention which supports with arms and money, the release of detainees, the support of the UN envoy in his next tour and the support of the le-gitimate government.


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Major General Ahmed al-Misri, Minister of the Interior of Yemen said, “We lost the ministry's database after the coup and things are better than before.”

Saudi Arabia is a key partner in the terrorist file in Yemen because it is the most affected party; as there are long-distance borders be-tween us that are difficult to control. The infiltration of individuals into Saudi Arabia continues. The history of al-Qaeda in Yemen goes back when it was the largest gathering center for Mujahideen re-turning from Afghanistan with the consent of the state

Al-Misiri said, “We face a number of challenges and security prob-lems that we inherited from the war. The ministry with all its bodies is now 92,000 employees.”

The Non-liberated areas in Yemen are 8 governorates, which repre-sent almost one-third of Yemen's area, but Houthi controls almost two-thirds of the population density in these areas. Through our ob-servations in Yemen, we found a great variation in the security situa-tion from one region to another. We also noticed some problems that workers in the internal and security sector suffer from, most notably the salaries and facilities equipped with the checkpoints, in addition that the soldiers and conscripts do not have uniforms to dis-tinguish them from others, and makes it easier for them to carry out their tasks in the inspection.

We have decided to go to the Yemeni Minister of the Interior, Major General Ahmed al-Misri, with these questions. He welcomed our in-quiries and provided us with a full view of the security situation in the governorates of Yemen, stressing that things are not in the ideal situation, but certainly better than before. And that the security grip still exists but in varying degrees and according to the available re-sources Situations in the country are still under control to a large de-gree in all liberated provinces, but this does not prevent the exist-ence of terrorist hotspots and gangs and saboteurs, as in all coun-tries of the world. The minister indicated that there are tireless steps to reach the best, and here is the text of the dialogue:

Through our observations, we found out that the security situa-tions in Yemen are varied from one region to another. Tell us about the control of the security grip in liberated areas?

Things are not as what is published in the Western media, because they are quoted remotely without experiencing reality, so, they ex-aggerate a lot of events. The situation here is not what we aspire to, and we do not claim that it is in the ideal situation, but it is definitely better than before, because the state was completely destroyed, the interior bodies is now 92,000. The security grip is present, but in varying degrees and according to the available resources. The situa-tion in the country is very much controlled in all the liberated prov-inces, but this does not prevent the existence of terrorist hotspots, gangs and saboteurs, as in all countries of the world. If we talk about Aden we find that life is very normal, people are looking for stability, life and tranquility. Undoubtly, we face challenges and security problems we that inherited from the war, because the coup did not leave the ministry as it was; institutions of the state collapsed as a whole, and the army we see now is a new building built after the war, which consisted of the commanders and officers who refused to work with the coupists, and that was the start of Aden.


Ali Abdullah Saleh


What was specifically the damage of the Interior Ministry?

The Ministry of the Interior consists of criminal investigation au-thorites, rescue, police, firefighters, passports and special security forces. It was the strongest pillar of the interior which consisted of various classes and rural structures, so that when the coup d'état happens, it is easy to deviate with. When the interior fell in Sana'a, there was the ministry's office which contained all the documents and files, the main database of the country. Actually, and all infor-mation side collapsed, and we became without a ministry. Then es-tablishment of the new ministry started from here, from Aden, led by former minister Hussein Mohammed Arab, and construction began from zero, and the data was stolen to be used.

These data was withdrawn from loyal officers in Sana'a, and we started establishing the ministry's bureau with a database, in coop-eration with the coalition forces supporting the legitimacy, and branches of the ministry in the other liberated governorates, such as Lahj, Abyan, Hadramout, Marib and Aden. We started with 35,000 soldiers and officers.

We noticed at the checkpoints in the different governorates that there is no distinquished uniform for the soldiers or officers of the Interior... Does not this create a crisis in dealing with the citi-zens?

This is one of the problems faced by the police. Uniform needed a huge budget. The state is still in the recovery phase, but there are laws that prohibts wearing old uniform, because you can find anyone wearing it. We are trying to manufacture it, because the former was manufactured in the capital Sana'a, and the alternative is to go to China, and this requires certain mechanisms to bring this quantity and the budget is large. Each group has a different color, for example the Coast Guard’s uniform is different from rescue and the Special Forces. But the inspection points are divided; those who exist are known at each point and which section they belong to, whether in-ternal, armed, or security.

What are the tasks of the security belt now?

The coalition established the so-called security belt to stabilize secu-rity, while the Inerior was attempting to recover, and can not carry out the functions of security alone, and consists of popular re-sistance, and members of the army, including educators, and the el-ders of mosques to raise awareness, doctors, and Salafis to address the chaos. Now we are trying to integrate the security belt in the Ministry of Interior.

The liberated areas suffer from other crises, such as sleepeing cells and terrorist bombings. What are your plans to face these problems?

The file of terrorism is rough and complex. I would like to point out that 100% percent of terrorist incidents can not be controlled. They are located in the most powerful and armed countries. As for sleeper cells, we have two bodies, which are concerned with the file of com-bating terrorism. We have a special unit with operational mission to combat terrorism, to join the National and Political Security and support them.

As for the file of tracking of terrorism, it depends on intelligence work, not raids or implementation, as this is a next stage. The basic mission is tracking the sleeping cells and monitoring their move-ments and this is the mission of National and Political Security.This information was lost after the war, and they can not perform their duites as they should be because of lack of fund. They were also un-der the control of Ali Abdullah Saleh, making it difficult to re-establish them. Furthermore, the file of terrorism is crisis-cross with the United States, Arab countries and regional parties. For ex-ample, Saudi Arabia is a key partner in Yemen's terrorist file because it is the most affected party. From what is happening in Yemen and from terrorist groups, there are long-distance borders between Yemen and Saudi Arabia are difficult to control, and the infiltration of individuals to Saudi Arabia continues.

Is it possible to cooperate with the forces of Ali Abdullah Saleh in this regard?

Cooperation took place after the death of Ali Abdullah Saleh, many of the officers of his former forces were loyal to legitimacy.

Do you have any information about the scenes of killing Saleh?
The mistake of Ali Abdullah Saleh was that he tried to play with the Houthis. He was killed in his house and not on the road as it was de-clared. Mediation between the Houthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh was not with the goal of reconciliation, but to guide to his place; the me-diators are the ones who identified his place before his death. Then, they left all fronts and focused on his home and on Yemen's channel today, and hit it with tanks.

What is the size of al-Qaeda and the Da'ash organization in Yemen, especially Aden?
Al-Qaeda has retreated in comparison with the above, in the form of sleeping cells in the cities which move upon request, and it is evident in far camps, such as the Hadramout and Shabwa outer parties. of course Daaesh is an entire Iranian industry, but al-Qaeda has a his-tory here in Yemen since the return of the Arab Mujahideen from Afghanistan. Yemen was one of the largest gathering centers of the Arab Mujahideen returning from Afghanistan from all countries, with the approval of the official Yemeni state, under the name of «Arab Mujahideen». They returned with jihadist ideology against The Rus-sians, and when the war ended with the Russians, they returned to different countries, and gathered in thousands in Yemen.

Then these groups began to attack countries from Sudan to Afghani-stan, they adopted the thought and approach of "Al Qaeda", and this was in the 1990s. The first terrorist incident in 1997 was the kidnap-ping of Spanish and British tourists in the province of Abyan, in which a person named Al-Oqar was accused and executed. They started to intervfere in the affairs of the state and accusments of disbeliefes. They were divided into several factions, and began to form leaders and princes, including explosives experts and killers. Then the crisis of "Al Qaeda" continued and was largly present in Abyan and Shabwa and then Lahg. They destroyed many people, and we lost many young people who were fighting with « Al-Qaeda". They then de-stroyed Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, after they occupied it for a pe-riod of time, and until now the effects of al-Qaeda are strongly pre-sent in Abyan and Shabwa. I personally experienced an experiment with terrorism. My wife's father was blewn up by a suicide bomber in Ramadan in 2011, and my brother was killed in 2009 during an attack on my convoy. So, we had an incubator environment for “Qaeda” In Yemen.

What about the Brotherhood's role in Yemen in the post-war pe-riod so far?

The Brotherhood is present in the northern governorates, and their presence in the south is very limited. They represented 15% of the seats in the parliament, they are with the legitimacy, but their pres-ence now faded away and became less after they separated from former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who gave them great benefits; he had an impact on society and sheikhs and was directing them in elections. Therefore, he affected the popularity of the re-form party in the elections. And when the war of the coupists began, the Nasserites and part of the Baathists and the majority of the con-gregants and reform announced that they are with the legitimacy. We welcome any faction as long as it cooperate with us; Reformers are helping us front lines, they are in a number of ministries, and the Reform Party is an ambitious party, and we feel no danger on their part, nor on the Salafi side.

Why was the Brotherhood's importance weakened, and what was their role at the time of the Houthi attack?

They had mistakes, such as leading the events of the Arab Spring here, and stimulating the street, and this led to their clash with Ali Abdullah Saleh. So, they received the Houthis and opened tents for them in the battlefields to trigger Ali Abdullah Saleh.The Houthis were prevented from approaching the outskirts of Sana'a, Some of those involved in the Nahdeen mosque incident had ties with the reformist president at the time, Hamid al-Ahmar, and could not deny the charge, but all the evidence shows that they are direct stake-holders. There were disagreements between Ali Abdullah Saleh and Abed Rabbo Mansour; Saleh supported the Houthis to trigger Abed Rabbo, and the Reform party was Stimulating Abed Rabbo against Ali Abdullah Saleh. When the Houthis entered Sana'a, Reform party did not fight them, although the community relied heavily on them against the Houthis. So, we are not afraid of the brotherhood be-cause they do not have a strong weight.

As a member of the General People's Conference Party, what about the situation of this party, have’nt it arranged its papers yet?

The General People's Conference Party is the strongest party. It has the largest weight and is accepted by many public circles. It consists of 6 thousand Yemenis, including 1200 permanent committees and 38 general committees. We are prepared to have Ahmed Ali Abdul-lah Saleh as he is a good figure.

Prime Minister Ahmed Ben Daghe and I are members of the General Committee. We are now seeking to reunion the various parties, and try to prepare for the invitation of the permenant Committee to meet. After the war, the party will start a transitional stage led by President Abderbo Mansour Hadi. And it is re-formed in the provinc-es again from the center to the Directorate to the province, and then the total of the provinces. This is postponed until after the end of the war, because there are 13 members of the general committee in the party who are prisoners or are under home arrest by the Houthis. Among them is Yahya al-Ra'i, the secretary of parliament, and Sadik Amin Aboras who has been recently appointed as chairman of the party under pressures by Houthis, and we don’t acknowledge him, and Ahmad al-Nuweira, a member of parliament. They are all de-tained by Houthi's, as well as the headquarters of the conference, the Secretariat and its branches are under the control of the Houthis, and also members of the permenant Committee.

What is the future of the security situation in Yemen?

The current situation is unsatisfactory, especially in Aden, due to poor performance. We did not improve the administration in Aden, and there were defects in the leadership, and many forces try to control it, such as the southerners and Aydros. We find other areas where the situation is better such as Marib, which have evolved a lot.

Why did the distribution map of the UN relief organizations differ this year, then it became divided into north and south? What is your explanation for this, and does this indicate the division of Yemen?


The United Nations is dealing with reality. Reality tells that there are two capitals, Sana'a in the north and Aden in the south. It has to have two offices, because part of Yemen is Houthion and the other is legitimate. For example, the Red Cross has to deal with both sides. The real solution is war until the intervention of the forces of Sanaa.



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This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hanna.Hanna has taken a 30-day trip to monitor the suffering of the people during the war
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4/14/2019 2:14:00 PM
<![CDATA[Part 2: Ex-inmate reveal secrets of torture in Houthi prisons]]>
Anas Al-Sarari, Director of the Association of Hope for the Disabled, and one of the victims of torture in the prison of the Houthis, is paralyzed as a result of Houthis’s systematic torture.



To understand more about the torture in Houthi prisons, we sat down with Sarari.

Capture



What is the cause of your injury?

I suffer from Hemiparesis, as a result of torture in Houthi prisons.

Tell us you story

I was a student in the fourth year of civil engineering and I hope to complete my education and then establish my own business or project. On September 1, 2015, while I was walk on a street in Sana'a I heard the sound of a 4x4 car, then someone came from my back and hit me on my head and I lost conscious, When I arrived at the Political Security Prison, I was blindfolded.

I woke up to them kicking me.

I was tortured for two months.

I was tortured intensively every day and I was investigated for most of the day.

The same questions were repeated. I have been asked about my publications on Facebook for years ago and why I oppose them, in addition to many other questions. They forced me to stamp on papers before I open my eyes.

How were you arrested and charged?

Since the Houthis entered Sana'a, their concern is to shut people up, and kill and arrest anyone who oppose them and their believes. Their ideology is not accepted by our minds. They put me in their prisons because I was a social activist who raised many issues and defended those who have rights.

They charged me with disrespect to Al Bait.

What kinds of torture have been committed against you?

I was beaten for two months, day and night, with the electric sticks, and hanged; this is the most used method by them. They hang the person by his hands to the wall and leave a distance between them and the ground so they cannot stand. It is unbearable.

One day during the torture sessions, I was beaten with a stick on the back of my head. I was in a coma for a long time. When I got up I found myself lying on the ground in a prison. I tried to stand on my feet but I did not know what happened. On the hospital, and after they make sure that I was paralyzed they released me after I spent about 9 months.



How did you spend this period and did they force you to read Shi'a curricula?

The first two months were divided into a day of torture and a rest day. The investigation began from 10 am to 6 am the next day. They put me for the first three months in solitary confinement, and the food was either rice mixed with insects or beans with sewage water.

They brought me books and assigned a person named Abu Aqeel to teach me these materials, which are based on the Shiite ideology and doctrines, and to holy Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, and Al Bait. They say consider Aisha - may Allah be pleased with her - an adulterous. They say in their books that Umar ibn al-Khattab and Abu Bakr intimidated Ibn Abi Talib and made him abandon the ruling in the incident of the son of Beni Saad, calling him "the chefs" and calling the Prophet "Al-Uzza", aiming to encourage recruiting. They discredit Khomeini and Hassan Nasrallah, say that the revelation of Quraan was supposed to go to Ali Ibn Abi Taleb and went wrongly to the Prophet. That was taught to the recruited children.

I paid $ 1,000 to Houthi brokers to let my brother escape, so they do not recruit him.

Have any of those who were in the cell with you become disabled?

They were fifteen, some of them had broken their hands and some had their eyes cut out. Some of them were sexually assaulted with a plastic stick from the back as a kind of torture, and the injured person was then hanged instead of beaten.

Has anyone in your family been imprisoned or tortured?

Yes, they arrested my brother while he was trying to find me. But I noticed that they always separate brothers or the father and his son if they were imprisoned at the same time. I went out and he is still with them. This is a technique followed by Houthis: Before they release a person, they imprison another one from his family or relatives to guarantee his silence and therefore those released are still threatened as if he had not been released.

Many told us about their exploitation of the kidnapped and the bodies of those who die in prison to get the money. Did you come across this?

Yes, this is a big investment for them, especially the prisoners. Each prisoner has a price ,according to the value of the person; the leaders are for 4 million riyals and the ordinary person from one million to one and a half million, in addition to the commission of brokers.

Have you seen any of the UN organizations visit prisoners?

The UN does not pay us attention. The only time the United Nations visited prisons was when a British citizen was arrested.

I see a shameful role for international organizations. They support the Houthis and supply them with cranes.

Describe the living conditions of the people of Sana’a?

Everyone shuts their mouth, and is humiliated and cannot talk or even just ask about something, for example the gas tank cost was 1,500 a year ago while today is 8,000. People are silent, although the transportation almost completely stopped. Their children die before their eyes due to the lack of medicines and stopping medical care for the poor, yet still silent. Any person from Sana'a is forbidden to travel except with a written permission from the Houthis, and it must be for important and convincing reason for them. Every lane has a Houthi Sheikh who informs the Houthi’s leaders of any information on the movements of anyone in the neighborhood under his control.

ضحية تعذيب الحوثيين

There are also supervises who report on every person they have. In other words, it is an integrated system to tighten the grip on the people in Sana'a. No one also can go out at evening, otherwise, "depending on your luck" you may be arrested, assaulted, or whatever.

Tell us about the Association of Hope for the Disabled?

We aim to integrate the disabled into the society and to provide them with psychological, health and social care and to encourage them to join the labor market, rather than being a burden on the community. It is through this association that we organize different courses for the training of the disabled. For the Houthis, 50 of them were victims of the Marib, Shabwa and Baidaa mines. We have also the Katyusha victims and the victims of random bombings after the war. For example, in Marib there were 25 random bombings of civilians.

We are trying, in cooperation with the legitimate government, to provide training centers for these disabled people to rehabilitate the labor market and create opportunities or small projects in which they can work. We try to make the government pass legislation in favor of those disabled, such as to allocate of 5 percent of state jobs for them.

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hanna.Hanna has taken a 30-day trip to monitor the suffering of the people during the war
.




]]>
4/14/2019 2:11:28 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi's prospective visit to Belarus to boost ties: amb.]]>
In an interview with MENA on Sunday, he stressed his country's keenness on promoting cooperation with Egypt.

Preparations are under way for Sisi's visit, he said, referring to intensive visits which delegations of both sides exchanged.

He noted that the number of Belarus tourists that visited Egypt over the past two years hit 212,000, almost quintuple the number in 2016.

He said Egypt is the number one destination for Belarus tourists.

He also said the Egyptian ministers of tourism, health and environment were invited to visit Belarus to cement cooperation in these domains.

The Egyptian deputy minister of military production is expected to take part in the International Defense and Military Equipment Exhibition (MILEX) which is due to be held in Minsk in May, he noted.

He added that a delegation from Minsk Region will visit South Sinai by the end of April for talks on exchanging expertise in the fields of health, therapeutic tourism and industrial cooperation.

He said the delegation will also discuss with the Egyptian side a new joint cooperation project for 2019-2021.

Meanwhile, he hailed the improvement in the Egyptian investment climate, noting that foreign businessmen have promising investment opportunities in Aswan, Menya, Sohag and New Valley.

He added that the Belarusian State Technological University will launch a training session this month in Cairo in the field of furniture manufacturing and designs.

As for trade exchange between the two countries, he said it reached dlrs 108 million, at a 10.8 percent rise in comparison with 2017. The Egyptian exports to Belarus hit dlrs 25 million, he added.

According to him, the volume of trade exchange in January and February 2019 hit dlrs 24.2 million, with the Egyptian exports standing at dlrs 9.5 million. ]]>
4/14/2019 1:34:14 PM
<![CDATA[Exclusive - French historian Charles Saint-Prot: Egypt’s constitutional amendments supports democratic transition, stability]]>
During a seminar hosted by Egypt Today magazine on Saturday, Prot cited the increase of women representation in local councils as an achievement, besides; he explained that re-introducing an upper house (Shura Council) in the parliament is an advantage, as he argues “this chamber will not make decision in a haze, and its members are selected according to their professionalism.”

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French Geo-politician and writer Charles Saint-Prot - Photo by Karim Abdel Aziz/Egypt Today


He recalled certain major changes in Egypt’s political arena since the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and the June 30 Uprising. He also gave his remarks on current crises in different areas in the region from an international perspective.

Saint-Prot has written an article titled “Egypt wants stability and continuation,” in which he lauded Egypt’s reform steps in different sectors; he is currently working on a book to document Egypt’s experience under President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s ruling since 2014.

_MG_3277
French Geo-politician and writer Charles Saint-Prot - Photo by Karim Abdel Aziz/Egypt Today


During discussions, Prot described President Sisi as “Egypt’s Charle de Gaulle,” saying that “he is creating a real renaissance…which will need a proper time to be achieved.”

Saint-Prot is a historian specializing in international relations and geopolitics. He is also the director of the Observatoire d'études géopolitiques (Observatory of geopolitical studies) in Paris.

Prot is currently paying a short visit to Cairo; he has visited Egypt several times before.


A full transcript of the seminar will be published later on the website. ]]>
4/13/2019 3:44:47 PM
<![CDATA[Italy says military intervention 'cannot be a solution' in Libya]]>
Eastern-based Libyan forces led by Khalifa Haftar are advancing in a push to seize the capital, Tripoli, but troops loyal to Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj’s internationally recognized government have so far kept them at bay.

“A military option cannot be a solution,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told daily Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper in an interview published on Saturday.

He said talks involving all sides should be held in a bid to halt the fighting, which has driven at least 4,500 Tripoli residents from their homes.

Italy, which is a big player in the oil sector in the troubled North African country, has supported al-Serraj’s government.

Conte said any potential military intervention could push many Libyans to flee across the Mediterranean towards southern Europe. At the moment, Libya is mainly used a transit spot for migrants from Sub-Saharan countries.

“There is a serious risk that a humanitarian crisis mounts,” he said.

The current Italian government has repeatedly criticised the 2011 NATO intervention that ousted former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, saying it created insecurity and chaos in the country and did nothing to bring peace.]]>
4/13/2019 2:55:20 PM
<![CDATA[Part one: They used my son as a human shield, said Mother of Yemeni martyr]]>
Mothers of kidnapped and prisoners recount their experiences. The mother of one of the victims of the militia "Haja Alia" revealed that the militia used her son as a human shield in weapon-storage facility and he died. “I did not receive his corpse … I paid 70 thousand riyals to save my second son with the help of tribal mediators, he was released but with problems in Memory and in the leg,” she tells us.



أم تروى كيف ساومها الحوثى كى تسترد طفليها من قبضتهم

“I paid 11 thousand riyals to see my son behind bars … the price of a phone call is different though,” said the mother of two children who were kidnapped by the militia.

Commenting on this, the Association of Mothers of Detainees and Kidnappers said, “Militias kidnap people from houses and mosques and ordered the execution of 24 kidnappers and tortured more than 100 journalists.”

The torturers in the prisons of Houthi reveal the secrets of torture

Anas Al-Sarari was hit with an electric stick, hanged and forced to stand on his fingertips and on tuna cans.

“They tortured me until I became paralyzed,” Sarari said, continuing, “I founded the Association of the Disabled … Houthis’ curriculums holy Khomeini and Hassan Nasrallah ... Houthis kill and arrest any opponent.”

Building on this, one of the escapees told us, “People died out of torture … they put pieces of meat over our bodies and released dogs on us ... they turned some of the schools in Sanaa secret prisons for torture. Prisoners were paralyzed after being forced to stand on their toes for hours. We slept standing up until we got rheumatism and kidney problems.”

أنس السرارى أحد المعذبين فى سجون الحوثى مع مراسلة اليوم السابع

One of those tortured in Houthi prisons said, "There are employees dedicated to slapping the prisoners until they lose consciousness. They used to provide us with one meal every two days from the leftovers of their soldiers' food." To ensure that those released remain silent, they detain one or more of their family members.



Commenting on this, Yemeni Information Minister, said, “Houthi militias commit the worst crimes of torture, kidnapping and murder against journalists ... We seek to expose their crimes before the world ... Moamar Eriani Iran supports the Houthis through financing and infiltrating of international media institutions.”

The Minister of Human Rights also revealed that there has been 2,866 cases of enforced disappearance since the Houthi attack in 2015, 13,938 cases of arbitrary detention, 16,804 cases of torture in militia prisons.


A member of the Association of the Mothers of the Kidnapped "Umm Mansour", “They beat and detained me because of my participation in a peaceful women's demonstration,” adding that someone named "Haj Ali" was beaten to death when he went to ask about his kidnapped son.

Shaima Abdul Hamid, another victim, said, “They hide corpses in secret places, my aunt paid 400,000 riyals other than the commissions of brokers to take the corpse of her son.”

Mohammed al-Sudi, one of those kidnapped, was detained at the National Security Prison in Sana'a and tortured and has been blinded.


The Houthi crimes do not stop with expanding death throughout Yemen, but their militias go beyond that to trade dead bodies and swap them, either with moneys from the victims, or to bargain for the exchange of other bodies or prisoners of resistance.


Dead bodies are for sale or for swap – “We have the best prices” is the Houthi’s business motto. They do not only kidnap the sons of Yemen and forcibly hide them, but they burn the hearts of their mothers and their families by committing double crimes against them, from torture to death, or handicap in the prisons of the so-called Political Security, and to trade their dead bodies, or to bargain their families to release them for money, the value varies depending on the importance of the kidnapped and his status and his family’s rank; it reaches up to $13,000, according to eyewitnesses.


أحد الشباب المختطفين


Hamoud Shamsan, a member of the Popular Resistance in Taiz, reported that the people in the city suffered from the exploitation of the corpses by the Houthis and keeping them. The large share of this trade was to the members of the resistance who were martyred in the fronts of Sabr, Shibeeb, and the Directorate of Qubaytah.

He pointed out that the cropses were still in open air under the guarding of their soldiers, or they hide them in secret places until the barter operations are carried out by Houthi prisoners or being bargaining for money. Most of them are carried out by brokers from the Houthi side who are specialized in this trade, which has become their source of income.

Abdullah al-Mamluk, from Taiz, also notes that one of his relatives, Amr Ghanem, was involved in the battles of Hayes. He was killed last year, and he and his father and all his acquaintances were searching for the corpse until they learned that it was being held in hostage. “Brokers or mediators, as they call themselves, told us that the amount required to get the corpse was 150,000 riyals, so the family collected the amount and paid them, and we got the corpse,” he said asserting that the case of Amr is hundreds of cases. Oftentimes, their families cannot pay, and can not receive the corpses of the missing persons.



احد المختطفين

Abdullah continued, “Among these cases Mohammed al-Hourani, 19 years old, was among the heroic popular resistance in Taiz, and was martyred in a severe battle in the Protocol front 2017, and the Houthis seized the cropse and asked for 200,000 riyals, but his family did not have anything, and they do not know where his corpse is until now. Abdullah asserts that Houthi has brokers acting as mediators in each process.”

Visits have a different price tag to phone calls

Samah Ahmed, mother of Ibrahim, President of the Association of Mothers of Detainees and Kidnappers, spoke abour more facts and details of the Houthi Crime. She pointed out that the Association was formed in April 2016 with just 20 women, with the aim of being a great power against Houthi's oppression. There are 24 other kidnapped persons who have issued death sentences without evidence to condemn them. The Association is also following up on the detention and torture cases of more than 100 journalists in Yemen simply because they express their views freely.

“The Association was formed on the persons doors where mothers and daughters of the prisoners and kidnapped meet to demand the release of their relatives from the prisons of the Houthi group, and also those who have not been prosecuted and have not been legally arrested, but were attacked in their homes, mosques, workplaces or their universities, under the eyes of the people who stand helpless facing this militia,” she said.

"There are thousands of kidnapped in Yemen from 2015 until today, some of them have disappeared forcibly, and no one knows anything about them since their absence," said Samah. "People are going to pay huge amounts of money to the Houthi mediators in order to see their sons on a visit that does not take ten minutes. And there are other prices even for just a phone call, in addition to what they ask to receive the corpse, which they find in a bad condition out of torture and mutilation, and some lose their eyes which is common ». she said noting that the price of the corpse is 70 thousand Yemeni rials for ordinary citizen, and up to 200,000 riyals for political activist, and the amount increases according to family level and degree of relative also.


أحد المعذبين بسجون الحوثى


We found out that mothers who go to ask about their son are subjected to physical assaults in front of the prisons doors."We, as an association, communicate with international human rights organizations, organized more than one protest; they followed us with sticks and other violence tools. However, this did not discourage any member of the association, We have goals to achieve, first exposing Houthi's practices to the world, publishing the stories of our sons and what they are exposed to in the militia prisons, demanding the release of them and know the fate of the disappeared. We organize visits to the families of the kidnapped. We also have a legal center to follow-up the legal authorities concerning physical and psychological violence against our sons. We submitted this to the Human Rights Council, the United Nations and the Security Council.”

Samah Ahmed says she has a personal experience with the kidnapping, as she has two sons kidnapped by the Houthis and recently released.

"They go to their private school in Sana'a as usual. Their age was 16 years and 17 years, In the middle of the school day, the militia attacked a number of schools in Sana'a and kidnapped my sons. they were detained for three weeks. During the first 10 days, they were forcibly hidden. I do not know anything about them, although I went to the national and political security offices and the centers and asked about them. I was walking everywhere searching for them like Crazy.”

"We resorted to people who mediated with the Houthis, they informed us by phone that my sons were in Amran in the stadium of Omran Club. So, we paid money in order to allow us to visit them. I paid 50 thousand Yemeni riyals for each, and I saw them from a distance of 60 meters and between us iron bars and barely saw their faces. They were released after few days with a number of other kidnapped, claiming that it was honored gift from Abdul Malik Houthi on the occasion of Eid al-Adha.”

"My children came out in a very bad psychological condition. They told me that they were 100 children in a small dark room, barely standing in a crowded room with no room for ventilation. They were allowed to go to the toiled once a day. They were given rotten food," she said.

"The boys also told me that the Houthis had brought them religious notebooks and told them to memorize them. They brought a teacher to explain to them, and a day later they asked them whether they memorize them or not, and they punish those who didn’t. They contained wrong interpretations of verses from the Quraan.”

Alia Naji: I paid to save my son

From Samah to the story of Haja Alia Naji, an elderly lady who can barely speak, but she says that she went to the prisons of political and national security in Sanaa in spite of her old age, and participated in the Association of mothers of abductees, to defend her son with all her strength, “I had two children, one 29 years old and the other 23 years old, and they were living in Sana'a, and their big brother was an announcer in a channel that belong to legitimacy, and they wanted to avenge him. So, they kidnapped and hide them. I spent long time searching for them in the prisons of Sana'a and the Central Prison but in vain and I was not allowed to visit them. Then, we knew about the death of one of them and that they used him as a human shield in a weapons storage place. I did’nt take his cropse. As for my other son, I had to pay 70 thousand riyals, with tribal mediation, to save him; he was released but has problems in memory and in the right leg.”

الحاجة عالية تحكى لليوم السابع مأساة أبنائها

As for why she joined the association, she said: "I do not anyone to panic from losing their children. I wish all children return back to their families, and I must defend the rights of my son to the last minute in my life."

Shaima: They tortured my uncle for two years

Shaima Abdul Hamid, a member of the association, tells the story of her uncle Samir al-Dhibiani with the kidnapping. She said, “The militia kidnapped him from one of the checkpoints. They found with him papers for a conference on peace in Yemen. They accused him of working for the legitimate government and was detained for two years.”


رابطة أمهات المختطفين


“And interrogations with him are carried out under batons. They also gave him a religious notebooks to make him change his beliefs in accordance with their faith and then put him in the camp of Hibal in Dhamar province as a human shield, but God's will saved him and then he was released,” she said, continuing, “My cousin was also kidnapped and put in the same Camp, but he was martyred and his family was still looking for the corpse. They agreed to pay 400,000 riyals for the corpse of their son who was killed in the camp. The militia took them to a secret place where they hide the wounded who remain without medical care waiting for death. She said pointing out that her aunt told her that the wounded room was adjacent to the corpse room.”



المرأة تحتج على جرائم الحوثيين

Shaimaa added, “Faced with all these crimes, We are committed to exert every effort to make the world know the issue of the kidnapped and prisoners, and we communicate with Arab and international human rights organizations, the legitimate government, the Security Council and the Red Cross. This resulted in releasing 10 of the kidnapped, as well as taking care of the families of the abductees, providing them with financial support, and helping them to obtain information about their forcibly disappeared children.”

"Umm Mansour": I was beaten and detained

Umm Mansour, a member of the Association, also had a share in the Houthi attack. One day, I went out to participate in a women's demonstration in front of the headquarters of an organization in Hodeidah to demand the release of the abductees and return them to their families. "They attacked us with tear gas and beat us. We were detained at the Criminal Investigation Building in Hodeidah, a person called "Abu Dard" opened a lengthy investigation. They asked us questions of the kind: "Who are you working for? Do you follow the legitimacy, and who is planning the demonstrations?" They threatened us if we went out again in demonstrations that they would kill us. Then, they released us.

Umm Mansour adds that one of the most difficult humanitarian cases was one of the kidnappers named Khalid Haidar, from Dhamar province. “He was tortured with electric sticks until he died. He was an ordinary citizen and never participated in any demonstrations. He had no political or social activity. We tried to communicate with his family to learn more details but they were afraid of the Houthis and refused to speak.”

اختطف وعذب حتى الموت


Ali Mohammed, 35 years old from Ab province, was forcibly disappeared for three days and then was brought to his wife a dead corpse . He was subjected to systematic torture by removing his teeth and left eye. And he died; he was electrocuted to death.

Hajj Ali .. Beaten to Death!

The Houthi militia never respect death, and they have no idea about religions or laws or even rules of war. They do not exclude a woman or an elderly person. The story of al-Haj Ali al-Sudi is the best proof of this. The old man goes out looking for his son, Muhammad, who has been kidnapped for months and did not know where he is. He decided to sit in front of the Political Security Prison in Sana'a so that he may hear about his son something to reassure him. When asked the soldiers about his son, they beat him until he fell unconscious and was taken to the hospital, but he died without realizing his only wish: To see his son.


أحد المختطفين عذبه الحوثى حتى أفقده البصر

Anas Al-Sarari ... Torture until disability

The stories and cases of torture by the Houthis have no end, but there are some stories that stopped us for its monstrosity and bitterness. One of the is the story of Anas Al-Sarari, director of the Hope for the Handicapped Association and one of the victims of torture in the Houthis prison. He is half paralyzed as a result of Houthi’s systematic torture. Anas revealed to us many of the secrets of torture used in the prisons of the militia. Anas told us that this is the first time he speaks to the Egyptian media, and told us the details of what he was exposed to, saying, “I was a student in the fourth year of the faculty of Engineering, “civil section,” and I hoped to complete my education and then establish my own business or project.


Capture


“I was a student in the fourth year of civil engineering and I hope to complete my education and then establish my own business or project. On September 1, 2015, while I was walk on a street in Sana'a I heard the sound of a 4x4 car, then someone came from my back and hit me on my head and I lost conscious, When I arrived at the Political Security Prison, I was blindfolded.”

“I woke up to them kicking me.”

“I was tortured for two months.”

“I was tortured intensively every day and I was investigated for most of the day.”

“The same questions were repeated to me everyday. I have been asked about my publications on Facebook for years ago and why I oppose them, in addition to many other questions. They forced me to stamp on papers before I open my eyes.”

“Since the Houthis entered Sana'a, their concern is to shut up mouths and kill and arrest anyone who opposes them and their believes. This thought is not accepted by mind based on classification and altering the religious and doctrinal constants. They put me in their prisons because I was a social activist who raised many issues and defended those who have rights. they charged me of disrespect to “Al- Al Bait”, inciting against them, and other charges.”

He continued, “one day during one of the torture sessions, I was hit with a stick in the back of my head; I was in a coma for long time after that, and when I woke up I found myself lying on the ground in a prison, I tried to stand on my feet but I couldn’t. I did not know what happened, I was left for three months, then their doctor came and took me to the hospital. They confirmed that I am paralyzed; they released me after about 9 months.”

He explained that they put him during the first three months in solitary confinement, and his food was either rice mixed with insects or beans with the water of the sewer. He continued, “They brought me books and commissioned a person named Abu Bakil to teach me these materials, which rely on the Shiite ideology and doctrine, and to holy Abdulmalek Houthi, Al Al-Bayt, pay the fifth of all your money, offer your children for recruitment for the sake of Al Al-Bayt. All of their books include insults of Aisha and the prophet’s companions - may Allah be pleased with them. They holy Khomeini and Hassan Nasrallah, and say that the revelation of Quraan was supposed to go to Ali Ibn Abi Taleb and went wrongly to the Prophet. All these doctrines were taught in their notebooks to the recruited children. Anas al-Sarari asserts that he paid $1,000 to Houthi brokers to smuggle his brother so they would not take him into recruitment.”

He pointed out that he was in prison with 15 other people, some of them broken their hands, others’ eyes were taken off, and some were sexually assaulted by inserting the plastic stick from behind, and the injured was then hanged instead of beating. He explained that they imprisoned his brother while he was searching for him to be reassured.

"They always separate brothers or a father and his son if they are imprisoned at the same time. So, I was released while my brother still imprisoned. This is a technique followed by al-Houthi; that before they release any person, they imprison another one from his family or relatives to guarantee his silence and therefore those released are still threatened.”

Al-Sardari asserts that the Houthis trades in the bodies of the dead, especially the prisoners, and each prisoner have a price according to the statue of the person. The leaders are for 4 million riyals and the ordinary person is for one million to one and a half million. , And the only time the United Nations visited prisons was for a British citizen among those who were arrested. He added that the position of international organizations is shameful, and supports the plot instead of condemning them.

Describing the living conditions of the people of Sana’a, he said, “Everyone shuts their mouth, and are humiliated and cannot talk or even just ask about something, for example the gas tank cost was 1,500 a year ago while today is 8,000. People are silent, although the transportation almost completely stopped. Their children die before their eyes due to the lack of medicines and stopping medical care for the poor, yet still silent. Any person from Sana'a is forbidden to travel except with a written permission from the Houthis, and it must be for important and convincing reason for them. Every lane has a Houthi Sheikh who informs the Houthi’s leaders of any information on the movements of anyone in the neighborhood under his control. There are also supervises who report on every person they have. In other words, it is an integrated system to tighten the grip on the people in Sana'a. No one also can go out at evening, otherwise, "depending on your luck" you may be arrested, assaulted, or whatever.”

He pointed out that the Association of Hope for the Disabled aims to integrate the disabled into the society and to provide them with psychological, health and social care and to encourage them to join the labor market, rather than being a burden on the community. It is through this association that we organize different courses for the training of the disabled. For the Houthis, 50 of them were victims of the Marib, Shabwa and Baidaa mines. We have also the Katyusha victims and the victims of random bombings after the war. He continued saying: We are trying, in cooperation with the legitimate government, to provide training centers for these disabled people to rehabilitate the labor market and create opportunities or small projects in which they can work. We try to make the government pass legislation in favor of those disabled, such as to allocate of 5 percent of state jobs for them.

Fleeing from Houthi’s Prisons

Another victim of the Houthis and a survivor from prisons, who asked not to be named for fear from Houthis - the fear that still dominated him and anyone who exprienced the horrors of darkness in the tunnels of Sanaa - especially that his father and brother are still in the grip of the Houthis, spoke to us about the situation in Houthi prisons. He only allowed us to call him “Abou Salah", saying, “I used to work as a driver at private sector, to transport cargoes or garbage. One day, I have a problem with a client from Sham who was a Houthi leader collaborating with the Hawtha. He was transporting supplies on my car for the war of the Houthis. After the problem ended, I went to pray Assr at the mosque but when I finished, the Houthis armed men took to unknown place where I spent 9 months and no one knew my place or anything about me.”

ضحية تعذيب الحوثيين

"They assigned a crew especially to torture. I was trapped in a secret basement at the depth of 3 underground floors in the Political Security headquarters in Sana'a. There were 7 persons other than me in a room that does not see light, with a space area of one meter in one meter.. They sent me to secret prisons used for torture that were originally schools Where they detained me for one year and 7 months and were subjected to all forms of torture."

He went on telling about the details of the torture he suffered in Al-Houthi prisons, saying, "We slept standing almost until we suffered from rheumatism and kidneys. I also had a back injury. One of them who was masked used to take me to the interrogation room after he blindfolds me. The interrogations are carried out under torture with electricity and beating with sticks. That was repeated every day as the investigation starts from evening until 1 am, and then go back to the basement.”
5555


"He repeats his questions dozens of times, and if he does not have an answer, he kicks you, then hits you with batons on the back and head so that either you loses consciousness or confess" he said. A significant number of people died in front of my eyes while others went crazy out of torture," he added.

"They have a lot of powerful ways to torture, and every way of torture has a specialized crew, and it varies from one person to another according to the crime committed.”

"For example, during my long stay, I have been deprived from visiting my family. They put pieces of meat on our corpse and shot dogs behind us," he said, continuing, “We were severely injured and some of us also died, they also resort to electric sticks, and roast in a device dedicated to torture, hanging, nail removal and skinning.”

"They also force the prisoner to stand on his fingertips and face the wall for long hours, and they repeat the same process until he was injured," he said. Those who are released either paralyzed or have problems in memory, bones or in the ear.”

He pointed out that the Houthis, in order to ensure the silence of their prisoner after releasing him, they keep one or more of his family in captivity. He indicates that he was released in a prisoner exchange deal with 26 prisoners, "After I was released, they put me under tight surveillance, but I managed to run away to Marib with the help of some friends.”

Slapping till paralysis

Another heartbreaking story of the escapees’ families, who refused to be named for fear of his life and the life of his wife, agreed only to refer to the first letters of his name.

"I was a government employee before the Houthi attack, and when the attack happened many companies were closed, I was sitting with my friends wasting time. Once on my way home, they arrested me and blindfolded my eyes. and we came to a place which is full of photos of Abdulmalek Houthi and a person sitting on a chair with a large notebook to introduce you to talk at first without beating or aggression so that you may confess, and if refuse, they slap you, and this is a basic tool of torture that it has a staff specially for slapping untiil bleeding or paralysis .”

“They used to provide us with a living meal … food is not served daily, you get one meal every two days. Then they stopped the food and asked for money. So, those who don’t have money die out of hunger; I saw many people died of hunger. Some of there torturers would scatter poisonous mountain insects under your bed, so as not to give you a chance to sleep, i have been bitten by one of those insects," he concluded.

"Anybody who is imprisoned in Huthi prisons will never be normal again, they understand torture."

Undersecretary of the Yemeni Ministry of Information tells the experience of his brother

Dr. Abdulbaset Al-Qaedi, Undersecretary of the Yemeni Ministry of Information, spoke of his personal experience in which Houthis exploited the victims and turned them into a new source of "Business". "My brother, Salah al-Qaadi, was working for the Suhail channel in Yemen and was arrested on August 28, 2015 from his house," said Dr. Abdulbaset al-Qaedi. In the beginning they took him to the section of the pox and then he was moved to the prison of Hibra and then disappeared forcibly for 3 months. We then knew his place by accident. He was subjected to severe torture.



335378ea-7e3f-41ee-a937-c9b354aefc17

In September 2015 he telephoned us once. He was in a difficult situation. He was being held in solitary confinement under aggravated torture because he refused to repeat their known cry: Allah Akbar Allah Akbar ... Death to Israel, death to America. He had been in Habra prison for years. Dr. Abdul Basset continued: "In the middle of 2016, my brother started a hunger strike, and then disappeared. His place was discovered in the Political Security prison. We were deprived of his visit for long periods. We paid money in order to visit him. They leave no chance to exploit it. And the visit has strict conditions, it does not exceed a quarter of an hour, and be at a distance with cement barriers and nets separating us from prisoners, and not regular; it might be allowed once, and prevented 3 months, so that my father came from his village and stayed for three months in Sanaa hoping to see his son but they did not allow him although he is paralyzed, and suffering from several diseases Because of his shock in his son.”


2222


He went on, "with regard to the deteriorating health of our parents because of the Salah crisis, we tried to negotiate about the amount of money needed for his release although the Houthis consider journalists big spoils. So, they may swap them for political deals or ask for very high prices. We already paid more than once through tribal mediation. Moreover, Houthi brokers are also paid special commissions on this, and we paid each time more than one million Yemeni riyals in vain, as it is a ‘business’ and sometimes fraud. He continued: I received a message full of pain from my brother telling us: «psychological horror practiced against us was harder than physical harm; they tell us you will not see light again, and your life will end inside the walls of our prisons.”

Minister of Human Rights: 2866 cases of Enforced disappearance

Form his part, Dr. Mohammed Assaker, Minister of Human Rights, said that the behavior of the Houthis towards the corpses and their exploitation in the ongoing war violates all human rights norms, which emphasize dealing with the bodies of the dead in a human way. According to the ministry statistics, there are 2866 cases of enforced disappearance in Yemen within 3 years , Since the Houthi attack in 2015, and 13,938 cases of arbitrary detention and 16,804 cases of torture in militia prisons. Yet, Dr. Arafat Hamran, head of the Monitor for Rights and Freedoms, indicated that according to the statistics of the organization, the number of torture cases reached 1393, including 7 children While the number of abductees was 17,742 during the three years since 2018, including 58 women and 268 children. Most of the cases in which abductees are released are paid for from SR 100,000 to SR 2 million.

Each kidnapped person has a price according to his or her political or social status or the number of followers on social media. As for the prisoner, they go into exchange and swap deals. He added that these disgraceful acts go beyond the drafts of international law, including the Hague Convention on Respect for the Laws and Customs of War on Land, as well as the Yemeni Penal Code, which provides for respect for corpses and the non-desecration of graves. According to Article 262 of the Penal Code, anyone who violates the inviolability of the deceased shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding two thousand riyals.

Muammar al-Iryani: We seek to uncover Houthi crimes in front of the world

And to complete the file of kidnapped journalists by the militia and to follow up any updates to this file and the measures taken to try to force Houthi to release them, and suffering of this important sector, which conveys a vivid picture of what is happening in Yemeni territory to the world .. We met with the Yemeni Minister of Information, To talk about the crimes of the Houthis against the Yemenis, especially that the media and media had a lot of these crimes, especially kidnapping, arrest, torture and murdering.

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We had the following dialogue with him:

We heard a lot about Houthi violations against journalists and media, and we want to know from you about this file?

Houthi militias have committed since the coup d'état the worst crimes against media institutions and media men in Yemen, which are unprecedented violations in the world that no other country had witnessed. We are keen to bring this file to the international community to help us free abducted journalists and return them to their families. Their case was submitted to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the United Nations, the International Federation of Journalists, the Yemeni Journalists' Union and the Security Council. We were able to put pressures on Houthis. Yahya Abdulraqeeb Al-Juwahei, a teacher at Sana'a University, was set free and Houthi sentenced him in 10 minutes for betrayal, which mean for them that he did not write in their favor.

I recently visited London, met with representatives of a number of organizations, the British Parliament, newspapers and satellite channels, explained the issue of the Yemeni abductees, and the English parliament responded well to cooperating with us to pressure the militia and release the rest of the abductees.

How many journalists are still being held?

There are still 16 Yemeni journalists kidnapped by the Houthi militias in prisons. All of them are accused of writing their views openly against the Houthis. We have almost daily contact with regional and international human rights organizations. We participate in conferences that broadcast through many channels and press sites to raise the issue. We make arrangements to hold meetings with other international organizations, and raise the issue of hundreds of political detainees and activists who are in Houthi prisons.

What is your assessment of the role of international institutions in the issue of abductees?

There is a great response from them, and they promised to make efforts and help us to achieve our goals.

What are the most prominent violations against journalists and media institutions?

Houthi violations varied in their attacks on media and journalists, ranging from murder to attempted murder, abduction, torture, threats, assaults, looting of property. Nevertheless Houthis have resorted to the most extreme methods of torture and to the bombing of homes while people inside them, such as what happened in Bihan, Shabwa governorate, where they surrounded a house with a person and his children. Then they blew him up, beat the detainees with sticks on their backs until they turned blue, then release them, almost dying.

And the first body targeted by the militia when entering Sana'a was the Yemeni television institution. They seized the Yemeni news agency Saba in the capital Sana'a and the official newspapers. Houthis also blocked websites and the press institutions were destroyed. After there were more than 295 press organizations and 19 official and private TV channels in Yemen , the current number of which has become only 10 newspapers, and this has forced us to rebuild official media institutions that represent legitimacy instead of those seized by the Houthis. We established the Yemen channel and the Saba news agency for the legitimate authority. Therefore you and the Houthis have TV channels and news agencies with the same name.

Does not this create confusion and perplexity among those who follow Yemeni Crisis?

Not At all, because any person, at first moment, who read or watch the news and their context will be fully aware to whome it belong. Secondly, Houthis broadcast from a European satellite and we are broadcasting from Nilesat.

How do you evaluate the international and Arab media coverage of the Yemen crisis in general, especially the issue of detainees?

I expect from the media of different Arab countries, especially Egypt, a greater role, greater interest, to join us in defense and to raise a campaign for the release of their Yemeni colleagues and brothers. I appeal to all through you to play this role through all the media to turn it into a global public opinion issue.

The Western media is interacting but for a time or two, and not continuously, Yemen is part of the system of global conflict, as it is located on the Straits of Bab al-Mandab, Yemen must be a future part of the Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC) system, because this will give it strength against any external interference. Iran also has a huge media machine, and there is Iranian funding for several international media institutions. The Iranians penetrate many organizations and are strongly present in them, thus influencing the direction of the views of these institutions in different countries of the world. We have the right but we lack the financial means.

We face the fallacies published in some of these means by organizing visits of journalists to Yemen, so that they see the situation on the ground without falsification and to write the truth only.

In your opinion, how does Yemen emerge from its crisis?

The first and the most important step to restore our whole country is to unite, and I advise every Yemeni as brothers from one people and one blood to cooperate, and stand united by the high leadership of the state, represented by President Abed Rabbo Mansour, so that we can defeat those militias that violate the rights of the Yemeni people.

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hanna.Hanna has taken a 30-day trip to monitor the suffering of the people during the war.











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<![CDATA[Relief crisis in Yemen: Where does humanitarian aid go?]]>
If you compare these amounts of money to the situation of Yemenis, you will find a large gap. Based on the views of random sectors from five governorates, relief does not reach many Yemenis, or is taken by Houthis, which do not hand over any part to non-followers. When we looked at the details of the crisis, we found that 80 percent of the aid reaches Houthis from international organizations, through the port of Hodeidah at a time when the governorate suffers from a major famine.




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The final situation is a number of governorates suffering from acute hunger. In Hodeidah there is a famine, malnutrition in Lahj, and families sleeping for nights on gravel, in camps, streets, houses and hospitals.

The large gap between the reported relief numbers and the situation on the ground raises several questions: Where do the relief funds go? What are the channels and mechanisms through which it reaches Yemenis?


Food Crisis

Relief convoys and their workers are subjected to attacks by the Houthis, ranging from detention to payment of royalties and stealing relief supplies to sell them on the black market, in addition to the risks that humanitarian workers are subjected to, most recently the death of Hanna Lahoj at the Red Cross organization.



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According to the statistics of the Higher Relief Committee, there are 65 vessels detained between 2015 and 2018. During the same period, 615 relief trucks were seized and four of them were detonated, in addition to attacks on 16 UN organizations and their personnel. The attacks ranged from murder, to kidnapping and forcibly closing the offices. The violations were concentrated in Sana'a, Taiz, Hodeidah and Ibb.

The United Nations also announced that the humanitarian needs in Yemen for this year amount to $2.96 billion, $2.1 billion of which has already been collected from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while the coalition countries pledged the remaining amount. How are these amounts distributed? What are the guarantees that it will reach the beneficiaries?


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On the other hand, the international organizations are accused of delivering the relief material to the Houthis, who steal and sell it on the black market. According to the Yemeni Higher Relief Committee, 13,815 food baskets were stolen and looted by the Houthis, and traded on the black market in three years - from 2015 to 2018. Eyewitnesses confirmed that they are sold with the logo of the organization that distributed them, why then do international organizations continue to grant them to the Houthis?

We went with many questions to meet with officials of international and local relief organizations.


Relief Coordinator in Aden

Yemenis are starving to death!

A number of Yemenis confirmed that they do not receive any of this assistance. During our trip to Taiz Nagia Mohammed confirmed that since her father was martyred in the confrontations with the Houthis she finds no one to pay for her needs. She is an elderly woman aged 60 years, suffering from blood clots in the heart, and inflammation of the kidneys. She goes to Al-Thawra Hospital in Taiz, but cannot find medicines many times. In the end, she remained in her house waiting for the door to be knocked by someone willing to help her. We asked her if any of the relief organizations came to provide food or medicine. She answered, “We do not see anyone, only some of the neighbors know about me and bring food every few days. God help us”.


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Relief does not reach the combat areas

In Taiz, there are families trapped in areas of engagement with the Houthis. They also die of starvation, because the organizations cannot reach these areas, as confirmed by Mahmoud Badr, a resident of Taiz.


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Jamal al-Faqih, the general coordinator of Yemen's Higher Relief Committee, confirmed that the main offices of international organizations are based in Sana'a, and demanded returning them back to Aden to be close to the process of sending and distributing relief.


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There are other entities, such as the Turkish Red Crescent, China and Jordan. Our task is to coordinate, open channels for aid providers to deliver their aid to places where it is needed. As for the international organizations, they operate under the auspices of the OCHA, which includes 13 organizations with 34 European sub-organizations, and from 15 to 20 effective civil society organizations.

A relief official in Yemen

He explained the relief distribution mechanism, saying, "Our plan in 2018 is to decentralize relief work, through 5 relief centers, each center covering a range of governorates. The United Nations is to declare and approve annually a public response plan that includes the actual needs of Yemenis based on researches by civil society organizations and local authorities. The amount needed this year is 2.96 billion dollars, while last year it was 2.1 billion, only 70 percent of these amounts arrived. Relief is then distributed through organizations, and the largest expenditure during the period from 2015 to 2018 came from the center of King Salman ($8 billion, the UAE Red Crescent $3 billion, and the Higher Relief Committee in Kuwait $200 million).”

He added, “We use the help of our local partners in places under the control of Houthis in order to deliver relief there. There are 18 liberated governorates that receive their relief through 37 land crossings, and the ports of Aden, Mukalla, Jizan and Al-Mocha. We are counting on international organizations to deliver aid to areas under the control of the Houthis, because Arab organizations such as the UAE Crescent and the King Salman Center are subjected to serious violations, including 65 vessels that have been detained, and 565 food convoys have been subjected to violations of the Houthis during the last three years from 2015 to 2018.”

If we talk about the situation of Hodeidah, which is suffering from famine, we will find Hodeidah a disaster. The need is very large. We rely on international organizations to reach it. The UAE Red Crescent donated 10 million. The King Salman Center delivered 130,000 food baskets to Hodeidah, and the Kuwaiti higher relief committee has given 50,000 food baskets, and this is not enough, the need is still great. There is also the crisis of displaced people from Hodeidah, as there are 3 million displaced people, including 6,000 in Aden and 5,000 in Marib. We rely on international organizations to set up a center to receive the refugees from Hodeidah for examination and redistribution, and unfortunately there are no special camps for them.

As for the aid by international organizations, al-Faqih said, “Unfortunately, international organizations are under pressure because their offices and headquarters are in Sana'a. Hence, the biggest part of the relief is handed over to the Houthis and is distributed through their associations and mechanisms.”

“We found 2,000 stolen food baskets in the area of Hayes, and security forces in Abyan seized five convoys loaded with UNICEF foodstuffs, smuggled from Sana'a for sale in the markets of Aden. Medicines that come within the aid allocated to the Yemenis are also sold. We have listed these violations in a memorandum submitted to the United Nations representative, and the UN General Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen was recently changed. The United Nations organizations, despite the violations they suffer, have not issued a single statement of these violations. They operate from headquarters under the control of the Houthis, so how can they criticize them. They insist on silence despite all violations of humanitarian action. There is a defect in the work of the international organizations during the war in Yemen.”

In the coming period, we plan to rebuild and renovate houses, return displaced persons to their homes, restore life to them, and facilitate relief access to all areas of Yemen.

Feedback from international organizations

We talked to representatives of some international organizations working in Yemen to know their response to what was raised concerning the theft of relief supplies, their cooperation with the Houthi side, and their weak presence in Yemen. Some international organizations such as the OCHA and the Red Cross refused to respond to questions about their work in Yemen, and the accusations of appeasing the Houthi side due to the presence of their headquarters in Sana'a.



UNICEF stressed to Egypt Today its commitment to deliver its aid to all needy areas in Yemen, and therefore needs to deliver large supplies through ports and airports. They are distributed across the country as needed, but the continuation of the conflict is one of the main obstacles to humanitarian action, it makes its mission harder. There are also logistical constraints; the transfer of supplies between cities and governorates is hard because of fuel cuts, high prices, and the security risks due to armed confrontations.

UNICEF has indicated that there are coordinating bodies negotiating with various authorities in Yemen, as well as the Arab Coalition Forces, to facilitate movement and procedures. UNICEF is also in direct coordination with relevant authorities in the sectors in which it operates: education, health, water, sanitation, social services, and others.


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With regard to the organization's budget for Yemen, UNICEF explained that the funding of the humanitarian response plan in Yemen depends on grants and donations from donors. For example, UNICEF launched its 2017 humanitarian response plan in Yemen for $339 million, while the response plan for the year 2018 costs $ 278 million. These amounts are distributed to UNICEF's various sectors, including health, nutrition, water, environmental sanitation, protection, education, research, studies and national campaigns aimed at behavioral change on life-saving issues.



UNICEF commented on the issue of its handing over a large part of the aid to the Houthis in the areas under their control, which -consequently- do not reach the masses of Yemenis, saying, “Aid is distributed through local and international partners, and despite the extremely complex field difficulties, it reaches the affected and the needy in the end. We secure the basic needs of the Yemeni child. UNICEF works with all authorities, and in various governorates. The humanitarian situation in Hodeidah is the worst, but the situation is also bad in other areas. There is poverty and chronic developmental failure. Also, the negative impact on families cannot be overlooked due to the suspension of salaries of state employees for more than a year and a half now. It should also be noted that humanitarian aid cannot be an alternative to the basic social services provided by the national bodies of the state. This is especially true in light of the deterioration of the health, water and social welfare sectors. Also the continuation of the war, the high prices and the deterioration of the national economy, make relief efforts seem limited."

World Food Program: Conditions in Yemen were bad before war

For his part, Ashraf Hamouda, from the World Food Program, said: "We are the largest organization working in Yemen for 20 years, not only in food distribution, but we are responsible for logistical work in 19 governorates, such as delivering fuel to hospitals and basic facilities. In the three years from 2015 to 2018, we distributed 1 million and 253 thousand tons of food, an average of 15 million food baskets on an average of 8 million Yemenis, who are the neediest.”

WFP official explains the causes of the aid crisis in Yemen



He stressed that the situation in Yemen is bad before by the events of the war, adding: “But so far we have not declared that there are areas in Yemen suffering from starvation, and no one has died of hunger; we reach even the areas under the control of the Houthis, but certainly we need more support.”

Relief reaches Sana'a and Taiz

Commenting on the citizens' complaints of the lack of sufficient relief organizations, Ashraf Hamouda said, "We do not have sufficient budget, despite the big support of many parties, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but the need is great, and we try to cover what we can.”

As for the mechanism of aid access to Sana'a, Taiz and Hodeidah, areas under the control of the Houthis, or areas of engagement with them, Hamouda explained: “We have local partners on the ground that facilitate the arrival of this aid, because our goal is the Yemeni citizen, and we deal with all parties, we are not classified politically. If we find biased local organizations, we do not deal with them. In the end, the distribution is under the supervision of the World Food Program. As for what is said about the Houthis stealing food aid, it is not proven so far. We are keen to track the arrival of food for citizens. We will soon apply the electronic fingerprint system upon receipt of the food basket to ensure that it reaches the beneficiary. Before that, we will conduct a case study for the families, to make sure of the neediest.”

Government coordination officer with international organizations: The people are hungry

Lilian al-Shamdari, government coordination officer with international organizations, said: "I enter the areas under the control of Houthis to coordinate with the international offices there, in an undisclosed manner. The people in Taiz in particular are currently hungry. There are cities and areas in Taiz that have not seen food aid since the war, because the situation was random, and international organizations cannot enter the areas of engagement or conflict. Now the World Food Program is cooperating with us to deliver the relief.”



Responsible for relief in Yemen

As for their suffering in the field of humanitarian work in Yemen, Lilian confirmed: "We face many violations during our work. For example, to reach Al-Houbane, which is an area 10 minutes from my house, I have to take a complicated route for 7 hours, because of the Houthis’ control. There is indiscriminate shelling of houses, and in my house the walls have signs of bullets, this is a great suffering for the people of Taiz.”

As for the role of international organizations in Yemen, Lilian said: "Their role is limited, where are these organizations of the hungry people in Taiz, although Taiz is allocated the largest proportion of aid, because the population here is one fifth of the Yemeni people. We do not know where the aid goes. The aid arrives in two ways: either through the port of Hodeidah to Al-Houbane, and from there to Taiz, or through local organizations and merchants, and this is what the World Food Program resorted to (coordination with local partners), as international organizations do not want to enter Taiz, with the pretext of the lack of security, and we need them to enter, as the situation is not bad in all areas of Taiz.

Lilian explains, "We have suggested to the OCHA office that the aid be delivered through Aden, not through Al-Houbane. They answered that Taiz is administratively affiliated with Ibb, and aid cannot be passed through Aden. The leader of the Taiz axis also asked the UN to open a new passage for aid, and for people how can’t find safe passages to leave or enter Taiz, but they suggested another route: the last point of resistance and engagement, but its disadvantage is that it is far, and will not alleviate the suffering of citizens.” Lilian stressed that politics plays a large role in directing international organizations.


A humanitarian worker in Taiz

Abdul Malek Saad, part of the staff of the government coordination office with international relief organizations, said that the organizations operating are the World Food Program and Doctors without Borders for medical relief. The rest is disproportionate to the suffering of the people here. Some attributes this limited presence to the difficulties because of the rough road, and that there are elements of Al Qaida on the road to Taiz. But the role of the state in security has become better than the chaos before, yet the media is magnifying the situation, and what we are currently suffering is the sudden fall of missiles and the indiscriminate bombing.

Nasser Baoum, Yemeni Minister of Health: Medical relief is also stolen

Houthi not only looted and seized food convoys, but also medical convoys. The crisis, as summarized by the Yemeni Minister of Health, Dr. Nasser Baoum, is that the Houthis seize the medicines and sell them on the black market at double the price, or store them in the wrong way so they become stale and they then distribute it to the people. The other part they take to the soldiers who fight with them on the fronts and prevent the rest of the people from getting it.

Minister of Health and reporter of the newspaper


Violations of humanitarian work in Yemen and the international situation

Dr. Arafat Al-Humair, head of Rasd organization for human rights, confirmed that the international organizations support the Houthis directly and indirectly. As most of the aid is sent through the port of Hodeidah which under their control, and they distribute it on the fronts and not to civilians. UNICEF and WHO continue to monitor the largest number of people exposed for malnutrition diseases in Ibb, Hodeidah, Sa'ada, Amran and Sana'a, which indicates that the relief does not reach the people.

Future projects

For his part, Mohammed al-Muqrami, head of Scoop Center for Humanitarian and Humane Studies and Media, said: "The efforts of humanitarian work are felt more in what Saudi Arabia and UAE offered. The humanitarian situation in Yemen is dire. More than 10 million children are in need of medical care and are suffering from malnutrition”.

“Saudi Arabia provided $11 billion from 2015 to 2018 and United Arab Emirates’ aid to Yemen amounts to 9.45 billion dirham (2.57 billion US dollars) from April 2015 to December 2017. This aid was distributed as follows: $40.4 million to support education, $131.8 million for social services, $135.5 million for transport and storage, $286.5 million for power generation and supply, $1.19 billion for public programs, $437.1 million for commodity aid, $166.6 million to support projects in the field of health, $126.9 million to support the government and civil society (judicial and legal development), and $55.8 million for public projects. The Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates also provided the largest grant in the history of the United Nations, one billion US dollars to fund the United Nations humanitarian response plan, estimated at $2.96 billion to provide assistance to 22 million Yemenis, including 7 million threatened with famine, 3 million are malnourished and about 2 million Yemeni children who may die."

He added that Kuwait provided 100 million dollars in 2015 to support relief projects in food security, health and shelter. It also announced the donation of 250 million dollars in the United Nations response conference held recently in Geneva to support relief projects in Yemen.

Al-Muqrami pointed out that the humanitarian operations of the King Salman Center include projects to prepare Yemeni ports to receive imports efficiently, in addition to the infrastructure development projects in these ports. The air bridge linking the alliance countries and Marib includes a number of flights for the C-130 aircraft, reaching six flights a day. The air bridge will be available to humanitarian organizations to deliver urgently needed relief supplies. The Arab Alliance has established 17 safe passage routes within the six-point comprehensive plan to ensure safe land transport of aid to NGOs operating within Yemen.

Al-Muqrami stressed that the opening of the border cities of Al-Khadra and Al-Twal between the Kingdom and Yemen will allow the arrival of supplies to areas of population density such as Saada, Sana'a, Hajja and Amran. Keeping Sana'a airport open will contribute in delivering aid to civilians in the capital and neighboring governorates. Nashton port receives mainly major food loads of up to 2,000 metric tons per month and fuel up to 4,000 metric tons per month. It will also help secure import requirements for the eastern part of the country. The port of Jazan will be available when necessary. The capacity of the port of Jazan is 5 million metric tons per month, so it will be used to receive commercial shipments and send them quickly to the northern regions of Yemen. The Port of Al-Mocha will be developed so that it will be able to receive up to 36,000 metric tons per month of fuel, commercial and basic goods, in addition to huge loads of food supplies.

Project Manager for Monitoring and Evaluation of Relief Projects in Yemen, Dr. Ihab Al-Qerashy, confirmed that in June 2016, the Monitoring and Evaluation Program was launched. It was the eighth program within 21 subprogrammes in humanitarian aid provided by the King Salman Relief Center to follow up the distribution process and the participation of the implementing agencies in ensuring that the aid reaches its beneficiaries as needed.

The field work team of the Monitoring and Evaluation Project through the Scoop Foundation started its work immediately after the signing of the agreement with the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid. The Monitoring and Evaluation Project 2B2 was summarized in a matrix of standards after several sessions, discussions and research on international humanitarian standards. The Scoop Social Foundation for Monitoring in Yemen and Syria started its work according to these standards. The Scoop Center, through the performance of the Monitoring and Evaluation Team, has monitored many mistakes, imbalances and violations in the distribution process, and sought to evaluate it to prevent their recurrence.

Al-Qerashy added that the lack of reports on humanitarian work and accurate field surveys, according to systematic statistical studies, have a negative impact on the relief work, which confuse the workers in this field and put them in front of a major dilemma regarding the absence of the satisfaction of donors and beneficiaries. The monitoring project decided to establish the Scoop Center to solve many problems in the humanitarian work in Yemen, benefiting from the monitoring and evaluation team located in all the directorates with more than 360 points of contact to enable it to conduct field surveys and check the lists of needs for all governorates, so that distribution plans are put based on those rigorous methodological studies.

Al-Qerashy explained that since the work started on July 10, 2016, the project has conducted more than 2000 field visits to carry out monitoring, and follow up activities. It implemented 65 projects in 6 sectors. Several activities were monitored in 14 projects. Food security projects reached 19 projects, targeting 10,455,888 people carried out by local and international partners in Aden, Taiz, Sana'a, Lahj, Dale, Marib, Al-Jouf, Abyan, Shuba, Hodeidah, and Albydah. The team implemented projects in monitoring, 38 projects implemented in health security, distributed between 14 projects to treat 2100 wounded, 7 projects to equip and rehabilitate hospitals and provide them with medical supplies, 4 projects to supply and secure the medical needs, and 11 projects for oxygen stations for a number of hospitals, targeting around one million and half beneficiaries, and a project to treat malnutrition in eight governorates targeting 348,468 children, in addition to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and a project in six governorates to combat dengue fever. A number of activities were monitored in 4 projects. Water security, cleaning, and sanitation projects reached 4 projects, targeting Sana'a, Taiz, Ibb, Aden, Lahj, Al-Jouf, Hadramout, Marib, Albaydah, Hodaidah, Hajja, Al-Dale, Shabwa and Socotra.

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Abdul Raqeeb Fath, the Minister of Local Administration and Chairman of the Higher Committee for Relief in Yemen, sat down with Egypt Today during their visit to Yemen to discuss the relief, revealing that without the support of the Arab countries, 70% of Yemenis would have been starving

How can we sum up Yemen's humanitarian crisis?

The humanitarian situation in Yemen cannot be separated from the political situation. The suffering started only after the coup that led to humanitarian disasters. According to UN reports, 22 million Yemenis need relief. Therefore, all the efforts made are not enough.


Chairman of the Higher Committee for Relief Affairs

Taiz has a crisis of relief more than other governorates, what will be done to alleviate the suffering of its citizens?

The crisis in Taiz runs deep, with some 4200 thousand citizens, 2200 thousand students who do not attend schools and 3200 thousand displaced people, including people in Somalia, Djibouti and neighboring areas.



Describe the suffering faced by relief workers in Yemen?

Yes, there is suffering, and intransigence by the Houthis towards all organizations, including international organizations. They violate the criteria for dealing with relief workers. We deliver aid to the governorates under the control of the Houthis in Sa'ada, Sana'a, Albaidah and Hodeidah, in partnership with local organizations. Most of the relief comes from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and I affirm that without the intervention and support of the Arab sister countries, 70% of Yemenis will be starving. I confirm that the Houthi militia invests Yemeni aid in the war effort, which is clear by the famine in Hodeidah, which has the largest store of world food, and 70% of the relief vessels. Reports have been submitted to the UN of the Houthi violations against relief organizations, including the detention of 250 WFP convoys.

What is the solution like?

We have introduced decentralization in relief work so that five relief centers are established in Yemen, each covering a number of governorates in Sana'a, Aden, Hodeidah and Marib, thus nullifying the work of the Houthis against the relief convoys, because the distances will be closer. It was centralization that facilitated the Houthis' seizure of relief aid.

What is the most effective international organization in Yemen?

The World Food Program is more cooperative, but it is also exposed to violations during its work in Yemen, although it does not announce this, even though we have documents.

Why do international organizations refuse to declare the violations they are subjected to?

Because of the presence of their headquarters and offices in Sana'a under the control and pressures of the Houthis. The Houthis have previously attacked the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and prevented him from visiting Taiz, which is granted protection by international conventions.

What is your assessment of the work of the United Nations in Yemen?

We hold on to them as our partners; their presence is important but they commit some wrong practices so we criticize them to get the best for the Yemenis.

What about the international organizations handing over relief to the militia?

This is a mistake, and they should not hand over relief to those who steal it; it is supposed to be handed over to partners who are honest at work. The United Nations is responsible for reaching the depth of the conflict areas even in Taiz; there is no logic in handing over subsidies to those who besiege Taiz?

The United Nations is responsible for the arrival of funds for those in need, not for those who are besieging them. There is also a solution to the problem of Taiz relief through the effective presence in Aden.

I myself was subjected to an assassination attempt in Taiz, so it is going through the most difficult circumstances and in need of the greatest support possible.

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hanna.Hanna has taken a 30-day trip to monitor the suffering of the people during the war.




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4/13/2019 2:05:00 PM
<![CDATA[American, Saudi Arabian Amb. reveal truth about situation in Yemen]]>
The Saudi role in the crisis is an important and pivotal one. It leads the coalition forces to support the legitimacy, and it represents with the UAE the main bulk of Yemen's humanitarian and military support.

The Saudi ambassador's portfolio in Yemen is an vital, as it contains many details that will help us to form a comprehensive vision of the scene in Yemen, where he took office in a sensitive period just 10 days before the Houthis coup in Sana’a in September 2014.


We carried many inquiries after our trip and observations in Yemen. We wanted to know the answers from the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Mohamed Al Jaber, who explained his vision of the current situation and his expectations for the coming period.

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Jaber reveals to Egypt Today the situation in Yemen:

At the beginning we would like you to inform us of the indicators of the situation in Yemen?

There is no doubt that there are positive developments that calls for optimism. Pressure on the Houthis has increased, while the volume of aid and relief for the Yemeni people has also increased. The Alliance achieved great military successes in Albayda, Al-Sahel, Nham and other governorates. In parallel, there are political movements, and recently, the new UN envoy received his work, visited officials here in Riyadh, and presented his views. He has a vision in favor of the Yemeni people and stability through adherence to UN resolution 2216.




As you are in charge of Saudi diplomacy in Yemen, what is your role in Yemen and what is the importance of the Saudi role in general?

Saudi Arabia was forced to intervene in the Yemeni crisis, in response to the legitimate president’s request to save his people, restore the state, protect its national security and the lives of its citizens, and to protect the security of the Arab region.

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Saudi Arabia also wanted to prevent Iran from threatening the Red Sea, international navigation and Arab national security or from controlling maritime areas from the Strait of Hormuz to Bab al-Mandab. We want to restore the Yemeni state; we do not want another Somalia.

To understand the role of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, we must first go back to history to realize the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. It is the only country with which we share rain and mixed relatives and genealogies. You may find a Yemeni tribe and its sheikh is Saudi, and a Yemeni Saudi tribe and its sheikh is Yemeni. There are more than 2 million Yemenis with a work visa, or 40 percent of the work capacity; they annually transfer $10 billion to Yemen.

When the Arab Spring started and Saleh’s army was split to two, Saudi Arabia proposed the Gulf initiative, in which Saudi Arabia was a prominent pillar, to convince Abdullah Saleh to hand over power peacefully to whoever he choose to stop the bloodshed. And indeed power was handed over to Abd Rabo Mansour. But we didn’t stop here, we prepared a road map that begins with the comprehensive national dialogue, then a new constitution, then a referendum, and a new president is then elected. The national dialogue was planned to last for six months, but they needed an extension with a cost of $10 million. No country initiated any payment except Saudi Arabia which was hoping this experience would succeed. From 2012 to 2014 Saudi Arabia provided $7 billion.

When the Houthis entered Sana'a in September 21, 2014, they took over the capital, after which Tehran celebrated the fall of the fourth Arab capital. Flights started between the two cities, 28 flights a week, and Iran said at the time that it would transfer medical aid. With the intensification of the attack on Aden, the legitimate president asked for the intervention of the Arab countries, foremost of which is the Kingdom, to save Yemen. Hence, Al Hazm Storm began in 2015, and then there were talks about the Geneva consultations 1, and then the rounds of Kuwait, which continued to no avail, and all that Houthis wanted was to be a new Hezbollah in Yemen.


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What is the size of the losses caused by the rocket strikes on the Kingdom?

130 rockets were fired at the kingdom.

What are your tasks inside Yemen?

As an ambassador, I am responsible for the coordination with the Yemeni legitimate government to facilitate all matters, and to submit suggestions and recommendations. I coordinate with the international organizations, the UN envoy to Yemen, and with the ambassadors of the 18 countries sponsoring the GCC initiative when they are still in Yemen.

Mohammed bin Salman visited Cairo, Britain and the United States, with the Yemeni file as a priority, what are your expectations of the results of such tours?

This confirms the Arab interest in the Yemeni issue and the insistence on resolving the crisis according to the three references, in cooperation with the United Nations.

We have two governorates of a special nature, Taiz and Sana'a. How do you deal with the humanitarian and military situation in them?

Sana'a is under the control of the Houthi militia, and is about 30 kilometers away from the legitimate forces. Legitimacy tries to deliver aid to the nearby areas, and we reach the areas controlled by the Houthi through cooperation with local organizations there. As for the international organizations, they play their role in Sana'a.

For its part, Taiz was besieged in 2016, and was not abandoned by the coalition forces which resorted to dropping the food aid from the air.

If we go to Aden with its various political and complex formations and the events of the factions and Aidarous, how do you read the scene in Aden in light of the strong arming of those groups?

Aidarous and the factions is a Yemeni issue. We cannot look to the incidental problems that occur in one of the regions of Yemen separately without reference to their roots. There are events that changed the history of Yemen starting from 1990, when the unity between the North and the South was achieved. In 1994 many battles took place. The southern movement started in 2007, which called for the disengagement of the North and the South, and continued to have demands. Solving this problem is a Yemeni matter that needs a Yemeni dialogue.

How do you evaluate the role of Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen?

I think that he had a negative role in a certain period, but he responded to the desire of the people who wanted to remove him of power and responded to the Saudi mediation, and indeed he left power. This is something to give him credit for. After that he wanted to play a political role, so he allied with the Houthis. But when he realized that Iran wants to control Yemen through the Houthis, and from there to the Arab region, he decided to declare breaking the tie with the Houthis, so they turned on him and killed him.

Summarize the objectives of Iran in the region?

Iran wants to create chaos in the region, and thus destroy the Arab countries to increase its economic power and political influence. The Houthi Iranian alliance was evident when the missile attacks on the Kingdom started. Such attacks did not start since the begging, because the Houthis did not have the capabilities, what they owned was the Yemeni army missiles with a range of not more than 600 km. Two years after the events, they began to attack us after they received the Iranian supply of Qiam missiles.

The Iranian hands must be cut off; we will not allow it to control the Arab world no matter how much this will cost us.

What is your assessment of Ould Cheikh's performance during his term as UN envoy in Yemen?

In fact that he did not hesitate to make every effort to push the peace process, but when the Houthis wanted to reject peace they made the UN envoy their pretext. But the new envoy carries the same as was carried by Ismail Ould Sheikh, a commitment to the three terms of reference: the Gulf initiative and its executive mechanism, the outputs of the national dialogue and UN Resolution 2216.

The truth that is revealed to everyone is that the reason behind the delay in reaching a resolution is not the UN envoy or the legitimate government; the reason is Iran, which wants to destabilize Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Arab region as a whole through the Houthis. There are 80 agreements revoked by the Houthis. They reject all political solutions, but we have goals that we will not change.

As an ambassador to Yemen, if you want to make recommendations to the new UN envoy what are the most important items of those recommendations?


The UN envoy toured the region and met Yemeni officials and ambassadors of the 18 countries. They discussed history of the Houthis in revoking agreements; they killed Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stressed the difficulty of anyone returning to the capital. He went to Sana'a and met with the Houthi leaderships. We should think in how to deal with a militia that cannot be trusted; a militia that killed the person who trusted it.

Is there a media war against the Kingdom?


The truth is that there is false information and false claims repeated by some media that have no experience in what is happening in the Yemeni context.

Do not you see it as part of Iran's systematic war against the kingdom?

Iran is trying to create chaos at all levels, and the media is not far from this.

How do you evaluate the living conditions of the Yemeni person?

No one denies that the Yemenis are suffering difficult conditions because of the destruction caused by the Houthi militias. They plundered the country's wealth, imposed the black market, the high customs, taxes and royalties. We are carrying out a humanitarian, not just military, operation to help the Yemeni person overcome this ordeal.

Is the crisis in Yemen approaching a solution and will it be political?

Without a doubt, we all aim for a political solution, and military operations are only a tool to pressure the Houthis to return to political negotiations. The coalition will continue in its military operations until it achieves its political objectives with the return of the legitimate government and the return of stability in Yemen. The security and stability of the Kingdom and the Red Sea are main objectives that must be met, whether Houthis agreed or not to return to the negotiating table.

And certainly the goal of the Kingdom is for everyone to return to the political dialogue table instead of violence and for the Yemenis to form a national unity government that has a popular acceptance in Yemen. We strive and exert all the possible efforts to achieve this goal, but it depends on the Houthis’ desire in the peaceful political solution, which we did not see before. On the contrary, previous attempts made by the United Nations and the Arab and international community were rejected by the Houthi side, and they rejected implementation, which happened in the Kuwait dialogue.

There is another problem that is not easy for any Yemeni citizen. Ali Abdullah Saleh with his political expertise and his tribal and social abilities signed an agreement with them and they did not respect it, meaning that the Houthi structure does not allow it to abide by any agreement.

What is your strategy for working in Yemen?

I affirm that our strategy in supporting Yemen is to provide all the assistance to the Yemeni soldier and we have no territorial ambitions in Yemen.

We do not stop at the military operations, but we support the Yemeni citizen in overcoming the difficulty of living under the control of the militia. On the humanitarian level, the coalition countries have provided a lot of assistance, in the forefront was Saudi Arabia, which has provided $10 billion since the outbreak of the crisis until the end of 2017. During the first three months of this year, it provided $3.5 billion, including $1.5 billion for the United Nations and $2 billion for the central bank and the Yemeni economy to support the stability of the national currency exchange rate, fuel security and electricity needs of diesel for a year. Since 2015 and till now it provided 2,378 trucks with more than 46,274 tons of food and medical supplies, according to the statistics of the High Relief Committee. In addition, the Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates -through the King Salman and the UAE Red Crescent Centers- provided great relief to hospitals, medical relief, food baskets and refugee care in the camps. The Coalition contributed to the reconstruction of destroyed hospitals, the establishment of mobile centers for epidemiology, and solving electricity crises.

The Coalition Forces supporting legitimacy in Yemen are accused of imposing a blockade blocking the entry of supplies and relief aid, what is your comment?

This accusation is not based on facts at all. The alliance’s position is clear. The coalition forces did not obstruct the arrival of aid to the Yemeni people. They are keen that all aid is delivered to all Yemeni governorates without discrimination. Through the comprehensive humanitarian operations plan, they sought to expand sea ports, land crossings, airports, and to support the entry of all relief and humanitarian items. The coalition forces have granted 22,622 licenses to facilitate the entry of commercial and humanitarian vessels. These licenses are issued on the same day of submitting the requests.

When the alliance discovered that there is no real inspection of ships heading to Hodeidah, it announced the suspension of ships’ entry. When work was done with the United Nations to develop and improve UN Verification and Inspection Mechanisms in Djibouti the port was opened. There are currently 19 oil derivatives vessels prevented by Iran's terrorist militias from entering the port to raise the prices of oil derivatives on the black market and to force them to pay royalties on ships to finance their war effort and prolong the duration of the war.

What has been achieved in the field of direct development projects?

We are working to support development in several liberated areas in Yemen such as Marib, where the largest network of roads and an electric power station are being constructed. We are expanding the ports of Al-Mukalla, Mocha, and Aden at a cost of $ 70 million; will develop new roads and we will expand them, especially that Al-Mukalla was destroyed completely. We have a reconstruction project for the roads from the north to the south to facilitate the movement of food aid carriers. Within two months, the number of beneficiaries of the King Salman Center reached 2.3 million Yemeni citizens.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates recently committed to provide $1 billion to the United Nations Comprehensive Response Plan.
What are the upcoming projects for Yemen and the Yemeni people?

The Saudi-led coalition has set up several projects to try to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, including an air bridge between Riyadh and Marib, to speed up the delivery of aid -especially medicines- to the Yemeni citizen. Thousands of tons of relief aid have arrived and the number of aircrafts has so far reached 24. There is a large program for the reconstruction of Yemen to be launched during the coming months by the Kingdom in cooperation with the World Bank. It will cost billions of dollars, with the aim of developing the citizen and the infrastructure of basic services.

What is the difference between the objectives of the King Salman Center and Esnad Center?

The King Salman Center provides food, medicine and shelter assistance to needy people in 37 countries around the world. Esnad center, on the other hand, coordinates efforts among all international organizations so that aid reaches every Yemeni citizen. We also carry out "recovery" work on roads and ports, supervise an air bridge between Saudi Arabia and Marib, and help improve the performance of local organizations within Yemen.

How is aid delivered to Yemenis in Houthi-controlled areas?

There are two ways: First, through international organizations, which suffer a lot in the Houthi areas; second, through the so-called local partner. In any case, the Houthis impose royalties on convoys or aid in order to allow them to enter, but payment is made because these organizations want to save the Yemeni citizen.

Many accuse UN and international organizations of appeasing the Houthis because their headquarters are in Sana'a?

The truth is that these organizations operate in a difficult environment; they are exposed to threats, attacks and sometimes killings, as what happened with the Red Cross organization's Hanna Lahouj. It is a militia that does not care about killing and slaughter, so the organizations are trying to create a coexistence environment so that they can deal with these militias. This is not appeasing as much as it is finding a formula to deal with the Houthi side so they can deliver aid to Yemenis. They have mistakes but are trying to correct them.

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If the presence of the headquarters of those organizations inside Sana'a is a pressure factor on them, why don’t they try to decentralize?

We discussed opening branches in Marib, Hadramout, Aden and Hodeidah, which will create decentralization in the management of work, there is an approval from their side, and we will work on implementation starting this year.

What is your assessment of the UN action in Yemen? Are you satisfied with it or not?

I believe that the United Nations plays a good and positive role and does everything in its power. I do not deny that there are mistakes and shortcomings to be addressed, so its performance is improved, but this does not detract from the importance of its role in Yemen.


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U.S. ambassador to Yemen “Matthew Toller” tells Egypt Today, “Saudi” security is an American priority

The Yemeni crisis has many sides and parties, but there is no doubt that the United States is an important party and has an active role in this crisis, in which the Yemeni people suffered heavy losses as a result of the Houthi violations.

"The Houthi rule of the areas under their control represents a brutal rule for the Yemeni people. We see daily human and rights abuses accompanied by widespread corruption practices," said Matthew Toler, the US ambassador to Yemen in his first interview with an Egyptian newspaper, adding that Saudi Arabia's security is a priority for the United States and that Prince Salman's visit to Washington has been very successful.



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He stressed that the United States and the United Nations are fully engaged in promoting a comprehensive and inclusive settlement. Without current US involvement and close coordination with international partners and UN special envoy, the conflict in Yemen will be worse.

To the text of the interview:

What is the American role in this important stage in Yemen?

The United Nations and the United States are strongly involved in humanitarian efforts in Yemen as well as mediation efforts.



Millions of Yemeni children, women and men benefit from American humanitarian assistance provided through the United Nations. The United States remains committed to supporting the UN Special Envoy for a united and secure Yemen that does not represent a safe haven for violent extremist organizations such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS. We are fully engaged in promoting a comprehensive and inclusive settlement. Without current US involvement and close coordination with our international partners and the UN Special Envoy, the conflict will be worse.

How do you evaluate the international role in the Yemeni crisis, especially in light of the violations by the Houthis of relief organizations and international envoys? Is the presence of a United Nations headquarters in Sana'a a pressure factor on the United Nations?

The United Nations Resident Coordinator has been monitoring diversion of aid of its destination. The United Nations Coordinator has condemned the mistreatment of relief organizations. Although there are obstacles impeding relief access, including delays in the clearance of humanitarian aid in Yemeni ports, we are not aware of any large-scale diversion of humanitarian aid shipments. The United States takes any allegations of the diversion of humanitarian aid seriously. As for the mediation, I heard that the UN envoy will open an office in Aden soon, to enhance dialogue with the actors in the south.

The shelling has been going on for more than two years on the Houthi-controlled weapons’ depots, but they are still fighting. What is your explanation?

The Houthi rule of the areas under their control represents a brutal rule for the Yemeni people; we see daily human and civil rights violations accompanied by widespread corruption practices. However, without an open dialogue, there will be no progress towards a political settlement. All Yemenis who wish to engage peacefully and constructively in the political process should do so.

The Houthis must negotiate in good faith to create a more representative political system, in which the rights of all Yemenis are respected in accordance with the constitution and the law.

Is there a new round of negotiations soon concerning the Yemeni crisis?

We have always believed that the solution of this conflict will only be achieved through a political settlement. Therefore, we remain steadfast in supporting the continued efforts of the Special Envoy to Yemen to bring the parties of the conflict back to negotiations as soon as possible and to end the fighting. The UN Special Envoy to Yemen plays an important role in engaging the Houthis and the supporters of the late President Saleh in the dialogue. Martin Griffiths is currently meeting with all Yemeni sides and regional actors. He will soon decide whether the time is right for the negotiations or whether more dialogue is needed to clearly determine the positions of the parties involved in the conflict and find common ground.

In your opinion, what is the impact of Iranian interventions on the region in general and Yemen in particular?

We continue to be deeply concerned by recent Houthi actions targeting the civilian population of Saudi Arabia. These actions, which only serve to prolong the conflict in Yemen and the suffering of the Yemeni people, have been carried out with the clear help of Iran. There is no legitimate reason to arm the opponents of the internationally recognized government.

His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Cairo with the Yemeni file as a top priority, what is your reading of the importance of this visit?

I cannot talk about the Crown Prince's visit to Egypt, but I can tell you that his recent visit to the United States was very successful. The security of Saudi Arabia is a priority for the United States. We work together to strengthen our cooperation in countering Iran's malicious influence and defeating terrorists in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, as well as to cut off funding for terrorists and extremists throughout the region.

What is your position on the role of the coalition led by the Kingdom in the Yemen war?

The United States of America is highly concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and is seeking to alleviate it. The United States is committed from the outset to supporting the security of Saudi Arabia, and it is important to honor this commitment with our partners in the kingdom.



The United States is one of the main suppliers of weapons to the Kingdom. Are conditions placed on Saudi Arabia's use of these weapons?

Our responsibility when selling arms is to ensure that they are used according to the values and interests of the United States. There is a moral responsibility for us, bearing in mind the state we represent. We feel that moral responsibility. We make every effort to ensure that the weapons we sell are used to our standards. I personally do this, and my colleagues in the US government meet regularly with senior military officers, and I see them constantly reflecting the values of the United States.

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This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hanna.Hanna has taken a 30-day trip to monitor the suffering of the people during the war
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<![CDATA[EXCLUSIVE - Egypt Today tells human stories from Yemen's front line in Naham, Sana'a]]>
Naham is the first, most important and largest directorate of Sana'a governorate. It is the eastern gateway to the capital and its nearest front. It width extends to more than 80 kilometers from the outskirts of the governorate of Marib to the outskirts of Al-Jouf, and along this distance you see huge mountain chains: Al-Manara, Nihm, Yaman and Hanshan.

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They are highly rugged mountainous areas, and perhaps this nature is one of the main reasons for prolonging the battle. As for the lower areas, they are heavily mined, while the Yemeni National Army is located along this distance, and there are numerous checkpoints.


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On the sides of the road you find a high mountain range called Al-Farda, which is about 15 kilometers from the first front line. We reached the location of the seventh Military Zone Command, where the four-wheel-drive cars were replaced by Chase cars. The team accompanying us told us that the road would become more rugged for a distance of more than 17 kilometers, until we reach the front, and we must use the Chase cars to cut the remaining distance.




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We moved to the other car until we reached the lines of contact on the front. Once there, you feel the atmosphere of the hot war; you hear guns going off and see the hit and run from both sides.

Right there, on the front, we conducted a series of interviews and we learnt a lot of the heroic deeds of Yemenis in their quest to liberate their lands and eliminate the Houthis.



On the front, you see scenes of deployed soldiers, each in a specific location that he doesn’t leave and also doesn’t leave his weapon. They have a small spot, no more than a few meters, surrounded by stones and covered with old blankets, Al-Dushmeh, where they live and sleep on the front. Some of them left a wife and children, others are responsible for a father in his old age or a mother needing care, but they left their families and stayed in the front.

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Among those recruited is Ayman Mohammed, who is married and has three children. He has not seen them for months and confirms that he will not leave his place on the front before Yemen is fully liberated. We also met Abdul Aziz Hassan, who left his mother and did not consider marriage before the liberation of Sana'a. He insists on staying till they achieve victory, saying: "We will continue to fight the enemy whatever happens. The enemy is much weaker than before."

He also pointed out that the exchange of fire takes place day and night.

Conscript Anwar al-Yusuf drives an ambulance to save the injured on the front, "I have been serving here for two years and have been fired at by the Houthis, but I have never thought of retreating from my service. On the contrary, the firing of bullets has increased our determination to complete the battle."



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Anas ... fights despite the disability

Conscript Anas Abdullah did not only leave his family for more than two years to fight the Houthis, but insisted on continuing on the front, although he was injured in one of the battles which led to his disability. He refused to go home and leave the battlefield. When we approached him, he said, "My conscience has not allowed me to be comfortable with my family and my brothers here are fighting for me on the front. I preferred to stay to help them even if I cannot hold the arms anymore, but I can help in different ways”. He continued saying: “I am a conscript in the national army since 2009 and participated in 2016 in Serwah battle, which is still going on till now on the border of Marib. I was shot at that time in the spinal cord which caused my disability”.



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Anas continued, "I did not want to stay in the house and my brothers on the fronts are scarifying their lives for us and I decided to stay here. Here I can breathe and feel happy and confident. Here is my place and I will not leave it until we win." He has left his family and wife since the beginning of the battle. They understand and appreciate that. I told them I will return to you only when Yemen is fully liberated."

"The Houthis destroyed the houses and threatened the security of the children," he concluded.

Conscript Mohammed Ali: I have not seen my family for two and a half years

Conscript, Muhammad Ali, from Hodeidah, took part in the battle of Serwah and was wounded in the battle of Naham. He told us, "We fight to uphold the word of Allah. The Houthis are ruthless in their war, because they have missiles, mortars, shells and mines, but we insist on continuing. During one of the battles here, I was shot in the leg. During the war we were seeing the children recruited by the Houthis, and in their pockets they had unknown pills."


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"I have been fighting for two and a half years and I don’t see my family, but I will not retreat until we win." He stressed that “the coalition countries led by Saudi Arabia stand with Yemen and we salute them not only on the military support, but they even help in the treatment. The conscripts who are injured travel with the support of the coalition to receive treatment in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt. They also distributed food baskets to people and they supplied many areas with electricity. So we thank them."


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Mohammed describes the sufferings of the people of Hodeidah, saying, "For three years there is no electricity. Since the Houthis entered they spread all over the streets with patrols. They are hiding and watching secretly. People do not go out at night. They attack the homes and women. They take the children from their homes from the age of 10 years. No one can speak and if anyone speaks they kill him. This happened in our neighborhood in Guleel in Hodeidah. They shot one of the people and his mother because he refused to accept what they were doing."

“We have passed the hardest stage and approach the conclusion of the battle,” said the commander of the seventh region of Naham.

“Ninety percent of the area of the directorate is under the control of the National Army and Iran supports the Houthis with sophisticated weapons,” said Major General Nasser Al Deebani.

The interview with the commander of the seventh region in Naham, Major General Nasser Al Deebani revealed more details about the military situation of the battle of “Naham”, and what the Yemeni army needs to win the battle.

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First, when did the battle begin in Naham and what is the scope of work, and what is the role of the seventh region?

The battle started from March 21, 2015, and continues until now. The seventh area extends from the borders of Dhala, Albayda and Hodaydah borders, and from the borders of Al Abd and Aden and until Sana’a. What separates Nihm and the capital is the directorate of Arhab, then Bani Hashish, the secretariat of the capital, and after the mountain of Al-Samaa we are in Sana’a. But the battle of Nihm needs specific arrangements and military plans so as not to hurt any citizen in Sana’a.
Tell us about the military in Nihm, which you consider the most important and most difficult battle in Yemen.


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We have passed the most difficult stage in the battle, which was on the peaks of the rugged mountains. Our forces are now on the peaks of the mountains of Al-Manara, overlooking the capital Sana'a from the left, and from the right overlooking Al Geel directorate towards Al-Jouf governorate. We took a part from Arhab directorate, which separates Naham and the capital, meaning that about 90 percent of the area of the directorate of Naham became under the control of the National Army. The proportion of control increased more with the ongoing filed progress during the past days and then control of the whole of Arhab and afterwards we are in the heart of Sana’a.

Naham is important because it is the closest to the capital. We are on the outskirts of the capital Sana'a, about 18 to 22 kilometers, a distance ranging according to the locations of our forces.

As for the fact that the battle is difficult, this is due to two factors: the Iranian support of the Houthi forces with all the sophisticated weapons, such as guided and anti-tank weapons, as well as media support. Iranian support extends to the use of Afghan militias in Iraq and elsewhere. They support the Houthis in absolute terms, as a political party and a religious system opposing the legitimate authority. The Houthis seized the resources of the National Army at the time of storming Sana'a and Aden; they seized the equipment and tanks, while the Yemeni army began to reconstitute itself from scratch until it developed with the support of the Arab coalition forces.


Can we say that the national army was able to build itself fully or does it still need support?

The army now consists of five military zones, the first, second, fifth, sixth and fourth, and each region consists of several brigades, but not all of our forces are participating in the fighting. What we lack is simple rattles related to resources, but the Yemeni fighter is well prepared and has a determination to complete the battle to the extent that half of the injured, or about 17 injured, participate in the front lines of the fighting based on their will. On the Manara Mountains there are handicapped, taking part in communications services, tanks, artillery and field artillery, and they refuse to receive medical care in the houses of the recruits.


How do you evaluate the Egyptian role in the battle of Yemen?
Yemenis and Egyptians have strong historical relations.

Yemen was one of the founders of the Arab League and has a role in major issues. The Egyptian army provided much to Yemen and played a major role in stabilizing the republican regime in Yemen in 1962. Hundreds were martyred, and the army continued here in Yemen until 1967. During this period, it played a major role in stabilizing the republican system in several governorates. Many of our leaders are graduates of Egyptian military institutes and academies, which contributed to the development of military knowledge among the Yemeni military leaders. Today, Egypt supports us through its position with the Arab coalition.

Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Yemeni Army: The end of the Houthis approached



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“Egypt played a major role in rebuilding our armed forces and opened the doors of colleges and scientific institutes to train cadres and qualify officers,” stated Major General Saleh Al-Zindani.

Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Yemeni Armed Forces, General Saleh Al-Zindani, talks about the situation and preparations of the Yemeni army and the equipment it possesses and its adequacy for the war and the future of the war in general in Yemen:

How equipped is the national army after the several rehabilitation stages it went through after the coup?

We have worked on more than one axis, especially the rebuilding of new cadres instead of the ones we have lost. In this regard, Egypt has played a major role. It opened the doors of colleges and scientific institutes to train cadres and Yemeni officers. And when the coalition to support legitimacy was formed Egypt was one of the first countries that participated and supported Yemeni President Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi.

More than three years after “Al Hazm Storm” how do you evaluate the results?

Before the storm, the militia controlled Yemen and the main joints of the state. There were collapses in the camps, with the help of the military betrayals of the Yemeni army at that time. Now the legitimate authority has recovered 85 percent of the Yemeni lands. Without the support of the coalition, we would not have achieved this. Saudi Arabia received the Yemeni president when he left Aden after hitting the Palace of Maasheeq.

What is the current situation of the Yemeni army in terms of cadres and armament?

We are now preparing the military units, and we are working within the operational division of the army, i.e. the military zones, and each zone includes a number of governorates. In this context, we have reconstituted the military units, and the leaders of those units are now in Aden instead of those who were present in Sana'a, such as the Air forces, naval forces, naval defense and ground forces. But there are also units in formation till now.

The problem of under arming is the biggest problem facing the army, and this is being developed, because the support of the coalition is focused on the fronts because it is the neediest. We focus on the preparation of cadres and the re-establishment of military institutions and the training of fighters within the camps, and the problem of armament will gradually improve.

And on the ground, what are the military conditions on the different fronts?

The army is strong and the evidence is that it has made progress in the places where there are battles so far, the most important of which is Hodeidah. The Yemeni army arrived at Hays, northwest of Mokha in the western coast, which means we are on the outskirts of Hodeidah. We all know that it is the governorate which represents a lifeline to the Houthis. Through which they get various supplies of food and armament, and all that is smuggled from Iran, arrive through the port of Hodeidah, especially after they left Aden.

Also in Naham, we reached the outskirts of Arhab which is the most important directorate in Sana'a, and arriving there means a great victory. There are also significant developments in the front of Sarwah, and conditions have become much better in the fronts in Taiz, because the popular resistance there is large, and we controlled the majority of directorates there.

Have you seen Iranian weapons in the Houthi battles?

Yes, and it is sufficient to know that the rockets, which were in large quantities in the Yemeni army, which was one of the strongest Arab armies before the coup, are Russian-made (the R-17 Scud range of 270 km, the Katyusha, and Luna M, with a range of 70 kilometers). What we see in the battles with the Houthis are different types compared to those that were in the army, with a very wide range, and all of which are Iranian-made (the missiles that landed on Saudi Arabia are an example).

What are the most difficult military battles fought by the Yemeni army against the Houthis?

Aden was one of the most difficult battles and the most important. It took four months and was a difficult period. It is the nature of the Houthis if they were defeated to resort to indiscriminate bombardment of residential neighborhoods using Katyusha and shells, which left many as victims.

What are the most difficult battles that are still ongoing in Yemen, and in your opinion when will the battle of Naham end?

The most difficult current battle is Taiz, although things are better than before because control is no longer as complete as it used to be, supplies now reach the people and most importantly, the popular resistance continues and the people of Taiz insist on the continuation of the resistance. We are working there through several axes which are the resistance, the army and the coalition.

Among the important battles are those in Serwah front in the direction of Marib, and the battles of Naham front of Sana'a. The army controls large areas of these fronts, despite the roughness of the region. Now the National Army is on the outskirts of Arhab directorate of Sana'a. The arrival of the National Army to this directorate will change the balance of power in Yemen significantly for the benefit of legitimacy. Sana'a’s Airport is on the outskirts of Arhab, and it leads us to the heart of the capital which facilitates toppling of the secretariat of the capital, and this way we will win the solidarity and support of the tribes.

Is it possible to say that the battle of Sana'a approached?

The progress on more than one front in Yemen, even in the west coast, although it extends for about 300 kilometers, confirms that the end is very close.

“Naham is the most important battle fought by the National Army,” says the Governor of Sana’a.

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“We are advancing from all sides and the Houthis are trying to complicate matters by using civilians as human shields, turning houses into warehouses for weapons, explosives and ammunition and pushing children into the battle,” explained Major General Abdul Qawi Sherif.

The Governor of Sana'a, Maj. Gen. Abdul Qawi Sherif, explained the importance of the battle of Naham , stressing that it is the most important battle. He pointed out that Nihm is parallel to the directorate of Arhab, the northern gate of the capital. Together they make up one third of Sana'a governorate. With its important strategic location the liberation of Naham and then Arhab is a declaration of the liberation of Sana’a from the hands of the Houthi militia and of concluding the final battle “in favor of legitimacy”.

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What is the importance of Naham for you?

Naham is about 25 kilometers away from the secretariat of Sana'a, and its area exceeds 1841 square kilometers. It is characterized by rugged mountain ranges overlooking the capital directly. Naham is the largest directorate in Sana'a. It is bordered on the north by the directorate of Arhab, which is affiliated to the secretariat of the capital, and bordered to the west by the capital Sana'a, so success here means access to the secretariat of the capital.

Describe the military situation on the front?

The legitimate forces have so far made great progress on this front, despite the roughness of the terrain, which makes it a very difficult battle, but the determination of our sons in the army is what leads us to victory. Every day the enemy recedes further. There is progress from all sides, from the coast of Hodeidah and from Farda and towards Saada and Al-Jawf, the National Army managed to control several sites, including the villages of Al-Hanyshah, Al-Jameeda, Al Haj, Sad Bani Bareq, Al-Na'ila and the mountains overlooking Daboaa area, as well as fifteen sites, including Al-Shabaka mountains, Al-Slat mountains, and the hills overlooking Beet Abu Hatem village.

What difficulties do you face in a battle of Naham?

The battle in Nihm started a year and nine months ago, and we certainly have difficulties. Besides the geographical nature of the place, the Houthis are trying to complicate things by being in places where there are civilians, thus hindering the progress of the legitimate forces because we are concerned with preserving the lives of civilians in the first place. The Houthis have displaced some citizens from their homes and used them as warehouses for weapons, explosives and ammunition. Some citizens are still there and the militias use them as human shields. They also push the children into battles and we avoid harming any child.

Are there any signs of an imminent resolution of the battle of Naham ?

The completion of the liberation of Naham is very imminent, which is evident from the field progress and the great control of the national army over large parts in a record time. The forces are significantly advancing on the ground on the left and right fronts, meanwhile the coupists are fleeing towards Sana'a.

It is said that during the clashes you found Iranian weapons with the Houthis, how do you comment?

Yes, they have Iranian weapons and missiles even the mines are made under the supervision of an Iranian team of experts, but we remain stronger than them with the determination of our army and the support of the Arab coalition forces.

And for you, what’s after Naham?

The battles after Naham will be much easier and not with the same geographical complexity that delay the resolution of the battle and leads to slow field progress. And the coup militias are well aware of this and are exerting maximum efforts to defend what is left of the directorate Naham. We are cutting off any supplies coming from the southern regions to Sana'a, which will speed up the process of liberating the capital.

What about the current situation in Sana'a?

Yemenis live in oppression, poverty and hunger. They live in a large prison in Sana’a. We appeal through you to all the organizations of the international community to stand with the suffering Yemeni people by providing medical support and accommodation. Large numbers flee from Sana'a to the liberated governorates such as Marib, Aden and Hadramout because of the deliberate killing, marginalization, and the black market.



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Also with the accelerated transformation of the battle route on the outskirts of the capital Sana'a, the coup militias have exhausted all their options, including trying to recruit fighters by force, especially children, and also blackmailing merchants and citizens to pay more royalties to fund their "war effort". The fall of the militias and their defeat, as the Yemenis see, is the natural fate after all the unprecedented crimes and violations they committed.

Do the Houthis prevent the delivery of relief supplies to Yemenis?

The King Salman Center and the Alliance countries offer a lot, but the Houthis are the ones who receive this relief aid and sell it on the black market.

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hanna.Hanna has taken a 30-day trip to monitor the suffering of the people during the war
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4/13/2019 2:02:00 PM
<![CDATA[Aboul Gheit: Outburst of Palestinian anger is inevitable]]>
“In case that Israel does not stop its illegal actions, Palestinian people will revolt. The two-state solution is the only safe option for this mess. Stability will be brought to Libya and Syria; it’s all about time but Palestine is trembling,” Gheit stated in a talk show with the anchor Ahmed Mousa on Sadah al-Balad T.V. channel on Wednesday evening.

Aboul Gheit assured that Arab League has a firm stance towards the Israel- Palestinian conflict and Egypt completely refuses all “barbarous” acts of the occupying forces.

Regarding Iranian stance towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Aboul Gheit said that all these attempts are illusive; and “what’s more that Iran fights to occupy Palestine instead of Israel not to liberate it.”

Commenting on Honduras’ decision of moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Aboul Gheit affirmed that Egypt has no trade or economic relation with it, stating that Honduras only has three embassies worldwide. Egypt has already called for withdrawal Honduras’ membership of the United Nations, he added.

“Arab League uses all economic ways against state-sponsored terrorism. Egypt totally supports anti- terrorism countries and stands against all sorts of terrorism.

Egypt threatens to boycott its relation with Costa Rica when it decided to move its embassy to Jerusalem,” Aboul Gheit further elaborated. He affirmed the necessity to boycott Brazil’s relation in case it insists to move its embassy to Jerusalem as this action is considered a clear recognition of Israel.

“There should be a strong Arab response against all pro-terrorism states; Arabs should unite their efforts and forces to fence and secure the Arab region,” Aboul Gheit said.
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4/12/2019 7:05:08 PM
<![CDATA[Pope kisses feet of South Sudan leaders, urging them to keep the peace]]>
He appealed to President Salva Kiir, his former deputy turned rebel leader Riek Machar, and three other vice presidents to respect an armistice they signed and commit to forming a unity government next month.

“I am asking you as a brother to stay in peace. I am asking you with my heart, let us go forward. There will be many problems but they will not overcome us. Resolve your problems,” Francis said in improvised remarks.

The leaders appeared to be stunned as the 82-year-old pope, who suffers from chronic leg pain, was helped by aides as he knelt with difficulty to kiss the shoes of the two main opposing leaders and several other people in the room.

His appeal was made even more pressing as anxiety grew in South Sudan that Thursday’s coup in neighboring Sudan might put at risk the fragile peace deal that ended South Sudan’s brutal five-year civil war.

The Vatican brought together South Sudanese leaders for 24 hours of prayer and preaching inside the pope’s residence in an attempt to heal bitter divisions before the country is due to set up a unity government.

“There will be struggles, disagreements among you but keep them within you, inside the office, so to speak,” Francis said in Italian as an aide translated into English. “But in front of the people, hold hands united. So, as simple citizens, you will become fathers of the nation.”

Sudan, which is predominantly Muslim, and the mainly Christian south fought for decades before South Sudan became independent in 2011. South Sudan plunged into civil war two years later after Kiir, a Dinka, fired Machar, from the Nuer ethnic group, from the vice presidency.

About 400,000 people died and more than a third of the country’s 12 million people were uprooted, sparking Africa’s worst refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The two sides signed a power-sharing deal in September calling on the main rival factions to assemble, screen and train their respective forces to create a national army before the formation of a unity government next month.

In his prepared address earlier on Thursday, Francis said South Sudan’s people were exhausted by war and the leaders had a duty to build their young nation in justice. He also repeated his wish to visit the country along with other religious leaders to solidify the peace.

Others who attended the retreat were the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who is spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican community, members of the South Sudan Council of Churches, and other Catholic and Presbyterian Church leaders from Africa. Welby had proposed the idea of the retreat to the pope.
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4/12/2019 5:46:44 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Macky Sall talk bilateral ties]]>
“We held fruitful and in-depth bilateral discussions tackled the ways of developing and enhancing the bilateral relations between Egypt and Senegal on all political, economic and security levels. We also shared points of view on several regional and international issues, particularly the situation in Western Africa,” Said president Sisi.

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Both leaders agreed to increase the volume of commercial exchange between both countries and enhancing the Egyptian investments in Senegal in the framework of “Emerging Senegal,” Said President Sisi.

The Senegalese government has adopted a development strategy to boost its economy to be an emerging country by 2035, according to Senegal’s presidential website.

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President Sisi also said that they tackled the ways of combating terrorism and promoting the correct understanding of Islam, inviting Senegalese President to visit Egypt in the near future.

Both leaders have held a meeting ahead of the press conference; President Macky Sall expressed his country’s welling to benefit from Egypt’s experience in the field of infrastructure and tourism for the Plan of Emerging Senegal, said Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement on Friday.

Senegalese President also praised Al-Azhar institution in spreading the moderate Islam and fighting the extremist ideology, Radi added.

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At the end of their meeting, both leaders witnessed the signature of two Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field media and the diplomatic consultation, Radi said.

Late Thursday, Sisi arrived in Senegal’s Capital, Dakar, as the fourth leg of his foreign tour that took him to Guinea, the United States and Cote d'Ivoire.

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4/12/2019 5:26:47 PM
<![CDATA[Transitional Military Council: Bashir to be tried in Sudan]]>
“The military council will not hand over ousted President Omar al-Bashir to any foreign body. He will be tried inside the country. We will not hand him over,” said member of the council Omar Zein Elabdin during a press conference held by the council on Friday.

The ousted President was indicted by the U.N.’s International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide. In March 2009, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Bashir on charges he and his Arab tribal allies were responsible for genocide against non-Arab Sudanese in Darfur, South Sudan, and crimes against humanity.

According to U.N. statistics collected on the Darfur Genocide from August 2007, more than 200,000 people were killed and at least 2 million others have been displaced from their homes since fighting broke out in 2003 between government forces and their allies the Arab tribal Janjaweed militias on one side, and rebel groups on the other side.

Sudanese Minister of Defense Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf sworn on as the head of the transitional military council on Thursday evening, few hours after he announced the downfall of Bashir’s 26-year-old regime.


In case you missed it …

Sudan defense minister sworn in as head of interim military council

KHARTOUM - 12 April 2019: Sudan's state-run broadcaster said Defense Minister Awad Mohammed Ibn Ouf on Thursday sworn in as head of the interim military council that will run the country for two years, The Sudanese TV reported. The move is being taken after the military ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Thursday following nearly four months of expanding protests.




Zein Elabdin said the council will be in charge of Ministries of Defense and Interior, adding that it will not “interfere into the upcoming government’s duties.”

Anyone will be involved in corruption, will be tried immediately, he said, adding that if anyone killed a protest will be held accountable.

Zein Elabdin continued that the council will hold dialogue with the political groups to meet the protests’ needs.

“The upcoming Sudanese government will be civil government and the transitional period will last for two years,” he said, noting that this period of military ruling could be shortened if “the desired results achieved.”
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4/12/2019 2:11:58 PM
<![CDATA[Houthis use national monumental sites as fighting bases, smuggle artefacts]]>
That’s how they have behaved in Yemen.

According to the Yemeni Center for Social Peace, the International Organization for Human Rights and the monitoring coalition for human rights violations, they destroyed 120 archaeological sites from 2015 to 2018.


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In fact, 2015 registered the highest violation of a number of 69 archaeological sites in various provinces in Yemen such as the dam of Marib and, the famous al-Hajar in Hamdan in Sanaa, and the famous "Geff Asaad Kamel" in Ab.

أحد المناطق الياحية ـ دكة السواح بالتواهى

Aden holds the largest part of the damage in this sector as a tourist and archaeological city in the first place. The number of affected sites reached eight important sites out of a total of 15 teachers and archeological sites. Among them are the most important archaeological and tourist landmarks including the National Museum, and parts of the castle of Sira and Aden tanks.


قصر 22 مايو فى التواهى

Speaking of the destruction that was done to tourism, Abdul Aziz al-Maflehi, former governor of Aden and adviser to the President of Yemen, said that the destruction had taken place in the city, which is the first tourism pillar in Aden.




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Once an attractive touristic destination, the city is now in ruins.

Aden embraces the nature of mountain and beach at the same time, and was famous for many of tourism and archaeological places, primarily the ancient archaeological Crater area. It contains tanks, which were restored by Britain in 1885, and also the port and refineries of Aden, which, sadly, were hit by Houthi and stopped working.




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A simple tour of the city will immediately reveal the wreckage of many tourist hotels such as Mercure, Sheraton Guldemir, Sama, Aden, Zahra El Madaen, Jazira and Paradise, as well as the destruction of a number of hotels on Shahwa Fayrouz Street in Dar Saad. Citizens of the city said they were five-star hotels and its buildings are luxurious. Sarhan Hanna, owner of a major hotel in Aden, close to Coral Airport, remembers the first shell falling on the hotel in 2015, adding that it had reached the swimming pool and no one was hurt. But the guests escaped and the hotel was left with workers only.



مديرأح الفنادق بعدن وشاهد على هجمات الحوثيين على المدينة


مجموعة فنادق مدمرة فى مديرية دار سعد شارع الشهيدة فيروز فى عدن

رصيف ويلز بالتواهى


Sarhan added, “A week later another shell penetrated the roof of the building and fell on the floor of the restaurant destroying it and injuring some workers, and then we had to close the hotel since 2015. Only until this year, that we began to restore and re-open to become the first hotel to dust the war and rise again.” He expalined that Aden was attractive to international and Arab tourism, in addition to domestic tourism, and the rates of occupation reached 99 percent in the hotel in January of each year.

رصيف السفن الآثرى فى مديرية التواهى



مسجد الخوجة فى عدن

Director of another hotel, spoke to us, but declined to be named, fearing the Houthi, "The Houthis wrecked our homes. They were just gangs. They threw us with mortars and rockets every day and turned the hotels into dirt, and left behind a major problem; the cars petrol which prices in the black market reached 12 thousand riyals for the 20 liters, and it is basically hard to find it, after they destroyed the Aden refinery.”

قصر 22 مايو فى التواهى

"We are optimistic despite all the challenges. Aden has gone through difficult stages and has been able to get through. It is still emerging from war and in the recovery phase."

مكتبة باذيب

مول العرب

In the streets of Aden, your attention is also drawn to scenes of destruction of the religious monuments known to the city and destroyed by the Houthis, it contained synagogues, Indian and Buddhist churches and mosques, especially that Aden is known to have been the incubator of multiple cultures and ethnicities.

أحد بنايات حي الأحمدي بمديرية خورمكسر

أحد فنادق عدن


On our tour in the city's Kreiter district, we were stopped by a huge archaeological building on top of the mountain, from which you could see the whole of Aden, but the building is like many of the city's buildings, dark and broken windows and surrounded by a neglected area. We approached the church guard named Mohamed Yassin who told us: This church, a Victorian-style church, was built in 1867 during the British occupation of Yemen and it can accommodate 350 people.

أحد المناطق الياحية ـ دكة السواح بالتواهى


It was later converted into the seat of the Legislative Council of South Yemen. It then remained as an important archaeological monument, but it suffers from neglect. When the Houthis attacked Crater, they shot from nearby some windows, and destroyed the surrounding area which became inhabited by bats instead of tourists

The Catholic Church of “Habl Bela Danass” in Aden was also subjected to the destruction of its buildings and contents by the Houthis. It was one of the three places of worship available to Catholics in Yemen.

The same was repeated with the Church of San Antony or the Church of the Rock, which was established with donations and contributions from the Government in 1864 and was located in a cave under the headquarters of the British Army Main Office. After its reconstruction in the 1960s, the church was kept on the rock of the cave until it was also destroyed. Destruct ion also reached Saint Joseph Church that was built in 1850 and is located in the district of Crater also on Queen Arwa Road.

Destruction of temples

Head of the Nashwan Center for Studies, Adel Al-Ahmadi, tells us about the ancient temples of which Aden is known that it is the whale of many synagogues and temples of Hindus and Persians, which were present in Aden and its environs. The Houthis destroyed many of them. As for the synagogues there were more than 10 temples, the most famous temple was star Abraham. However, many of them have been abandoned due to Houthi violence.

مدينة براقش بالجوف




Sirra Castle, A castle for the Houthis

In the old city, close to the church of Mary Gressen, stands a distinctive cylindrical building, although its facades are destroyed and the stones are broken, but it still witnesses the violations of the Yemeni ruins by the Houthis.

Al-Ahmadi told us, "The Houthis destroyed parts of its buildings and used them as a military barracks for snipers who fired at the area at that time."


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The castle was built in the 11th century. Which was established by the Turkish ruler of Aden Osman al-Tikriti Alzangabaly. And then the British continued to develop the castle after their arrival in 1839, and were used by the army right after that, until the Houthis Khor Maksar and Crater entered, and turned it into a military barracks.


Aden tanks

We left the castle and headed to the famous Aden tanks under the slopes of the high plateau of Aden about 800 feet from the sea surface, which consists of 55 lefts of which only 18 left, a few parts have been devastated by the limbs and have been neglected since Houthi entered Aden, says Dr. Adel Ahmadi: These tanks were built by Heemiares and were among the most important historical and tourist attractions to be visited by tourists coming to Aden.

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These tanks were used for storage of rainwater for use in agriculture and drinking, and for the danger of flooding.

National Museum tourist heading

In Crater, too, you find a small building which features are barely shown. The second floor of the building is left with a broken facade and the left side of the building is completely demolished. The lower floor accumulates with stone entrances from the ruins, mixed with some old car frames. The floor also has no windows.



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The biggest surprise of all: The National Museum of Aden, which is one of the largest museums in Yemen, is now empty except for the bats it inhabits, although before 2015 it was an important source of tourism income. According to Dr. Adel Al-Ahmadi, the building had 5,000 pieces Including manuscripts and photographs, and is located at the 14 October Palace It was called the Palace of Thanksgiving or Al Buraq Palace, where it was built in 1917 under the reign of Sultan Fadl bin Ali Al Abdali.

The museum occupied the first floor of the 14th of October Palace building consisting of three main halls and had a very valuable collection of antiquities which belong to the Stone Age and the Bronze Age.

The northern corridor had a collection of stone pieces written with different types of the old right line. The northern hall had monuments, including statues, bakeries, offerings and inscriptions inscribed on stone tablets bearing the names of the kings of the Kingdom of Sheba.

He added that the main hall was dedicated to the effects of the states of Qataban and Osan and included statues of kings, ornaments, decorations and offerings, the southern hall, the Islamic monuments, and the eastern corridor and the southern corridor and there were pieces and statues and dates back to the period of the kings of Sheba and Redan, noting that what happened with the National Museum was repeated With the military museum in Sana'a, which contained manuscripts of great importance.

Archaeological Ship Quay

In the Directorate of Altawahi, and not far from the port of Dakat al-Bailat we found the shipyard of the archaeological or as they call it Wells.

After the Houthi’s attack with missiles, its front has been destroyed and also two small walls were completely destroyed adjacent to the entrance. We were surprised to learn that this place was opened by Queen Elizabeth the second during the period of the British occupation, and was the destination of tourists from all over the world down to the city and have been knocked by Al-Houthi missiles.

According to Ali al-Awardi, head of the data unit of the Yemeni coalition for monitoring human rights violations, the destruction of monuments and tourism did not stop there, but it also extended to archaeological sites that were detonated with improvised explosive devices that were completely settled by the ground by Houthi gunmen and al-Qaeda members.

Including the Khoja Mosque and the Church of Shelden Bahnoun Catholic in Aden, Jamal al-Din Mosque and Qubbah Abdul Hadi in Taiz province, in addition to the mosque and the dome of the Imam Omar bin Ali historic in the province of Lahj and Fort Shakra archaeological in the province of Dhamar, in addition to the bombing of Cairo Castle and Al-Muzaffar Mosque and Mosque Ash Al-Hassan Palace in the city of Taiz, Dar Al-Hajar, Qasr Ghamdan in Sanaa, Al-Hassan Mosque in Sanaa, Dar Al-Hassan in Dhala and the Fort of Deifan in Amran.

Marib dam defies

The Marib Archaeological Dam is located in Marib governorate, a long distance from the center of the city. It is in the ancient city, a place known before the Houthis war as an internal and external tourist attraction. It also suffered like the people of Marib from the war of the Huthi militia; yet, it still keeps its amazing natural beauty as the water is surrounded by a high mountain range stretching up to Juan in Sanaa.

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“Marib Dam is one of the most important historical dams in Yemen, in addition to the Jaffina, khaneq, adrouaah, markhah and shahek dams,” said one of the military media sections who accompined us, pointing out that the Marib dam was used by Yemeni farmers to store water to feed them and the whole Arabian Peninsula.


من داخل منطقة سد مأرب الأثرية

“It collapsed with the collapse of Hemiar civilization.”

The Yemenis, with the support of Sheikh Zayed, built it in 1982. It was built of stones carved from the mountain rocks, carefully sculpted, and gypsum was used to connect the carved stones to each other.

Researchers once considered the dam "the miracle of the history of the Arabian peninsula.”

سد مأرب مكان للإقامة اعراس اليمنيين

العرس على سد مأرب

حضارة اليمن الشامخة..سد مأرب الأثرى


An unprecedented destruction of monuments

Dr. Ali Taaiman explains that there is a large sector of the monuments of Yemen in general has been destroyed by Huthi in several provinces and not only Aden, including the "Palace of Arms" in Sana'a, which dates back to the sixth century AD, and is one of the oldest palaces and wonders of architecture, The old city of Sana'a was destroyed, pointing out that in Saada the Old City was bombedin addition to the Imam al-Hadi Yahya ibn al-Husayn ibn al-Qasim Mosque, one of the oldest mosques there, which dates back to 290 AH.


مدينة صعدة الآثريةبعد تدميرها



Houthis destroyed “Dar al-Hassan” archaeological site in the historic village of Dimit, and the city of Bareqesh, which was built in the period before the fifth century BC, was destroyed. In Taiz, the school and mosque of Ashrafieh, the school of the Muzaffariyah mosque, and the dome of the Mahdi were destroyed. He points out that the list also includes a wall of Sarawah, which dates back to the Sabaean state, in the 7th century BC, and in the "Dali" the bombing of the stone house of the stone.

متحف تعز ى ظل حصار الحوثيين للمدينة

A Mafia for Looting and selling Monuments

The Huthi crimes did not stop at the destruction of archaeological sites, but spread to the theft and looting of their contents to trade through the mafia networks selling monuments, that is monitored by many official statistics of the General Authority for Antiquities and Museums of Yemen, as a Yemeni sources confirmed who refused to mention the name for fear of the Houthi.

He pointed out that the Houthi militia collected tens of millions of dollars, through organized operations to smuggle Yemeni antiquities under direct supervision of them, and are led by an international mafia of Iranian and Lebanese figures belonging to Hezbollah, indicating that there is a black market for antiquities trade in the salt market in BAB Al Yemen, Neighbor and undercover gangs follow the Houthi group buy and sell them to foreigners and mafia from outside Yemen and in various countries, including European countries.

Researched and Sana’a University faculty member Ali Taaiman said that smuggling is due to the beginning of interest in antiquities at the end of the 20th century. However, smugglers have found a greater chance in the recent war.

The smuggling, buying and selling processes increased with the help of elements from some foreign countries, who claimed that these sites were destroyed in the war; this is not true.

He pointed out that the list of looted monuments included statues made of bronze and made of marbles, as well as pieces of gold and silver and new inscriptions on stone and bronze. They also escaped important leather manuscripts that tells about Part of the date in N talk, was Maj. Gen. Mahdi looted the house of the argument, which includes hundreds of artifacts.

Jews have a role

He added that the Houthis understood that coordination with the Jews gave them logistical and political support, so they facilitated the smuggling of Hebrew manuscripts and the oldest version of the Torah as part of a deal that allowed a batch of the last Jews of Yemen to go to Israel.

The rare version, which was handed down by the Yemeni Jewish rabbis, This smuggling story was fabricated on March 22, 2016, while high level coordination between the Houthis and Israel was carried out through external intermediaries who may be Germans, Americans, Arabs and Iranians.

In this regard, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received in Tel Aviv, the Jews who came from Yemen to Israel. The Israeli government spokesman said that the group, which came from the city of Rida, included the rabbi of the community there, who brought a Torah manuscript believed to be old Between 500 and 600 years.

Ways of Monuments smuggling

Tawfiq al-Samaei, a researcher and expert in the field of antiquities, talked about the methods of smuggling antiquities, explaining that they are active in the governorates of Al-Jawf, Taiz, Shabwa and Sana'a. They are transported via special means of transportation such as military vehicles belonging to the Yemeni army and ambulances to Saada governorate or areas near the Red Sea coasts And Hodeidah, to transport boats from the Yemeni coasts as fishing boats to be received at sea by mafia boats coming from the Eritrean coasts in addition to the means of private land transport that are not subject to inspection.

He added that the antiquities were smuggled through the airport, some of them using diplomatic passports that are not subject to inspection, while others bought some airport employees or issued an official authorization from the state. Some of the country's top leaders are the head of trade gangs and smuggling of antiquities. Or across the sea," he said. In the sea ports, they are smuggled in different ways and shipped in professional ways, and some of them have been detected many times, but when it is not revealed to the Yemeni museums, but go to the possession of these leaders again, pointing out that the antiquities trade was active during the reign of former President Abdullah Saleh, That the symbols of his regime are accused of being at the head of the trade.

Smuggling the oldest copies of the Quraan

Yemeni reports confirm that the oldest copies of the Qur’an, which were kept in the Great Mosque in Sanaa and written on the skin of the deer, were sold to an Iranian businessman for 3 million US dollars.

Tawfiq al-Sama'I, a researcher, commented, “The Grand Mosque in Sana'a contains the most important ancient Yemeni manuscripts, including the Quranic tablets, which were revealed during the restoration of the Great Mosque recently. We knew that the manuscripts of the ancient Yemeni manuscripts were stolen from the Oud Mountains in Dali from one of the historical caves dated back fifty years after the Prophet's mission and was offered for sale. Also a small Mus'haf in the Mosque of Sana'a. There are countries which recruit gangs to perform searching, buying and selling Yemeni Antiquities, and the last report of the United Nations experts confirmed this.”

He added that the gangs of Houthi focused on the looting of ancient statues, and then other tools of swords or bronze plates inscribed with the line Almstnad as well as archaeological, but the most important of those manuscripts were looted, a marble throne from the district of Reda province white beaded gold and was sold and removed from Sanaa airport with an official memorandum from the Office of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and was smuggled on board on a private presidential plane and was submitted for sale at the auction in 2010.

Al-Samei continued that after the Houthi militias had killed the symbols of Saleh's regime and his relatives, the Houthis inherited the trade and sale of the Yemeni antiquities, and new names emerged as Abu Ali and Muhannad Al-Siyani, the nephew of Abdul Malik Al-Siani Hamour, who was appointed head of the General Authority of Antiquities of Yemen and one of the accused of smuggling and trading Yemeni antiquities.

The governor Abu Alihas has been also accused of looting some of the holdings of the National Museum in Sanaa, indicating that in the Sanaa, there are black markets for trafficking in antiquities, especially in old Sanaa, where there are some shops frequented by traffickers of antiquities, To examine the artifacts and estimate their prices, and connect with customers outside the country who come to buy them, and also use a network of young thieves roaming the provinces of Amran, Mahweet, Sanaa, Marib, Hajjah and Jouf, while many residents in old Sanaa confirm that many traders and smugglers are Lebanese and Jordanians, linked to the various Hesboillah networks who are active in the trade of drugs and weapons, and some of them hold German passports.

“Houthis have smuggled Jewish manuscripts and the oldest version of the Torah to Israel,” said the Yemeni Minister of Culture.

Our conversation with the Yemeni Minister of Culture Dr. Marwan Al-Damaj reveals more surprises about the looting of the monuments of the successive civilizations in Yemen by the Houthi militias.

During the meeting, which took place in the palace of Maasheq, the Minister refered to the efforts exerted to reconstruct the destruction left by the Houthis in this sector.

Here is the text of the interview:

What are the most important archaeological sites that have been subjected to the destruction by the Houthis?

- Yemen is characterized by a great diversity of archaeological sites, and it is difficult to enumerate the archaeological sites, some of them traces of the Bronze Age, and other to Islamic era in Taiz and Sanaa, including manuscripts dating back to the beginning of the Islamic era, which is very important and in large numbers and some of which are newly discovered, and concentrated in the various governorates of Yemen, Aden, Al-Jawf and Lahj. We have an important archaeological site known as a 3,000-year-old chest. It is considered the oldest settlement of Bushra, but it still needs to be explored. There are also traces dating back to the time of the Kingdom of Sheba.


متحف تعز ى ظل حصار الحوثيين للمدينة

One of the most archaeological sites affected by the sabotage is the Abyan Museum, which includes archaeological artifacts and important jewelry related to the Shokra area, an ancient seaport on the sea. It consisted of 600 pieces and was destroyed by the Al-Qaada in 2014, part of which was transferred to the central bank, another part is with the people and there is a missing part.


متحف تعز ى ظل حصار الحوثيين للمدينة

There is also the museum of the city of Taiz, which was burned and part of it was looted and now it is under the hands of some parties of the resistance, which helped in the rescue and transfer of the contents of the museum and is under negotiation with them.


متحف تعز بعد أن خربه لحوثى

A government committee was also formed to limit and evaluate the contents of the museum, Dating back to early Islamic history and Jewish manuscripts Of rare belonging to a famous Jewish character named "Alhbzy", a Jewish rabbi was living in Taiz, and was a poet and a scientist in medicine, and had a great position in the right society.


الآثار المدمرة مسجد بتعز



The museum contained artifacts belonging to the apostolic state. The problem was that the contents had been moved in unscientific way that did not preserve them. Also part of the Yemeni heritage belonged to political figures under the previous regime and was kept inside their homes.
قلعة القاهرة ـ تعز



What is the truth about what is reported about the smuggling of monuments and manuscripts to Israel and the role of the Jews of Yemen in this?

Yemen is rich in manuscripts, but many of them were smuggled to Israel in cooperation with the Houthis; and the oldest version of the Torah was smuggled to Israel also nearly a year ago. The Houthis are responsible for the monuments and manuscripts that reached Israelis; they try to put the blame on us, however, no piece left the country with us knowing.


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The process of smuggling Jews of Yemen was carried out in the 1940s within the process of Jewish settlement in Palestine, as the British government occupied Yemen at that time, and if part of the monuments was transferred, this was not intended or the goal of Israel, which aimed only to settle them In Palestine, not their exploitation in the smuggling of antiquities.

Those transferred with them the local Yemeni folklore such as songs, music, dances, marriage rituals, death and clothing, which was characterized by Aden, and this is part of the Yemeni heritage.

In general, how do you evaluate the situation of the archaeological sector now?

The archaeological sector is living in difficult conditions of destruction and smuggling monuments and facilities that need restoration and construction.

All this is a result of the Houthi and Saleh alliance. We have information that raises concerns about the presence of large Houthi trade in the Yemen ruins and the excavation of archaeological sites in the areas under their control such as Hajjah.


وزير الثقافة اليمنى مروان دماج

And the exploitation of the port of Hodeidah and Sanaa airport in the smuggling, and traded artifacts in large markets in Sanaa and international markets, and many fled towards Iran.

What are the methods of antiquities smuggling and what are your efforts to restore them?

Smuggling happens through land or seaports with the Horn of Africa and many of the antiquities are being smuggled through these areas. What raises concern is that they seized the archaeological holdings of Yemeni political figures and no one knows where they are.

We need concerted regional efforts and broad regional cooperation to curb this phenomenon. We need to conclude understandings and agreements with neighboring and surrounding countries regarding the recovery of monuments.

We have continued cooperation and communication with a number of countries such as the Sultanate of Oman, There, they sent us a list of the seized pieces from the province of Shabwa and their receipt procedures are still in process. There are pieces belonging to the old Yemeni state with the Swiss authorities, we asked them on the advice of UNESCO to keep them until the stability of the situation in the sector.

فندق ميركور المدمر بعدن
What is your assessment of the role of international organizations in providing assistance in this regard?

We call on the relevant international institutions, especially UNESCO and the United Nations, to have greater cooperation with us in monitoring the circulation of the Yemeni monuments in the international market. We have a problem with the nature of the international institutions. They have not been able to adapt to the circumstances of the war and are still working in a bureaucratic manner.


منطقة كريتر كانت من أشهر المناطق الجاذبة للسائحين
In general, these organizations have revealed their non-functioning in times of war and their weakness in achieving adaptation to their circumstances, while in other countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, although they provide good services under normal circumstances.

منطقة كريتر قبل هجوم الحوثى

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hannah. Hannah has taken a 30-day trip to monitor Houthi crimes, the suffering of the people and the role of the coalition forces in restoring the Arab country from the hands of Iran's allies, documents revealing Houthi plan to spread the Shiite ideology, the mandate of the Faqih, and change the curriculum.


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4/12/2019 1:58:00 PM
<![CDATA[VIDEO - Yemeni children reveal secrets of Houthi camps recruitment: Rape, drug abuse]]>
When the pressure increased on Al-Houthi, after refusal of the Yemenis to comply with their threats to join their ranks, the Houthis resorted to the meanest methods. They forcibly abducted children from the streets, schools and houses and forced them to take up arms and join the ranks of the militia. Hence families voluntarily chose displacement to protect their children from the unknown fate on the front lines.


59637-صحفية-اليوم-السابع-مع-أطفال-التجنيد-copy


According to statistics from the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights, the number of children recruited by the Houthis is 10,000 children between 2015 and 2018.

We visited the recruited children rehabilitation center in Ma'rib. There, we found children who returned from different battle fronts in Yemeni governorates




الطفل ناجى ناصر .. أجبرونا ناخد برشام وبعدها كنا ندوخ


Although they come from different areas, but the tragedy connects them; the tragedy of being a child and instead of wearing the school uniform, you wear the army combat uniform; instead of carrying a pen and a bag, you carry a weapon that is often heavier than your malnourished or sometimes starving body.




Some of these children were handed over by the Coalition Forces to the center, where we also met with training and rehabilitation officials to learn about the difficulties they face in rebuilding what was destroyed in the minds of these children. Houthi was not only exploiting them on the fronts but sought to fill their minds with Jahadi thought and sectarian ideology and tried to teach them misinterpretations of the Koranic verses. They went through all of this, in addition to the psychological effects of carrying arms at this early age.


Saif: They forcibly took me from the market

Among dozens of his colleagues, who are connected by one fate, we found Saif sitting quietly, filled with fear to even talk. Saif Abdullah, 10 years, barely answered our questions, saying, “I am from Omran governorate, and was fighting on the front with the Houthis”. He added in his Bedouin dialect how he joined the ranks of the Houthis, "One day I was buying something from the market and the Houthis came and took me by force, and I started fighting with them.”

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Saqr: They made stay on the front for two months

Another child talked to us; his name is Sakr Moteab, 11, said, “They told us we will give you weapons and stay with us, and took us to the front-line. We were giving them water and bread, and we stayed where we didn’t see anybody but them. I fought with them in the battle of Al-Adaysat, then we went to a place they have in San’a where we read and studied the books they brought. A teacher comes to explain the books, and the next day he checks who memorized the lesson and who didn’t and informs the supervisor. Anyone who doesn’t memorize is taken to solitary confinement.”


أطفال يكشفون أسرار ليالى الظلام بجبهات الحوثيين

He talked about his observations during that period, saying, “We used to see pictures of Khomeini alongside the pictures of Abdul-Malek al-Houthi on the walls of the rooms there. Every day they organize a hearing for a lecture from the lectures of Abdul-Malek al-Houthi. They used to gather all in a room called the hearing room and listen.”

Nasser: They used to give us pills every day

The 13-year-old Nasser Mohammed reveals to us more secrets of the Houthi camps, saying: "They took me from school with 7 colleagues. They told us that they will take us to a training course. They took us to a dark place where we couldn’t know the night from the day; it was like a small underground basement in Sana’a. They ordered us to glorify Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, and to say my master Abdul Maleik al-Houthi, otherwise they would beat us.”

تعاطى المخدرات من أبشع الممارسات الحوثية ضد الأطفال

Nasser continued: “They trained us to use arms in the burning sun, on the mountain. Some of us were raped, including one of my friends. They gave us white pills every day, and ordered us to swallow them to give us strength. Latter we knew it were contraceptive pills, so that when we are wounded we don’t bleed. I used to hide them, and tell the Houthis that I swallowed them”. He added: “We participated in the battle of Al-Mocha in the West Coast. My colleagues died in front of me, and I ran away but the soldiers caught me.”

Ahmed Mohammed: They killed my brother

Ahmed Mohammed, 11 years, told us, “My brother Osama was killed on the front, and the Houthis used us instead of the animals to carry the bread and supplies to the top of the fronts. We had to obey the orders accurately no matter how tiring they are or how long they would take. One day I went to bring them food from the market, and I ran away”. He added: “They were giving us keys to attach to our hands, so when we die on the front we go to Paradise”.

العائدون من التجنيد

The child Naji Nasser, 14 years, says, “My family and I were displaced from Sana’a to Al-Mocha. One day, after I left school with my friend, and while we were walking on the road, the Houthis came and carried me and put me over a car with an armed crew. No one of the people managed to do anything to save me, for fear of the Houthis.”

He added, “They were giving us pills that made us dizzy; we couldn’t say no because if we do we get punished.”

Yehia: They made us eat qat

There are several tragedies inside the center of rehabilitation of children returning from the ranks of the Houthis, including what is told by child Yeahia Saleh, 12 years, who says, “They took us from our homes and we were training all day to use arms. They forced us to eat qat and swallow unknown pills, that made us dizzy and then they forced us to take off our clothes.”

الطفل يحىى صالح يكشف أفعال الحوثيين


Yehia continued, “One of my colleagues told them, "I want to tell my father about me place.” They shocked him by electrocution and flogged him in front of all of us, and two days later he died. They told us, "This is a lesson, so no one thinks of doing this or of mentioning his family again. You are conscripts in a sacred mission, there is no such thing as my father or my mother, and no one would call his family again. Forget them. You are here for jihad so in the end you win and take the key to paradise from your master Abdul Malek al-Houthi.”


Abdul Hameed: We were raped

Abdul Hameed al-Sayyed, 14, tells the details of what he was subjected to, “They took me from my house while I was with my family, and my father tried to prevent them, but they hit him and he fell on the ground. I was the oldest son; I went with them to Al-Makdara area. In the night they brought me a weapon so in the morning I go to the front in Serwah battle. We used to see our colleagues lying on the ground wounded and no one is trying to save them, and we hardly knew if they were wounded or not because there was no blood. We were forbidden to approach any corpse; we were told to continue on with our work.”

أطفال أعادهم التحالف لذويهم

He added, “I have been raped, and no one can open his mouth. We sat in the desert for long hours as we were trained to carry and use weapons in the heat of the burning desert without drinking a single drop of water.”

“They say that Abdul-Malek al-Houthi is a prophet and that the Koran was delivered to him and not to Prophet Mohammed. They used to say that the legitimate government is ISIS.”

Sayeed spent a year and a half with the Houthis, and ran away at night with a colleague.



أحد الأطفال العائدين من التجنيد يصف معاناته مع الحوثى

Muhammad, 14, says, “I was in the market and two people forcibly took me, and since then I didn’t see my father or mother. They put me in a room where there were many other children. Some of them were crying because they were young, may be 7 or 8 years. From the time I entered they gave me clothes and told me this is the army combat uniform, you will fight and will win paradise, Abdul Malek al-Houthi will take you to paradise through Jihad. Then they gave me books and told me to read them carefully, and that a teacher will explain to me whatever I can’t understand. But I didn’t read and everyday they asked me and threatened to beat and torture me if I didn’t read the books, so I started reading.”

The challenges of children's rehabilitation


Nathra Al-Omari, the educational supervisor in the children rehabilitation center, began by clarifying that the project started four months ago and includes four stages. The results of the first and second stages were the graduation of 4 classes of psychologically and educationally rehabilitated children with a total of 81 children between the ages of 8 and 14. She adds that these children were received from the governorates of Marib, Al-Jawf, Taiz and Omran, indicating that the third and fourth stages are targeting 81 children from all governorates; 27 of them have been completed, so that a total of 107 children have been rehabilitated and enrolled in school.


أطفال علمهم الحوثى حمل السلاح وإدمان المخدرات

She added that they follow with the family and the school for 3 months so they can assure the child is alright, but the problem is that the duration of training is not enough, because some of them are clinging to their ideas and reforming those ideas needs more time.

Nathra Al-Omari said, "We have discovered that some of these children have been raped and others have taken drugs”.

"Rehabilitation is carried out on several axes, including the psychological, educational, social and cultural aspects, as well as the religious aspects, because these children were indoctrinated with the ideas of the Houthis and Jahadi thought . They were taught and convinced that fighting is Jihad that will take them to paradise. They were also taught rituals contrary to the Sunni doctrine in prayer. ... We found keys with them and when asked they said: these are the keys to Paradise.”

إخصائية تربوية بالمركز توضح تحديات إعادة تأهيل الأطفال العائدين من التجنيد

She continued that these children have been indoctrinated with erroneous interpretations of the Koranic verses, and to address this they use education experts and clerics. She added that sometimes they find it very difficult to change the ideas of some children as they cling to what they have learned at the Houthis, and a few of them try to escape and return to the Houthis again because "they are brainwashed."

Sulaiman Al-Wafi, coordinator of the rehabilitation project for conscripts, told us that the center uses specialists to correct the information that the children acquired, especially with regard to religious aspects. He added that they receive many rehabilitation and psychological courses. They are also integrated into various activities and collective games to improve their aggressive behavior. In the center they also use sports, drawing, role-playing, simulation, leisure trips, and trips to Marib cultural and archaeological sites.


He continued, "We also make sure that families are aware of the seriousness of the recruitment and the legal responsibility resulting from it, and how to deal with the child in the rehabilitation stage so that there is no setback, and we follow them periodically.”


Dr. Arafat Al-Humair, head of Rasd organization for monitoring human rights violations, said, "The children of Yemen have become fuel for the Houthi war, and they are exploiting them as a cheap tool in wars. Hundreds of them have been killed and others have been permanently disabled”. He said that Houthi's methods of recruiting from Yemen are multiple, including conducting mandatory recruitment campaigns, abducting children or youth forcibly and sending them to the fronts. Some are seduced by money, and Houthis use mosques to attract them by promoting the idea that fighting will lead them to Paradise. They also use tribal elders in the collection of children to recruit them, and many of the families of these children are afraid to speak out and say their children are recruited for fear of retaliation."

Al-Humair added that it was strange that UNICEF initiated material support for schools under the control of the Houthis for the third and fourth grades. The result was that they changed the curricula to promote Shiite thought, fighting and enmity between the sons of Yemen and sectarianism. He noted that UNICEF then apologized for this, but after the Houthi curricula reached every student and it became difficult to control. He said that the international organizations are very tolerant with the Houthis and represent a cover for them, which is an “incomprehensible attitude."


Samah Hadeed of Amnesty International Regional Office considers that abducting children and forcing them to take up arms at this age and putting them on the lines of fire is frightening. She adds that those children lose their innocence and their rights, which are inherent in all countries of the world.

Contraceptive pills subject children to death

Dr. Eidaros al-Missiri, head of the department of injured and medical evacuation affairs in Aden, confirmed that the Houthis resorted to using medicines in a way that serves their interests and endangers the lives of recruited children. Several types of drugs were found in the possession of recruits either in the houses, the fronts or in the caves, and also in the clothes and bags they take with them during the fighting. They use psychotropic drugs, growth hormones, sex hormones and birth control pills, which are used by the Houthis to stop bleeding during confrontations in the battles, although it has serious complications that may lead to death. They also provide their fighters with different kinds of vitamins that prevent the person taking them from feeling hungry for several days and this has a negative and dangerous impact to their health.
Also different types of drugs affecting the nervous system were found.

These drugs make the user rambunctious, unconscious and in a state of hysterical madness under the influence of these pills.

Dr. Eidaros al-Missiri said, “We saw this in reality after capturing the Houthi fighters, as their condition differed greatly after the impact of the drugs ended. They confessed that they were under the influence of the medicines they took by order of their leaders and the doctors accompanying them.”


Psychological rehabilitation for children

The cases of rehabilitated children within the rehabilitation center are not limited to returnees from recruitment from the fronts in Marib, but also extend to children who are psychologically affected by war. The stories of these children reveal how much pain and panic Yemeni children suffer because of the Houthi crimes. Among these children is 12-year-old Abd El-Elah.

When we approached him we found him trying to hide a disability in his right hand, which was amputated from the wrist, because of the explosion of a toy-shaped device that had been placed by their evil hands in his house. But we learned that despite his shyness because of his disability, he is trying to overcome it with his constant attempts to write with his left hand. Abd El-Elah said, "I thought that inside the carton was a toy and I wanted a toy, but it exploded,” contiuing, “I learn to eat and write with my left hand but I am not used to it yet.”


الطفل عبد الإله يخجل أن يرى أحد يده بعد أن بترها بسب عبوة ناسفة وضعها الحوثى

أهالى استعادوا أطفالهم من براثن الحوثى


Abd El-Elah’s father, Abdel Wasea, told us more details, “I was sleeping in my room in the second floor, while the children were playing in the house’s yard. I was shocked by the sound of a loud explosion and the children screaming in the yard. I went down to inspect the children, and I found Abd El-Elah wounded. I carried him to the only hospital in the city. But the accident affected him psychologically so I looked for a rehabilitation center for war-affected children in the area. I found the King Salman Center, which carries out a good program to rehabilitate the conscripted children and those affected by the war.”



the reporter with minister of education in Yemen


Yemeni Minister of Education: Houthis seek to spread jihadist thought

“We have set up committees to study and examine the curriculums. Hence, we issued a ministerial decree not to receive books from Sana'a, and we got rid of the quantities that reached us. About 60% of the books are printed in Sana'a because it has the main printing press. Therefore, we solved this issue that the needs of the liberated cities will be covered through Aden Press and Mukalla ” , the Yemeni Minister of Education Dr. Abdullah Al-Lammas said During our interview with his Excellency, he discussed the crisis of education in Yemen after the war, one of a bunch crisis Yemenis suffered from..He Explained how the war destroyed Education in Yemen.
He revealed a lot of details about the educational life in Yemen during that interview below..


Books  learn children  jihadist thought



Would you tell us the impact of the war over the educational process in Yemen?


Certainly, education was one of the most affected sectors in Yemen by the Houthi coup. During the period from December 2014 to December 2017, a number of 1406 educational institutions were destroyed, in whole or in part, according to a monitoring coalition report on human rights violations, including 238 cases of kidney destruction. The attack took several forms, including hitting schools with artillery or rockets, and turning some of them into weapons stores or military barracks. Some were allocated to shelter the displaced in Taiz, Baida, Marib and Aden.



Houthi Add texts that support the thought of conflict in the minds of children

The educational process has also been affected by the displacement of educational staff and students since the coup, and we worked at full capacity to ensure that the Yemeni student would not lose a school year. After liberation, we opened the schools and worked extra periods to compensate the students and conducted ministerial tests instead of those that came From Sanaa, and we established a secret press in Aden.

The announcement by the Ministry of Education of the Houthis refers to their curriculum amendment plan

How did you overcome the shortage of the number of schools due to destruction?

First we doubled the length of the school day to be two periods; morning and evening. We also implemented training programs to address the negative psychological effects of the war and the treatment of psychological cases affected among teachers and students, especially after the difficult time which the country went through. I was in “ENMAA” area, which turned to be a displaced area to comers from crater and creek, my daughter used to stand for 3 hours to get 5 loaves of bread, in addition to the blockade.


Iranian curricula stimulate children to fight

Al - Houthi changed the title of the lesson from the struggle of mother to jihad Umm


How is the current educational situation in Yemen?
The educational process is very stable in the liberated southern governorates, Marib, Al Jawf and parts of Taiz and Baida, but the problem is in the areas controlled by the Houthis. We have 112,000 displaced students without official documents from Hodeidah, Sana'a, Hays and other areas that have not been liberated. They have been integrated into the educational process, and 670 schools have been rehabilitated in different governorates.


Misrepresentation of the curriculum to reinforce the aggressive minds of children

What are the most important problems still facing the educational process?
We recently met in Lebanon with international donors, the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Education, UNICEF and UNESCO. We discussed a plan to support the educational process in Yemen and signed an agreement to develop the English language curriculum, but there are difficulties that we face, for example printing school books. Because of the lack of paper, the government supported us with 400 million riyals to make a tender for the purchase of paper, but it did not take long, so the students spent the second half of the current academic year without books, and the problem will be solved in September. It is necessary to ensure the arrival and provision of the school books in the rest of the provinces that will be liberated.


The decision of the Ministry of Education of the legitimacy confirms their refusal to adopt the new curriculum


There is also a crisis of overcrowded classrooms. The number of students is 90 to 120 students instead of 45 to 50 before the war. Also, school equipments are missing a lot, and about two-thirds of students sit on the ground due to the lack of seats. There is also the problem of employment in educational sector which has been suspended since 2011 because of lack of funding.

A new curriculum added by Huthi to demean the prophets in the Islamic religion


What about the educational process in Sana'a and the un-liberated places?
Unfortunately, our relationship was cut with the educational institutions in Sana'a, but in general the educational process in the areas still under the control of Houthi has been stopped and depends on the efforts of the people. Houthi imposed on the students from the first row to the sixth grade 600 riyals per month and the seventh grade to the ninth 800 riyals and 1500 SAR for secondary level , and there are 70 thousand teachers who have not been paid.



Elementary school books  learn Children the culture of war

How do you assess the role of international organizations in supporting the educational process in the presence of its headquarters in Sana'a?
There is a big problem. The presence of the headquarters of these organizations in Sana'a makes their decisions influenced by pressures exerted by Houthi. We called on these organizations to open their main offices in Aden, because there are now branch offices that do not have the decision-making power.


Change the label from the Arab Islamic Army to the Islamic Army according to Shiite curricula

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hanna.Hanna has taken a 30-day trip to monitor the suffering of the people during the war
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<![CDATA[Displacement camps In Ma'rib… Stories of escape, sexual exploitation]]>
Ma'rib receives displaced persons in 4 camps, the largest of which is Al-Meel and Gaw Al-Naseem.


Capture



Ma'rib has distinguishing features compared to the rest of the governorates. It is the main source of the gas fields in Yemen, in addition to the oil fields. It enjoys a great deal of stability. It has a population of 2 million, according to the governorate data. Ma'rib contains many archaeological sites that make it a tourist destination. The most important of which are the Throne of Balqis, Ma'rib Dam, the Old City of Saba and the City of Sarawah. We went to the displaced persons camps .


There we listened to many of those who lived through the tragedies that led them to leave their homes and jobs and migrate to a land other than the one they grew up in. And instead of their houses, they became residents of camps in which the unknown awaited them.

Camps on the Ma'rib - Sana'a border

We arrived at the Meel Camps, facing the high mountains of Meel covered in black on the border of Ma'rib governorate with Sana'a. Children rushed to us, clearly looking forward to the guests carrying new hope or relief to alleviate the dire reality.




أطفال المخيمات

The camp is composed of compact tents that are only a few centimeters apart. Its doors are made up of plastic or nylon bags. Some of the families put pieces of fabric looking for some privacy. Some of the camps are made of small cement rooms and some are made of randomly compact stones.

مخيمات النازحين فى مأرب



من داخل أحد المخيمات


many people told us, that the amount of food assistance that was directed from the different organizations to the camps in Yemen is not enough. the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Affairs told us that during the period from 2015 to 2018 they supported camps with 46,274 tons of food materials transported by land, and 549 tons were airlifted through 50 relief planes.


Mohamed: “They imprison anyone who talks”

The first displacement camp we visited was composed of a toilet and a room or two equipped for living, and inside there is a cooking stove and blankets. As we entered it was already dark, and there is no electricity or lighting means. As the sunset approaches they open the bags that close the camp, perhaps a beam of light enters so they can do what’s necessary before the evening.

شاب يمنى فقد ساقه برصاص الحوثيين وفر هاربا لمأرب


People here are forced to give up their privacy in return for lighting the darkness.

We noticed him when we found him sitting in a dark corner; that’s the young man Mohammed Mohammed Ali. He is a refugee from Sana'a who came to the camp a week ago. He told us that he had lost his right leg, and came from the capital to the camp with one leg. After hesitation, he agreed to talk to us and began by describing his life in Sana'a since the Houthis took control, saying, “Anyone who talks is imprisoned immediately, they start hitting, beating and torturing him, and they only leave him when he is paralyzed. The Houthis are spread disguised in the streets and the alleys to listen to anyone who talks and inform their leaders. Then suddenly they go and take him from his home in front of his family, without knowing where they are taking him.”

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Fugitive from Houthi captivity

In another camp that we entered, we found Qaran, a displaced woman from Sana'a. She refused to give her full name for fear of the Houthis. She sat in front of the stove to make bread. She told us that the Houthis imprisoned her husband for a year and 7 months without any guilt. She continued, “I was looking for him like crazy in all the prisons. They hid him, and we didn’t know his place, although he did not do anything. When he came out of captivity, he came here, and then I followed him.”


أحد الفارات من أماكن سيطرة الحوثيين

She continued, “The period of his imprisonment was a difficult one. I was responsible for my four children on my own. The Houthis used to enter the houses and beat the women. The prices of all commodities were doubled every day. Those who can’t pay die. Whole families died there of hunger. We would spend days without eating, so I took my children and came here.”



We moved to the husband, who asked not to be named, only to call him "Abo Salah," because his father and brother were still in the hands of the Houthis. He told us, “I was working as a private sector driver, moving shipments or furniture. One day a problem happened between me and a client who was a Houthi leader. He was using my car to move supplies for the war effort of the Houthis. After the fight ended, I went to pray in the mosque. When I came out armed Houthis took me and imprisoned me for nine month, and no one knew anything about my whereabouts."


أحد الفارين من أسر الحوثى يحكى أيام عذاباته فى سجن الحوثى


“They assigned a crew just to torture me. They locked me in a secret basement at the depth of three underground floors in the Political Security headquarters in Sana'a; a room that does not see the light. I had seven other persons detained with me in the same small room. They turned some schools into secret prisons for torture, and they took me to one of them. I was a captive for a year and seven months, during which I was subjected to all forms of torture.”

He recited the details of the torture he suffered in Al-Houthi prisons, “We slept while standing, to the point that I now have rheumatism and a back injury. A masked man used to come and take me blindfolded upstairs to the interrogation room. The interrogation is carried out under torture with electricity and beating with a stick. The same thing happened every day; the investigation starts from sunset until 1 am, and then I go back to the basement.”

“[During the interogation] He [the interogator] repeats the questions dozens of times, and if you do not answer, he kicks you, and then hit you with sticks on the back and head until you either loses your consciousness or confess. Some people died in front of my eyes and other people lost their minds.”

Abo Salah continued, “They have a lot of powerful ways and types of torture; each type has a specialized crew. The severity of torture varies from one person to another, according to the offense committed. I mean, for example, I was deprived of family visits. They threw meat on our bodies and let the dogs loose to chase us. We were severely injured and some of us died.”

“They also force the captive to stand on his fingertips with his face to the wall for long hours, and they repeat the same process until some people have been paralyzed. Those who are released have memory and bone problems or paralysis, and hearing problems.”

He pointed out that to ensure that the prisoner keeps silent after his release, the Houthis keep one or more of his family in captivity, explaining that he was part of a prisoner exchange deal with 26 prisoners, "and after I went out they put me under tight surveillance, and with the help of my friends I fled to Ma'rib.”

Poisonous insects under the bed

“S.M” is another fugitive from captivity, who refused to be named for fear of his life and his wife and asked to be referred to with initials of his name. He said, “I was a government employee before the Houthi attack, and when the attack happened, many companies were closed. I used to spend time with my friends. Once when I was going back home, they grabbed me and blindfolded me and took me to a place full of pictures of Abdul Malek Al-Houthi. There was someone sitting on a chair holding a large notebook. First, he offers you to talk without beating or aggression maybe you confess, and if you do not confess they start slapping you, and this is a main tool of torture they use. The have staff specifically to slap the captives till they bleed or get paralyzed.”

He continues, “They used to provide us with bread and the remnants of the soldiers' food in a plate. They served us one meal every couple of days, and then they stopped serving us food and started asking for money in return of food. Those who didn’t have money would die of hunger. I saw people dying because of the lack of food.”

“There were employees scattering poisonous mountain insects under your bed, so you don’t have a chance to sleep. I have been bitten by one of those insects". He concluded: "Anybody whose being captivated in the Houthi prisons would not come out in a normal condition; they torture in many ways.”

The blind save the disabled

In the heart of the refugee camps we met with a family composed of a blind father, his wife, his mother who is sitting on a wheelchair, and four children. He refused to be named, because the rest of his family was still in Sana'a, and he did not want to endanger them.


نازحو صنعاء يصفون مرارة الحياة فى ظل حكم الحوثيين



كفيف ووالدته مشلولة هربا من بطش الحوثى

He told us, “We came from Sana’a through Albayda, in order not to die of hunger. The Houthis destroyed everything, they seized everything, they even seized Al-Noor center for the disabled. They besieged the handicapped and are torturing them. No one cared about the handicapped or remembered them.”



كفيف ووالدته مشلولة هربوا من بطش الحوثيين


“Sayda” fled with her baby

We moved to talk to another family which we noticed because of the constant screams of a baby. The family, which fled from Sana’a, is composed of Fathia and her daughter in law, Sayda, who said, “Originally we are from Sana’a. We were tired of the difficult life there, and we fled to here. We moved from one car to the other, and the Houthis stopped us several times. They asked if we were connected to ISIS, by which they mean the legitimate government. The journey lasted for 15 hours, and the baby was sick; between life and death, and I had fever.”


نازحة تحكى ما فعله بها الحوثيون بعد أن قتلوا زوجها

"My husband was a conscript, he was martyred in Al-Farda battle with the Houthis. They held his body for three months. I was afraid of the pursuits, as they were watching me through people in the neighborhood. My son was hungry, and I couldn’t find milk for him. Everything there is expensive; they control the prices and increase it constantly. The prices of everything became very expensive; no one can afford it, therefore we came here.”

فرت برضيعها وعمره أيام هاربة من طغيان الحوثى

Amal: My husband died in Houthi prisons

Sayda's story is not different from Amal's, whose husband died in Houthis prisons. Amal talked about her tragedy, “We are poor; we live day by day. Sometimes my husband used to leave the house and go searching for any source of income. One day he went out in the morning and never came back. I searched for him everywhere with some neighbors but couldn’t find him. Suddenly some kids -who knew my husband- from another neighborhood came and told me your husband Abdel Hameed was taken by the Houthis. I went to the police station asking for him, but they told me that he was not there. He was missing for four months, until one day I opened the door of the house on my way out to find his dead body. His mother died of sadness for her son, and I stayed alone not able even to leave the house because there are many Houthis in the streets. I waited till I managed to collect the money needed for transportation and fled to here.”


الهارات من جحيم الحوثيين..قصص ومآسى

Nagia Abdel Rahman: I support my grandchildren

The stories of the widows who support their families are endless. Al Haja Nagia, is the mother of conscript Hussein Abdul Nabi, who died and left her his three children, the youngest of whom is two years old. They have no one to support them except their grandmother, who describes her crisis: "I'm from Sana'a. I am an old lady, how can I support three children. My son died and left them for me. He was serving with the popular resistance to support the legitimacy, and then he stopped, but the Houthis kept an eye on him, and were harassing him. One day they took him from the house in front of me and his wife and he did not come back. We knew that he died, but we didn’t get back his corpse. Afterwards they started following and attacking us because we support the legitimacy.”

نازحة تشكو ضيق ذات اليد واحتياج ابنها للعلاج

Al Haja Nagia continues, "My daughter in law died because they continued to pursue her. She died with a bullet in her head. She used to help me after my son died, but this our destiny. I hope someone would help us.”

Displaced woman from Dhamar: The Houthis pursue my brother and my husband and imprisoned my sister's husband

In another camp we met with the wife of Rashid, so she told us, after she said that she did not mention her name to anyone, and continued: "I fled a year ago, because the Houthis chased our families. They pursued my brother and my husband. They imprisoned my sister’s husband for a year. They were accused of supporting the legitimacy, and then they fled in the mountains, and we followed them here."

زوجة رشيد أحد اليمنيين المحتجزين لدى الحوثى تحكى قصة هروبها

She added: "The Houthis attacked the house of our neighbors in Dhamar, and killed the man in front of his family”. She concluded her words: "God will drive you away as you have displaced us."

نازحة من صنعاء تشكو ما تعرضت له من ظلم

Al Haja Maleka, whom we met in the camp of Gaw Al-Naseem, said, "The Houthis expelled us from our homes, and we came here disguised. I have a heart condition and diabetes. My son has a brain disease and two daughters, and I am responsible for them. My husband is deceased, and no one helped us."

Children of the camps

Children are the ones who pay the largest share of the war bill and its repercussions, mainly displacement. They bear the burden and suffering. They represent one third of the displaced persons in Yemen as a whole. They are the most vulnerable to diseases. They lose their dream of education. In the displacement camps we met the girl Seham Mohammed, who is 11 years old. She stands in a small shop selling simple packets of sweets.

الأطفال فى مخيم الميل


Seham tells us the conditions that pushed them to fled Sana’a, "The Houthis expelled us from our homes; I was in the fifth grade. They were raising the cost of education regularly. They were asking for 500 riyals a month from every student, and we didn’t have the money to pay”."

الطفلة سهام تبيع الحلوى بداخل المخيم

She continued in a faint voice: “The Houthis killed my father in the war when they entered Sana'a, and then they imprisoned my brother three times, and he was 20 years. They would imprison him for some time, and then release him, and so on. But the last time he was not released. Then we came here a month ago; me my younger brother and my mother, because they chased us and we were unable to live. We are even afraid to go to visit my brother because of what happened to our neighbor. She went to visit her son, and they refused to let her out after the visit. My mother was afraid after this incident that the same thing might happen to her so she decided to leave Sana'a to come here. I work to help my mother in our daily expenses, but I hope I can go back to school and continue my education.”

Child Ayman Menem: I want a pair of shoes

From Al-Meel camps to the camp of Gaw Al-Naseem also on the border of Ma'rib, the camps take the same shape, and the place is very similar to its predecessor, but is not facing the mountain. While we were in Gaw Al-Naseem camp we were approached by a child named Ayman Menem, 6 years, who asked questions we could not answer. He said: "Are you going to take us from here? When are you taking me back to my home and my bed ... I left my toys and clothes there beside the closet. I only have a slipper and I hope I get a pair of shoes because the sand here is very hot and it hurt my feet.”


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Salma Moaz, in the fifth grade, fled to Gaw Al-Naseem camp with her family few days ago, and she says: "I have 6 brothers and we came to escape the Houthis who are fighting the Muslims. I have stopped studying since we came here and my only hope is to go back and study again”. While Mohammed Yasseen, 7, said: “I hope to return to our home again in Dhamar governorate.”

Women were harassed

Yemeni women bear many burdens in every field; we found them in hospitals treating patients, also on the fronts rescuing the wounded; working as human rights activists, and they are also mothers of martyrs. Women in the camps support more than 10 percent of the families despite the tough living conditions. Mrs K.A –who refused to mention her name- from Dhamar governorate, talked to us saying, "I am a mother in my thirties, I have two children, and my father is dead. I am alone and in a strange country. The aid that is delivered here is only enough for few days; hence I have to look for anything to eat so that the children are not starved of hunger. I suffer from harassment and people touch me just in return of bread, but I can’t object because this will blemish my reputation among the people. There are many others like me. The only thing I can do is to stop going to this place and to look for another one.”



نازحو صنعاء يصفون مرارة العيش تحت سيطرة الحوثى


She guided me to another camp where a displaced woman from Hodeidah is supporting a family of two disabled twins. At first I asked her about what had brought her here. She replied, "The mines and the hunger. The Houthis are almost suffocating us. If you go out in the streets you will meet them everywhere watching you and they might even arrest you for no reason. They control the prices of everything. The high prices of oil made transportation scarce. There is no electricity, and the medicines are only for those who have money. Those who don’t have money die. The situation in Hodeidah is very hard and sad.”

“Some kind people lent me the transportation fare. I came here because my children needed treatment. Of course I sleep in the tent which makes my afraid; I do not have a door to close, and no walls to protect me. Sometimes I find a man looking at me when I am not paying attention. When I need to go to the bathroom, one of my children must accompany me to guard and protect me. When I go out looking for someone to help me with the treatment of my children or a source of income I suffer from harassment. People exploit my need, but I can’t talk and I feel very sad and sorry.”

Al-Haja Fazaa fled from from Sana'a

Al-Haja Fazaa, who fled the torture of the Houthis in Sana'a , said, "We left our homes, I had two sons, one went to fight on the front and was killed, and the other was kidnapped by the Houthis and they killed him before I saw him. I lost everything, my children, my home, and everything we own. I couldn’t take anything with me when I fled, but the clothes I was wearing. Where are my children now?”


الحاجة فزعة بكت وهى تروى قصة أبنائها مع الحوثيين

Even the children are being harassed!

In one of the camps, we met a girl, who asked not to be named. She was 14 years old. She talked about what she was exposed to inside the displacement camp: "I was exposed to harassment, especially during the night because there is no lighting. Once a young man tried to rape me, but I screamed and ran away. I was afraid to tell my mother about what happened. My father is dead. Some other children are exposed to this and they do not say. We have no door to closed and protect us.”

Displacement statistics … a humanitarian disaster

Displacement is one of the worst violations of the war against the Yemeni people. Women and children have been particularly affected by these violations. This is confirmed by Dr. Mohammed Askar, the Yemeni Minister of Human Rights, who pointed to the health problems caused by displacement, such as diseases of malnutrition. There is a total of 462,000 children suffering malnutrition. Moreover, in the words of Askar, displacement is often accompanied by some crimes and violent practices that drive the family to flee without taking any of their property. Some of them fled from killing, arrest or mines.

Dr. Najeeb al-Saadi, chief executive of the displacement camps, said that since the war has begun in 2015 till 2018, the total number of displaced people in Yemen has reached 5 million, including 2 million and 800,000 children, and one million and 150 thousand women.

الدكتور عبد ربه مفتاح وكيل مأرب و مسؤلو الدائرة الإعلامية فى المحافظة


Al-Saadi addd, "Million and a half of the total displaced returned, so the number of displaced Yemenis now is 3 and a half million, including 3 million within the governorates of Yemen, and half a million are outside. The number of displaced children is now one million and 800 thousand and the number of women is 800 thousand. Children represent 55 percent of the total displaced, and the women 23 percent of the total, while women support 10 percent of the displaced families. He added that the displaced are distributed in large numbers in each of Ma'rib, Aden and Taiz, having 562,000, 435,000, 427,000 displaced in them, respectively. While Rasd organization for rights and freedoms affiliated with the Yemeni Alliance for Monitoring Human Rights Violations pointed out that the majority of displaced persons came for Sana'a, Albayda, Taiz, Dhamar, Hodeidah, Al-Jouf and Al-Dhali because of the difficult security and humanitarian conditions there."


نازحة من ذمار

Sexual abuses

Al-Saadi says that displacement is a disaster that has resulted in many crises. The family is moving from a familiar society to a new society that they do not know. Also the families don’t have decent, safe and healthy housing. The loss of their livelihoods made the vulnerable groups -women and children- subject to many violations, especially harassment or sexual exploitation in exchange for a living. There is exploitation of the situation of the displaced and their material needs, especially since women support a proportion of these families.

He adds that some few cases were documented, although the violations are inherent to the displacement and occur frequently, but the majority prefers secrecy, because the Yemeni society is conservative, and controlled by the culture of shame, so no one talks about these violations. He noted that children are the most affected. They do not have access to education, and are exposed to dropouts from schools. The absorptive capacity of the schools cannot afford all these numbers. There is also a lack of health services in the places of displacement, which creates problems for the host communities. He pointed out one of the other problems of displacement is the recruitment activities of the armed groups within displacement communities, in particular child recruitment.

أسرة نازحة من صنعاء


Ma'rib has been freed from the grip of the Houthis for three years. Since then, the legitimate government has been launching the construction process to confront the destruction. The governorate's deputy, Dr. Abed Rabbo Meftah, says that Ma'rib suffered from neglect for 33 years under Saleh’s reign. But now there are large projects. The University of the Province of Saba was opened. In 2016 several factories that were closed during the war period were reopened. In 2017 the gas station for electricity was inaugurated in Safer, and the directorates of Ma'rib will be linked with electricity, as well as the neighboring governorates.


Many of the people assured us that, there is no presence of the international organizations they hear about.

Inside the camps of Gaw Al-Naseem, we met Samira Mohammed, a mother of three children, who came from Sana'a. She said, "We were very tired in Sana'a and they followed my husband, so he ran away quickly. They attacked the houses indiscriminately. I saw my neighbors being beaten. The living conditions are very bad, sometimes we sleep feeling hungry. No organizations visit the camps here, sometimes the King Salman Center, but that is not enough.”

مخيم من الداخل


Another wife in the camp near Samira’s camp from Dhamar described the hardships of the journey saying, "We came on the road, feeling scared of the Houthis. We didn’t mention our real names, and our husbands didn’t come with us. They come from a different route used for smuggling, and we the women came on our own. My husband is not here yet, and I arrived a month ago.”

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Mohamed Ali, a displaced person from Dhamar with four children said, “We came to escape the pursuit of the Houthis and their tight grip. We have no jobs, and even education is not for the poor. We have to pay 500 to 1,000 riyals a month for every child, so they left school. We came here looking for the safety we have lost since the Houthi attack and for fear for our children and our wives.”

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hanna.Hanna has taken a 30-day trip to monitor the suffering of the people during the war .






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4/12/2019 1:53:00 PM
<![CDATA[Wartime heroes: Women in Taiz]]>


The car moved at full speed for fear of being shelled. On the various roads we passed, there were iron barriers and dirt barriers separating the Houthi areas from other areas. We learned from our escorts that the hottest contact areas with the Houthi militias are Al-Tashreefat, Lozan, Al-Shaab palace, Al-Shaqb in Mount Sabra, Al-Qreefat, and Tabet el Selal, which is a mountain chain embracing the valley below, where the heroic popular resistance of the people of Taiz is located.


64815-والدة-الشهيدة-ريهام



36375-اليوم-السابع-فى-اليمن-(4)


In Taiz, the role of Yemeni women is evident. They insist on joining the ranks of the resistance in many ways. They are nurses treating the wounded in Al-Thawra Hospital under indiscriminate bombardment. They established the Mother of Martyrs Association, which includes hundreds of mothers in Taiz to demand the rights of the martyrs.

61709-ام-٣-شهدا




Here there are dozens of stories heroines from Taiz. This is Dalia Mohammed Abdullah, whom we met. When you first meet her, sadness appears on her face while talking about what she had gone through. She told us: "I was supposed to become a doctor. I graduated of the Faculty of Medicine before the war started. I completed the ravel procedures to Egypt to become an intern doctor. I had started my intern period in government hospitals here”.

المرأة اليمنية رمز للمقاومة

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“The 2015 events started. Houthi and Saleh militias invaded Yemen with their military equipment and tanks. We demonstrated peacefully on 20/3/2015, and we marched to the Central Security Camp to protest and the militias prevented us from crossing to the city of Aden south of Yemen. We continued the sit-in till 24/3/2015, when the sit-ins turned to violent clashes. I was among the crew of paramedics there, and on this day I was sprayed with water and tear gas, causing severe pain in my eyes. As a result I was taken to the hospital and I stayed there until the afternoon when I felt that my condition had improved, so I went out to join the protesters again.”


420672-المرأة-اليمنية--تقاسى-الكثير-فى-زمن-الحوثى

Dalua continued, “The 25th of March 2015 was a turning point. The criminal militias started using live bullets and tear gas heavily, but we continued resisting. The militias used weapons violently and directly. At 9 am, the first civilian martyr fell. He was the owner of a street cart selling blueberry juice. I tried with those in the areas of engagement to rescue him and we transferred him to a nearby hospital. Afterwards the number of martyrs and wounded increased. I continued to work till 2 pm, and I moved with members of the resistance to the fighting fronts to continue rescuing the injured. The last person I rescued was shot with a bullet in the thigh, and while trying to rescue him I was followed to one of the alleys. Those who followed us tried to take the injured person. And there I was shot in the left eye and lost its vision.”


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“As if that was not enough for the Houthis, but they pursued my family and within a month I lost 3 members of my family (my two nephews, and aunt), and month later I lost 3 cousins. We fled from our homes that were bombed by the militias. Also my sister’s house was detonated. Three months ago, my cousin was sniped in front of her three children. "We are living the bitterness of forced displacement, indiscriminate bombing, and pursuits. Only God can help us”, Dalia said.

_DSC0674


The suffering of life in Taiz

Mansoura Mohammed, a resident of Al-Shaqab, talks about the hard life under the fire of the Houthis, as the degree of difficulty varies in the contact areas compared to the places relatively remote from engagement areas. She describes how the people dug trenches from the dirt "so we can walk in it in order to escape the bombing of the Houthis because we are in flashpoints, and when we need something necessary we wait till the night to go out hiding from the snipers of the militia on the mountains”. She adds: “Our life is very tiring. We can’t work and our children can’t learn.”


33550-اليوم-السابع-فى-اليمن-(2)

Bullets in the houses

"Life under bombardment is difficult and bitter. You expect at any moment not only a missile hitting you or a shell falling on you, but you might be in your house and you get sniped." These words were spoken by Am Raafat Mubarak, who was shot in the abdomen and chest, although he didn’t leave his house. We met him while he was receiving treatment in a hospital, and he told us: “We rarely go out, just to get bread and the necessities. Even my children do not go out. We stay in the house for months. None of my children can work, and we can hardly live. We eat just bread for many days. Thank God for everything”.

Raafat completes his story in a tired voice: "One day we had dinner in the hall, with the windows’ glass closed. My house is in the third floor, but close to the mountains. After me and children ate the windows’ glass in the hall broke, and I was hit by a bullet in my abdomen”.

Life in trenches

Badr Mahmoud from Taiz, summarizes the difficult living and humanitarian conditions in the contact areas. He says: “There are poor families stuck in the contact areas. They cannot even go out of the houses because they do not have the money. They cannot afford to pay for a taxi. They live in a real tragedy. I know families there that don’t even receive the aid because the Houthis either prevent or loot it”. He adds: “The families there tell us that they cannot go out. They say where to go? We are unable to pay the cost of transportation, and we cannot rent a single room? We have families and children. We prefer to die and not to see our children being bombed before our eyes if we try to get out of our homes."



أحد شهداء تعز..أسامة سلام


Gravestones

In the area of Asifra near Al-Thawra hospital, there is a place surrounded by sorrows from each side. It is facing a number of popular houses on the mountain. These are the graves of martyrs. From there you can see the mountains used by the Houthis as sniper platforms. The place includes dozens of martyrs including recruits, and in the middle and left of it a large part devoted to the media professionals and human rights activists.

من مقبرة شهداء تعز

من داخل مقابر الشهداء فى تعز

Since the entry of the Houthis to Taiz, the media professionals suffered a wave of violations (killing and injury and torture). Forty eight media professionals and journalists were the victims of this, according to statistics of the Center for Human Rights and Development in Taiz from 2015 to 2018. While the violations against media professionals for the same period in Yemen in general, amounted to 2101 cases, according to statistics of the National Organization of Yemeni Media.


29611-أحد-شهداء-تعز..أسامة-سلام

Since we entered the place, we have received alerts to quickly accomplish our mission because the Houthis are also bombing these graves to the extent that even the families cannot visit the graves of their loved ones. They also pursue them with different weapons.


_DSC0674


Najib Qahtani, the media spokesman in Taiz governorate, tells us that Asifra graves were established since the Houthi attack on the city in 2015. It has about 3,000 martyrs. There are cemeteries in other areas of Taiz, but Asifra is the biggest and it has the largest number of media proffesionals. According to the governorates’ statistics the Houthis have killed 5 thousand persons and injured 21 thousand, since the beginning of the war till March 2018. Every day civilians are killed and wounded, including children and women.

Amena: They killed our children

Inside the cemeteries, Amena Yehya, the mother of martyr Mohammed, who was martyred in the battle of Al-Shaqab at the age of 17, found his grave in the eastern part of the martyrs' graves. She fought her fear and came to visit her son's grave. The Houthis with all their weapons could not prevent her from coming. We found her crying and as soon as she began to talk she started screaming and saying in her authentic Bedouin dialect: "The Houthis killed our children and destroyed our homes. They left nothing to us. My neighbor’s house was destroyed with her inside and they bombarded her in front of my eyes. We will get them out of here”.


آمنة ..إحدى أمهات الشهداء من داخل مقابر تعز تدعو الله ينتقم من الحوثى لدم ولدها


Mother of three martyrs: I was shaken to my core the day my three sons were martyred

Among the names on the tombstones we found some names of students of the University of Taiz, who have played an important role in the resistance since the beginning of the war with the Houthis in 2015. They went out to defend their land leaving behind lectures, books and their dreams of the future. We noticed the names of three brothers, Jawad, Emad and Rashad Ali Hassan.


61709-ام-٣-شهدا


أمهات تودع أبناءها الشهداء

We asked about their family and we met their mother, Fatema Mohammad, who told us her story, “I had three sons. I dreamed of them getting married and having children. But since the Houthi militias entered, all the dreams have been shattered and turned into nightmares.”

والدة شهيد


She continued, “When our homes and our country were attacked, everyone wanted to join the resistance. My children left the university to liberate their country. My three sons were martyred. Emad was in the final year of the Faculty of Computer, and Jawad in the last year of the Faculty of Education, and Rashad was still a student in the second grade of the Faculty of Computer, and he wanted to become a computer engineer. Rashad was wounded in the battles to liberate Al-Askary in Taiz in mid-November 2016. A mine exploded and hit him; he went into coma, and remained in intensive care in Al-Roda hospital until his death. His brother, Jawad, was already martyred in the battles of Jabal Jarrah in 2015. Amena talked about her last meeting with her son Rashad, “The last time I told him I want to hug you again. He returned and hugged me, laughing and telling me that the victory is close.”

“I am not sad they are martyrs. I trilled when they were martyred. But I want to avenge. I loved them so much. But Yemen deserves everything,” she spoke, crying.


ستظل المراة اليمنية بطلة فى زمن الحرب الحوثية


Student of fine arts martyred

Martyr Mushtaq al-Ammari was a student at the Faculty of Arts. Khadija Abdul Malek, head of the martyr association, talks about him saying that he painted pictures of the martyrs, including her son Mohammed Ezzedine. Mushtaq died when he went to document the military progress of the youth; an explosive device exploded and he died instantly.

Martyr Reham Badr

On a marble plaque you find the name of "Reham Badr" among dozens of names we found in the graveyard. Her friend, Ishraq al-Maqtari—who was with her when she died—said, “Reham was martyred on the eighth of last February, with a shell from the eastern front in the area of Al-Karifat. During the war years, the martyr was active in the humanitarian field, besides her human rights activities.

ريهام بدر..شهيدة العمل الإنسانى

She was known for helping displaced people in the confrontation areas in Taiz. She provided them with food and living necessities by coordinating with several organizations and volunteers. She also provided humanitarian and relief support to tens of war-affected families in Taiz.


ريهام كانت توثق جرائم الحوثيين فى تعز


Ishraq continues: "Reham’s death was very painful. She was a very noble person who faced the hell of war. She could have avoided death, but she decided to stand by the suffering people who were the target of war. And despite being a graduate of the English Department of the Faculty of Art, humanitarian work was at the forefront of her life. She was a member of the Sub-Committee for Relief and the Local Network for Monitoring Violations.

ريهام وعدد من أعضاء المقاومة الشعبية فى تعز

Ishraq added: “She was documenting the names of civilian victims, collecting donations from benefactors, and helping the needy and the poor through distributing food or purchasing medicines. She was interested in the areas close to the clashes, and she was killed while leading an aid convoy to areas near the eastern front. She always said: I'm a woman; the snipers will not kill me, as I am not carrying arms.

64815-والدة-الشهيدة-ريهام


When she was in the area of Sala she was sniped by an anti-aircraft fired by Houthis concentrated in Al-Selal Mountain. This is another proof of Houthi’s violations of principles of humanity, and their breaking of all the international laws which criminalize attacks on civilians”.

ريهام أثناء قيامها بالعمل الإنسانى قبل أن يستهدفها الحوثى


Jihad Al-Barihi: Injured three times but continues to resist

Jihad Al-Barihi was among the resistance ranks in Taiz. He was injured three times in several battles with the Houthis. Jihad had dreams beyond limits. He decided to apply for a scholarship to study Turkish language abroad, but the Houthi's attack came to change his dreams. He told us: "We were students and graduates, taking our first steps to build our future. When the war broke out I left the dream and joined the resistance. I was hit by a sniper shot in the head, I lost my right eye in the area of Hod El-Ashraf, and then I was injured in another battle in my left hand while I was in Al-Tashreefat front. However, I did not think for a moment to retreat, but insisted more on resisting the saboteurs, who came to remove the smile from the face of the child and changed our life to death. So for the third time I went to the front and was shot in the right leg, which resulted in its amputation below the knee”.


Jihad resumes his story, while looking bitterly to the injured parts of his body: "I have friends and colleagues since my childhood, the front gathered us, but we were separated by death. Many of them died in my hands, while I was screaming: we will avenge you. My childhood friends knew nothing about using arms but were forced to fight. Hope never left their faces until we buried them”.

_DSC0627



Media martyrs

The media had a fair share of the Houthis' brutality. In the martyrs' graves, we found the names of a number of photographers and journalists targeted by the Houthi snipers while performing their duties in uncovering Houthi crimes and conveying them to the world. This made us consider the file of Houthis' violation of the media, which included several forms. Dr. Abdul Baset Al-Qaadi, Undersecretary of the Yemeni Ministry of Information, said: "The Houthis fear anyone who reveals their crimes.

أحد شهداء تعز..أسامة سلام



Media professionals and photographers face the worst wave of persecution by these militias since 2015. The Yemeni National Media Organization has documented 20 types of violations in Yemen from 2015 to 2018, ranging between 22 murders, 30 cases of attempt murder, 141 cases of abduction, 33 injuries, as for torture and physical assault they amounted to 109 cases, in addition to 90 cases of persecution. Also 544 journalists were displaced as a result of the destruction of 54 press institutions.

من مقبرة شهداء تعز

He added that the Houthis refuse any mediation or negotiation for the release of journalists in particular, because they consider them a trophy. Abdul Baset refers to the case of journalist Yousef Aglan who was arrested for a year and a half, and came out suffering from diseases and memory problems, in addition to problems in the back and ears.

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He talked about the role of the ministry in defending journalists and media professionals, saying: “We discuss this issue in international forums and we present it at international conferences in Geneva, Brussels and Paris to call on the international community to pressure Houthis to release the abductees and stop attacking journalists. We do this in cooperation with the International Federation of Journalists, and the Federation of Arab Journalists. The issue was also been presented at the Human Rights Council in Switzerland, but Houthis do not pay any attention to the international community or entities that defend human rights.

الإعلامى الشهيد وائل العبسى

Wael al-Absi, who was killed at the age of 27 years, was a photographer for the Yemen channel. He decided to leave his family in Aden since the outbreak of the war to come to Taiz in order to convey the truth. His friend Badr al-Din Mohammed told us that he was a person who loved fun and laughter. He was in love with a girl and proposed to her shortly before his death. His wedding was due the following month, but he was killed by the Houthis.

Among the media martyrs is Taqi al-Din al-Huthifi. His colleague Mohammed al-Haddadi told us that the martyr was in the second grade at the University of Taiz in the business administration department. He used to tell his colleagues in the department: I am Mahathir Mohammed. I will be Mahathir Muhammad of Yemen. I will improve the economic profile of my country”.

الشهيد تقى الدين الحذيفى

Al-Hadadi added that the martyr was covering the events sometimes to the Saudi news channel, and sometimes to other channels. This means that he was not contracted with a specific entity, he used to film and any channel that needed to cover a certain event would ask him. In mid-2016, on a Friday, he received a phone call informing him that there is a battle in the eastern front. Taqi al-Din went out with Walid al-Qudsi, the cameraman with Al-Yemen channel, to cover the events in the eastern front. After they finished filming in one of the buildings behind the front, the Houthis, shot them and they were all killed, except Walid Al-Qudsi who had his foot amputated.

_DSC0684

Capture


Photojournalist Abdullah al-Qaderi was killed during his coverage of the field battles in the front of Qaniya in Albayda governorate. According to a medical source in Marib hospital, al- Qaderi died of wounds caused by a guided missile fired by the Houthis on the press delegation during the coverage of the battles. Al-Qaderi was one of the first journalists and photographers who have been reporting the battles since the coup began in 2015.


_DSC0667



Martyr painter, Mushtaq Al-Amari

Mushtaq Al-Amari, joined the group of martyrs who were killed by Houthi. He was studying fine arts at Taiz University. Among the pictures he painted was that of martyr Mohammed Ezzedine.
The martyr Uwab Al-Zubayri, was killed when an explosive device exploded while he was filming the military progress of Yemen's youth on the fronts.

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Mother of a martyr establishes Guardians of Blood Association

In continuation of the role of Yemeni women in the war and in confronting the Houthis, Dr. Khadija Abdul Malek formed the Association of Mothers of Martyrs or Guardians of Blood as they name it. The association includes in its membership more than 80% of the mothers of the martyrs. Dr. Khadija talks about the goals of the association: "It was formed three months ago because we want the rights of our children who were martyred, and this is the least thing to offer them. I am the mother of a 19-year-old martyr. He was a student in the third grade and the results of his exams were out after his martyrdom in 2016; he succeeded and graduated. He was with the popular resistance in the battles of Al-Shaqab, which are still going on till now. The last thing Mohamed said to me was pray for me to be a martyr mother”.

She continued: “After he was martyred, I found that martyrs didn’t get all of their rights, so I thought of gathering the mothers of martyrs in 22 directorates in Taiz. The most prominent of our demands is the allocation of salaries to the families of martyrs. Some of them left a widow or children. We also demand the numbering of civilian casualties, as there are undocumented victims”. She concludes by saying: “We will resist the Houthis to return the rights of the martyrs, and we will beat the Houthis for them”.

Taiz College of Arts and the Museum are a military area for the Houthis

In the vicinity of the martyrs’ graveyard, we found an area mostly destroyed, although the remains of some of the buildings suggest that it was an important area. It is the fourth area of Taiz as it is named. We approached the area, and found a building with a broken banner with only one word left: college. Inside the area we saw the destroyed furniture, the garbage and the remains of the demolition in every corner. We learned from the residents that it is the Faculty of Arts, Taiz University, and in its vicinity is the Children's Park, the Yemeni Central Bank, the Taiz Branch and the headquarters of the Security Directorate, all of which were also destroyed by the Houthis.

مبنى كلية الآداب فى تعز بعد هجوم الحوثى



As for the Houthi attacks on the buildings of the University of Taiz, Dr. Mugeeb Musleh, a professor in the university, said:
“The University is one of the largest public universities in Yemen. It was founded with the Faculty of Education as a branch of the faculty of education in Sana'a University in 1985-1986. It became an independent university in 1995 and achieved a major progress until it included 8 colleges and 10 research centers”. He added that some of the faculties of the university witnessed an attack by the Houthis, including the Faculty of Arts, one of the first colleges founded, and also the Faculty of Medicine adjacent to one of the areas of contact with the Houthis which is the area of the People's Palace. The bullets left signs on the buildings. The militias looted part of the contents and the furniture was completely destroyed. However, the students of the destroyed colleges were transferred to the university headquarters in Habail Salman, and the university was able to complete the educational process and overcome the obstacles.

He added that the students of Taiz University have played a major role in the popular resistance since the Houthi attack in 2015 and they still participate. They believe in the importance of the national role in Taiz's battle and that they will win in the end.

مديرية الشرطة ..أحد المؤسسات التى خربها الحوثى


This area also includes Taiz Museum, which is almost completely destroyed. What is left are only the museum sign, smashed windows, and parts of the top floor, besides the rubble and the surrounding debris. Hamoud Mohammed Shamsan, a member of the Popular Resistance and an eyewitness to the Houthis attack on the museum and its neighboring buildings, said that and this area was important because it had some buildings belonging to the University of Taiz, including the Faculty of Arts, which was used for some time by the Houthis as a place to store their weapons, and then they destroyed the buildings, and looted some of the property. They did the same thing in the National Museum, which had some antiquities dating back to 2000 years, very important manuscripts, and statues of the Apostolic State. Many tourists used to visit the museum, which was supported by the UNESCO.


متحف تعز مازال مغلقا بعد أن حطمه الحوثى ونهب محتوياته

When the Houthis entered the area, they sabotaged it and turned it into a military barracks for a year and a half. They stole the antiquities from it and left it destroyed and empty. After the popular resistance liberated the area, they managed to salvage some of the antiquities that the museum staff hid in the museum away from the Houthis' eyes. He added that the Houthis were not satisfied with what they did, but also destroyed the Imam's palace which was an important milestone in the governorate.


Children of Taiz and stories of indiscriminate bombing


Children in Taiz also have a share of the heroic stories. It is enough that they live, play and walk to their schools every day under the bombardment. Mayada Oud, a student in the third preparatory grade, said, “Sometimes they bombard schools, and we feel afraid while going to school. The Houthis throw the shell at any time, and sometimes we hear the sound of the bombardment, so we run to hide. We know them and know that they do not love little children, and I wish they leave our country so we can live safely. I saw friends of mine die before my eyes.”

ولأطفال تعز آلام خاصة

هنا فى تعز أطفال بعمر الزهور يتحدثون كعجائز دمرتهم قذائف الحوثيين

Rabia Mahgoub, in the first preparatory grade, says, “We hear the sound of bombardment all the time and we see people dying in front of us. One day we go to school and the other day we don’t.”

طفلة توصف حياتها اليومية مع أصوات مدافع الحوثى

Sabri Adel said, “Last Friday I was playing with my cousin and my brother, we were hit by a shell and my brother died in the hospital. Now I am afraid that my cousin might die, as well.”

أحد أطفال تعز يصف حادث قصف ابن عمه أمام عينيه

“I was playing with my friends in the school’s playground and a shell killed them all,” Salha Tafi, student in the fourth primary grade said. “I went to the hospital and I recovered, and now I stopped playing in the playground.”


اطفال تعز يحكون مآسيهم تحت القصف الحوثى


مع زهور تعز  التى أذبلها قصف الحوثيين



The child, Omar Abdul Wahid, 12 years old, took off his clothes to show us his abdomen with shrapnel marks. He described the violation he was subjected to, saying, “I have shrapnel in my abdomen, and went to the hospital, but now I am ok. This is now normal, and many of us have scars in their bodies.”

1157251-أطفال-اليمن-لهم-معاناة-من-نوع-خاص.PNG


Mohamad, 10, says, “I was going to the store to buy sweets, and then I heard the sound of bombardment and found my leg bleeding. I felt nothing afterwards. I woke up to find myself in Al-Thawra Hospital with my father. I asked him what’s wrong with my leg, and he told me that the Houthis hit me, but that I will be ok. I stayed for a long time for treatment, and I went out knowing that the Houthis can repeat what they did.”


طفل يروى كيف أصيب فى بطنه بشظايا طلق نارى من الحوثيين

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hanna.Hanna has taken a 30-day trip to monitor the suffering of the people during the war .






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4/12/2019 1:49:00 PM
<![CDATA[UN urges ceasefire to avert ‘bloody battle’ for Tripoli]]>
Thousands of people have fled heavy fighting on the outskirts of Tripoli that has left dozens dead and prompted mounting global alarm.

Guterres on Wednesday appealed for a halt to hostilities to prevent the situation spiraling out of control.
“It’s still time to stop,” he told reporters after briefing the UN Security Council in a closed session in New York.

“It’s still time for a cease-fire to take place, for a cessation of hostilities to take place, and to avoid the worst, which would be a dramatic, bloody battle for Tripoli.”

Nearly a week of fighting on the city’s doorstep has already killed 56 people and wounded 266, the World Health Organization said.

“Thousands of people have fled their homes, while others are trapped in conflict areas. Hospitals inside and outside (Tripoli) are receiving daily casualties,” it said.

The UN chief was in Libya when forces loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar last week launched an offensive to capture the capital, which is controlled by a UN-backed government and an array of militias.

The UN-brokered dialogue of Ghadames between conflicting parties of Libya was postponed due to the ongoing escalation in the country, President of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh told Egypt Today on Monday.

The six-party dialogue was due to convene mid-April but was postponed due to the ongoing military escalation between Libyan National Army, led by Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar and Libyan troops of the internationally-recognized government led by Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj since April 4.

"Libyan army's advance on Triploi aims to protect the constitution and the citizens' rights and freedoms and to secure their lives and properties," Saleh told Egypt Today.

Saleh accused the Tripoli-based government of impeding all courses that could lead to political solutions. He added that the military move against troops stationed in Tripoli came after the international community and Sarraj's government failed to release the prisoners from the capital.


"We welcome all Libyan military personnel to join the Libyan National Army but the problem boils down to the presence of some armed militias controlling other military groups in the western region of the country," Saleh said.

In March 2019, the special representative of the secretary-general and head of mission called for holding a dialogue gathering around 120 Libyans from different conflicting parts to reach a road map and put an end to the Libyan turmoil that sparked in 2011.
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4/11/2019 5:37:35 PM
<![CDATA[Pro-Kurdish party slams Erdogan ban on elected mayors taking office]]>
The Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) on Wednesday ordered that individuals sacked by an emergency decree during purges after a 2016 failed coup could not take up their posts despite being elected, DHA news agency reported.

The candidate who came second would be able to serve in the post instead, DHA said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has often accused the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of ties with PKK Kurdish militants, a charge the party denies.

The HDP said the YSK decision affects many candidates who had already been authorized to stand in the ballot by the same electoral council.

“This step taken by the YSK is part of a deliberate political conspiracy, nothing else” by the ruling AKP and its coalition nationalist MHP partner, HDP spokesman Saruhan Oluc told reporters in Ankara.

The HDP cannot challenge the YSK’s move or even take the council to court, Oluc said, but urged the YSK to reverse the decision.“Show respect to the people’s will,” he said.

Erdogan said irregularities in Istanbul’s local elections, such as the appointment of ballot box officials, should lead to the annulment of the vote, the pro-government Sabah newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Initial results show the main opposition Republican People’s Party narrowly won control of Turkey’s biggest city in the mayoral elections, seemingly bringing an end to the 25-year rule there by Erdogan’s AK Party and its Islamist predecessors.

Speaking to reporters on his plane, returning from a trip to Moscow this week, Erdogan said that regulations requiring that ballot box officials be civil servants had not been met everywhere, with regular workers placed in charge in some places.

“Our colleagues have established this. Naturally, all this casts doubt. If they take a sincere view, this will lead to annulment,” he said.

Any decision to annul the elections would rest with the High Election Board.

A senior AKP official said on Tuesday it would demand a new vote in Istanbul after its bid was rejected for a citywide recount of the March 31 election results after a series of recounts since the vote.

Erdogan said on Monday the local elections were marred by “organized crime” at ballot boxes in Istanbul. The loss of control in the city would be a setback for Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than 16 years.

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4/11/2019 5:33:28 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt affirms ‘full support’ to Sudanese people’s will, choices]]>
This came shortly after Sudanese Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf announced in a statement the overthrowing of President Omar al-Bashir’s regime following four months of protests calling for toppling the regime.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry affirmed in a statement Egypt’s full support of the choices made by the Sudanese people, voicing respect for their will in shaping the future of their country. The ministry also stressed Egypt’s unchangeable stance toward respecting the sovereignty of Sudan and its national decision.

The ministry called on the international community to support the choices of the Sudanese people in this “historical decisive stage.” It also urged the brotherly countries to help Sudan achieve a peaceful transition toward a better future, in a way that meets the people’s aspirations.

“Egypt is following closely and intensively the current and accelerating developments in the brotherly Sudan at this momentous stage in its modern history,” the statement said.

“Egypt will continue to support the Sudanese people and government until stability and prosperity are achieved,” the ministry added.

In March, Ibn Auf met with Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Cairo, where the former praised Egypt's unlimited support for maintaining the safety and stability of Sudan, according to Egypt's presidency spokesman Bassam Radi. Ibn Auf expressed his country's aspiration to take advantage of the leading role Egypt plays in the region, and its inspirational development experience.

The Cairo meeting was also attended by Head of Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services Salah Gosh, and Sudan’s Ambassador to Egypt and Permanent Representative to the Arab League Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim, in the presence of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri, and Egypt's Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel.

During the meeting, Sisi congratulated Ibn Auf for assuming his new post as Sudan's first vice president, saying that it reflects a belief in his capabilities and his vision on achieving stability, development and prosperity for the Sudanese people.

The Sudanese presidency named Ibn Auf as first vice president on February 23, 2019.

Sisi affirmed Egypt's full support of Sudan's security and stability, considering it as an extension of the Egyptian national security.

UPDATE: Sudan’s army announces overthrow of Bashir’s regime

CAIRO – 11 April 2019: In a televised speech, Sudanese Minister of Defense Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf announced the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir’s regime following four months of protests calling for toppling the regime.

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4/11/2019 5:15:35 PM
<![CDATA[UPDATE: Sudan’s army announces overthrow of Bashir’s regime]]>
“The regime was headed off and [its ruler] is under arrest in a safe place,” he said, adding that a transitional military council will be set up to rule the country.

“The Constitution of Sudan is suspended,” Ibn Auf said, adding that the National Assembly of Sudan, Council of States, presidential office, and the Cabinet were dissolved. The deputy ministers will take care of the ministerial duties, he stated.

“Free and impartial elections will be carried out following the transitional period, and a new permanent constitution will be written for the country,” Ibn Auf revealed. However, the army’s announcement did not include a specific duration for the transitional period.

Furthermore, a state of emergency for three months has been announced and a one-month curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. has been imposed. Ibn Auf also announced the army will effectively impose public order and fight all forms of crimes.

“Comprehensive ceasefire was announced all over Sudan. All political detainees were released immediately,” the minister stressed, pointing out that the judicially authority, the Constitutional Court, and the Public Prosecution will operate normally.

“The aviation movement has been suspended for 24 hours, while the ground and maritime outlets and inlets were closed until further notice,” Ibn Auf said, calling on all armed groups to join the military institution to “build the nation.” He also announced the army’s protection of the state’s vital institutions from any possible sabotaging acts.

All international, regional and local deals and charters signed by Sudan will be abided by. Meanwhile, all diplomatic missions and international organizations accredited to Sudan will resume duties normally, preserving good relations with neighboring countries, according to Ibn Auf.

Sudan has plunged into chaos since December 19 when hundreds of Sudanese citizens protested against the deteriorating economic situation, calling for the end of Bashir’s rule.]]>
4/11/2019 4:04:44 PM
<![CDATA[Taiz: In the line of fire, crossing the Houthi]]>
The city, which is known as the cultural capital of Yemen, still resists to catch up with the liberated cities of Yemen. It provides a model for steadfast resistance despite its siege from the north, east and west, without an exit except the south side. The governorate includes 23 directorates, 17 of them are liberated, and there are still confrontations to liberate the rest. The crisis in Taiz is different from other governorates. Houthis controlonly a few areas, but they surround the city from the top of the mountains around it, as Taiz is surrounded by many huge mountains that are difficult to secure or control, including the mountains of Surq, Habashi, Al-Wazeaia, and Samea.


منطقة صبر على طريق تعز

According to the people we met, the reason for the prolongation of the war in Taiz may be its geographical nature. Siege, sniping, mines and indiscriminate slaying are widespread in the city. The infrastructure is destroyed, and the health sector has been destroyed by 80 percent. It has only 4 hospitals and most of the medical staff are displaced, while the rest are working under sniper fire, and they are subject to be kidnapped at any moment.

طريق تعز


The road to the besieged city is not the same as other governorates. The distance from Aden to Taiz exceeds 300 km, which takes at least 6 hours. Along the road you can see the beauty of the desert with its beautiful colors and high mountains formations. This beauty is mixed with danger, as the Houthis have made many parts of the road a target for their snipers, and every inch document one of their crimes. In every inch you will find a story of a murdered, a kidnapped or a disabled person.




540336-الحواجز-الاسمنتية-فى-شوارع-تعز-لعزل-المواطنين-عن-أماكن-الاشتباك-مع-الحوثيين


احد المبانى على طريق عدن ـ تعز  يحمل آثار قصف الحوثيين


791379-عدد-محدود-من-المحال-التجارة-مازال-يعمل-فى-تعز

During the trip we were accompanied by Major Hayel Mohamed from the Ministry of Interior of the legitimate government. He is one of the people of Taiz who took part in the fierce battles of Taiz. Along the road, we watched some scenes, starting with the fortress of Al-Maqatra –near Al-Robou market which is attacked by Houthis from time to time- which we ascended to the top. We also passed by “Al Kood”, these mountains which snipers use as platforms to fires hells indiscriminately at citizens.




As we moved from Al-Maqatra to Hayga Al-Abed area, Major Hayel pointed to the place where the Houthis blew up a small bridge a week ago. The explosion caused a hole in the road which represents a sign of the crime. We moved from Hayga al Abed to Al-Khyamy area, where another Houthi crime took place. In this location, as Major Hayel explained, the Houthis killed journalist Mohammed Al-Qudsi last February. He worked for Balqis channel; a missile killed him while he was covering a military ceremony in the presence of the Deputy Minister of Interior. Some people said they were targeting the MP. The incident also killed 6 citizens.

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We completed the road until we reached the area of Al-Misrakh, which was occupied by the Houthis for five months before it was liberated about a year ago. In Al-Misrakh, there are some simple aspects of life. It gathers a small number of small shops, a popular market and poor houses, most of which are partly destroyed by the war. The roads are unpaved, crowded with trucks and dilapidated minibuses with no one to regulate their traffic. On one side of the road, we noticed a charred car. We were told that it was carrying Hajj Fouad Abdullah Al-Hamadi and seven members of his family. A landmine exploded while they were passing through this area. It was a terrible accident that killed the whole family, which had nothing to do with politics.



As we passed, our escort pointed to the area of Talouq on the mountain. He said it was the region that suffered the most from the tyranny of Houthis. The region was cut off from the roads so that its inhabitants have no access to food, and the suppliers of aid and relief material had to use donkeys to deliver food to the residents. Then we crossed from an area called “Al-Dabab” and we wanted to go down to get some photos, but the Major told us that we were not allowed to go down in this area, and also it is not safe because it is a very dangerous area. It was one of the largest Houthi barracks and an important base for Al-Qaeda, although they were not in large numbers. There are also some sleeping cells in it.

In Al-Reboua market

On the way to Taiz, we also found a market that looks traditional and old. It is called Al Reboua market. The only road connecting Lahj and Taiz passes through this market. It is located in Al-Reboua district of the Directorate of Al-Moqhatara. We got out of the car despite Major Hayel's warnings that it is dangerous to stand on the road close to the mountains, where the Houthis bomb from time to time. We found mobile food carts, and vendors on the ground selling simple foods, including some fish, vegetables and fruits, besides selling Bedouin herbs to treat some diseases. From far away, comes the sound of old Yemeni music, although they expect treacherous strikes at any time. Mohammed Al-Saab, one of the vendors, told us: "The Houthis were settled here for a while, and last year they controlled the market. They cut off the only road that connected the countryside of southern Taiz and Toor EL-Baha in Lahj. No one was able to buy any vegetables or goods. They also cut off the road of Taiz-Lahj after they tried to control Mount Han to close the only southern entrance to the city of Taiz."

سوق الربوع على طريق تعز

"After some time the Houthis left thanks to the national army and the coalition. Now they fire mortars from time to time indiscriminately, and when this happens we collect our belongings and leave," he added.

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Baleeg Abdullah, a citizen in the market, added: "Last week, we were hit by a shell that killed two people. The bombing increases at night. This is our life and we are used to it, but we don’t allow the kids to leave the house alone”.


سوق الربوع

Numerous markets

Taiz is famous for its numerous markets, but the number of markets gradually decreased and the Houthi strikes have affected many of them. Of the most famous markets are: “Al-Shaneini Market, Al-Dabab market, Al-Nashma market, Damna Khdeer market, Al-Khela market, Mouazea market, Hagda market, Maweea market, Al-Mesrakh market, Yafres market AYusr and Souk Al-Burh. "

When you enter the city in the area of Berbasha, you find a number of scattered shops mostly small shops manufacturing furniture, blacksmiths, selling the necessary goods and car tires, and a barbershop looking for customers.


الشوارع فى برباشة بتعز

Among the streets of Berbasha there is a street named after the late leader Gamal Abdel Nasser in the center of the city, the people told us: “We named it after the name of the Egyptian leader Abdel Nasser because we love him”.


شوارع تعز


As the night approached, security preparations became intense. Many of the streets were closed to passers-by with iron barriers. We reach the children's hospital, which is not far from the streets of the city center, but as we got close we found the roads closed as a security measure because the clashes with the Houthis were renewed.

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Violations

Since the siege of Taiz in March 2015 to 2018, the Houthis have committed 2,935 murders, including 771 children, 490 women, and 1,674 civilian men. According to the statistics of the Human Rights and Development Center of Taiz, the causalities have reached a high record compared to other governorates: 17.929 injured, including 3,799 children, 2,022 women, and 12.108 civilian men.

Dr. Hamoud Al-Zeab, president of the Human Rights and Development Center in Taiz, explained to us how the Houthis committed 225 mass massacres, all of which were committed in densely populated residential neighborhoods, popular markets and passers-by streets. The most famous of these massacres was Beer El-Basha on October 3rd, 2016, when Al-Bareed Street was bombarded by a mortar shell; 11 Yemenis were killed and 19 injured. He added that there were 168 deaths between 2015 and 2018 due to kidney failure and lack of therapeutic services, while mine casualties accounted for 292 dead and 317 injured during the three years.


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Dr. Hamoud added that Taiz has become the scene of several types of violations by Houthis, between torture (26 cases) and enforced disappearance of civilians (542 cases). He pointed out that there were 43 special prisons, besides targeting 48 journalists and media professional, aborting 135 pregnant women as a result of shelling, and there were 469 cases of disabilities and amputations.

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According to Dr. Hamoud, 2476 houses and buildings were demolished from a total of 3,891 public and private facilities destroyed as a result of Katyusha attacks, shells and artillery. As a result of this severe humanitarian situation, 7,795 families were displaced, which is the highest rate of displaced persons in Yemen. Also 604 health facilities, 224 educational establishments, 84 Mosques, were negatively affected. Besides that, 8 archaeological sites were damaged, most notably the Taiz Museum.

Children always pay the price

Children in Taiz in particular, and Yemen in general, had the largest share of Houthi's oppression. The story of the girl Alaa, 2 years, is an example of this. She is the victim of indiscriminate bombardment and poor facilities in hospitals destroyed by the Houthis. They made them mere empty buildings, without the necessary life-saving medical equipment.



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Wissam Abdul Fattah, the father of the girl -who works in a simple job in an electronics shop- recites the story: “On the first of November 2017 at 2 pm, Alaa was playing and crawling at home as usual, in the presence of her mother and brother. A mortar shell hit the house next door; the shrapnel broke the windows and Alaa was hit by shrapnel in the feet”. He continued: “I left work quickly, and we took her to Al-Thawra Hospital where they performed first aid to stop the bleeding. Then she was transferred to another hospital where the doctor decided to perform a leg operation and she was admitted to the operating room for 6 hours. We were told that the operation succeeded, but we were surprised the next morning by the doctor telling us that Alaa needs to amputate her left foot. Her foot at the time has begun to turn black. We refused the doctor's decision to amputate her leg and took her to another hospital, where she was examined by a doctor specialized in arteries and veins. He told us: "Unfortunately you are late. She needs an artery transplant, which will cost one million two hundred thousand riyals."



الطفلة ألاء


"We do not have anything. Friends helped us in the hospital as they had to leave their weapons in order to complete the procedure of the operation. The girl was admitted to the operating room for 4 hours. The doctor came out to surprise us saying that the girl was not operated on previously, and that the veins were tied without taking our permission. The doctor tried to save her, and performed four operations, but each time the blood at the tip of her leg clots, and as a result a bleeding happens. Last time the doctor decided to amputate her foot in order to preserve the rest of her leg, noting that the other leg had four shrapnel, and was operated on for times”. The father went on to talk about the suffering under the Houthi bombardment, pointing out that there was no water, no electricity, no means of living, and Taiz was and still is suffering from the imposed siege. You cannot leave the house because of the Houthi bombing that do not distinguish between the resistance elements and civilians, or between the old and the young; everything that moves in the streets is a target of sniping by the militias. The militias prevented even the humanitarian aid from entering the city."

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“After my daughter’s accident, I felt helpless as I can’t anything for her because of the circumstances, and there is nothing to help me to travel and treat her. The hardest thing is standing helpless before your kids," he added.

الطفلة آلاء2


War on hospitals

We passed from Gamal Abdel Nasser Street in the city center on our way to Al-Thawra Hospital located in Al-Osaeefra area. It is one of the main hospitals receiving the wounded from the fronts in Taiz. Hana Bakr Al-Sweefy, a female employee in the hospital, told us that the hospital is subject to sudden shelling and a large part of it is destroyed. She said with tears in her eyes, “We mourn the young people coming every day from the fronts and they end up dead or disabled. We hope someone would save those young people. This is so unfair."

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One of the hospital's supervisors, who refused to be named, said that the doctors are kidnapped like Anwar Al-Sharabi who was kidnapped last February. He was beaten and the hospital was closed for a while. He pointed out that the building is subject to bombing and the upper floors were destroyed. Only the ground and one floor are left. So, even those trying to save the wounded, are killed. This is the law of the Houthis.

The stories of the heroes of the Taiz fronts

Inside Al-Thawra Hospital, you can find rooms crammed with beds, modest resources, and hot air without ventilation or cooling, doubling the pain of the wounded waiting for doctors to ease their suffering. But there are hardly any doctors, as the medical staff is too limited compared to the large numbers of wounded every day.


أحد الجرحى داخل مستشفى الثورة بتعز

We met with a number of wounded, some of them are civilians, and some are soldiers and young people from Taiz fronts. They are the real heroes of the battle, among them Mohammed Abdul Rahman Al Haj, 24 years old and waiting his first child. He told us: "I was hit by Kalashnikov bullets in my right leg and chest during clashes with the Houthis in Lwazem front. I was part of the popular resistance and served in the army. The confrontations were fierce; they resisted us with heavy and sophisticated weapons; they were thirsty for blood and rely on treachery in the management of their battles."

"I want to heal, to go back to the front”, Mohammed continues. He adds, “We will fight them till the last breath. There is nothing more important than our homeland”. On the bed next to him lies another young man, who was injured in confrontations on the front of Sala -one of the fronts of Taiz- named Muammar Al-Ahmadi, who is 18 years old. He was about to get married, but he preferred to start liberating his country. He told us his story, “I wanted to establish a small project to help me get married, but at that time the Houthi attack began and my goals changed; it became the liberation of Taiz first. The women here understand that and my fiancé told me go to the front, and we will get married, God willing, after the liberation of Taiz. We share the love of our country."

He continued: "First they attacked us with a mortar shell. Then 4 snipers sniped at us. I was shot, and then we crawled, and tried to save the life of one colleague who was in a very dangerous condition, but he preferred to bleed till he died." Abdul-Ellah Abdul-Fattah, who turned 23 few days ago, and is currently receiving treatment at Al-Thawra Hospital, tells us his story: "I was working in a shop and our life was going on fine. I never thought I could fight, or be part of any battle, but this is our fate. When the Houthis entered, I joined the demonstrations, which were peaceful demanding that they leave our country. They fired at us a lot of bullets and mortars, and people died. At that moment I decided to go to the front”. He continued, "I was wounded while we were on Al-Tashreefat front. I had six colleagues by my side. They are also my friends, and the feeling of pain connected us; the ordeal united us as it united the people of Taiz. Bullets were shot at us, but we managed to avoid them. After a while an artillery shell was shot at us, and two of my colleagues were martyred and we were injured. The Houthis have no war ethics. They act like gangs."


He continued in apparent pain, “I want people to know the crimes of this gang and what they do to the people in Yemen. We were fighting daily and were watching the children recruited by Houthis to fight us, many of them on the front of Al-Tashreefat. We were 6 when we were hit by an artillery shell. Two of us died, some lost their legs and some were injured in the spine. I was injured in my leg and abdomen. They then took us to the hospital here. They operated on us, but there were some missing equipment and resources. We hope that the countries help Taiz and its people because our enemy is well armed."

Yasser Ghanem: I was shoot at on my away to work

In front of the bed of Abdul-Ellah, lies his colleague in Al-Tashreefat battle, Yasser Mohammed Ghanem. He is 19 years old, and his right leg was amputated. During our conversation with him, we knew that he used to play sports until the Houthi war ended the lives of dozens and caused permanent disabilities to hundreds. He told us his story: "I was in the Faculty of Engineering, from a well to do family. Two of my brothers were killed by Houthis. I continued their path and participated with the soldiers on the front of Al-Tashreefat."

Yasser continues: "They fired heavy artillery shells at us, killing two of us and the rest are being treated in the hospital here. Some of them have their legs amputated, like me. I will not stop fighting Houthis, no matter what happens, because they are criminals and tyrants, and we do not want them in our country. We fight them in defense of our religion and faith, and to protect our nation from tyranny. Even the defenseless citizens are hit attacked by rockets and bullets”.


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He confirmed, "We saw with them weapons with the names of Iranian companies. The remnants of the rockets fired by them carry the slogan of Al-Shaheed Baqari Company, affiliated to the Iranian Aerospace Industries Corporation. Iran supports them with all its might."



Sherif Abdo: The last wounded individual inside the hospital

A few hours before we arrived, he was not a fighter on the front, but an ordinary citizen who was the victim of the Houthi's crimes, like thousands of Yemenis, Sharif said, "I am married and have 3 children. I work in a small factory in Al-Sirmeen area. I left in the morning heading to my work. Sometimes there is no transportation; it is scarce because of the lack of oil, or the roads are closed due to clashes with the Houthis. Me and others are forced to walk for hours in the heat until we arrive at our work exhausted. But the danger is more important than the heat. On our way we are subjected to snipers or mortar shells, and this is what happened with me.”

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Sharif continues: “While I was walking with three others by my side, suddenly mortar shells fell on us. Two people died, and others were injured. I was injured in the leg, heart and the arm. We are armless civilians, but the Houthis do not have mercy. Sometimes the shells fall over the childre, as what happened a week ago; 9 children were playing in the school’s yard, a shell fell on them killing six children and wounding three. This is our situation in Taiz. I hope the world helps us to expel fear from our country. "

Abdul-Aziz: I saved the wounded but I was injured

From the heroes of the fronts to the civilians, who are also heroes, we met Abdul-Aziz Al-Mothneb, who tells us the story of the championships of the sons of Taiz: “I am an ordinary citizen from the area of Al-Selal and I was injured in the area of Mazaala. I was not fighting on the front but I was trying to rescue the injured."


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He continued: "There were three wounded people from the front in bad condition, but I couldn’t help them. Unfortunately, there were no ambulances to save the wounded, so I carried one of them. While carrying him, 20 snipers from the area of Al-Selal, who were on the mountain, fired bullets at us. The wounded person was killed, and I fell on the ground while carrying him, and I felt nothing. We will not be afraid. We will continue till we liberate Taiz."

Abdul Mageed: Honor is more important than life

“Honor is more important than life”. With these words Abdul-Mageed Fawaz –who is wounded in his right foot- started narrating his story: “I was working in a lawyer’s office, and my life was quiet and simple. But when the Houthis attacked and the army turned on the state, I decided to join the ranks of the resistance to defend my country”. He continued: “Honor is more important than life. Every human’s life is precious, but defending our women, our land and our dignity means “our honor”. What does life mean without honor!"

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The 25 year old Abdul Mageed continued his story, saying: "We fought on the front of Maghmana, with 10 children in front of us carrying Kalashnikov and some of them are numb, including those carrying weapons heavier than their weight. We are fighting the children of Yemen because of the Houthis. But we did not shoot at them. Then I was hit a bullet in the right foot after a battle that lasted 6 hours. I bled while crawling on the ground as I ran away from the shower of bullets. Two of my colleagues helped me till I arrived at the hospital. They operated on me, and took out two bullets, but one remained in my body. The wounded feel double the pain because the painkillers are not available, and those available are not effective. But we say thank God."

Al-Hussein: We will continue fighting

Al-Hussain Hamiri, 21 year old and one of the victims of the fighting in Taiz, said: "I was studying business administration. We were young people dreaming of a bright future, and the war turned us into handicapped elderly people. The Houthi gang destroyed Yemenis and they are seeking to erase our Sunni identity. We decided to resist this gang because we knew their malicious intentions. The resistance only controlled a few meters of the city of Taiz, and we were able to expand that area. I served in the 35th Brigade on the western front of Taiz. One night we wanted to enter our barricades, but they shot at me and a group of young people. I was injured in the right leg and before that I lost my family as war victims too."


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He continued, "If I had the chance, I would fight them a thousand times. I lost everything because of these militias. We want the United Nations to stand against this gang that plant mines and bombard citizens everywhere. They even manufacture them locally from TNT and other material, and put them indiscriminately between homes. The mines are long-term, and this is a danger that will continue to threaten future generations."

Mahmoudi: I dream of reading my PHD

"Amputation cannot end the dream of a human being”. With this sentence, Muhammad Abdullah Al-Mahmoudi from the resistance in Taiz, started talking. Al-Mahmoudi lost his legs by Houthi shells before he turned 18. He said: “We are a simple family. I was working with my father as temporary labor in a factory near the city for only a small amount of money that is barely enough for our daily expenses. I got a diploma of secretarial and I wanted to complete my education at the university and get a scholarship from abroad to study for my PHD."


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"I was shot in my two legs while I was in Tabaat front in January 2016, and I was taken to the hospital. I underwent several operations to save my life, and then I remained without treatment because we were besieged and we did not have the cost of the treatment”. He continues: “The injury or amputation of my legs will not be the end of my dreams. I am exerting efforts and submitted my papers to several entities to get a scholarship. We will continue to defend our freedom against the brutality of the Houthis. We live under siege; there are mines in every inch. We are exposed to indiscriminate shelling over the 24 hours; we spend days without going out to the streets. As for women, they cannot go out."


من داخل تعز

He confirmed that the Houthis are financed by Iran and are trying to impose their control on shops, factories and banks to plunder the wealth of the Yemeni people and destroy their youth.


the reporte with governor of Taiz


Governor of Taiz: The situation is catastrophic .. Dr. Mohamed Amin: The number of victims of the Houthi bombing are not less than 20 deaths and wounded a day.. And the militias destroyed the infrastructure and more than 80% of the health sector



We monitored the situation in Taiz and the size of disaster, but we wanted to document also by the talking with Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Governor Dr. Mohamed Amin .. The following interview:

What is your assessment of the security situation here in Taiz?
The security situation in the city is very difficult because of its siege on three sides. Only one outlet has been opened between Taiz and Aden, which is very dangerous and difficult. Although the legitimate government has checkpoints that are secured by security forces, there are still elements of the Houthi militias over the mountains that embrace the road, and Taiz is bombed around the clock, killing and injuring every day.

There is a big security defect, because the police forces is completely destroyed, and when the Houthis entered the city, they burned down police stations and archives completely, and killed the officers. Now we are rebuilding the police and sections with the support of the legitimate authority as we have 3000 element that are receiving training.

What is the reason for prolonging the war here, and what is the role of popular resistance?
- The mountainous nature of Taiz and its rugged terrain have played a role in increasing the suffering and make it even more difficult to try to defeat militias, open roads or even deliver relief. But despite all this, there are great achievements by the National Army with the support of the coalition forces to support the legitimacy, and the people have a basic role in the protection and organization of life here. Taiz, which is considered the most densely populated, has 5 million inhabitants and the highest percentage of education and the largest cadre in medicine and engineering, they represent 30% of the total university students in Yemen, and at the economic level a large proportion of traders. The people of Taiz were determined to continue with their war to the end and rejected the Houthi project. The resistance emerged from the first day of the war in peaceful demonstrations. They shot and killed hundreds, but the national army in Taiz formed from the popular resistance. Then formed military brigades.

In your opinion, why does Houthi cling to Taiz precisely?
- The Houthis dream of the return of the Caliphate in a place called the “Yemeni Mutawakle Kingdom”, which was located on the northern part of Yemen. Taiz is an important location in this map. It also controls 140 kilometers of important coasts, including Bab El Mandab and Mina Al Mukha, Red Sea, and the liberation of Taiz means the fall of the Houthi project.

What about the military situation?
- The Maha Directorate was liberated a few months ago, bringing the number of directorates in Taiz to 16 out of 23. As for the unregistered districts, they do not control the entire area, but they control the main transport routes, from the south east to the west, what separated the liberated and un-liberated cities are paved routes which represent lines of separation, and they are present on these lines.
I assure you that if we have full support, we would have liberated Taiz in three days, we now have 41,000 soldiers. We have a huge number of enthusiastic young people prepared to sacrifice for their homeland, but we lack support as I told you.

What about the role of coalition forces to support legitimacy?
The coalition forces led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE play an active and fundamental role in the war and have succeeded in liberating many cities, especially the west coast.

As for Egypt, it is the leader of the Arab nation. It is at the heart of every Yemeni. It supports the Yemeni people, both in its presence in the coalition forces or in the Yemeni community. It also treats dozens of wounded Yemenis on its territory. Yemen is an advanced security belt for Egypt, the region and the world. It has all the thanks for this role.

How do the people of Taiz live under these circumstances?
When Houthi entered Taiz, they destroyed whole neighborhoods, and this is the case in the northern and eastern regions, and their families were displaced in large numbers estimated at thousands in the camps, and there is a disastrous situation in terms of health and education in the water, and there is significant support from the King Salman Center for these camps and international support, but we need greater support.

Here, too, journalists are being killed in cold blood, and the bodies of the victims are everywhere. Every day, not less than than 20 people are killed and wounded. There is also a crisis in transportation. Only 10% of the total work is due to lack of petrol and a crisis in Gas, whose production has been completely halted since the war, but the legitimate government is making great efforts to support oil as much as possible, which is essential for life.

Do you have hospitals and medical facilities to accommodate these numbers?
Taiz has a large number of hospitals, but the Houthi group destroyed 80% of the health sector, and 90% of the medical staff was displaced by the war, and we currently rely on 4 hospitals, which is the hospital of the revolution, which is shelled and wounded inside, and the upper floors are destroyed, The health situation is very deteriorated and catastrophic. Many of the wounded die in emergencies because of the lack of operating rooms. Many civilians die because there are no mechanisms for their speedy recovery and the lack of medicines.


What about utilities and infrastructure?
The infrastructure has been completely destroyed for three years. The citizen in Taiz does not have electricity. These services are stopped. He can pay for solar panels and there is no drinking water. The citizen even suffers from getting it from charity organizations or private wells.
How do you evaluate the role of the international community and the United Nations in the Yemen crisis?
A vague and unclear position, and we appeal to them to move effective action to save the people of Taiz, because convictions are not enough alone, there are UN resolutions which must be applied.
In the next episode .. Heroes on the fighting fronts in «Taiz» .. Houthis attack on women and journalists .. The mother of the three martyrs: I dreamed of them being bridegrooms and celebrated on the day they passed. 



This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hanna.Hanna has taken a 30-day trip to monitor the suffering of the people during the war .



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4/11/2019 1:46:00 PM
<![CDATA[Abdel Aal to head subcommittee to write constitutional amendments]]>
The subcommittee’s members will also include Bahaa Abu Shoka, the legislative committee’s head; MPs Ahmed Helmy al-Sherif and Nabil al-Gamal, the committee’s deputy heads; and Ihab al-Tamawi, the committee’s secretary.

The Parliament earlier gave a preliminary approval to the constitutional amendments submitted by 155 Parliament members, and soon, after the Parliament held a societal dialogue, the amendments will come up for vote in a parliamentary plenary meeting after being drafted in a final legal context.

However, the streets and public squares have been overwhelmed with banners calling on citizens to vote in the planned referendum on the amendments. Having the name of the pro-government Nation’s Future Party written on them, the banners urged people to vote in favor of the amendments.

Also, Minister of Immigration and Expats Nabila Makram announced launching a campaign to respond to the inquiries of Egyptian expats in terms of the amendments and urge them to participate in a planned referendum on these amendments.

Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Shaarawy urged preparing headquarters for the planned referendum.

If the amendments are approved, presidential terms in general will be extended to six years instead of four for each of the two terms, while the incumbent president will be allowed to run for a third exceptional term. Also, heads of the judicial bodies would be appointed by the president.

Abdel Aal affirmed many times that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi did not ask for amending Article No. 140 extending the presidential term.

"I have repeatedly said … that the president did not intervene in the amendments and did not request them, but [they] were a pure parliamentary seedling … that began since the first year of the House of Representatives’ [term],” the speaker said.

The proposed amendments also include restoring Shura Council – a senate- to broaden representation at the Parliamentary Councils- after it was dissolved in 2012. The appointment of deputy president is also one of the amendments. Supporting women, Youth, Christian minority, the disabled, and the Egyptian expatriates community by solid constitutional articles are included in the amendments.

One of the amendments stipulates, “The Armed Forces are the guarantor of the democracy and civil state, and the appointment way of defense minister should be reconsidered.” ]]>
4/11/2019 1:33:25 PM
<![CDATA[Houthis destroyed Yemen’s economic, development achievements]]>
“The Houthi war destroyed all the economic and developmental achievements in Yemen,” Maytami said during the opening of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia’s Arab Forum for Sustainable Development in Beirut.

The minister called on the UN and the participating countries to support Yemen during the hardships its facing, participate in the rebuilding of the country and finance the anti-poverty programs to help Yemen achieve the UN Sustainable Goals.

Yemen’s government has accused the Houthi group of committing acts of genocide against civilians in Hajjah province.

Members of the Hajoor tribe have been fighting the Iran-backed rebels in the mountain areas of Kushar district, in the northern province, for more than a month.

“The Iranian-backed rebels are using heavy weapons such as ballistic missiles to target villages, killing at least 100 people and displacing more than 400 civilians,” Muammar Al Eryani, Yemen’s Information Minister, said last month.

Houthi crimes against innocent civilians must be accounted for, the minister said in the Jordanian capital Amman.
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4/10/2019 3:48:19 PM
<![CDATA[Qatar, Turkey object US designation of IRGC as terror group]]>
“The United States issued this one-sided decision in the context of sanctions and pressure on Iran,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a joint press conference with his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

“We do not support Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in Syria, but no country can declare another country’s armed forces a terrorist organization. We also do not support unilateral decisions.” Such measures “would lead to instability in the region,” Cavusoglu said.

Al-Thani said disagreements over the Iranian army’s behavior, or that of any other army, should not be solved by imposing sanctions.

President Donald Trump announced Monday the US will formally designate the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, a move some in the administration had opposed over concerns about potential risks to US troops in the Middle East.

The step "recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft," Trump said in a statement that described the IRGC as "the Iranian government's primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign."

Administration officials said the move is a response to Iran's destabilizing behavior across the Middle East, including support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as for assassination plots in Europe and the US.

The announcement aims to drive a stake through the heart of a central institution in Iran. Formed after the Islamic revolution in 1979, the IRGC is not only Iran's most powerful military institution, it holds deep influence over domestic politics and the economy, with interests extending to and beyond the construction, telecommunications, auto and energy industries.

Following the decision, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned all companies and banks around the world from dealing with the IRGC.]]>
4/10/2019 3:35:58 PM
<![CDATA[Iran orders 60,000 to evacuate five districts in Ahvaz: state media]]>
The province’s governor, Gholamreza Shariati, said he ordered the evacuations as a “precautionary and preventive move to avert any danger,” Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported.

The five districts have an estimated population of between 60,000 and 70,000.

Reports and activists have affirmed that the Iranian regime has been attempting to displace the Arab population from their lands and disperse their presence, especially in Ahvaz.

The regime is seeking to take advantage of the floods crisis by submerging villages in Ahvaz to force their residents to leave their homes and lands and then be replace with other nationalities like the Bakhtiaris and Lurs, The Reference reported.

Reports have revealed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps are trying to block the floods from reaching their established oil facilities by diverting the water flow towards the houses of Arabs, which led to armed clashes with the IRGC. At least nine citizens were killed during these clashes.

The floods have killed at least 70 people, and forced the mass evacuation of thousands, as heavy rain continues to fall on much of the country.

Reports said at least 1,900 cities and villages have been flooded, "causing hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to Iranian water and agriculture infrastructures."
]]>
4/10/2019 3:34:08 PM
<![CDATA[Erdogan calls for annulment of Istanbul election]]>
Initial results show the main opposition Republican People’s Party narrowly won control of Turkey’s biggest city in the mayoral elections, seemingly bringing an end to the 25-year rule there by Erdogan’s AK Party and its Islamist predecessors.

Speaking to reporters on his plane, returning from a trip to Moscow this week, Erdogan said that regulations requiring that ballot box officials be civil servants had not been met everywhere, with regular workers placed in charge in some places.

“Our colleagues have established this. Naturally, all this casts doubt. If they take a sincere view, this will lead to annulment,” he said.

Any decision to annul the elections would rest with the High Election Board.

A senior AKP official said on Tuesday it would demand a new vote in Istanbul after its bid was rejected for a citywide recount of the March 31 election results after a series of recounts since the vote.

Erdogan said on Monday the local elections were marred by “organised crime” at ballot boxes in Istanbul. The loss of control in the city would be a setback for Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than 16 years.]]>
4/10/2019 3:28:30 PM
<![CDATA[Ivanka Trump praises Egypt’s efforts to empower women ]]>
This came during her meeting with President Sisi at his residence in Blair House in Washington, according to a statement issued by presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi.

The meeting tackled ways of women empowerment, especially in light of the White House's initiative entitled "Global Initiative for Economic Empowerment of Women", which aims at supporting the economic empowerment of women as an entry point for achieving social peace and promoting economic prosperity.

Trump’s advisor affirmed her keenness to promote consultation and coordination with Egypt especially in the field of women empowerment in conjunction with Egypt's presidency of the African Union, stressing her intention to visit Egypt soon to promote the initiative.

“We encourage and support these reforms and look forward to working with the Egyptian government to advance these efforts,” Ivanka Trump previously posted on her Twitter account.

On the Egyptian Women's Day, President Sisi announced seven decisions related to women empowerment, including adoption of laws that aim at protecting women’s rights, putting an end to demotic violence and tackling the issues of early marriage and deprivation of education and post-divorce rights.

Moreover, Sisi proposed establishing a fund to address the challenges faced by the Egyptian women after he reviewed with the health minister the possibility to screen and treat women nationwide for breast cancer.]]>
4/10/2019 3:10:39 PM
<![CDATA[Yemen: Life in a minefield]]>


Lahj has 15 directorates, with about 35 archeological sites dating back to the ancient Yemeni civilization, most notably the remains of ancient buildings and fortresses, the famous citadel of Al-Mokhatra and the fortress of AL-Hajar. The city is basically rural, and its population relies mainly on agriculture and raising sheep, so it was named the country of “vegetables and fruits”. Before it was attacked by Houthis it was an important barracks for Al-Qaeda. It was cleared recently, and now checkpoints and legitimate government forces are spread along the roads inside the governorate.



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The road from Aden to Lahj was not easy, and was fraught with dangers. On the one hand, there are the "sleeper cells". On the other hand, there are mines planted by Houthi militias everywhere in the Yemeni lands. After the militias were vanquished in Aden and a number of southern governorates, they planted mines heavily in the sites they were expelled from, leaving behind fields of death. Residents say Houthis and their allied forces have planted anti-vehicle mines and anti-personnel mines in Lahj and on the roads leading to it from other governorates. According to experts at Rasd Coalition for Monitoring Human Rights Violations Houthi planted more than 40 thousand mines in Aden, Dalea, Lahj, and Abyan, while the total number of mines removed from Yemen is 200 thousand. So far 226209 mines, explosive devices, and shells have been removed from the southern governorates and the western coast, where the explosions are concentrated, according to the National Demining Program of the Yemeni Cabinet.

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According to estimates by the Yemeni Ministry of Health, 3,400 cases require artificial limbs as a result of mines and missiles. The national demining program estimated the number of victims in the southern and western parts of the country at 1236, including 468 children, while there are 1884 injured, including 645 children.

Stories and tragedies of mine victims

We heard many sad stories of the victims of the mine disaster. According to Dr. Baum, a resident of Shabwa governorate, after the liberation of Behan directorate he had four friends working in minefields, and one day the mines exploded and they died together, next to each other. Upon the return of the residents of Al-Jahmalya and Tha'abat in Taiz to their homes after the governorate was liberated, landmines exploded while they were opening the doors to their homes and on the road leading to their homes. This caused deaths and injuries, and so far their homes are still deserted despite the liberation of the governorate.

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Abdul Wahid: “Why are they doing this to us?”

Among the victims we met was Abdul Wahid Qasem al-Wafi -11 years old- who lost both arms and one leg in a mine explosion near the family's home, leaving him unable to live his life normally. He spoke to us with tears in his eyes, "I went out with my grandmother one morning to help her with sheep herding in Nhm near my house. While I was chasing the sheep I stepped on a mine and it exploded cutting off half my leg, and when I fell another mine exploded cutting off both my the hands, and suddenly my whole body was bleeding."

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"Suddenly I realized that the Houthis took me to a hospital in Sana’a, they cut off the remains of my leg, but didn’t remove the shrapnel from my body. A month later I left this hospital and went to the military hospital in Marib and completed the treatment", Abdul Wahid said. "I am not in pain because of the wounds, but because I can’t write, play, or run like normal people. I wait for my mother to feed me”, he explained. He pointed out that at the King Salman Center an artificial foot was made for him, and he is now waiting for the artificial hands, and lots of other people are waiting as well. He continued: "I want to cover the looks of my artificial hands because other kids will be afraid of them. Even if they are not like normal hands I will cover them with the shirt and no one would know the difference."

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"The Houthi militias told my grandmother that she was a spy who provided information to the legitimacy, prevented her from leaving the house, and asked her that I join the recruits," Abdul Wahid said.


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At the end of his words, Abdul Wahid asked the Houthis: Why are you doing this to us?

Abdul Wahid is a case among 383 children affected by Houthi mines, along with 164 children killed by mines since the war started in 2015. According to statistics by Rasd Coalition for Monitoring Human Rights Violations, he is one of 75 children living in Marib governorate, who were disabled permanently because of the Houthi mines. Twenty nine children were also killed in Marib by mines since the outbreak of war there, according to official statistics in a report by the human rights office in the governorate.

Al-Munther faces his disability with a smile and hope

Al-Munther Mohammed, who is ten years old, decided not to surrender to what the Houthis did to him. He resisted despair with hope, and resisted pain with a smile. A mine injured him while playing with his friends outside his home; he lost his left leg, and some toes from the other leg. We approached him to know the details of his story; he said with a smile: "I know about Egypt and I love it. At first I was sad, but then I accepted what happened and I’m not sad any more. This is God’s will”. He continued: "Before the accident I loved to play. I wanted to grow up to become someone important, and to have lots of money to buy lots of toys. My mother told me that when I’m older I will buy toys. I heard about many kids in our area who were injured because of mines, I didn’t know how it looked, and how the injury happens. But after I was injured, I knew the mine is usually hidden."

Al-Munther insists on holding on to hope. He says, "I can work with only one leg. My mother told me she’ll get me an artificial leg; I’ll train to use it and I’ll be okay."

Mine is in garbage

Abdo Al-Rajhi, 10 years, lost his left leg and parts of his hands, but his story is different. He found the mine or the mine found him in the garbage. According to his doctor, Hayel Al-Mydani, “Abdo is from the town of Hays of Hodaidah . He is displaced with his mother and father in a village east of Al-Khoukha. The child took the mine from the trash in front of the house, carried it home without realizing its danger, and started playing with the mine with his hands until it exploded. He was hit by shrapnel in the right and left thighs, abdomen and arms. His mother was injured by shrapnel in the jaw. He was taken to the field hospital in Al-Khoukha, as there are no main hospitals in the area, there are only children and nutrition centers. We opened this hospital using our own resources, and we performed the necessary first aid for the child."



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Dr. Hayel continues: "What drew my attention in this child is that despite the seriousness of his injury, I heard him whispering to his mother: I am fine, do not be afraid."

With a slaughtered throat, intermittent breaths and fading energy, the child cried out, "Oh God, heal me, Oh God, heal my mother, destroy the Houthis, Mama .. Mama”. Then he lost consciousness and fainted.

Death under a tree

The stories of the victims are endless. Children were not the only ones hit by mines’ fire, but elders and women also had a share. Among them was Am Abdel-Aleem Mahmoud, who went to sit in the shade of a tree to catch his breath, but a mine exploded cutting his two legs. He told us about the details: "I went out one afternoon to buy some essential medicines, and it was a long tiring walk, because the sun was burning in the summer. I saw a tree and under it a stone, I walked towards it to rest from the heat and the sun, and when I was about to sit a mine exploded. Some kind people took me to the hospital; I walk up to find my legs were cut. It was a big shock."

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He added while crying, “I have no one to serve me, I am a man living alone and I was hardly able to earn my living. Now I am trying to find someone to buy me artificial legs, even if only one leg to help me move."


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Abdullah Mohammed Al-Saab fought with one foot

Abdullah Mohammed Al-Saab -who lost a leg in a mine explosion, but insisted on defending his homeland- recounts his story, "I am 21 years old, I was a student at the university and I was working to support my family which depended on me for their livelihood. When I first heard that the Houthis are attacking us, and that the country needs its youth, I didn’t hesitate and I and my brothers Al Mujahideen (the fighters) stood like one man, and we deterred the enemy’s attacks for many days, thank God. But many of us died and were injured."

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Abdullah continues, “Afterwards we attacked and controlled some Houthi sites, and later the Houthis blew up our house. One day, as I walked to the front, I stepped on a stone-shaped mine in the middle of the stones in the mountainous area. The injury was severe, and my right leg was amputated. I stayed in the hospital for three days, but I couldn’t stay more, and left going back to the front after three days of the accident. I participated with my brothers Al Mujahideen in the war with one leg."

“Then some kind person helped to marry, and I was glad that I got married. After the explosion of our house and after I lost my leg our situation –me and my family- became difficult without a livelihood. My wife gave birth to a baby a month and half ago, and the responsibility increased."

Dalila: A mine victim


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Yemeni women have borne a great deal of suffering because of the ongoing war. She is the mother of the martyr, the mother of the injured, and one of the victims of the mines as well. Dalila Abdo Mohammed Mokbel is one of the victims of mines planted by Houthis. She is in her twenties, but grief added to her age, and the war drew deep lines in her face that make you think she is an old woman. Dalila recites her story: "I am from Sabr el Muadem, from Al Shaqab region. Our region became a battlefield, so we had to move to another area. But due to the lack of income my family couldn’t continue living in the city. We were forced to return to our home in the area destroyed by rockets. At the time we did not know what was waiting for us; when you are in war, you do not guarantee your day."


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Dalila continued while crying: "One day, I went out to fetch water as usual, despite the great fear of the snipers stationed on top of the mountain where we lived (Sabra). We did not know that there were mines planted by the Houthis. I stepped on a mine while I was walking. I bled heavily, and sat for a while until I found someone to take me to hospital. I was shocked to know that my foot was amputated, so I was bedridden, but I was satisfied with what God destined for me. We were displaced to the city with my helpless father, who did not have any income. My brother was also suffering from heart valve disease. Our main income came from agricultural crops, but we could not reach the cultivated land because Houthis were concentrated there. Now we live in the city relying on benefactors. Sometimes we do not have the necessary daily sustenance. We suffer from pain, and forced displacement; most of my families are wounded. Some of them died with sniper shots or by missiles’ shrapnel."

Death in a minefield

During our trip to Lahj, we found one of the fields where a demining team was working. We got out of the car to talk to the team and to learn more about this disaster. The team supervisor, Fadl Ahmed, confirmed that the Houthis planted large sections of the Yemeni lands with mines. "There are two cars that exploded on this road because of the mines. One of them was carrying a family of two children, a father and a mother. Many young people lost limbs because of mine explosions because it is difficult to distinguish between the safe and mined roads, as there are no signs and people depend on those with experience with mined roads and areas,” he added.

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He explained that demining depends on a map of the fields, which the Houthis did not deliver, adding that it would take a well-trained team and a big budget to provide modern mine detectors. He explained that the most advanced mines could be detected using satellites, cars, reflective devices and others.

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Aly Al-Shaarey, coordinator of the National Mine Action Program in Yemen, pointed out that the mines are concentrated in the southern areas and the western coasts, which include Al-Makha, Zubab, Al-Kohkha, Hayes, Al-Wazeia, Al- Bahyda, Marib, Bab Al-Mandab, Shibwa (Asilan and Bihan), and Lahj especially Toor Al-Baha and Al-Modaraba directorates.

"There are parts of Al-Dalea, Hodeidah, Abyan, Lahj and Aden that are mine-affected. They have not been cleared. They are very dangerous; there is not enough equipment to deal with the mines. The UN is responsible for confronting this crisis because they have allocated large sums of money and gave it to the Houthis for demining. This is illogical, how do you expect those who planted the mines to remove them? They use it to plant more minefields. Also, the Houthis did not give the United Nations or the legitimate government a map of the locations of the mines, and the legitimate government is mandated to communicate with the United Nations in this regard,” he continued.

Conflicting numbers

Al-Shaarey, explained why the numbers concerning mines and their victims contradict, saying: "The total numbers of mine victims are still not accurately available, but some of them are enough to show us the atrocity of the crime. Between May 2015 and April 2016, landmines killed at least 18 people and injured more than 39 people in Taiz alone, according to the National Organization for Mine Action". He added, “There are significant challenges facing the work of survey teams, including weak resources."


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“As an example I am working depending on personal efforts, and I have not received a salary since 2015. There is no headquarters for the staff to develop accurate database, and we do not have the resources to estimate the number of victims."

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Al-Shaarey explained that the United Nations, represented by the Development Program, is providing assistance only within the emergency fuel program, food expenditures for the survey and clearance teams, and the teams of the Mine Action Center in Aden and Hadhramout. He noted that UNICEF funds mine awareness campaigns, the number of those targeted by the campaigns was 700,698, 566290 of which are school students and 655 activists were trained for awareness-raising.

"The role of the United Nations is negative," said Dr. Arafat Hamran, head of Rasd organization for rights, freedoms and human rights violations. He explain saying it was unable to compel the Houthi militia to stop planting mines. It did not pressure them to hand over mine maps. It even granted the militia $ 160 million, supposedly for a demining program without safeguards, or a local intermediary organization, as the United Nations does in its programs of this kind. This raised many questions concerning its appeasement of the militia, which is contrary to the values of the UN and its international covenants.

Eshraq Makhtari, vice president of the International Commission of Inquiry into Houthi crimes and mines, agreed with him, saying: “Granting amounts of money to the Houthis for demining is illogical. How would the Houthis commit themselves to demining, while they are the ones who planted the mines, and unfortunately they continue to plant them in remote and agricultural areas and main roads.

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Dr. Hamran confirmed that the Houthis had planted some 500,000 underground mines, 200,000 of which had been removed after considerable efforts by the National Army and the coalition forces under the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They played a key role because their removal required substantial funding, and Yemen is living in difficult economic conditions. Also, some 50,000 mines were planted along the Yemeni-Saudi border. Marine mines have also been planted close to the port of Hodeidah, threatening international navigation. He pointed out that the UAE has provided advanced mine sweeping vehicles that helped remove many of them. Mine engineers in Marib also invented a local demining structure and assisted the national army with mine clearance and destruction.

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He continued that according to data released by Rasd organization for Rights and Freedoms, nearly 2,000 people died of landmines, mostly children and women. He pointed out that there are innovative forms of mines, including football and stones, to deceive the viewer. Also 3700 Yemenis, mostly children and women, lost limbs, whether both feet or one foot or a palm, and a medical team in Marib, Taiz and Aden works on the rehabilitation of the injured, and the installation of prostheses to them. And here King Salman Center for Humanitarian work is providing great support for them.

Crisis exacerbated

Brigadier General Taher Hameed, head of the Military Engineering Division in Taiz and a de-mining expert, said that following Yemen's signing of the Mine Action Protocol along with a number of countries in Hague in 2012, mines appeared in the governorates of Abyan and Aden, killing civilians. The crisis exacerbated in 2015 with the siege of the Houthi militia of the Yemeni governorates. The militias began to plant their mines in every inch handed over to the legitimate forces. Today governorates such as Dalea, Jouf, Marib, Lahj and Abyan are suffering, but Taiz, Hajjah and the western coast from Hajjah north to Bab al-Mandab in Taiz in the south are the most affected. In Taiz for example there are 750 amputations and 350 deaths according to statistics by the International Human Rights Organization.

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Security challenges

During our tour in Lahj governorate we met with General Saleh Al-Sayyid, the security director in the governorate, who assured us that the governorate was able to achieve security stability to a large extent, after it was a base for al-Qaeda and ISIS. They were one of the arms of the Houthis, and killed 150 soldiers in one year. The governorate was previously besieged, and the governor and security officials were prevented from entering it. Al-Qaeda occupied the governorate building, and used it to as premises for conducting trials for citizens. He added that police buildings and prisons need to be rebuild after the destruction caused by Houthis and Al-Qaeda.

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Al Qaeda pockets

For his part, Major General Ahmed Abdullah Turki, governor of Lahj, said that security is currently stable in the governorate, although it is on the border with the Houthis from Jahbub and Khor Al-Amira area to Yafa area. There are battles in the areas of Tor Al-Baha, Karash, Al-Qubaitah, Al-Mudarabah and Ruwais. He pointed out that these battles will not end except with the implementation of the outputs of the national dialogue and UN resolution 2216. He added that Lahj was a barracks for the Houthis and Al Qaeda, and when the Houthis entered they took control of its directorates for 3 months. As for Al-Qaeda some pockets may still exist, but in general its dominance and presence in the governorate ended.


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The governor stressed that had it not been for the role of the Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy in Yemen, all these victories would have not happened. He added: “They have made great efforts, and the Yemeni blood mixed with the Arab blood. Those who deny that are ungrateful. They supported us with weapons, and securing the salaries and pensions of citizens. They also made developmental efforts and reconstructed roads.

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He continued: "We receive part of the aid coming to Yemen from the coalition countries, primarily the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and some international organizations, particularly the UAE Red Crescent and the King Salman Center. We receive monthly relief materials for the displaced in the areas of Karash, AL-Qubaytah, Al-Wazeaya, and the western coast of Hees. In light of the lack of resources in the governorate, relief represents 50% of our needs. But we are aware that the burden is great. The coalition countries provide aid to Yemenis who are under the control of Houthis in Saada, Hajja, Hodeidah and others."

Checkpoints

We toured the streets to observe the reality of the security situation ourselves. We found several checkpoints, especially at the entrances to the governorate. We approached one of these points, “Regal checkpoint”, and asked the commander of the checkpoint Mohamed al-Ahmadi about the procedures followed for security in the governorate. He told us that there are 3 checkpoints to secure the entrances of the governorate, the distance between each point and the other is approximately one and half kilometer, and every checkpoint is formed of 80 soldiers. He confirmed that security measures are tight, especially at entrances, ID cards are checked and vehicles are searched.


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Conscript Ahmed al-Asma'i said: "We have seized cars with explosives, TNT and shells, and there are weapons of the war remnants that are directed to the north to reach the Houthis, where there is a flourishing "business" of selling war remnants. After the pressure on the Houthis increased they started trading in war remnants to earn dollars. There are traders who facilitate smuggling from Lahj, and Dhamar to the north. Sometimes, shipments of mines and weapons are also seized while going to support Houthis in the areas that are not liberated yet. Two weeks ago, a large cargo was seized at Yafa checkpoint."

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Abdul Hameed Mohammed, one of the residents of the governorate, talks about the period in which Al-Qaeda existed in Lahj, "We have had a difficult period full of terror; continuous strikes and successive bombings that killed many people. The schools were irregular. We were unable to even go out to buy bread for our children. But now thanks God the conditions have improved, we feel there is stability and we hope that things will return to what it used to be. It is the country of vegetables and fruits as it is famous with agricultural. We want to improve the infrastructure, as everything was affected by the war."

“Kharaz” refugee camp

In the directorate of Mudaraba, one of Lahj's directorates, 8,000 African refugees live; most of them come from Somalia after crossing the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen. They are among thousands of refugees, some of whom were horribly killed during the trip, either drowning or suffocating due to overcrowding in the boats.

There is a small number of refugees in Sana'a, but they are mainly concentrated in Kharaz camp, which was established as a temporary solution for refugees from the Horn of Africa, until the end of the conflicts in their countries, especially Somalia. The camp is a number of buildings provided by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees; it includes schools and clinics and food rations are allocated to it.

Jawad Mohammed, the refugee education program's officer at Save the Children organization, said that in the forefront of the crisis experienced by camp residents is the extreme heat in the summer, the isolation imposed by the camp's geographic location in the mountains, and the lack of proper education.

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hanna. Hanna has taken a 30-day trip to monitor the suffering of the people during the war .



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4/10/2019 1:43:00 PM
<![CDATA[Yemen hospitals between ‘the scourge" of war, international organizationed ‘business’]]>
من أمام مستشفى الثورة

After strict security procedures, and difficulty in allowing us to take photographs, we visited Al-Gamhouria General Hospital and the Basheib military hospital in Aden. We toured inside the two hospitals. The first thing we noticed was the large number of patients visiting them with different health complaints. The hospitals are trying to meet the needs of the patients with their limited resources and incomplete equipment. They rebuilt themselves after being sabotaged by the war. They suffered from a shortage of medical supplies, medicines and equipment, but they insisted on survival. Between the hammer of war looting and the anvil of the aid organizations that do not meet all the needs, these hospitals struggle to continue fulfilling their duty towards their patients.

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Al-Gamhouria hospital queues

Queen Elizabeth the second did not know that the hospital, for which she laid the foundation stone 64 years ago, will become the theater of Houthi military operations. It is Al-Gamhouria General Hospital; Queen Elizabeth laid its foundation stone on 27 April 1954 during her visit to Aden for her honeymoon. She hoped the hospital would be a distinctive landmark in the governorate.

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أحد المرضى يشكو نقص أدوية القلب وارتفاع أثمانها بشكل أعجزه عن استكمال علاجه

Al-Gamhouria is one of the most important hospitals in Yemen, which was looted and bombarded by Houthis in 2015. After liberation, officials tried to reequip it to fulfill its required role, but there are still challenges. Patients gather at the gates and in the corridors waiting for their turn or hoping to find a cure for their diseases. Among those waiting we met Umm Abdullah, 60 years, holding an envelope filled with many papers. He told us: "I have been to many hospitals. I suffer from kidney failure, and can’t find the needed resources for dialysis available all the time. Treatment in private hospitals is very expensive and beyond what I can afford. We are poor. I come from Al-Brega for the dialysis sessions and have to wait for hours and in the end I sometimes leave without having my session. My daughter also suffers from a heart condition, but her medicine is not available, and even if it’s available the poor like us can’t get it easily.”




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“The medicine is not available," is what Zaynab, a mother of three children who suffers from cancer and needs chemotherapy, told us when we first met her. She rushed to talk to us hoping that we can help her find the cure for her pain. She described what she suffers from, saying, “I can’t sleep at night because of the pain. The treatment is not available. We come to the hospital and they help us as much as they can. But the chemotherapy is not available. I have 3 children and their father died in the war with a Houthi shell. I don’t work, but we sometimes receive subsidies from charitable organizations. Sometimes we can get a food basket once a week which is only one meal. We spend days hungry. Our conditions are worse because of my illness. I come to this hospital asking for treatment, and they refer me to other centers, but I don’t find the treatment there. I have to return here, but I still don’t find the treatment."


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Fatma Mohammed, a patient at Al-Gamhouria Hospital, told us, “I am from Lahj and I came to Aden to receive treatment. Sometimes I come with my 8 years daughter, but we do not find the treatment, so we leave and come back. Treatment in private hospitals is expensive and we can’t afford it. Treatment here is rarely available, but we have patience and we are thankful to God that the hospitals are now open. During the war we couldn’t find a place to go, and when the Houthis were in control no one was able to come out of his house. There were two solutions, either you resort to herbal therapy or you die. The Houthis besieged the city and the roads. We used to witness our neighbors dying because we don’t have hospitals. Houthis controlled all of them. It is very difficult to leave the governorate to go to Aden. They only allow very severe cases to leave the governorate for treatment."



مريضة من لحج تحكى عن فترة حصار الحوثى لهم وكيف كان يمنعون من الذهاب للمستشفيات حتى أن بعض الأهالى توفوا

Broken devices and lack of oxygen

We left Zaynab and the queues of patients. Dr. Nasser Al-Markhi, head of the operations department, took us in a tour in the hospital departments to see the operating rooms. The operating rooms are not different from the normal rooms, as they have weak resources; the equipment is broken and rusty since the war has begun, and fixing them requires huge amounts of money. Patients are being operated on collapsing beds, and the number of beds is very limited compared to the huge number of patients. Doctors have only simple surgical instruments that they use to try to save patients' lives.


مسئول التمريض بمستشفى الثورة توضح الصعوبات التى يواجهها المستشفى فى ظل الحوثى




من داخل مستشفى الثورة فى محافظة تعز


Dr. Naser explained that there are urgent needs, including surgery requirements, such as anesthetics, surgical threads, and surgical tools. He added, “We perform 20 to 30 surgeries daily, including serious cases caused by mines, rockets, mortars, and sniper bullets. Most cases come from the “security belt” front on the western coast. The most difficult case was that of a young man who was shot by a missile and he came to us with his bottom half stuck to the rocket. We face many difficult cases; we contacted international relief organizations working in Yemen to help us, but they did not respond.”

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"We have a severe shortage of Ventilators, oxygen and anesthetics. Also and the capacity of the beds is not enough. There are cases that we cannot receive because there are no places. We have been demanding an increase in the number of beds, but to no avail”, Eshraq Gameel, supervisor of the intensive care department, said.

Continuous Suffering

Dr. Ahmed Salem al-Jarba, Hospital Director, explained that this is the main hospital in Aden and serves five neighboring governorates. “We receive between 20 and 30 injured daily. Since the beginning of the war we receive annually from 1,600 to 1,800 injured, and the number of surgeries increased since 2015. Last year alone we performed about 11,330 surgeries; the largest proportion—around 60 percent—of the total number of operations being emergency operations,” he added.


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Al-Jarba pointed out that Houthis transformed the health sector buildings and hospitals into military barracks. They targeted health centers, medical staffs, ambulances and paramedics, destroying 153 health facilities. Diseases and epidemics such as cholera and malaria spread in areas under their control, due to the damage in infrastructures which lead to lack of clean water and sanitation. Work stopped in Al-Gamhouria hospital from April to August 2015, and part of the hospital was destroyed and the other part was looted. After liberation we tried to reform it with the help of coalition forces and UAE Red Crescent, and without this aid, we would not have reopened the hospital.

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"We are forced to work 24 hours a day and sometimes 60 injured arrive at the same time. In this case we stop receiving non-emergency cases. We only have 460 beds," he said, adding that there are contributions from international institutions and support from the King Salman Center for Relief and UAE Red Crescent.

“We still need modern equipment, for example we lack MRI equipment, CT scan, advanced devices in the field of surgery, and equipment for examination in medical laboratories,” Al-Jarba added.

Dr. Jarba explained that part of the medicine is provided by the government and another part comes from relief aid. However, there are basic needs that are not met by relief organizations such as anesthetics. He pointed out that the Yemeni Central Relief Committee distributes medicine. Each hospital gets a share regardless of the different needs. "We place high hopes on the King Salman Center, and the UAE Red Crescent as they provide great support to the health sector,” he added.

Dr. Jarba assessed the work of international organizations in Yemen, saying: "We are sad because they are not honest in conveying reality. There are a lot of exaggerations. For example, they are getting loans and lots of support to face cholera and they are telling the world that Yemen is infected, although the number of cases has not been so huge. The total number of cases treated here in the center of Aden is only 4460, a very small number compared to what these organizations declare. The rest were cases of watery diarrhea only. This center was closed because it is no longer needed, and yet these organizations still claim to the world that Yemeni people are suffering from cholera epidemic."

He noted that among these organizations are the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, adding, "They are not only falsifying statistics, but they are creating diseases that do not exist in reality to get million dollars in aid."

He revealed that the funds of these organizations are directed to trucks that spray mosquitoes, which only pushes it from one place to another without treating the disease or ending the crisis. Funds allocated for the treatment of diseases and for projects such as dengue fever control and fighting Malaya, are wasted, and 35 percent of the budget of these organizations goes to administrative expenses.

He added: "Their projects do not address the reality of Yemeni patients or the needs of hospitals. They impose grants and assistance on hospitals without consultation with us or attention to our demands. For example recently a delegation from the World Health Organization visited us to install solar panels on top of the dialysis center, after entering a global tender in this regard, although we do not need it”. Dr. Jarba called on donor countries to directly supervise the quality of the projects being implemented and the disbursement of financial resources.

Basheib hospital faces problems

Basheib Military Hospital in Al-Tawahi directorate receives the highest number of injured from the front. The director of the hospital, Salem Hassan al-Attas, told us the details of the problems the hospital faced during the Houthi siege of the area. He pointed out that Houthis used the hospital as a military barracks and prevented all supplies while the number of injured from the fronts was doubled.


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He continued, “We were relying on the aid of the popular resistance by sea, and for fear of the lives of the injured we helped them to flee using boats to Brega. Houthis would kill any injured person they catch without mercy. Some did not endure the hardship of the trip and died during attempts to run away. The militias caught some injured young men while being transformed by hospital cars, killed some of them and took some as captives. They also attacked the hospital several times, destroyed all the equipment and generators, stole ambulances and searched for the injured and the members of the resistance. Also if they find patients they would take them. Then the hospital was closed until liberation and we opened a field hospital in Al-Mansoura area."


Dr. Salem talked about the hospital’s capacity, saying, "We continue to receive injured people from the fronts. Since the liberation of Aden till now, we have been working on restructuring the hospital. We have built some buildings and some parts are still being repaired. We have provided some equipment as much as we can because we are a governorate and the conditions are much better. Now we have 150 beds, and the number will rise to 360 beds after the reconstruction is finished. But there are still some needs such as a heart center and a radiology center because the Houthis destroyed the radiology devices, and the cost of a device now is 350 thousand dollars. There are some medicines that we need and also ambulances. We rely on the support of the state more than the relief organizations. We requested ambulances from some organizations, and we await the response."

Dr. Salem pointed out that there is also the crisis of irregular salaries of doctors and many are working for free, because of the human commitment, as Yemen is in a war condition. He stressed that international organizations are making strong propaganda claiming that there is a spread of some pandemics to obtain grants. This propaganda is repeated in Western media. He continued, “We are surprised by the reports that are presented, while they are sometimes different from reality."


International organizations deny

In his response to the accusations against his organization, the head of health operations at the World Health Organization (WHO) office in Aden, Dr. Omar Zain, denied the validity of the accusations that (WHO) claims the existence of diseases that do not in reality exist to get money from donors. He stressed that (WHO) is an international organization and not a personal one. He added that if it not been were not for the intervention of the organization, the cholera would have increased in Yemen. He pointed out that there is a mechanism to control the disbursements of donors’ money through an independent supervisor between the organization and the donor.

He referred to the continuation of agreements related to cholera, despite the decline in the infection rate, saying: “First it is the donor who determines the health program in which the money is to be spend, either for primary services, hospital support or structural support of the health system. Secondly we directed big support to address this epidemic when it was widespread. We did that through opening treatment centers and support hospitals. We cannot completely stop allocating budgets for the epidemic, as there is still the possibility of its return since the causes of the disease are present. The rainy season is about to come, which helps in the transmission and spread of the epidemic. Also, more than 50 percent of the population does not get clean water, and we also have sewage problems and problems because of the overcrowding of the displaced,"

On the programs dedicated to malaria and dengue fever, Dr. Zein said, “It is not true that it these programs are directed to awareness and training only, but there are also laboratory tests for the infected to monitor the infection rates, and the spray the impact of the remaining for 3 months, and there is a therapeutic part of the injured, both endemic diseases appear according to seasons, To another in Yemen according to the mosquito carrier, and in any case we need a proactive plan for any new pandemic of the epidemic."

He talked about the lack of some necessary devices and medicines such as anesthetics, and the low level of readiness of operating rooms, saying: "We do not deny that there is a shortage of equipment, but hospitals’ needs are huge, and there is no entity in the world that can cover all of them, even in developed countries; donors cannot cover all the needs of hospitals."

He added that there is a new program implemented by the World Bank this year, in cooperation with the legitimate government. The program includes support for hospitals in directorates, especially those serving more than one directorate. The program is implemented with the participation of hospitals’ representatives, who presented their requests.

UNICEF, through its office in Aden, confirmed that it is providing support through health, education, water, sanitation, hygiene and protection programs. It explained to Egypt Today that in 2017, in cooperation with the Ministries of Education and Health, it had trained 6,000 teachers to implement activities in response to the cholera outbreak in schools. The activities target 2.4 million students. UNICEF also provided 6.8 million people with water and sanitation services.

UNICEF added that the organization contributed to the second national polio campaign, and the receiving of vaccines continued through 2940 health centers in Yemen. More than 404,400 children benefited from psychological support services and the organization supported 1.4 million children in Yemen through the rehabilitation of schools.

The UNICEF office continued that Yemenis suffer -because of the ongoing conflict- of severe shortages of humanitarian, basic and service items in the areas of sanitation, water, education and health. More than half of Yemen's population does not have access to safe water, 11 percent of schools are destroyed or out of service, 25 percent of the students are out of schools. There are more than one million people suffering from cholera, in addition to outbreaks of diphtheria, acute watery diarrhea. There are also more than 1.8 million severely malnourished children. The office pointed out that there are programs to meet these humanitarian needs.



جانب من الحوار مع مدير مستشفى باصهيب يشرح اوضاع القطاع الصحى

The organization confirmed that it has a permanent presence in five offices throughout Yemen. It conducts regular visits to its projects’ sites. It also has a network of local partners and regular monitoring mechanisms to deliver humanitarian assistance on a daily basis, including the use of independent third-party monitoring throughout the country.

Concerning the volume of aid directed to Yemenis, the organization revealed, “In 2017, the annual needs were estimated at $339 million, 61 percent of this amount was received, and in 2018 UNICEF needs an estimated $350 million, and 5 percent of this amount was received so far."


من داخل مستشفى الثورة فى محافظة تعز

People complained that the organization is dealing with the Houthi side in delivering aid to the beneficiaries, because Houthis are not reliable. They add that this is clear as children die of starvation in different regions as in Hodaidah. The organization responded saying that it works in Yemen to secure the needs of children and to deliver services to them wherever they are regardless of the side in control in the regions they deliver aid to.

Injured and sick people talk about their suffering

Inside the Basheib hospital we spoke with Ahmed El-Asawi, an emergency battalion soldier who was injured by shrapnel in the muscles, back and thigh along with 35 soldiers, in the bombing of the anti-terrorism center in Aden in the region of Guldemir. He said, "We were sitting in our shift as we do every day in front of the center, and a car was parking in the vicinity of the center. We did not expect it was a booby trap and suddenly it exploded, and then a second car came quickly and also exploded. Terrorist bombings often happen in the governorate, but this is the first time I live one myself."

من داخل مستشفى الثورة بتعز

He added that doctors are trying to provide what they can but medicines and painkillers are lacking.

"We were gathered to demand our unpaid salaries," said Abdel-Aleem Mohsen of the Presidential Guard, who was wounded in the same accident. "In the meantime, a car exploded and a second car exploded after five seconds in the middle of the group of people standing there. We crawled on the ground to find someone to save us; bodies of my colleagues were next to me, and injured people were bleeding, then I lost consciousness."

Munif Mohammed Nassif, one of those who were injured in the terrorist attack, showed us a fragment extracted from his body, saying: “I was injured in the spinal cord, and unfortunately there are not enough resources for my treatment here. The explosion resulted in shrapnel and gunpowder; all flew in our faces that we could not see, and then fire broke out. I wish there could be a treatment for me, so I can be well and healthy as before."

Colonel Mohammed Hussein, who was wounded in the war, said: “We were wounded in the Al-Qal'a area in Ma'ala. We were a group in the front, and the Houthis attacked us with a tank and RPGs. My eyes were hurt." He explained that in this period, five committees were established to follow up the war zones to record their needs and provide them. He continued, “I say to Houthis: Fear God and leave people without hurting them. Yemenis have suffered enough."

"We suffered from the Houthis' siege. For several days we could not go out even to buy bread. Our children could not go to schools. When someone is sick, he is either treated with the available resources in the house, or he dies,” said Khalil al-Saadi, one of the people we met at the hospital. He also talked about his suffering to get cardiovascular drugs. He confirmed that he fainted several times, and almost died because he had no medicine and the hospital had limited capabilities.

"We need cardiac cauterization equipment, but we do not have it. I suffer from a heart condition, and they refer me to a private hospital, which is very expensive, so I have to stay in the house without treatment," said Mohammed A-Ghouri, a patient at the hospital.



أحد المعالجين فى مستشفى الثورة

Al Thawra hospital in Taiz

The health situation in Taiz governorate is different from the rest of Yemen. The health sector has been destroyed by 80 percent, according to the governorate data. It has only 4 hospitals and one medical staff. According to the governor, after the Houthi destruction, only three hospitals remained, the most important of which is Al-Thawra hospital. We found that this hospital has fewer capabilities than others, and part of it is destroyed by the Houthi bombing.

مستشفى الثورة بتعز تحت القصف العشوائى للحوثيين


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أحد الجرحى داخل مستشفى الثورة بتعز


Also, the intensive care unit is a cement building outside the hospital building. We entered the intensive care and found patients sleeping in the hospital corridors. The beds are stacked in the rooms with no air conditioners for ventilation. We approached one of the patients, who told us that his name was Muhammad Abdullah, and he was injured in the front. He added that he has been treated for more than months without any progress. He is injured in the leg and needs many surgeries, but Al Thawra hospital is not equipped for them, in addition to the lack of required drugs and sedatives. One of the doctors told us, "Many soldiers and civilians die in the emergency room because of the lack of operating rooms, the lack of mechanisms to rescue them, and the lack of medicines."

Deteriorated condition in Ibn Khaldun in Lahj

In Lahj governorate, there is a hospital named Ibn Khaldun; a simple building from the outside. When we entered, we noticed the lack of ventilation devices and the limited number of beds. You could hardly find medical equipment, which reflects a deteriorated health situation in Lahj. This was confirmed by a number of citizens with whom we met in the street. "We either find smuggled bad quality medicines, or expensive medicines that the ordinary citizens cannot afford," Abdel Basset Hashmi told us.

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معاناة الناس بعد الحرب

Sana'a hospitals are weeping

The health situation in Sana'a is the worst, according to a doctor who works in a hospital in Sana'a, who refused to be named, fearing the brutality of the Houthis. He stressed that the hospitals have become mere buildings without services, cadres or medical devices, as the Houthis took over the budget and saved the remaining part for their soldiers. As for the civilian and children patients, they have no share in the medical service. There are increasing numbers of deaths, and hospitals cannot accommodate the huge number of casualties coming from the fronts. He referred to the outbreak of epidemics due to the accumulation of garbage and contaminated water and the lack of medicines.


المحررة ممسكة بإحدى الشظايا المستخرجة من جسد أحد الجرحى فى مستشفى باصهيب

Abdel Wahed Saif, one of the patients who received treatment in Sana'a and then managed to travel to Aden, says: “I lost my leg due to negligence in Sana'a hospitals. I was shot, and I stayed for a week without treatment, lying on the ground in the hospital. Then I felt as if knives were cutting my leg. I was screaming of pain. As a result my leg was amputated, and I came to Aden to continue my treatment.”

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hanna. Hanna has taken a 30-day trip to monitor the suffering of the people in Yemen during the war.



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4/10/2019 1:41:00 PM
<![CDATA[Parl’t speaker urges comprehensive look at proposed amendments]]>
If the amendments are approved, presidential terms in general will be extended to six years instead of four for each of the two terms, while the incumbent president will be allowed to run for a third exceptional term. Also, heads of the judicial bodies would be appointed by the president.

He added in a session on Tuesday that there are many other proposals that have a positive impact on the parliamentary life and the interests of the homeland and citizens, including women empowerment, and continuing to give some sectors of people a proper representation in the parliamentary councils.

Abdel Aal mentioned some of the proposed amendments that he sees as positive, including the creation of the post of vice president, and bringing back the Shura Council that was formerly dissolved.

He also asserted that all the proposed constitutional amendments aim to make constitutional and political reform, and re-formulate the relationship between the authorities, especially the relations linking the judicial authority with other authorities.


Abdel Aal said that the Egyptian House has not yet finalized the wording of the proposed constitutional amendments, expecting that the final outcome would satisfy the public and all the Parliament members.

This came after MP Gamal al-Sherif voiced rejection of the proposed amendments, saying that Egyptians, following the two revolutions in 2011 and 2013, looked forward to having presidents who would rule the country for a specific term.

Regarding the amendment of Article 200 of the Constitution related to the powers granted to the Armed Forces to preserve the “civil” country, Sherif described the wording as “vague and critical” as it does not state the procedures the army can take to achieve that goal.

The speaker said that the parliament has started discussing the procedures of the amendments since February according to precise and specific procedures in the constitution, affirming that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi did not interfere by any means in the constitutional amendments.

"I have repeatedly said … that the president did not intervene in the amendments and did not request them, but [they] were a pure parliamentary seedling … that began since the first year of the House of Representatives’ [term],” the speaker said.]]>
4/10/2019 11:33:04 AM
<![CDATA[Parliamentarians clarify importance of constitutional amendments in UAE]]>
In their second guidance tour, the two parliamentarians displayed proposed constitutional articles and reasons for amending them, calling on the Egyptian expatriates in the UAE to participate in the constitutional referendum.

“Egypt is in need of the proposed constitutional amendments that will benefit Egyptians inside and outside the country. It is totally up to you; choose whatever you believe is beneficial to Egypt,” Sallab said to the Egyptian community in the UAE.

During the meeting, the Egyptian party displayed the achievements and projects implemented over the last 4 years in Egypt, and reviewed Egypt’s efforts to improve Egyptian expatriates’ conditions.

That was followed by an open discussion where the Egyptian community offered all their suggestions, proposed solutions for their problems and talked about their expectations for Egypt’s future.

Hussein stressed the importance of participating in the constitutional referendum to keep Egypt safe and continue achieving progress. The parliamentarian also lauded the Egyptians' national sense and their insistence to take part in the constitutional referendum.

Sallab further elaborated that the Egyptian Parliament held over the last two weeks a lot of meetings discussing the feasibility to amend some articles of the Constitution in the presence of all political forces, civil society organizations and opponents.

The Nation’s Future Party honored Poet Heba al Faki, one of the Egyptians in UAE, who reached the finals of Prince of Poets Program.
]]>
4/9/2019 10:34:32 PM
<![CDATA[Interrogations in Wahat lawsuit revealed ]]>
The defendants include 37 who are being prosecuted in custody, 10 fugitives, and six who were released under precautionary conditions.

A National Security officer said that he was assigned along with others to investigate the case, particularly the spheres linked to the dead terrorist leader, Emad el-Din Ahmed Abdel Hamid, AKA Sheikh Hatem.

Investigations indicated that the aforementioned terrorist founded a terror cell called “Tyrants Deterrents Battalions” that is affiliated with Libya’s Islamic Fateh militias linked with Al Qaeda. Through investigations, the officer identified 18 elements tasked by the dead leader to recruit others.

The officer mentioned two names of the 18. Those are Osama Bahr Ahmed nicknamed Youssef, and Nader Abdel Razek Kotb. Both are members of the cell. The former recruited 17 who are Ramez Abdel Fatah Ibrahim, Hazem Hanafy Ahmed, Ahmed Abdel Moneim Ibrahim, Alaa El Din Ibrahim, Mohamed Salah El Sayed, Ayman El Sayed Ahmed, Abdel Rahman Mohamed Zidan, Yasser Ibrahim Fathy, Sherif Kamal El Din, Mohamed Diaa El Din, Ahmed Magdy Abdel Hamid, Hussein Zafer Mohsen, and Mohamed Abdel Moneim El Khodeiry.

Sheikh Hatem was able to get in contact with members of his cell through Instagram and Telegram applications using coded messages. In that way, the leader was able to hold meetings with them avoiding security surveillance.

Sheikh Hatem set up a training campaign for terrorist elements in desert areas in 6th of October City near Al Fayoum road. Those were trained to use arms, and fight in guerrilla wars. The cell’s goal was targeting ambushes, checkpoints, and deployments with the aim of terrorizing citizens, suspending the constitution, and compromising security.

Sheikh Hamed started executing hostile plans as the cell was observing public institutions, security deployments, worship places, officers, soldiers, and judges. Some of those include the Israeli Embassy and the house of the Israeli ambassador, the convoy of former acting President Adly Mansour, former Minister of Justice Ahmed al-Zend, the security deployment stationed in front of former chief of Military Police Hamdy Badin, the Russian Cultural Center, Saint George Jewelry Shop, Banque Misr branch in Sadat City, and the security deployments stationed in front of Al Qoba Castle, Rabaa El Adaweya Mosque, Carrefour, Al Sayeda Al Azraa Church in Nasr City and 26th of July Axis.

Captain Mohamed al-Hayes, officer at October Second Police Department, said that he was among civil police forces executing a mission in Bahareya Oasis to arrest terrorists in hideouts. Once the forces arrived in a site lying between two hills, they were received by a barrage of bullets resulting in the death of a large number of officers. Hayes was abducted but later freed through an operation launched by the Armed Forces and covered by the Air Force.

The National Security Sector at the Ministry of Interior revealed in a report the value and details of arms, ammunition, and supplies that went missing in the mission. Those are worth LE133,870 while vehicles losses are in the value of LE48,500. The Central Security Sector at the ministry announced that Walkie-Talkie losses are estimated at LE20,253.

Defendant Mostafa Mahmoud Mohamed, student at Delta Academy for Computer Science and Information Systems, said he was working while studying to help his family with living expenses. “I have never been interested in politics. In 2015, I was charged with being a member of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood and the acquisition of fireworks to be used in violence,” Mohamed said.

The defendant, who is currently charged with providing logistics support to the cell, adds, “I met a girl called Sara Essam Abdel Aziz Morad. Her father was a member of the brotherhood so she used to take part in the group’s protests in Abou Zaabal. As I used to love her and wanted to see her, I participated in three protests with her in 2015.”

“Protesters used to chant ‘Down with the Military Rule’ but I have never chanted with them. I got arrested in 2015 and was sentenced to two months in prison but the Public Prosecution appealed,” Mohamed said.

When the security forces interrogated him about some terrorists, Mohamed said that he admitted those terrorists used to participate in rallies held by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, and organized several protests in Abou Zaabal village located in Qalyoubeya governorate.”

Additional reporting by

Noha El Tawil


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4/9/2019 6:35:22 PM
<![CDATA[LNA Air Forces Commander: It's our duty to keep Libyan airports safe]]>
Below is the statement by the commander:

"The militias that govern Tripoli had opted the use of Mitiga airport as a safe heaven and used it and still using it for military purposes that continue to treat the safety of the civilian operations to and from this airport.

LNAAF had tried with all possible means to prevent the militias from utilizing the Libyan air space and airports and to avoid using it in the current fighting at Tripoli suburbs between LNA and militias controlling Tripoli.

It came to our knowledge that the militias are forcing technicians to rectify a fighter jet in order to use it against our forces and that they recruited foreign pilots after the Libyan pilots refussed using those fighter jets against their own army.

That said, We had no option but to send them precautionary message that we can reach, stop and prevent them from using the airport in any military activities.

I would also stress that its within our duties to keep the Libyan airspace and the Libyan airports safe for civilian operations and we hereby call upon Libyan civilian flight operators to continue their normal opertaion to and from Mitiga airport."]]>
4/9/2019 4:28:03 PM
<![CDATA[What is behind Sisi, Trump’s Tuesday summit?]]>
Dalia Youssef, Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee member, said that the terrorism file will be discussed during the summit as it represents a priority to both states.

However, the two presidents are expected to also focus on regional issues, especially after forces loyal to Libya’s General Khalifa Haftar reportedly launched airstrikes against targets in Tripoli, Congress has approved a resolution ending U.S. military assistance for Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen, and early legislative elections are being held in Israel.

Developments in the Middle East also include the so-called Deal of the Century, and developments in Syria after the U.S. administration decided to withdraw its forces from the war-torn country.

Moreover, a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the visit, said that the two presidents will discuss security, economic reform and human rights in Egypt, Reuters reported.

The U.S. official said the two leaders would also discuss the development of civil society in Egypt and, in a nod to concerns of Vice President Mike Pence, its treatment of religious minorities, including Christians.

Asked whether the two presidents will discuss an alleged deal between Egypt and Russia, by which Egypt would purchase 20 Sukhoi SU-35 fighter jets, the official warned of such a deal, saying that the U.S. president may not be able to prevent sanctions from being imposed on those who do business with Russian defense sectors.

“Countries that engage in those purchases need to know that we are extremely limited in what we can do to mitigate,” the official said, noting that the United States had already faced similar situations with China, India and Turkey.

In an interview with TEN TV on Tuesday, political analyst Ahmed Maharem said that the summit between the Egyptian and U.S. presidents was not planned, adding that preparations started only two weeks ago. He affirmed that Sisi’s visit comes upon Trump’s invitation.

Palestinian cause, Washington’s peace plan

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, told officials in February at a Middle East Conference that the U.S. will present a Middle East peace plan after an Israeli general election on April 9.

During a session with some ministers at the conference in Warsaw, Kushner said that Israelis and Palestinians would have to compromise, according to the ministers.

In this regard, Tarek Fahmi, Cairo University’s professor of international relations, told Ankara-based Anadolu Agency that the time of the visit is critical and that regional issues will have the priority, adding that the Palestinian cause will be on top of the issues the two presidents will discuss.

The visit “will witness a final reading of the American settlement process in the region,” Fahmi said, according to the agency.

Fahmi said that Cairo and Washington are expected to discuss three main points of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he said Egypt backs, unlike the U.S. administration. The points also include Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017, and Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights in March 2019.

Sisi, Pompeo

pic (2)
Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the former’s residence in Blair House in Washington – Press photo

Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the former’s residence in Blair House in Washington on the first day of his visit, presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said.

Sisi asserted Egypt’s firm stance on the need to reach a just and comprehensive solution that guarantees the rights of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of their independent state.

According to the statement, the two sides reviewed the current Palestinian conditions and means of reviving the long stymied Middle East peace process.

Pompeo expressed appreciation of the Egyptian efforts to contain the explosive situation in the Gaza Strip and prevent it from further escalation, saying he looks forward to continuing consultations between both sides regarding that matter in particular.

Sisi also stressed Egypt’s keenness on consolidating and deepening its longstanding strategic partnership with the US which he described as a cornerstone of maintaining Middle East security and stability.

Sisi also met with Kushner, where he affirmed the need for international action to end the humanitarian suffering in the occupied Palestinian lands, especially in the Gaza Strip.]]>
4/9/2019 3:59:12 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt supports efforts to realize fair Palestinian solution: Sisi]]>
This came during Sisi's meeting with White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner in Blair House in Washington D.C. on the first day of his current three-day visit to the United States, according to a statement issued by presidential spokesman Bassam Radi.

The two sides covered the latest developments of the Palestinian crisis and the Middle East peace process.

Also, Sisi said that any Palestinian settlement should preserve the inalienable rights of the Palestinians in a way that helps in formulating a new reality in the Middle East region,achieving the aspirations of all its peoples to enjoy stability, development, peace and security, the statement reported.

Sisiaffirmed the need for international action to end the humanitarian suffering in the occupied Palestinian lands, especially in the Gaza Strip.The president highlighted Egypt’s efforts to contain the deteriorating situation, alleviatethe suffering of the people of the Gaza enclave and realizea national reconciliation among differing Palestinian factions, Radi said.

Kushner asserted that the US givesspecial importance to consulting with Egypt on the Palestinian situation, given its important and influential position in the region and its expertise in dealing with all the parties concerned.
]]>
4/9/2019 1:42:59 PM
<![CDATA[Exclusive: UN-brokered Ghadames dialogue postponed due to escalation in Libya]]>
The six-party dialogue was due to convene mid-April but was postponed due to the ongoing military escalation between Libyan National Army, led by Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar and Libyan troops of the internationally-recognized government led by Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj since April 4.

"Libyan army's advance on Triploi aims to protect the constitution and the citizens' rights and freedoms and to secure their lives and properties," Saleh told Egypt Today.

Saleh accused the Tripoli-based government of impeding all courses that could lead to political solutions. He added that the military move against troops stationed in Tripoli came after the international community and Sarraj's government failed to release the prisoners from the capital.

"We welcome all Libyan military personnel to join the Libyan National Army but the problem boils down to the presence of some armed militias controlling other military groups in the western region of the country," Saleh said.

In March 2019, the special representative of the secretary-general and head of mission called for holding a dialogue gathering around 120 Libyans from different conflicting parts to reach a road map and put an end to the Libyan turmoil that sparked in 2011.

In his speech at a press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi called for putting an end to the ongoing conflict in Libya, said Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement on Saturday.

Libyan factions held talks in the Moroccan city of Skhirat as per a United Nations initiative and came up with the Libyan Political Agreement signed on December 17, 2015. Accordingly, an internationally recognized interim government was formed bearing the name the Government of National Accord, appointing Fayez al Sarraj as prime minister and being headquartered in the capital, Tripoli.

The Libyan National Army led by Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar and based in Tobruk has been controlling the eastern territories of the country. Haftar was appointed as commander of the army on March 2, 2015 by the Libyan House of Representatives.

The Libyan National Army recaptured the cities of Benghazi and Derna in 2017 and 2018 respectively through “Operation Dignity.” The operation was launched in 2014 and since then has regained control over many oil facilities and ports.]]>
4/9/2019 1:41:33 PM
<![CDATA[Houthi aggression leaves Aden 'Yemen eye' in tears]]>
منازل مهدمة فى خور مكسر





Aden was known for its resistance since the British occupation in 1839, until it became a target for Houthi guns since March 2015. Its streets are worm in its eight directorates, although the war has left its mark on every inch, leaving great destruction everywhere. But you can also sense the city's attempts to revive again since its liberation in July 2015 and its declaration as the interim capital of the legitimate government.



The port of Aden adds another important aspect to the city. It is the second largest natural port in the world and its location at Bab al-Mandab makes it a unique link between the east and the west and the Suez Canal. It is the most important natural port on the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. It controls the Red Sea route, and the surrounding of the port combines industrial, fishery, commercial and tourist activities.



Aden also has its touristic importance, with its warm beaches and beautiful resorts, as well as its importance as an industrial city, with its factories and production units, including Aden refinery, which was destroyed by the Houthis.

أحد شهود العيان على هجوم الحوثى على عدن يوضح ما فعله الحوثى بالمدنيين وتفجير السيارات

أحد شوارع عدن





Securing Aden airport

From the first moment of our arrival at Aden airport, Yemenis showered us with love. Egypt was the word that opened all doors and hearts and facilitated our mission inside Yemen. We found a delegation from the Presidential Palace at our reception welcoming the first Egyptian newspaper to the heart of events in Yemen since the outbreak of the crisis.



مطار عدن ينهض من جديد

من أمام بوابة مطار عدن الدولى

مطار عدن قبل إعادة ترميمه عقب قصف الحوثيين


الأمن يسترجع قبضته


We noticed the organized work and the maximum security procedures at the airport in cooperation with the UAE security forces. The airport was a center of clashes with the Houthis; its halls and observation decks were destroyed when the Houthis controlled it 2015. At that time they converted the airport to military barracks, and the airport was liberated in July of the same year. The legitimate government, in cooperation with coalition forces, rehabilitated it after its liberation.

ميناء دكات البيلات ـ التواهى

نازح

The inspection procedures continue in the area surrounding the airport, Kohor Maksar. In this area there are few shops; most of them are selling wood and furniture. There are some buildings that still bear traces of the war on their walls. On the road there are security guards but they do not wear uniform, which might make it difficult for passers-by to verify which entity the inspection teams belong to.

Resistance is carved on the walls

“One hand together to defeat terrorism”, “Terrorism will not defeat Aden”, "We will stand firm against terrorism”: These are sentences that have drawn our attention as they spread in banners all the way to the city. There are also pictures and banners of the names of martyrs of Houthi shells, or pictures of those who were kidnapped by Houthi militias. The walls also turned to paintings with statements condemning Houthi terrorism, and documenting the insistence of Yemenis to win the war. The statements in the areas of Krater and Kohor Maksar are not different from those on the walls of the University of Aden -destroyed by rocket shelling- with some additions that fit the university, its atmosphere and the enthusiasm of its youth. In the university we found statements as: “No retreat and no escape until the implementation of the resolution”, “We will revenge.. The Houthis are not one of us”, “You are worth thousand martyrs Yemen eye”, “All of us are one hand for you Yemen”, and “We will liberate you, no matter how late”.

الجدران كتب مفتوحة سجلت لحظات المقاومة

Displaced in Aden: Houthis kidnap children

We noticed that Am Hassan was sitting in the street. I went to him and knew that he is a displaced citizen from Hodaidah. He told me, "The coalition forces are all standing with us and we say thank you, if it were not for you, our country would be gone."

أحد نازحى الحديدة يروى انتهاكات الحوثيين لأهالى المدينة بعد سيطرتهم عليها


He talked about his suffering in Hodaidah, which is controlled by Houthis, "I fled to Aden two weeks ago after my family and I spent a period suffering since it was controlled by Houthis. I sent my children to Fateh region of Aden two years ago," he said.

أحد شهود العيان على هجوم الحوثى على عدن يوضح ما فعله الحوثى بالمدنيين وتفجير السيارات



"We never witnessed a war like this. They attack violently and take away children and young men from the streets for recruitment and use them as human shields in the war. They kill anyone who tries to escape from the front. This is why I sent my children to Aden."


مؤسسة التأمين فى كريتر


“We live in hunger, deprivation, and sickness. There is no milk for toddlers. Houthis are spread out in the streets there, hiding as qat vendors in order to watch people. Weapons are spread in the streets; it is easy for anyone to sell or buy them. Snipers are stationed on the roofs of buildings in the area of 7 July. They also steal relief supplies, and people suffer from famine, especially in the countryside, in particular the village of Ein Zabib, where there is no food or work. Even when there are some goods in the shops they are sold in double the prices. For example the price of one kilo of rice reached 500 rials instead of 300 and the price of one liter of oil is 800 rials. In the end I would like to tell the Houthis: what you’re doing is not good for Islam or for Muslims."

The traces of war on Yemenis’ faces

The scenes of Houthi destruction are not unseen in many areas of Aden: Krater, Al-Mualla, Al-Tawahi, Khor Maksar, Al-Mansoura, Dar Saad and Al Bureijah. In each of these areas we find destruction in houses whose owners were forced to emigrate internally or externally. The stories of the people of Aden documented the crimes of Houthis.




الحياة تجاور الموت على أرض اليمن

الحياة تجاور الموت فى عدن



In Kohor Maksar area we noticed the destroyed buildings. There is no family that does not have a martyr or a wounded person who was hurt by the war that suddenly hit Yemen. The most severe invasion of Khor Maksar killed more than 122 people and wounded 724 Yemenis from March to July 2015, according to the statistics of the Yemeni ministry of human rights.


محررة اليوم السابع مع أحد شهود العيان على مآسى هجوم الحوثيين بحى الأحمدى بمنطقة خور مكسر


A resident of the area, Mohammed Al-Yacatini, who was sitting in front of one of the destroyed buildings in the shade of a tree told me: “The war started from here, the Houthi missiles hit us; bombing the houses. Many people were martyred and the houses were used as military barracks, forcing the residents to migrate to rural areas and areas inside Aden, where the situation may be calmer like Al-Mansoura, leaving their homes whose walls were penetrated by sniper bullets, and some have been destroyed by Houthi missiles.

"During the war life almost stopped, without work or education. We could not go out to earn our daily living. We were trapped and the Houthis did not allow us to move," he said. "There are buildings that were burned to the ground. Khor Maksar, Al-Tawahi, Al-Areesh, and Krater were the most war-affected areas."

“On June 24, in the night we heard two explosions in the university housing and in Al-Ezabiya neighborhood. The explosions left more than 40 people killed and wounded”.

He concluded in a hopeful tone, "Aden has begun to take its first steps to improve, especially in electricity, repairing of some roads and better security conditions, but it still needs further development, especially in economic aspects."

Khor Maksar: The worst invasion

With a sporadic breath coming out of a pain-ridden chest because of his family members killed by the missiles, Mahdi Mohammad, said: “The beginning of the war in Aden was the missile that was launched on March 24th, 2015 to Maashiq palace after the president ran away from Sana'a. Another missile was fired on March 25, and then Houthi invasion of various regions of Aden started. The bereavement was when the indiscriminate shelling of the population started on March 25, 2015 in Al Saada neighborhood in Khor Maksar. The first shell killed 17 young people who were sitting in the street and then the shelling of the buildings continued.
أحد سكان خور مكسر يروى مآسى قصف الحوثى للمدنيين



أحد صور الدمار التى خلفها الحوثى بعدن


Mahadi continued: "Terror was dominating everyone and the children were terrified. Restaurants and shops selling daily needs were closed. Now the shops are back, though limited, but better than the days of war." Stressing his optimism because of the legitimate government, he said: “Aden became safer”.

Mall of Arabia

In Khor Maksar, we found a huge burned building, followed by several buildings. When we asked the residents of the area, we learned that it was a huge mall with a sign saying “Mall of Arabia”. It was hit by a Houthi missile. Yafea Al Ahmadi, a resident of the area, told us the details of this incident: “This shopping mall was the biggest mall after the compound of Aden. It was hit in 2015, a year after its establishment. It was a destination for many, generating millions of rials, and was attached to a hotel. The attack also destroyed a number of cars along with two restaurants around the mall."

ما خلفه الحوثى باليمن

مازالت المبانى السكنية بخور مكسر تحمل آثارالقصف الحوثى  وقد هجرها الأهالى

محررة اليوم السابع تتجول بشوارع عدن لرصد آثار خلفها الحوثى


Ahmed Al Rowaie, from Dar Saad and a member of the popular resistance in Aden, continued the story saying that his area witnessed the most horrific massacres carried out by the Houthis: the massacre of Dar Saad. He remembers the details of the massacre saying: "We were beaten and bombed from 14 to 16 July, 2015. It was the third day of Eid El fitr. They were chanting: “Death to America ..Death to Israel”. Around 100 people were killed and wounded, including many women and children, according to the estimates of the Yemeni Ministry of Human Right”. “We were trying to save the children, but Houthis were hitting anybody trying to rescue the injured”, he added.

Al Rowaie added: "Two months before the massacre we heard of Al-Tawahi massacre, which took place in May. The people who were hit by the mortar tried to flee from Al-Tawahi after Houthis entered it, but they spotted them escaping by boats from the port of Al-Tawahi and killed dozens of families including women, children and old people."

Bombing in the month of Ramadan

From “Dar Saad” to “Al Mansoura” we have monitored many violations and crimes committed against Yemenis. "We were bombed during the month of Ramadan in 2015. First they fired 4 shells. A day later they fired two shells, and they fell on blocks 4, 5 and 6", said Al-Zandi Mohammed, a resident of Al-Mansoura district. “Hours later, two shells fell on two houses, including a house owned by a person named Mohammed Ahmed Qassem. Many people died”, he added. Thirty persons died and 40 wounded, according to the statistics of the Yemeni Alliance to monitor human rights violations.

بصمات خراب تركها الحوثى فى شوارع اليمن



The sight of children and women was very sad, especially a child and his mother who were martyred holding each other. It was a difficult scene that made us hate Houthis more and more. It made us eager to fight them, and many of us volunteered in the popular resistance."

From the Brega region of Aden, Amran Mohammed, a Brega citizen, said, “In the period leading up to the liberation of Aden on July 17, 2015, the Houthis intensified their strikes with Katyusha rockets on the districts of Brega in Salah El-Deen, Kubgain, Al-Ghadir, Al-Brega, Code El-Nemer, Madeent el Shaab, and Beaar Ahmed.

Al Adha Mortar

The massacres against Yemenis during the holidays were not limited to Aden only. Yemeni human rights activist Hammoud Al-Deeb, president of the Yemeni Center for Human Rights and Development, asserts that the same technique was used is a horrendous war crime on the first day of Eid Al-Adha in September 24, 2015, two months after the Aden incident. Houthis dropped a Katyusha rocket on the livestock market in Tahrir Street in the center of the city of Taiz in conjunction with intense artillery shelling targeting several residential neighborhoods near the market, resulting in the deaths of 9 people and the injury of 35, all of them civilians, including 5 children, according to statistics of the Center.


Ammar: The rocket killed my friends on the night of Eid

The children of Yemen are the fuel of the war and its real heroes. In every region, the small, slender bodies bear the marks of violations against humanity. Ammar Jassem, who is not yet seven, tells his story. He went to play with his friends on the night of Eid Al-Fitr, and asked his father to prepare the Eid gift. His father replied, "Okay, Ammar, you will find it when you come back". Ammar adds innocently, "I went out to play alongside the house and there were lots of friends with me and also neighbors, including Ahmed, Ghassan, and Hussein, while Muhammad said I’ll come in a while. We made a circle and took two turns looking to the sky, and then Muhammad came with a ball in his hands saying it’s his father’s Eid gift. I told him my gift will be here shortly. My father promised me."

الطفل عمار يروى مأساة قصفه بصاروخ الحوثى ليلة العيد


He was silent for a short while, as though his innocence was wrestling with the memories, and then he continued: “After a while a missile fell on us killing 8 of my friends. Something heavy fell of us and I didn’t see anything. I wake up later in the hospital and asked about my friends and I was told they died. I know that the Houthis killed them."

عمار ووالده

His father continued, "On the last day of Ramadan, on the eve of Eid al-Fitr before sunset, Ammar asked me to go out with his friends to play in a nearby yard as usual to celebrate the feast. I promised to get him new clothes to celebrate the feast. Suddenly there was chaos and people running telling me your son and the kids were hit by a rocket. I didn’t believe them and I ran to the place to find bodies of 8 children, and my son with three wounded children between life and death. One of whom lost an eye. I ran to the hospital with my injured son, where they told me his right leg must be amputated. The problem was when he woke up and me and his mother didn’t know what to tell him about his leg. He asked and we told him Houthis hit you but I will have another similar leg implanted for you and you will be able to play, don’t worry."

الطفل عمار يروى مأساة قصفه بصاروخ الحوثى ليلة العيد


The father continues his sad story, “Ammar cried so much and was so sad. He started psychological treatment, but then we didn’t have enough money to buy the artificial leg. We went to King Salman Center for artificial limbs and they provided us with the leg and helped me return life to my son. But he is still psychologically devastated. He wakes up from his sleep yelling: The rocket, dad”.

I asked Ammar about his wish, and he answered with determination that far exceed his age, “to take revenge from the Houthis because I will never play again."

Continuous violations

Human rights violations since 2015 and during the Houthi siege of Aden were more than the destruction of buildings and displacement of citizens; they included several crimes. According to statistics of the Ministry of Human Rights in Yemen violations included killing, injury, arrest, enforced disappearance, torture and targeting of the population with mortars, Katyusha and mines. In Aden 2713 people were killed, including 100 children, and 190 women, while 17864 were injured. The total number of establishments hit was 17930. As for the enforced disappearance and the arrest they amounted to 17,899 cases. Even the humanitarian work was subjected to violations. Among them, the Higher Relief Committee monitors the prevention of entry of 65 relief vessels and 615 trucks, and the retention of 13,815 relief baskets, looting and selling them on the black market.

Dr. Mohammed Askar, Minister of Human Rights in Yemen, said that the humanitarian situation in Yemen in general was not good before the war; 60% of Yemenis were below the poverty line. After the war, the humanitarian situation deteriorated dramatically. The deterioration reached its peak in 2015, as 69% of the violations took place that year. The Houthis sought to turn schools and hospitals into operations’ centers and military barracks to become military targets for coalition aviation, so Houthis can accuse them of targeting and attacking residential areas.

"We certainly condemn any strikes against citizens, whether by Houthis or what sometimes mistakenly done by the coalition. Sometimes the coalition admits the mistakes; they have an assessment team for the news or information about the mistaken strikes. Accordingly the rules for determining the targets are reviewed. The evacuation and humanitarian operations cell of the alliance confirmed that there are 14,138 targets banned from targeting, most notably the camps, schools, locations of displaced persons, hospitals, and archaeological sites,” Askar added.

He refers to the formation of several committees by the Yemeni side competent in this regard; the Committee for compensation of those affected by these strikes, and the National Commission to investigate allegations of human rights violations. They investigated 17 thousand complaints, 3,000 of them were validated, and President Abed Rabbo ordered the prosecution and then the judiciary to investigate them.


إحدى بوابات قصر معاشيق  بمنطقة كريتر الذى قصف بصواريخ الحوثيين فى 2015



أحد صور الدمار التى خلفها الحوثى بعدن



أجزاء من قصر معاشيق


Askar adds, “We also have a team of senior experts of the Human Rights Council, which was established by Decree No. 36/31 of 2017. Its mission is to verify the human rights situation in the country and investigate the violations. Also recently a headquarters of the Ministry of Human Rights was established in Aden to receive complaints from citizens and spread awareness of international human rights law, which are all mechanisms to stand against any violations of any party against civilians."

Abdul Aziz al-Maflehi, the former governor of Aden and advisor to the Yemeni president, confirms that since the armed invasion by Houthis every sector in the governorate has been attacked. The militias committed war crimes and focused on destroying the infrastructure. They targeted the educational sector; some schools, colleges and the University of Aden were destroyed and some educational facilities were used as military centers or shelters for the displaced persons. On the other hand, Houthis used Katyusha rockets on June 19 and 27, 2015 to hit Aden refineries, which were famous for heavy oil production. They also hit the Museum of Aden and looted its monuments. The number of destroyed schools amounts to 153 schools, and the number of students who stopped their education during the war amounted to 17582 in primary education and 27290 in secondary education.

According to the statistics by the Yemeni Coalition for Monitoring Human Rights Violations, the war in Aden left 500,000 displaced and 194 forcibly disappeared.

Shelling University of Aden

One of the places that reflect the destruction caused by the war in Yemen is the University of Aden. It is the biggest university in Yemen, the first university in South Yemen, and was established before the unification, according to the head of the university, Dr. Al-Khudair Sour. The first of its colleges was "Higher Education", which was established in 1970. In 1975, the law on the establishment of the university was officially issued. It has 20 colleges, including 7 colleges within Aden, and the rest in the governorates of Lahj and Abyan. Sour pointed out that the university was the headquarters of the Yemeni People's Democratic Republic before the unification of Yemen.
بوابة جامعة عدن


من أمام جامعة عدن


Al-Khudair explained that the University was hit by Houthi bombardment in June 2015. The headquarters included seven educational centers for doctoral and master's students, in addition to the administrative buildings. He added that work was done to restore this educational edifice despite the lack of resources, thanks to the strength of the determination of the people of Aden, who made great sacrifices. He pointed out that this year will witness the reconstruction of buildings destroyed by the war.

Eyewitnesses on the incident

From inside the university, Hussain al-Mahmoudi spoke to us: "The Houthis bombed the engineering building and I lost my colleague Ammar and another colleague. We were preparing to graduate. The truth is that we have lived through horrific moments. Study stopped at the university and we fled from Khor Maksar because the attacks were severe. But thanks God life returned to what it was before the war."

من داخل جامعة عدن

منازل تحمل بصمات الحوثيين



Abd al-Fattah Farid, a resident of the university area and an eyewitness to the events, described the bombing of the university as "horrific". He explained that the Houthis used it as a military barrack, a storage place for weapons and a platform for firing rockets into other areas. Clashes between the resistance and the Houthis took place inside the university. The students turned into popular resistance heroes. School stopped, and then they fired Katyusha rockets as they tried to control the place.


من داخل جامعة عدن ..أحد شهود العيان يروى تفاصيل تدمير الحوثيين لأعرق جامعات اليمن


Al-Tawahi tragedy

"The sea swallowed 20 families from Al-Tawahi in moments .. there are some bodies still in the sea," is a phrase that is repeated by the people of Aden, whom we met, and this pushed us to go to Al-Tawahi Directorate to take a closer look to the scene of the bloody incident.
ميناء التواهى

آثار جريمة قصف الاسر النازحة بالتواهى

أثناء دفن جثث الضحايا وقت وقوع الحادث

One of the residents guided us to the port of "Dkatt Al Baylat” or Al-Tawahi port which witnessed the worst crime committed by Houthis in Aden. Inside the port we met with Adel Harbi, one of the workers in the Department of Tourist Guidance and a witness to the incident. He told us that the port was established in 1850 when Aden was named a free zone, and the British abandoned the old port of Sirah and thought of establishing another port with better facilities.

المنطقة التى أطلق منها الحوثيون القذية على الميناء

الموقع الذى اطلق منه الحوثى قذائفه ليقتل الأسر الفارة من بطشه

الميناء

بقايا ملابس ضحايا ضربة التواهى



أحد ضحايا التواهى


He spoke about the accident that happened in the port, saying, “After the Houthis killed the commander of the fourth military zone, Aly Nasser Hadi, they moved from al-Ma'ala to Al-Tawahi. The legitimate forces gathered in the camps here. Since Houthis entered the people began to gather every day in groups. The boats took them to Brega and Mansoura to escape Houthis’ cannons. On Wednesday, 6 May, at exactly 10 am, they hit the port from Dakkat al-Bakari area opposite to it with four mortar shells. The first one hit the port, in which the residents gathered. The people were injured and others who were on the boat drowned. Three other shells were thrown into the sea. This was during the time when the families rode the boats with their children. They did not carry weapons or anything to protect them. They only carried their children after Houthis surrounded the area. During their presence in the sea on small boats taking them to Brega they were hit by shells and turned into pieces. More than 27 families were killed."

محررة اليوم السابع داخل ميناء التواهى مع أحد شهود العيان على أبشع حادث إنسانى

Harbi continued, “We were trying to rescue them and take them to the military hospital of Basheib. Their clothes were soaked in blood. After that, we worked for more than five days to remove the bodies from the bottom of the water. The search in the sea continued for more than five days, and 15 bodies were found including women, children and old people."




“Houthis are very malicious and the easiest thing for them is mortar shelling. Aden was full of beautiful hotels, but they ruined it all. For example, the area of Nashwan was visited by many people. It was rich in landscapes, but they destroyed it”, he added. “We are steadfast and confident in the legitimate government and the coalition. God willing, we will continue chasing Houthis for the last moment in our lives, and we will drive them out of Sana'a. All of Yemen will be back to us", he confirmed.



Selim Al-Mohammedi, a resident of the area and one of the eyewitnesses of the incident, said, “We knew people who were killed, they were preparing to leave for a while, as they could not earn their living. The day of the accident I was at home with my family and we heard the sounds and the cries of people "Help.. Houthis hit us". We ran out of our homes and we found some people on the ground in the port, and others drown in the sea. We tried to help and rescue people taking them to the hospitals, including children who died on our shoulders in the road. We were all affected by this accident and can’t forget it."

Resisting with a smile

Despite all the manifestations of destruction caused by Houthis in Aden, you also notice the attempts to return to normal life. We went to Al-Mansoura market, and we spotted shops selling shoes, toiletries, clothing, hardware and electrical equipment. Nearby there are some restaurants, and international chains, such as Baskin Robbins. Customers from several places, go to such shops, although high prices reduce the purchasing power of the population.


الاطفال فى اليمن يغلبون المعاناة بالابتسامة

الأطفال فى عدن

أطفال يحملون الحياة بداخلهم


من أمام ملاهى صيرة اليمنية مازال أطفال اليمن يقاومون إجرام الحوثيين بالابتسامة

أحج مظاهر المقاومة اليمنية ..ملاهى منطقة صيرة فى كريتر بدأت العمل من جديد

طفلة يمينة تذهب لملا جراكن المياه ومازالت تبتسم رغم المعاناة

We also moved to Krater popular market or the "Old City" market. It is the most famous and important market in Aden because of its location in the center of the city which is called "Old Aden". Although it still bears traces of the destruction caused by the war, yet many customers head to it. There we met Mohamed Zein, a guard of an old building, who told us: “Krater is the old Aden area, where there is the Maashiq palace, the headquarters of the government. It was hit during the war."

منطقة سوق كريتر العتيقة بعدن

المحال التجارية فى حى المنصورة بعدن

المحررة مع أحد أهالى حى كريتر


أحد البائعين فى سوق كريتر الشعبى

أحد الحرف الشعبية فى سوق كريتر


الأسواق الشعبية فى اليمن

الاسواق فى عدن



النساء اليمنيات ترتدن الاسواق



شيخ يمنى سلبه الحوثى منزله ولم لم يعد له سوى دكان صغير بالسوق الشعبية



In the area also there is the largest popular market here. A large number of tourists and residents used to visit. It was first named Al-Kilo market. When the Houthis entered, the first thing they did was attacking using tanks and guns, and the snipers were above the mountains surrounding the area. They attacked several malls in the market, including Al-Rehab the Queen, and the headquarters of the Yemeni National Bank. In one day 19 people were killed. They burned the buildings, hit the qat market, the vegetable market and Arwa Street. Now the trade is not as before, but we hope the situation is getting better and I say to the Houthis: You destroyed everything beautiful in the country ... may God destroy you in the way that you destroyed our country."

منازل مهدمة جراء هجوم الحوثى فى منطقة التواهى


In the area of “Sira” we found another form of resistance to the war; the children at the gates of “Sira amusement park” carrying colored balloons. We approached them to know their story and how they defeated fear with a smile. Moussa Al-Rubaie, Abdullah Zuhair and Ahmed al-Labani talked about their suffering while fleeing from Sana'a as Houthis controlled Aden. Abdullah, 13 years, said “Houthis fired bullets at our house. The youth of the resistance stood in their faces, but without weapons, and I am not afraid of them, but I hate them because they destroyed our country”. Moussa, 6 years, did not comment except in one sentence: “I hope to wipe out the Houthis and return back our country."


منازل مهدمة فى التواهى

As for Ahmad, who is not yet 9, he says that he comes from time to time to the park, which is considered an outlet for playing with his friends. He does not care about what the Houthis do, but what he knows is that he left his city in Sana'a and came without his toys. He added innocently, "I left a teddy bear that I had since I was born, and when I asked my mother to take it with me while we were fleeing, she asked me to leave and hurry up or we will die."



Post-liberation challenges

"Since the liberation of Aden, the government has faced several challenges in the provision of basic services, especially after the destruction of infrastructure and facilities, particularly electricity networks due to war. Providing cash to pay employees’ salaries is also a challenge," said Mohamed Nasr Shazly, deputy governor of Aden. “Establishing security and maintaining stability is another challenge, as Houthi elements and extremists are trying to stir unrest and destabilize Aden through terrorist bombings to undermine stability and obstruct the work of state apparatuses,” he adds.


عدن تحاول استعادة عافيتها من جديد




فنادق سياحيةبدأت تنهض من جديد فى عدن


He pointed out that the security department of Aden recently announced the arrest of a photography team affiliated to ISIS. The team possessed high-tech photography equipments, including cameras and lenses. A den used by this ISIS cell was also found where weapons and explosives were stored. Also ISIS black logo was found on the cameras used by the team to record suicide bombers' wills.

احد فنادق أعيد بناؤها مؤخرا


Before that, last February, ISIS adopted a double suicide attack on the headquarters of the government's counter-terrorism forces in Aden, killing 12 people, including a woman and her three children.

This article is part of a series of articles on Yemen by Eman Hannah. Hannah has taken a 30-day trip to monitor Houthi crimes, the suffering of the people and the role of the coalition forces in restoring the Arab country from the hands of Iran's allies, documents revealing Houthi plan to spread the Shiite ideology, the mandate of the Faqih, and change the curriculum.


من أمام جبال شمسان بعدن

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4/9/2019 1:40:11 PM
<![CDATA[Introducing ET’s series, Yemen: On war’s frontlines]]>
Their shells did not distinguish between one Yemeni and another.



Thousands of Yemenis are mourning the martyrs who died because of Houthi brutality, and thousands others are wounded and displaced. All of those are remembering a Yemen that was once "happy". On the land of Yemen, ancient civilizations were built, the most famous of which are Saba’ and Hamir, the Kingdom of Hadramout, Qataban and Maain, the former fell in 525 AD.

On the land of Yemen many religions and beliefs passed. Many events and historical incidents took place in Yemen; that is, of course, until the Houthi coup in September 2014. The coup was preceded by disturbances and sit-ins that paved the way for the Houthis to control the country. Consequently, the Yemeni issue got more complicated day after day. There is bloodshed in Yemen.



According to official and international statistics, including the United Nations Humanitarian Needs Report for 2018, the number of people needing assistance reached 22.2 million Yemenis. The number of displaced people in the country reached 3.44 million, while the number of war victims was 43,000, including13,389 killed and 30,000 wounded, between January 2015 and February 2018. Among those victims there were 5,212 children killed and injured, according to statistics of the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights.



Such scenes of the Yemeni tragedy, reported by the foreign media, reports and statistics pushed us to take an “adventure” from the heart of the crisis. We wanted to repo on the reality of the humanitarian situation that comes as a result of Houthi crimes, including living challenges and crises caused by the war there, and the challenges that still face the stability of the Arab state.



The war is still ongoing in Yemen, and the Houthi militias are still targeting Yemen. The Yemenis and the Arab coalition forces are fighting them. To report on this issue, Eman Hannah took a 30 day trip that began in Yemen and ended in Riyadh, which leads an Arab coalition to support the legitimacy in Yemen, to talk to the people and at the same time convey the views of a number of officials, politicians and military officials in exclusive interviews.




Arranging for the trip was not easy, and the preparation lasted for more than five months between contacting people and procedures. The journey was not for a day or two and covered five Yemeni governorates starting from the liberated governorates of Aden, Lahj and Marib, reaching the front of Nahm. Nahm is the first directorate of the province of Sana'a which is under the control of the Houthis and is currently the subject of a clash with the legitimate forces supported by the coalition.

I can’t deny that fear and anxiety surrounded me. The press assignment this time is accompanied by bullets and mortars. It is in a country that is unstable, and its officials and citizens are trying hard to bring it back to life. Still, the determination to convey the suffering of an Arab people was more powerful.



We wanted to show how the Houthis transformed people's lives into daily tragedy during the war by bombing, indiscriminate killing, enforced disappearance and mines, while the Yemenis resisted for their lives.



We also noted the role of the forces of the Coalition Supporting Legitimacy in restoring hope to Yemenis through military and human support. We also conducted a series of interviews with politicians and officials in Yemen and Riyadh highlighting the reality of the situation in Yemen, and we revealed the effects of the war and what the Houthi militias did in various sectors.



We listened to the testimonies of the people about the crimes of the Houthis in Aden, and monitored the catastrophic situation in Taiz which is still besieged. We documented humanitarian stories of the victims of the indiscriminate bombing of citizens and children in the five governorates. We also met with residents of the camps of Marib and displaced people from Sana'a, Dhamar, and areas under the control of Houthis.

61427-الجندى-على-محمد-على


They told stories of what happened to them as a result of the attacks they were subjected to, although many of them refused to speak or to reveal their names and photos for fear of the violence of the Houthis, who muzzle the mouths by capturing members of a family in exchange for the release of a member of the same family.



We monitored the tragedy of an Arab country that turned into a “kingdom of fear”. We listened to human stories from the heart of the camps and hospitals. We conducted extensive investigations from the Yemeni street. Children revealed the secrets of the business of children recruitment in the Houthi militias. We also obtained documents that reveal the Houthi plan to spread Shiite ideology and the rule of the Faqih, and change the curriculum in Yemen.



The articles will look at Houthi aggression, Houthi attacks on hospitals, the impact of Houthi minefields on children and women, displacement camps and how the Houthi has left millions displaces, child soldiers in Yemen, and torture in Houthi prisons, as well as a multitude of interviews with top officials. These series of articles are being republished as the writer has recently received an award for them.




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4/9/2019 1:30:37 PM
<![CDATA[MP Radwan receives head of SLPP parliamentary bloc on Monday]]>
Radwan welcomed Tunis and stressed on the importance of boosting relations between the two countries and unifying the regional and international African’ visions.

Radwan referred to the necessity of integrating African countries’ resources to improve living conditions of African peoples.

“Egypt's presidency of the African Union is the first step to achieve African unity. We have to improve multilateral relations among African countries. I am looking forward to visiting Sierra Leone and knowing its people,” Radwan stated.

For his part, Tunis expressed his happiness and gratitude for the warm welcome he received in the Egyptian Parliament, lauding Egypt’s great progress and achievements.
Tunis also praised the Egyptian president's vision and intelligence, highlighting his ability to achieve African unity.]]>
4/9/2019 1:26:27 PM
<![CDATA[Constitutions may need to be amended to cope with challenges: MP Azer]]>
If the amendments are approved, presidential terms in general will be extended to six years instead of four for each of the two terms, while the incumbent president will be allowed to run for a third exceptional term. Also, heads of the judicial bodies would be appointed by the president.

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Many Egyptian citizens residing in the U.S., besides media personnel and prominent figures have reiterated their support to the proposed constitutional amendments - Press photo


In a seminar attended by a large number of the Egyptian expats in a hotel in Washington, MP Margaret Azer said that the Egyptian Constitution, like other constitutions in other countries, may need amendments to cope with the events and necessities imposed by the challenges facing the state.

She said that people will determine whether the amendments will be passed or rejected through a planned referendum.

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Many Egyptian citizens residing in the U.S., besides media personnel and prominent figures have reiterated their support to the proposed constitutional amendments - Press photo


She noted that the era of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is the golden age for Egyptian women, as the president keeps on affirming the importance of empowering women and young people in his speeches.

Concerning an amendment bringing back the Shura Council formerly dissolved, Azer said that the presence of such council is important as it has a necessary role. She added that the council will not add additional cost to the state, especially as the employees of the Shura Council joined the House of Representatives earlier and will now return to work in the Shura Council.

Karam Gabr, head of Egypt's National Press Authority, said that the proposed constitutional amendments coincide with the stage of building the Egyptian state.

He added that the modern Egyptian experience will continue because it is not involved in any conflicts, and does not aim at expanding abroad, as the era of Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt. He added that the aim is to develop the country from inside and to work towards the future.

The Egyptian army protects the country and fights the battle of survival and construction, Gabr said, adding that the attempts to destroy the country will not succeed because the Egyptians appreciate their Armed Forces.

Moreover, Abdel Mohsen Salama, former head of the Press Syndicate, said that the amendments of the constitution are a usual procedure, adding that it happens in countries around the world, such as France and Turkey.

Salama said that the constitution is not a sacred book, pointing out that there is an educational revolution in Egypt, and a revolution in all fields, adding that those who visit Egypt now will feel great difference.

Renowned TV presenter Nashat al-Dihy said that the constitution has to be amended as the current one is no more appropriate for the situation of the country. He noted that the amendments will help empower women and youth.

Dihy said that the Muslim Brotherhood group's influence was eliminated only under President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi because he faced them sincerely.



Youssef Ayoub, editor-in-chief of Sout al-Omma, thanked the Egyptian community in the United States for exerting great efforts to support their country.

Ayoub addressed Egyptians, calling on them to vote in the planned referendum on the constitutional amendments, adding that acting negatively paved the way for the Muslim Brotherhood to rule the country in 2012.

What to know about Egypt's constitutional amendment process

CAIRO - 6 February 2019: The process to amend the constitution involves the House of Representatives, and the people who is expected to participate in the referendum to be held few months from now. Below are the details of measures to be taken.

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4/9/2019 1:05:15 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi affirms need for solution that guarantees Palestinian rights]]>
This came during his meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at his residence in Blair House in Washington, according to a statement issued by presidential spokesman Bassam Radi.

According to the statement, the two sides reviewed the current Palestinian conditions and means of reviving the long stymied Middle East peace process.

Pompeo expressed appreciation of the Egyptian efforts to contain the explosive situation in the Gaza Strip and prevent it from further escalation, saying he looks forward to continuing consultations between both sides regarding that matter in particular.

Sisi also stressed Egypt’s keenness on consolidating and deepening its longstanding strategic partnership with the US which he described as a cornerstone of maintaining Middle East security and stability.

Moreover, Sisi said that he is looking forward to strengthening coordination and consultation with the US during the coming period on different political and security files of mutual concern, the statement reported.

Pompeo welcomed Sisi’s visit stressing confidence that his talks with US President Donald Trump will give a positive and constructive push to bilateral relations, especially in light of the US administration’s commitment to shoring up cooperation with Egypt in various areas.

The US top diplomat lauded and voiced his country’s support for President Sisi’s efforts to fight terrorism and realize comprehensive and sustainable development in Egypt and the whole region.

Pompeo also revealed that the meeting tackled a number of regional files including the latest developments in Libya, Syria and Yemen, where Sisi affirmed that only the political solution can preserve these countries'territorial unity and maintain their national institutions.

The president called for helping the conflict-hit Arab countries in their fight against terrorist groups to prevent them from moving to other parts of the region, Pompeo added.

Radi's statement pointed out that Pompeo praised all efforts being exerted by Egypt to resolve regional crises and expressed Washington’s keenness to intensify coordination with Cairo over Middle East issues given Egypt’s important political weight in the region.

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4/9/2019 12:56:02 PM
<![CDATA[The message Egyptian expats convey by gathering in front of U.S. Congress]]>
The gathering is aimed at symbolizing the rejection of lobbying attempts made by some to persuade the Congress to turn against Egypt. Egyptian expatriates also wanted to show their opposition to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, classified as a terror group in Egypt, and other suspicious organizations.

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Many of the Egyptian expatriates in the U.S. were seen gathering in New York on Sunday, as they reportedly plan to head to Washington to receive the Egyptian president. During his visit, President Sisi will meet with US President Donald Trump in the White House.

The visit comes upon Trump’s invitation to discuss bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern, said presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi.

The White House announced in a statement that the meeting comes in light of the continuing cooperation between both countries on economic, military and counter-terrorism levels.

“The two leaders will also discuss developments and shared priorities in the region, including enhancing regional economic integration and addressing ongoing conflicts, as well as Egypt’s longstanding role as a lynchpin of regional stability,” the statement read.

On April 4, Trump’s Advisor, Ivanka Trump, praised Egypt’s reform program on women empowerment, saying on her Twitter account “We encourage and support these reforms, and look forward to working with the Egyptian government to advance these efforts."
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4/8/2019 6:16:42 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi, Trump to talk strategic interests at White House ]]>
The visit is part of a series of meetings between both leaders aiming to enhance bilateral relations in a way to achieve strategic interests and continue the dialogue on regional issues, according to Presidency Spokesperson Bassam Rady.

Sisi is expected to arrive in Washington D.C. on Monday coming from Guinea, the first foreign destination in his tour, which also includes Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. He is expected to hold talks with leaders of the three African countries on boosting bilateral relations and pushing forward development process in the African continent.

Timeline of Sisi’s visits to the United States:

September 2014: First visit

The first visit took place three months after Sisi assumed his position as the president of Egypt. He then participated in the 69th Summit of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, where he gave an official speech.
The visit was ahead of Trump’s election to US presidency.

September 2015: Second visit

The second visit by President Sisi to the United States came during his participation in the 70th Summit of the United Nations General Assembly.

September 2016: Third visit

During the third visit, President Sisi headed to the United States to take part in the 71st Summit of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. He participated in summits and meetings concerning climate change, peace in Africa and refugees.

April 2017: Fourth visit

This is was the first time President Sisi visits Washington D.C. after he assumed post, where he held an Egyptian-American summit at the White House with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

September 2017: Fifth visit

Both presidents Sisi and Trump met in New York City on the sidelines of the 72nd Summit of the United Nations General Assembly, where they discussed several regional and international issues, including ways of reviving the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis.

September 2018: Sixth visit

This visit has witnessed the fifth summit between both leaders on the sidelines of the 73rd Summit of the United Nations General Assembly. Bilateral discussions tackled the situation in Libya, Syria and Yemen, in addition to the Palestinian cause.
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4/8/2019 4:21:01 PM
<![CDATA[Total number of legalized churches in Egypt amounts to 894]]>
The Cabinet’s meeting was attended by Minister of Justice Hossam Abdel-Rahim, Minister of Housing Essam el-Gazzar and Local Development Minister Mahmoud Shaarawy as well as representatives of the concerned authorities.

On March 5, 156 churches and church-affiliated service buildings were announced legalized; the total number of legalized churches amounts to 783.

The Cabinet’s decision to legalize churches comes according to article number 80 of 2016 of the law regulating building churches.

In February 2018, during the term of former Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, it was announced that in accordance with the country’s constitution that adopts “the right to practice religious rites within different worship houses,” approval was given to study the cases of 53 churches along with several affiliated buildings to be officially licensed during the Cabinet’s following meeting.

Several conditions were laid in the statement for the churches to be finally recognized by the government as legal religious buildings.

These conditions include meeting the requirements for civil protection within a period of four months and fulfilling all the state's rights regarding the rationing of the land on which such buildings are built. The approval may be withdrawn if the buildings do not finish civil protection facilities in four months.

On January 9, Egypt’s Ministry of Housing issued a decision to allocate lands to establish 37 churches in various new cities, Walid Abbas, assistant housing minister revealed.

In an interview with Egypt Today, Abbas said that the government’s New Urban Communities Authority ordered allocating lands for 30 churches in different new cities from 2014 to 2017.

He added that the authority also approved establishing seven other churches in new cities in 2018, besides the Church of Nativity, the Middle East’s biggest church that has been inaugurated in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital.
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4/8/2019 2:57:01 PM
<![CDATA[Endowments min. warns of International Union of Muslim Scholars ]]>
The minister said that the union, founded in 2004, has become a center for extremist groups and elements aiming at the destruction and treason of their homelands and religion. The minister added that there is not a single moderate scholar among the members of that union.

The minister stated that joining such entity is equivalent to joining the outlawed terrorist group of the Muslim Brotherhood as it is considered the brotherhood’s theorists hub.

The entity was chaired by Yusuf al-Qaradawi who is an Egyptian religious figure based in the Qatari capital, Doha. Qaradawi, who is affiliated with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, left Egypt in 1997. He stayed for decades in Qatar where he was often hosted on Al Jazeera.

On June 5, 2017, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain boycott Qatar severing ties with the Gulf state for supporting terror. The quartet also charges Al Jazeera of promoting extremist and terrorist ideologies, and hosting figures affiliated with terror groups.

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4/8/2019 2:09:01 PM
<![CDATA[Women gain unprecedented position in President al-Sisi’ era]]>
On the sidelines of the National Council for Human Rights and the Arab Organization for Human Rights’ meetings on penal legislation, the chief of the Arab Organization for Human Rights assured that Egypt achieved a huge legislative revolution in protecting women against all sorts of violence and backing them to get their inheritance.

“Thanks to President Sisi’s efforts, women acquired a lot of their stolen rights over the last short period of time in the frame work of efforts to empower women to play a greater role in decision-making,” the chief of Arab Organization for Human Rights further elaborated.

For the first time, there are eight women ministers in the Egyptian government and more than 80 representatives in Parliament. Women are appointed in leading position in governorates and different sectors, which is considered a radical shift and huge progress.

On Egyptian Women Day, March 8, President Sisi announced seven decisions related to women empowerment, including adoption of laws that aim at protecting women’s rights, putting an end to demotic violence and tackling the issues of early marriage and deprivation of education and post-divorce rights.

Moreover, Sisi proposed establishing a fund to address the challenges faced by the Egyptian women after he reviewed with the health minister the possibility to screen and treat women nationwide for breast cancer.




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4/8/2019 12:10:13 PM
<![CDATA[4 CNN 'regulars' have links with Qatar's regime: Conservative Review]]>
The report named Ali Soufan, the executive director of the Qatar International Academy for Security Studies (QIASS), who was featured by a documentary attacking Saudi Arabia, published by the CNN last March.

Conservative Review referred to the Wall Street Journal's allegation that Soufan has a "personal relationship" with the Qatari leadership.

The report edited the title of Soufan from a "contributor" to a "regular" after CNN told the Conservative Review via email that he is a guest, according to the report.

It also referred to his stance attacking Saudi Arabia after the murder of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom's consulate in Turkey.

While Mehdi Hassan, a presenter for Doha-based state-funded Al-Jazeera, is also a CNN regular, who the CNN explained to the Conservative Review that he is a guest.

The third is Juliette Kayyem, a CNN national security analyst, who the report claimed first she is currently a board member of the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) controlled by Qatar, "to secure and defend Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid."

However, Conservative Review said that the CNN said in an email that Kayyem is no longer on the ICSS board, which the report seems to doubt or at least blame others for the mistake, as it said that it found that her official biographies at both CNN and Harvard, where she lectures, have been altered following the publication.

"Until the publication of this story, both bios said that she was currently a board member … Her Harvard bio now indicates that she was a board member until 2015. CNN’s response to CR states that her “contract” with ICSS ended several years ago," the report said, providing screenshots.

Moreover, the report asserted that Peter Bergen, lead CNN national security analyst, has ties with the Qatari regime, but, unlike the others, are not direct to Qatari state institutions.

However the report said that Bergen, is a regular visitor to Qatar and that he "pushes blatant pro-Qatar agitprop when it comes to Middle East affairs."

"Bergen’s bio states that he is a professor of practice at Arizona State University, which has the largest number of Qatari students at any U.S. university, many of whom are sponsored by Qatari state institutions, including its defense ministry," the report stated.




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4/8/2019 12:07:46 PM
<![CDATA[U.N. calls for truce in southern Tripoli to evacuate wounded]]>
UNSMIL urged a truce between 1600 and 1800 local time to evacuate wounded, it said, without giving casualty figures.]]>
4/7/2019 3:21:31 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to host 2nd edition of AU Specialized Technical Committee in April ]]>
The committee will be established under the theme “Developing SMART Infrastructure to boost Africa’s Continental Transformation and Integration.”

The African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid and the Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Shaker El Markabi signed on Sunday the Host Country Agreement for the STC.

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African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid and the Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Shaker El Markabi - Press photo


Minister Shaker said that the hosting of the STC meeting will be a great honour for Egypt as it reflects the leadership role the country has played and continues to play in the development of the infrastructure in Africa, according to a Sunday statement by the African Union Commissioner.

He further emphasized that the signing reaffirms the full commitment of the Egyptian government to the successful organization of the meeting.

For her part, AU Commissioner Abou Zeid expressed her gratitude to the Egyptian Government and noted “the agreement that we signed today, together with the strong cooperation we have enjoyed from the Government of Egypt throughout the preparatory process, paves the way to the development of transport and energy infrastructure as well as tourism for the successful attainment of AU Agenda 2063 goals.”

"It would be acknowledged that the second session of the STC-TTIIET is taking place in a context abound with a wealth of decisions, actions and information tailored to the goals of the STC,” the Commissioner stated.

In that regard, H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid affirmed that the meeting will focus on actions undertaken and planned for implementation of agreed activities rather than on conceptual and brainstorming exchanges.

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African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid and the Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Shaker El Markabi - Press photo


“To that end, the main objectives of the second session will be, first and foremost, to evaluate implementation of the updated STC Plans of Action as well as address the challenges and, finally, agree on the way forward,” the Commissioner added as quote by the statement.

The Host Country Agreement, which covers all the logistical requirements for the meeting, is an important landmark towards the success of the STC meeting. The signing event was the culmination of a three-day visit to Cairo by African Union Commission officials to finalize the details of the meeting including the budget for the Conference; logistics and preparations; information and communications technology for the Conference; and security.

The second edition of the Specialized Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism (STC-TTIIET) is organized by the African Union Commission (AUC), in collaboration with the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).

The bi-annual gathering is the most prominent meeting of Ministers responsible for Transport (i.e. Air, Road, Railway and Maritime Transport), Energy and Tourism sectors, and groups of experts from Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Development Banks, Financial Institutions and the continental specialized organizations, international organizations, academia, business and civil society bringing together more than 500 professionals from all around the continent.

What is the Specialized Technical Committee

The Specialized Technical Committee (STC) is the Ministerial decision-making organ of the African Union for the transport, energy, tourism sectors as well as overall infrastructure development matters.

It was established with other similar sectorial organs initially as the Committee on Transport Energy and Communications under Article 25 of the African Economic Community Treaty (the Abuja Treaty) adopted by the Assembly of the Organisation of the African Unity (OAU) in 1994 and, subsequently, under Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union adopted by the AU Assembly in 2000.

It was finally reconfigured into the STC on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism in February 2009 by the AU Assembly. ]]>
4/7/2019 1:43:03 PM
<![CDATA[Journalist calls for women representation in Journalists' Syndicate Council]]>
She added that the representation of women in the Journalists' Syndicate Council is very important because it will reflect on women's success in the Egyptian press.

"I do not know how to explain why women are not elected to a council that represents intellectual freedom, and faith in the role of women," Fu'ad said.

Former Egyptian interim president Adly Mansour appointed in 2013 well-known writer, Sakina Fu'ad, as a presidential adviser on women's affairs. The 68-year-old writer and journalist is the deputy head of the Liberal Democratic Front Party in Egypt.

Fu'ad was among the liberal figures who supported ousted President Mohamed Morsi in the presidential election against Ahmed Shafiq.

She was then appointed as Morsi's adviser, but resigned in protest against his policies. Fu'ad, who later criticized the ousted president, supported the mass rallies on June 30.

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4/7/2019 12:30:18 PM
<![CDATA[Many Egyptian expats gather to receive Sisi in Washington on Tuesday]]>
During his visit, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will meet with US President Donald Trump in the White House.

The visit comes upon Trump’s invitation to discuss bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern, said presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi.

The White House announced in a statement that the meeting comes in light of the continuing cooperation between both countries on economic, military and counter-terrorism levels.

“The two leaders will also discuss developments and shared priorities in the region, including enhancing regional economic integration and addressing ongoing conflicts, as well as Egypt’s longstanding role as a lynchpin of regional stability,” the statement read.

On April 4, Trump’s Advisor, Ivanka Trump, praised Egypt’s reform program on women empowerment, saying on her Twitter account “We encourage and support these reforms, and look forward to working with the Egyptian government to advance these efforts."

Earlier in March Egyptians of different ages, who are reportedly part of the country's community in the U.S., appeared in a video, calling on locals to participate in a planned referendum on the constitutional amendments including extending the presidential term.

The Egyptian people, who appeared in the video, urged citizens to participate in the referendum, and express themselves, while others stressed the necessity of voting in favor of the amendments.

If the amendments are approved, presidential terms in general will be extended to six years instead of four for each of the two terms, while the incumbent president will be allowed to run for a third exceptional term. Also, heads of the judicial bodies would be appointed by the president.

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4/7/2019 12:14:39 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi calls for rapid action to stop escalation in Libya]]>
"The President affirmed that rapid action and the international community's combined efforts are necessary to put an end to the deteriorating situation [...] and to limit the spread of extremist groups," the statement read.

President Sisi also affirmed Egypt's support to re-establish the Libyan national institutions and unify the Libyan military institutions, the statement added.

Three days ago, Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army took base in Tobruk, announced military advance on Tripoli against the Libyan troops of the internationally-recognized government led by Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord Fayez Al Sarraj.



In a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, the Russian minister stated that the military operation taking place in Libya l to capture Tripoli and clashes with the militias dominated the talks between Egypt and Russia.

Lavrov stressed the importance of not leveling accusations at any parties highlighting that NATO caused the destruction of Libya and that no justification for what is happening should be made.

However, the minister expressed his country’s rejection to the use of fighter jets in battles between both parties who are the Libyan National Army and militias affiliated with the Government of National Accord. The operation was launched on Thursday.

Libyan factions held talks in the Moroccan city of Skhirat as per a United Nations initiative and came up with the Libyan Political Agreement signed on December 17, 2015. Accordingly, an internationally recognized interim government was formed bearing the name the Government of National Accord having as prime minister Fayez Al Sarraj and being headquartered in the capital, Tripoli.

The Libyan National Army led by Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar and based in Tobruk has been controlling the eastern territories of the country. Haftar was appointed as commander of the army on March 2, 2015 by the Libyan House of Representatives.

The Libyan National Army recaptured the cities of Benghazi and Derna in 2017 and 2018 respectively through “Operation Dignity.” The operation was launched in 2014 and since then has regained control over many oil facilities and ports.

Additional reporting by Noha el-Tawil
]]>
4/6/2019 6:07:23 PM
<![CDATA[Exclusive: Supplies to Tripoli militias to be cut - Libyan army spox]]>
Mesmary explained on Saturday that the militias at present cannot use any air bases or airports to strike the forces saying that the only option those armed groups have is Mitiga International Airport, however, that choice is quite tough. Mesmary affirmed that the Libyan army will not allow militias to flee Tripoli.

The spokesperson clarified that Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord Fayez Al Sarraj did not abide by the agreements he reached with General Commander Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar in Abu Dhabi meeting held in March.

Mesmary stated that Sarraj declared mobilization against the Libyan National Army making no room for possible agreements that could be brokered by the United Nations in accordance with Abu Dhabi meeting.

Commenting on concerns over alleged human rights violations, Mesmary said that “pro-Muslim Brotherhood media always promote such lies and rumors whenever the army is launching an operation” citing as examples human rights allegations that circulated during the battles that freed Derna and Benghazi from terror groups.

The spokesperson revealed that the Naval Force will cut supplies and logistics support to Tripoli militias after the armed forces take over the city’s ports. He added that militias’ top leaders have fled to Qatar and Turkey. Those include Abdel Hakim Belhaj, Samy el-Saadi, and Al Sadek al-Gheryani.

Timeline

The armed forces moved from Jufra military base and other camps in the east to Gheryan and Tarhouna.

On Thursday, Mesmary declared that the army has peacefully entered Gharyan city southwestern Tripoli.

Libyan media reported that the army took over Sorman city.

The armed forces clashed with militias affiliated with the Government of National Accord 50 kilometers away from Tripoli in Souq al-Khamis, Saeh, and Souq al-Sabt villages.

The army has also captured Military Bridge 27 located 27 kilometers away from Tripoli into the west.

Haftar called for groups in Tripoli to give up weapons, and raise the white flag ordering the armed forces not to attack those who chose not to fight.

On Friday, the army captured Tripoli International Airport located 30 kilometers away from the capital.

Minister of Interior at the Government of National Accord stated that the militias regained control over the airport, and that a battle was taking place in Qasr bin Ghashir located southern the airport.

Mesmary negated that the militias affiliated with the Government of National Accord regained control over the airport saying the Libyan National Army has full control over Tripoli International Airport.

Mesmary admitted that the militias regained control over Military Bridge 27 early on Friday capturing 128 soldiers and their ammunition. However, he said that five were released.

Mesmary revealed that a battle in Aziziyah area located southern Tripoli by 50 kilometers took place.

Mesmary added that five soldiers were killed in Aziziyah since the launching of the operation on Thursday.

The Libyan army declared taking over Souq al-Khamis village, Qasr bin Ghashir, Wadi al-Rabea, al-Sawani, Heyra and the headquarters of the Fourth Brigade.

The Libyan army arrested in al-Sawani terrorists who had fled Benghazi.

The Libyan armed forces took over Naqliya Camp and Tarhouna, and caused injuries among the militias killing one of their leaders called Ghenewa al-Kakly.

Movements of militias in Showaifat, Heisha, and Sadada were detected.

Hostile movements towards Shweref and Jufra were detected.

The Ninth Brigade, encompassing 5,000 soldiers, is advancing towards Salah El Din District southern Tripoli, as reported by Libyan media on Saturday.

The General Command declared on Saturday Western Libya a military operations area (MOA) prohibiting aviation in that part of the country, and threatening to bomb any airport that may be used by fighter jets to take off.

The Libyan National Army took over Al Saedeya and Al Zahraa western Tripoli, as reported by Russia Today. Clashes are taking place in Qasr bin Ghashir with the militias that had struck the army forces in Mazada and Souq al-Khamis village without losses.

The army announced on Saturday that its forces were struck in Aziziyah 50 kilometers away from Tripoli by a fighter jet that took off from Misrata controlled by the Government of National Accord.



Clarifications

Mesmary announced that the operation would not stop until fully finished, and that the progress towards Tripoli is slow but steady.

Mesmary announced that an Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer had taken off from the Faculty of Civil Aviation of Misrata and struck the forces at the bottom of the mountains in Abou Ghilan.

The spokesperson revealed that the jet used to belong to the Libyan Air Force, and that the General Command knows the identity of its pilot and crew.

Mesmary stated that the General Command knows the identity of the pilot of a Mig and the identity of the foreign pilot of a Mirage saying that they will all be prosecuted when it’s time.

Mesmary asserted that the Libyan army preserves the right to defend its forces on ground, air, or sea.

Mesmary said that the Military Prosecution in Sorman has issued an arrest warrant against a commander who led a battalion towards Tripoli without permission as that has resulted in the capture of the 128 soldiers.

The incident occurred near Military Bridge 27 whereas the battalion had only local defense ammunition, however, entered an area surrounded by hostile forces on the right and left.

Mesmary said the commander might have made that move upon an arrangement with local tribes that did not fulfill their part of the deal.

Internal Status

Libya has fallen into chaos since the outbreak of civil war in 2011 resulting in the assassination of Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi and the ascendance of militias and terror groups.

Libyan factions held talks in the Moroccan city of Skhirat as per a United Nations initiative and came up with the Libyan Political Agreement signed on December 17, 2015. Accordingly, an internationally recognized interim government was formed bearing the name the Government of National Accord having as prime minister Fayez Al Sarraj and being headquartered in the capital, Tripoli.

The Libyan National Army led by Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar and based in Tobruk has been controlling the eastern territories of the country. Haftar was appointed as commander of the army on March 2, 2015 by the Libyan House of Representatives.

The Libyan National Army recaptured the cities of Benghazi and Derna in 2017 and 2018 respectively through “Operation Dignity.” The operation was launched in 2014 and since then has regained control over many oil facilities and ports.

On Wednesday, Haftar announced moving forces western the country to free its territories from terror groups. In a press conference held on Friday, Mesmary announced the operation launched to free Tripoli is called “Dignity Flood.”

Addition reporting by Ahmed Gomaa
]]>
4/6/2019 5:25:52 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian community in U.S. endorses constitutional amendments, calls for participation in polls]]>
At the beginning of the seminar, President of the Coptic Association Adel Agibsaid that Egypt is and will remain a great country, stressing his support to the proposed constitutional amendments.

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Journalists, politicians and professors gathered to announce support for the constitutional amendments – Egypt Today

Egypt’s Ministry of Immigration launched last week a campaign under the title “Know…participate…even abroad”, which will answer all questions and inquiries that Egyptian expatriates might have regarding Egyptian constitution’s amendments.

The State Minister of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram said that the campaign aims to hold an open discussion with expatriates regarding the constitutional amendments in order to enhance their awareness and political participation.

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Journalists, politicians and professors gathered to announce support for the constitutional amendments – Egypt Today

“We support President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and wish that Egyptians would heavily participate in the vote,” Agib said.

Head of the cultural club, Tarek Soliman said the constitutional amendments are an important subject, and a very important event, stressing that this seminar aims to make Egyptians in America aware of what is happening.

Egyptian journalist Nashaat al-Dehi, for his part, said, “We are here for Egypt, and each of us has a special appreciation for the Egyptian state.”

Al-Dehi pointed out that the amendments are necessary and inevitable because the 2014 Constitution was excellent but only at the time, however, not that the circumstances have changed, he said the constitution needed adjustment.

“Egypt is fighting terrorism, it is the first country in the world to honestly fight it, and President Sisi signed the death certificate of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Al-Dehi added.
MP Margret Azir also commended the Egyptian community in the United States for always supporting Egypt.

Azir said the Constitution of 2014 was an emergency constitution that was found to restore state institutions.

She further expressed much happiness over the development of Egyptian women’s status, describing President Sisi’s era as “the golden age for Egyptian women.”
“We are talking here about a real representation of Egyptian women in various fields,” Azir added.

Regarding the 2014 Constitution, the Parliament member said it granted youths, Copts, people with special needs and Egyptians abroad a limited representation in the Parliament, but the amendments will make these privileges permanent.

She also said the amendments also included the return of the Shura Council, which she affirmed “important.” "We in the House of Representatives are in dire need of this council, although I was enthusiastic in the past to cancel it, but today we need it to be the second chamber of legislation, especially as the proposed membership of the Council will be based on the necessary expertise that would aid in the legislative process.”

During his speech, Egyptian journalist and editor-in-chief of Sout Al Omma newspaperYossif Ayoub said what extinguishes the amendments is the rich state of dialogue and discussion among Egyptians regarding their values and the amended articles.

Ayoub expressed his appreciation to the Egyptian community in the United States, which cites an example of Egyptian’scorrelation with their country as they pose as Egypt’s shield abroad, especially that they have always been strong defenders and supporters of their country.

He further highlighted the important roles played by the Egyptian Cultural Club and the Coptic Associationin uniting the community’s force.

“The social dialogue sessions that the Parliament held to discuss the amendments with representatives of the Egyptian society, including parties, trade unions, media, judges, professors and youths, just reflects a shiny example of how dialogues are democratically conducted in Egypt.

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Journalists, politicians and professors gathered to announce support for the constitutional amendments – Egypt Today

“Especially that these sessions witnessed a wide representation of all opinions and ideas, whether supporting or rejecting the amendments, the matter which enriched the dialogue and gave representatives the opportunity to get a closer look at the opinions of Egyptians and what can be introduced during the final wording of the articles before submitting them for discussion and vote during the plenary session of the Parliament,” Ayoub said.

Ayoub also stressed that during the past period, the Egyptian state witnessed a significant economic and political progress, thanks to the faith and belief of the political leadership and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that Egypt deserves to be in a better position. “Therefore, President Sisi has implemented numerous economic and infrastructure projects over the past years, not to mention upgrading several social protection measure to enable Egyptians to live decent lives.”

For his part, Emad Khalil, a journalist with Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper said the amendments have been subjected to a fierce campaign led by the same terrorist groups that tried to doubt the amendments by saying it would be limited to extending the term of presidency, despite that the amendments include better representation of women and Copts in the Parliament.

He also pointed out that Al-Nour salafist party is the party that rejected the article about defining the authorities of the armed forces and its role of protecting and preserving the state’s civility.

International Law professor Yassin El-Ayouty said Egypt is a lot like Germany which was surrounded by wars, pointing out that there are an exaggeration of the strength of the Muslim Brotherhood because they do not belong to Egypt, reminding the presence of when the former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood said “To hell with Egypt!”

He also said it is wrong to limit the presidential term because there are regional conflicts and difficult economic situations that require President Sisi to remain in his position, adding that Sisi took Egypt away from the brink of a civil war.

Furthermore, Presidential Affairs Editor at Al-Youm Al-Sabea newspaper Mohamed Al-Galy said President Sisi was keen from the first day he became president to preserve the rights of citizens, and always refused to differentiate between Egyptians on a religious basis, as a citizen is only “Egyptian,” not a Muslim or a Christian.

He also described the year of the Brotherhood's rule as a "doom," in which they tried to falsify the Egyptians' consciousness and blow up their identity. However, President al-Sisi dealt with this matter with all transparency and determination, and thus Egypt has returned as we know it.

Also, Presidential Affairs Editor at Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper Mohsen Semeika said President Sisi is very far from the amendments, however, “We need to admit that we want him to continue his achievements and huge projects to drive Egypt into the stature that it deservers. He also said if the Parliament did not submit these amendments, masses would go out in the streets and demand him to stay.
]]>
4/6/2019 4:28:34 PM
<![CDATA[African Union commissioner, Minister Shaker to sign host state agreement Sunday ]]>
Dr. Abou Zeid, who was assigned to the position in 2017, arrived in Cairo coming from Ethiopia on Saturday. She is expected to hold a press conference with the minister following the signing of the agreement at a Cairo hotel.

After her short visit, Abou Zeid will head to Germany, where she will give a speech at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2019 that will kick off Tuesday, and then she will participate in the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World BankGroup and the International Monetary Fund Washington, D.C. taking place on April 12-14.

On Thursday, Abou Zeid held a ministerial meeting with ministers of tourism and civil aviation in Cape Verde, which tackled progress achieved in the Open Skies for Africa initiative that aims to increase flight connectivity across the African continent, boost intra-Africa trade whereby more Africans will be able to travel and transport merchandise by air between many cities.

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African Union Commissioner Amani Abou Zeid during ministerial meeting in Cape Verde - Press photo


During the meeting, the commissioner shared the updates of the number of African member states who signed the initiative, which rose from 29 to 40 countries. The meeting comes after the selection of President Faure Gnassingbé of Togo to lead the Open Skies initiative with African Union Commissioner Abou Zeid.

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African Union Commissioner Amani Abou Zeid during ministerial meeting in Cape Verde - Press photo


Abou Zeid explained in an interview with Egypt Today in December 2018 the benefits of what is known as the single market will facilitate logistics and services in the African continental free trade area (CFTA).

“The tourism sector, which greatly depends on cost-effective air services will experience a significant boost in tourism traffic across the continent due to direct air access to many African destination, ease of travel and lower air fares,” she said.


To read the whole interview:

A Renew-energetic Beginning

CAIRO - 7 December 2018: Energy is a major enabler and accelerator of growth in any nation, yet despite its enormous, albeit non utilized natural sources, more than 600 million Africans are lacking of access to electricity and energy efficiency. This is the top concerns holding back development on the Continent.


]]>
4/6/2019 4:06:03 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian-Russian Summit to be held in Moscow next summer ]]>
The matters discussed included counterterrorism in the region, and partnership with Russia, Shokry stated in a joint press conference.

Lavrov described the talks with his Egyptian counterpart and President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi as fruitful affirming his country’s commitment to strengthening bilateral relations with Egypt.

The Russian minister stated that the military operation taking place in Libya l to capture Tripoli and clashes with the militias dominated the talks. Lavrov stressed the importance of not levelling accusations at any parties highlighting that NATO caused the destruction of Libya and that no justification for what is happening should be made.

However, the minister expressed his country’s rejection to the use of fighter jets in battles between both parties who are the Libyan National Army and militias affiliated with the Government of National Accord. The operation was launched on Thursday.

Lavrov said talks had also covered the resumption of Russian flights into Egyptian resort towns bordering the Red Sea, and the necessity to continue the communication about airports security. However, the minister said it was not possible to set precise dates of flights resumption.

The meeting examined peaceful and diplomatic settlements of crisis engulfing the region asserting that his country will continue coordination and consultation with the Egyptian side.

Both ministers held talks over developments in the Gulf and the Middle East declaring that an Egyptian-Russian summit will take place in Moscow next Summer.

Also, an African-Russian Summit will take place in October.
]]>
4/6/2019 1:49:35 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan Parl. Speaker meets UN's Guterres to discuss latest escalations ]]>
During his meeting with the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday in eastern Libya, Saleh discussed the country's latest developments, including the latest escalations by the Libyan National Army (LNA) to march towards the Capital, Tripoli.

Both sides also tackled the UN-backed Libyan National Conference, which was supposed to be held by April 14 in Ghadames city under the auspices of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

This meeting came amid wide international and national concerns regarding LNA’s latest escalations led by commander General Khalifa Haftar, who announced LNA’s moving towards Tripoli on a voice recording published online, Thursday.

A number of Arab and western countries expressed their deep concern, especially that several clashes broke near Tripoli since Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Egypt's Ministry of Foreign affairs called an all Libyan parties to practice self-restraint, and end the escalations.

The statement asserted Egypt’s firm stance on backing the UN’s efforts and commitment to the political solution as the only option to protect the integrity and unity of the Libyan territory and maintain protection of people in the war-ravaged country.



]]>
4/6/2019 11:33:19 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. senator say similarities between Sisi, Lincoln]]>CAIRO – 5 April 2019: Virginia state senator Richard Black has said President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is like the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who led the American nation through the Civil War, its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis.


Black’s remarks came during a hearing session held by the Pulse Foundation at the US Congress to discuss relations between Egypt and the United States within a positive pace of development.


He also pointed out that Egypt went through a very tough time during the Muslim Brotherhood ruling, and that President Sisi respected the will of Egyptians who revolted against the brotherhood.


Black also criticized the stand that former President Barack Obama towards a strategic ally such as Egypt in the Middle East.


He further called for a collaboration of US-Egyptian efforts to reach a powerful alliance that would serve the interests of both countries.


The session was inaugurated by Dr. Michael Morgan who started the American Pulse TV program as a platform for communication between the American officials and the Egyptians hoping to form a common language and overcome miscommunications when they occur.


Morgan spoke about how the "United We Stand" series started in 2014, and how it developed its goals from the beginning of the war on terror and how to overcome it through Egyptian-American relations that were undergoing a state of drought under Obama and ending with conferences to demand the inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group with the office of US Senator Ted Cruz, a former candidate in the 2016 US presidential race.


He also pointed out that development of the conference of the series indicates a significant development in the strategic relations between both countries.


Meanwhile, Senior Vice-President of the London Center for Policy Research (LCPR) in Washington, Eli M. Gold, also shed the light on the role of the American Pulse in cooperation with LCPR over the last few years to attempt portraying the real picture of what is going on in the Middle East and Egypt within the corridors of the US Congress.


Gold has further praised Egypt’s efforts in the Middle East to preserve and maintain security and peace.


Senator Black also stressed that the June 30 Revolution cannot be considered a coup, because when 30 million people demonstrate against former president Mohamed Morsi, it meant it was time to leave.


He also said he considers President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to be one of the greatest presidents in the region, commending on how the Egyptian leadership manages to deal equally between Muslims and Christians, despite the occurrence of some skirmishes and mild sectarian problems.



]]>
4/5/2019 4:43:41 PM
<![CDATA[Britain's May asks EU for Brexit extension to June 30; EU could offer a year]]>
An EU official signalled that Donald Tusk, the chairman of EU leaders, could be willing to offer even longer: up to a year for Britain's feuding politicians to agree and ratify a plan.

France, however, indicated it was not yet ready to accept an extension unless the British presented a clear plan which would justify such a delay.

"We're not there today," a source close to French President Emmanuel Macron told Reuters.

Britain is now due to leave the EU in a week, but May has been forced to seek more time after Britain's parliament failed to approve a withdrawal agreement.

Her Conservative Party is deeply divided, as is the main opposition Labour Party, leading to an extraordinary series of inconclusive votes in parliament that have stretched Britain's centuries-old unwritten constitution to its limits.

Scenarios that run the gamut from abandoning the EU abruptly with no exit deal to cancelling Brexit altogether have all gone down to defeat.

Obscure parliamentary procedures have been resurrected from the rulebooks providing daily drama from the House of Commons, but the future of Britain's biggest change in generations has become no clearer.

After finally recognising that her minority Conservative government could not push through a Brexit deal on its own, May started talks this week with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the hope of coming up with a cross-party solution.

But that means accepting the need for more time, including the prospect that Britain might have to hold European Parliament elections on May 23, which May has long said she hoped to avoid at all cost.

"The United Kingdom proposes that this period should end on 30 June 2019," May said in the letter.

"The government will want to agree a timetable for ratification that allows the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union before 23 May 2019 and therefore cancel the European Parliament elections, but will continue to make responsible preparations to hold the elections should this not prove possible."

Tusk, who convenes a summit of EU leaders next week, is likely to offer Britain a flexible extension of up to a year, with the possibility of leaving sooner, a senior EU official said.

"The only reasonable way out would be a long but flexible extension. I would call it a 'flextension'," the official said.

As in May's proposal, the extension could be terminated early if Britain ratifies the withdrawal agreement.

"It seems to be a good scenario for both sides, as it gives the UK all the necessary flexibility, while avoiding the need to meet every few weeks to further discuss Brexit extensions," the official said.

PREMATURE?

Any extension must be agreed by all 27 of the other EU countries. France in particular has signalled that it would not automatically give Britain whatever May sought.

"If we are not able to understand the reason why the UK is asking for an extension, we cannot give a positive answer," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters in Bucharest.

The French diplomatic source called the extension idea premature and "clumsy".

However, other European politicians have signalled they would be happy to give Britain time to rethink.

Armin Laschet, the premier of Germany's biggest regional state, North Rhine-Westphalia, tweeted: "If Britain asks for an extension to avoid a chaotic exit from the EU with incalculable risks for hundreds of thousands of jobs, we should agree."

He added: "The longer the better. That means the Brits take part in the European elections too."

BRITISH PARTIES DIVIDED

May offered to quit last week to get her deal passed but it was defeated for a third time last Friday, the day Britain was originally due to leave the EU. The EU had given her an extension until April 12 and said it could be extended to May 22, but only if parliament agreed the withdrawal deal.

Her latest gamble on talks with the Labour Party has infuriated the pro-Brexit wing of her Conservatives and divided her cabinet.

Labour too is divided. It is officially committed to leaving the EU but with closer ties than May has sought, including a customs union, which May has so far ruled out.

Many Labour members and lawmakers also want to put any agreement to a second public vote - potentially opening a path for Brexit to be rejected altogether. Party leader Corbyn has been difficult to pin down on whether this would still be necessary if May agrees to a customs union.

Corbyn's deputy Tom Watson, who supports a second referendum, said it would be difficult for Labour to back any agreement without it.

"We're genuinely going in with an open mind, but if it comes out of that process without the idea of a confirmatory ballot, I think we would have a bit of difficulty with our parliamentary party," Watson told BBC radio. ]]>
4/5/2019 12:14:08 PM
<![CDATA[ATQ affirms boycotting 140th IPU meeting in Qatar]]>CAIRO – 5 April 2019: The Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain has affirmed boycotting the 140th General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which kicked off in Qatar on Saturday.


The general assembly was held in Geneva in October 2018, during which the four nations objected to the decision to hold the next gathering in Doha, over concerns about Qatar’s links to terror groups and regional foe Iran.


In a statement on Thursday, the ATQ said, “Regarding the joint statement submitted by the four states to the General Secretariat of the Inter-Parliamentary Union during the 139th General Assembly held in Geneva, objecting Qatar's hosting of the 140th General Assembly of the IPU, scheduled to be held in Doha from April 6 to 10, we announce boycotting the assembly’s meetings in case if held in Doha unless Qatar responds to the demands of the four countries to cease its support for terrorism and its intervention in the internal affairs of the countries of the region.”


“As Qatar has shown no response to the fair demands of the four states and persisted with its policies that support extremism and terrorism and intervene in the affairs of the countries of the region, we emphasize our non-participation in the aforementioned activities of the General Assembly,” the statement added.


In early 2017, the four countries cut transport, trade and diplomatic ties with Qatar for hosting and funding terror groups and interfering in the internal affairs of other nations.


Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa said last year that Qatar had prolonged the crisis by pleading its case with western allies instead of dealing with it inside the GCC bloc.


“We were expecting from the beginning of the crisis with Qatar that the emir of Qatar would go to Saudi (Arabia) but this did not happen,” he said.



]]>
4/5/2019 10:56:05 AM
<![CDATA[Turkish opposition still claims lead in Istanbul recount]]>
Late on Thursday, election officials expanded the vote recount in Istanbul, broadcaster CNN Turk said, as President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party pushed its appeal against its shock election defeat there. It was unclear how many districts would ultimately see recounts.

Republican People's Party (CHP) mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu told Turkey's Fox TV he did not expect the gap between his party and the AKP to change substantially when the recount in the country's largest city was completed.

"From what I see, it should end this weekend. It will fall into a 18,000-20,000 range, that's what all the simulations show. These are very tight numbers," he said.

He said 119,652 invalid votes had been recounted, with 2,184 votes added in favour of the AKP and 785 added for the CHP.

The AK Party said it would also demand a wider check on votes across the capital Ankara, which, according to initial results, it also narrowly lost in Sunday's nationwide municipal vote.

Those losses, if confirmed, would be particularly painful for Erdogan, whose party and its predecessor have dominated the two cities for 25 years. He launched his political career in Istanbul and served as the city's mayor in the 1990s.

On Wednesday, Turkey's High Election Board had ordered a full recount in three of Istanbul's 39 districts and a recount of just invalid ballots in 15 districts. However, late on Thursday the board decided there would be a full recount in those 15 districts as well, CNN Turk said.]]>
4/5/2019 10:44:39 AM
<![CDATA[UN nuclear watchdog inspects Iranian warehouse, Tehran says 'carpet-cleaning facility']]>



Calls have been submitted to the nternational Atomic Energy Agency to visit the site immediately, saying it had housed 15 kg (33 lb) of unspecified radioactive material that had since been removed.

Netanyahu argued the warehouse showed Tehran still sought to obtain nuclear weapons, despite its 2015 pact with world powers to curb its nuclear programme in return for a loosening of sanctions.

At the time the IAEA bristled at being told what to do, saying it does not take information presented to it at face value and sends inspectors "only when needed".

"They've visited the site," one of the three diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly and details of inspections are confidential.

Determining what nuclear materials if any were present at the site will depend on an analysis of environmental samples taken there, and the results will not be in until June, two of the diplomats said.

Such environmental samples can detect telltale particles including highly enriched uranium even long after the material has been removed.

The IAEA has the power under the landmark 2015 deal to carry out so-called complementary access inspections in Iran, which are often conducted at short notice, wherever it needs to.

The IAEA carried out 35 complimentary access inspections in Iran in 2017, the latest year for which data is available, according to an annual report to member states that is itself confidential and which Reuters obtained.

Diplomats familiar with the IAEA's work say such inspections are often carried out to clear up questions Iran has not fully answered or discrepancies in its declarations.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran declined to comment. Iran has said the site is a carpet-cleaning facility.
]]>
4/5/2019 8:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s Cabinet denies 10 rumors in various fields over last week]]>
The rumors propagated by media about the Cabinet's decisions are:

1) Forcing employees into early retirement to reduce the state’s expenditure.

2) Removing over 172,000 of beneficiaries from “Takaful and Karama” (Solidarity and Dignity) program to minimize the public budget.

3) Ministry of Finance pays the Suez Canal Authority’s debts that amount to $600 million.

4) The dollar’s exchange rate of the fiscal year 2019-2020 will skyrocket to hit L.E 18.

5) Imposing fees on families that have more than two children to raise the public budget.

6) Exporting a huge number of cattle infected by epidemic diseases and unauthorized vaccines.

7) The second year of the secondary stage is just an experimental year and its grades will not be counted to the overall GPA of the students.

8) The Ministry of Awqaf will fire Muezzins and Sheikhs after the success of unifying sermons in mosques.

9) Upon applying the third stage of hepatitis C initiative, fabricated news about throwing medical trash in residential areas such as Mohandeseen have spread.

10) The Ministry of Health set the special number (16010) for emergency, while the only verified number is (137).]]>
4/4/2019 11:36:44 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi to open Global Forum for Higher Education on Thursday]]>
Under the title "Between the Present and the Future," the forum will take place over three days, under the patronage of President Sisi, during which a number of scientists, experts, and some of those who are concerned with the university education, scientific research, and innovation will exist, presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said.

Also, more than 300 foreign figures will attend including prominent scientists, heads of international universities, deputies education ministers and education experts from 55 countries, and representatives of regional and international organizations concerned with higher education and scientific research, according to local media.

The attendees will include, according to earlier reports, universities and educational establishments' representatives of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Binational Fulbright Commission in Egypt (BFCE), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Union (EU), the British Council, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Foundation, African Development Bank, UNESCO, Quacquarelli Symonds that publishes QS World University Rankings annually, the Association of Arab Universities, and the Association of African Universities.

The forum aims to create an international platform to address the present and future of higher education, scientific research and innovation through dialogue and discussions on a number of global issues, in a way that allows the exchange of international experiences in this regard.

The topics to be discussed include the return on investment (ROI) of high education, scientific research and innovation, the challenges facing the sector on the global scale in light of the accelerating development of IT and digital transformation, AI, job opportunities and qualifying students for labor market, ensuring quality in educational and scientific establishments, expanding in modern research fields, importance of international rankings, the different criteria used in rankings, modernization of curricula to meet development requirements, and capacity-building of students and faculty members in the realm of scientific research and education.

The announcement of the forum came during Minister of Higher Education Khaled Abdel Ghafar’s speech at the opening ceremony of the regional headquarters of the Union of African Universities at Al-Azhar University.

Abdel Ghaffar announced in March that the participating countries include France, Greece, Finland, Portugal, Poland, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Belgium, Switzerland, Montenegro, United States, Canada, China, India, Kazakhstan, Australia, Nigeria, Chad, Somalia, Zambia, Mauritania, Togo, Tanzania, Morocco, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Sudan, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.


Additional reporting by Walaa Ali ]]>
4/4/2019 10:51:24 AM
<![CDATA[Houthi militants deny UN access to Yemen food aid]]>
More than 100 workers were denied access to the Red Sea mills warehouse, said a source in the Arab coalition fighting on the side of the Yemeni government.

“Unfortunately, the Houthi (rebels) have decided to once again renege on a previous commitment, denying the team access to the mills,” the source told AFP.

In February, a team from the UN’s World Food Programme visited the Red Sea mills warehouse for the first time since September, when they became inaccessible due to the conflict between pro-government forces and the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.

The WFP said laboratory tests confirmed the wheat had been infested with insects and had to be fumigated to feed million of people.

WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel told AFP Tuesday the mission planned by the UN agency to the Red Sea mills was postponed due to “security reasons.”

Before the UN lost access in September the Red Sea mills held 51,000 tons of grain, which was enough to feed more than 3.7 million people for a month.

This comes after an agreement was struck in Sweden in February, in which Yemeni rivals agreed to redeploy their fighters outside the ports and away from areas that are key to the humanitarian relief effort.

The ports are in the rebel-held west of the country, and the agreement especially set out free access to the Red Sea mills warehouses, under control of d government forces.

Moreover, Yemen’s Human Rights Minister has said Houthi violations of the Hodeidah ceasefire amount to nearly 2,000 “criminal acts” against civilians.

On the sidelines of the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Mohammed Askar said the Yemeni government was concerned with the progress of the implementation of the agreement.

“Houthi actions against civilians in Yemen amount to war crimes," said Mr Askar. "We have recorded a total of 1,943 violations of the ceasefire which resulted in the killing of 123 people and 627 injuries.”

The ceasefire deal, one of several confidence-building measures taken by Yemen's government and the rebels at the UN-brokered talks in Sweden, was hailed as the best path to full-scale peace negotiations and an end to the war.

The Yemeni minister also touched on the country's dire humanitarian situation. Houthi rebels, he said, have been blocking the delivery of much-needed aid.

“I am surprised at why the international community is silent on this issue,” he said, calling on rebels to open humanitarian corridors.

“They are taking advantage of the agreement to reinforce their defence position by digging trenches and planting mines,” Mr Askar told the delegates.

Houthis have targeted the Red Sea Mills, a facility that stores wheat and milling equipment to feed millions of starving people, and have destroyed 25 per cent of its grain reserves, the minister explained.
]]>
4/3/2019 3:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Australian leader rules out helping ISIS children]]>
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s response to the plight of former ISIS militant Khaled Sharrouf’s children is the same as his government’s reaction to other Australians who have joined the fight with extremist groups in Syria and want to come home.

“I’m not going to put one Australian life at risk to try and extract people from these dangerous situations,” Morrison told reporters.

But security experts say that Australians can and should be safely brought home from Syrian refugee camps since the defeat of ISIS forces.

Only three of Sharrouf’s five children survived the conflict, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. They are 17-year-old Zaynab, Hoda, 16, and Humzeh, 8. The siblings fled the siege of Baghouz village in mid-March. Zaynab is pregnant and has her two children with her, Ayesha, 3, and Fatima, 2.

Their grandmother, Karen Nettleton, said she is particularly concerned for Zaynab, who is about to give birth in the squalid Al-Hol camp. “Zaynab is seven-and-a half months pregnant; she’s feeling very fatigued,” Nettleton told ABC.

“Take care of my children, because even if I die, they are the seeds of the Caliphate.” This is what a Jihadist woman told the head nurse of a Kurdish hospital in northeastern Syria, pointing to the cribs of the more than 75 children of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters who are fighting for their lives, El Pais reported.

These children of African, Asian and European descent were born in Baghouz, in eastern Syria, a former ISIS stronghold on the border with Iraq, and evacuated from ISIS camps in the Syrian desert. Some of them are orphans, but others are visited by their mothers who remain captive in nearby camps.]]>
4/3/2019 2:40:00 PM
<![CDATA[Guterres lauds Egypt's efforts to avoid escalation in Gaza]]>
The UN chief departed Egypt for Libya, concluding his two-day visit to Cairo, during which he also met with Egypt's Foreign Minister, Sheikh of al-Azhar, Sunni Muslim world's most prominent religious institution. He also visited Giza's Grand Egyptian Museum.

In a press conference with Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri, Guterres expressed thanks to Egypt for its efforts to avoid the escalation of the situation in Gaza, provide humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people in Gaza, and unify the factions there. He expressed the mutual keenness to reach a permanent solution to the Palestinian cause, based on the two-state solution.

Guterres said that he also discussed with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi the situation in Libya, and efforts to achieve stability and unity in the country.

The two sides also discussed the Syrian crisis, and the mutual desire to reach a peaceful political solution, in accordance with the UN resolutions. They also reviewed the crisis in Yemen.

During the conference, Guterres affirmed that Golan Heights is an occupied Syrian territory, and that the UN will work to preserve the integrity of the Syrian lands. He added that the UN seeks preventing negative effects of the US decision in this regard.

US President Donald Trump in March recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war, stirring wide criticism of the Arab nations.

Trump also angered the Arab peoples in December 2017 after he announced his administration's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and ordering moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The embassy was inaugurated in Jerusalem in May 2018, despite fierce protestation by world leaders, not only Arabs.

Egypt's FM, UNSG talk unifying efforts against terrorism

CAIRO - 3 April 2019: Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri met on Tuesday with the UN Chief, during the latter's two-day visit to Egypt, where they discussed the means to unify the international efforts to combat terrorism and extremism.

]]>
4/3/2019 2:15:44 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey's main opposition mayor candidate in Istanbul demands mandate]]>
Speaking to reporters in Istanbul after the YSK ruled in favor of recounting votes in eight districts of the country's largest city, Ekrem Imamoglu said that while there could be minor errors in vote counts the outcome will not change.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had campaigned hard for his AK Party in the weeks ahead of the election.

Preliminary results show the opposition's mayoral candidates winning comfortably in the capital Ankara and narrowly taking Istanbul, wrenching Turkey's political and economic centers from Erdoğan's grasp by tapping into widespread discontent fueled by an economic downturn.

The president, however, has not conceded defeat in either city and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) is disputing the results, citing alleged irregularities. The AKP says it wants all votes to be counted correctly and will accept the election board’s final results, which are due in about 10 days. Normally omnipresent, Erdoğan’s public absence since the early hours of Monday amid the wrangling over the results has unnerved his opponents, who now worry about his next move.

The opposition has not forgotten Erdoğan’s strong-arm response to previous election setbacks, such as in 2015 when he reran a general election after the AKP lost single-party rule, or his threats ahead of Sunday’s vote to dismiss elected officials he suspects of wrongdoing.]]>
4/3/2019 1:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[Venezuela's Guaido stripped of immunity from prosecution]]>
Guaido -- whose claim is recognized by over 50 countries -- had earlier expressed fears of being abducted by government agents following a request by the Supreme Court to the Constituent Assembly to lift his parliamentary immunity.

Critics of the controversial two-year-old body say it was created to rubber-stamp Maduro's decisions and sideline the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

The Constituent Assembly's president, Diosdado Cabello, announced pro-Maduro lawmakers had unanimously authorized the Supreme Court to prosecute Guaido, leaving him also liable to be charged for breaching a January 29 government ban on leaving the country.

The court had been investigating Guaido for usurping Maduro's powers by declaring himself interim president on January 23 -- a move which rapidly gained international support.

"The people are determined and nothing is going to stop us," said a defiant Guaido in response. "There is no turning back in this process."

Guaido recognizes neither the court nor the Constituent Assembly and insisted the decision was invalid.

Travel ban

The court ruling, issued Monday, cited Guaido's violation of a ban on his travel outside Venezuela when he visited Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Paraguay from late February to early March.

The move came after Venezuela's auditor general's office announced last week that it had stripped Guaido of the right to hold public office for 15 years, a decision he rejected as invalid.

Parallel to the political battle, the country has been hit by a series of devastating blackouts that have left millions without water, prompting the government to replace the country's energy minister and institute power rationing in a bid to address the outages.

Three major blackouts hit Venezuela in March, worsening already dire living and economic conditions in the country, and prompting authorities to take steps aimed at curbing the outages

Maduro -- whose government has blamed "terrorists" for alleged attacks that have damaged the country's main hydroelectric power plant -- announced that he was appointing Igor Gavidia Leon to replace retired general Luis Motta Dominguez as energy minister.

The new minister "is an electrical industry worker with 25 years of experience, an engineer who had many responsibilities," Maduro said.

On Sunday, Maduro announced 30 days of electricity rationing, after his government said it was shortening the workday and keeping schools closed due to blackouts.

The measures are a stark admission by the government that there is not enough electricity to go around, and that the power crisis is here to stay.

With no electricity, pumping stations can't work, so water service is limited.

Schools and universities are scheduled to reopen on Wednesday.]]>
4/3/2019 1:46:12 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's FM, UNSG talk unifying efforts against terrorism]]>
During his visit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres also met with Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, and Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb. He also visited Giza's Grand Egyptian Museum.

The two sides will soon on Wednesday hold a press conference, according to state's Akhbar al-Youm.

During their meeting, Shoukri said that Egypt will continue its cooperation with the United Nations in this regard, through the implementation of the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly, in coordination with the concerned UN departments, an official statement said, adding that Egypt will also implement the global strategy to fight terrorism.

The meeting discussed the recent developments of the international and regional issues, according to Ahmed Hafez, the foreign ministry spokesman. Shoukri affirmed Egypt's support of the pivotal role played by the UN in tackling the issues that concern the international community, on the political, security and developmental levels.

The two sides exchanged views and assessment toward developments of the regional issues, especially that of Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

Moreover, Guterres and Shoukri reviewed the developments of the Palestinian cause, and the means to provide required support to the efforts aiming at pushing forward peace initiatives, and resuming negotiations, until a just and comprehensive solution for the cause is reached.

During the meeting, Hafez said that Shoukri stressed that Egypt attaches importance to strengthen strategic partnership with the UN and the African Union in preserving peace and development, in light of Egypt's presidency of the AU for 2019. Shoukri expressed Egypt's keenness to enhance cooperation between the UN and the AU, especially concerning the implementation of the 2030 and 2063 agendas.

Guterres lauded his visit to Egypt, and expressed the important role played by the country in the Arab and African regions. He also affirmed keenness to coordinate and consult with Egypt throughout the coming period, according to Hafez. ]]>
4/3/2019 12:19:42 PM
<![CDATA[Guterres visits Azhar, condemns rising anti-Muslim hatred]]>
This comes as Guterres has visited Cairo, during which he met with Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri, and Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb. He also visited Giza's Grand Egyptian Museum.




The United Nations published Guterres's speech, where he lauded "extraordinary" acts of tolerance by some civilians, in solidarity with people with different religions, around the world, while also warning about hate speech which he said it has spread "like wildfire through social media and radio."

As salaam alaikum.

I am honoured to address you in this esteemed seat of Islamic learning.

Standing here, one cannot fail to feel the impressive weight of more than 1,000 years of history, culture, scholarship and worship.

As Secretary-General of the UN, and as a man of faith, I have come to express my respect for Islam and my solidarity with its followers in these turbulent times.

It is less than a month since a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, took the lives of 50 worshippers of all ages.

Over the weeks, we have come to learn many inspiring stories about the victims.

We have read about people who lost their lives saving others.

And we have heard the words of a husband lost in grief over the death of his wife, yet extending words of forgiveness, because, as he said, “that’s what Islam taught me."

As the Holy Quran says in Surah Fussilat, verse 34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better and then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

We have also been deeply moved by the extraordinary displays of leadership, love and solidarity from the people of New Zealand and beyond.

We saw it in England where a white non-Muslim man held up a placard outside a mosque that read “You are my friends; I will keep watch while you pray.”

Such solidarity is often in evidence after a tragedy.

We saw it in Pittsburgh, last year, after the worst anti-Semitic terrorist attack in United States history.

Members of the Muslim community were quick to voice their support and raise money for the victims.




The executive director of the Pittsburgh Islamic Center said at the time. “We just want to know what you need. If it is people outside your next service protecting you, let us know. We’ll be there."

This is the spirit that I know is deeply embedded in Islam – a faith of love, compassion, forgiveness, mercy and grace.

As UN High Commissioner for Refugees, I saw the generosity of Muslim countries opening their borders to people in distress in a world where, unfortunately, so many borders are closed.

This is in line with what I regard as the most beautiful prescription for refugee protection in world history.

It is found in the Surah Al-Tawbah of the Holy Quran, Surah 9, verse 6: “And if anyone seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he can hear the words of Allah. Then escort him where he can be secure.”

This was revealed to the Prophet , May Peace be upon Him, more than fourteen centuries before the 1951 Convention on the Protection of Refugees.

Let me emphasize that the prescription is that protection should be given to both believers and non-believers.

This is a remarkable example of openness and tolerance.

In this time of difficulties and division, we must stand together and protect each other.

Yet, around the world, we are seeing ever-rising anti-Muslim hatred, anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia.

Hate speech is entering the mainstream, spreading like wildfire through social media and radio.

We see it spreading in liberal democracies as well as in authoritarian States.

These dark forces menace democratic values, social stability and peace.

They stigmatize women, minorities, migrants and refugees.

When people are attacked, physically, verbally or on social media, because of their race, religion or ethnicity, all of society is diminished.

We all have a part to play in repairing the fissures and ending the polarization that are so prevalent in many of our societies today.

Our faith leaders, in particular, have a very important role.

That is why it is so heartening to see the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, and Pope Francis join hands in Abu Dhabi in February in a show of interfaith brotherhood.

I have here, given by the Grand Imam, the text - the common text, approved by him and the Pope, which is a fantastic testimony of mutual respect, tolerance, compassion and peace, given by the two great religious leaders to the world.

As the Grand Imam stated, Muslims have paid a heavy price due to the actions of “a handful of criminals.” He also stressed that “all religions agree that God forbids killing.”

The document they signed on “human fraternity for world peace and living together” calls on religious and political leaders to bring an end to wars, conflicts, and environmental decay.

It further calls on Christians and Muslims to recognize and respect one another and work together for the good of humanity. And we will do our best for the UN to make sure that this document goes everywhere and is seen by everybody.

I commend this bold move, and the Grand Imam’s call for Muslims in the Middle East to protect Christian communities.

I also commend the initiatives taken by al-Azhar to promote the true face of Islam and counter violent extremist philosophies and terrorist propaganda.

Nothing justifies terrorism, and it becomes particularly hideous when religion is invoked.

To live in a world of peace, we must nurture mutual understanding and invest in making diversity a success.

As the Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, said: “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”

We must counter and reject religious and political figures who exploit differences.

And we must ask why so many people feel excluded, and why they are tempted by extreme messages of intolerance against each other.

Ultimately, we must all work together for our collective benefit.

This is the reasoning behind the United Nations 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals – the world’s blueprint for a fair globalization and an inclusive and prosperous society.

At the heart of our efforts, we must uphold and promote human dignity and universal human rights.

Yes, we have different faiths, cultures and histories, but we are all connected by our common humanity.

Instead of dwelling on our differences, let us focus on what unites us, and work together for a better future for everyone, everywhere.

Thank you.


On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri met with Guterres, where they discussed the means to unify the international efforts to combat terrorism and extremism. The two sides will soon on Wednesday hold a press conference, according to state's Akhbar al-Youm.]]>
4/3/2019 12:00:28 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey’s elections show the limits of Erdogan’s nationalism - paper]]>
He screened the horrific video of the massacres at two mosques in New Zealand and claimed the mantle of Muslim victimhood. And he stirred angry nationalism from city to city in a bid to distract voters frustrated by the country’s faltering economy, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

But this time it didn’t work. In what’s being viewed as a rebuke to Erdogan, candidates representing his Justice and Development Party, or AKP, were defeated in the major cities throughout Turkey including the capital, Ankara, as well as Izmir, Adana and Antalya.

In Istanbul, the country’s biggest city, a politician from the opposition Republican People’s Party looks to have secured a majority of votes, though the AKP is challenging the result, and there are fears of government foul play afoot, the newspaper said.

Even as AKP officials point out that they and their coalition partners won the most votes across the country, the next days will test Erdogan’s ability to stomach defeat, it said.

The loss of Istanbul “would be an especially harsh blow to the president,” wrote The Washington Post’s Kareem Fahim.

“Erdogan rose to national prominence as the city’s mayor from 1994 to 1998. The city has since serve