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Yemen: Trump Vetos Bill to End US Support, Houthis Add New Missiles, Saudi Arabia and Sudan Dig in

Yemen: Trump Vetos Bill to End US Support, Houthis Add New Missiles, Saudi Arabia and Sudan Dig in

Yemen: Trump Vetos Bill to End US Support, Houthis Add New Missiles, Saudi Arabia and Sudan Dig in
April 17
12:29 2019

SANA’A, YEMEN — U.S. president Donald Trump on Tuesday vetoed a bill passed by Congress to end U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia’s for its war in Yemen. The U.S. provides billions of dollars of  sophisticated weapons to the Saudi-led coalition. Members of Congress, lad mostly by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, have expressed outrage over the thousands of civilians killed in coalition airstrikes since the conflict began. The fighting in the Arab world’s poorest country has left millions suffering from food and medical care shortages and has pushed the country to the brink of famine.

Trump wrote a statement justifying the veto, saying:

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.”

Responding to Trump’s veto, the Norwegian Refugee Council said that if Trump “was truly concerned about civilian life,” he would “ensure that the U.S.-supported Saudi-led coalition stop breaking the laws of war and depriving millions of Yemenis of life-saving assistance.” and that the United States is “deepening and prolonging” the crisis and “civilians are paying the price.”

But the Saudi-led Coalition’s U.S.-supported military campaign in Yemen now faces an increasingly sophisticated enemy as Yemen’s Resistance continues to build its burgeoning domestic military capability. On Tuesday, the Yemeni Army, loyal to Houthis, announced a new domestically-manufactured airburst ballistic missile system, dubbed the Badr-F, which emulates the Russian Tochka missile, for battlefield deployment.

Yemeni armed forces spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, said at a press conference in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a that the Badr-F was made operational after many successful tests, showing Yemen’s Operations Command Center-distributed footage of the Badr-F filmed by a Yemeni Air Force unmanned aerial vehicle as it targeted a military camp belonging to Sudanese mercenaries on Yemen’s border.

The missile, which is designed to target Saudi Coalition military targets with tremendous destructive power, explodes at a height of 20 meters and sends up to 14,000 fragments in a 350-meter radius to the ground. The missile purportedly boasts a pinpoint accuracy of three meters.

Brigadier General Saree said that development of the Badr-F — which utilizes a solid propellant, an upgrade from the previous Badr-P-1 smart missile — was carried out at the Specialized Studies Center in Missile Force. It has now entered service and the Rocket Operations Center has already received its first batch of the Badr-F. Saree added:

The Yemeni army is moving forward with the development of its military defense capabilities in order to protect the country and address the aggression and defeat the invaders. Yemen has a large strategic missile arsenal.”

Saree pointed out that the continuation of the war on Yemen means the continuation of military industries and development and thus the continuation of military operations of missiles. He also confirmed that the missile force has the ability to launch attacks on multiple targets at the same time.

In a prior statement when Yemen’s Operations Command Center revealed a new domestically-manufactured short-range “smart” missile — the Badr-P-1 on October 30, 2018 — the Yemeni Rocketry Force said that the Saudi-led Coalition had pushed its units to acquire smart-missile technology and manufacture and develop other ballistic missiles, adding:

The continued support of the West to the Coalition — especially the Americans, and their disregard for the suffering of the Yemenis — will drive us to manufacture and possess more sophisticated weapons to protect our people.”

The unveiling of the new ballistic missile comes on the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of the former president of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, Saleh al-Samad, and his bodyguards, who were killed on April 19, 2018 by airstrikes in Hodeida while preparing for a demonstration against Saudi attacks on the Red Sea port city.

Yemen’s military, citing the right to self-defense, possesses an array of ballistic missiles including the Borkan H-1-2 (Volcano H-1), and short-range tactical missiles including Badr-P-1 — which are designed to strike Saudi Coalition military targets with unprecedented precision while minimizing collateral damage — as well as the al-Najim al-Thaqib missile.

Moreover, Yemen’s army has modified Soviet-era missiles — including the Qaher 2, which is a domestically modified Soviet SA-2 type missile that boasts a range of over 300 km, as well as the Tochka ballistic missile.

Yemen’s army has also produced four domestically manufactured drones — the Qasef-1 (Striker-1), the Hudhud-1 (Hoopoe-1), the Raqib (Observer), and the Rased (Surveyor) — all of which perform a variety of tasks, including aerial surveillance, battlefield observation, and geophysical surveying. Yemen’s military has also domestically-manufactured marine mines.


Pressure on the US, Saudis to exit

The Belgium-based International Crisis Group, an international NGO committed to resolving violent conflicts, has urged the United States to help its ally Saudi Arabia to find a way out of its deadly war on Yemen. The Saudi-led Coalition “needs to stop thinking about how to eke out some notional victory,” the group said in a study released Sunday.

The group added that the alliance should “instead commit itself wholly to finding a political exit, regardless of whether that means empowering the Houthis more than it is comfortable within the short term.”

Meanwhile, many hospitals in the Yemeni capital of Sana`a — including Kuwait University Hospital, the second largest hospital in the country — announced an urgent appeal due to lack of fuel. The hospitals’ statement warned that children in incubators, not to mention patients in intensive care, could die as a result of the frequent power cuts caused by the shortage of fuel. No fuel shipments have reached Yemen’s largest port for a month.

The Saudi-led Coalition has prevented nine Tankers laden with oil from entering Hodeida port, the largest entry point for cargo to the devastated coastal area, causing a shortage of fuel in the country and making it harder to move food and medical aid around the country amid an epidemic of malnutrition and cholera.

Scenes of drivers queuing for hours just to get a can of fuel from overcrowded petrol stations returned to war-torn areas of Yemen, while some hospitals in Sana`a announced that they would cancel all planned surgical operations for the next week because of the lack of diesel to operate the generators that power their medical equipment.

Moreover, the shortage of fuel comes as a new cholera epidemic spreads like wildfire in the Arab world’s poorest country. Yemen witnessed the largest modern outbreak of the disease two years ago, which saw more than a million cases before it waned in mid-2018.


Some progress on Hodeida plan

In Hodeida, the Saudi-led Coalition and Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement have accepted a detailed plan for a much-delayed pullback from the flashpoint city, UN Envoy Martin Griffiths said on Monday, but no timetable was announced for the withdrawals.

Griffiths told the UN Security Council on Monday that agreement for the first phase of withdrawals was reached following negotiations between the warring parties and Danish General Michael Lollesgaard, who heads the UN operation monitoring the ceasefire and a redeployment agreement reached in Sweden in December 2018.

The redeployment of forces was agreed upon in December 2018 under a ceasefire deal reached in Sweden that offered the best hope in years of moving toward an end to the war that has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine, but the redeployment failed to materialize on the ground and the peace effort has since stalled.


Sudan to continue Bashir’s military commitment to Coalition

A senior Sudanese military official said on Monday that Sudanese troops participating in the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen would remain in the war-wracked country until the Arab alliance achieves its goals.

“We will stick to our commitment with the Arab alliance and our troops will remain until the alliance achieves its goals,” Mohammad Hamdan Daglo, the number two man in Sudan’s new ruling military council told the official SUNA news agency.

This was the first major foreign policy announcement made by the new military rulers after the ousting of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir last week and essentially is a continuation of his policy. The ousted Sudanese president deployed troops to Yemen in 2015.

Top photo | Mourners carry the coffins of victims of an explosion during a funeral procession in Sanaa, Yemen, Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Hani Mohammed | AP

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

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