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US Providing Political Cover for Saudi Strikes, says Yemen’s Houthi Leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi

The United States is a key ally of Saudi Arabia, which has come under fire from human rights groups over the air strikes that have repeatedly killed civilians in Yemen

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FILE - A supporter carries posters depicting Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi during a rally in Sana'a, Yemen, March 6, 2015. Image source: VOA
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The leader of Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi faction Abdel-Malek al-Houthi accused the United States of providing logistical support and political cover for Saudi-led air strikes in the 18-month Yemeni conflict.

In his first published interview since the start of the civil war, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi also told the Houthis’ quarterly magazine his group was open to a peaceful solution of the conflict, in which at least 10,000 people have died.

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“The United States plays a major role in the aggression… including logistical support for air and naval strikes, providing various weapons… and providing complete political cover for the aggression, including protection from pressure by human rights groups and the United Nations,” he said.

The United States is a key ally of Saudi Arabia, which has come under fire from human rights groups over the air strikes that have repeatedly killed civilians in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and its allies, which have intervened in the conflict in support of the exiled government of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, see the Houthis as proxies of their archrival Iran.

The Houthis deny this and say Hadi and Saudi Arabia are pawns of the West bent on dominating their impoverished country and excluding them from power.

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U.N.-sponsored talks to try to end the fighting collapsed last month and the Houthis and allied forces loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh have resumed shelling attacks into Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s large northern neighbour.

In his interview, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi said his opponents did not understand the meaning of real dialogue.

“The hurdle facing negotiations and dialogue is that the other party wants to achieve through the talks what it wanted to achieve through war, not understanding that the path of dialogue and peace is different to the path of war,” he said.

Last month U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he had agreed in talks in Saudi Arabia with Gulf Arab states and the United Nations on a plan to restart peace talks for Yemen with a goal of forming a unity government.

Both the Houthis and the exiled government have welcomed the idea of a return to talks since then. (VOA)

 

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Rate of autism in US reduced in the past three years

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Rate of autism in US reduced in the past three yearsRate of autism in US reduced in the past three years
FILE - Colleen Jankovich works with her 11-year-old autistic son, Matthew, in Omaha, Nebraska, May 23, 2014. VOA

Miami, Jan 2, 2018: After more than a decade of steady increase in the rate of children diagnosed with autism in the United States, the rate has plateaued in the past three years, researchers said Tuesday.

The findings were based on a nationwide study in which more than 30,000 parents reported whether their children had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“The estimated ASD prevalence was 2.41 percent among US children and adolescents in 2014-2016, with no statistically significant increase over the three years,” said the research letter by experts at the University of Iowa, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The first observation of a plateau was made by a separate group in 2012, when the rate flattened out to 1.46 percent, according to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

Federal health authorities say that means about one in 68 children in the United States have the neurodevelopmental disability, whose causes remain poorly understood.

The ADDM had documented a “continuous increase from 0.67 percent in 2000 to 1.47 percent in 2010.”

The 2.4 percent rate described in the JAMA report translates to one in 47 children, but researchers cautioned that the discrepancy may be explained by “differences in study design and participant characteristics.”

The JAMA report, based on the annual National Health Interview Survey, did not delve into “underlying causes for the findings and cannot make conclusions about their medical significance.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also noted a plateau in the autism rate in 2016, but said it was “too soon to know whether ASD prevalence in the United States might be starting to stabilize.” (VOA)