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Yemen war threatens lives and history in Yemen


The nearly 3-year-old Yemen war has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced 2 million and helped spawn a devastating cholera epidemic in the Arab world’s poorest country. The shocking report on its humanitarian crises goes hand in hand with the affection of Yemen’s culture and historical sites. UNESCO reports numerous example of this silent but still ongoing distraction.  For instance, the Awwam Temple, which links a region now on the front lines of the Saudi-led war against Houthi rebels to Arabia’s pre-Islamic past. Experts fear the temple, as well as other historic and cultural wonders across Yemen, beyond those acknowledged by international authorities, remains at risk as the country’s stalemated war rages on. Anna Paolini, the directorate of UNESCO’s regional office placed in Qatar and that oversees Yemen and Gulf Arab nations declares that “All the villages are historic in a way” and that “They’re still heritage of the country. It’s sad to see what’s happening”. ” Saudi-led air attacks have destroyed historic mud homes in Saada, the birthplace of the Houthi rebels. Air attacks have also hit the over 2,500-year-old Old City in Yemen’s rebel-held capital of Sanaa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its intricately decorated, burnt-brick towers. Shelling and air attacks have struck museums and other sites in the country. In 2015, air attacks damaged part of the Great Marib Dam, near the Awwam Temple and built by the same civilization, according to UNESCO. Just the shockwaves of an explosion in the distance can be enough to damage delicate structures. UNESCO has shared coordinates of some 50 historical sites with militaries involved in the fighting, to try to protect the sites, Paolini said, though many remain unguarded now in the chaos of the war.


Tillerson heads back to deal with Gulf crisis


The United States will again try to resolve a Gulf crisis that Washington has alternatively fueled or tried to soothe, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads back to the region.
The top US diplomat did not himself hold out much hope of an immediate breakthrough in the stand-off between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but the trip may clarify the issues at stake.
“I do not have a lot of expectations for it being resolved anytime soon,” Tillerson admitted on Thursday, in an interview with the Bloomberg news agency. “There seems to be a real unwillingness on the part of some of the parties to want to engage.” Nevertheless, President Donald Trump’s chief envoy is to leave Washington this weekend for Saudi Arabia and from there head on to Qatar, to talk through a breakdown in ties. Trump, having initially exacerbated the split by siding with Riyadh and denouncing Qatar for supporting terrorism at a “high level,” has predicted the conflict will be resolved. Tillerson, a former chief executive of energy giant ExxonMobil, knows the region well, having dealt with its royal rulers while negotiating oil and gas deals. But the latest diplomatic spat is a tricky one, pitching US allies against one another even as Washington is trying to coordinate opposition to Iran and to Islamist violence.

Hekmatyar says no to closing Taliban office in Qatar


The leader of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has opposed with the bid to close the Taliban office in Qatar as he insisted that his party supports the legitimate demands of the group. According to Hekmatyar, those who are attempting to extend the war in Afghanistan and stand against peace and reconciliation, have became hopeless. He once again reiterated his previous claims regarding the individuals and groups who had paved the way for civil war, emphasizing that with the return of him, the individuals and groups have failed to implement their conspiracies. Sources privy of the development have said President Trump has discussed the issue with Afghan counterpart President Ghani.

Iran’s Zarif to visit Qatar amid Gulf crisis


Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will visit Qatar on Monday, officials said, for talks on relations between Tehran and Doha that have caused tensions in the Gulf. Zarif held talks with officials in Oman Monday before heading to Doha on his first visit to Qatar since Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties with Qatar in June. The four countries accuse Qatar of backing extremism and fostering ties with their Shiite rival Iran, charges that Doha denies. Oman, a tiny sultanate across the water from Iran, has traditionally had closer ties with Tehran than its neighbors and has maintained relations with Qatar throughout the crisis. Zarif’s talks in Muscat covered “energy, the economy and transit” and the potential “transfer of Iranian gas through the Sultanate of Oman to India”, according to the official Oman News Agency. Oman and Iran in 2014 agreed to build an underwater pipeline to pump Iranian gas to the Omani port city of Sohar.

Qatar hosts Indian extremist who called for attack on Saudi Arabia


Qatar hosts the extremist Indian preacher Sulaiman al-Nadawi who was pictured at prominent Muslim
Brotherhood cleric Yusef al-Qaradawi’s office. Doha still welcomed Nadawi after the Oman expelled him for
provocative remarks against Gulf states, in which he expressed that he loathed their governments, among other
remarks, at the college of Sharia Sciences in the Sultanate. During his speech, Nadawi called for an attack on
Saudi Arabia and some other Islamic countries, while questioning the Arab quartet’s decision on boycotting Qatar
saying. The ministry said that The speech was delivered on Tuesday, September 19, 2017. It strayed from the
lecture’s context in a manner inconsistent with the principles, approaches, and policies of the Sultanate.

Foreign ministers of Arab states boycotting Qatar discuss dispute during New York talks


The foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain agreed during talks in New York on Monday that they welcome a political resolution to the festering three-month row with Qatar, on condition that the Gulf state complies with the demands and principles outlined by the quartet of Arab nations.”We discussed recent developments in the dispute with Qatar,” Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told reporters following the talks, which were held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly at the headquarters of the Egyptian mission to the UN.The four Arab nations demand that Doha comply with six principles, including a commitment to combating terrorism and ending what they describe as acts of incitement and interference in the internal affairs of other Arab countries.They also demand that the Gulf monarchy abide by a list of 13 demands for Qatar, which include ending its support for the Muslim Brotherhood group, shutting down the Doha-based Al-Jazeera news channel, closing a Turkish military base and downgrading its ties with Iran.

Arab-Qatari crisis continues to escalate during UN Human Rights session in Geneva


The three-month old crisis between four Arab countries and Qatar has continued to escalate, as the latest conflict took place on Monday at a UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva.Speaking on behalf of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt during the session, the Emirati envoy to the UN, Obaid Al-Zaaby, accused the Qatari foreign minister of “distorting facts, reflecting the Qatari approach in misleading the international public opinion towards the political crisis”.Al-Zaaby read a joint statement issued by the four boycotting countries, which stated that the Qatari foreign minister ought to announce the end of his country’s support of terrorism.Meanwhile, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani maintained that the boycotting states were violating international and human rights, adding that there were about 26,000 complaints filed by Qatari citizens claiming to have faced personal inconveniences. Accusing the four states of imposing a “blockade”, Al-Thani called on the international community to take measures against them.

Saudi Foreign Ministry: Qatar News Agency continues to distort facts


Saudi Arabia said it was suspending any dialogue with Qatar because Qatar News Agency continues to distort facts. The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) made the announcement an hour after reporting a phone call between leaders of the two countries in an effort to resolve the dispute between Qatar and the quartet of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The four countries severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting extremist groups and of being too close to Iran. They also shut down air, maritime and land links and imposed economic sanctions on Qatar. In an earlier report Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a call on Friday from Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who it said had expressed his desire to start a dialogue. The call came a day after US President Donald Trump said he would be willing to step in and mediate the worst dispute in decades among the US-allied Arab states and Qatar, and said he thinks a deal could come quickly. After reporting the phone call between Crown Prince Mohammed and Sheikh Tamim, another Saudi Press Agency report said that Saudi Arabia was suspending the dialogue, quoting a Saudi official at the Foreign Ministry as saying Qatar’s state news agency Qatar National Agency published a report that “did not have any relevance to truth”.

Iran has to change its policies for any rapprochement, says Saudi FM


Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi Foreign Minister, said that Iran’s talk of a rapprochement with Saudi Arabia was laughable. He told that Iran would first have to change its policies before any diplomatic thaw could happen in order to respect international law. Al-Jubeir added “At this time, we do not see… that they’re serious about wanting to be a good neighbor”. He said that diplomatic exchanges with Iran over arrangements for the Hajj did not represent a normalization of relations and that such contacts had nothing to do with politics. Sara Bazoobandi, a senior lecturer on international political economy at Regent’s University London, is quite pessimistic and don’t think there is going to be a change whitout an immediate interest. Al-Jubeir also said that should the rift between Qatar and the Anti-Terror Quartet — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain — continue for two years, then “so be it”. Others agreed that the diplomatic rift over Doha’s alleged support of terror groups could be a protracted dispute. Khalid Al-Hail, spokesman of the Qatari opposition, said the situation is likely to lead to regime change within the Gulf state. “The continued standoff is causing hardship within Qatar, provoking civil unrest and increasingly the likelihood that the emir will be replaced in the near future (through) a coup by members of the ruling Al-Thani family”, he told Arab News.

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