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Aramco On Lockdown After Houthi Missile Attack

Aramco On Lockdown After Houthi Missile Attack

Saudi Arabia had intercepted a ballistic missile attack on facilities owned by state oil major Aramco in the Eastern Region, Reuters has reported, citing the Saudi defense ministry.

Earlier reports said Aramco facilities in Dharan had gone on lockdown because of a suspected attack.

The Iran-affiliated Yemeni Houthi group claimed responsibility for the attacks on Sunday, saying it had used ballistic missiles and drones.

Ras Tanura, which is home to extensive oil infrastructure, was not the only target of the attack: the Houthis also targeted Aramco property in the southern Saudi provinces of Jizan and Najran, according to the rebel group’s spokesman who claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Aramco oil facilities are understandably a preferred target for the Houthis, which Saudi Arabia is trying to oust from Yemen after they removed the Saudi-affiliated government of the country in 2014 and has since then assumed power in most of Yemen. The Yemeni war, which has resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis in modern times, is widely seen as a proxy war between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Saudis most often intercept the Houthi attacks but not always. The most notable attack that the Yemeni rebel group claimed responsibility for was the September 2019 attacks on Saudi Aramco’s oil facilities, including an oil field and a processing plant

That attack cut off 5 percent of the daily global supply for weeks, sending oil prices soaring. But Saudi Arabia and the United States said at the time that it was Iran—and not the Houthis—that was responsible for the attack, even though the Yemeni group again claimed responsibility for the strikes.

Since the start of the Yemen war, several attempts have been made at reaching a ceasefire agreement, but so far, all have failed, locking the Saudis and the Houthis in a stalemate.

Brace For Oil Surge: Saudi Oil Tank In Ras Tanura Port Hit In Houthi Drone Attack

Brace For Oil Surge: Saudi Oil Tank In Ras Tanura Port Hit In Houthi Drone Attack

It’s not as if oil – the best performing class of 2021 – behind bitcoin of course – needed any more reasons to surge higher (for the latest tally please read “Saudis + Commodity Funds = Energy Stock Explosion“), but it got it moments ago when Saudi Arabia said that it had intercepted missiles and a barrage of drones launched from neighboring Yemen and which targeted Dhahran, where Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, is headquartered, which eyewitnesses said was rocked by an explosion.

According to Bloomberg which quotes witnesses on the ground, the blast shook windows in Dhahran, which hosts a large compound for Aramco employees.

While Bloomberg was cautious with reporting of what had happened, Saudi journalist Ahmed al Omaran who previously worked with the FT, said that “Saudi oil tanks in Ras Tanura Port hit in drone attack and Aramco facilities targeted with ballistic missile” quoting an energy ministry statement

An official spokesman at the Ministry of Energy said that “one of the petroleum tank farms at the Ras Tanura Port in the Eastern Region, one of the largest oil shipping ports in the world, was attacked this morning by a drone, coming from the sea”

Yemen’s Houthis claimed a series of attacks on Sunday including on a Saudi Aramco facility at Ras Tanura in the east of the kingdom. The group launched eight ballistic missiles and 14 bomb-laden drones at Saudi Arabia, a spokesman for the Houthis, Yahya Saree, said in a statement to Houthi-run Al Masirah television.

“There are reports of possible missile attacks and explosions this evening, March 7, in the tri-city area of Dhahran, Dammam, and Khobar in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province,” the U.S. consulate general in Dhahran said in a statement.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Oil Set To Spike After Report Saudi Repairs At Abqaiq May Take “Up To Eight Months”

Oil Set To Spike After Report Saudi Repairs At Abqaiq May Take “Up To Eight Months”

While S&P futures may spike at the open following Saturday’s news from the NYT that the “the delegation of Chinese agriculture officials that had planned to travel to Montana and Nebraska in the coming week didn’t cancel the trip because of any new difficulty in the trade talks” but “instead, the trip was canceled out of concern that it would turn into a media circus and give the misimpression that China was trying to meddle in American domestic politics”, oil too is likely to catch a bid after the WSJ reported that it may take “up to eight month”, rather than 10 weeks company executives had previously promised, to fully restore operations at Aramco damaged Abqaiq facility, suggesting the crude oil shortfall will last far longer than originally expected.


Saudi officials say there is little sense of calm at the highest levels of the company and the Saudi government, however. It could take some contractors up to a year to manufacture, deliver and install made-to-measure parts and equipment, the Saudi officials said. #OOTT https://twitter.com/summer_said/status/1175859119061909506 …https://www.os-repairs-could-take-months-longer-than-company-anticipates-contractors-say-11569180194 243:52 PM – Sep 22, 2019


The official reason for the delay: the supply-chain is unable to respond to the Saudi needs. Specifically, Aramco is” in emergency talks with equipment makers and service providers, offering to pay premium rates for parts and repair work as it attempts a speedy recovery from missile attacks on its largest oil-processing facilities.” 

Following a devastating attack on its largest oil-processing facility more than a week ago, Aramco is asking contractors to name their price for patch-ups and restorations. In recent days, company executives have bombarded contractors, including General Electric , with phone calls, faxes and emails seeking emergency assistance, according to Saudi officials and oil-services suppliers in the kingdom.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Would Iran Attack the Saudis NOW?

Why Would Iran Attack the Saudis NOW?

U.S. officials claim that the attacks against Saudi oil facilities were launched from Iranian soil.

Are they right?

We have no idea at this point, as the U.S. government hasn’t released any evidence.

But given that the U.S. and 23 other countries have ADMITTED to carrying out false flag attacks before – including – it’s worth asking whether Iran or another country had more to gain from this attack …

Indeed, U.S. officials have admitted to twice carrying out false flag attacks intended to frame Iran and justify regime change:

(1) The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister.

(2) CIA agents and documents admit that the agency gave Iran plans for building nuclear weapons … so it could frame Iran for trying to build the bomb.

And neocons have been planning on further regime change in Iran for more than 25 years.

So it’s worth questioning this, at least in the absence of real evidence.  This is especially true because – until a couple of days ago – it seemed like the U.S. and Iran were moving towards diplomatic talks.

And Trump just fired the head “bomb Iran” cheerleader, John Bolton. So the odds of a peaceful solution to tensions with Iran seemed higher than they had been in years

So why would the Iranians “torpedo” the momentum towards diplomacy, and hand the U.S. a casus belli on a silver platter?

Why now?

Of course, the Houthis have claimed responsibility for the attack, while the Iranians have denied it.    But the U.S. isn’t paying any attention to their statements.

It’s possible it really was the Iranians … but given the history of fake “justifications” for war (like Iraq), it’s worth asking questions.

The Black Swan Is a Drone

The Black Swan Is a Drone

What was “possible” yesterday is now a low-cost proven capability, and the consequences are far from predictable.

Predictably, the mainstream media is serving up heaping portions of reassurances that the drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities are no big deal and full production will resume shortly. The obvious goal is to placate global markets fearful of an energy disruption that could tip a precarious global economy into recession.

The real impact isn’t on short-term oil prices, it’s on asymmetric warfare: the coordinated drone attack on Saudi oil facilities is a Black Swan event that is reverberating around the world, awakening copycats and exposing the impossibility of defending against low-cost drones of the sort anyone can buy.(Some published estimates place the total cost of the 10 drones deployed in the strike at $15,000. Highly capable commercially available drones cost around $1,200 each.)

The attack’s success should be a wake-up call to everyone tasked with defending highly flammable critical infrastructure: there really isn’t any reliable defense against a coordinated drone attack, nor is there any reliable way to distinguish between an Amazon drone delivering a package and a drone delivering a bomb.

Whatever authentication protocol that could be required of drones in the future–an ID beacon or equivalent–can be spoofed. For example: bring down an authenticated drone (using nets, etc.), swap out the guidance and payload, and away it goes. Or steal authentication beacons from suppliers, or hack an authenticated drone in flight, land it, swap out the payload–the list of spoofing workaround options is extensive.

This is asymmetric warfare on a new scale: $20,000 of drones can wreak $20 million in damage and financial losses of $200 million–or $2 billion or $20 billion, if global markets are upended.If it’s impossible to defend against coordinated drone attacks, and impossible to differentiate “good” drones from “bad” drones, then the only reliable defense is to ban drones entirely from wide swaths of territory.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Iran-Backed” Attack On Merchant Ship In Red Sea Thwarted: Saudi Coalition

“Iran-Backed” Attack On Merchant Ship In Red Sea Thwarted: Saudi Coalition

As the tanker and pipeline wars in the gulf continue to heat up, Saudi state sources are claiming to have thwarted a new “terror attack” on a commercial ship targeted by Yemen’s Houthis. 

Spokesman for the Saudi coalition fighting in Yemen, Col. Turki al-Maliki, announced Monday that “Houthis attempted to attack a commercial ship south of the Red Sea using a booby-trapped boat with explosives,” according to a statement from the Saudi Press Agency.File photo via AFP

Al-Maliki pointed the finger at the “Iran-backed” Shia militia for posing a threat to navigation and international trade, but vowed that the coalition  which has since 2015 included US forces  would “neutralize” all hostile threats in the region. 

The statements via the Saudi Press Agency suggest that an active, ongoing operation is underway in response to the alleged Houthi targeting of a merchant vessel in the south Red Sea.

The Bab El Mandeb strait, located between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula to the Red Sea’s south, is considered one of the world’s most important trade routes for oil tankers and over the course of the Saudi-Yemen war has been site of multiple military operations launched between the Houthis and Saudis. 

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Impossible to predict Iran’s response vs UK. Expect mischief/hassling of UK tankers in Persian Gulf. Is bigger risk than attack on tanker in Persian Gulf, the wildcard of Iran proxies, in particular the Houthis who have attacked Saudi tankers in the Red Sea/Bab el Mandeb? #OOTT

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

America is today’s Nazi Germany.

America is today’s Nazi Germany.

It’s not against Jews this time; it’s against, especially, Houthis.

The U.S. and its allies — in this case mainly the Saud family who own Saudi Arabia — are systematically blocking food from reaching tens of millions of people, Houthis, who live in Yemen and are surrounded by the U.S. alliance’s engines of death. The U.S. alliance’s goal is to slaughter them all. The Sauds want the land — not the people.

The U.N. has been brought into this scheme of mass-slaughter. The responsible U.N. Agency is the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Its leadership is mainly Mark Lowcock, who keeps silent about the genocide, except for rare occasions in which he says that if something is not done, then more tragedy will somehow happen in Yemen — in other words, platitudes, in the face of what might turn out to be the biggest genocide since World War II. (And most of Hitler’s slaughtering killed even more non-Jews than Jews, because the vast majority of people everywhere didn’t want to be ruled by him and resisted his rule. The U.S. aristocracy and its allies haven’t yet matched what Germany did in that time, but they’ll surpass it if they attack Russia as Hitler did — which could happen.)

Lowcock’s official web-page says about him that “Mr. Mark Lowcock of the United Kingdom … led the United Kingdom’s humanitarian response to conflicts in Iraq, Libya and Syria, and to natural disasters in Nepal and the Philippines” or that he was a functionary of the British aristocracy during its invasion of Iraq along with the aristocracy of the United States — the billionaires and their international corporations and the ‘non-profits’ which are actually these aristocrats’ main propaganda-mills and yet are tax-exempt. With Lowcock’s “designation as a Qualified Accountant, Mr. Lowcock brings a personal and analytical approach to humanitarian challenges.” He doesn’t count the corpses; he counts the money. That’s “Humanitarian,” in this New Nazism.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

U.S. Is Now Openly at War With Houthis in Yemen (Video)

U.S. Is Now Openly at War With Houthis in Yemen (Video) 

The US Navy in the Red Sea fired Tomahawk missiles into Yemen early Thursday morning, taking out three radar stations.  Those facilities had allowed the Houthi rebels who control North Yemen to target US destroyers in the Red Sea on several occasions in recent days (they missed each time).The Obama administration has backed the Saudi-led war on the Houthi government of north Yemen since it began in March of 2015, offering logistical support and even help in choosing targets for airstrikes.  Presumably the Houthis were firing at US destroyers in an attempt to take revenge on the US for its involvement in the war on them.The US Navy said that the Tomahawk missile strikes were defensive, without noting that the US has been deeply involved in helping plan the bombing of Yemen for a year and a half.Last Saturday a Saudi airstrike hit a funeral, killing some 160 civilians and wounding over 500.The Saudis and their partners in the war have often bombed urban areas indiscriminately, destroying some of historic downtown Sanaa.  Even when advised by the US military against striking some bridges and other key infrastructure (because they are needed to get staples to civilian populations), the Saudis and their allies have nevertheless struck them.  The US has on several occasions announced that it is becoming uncomfortable with the war on Yemen, but continues to be deeply involved behind the scenes.

The  war has killed 4,125 civilians and left 7,207 wounded, and made over a million Yemenis out of 24 million food insecure.The US is concerned with Yemen for geostrategic reasons, since about 10 percent of world trade goes through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, and Yemen is in a position to disrupt that ship traffic.  Also, some southern provinces of Yemen are bases for the radical al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is stalking the United States.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Powder Kegs Exploding: Violence Escalates In Turkey, Yemen As Mid-East Tips Towards Chaos

Powder Kegs Exploding: Violence Escalates In Turkey, Yemen As Mid-East Tips Towards Chaos

On Friday we checked in on two of the world’s most important conflicts: 1) that which is unfolding in Turkey where President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has effectively granted Washington access to Incirlik (you know, for “anti-terror” sorties) in exchange for NATO’s acquiescence to a brutal crackdown on the Kurds as AKP looks to usurp Turkey’s fragile deomcracy, and 2) that which is unfolding in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition isfighting to restore the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

In Turkey, Erdogan has successfully undermined the coalition building process necessitating new elections in November when he hopes the escalation of violence across the country will prompt voters to restore AKP’s parliamentary majority allowing the President to rewrite the constitution and consolidate his power. Journalists are being arrested, a terror “tip line” has been set up, a 24-hour Erodgan Presidential TV channel is in the works, and the country has, for all intents and purposes, been plunged into civil war with ISIS acting as a smokescreen for Erdogan’s power grab.

As for Yemen, the Iran-backed Houthis have been driven back by Saudi and UAE troops but the problem, asWSJ noted last week, is that the ragtag militia in Aden is “a motley group that spans the spectrum from southern secessionists to ultraconservative Salafi Islamists to supporters of al Qaeda.” In other words, it doesn’t seem all that far-fetched to suggest that should restoring Hadi ultimately prove to be impossible, an independent South Yemen could end up falling into the hands of extremists, which would be ironic not only for the fact that it would represent the latest example of US foreign policy gone horribly awry, but also because according to at least one source, the Saleh government – whose fighters are now allied with the Houthis – for years worked with AQP while accepting US anti-terror funding. Notably, were Yemen to split in two, it would also effectively create a permanent Iranian colony on Saudi Arabia’s southern border.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

Counterterrorism “Success Story” Fails Completely As Yemen Set To Split Into Two Countries

Counterterrorism “Success Story” Fails Completely As Yemen Set To Split Into Two Countries

Late last month, as the fighting in Yemen continued unabated, Jeff Prescott, the National Security Council’s Senior Director for the Middle East said “there is no military solution to the crisis.” Saudi Arabia seemingly disagrees and that will reportedly be one topic under discussion at The White House on Friday where President Obama will meet with King Salman to discuss a variety of geopolitical issues.

The Saudi-led intervention into the conflict in Yemen has transformed the country into a battleground for a Saudi-Iran proxy war on the way to exacerbating a worsening humanitarian crisis. Civilian casualties are a regular occurrence, although, between conflicting reports from Riyadh and the Houthis, it’s nearly impossible to determine the exact figures. Just this week, sources on the ground indicated that dozens of civilians were killed when Saudi warplanes bombed a bottling plant.

Meanwhile, operations in Yemen are taking their toll on Saudi Arabia’s increasingly precarious fiscal situation, which has deteriorated rapidly in the face of persistently low crude prices. Coalition partner UAE is in a similar, if slightly more stable, position from a budget perspective.

So while the market nervously eyes the petrodollar reserves of Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the countries juggle domestic expenditures, dollar pegs, and the cost of war, Yemen itself is coming apart at the seams – literally. As WSJ reports, it now looks as though the country may in fact split, as Aden residents have eschewed the red, white and black for the flag of South Yemen, which existed as an independent republic for more than two decades. Here’s the story:

Now that pro-Iranian Houthi militias have been expelled from much of southern Yemen, many here are wondering when President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadiwill return to his homeland from Saudi exile—and, more importantly, under what flag.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

US-Assisted Wahhabi Bombings of Yemen are “Devastating”: UN

US-Assisted Wahhabi Bombings of Yemen are “Devastating”: UN

The UN Secretary General stated Thursday that Saudi bombings of Yemen, which are assisted and coordinated by the US, “are having a devastating impact on humanitarian aid efforts and are in violation of the laws of war.”

While noting that fighters within Yemen are also committing war-crimes – ISIS, for example, has been able to establish a presence in the country thanks to the Saudi campaign – the UN has “been particularly critical of the Saudi air strikes”, for which the “United States is providing aerial refueling and intelligence” from within and outside the Saudi-Wahhabi dictatorship’s territory, as well asrescuing Saudi pilots: “U.S. military assets ha[ve] been used to rescue two Saudi pilots” – McClatchy.  (The US also evacuated its own government staff.)

While 8 countries, including India, China, and Russia, have carried out missions to rescue thousands of their civilian nationals, as well as foreign nationals and some Americans from the Yemen war zone, the Obama regime, recalling Bush’s treatment of hurricane Katrina refugees, refuses to evacuate any of the3 to 4,000 US civilians trapped in Yemen, despite US-lawsuits calling on Obama to do so.

The UN said that “more than 1,200 people have been killed in the past six weeks of fighting and that 300,000 have fled their homes.”

Antiwar.com reports that US-backed Saudi aggression “has provided an opportunity for AQAP [al Qaeda] and ISIS to gain ground”, as the Houthis, a domestic Yemeni movement opposed to al Qaeda, had previously prevented the Saudi-supported groups from gaining a foothold.

 

Why Is Washington Supporting Saudi Arabia’s Massacre In Yemen?

Why Is Washington Supporting Saudi Arabia’s Massacre In Yemen?

For a month now, the Saudi air force has been bombing Yemen to reverse a takeover of that nation of 25 million by Houthi rebels, and reinstall a president who fled his country and is residing in Riyadh.

The Saudis have hit airfields, armor and arms depots, and caused a humanitarian catastrophe. Nearly 1,000 dead, 3,500 wounded and tens of thousands homeless. The poorest nation in the Arab world is near collapse. Dependent upon imported food, Yemen faces malnutrition and starvation.

And the United States has been an accomplice in the Saudi bombing of Yemen.

Why? Why is Yemen’s civil war America’s war?

What did the Houthis ever do to us?

While they bear us no love, their Houthi rebellion was an uprising against a pair of autocrats who had been imposed upon them, and against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Houthis’ main enemy, AQAP, is America’s worst enemy.

Why are we then making ourselves de facto allies of al-Qaida?

For while the Saudis have been bombing the Houthis, easing the pressure on al-Qaida, AQAP effected a prison break of 270 inmates, including scores of terrorists, and seized the port of Mukalla.

The Saudis claim the Houthi rebellion is part of an Iranian Shiite scheme to overrun and dominate the Sunni Middle East.

But Pakistan is not buying it, and not sending troops. The Egyptians seem reluctant to enlist. Nor is there hard evidence Iran armed or incited the Houthis who have been fighting for years. Tehran reportedly advised the rebels not to take the city of Aden, and is calling for a ceasefire and peace talks.

Saudi propaganda portrays the Middle East as caught up in a great Muslim struggle, with a Shiite Crescent led by Iran seeking to swallow up the Sunni states.

 

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Chaos In Yemen: Chinese Troops Arrive As US-Armed Rebels Set Sights On Central Bank

Chaos In Yemen: Chinese Troops Arrive As US-Armed Rebels Set Sights On Central Bank

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are now in control of the central Crater district in the key Yemeni port city of Aden despite a seventh consecutive day of bombing raids by the Saudi-led coalition which is keen on preventing the city from falling. Aden is the second largest city in the country with a population of some 800,000 and as noted by The Guardian, is “the last major holdout of fighters loyal to the Saudi-backed President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.” Residents have reported the presence of tanks, sniper fire, and patrolling Houthi fighters as the militia moves closer to exerting complete control over the city.

Via The Guardian:

Residents of Aden’s central Crater district said Houthi fighters and their allies were in control of the neighbourhood by midday on Thursday, deploying tanks and foot patrols through its otherwise empty streets after heavy fighting in the morning.

It was the first time fighting on the ground had reached so deeply into central Aden. Crater is home to the local branch of Yemen’s central bank and many commercial businesses.

“People are afraid and terrified by the bombardment,” one resident, Farouq Abdu, told Reuters by telephone from Crater. “No one is on the streets – it’s like a curfew“.

Another resident said Houthi snipers had deployed on the mountain overlooking Crater and were firing on the streets below. Several houses were on fire after being struck by rockets, and messages relayed on loudspeakers urged residents to move out to safer parts of the city, he said.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Another Middle East War Breaks Out: US-Supported Saudi Arabia Begins Bombing Yemen, Tanks Cross Border

Another Middle East War Breaks Out: US-Supported Saudi Arabia Begins Bombing Yemen, Tanks Cross Border

UPDATE: US providing support to Saudi Arabia – US Official (so US weapons are being used on both sides)

Earlier today we reported that, on very short notice, Saudi Arabia had moved heavy military equipment including artillery to areas near its border with Yemen, “raising the risk that the Middle East’s top oil power will be drawn into the worsening Yemeni conflict.” In other words, Saudi Arabia was preparing for war.

Shortly thereafter, but before Yemen’s president bravely fled the country over fears of the Houthi rebel advance, Yemen’s foreign minister called for Arab military intervention against advancing Shiite rebels.

As we explicitly warned, “the conflict risked spiraling into a proxy war with Shi’ite Iran backing the Houthis, whose leaders adhere Shi’ite Islam, and Saudi Arabia and the other regional Sunni Muslim monarchies backing Hadi.”

Moments ago all these warnings were borne out when Al-Arabiya reported that the latest middle-east war is now official after Saudi Arabia and Arab Gulf States had launched a bombing campaign against Yemen.

More details:

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Yemeni Houthi fighters fire on protesters after clashes kill 26

Yemeni Houthi fighters fire on protesters after clashes kill 26

(Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Yemenis demonstrated in several cities on Saturday against the rule of the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi movement whose gunmen fired on protesters in the central town of Ibb and wounded four, medics said.

It was the second day of nationwide demonstrations against the Iranian-backed Houthis in less then a week after its dissolution of parliament this month unraveled security and sent Western and Arab embassies packing.

Activists said they were enraged by the death on Saturday of Saleh al-Bashiri, who they say was detained by gunmen as they broke up an anti-Houthi protest in Sanaa two weeks ago and was released to a hospital with signs of torture on his body on Thursday. There was no immediate comment from the Houthis.

Yemen’s upheaval has drawn international concern as it shares a long border with top world oil exporter Saudi Arabia, and the country is also fighting one of the most formidable branches of al Qaeda with the help of U.S. drone strikes.

Heavy clashes between Houthi fighters and Sunni Muslim tribesmen fighting alongside Al Qaeda militants in the southern mountainous province of al-Bayda on Saturday killed 16 Houthi rebels along with 10 Sunni tribesmen and militants, security officials and tribal sources told Reuters.

The state faces collapse in impoverished, strife-torn Yemen two weeks after the Houthis took formal control of the country and continued an armed push southward.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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