Violence Breaks out in Lebanon’s Tripoli over Economic Crisis

A man rides his scooter through the burning, that were set on fire by protesters to block a road, in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP)
A man rides his scooter through the burning, that were set on fire by protesters to block a road, in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP)
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Violence Breaks out in Lebanon’s Tripoli over Economic Crisis

A man rides his scooter through the burning, that were set on fire by protesters to block a road, in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP)
A man rides his scooter through the burning, that were set on fire by protesters to block a road, in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP)

Gunmen took to the streets in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Wednesday, firing in the air and at times throwing stones at soldiers amid rising anger at power cuts, fuel shortages and soaring prices.

The anger was fueled by rumors that a young girl died after electricity cuts stopped a machine that supplied her with oxygen. A Lebanese security official denied the rumors and reports on social media about the girl. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest and most impoverished city, has witnessed acts of violence in recent days linked to the country’s severe economic and financial crisis. The World Bank has described the crisis as one of the worst the world has witnessed over the past 150 years. It is coupled with a political deadlock that has left Lebanon without a government since August.

The economic crisis has been the most serious threat to Lebanon’s stability since the 15-year civil war ended in 1990. Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs since October 2019 in the small nation of 6 million, including a million Syrian refugees.

Lebanon’s 20-month economic and financial crisis has led to severe shortages in fuel, medicine and medical products. Electricity cuts last for much of the day and lack of diesel has led the owners of some private generators to cease supplying power.

After the rumors spread in Tripoli on Wednesday, armed men deployed in the streets of some poor neighborhoods and opened fire in the air. Soldiers briefly pulled out from some areas, apparently to avoid a clash with the gunmen.

Later in the day, the army patrolled the areas that witnessed gunfire, state-run National News Agency reported.

A Tripoli resident told The Associated Press that he closed his shop and went home when the shooting started, adding that it lasted for about four hours. Later in the afternoon, shooting was heard again in the city.

Hundreds of people have tried to migrate to Europe from northern Lebanon due to harsh economic conditions over the past two years and some have died before reaching their destination.

In the capital Beirut, protesters closed several roads Wednesday to express their anger over harsh living conditions.

Riots in Tripoli over the weekend left at least 20 people injured, half of them soldiers.

The army on Sunday said rioters on motorcycles threw stun grenades at troops in Tripoli injuring nine soldiers, while another was injured when hit by a rock. Protesters attacked several state institutions in the city.

In recent years, Tripoli has witnessed rounds of fighting between supporters and opponents of Syria’s government.



At Climate Summit, Türkiye, South Africa Hit Out at Israel over Gaza War

 South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
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At Climate Summit, Türkiye, South Africa Hit Out at Israel over Gaza War

 South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks during a plenary session at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)

As the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas collapsed, some world leaders at the UN climate summit criticized Israel on Friday and called for the Gaza war to end, while US and UK officials held meetings on the conflict on the gathering's sidelines.

The war's prominence in speeches at the Dubai event served to highlight international divisions over the bloodshed and presented a distraction for a summit where nations are trying to find consensus on the shared threat posed by climate change.

"While discussing the climate crisis, we cannot ignore the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Palestinian territories right beside us," Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told leaders during his formal speech to the COP28 conference.

"The current situation in Gaza constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity; those responsible must be held accountable under international law," he said.

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa echoed the sentiment.

"South Africa is appalled by the cruel tragedy that is under way in Gaza. The war against the innocent people of Palestine is a war crime that must be ended now," he said in his address.

Jordan's King Abdullah II said it was difficult to focus on global warming while the fighting was going on.

"This year's conference of the parties must recognize even more than ever that we cannot talk about climate change in isolation from the humanitarian tragedies unfolding around us," he said.

A group of demonstrators at the conference, some wearing shirts that spelled "ceasefire", chanted "Free Palestine". Elsewhere on the summit grounds, a display of shoes was meant to represent the thousands killed in Gaza.

An Israeli official told Reuters the military was abiding by international law and was intent on destroying the militant group Hamas.

"Today was pretty awful," Mohammed Ursof, a Palestinian student from Gaza based in Qatar and attending the summit, said of the resumption in fighting. The "international youth delegate" said he would try to raise awareness at the COP28 conference of the Palestinian cause.

Bilaterals

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that he met officials from Arab states and discussed the future of the Gaza Strip on the sidelines of the COP28. A senior State Department official said Blinken met foreign ministers from Qatar, the UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain, alongside representatives of the Palestinian Authority.

The office of the British prime minister said Rishi Sunak and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, both at the Dubai conference, discussed their deep regret over the collapse of the temporary pause in fighting.

Israel's President Isaac Herzog was also at COP28, where a day earlier he met UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The UAE is one of few Arab states with official ties with Israel

But Herzog, who stood in the traditional "family photo" with other world leaders, did not give his scheduled address on Friday.

Foreign Ministry Deputy Director General Oded Joseph told Reuters that Israel remained intent on freeing those held hostage by Hamas and destroying the militant group.

Israel's bombardment and invasion of Gaza has killed over 15,000 Palestinians, according to Gazan health officials. It was launched in retaliation for an attack by Hamas militants on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 Israelis and foreigners, and led to 240 hostages being taken into Gaza.

The assault sparked outrage in the Arab world, though most Western leaders have supported what they say is Israel's right to defend itself. Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza on Friday.

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Iraq's President Abdul Latif Rashid called for an end to the war.

Iran's delegation left the summit in protest at Israel's presence, Iranian media reported, while Colombia's President Gustavo Petro linked environmental issues with the war.

"If Palestine could be free today then tomorrow humanity will escape alive out of the throes of the climate crisis," he said.


UN Rights Office ‘Seriously Concerned’ about Israel’s Increased Arrest of Palestinians

 Israeli soldiers take part in a raid in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank November 23, 2023. (Reuters)
Israeli soldiers take part in a raid in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank November 23, 2023. (Reuters)
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UN Rights Office ‘Seriously Concerned’ about Israel’s Increased Arrest of Palestinians

 Israeli soldiers take part in a raid in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank November 23, 2023. (Reuters)
Israeli soldiers take part in a raid in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank November 23, 2023. (Reuters)

A United Nations office said on Friday it was "seriously concerned" about a dramatic rise in Israel's arrest of Palestinians and called for an investigation into allegations of torture in Israeli custody.

Israel has arrested more than 3,000 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since the start of the Gaza war in early October and a record high number were being held without charge or trial, said a statement by the UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Within the span of two months, six Palestinian men have died in Israeli custody, the highest number of cases in such a short period in decades, it said.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack and Israel's subsequent heavy bombardment of Gaza, Palestinians held in Israeli jails have reported deteriorating conditions, including overcrowding, restricted access to food and water and limited visits from family or lawyers. Many have said they were subjected to beatings and abuse by detention guards, including rape threats.

"The massive rise in number of Palestinians arrested and detained, the number of reports of ill-treatment and humiliation suffered by those in custody, and the reported failure to adhere to basic due process raise serious questions about Israel's compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law," the UN Human Rights Office said.

"All cases of deaths in custody and allegations of torture and other ill-treatment must be investigated and accountability ensured."

Israel's Prison Service has said that all prisoners in its custody "are detained according to the provisions of the law" and that prisoner deaths were under investigation.

As part of a truce deal with the Palestinian group Hamas, which controls Gaza, Israel has released 240 Palestinian women and teenagers from its jails. More than half were detained without charge, according to Israel's records.

During the week-long pause in fighting, Israel arrested more than 260 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners Society said.


Two Killed in Lebanon as Israel, Hezbollah Resume Fire

A view shows a house that was damaged during Israeli shelling in recent weeks prior to a truce taking hold between Hamas and Israel that has informally extended to southern Lebanon, in Mhaibib village, near the border with Israel, southern Lebanon November 28, 2023. (Reuters)
A view shows a house that was damaged during Israeli shelling in recent weeks prior to a truce taking hold between Hamas and Israel that has informally extended to southern Lebanon, in Mhaibib village, near the border with Israel, southern Lebanon November 28, 2023. (Reuters)
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Two Killed in Lebanon as Israel, Hezbollah Resume Fire

A view shows a house that was damaged during Israeli shelling in recent weeks prior to a truce taking hold between Hamas and Israel that has informally extended to southern Lebanon, in Mhaibib village, near the border with Israel, southern Lebanon November 28, 2023. (Reuters)
A view shows a house that was damaged during Israeli shelling in recent weeks prior to a truce taking hold between Hamas and Israel that has informally extended to southern Lebanon, in Mhaibib village, near the border with Israel, southern Lebanon November 28, 2023. (Reuters)

Israeli shelling killed two people in south Lebanon on Friday, a Lebanese official said, as the collapse of a truce between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas prompted a resumption of hostilities at the frontier.

The Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, said it had carried out several attacks on Israeli military positions at the border in support Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where a weeklong pause in the fighting ended early on Friday.

The Israeli army said its artillery struck sources of fire from Lebanon and air defenses had intercepted two launches. The army also said it struck a "terrorist cell". Sirens warning of possible incoming rockets sounded in several towns in northern Israel, sending residents running for shelter.

Israeli shelling killed a woman and her 35-year-old son in the Lebanese border town of Houla, Shakeeb Koteich, the head of the town's municipal council, told Reuters, saying both were civilians.

"A shell landed near the house, and then a second one hit the house," Koteich said by telephone.

Following the eruption of the Hamas-Israel war on Oct. 7, Hezbollah mounted near daily rocket attacks on Israeli positions at the frontier while Israel waged air and artillery strikes in south Lebanon.

It has been the worst fighting since a 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, part of an Iran-backed alliance that also includes Hamas. About 100 people in Lebanon have been killed during the hostilities, 80 of them Hezbollah fighters. Tens of thousands of people have fled both sides of the border.

Hezbollah released statements claiming five attacks on Israeli military positions at the border, describing these as "in support of our steadfast Palestinian people ... and its valiant and honorable resistance".

Lebanon-based militants from Hamas and the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad have also mounted attacks from Lebanese territory.

"Hezbollah has linked what happens at the border with what happens in Gaza," said Nabil Boumonsef, deputy editor-in-chief of Lebanon's Annahar newspaper.

"All the while the war in Gaza continues Lebanon will remain threatened by the danger of a major escalation."

Senior Hezbollah politician Hassan Fadlallah earlier said the group was vigilant and ready after the Hamas-Israel truce ended.

"In Lebanon, we are concerned in facing this challenge, being vigilant, and always ready to confront any possibility and any danger that may arise in our country," he said.

"No one thinks that Lebanon has been spared from this Zionist targeting or that what is happening in Gaza cannot affect the situation in Lebanon," he said.


Blinken Says Discussed Future of Gaza with Arab Foreign Ministers

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media prior to departure from Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai, on December 1, 2023. (AP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media prior to departure from Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai, on December 1, 2023. (AP)
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Blinken Says Discussed Future of Gaza with Arab Foreign Ministers

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media prior to departure from Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai, on December 1, 2023. (AP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media prior to departure from Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai, on December 1, 2023. (AP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that he met with officials from Arab states and discussed the future of the Gaza Strip, as Israel resumed its assault after a week-long truce with Palestinian Hamas militants broke down.

Before boarding a plane at the end of his third trip to the region since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants attacked Israel, killed more than 1,200 people and took 240 hostages, Blinken said the talks on Friday focused on the current situation in Gaza, the day after the conflict, and how to create a "durable, lasting and secure peace."

A senior State Department official said Blinken met foreign ministers from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain, alongside representatives of the Palestinian Authority, on the sidelines of the COP28 UN climate conference in Dubai.


Le Drian Pushes for Extending LAF Commander’s Term, Clashes with Bassil

French presidential envoy Jean-Yves Le Drian meets with head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Gebran Bassil.(Photo: FPM website)
French presidential envoy Jean-Yves Le Drian meets with head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Gebran Bassil.(Photo: FPM website)
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Le Drian Pushes for Extending LAF Commander’s Term, Clashes with Bassil

French presidential envoy Jean-Yves Le Drian meets with head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Gebran Bassil.(Photo: FPM website)
French presidential envoy Jean-Yves Le Drian meets with head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Gebran Bassil.(Photo: FPM website)

French presidential envoy Jean-Yves Le Drian continued his meetings with Lebanese politicians on Thursday, focusing on the necessity of maintaining calm in the South, avoiding sliding into a wide war, and extending the tenure of the Lebanese Army commander.

Local media said that the Lebanese Army talks led to a clash between the French diplomat and the head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) MP Gebran Bassil.

According to informed sources, Le Drian emphasized the need to avoid vacuum in the position of army command, proposing an extension of the term of General Joseph Aoun. The majority of the political blocs favor this option, with the exception of the FPM, which is pushing for the appointment of a new commander.

This conflict with the FPM contributed to tension with Bassil, as the meeting between the two officials did not last more than 10 minutes.

Local channel LBC reported that Le Drian’s meeting with Bassil “ended in a dispute over the extension of the army commander’s term,” and that the FPM leader “rejected French intervention in this matter, being an internal issue.”

Meanwhile, Le Drian stressed the need to avoid such vacuum, especially under the current regional developments.

The French envoy started his tour on Thursday by meeting with the head of the Hezbollah parliamentary bloc, MP Mohammad Raad, in Beirut’s southern suburbs. Discussions touched on the presidential issue, the border developments, and the army commander’s tenure extension. He then met with Bassil, and left without making any statement.

Le Drian also held a lengthy meeting with the head of the Kataeb Party, MP Sami Gemayel, which the latter described as positive, pointing to a qualitative development in the French position.

Gemayel expressed concerns over Lebanon’s security, saying: “We are in a state of war, and we need a comprehensive national military institution that can protect Lebanon, and is capable of playing an important role in implementing Resolution 1701 and establishing Lebanon’s sovereignty over all its lands, and for this military institution to be strong and stable...”

The French envoy also met with MPs Michel Mouawad, Fouad Makhzoumi, Marc Daou, Michel Douaihy and Waddah Al-Sadiq, and members of the National Moderation bloc.

On Thursday evening, Le Drian hosted a dinner at the headquarters of the French Embassy in Beirut, attended by ambassadors of the member states of the Group of Five for Lebanon, which includes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, the United States, and France, to brief them on the discussions he had in Lebanon.


Resumption of Gaza Hostilities 'Catastrophic', Says UN Rights Chief

An Israeli military helicopter releases a flare over the Israel-Gaza border, after a temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas expired, as seen from southern Israel, December 1, 2023. REUTERS/Amir Cohen Acquire Licensing Rights
An Israeli military helicopter releases a flare over the Israel-Gaza border, after a temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas expired, as seen from southern Israel, December 1, 2023. REUTERS/Amir Cohen Acquire Licensing Rights
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Resumption of Gaza Hostilities 'Catastrophic', Says UN Rights Chief

An Israeli military helicopter releases a flare over the Israel-Gaza border, after a temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas expired, as seen from southern Israel, December 1, 2023. REUTERS/Amir Cohen Acquire Licensing Rights
An Israeli military helicopter releases a flare over the Israel-Gaza border, after a temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas expired, as seen from southern Israel, December 1, 2023. REUTERS/Amir Cohen Acquire Licensing Rights

The United Nations human rights chief said the resumption of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Friday was "catastrophic", with the situation now "beyond crisis point".

"The resumption of hostilities in Gaza is catastrophic. I urge all parties and states with influence over them to redouble efforts, immediately, to ensure a ceasefire -- on humanitarian and human rights grounds," Volker Turk said in a statement.

Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza, sending scores of wounded and dead pouring into hospitals, and rocket sirens blared in southern Israel on Friday.

As the deadline lapsed, Reuters journalists in Khan Younis in southern Gaza saw eastern areas come under intensive bombardment, sending columns of smoke rising into the sky. Residents took to the streets, fleeing for shelter further west and ferrying dead and injured people into hospitals.

In the north of the enclave, previously the main war zone, huge plumes of smoke rose above the ruins, seen from across the fence in Israel. The rattle of gunfire and thud of explosions rang out above the sound of barking dogs.

Barely two hours after the truce expired, Gaza health officials reported that 54 people had already been killed and dozens wounded in air strikes that hit at least eight homes.


Israeli Shells Near UN Site in Lebanon Prompt US Call for Resolution 1701 Compliance

UNIFIL patrol in South Lebanon near the border with Israel (Reuters)
UNIFIL patrol in South Lebanon near the border with Israel (Reuters)
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Israeli Shells Near UN Site in Lebanon Prompt US Call for Resolution 1701 Compliance

UNIFIL patrol in South Lebanon near the border with Israel (Reuters)
UNIFIL patrol in South Lebanon near the border with Israel (Reuters)

Local media reported on Thursday evening that six Israeli shells fell near a site of the international UNIFIL forces on the outskirts of the town of Marwahin in the western sector, and another on the outskirts of the town of Ramia.

This came amid intense diplomatic movement to prevent the expansion of the war, Lebanese parliamentary sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

They added that international envoys have “expressed keenness for calm,” and stressed “the necessity of distancing the Lebanese front from the repercussions of the Gaza war, considering stability a priority for all.”

The fears come in light of deep changes that have occurred recently, beyond Hezbollah’s involvement in the Gaza battle, which are represented by modifications to the mandate of the international peacekeeping forces operating in the South (UNIFIL), in particular two recent amendments that allow the international forces to move without being escorted the Lebanese army.

- Implementation of UNSCR 1701

Washington expressed fears over the expansion of the war. The US Embassy in Beirut published on X a position by the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in which she said: “We continue to be concerned by the possibility of a further spillover of this conflict. In particular, the United States does not want to see conflict in Lebanon, where escalation would have grave implications for regional peace and security, and for the well-being of the Lebanese people. Restoring calm along the Israel-Lebanon border is of utmost importance, and fully implementing Security Council Resolution 1701 is a key component of this effort. UNIFIL plays a vital role along the Blue Line, and we expect all parties will ensure the safety of peacekeepers.”

Political forces opposed to Hezbollah, including the Lebanese Forces, are demanding the implementation of Resolution 1701, the withdrawal of the military from the border area, and the deployment of the Lebanese army alongside UNIFIL.

The Lebanese government says that Lebanon is committed to implementing Resolution 1701, but accuses Israel of constantly violating its terms, since its adoption.

Meanwhile, fears of renewed military actions mounted in the South, as violent explosions were heard on Thursday along the border area.

The National News Agency (NNA) reported hearing strong sounds in the southern borders.

The Israeli army said that it “succeeded in intercepting a suspicious air target that crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory,” while no party claimed responsibility for attacks from the country.

A spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) told Reuters a launch was detected from Lebanon towards Israel, followed by a retaliatory response from Israel.


UNICEF: Inaction on Gaza Amounts to 'Approval' of Killing Children

A Palestinian girl wounded in an Israeli strike is assisted, after a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel expired, at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, December 1, 2023. REUTERS/Arafat Barbakh
A Palestinian girl wounded in an Israeli strike is assisted, after a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel expired, at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, December 1, 2023. REUTERS/Arafat Barbakh
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UNICEF: Inaction on Gaza Amounts to 'Approval' of Killing Children

A Palestinian girl wounded in an Israeli strike is assisted, after a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel expired, at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, December 1, 2023. REUTERS/Arafat Barbakh
A Palestinian girl wounded in an Israeli strike is assisted, after a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel expired, at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, December 1, 2023. REUTERS/Arafat Barbakh

UNICEF on Friday appealed for a lasting ceasefire to be implemented in Gaza, describing inaction as "an approval of the killing of children" after a week-old truce between Israel and Hamas collapsed.

"A lasting ceasefire must be implemented," James Elder, spokesperon for UNICEF, told reporters via video link from Gaza.

"Inaction at its core is an approval of the killing of children."

Barely two hours after the truce expired, Gaza health officials reported that 35 people had already been killed and dozens wounded in air strikes that hit at least eight homes.
Medics and witnesses said the bombing was most intensive in Khan Younis and Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, and also targeted houses in central and northern areas.


Hamdok to Visit Juba to Present Roadmap for Sudan’s Crisis

A Sudanese woman fleeing violence in Darfur carries her belongings before crossing into Chad, Nov. 10. (Reuters)
A Sudanese woman fleeing violence in Darfur carries her belongings before crossing into Chad, Nov. 10. (Reuters)
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Hamdok to Visit Juba to Present Roadmap for Sudan’s Crisis

A Sudanese woman fleeing violence in Darfur carries her belongings before crossing into Chad, Nov. 10. (Reuters)
A Sudanese woman fleeing violence in Darfur carries her belongings before crossing into Chad, Nov. 10. (Reuters)

The Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) exchanged artillery shelling in the capital’s neighborhoods and the city of Omdurman.

Eyewitnesses said that the army carried out intense artillery strikes on the positions of the RSF in the neighborhoods of southern and eastern Khartoum and central Omdurman, noting that violent explosions were heard near the Armored Corps, south of the capital.

Army drones also launched strikes on RSF positions south of Khartoum in conjunction with artillery shelling.

The pace of ground battles between the army and the RSF has decreased over the past weeks in the three cities of the capital, as both sides are now relying on artillery and air strikes.

Meanwhile, the command of the Civil Democratic Forces (Taqaddum) said that its president, Abdullah Hamdok, received an invitation from the government of South Sudan to hold a meeting next week to present proposals and a “road map” to resolve the crisis in the country.

Taqaddum’s executive office announced, in a statement on Wednesday, “the approval of a road map to end the war, achieve peace, and establish a sustainable democratic civil transition.”

“The roadmap came after extensive discussions that took place over the past few days, aimed at coming up with practical visions that would accelerate the end of fighting in our country and stop the humanitarian catastrophe that befell millions of our people,” the statement read.

It continued: “The roadmap presented practical proposals on how to support the ongoing efforts in the Jeddah Platform, in order to reach a cessation of hostilities an to develop a comprehensive ceasefire with effective monitoring mechanisms, in addition to linking these efforts to an inclusive political process....”


Criticism Grows Over Global Inaction against Houthi Maritime Threat

Houthis showcasing their naval mines in front of the global media during a military parade in Sanaa (X)
Houthis showcasing their naval mines in front of the global media during a military parade in Sanaa (X)
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Criticism Grows Over Global Inaction against Houthi Maritime Threat

Houthis showcasing their naval mines in front of the global media during a military parade in Sanaa (X)
Houthis showcasing their naval mines in front of the global media during a military parade in Sanaa (X)

Houthi threats to maritime navigation have escalated in recent weeks, prompting international scrutiny of the group’s behavior in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

Conversations Asharq Al-Awsat had with Middle East researchers revealed criticism of what they perceive as “international leniency” towards Yemen’s Houthis, accompanied by calls for sanctions.

Despite US efforts to mitigate risks, Yemeni voices, including researchers and think tanks, are advocating for stronger action to ensure peace in Yemen and curb the military capabilities of the group exploiting the conflict in Gaza for their own gain.

Since waging a coup in Yemen, the Houthi group has openly expressed intentions to control the maritime passages adjacent to the country, engaging in actions that constitute clear assaults on international navigation routes.

However, their recent actions have taken on a bolder and more audacious nature, unfolding in increasingly sensitive circumstances and contradicting efforts to end the conflict in Yemen.

The group’s peculiar interest in maritime passages becomes apparent when considering its advance from Sanaa.

Rather than targeting the oil-rich governorates of Marib or Shabwa, the Houthis directed their efforts towards Hodeidah. This strategic move signals the port city’s importance to the group or those orchestrating its actions.

The Houthis have a history of targeting foreign ships and Gulf tankers in the Red Sea and near the Bab el Mandeb Strait through acts of piracy, rocket attacks, and maritime mine deployments.

The high-profile hijacking of the Emirati vessel off the country's western coast early last year stands as a notable incident that raised international concerns about the security of international trade routes.

The Houthis’ documented practices include the targeting of US Navy vessels with missiles.

In response, the US Navy retaliated by striking radar sites in October 2016.

Subsequent incidents involved the Houthis targeting a booby-trapped boat at the port of Mokha the following year. In 2018, the group further escalated tensions by launching missiles at Saudi oil tankers.