The Yemeni city of Marib lies 120 km to the east of the capital, Sana’a, with mountainous territory in between. It was from Marib, in the early stages of the six-year war, that pro-government forces hoped to launch an assault against the Houthi rebels who had seized Sana’a. Since then, though, the tables have turned and Houthi forces are now threatening Marib.
The Houthis have been preparing for a push on Marib since early last year. There have been periodic clashes but fighting has intensified during the last week or so. …
The US State Department confirmed on Friday that it is revoking a last-minute decision by the Trump administration to designate Yemen’s Houthi movement as a terrorist organisation.
The issue is not whether the Houthis deserve to be designated — their atrocities are well known — but Trump’s action, just days before leaving office, had legal implications for aid agencies, threatening to jeopardise relief efforts in the midst of what many regard as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
As Covid-19 vaccines become more available, here is a country-by-country roundup of the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. While some countries are still waiting for supplies, in others the roll-out is well under way.
Some — mostly the wealthier ones — have struck deals with major pharmaceutical companies, often for more than one type of vaccine. Others are relying on the international Covax initiative and some are making use of both methods.
Covax aims to provide “equitable access to safe and effective vaccines” worldwide and is part of the ACT-Accelerator programme. Covax is of particular interest to…
In just six years a small team of investigators at the Bellingcat website have chalked up some remarkable achievements. One was their naming of Russian agents who poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal with Novichok in Britain — followed, a couple of years later, by identifying those behind a similar attack on the Russian opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, in Siberia.
Other investigations have included the shooting-down of flight MH17 over Ukraine, the use of chemical weapons in Syria, airstrikes against civilians in Yemen, and the activities of far-right agitators in the United States.
In reporting stories like these Bellingcat has often…
When Antony Blinken, the newly-appointed US Secretary of State, gave his first press briefing on Wednesday the first topic to come up was the war in Yemen. It’s rare for Yemen to receive much attention in Washington but there are signs that the Biden administration intends to take an active interest.
The immediate reason for this attention was a decision by the Trump administration, in its final days, to designate the Houthi movement as a terrorist organisation. …
News that an international conference on “Gender Identity and LGBT Rights” is to take place in the United Arab Emirates is causing a stir in the gay media.
The idea of holding a conference on LGBT rights in the Emirates is not only surprising but potentially significant. It would be the first of its kind and, as Pink News and LGBTQ Nation point out, gay sex in the UAE is a crime punishable by imprisonment.
The conference is due to be held on May 6–7 and LGBTQ Nation reports that the emirate of Dubai will be its “host”. However, it’s…
New Covid-19 infections in the Middle East and North Africa averaged just under 28,000 a day during December, bringing the total since the pandemic began to almost five million, according to official figures.
Across the region as a whole, this represents a modest fall in new cases compared with November, which was the worst month so far.
The list below shows the daily average of new cases reported during December by each of the 20 countries monitored:
The attack on Aden airport in war-torn Yemen which killed at least 25 people and injured more than 100 on Wednesday appears to have had a political purpose rather than a military one.
Crowds had gathered to welcome a plane carrying ministers in one of the country’s two rival governments. Minutes after the aircraft landed blasts were heard — one of which struck the terminal building. A number of waiting passengers were among the dead, including two staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
While this was by no means the most lethal or destructive attack in Yemen’s…
The American University of London is no ordinary university. Instead of having a campus it has a mailbox at a shop in the Old Brompton Road. And it once offered to sell a degree in business administration to a dog for £4,500.
Though operating from the UK, the American University of London (AUOL) is not recognised by the British authorities and lacks proper accreditation. It’s widely regarded as a degree mill.
Degree mills make their money by providing worthless certificates for the vain and the gullible. …
Following the discovery that a Kuwaiti government minister who uses the title “Doctor” had got his PhD from a bogus university, more dodgy degrees among the Gulf state’s citizens have come to light.
Videos posted on YouTube show “graduation” ceremonies in Kuwait where dozens of people received certificates issued by the so-called American University of London (AUOL).
Fraudulent qualifications are a growing problem in the Middle East. For some they offer a short cut to a well-paid job while for others they are a way of acquiring social status.
Kuwait has been cracking down on the sale of forged certificates…