UAE fighter jets take off from Abu Dhabi to conduct air strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen on September 6, 2015. Wam
UAE fighter jets take off from Abu Dhabi to conduct air strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen on September 6, 2015. Wam

Gulf Arab air strikes on ISIL down due to Yemen conflict: US general



DUBAI // Air strikes by Gulf Arab members of the US-led coalition fighting ISIL in Syria have diminished since they launched an air war against Yemeni rebels in March, a US general said on Tuesday.

The UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia have carried out air strikes against ISIL in Syria but the three Gulf Cooperation Council members are also involved in an air and ground campaign in Yemen in support of exiled president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

“There is a mix of GCC that is participating in Yemen as well as in the operations in Iraq and Syria,” said US air forces central command chief Lieutenant General Charles Q Brown at the Dubai Airshow.

“Less so since March because they’ve been occupied with the Yemen operation.”

Washington has been leading mainly Western allies in carrying out air strikes against ISIL in Iraq since August last year.

A month later, it launched air strikes against ISIL in Syria with the support of mainly Arab allies.

In September of this year, Russia launched its own separate bombing campaign in Syria in support of its ally, president Bashar Al Assad.

Also on Tuesday, Syria’s army broke through ISIL’s siege of a military airbase in the northern province of Aleppo, scoring its first major breakthrough since the beginning of Russia’s air campaign.

Syrian troops – backed by pro-government militia – broke through the siege on the Kweyris military airport, which has lasted for more than a year.

A group of soldiers penetrated ISIL lines west of the airport and reached government troops inside the base, firing into the air in celebration.

State television also reported the breakthrough and broadcast live from outside the airport, declaring the advance a “victory”.

It said a “large number of IS terrorists” were killed but provided no other details.

ISIL surrounded Kweyris in spring 2014, tightening a siege that rebel groups had begun in April the year before.

Regime loyalists and ISIL fighters remained locked in fierce clashes to the airport’s north, east, and west on Tuesday evening, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group.

ISIL militants were still present in other areas around the airport and further east in Aleppo province.

The army’s offensive to break the siege began at the end of September, with support from Russian warplanes, Iranian troops, Hizbollah fighters, and pro-government militia, Mr Abdel Rahman said.

Elsewhere, at least 22 people were killed and 62 others wounded in mortar fire on eastern neighbourhoods of Latakia city, a bastion of regime support, Syrian state television reported.

According to a Syrian security source, the attack took place near Latakia’s Tishreen University, where many students were gathered.

* Agence France-Presse

Race card

6.30pm: Emirates Holidays Maiden (TB), Dh82,500 (Dirt), 1,900m
7.05pm: Arabian Adventures Maiden (TB), Dh82,500 (D), 1,200m
7.40pm: Emirates Skywards Handicap (TB), Dh82,500 (D), 1,200m
8.15pm: Emirates Airline Conditions (TB), Dh120,000 (D), 1,400m
8.50pm: Emirates Sky Cargo (TB), Dh92,500 (D)1,400m
9.15pm: Emirates.com (TB), Dh95,000 (D), 2,000m

'HIJRAH: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE PROPHET'

Edited by: Idries Trevathan
Pages: 240
Publisher: Hirmer Publishers
Available: Now

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

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Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina, 2560 x 1664, 224ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

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I/O: Thunderbolt 3/USB-4 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

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In the box: MacBook Air, 30W/35W dual-port/70w power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, 2 Apple stickers

Price: From Dh4,599

if you go

The flights

Fly to Rome with Etihad (www.etihad.ae) or Emirates (www.emirates.com) from Dh2,480 return including taxes. The flight takes six hours. Fly from Rome to Trapani with Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) from Dh420 return including taxes. The flight takes one hour 10 minutes.

The hotels

The author recommends the following hotels for this itinerary. In Trapani, Ai Lumi (www.ailumi.it); in Marsala, Viacolvento (www.viacolventomarsala.it); and in Marsala Del Vallo, the Meliaresort Dimore Storiche (www.meliaresort.it).

What should do investors do now?

What does the S&P 500's new all-time high mean for the average investor? 

Should I be euphoric?

No. It's fine to be pleased about hearty returns on your investments. But it's not a good idea to tie your emotions closely to the ups and downs of the stock market. You'll get tired fast. This market moment comes on the heels of last year's nosedive. And it's not the first or last time the stock market will make a dramatic move.

So what happened?

It's more about what happened last year. Many of the concerns that triggered that plunge towards the end of last have largely been quelled. The US and China are slowly moving toward a trade agreement. The Federal Reserve has indicated it likely will not raise rates at all in 2019 after seven recent increases. And those changes, along with some strong earnings reports and broader healthy economic indicators, have fueled some optimism in stock markets.

"The panic in the fourth quarter was based mostly on fears," says Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. "The fundamentals have mostly held up, while the fears have gone away and the fears were based mostly on emotion."

Should I buy? Should I sell?

Maybe. It depends on what your long-term investment plan is. The best advice is usually the same no matter the day — determine your financial goals, make a plan to reach them and stick to it.

"I would encourage (investors) not to overreact to highs, just as I would encourage them not to overreact to the lows of December," Mr Schutte says.

All the same, there are some situations in which you should consider taking action. If you think you can't live through another low like last year, the time to get out is now. If the balance of assets in your portfolio is out of whack thanks to the rise of the stock market, make adjustments. And if you need your money in the next five to 10 years, it shouldn't be in stocks anyhow. But for most people, it's also a good time to just leave things be.

Resist the urge to abandon the diversification of your portfolio, Mr Schutte cautions. It may be tempting to shed other investments that aren't performing as well, such as some international stocks, but diversification is designed to help steady your performance over time.

Will the rally last?

No one knows for sure. But David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, expects the US market could move up 5 per cent to 7 per cent more over the next nine to 12 months, provided the Fed doesn't raise rates and earnings growth exceeds current expectations. We are in a late cycle market, a period when US equities have historically done very well, but volatility also rises, he says.

"This phase can last six months to several years, but it's important clients remain invested and not try to prematurely position for a contraction of the market," Mr Bailin says. "Doing so would risk missing out on important portfolio returns."