Fighters loyal to Yemeni president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi drive a tank in area near to the strategic Bab Al Mandeb Strait, in the southern Yemeni province of Taez, on October 1, 2015. Saleh Al Obeidi/AFP Photo
Fighters loyal to Yemeni president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi drive a tank in area near to the strategic Bab Al Mandeb Strait, in the southern Yemeni province of Taez, on October 1, 2015. Saleh Al Obeidi/AFPShow more

Taez: the new front line in Yemen’s war



ADEN // Taez has become the new front line in Yemen’s war against the Houthis as pro-government forces move across the province to capture its capital of the same name, which has been ravaged by months of fighting and the spread of disease.

Fighting along Yemen’s Red Sea coast intensified after loyalist forces of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi – backed by coalition forces from the UAE and Saudi Arabia – last Thursday helped the resistance in Taez regain control of areas leading to the Bab Al Mandeb strait, along with Mayoun island, situated in the waterway itself.

Bab Al Mandeb is strategically important – about 20 per cent of all trade and almost 7 per cent of oil and fuel cargoes pass through the narrow waterway, located on Yemen’s southwestern coast.

Winning control of these areas was the first step towards driving the Houthis out of Taez, said the spokesperson for the province’s popular resistance, Rashad Al Sharabi.

"The forces will start the war from Bab Al Mandeb, and then they will go towards Mokha district and finally they will reach the entire province," he told The National.

The UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, said the recapture of areas around Bab Al Mandeb was a military victory.

“We consider the complete control taken by coalition and popular resistance forces over the Bab Al Mandeb and the defeat of the Houthis as the beginning of the end of this renegade group and those backing them,” he said in a speech before the United Nations on Friday.

The city of Taez, about 330 kilometres south of Sanaa, is widely seen as a crucial gateway to recapturing the capital from the Houthis.

Yemen’s third largest city has been resisting a Houthi takeover for six months.

When Mr Hadi fled Sanaa in March, the Iran-backed rebels chased him towards the southern port city of Aden, cutting across Taez.

But the popular resistance there – made up of Yemeni army soldiers loyal to Mr Hadi, and tribal forces fighting to protect their territorial turf – tried to repel the Houthis, preventing them from passing through or entering the city.

Since then, skirmishes between the two sides have continued and the Houthis have not been able to take full control of Taez’s capital. The rebels currently control only pockets of the city – such as Al Hawban and some other areas, while the popular resistance holds most of the province.

The Houthis did, however, manage to take over several significant areas of Taez province, including the main road that connects Taez with Ibb province in March, and Mayoun island and areas leading to Bab Al Mandeb in April.

Houthi spokesperson Mohammed Abdulsalam claimed that the rebels withdrew from areas around Bab Al Mandeb on Thursday to avoid an all-out war along the strait as conflict in the waterway would affect international interest.

The Al Wazeya district in Taez has been the focal point of the battle since the Houthis lost Bab Al Mandeb on Thursday.

The district is of key importance to the coalition as it connects Taez to Lahj and Aden, and will be needed to bring in military reinforcements. Hundreds of people have fled Al Wazeya towards rural areas since fighting intensified.

According to a report released last week by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the civilian death toll from the war in Yemen has reached at least 2,355. Another 4,862 civilians have been injured.

Despite coalition air strikes pounding Houthi targets in Taez, resistance forces have not been able to dislodge the Houthis from the province.

Victory is not expected to be easy as the rebels likely pulled their forces back to Taez city following recent victories by pro-government forces in Yemen’s south. Adding to the complexities, hundreds of Houthi rebels who originated from Taez are also fighting pro-government forces across the province.

A Houthi sympathiser, originally from Taez, spoke with The National on condition of anonymity, claiming that the Houthis were fighting to purge members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap) who were killing civilians in Taez.

Amid the war, residents in Taez are also fleeing the deadly spread of dengue fever in Taez, seeking safer havens in rural areas.

The World Health Organization warned in August of an “extreme spike” in the number of dengue cases in Taez, which nearly tripled from 145 in mid-August to 421 during a two-week period.

From March to September, more than 1,600 cases of dengue fever were reported in Taez province, according to the United Nations.

“Limited accesses to health care services, a breakdown in safe water supply and sanitation services as well as accumulation of garbage have facilitated the spread of dengue fever in the governorate,” said Dr Ahmed Shadoul, WHO Representative for Yemen last month.

“Moreover, scarcity of water has forced people to collect rainwater in plastic containers, resulting in the spread of the yellow fever mosquito [Aedes aegypti] in these containers.”

Aid organisations also face tremendous difficulties reaching Taez due to the ongoing clashes.

Humanitarian access to the province remains a major challenge to aid agencies as most of the roads to Taez have become inaccessible, added Dr Shadoul.

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

* Additional reporting from Bloomberg and Reuters

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

TWISTERS

Director:+Lee+Isaac+Chung

Starring:+Glen+Powell,+Daisy+Edgar-Jones,+Anthony+Ramos

Rating:+2.5/5

Tonight's Chat on The National

Tonight's Chat is a series of online conversations on The National. The series features a diverse range of celebrities, politicians and business leaders from around the Arab world.

Tonight’s Chat host Ricardo Karam is a renowned author and broadcaster who has previously interviewed Bill Gates, Carlos Ghosn, Andre Agassi and the late Zaha Hadid, among others.

Intellectually curious and thought-provoking, Tonight’s Chat moves the conversation forward.

Facebook | Our website | Instagram

Western Region Asia Cup T20 Qualifier

Sun Feb 23 – Thu Feb 27, Al Amerat, Oman

The two finalists advance to the Asia qualifier in Malaysia in August

 

Group A

Bahrain, Maldives, Oman, Qatar

 

Group B

UAE, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia

Dubai World Cup prize money

Group 1 (Purebred Arabian) 2000m Dubai Kahayla Classic - $750,000
Group 2 1,600m(Dirt) Godolphin Mile - $750,000
Group 2 3,200m (Turf) Dubai Gold Cup – $750,000
Group 1 1,200m (Turf) Al Quoz Sprint – $1,000,000
Group 2 1,900m(Dirt) UAE Derby – $750,000
Group 1 1,200m (Dirt) Dubai Golden Shaheen – $1,500,000
Group 1 1,800m (Turf) Dubai Turf –  $4,000,000
Group 1 2,410m (Turf) Dubai Sheema Classic – $5,000,000
Group 1 2,000m (Dirt) Dubai World Cup– $12,000,000

'The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window'

Director:Michael Lehmann

Stars:Kristen Bell

Rating: 1/5

Veil (Object Lessons)
Rafia Zakaria
​​​​​​​Bloomsbury Academic

Five ways to get fit like Craig David (we tried for seven but ran out of time)

Start the week as you mean to go on. So get your training on strong on a Monday.

Train hard, but don’t take it all so seriously that it gets to the point where you’re not having fun and enjoying your friends and your family and going out for nice meals and doing that stuff.

Think about what you’re training or eating a certain way for — don’t, for example, get a six-pack to impress somebody else or lose weight to conform to society’s norms. It’s all nonsense.

Get your priorities right.

And last but not least, you should always, always chill on Sundays.

World Test Championship table

1 India 71 per cent

2 New Zealand 70 per cent

3 Australia 69.2 per cent

4 England 64.1 per cent

5 Pakistan 43.3 per cent

6 West Indies 33.3 per cent

7 South Africa 30 per cent

8 Sri Lanka 16.7 per cent

9 Bangladesh 0

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

MATCH INFO

Inter Milan v Juventus
Saturday, 10.45pm (UAE)
Watch the match on BeIN Sports

Mumbai Indians 213/6 (20 ov)

Royal Challengers Bangalore 167/8 (20 ov)

PULITZER PRIZE 2020 WINNERS

JOURNALISM 

Public Service
Anchorage Daily News in collaboration with ProPublica

Breaking News Reporting
Staff of The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.

Investigative Reporting
Brian M. Rosenthal of The New York Times

Explanatory Reporting
Staff of The Washington Post

Local Reporting  
Staff of The Baltimore Sun

National Reporting
T. Christian Miller, Megan Rose and Robert Faturechi of ProPublica

and    

Dominic Gates, Steve Miletich, Mike Baker and Lewis Kamb of The Seattle Times

International Reporting
Staff of The New York Times

Feature Writing
Ben Taub of The New Yorker

Commentary
Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times

Criticism
Christopher Knight of the Los Angeles Times

Editorial Writing
Jeffery Gerritt of the Palestine (Tx.) Herald-Press

Editorial Cartooning
Barry Blitt, contributor, The New Yorker

Breaking News Photography
Photography Staff of Reuters

Feature Photography
Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin of the Associated Press

Audio Reporting
Staff of This American Life with Molly O’Toole of the Los Angeles Times and Emily Green, freelancer, Vice News for “The Out Crowd”

LETTERS AND DRAMA

Fiction
"The Nickel Boys" by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)

Drama
"A Strange Loop" by Michael R. Jackson

History
"Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America" by W. Caleb McDaniel (Oxford University Press)

Biography
"Sontag: Her Life and Work" by Benjamin Moser (Ecco/HarperCollins)

Poetry
"The Tradition" by Jericho Brown (Copper Canyon Press)

General Nonfiction
"The Undying: Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Time, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer, and Care" by Anne Boyer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

and

"The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America" by Greg Grandin (Metropolitan Books)

Music
"The Central Park Five" by Anthony Davis, premiered by Long Beach Opera on June 15, 2019

Special Citation
Ida B. Wells

 

Essentials

The flights
Emirates, Etihad and Malaysia Airlines all fly direct from the UAE to Kuala Lumpur and on to Penang from about Dh2,300 return, including taxes. 
 

Where to stay
In Kuala Lumpur, Element is a recently opened, futuristic hotel high up in a Norman Foster-designed skyscraper. Rooms cost from Dh400 per night, including taxes. Hotel Stripes, also in KL, is a great value design hotel, with an infinity rooftop pool. Rooms cost from Dh310, including taxes. 


In Penang, Ren i Tang is a boutique b&b in what was once an ancient Chinese Medicine Hall in the centre of Little India. Rooms cost from Dh220, including taxes.
23 Love Lane in Penang is a luxury boutique heritage hotel in a converted mansion, with private tropical gardens. Rooms cost from Dh400, including taxes. 
In Langkawi, Temple Tree is a unique architectural villa hotel consisting of antique houses from all across Malaysia. Rooms cost from Dh350, including taxes.

Company Profile

Name: Raha
Started: 2022
Based: Kuwait/Saudi
Industry: Tech Logistics
Funding: $14 million
Investors: Soor Capital, eWTP Arabia Capital, Aujan Enterprises, Nox Management, Cedar Mundi Ventures
Number of employees: 166

Dubai works towards better air quality by 2021

Dubai is on a mission to record good air quality for 90 per cent of the year – up from 86 per cent annually today – by 2021.

The municipality plans to have seven mobile air-monitoring stations by 2020 to capture more accurate data in hourly and daily trends of pollution.

These will be on the Palm Jumeirah, Al Qusais, Muhaisnah, Rashidiyah, Al Wasl, Al Quoz and Dubai Investment Park.

“It will allow real-time responding for emergency cases,” said Khaldoon Al Daraji, first environment safety officer at the municipality.

“We’re in a good position except for the cases that are out of our hands, such as sandstorms.

“Sandstorms are our main concern because the UAE is just a receiver.

“The hotspots are Iran, Saudi Arabia and southern Iraq, but we’re working hard with the region to reduce the cycle of sandstorm generation.”

Mr Al Daraji said monitoring as it stood covered 47 per cent of Dubai.

There are 12 fixed stations in the emirate, but Dubai also receives information from monitors belonging to other entities.

“There are 25 stations in total,” Mr Al Daraji said.

“We added new technology and equipment used for the first time for the detection of heavy metals.

“A hundred parameters can be detected but we want to expand it to make sure that the data captured can allow a baseline study in some areas to ensure they are well positioned.”

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5