Editorial | Republic Underground
March 15, 2021
Image of the screen capture of the event.
On Monday, March 15, Republic Underground media vice president Irina Tsukerman attended a discussion with the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The session met to discuss the use of drones in Houthi terrorism, among other human rights crisis points presented by the continued Ansra’a Allah movement.
Tsukerman was honored to be a guest speaker at the event. She expressed this via her Twitter on March 12.
“Very honored to speak about the security threats and human rights abuses represented by the #Houthi #drones attacks against #Yemeni and #Saudi civilians (as much as against military and economic sites). Please don’t miss this important event on Monday, March 15!,” wrote Tsukerman. The other guest speakers in attendance were Egyptian-Yemeni journalist Wadhah Murshed and the assistant secretary of Human Rights Association Switzerland Magdi Al-Akwa.
Republic Underground’s media VP’s attendance at the event is a progression of human rights coverage we have been honored to continue on the behalf of the Yemeni crisis. This event followed-up on the incident in Sana’a, Yemen earlier in March when the Houthi rebellion set fire to Ethiopian migrants in a containment facility.
Transcript of Tsukerman’s comments
Biden administration’s entire policy on Iran and related proxies and geopolitical concerns come down to bringing Iran to the nuclear negotiations table at any cost.
For that reason, Biden has been making excuses for inconsistent, incoherent policies such as removing AnsarAllah from the FTO list and restoring humanitarian aid and claiming it’s about facilitating aid, even as this aid continues to be diverted and Houthis attack humanitarian sites in Taiz
Biden’s removal of logistical and intelligence assistance to the Arab Coalition, toothless statements in response to sophisticated drone attacks on Aramco sites in KSA and near-miss of a US compound, and failure to confront the Houthis over the importation of Iran-modeled drones signal the same willingness to allow Iran to dominate the region so long as the nuclear talks can proceed.
Iran sees the situation from a position of strength; its other proxies IRGC and Hezbullah have hundreds of thousands of missiles and other weapons, they had trained the Houthis, and are becoming increasingly integrated, they are on the US terrorist list and yet are rising and likewise operating freely.
Iran is sending a message to the US that it cannot work with both Iran and KSA/anti-Iran forces or else it can itself become a target of its proxies; if it wants Iran’s goodwill, it has to switch sides completely.
Inconsistent policies by the US are signaling to Iran that this message is at least possible.
Iran is not likely to stop its geopolitical expansion once the US meets all of its conditions; it has no reason to – it’s playing on the US animus and sending a message that the US needs to give up the Middle East altogether. It can afford to do so seeing no real pushback from the US on Iran’s policies even as the US has not yet lifted all of the sanctions.
That is not seen as leverage but as a weakness because the US is not actively trying to stop Iran or its proxies from engaging in terrorism nor making the very existence of these drones a central issue to its decision-making.
Biden is trying to pull off what Obama couldn’t from an even weaker position.
That enables Iran and allows it to proceed with an ever-growing level of aggression.
Transcript Translation, Fellow Speakers
In addition to Tsukerman, a list of esteemed guest speakers made speech as well. A complete transcript of the event and their comments has been translated from Arabic as follows:
Date: March 15, 2021
Time: 5 Geneva time
Moderator, Dr. Wissam Basindwa, President of the March 8 Bloc for Yemeni Women
1. Irina Tsukerman, Human Rights and National Security Lawyer, USA
2. Mr. Majdi Al-Akwa, Assistant Secretary-General of the Human Rights League – Switzerland
3. A. Wade Morshed, a journalist and human rights defender, member of the National Dialogue Conference – Cairo
Dr. Wissam chaired the symposium and began her speech and said: “Unfortunately, at a time when the world develops these aircraft and become in the field of civilian uses a means of delivering food and food, the terrorist Houthi militia uses them for military and war purposes, not only for espionage but to target civilians and civilian objects, since the end of the last year 2020 to the beginning of 2021 There is a huge number of drones launched by the Houthi militia on civilian objects in Yemen. In Marib recently, they have targeted hospitals, gatherings of civilians, homes, and also civilian objects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Houthi militia clearly declares its endorsement of these attacks, no one in the world adopts terrorist operations except terrorist militias such as Al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Al-Nusra Front, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and recently, Brigadier General Turki Al-Maliki announced that Saudi Arabia has so far intercepted 526 drones and 346 ballistic missiles, meaning a huge number, I think no country in the world has faced such numbers, let alone the Yemenis who face daily double numbers. From ballistic missiles more than six years after the Houthi coup and the war on Ali Minnen.
Al-Wahdi spoke about the Iranian ambassador to Yemen and the Houthi military escalation and said: “Since the announcement of Hassan Erlo’s arrival in late October 2020 illegally to Sana’a, the Houthi militia has escalated militarily as it launched its escalation of attacks on Saudi territory with missiles and drones, ending with the attack on Marib.
Erlo’s arrival coincided with the massive smuggling of batches of ballistic missiles, Iranian drones, and various military equipment that Tehran sent successively, some of which were captured at sea.
Erlo, the commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and the de facto ruler of Sanaa issued instructions immediately upon his arrival to escalate and reject peace, and he has clear statements about that, which will negatively affect the political and diplomatic efforts to reach a comprehensive and just peace.
It seems that Iran aims with this escalation of pressure on America in the Iranian nuclear file after Biden’s victory and the recent US statements and the withdrawal of the terrorist Houthi militia from the terrorist lists, which was a green light, or so the Houthis understood the recent attack on Marib, which was broken by the National Army.
Erlo worked in southern Lebanon as a military leader and an expert in missile development before his appointment in Sanaa as a military governor and field commander who ran the war with an ambassadorial gown, and this confirms that the war in Yemen is being conducted by Iranian officers and not a Yemeni civil war.
Erlo brought with him 12 experts in the field of missile and drone industry as the diplomatic staff of the Tehran embassy in Sana’a. This confirms the view of Yemeni political analysts that Erlo is the military ruler of Sanaa and that the Houthis are merely executors of Iran’s sabotage scheme in the Middle East and are using them as a blackmail card in the nuclear file.
The headquarters of the Iranian embassy in Sanaa is considered an operations room for Iranian officers and Hezbollah cells and not a diplomatic headquarters in light of the absence of any diplomatic missions in Sanaa and the international support for the legitimate government, and from this place, the war against the Yemenis and the neighboring countries are managed and the Houthis impose a tight security cordon and concrete barriers on the embassy to protect These cells are led by Earlo Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah.
In previous statements by former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he confirmed that Erlo’s appointment indicates Iran’s intention to increase support for the Houthis, complicate peace efforts and destabilize Yemen.
Evidence for this is many, such as the pictures that the Houthi media showed us about Erlo’s visit to the camps and his attendance at political and tribal meetings and meetings, which are nothing but a scene within the larger picture of this influence and subversive interference in the Arab world as a whole and Yemen in particular.
Also, on February 26, the US envoy went to undercover secret talks with Houthi Muhammad Abdul Salam in the state of Oman, which failed. In conjunction with the Houthi attack on Marib, the UN envoy Griffiths was in Tehran and held 5 meetings with Iranian officials to reduce the escalation in Marib, followed by a phone call with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Iran’s foreign minister request a halt to the battle, in a clear indication of Iran’s direct management of the battle in Marib
Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, appeared through the media, presenting Iran’s vision to end the war, and for the first time, Iran had declared itself the controller of the Houthi group in Yemen, with a set of conditions that are presented to the UN envoy.
Erlo also appeared on February 18, after two weeks of fighting, in a stubborn statement and in the language of the Commander in Chief claiming that the military balance in Marib was in the hands of the Houthis, rejecting any calls for a political solution. Indeed, Khamenei appeared to the public in the battle of Yemen with a series of tweets he published on March 11 in which he explicitly admitted to fighting Iran. The battle in Marib, as the Iranian media machine, gathered behind the battle of Ma’rib, coinciding with electronic media campaigns from Lebanon, Iraq, and Tehran in general. The quality of the relationship between Iran and the Houthis is evident as the relationship of the subordinate to the subordinate and the decision-maker with the executor, or as the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Saeed Qasimi called them “the Shiites of the streets.”
Therefore, I assure you that the only dialogue with them is the dialogue of the gun on the fronts, just as Marib taught them a painful lesson, and Taiz, Hajjah, and the Sahel have followed them. The Yemenis have tired of using their country as a card for a war of blackmail against the Gulf states and the Arab neighborhood and Iran’s plans, especially since the Houthis will not tend to peace and will not implement any agreement as we have promised them Before, as long as the green light did not reach them from the mullahs of Tehran and the military ruler in Sanaa.
Majdi spoke about the Houthi targeting of civilian objects and said: “The truth is that the Houthi militia has mastered the management of savagery since the first rounds that began in 2004 AD, and the community in Saada and Amran were the first victims of the militias and because the previous regime did not deal with them firmly due to pressures.” International and local, it went a long way until we reached an international scandal centered on the deportation of Yemeni citizens under the auspices of the UN envoy Jamal bin Omar in 2013, and the Houthi terrorist crimes that focused on humiliating Yemenis in systematically striking civilian facilities, since the Houthi militia took control of the capital, Sana’a, in 2014 Expanding the scope of its military operations and because civilians and civilian facilities are the weakest links, it deliberately inflicts harm on this segment except by bombing civilian gatherings or government installations that provide services to citizens such as schools, hospitals, airports, ports, water tanks, and power stations. 918) civilians were killed as a result of the missile and artillery shelling of the Houthi militia on neighborhoods, villages, and communities in the Marib Governorate. The report documented that ( 340 ) civilians were killed.
Among them (43) children, (30) women, (21) elderly, and (587) others were injured due to their exposure to various missiles and projectiles launched by the Houthi coup militia supported by Iran on the villages and neighborhoods densely populated by civilians, most of them are displaced, as the statistics indicate the presence of more than 2 million And half of the displaced persons in the districts (Marib city, Serwah, Medghal, Majzar, Harib, Al Abdiyah, Mahliya, Al-Jouba and Marib Al-Wadi).
The staggering figures of the number of victims show the extent of the Houthi militia’s use of excessive force against the civilian population, considering this a real threat to the life, safety, and security of nearly two and a half million people, most of whom were displaced from the areas controlled by the Houthi militia in search of safe haven and stable life.
The governorate of Ma’rib was bombed with (288) ballistic missiles, (495) Katyusha rockets, (103) artillery shells, and a number of drone attacks, which fell in the middle of these residential objects, markets, and camps, resulting in the destruction of more than (31) public facilities, including 9 facilities. Educational facilities, (9) health facilities, 6 government headquarters, 6 mosques, and one archaeological landmark, in addition to partial damage to (67) other public facilities distributed between (15) educational facilities, (12) health facilities, and (14) government headquarters, as well as (22) mosques and (4) archaeological monuments.
Total private facilities that were destroyed, and they are (68) establishments, in addition to (54), residential houses and (14) shops were damaged. Damage to the means of transport and cars owned by citizens, numbering (51) various means of transport, including (15) vehicles completely and (36) others partially destroyed. In Taiz, out of 20 hospitals and health centers, 18 hospitals stopped working due to the Houthi militia’s bombing of them or the siege that they hit on the city of Taiz, and only two hospitals remain operating. Despite this, the militias bombed the main Al-Thawra hospital in Taiz, as reported by human rights organizations, and the Houthi missiles destroyed the part. The largest of the hospital and the devastation were concentrated in the intensive care unit. As stated in a report by Doctors Without Borders. The militias turned the neighborhoods of Taiz, the largest city in Yemen in terms of population, into ruins, as 2,320 buildings were totally destroyed, including 452 public properties and 4,182 private properties, and nearly twice this number was partially destroyed.
In Al-Hudaydah, Houthi militias have previously targeted several medical institutions, including “Hais Hospital”, a hospital in Hodeidah governorate, with mortar shells, and Yemeni medical sources said that the bombing – which targeted Hays Hospital lasted for several days. Rural Medi in Hajjah governorate, after they discovered that one of the rooms inside the hospital was full of explosives. At the level of cities and governorates, entire neighborhoods in Aden Governorate, Khor Maksar, Al Tawahi, and the northern areas of the governorate have been destroyed as a result of the war launched by the Houthi militia.
In the field of education, the Houthi militia blew up schools, and the Yemeni Minister of Education stated that 1,700 schools were destroyed during the war being waged in various governorates by the Houthi militia, and the (UNICEF) organization revealed that 3584 schools were closed due to security risks or to convert them to military barracks from before the Houthi militia, about 22 governmental and private universities suffered direct and indirect damages, and the coup militia deprived more than 4.5 million Yemeni students of education – as we remember the Sawan massacre, which killed 15 students, as it turned out that the explosion was caused by the Houthis storing weapons and explosives in the neighborhood.
Civilian, next to schools and in the middle of a residential neighborhood, but this crime did not receive enough echo from international organizations and was not dealt with by the size of the large crime.
Also targeting oil installations and oil refineries in Aden and also ARMCO in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This terrorist group has not only targeted civilians and civilian facilities on the ground but threatens an environmental catastrophe and destruction at sea by preventing it from maintaining the Safir reservoir, which, if it exploded, would cause one of the biggest disasters. Which could have devastating effects on the environment and the economy.
The militia targeted airports, as the Houthis targeted Aden airport nearly three months ago last December, killing and wounding more than 130 civilians.
Since the administration of US President Joe Biden announced the initiation of procedures to cancel the decision to designate the Houthi militia as a “terrorist group”, Iranian-backed militia attacks against civilian objects in Saudi Arabia and Yemen have escalated. During the ten days following the removal of the Houthi name from the list of terrorism, more than 15 drone attacks were carried out. And ballistic missiles, in a systematic and deliberate manner, to target civilian objects and civilians in southern Saudi Arabia, and the Houthi, supported by Iran, adopted the Abha airport attack, in what the internationally recognized Yemeni government considered a full-fledged war crime. Frequently, civilian airports in the city of Abha and Jizan are targeted by constantly bombing aircraft, which endangers the lives of thousands of travelers of various nationalities, which is a full-fledged terrorist crime.
And the Houthis are the worst version of ISIS, so it makes no difference that terrorism targets a subway with a suicide bomber or a civilian airport with a booby-trapped plane, in both cases, the result is one targeting innocent civilians.
Terrorism kills civilians exclusively until the international community deals with some countries dealing with terrorism according to their perspective. Terrorism that targets the citizens of these countries is terrorism, and if terrorism is outside their borders, this is a compromise that is not clearly announced.
Irina talked about the Iranian role in escalating the bombing and Houthi attacks and said: The US administration continues in this contradiction. We know very well that there is Iranian support, and we know that the US administration is seeking to return to dialogue with Iran.
So, for example, when the Houthi’s classification was raised and aid was restored to pass through the Houthis, the Houthi forces launched attacks on Saudi Arabia. We know that all weapons that reach the Houthis are financed by Iran, but why don’t you see America?
The American administration is conflicting, especially now that we see that Iran has become stronger, especially after raising the Houthi’s rating, and Iran believes that these matters are interconnected with each other and we saw this during the recent attack on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and reached places where Americans live in the Kingdom and this did not provoke the American administration to pressure Iran has to get out of the entire region. Another factor is Hezbollah, which provided support to the Houthis, and it is a terrorist organization that does not only train the Houthis but also provides them with drones. These aircraft are known to international groups that they come from Iran and were manufactured in China and some of them used spare parts from Germany and in past America was able to cut Supplying such parts, but after the dialogue with Iran, we know that Iran, through its twisted ways, was able to continue this, and the Biden administration will try to enter into a peace dialogue with the Houthis, but so far it has not talked about these weapons that come from Iran to the Houthis, how they reach them, how they are used, and also all the money that reaches them…
The arrival of weapons to the Houthis must be stopped and the attack stopped. All these actions are from Iran. She concluded by saying that the Houthi does not represent a threat to Yemen only, but the entire region. Therefore, the delivery of weapons to the Houthi militia must stop.
Dr. Arwa Al-Khattabi, head of the Broken Chair for Mine Victims Organization, stated that the Houthis used drones, which is a strategic topic for the Houthis and the future development of drones. The Houthi forces targeted Yemeni aviation since the Six Wars and during the Six Wars, planes fell as butterflies fell and killed pilots and they were trying to blow up a bus. Air Force Aviation, as the Yemeni Air Force was destroyed by the Houthis long ago after the Houthi shot down Sanaa, there was an air bridge between Iran and the Houthi, and so far the Houthi forces bring electronic parts through Amman and across the sea, and a factory for aviation iron structures has been opened. And internal technologies are coming from Iran, there is a danger that will remain constant in two ways that it may be used not only for Yemen and Saudi Arabia but also for Israel, there is a very dangerous issue if the Houthi militia targets maritime navigation with drones, it will target American battleships at sea.
Bassem Al-Absi, a human rights activist
He talked about the Iranian websites starting to promote the drones used by the Houthis that will attack Saudi Arabia or Yemen while they follow pre-programmed coordinates and the experts of drones at the Dutch company Pax explained that the reason for the spread of drones in Yemen is that their price is cheap, and also Iran is using Yemen as a test field.
Dr. Wissam concluded the seminar that the Houthi’s use of drones is cross-border terrorism. The development of the Houthis and the smuggling of this type of weapon that does not take into account civilians and airports should not be tolerated. It is a threat that targets the whole world. Lebanon, and now Yemen, and the world are held hostage by a mentally ill person who possesses an advanced weapon that can threaten international peace and security