Assault on UAE ship is a dangerous outrage: paper

ABU DHABI, 6th October, 2016 (WAM) — A local daily has said the attack on a UAE civilian ship carrying civilian supplies is an outrage. The UAE’s National Marine Dredging Company’s vessel Swift was in Bab Al Mandeb in the Red Sea on a routine trip to Aden to first deliver medical and relief aid, and then evacuate wounded and injured civilians, when Al Houthi forces attacked it.

The attack was strongly condemned by the UN Security Council, which called for such attacks “to cease immediately” and urged that necessary steps be taken to de-escalate the situation.

“The attack should never have happened as the Swift was a civilian boat on a peaceful mission. It was also carried out with gratuitous violence that left many of the crew injured. And the attack happened on the high seas and therefore was a direct threat to the freedom of international navigation,” said Gulf News in an editorial on Thursday.

“The UAE government was right to react strongly as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation condemned the assault as a “flagrant defiance of international norms”, and it also categorised it as “a terrorist act that is supported by regional parties that do not want peace and security to prevail in the region,” that reflects “the magnitude of support Al Houthis receive from regional powers, which block all ways to reach a political solution in Yemen.”

“The civil strife in Yemen started when Al Houthis stormed into Sana’a and took over the government. Their forces steadily moved south, eventually reaching Yemen’s second city, the southern port of Aden.

“Al Houthi fighting has been characterised from the start by such bellicose activity and readiness to seek much wider domination than is justified under any conditions. This maritime assault also points to an increasing desperation among Al Houthis as the forces of the Saudi-led coalition tighten their siege of the militia’s stronghold in the mountains of north Yemen.

“The UAE government made clear that this targeting of a civilian vessel in international waterways has dangerous implications.

“The allocation of blame included “regional powers”, in a clear reference to Iran’s backing of Al Houthis, and this is where some pressure may be brought to bear as the continued military pressure on the militia needs to be matched by pressure on their suppliers of military equipment.

“Any Iranian attempt to smuggle military supplies to Al Houthis would be a legitimate target to interdict and arrest,” concluded the Dubai-based daily.