[AnNahar] Scheduled peace talks in Geneva between Yemen's government and Houthis hung in the balance Thursday as the two sides traded ultimatums and a U.N. envoy scrambled to mediate.
The rebel delegation, still in Sanaa, insisted the U.N. meets three demands before it travels to Switzerland ...home of the Helvetians, famous for cheese, watches, yodeling, and William Tell... , prompting government representatives already in Geneva to give the Huthis a 24-hour deadline or threatening to leave.
U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths, who earlier said the planned meeting offered a "flickering signal of hope" for an end to the years-long conflict, had to postpone the start of the talks.
The Geneva talks are meant to be the first since 2016, when 108 days of negotiations between the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and rebels failed to yield a deal.
The Huthis control the capital Sanaa and much of northern Yemen, while a Saudi-led coalition which backs Hadi's government controls the country's airspace.
Led by Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani, a Yemen ...an area of the Arabian Peninsula sometimes mistaken for a country. It is populated by more antagonistic tribes and factions than you can keep track of. Except for a tiny handfull of Jews everthing there is very Islamic... government delegation arrived in Switzerland on Wednesday.
But on what was meant to be the opening day of talks, the rebels issued an ultimatum from Sanaa, saying they would not join until the U.N. meets three conditions that it had already agreed to.
They want the transportation of maimed rebels to Oman for medical care, the repatriation of rebels who have already received treatment there, and a guarantee that the Huthi delegation will be allowed to return to Sanaa after the Geneva talks.
The government delegation said Thursday it would wait only until midday (1000 GMT) on Friday.
"We have this scheduled meeting since two months ago ... Today we are alone," delegation member Hamza Alkamali told journalists in Geneva, and claimed the rebels clearly "don't want peace."
Clearance for a flight carrying rebel delegates and maimed was "issued three days ago," he insisted.
"We want them to come, and we are pushing them to come," Alkamali said. However, we can't all be heroes. Somebody has to sit on the curb and applaud when they go by... "we will leave, if they don’t come... in the next 24 hours.
Griffiths had told journalists he would begin informal consultations with the government team while the rebels make their way to Switzerland.
If and when the two parties do eventually meet, he said, there would be no "formal negotiations", merely exploratory talks on how best to get everyone around a negotiating table.
All previous attempts to resolve the Yemen war have failed.
Griffiths is the U.N.'s third Yemen envoy since 2014, when Huthis overran the capital and drove Hadi's government into exile.
The following year, Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in the Soddy national face... and its allies formed a powerful regional military coalition to back Hadi.
The conflict has left nearly 10,000 people dead and pushed the Arab world's most impoverished country to the brink of famine.
On Thursday, the Saudi-led coalition acknowledged there may have been "collateral damage" from August 23 strikes the U.N. said killed 26 children south of the port of Hodeida.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia shot down a ballistic missile fired by Houthis, with shrapnel wounding 26 people including two children, the coalition said.
[WSJ] Lord Jonathan Sacks isn’t known to throw around accusations. So when the Commonwealth’s former chief rabbi weighed in on Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, people took notice.
Rabbi Sacks last week described Mr. Corbyn as "an anti-Semite" who has "given support to racists, terrorists and dealers of hate." He called one Corbyn comment "the most offensive statement made by a senior British politician since Enoch Powell’s 1968 ’Rivers of Blood’ speech," a vicious anti-immigration diatribe. Rabbi Sacks was referring to Mr. Corbyn’s 2013 description of British "Zionists": "They don’t want to study history and . . . they don’t understand English irony either." On Sunday Rabbi Sacks doubled down, telling the BBC that the prospect of Mr. Corbyn as prime minister was a "danger" to British Jewry.
...For his part, Mr. Corbyn claimed in an interview: "I’m not an anti-Semite in any way, never have been, never will be."
His actions and words tell a very different story. He was long associated‐unwittingly, he says, with Holocaust denier Paul Eisen. In 2012 he approved of a mural that grotesquely depicted Jewish bankers, and he did not reverse himself until earlier this year. He was long a member in Facebook groups that featured anti-Jewish conspiracies.
His worst blind spot, though, is his failure to distinguish between criticism of Israeli policies and an irrational and thoroughly bigoted hatred of Israel itself. It’s an obsession that has led him to align with those who oppose the idea of Jewish self-determination in the Levant, as well as those who have made their purpose to seek Israel’s destruction, and even those who have murdered or championed the murder of Israelis and their supporters.
In 2010 Mr. Corbyn hosted an event on Holocaust Memorial Day in which the Israeli government was compared to the Nazis. In 2012 he appeared on Iranian television to celebrate the release of Palestinian terrorists by Israel in a painful prisoner exchange with Hamas. He referred to the returning convicts as "brothers."
[JP] Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to sever ties with Israel if the state makes an agreement with Hamas, Palestinian sources told Al Hayat, a London based newspaper on Friday.
According to the report, the sources said that Abbas's position caused Egypt to place the internal Palestinian reconciliation at the top of its list of priorities and to reject the "calm first" option.
Abbas said that he had met with Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman in early September. Argaman had tried to persuade Abbas not to sabotage the efforts to arrange a settlement between Israel and Hamas and to ensure a Palestinian reconciliation, according to an Israeli source on Monday. According to the report, Argaman told Abu Mazen that this is a historic opportunity and it would be a shame to waste it.
Because of this change in priories, Hamas might be forced to seek alternatives other than direct talks with Israel towards a calm agreement, including possibly reaching a truce with Israel but having PLO delegate Azzam al-Ahmad sign the agreement.
[Ynet] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised on Thursday the activities carried out by the Shin Bet, who he said "deter and thwart, every day and every hour, those who seek to kill us."
"There is no day on which something is not thwarted. There is no day on which some action does not prevent (attacks)," the prime minister said at an event marking the new year with security organizations. Which reminded me of something discussed here in recent days - Yitzhak Rabin was 10 times the war hero your McCain was. And so was Marshal Pétain.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.