Home | News    Friday 27 March 2015

Sudanese army says ground troops to join Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

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March 26, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese army said on Thursday that its troops are heading to unspecified areas in Saudi Arabia to participate in the Saudi-led military action against Shiite Houthi militants allied with Iran, who have taken control of Yemen since September 2014.

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People react as they search for survivors under the rubble of houses destroyed by an air strike near Sanaa Airport March 26, 2015. (REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

In the air assault codenamed "Operation Decisive Storm," Saudi Arabia deployed some 100 fighter jets, 150,000 soldiers and other navy units, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV reported.

Al-Arabiya said that aircrafts from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Egypt were involved though it was not clear which carried out actual strikes.

Starting before dawn, Saudi warplanes pounded an air base, military bases and anti-aircraft positions in the capital of Sana’a and flattened a number of homes near the airport, killing at least 18 civilians, including six children according to Associated Press (AP). Another round followed in the evening, again rocking the city.

Sudan’s defence minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein said at a press conference in Khartoum today that his country will send ground and air forces to participate in “Operation Decisive Strom”.

“We began the mechanical movement towards military operations area alongside the Saudi forces”, he added without offering details on the composition of the force or the types of jets used.

In response to a question on the possible negative effects of this participation on Sudan’s relations with Iran, Hussein asserted that “security of Saudi Arabia is a red line for us”.

Sudanese army spokesperson Colonel al-Sawarmi Khaled Sa’ad said in a separate statement that this move comes within the framework of intimate ties between with Saudi Arabia and to protect the Two Holy Mosques.

Col. Sa’ad said that the “Arab-Muslim people of Sudan will not remain idle while Muslim’s Qibla [sacred direction] and the land of revelation is facing danger” emphasizing that this reflects the Sudanese nation’s desire to protect the Islamic holy places.

The statement disclosed that Sudan’s defence minister discussed on Thursday morning with the Saudi military attaché to Khartoum Ibrahim Osman al-Omair, arrangements pertaining to the participation of the Sudanese troops in the campaign.

He added that Sudan’s top military official defence minister also had a telephone conversation on Wednesday evening with the Saudi chief of staff, Abdel-Rahman Bin Salih al-Banian, in the same regard.

“The armed forces began to move towards the military operations zones”, the spokesperson said.

Earlier today, Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Karti had confirmed Sudan’s military participation in the coalition led by the Saudi Arabia against the Shiite Houthi militants in Yemen.

Sudan’s decision is based on its commitment to the security of the region and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Karti told the official news agency (SUNA).

Karti added that Khartoum’s decision to join the coalition was triggered by "Sudan’s proximity to Saudi Arabia, the historical close ties (between the two countries) and the danger that threatens all of the region and Saudi Arabia specifically".

The minister further said that the purpose is to defend the security of Saudi Arabia, Sudan’s security and the security of the region in general.

Saudi Arabia’s state news agency (SPA) had said that Sudan, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan are prepared to participate in a potential ground offensive in Yemen.

The assault will come from Saudi Arabia and by landings on Yemen’s coasts along the Red and Arabian seas, according to three Egyptian military and security officials who spoke to AP.

Three to five Egyptian troop carriers are stationed offshore, they said, although the number of troops was not specified, and the timing of the operation was not given.

The aim is not to occupy Yemen but to weaken the Houthis and their allies until they enter negotiations for power-sharing, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the plans with the press.

On Wednesday the Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir concluded a one-day state visit to Saudi Arabia today in which he met with King Salman Bin Abdel Aziz and his son Mohamed who is the kingdom’s defence minister.

The trip represents a thaw in relations between the two countries which has been tense in recent years because of Khartoum’s close ties with Iran.

In the past there were also reports that Sudan has been providing weapons to Houthi rebels on behalf of Iran.

Iran denounced the Saudi-led air campaign, saying it "considers this action a dangerous step”.

The Saudi ambassador in Washington Adel al-Jubeir said at a news conference in Washington on Thursday that Iran has been a major backer of the Houthis, with Revolutionary Guard officers and operatives from the Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah on the ground advising the rebels.

Saudi Arabia and fellow Sunni-led allies in the Gulf and the Middle East view the Houthi takeover as an attempt by Iran to establish a proxy on the kingdom’s southern border. Iran and the Houthis deny that Tehran arms the rebel movement, though it says it provides diplomatic and humanitarian support.

(ST)

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  • 27 March 2015 05:03, by Akol Liai Mager

    They are the same two Mosques that NIF Coup d’état wanted to be destroyed by Saddam’s Ballistic Missiles 25 years ago. Be man and say the truth which is, showing that your genocidal regime tale of breaking ties with Iran is serious and so that Gulf Countries reverse their decision to withdraw their capitols investment in Sudan.

    repondre message

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