Yemen’s Shiite Rebels Announce Takeover of Country


Originally posted on TIME:

(SANAA, Yemen) — Yemen’s powerful Shiite rebels announced on Friday that they have taken over the country and dissolved parliament, a dramatic move that finalizes their months-long power grab.

The development also plunges the impoverished country deeper into turmoil and threatens to turn the crisis into a full-blown sectarian conflict, pitting the Iran-backed Houthi Shiites against Sunni tribesmen and secessionists in the south.

It could also play into the hands of Yemen’s al-Qaida branch, the world’s most dangerous offshoot of the terror group, and jeopardize the U.S. counter-terrorism operations in the country.

In a televised announcement from the Republican Palace in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, the Houthi rebels said they are forming a five-member presidential council that will replace President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi for an interim two-year period.

The Houthis also said that “Revolutionary Committee” would be in charge of forming a new parliament with 551 members. The…

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Israel keeps close watch on rising sectarian tensions as Syria’s escalating civil war spills over into Lebanon


Originally posted on National Post | News:

As the international community focuses its attention on Syria and how to respond to the growing likelihood that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has used chemical weapons on a civilian population, Israel’s attention is focused as much on Lebanon as on Syria.

Lebanese security forces arrested a suspect over the weekend in a double bombing in the predominantly Sunni city of Tripoli on Friday that killed at least 47 people, and wounded some 500, including dozens who were said to be in critical condition. The Lebanese National News Agency said the suspect, Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghareeb, has ties to a Sunni organization that has close ties with Lebanon’s Shi’ite Hezbullah group.

The attacks raised sectarian tensions in Lebanon, which had already been tense. Hundreds of well-trained Hezbullah troops have been fighting in Syria on behalf of Assad, supporting his Alawite regime. The Alawites are an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam.

Israeli officials are…

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