On The Latest Chinese Space Research – 2018

According to Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, the first Romanian astronaut, former president of ASE- the Association of the Space Explorers (the professional association of astronauts), and former chairman of UN COPUOS (Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space) between 2010-2012 , “China is strikingly advanced in space activities and focused on manned human space flights”.

Prunariu was a special guest, invited to the 21st IAA HIS Symposium in Shenzhen, the Chinese frontier city of science and technology that gathered 9 astronauts and 150 researchers from 60 countries, at the end of November.

The Chinese research presented in Shenzhen was evidence of the advanced level of technology that is being produced.

The Chinese research on the active exoskeleton control technology based on 3E+ (EEG, EMG, ECG, eye movement, camera, pressure and angular info), conducted by Xuejun Jiao, Rui Yin, Jin Jiang and Jinda Feng aims at  providing intelligent power-assistant equipment for astronauts. In order to reduce the astronaut’s task load and to provide energy support, this technology provides a combination of exoskeleton and a BCI (brain-computer interface). The study turns out to be a breakthrough in this field: “in order to improve the application of the EVA (extravehicular activity) space suit, the robotic system in the outer space will identify the astronaut’s motor intention and control the exoskeleton system by brain activity”. The exoskeleton controlled by hybrid BCI embodies a fusion of execution, perception and decision levels through multi-sensor technology, including physiological signal, biomechanics information and video info and through a recognition algorithm of motor intention and control algorithm of a delicate operation.

Another experiment presented during the 21st IAA HIS Symposium in Shenzhen by Jin Jiang, Rui Yin, Xuejun Jiao and Jing Jing Pan on the BCI (brain-computer interface) and involving 6 human subjects confirms that humans can control robotic devices only by brain signal.  With the advantage of portability, low-cost and non-invasiveness, the BCI based on EEG is seen to be one of the best applications in human-machine interaction for spaceflight tasks. Since the accuracy of the BCI ability to distinguish targets is above 70%, the ultimate purpose of this research is to develop real-time intelligent miniaturization BCI for future EVA (extra-vehicular activities) space suit.

As an annual delegate to COPUOS, Prunariu is very familiar with China’s space achievements: “China has invited developing nations to conduct experiments on its space station planned to be on the orbit in 2022, and has signed an agreement with the UNOOSA (Office for Outer Space Activities) so that UNOOSA could select experiments from the developing countries to be conducted aboard on the Chinese space station for free, which proves that China considers the UN as highly important in international cooperation! No other nation has ever signed such agreement! And it does not neglect any possibility to conclude an agreement with countries that have expertise on the peaceful use of the outer space. For instance, in July 2017, it signed a memorandum of understanding with Romania, which possesses such expertise, and, geopolitically, it falls along the route of the Belt and Road Initiative”.

Prunariu  says that he felt from the beginning China’s huge potential in Space: “When I was still the president of the Association of Space Explorers,  I personally insisted to have Chinese astronauts become members of ASE  and to hold the ASE congress in Beijing in 2014, to start getting to know each other better. The first Chinese astronaut, Yang Liwei, was elected as a member of ASE Board. Time showed indeed that China is promoting Space activities it is and open to develop Space projects as well as advanced technology and science, with the purpose to ensure national security and to gain its place, prestige and recognition on the global stage, as a strong space-faring nation with a high level of technology”.

The Chinese Manned Space Agency hopes for broadened collaboration with other countries and international organizations under the framework of the agreement, on the principle of peaceful uses of outer space, equality and mutual benefit, and joint development.

The Chinese space station, named Tiangong 3 (meaning “Heavenly Palace 3” in Chinese), is currently under development and is expected to be operational around 2022. The station has advanced technology and multi-purpose on-board facilities that provides approirate conditions for the UN member states to conduct microgravity experiments on physics, biology, and life science as well as Earth observation.

Little chance stands the Space cooperation between China and the US for the moment.

In 2011, congressman Frank Wolf inserted a clause into the US expenditure law bill that forbids NASA or OSTP (White House Office of Science and Technology Policy) to use federal funds “to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company.”

Jeffrey Manber, CEO of NANORACKS, a private commercial company that provides hardware for the International Space Station, found a “private” way to have China cooperate with the international space station: “The Canadians, Russians and Americans would have worked with the Chinese on the ISS but this law forbids it. When we started to work, we felt this amendment does not apply to us because we are a commercial company, we are not using tax-payers’ money.  We have customers from 30 nations who pay us for services. We went to Obama administration and asked to engage the Chinese, and they gave us permission. Charles Bolden, administrator of NASA at the same, wrote a letter to the Congress saying this complies with the Wolf amendment, NASA was not involved, no technology transfer…. We worked with Beijing Institute of Technology which became the first Chinese entity to conduct experiments on board of the ISS, and they did a successful project on the DNA, they found abnormalities in the DNA after exposure in Space and, if this is true, maybe we cannot set out on a journey to Mars!  Even those who for the Wolf amendment showed various degrees on enthusiasm for our project”.

The Beijing Institute of Technology was one of the organizers of the 21st IAA Humans in Space Symposium in Shenzhen.  A symposium that confirmed that China is gradually achieving excellence in its Space programs and it substantiates its capabilities to implement outstanding Space projects with every occasion.

Sharjah brings together global leaders and communication experts

Effective government communication plays a role in sustainable development

The Emirate of Sharjah reminds us that governmental communication mechanisms are part of good geopolitical relations and a first step to solve mankind’s major current problems, collectively denominated as Sustainable Development Goals by the UN: zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace, justice and strong institutions and partnerships for goals.

Sharjah Media Centre launched the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) in 2012 to operate as an international meeting point for governments and its 6th edition is being organized these days. The forum is unique across the world and its goals are to build a platform for better communication between governments and stakeholders to create a participatory dialogue and to develop government communication mechanisms, “to enhance the spirit of community partnership and instill a sense of responsibility in the present and future generations towards their countries and humanity at large, to highlight successful approaches that government communication practitioners adopt to drive public opinion towards a proactive response to current global issues and to make people an integral part of the solutions”.

This year’s event with gather more than 2,500 local, regional and international leaders and media experts from 16 countries. The forum will consist of panel discussions and workshops among experts, and special meetings with government officials and members of the diplomatic corps in the UAE. The 2017 edition will be enriched by the presence of ambassadors, consuls and attachés to the UAE who will discuss the role of government communication in achieving sustainable development.

HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council, stressed that the event intends to improve the coordination of the government communication system in Sharjah and the UAE communication with governments of other countries in order to work together on joint goals of mankind: “The meeting will highlight the commitment of Sharjah and the UAE to the principles of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition, it will provide a unique opportunity for the diplomatic corps to share the experiences of their countries in working towards these noble goals that have become a top priority for international governments and institutions. By hosting representatives of the diplomatic corps during the IGCF, we seek to gain insights from global experiences relevant to this year’s theme – ‘Societal Participation…Comprehensive Development. The Sharjah forum will examine a wide variety of topics of interest to world governments. To achieve the SDGs, governments must join forces to overcome current and future challenges. In this context, government communication plays a vital role in supporting government efforts towards realising these goals, and contributing to economic and social development.”

Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of Sharjah Government Media Bureau believes that “In Sharjah as well as across the UAE and around the world, governments have been increasingly creating frameworks and policies to promote sustainable development. The upcoming IGCF will strengthen these international efforts by bringing together local and global leaders and experts in order to learn from past experiences and adopt best practices. In particular, the IGCF will focus on the critical role that effective government communication can play in achieving these goals. Governments need to engage citizens to reach the 17 UN development goals, and the best way to do this is through effective government communication”.

Discourse is a tool

As long as it’s not “empty” or “double”, public discourse has been already acknowledged as a powerful tool of expression for governments and official discourse. Language in discourse has social, political, cognitive, moral and material consequences and effects. Rhetoric is often a tool by which international leaders, governments and organizations assess the position of a country, its policies and its intentions.

Public discourse has a strong performative function of which we become often aware; it can create stability or destabilize. The power of public discourse lies precisely in its ability to shape ideas, to stir emotions and empathy, sympathy and solidarity feelings, with the purpose to cause mindsets and behaviours because discourse is part of the unconscious and conscious mind and emotional life. People live unconsciously in discursive realities. Interpreting does not mean simply decoding words from the linguistic perspective but it implies matching the features of the utterance with recognizable interpretations and common sense assumptions.

Sharjah in a nutshell

The Emirate of Sharjah, the 3rd biggest of the 7 United Arab Emirates, was first inhabited 6,000 years ago, it was the first to have an airport in the Gulf area in 1932, the first to have a cinema in 1945 and it means “the rising sun”. It is a symbol for culture, intellect and architecture. It was the Cultural capital of the Arab world in 1998 and the capital of Islamic Culture in 2014.  Sharjah has a sophisticated infrastructure for cultural development, including specialized museums such as Sharjah Archeological Museum, the Natural History Museum, Sharjah Museum of Science, Sharjah Art Museum, the Islamic Museum, and the Heritage Museum. Every year, the emirate holds the “Sharjah Cultural days” in one city in the world, celebrating the Emirati culture through festivals and exhibitions. With 80 programs, and dozens of thousands of students enrolled, the University of Sharjah is one of the largest in the Arab world. It was founded in 1997 by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who strongly believes that “developing the human being is the cornerstone of development”.

Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi is one of the most learned personalities in the Arab world who has dedicated his entire life to promoting culture across the world. His writings include unique historical pieces, great contributions to the world’s literature and a source of wisdom. In a speech delivered on 16th march 2004 at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, he reminded that the Arabs “gave the world the sciences: chemistry, physics, astronomy, algebra etc…and left their names and marks on these contributions”.

In 2011, one of his plays, Hulagu’s Return, participated in Sibiu Theatre Festival and two of his books, Hulagu’s Return and the White Sheikh, have been translated into Romanian and enjoyed success at subsequent book fairs, confirming what Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi has expressed during a theatre festival in Paris in 2007: “Theatre allows news channels of dialogue to open up between races, ethnicities, colours, creeds…”

His Excellency Talal M. Al-Hajeri: “We want to take advantage of the significant role played by Romania at regional and international levels and to work together for peace and security around the world”

Kuwait, one of the most progressive Arab countries, celebrated 56 years of Independence on the 25th of February and 26th  anniversary of the Liberation Day on 26th  of February.

On the occasion of Kuwaiti National Day, His Excellency Talal M. Al-Hajeri, Ambassador of the State of Kuwait in Romania, has shared a few thoughts about the country’s evolution:

“Kuwait is nowadays a well-defined position among the most advanced countries of the world .Since its independence in 1961, the state of Kuwait has gone through several stages of evolution and development, including human development which is the highest goal of any society, as well as an ambitious program along social and economic dimensions, including health, education, urban aspects, aspiring to take the country to the highest standards of civilization. One major goal is to support the young generation and to develop a wide range of programs and activities”.

“Even before independence and of course declaring its own independence, Kuwait has always supported underdeveloped countries and developing countries through the Kuwaiti funds, 105 countries so far through economic programs, water, electricity and infrastructure projects”, says Ambassador Al-Hajeri.

Indeed, the famous Kuwait Fund, set up in December 1961 with the purpose to assist with loans the Arab and developing countries in advancing their economies, between its establishment until the end of 2016, has given 911 loans with a total value of KD 5,600 billion (USD 18,368 billion) to 105 countries out of which: 16 Arab countries, 41 African countries, 19 East, South Asian & pacific countries, 17 Central Asian & European countries, 12 Latin American &Caribbean countries. As to  sectoral  distribution, transport sector ranks first with 33.87%, followed by energy 27.28%, agriculture sector 10.72%, water and sewage 10.63%, industrial 6.44%, social sector 5.88%, development banks 2.4%, communications 1.81%. Interest rates are around 2% and may vary slightly, for instance, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania borrowed at 2% over 27 years for the Deposit and Development Fund Operations Project, the Republic of Sudan borrowed at 1.5% over 24 years for its Rural Water Harvesting Project, while the Republic of Albania borrowed at 2.5% over 24 for its Vlora River Road project.

His Excellency Ambassador Al-Hajeri stresses the traditional, good relations between Romania and Kuwait:

“Kuwait has a strong, very good relation with Romania, which was established right after our independence, in 1963. Based on solid roots, our relation has evolved in constant rise and has developed, on mutual cooperation, revealed by mutual visits of high officials of the two countries. The State of Kuwait and Romania are looking to enhance the areas of cooperation in order to achieve the wise vision of the leadership and the put in practice the desire of their peoples for mutual cooperation and benefits in all fields. We hope this cooperation will result into opening more areas for development, especially in economic areas, trade, investments, in exchanges of ideas and research. We want to take advantage of the significant role played by Romania at regional and international levels and to work together for peace and security around the world”.

Kuwait makes efforts indeed to find solutions for peace and stability as well as humanitarian aid. Kuwait has hosted 3 pledging conferences for the UN’s Syria appeals, in 2013, 2014 and 2015. These conferences raised US$1.5 billion in 2013, US$2.4 billion in 2014, and US$3.8 billion in 2015. Kuwait also hosts the meetings of the Top Donors Group for Syria. In September 2014, the United Nations, in recognition of Kuwait’s humanitarian efforts to bring together and galvanize the international community for the relief of the Syrian people, designated the State of Kuwait an “International Humanitarian Centre”. Kuwait pledged in (4) conferences 1.6 billion USD.

Romania established its embassy in Kuwait in 1963 and Kuwait opened its embassy in Romania in 2006. Since 1963, there have been many high official mutual visits. His Royal Highness, the Emir of the State of Kuwait was the first chief of state in the Arabian Gulf region to visit Romania in 1981. The Prime Minister of Kuwait came to Romania in 2006, occasion on which the Embassy of the State of Kuwait in Bucharest was officially inaugurated. Since 1990, all Romanian presidents have visited Kuwait.

The importance of the relation with the State of Kuwait is reflected also by other fields of interest, apart from diplomacy. In 2008, Romfilatelia issued a special stamp celebrating “45 years of diplomatic relationships Romania-Kuwait”.

These days, the entire Kuwait is reverberating with traditional music and dances. Starting with 26th February, the Kuwaitis have been celebrating their national day in their own houses, in malls and in the streets. “Proud to be Kuwaiti” is one line often heard in songs and the national flag is the theme of all decorations across Kuwait: children are wearing clothes specially designed in red, green, black and white, the colours of the national flag, cars are decorated with the national flag and bear the message “I love Kuwait”, coloured led lights along the streets and across buildings re-compose the Kuwaiti flag and the falcon also appears in these decorations as symbol of national pride

Kuwait, a country cleverly combining traditions and modernity, is an example of quick rise on the international stage. It ended the 20th century as a synonym to exquisite wealth and advanced technology.

Countries progressing in space programs

An overview of the countries with space activities has been provided by the 59th session of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space – COPUOS in Vienna.

Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, former chairman of COPUOS, president of the European chapter of the Association of Space Explorers, who has been representing Romania and the Association of Space Explorers within COPUOS for the last 24 years, says many countries are making huge progress in space activities from one year to another.

India is advanced in space technology, its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is a space probe orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014. It was launched on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and it is India’s first interplanetary mission. Its cost was only US$ 73 million, the least-expensive Mars mission to date. By instance NASA’s Mars Scout Program, which spawned MAVEN mission to Mars cost up to US$ 671 million.

The United Arab Emirates set up their Space Agency in 2014, joined the UN COPUOS in 2015 and they are already preparing Amal, a probe mission to planet Mars, set to arrive in 2021. The UAE’s endeavour is striking because a country with a 2-year old space agency already has top experts, many of whom women, that are working together to launch Amal, that will travel the 600 million kilometres for 200 days with a cruising speed of 126,00 km/hour.

Other countries, with limited resources but desire to have access to space technology for sustainable development have access to UN regional training centers for space science and technology education in each region covered by the United Nations Economic Commissions: Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western Asia. The main goal of each centre is the development of the skills and knowledge of university educators and research and applications scientists, through rigorous theory, research, applications, field exercises, and pilot projects in those aspects of space science and technology that can contribute to sustainable development in each country.

“China is so dynamic in space and more recently open to international cooperation in manned space flights”, says Prunariu. It could offer a huge advantage for other space-faring nations not having their own means to send people to outer space: “China has made a detailed presentation of its manned space flights, in 3 stages:  individual flights, flights aboard experimental space modules to a space lab, in order to test all the operations such as rendezvous, docking, fuelling, coupling of the future space station, and operations on the Chinese space station that will be operational for many, many years. Its assembling in space will start in 2018 and end in 2022. As international cooperation is vital for the development of cosmonautics and for the peaceful use of the outer space, China has proposed other nations to host international crews aboard its space station, obviously, trained in China, on Chinese space-crafts, but having the possibility to make scientific experiments in space on behalf of their own nations or the international organizations they represent. A distinct element in this cooperation, unlike previous cooperation with the former USSR or with NASA, is that China has proposed that these instances of cooperation for manned missions be made under the umbrella of the UN. UNOOSA has already concluded 2 agreements with the Chinese Space Agency in this respect. Practically, cooperation will go through 2 dimensions: country– UN and UN-China. The UN has signed therefore with China an agreement to make operational the manned flights performed by UN countries together with China. These countries will get involved in space programs that have been agreed by the UN, and these programs will benefit from the advantages made available by China in order to make experiments in the outer space”.

Indeed, the presentation of the Chinese manned space flights made by Wu Ping, deputy director of China Manned Space Agency was impressive, even for experts, who realize the huge financial and human efforts China makes. Shenzhou-5, in 2003, was the 1st Chinese manned spaceflight mission, Yang Liwei becoming the first Chinese into outer space. In 2008, Shenzhou-7 performed the first EVA- Extravehicular Activity. So far, China has carried out 11 spaceflight missions in total, 5 of which were manned missions, sending 10 persons and 12 person-times of Chinese astronauts into space and returning them safely.

The delegation of the Russian Federation made a presentation of Space Debris, Space Operations and Tools to Support Collaborative Space Situational Awareness, stressing the importance of Sharing information on objects and events in space and the deficiencies in this field: lack of a unified international cataloguing and identification mechanism for space objects, and the lack of merged information coming from various sources. “No State in the world is currently able to provide a complete and constantly updated picture of the situation in orbit on its own. Thus, there is an objective need to combine capabilities in this area…”, said Victor Shillin, researcher form the Russian Academy of Science.

Dr Dava Newman, NASA Deputy Administrator, made a presentation about the „Journey to Mars via Global Space Cooperation”, a gruelling endeavor, and very hypnotizing for countries.

African countries are end-users of space technology to meet domestic needs such as the remote sensing for identification of water sources, and natural resources.

Alaa El Nahry from Egypt presented Egypt’s use of satellites to identify water sources and the plan to launch 5 nano-satellites between 2017-2022.

The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space – COPUOS was set up by the General Assembly of the UN in 1959 to govern the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity: for peace, security and development. The task of the Committee is to review international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, to study space-related activities that could be undertaken by the United Nations, to encourage space research programmes, and to study the legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space. From 24 member states in 1959, it evolved to 84 currently, plus 33 observers – non-governmental and inter-governmental professional organizations, among which the Association of Space Explorers -ASE, often represented at COPUOS sessions by Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu. ASE is the international professional association of the astronauts, including over 400 astronauts from 37 countries.

Chances to curb terrorism through intelligence exchange – a case of thwarted Al Qaeda attack by Yemen authorities

What experts on terrorism said on 2nd June during the conference on terrorism in Bucharest turns out to be true: cooperation among states and efficient exchange of intelligence can curb terrorism.

On the same day of 2nd June 2016, general Faraj Salmin, commander of Yemen’s Second Military Zone in the east of Yemen, made public the information that the Yemeni authorities had thwarted a massive terrorist attack aimed at the local administrative headquarters in Mukalla. According to general Salmin, a car loaded with 15 high-explosive bombs had been detected in time before an individual linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, could detonate it.

General Salmin explained that the successful operation was a joint operation : “We received intelligence about Al Qaeda’s plans to launch a major terrorist attack in Al Mukalla aimed at destabilising the city and creating panic among residents. With the help of intelligence, we learnt of a plan to target the local administrative headquarters in Al Mukalla city in order to liquidate the staff, destroy the infrastructure and paralyse the local government authorities. Following an extensive search, the car, loaded with a huge quantity of explosives, was found.”

The purpose of the attack would have been to give a blow to a prominent symbol of the Yemeni state, the city of Mukalla on the Gulf of Aden, to give a signal that the recent expulsion of AQAP from Mukalla would be followed by chaos and instability, and to threaten the people with reprisals for cooperating with the Yemeni and Coalition forces.
Yemeni forces, assisted by the Coalition, conducted extensive search operations throughout Mukalla to identify Al Qaeda elements whose existence was already known in the area as a result of efficient intelligence exchanges. During these searches, they arrested a computer expert known as Abu Hafs Al Shahri, who is a key figure in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and that is why his arrest was very useful for the authorities to learn information about the terrorist plans to destabilize the region.

Mid-May, general Salmin had announced the arrest of 250 Al Qaeda leaders, also as a result of efficient intelligence exchanges.

Mukalla is the 5th city in Yemen, with estimated population of 500,000 inhabitants, and strategic major importance as it is a port on the Gulf of Aden, and it has one airport.

The Saudi-led coalition’s campaign in Mukalla marks a change in strategy. Since early 2015, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had taken advantage of the coalition’s focus on Shiite Houthi rebels and grabbed territory along Yemen’s southern coast. At the beginning, the Arab Coalition targeted Al Qaeda in Yemen and Mukalla was the capital city for this group where their economic strength was obvious. In April 2016, the Coalition managed to defeat Al Qaeda in the city of Mukalla and the army took control of the city.

However, the Yemenis say that Al Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula are still controlling the city of Mukalla.

The emergence of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is the most striking unexpected effect of the coalition’s military intervention in Yemen. The campaign, backed by the US, helped Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to become stronger since its inception 20 years ago. One explanation may be the drone war. The US are said to have initiated in 2002 the drone war against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that has been useful but also harmful for civilians because, due to lots of civilian casualties, might have caused many Yemenis, who otherwise have remained neutral, take arms and side with a certain faction. Thus, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula could regain ground.
The United Arab Emirates entered the coalition to re-establish peace and order in the Arab Peninsula. As a country with strong economic interests around the world, a peaceful vision and population partly originating in Yemeni tribes, the UAE want peace and economic development in Yemen.Special teams from the UAE Armed Forces working as part of the Coalition are providing operational assistance to the Yemeni forces in cleansing the city of members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and also providing intelligence for the operations. The expertise of the UAE forces in counter-terrorism operations has helped to set free the city of Mukalla from Al Qaeda and to thwart their plans to establish an Islamic emirate in the region.

During the capture of Abu Hafs, the IT expert of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who was caught in a safe-house, CDs were found that contained plans to destabilise and terrorise southern Yemen. Abu Hafs has been identified as a key operational element whose role was to use his technical expertise in executing the plans in Yemen and in using social media for propaganda.

The search operations in Mukalla have also identified large quantities of lethal weapons, suggesting that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula still can launch attacks against the civilian population of the city.

It is very difficult for an outsider to clearly understand who’s who in Yemen. The Yemenis explain that „There is no longer a genuine official government in Yemen or, if there is one, it does not control the entire country, and there are two armies, each siding with someone else… For instance Mukalla is controlled by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula…There are many groups of interests, but mainly we have two sides: one side involving the KSA, the UAE, Qatar, USA, UK, the Coalition, and other side involving Iran, the Houthis and the former president, backed by Russia and China, who control the capital city, the National Bank, and all the officials…”

Private conversations with the Yemenis reveal that „if KSA and Iran do not negotiate, Yemen will be destroyed entirely! The problem is that KSA does not have well-trained staff to negotiate, they do not have skills, while Iran has very valuable and educated people. Iran knows better its interests. Take for instance the following example: Iran and the UAE have had a conflict for many years, for the three islands, but this does not prevent Iran from keeping money in banks in Dubai if they knows it’s good for them…”

In April, peace talks mediated by the UN had started in Kuwait between the Houthis and President Abed Hadi but they soon got stuck due to the intransigence of both sides. The UN Resolution 2216 demands the Houthis to withdraw their forces from all areas, including Sanaa, to hand over the state institutions to the legitimate government and release their political prisoners. If the peace does not come soon, Yemen, already facing harsh food crisis, lack of electricity and other shortages, will be destroyed and the Yemenis do not deserve this. They are described by other Arabs as „although poor, among the most hospitable and the most honest of all Arabs”.