US evacuates personnel from Yemen as Iranian-backed Houthis overrun key US counter-terrorism ally


All U.S. personnel, including the last remaining 125 U.S. Special Operations advisors, have been evacuated from Yemen as the situation continues to deteriorate. The Iranian-backed Houthis, a Shiite rebel group, have continued to sow unrest and chaos that has led to a disruption of U.S. counter-terror efforts both in Yemen and in the broader region. Yemen serves as a base for “training, advising and intelligence gathering,” and The New York Times writes that losing Yemen has major implications, not just for the state itself but also for a region that “poses the most grievous threat to United States global interests.”

Already an unstable state, Yemen has been the home of the al-Qaeda affiliate group, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which controls large portions of southern Yemen.  According to The New York Times, “American officials say that Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, which includes the most potent bomb maker in the terrorist world, still poses the most direct threat to Americans at home, abroad or aboard commercial aircraft.” The Houthis and AQAP, both Jihadist groups, are fighting each other and the Western-backed, Hadi government for control of Yemen and pose threats to regional stability.

Last September, the Houthis began conquering territory in Yemen’s north and west. In January, the Houthis forced the resignation of Yemen’s president, Abdo Rabu Mansour Hadi, a staunch U.S. counter-terrorism ally, and sitting government, and then in February, the Houthis announced a take-over of the government. The group controls the country’s capital, Sanaa, and nine of Yemen’s twenty-one provinces.  An Iranian general called the coup a “historic victory for the Iranian Islamic revolution,” and that Iran’s borders stretched to Sanaa. A member of the Iranian parliament, Ali Reza Zakani, who is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that Sanaa is the fourth Arab capital to join the Iranian Revolution (after Beirut, Damascus, and Baghdad).

The Iranians have openly acknowledged their support for the Houthis, and in early March, reports surfaced that Houthi militants were receiving training in Syria on behalf of Iran. According to NOW Media, European officials said that “Thanks to Iran, Syria has become a field training camp for the Houthis, a center for them to gain weapon skills through real field experiences that are difficult for them to gain anywhere else.”

Iran’s role in Yemen highlights concerns over Iran’s expanding regional influence. Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute writes, “Iran has deployed conventional and irregular forces to numerous conflicts throughout the Middle East…Tehran also appears to be undertaking an expansion of its conventional military capabilities. The global Iranian threat—independent of the status of its nuclear program—is greater today than it has ever been.”


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized today for remarks he made last week about the Arab turnout for the election, The Times of Israel reported.

“I know the things I said several days ago offended some of Israel’s citizens, hurt the Arab citizens,” Netanyahu told representatives of the Arab community at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. “This was never my intent. I apologize for this.”

The apology was met with enthusiastic applause from the Arab representatives, several of whom embraced him after the statement. ...

“My actions as prime minister, including the tremendous investment in minority communities, prove the opposite. I think, too, that we must never let anyone outside the state of Israel interfere with our democratic process.”

He added that he saw himself “as the prime minister of each and every one of you, all the citizens of Israel, regardless of faith, ethnicity or gender.”

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Chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) is the primary cause of hospitalization in people over the age of 65, affecting about 26 million people globally. The related cost in the United States alone is estimated at up to $40 billion. About half that amount stems from hospital readmissions — 25 percent of heart-failure patients are readmitted within a month, and half within six months.

Vectorious Medical Technologies of Tel Aviv recently closed a $5 million financing round for the development of its miniature wireless hemodynamic monitoring sensory implant toward first human trials. Among the investors is the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center of the Cleveland Clinic.

“Our solution will make daily monitoring a routine activity for congestive heart failure patients and their physicians, similar to glucose monitoring for diabetes patients,” predicts cofounder and CEO Oren Goldshtein.

With the push of a button, patients with the Vectorious implant would get a pressure reading from their heart’s left atrium, which will enable optimal adjustment of their medical treatment.

Goldshtein says left atrial pressure provides earlier and more specific indication of cardiac deterioration than does the CardioMEMS device approved by the US Food and Drug Administration last May for measuring pulmonary (lung) artery pressure. That breakthrough American device already is reducing readmissions by up to 40%, and Goldshtein believes Vectorious can be even more effective.

It took about four years to develop the first working model of the Vectorious device, expected to be tested this coming year in collaboration with American and Israeli cardiologists. The 10-person company has a subsidiary in Ohio to oversee this next stage. Goldshtein believes the technology infrastructure will have additional applications ahead. (via Israel21c)


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