Tag Archives: Yemen

New Satellite Imagery Shows Shocking Yemen Devastation As Saudi Crown Prince Tours US, by Tyler Durden

Everybody’s rolling out the red carpet for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is, with US help, waging a horrific war in Yemen. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Saudi Arabia and other oil rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allied states like the UAE have long managed to escape the scrutiny of media and international human rights bodies thanks to their deep pockets and security relationship with the West. Their collective oil, weapons, and infrastructure investment interdependency with Britain and the US have generally translated into Western governments, media, and human rights organizations toeing the party line on the gulf sheikhdoms, content to (with a few sporadic exceptions) uncritically present them as some kind of “reform-minded” terror-fighting benevolent monarchies looking out for democratic interests and championing human rights.

This is currently being demonstrated more than ever during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) extensive and ongoing tour of the United States after a visit to the UK earlier this month. The kingdom’s heir apparent landed in Washington nearly two weeks ago and met with Trump and other high US officials before embarking on a multi-city tour across the United States.

 Last Tuesday MBS met with Bill and Hillary Clinton, Kissinger, Senator Chuck Schumer, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during a stop in New York City.  On Friday, he also met with the CEOs of Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan, James Gorman and Jamie Dimon.

He is scheduled to stop in Seattle and then California over the weekend, where he plans to strengthen ties with tech companies while meeting with Northwest business leaders.

Not unexpectedly, mainstream media and politicians have fawned over the 32-year old prince’s visit. Americans can even find a slick, nearly 100-page, ad-free magazine at their local supermarket newsstand which is entirely devoted to praising MBS and his “New Kingdom” (in the words of the magazine’s title), produced by the owner of the National Enquirer – American Media Inc.

To continue reading: New Satellite Imagery Shows Shocking Yemen Devastation As Saudi Crown Prince Tours US

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Illegal Wars: The New American Way, by Danny Sjursen

No doubt about it, most of the wars the US is currently fighting are unconstitutional. From Danny Sjursen at  truthdig.com:

A U.S. Army soldier patrols with Afghans in the village of Yawez in Afghanistan in 2010. (U.S. Army / CC BY 2.0)

[T]he President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons. …
S.J. Res. 23 (107th): Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), Sept. 18, 2001

The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary … in order to … defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq. …
H. J. Res 114 (107th): Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq, Oct. 18, 2002

It’s all so obvious to a detached observer. Nonetheless, it remains unspoken. The United States of America is waging several wars with dubious legal sanction in domestic or international law.

The U.S. military stands astride the Greater Mideast region on behalf of an increasingly rogue-like regime in Washington, D.C. Worse still, this isn’t a Donald Trump problem, per se. No, three successive administrations—Democratic and Republican—have widened the scope of a global “war” on a tactic (terror), on the basis of two at best vague, and at worst extralegal, congressional authorizations for the use of force (AUMF). Indeed, the U.S. is veritably addicted to waging undeclared, unwinnable wars with unconvincing legal sanction.

Despite 17 years of fighting, dying and killing, there have been no specific declarations of war. Instead, one president after another, and hundreds of derelict-in-their-duty congress members, have simply decided on their own that a vague resolution, rubber-stamped while the rubble in New York was still smoking, authorizes each and every conflict in which America’s soldiers—and many more civilians—continue to die. This AUMF authorized the president to kill or capture those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, but, well, few of America’s current adversaries had anything to do with that.

To continue reading: Illegal Wars: The New American Way

Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia: Top Three Stunning Admissions From the Top U.S. General in the Middle East, by Haaretz

General Joseph Votel demonstrated rare candor before a Congressional committee. From haaretz.com:

Assad has won, Iran deal should stand and Saudis use American weapons without accountability in Yemen: head of U.S. military’s Central Command’s stunning Congressional testimony

The top U.S. general in the Middle East testified before Congress on Tuesday and dropped several bombshells: from signaled support for the Iran nuclear deal, admitting the U.S. does not know what Saudi Arabia does with its bombs in Yemen and that Assad has won the Syrian Civil War.

U.S. Army General Joseph Votel said the Iran agreement, which President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from, has played an important role in addressing Iran’s nuclear program.

“The JCPOA addresses one of the principle threats that we deal with from Iran, so if the JCPOA goes away, then we will have to have another way to deal with their nuclear weapons program,” said U.S. Army General Joseph Votel. JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is the formal name of the accord reached with Iran in July 2015 in Vienna.

Trump has threatened to withdraw the United States from the accord between Tehran and six world powers unless Congress and European allies help “fix” it with a follow-up pact. Trump does not like the deal’s limited duration, among other things.

Votel is head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East and Central Asia, including Iran. He was speaking to a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the same day that Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after a series of public rifts over policy, including Iran.

Tillerson had joined Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in pressing a skeptical Trump to stick with the agreement with Iran.

“There would be some concern (in the region), I think, about how we intended to address that particular threat if it was not being addressed through the JCPOA. … Right now, I think it is in our interest” to stay in the deal, Votel said.

When a lawmaker asked whether he agreed with Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford’s position on the deal,Votel said: “Yes, I share their position.”

To continue reading: Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia: Top Three Stunning Admissions From the Top U.S. General in the Middle East

A Kingdom on the Brink – An Interview with Dr. Ali Alyami, by Erico Matias Tavares

This is s thoughtful, comprehensive, and keenly analytical article on Saudi Arabia, well worth the read. From Erico Matias Tavares at linkedin.com:

Dr. Alyami is a native of Saudi Arabia and a citizen of the US for the past four decades. From an early age he has been advocating for political, economic and social reform in his native homeland. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Democracy & Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, a Washington D.C. based non-profit tax exempt organization.

Previously, he was a Senior Fellow at the Saudi Institute in Washington, D.C., Director of an educational peace program for the American Friends Service Committee in San Francisco and a Representative for the Arab Organization for Human Rights (a Cairo based group) in North America. Dr. Alyami has spoken at conferences throughout the US, Egypt, Sudan, Israel, France, Belgium, Spain and the UK, has offered expert testimony before Congress and has advised senior officials at the Pentagon, the National Security Council and the Department of State.

E Tavares: Dr. Alyami, thank you for your being with us today. We have spoken on several occasions in the recent past and your views on what is currently unfolding in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (“KSA”) have proven to be extremely accurate. Its new leadership has announced a range of social liberalization measures, including letting women drive at long last and even creating a whole new area in Saudi Arabia outside of strict Islamic law to attract tourists. Given your efforts to liberalize your motherland, are you pleased with these developments?

Ali Alyami (AA): Despite the fact that the embryonic social initiatives you listed are decades (and in some cases centuries) overdue, their psychological and practical impact on Saudi society cannot be underestimated. However, it’s important for your readers, business CEOs and politicians to keep in mind that the recent administrative rearrangements in Saudi Arabia were not designed to alter the absolute monarchical system or to abandon the Saudi’s zealot brand of Islam, Wahhabism (as has been misleadingly reported), but rather to ensure the royal family’s continued iron-fisted rule, a cherished life-long commitment held by King Salman. Thus, he chose his most trusted novice son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (“MbS”) to implement his wish.

By arresting and detaining a handful of corrupt royals and prominent commoners, MbS gave many Saudis a flicker of hope for better things to follow. For the first time in their history, some Saudis felt that the state’s draconian policies and practices are being applied to a selected number of the ruling elites who have been spared the severe social injustices, political repression and economic hardships inflicted on the subjugated population. If MbS continues to apply the state’s rules to all segments of society, including all members of the parasitical royal family, he will go down in history books as a liberator.

To continue reading: A Kingdom on the Brink – An Interview with Dr. Ali Alyami

US Still Pouring Massive Supply Of Weapons Into War-Torn Yemen, by Jason Ditz

US arms sales enable Saudi Arabia’s hapless and bloody war in Yemen. From Jason Ditz at theantimedia.org:

Three years into the 2015 Saudi-led invasion of Yemen, untold thousands are dead. Northern Yemen has been through the worst cholera outbreak in human history, and civilians continue to die in bunches from Saudi airstrikes against the region.

To call Yemen war-torn is really putting it mildly. Yemen is in a disastrous state, with a Saudi-led naval blockade threatening to starve millions. If there’s one thing Yemen has no shortage of, however, it’s weapons, with the US  ensuring a massive supply continues to pour into the hands of Saudi and Emirati forces.

US arms sales are themselves at a record high during this war, in no small part because of purchases by the United Arab Emirates, and particularly by the Saudis, who are dropping US bombs on northern Yemen as fast as they can buy them.

And while bombs and warplanes are the big dollar amount of sales, they also include large numbers of US-made automatic rifles and small arms ammunition. The UAE is particular bought $60 million in small arms in 2016 alone, both for their own direct involvement in Yemen and to arm their allied factions on the ground. The Saudis bought another $11 million.

Yemen isn’t a place to send weaponry that you want well-documented and carefully tracked, either. The Pentagon has confirmed they can’t account for about $500 million more in weapons that they’d given to the Hadi government up to 2015.

So the Saudi and UAE-bought small arms are being sent to Yemen to replace those “lost” weapons, but it’s not as if those weapons literally disappeared. Rather, they’re just not in the hands of officials, or at least not in any above-board way. That’s virtually certain to be the fate of this new influx as well.

At the same time, US arms sales are ensuring that the Saudi and coalition warplanes never run out of bombs to drop, despite those airstrikes seemingly accomplishing nothing but killing more and more civilians in the Shi’ite-dominated north.

To continue reading: US Still Pouring Massive Supply Of Weapons Into War-Torn Yemen

The Lobbying War for War in Yemen, by Ben Freeman

The Saudi Arabian PR machine has to kick into overdrive to cover up what Saudi Arabia is doing in Yemen. From Ben Freeman at antiwar.com:

“Coalition airstrikes are based on intelligence and extensive monitoring and surveillance, to ensure all targets are military installations…Extensive precautions are taken to avoid civilian areas, especially where women and children are present,” a spokesman for the Saudi coalition in Yemen, announced on December 20.

Six days later, a Saudi coalition air strike ripped through a crowded market in Yemen, killing at least 54 civilians, including eight children. That same day another Saudi coalition air strike killed 14 civilians on a farm in Yemen. All were members of the same family. According to the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, these were in addition to 84 civilians killed in just the previous 10 days in Yemen, and “These incidents prove the complete disregard for human life that all parties, including the Saudi-led Coalition, continue to show in this absurd war.”

A spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition responded, not by consoling the victims’ families, but by questioning the “credibility” of the United Nations, and “the competence of its employees working in Yemen.”

While a seemingly unexpected response, this denial wasn’t a new tactic by the Saudi government. Since the war in Yemen began, and despite the United Nations confirming that more than 10,000 civilian lives have been lost in the conflict, the Saudi government and their lobbyists in D.C. have been working to keep Yemen off most policymakers’ radar and keep U.S. military supportand weapons flowing into Saudi Arabia in record numbers.

In 2017 alone, Saudi Arabia spent more than $16 million on 28 lobbying and public relations firms registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). These efforts appear to have borne fruit quickly as President Trump spoke with Saudi Arabia’s King just days after his inauguration. During the call, “the Kingdom pledged to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen,” according to a Podesta Group press release sent to more than 50 prominent think tank experts.

To continue reading: The Lobbying War for War in Yemen

The $1.5 Billion Campaign to Whitewash Genocide in Yemen, by Dan Glazerbrook

The Saudi Arabian government has to blockade and bombard Yemen because by most accounts its “fighting forces” can’t fight their way out of a paper bag. That strategy is a disaster for millions of sick, starving, and dying Yemenis. Great Britain and the US are supporting the Saudis, but don’t have the courage to admit what they’re doing. It goes the other way, they obfuscate their roles. From Dan Glazerbrook at counterpunch.org:

“The situation in Yemen – today, right now, to the population of the country,” UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told Al Jazeera last month, “looks like the apocalypse.”

150,000 people are thought to have starved to death in Yemen last year, with one child dying of starvation or preventable diseases every ten minutes, and another falling into extreme malnutrition every two minutes. The country is undergoing the world’s biggest cholera epidemic since records began with over one million now having contracted the disease, and new a diptheria epidemic “is going to spread like wildfire” according to Lowcock. “Unless the situation changes,” he concluded, “we’re going to have the world’s worst humanitarian disaster for 50 years”.

The cause is well known: the Saudi-led coalition’s bombardment and blockade of the country, with the full support of the US and UK, has destroyed over 50% of the country’s healthcare infrastructure, targeted water desalination plants, decimated transport routes and choked off essential imports, whilst the government all this is supposed to reinstall has blocked salaries of public sector workersacross the majority of the country, leaving rubbish to go uncollected and sewage facilities to fall apart, and creating a public health crisis. A further eight million were cut off from clean water when the Saudi-led coalition blocked all fuel imports last November, forcing pumping stations to close. Oxfam’s country director in Yemen, Shane Stevenson, commented at the time that “The people of Yemen are already being starved to submission – unless the blockade is lifted quickly they will have their clean water taken away too. Taking clean water from millions of people in a country that is already suffering the world’s largest cholera outbreak and on the verge of famine would be an act of utmost barbarity.”

To continue reading: The $1.5 Billion Campaign to Whitewash Genocide in Yemen