Tag Archives: Yemen

In Yemen’s secret prisons, UAE tortures and US interrogates, by Maggie Michael

Out of respect for the AP’s stringent conditions governing its intellectual property rights, SLL will only provide the link to the AP article. However, the title is self-explanatory, the journalism top-notch, and the story chilling. From Maggie Michael at apnews.com:

To read the article: In Yemen’s secret prisons, UAE tortures and US interrogates

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In Yemen, Shocked to His Bones, by Kathy Kelly

The ruins carpeted the city market, rippling outwards in waves of destruction. Broken beams, collapsed roofs, exploded metal shutters and fossilized merchandise crumbled underfoot.

In one of the burnt-out shells of the shops where raisins, nuts, fabrics, incense and stone pots were traded for hundreds of years, all that was to be found was a box of coke bottles, a sofa and a child nailing wooden sticks together.

This is Sa’ada, ground zero of the 20-month Saudi campaign in Yemen, a largely forgotten conflict that has killed more than 10,000, uprooted 3 million and left more than half the country short of food, many on the brink of starvation.

~ Gaith Abdul-Ahad in The Guardian, 12/9/16

Yemen stands as the worst-threatened of four countries where impending famine conditions have been said to comprise the single-worst humanitarian crisis since the founding of the U.N. On May 2nd, 2017, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs published a grim infographic detailing conditions in Yemen where 17 million Yemenis – or around 60 percent of the population – are unable to access food. The U.S. and its allies continue to bomb Yemen.

Jan Egeland, who heads the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), says that seven million Yemeni people are on the brink of famine. “I am shocked to my bones,” said Egeland, following a five day visit to Yemen. “The world is letting some 7 million men, women and children slowly but surely be engulfed…” Egeland blames this catastrophe on “men with guns and power in regional and international capitals who undermine every effort to avert an entirely preventable famine, as well as the collapse of health and educational services for millions of children.” Egeland and the NRC call on all parties to the conflict, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, the US and the U.K. to negotiate a cease fire.

This weekend, the situation stands poised to become dramatically worse with the apparently imminent bombing, by Saudi Arabia, one of the US’ closest allies, of the aid lifeline which is the port of Hodeida.

Egeland stresses the vital importance of keeping humanitarian aid flowing through Hodeida, a port which stands mere days or hours from destruction. “The Saudi-led, Western-backed military coalition has threatened to attack the port,” said Egeland, “which would likely destroy it and cut supplies to millions of hungry civilians.” US congress people demanding a stay on destruction of the port have as yet won no concessions from the Saudi or US governments.

To continue reading: In Yemen, Shocked to His Bones

Lawmakers Demand Trump Pump Brakes On Military Action In Yemen, by Deirdre Fulton

Nobody has offered even a half-baked rationale for why the US is helping Saudi Arabia wage war against poor, starving Yemen. From Deirdre Fulton at theantimedia.org:

As conflict swirls over the recent U.S. bombing in Syria, more than 50 bipartisan lawmakers have demanded President Donald Trump seek approval from Congress before expanding U.S. military action in another Middle East theater: Yemen.

The letter sent this week came in response to reports that the Trump administration is considering a proposal to directly engage the U.S. military in Saudi Arabia’s war against the Houthis in Yemen, including a planned United Arab Emirates-led attack on the Yemeni port of Hodeida, currently held by Houthi rebels.

“Such an attack could push the country into full-blown famine, where nearly half a million children in Yemen are facing starvation,” said U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), who led the letter campaign along with Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

As Common Dreams reported in March, the U.S.-supported war in Yemen has already led the country to what one journalist described as “the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world.”

Furthermore, “Direct U.S. hostilities against Yemen’s Houthis would run counter to your pledge to pursue a ‘disciplined, deliberate and consistent foreign policy’ that protects American families in ‘every decision’,” reads the letter to Trump. “Indeed, according to U.S. defense officials, the U.S.-backed Saudi war against Houthis in Yemen has already ‘strengthened al Qaeda there’ and poses ‘a serious threat to U.S. security’.”

The lawmakers, who garnered 50 additional signatures for their missive, note that “Congress has never authorized the actions under consideration.”

To continue reading: Lawmakers Demand Trump Pump Brakes On Military Action In Yemen

US Provided Cover for the Saudi Starvation Strategy in Yemen, by Gareth Porter

When politicians start talking about “the children,” watch out, some sort of mischief is underway. Was Trump really moved by pictures of dead children? Probably not. American intervention has been leaving dead children in its wake for decades. Trump has shown no remorse for those killed in Yemen by US special forces and Saudi Arabian bombs on his watch—he’s lifted restrictions on selling the kingdom more bombs!

SLL, Calling A Bluff?

From Gareth Porter at antiwar.com:

As Yemen’s population has teetered on the brink of mass starvation in recent months, the United States has played a crucial role in enabling the Saudi strategy responsible for that potential humanitarian catastrophe.

Both the Obama and Trump administrations have prioritized the US’s alliance with the Saudis and their Gulf allies over the lives of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis under imminent threat of starvation.

Although the UN agencies have offered no public estimate of the number of Yemenis who have died of malnutrition-related conditions, it is likely that the figure is much higher than the estimate of 10,000 killed directly by the Saudi-coalition bombing. United Nations agencies have estimated that 462,000 Yemeni children under five years of age are already suffering severe acute malnutrition, putting them at serious risk of death from starvation and malnutrition-related disease.

The Saudi coalition has pursued a war strategy of maximizing pressure on the Houthi resistance by destroying agricultural, health and transportation infrastructure and by choking off access to food and fuel for most of Yemen’s population. The United States has enabled the Saudis to pursue that strategy by refueling the Saudi-led coalition planes bombing Yemen and selling the bombs. Equally important, however, the US has provided the political-diplomatic cover that the Saudis need to carry out this ruthless endeavor without massive international blowback.

The Trump administration has gone even further in supporting the Saudi strategy. Whereas the Obama administration opposed a Saudi-led coalition offensive to regain control over the main port of Hodeidah and the rest of the Red Sea coast, saying it would worsen the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the Trump administration has clearly given the green light to th Saudis to launch that offensive.

To continue reading: US Provided Cover for the Saudi Starvation Strategy in Yemen

Why Is Donald Trump Lunching With a Saudi War Criminal While Yemenis Are Starving? by Medea Benjamin

There’s no good answer for the title question, only some very bad ones that reveal the role the US has played in the destruction of a small country that has the misfortune of bordering Saudi Arabia. From Medea Benjamin at antiwar.com:

While President Trump sat down for a sumptuous meal at the White House on Tuesday, March 14 with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, millions of Yemenis are going hungry thanks to Trump’s lunch guest.

Prince Salman is only 31 years old, but as the king’s favorite son, he was put in charge of the nation’s two most critical sectors: the economy and the military. A brash defense minister, the young prince made the disastrous decision to interfere in an internal conflict in neighboring Yemen. Starting in March 2015, Prince Salman started a bombing campaign against the Yemeni Houthis, a group the Saudi rulers consider aligned with Iran. The bombing has gone on, relentlessly, for the past two years. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said that possible war crimes had been documented with “alarming frequency” since the Saudis became engaged.

In addition to thousands of Yemeni civilians being killed directly by Saudi bombs, the bombing has also been responsible for the massive destruction of civilian infrastructure, from water facilities to sewage treatment plants to hospitals. Particularly devastating has been the bombing of the port of Hodeidah, where most of the humanitarian aid has been entering the country. Two-thirds of the population now requires food assistance and a Yemeni child dies every 10 minutes from hunger and the lack of medical facilities. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called Yemen the “largest food insecurity emergency in the world.”

The Saudis are threatening to make matters significantly worse by launching a major military campaign in the area of Hudaidah that will make the port totally inaccessible.

It’s not just the Saudis and Houthis who are responsible for Yemen’s destruction. As Senator Chris Murphy said, the United States also has blood on its hands. President Obama sold massive amounts of weapons to the Saudis and helped the Yemen intervention with logistical support, including refueling Saudi planes in the air.

To continue reading: Why Is Donald Trump Lunching With a Saudi War Criminal While Yemenis Are Starving?

Lessons and Propaganda From the Botched Raid on Yemen, by William J. Astore

The Trump administration has yet to offer a convincing rationale for why US special forces are in Yemen, or why the US is aiding Saudi Arabia in its war on that impoverished and starving country. From William J. Astore at antiwar.com:

Nora al-Awlaki, 8 years old, killed in the Yemen raid

Nora al-Awlaki, 8 years old, killed in the Yemen raid

The Trump administration’s first “kinetic” military action, last weekend’s raid on Yemen that killed a Navy SEAL as well as fifteen women and children, was an operational failure. Aggravating that failure has been the aggressive propaganda spin applied by the White House. According to White House spokesman Sean Spicer, the operation was a major success:

“Knowing that we killed an estimated 14 AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] members and that we gathered an unbelievable amount of intelligence that will prevent the potential deaths or attacks on American soil – is something that I think most service members understand, that that’s why they joined the service.”

Later, Spicer doubled down, accusing Senator John McCain (and other critics of the raid) of defaming the dead Navy SEAL when he suggested the raid had been something less than a towering success. McCain, Spicer said, owed the dead SEAL an apology.

Trump himself then joined the fray, accusing John McCain in a tweet of emboldening the enemy and suggesting he’d “been losing so long he doesn’t know how to win anymore.”

Yet, by Spicer’s logic, President Trump himself owes an apology to all U.S. troops killed in the Iraq and Afghan wars, since Trump has criticized these wars as either unnecessary or botched in execution. Recall here that Trump said he was against the Iraq invasion in 2003, but once the US invaded, he said the US government botched it by not taking Iraq’s oil, which, he claimed, would have prevented the rise of ISIS.

To continue reading: Lessons and Propaganda From the Botched Raid on Yemen

Trump’s Hard Line on Iran Will Give Saudis Free Hand in Yemen, by Gareth Porter

Why has the US repeatedly condemned, sanctioned, and isolated Iran, while Saudi Arabia gets a free pass doing the exact same things for which Iran stands accused? From Gareth Porter at antiwar.com:

The Trump administration’s truculent warning last week that it was putting Iran “on notice” over its recent missile test and a missile strike on a Saudi warship off the coast of Yemen appears calculated to convince the American public that the current administration is going to be tougher on Iran than the Obama administration was.

However, despite the tough talk from National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and other senior officials, the new administration appears to be focused primarily on aligning US policy more closely with that of Saudi Arabia – especially in its war in Yemen and its broader conflict with Iran. The Saudis have been leading a coalition of Sunni Gulf regimes in bombing most of the Yemeni territory controlled by Houthi rebels since March 2015, with US support.

An unidentified senior administration official speaking at a February 1 press briefing, a transcript of which Truthout has obtained, indicated that, apart from economic sanctions, the administration was considering options “related to support for those that are challenging and opposing Iranian malign activity in the region” – meaning the Saudis and Israel.

During the briefing, the senior officials signaled clearly that the Trump administration will unconditionally support the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen. In response to the question of whether the administration was “reassessing” US support for the Saudi war in Yemen, the unnamed senior official answered with one word: “No.”

The Trump administration’s lack of public reservation about the indiscriminate Saudi-led bombing campaign, as well as its lack of interest in exerting pressure on the Saudis to end the war by accepting a compromise with the Houthis and the forces of former Yemeni president Saleh, significantly increases the likelihood that the Saudi bombing will continue indefinitely. That means that the food shortage that is killing thousands of Yemeni children will probably become far worse in the coming months.

To continue reading: Trump’s Hard Line on Iran Will Give Saudis Free Hand in Yemen