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Washington Institute Calls Yemeni Forces as New Hezbollah, Warns against Augmenting Military Capabilities of Ansarullah

Al-Manar | April 4, 2021

The augmenting military capabilities of the Yemeni Armed Forces have been increasingly worrying the United States of America and the Zionist entity, according to The Washington Institute for the Near East Policy.

The study, titled “Yemen’s ‘Southern Hezbollah’: Implications of Houthi Missile and Drone Improvements”, called on the US administration to deal with the “Houthis” as a challenge that will go beyond the war in Yemen.

In light of the recent Yemeni attacks on the Saudi home front, the study concentrated on the development of Yemen’s missile and drone industries, calling on U.S. diplomats and military planners to factor this threat complex into their future calculations beyond the current Yemen war.

The study also considered that the Yemeni armed forces can develop missile/drone assembly industry further range increases, adding that the Yemeni forces would be able to reach new targets if they so desire—perhaps ‘Israel’ given their known enmity toward that country, or even Egypt and Jordan as part of a wider effort to exert themselves in the Red Sea (e.g., hindering international shipping, targeting Suez Canal infrastructure).

The study warned against the possible victory of the Yemeni army and popular committees (Ansarullah) in Marib, considering that either a win or a draw would ensconce the Houthis as “a new ‘southern Hezbollah’ on the Red Sea—mirroring the position of Lebanese Hezbollah on the Mediterranean—with a growing arsenal of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and drones capable of threatening the Suez Canal, the Bab al-Mandab Strait, the Gulf states, the Red Sea states, and perhaps even ‘Israel’”.

April 4, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

How China is Going to Reshape Asia

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 01.04.2021

With China and Iran signing a multi-billion dollar deal for the next 25 years, there remains little gainsaying that the former is going to increase its footprint in West Asia/Middle East in a way that once was thought to be unimaginable for reasons that included China’s own economic policies and West Asia’s too close ties with the West to allow for any players. Forces of economic change that China is unleashing will not only become a massive boost for Iran, but Iran will become a gateway for China’s further expansion into the Middle East, including countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, that Iran rivals. For China, its presence and expansion in the Middle East is not merely about economic benefits; this presence is equally driven by the emerging US-China global rivalry and China’s desire to push back against erstwhile US hegemony and domination of the Middle East since the Second World War.

As such, when China’s foreign minister went on a tour to the Middle East last week, he was not merely looking to sign a deal with Iran; he was more interested in and largely focused on introducing new rules of the game that focus, first and foremost, on economic engagement and connectivity. Rather than traditional Gulf tensions. Therefore, while Wang Yi met Saudia’s Crown Prince, MBS, and supported Saudi stance to oppose any “interference” in the internal affairs by any external player, Wang also offered MBS, who is currently not on good terms with the Joe Biden administration, an opportunity to engage with China “to explore and find a path of development that fits its own conditions.” This path, as Wang emphasised in an interview with Saudia’s official news channel, Al Arabiya, can be found only when Gulf countries can “break free from the shadows of big-power geopolitical rivalry and [be able to] independently explore development paths suited to its regional realities.”

As it stands, China has offered Saudi Arabia the same path it has signed up with Iran. Therefore, China, while it does not want to get entangled in the cross-web of geo-political rivalries in the Persian Gulf, aims to chart a new course whereby countries in the region can stick to an agenda that maintains a strict separation between geo-economics and geo-political and/or ideological rivalries including those around Sunni & Shia faiths and organisations like Muslim Brotherhood.

Therefore, while China signed a multi-billion dollar deal with Iran that includes development projects and enhanced oil production and supplies, China’s growing ties with Saudi Arabia, too, include an increasing Saudi desire to enhance Saudi supply of oil to China and secure Chinese investment in fields ranging from petrochemical, nuclear energy and other energy fields, further expanding it into new fields such as 5G, telecommunication and digital technologies. Saudi Arabia, MBS affirmed, is also willing to make joint efforts with China to push forward the free trade negotiations between China and Gulf countries.

Therefore, by offering both rivals a somewhat similar paradigm of economic development that bypasses geo-political tensions and rivalries, China is building an economic landscape that would leave minimum room for external payers, like the US, to continue to manipulate the Gulf to its advantage as it has been doing for the past many decades.

As such, whereas Chinese investment in Iran offers the latter an opportunity to break economic shackles imposed by the US through economic sanctions, for Saudi Arabia, China offers an opportunity to reshape its ties with the US at a time when the Joe Biden administration appears unwilling to accept MBS as the future king.

By offering states in the Gulf an opportunity to diversify their external geo-economic ties and reduce dependence on the US, China is posing a serious challenge to the US position in West Asia, which has mostly relied on using the precarious geo-political scenario to keep itself militarily entrenched and maintain a relationship that served, first and foremost, the US military industrial complex. At the same time, for the Middle Eastern states, China’s economic path is a way out of their decades old reliance on oil as a primary source of national income.

For China itself, it is pivoting to the Middle East at a time when the Joe Biden administration is trying to assemble an anti-China coalition through the QUAD, a group of countries that includes the US, Japan, India and Australia. China, by simultaneously approaching rival countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and the UAE, is posing a counter-challenge to the US ambitions, making it more and more difficult for the US to realise its “containment” of China ambitions at the global level.

The fact that China’s multi-billion dollar deals have received a very warm reception speaks volumes about how the Gulf itself is keen to transform its geo-economic landscape. In this sense, China-Gulf ties become, unlike US-Gulf ties, a fruit of a path that converges to serve mutual interests.

China’s pact with Iran and its deepening ties with other Gulf countries, therefore, has the potential to completely upend the prevailing geo-economic scenario. With the Gulf countries’ ability to diversify their ties and radically reduce their over-dependence on the US, the region’s geo-political scenario could also undergo a dramatic change.

Therefore, it would be wrong to grasp China-Iran deal as an isolated event. The fact that Wang has toured Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Oman, and the UAE shows how China is embracing the region as a whole through a single framework of policy that is very largely underpinned by economic development. The fact that Saudi Arabia, to China’s utter joy, even refused to back the US campaign against China’s alleged “genocide” of Uyghur shows how China, to the disappointment of the US, continues to earn more and more acceptability.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 2 Comments

Crashing Saudi Oil Economy Explains Urgent Yemeni Peace Offer

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | March 26, 2021

After six years of blowing up Yemen and blockading its southern neighbor, the Saudi rulers are now saying they are committed to finding peace. The move is less about genuine peace than economic survival for the oil kingdom.

The Saudi monarchy say they want “all guns to fall completely silent”. Washington, which has been a crucial enabler of the Saudi war on Yemen, has backed the latest “peace offer”. Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week endorsed the initiative from the Saudi rulers, saying he had spoken with them “on our work together to end the conflict in Yemen, facilitate humanitarian access and aid for the Yemeni people”.

The Saudi foreign ministry stated: “The initiative aims to end the human suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people, and affirms the kingdom’s support for efforts to reach a comprehensive political resolution.”

Can you believe this sickening duplicity from the Saudis and the Americans?

So, after six years of relentless aerial bombing in Yemen causing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations, the Saudis and their American military supplier, seem to have developed a conscience for peace and ending suffering.

The real reason for trying to end the conflict is the perilous state of the Saudi oil-dependent economy. Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil, gas and petroleum industry, recently announced that its profits have slumped by nearly half in 2020 compared with the year before. Down from $88 billion to $49 billion.

Given that its oil economy provides nearly 90 per cent of state budget that is a stupendous hit on the Saudi finances. The Saudi rulers rely on hefty state subsidies to keep its 34 million population content. With income from the oil industry nosediving that means state deficits will explode to maintain public spending, or else risk social unrest from dire cutbacks.

Saudi Arabia remains the biggest oil exporter, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic and world economies going into recession crude oil prices have plummeted. At one point oil prices fell to around $20 a barrel. The Saudi economy needs an oil price of around $70 a barrel to reel in a profit.

The upshot is the Saudi war in Yemen has become a critical drain on state finances and potentially jeopardizing the superficial stability of the absolute monarchy.

Of further alarm is the increasing missile and drone attacks by the Houthi rebels in Yemen on key Saudi locations, including the capital Riyadh.

The Yemeni rebels are escalating airstrikes on Aramco installations at its headquarters in Dhahran and Dammam in Eastern Province, as well as in the cities of Abha, Azir, Jazan, and Ras Tanura. The targets include oil refineries and export terminals. The Saudis claim they have intercepted a lot of the missiles with U.S.-made Patriot defense systems. Nevertheless, the mere fact that the Yemenis can hit key parts of the Saudi oil economy over a distance of 1,000 kilometers is a grave security concern undermining investor confidence.

The first major strike was in September 2019 when Houthi drones hit the huge refinery complex at Abqaiq. That caused Saudi oil production to temporarily shut down by half. It also delayed an Initial Public Offering of Aramco shares on the stock market as investors took fright over political risk.

At a time when the Saudi oil economy is contracting severely due to worldwide circumstances, an additional debilitating threat is the intensifying campaign of Houthi airstrikes. They are taking the war into Saudi heartland.

The Biden administration has condemned the Houthi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia as “unacceptable”. Such American concern is derisory given how Washington has been providing warplanes, missiles and logistics for the Saudis to indiscriminately bomb Yemen causing tens of thousands of deaths. The Americans also enable the Saudis to impose a blockade on Yemen’s sea and airports, which has prevented vital food and medicines from being supplied to the country. Nearly 80 per cent of Yemen’s 30 million population are dependent on foreign aid deliveries. The blockade is a war crime, a crime against humanity, and the Americans are fully complicit.

President Joe Biden has said he is ending U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. It was an election promise. However, it is not clear what military support the U.S. has actually stopped, if at all. The Saudi bombing of food depots continues and the blockade on the country could not be maintained without essential American logistics.

More cynically, the Biden administration realizes that the Saudis started a war back in March 2015, when Obama was president and Biden was vice-president, that has turned into an un-winnable quagmire whose horrendous human suffering has become a vile stain on America’s international image.

That’s why Biden and his diplomats have been urging the Saudi rulers to sue for peace. Now it seems the Saudi monarchy realizes that the reckless war launched by “defense minister” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has come with a price that they can’t afford to sustain if they want to preserve their rickety house of cards, known as the House of Saud.

On the latest peace proposal, the Yemeni rebels have rejected it out of hand. They say it contains “nothing new”. The Houthis say the only way to end the war is for the Saudis and their American sponsors to end the aggression on their country. There is no “deal”. It is a case of the Saudis and the Americans just getting out.

Meantime, the airstrikes on Saudi oil infrastructure are going to continue with ever-increasing damage to the royal coffers. Thus, the Saudi rulers have no choice but to unconditionally surrender in this criminal war. They are facing a humiliating defeat as the Yemenis take revenge and Uncle Sam washes his hands of blood.

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 2 Comments

Rights group slams exclusion of Israel, Saudi-led coalition from UN’s children-in-conflict blacklist

Press TV – March 19, 2021

A group of child rights experts has strongly criticized the UN secretary-general for excluding eight parties, including the Israeli regime and the Saudi-led coalition, from a global blacklist of parties accountable for harming children during conflicts.

In a report, experts from Watchlist on Children, an international child rights group, said at least eight parties to conflicts were found responsible for killing and maiming more than 100 children in a single year but were excluded from the blacklist.

There were “numerous discrepancies and omissions in listing decisions, as well as unwarranted delisting decisions,” the report said, noting that the UN Security Council’s 2001 resolution establishing the list to protect children from the horrors of war “is being seriously undermined” and could result in “putting children at even greater risk.”

“The secretary-general’s 2015 annual report acknowledges that the number of children killed by Israel in 2014 was the third highest in the world and the number of schools damaged or destroyed was the highest anywhere in the world that year, and yet Israel has not been listed in the report’s annexes,” the report said.

It added that at the time the news media reported that Israel and the United States conducted intense lobbying to prevent the regime’s blacklisting.

The child rights experts also cited annual reports that have repeatedly found Israeli forces responsible for high levels of Palestinian child casualties, including over 1,525 killed and maimed in 2020 alone.

“Yet Israeli forces have yet to be included in the annexed list of violators,” they added.

According to the AP, co-author Yanghee Lee, former chair of the committee that monitors implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, said: “We are calling on the secretary-general to urgently address these problems and commit to hold all countries and groups responsible for violations against children accountable without fear or favor.”

In response to the report, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stands by the report’s conclusions, expressing willingness to engage with relevant partners in how to improve the system.

Benyam Dawit Mezmur, another co-author of the report urged the UN to ensure that the list of perpetrators it issues is “more credible, accurate, complete, and evidence-based, or risk pulling apart this unique tool for the protection of children caught in war.”

The report also said the Saudi-led war coalition against Yemen was delisted in 2020 for killing and maiming children in the Arab country, despite being responsible for a documented 222 child casualties during the reporting period.

“With this delisting, the Saudi-led coalition has been removed from the Secretary-General’s list altogether,” it noted.

Citing the Secretary-general’s reports that said the Saudi-led coalition was delisted due to a “sustained significant decrease” in the number of violations they committed, the rights experts said such argument runs counter to the established delisting criteria.

“This runs counter to the delisting criteria established in 2010 and the Security Council’s stated expectations that listing is based on whether or not grave violations against children took place in violation of international obligations,” they maintained.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Saudi war on Yemen has killed a quarter of a million people, including women and children, since it was launched in March 2015 with the aim of restoring the Riyadh-friendly government of former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trade-Off ahead on Syria and Yemen

By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog | March 16, 2021

In the past few weeks much has happened in the area of diplomacy on the part of Russia. Russia is forging ahead after stepping up its presence in the Middle East in the past decade, taking a strong pro-active political role. Moscow during this period has been intent on consolidating its efforts in re-establishing itself as the key player in any political settlements in the Middle East. Ever since Kissinger in the late 1970’s pulled the rug out from underneath the feet of the USSR, striking a deal between Israel and Egypt, excluding the USSR and the rest of the Arab World, the political influence of Russia in the Middle East significantly waned until it came back with deciding force when Russia responded to the Syrian Government’s request for help in September 2015.

Lately, the economic crisis has deepened in Syria following the drastic Western sanctions. And specifically after the implementation of the Caesar’s Act, the Syrian currency took a huge tumble and the cost of living has soared to unprecedented levels. This left many cynics wondering and pondering what was Russia going to do in the face of the collapsed Syrian economy after having achieved an impressive military victory, taking its troops outside its former USSR borders for the first time and heralding the end of the single super power status of the USA.

To this effect, and on the diplomatic side, Russian FM Lavrov has recently visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE for talks pertaining to an array of issues. The agenda issues that transpired to the media include trade, the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, as well as issues of global and regional security, albeit vague in details as what ‘security issues’ mean.

It appears that in these meetings, discussions included the return of Syria to the Arab League and the cost of reconstruction of Syria after ten years of war, a bill touted to exceed $Bn200. Expectations have existed for some time that the Arab Gulf states will fork out a huge chunk of this cost. As mentioned above, the bottom line here is that Russia’s military success in its operation in Syria needs to be followed by political success. Partly, this is achieved within the Astana talks which include Turkey and Iran. However, the very same Arab States instrumental in the ‘War on Syria’ are also instrumental in facilitating the return of Syria to the Arab League, the reconstruction efforts in Syria and the easing of sanctions. The Gulf states have always reiterated that there will be no return of Syria to the Arab League for as long as Iranian forces remain on the ground. The UAE seemed more open than Saudi Arabia to the prospects of Syria’s return to the Arab League and financing the reconstruction process.

But why would the Gulf States, the same states that spent tens of billions of dollars in order to destroy Syria, be suddenly now interested in the reversal of the process? This is a fair question to ask.

Quite unexpectedly, and almost immediately after the return of Lavrov to Moscow, a top delegation of Hezbollah, headed by Mohamad Raad, was invited to Moscow for talks. Apparently, the visit was cloaked in a veil of secrecy in Russia and was not at all covered in Western media, even though it made news in Arabic mainstream media. It would be politically naïve to imagine that Lavrov’s visit to the Gulf has no relation to this. All issues in the Middle East are related to each other, including the war in Yemen.

To put it succinctly, the UAE had already stepped away from the Yemen war. However, Saudi Arabia remains bogged down in this travesty and seven years on, must have come to the humiliating and painful realization that it is a war it cannot win. This is where Iran and Hezbollah can have leverage in any direct or indirect negotiations with the Saudis, and Russia is the only arbitrator who is able to communicate with all parties involved.

All parties in the Middle East are looking for face-saving tradeoffs; at least partial and interim ones. The Saudis in particular are tired and exhausted.

In an interview given to Sputnik Arabic, one not widely reported in other media, not even Sputnik English, Raad praised the cooperation between Hezbollah and Russia, stating that ‘the invitation we received aims to reopen the dialogue about the next phase after having reached the achievements that serve the interests of the people of the region in the recent past’ .

This is Raad’s first visit to Moscow since 2011. Of that visit, I am not trying to speculate in hindsight of the purpose of it and the achievements of it. Furthermore, Hezbollah has not ever been party to any international dis-engagement or peace negotiations in the past, except for ones relating to exchange of prisoners. The economic demise of Syria and Lebanon, as well as the Saudi-Yemeni impasse, may well have placed Hezbollah in a position of participating in peace-deals negotiations this time.

I am neither referring to peace deals with Israel here, nor any deal involving disarmament. Hezbollah will not be prepared to negotiate disarming itself under any political settlement either today or in the foreseeable future, and Moscow is totally aware of this.

According to my analysis, the deal that Moscow is most likely to suggest is a mutual withdrawal of Iran and Hezbollah from Syria on one hand, and an end of the Saudi war on Yemen. It is simple, Saudi Arabia to leave Yemen and Iran/Hezbollah to leave Syria. I believe that Lavrov has already secured the Saudi acceptance of those terms, terms that will not only end the war in Yemen, but also the return of Syria to the Arab League and a possible easing of the Western economic sanctions on Syria. Had Lavrov not secured the Saudi assurance, he would not have invited Hezbollah for talks.

A deal of this nature can potentially end the criminal human tragedy in Yemen in a manner that will portray the Saudis as the real losers in the war, and this is where they need a face-saving trade-off in Syria. In Syria, they will be perceived as winners by securing an Iranian/Hezbollah exit. But most importantly perhaps for the Saudis, this will put an end to a very costly and humiliating war in Yemen, one which is beginning to draw criticism from some quarters of the international community, including alleged talk of America considering placing arms deal embargos on Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, if Iran and Hezbollah end their presence in Syria, many sanctions are likely to be lifted and the severe economic pressure in Syria will be eased. Such a deal will be a humanitarian win for Syria and Yemen, a strategic win for Saudi Arabia and Iran, and a diplomatic win for Russia.

What will be in it for Hezbollah will largely depend on what Lavrov has put on the table, and it seems obvious that it is Hezbollah that will need more convincing than Iran, and this is why the talks are now with Hezbollah; not with Iranian officials. Perhaps the deal already has the tacit approval of Iranian officials.

It goes without saying; Israel will be watching these developments with keen interest. Israel wants Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria. But the trade-off deal I am talking about is not one in which Israel is a direct party.

What is known at this stage is that a meeting has already taken place between the Hezbollah delegation and Russian officials. As I write this, I am not aware if other meetings are to follow and or whether or not the Hezbollah delegation is back in Lebanon.

Was the 2011 Moscow visit of Raad a prelude for Hezbollah to enter Syria? Will the 2021 visit be prelude for Hezbollah to leave Syria? We don’t know. We may never find out the actual detailed outcome of the mysterious-but-not-so-mysterious current Hezbollah visit. It may not even end up with a press release, but in the next coming days, we will find out if a Syria-Yemen trade-off is indeed looming.

March 16, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi regime to displace 521 families, raze houses in Shia-majority Qatif

Press TV – March 16, 2021

The Saudi regime plans to displace hundreds of families in Saudi Arabia’s Shia-majority Qatif region and raze their houses as part of a crackdown on dissent.

Nashet Qatifi, a renowned Saudi human rights activist, said in a post on his Twitter account on Monday that the Riyadh government had announced plans for the eviction of more than 521 families from Qatif within 90 days as well as the destruction of their houses in retaliation for their children’s participation in a 2011 anti-regime uprising.

Local sources in the Shia-majority region confirmed the Saudi plan and said the regime intended to displace hundreds of families from al-Thawra (Revolution) Street in the city center.

Reports said the goal of the Saudi regime was to erase any signs and memories of the demonstrations in 2011, especially al-Thawra Street, which had become a symbol of the revolution and protests in Qatif.

A similar incident took place in the al-Masura district of Qatif in 2017, and many houses were destroyed by bulldozers. In November last year, Saudi officials also leveled to the ground a Shia Muslim mosque south of al-Awamiyah Town in Qatif.

Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region.

The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime, whose forces have ramped up measures across the province.

Ever since Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has ramped up arrests of activists, bloggers, intellectuals, and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.

Muslim scholars have been executed, women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured, and freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied.

March 16, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 1 Comment

US ‘ceasefire plan’ meant to prolong Yemen’s descent into turmoil: Ansarullah

Press TV – March 13, 2021

The spokesman for Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement has dismissed the US proposal for a nationwide ceasefire in the war-torn country, saying the plan would plunge Yemen further into turmoil.

“The US plan doesn’t include breaking the siege or ceasing fire. It is actually a detour which would lead to a resumption of a (Saudi) blockade diplomatically,” Mohammed Abdul-Salam said in an interview with Yemen’s al-Masirah television Friday evening.

“One of the conditions presented in the initiative is to determine the destinations of flights departing Sana’a airport, and for the coalition of aggression to issue flight permits. This means they are not licensed here in Sana’a,” he said.

“If they were serious to stop the aggression and siege, they would have declared a complete end to hostilities and blockade. We would then welcome the measure. Aggression and siege against Yemen have not stopped even for a single day over the past six years, so what is the US concept of ceasing fire or breaking the siege?” Abdul-Salam added.

The Ansarullah spokesman said the US presentation of Saudi conditions as a so-called peace plan once again proved that Washington explicitly supports the Saudi war and blockade against Yemen.

He further noted that what the US special envoy on Yemen, Tim Lenderking, presented was a plot to plunge the Arab state further into turmoil.

“It is unacceptable for an American envoy to present a plan which is inferior to that of the United Nations special envoy for Yemen (Martin Griffiths),” Abdul-Salam said.

He said there is no real change towards ending the Saudi war and lifting the siege, stressing that such matters lie in the hands of the other side.

“They want us to respond through dialogue to what they have not achieved by means of war and siege. Everyone must realize such a fact,” the senior Ansarullah official added.

Abdul-Salam also rejected as “a big lie” the US envoy’s allegations that humanitarian aid deliveries have not been distributed among the needy Yemenis, stating that the coalition of aggression illegally impounds Yemen-bound oil vessels irrespective of the fact they all have acquired international permits beforehand.

“We have accepted all conditions proposed by other parties to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Having found no excuse to continue the blockade, they are alleging aid deliveries have not reached those in need,” the Ansarullah spokesman said.

Houthi: Trust in US comes from actions, not words

A member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council said Ansarullah is ready to return to the negotiating table with a serious goal of ending the conflict, but it must first see concrete steps from the administration of US President Joe Biden.

“Trust is built by actions, not words,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi told CNN on Friday.

“Trust must be achieved through decision-making. So far, we have not seen any concrete decisions being made,” he added.

He noted that President Biden was a member of former US president Barack Obama’s administration, which declared at the time that Washington was joining the Saudi-led coalition against Yemen.

“They also gave the green light to the coalition to continue massacre in our country and agreed to it,” Houthi added.

‘Washington must drop Saudi conditions’

Abdul-Malik al-Ajri, a member of Ansarullah’s political bureau, said on Friday that his movement views the US ceasefire proposal in favor of Saudi Arabia, and would not accept it.

“The US special envoy on Yemen [Tim] Lenderking has presented proposals to end the war and has called on Ansarullah to respond,” Ajri wrote in a post published on his Twitter page.

“The truth is what he has offered is the same as Saudi Arabia’s conditions for a ceasefire. Linderking should know in case such suggestions were acceptable, we would have directly received them from Saudi Arabia. There was then no need for the US envoy to repeat Saudis’ narrative.”

Lenderking: Ansarullah’s ability is undeniable fact

The top US diplomat for Yemen on Friday touched on the role of Ansarullah and said its ability is a straightforward fact.

Lenderking said during a webinar with the Atlantic Council think tank that the movement is a “significant player” in Yemen and it needs to be acknowledged.

“I don’t think you can operate by denying that reality,” he said, claiming that the US “never said the Houthis have no role in Yemen.”

Lenderking, who recently returned from a three-week trip to the region, added that Washington is looking for the Ansarullah’s response to its peace plan.

“I will return immediately when the Houthis are prepared to talk,” Lenderking noted.

March 13, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Hypocritical Outrage over Khashoggi’s Assassination

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | March 9, 2021

The mainstream media is outraged over President Biden’s decision to not level sanctions on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his purported assassination of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, who was a prominent columnist for the Washington Post. The CIA concluded that bin Salman ordered the assassination but U.S. officials have sanctioned only lower-level Saudi officials, choosing to leave bin Salman untouched by U.S. sanctions.

The outrage is a model of the hypocrisy that pervades the mainstream media. After all, these people just block out of their minds that the U.S. national-security state is every bit as brutal as Saudi officials are. Moreover, when it comes to the number of state-sponsored assassinations carried out on an annual basis, bin Salman and Saudi Arabia don’t even come close to matching those carried out by the world’s assassination nation.

Just look at the state-sponsored assassinations that are carried out by the Pentagon and the CIA in the Middle East, Africa, and Afghanistan every month. They have become so normalized — so much a regular part of American life — that the mainstream press has become totally blasé about them. No moral outrage at all.

Of course, Pentagon and CIA officials, along with their acolytes in the mainstream press, would respond, “Jacob, we are only killing terrorists. The Saudis killed an innocent man.”

Oh? And who exactly is a “terrorist.” Is it someone who criticizes a regime? Or is it someone who actually commits a terrorist act? And who makes that determination? If bin Salman concluded that Khashoggi was a terrorist who was trying to bring down the Saudi regime, would the U.S. mainstream press be coming to his defense?

Let’s consider the U.S. assassinations of Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman. Both of them were U.S. citizens, just as Khashoggi was a Saudi citizen. Where is the outrage among the mainstream press over those two assassinations of American citizens at the hands of their own government?

Oh yes, U.S. officials and their assets in the mainstream press would say that Anwar al-Awlaki was a terrorist. Really? What does that mean? Does it mean that he criticized the U.S. national-security state for its brutal imperialist policies? Or does it mean that he actually engaged in criminal acts of terrorism? If that is the case, who made that determination? I don’t recall there ever being criminal trial in which an American jury listened to evidence and concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that al-Awlaki was guilty of some act of terrorism. All I recall was that U.S. officials concluded that al-Awlaki was a terrorist and, therefore, needed to have his life snuffed out. I also recall that the U.S. Supreme Court, in its customary deference to the authority of the national-security establishment, affirmed the decision to assassinate this American citizen, which snuffed out his life without any due process of law.

U.S. officials claim that 16-year-old Abdulhahman was the unfortunate collateral damage from the U.S. assassination of someone nearby. Even if that’s true — and it might not be — what was the justification for firing a missile at that person, especially knowing that it would end up killing everyone around him? Who died and made the Pentagon and the CIA the deciders of life and death of other people?

The fact is that U.S. and Saudi officials have no business assassinating anyone. The U.S. mainstream press is good at recognizing the wrongfulness of assassinating Khashoggi. Their loyalty to the Pentagon and the CIA, however, has given them a moral blindness that prevents them from recognizing the wrongfulness of state-sponsored assassinations carried out by the U.S. national-security establishment.

It’s also revealing that the mainstream press is calling for sanctions to be imposed on bin Salman but not calling for terminating the U.S. government’s armed sales to the Saudi regime. Yet, it’s those weapons that help the Saudi regime maintain its brutal tyranny over the Saudi people. And remember: the U.S. mainstream press is always calling for new gun-control measures — except when it comes to the U.S. government’s sales of guns to overseas pro-U.S. tyrants.

Notice also that the U.S. government continues to send U.S. taxpayer-funded foreign aid to brutal and tyrannical regimes, such as to Egypt’s tyrannical military dictatorship. That foreign aid helps to maintain the brutal tyranny that is enforced against the citizens under those regimes. No outrage there among the U.S. mainstream press. On the contrary, they continue to support foreign aid being sent to brutal and tyrannical pro-U.S. regimes.

It’s all just a valuable lesson in what can be called Hypocrisy 101.

March 9, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 2 Comments

Killing Revolution in Bahrain, U.S.-UK Plotted Regime Change in Libya, Syria

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | February 19, 2021

Ten years ago this month, the Middle East and North Africa were convulsed by uprisings and subterfuges. The Arab Spring is generally thought of as a single wave of pro-democracy movements that swept the vast region. Far from it, however, the events were a mixed bag in which Western powers were not on the right side of history, as Western media would portray. Indeed, these powers played a nefarious role to ensure that the Arab Spring was kneecapped in order to cripple any progressive potential.

A look at the contemporaneous events in Bahrain, Libya and Syria shows the baleful role that the United States, Britain and other European NATO powers actually played. The Arab Spring certainly encompassed many more nations, but the specific events in those three mentioned Arab countries highlight the pernicious agenda of the Western powers which has left an ongoing legacy of misery, failure, conflict and terrorism for the entire Middle East and North Africa region.

As reported in a previous commentary, the American and British governments played an instrumental role in suppressing a popular revolution in Bahrain, which began on February 14, 2011, against a despotic but pro-Western monarchy – the Khalifa regime – which is also a surrogate for the richer and more powerful House of Saud regime in neighboring Saudi Arabia. The Saudis were given a green light by the Americans and British to invade the Persian Gulf island on March 14, 2011, to brutally put down a month-long uprising by a majority of Bahrainis who were demanding free and fair elections, human rights and independent rule of law.

The irony is that Washington and London were claiming to support these same democratic values in other Arab countries which were undergoing unrest.

On March 15, 2011, Western governments and media hailed what they called was the beginning of a “pro-democracy” uprising in Syria against the government of President Bashar al Assad. Then on March 19, the United States, Britain and other NATO powers began a military intervention in Libya said to be in the name of “protecting human rights” from the armed forces under control of the head of that state Muammar Gaddafi.

The Americans and British were compelled to move quickly to suppress the Bahraini revolt because it potentially threatened the entire chain of absolute Gulf Arab monarchies. If democracy were to emerge in Bahrain that would be destabilizing for the other oil-rich Gulf states whose authoritarian rule is vital for sustaining the global petrodollar system and Western imperial interests in the Middle East, not least of all lucrative military exports. Sacrificing Bahrain’s democratic aspirations was the price that Washington and London were all too willing to pay, without a qualm.

To this day, Bahrain’s democratic aspirations are violently repressed by the monarchy in league with Saudi rulers, as well as American and British complicity, including media silence.

When the Saudis received the green light for invading Bahrain on March 14, 2011, the quid quo pro, according to Pepe Escobar, was that American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got assurance from the Gulf monarchies that they would ensure no objection among the 22-nation Arab League for the imminent NATO military intervention in Libya. Thus the suppression in Bahrain paved the way five days later for the NATO blitzkrieg on Libya, a relentless eight-month aerial bombing campaign that culminated in the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi on October 20.

Subsequently, Libya would precipitously descend from the foremost developed nation in Africa into a war-torn failed state riven by civil war, jihadist warlords and human trafficking which has plagued Europe to this day. It is grotesque that the Americans, British and other NATO powers justified their criminal aggression on Libya in the name of protecting human rights and promoting democracy as part of the Arab Spring events.

What’s even more reprehensible, the failed state of Libya would soon become a supply route for the CIA and British MI6 to deploy jihadist mercenaries and weaponry for the NATO and Arab sponsored regime-change operation unfolding in Syria.

On March 15, 2011, one day after the Anglo-American sponsored operation to kill the democracy movement in Bahrain, events took on a sinister development in Syria. In the southern Syrian city Daraa on the border with Jordan, rooftop snipers killed security forces and anti-government protesters. The Western media immediately hailed the beginning of a pro-democracy movement in Syria against the central Assad government in Damascus. But scarcely reported then or since was that the snipers were covertly deployed by NATO powers in what would ignite a regime-change war. That war, which lasted for nearly 10 years and continues to destabilize Syria’s northern border, was cynically and disingenuously portrayed by Western media as a pro-democracy uprising when in reality it was a covert war of aggression by NATO powers, financed by Gulf Arab regimes and involving jihadist mercenaries recruited from dozens of countries.

Libya was a key link in the CIA and MI6 operation know as Timber Sycamore which funneled terrorist fighters and weapons to Syria to propagate the secret NATO war to overthrow President Assad. That operation eventually failed largely because of the military intervention in late 2015 by Russia in support of the Syrian government. Support from Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah was also vital in defeating the Western powers’ regime-change plan.

The legacy from events a decade ago still reverberate to this day. Several members of the current Biden administration bear responsibility for the destruction, including the present Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Libya is a divided nation racked by economic collapse despite its vast oil wealth. Syria is war-torn with a death toll of perhaps 500,000 and struggling with reconstruction because of American and European sanctions against the Assad government. The terrorism that was spawned in those countries for the Western objective of regime change continues to haunt the Middle East and beyond.

And, as for Bahrain, a long-suffering people who simply demanded democracy were and continue to be brutally suppressed by despotic Arab regimes at the behest of the United States and Britain – two nations that claim to be exemplars to the rest of the world for democracy, human right and rule of law.

February 22, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Arab Spring – A Personal Story

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | February 21, 2021

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Arab Spring uprisings. Two previous commentaries this week have dealt with the geopolitics of those momentous events. This third part below is a personal reflection by the author who found himself unexpectedly embroiled in the maelstrom. It was life-changing…

I had been living in Bahrain for two years before the tumultuous events of the Arab Spring exploded in early 2011. Before that turmoil ignited, I was working as an editor on a glossy business magazine covering the Gulf region and its oil-rich Arab monarchies. But in many ways, I hadn’t a clue about the real social and political nature of Bahrain, a tiny island state nestled between Saudi Arabia and the other big Gulf oil and gas sheikhdoms of Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman.

During my corporate media employment I enjoyed a charmed life: a hefty tax-free salary, and a swanky apartment with rooftop swimming pool, jacuzzi and gym, which overlooked the sparkling Gulf sea and other glittering buildings that seemed to sprout up from reclaimed spits of land off the coast.

It was all weirdly artificial, if not hedonistically enjoyable. The luxury and glamor, the opulence. Unlike the other Gulf states, Bahrain had a distinctly more liberal social scene – at least for the wealthy expats. There were endless restaurants offering cuisine from all over the world. There were bars that freely sold alcohol which is “haram” in the other strictly-run Gulf Islamic monarchies. There were loads of nightclubs and loads of pretty hookers, most of them from Thailand and the Philippines. It all had the atmosphere of Sin City and forbidden fruit for the picking.

I later realized that Bahrain was not “cosmopolitan” as the business magazines and advertisements would gush about. That was just a euphemism for a vast system of human trafficking. All the service businesses were worked with menial people from Asia and Africa who were cheap and indentured labor. Where were the ordinary Bahrainis? What did they do for a living? In the cocooned expat life, the ordinary Bahrainis didn’t exist. Rich expats were there to enjoy tax-free salaries, glamorous glass towers, loads of booze and, if desired, loads of cheap sex.

My wake-up call came when my so-called professional contract was terminated after two years. That was in June 2010. Like a lot of other expats, my job came a cropper because of the global economic downturn that hit after the Wall Street crash during 2008. Advertising revenue failed to materialize for the magazine I was employed on. The British owners of the publishing house – Bahrain is a former British colony – told me, “Sorry old chap, but we can employ two Indians on half your salary.”

So that was it. I was out on the street. Going back to Ireland was not a realistic option. The economy was crap there too and job prospects dim. So I decided to hang in there in the Gulf and apply for jobs across the region. I downsized to a more modest apartment and lived off some savings. The job hunting was the usual wearying, self-debasing grind. “There’s nothing more that I would desire than to work as editor on your prestigious oil and gas trade magazine in Dubai.” Copy and paste as required for countless emailed job applications.

Then came the Arab Spring. The entire region of North Africa and Middle East erupted at the end of 2010, first in Tunisia then in the new year spilling over to Egypt and beyond. Watching TV news was like watching a satellite map of a cyclone sweeping across countries. It was an unstoppable force of nature. There were protests flaring up in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the Emirates, and they soon arrived in Bahrain. The rallying call among the masses was for more democratic governance, for free and fair elections, for economic equity.

Little did I know during my earlier charmed expat existence, but Bahrain was a particularly explosive powder-keg. Later, however, I was an unemployed journalist who suddenly found himself in the middle of a storm. It was only then that I began to really understand what Bahrain was all about. I mean the ugly, brutish nature of this “kingdom”.

To be honest, I wasn’t looking for work as a freelance reporter. I had done that in a previous life in Ireland. I was still a journalist, but reporting on political news wasn’t appealing anymore.

During my fruitless job-hunting period for a “dream number” in Dubai, I filled in my time and tried to earn a bit extra by hawking around bars in Bahrain with a guitar and microphone. I had done a bit of that in my previous life in Ireland, not very successfully mind you. But I thought I’d give it a go in Bahrain. On February 14, 2011, I was doing a gig at Mansouri Mansions hotel in the Adliya district of Manama, the capital. It was Valentine’s night. There’s me singing cheesy love songs – Elvis’ ‘I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’ – and there were hardly any customers. The place was dead.

Then the word came around. “We’re closing early. There’s trouble on the streets.” The whole city was eerily quiet. The Bahrain uprising had begun, not in the capital, but in the outlying towns and villages. On February 14, a young Bahraini man Ali Mushaima was shot dead by state security forces during protests. I was still oblivious to the extent of what was happening.

Overnight the atmosphere in Bahrain was changing to a much more menacing, volcanic one. There was immense popular anger over the young man’s killing.

I was in a taxi in the Juffair area of Manama going to enquire about doing a music gig at another bar. My petty concerns were shattered by the young taxi man who was animated about the protests and the death of Ali Mushaima the night before. The taxi man – Yousef, who I got to know – explained to me about Bahrain’s history. About how the majority of the people are Shia muslims who have lived for centuries under a despotic Sunni monarchy. The Al Khalifa royals were originally from the Arabian Peninsula, a clan of raiders and bandits. They invaded Bahrain as pirates in the 18th century and were made the rulers over the island by the British who wanted a strong-arm regime to look after their colonial possession and sea routes to India, the so-called jewel in the British imperial crown. The Khalifa clan would later become obscenely wealthy after oil was discovered in Bahrain in the 1930s, the first such discovery of oil in the Gulf, predating that of Saudi Arabia. Over the decades, the Bahraini majority would be marginalized and impoverished by their British-backed rulers.

I asked Yousef, the young taxi man, “So what do you make of all these wealthy high-rise buildings and the glamor of Bahrain?” He replied, “It means nothing to us – the Shia people of Bahrain. We are strangers in our own land.”

Yousef appealed to me to attend a protest that night. It was at the Pearl Roundabout, a major intersection and landmark sculpture in Manama. The protesters were taking their grievances right to the very capital, not confining themselves to the outlying squalid towns and villages where the Shia majority were forced to live in ghettoes by the Khalifa regime.

What I encountered was a revelation. Suddenly I felt I was finally meeting the people of Bahrain. Tens of thousands were chanting for the regime to fall. The atmosphere was electric but not at all intimidating for me. People were eager to explain to this foreigner what life was really like in Bahrain, as opposed to the artificial images that plaster business magazines and Western media advertisements for rich investors.

Then I knew right there that there was a story to be told. And there I was ready and willing to tell it.

The protests were quickly met with more violence from the Bahraini so-called Defense Forces. “Defense Forces”, that is, for the royal family and their despotic entourage. The protesters were unarmed and non-violent, albeit passionate in their demands for democracy.

The Pearl Roundabout became a permanent encampment for the protesters. Tents were set up for families to rest in. Food stalls were teeming. A media center was operated by young Bahraini men and women. There was an exhilarating sense of freedom and of people standing up for their historic rights.

For the next three weeks, the Khalifa regime was on the ropes. The police and army were overwhelmed by the sheer number of protesters. At rallies there were easily 200,000-300,000 people at a time. For an island of only one million, there was a palpable sense that the long-oppressed majority had awakened to demand their historic rights against the imposter Khalifa regime. People were openly declaring, “the Republic of Bahrain”. This was a revolution.

In a lucky break, I was filing reports for the Irish Times and other Western media. The money was much appreciated, but more importantly there was an edifying, inspirational story to be told. A story about people overcoming tyranny and injustice.

All that would change horribly on March 14 when the Saudi and Emirati troops invaded Bahrain. The invasion had the support of the United States and Britain. What followed in the next few days was brutal repression and killing of peaceful protesters. The Pearl Roundabout was routed by indiscriminate state violence. Its sculpted monument was demolished to erase the “vile” memory of uprising. Men, women, medics, opposition thinkers and clerics were rounded up in mass detention centers. People were tortured and framed up in royal courts, sentenced to draconian prison terms. To this day, 10 years on, many of the Bahraini protest leaders – many of whom like Hassan Mushaimi and Abduljalil al-Singace I interviewed – remain languishing in jail.

However, a strange thing happened. Just when the story was becoming even more interesting – if not heinous – I found the Western media outlets were no longer open for reports. Some of my reports to the Irish Times on the repression were being heavily censored or even spiked. The editors back in Dublin were telling me that the news agenda was shifting to “bigger events” in Libya and Syria.

The corporate news media were shifting their focus to places where Western governments had a geopolitical agenda. Genuine journalistic principles and public interest didn’t matter. It was government agendas that mattered. The Irish Times and myriad other derivative media outlets were following the agenda set by the “majors” like the New York Times, CNN, the Guardian, the BBC and so on, who were in turn following the agendas set by their governments.

For Washington and London and other Western governments, the Arab Spring became an opportunity to foment regime change in Libya and Syria. The protests in those countries were orchestrated vehicles to oust leaders whom Western imperial states wanted rid off. Muammar Gaddafi in Libya was murdered in October 2011 by NATO-backed jihadists. Syrian President Bashar Al Assad nearly succumbed but in the end managed to defeat the Western covert war in his country thanks to the allied intervention of Russia and Iran.

All the while, the Western media were telling their consumers that Libya and Syria were witnessing pro-democracy movements, rather than the reality of NATO-sponsored covert aggression for regime change.

A person might be skeptical of claims that Western media are so pliable and propagandist. I know it for a fact because when I was reporting on the seismic events in Bahrain – which were truly about people bravely and peacefully fighting for democracy – the Western media closed their doors. They weren’t interested because there were “bigger events elsewhere”. Bahrain, like Yemen, would be ignored by the Western media because those countries didn’t serve the Western geopolitical objectives. Whereas Libya and Syria would receive saturation coverage, saturated that is with Western imperial propaganda.

Bahrain was and continues to be ignored by Western media because it is an integral part of the Saudi-led Gulf monarchial system which serves Washington and London’s imperial objectives of profiteering from oil, propping up the petrodollar and sustaining massive weapons sales. Democracy in Bahrain or in any other of the Gulf regimes would simply not be tolerated, not just by the despotic rulers therein but by their ultimate patrons in Washington and London.

I continued to report on the regime’s atrocities in Bahrain. My reports would be taken by alternative media sites like Global Research in Canada and indie radio talk shows in the United States. The money wasn’t great, but at least I could try to get the story out. In June 2011, four months after the Arab Spring began in Bahrain, the regime copped my critical reporting. I was summoned over a “visa irregularity” to the immigration department but instead was met by surly military police officers who told me I was “no longer welcome in the kingdom of Bahrain”. I was given 24 hours to leave “for my own safety”.

I returned to Ireland where after a few months I would relocate to Ethiopia in September 2011 to work as a freelance journalist for Global Research, initially. Later I began to work for Iran’s Press TV and Russian media. I first started working for this online journal, Strategic Culture Foundation, in late 2012. And my best move? I married an Ethiopian woman whom I had met in Bahrain during the Arab Spring.

Witnessing the struggle for democracy and justice in Bahrain was a privilege, one that I hardly expected or even wanted initially. But it fell to me. I witnessed such bravery and kindness among long-suffering Bahraini people who shared their grievances with generosity and graciousness despite the horror and oppression around them. Their struggle continues in spite of the lying, conniving Western governments and their media lackeys.

February 22, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments

Western animosity towards Iran due to its support for Palestinian cause, Yemeni PM says

Press TV | January 8, 2021

The prime minister of Yemen’s National Salvation Government has denounced attempts to form an anti-Iran front as part of a joint Israeli-Arab-US project, emphasizing that such bids aim to counter Tehran’s untrammelled support for the Palestinian cause and oppressed Palestinians.

“The normalization of relations between some regional rulers and the Zionist regime (Israel) is part of the Zionist-Arab-American scheme, and they are now seeking to form an alliance against Iran because it has stood with Palestine,” Abdulaziz bin Habtoor said on Thursday.

He added, “The project of partitioning Arab and Muslim world was drawn more than one hundred years ago in the service of the Zionist plan and the occupation of Palestine.”

Habtoor highlighted that any move that resists the Zionist project in the region will be met with fierce Western opposition.

He said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have a specific and shared goal to disintegrate Yemen, besides certain plots to cement their dominance and influence in Yemen.

“The UAE seeks to wrest control over a number of Yemeni cities, islands and bases, and Saudi Arabia wants to dominate other sectors,” Habtoor noted.

The Yemeni prime minister then dismissed attempts by the Saudi-led coalition member states to present a united front as “a big lie,” stating they will turn on each other and clash in the future due to profound differences existing among them.

‘Appointment of Iranian ambassador to Sana’a broke Saudi diplomatic siege’

Separately, a member of the Yemeni Supreme Political Council on Thursday welcomed the appointment of Iranian Ambassador to Sana’a, Hassan Irloo, stating that the step broke the diplomatic embargo that the Saudi-led coalition had imposed on the country.

Major General Sultan al-Samaei pointed to the deeply historical ties between Yemen and Iran, underlining that the Yemeni nation’s resistance embodies the axis of resistance that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Yemen are part of and their common stance against colonial powers, spearheaded by the Israeli regime and its allies.

Irloo, for his part, said Iran will not hesitate to support Yemeni people by transferring its capabilities in all fields.

The Iranian envoy stressed that relations between Tehran and Sana’a will witness broader cooperation in various spheres.

Irloo has recently been appointed as Iran’s ambassador to Yemen. In early November, he submitted his credentials to Mahdi al-Mashat, president of the Supreme Political Council of Yemen. Since then he was in the US and its regional allies’ crosshairs.

On December 8, the US slapped sanctions on the ambassador on allegations that Irloo was “linked” to Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), without providing any proof.

January 8, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Yemen’s Houthis say Saudi pilots will only be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners

MEMO | December 31, 2020

An official in Yemen’s Houthi-led National Salvation Government (NSG) has reiterated that Saudi pilots currently being held captive will only be released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in the kingdom.

In an interview yesterday with Al-Masirah TV, the head of the National Committee for Prisoners Affairs, Abdulqadir Al-Murtadha, stated: “We have assured the other party that the Saudi pilots will not be released from prison except in exchange for the Palestinian prisoners in Saudi Arabia.”

He added: “The negotiation rounds in the prisoners’ issue in 2020 were distinguished by the fact that they ended with implementation, unlike the previous rounds,” noting that 1,087 prisoners of the Houthi-allied Yemeni army and “popular committees” were freed earlier in the year; 670 prisoners through UN brokered agreements and 417 prisoners through local deals.

“The enemy thwarted 30 exchange deals during 2020, which were agreed upon through local parties to liberate more than 600 prisoners from both sides,” according to Al-Murtadha.

“We released 150 prisoners during 2020, including 64 children who were brought into the battles by the forces of aggression, while the rest were released for humanitarian reasons.”

Last year, Saudi Arabia incarcerated 68 Palestinians and Jordanians following a mass trial which has raised concerns by Human Rights Watch (HRW) over issues relating to due process. Some of the detainees had been held without charge for nearly two years.

Among the Palestinians detained is Mohammed Al-Khodari, who is over 80 years old and a high-ranking official from the Gaza-based resistance movement Hamas. Alike the other detainees he was charged on vague accusations relating to terrorism.

In March the leader of the Houthi movement known as the Ansarallah, Sayyid Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, extended an offer to the Saudis to release Hamas members held in Saudi in exchange for one of the captured Saudi coalition pilots held in Yemen along with four Saudi soldiers. The “much-appreciated initiative” was met with praise by Hamas who in a statement said it valued the “spirit of fraternity and sympathy” for the Palestinian people and their cause.

December 31, 2020 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment