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The Yemen Tragedy Further Fueled by the West and Its Allies

By Viktor Mikhin – New Eastern Outlook – 31.07.2019

A most sophisticated demagogy, blatant falsifying of facts, impudent interpretation of events with everything going upside down, these are the thoughts that come to one’s mind when one reads another forgery concocted in the West. We mean the statement addressed to Iran calling for the termination of the actions which are allegedly destabilizing the situation in the Persian Gulf. The statement was made by the governments of the US, the UK and their satellites: the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, on June 24, as reported by the US Department of State press service. In this manifesto, contrary to the obvious facts, the signatories held Iran responsible for the escalation of the situation in Yemen and the attacks on the oil tankers on May 12 and June 13, urging the Islamic Republic to start searching for a diplomatic solution. The intensity of this demagogy, as the saying goes, is beyond the scale.

Let us however, in a quiet fashion and on the basis of the obvious facts, consider the situation in the Persian Gulf area and ask several questions. Did Iran or the poor Yemen suffering a score of internal problems, indeed attack Saudi Arabia? Did the Houthis indeed create a so-called Arab coalition which has consistently bombed the Saudi cities and villages killing the civilians? By no means. It was the Saudis, namely the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud who took up the foreign policy responsibilities due to the old age and numerous diseases of his father, the King, and who gave the order sanctioning the rough intervention of Riyadh in internal affairs of the neighboring state of Yemen and the total bombing of the Yemen cities.

The leader of the Houthis and the President of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee (SRC) Mohammed Ali al-Houthi demanded the UN Secretary General to condemn the war crimes committed in Yemen. Among the crimes perpetrated by the coalition of the Arab countries (led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the countries of the West), the Houthi leader named the ruthless blockade of the Yemen people, the famine in the country, the ongoing air embargo, the blockade of the Red Sea ports, the mass murders (including those of children), the destruction of civil facilities targeted during the military attacks.

The UN strongly condemned the following Saudi air raid on the Yemen capital city of Sanaa which resulted in the death of many civilians, including five children; dozens of people were wounded. The head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Henrietta Holsman Fore, speaking at the UN Security Council session, urged the international community to save the lives of the millions of Yemenite children. She emphasized that, since the beginning of the conflict in the country, according to official figures only, up to 10,000 children had been killed or wounded. According to the UN, the Saudi Air Force “aimed at the civilians systematically,” dropping bombs on hospitals, schools, weddings, funeral processions and even on the camps for the displaced persons escaping from bombing.

Representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) emphasized that the belligerents, Saudi Arabia in the first place, must respect the principles of international humanitarian law, which includes protecting the civilians during the hostilities. Millions of people in Yemen are currently on the verge of starvation, and the humanitarian organizations often have no opportunity to deliver the aid: food, medicines and fuel, to those in need. A major part of humanitarian cargo comes to Yemen through the ports of Al Hudaydah, As-Salif and Ras Issa, where the Houthis, following the Stockholm agreement, withdrew their troops from. However, representatives of the international organizations, whose activities have suffered consistent pressure exerted by the United States, for some reason or other, are not in a hurry to fulfill their obligations.

The international community’s condemnation of the Saudi crimes reached such a degree that the Deputy Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had to hold a meeting with the special envoy of the UN Secretary General on Yemen Martin Griffiths. However, his stance was only limited to demagogical statements “about Riyadh‘s commitment to a political solution of the conflict in Yemen.”

And, probably, in order to ensure “the wellbeing of the Yemen people,” the Riyadh-led coalition declared the launch of a new attack on the positions of the Houthi insurgents in the province of Sanaa, in western Yemen. This information was made public by the Al Arabiya TV channel, referring to the military. The main targets for the new airstrikes include air defense facilities and missile warehouses belonging to the rebels. It is known that this province is densely inhabited; numerous cities and settlements are located there, and, therefore, the number of victims among the civilians will only increase. Such is the “commitment” of Saudi Arabia to the “wellbeing” of its neighbor and the “support” of a political solution of the ongoing conflict. Many politicians claim (for a good reason) that had there been no intervention of the Saudis in the internal affairs of Yemen, then this conflict would not have existed at all, nor would there have been all the numerous victims.

The international community does not pay due attention to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, no sufficient financing is allocated for it, said the President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Francesco Rocca: “The problem is not in providing more (help), but in receiving financing (to have an opportunity) to provide more (help). It is a vicious circle, the Yemen crisis lacks financing. It is forgotten, it is being ignored.”

More fuel to the long-lasting Yemen conflict fire was added by D. Trump who extended the sanctions against Yemen for another year. The White House website comments as follows: “The actions and policy of several former members of the Yemen government and other persons continue to threaten the peace, safety and stability of Yemen. Among other things, they interfere with the political process and the implementation of the peace treaty of November 23, 2011 between the government of Yemen and the opposition.” Let us remind the reader that the state of emergency concerning Yemen envisaging a number of restrictions was imposed in May 2012.

A faithful ally of the US, the UK has been actively partaking in this murderous war as well by delivering to the Saudis aviation bombs (for good money, too) which are used to kill the civilians of Yemen. On March 27, 2015 the day after the first British bombs fell on Yemen, the then Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary Philip Hammond told the reporters that the UK “will support the Saudis in every practical operation, by involvement in the fighting.” Since then, the British bombs which have been actively used by the Saudi pilots during the raids on the Yemen territory have been regularly manufactured in three British cities: Glenrothes in Scotland, and Harlow and Stevenage in Southeast England. The bombs which leave the production line for the Saudis on a daily basis belong to the Raytheon UK and ВАЕ Systems.

As soon as this weapon was bought by Saudi Arabia, the UK began to participate in the Yemen slaughter even more actively. The Saudi military lack experience to use this modern and lethal weapon. Therefore, for this air war to go on and for the British government to do good business on the blood of Yemenites, under another contract, London provides what is known as the “on-site military services.” In practical terms, it means that some 6,300 British experts have been deployed on the advanced operational bases in Saudi Arabia. It is them, not the Saudi pilots and technicians, who perform necessary repairs of the planes day and night so that they could fly across the Arabian Desert to their targets in Yemen again. They also control the Saudis loading bombs onto the planes and installing fuses on the bombs.

Thus, the West, which has been doing good business on the Yemen blood, will go on with its impudent demagogical statements that Iran, not Saudi Arabia, is responsible for the Yemen tragedy. Even more so, since Riyadh is buying arms amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars from the US alone, thus supporting the American military and industrial complex and giving Donald Trump a chance to create new jobs in the US. However, no one in the West seems to care at whose expense and on whose blood the US prospers.

During his recent trip to Yemen, the British conservative Member of Parliament Andrew Mitchell visited a school in the capital where he was “welcomed” by children who chanted slogans. The politician asked the accompanying Yemenite to interpret and learnt that they meant “death to the Saudis,” “death to the Americans,” and the third slogan remained untranslated, but it is easy to guess that it meant: “death to the British.”

Viktor Mikhin is a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

July 31, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

As US Beefs Up Military Presence in the Gulf, Yemen’s Houthis Turn to Russia for Support

Houthi attempts to engage the UN to broker a peaceful solution to the war on Yemen have stalled. Now, out of options, the movement may have found a willing partner in Moscow.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem | Mint Press News | July 26, 2019

MOSCOW — Yemen’s Houthi movement has reacted with concern to an announcement by Washington that the U.S. is pursuing an increased military presence in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Central Command announced Operation Sentinel on July 19, claiming that a multinational maritime effort is needed to promote “maritime stability, ensure safe passage, and de-escalate tensions in international waters throughout the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the Arabian [Persian] Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and the Gulf of Oman.”

The Houthis’ Supreme Political Council, the highest political authority in Sana`a, held an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the developments. After the meeting Houthi officials released a statement denouncing Operation Sentinel, saying that Yemen is keen on the security of the Red Sea and that any escalation by Coalition countries, including the United States, would be met with a response. The statement went on to say:

What makes waterways safe is an end to the war on Yemen, a lifting of the siege on the country and the end to [the Saudi-led Coalition] restricting access to food and commercial vessels in Yemeni ports, especially the port of Hodeida, not the presence of multinational forces there.”

Houthi officials also weighed in on the arrival of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia as a part of a broader tranche of forces sent to the Gulf region over the past two months following increased tensions between Washington and Tehran. Mohammed Abdulsalam, the spokesman of Houthis and one of the most important decision-makers within the movement, told al-Mayadeen TV that the arrival of 500 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia is “not welcome in the region.” 

On Monday, Abdulsalam ridiculed Saudi Arabia’s celebration of the arrival of the U.S. troops, pointing to the Kingdom’s relying on U.S. and British protection while at the same time not knowing how to extricate itself from Yemen. “On one side, there are the Saudis seeking protection from others and on the other side, we have Yemen facing those superpowers with strength, rigidity and wisdom,” Abudlsalam said in a Facebook post. Abdulsalam also said that the deployment of U.S. troops to the Kingdom was aimed at boosting the morale of Saudi Arabia in the face of Yemen’s ballistic missile and drone attacks.

Abudlsalam’s comments were made during an official visit to Moscow, where a Houthi delegation was visiting at the invitation of the Russian government. The July 24 meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister to the Middle East and North Africa Mikhail Bogdanov was held to discuss, among other things, U.S. military presence in the Gulf. Abdulsalam claimed during the meeting that U.S. and Western visions for a solution to the conflict in Yemen would be unsuccessful, telling his Russian counterpart that there won’t be security and safety in the region without an end to the aggression against Yemen. He went on to say that, “we [Houthis] have common interests with the Russians regarding peace in the region.”

Both Bogdanov and Abdulsalam expressed commitment to abiding by the UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement, which calls for a ceasefire in the Hodeida port in western Yemen. The Houthis also expressed support for Russia’s policy vision for security in the Gulf, which was presented by Bogdanov on Tuesday.

While Russian efforts may not necessarily produce peace in Yemen, they may give the Saudi-led Coalition a chance to see that all options for diplomacy have been fully explored. They will also provide the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — which recently pulled out a significant portion of their military forces from Yemen, amidst fears of Houthi retaliatory attacks on Dubai — a chance to jump on the Russian bandwagon. Saudi Arabia, which has made little progress in its more than four-year-long adventure in Yemen, could also use Russian efforts as a face-saving opportunity, according to Yemeni diplomats who spoke to MintPress.

According to well-informed sources in the Houthi movement, Russia is pushing hard to play a role in bringing an end to the war on Yemen, and Russian and Houthi interests are becoming more aligned, including opposition to an increased U.S. military presence in the region. Houthi officials are also hoping that Russia will use its position in the UN Security Council to veto resolutions adversely affecting the interests of Yemen. One Houthi official, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue, even told MintPress that Russia played a role in the recent withdrawal of the UAE forces from Yemen.

“No subordination to Iran”

Mehdi Al-Mashat, the Head of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, told delegates from the International Crisis Group on Wednesday that the Houthis are ready to stop drones and ballistic attacks on Saudi Arabia if the Kingdom stops its attacks on Yemen. He also expressed readiness to engage in dialogue with Saudi officials to “achieve a just peace for all,” but warned that the “U.S. must know Yemen is a country which has sovereignty and is not subject to anyone.”

Regarding Iran, Al-Mashat told members of the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based NGO that works to resolve violent conflicts around the world, “with regard to the false claims that we are followers of Iran, which the Coalition countries know to be false, we confirm that there is no subordination to Iran.” Tehran’s support for the Houthis is limited to political, diplomatic and media support and the country’s influence in Yemen is marginal at best.

For its part, the United Nations says the years-long war in Yemen can be stopped and is eminently resolvable if the warring sides commit to the UN-brokered Stockholm peace agreement reached in Sweden late last year. Under the agreement, both the Houthis and Coalition forces agreed to withdraw their troops from the Yemeni ports of Hodeida, Salif, and Ras Issa, and to allow the deployment of UN monitors.

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said on Tuesday, “I believe that this war in Yemen is eminently resolvable, both parties continue to insist that they want a political solution and the military solution is not available, they remain committed to the Stockholm agreement in all its different aspects.”

UAE “not leaving Yemen”

While the Houthis have had some success in forcing a dialogue with Coalition leaders through the United Nations, Russia, and various NGOs, it appears that their celebration over the recent announcement that the UAE is withdrawing its troops from Yemen may have been premature. In the Houthis’ first official statement since the UAE announced it was withdrawing its troops from Yemen, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said on Wednesday that “the UAE has not withdrawn any its soldiers from Yemen, and instead has redeployed its forces from a number of areas in Yemen, including battlefields in Hodeida and Marib province in eastern Yemen.” Abdulsalam went on to encourage UAE leaders to pull out of Yemen, saying “the UAE getting out of Yemen is positive and natural and we encourage its leaders to do so.”

The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash, in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post on Monday, confirmed the UAE was not leaving Yemen, saying: “Just to be clear, the UAE and the rest of the Coalition are not leaving Yemen.”

He added, “While we will operate differently, our military presence will remain. In accordance with international law, we will continue to advise and assist local Yemen forces — referring to the myriad UAE-funded Yemeni rebel groups including the Shaban elite forces, the Mahri elite forces, and the Security Belt.

According to Mohammed Abdulsalam, the seemingly contradictory statement coming from the UAE may be a result of Saudi pressure.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu, citing a spokesman for the UAE allies, reported on Wednesday that the Sudanese armed forces had partially withdrawn from parts of Yemen following the withdrawal of UAE troops from the same areas. Yemeni armed forces will replace the Sudanese troops around Hodeida, a Yemeni source told Anadolu.

The UAE and Sudan, parts of a Saudi-led military coalition, have been active members in the brutal Saudi-led Coalition’s war on Yemen since it began in 2015, which the United Nations says has produced the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with millions on the brink of starvation

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media

July 30, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Despite talk of promoting democracy Trudeau in bed with repressive monarchy

By Yves Engler · July 8, 2019

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UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed with Justin Trudeau

Given his personal history perhaps it is no surprise that Justin Trudeau is fond of monarchies.

The United Arab Emirates is a repressive monarchy that pursues violent, anti-democratic, policies in its region. Despite this — or maybe because of it —Trudeau’s Liberal government has strengthened ties to the federation of seven Emirates. And unlike Canada’s claims to be promoting democracy in Venezuela or the Ukraine, there has been little mention of this in the media or scrutiny in Parliament.

The UAE has propped up the Transitional Military Council in Sudan that has faced massive protests calling for civilian rule. Two months ago the oil rich country put up half of a $3 billion package (with Saudi Arabia) to support Sudan’s military rulers and the head of the military council visited powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi in late May. Many pro-democracy activists believe the UAE and Saudi Arabia pushed Sudan’s military to destroy a major protest site that left dozens dead at the start of June.

Abu Dhabi fears democracy in Sudan for various reasons. One immediate concern is the likelihood that a government in Khartoum representing the popular will would withdraw the 10,000 Sudanese soldiers in Yemen. The UAE has played a key role in the war in Yemen, which has left 100,000 dead, millions hungry and sparked a terrible cholera epidemic.

In Libya the UAE was recently caught delivering weapons to warlord Khalifa Haftar in violation of UN sanctions. Abu Dhabi has financed and supported Haftar’s bid to seize the Libyan capital by force. The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord said a UAE F-16 fighter jet was responsible for bombing a migrant detention centre that left some 50 people dead last week.

Elsewhere in the region the UAE has engaged in a two year blockade of Qatar designed to force Doha to heed their and close ally Saudi Arabia’s belligerent, anti-democratic, position towards Iran, Egypt and elsewhere. In recent years UAE helped crush Bahrain’s 2011 uprising, dispatched forces to Libya to support the NATO war and financed the return of military rule to Egypt in 2013. Abu Dhabi also plowed hundreds of millions of dollars of weaponry and other forms of support to Al Qaeda linked rebels in Syria.

Domestically, the UAE is a repressive monarchy that outlaws labour unions and hangs/stones individuals to death. The country heavily restricts religious freedoms and women’s rights. Recently, the wife (one of six) of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum sought asylum in the UK fearing for her life.

From what I could find the Trudeau government has stayed mum on Abu Dhabi’s efforts to derail democracy in Sudan. Nor have they made any comment on its violation of UN sanctions in Libya. Over four years they’ve barely made a peep about the UAE’s bombing and troops in Yemen. Instead of challenging the monarchy’s egregious policies, the Liberals have deepened ties to the Gulf Kingdom.

On July 1 officials from the two countries highlighted “the bond between Canada and the United Arab Emirates” by raising a Canadian flag-inspired display on Abu Dhabi’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Ten days ago, the government announced that Canada would participate in Expo 2020 Dubai. International trade minister Jim Carr declared, “our presence at Expo 2020 affirms the vitality of Canada-UAE relations.”

A UAE delegation led by Minister of Energy and Industry Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei attended the International Economic Forum of the Americas in mid-June. At the Montréal conference Al Mazrouei met economic development minister Navdeep Bains and trade minister Jim Carr. During the opening of the last UN General Assembly session Trudeau met UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and he visited foreign minister Chrystia Freeland in Ottawa last May.

Despite their violence in Yemen, the Trudeau government has deepened military ties to the UAE. There are a small number of Canadian troops in the UAE and Royal Canadian Navy vessels in the region regularly coordinate with their Emirates counterparts. Last week Canada’s ambassador in Abu Dhabi, Masud Husain, met defence minister Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi. Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan also met Al Bowardi there in April. According to Emirates News Agency, Canadian and UAE officials discussed “cooperation  in the military and defence sectors” and “current regional and international developments.” In December 2017 Sajan traveled to the Gulf State to sign the Canada-UAE Defence Cooperation Arrangement.

According to Radio Canada International, the Canada–UAE defence accord “will make it easier for the Canadian defence industry to access one of the world’s most lucrative arms markets.” During the last four years the Trudeau government has promoted arm sales at the Abu Dhabi-based International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX). With support from “15 trade commissioners and representatives from the Government of Ontario, National Defence, Global Affairs Canada, and the Canadian Commercial Corporation”, 50 Canadian arms companies flogged their wares at IDEX in February. To help the arms companies move their products, commander of the Bahrain-based Combined Task Force 150, Commodore Darren Garnier, led a Canadian military delegation to IDEX.

In February of last year Parliamentary Secretary to minister Bains, David Lametti, who is now Justice Minister, promoted Bombardier’s delivery of surveillance planes to the UAE. Montreal-based flight simulator company CAE trains UAE Air Force pilots at a facility in Abu Dhabi. Some UAE pilots bombing Yemen also likely trained at NATO’s Flying Training in Canada, which is run by CAE and the Canadian Forces.

As Anthony Fenton has documented in detail on his fantastic Canada-Gulf focused Twitter handle, armoured vehicles made by Canada’s Streit Group in the UAE have been repeatedly videoed in Yemen. At IDEX 2019 Streit Group officials were photographed pitching their Sherp All-terrain military vehicle to UAE officials.

After a high profile diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia last August Canadian officials privately worried it would negatively impact relations with UAE. That didn’t happen, of course. In fact, the spat may have spurred closer ties to Saudi Arabia’s main regional ally.

It’s time for some mainstream journalists and parliamentarians to devote a little attention to the Trudeau’s government hypocritical embrace of the UAE monarchy.

July 9, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

‘This Is Popular Resistance’: US War With Iran Spells Victory for Houthis in Yemen

Sputnik – June 27, 2019

If the US goes to war with Iran, the biggest losers will be the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, an Iranian scholar told Sputnik Wednesday. With the Houthis on the offensive already, an Iranian attack on Saudi infrastructure in the early hours of the war would open the door to Houthi invasion.

In recent months, the Houthi rebels in Yemen have stepped up their attacks on Saudi soil, launching ballistic missile attacks as well as drone strikes against nine different urban locations across southwestern Saudi Arabia. While the Saudis and their US allies have tried to point the finger at Iran, accusing it of waging a proxy war against Riyadh by way of its fellow Shiite Houthis, the truth is that for all their technical sophistication, the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen has failed to destroy the resistance to its onslaught and instead steeled Yemeni resolve like never before.

Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear Wednesday that as the US and Saudi Arabia have had Yemen under an effective state of siege for years, there has been “really no way for Iran to give them substantial support.”

“My assumption is that Iran does give them support, but that support is almost nothing compared to what the Saudis have and what the Emiratis have. It would be almost nothing in comparison.”

Indeed, Sputnik reported in February on multiple exposes by Amnesty International and CNN that showed the extent to which the United Arab Emirates has supplied its proxies in Yemen with Western-made weapons, including American MRAPs, Serbian machine guns and French-made LeClerc main battle tanks. Among the recipients of that aid was Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which controls substantial territory in southeastern Yemen.

Further, Sputnik reported last week that the type of anti-air missile used by Houthi forces to shoot down a US MQ-9 Reaper drone over Yemen earlier in the month, the Soviet-made SA-6 Kub, is so heavily proliferated across the world that US Central Command’s attempt to use it as proof of Iranian patronage is all but impossible.

“So the fact that the Yemeni people, despite the overwhelming support of Western countries for Saudi Arabia, and the infinite amount of money that the Saudis and the Emiratis have spent on waging war against the Yemeni people – the very fact that they’ve been able to stand up and to prevent the United States’ allies or their clients in the region from winning and taking the country shows that this is not a proxy war; this is a popular resistance,” Marandi said.

However, you wouldn’t be able to tell that if you read the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

“Yemen’s Houthi rebels have accelerated missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, highlighting the kingdom’s military vulnerabilities in defending itself against an Iranian ally amid a crisis in US-Iran relations,” WSJ’s Jared Malsin wrote.

“Everything points toward the direction that Iran and the Houthis have teamed up for their mutual benefit to increase missile and drone attacks against targets in recent days and weeks,” Fabian Hinz, an independent analyst based in Germany, told the paper for the story.

Marandi told Sputnik the reason why the Western media and Western think tanks call it a proxy war is “because they want to escape the fact that they are not calling out their governments for the crimes against humanity that they are involved in. In other words, they want to create a moral equivalent between the Saudis and the Yemeni people who are being massacred so that they won’t be answerable in the eyes of public opinion.”

“So, they say it’s a proxy war, so it’s, you know, it’s two bad guys fighting each other. This way, when their governments give hundreds of millions of dollars, or in the case of the Europeans, tens of millions of dollars each of weapons to the Saudis or the Emiratis, they don’t have to feel ashamed about it, or they don’t have to shame their governments,” he said.

That said, Marandi told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that the tide was clearly turning against the Saudi-led alliance, which includes not only the UAE and the Yemeni government-in-exile, but also Sudan, which has sent thousands of warriors from its Janjaweed militia – the paramilitary group responsible for a large part of the genocide in Darfur – to fight in Yemen. Other countries, such as Senegal, have sent troops to fight with the coalition as well.

The conflict broke out slowly in Yemen beginning in September 2014, amid a rising tide of dissent. When Ansar Allah, a militia drawn from northern Yemen’s Zaidi Shiite Muslim minority that followed their late leader Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, joined by supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, seized the capital of Sanaa in March 2015 and forced Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to flee the country, Hadi escaped to Riyadh, seeking help in returning to power. Saudi airstrikes began almost immediately.

The Houthis’ September Revolution rode on dissent over the outcome of the country’s 2011-12 revolution, part of the Arab Spring uprisings that saw Saleh thrown from power and Hadi, his vice president, assume Saleh’s former office. The revolution promised to address issues of chronic mass unemployment and a poor economy, as well as to restructure the country’s administration for the first time since North and South Yemen were reunited in 1990.

The Houthis helped make the 2012 revolution, but rejected the federalization proposed by Hadi as a move that would entrench, not alleviate, regional poverty. The final straw came in 2014, when a sharp spike in gas prices, combined with a slew of right-wing proposals by Hadi that included slashing social program funding, drove Saleh supporters into the streets and the ranks of the rising Houthis.

“Now, for the first time, we’re beginning to see the Yemenis go on the offensive, and they are striking vulnerable targets inside Saudi Arabia,” Marandi said. He predicted that in the event of an all-out war between the US and Iran, the Saudis and Emiratis would suffer such terrible consequences in just the first few hours of the conflict that the Houthis or other anti-Saudi Yemeni forces would immediately seize the opportunity and likely invade Saudi Arabia “within days.”

“There would be chaos in these countries,” Marandi noted. “Therefore, it’s not simply Iran. If the United States thinks they can wage a war against Iran and that it will be something manageable, they are deeply mistaken.”

June 27, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Egypt’s NileSat halts broadcast of Press TV, other Iranian channels: Saudi media

Press TV – June 25, 2019

Saudi media say Egyptian-owned satellite firm NileSat has halted the broadcast of three Iranian TV channels, including English-language Press TV news network, in yet another attack on media freedom.

The Arabic-language Saudi daily newspaper Okaz, citing an informed source, said Sunday that the regional satellite provider halted the broadcast of Press TV as well as entertainment and movie channels of iFilm in English and Arabic languages.

Earlier, some informed sources had reported that Arab satellite companies had agreed to cancel their contracts with Iranian media outlets in the region.

The move by the Arab alliance was claimed to be a response to the networks’ “spread of rumors and creation of division.”

It is not the first time that Iranian television channels come under attacks by Arab and European satellite firms.

Egypt — a close Saudi ally — is party to a Riyadh-led coalition waging a bloody military campaign against Yemen. The Saudi regime and its allies are especially outraged by Iranian media’s wide coverage of the crimes being committed against Yemeni people, among other issues.

Since its launch in 2007, Press TV has been using a wide range of platforms, from TV broadcast and website to social media, to offer its audience a fresh view of world news, with a focus on developments in the Middle East’s conflict zones.

In April, Press TV’s verified YouTube account — along with the page of Iran’s Spanish-language Hispan TV — was blocked with no prior notice by tech giant Google.

The move came as the US stepped up its pressure campaign against Iran with the backing of Saudi Arabia and other repressive Persian Gulf Arab regimes. Washington is the main sponsor of the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

June 25, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

British weapons and personnel doing much of the killing in Yemen: Report

Britain’s Prince Charles, (L) and Britain’s Prince William, (C) meet with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) in central London on March 7, 2018. (AFP photo)
Press TV – June 18, 2019

A detailed report published by the Guardian newspaper has shown how Britain is massively contributing to Saudi Arabia’s devastating war on Yemen as it suggests that London is not only supplying the bombs that fall on Yemenis, but it provides the personnel and expertise that keep the war going.

The comprehensive report by Arron Merat published on Tuesday showed that Britain was doing much of the killing in Yemen as the country continues to provide Saudi Arabia with everything it needs to turn its southern impoverished neighbor into a graveyard.

“Every day Yemen is hit by British bombs – dropped by British planes that are flown by British-trained pilots and maintained and prepared inside Saudi Arabia by thousands of British contractors,” said Merat in the report.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since Saudi Arabia and a number of Arab allies launched their illegal war on Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to restore power to a resigned and fugitive president.

Rights campaigners have repeatedly criticized Britain for its role in helping the killing of civilians in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world which has suffered from a major humanitarian crisis as a result of the Saudi-led war.

The report by the Guardian showed that it is effectively the United States and Britain who are leading the massive onslaught in Yemen as Saudi Arabia contracted out the vital parts of the war to the two military powers from the very beginning of the conflict.

“Britain does not merely supply weapons for this war: it provides the personnel and expertise required to keep the war going,” said the report, adding that the Royal Air Force personnel have been deployed to Saudi Arabia to work as engineers and trainers over the past four years.

It said the Britain’s biggest arms company BAE Systems has played an even larger role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen as it has been subcontracted by London to provide weapons, maintenance and engineers inside Saudi Arabia.

“The Saudi bosses absolutely depend on BAE Systems … They couldn’t do it without us,” said John Deverell, a former British defense attaché to Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

A BAE employee also said recently that if it was not for the British support, the Saudis would have not been able to continue the war on Yemen for a single week.

“If we weren’t there, in seven to 14 days there wouldn’t be a jet in the sky,” said the employee in an interview with the Channel 4 in early April.

Reports last year also suggested that Britain had even sent its troops to Yemen to help Saudis in their fight against fighters from the ruling Houthi Ansarullah movement.

In fact, there have been multiple reports in the British newspapers showing that UK special forces, known as the SAS, were wounded in battles inside Houthi-controlled territories.

June 18, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

UK report on ‘human rights’ forgets to mention Saudi Arabia in section on Yemen war

RT | June 12, 2019

The UK has published its annual human rights report, but with some notable omissions in its section on Yemen’s war – namely the identity of the country bombing its civilians, and the UK’s own involvement in the conflict.

The 2018 “Human Rights & Democracy”report from the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) includes an almost 800-word section on the humanitarian situation in Yemen – but, to a reader unfamiliar with the specifics, the document offers few clues as to who bears most responsibility for the crisis, since the British report seems to have forgotten to mention some key details.
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The FCO report laments that the “human rights situation worsened in Yemen in 2018” and “the conflict in the country has had a devastating effect.” It then details the estimated numbers of lives lost and displaced citizens according to UN statistics, but doesn’t seem eager to pin blame on anyone in particular, laying responsibility at the feet of “multiple parties.”

“Multiple parties across the country committed a wide range of human rights abuses and violations.”

Yet, a UN investigative report last year found that airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition had caused “most of the documented civilian casualties” in the country – and said the indiscriminate strikes had hit “residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, detention facilities, civilian boats and even medical facilities.”

The UN also criticized the Saudi coalition’s sea and air blockades, which, it argued, could violate international humanitarian law, and called on the “international community” to “refrain from providing arms that could be used in the conflict.”

But who is providing arms? The FCO report is quiet on that front, too.

It has been estimated that the UK sold more than £4.7 billion-worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since its bombing of Yemen began in 2015. British arms sales to Riyadh account for nearly half of the UK’s major weapons exports. Calls for an end to Britain’s direct complicity in the war have fallen on deaf ears.

Former UK foreign secretary –and frontrunner for the Tory leadership– Boris Johnson recommended that the UK sell British bomb parts to Riyadh, immediately after an airstrike had hit a potato factory, killing 14 people, UK media reported this week, after emails obtained by arms trade expert Dr Anna Stavrianakis, through an FOI request, revealed Johnson’s enthusiasm for the sale. In justifying the sale, the FCO’s Arms Policy Export Team argued that there was no “clear risk” that the weapons would be used to violate humanitarian law and said the UK had “confidence” in the Saudi’s “dynamic targeting processes.”

The day after Johnson recommended the sale, a village school was hit in another airstrike, killing 10 children and injuring 20. Johnson’s successor, current UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, has incredibly argued that it would be “morally bankrupt” for the UK to stop arming the Saudis, because if it did, “the people of Yemen would be the biggest losers.”

Yet, the FCO report praises what it calls the UK’s“continued commitment to improving the overall human rights situation” in the country and touts its provision of “emergency cash assistance” to vulnerable displaced women and girls, as well as a UK programme aiming to “increase Yemeni women’s inclusion in the peace process.”

The one (and only) mention of Saudi Arabia came more than halfway through the section on Yemen – a tepid line on the use of secret prisons “in areas under the Saudi-led coalition’s control” – inserted without any context as to who makes up the coalition, who supports it and what it is doing.

The report then quickly switches back to self-praise mode, with the FCO promising that the UK “will continue to lead international efforts to work towards an end to the conflict.”

The section on UK ally Saudi Arabia itself begins by lauding the “positive trajectory of social reform” in the country and condemns various continued human rights violations, but makes no mention of Saudi Arabia’s actions in Yemen.

June 12, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

France’s arms sales to Saudis jumped by %50 in 2018: Data

Press TV – June 4, 2019

Newly-released figures show that France increased its weapons sales to Saudi Arabia by 50 percent last year despite growing international concern about the atrocities committed in a Saudi-led war on Yemen.

On Tuesday, an annual report by the French government showed that the country sold 1 billion euros’ worth of arms to Saudi Arabia in 2018, with the main item being patrol boats.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies — mainly the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — invaded Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing a former Yemeni client regime back to power. The ongoing war has killed tens of thousands and disrupted the lives of millions by causing widespread famine as well as epidemics.

France, the third-biggest arms exporter in the world, is also among the top weapons exporters to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

The Saudi-led coalition has widely used French boats and at least two ships in placing a tight siege on Yemeni ports, particularly Hudaydah, a lifeline for the war-ravaged country’s crippled economy.

The French government has faced massive criticism for complicity in the war but has so far resisted pressure from rights groups to stop the lucrative arms trade with the two Persian Gulf countries, denying that the weapons are being used against the Yemenis. Paris claims that the arms are being deployed in “self defense.”

This is while in mid-April, a classified note from the French military intelligence service (DRM) estimated that over 430,000 Yemenis lived within the range of French artillery weapons on the Saudi-Yemeni border. It further estimated that French weapons had resulted in civilian casualties.

The revelation about the increased sales last year is expected to deepen mistrust in France’s position on the war.

“With such transfers revealing a geopolitical alliance with these regimes and total violation of international commitments, one can only expect worsening conflicts in Yemen or the Horn of Africa, where the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are beginning to redeploy in partnership with France,” said Tony Fortin, with the Paris-based Observatory for Armament.

The French government report is also likely to draw a sharper contrast between Paris’ public stance versus its actual one.

Late last month, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described the war on Yemen as a “dirty war” and said that it “has to be stopped,” even as his country continued to mostly quietly sell weapons to both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi on a large scale.

Last month, Saudi cargo ship the Bahri-Yanbu, sent to France to pick up purchased French arms, triggered a protest rally by humanitarian groups.

Apart from Paris, the United States, Britain, and other Western countries have faced criticism over arms sales to the Saudi regime and its partners over the consequences for a war that has affected 28 million Yemenis and caused what the United Nations (UN) calls “one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.”

The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

The Tuesday report also revealed that France’s total arms sales rose 30 percent to 9.1 billion euros in 2018, driven by a jump in sales to European countries. Its arms exports to the Middle East also rose to four billion euros from 3.9 billion the year before.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Second Saudi ship leaves French port without arms cargo

MEMO | May 31, 2019

A Saudi cargo ship has left the southern French port of Fos-sur-Mer without loading its arms cargo destined for Saudi Arabia, blocked from doing so after pressure from rights campaigners, a French rights group said on Thursday, Reuters reports.

The incident reported by ACAT, a Christian organisation against torture, is the second time this month that a Saudi vessel has been blocked from loading arms in France as pressure mounts on Paris to stop arms sales to the kingdom.

A Saudi ship left France’s northern coast two weeks ago without a cargo of weapons after dockers threatened to block its arrival in the port of Le Havre. That came weeks after an online investigative site published leaked French military intelligence that showed weapons sold to the kingdom, including tanks and laser-guided missile systems, were being used against civilians in Yemen’s war.

ACAT said the Saudi freighter, Bahri Tabuk, returned to sea on Wednesday night, with its holds empty.

“Once again, faced with citizen mobilisation and our legal action, a Saudi freighter had to give up loading French weapons, this time in Fos-sur-Mer,” Nathalie Seff of ACAT-France said in a statement.

Refinitiv Eikon shipping data showed that the Saudi-flagged ship, labelled as a vehicle carrier which has transported soybean meal in the past, left Fos and was sailing to Alexandria in Egypt.

French and Saudi governments and the port authorities could not be reached for comment on Thursday evening.

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly has said that France had a partnership with Saudi Arabia. When the first vessel was blocked from loading in Le Havre, she said the arms were related to an order dating back several years.

ACAT said it had filed an appeal last week with the Paris Administrative Court to block weapons shipments to Saudi Arabia, arguing that the sales contravened a UN treaty because the arms could be used against civilians in the Yemeni conflict, but it said the appeal was rejected.

May 31, 2019 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

French rights group moves to block Saudi arms cargo

RT | May 28, 2019

A French humanitarian group is seeking to block a delivery of munitions to a Saudi ship docked at a port in southern France, arguing the weapons will be used to commit war crimes in Saudi Arabia’s conflict with Yemen.

The rights group, Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), filed its legal challenge Tuesday, following up on a previous effort which successfully blocked a shipment of howitzer cannons to the Saudi Kingdom.

The cargo ship “is to load French weapons bound for Saudi Arabia, one of the main belligerents of the Yemeni conflict,” ACAT said in a statement Tuesday, adding it was “calling on civil society … to prevent these munitions from leaving” the port of Marseille-Fos.

The shipment is to include ammunition for the French-made Caesar howitzer, a truck-mounted artillery system, according to sources cited by investigative outlet Disclose. Though ACAT managed to block a howitzer shipment earlier this month, Saudi Arabia obtained several Caesar batteries in previous sales.

ACAT argues that the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty, ratified by France in 2014, provides a legal basis for a court order to block the cargo.

Under the treaty, “France undertook not to authorize the transfer of arms when it ‘has knowledge, at the time the authorization is requested that such weapons or property could be used to commit genocide, crimes against humanity’,” or other violations of humanitarian law, ACAT said, quoting the language of the agreement.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly told lawmakers Tuesday that she had no information on the shipment, but added that France must respect its alliance with the kingdom in any case. Parly has previously stated there was “no proof” that French weapons contributed to rights violations in the Yemen war.

In April, however, French journalists with Disclose published classified military intelligence documents revealing that French weapons likely were involved in strikes on civilians. French authorities have since interrogated the journalists and threatened them with jail time.

Earlier Tuesday Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called on Saudi Arabia to end its “dirty war” on Yemen, but stopped short of demanding an end to French weapons sales, adding that France was “extremely vigilant” in its arms transfers.

Activists at Italian and Spanish ports have also attempted to interfere in the Saudi war effort, with Italian dock workers in Genoa refusing to load cargo onto a Saudi vessel earlier this month, and a similar, albeit unsuccessful, protest at the Spanish port of Santander.

The UN says Yemen is suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with millions dependent on humanitarian aid and tens of thousands killed in the fighting. A coalition of states led by Saudi Arabia began military operations in Yemen in March 2015, seeking to oust rebels from power and reinstate Yemeni President Mansour Hadi. Both the coalition and the rebels have violated the laws of armed conflict, according to rights groups, but the bulk of civilian casualties have been inflicted in the Saudi air war.

May 28, 2019 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Saudi king calls for urgent meetings of Arab leaders

Press TV – May 19, 2019

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has called for emergency meetings of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) and the Arab League, following mysterious “sabotage” attacks on Saudi and Emirati oil tankers as well as drone strikes targeting Saudi oil pumping stations.

The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday that Salman had invited Arab leaders to convene urgent summits in the city of Mecca on May 30 to discuss ways to “enhance the security and stability in the region.”

An official source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry said that the Saudi monarch had called the meetings due to “grave concerns” about recent attacks on commercial vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and drone strikes on oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia as well as the effects of those incidents on supply routes and oil markets.

The summits are meant “to discuss these aggressions [sic] and their consequences on the region,” the source said.

The Emirates’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has welcomed the Saudi call for the emergency meetings.

“The current critical circumstances entail a unified Arab and [Persian] Gulf stance toward the besetting challenges and risks,” the ministry said in a statement.

On May 12, four oil tankers, including two Saudi ones, were purportedly targeted near the port of Fujairah, in what the Emirates described as “sabotage” attacks. While Riyadh and Abu Dhabi failed to produce evidence of the attacks on their vessels, pictures emerged of a Norwegian-flagged tanker at the port having sustained some damage.

Two days later, drone strikes were launched on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia. These attacks were believed to have been carried out by Yemen’s Houthi fighters in retaliation for the prolonged Saudi war against Yemen.

The attacks led Saudi Arabia to halt its main cross-country oil pipeline temporarily.

Saudi and Emirati officials have not said who carried out the attacks on the tankers and the pumping stations, but some political and media figures within the United States have claimed that Iran is responsible.

A day after the reported attacks on the oil tankers, Tehran called them “worrying,” and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later called them “suspicious.”

Yemen’s Houthis also noted that the retaliatory drone strikes on the Saudi oil pipeline were an act of self defense and had nothing to do with Iran.

Pompeo calls bin Salman

On Saturday night, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The SPA reported that the two sides exchanged views on the “developments in the region and efforts to enhance security and stability.”

Jubeir claims Riyadh doesn’t seek war

In a separate development on Sunday, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir claimed that his country did not want a war with Iran.

“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want a war in the region nor does it seek that,” he told a press conference in Riyadh.

“It will do what it can to prevent this war and at the same time it reaffirms that in the event the other side chooses war, the kingdom will respond with all force and determination, and it will defend itself and its interests,” he added.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 4 Comments

France seeks source of damaging leak on Yemen war

Press TV – April 25, 2019

French authorities have been searching for a government employee who they believe has leaked damaging information about France’s role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen to the media, a report says.

In mid-April, the new investigative media outlet Disclose published a report that contained a classified 15-page note from the French military intelligence service (DRM) revealing that the two Arab countries had deployed French weaponry in their aggression against Yemeni.

The leaked note, which was provided to the government in October 2018, contained lists of French-manufactured tanks, armored vehicles, fighter jets, helicopters, howitzers, ammunition, and radar systems sold to both Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The use of French weapons in Yemen contradicts previous public statements from Paris, which has repeatedly asserted that these weapons are used only in a limited manner and in “defensive” operations only. Back in January, French Armed Forces Minister Francoise Parly said during an interview on the France Inter radio station that she was “not aware that any (French) arms are being used in this conflict.”

Citing unnamed informed sources on Wednesday, AFP reported that an investigation into the “compromise of national defense secrecy” had been opened by prosecutors on December 13 last year after a complaint by the ministry of the armed forces.

The AFP report did not say when the note was leaked.

The sources also said that France’s domestic intelligence agency, the DGSI, was leading the probe, which concerned the compromise of information involving a government employee and a third party.

Disclose disagrees

Disclose argued that the note was “of major public interest.”

“The confidential documents revealed by Disclose and its partners are of major public interest, that bring to the attention of citizens and their representatives what the government wanted to conceal,” AFP quoted an editorial for Disclose and its partners as saying.

Additionally, Geoffrey Livolsi, the founder of Disclose, said at least three journalists who had taken part in the preparation of the website’s investigative report had been called in for a hearing to be conducted by the DGSI in May.

“This judicial investigation has only one objective: to know the sources that allowed us to do our job. It is an attack on the freedom of the press and the protection of the sources of journalists,” he said.

The French weapons in action

The report revealed that Leclerc tanks, a main battle tank built by the Nexter, and Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets sold in the 1990s to the UAE were being used in the war on Yemen.

Furthermore, 48 CAESAR artillery guns, manufactured by the Nexter group, were being used along the Saudi-Yemen border by the Saudi-led coalition.

Nexter Systems is a French state-owned manufacturer of weapons, based in Roanne, Loire.

According to the DRM document, French-made Cougar transport helicopters and the A330 MRTT refueling plane have been seen in action, and two French ships are serving in the crippling blockade of Yemeni ports which has led to unprecedented food and medical shortages in impoverished Yemen.

The classified note also contained a map estimating that over 430,000 Yemenis live within the range of French artillery weapons on the Saudi-Yemeni border. It further estimated that French weapons have resulted in civilian casualties.

France, the third-biggest arms exporter in the world, is a large provider of various kinds of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The French government has so far resisted pressure from rights groups to stop the lucrative arms trade with the two Persian Gulf countries, denying that the weapons were being used against the Yemenis.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies, most notably the UAE, launched the devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015. According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the war has so far claimed the lives of about 56,000 Yemenis.

Apart from France, the United States, Britain, and other Western countries have faced criticism over arms sales to the Saudi regime and its partners.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , , , | 4 Comments