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The “Yemen Bill” Trump Just Vetoed Never Had Anything to do With Yemen

By Adam Garrie – EurasiaFuture – 2019-04-17

Donald Trump has just vetoed a bill passed by the US Congress which would have ended American financial support for the Saudi led coalition in the Yemen conflict. When the bill was passed by both the House of Representatives and Senate, many were surprised that an otherwise pro-war and pro-interventionist group of politicians would support something that was seemingly anti-war. However, to assume that the majority of votes were motivated by an anti-war sentiment is to deny the very specific circumstances behind the bill’s passage.

In the United States, both main political parties have incredibly strong relations with Saudi Arabia. Yet among the US public, this “special relationship” is far more controversial than the fact that both US parties also have strong ties to Saudi Arabia’s de facto ally Israel. While Israel and Saudi Arabia are both known for pursuing internationally controversial foreign policies, among the US public, Israel is generally viewed in a positive light while Saudi Arabia is not. As such, whenever an opportunity comes along for American politicians to virtue signal against Saudi Arabia without actually changing US foreign policy in a meaningful way, such an opportunity will be acted upon. Trump himself virtue signaled against Saudi Arabia during his 2016 election campaign.

When it became clear that elements of the Saudi “deep state” were responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and when after that it became clear that Donald Trump was not going to do anything to punish Riyadh for the Khashoggi murder, many in the opposition Democratic party sought to take advantage of a public opinion that had soured even further against Riyadh in the aftermath of the infamous murder which took place in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate.

In this sense, the vote to cut funding to the Saudi coalition in Yemen was a largely symbolic measure that most who voted for it knew would be vetoed. Making matters all the more stark, it can be assumed that some of those who voted for the bill even wanted it to be vetoed as the intention was only ever to virtue signal to an American public that had become somewhat upset in the aftermath of the Khashoggi murder. The bill was never actually meant to change Washington’s pro-Riyadh/anti-Tehran position vis-a-vis Yemen.

In this sense, while some are blaming Trump for prolonging the crisis in Yemen because of his veto, the reality is that Trump was handed a bill intended as a virtue signalling provocation rather than a genuine call to end the conflict in Yemen. As such, Trump responded in the way that virtually anyone in his position would have done.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

French-Made Weapons Reportedly Used in Yemen War, More Arms to Be Delivered

Sputnik – April 15, 2019

Journalists claim to have uncovered the “massive use” of French-made weapons in war-torn Yemen through a leak of secret military documents.

Radio France and investigative reporters from the NGO Disclose say they have obtained a classified 2018 report about French arms sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of which form part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi militiamen in Yemen since 2015.

The paper was allegedly compiled last September by France’s military agency DRM and handed over to President Emmanuel Macron and other cabinet-level officials. It apparently contains a list of all French weapons deployed in Yemen by the two Arab monarchies.

“These include Leclerc battle tanks, long-rod penetrator ammunition, Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets, COBRA counter-battery radar systems, Aravis armoured troop-carrying vehicles, Cougar and Dauphin helicopters, CAESAR truck-mounted howitzers,” reads a statement on Disclose’s website.

The journalists went on to claim that some of the French-made weapons are being used in combat operations in Yemen, including in civilian zones. Specifically, two French-made warships — a missile-launching corvette and a warfare frigate — are said to be taking part in the naval blockade of Yemen, as per the report.

The leaked report appears to include a map titled “Population under threat of bombs”, which indicates the deployment of 48 CAESAR guns near the Saudi-Yemeni border.

“Put more simply, the guns are used to bombard Yemeni territory to open up a path for the tanks and armoured vehicles invading the country,” the journalists argue. The population living within the range of potential artillery fire is estimated at being over 436,000.

According to the report, at least 129 CAESAR howitzers are due to be delivered to Saudi Arabia between by 2023.

French authorities are yet to comment on the matter.

French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly said in a radio interview in February that the military had “recently sold no weapons that can be used in the Yemeni conflict”.

Last October, she rejected claims that domestically made weapons were targeting civilian population. “To my knowledge, the weapons we have sold recently have not been used against civilians,” she told reporters.

The minister also described France’s weapons exports to Saudis as “relatively modest”, saying they were subject to tight restrictions. “We don’t sell weapons like they’re baguettes,” she added.

Disclose and Radio France note, meanwhile, that the French parliament has been “deliberately kept apart” from this information by the government, which has so far given only “fragmentary answers or even falsehoods”.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Serious Question, Is It Time to Bomb the US, UK for Their Crimes in Yemen?

Twenty years ago the Anglo-American war machine bombed the Serbs for less

By Marko Marjanović | Check Point Asia | April 5, 2019

Twenty years ago US-led NATO bombed Yugoslavia because the Serbs allegedly executed 45 civilians in a village called Račak. Specifically the media coverage of the “massacre” built enough political capital for possible military intervention in the West that Belgrade was forced into talks in France to try to avoid that. There the US then at the last moment intentionally raised the bar so high as to scuttle any possibility of agreement and ensure it would indeed have the pretext to bomb the Serbs.

Mind you, in Račak, except for one woman, and one boy, the bodies were all of fighting-age males, and with bullet wounds from all sorts of directions which would indicate they were killed in a battle with the police not a massacre. But, never mind, let’s say those men really were killed in a massacre of civilians… Well, in the last four years the US and the UK have assisted the Saudis in killing tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians from the air (according to The Guardian majority of 60,000 direct civilian war deaths are from airstrikes) and another 85,000 children from malnutrition and disease via the naval blockade.

If 45 Albanians (43 of them fighting-age men) massacred by Serbs therefore meant that Serbs needed to be bombed, at what number of dead Yemenis — more than half of them infant children — means the US and the UK must likewise be bombed? Apparently it’s a number in excess of 100,000 because we’re well past that by now.

Personally I don’t believe in bombing nations for the crimes of their governments, but I am mystified by the absence of the humanitarian cruise missile brigade on this one. Where are the supposed bleeding hearts who needed Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Syria and others bombed to put an end to this or that atrocity, real, imagined, or exaggerated?

Shouldn’t Samantha Power, Christiane Amanpour and Hillary Clinton be on the phone right now demanding that Beijing or Moscow finally “take action” and “do something” and unleash missiles against the butchers of Yemen in Riyadh, London and Washington already?

Oh wait, I forgot. Humanitarian interventionism is the 21st century version of the White Man’s burden—it is a fire-and-forget civilizing lesson for the 2-minute attention span age administered by the civilizing West to the retrograde barbarians of Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The idea of Russian Slavs or Pseudo-Communist Orientals administering such a civilizing lesson to the West is therefore a contradiction in terms. To be humanitarian the missiles have to be fired by the west and fly in an eastward direction.

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

UK troops accused of training child soldiers in Yemen

Press TV – March 28, 2019

UK Foreign Office minister Mark Field has promised to get to the bottom of “very serious and well sourced” allegations that British special forces have been training child soldiers in the Saudi-led war against Yemen.

He was answering an urgent question asked in the Commons on Tuesday by the shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, who suggested the British troops may have been witnesses to war crimes.

She claimed as many as 40 percent of the soldiers in the Saudi coalition were children, a breach of international humanitarian law.

Field also said he would be making inquiries with the UK Ministry of Defence in light of a report that British Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers were injured in a firefight with the Houthi Ansarullah movement in Yemen.

The UK government has a general policy of not discussing the operations of its special forces but Field seemed determined to provide an explanation to members of Parliament.

There had been social media reports from Yemen in February suggesting that British soldiers had been injured in a firefight, and the Daily Express newspaper claimed two SAS members had been injured during a “humanitarian” operation.

However, it was claimed in The Mail on Sunday, a weekly newspaper, that UK special forces were not just involved in so-called humanitarian operations, but providing mentoring teams inside Yemen, including medics, translators and forward air controllers, whose job is to request air support from the Saudis. It claimed five special forces soldiers have been injured.

Conservative Party MP Andrew Mitchell said the allegations were so serious because they flew in the face of successive assurances given by ministers that the UK was not a participant in the Saudi war against Yemen, and was only providing general logistical support to Riyadh.

“These serious allegations that are authoritative and credible, and fly in the face of assurances that have been given from the despatch box on countless occasions,” Mitchell told the Commons.

The UK is known to be close to the Saudi military but denies it is involved in operations against the Houthis in Yemen.

A number of Western countries, the US and Britain in particular, are accused of being complicit in the ongoing aggression in Yemen as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and intelligence assistance.

The Saudi-led war has taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that over 22 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, while 8.4 million are threatened by severe hunger.

According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating campaign on March 26, 2015, with the aim of bringing a former government to power and crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement. Riyadh has failed to fulfill its objectives.

March 28, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

British RAF servicing Saudi jets bombing civilians in Yemen – UK armed forces minister

RT | March 18, 2019

Britain is providing “engineering support” for UK-supplied aircraft operated by the Royal Saudi Air Force, responsible for killing innocent people in Yemen, a British government minister has revealed.

Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster was responding to a question in parliament from Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, on military personnel seconded to BAE Systems in Saudi Arabia, when he admitted that the RAF have provided engineering and “generic training” to the Saudi Air Force involved in the bombing of Yemen.

“RAF personnel on secondment to BAE Systems in Saudi Arabia have provided routine engineering support for UK-supplied aircraft operated by the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF), including aircraft engaged in military operations in Yemen.”

Lancaster insisted UK personnel were not involved in the loading of weapons for operational sorties, in response to Russell-Moyle’s claim that the “British support keeps Saudi’s air war going.”

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against the Arms Trade has branded the revelation “shocking but not surprising,” arguing that UK military personnel “should not be servicing Saudi jets or supporting the Saudi armed forces.”

It’s not just the UK that has been widely criticised for being party to the Saudi-led coalition’s bombardment of Yemen.

In December, the US Pentagon revealed that they were having to claw back $331 million of taxpayer-subsidized money gifted to Saudi Arabia and the UAE over a three-year period, when it ‘accidentally’ refueled their aircraft for free during their war on Yemen.

In November, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry accused the UK government of having “blood on its hands” after admitting that the RAF had trained over a hundred Saudi pilots in the past ten years.

Coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have relentlessly bombed Yemen since 2015 in an effort to oust the Houthi rebels controlling the capital city of Sanaa.

They have reportedly targeted hospitals and other civilian infrastructure, leading to a massive cholera outbreak, and upwards of 60,000 people are believed to have died in the conflict since 2016 – with a further 85,000 estimated dead from famine and malnutrition.

Half of Yemen’s population relies on food aid to survive, placing them in immediate danger of starving to death after coalition forces blockaded the port city of Hodeidah last year.

March 18, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Arms Sales to Middle East Have Increased Dramatically: US Top Exporter

Al-Manar | February 11, 2019

Arms flows to the Middle East have increased by 87 percent over the past five years and now account for more than a third of the global trade, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report on Sunday.

The defense think-tank’s annual survey showed that Saudi Arabia became the world’s top arms importer in 2014-18, with an increase of 192 percent over the preceding five years. Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq also ranked in the top 10 list of global arms buyers. Sipri measures the volume of deliveries of arms, not the dollar value of deals. The volume of deliveries to each country tends to fluctuate, so it presents data in five-year periods that offer a more stable indication of trends.

The new report shows how the United States and European nations sell jets, jeeps and other gear that is used in controversial wars in Yemen and beyond, SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman told Middle East Eye.

“Weapons from the US, the UK and France are in high demand in the Gulf, where conflicts and tensions are rife. Russia, France and Germany dramatically increased their arms sales to Egypt in the past five years,” Wezeman said.

The growth in Middle Eastern imports was in part driven by the need to replace military gear that was deployed and destroyed in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya, he said, adding that it was also driven by political tensions and a regional arms race.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and ‘Israel’ are readying for a potential conflict with Iran, the 12-page report said. Also, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and others have been involved in a diplomatic crisis with Qatar since 2017.

In 2014-18, Saudi Arabia received 94 combat jets fitted with cruise missiles and other guided weapons from the US and Britain.

Over the next five years, it is set to get 98 more jets, 83 tanks and defensive missile systems from the US, 737 armored vehicles from Canada, five frigates from Spain, and Ukrainian short-range ballistic missiles.

In 2014-18, the UAE received missile defense systems, short-range ballistic missiles and about 1,700 armored personnel carriers from the US as well as three Corvettes from France, the report says.

Qatari weapons imports increased by 225 percent over the period, including German tanks, French combat aircraft and Chinese short-range ballistic missiles. It is set to receive 93 combat aircraft from the US, France and Britain and four frigates from Italy.

Iran, which is under a UN arms embargo, accounted for just 0.9 percent of Middle Eastern imports.

For Wezeman, “the gap is widening” between Iran and its foes across the Gulf, which have obtained more advanced weapons.

US remains top arms seller

The US has retained its position as the world’s top arms seller. Its exports grew by 29 percent over the past five years, with more than half of its shipments (52 percent) going to customers in the Middle East.

British sales grew by 5.9 percent over the same period. A total of 59 percent of UK arms deliveries went to the Middle East – most of it combat aircraft destined for Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Arming governments in the turbulent Middle East is increasingly controversial in the West, said Patrick Wilcken, an arms control specialist with Amnesty International, a UK-based rights watchdog.

He pointed to cases where sales are merited – such as re-tooling Iraq’s army after it lost much of its hardware and territory in the ISIL group’s attack in 2014.

Still, Western arms more often end up being used in human rights abuses, he said, pointing to Egypt’s crackdown on political opponents, Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

He blasted the “hypocrisy” of Western governments not following their own rules by continuing to supply authoritarian leaders who commit wartime abuses or violations against their own people.

In addition, “a critical problem for the region is the emergence of armed groups like ISIL”, Wilcken told MEE.

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ansarullah: UK’s Hunt distorting terms of Hudaydah ceasefire deal

Press TV – March 5, 2019

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has censured recent comments by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on the control of Hudaydah, saying the top UK diplomat is distorting the terms of a UN-mediated ceasefire deal reached between the Yemeni warring sides in Sweden over the strategic Red Sea port city.

During a visit to Yemen on Sunday, Hunt — whose country has been a major supporter of the deadly Saudi-led war on Yemen — claimed that Hudaydah “was supposed to be cleared of militia and left under neutral control by the beginning of January.”

Mohammed Abdul-Salam, a spokesman for the Houthi movement, rejected the comments in a statement released on Monday, stressing that the Hudaydah truce had never mentioned handing over the port city to a “neutral” party.

The ceasefire, he added, had stipulated that after the withdrawal of the warring sides, Hudaydah would be patrolled by an unspecified “local force” with UN observers.

“We are prepared to carry out the redeployment in the first step, but the other party refused because they do not want to expose the aggression mercenaries and to lose the pretexts and justifications for continuing the aggression on the West Coast,” Abdul-Salam said.

Representatives from the Houthi movement and the Riyadh-sponsored government of the ex-president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, agreed to cease fighting in Hudaydah during peace talks in Sweden last December.

Under the agreement, the rival parties also agreed to the withdrawal of their troops and the deployment of UN monitors to the port city, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.

However, the Houthis – who control Hudaydah — have repeatedly complained about ceasefire breaches by the Saudi-backed side.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Houthi spokesman said that the countries, which are involved in the bloody military campaign against Yemen, especially Britain are the ones violating the Hudaydah truce.

He also said the UN special envoy for Yemen – a British national — was relying on the UK in dealing with the Yemen issue.

“Martin Griffith appears not to be an envoy of the United Nations, but an English envoy representing Britain, especially after the British Foreign Office has made its objectives and position clear, which is in line with the obstruction of the agreement,” the Houthi official added.

“Britain has clearly revealed that it manages the process of blocking the agreement through its envoy to Yemen under the cover of the United Nations,” he pointed out.

Hudaydah, the entry point for most of Yemen’s commercial goods and vital aid, has seen some of the heaviest fighting in the four-year Saudi war.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE launched the offensive against Hudaydah in June 2018, but they have faced strong resistance put up by Yemeni armed forces – led by the Houthis — and the city’s residents.

The Saudi-led coalition claims that the Houthis are using the port for weapons delivery, an allegation rejected by the fighters.

The UK has licensed over £4.7 billion worth of arms exports, including missiles and fighter jets, to Riyadh since the Saudi regime and its allies launched a broader military campaign against Yemen in early 2015.

Britain has also been providing combat intelligence and target data to Saudi Arabia over the course of the war.

March 5, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Sayyed Houthi: Arab Media Campaigns against Hezbollah Result of Normalization with ‘Israel’

Al-Manar | March 3, 2019

The leader of the Houthi Ansarullah revolutionary movement, Sayyed Abdul Malik al- Houthi, on Sunday stressed that the Warsaw conference was a mere announcement of normalizing ties between some Arab regimes and the Zionist entity at the expense of the Palestinian cause.

Sayyed Houthi stressed rejection of this normalization, considering that the Zionist occupation in any Arab area targets the entire Umma.

The Zion-American schemes aim at creating a new enemy for the Arabs he said, adding that media campaigns launched by some Arab regimes against Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance is the direct result of normalizing ties with the Israeli entity.

Stressing that the Zionist entity is directly involved in the aggression on Yemen, Sayyed Al-Houthi reiterated the Yemeni’s support to the major causes of the Umma.

Yemen has been since March 25, 2015 under aggression by the Saudi-led coalition, which also includes UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Kuwait, in a bid to restore power to fugitive former president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been injured and martyred in Saudi-led strikes, with the vast majority of them being civilians.

However, the allied forces of the Yemeni Army and popular committees established by Ansarullah revolutionaries have been heroically confronting the aggression with all means.

March 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Forget Venezuela: 80% of Yemenis Require Urgent Humanitarian Aid, Up 30%

Geopolitics Alert – February 27, 2019

Sana’a – While the world focuses on Venezuela to validate coup threats, the manmade humanitarian situation in Yemen continues deteriorating. In fact, the very country claiming to help alleviate Venezuelan suffering, the United States, has played an active and intentional role in creating the crisis in Yemen.

According to a recent report from ReliefWeb, 80% of Yemen’s entire population require urgent humanitarian assistance. This figure is up 30% from last year. That means out of an estimated population of 30.5 million, 24.1 million require immediate aid for survival.

Facing starvation and famine due to the blockade, 20.1 million need urgent food assistance. Healthcare is also a vital concern. 19.7 million Yemenis lack basic access to doctors and lifesaving medicines. To top it off, 17.8 million don’t even have proper water, sanitation, and other supplies for keeping up with basic hygiene. By looking at these numbers, it’s easy to see that a majority of Yemenis need urgent assistance in all three areas.

This is a major problem because the lack of access to clean water and sanitation equipment is directly responsible for the fatal spread of cholera. The UN expects to record up to 350,000 cases of cholera in 2019. In 2017, one million were infected with the preventable illness while several thousand died.

Instead of putting forth any efforts to lift the US-enforced and Saudi-led blockade and siege of Yemen, the UN has appealed for $4.2 billion to meet humanitarian needs.

Famine and Disease as a Weapon of War

The blockade, which is technically illegal under international law, restricts all land, sea, and air imports and exports. It also prohibits the free flow of human movement — which has effectively turned Yemen into an open-air prison. This travel ban, combined with the country’s failing healthcare system, had contributed to the death of over 27 thousand civilians as of August of 2018. It has also caused the death of over 247,000 children who are particularly vulnerable to starvation and disease.

But the starvation, disease, and crumbling healthcare system aren’t merely a byproduct of the blockade: they’re an intentional consequence.

According to a report Geopolitics Alert received from the Republic of Yemen, the US-backed Saudi-led coalition has continued targeting civilian infrastructure vital for sustaining life.

During the month of December alone, Saudi coalition warplanes attacked 68 water tanks and pumps, 222 agricultural fields, four markets, 132 livestock, four food warehouses, and much more. To top it off, coalition airstrikes also targeted 190 businesses and factories as well as airports, seaports, boats, and gas stations.

These are direct attacks on Yemen’s food and water supply.

The report also states that hundreds of workers such as fishermen, farmers, and factory workers in Hodeidah province have become unemployed during the month of December due to such attacks on their source of income. The Saudi coalition also detonates cluster munitions and chemical weapons over agricultural fields to further contaminate the land.

The coalition airstrikes on vital civilian infrastructure make it clear that starvation and disease from the blockade are intended weapons of war.

This MintPress documentary examines the gruesome attacks on fishermen who recall horrors of rape and torture after being captured by Saudi coalition warships.

February 27, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Video, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Telling Only Part of the Story of Jihad

By Daniel LAZARE | Consortium News | February 21, 2019

A recent CNN report about U.S. military materiel finding its way into Al Qaeda hands in Yemen might have been a valuable addition to Americans’ knowledge of terrorism.

Entitled “Sold to an ally, lost to an enemy,” the 10-minute segment, broadcast on Feb. 4, featured rising CNN star Nima Elbagir cruising past sand-colored “Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected” armored vehicles, or MRAPs, lining a Yemeni highway.

“It’s absolutely incredible,” she says. “And this is not under the control of [Saudi-led] coalition forces. This is in the command of militias, which is expressly forbidden by the arms sales agreements with the U.S.”

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” she adds. “CNN was told by coalition sources that a deadlier U.S. weapons system, the TOW missile, was airdropped in 2015 by Saudi Arabia to Yemeni fighters, an air drop that was proudly proclaimed across Saudi backed media channels.” The TOWs were dropped into Al Qaeda-controlled territory, according to CNN. But when Elbagir tries to find out more, the local coalition-backed government chases her and her crew out of town.

U.S.-made TOWs in the hands of Al Qaeda? Elbagir is an effective on-screen presence. But this is an old story, which the cable network has long soft-pedaled.

In the early days of the Syrian War, Western media was reluctant to acknowledge that the forces arrayed against the Assad regime included Al Qaeda. In those days, the opposition was widely portrayed as a belated ripple effect of the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings elsewhere in the region.

However, in April-May 2015, right around the time that the Saudis were air-dropping TOWs into Yemen, they were also supplying the same optically-guided, high-tech missiles to pro-Al Qaeda forces in Syria’s northern Idlib province. Rebel leaders were exultant as they drove back Syrian government troops. TOWs “flipped the balance,” one said, while another declared: “I would put the advances down to one word – TOW.”

CNN reported that story very differently. From rebel-held territory, CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh described the missiles as a “possible game-changer … that may finally be wearing down the less popular side of the Shia-Sunni divide.” He conceded it wasn’t all good news: “A major downside for Washington at least, is that the often-victorious rebels, the Nusra Front, are Al Qaeda. But while the winners for now are America’s enemies, the fast-changing ground in Syria may cause to happen what the Obama administration has long sought and preached, and that’s changing the calculus of the Assad regime.”

Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The New York Times all reacted the same way, furrowing their brows at the news that Al Qaeda was gaining, but expressing measured relief that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was at last on the ropes.

But now that Elbagir is sounding the alarm about TOWs in Yemen, CNN would do well to acknowledge that it has been distinctly more blasé in the past about TOWs in the hands of al Qaeda.

The network appears unwilling to go where Washington’s pro-war foreign-policy establishment doesn’t want it to go. Elbagir shouldn’t be shocked to learn that U.S. allies are consorting with Yemeni terrorists.

U.S. History with Holy Warriors

What CNN producers and correspondents either don’t know or fail to mention is that Washington has a long history of supporting jihad. As Ian Johnson notes in “A Mosque in Munich” (2010), the policy was mentioned by President Dwight Eisenhower, who was eager, according to White House memos, “to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect” in his talks with Muslim leaders about the Cold War Communist menace.” [See “How U.S. Allies Aid Al Qaeda in Syria,” Consortium News, Aug. 4, 2015.]

Britain had been involved with Islamists at least as far back as 1925 when it helped establish the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and both the U.S. and Britain worked with Islamists in the 1953 coup in Iran, according to Robert Dreyfus in “Devil’s Game” (2006).

By the 1980s a growing Islamist revolt against a left-leaning, pro-Soviet government in Afghanistan brought U.S. support. In mid-1979, President Jimmy Carter and his national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, armed the Afghan mujahideen — not at first to drive the Soviets out, but to lure them in. Brzezinski intended to deal Moscow a Vietnam-sized blow, as he put it in a 1998 interview.

Meanwhile, a few months after the U.S. armed the mujahideen, the Saudis were deeply shaken when Islamist extremists seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca and called for the overthrow of the royal family. While Saudi Arabia has been keen to repress jihadism at home, it has been a major supporter of Sunni extremists in the region, particularly to battle the Shi‘ite regime that came to power in Tehran, also in 1979.

Since then, the U.S. has made use of jihad, either directly or indirectly, with the Gulf oil monarchies or Pakistan’s notoriously pro-Islamist Inter-Services Intelligence agency. U.S. backing for the Afghan mujahideen helped turn Osama bin Laden into a hero for some young Saudis and other Sunnis, while the training camp he established in the Afghan countryside drew jihadists from across the region.

U.S. backing for Alija Izetbegovic’s Islamist government in Bosnia-Herzegovina brought al-Qaeda to the Balkans, while U.S.-Saudi support for Islamist militants in the Second Chechen War of 1999-2000 enabled it to establish a base of operations there.

Downplaying Al Qaeda

Just six years after 9/11, according to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the U.S. downplayed the fight against Al Qaeda to rein in Iran  – a policy, Hersh wrote, that had the effect of “bolstering … Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

Under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, policy toward Al-Qaeda turned even more curious. In March 2011, she devoted nearly two weeks to persuading Qatar, the UAE and Jordan to join the air war against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, only to stand by and watch as Qatar then poured hundreds of millions of dollars of aid into the hands of Islamist militias that were spreading anarchy from one end of the country to the other.  The Obama administration thought of remonstrating with Qatar, but didn’t in the end.

Much the same happened in Syria where, by early 2012, Clinton was organizing a “Friends of Syria” group that soon began channeling military aid to Islamist forces waging war against Christians, Alawites, secularists and others backing Assad. By August 2012, the Defense Intelligence Agency reported that “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the [anti-Assad] insurgency”; that the West, Turkey, and the Gulf states supported it regardless; that the rebels’ goal was to establish “a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria,” and that “this is exactly what the supporting powers want in order to isolate the Syrian regime….”

Biden Speaks Out

Two years after that, Vice President Joe Biden declared at Harvard’s Kennedy School:

“Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria… The Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. what were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of military weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except the people who were being supplied were al Nusra and al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.” (Quote starts at 53:25.)

The fact that Obama ordered the vice president to apologize to the Saudis, the UAE and Turkey for his comments provided back-handed confirmation that they were true. When TOWs turned up in the hands of pro-Qaeda rebels in Syria the following spring, all a senior administration official would say was: “It’s not something we would refrain from raising with our partners.”

It was obvious that Al Qaeda would be a prime beneficiary of Saudi intervention in Yemen from the start. Tying down the Houthis — “Al Qaeda’s most determined foe,” according to the Times — gave it space to blossom and grow. Where the State Department said it had up to 4,000 members as of 2015, a UN report put its membership at between 6,000 and 7,000 three years later, an increase of 50 to 75 percent or more.

In early 2017, the International Crisis Group found that Al Qaeda was “thriving in an environment of state collapse, growing sectarianism, shifting alliances, security vacuums and a burgeoning war economy.”

In Yemen, Al Qaeda “has regularly fought alongside Saudi-led coalition forces in … Aden and other parts of the south, including Taiz, indirectly obtaining weapons from them,” the ICG added. “… In northern Yemen … the [Saudi-led] coalition has engaged in tacit alliances with AQAP fighters, or at least turned a blind eye to them, as long as they have assisted in attacking the common enemy.”

In May 2016, a PBS documentary showed Al Qaeda members fighting side by side with UAE forces near Taiz. (See “The Secret Behind the Yemen War,” Consortium News, May 7, 2016.)

Last August, an Associated Press investigative team found that the Saudi-led coalition had cut secret deals with Al Qaeda fighters, “paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment, and wads of looted cash.” Saudi-backed militias “actively recruit Al Qaeda militants,” the AP team added, “… because they’re considered exceptional fighters” and also supply them with armored trucks.

If it’s not news that U.S. allies are providing pro-Al Qaeda forces with U.S.-made equipment, why is CNN pretending that it is? One reason is that it feels free to criticize the war and all that goes with it now that the growing human catastrophe in Yemen is turning into a major embarrassment for the U.S. Another is that criticizing the U.S. for failing to rein in its allies earns it points with viewers by making it seem tough and independent, even though the opposite is the case.

Then there’s Trump, with whom CNN has been at war since the moment he was elected. Trump’s Dec. 19 decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria thus presented the network with a double win because it allowed it to rail against the pullout as “bizarre” and a “win for Moscow” while complaining at the same time about administration policy in Yemen. Trump is at fault, it seems, when he pulls out and when he stays in.

In either instance, CNN gets to ride the high horse as it blasts away at the chief executive that corporate outlets most love to hate. Maybe Elbagir should have given her exposé a different title: “Why arming homicidal maniacs is bad news in one country but OK in another.”

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walter Jones and the Vote to End US War on Yemen

By Ron Paul | February 18, 2019

In a fitting legacy for my friend Walter Jones, Jr. who passed away last week, the US House made history by voting in favor of H.J.Res. 37, a resolution “Directing the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.” As George O’Neill wrote in the American Conservative magazine this week, the historic 248-177 victory for a bill demanding the end of the US participation in the nearly five year Saudi war of aggression “reflects how many hearts and minds were influenced by the late Congressman’s tireless efforts.”

Walter Jones did not care who controlled Congress. He was happy to join forces with any Member to end the senseless US global military empire, which sends thousands of young men and women off to patrol foreign borders, overthrow foreign governments, and needlessly put themselves at risk in missions that have nothing to do with the safety and security of the United States.

US participation in the Saudi war on Yemen is a classic example of the abuse of the US military that made Walter Jones most angry. When the Saudis decided in 2015 that they wanted their puppet to be Yemen’s president, they launched a brutal and inhuman war that many call the worst humanitarian disaster of our time. Millions face starvation as Saudi bombs and US sanctions combine to create a hell on earth that is unrelated in any way to US national security.

Why this ongoing support for Saudi death and destruction in Yemen? Washington’s neocons have successfully promoted the lie that the Saudi attack on Yemen is all about preventing Iran from gaining more strength in the Middle East. Ironically it was the neocon-backed US attack on Iraq in 2003 that provided the biggest boost for Iranian influence in the region. Now, after Iraq’s “liberation,” Baghdad’s ties to Tehran are closer than ever.

Meanwhile, who exactly are we supporting in Yemen? Even CNN, normally a big backer of US military actions overseas, has noticed something funny about US participation in the Saudi war on Yemen. As a CNN investigation found this month, “Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners have transferred American-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters, hardline Salafi militias, and other factions waging war in Yemen, in violation of their agreements with the United States.” Does that sound like we are on the side of the “good guys” in this battle? We are helping the Saudis arm al-Qaeda? Is this really a smart move?

So we should be encouraged that Walter Jones’ legacy is being honored in the House vote to end the US participation in the Yemen war. While US “humanitarian” aid is being used as a weapon for regime change in Venezuela, the warmongers in Washington have never lifted a finger to help those suffering from a real genocide in Yemen.

If the Yemen War Powers resolution passes the Senate, which is likely, Congress will have provoked the first veto from President Trump. Such a veto should not discourage us. Even the strongest army cannot stop an idea whose time has come. Ending senseless US wars is an idea whose time has come. We can thank Walter Jones for his role in making it so.

February 18, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Israel training mercenaries for Yemen war in UAE camps in Negev: Haaretz

Press TV – February 16, 2019

Israel’s leading daily Haaretz says Tel Aviv is a partner to the Saudi war on Yemen and is “reaping the profits” from its partnership in the brutal aggression.

Haaretz revealed that Israeli officers are training foreign mercenaries, led by the Colombians and Nepalese, in UAE-funded camps situated in the Negev Desert.

Quoting sources in a US House Intelligence Committee, the report said the mercenaries have been recruited by Mohammed Dahlan, security adviser to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Dahlan had “visited these camps on more than one occasion to check the progress of preparations and training received by mercenaries, under the personal supervision of the Israeli occupation army officers,” the report said.

The mercenaries, it added, later took part in the Saudi offensive against the port city of Hudaydah and other conflict zones in Yemen.

American sources were cited as saying that Israel has also sold bombs and missiles to Saudi Arabia, some of which are banned.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE launched the devastating military campaign against Yemen to bring the Riyadh-backed former government back to power. The invaders have, however, failed to achieve their objective in the face of Yemeni resistance.

“Israeli cyber companies, gun traders, terror-warfare instructors and even paid hit men operated by an Israeli-owned company are partners to the war in Yemen,” Haaretz said.

It further cited reports suggesting Israeli companies’ relations with Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Israeli software firm NSO Group is suspected of selling Riyadh Pegasus spyware accused of helping trace Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed by a hit squad inside kingdom’s Istanbul consulate last October.

Security firm AGT International, which is owned by an Israeli businessman, won in 2007 a $6 billion bid to set up surveillance systems in Abu Dhabi.

Spearhead Operations Group, another company set up by Israeli Avraham Golan, is also responsible for assassinations in Yemen.

Last October, Golan told BuzzFeed media company that there was a plan for targeted assassinations in Yemen. “I ran it. We did it. The plan was under the UAE auspices as part of the Arab coalition,” he said.

Haaretz also referred to some reports that say Israel has sold Saudi Arabia combat drones and intends to sell the kingdom Iron Dome missile systems following US-mediated secret meetings in Washington.

Israel has recently been working behind the scenes to establish formal contact with Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Critics say Saudi Arabia’s flirtation with Israel will undermine global efforts to isolate Tel Aviv and harm the Palestinian cause.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment