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Iran has no military presence in region, only supplies defense know-how: Armed Forces spokesman

Press TV – September 23, 2020

Iran has only provided Yemen with the know-how in the defense sector, says the spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces, dismissing claims about the Islamic Republic’s military presence and ‘intervention’ in the region.

“We provided them (Yemenis) with the technical experiences in the defense sector. They have learned how to produce missiles, drones and weapons in Yemen on their own,” Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said in a televised program on Tuesday.

He emphasized that Iran has not supplied Yemen with missiles. “We have shared our experience and knowledge with the Yemeni people.”

Unlike what the enemy is trying to portray, Yemenis are a very cultured and smart people who have managed to manufacture missiles and the most advanced drones at the shortest possible time while they have also made great headway in the electronic warfare, the Iranian military official said.

Shekarchi once again reiterated that Iran has no plan to have military presence anywhere and added that the country merely has “spiritual and advisory presence” in the region.

“Countries of the resistance front have armies and forces themselves. We provide them with advisory help. In order to share our experience with the people of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, our skilled forces go there and assist them, but this is the people and armies of these countries who stand against the enemies in practice.”

He said Iran would provide whatever help it can for any country standing against the Israeli regime and the United States.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh earlier this month slammed as “baseless” a report published by the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) alleging that Tehran has been sending arms to war-torn Yemen.

“Placing Iran’s name next to those supplying weapons to the Saudi coalition against Yemen is completely wrong,” Khatibzadeh said.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen with the help of its regional allies and largely assisted by Western-supplied weapons which have been indiscriminately used against Yemeni civilians.

Despite numerous bids to stop arms sales, top Western arms suppliers such as the United States, Britain, Canada, France and Germany have pushed through with lethal weapons shipments to the oil-rich kingdom.

According to a CNN investigation released in October 2019, the American-made weapons, supplied to Washington’s allies involved in the war on Yemen, end up in the hands of US-backed militants fighting against each other in the impoverished state.

The report found that American military hardware has been distributed to militant groups in Yemen, including the southern separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), al-Qaeda-linked militants and hardline Salafi militias.

September 23, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Rights groups: UAE hired 450 mercenaries to carry out assassinations in Yemen

UAE mercenaries in Yemen [Twitter]

UAE mercenaries in Yemen [Twitter]
MEMO | September 19, 2020

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has hired thousands of mercenaries and deployed 450 of them in Yemen to carry out high-profile assassinations, the International Institute for Rights and Development, and the Rights Radar Foundation revealed on Thursday.

These remarks came in a statement that the International Institute for Rights and Development and the Rights Radar Foundation read during the 45th session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council held in Geneva.

“The International Institute for Rights and Development and Rights Radar Foundation are deeply concerned about the escalation of assassination cases in Yemen by the mercenaries,” the statement read.

It added:

The UAE hired American mercenaries to carry out high-profile assassinations in Yemen. They conducted several operations in Aden and several cities, resulting in the assassinations of dozens of politicians and public figures during the past five years of conflict in Yemen.

According to the statement: “Among 30,000 mercenaries from four Latin American countries hired by the UAE, at least 450 mercenaries have been deployed to Yemen after they received training by US trainers.”

“They take advantage of the UN’s disregard for their human rights abuses in Yemen to continue their crimes with no accountability.”

In the statement, the rights groups confirmed that: “Over 80 per cent of Yemeni politicians, lawmakers and media professionals have been displaced locally or globally, seeking safety as they become potential targets for assassination.”

The rights groups warned that “the right to life in Yemen is in extreme danger,” stressing that the situation: “Needs the UN to offer effective action not just kind words. Enough is enough.”

September 19, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Democrats not serious to stop US weapons sales to the Saudis: Former US diplomat

Press TV – September 18, 2020

The Democrats are not serious to put down the US sales of weapons to the Saudis and to Israel and other countries, says J. Michael Springmann, a former US diplomat in Saudi Arabia.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s top aides have been questioned by Congress over President Donald Trump’s dismissal of a top administration official while he was investigating billions of dollars of arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Top aides to Pompeo went before a congressional panel on Wednesday to defend Trump’s decision to fire former Department of State Inspector General Steve Linick.

Springmann said, “There are two points to keep in mind when considering the House of Representatives’ investigation of the firing of Steve Linick, the former State Department Inspector General, back in May of this year.”

“The first, of course, is that Linick was probing the sale of huge amounts of weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, and other issues. Apparently, it was alleged that Secretary of State Pompeo and his wife used government officials to do personal things for them. I’m not sure what that is and there are no specifics. Linick claimed he had been bullied when he was asking questions, and wanted answers and not getting them. And I think there’s something to that,” he told Press TV in an interview on Friday.

“The other issue, of course, is that this is an election year. In a bit more than a month and a half, we have general elections for president and a third of the Senate and all of the House of Representatives. So Elliot Engel, the Democrat, who’s been doing most of the questioning of Pompeo, was also one of the Democrats who led the impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives against Donald Trump. Eliot Engel of course has lost his seat in Congress. He lost in a primary, and he will be on his way out. And in the primary, the people running against him charged him with taking more money from defense contractors than 144 Republicans in the House of Representatives. So, I think that Engel is playing politics. He’s a strong supporter of Israel and he is trying to do his very best to get Donald Trump out of office,” said Springmann who is based in Washington.

“So I think it’s a nasty combination of events, with Trump trying to sell more weapons to the Saudis than they need, and also Engel playing politics for all he’s worth. The real issue is that the Democrats all have defense contractors in their districts, or most of them I guess, or they get money from defense contractors so that when push comes to shove, the Democrats don’t really fight against this. Yes, they passed a resolution in the House of Representatives and tried to get the same resolution through the Republican-controlled Senate, but they didn’t have the votes to overcome Donald Trump’s veto,” he added.

“So if the Democrats were really serious, they would reject the money from the defense contractors and unite to put down the sales of weapons to the Saudis and to Israel and other countries that don’t need them but use them to harm their neighbors. Unfortunately, the Democrats are not united enough because they’re too busy playing politics and too busy taking the money from defense contractors to produce results,” he stated.

“In sum, we need to look at all sides of the matter and not just listen to Elliot Engel,” he concluded.

In May, Trump abruptly fired Linick from his position as the State watchdog, while he was probing the administration’s last year’s decision to allow $8 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Jordan despite congressional opposition.

Congress had objected to the transactions, warning that providing the Saudis with more weapons could contribute to the human catastrophe in war-torn Yemen, where the Kingdom has been waging a devastating war for more than five years.

An estimated 100,000 people have lost their lives in the Saudi war.

Congress had also expressed concern that the military transaction would possibly leave US officials vulnerable to war crimes charges.

“The news of Inspector General Linick’s firing did come as a surprise… Any time one is terminated, it naturally will raise some questions,” said Representative Michael McCaul, the committee’s top Republican.

Linick, who was responsible for preventing government waste, fraud and abuse, was also investigating allegations that Pompeo and his wife misused government resources by having department staff handle personal matters.

Representative Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee asked if Linick was fired “because he was getting closer and closer to matters that were embarrassing for Mr Pompeo and his family.”

September 18, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

2,000 Days Since It Began, the War in Yemen Is Poised To Turn Even More Deadly

By Ahmed Abdulkareem | MintPress News | September 18, 2020

Another grim milestone has just passed in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia’s war against the poorest country in the Middle East reached its two-thousandth day. Ostensibly, the war was launched to restore President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to power after he was ousted following Houthi-led popular protests amid the Arab Spring.

Realistically, the war has become little more than a pretext to control Yemen’s strategic sites and natural wealth. Saudi Arabia and the UAE now occupy entire southern provinces from al-Mahara to the Bab al-Mandab Strait. Somehow, though, they have not yet allowed Haddi and his old guard to return.

Grim statistics

The numbers are astonishing. Since 2015, Saudi-led coalition warplanes have pounded the country with over 250,000 airstrikes. Seventy percent of those have hit civilian targets, killing more than 100,000 people since January 2016, according to a report by the Armed Conflict and Location Event Data Project (ACLED). Those numbers do not include those who have died in the humanitarian disasters caused by the war, particularly starvation and thousands of tons of weapons, most often supplied by the United States, have been dropped on hospitals, schools, markets, mosques, farms, factories, bridges, and power and water treatment plants.

Unexploded ordnance has been left scattered across populated areas, particularly in the urban areas of Sana’a, Sadaa, Hodeida, Hajjah, Marib, and al-Jawf, and have left the country one of the most heavily contaminated in the world.

As the war officially passes its two-thousandth day, the Eye of Humanity Center for Rights and Development, a Yemeni advocacy group, issued a report on where some of the estimated 600,000 bombs have landed. According to the non-governmental organization, those attacks have destroyed more than 21 economically-vital facilities like factories, food storage facilities, fishing boats, markets, and food, and fuel tankers and have damaged 9,000 pieces of critical infrastructure, including 15 airports, 16 seaports, 304 electrical stations, 2,098 tanks and water pumps, and 4,200 roads and bridges. At least 576,528 public service facilities, including more than 1,000 schools, 6,732 agricultural fields, and 1,375 mosques have been destroyed or damaged.

The blockade and bombing of civilian infrastructure, particularly hospitals, have also crippled Yemen’s health system, leaving it unable to deal with even the basic public health needs. Eye of Humanity reports that the coalition has destroyed 389 hospitals and health centers while most of the country’s estimated 300 remaining facilities are either closed or barely functioning as COVID-19 spreads through the country like wildfire.

Household food insecurity now hovers at over 70 percent, with fifty percent of rural households and 20 percent of urban households now food insecure. Almost one-third of Yemenis do not have enough food to satisfy basic nutritional needs. Underweight and stunted children have become a regular sight, especially among holdouts in rural areas.

This is Yemen after 2,000 days of war. A dirty war and a brutal siege on a forgotten people subsisting in unlivable conditions. If one is able to dodge death from war, starvation, and COVID-19, they face unprecedented levels of disease. Yemen’s average life expectancy now hovers at around 66, one of the lowest in the world. The Saudi blockade has imposed tight control over all aspects of life, severely restricting not only the movement of aid and people but also of UN flights. Last week, both the Ministry of Transportation and the General Authority of Civil Aviation and Meteorology announced that Sana’a International Airport was no longer equipped to receive the official airplane of UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffith.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is still preventing fuel tankers from delivering much-needed fuel to Yemen’s hospitals, water pumps, bakeries, cleaning trucks, and gas stations, plunging it, particularly northern districts, into a fuel crisis. The blockade has not only forced thousands to wait for days in lines as far as the eye can see but has forced many facilities to shut down altogether. All while Saudi Arabia and its local militias plunder crude oil in Marib, Shabwah, and Hadramout.

After normalization, the UAE steps up attacks

For many Yemenis, there is little reason for optimism entering what feels like the third phase of the war against their country, as Israel ostensibly enters the fray. They believe that the situation will escalate as a result of normalization between the UAE and Israel, and indeed, Tel Aviv’s entrance into the already convoluted theater appears to have already opened the door for further escalation.

Since normalization, UAE warplanes have intensified airstrikes against populated areas throughout the country’s northern provinces. In Sana’a, approximately 20 aerial attacks hit densely populated neighborhoods and brazenly targeted the Sana’a Airport, a military engineering camp, and a poultry farm, among other targets.

UAE warplanes are believed by locals to be receiving logistical support by Israel, although no evidence has yet surfaced yet to substantiate those fears. In a stark departure from the UAE’s more conciliatory tone in Yemen over the past year, UAE aircraft have carried out more than 100 airstrikes since August 13, when Trump announced the normalization between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv. They also pounded the oil-rich province of Marib, located east the country, where UAE jets dropped more than 300 bombs targeting transport trucks, fuel stations, homes, and farms. Advanced military sites belonging to the Ansar Allah-led were also targeted.

Reinforcing the hopelessness is that the United States continues to neglect Yemen’s suffering, despite its designation by the United Nations calling it the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Even with the 2020 election looming and President Donald Trump leaning heavily into his foreign policy accomplishments, the U.S. role in Yemen has been noticeably absent from the discussion. Biden has been no better, leaving little hope that the December elections could bring an end to the war.

Half-hearted attempts at peace

There are efforts underway to bring some semblance of peace to Yemen by parties in both Qatar and Oman. Secret negotiations have been held in Sana’a, but they seem aimed at stopping the Houthi advance in Marib and not the war in general.

In reality, international voices are loudest when the war begins to affect Saudi Arabia, as they were last September when Saudi oil facilities were attacked, or when a Houthi advance threatens the Saudi border as it did in August of 2019 when an operation captured 4,000 square kilometers of Saudi territory in Najran.

Qatari and Omani efforts are not the only ones on the ground. The United Nations envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is leading other efforts aimed at stopping the Houthi advance in Marib. Griffiths said during a recent Security Council session that, “The situation in Marib is of concern. Military shifts in Marib have ripple effects on conflict dynamics. If Marib falls, it’d undermine prospects of convening an inclusive political process that brings about a transition based on partnership and plurality.”

Neither the efforts in Qatar nor those by the UN even purport to be focused on bringing an end to the war or mitigating the blockade, instead, they seem only concerned with assuring the Coalition retains its competitive advantage.

2,000 days of war, in fact, have proven an insufficient term to bring peace to the war-torn country. With the exception of a fragile ceasefire in Hodeida and a small number of prisoner releases, negotiations between the two sides, even on minor issues, often reach a dead end. Numerous negotiations between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia have failed, including UN-brokered peace talks in Switzerland last year.

The Houthis grow stronger

When the war began over five years ago, Saudi leaders promised a decisive victory in a matter of weeks, one or two months at most. Yet the Houthis remain steadfast in their resistance and, in fact, have grown even more powerful leading to consternation in the Kingdom, with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz dismissing the leader of the Coalition forces Fahd bin Turki and a number of senior officers following a series of recent Saudi battlefield failures.

On Thursday, Houthi forces carried out drone strikes against the al-Abha Airport in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern province of Asir. The operation was the fifth against the airport and a sign that half of a decade of war has done little to bring security to the Kingdom.

In fact, the Houthis now seem intent on moving the frontline into Saudi Arabia and UAE territory and have even promised retaliatory action against Israel should they continue to escalate their involvement in the war. According to Houthi spokesman Mohammed AbdulSalam, “the Saudi-led war on Yemen the price the Arab nation is paying for taking a firm stance against Israel,”  adding “Israelis are involved in most of the conflicts plaguing the region, including the Riyadh-led aggression against Yemen.”

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

September 18, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi Air Force Is Leveling Yemeni Capital To Ground In Response To Houthi Strikes On Riyadh

South Front | September 15, 2020

The Saudi-led coalition has been bombing Yemen with a renewed energy following the recent missile and drone strikes on the Kingdom’s capital by the Ansar Allah movement (also known as the Houthis).

According to pro-Houthi sources, Saudi warplanes conducted over 60 airstrikes on different targets across the country during the past few days. They insist that most of the targets that were hit were objects of civilian infrastructure. At the same time, Riyadh claims that it has been precisely bombing Houthi military positions.

For example, on September 12, the Saudi-led coalition announced that it had carried out a series of airstrikes on the Military Engineering Complex in the Sa’wan Suburb, east of the Yemen capital of Sanaa. According to pro-Saudi sources, the Yemeni Armed Forces loyal to the Houthi government, which controls Sanaa, were “manufacturing and assembling” ballistic missiles and combat drones. The pro-Houthis al-Masirah TV confirmed that Saudi-led coalition warplanes had targeted the Military Engineering Complex with six airstrikes.

On the next day, the new wave of Saudi airstrikes hit the countryside of Sanaa. They allegedly targeted Four drones at Al Dailami Air Base, a military research facility in the Weapons Maintenance Camp, a number of barracks and military posts in the districts of Bani Harith and Arhab, and a headquarters in the al-Sawad Camp.

On September 14, additionally to the Yemeni capital, the Saudi Air Force also conducted raids against Houthi forces in the province of Marib, where the defense of pro-Saudi groups has been collapsing. Clashes between Saudi-led forces and the Houthis have been ongoing across the districts of al-Jubah and Rahbah. However, the main target of the Houthi advance is still the Maas base. Yemeni sources claim that as soon as the base falls, Houthi units will launch an advance on the provincial capital. The Saudi-led coalition captured it in April of 2015 and since then it has successfully kept it under its own control.

Nonetheless, in late 2019 and early 2020, the course of the conflict with no doubt turned to favor the Houthis and Saudi Arabia found itself in conflict even with the main formal ally in the intervention coalition, the UAE. So, the Houthi government now has a good chance to take back the city and the entire province.

This development will become a painful blow to the Saudi leadership and became yet another piece of smoking gun evidence showcasing the failure of its military campaign in Yemen. In response, the Saudi Air Force will likely continue its intense bombing campaign aiming to level Sanaa and other big cities in the hands of the Houthis. The problem with this approach is that this very campaign forces the Houthis to conduct more intense and regular missile and drone attacks on targets inside Saudi Arabia itself.

September 15, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | 1 Comment

Tehran slams as ‘baseless’ UN report of Iran’s arms shipments to Yemen

Press TV – September 11, 2020

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has slammed as “baseless” a report published by the United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) alleging Tehran has been sending arms to war-torn Yemen.

“Placing Iran’s name next to those supplying weapons to the Saudi coalition against Yemen is completely wrong,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement on Thursday.

The spokesperson said while Iran’s name has only been mentioned once in the report, “it also neglects Iran’s pivotal role and assistance in seeking to achieve a political solution to the conflict in Yemen”.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has been waging a war on Yemen with the help of its regional allies and largely assisted by Western-supplied weapons which have been indiscriminately used against Yemeni civilians.

Despite numerous bids to stop arms sales, top Western arms suppliers such as the United States, Britain, Canada, France and Germany have pushed through with lethal weapons shipments to the oil-rich kingdom.

Khatibzadeh said that the OHCHR’s claim of Iran supplying weapons to Yemen amid the Saudi war comes as Western states are openly conducting their sales, “with related figures being published and available”.

“While some of these countries have periodically halted or limited arms to Riyadh due to pressure from human rights groups, the bitter reality is that the lucrative arms trade has persuaded them to ignore their international and moral obligations,” he said.

“They have forgotten that their weapons have been used to kill the Yemenis and destroy the country’s infrastructure. We are consequently seeing the largest humanitarian crisis due to the actions of the Saudi coalition and its arms suppliers,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman added.

Khatibzadeh stressed that while there is no clear evidence about Iranian arms shipments to Yemen, a Saudi-imposed blockade has even stopped Iranian humanitarian aid from reaching the country.

An estimated 100,000 people have so far lost their lives in the Saudi war.

The Saudi war has had a large impact on Yemen’s infrastructure, impairing the impoverished Arab country’s weak industrial, agricultural and medical sectors.

September 11, 2020 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

4 Yemen tribes sign no aggression deal with Houthis in Marib

MEMO | September 10, 2020

Four major Yemeni tribes in the city of Marib, northeast of the capital Sanaa, signed an agreement with Houthi military leaders in Sanaa on Saturday, to spare their areas from fighting while talks continue with other tribes in the region to sign similar deals, Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported.

Until recently, the region’s tribes have supported the Saudi-led coalition which backs the internationally recognised Yemeni government.

According to reports from Yemen, with the new development, the Houthis will be able to control the city of Marib, after they seized ten of the governorate’s 14 directorates.

Local sources said the Houthis have Gained control of Al-Sadara strategic area as well as the Al-Kula region, adding that violent clashes were taking place between the Houthis backed by tribesmen, and the Yemeni government forces in the Al-Manqil area near Al-Jawba.

September 10, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

UN: Saudi Arabia, UAE used cluster bombs in Yemen

MEMO | September 1, 2020

UN reports revealed that the Saudi-UAE coalition has recently used internationally banned weapons in its military operations in the Hudaydah Governorate, western Yemen.

The United Nations report expressed the organisation’s “concern” after it revealed the use of cluster bombs by the Saudi-Emirati coalition in Yemen in one of the air strikes that targeted the Hudaydah Governorate.

The head of the United Nations mission to support the Hudaydah agreement, Abhijit Guha, said in a statement that he is concerned about the repeated air strikes in the Al-Arj area between the city of Hudaydah and the port of Salif between 16-23 August, according to the Yemeni Al-Mahrah Post website.

Guha, who chairs the redeployment committee, indicated that the heavy fighting that broke out around Hudaydah city on Thursday morning, is of “special concern”, in addition to “reports of the use of cluster weapons during one of these air strikes.” Guha called on the parties to the conflict in Yemen to “desist from any measures that harm the implementation of Al-Hudaydah agreement that was reached in Stockholm on 13 December 2018.”

The UN official urged the parties to the conflict in Yemen to “refrain from any other activities that put the lives of civilians in the governorate in danger.” The Houthi group, through an official source in Hudaydah, accused the Saudi-Emirati coalition of using a cluster bomb on 23 August, on a farm in the Al-Arj area, Bajil District.

September 1, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

US charges three over collecting monetary aid for war-torn Yemen

Press TV – August 29, 2020

The US Justice Department has charged three people in connection with a campaign to collect monetary assistance for the oppressed Yemenis, who are suffering under the years-long Saudi war and blockade.

It claimed that Muzzamil Zaidi and Asim Naqvi, US citizens living in Iran’s holy city of Qom and the American city of Houston, respectively, and Ali Chawla, a Pakistani national residing in Qom, had violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Justice Department officials alleged that the defendants “have considerable operational links” to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and moved US currency from the United States to Iran.

They claimed that Zaidi, Chawla and other members of an organization, called Islamic Pulse, received permission from Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to collect a religious tax on his behalf and send half the money to Yemen.

“Zaidi, Naqvi, and Chawla allegedly raised money in the United States on behalf of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and illegally channeled these dollars to the government of Iran. As a result of today’s charges, their unlawful scheme has been exposed and brought to an end. The US Department of Justice and its National Security Division are committed to holding accountable individuals who operate covert networks within the United States in order to provide support and funds to hostile foreign governments like Iran in violation of US law,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.

The Justice Department also said Zaidi, 36, was charged with acting in the US as an agent of the Iranian government without first notifying the Attorney General.

The charges come at a time when the US has been continuing to supply weapons and military equipment to Saudi Arabia despite war crimes committed by the regime in Yemen.

The Yemeni army says Washington arms Saudi Arabia and its regional allies, defines goals for them and is involved in a political cover-up for their acts of aggression.

Saudi Arabia waged the devastating military aggression against its southern neighbor in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allied states.

The purported aim was to return to power a Riyadh-backed former regime and defeat the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement that took control of state matters after the resignation of the then president and his government.

The UN refers to the situation in Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than half of hospitals and clinics destroyed or closed.

August 29, 2020 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 2 Comments

Democrats’ election platform demands end to ‘forever wars’ — most of which were launched last time Biden held office

By Helen Buyniski | RT | August 17, 2020

The Democratic Party’s 2020 electoral platform includes a call to end the US’ “forever wars” – which sounds great, except that a Democratic president started many of those wars and the party has stonewalled efforts to end them.

“Democrats know it’s time to bring nearly two decades of unceasing conflict to an end,” the platform, released in draft form on Monday and expected to be approved by Democratic leaders later this week, reads.

It’s a relatively uncontroversial statement in itself: at nearly 19 years and counting, the US war in Afghanistan is the longest conflict in American history. The various satellite wars that have sprung up as part of the “War on Terror” have devastated large swathes of the Middle East – and the US itself, which has spent upwards of $6 trillion on fighting them while much of the country slid into a permanent recession – over the past two decades.

However, the responsibility for many of those satellite conflicts lies with Democrat Barack Obama’s administration, which liberally bombed Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia in addition to Afghanistan and Iraq, turning the already-disastrous two-front War on Terror of his predecessor George W. Bush into a regional quagmire. Democratic candidate Joe Biden was Obama’s vice president, cheering those wars on and defending his boss’ decisions. Now, the party wants Americans to believe only he can put an end to them.

The 2020 platform promises a “durable and inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan” along with an end to US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen and a repeal of the threadbare 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that has been repeatedly (mis)used to excuse US interventions in the Middle East under the guise of fighting terrorism. All great ideas, but the party has been here before.

Despite receiving the Nobel Peace Prize shortly after his inauguration, Obama didn’t bring the peace he promised in his 2008 campaign – he just made war more palatable to the liberals who had previously protested against it. By dramatically expanding the US drone program and cloaking murderous airstrikes in the warm fuzzy rhetoric of spreading democracy and “responsibility to protect,” Obama, his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the Democrats in his administration took the wars out of sight, and out of mind for the average American.

Even while taking credit for “ending” the war in Iraq, launched in 2003 on the fraudulent pretext that leader Saddam Hussein was amassing weapons of mass destruction and/or was somehow involved in the 9/11 terror attacks, Obama subsequently returned US troops to Iraq under the pretext of fighting the Islamic State terror group (IS, ISIS/ISIL). However, IS is widely considered an outgrowth of the US’ botched Iraq policy, which destabilized the region by flooding the country with many of the suddenly-unemployed (but still well-armed) remnants of Saddam Hussein’s military. At the same time, the CIA has a long history of supporting terror groups that dovetail with its political aims, from arming and training al-Qaeda’s predecessors to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan to arming and training so-called “moderate rebels” whose tactics are often indistinguishable from ISIL or al-Qaeda to take out the Syrian government. Terrorism has thrived amid the war “against” it.

That the Democrats should campaign in 2020 on ending forever wars suggests they might have learned something from 2016, when then-candidate Donald Trump pledged to do just that, luring disaffected liberals who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for notorious warmonger Hillary Clinton. Her flippant dismissal of the brutal murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi – “We came, we saw, he died!” – remains chilling years after she helped reduce the country with the highest standard of living on the African continent to a failed state where slaves are sold in open markets.

But while Trump has profoundly failed to keep his end-the-wars promise, instead increasing the number of drone strikes beyond Obama’s sky-high levels, even Trump’s minimal efforts to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan have been ferociously opposed by the Democrats.

Indeed, the only foreign policy acts the self-styled #Resistance has praised from their political nemesis have been his bombings of Syria in response to extremely dubious reports of gas attacks by the Assad government. CNN’s Fareed Zakaria claimed the strike represented the day Trump “became president of the United States.”

The disingenuous call to end the military quagmires is far from the only lofty pledge embedded in the Democrats’ platform, which alternates between eye-rolling social-justice pandering and common-sense measures with broad appeal.

The party has also pledged to “end the Trump Administration’s politicization of the armed forces,” improve healthcare for veterans, “root out systemic racism from our military justice system,” and “prioritize more effective and less costly diplomatic, intelligence and law enforcement tools” over military invasions in conducting foreign policy.

It remains to be seen which, if any, of those promises they will keep.

Helen Buyniski is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

August 18, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yemen’s Ansarullah slams UAE-Israel deal as ‘great betrayal’ of Palestinians

Press TV – August 14, 2020

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has decried the deal reached between the United Arab Emirates and Israel to fully normalize relations as a “great betrayal” of the Palestinian cause.

In a statement issued on Friday, Ansarullah’s political bureau said the exposure of the UAE-Israel relations proved the emptiness of all the pan-Arabist slogans raised by the Saudi-led coalition in waging war on Yemen.

The statement added that the UAE was continuing to move forward on the wrong path of serving American and Israeli interests against the Muslim Ummah, referring to the Emirates’ participation in the Saudi-led war on Yemen, which began in March 2015 and has left tens of thousands of people killed.

Ansarullah dismissed assertions that normalization with the Israeli regime would lead to the establishment of peace and stability in the region as “mere delusions.”

It also called for isolating any regime that announces normalization with Israel and boycotting it economically and commercially, stressing that Arab and Muslim peoples were able to do a lot to help Palestine.

The deal between the UAE and Israel was announced on Thursday. US President Donald Trump, who apparently helped broker the deal, has attempted to paint it as a big breakthrough.

But the Palestinians have utterly rejected the deal.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas referred to the deal as an “aggression” against the Palestinian people and a “betrayal” of their cause. The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas described it as “a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause.” And Palestinian people staged protests against the deal in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip on Friday.

The Emirates is now the third Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan, to normalize with Israel. Abu Dhabi was already believed to have clandestine relations with Tel Aviv.

August 14, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Belgian court suspends issuing arms export licenses to companies dealing with Riyadh

Press TV – August 8, 2020

Belgium’s highest administrative court has suspended issuing arms export licenses for a number of Belgian companies in a bid to block the flow of arms to Saudi Arabia over its poor human rights record and the bloody campaign against Yemen.

On Friday, the Council of State decided on the move by an emergency ruling, which overturned the decision by the Wallonian minister-president, Elio di Rupo, who had granted licenses to two arms companies FN Herstal and CMI Defence.

Back in early July, Di Rupo had given authorization to the two Wallonia-based companies to sell weapons to the Saudi Arabia’s National Guard and Royal Guard. The licenses were meant to replace previous authorizations canceled by the same court.

“It cannot be excluded that there is a real risk for the weapons … to be used in the context of the conflict in Yemen or to contribute to internal repression,” the Friday ruling said.

The Saudi regime is the most important client of Wallonia’s arms industry. In 2018, Riyadh purchased weapons for $267 million from local arms companies, based in Belgium’s southern region, representing one-quarter of Wallonia’s total arms export.

Wallonian arms company John Cockerill, whose arms export license was suspended by a previous court ruling, gave military training to the Saudi army in eastern France two years ago, Amnesty International says.

Saudi Arabia has violated the very basics of human rights by killing tens of thousands of civilians in its war on Yemen, besides its other rights violations against its own citizens.

The Yemen conflict, which began in earnest in March 2015, has devastated large swathes of the country and triggered multiple humanitarian disasters, including famine and the internal displacement of millions of people into disease-infested camps and areas.

August 9, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , | Leave a comment