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Yemen’s Ansarullah: We’re partaking in regional drive to boot US forces out

Al-Mayadeen TV – 05/01/2020

Member of Ansarullah’s Political Council, Mohammad al-Bakhiti, says the Yemeni movement is partaking in the region-wide response to Iranian General Soleimani’s assassination by the US military. Bakhiti says the regional response is aimed at driving all US forces out of the region.

Transcript:

– the coming days will bring huge changes to the region

– the American aggression against Iraq is an aggression against the entire Axis of Resistance, which requires for unifying the theatre in which the response will be delivered

– of course Sayyed Abdul Malik al-Houthi (Yemen’s Ansarullah leader) has already stated that this aggression is an aggression against the entire Axis of Resistance

– Yemen is a member of the Axis of Resistance, and we are at the heart of the conflict with this American coalition

– the American aggression will lead to the expansion of the conflict’s scope

– what we require now is greater coordination (between the members of the Axis of Resistance)

– as for the nature of the response, this is left for the leadership

– (yet) there is no response that can equal this (American) aggression other than popular, political and military action that drives out (all) US forces from the region

January 7, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

Nasrallah: Trump is on the verge of a stroke over Iran, Yemen is now a threat for Israel

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, on November 11, 2019, on the occasion of Hezbollah’s Martyr Day, commemorating the operation against the headquarters of the Israeli forces in Tyre on November 11, 1982, which killed 75 occupying officers and soldiers.

With the translation of an extract from the last speech of Sayed Badr al-Dine al-Houthi, leader of the Ansar Allah, and a report by Al-Mayadeen on Yemen facing Israel.

Translated by resistancenews.org

Transcript:

[…] After having talked of martyrdom and resistance, allow me to come to the second part of my speech, where I’ll just mention two points concerning the situation in the region in order to have time then to talk about the situation in Lebanon. I will only mention two points that are of paramount importance. It’s been quite a while that I have not addressed the situation in the region, and there would be a lot of important things to say, but not having much time today, I will only address these two points.

The first point concerns Yemen, namely the historical stance which was announced from Yemen by the courageous and dignified leader Sayed Abd-al-Malik Badreddine al-Houthi during these last days, yesterday or the day before yesterday, on the occasion of the celebrations in Yemen commemorating the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, about the fight against the Israeli enemy. These statements have attracted the attention of the enemy’s leaders, and we also must mention them, as children of the Lebanese Resistance and peoples of Palestine and the region directly affected by the struggle against the Israeli enemy.

Two days ago, this noble jihadist leader announced in all clarity, in response to Israeli threats of strikes and aggression against Yemen, addressing a huge audience (millions of people), about which I will also say a word. He said that if Israel attacks Yemen, Yemen will retaliate by forceful strikes. Strikes of the utmost violence. Yemen will not abstain from retaliating, and will do so without hesitation.

From where was this said? From Yemen. From San’aa. From Sa’ada. From the provinces of Yemen.

As well, he said that Yemen’s struggle against the Israeli enemy was based on their faith, religion, humanitarian values and ethical, moral and religious obligations. I say this because (our enemies) are always trying to present the struggle as a political struggle, a (mere) rivalry between states, etc.

What is the significance of these statements? More often than not do we hear speakers, Imams, spokesmen of parties or groups of leaders from a particular location in the Arab-Muslim world, threatening the Zionists in their speeches. But with Yemen, it is much more than empty words because these threats come from the military leader of a front where the fighting has been raging for 5 years, who has been fighting (successfully) for 5 years against forces supported by the US, Britain and the West in general (France, etc.), against entire armies with their air force, enormous amounts of mercenaries, and very broad fronts.

This threat was issued by an officer commanding a front that now has very modern and sophisticated weapons, whether missiles, drones, etc., and who has the courage to use these missiles and these drones, and did use them on the ground, and challenged the whole world (by its devastating effects on the Saudi oil production). And all this happened while Yemen is abandoned, oppressed, and in self-defense (against Muslim countries, so imagine what could happen in other circumstances, if Yemen was to seriously attack Israel).

This threat was issued by the leader of a front whose fighters are fighting on a great many fronts and achieve stunning victories in military terms, almost miraculous. The latest operation was the ‘Divine victory’ (which destroyed three entire brigades, with hundreds killed and thousands of prisoners from Saudi forces).

Therefore, we are talking about a leader who has high credibility, and has proven his ability to follow through on his threats. Because he always did what he said and what he promised.

The Israelis have paid much attention to that. In the (history of the) Arab and Muslim world, there have been a lot of pompous but vain speeches, that have led to nothing, either in fact or even among Israeli leaders or media. But we have seen the profound effect that this recent speech from Yemen had within the enemy entity. Why? Because it is issued by an extremely serious and credible force, which proved itself, earned its spurs (and stunned the world).

This is not something new coming from the Houthis, but it’s a very clear announcement, very frank and very strong, which greatly concerns Israel. This clearly announces the addition of a very important and very powerful element in the Axis of Resistance: Yemen. The Yemen of faith, wisdom, endurance, steadfastness, jihad and victories. This was announced in a clear and explicit way. And Yemen is quite capable of hitting Israel hard. The peoples of our region and the Resistance movements should be proud of this announcement, and welcome happily this new important and strategic element of strength. Because Yemen, the Yemeni stance, the strategic importance of the Red Sea and Yemen’s ability to reach the enemy entity, as well as the secret al-Houthi kept regarding his intentions, and the targets and locations that would be hit with extreme strikes… All this is of great importance.

Also, the enemy must know that this is the new strategic environment he faces today, the very one he always feared and strove to prevent with the United States and the whole world (i.e. a military alliance of Arab-Muslim countries against Israel), so that our peoples would forget Palestine and hostility toward Israel, abandon this cause, be silent (against the oppression of the Palestinians) and reconsider (their relations with Israel). This is a new force that joins the ranks of the Resistance, a new country, in a new geographical area, with great credibility and great enthusiasm (for the Liberation of Palestine), battle-hardened, incredibly effective and with incommensurate courage, and this force now fully integrates the front of the struggle against Israel. It is a development of great importance. Some may not realize the importance of this event, but the Israeli enemy and the children of the Resistance are perfectly aware of it.

The other aspect of this point is the huge Yemeni popular masses who attended the event. It was not a simple press conference. I also want to stress in two minutes the importance of this popular massive presence. You may have seen these enormous events, although most TV channels have ignored them, millions-wide gatherings. Gigantic rallies, whether at San’aa, Jeddah … sorry, not in Jeddah (city of Saudi Arabia), maybe one day with God’s grace… At San’aa, Sa’da, Hajja, in different cities of Yemen, we could see these massive rallies that fill us with joy, without any camera manipulation transforming 1,000 people into 10,000 or 100,000. Hundreds of thousands of people attended, under the sun, in the middle of the day, for hours, standing or sitting on the bare floor and on the streets, not in a room, on chairs, in a place with air conditioning nor anything like that, with the constant risk of an aerial bombardment, the country being at war (and with recurring massacres), but they sat for hours and listened to their leader, supporting his stance and vision.

This huge rally, this spectacular scene, is a treat for me and amazed me: in the sun, a gathering so massive in conditions so difficult, demonstrates his boundless love for the Prophet Muhammad, God’s blessings be upon him and his family. This demonstrates the extent of their faith when we speak of the Yemen of faith.

Similarly, and I will conclude this point with that, this is a very strong political message: a whole people, after 5 years of (ruthless) war, tens of thousands of martyrs at least, between civilians and combatants, and hundreds of thousands of Yemenis threatened with death by cholera, disease, famine, etc., an economically and financially beleaguered country, and a government that has often not even enough to pay its civil servants, and is subject to the greatest difficulties, threats, intimidation, abandoned by all (with the exception of Iran and Hezbollah), but despite all this, they attend these commemorations so massively to affirm their commitment and determination, and they directed this strong message to all the tyrants of the world: you strive to frighten & to despair our people, to send us backwards and see us sink into poverty, famine, misery and blockade, to make us abandon our Prophet, our faith, our religion, our freedom, our dignity, our holy sites or our root cause (Palestine), but we will never do that, ever. The Yemeni people proves this, and addresses this message to the world.

And it’s the same for other peoples of the region. I say and repeat it, here lies the secret of the strength of the Axis of Resistance to which we belong. An Axis whose real strength lies in his faith, his doctrine, his soul, his love for God and the Messenger of God, his belief in humanitarian causes, his belief in the importance of holy places (and the absolute need to liberate them), his high readiness for sacrifice.

All this does not depend at all on money, prosperity or gains that we can secure, not any more than on achievements on a personal level, enjoyment or pleasure (the very things Trump wants to deprive us of through his maximum sanctions against Iran and Lebanon), even if they are legitimate quests in this world and the next, to which every man can and should legitimately aspire and achieve (for his comfort), but this does not weigh anything at all on our core impulses, principles and stances.

The other point (I want to mention) is the Islamic Republic of Iran. In recent months, the specter of a war (between the US and Iran) haunted the region. Everyone assumed it was inevitable, and some regional countries did all their calculations on the assumption of an American war against Iran. And I have already mentioned that unfortunately, some Lebanese forces (Hezbollah opponents) also made their calculations based on this assumption.

I can say today that this possibility, even if I cannot state categorically that it is 100% off the table, I can say that it strayed 99.99%. All countries, peoples and competitor Axes in the region must do their calculations on that basis. Whoever counted on such a war must forget this hypothesis. And actually, we can see a change of rhetoric from several countries in the region and some Gulf countries that were hostile and aggressive towards the Islamic Republic, but I will not give their names now.

Similarly, in this respect, Iran’s steadfastness became clear after all this time has passed since Trump left the nuclear deal and imposed severe sanctions on Tehran, but Iran stood firm and overcame this predicament. Of course, this does not mean that Iran does not face difficulties, but Iran managed to overcome them.

Today, strategic observers in the United States and the West, and even within the (Zionist) enemy entity, publish analyses that argue that the strategy of Trump against Iran failed. For what was the Trump strategy? Exiting the Iranian nuclear deal, imposing sanctions on Iran, trying to make Iran collapse from within, putting pressure on Iran and constantly threatening imminent war to intimidate Iran and to make it come to the negotiating table. That was the Trump strategy.

The possibility of war is no more, Iran has held firm and overcame the difficulties (consecutive to the US withdrawal from the nuclear) Deal, and for a year, Trump has been holding the line, (waiting for Iran to call or pick up the phone), but he is deluded. It will never happen. This strategy has clearly failed. Today, Iran comes out powerful, strengthened, capable, dignified and ready to face (the challenges), to assume its leading role in the region and to support the causes and peoples of the region.

I recently read an amusing information, and I told myself that when Trump will learn about it, he will become enraged and have a heart attack. Because you know that all that matters for Trump is oil and dollars, money, nothing else. We saw that in Syria, in the East of the Euphrates, he forsook his allies in the blink of an eye, while they had fought with him and alongside him, and he justified this move at length, saying that the Kurds had not fought at their side in Normandy (in 1944). This is a ridiculous argument.

But he eventually reconsidered his decision to withdraw US troops from the East of the Euphrates and maintained them. Why? To seize the Eastern oil fields of the Euphrates. For Trump, only oil matters. Do not believe that for him, oil is more valuable and more important than the rest, no: in his eyes, nothing else has any value at all. The human, even if he is an ally, a friend and a comrade, is worthless to him: Trump is ready to forsake him at any time.

I refer to the discovery of a huge oilfield in Iran: we all saw yesterday His Eminence the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Sheikh Rouhani, who officially announced the discovery of a huge oil field, a priori containing 53 billion barrels of oil! 53 billion barrels of oil! It’s definitely a heart attack for Trump! I’ve done the math: if Iran extracts, when it begins to exploit these oil fileds with God’s grace, 1 million barrels per day, how long will it take for this deposit to be exhausted? How many generations will come to pass before it is exhausted? I will not give you the result in years because I’d be afraid to be mistaken in my calculations…

His Eminence (Rouhani) explained that the area of ​​the oil field is 2,400 square kilometers, is located in the Khuzestan region, south-west of the country, and that the width of underground oil layer is up to 80 meters. And most importantly, he stressed that the process of discovery of these oil deposits has been conducted by the National Iranian Oil Company, and lasted from 2016 to last week. So it was made by an Iranian national company of experts and Iranian specialists (not foreign). I deliberately emphasize this aspect in view of what I will say then about the Lebanese situation [reference to a widely disseminated fake news according to which a Revolutionary Guard commander threatened to destroy Israel from Lebanon: Nasrallah stressed that Iran does everything by itself, and does not need to hide behind anyone].

So, today, thank God, Iran comes out… Experts and economists believe that the value of the discovered deposit is estimated, based on the current price of oil, at more than 3 trillion dollars. I must tell Trump about both the number of barrels of oil and the dollar value, to make his heart attack complete…

In the Middle East, the heart of the Axis of Resistance (Iran) comes out of the risk of US war and overcomes the worst stage of its history more powerful and capable, and God Almighty bestows on this country these resources and this new horizon. […]

See also:

Nasrallah about the war in Yemen: Saudi Arabia & UAE will be annihilated

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December 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN reiterates that it can’t verify US allegations against Iran in Aramco attacks

Press TV – December 20, 2019

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo has reiterated earlier remarks by the UN General Secretary that the body cannot verify US claims blaming Iran for attacks on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facilities.

DiCarlo made remarks during a UN Security Council briefing on the eighth report of the Secretary General on the implementation of resolution 2231 which endorsed the Iran nuclear deal in 2015.

“At this time, we are unable to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles, or the recovered components we inspected, are of Iranian origin,” she said speaking of alleged missile debris related to the September 14 attack on the oil facilities.

“We have recently received confirmation that some of the cruise missile components were, in fact, not made by the identified manufacturers but could have been copies,” she added.

DiCarlo also said the Secretariat is “unable to independently corroborate” whether drones used in the operation were of “Iranian origin”.

The attacks, which successfully halved the Saudi kingdom’s oil production, were claimed by Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and were in response to Riyadh’s nearly five-year onslaught against the country.

The operation displayed a significant advancement in Yemeni military capabilities, successfully striking one of Riyadh’s most important and also most heavily protected assets.

Washington, however, which has provided the bulk of Saudi Arabia’s air defense systems, was quick to blame Iran following the attack without providing any conclusive evidence to back up its claims.

Washington’s allegations against Tehran came at a time when Saudi officials had said that they lacked enough information to identify the perpetrator of the attack.

Washington’s jump to blame Tehran for the attack came as the operation, conducted by Yemen’s ragtag military forces, was widely seen to be undermining the efficiency of Washington’s much-prized Patriot surface-to-air missile systems deployed in Saudi Arabia.

Two days following the attack, Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed to the utter failure of the US defense systems, mockingly suggesting that Saudis may be better off buying Russian-made missile defense systems.

Washington insists on blaming Iran

On Thursday, Washington claimed that it had obtained new evidence blaming Iran for the attack.

A US report, cited by Reuters, said Washington “assessed that before hitting its targets, one of the drones traversed a location approximately 200 km to the northwest of the attack site”.

“This, in combination with the assessed 900 kilometer maximum range of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), indicates with high likelihood that the attack originated north of Abqaiq,” the report said, referring to the location of one of the oil facilities.

Speaking with Reuters, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said the newly-declassified information proved that Iran was behind the operation.

“As many nations have concluded, there are no plausible alternatives to Iranian responsibility,” he said.

Hook’s comments come despite the fact that Washington’s own report stopped short of claiming that Iran was the origin of the attack.

“At this time, the US Intelligence Community has not identified any information from the recovered weapon systems used in the 14 September attacks on Saudi Arabia that definitively reveals an attack origin,” Reuters quoted the report as saying.

Addressing the Security Council on Thursday, Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi vehemently rejected Washington’s accusations regarding the Aramco operation.

He also described US sanctions on Iran as being “economic terrorism” targeting ordinary people as well as different sectors of the Iranian economy.

UN slams US JCPOA withdrawal

Speaking on Thursday, DiCarlo also urged for the full and effective implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to “secure tangible economic benefit to the Iranian people”.

“We therefore regret the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA in May 2018,” she added.

Washington reimposed economic sanctions which had been lifted under the deal after withdrawing from the deal last year.

“Certain actions taken by the United States, since its withdrawal from the Plan, are contrary to the goals of the Plan,” she said.

“The reimposition of its national sanctions lifted under the Plan, as well as its decision not to extend waivers for the trade in oil with Iran and certain non-proliferation projects, may also impede the ability of Iran and other Member States to implement the Plan and 2231,” she added.

The UN official said Iran has stated that the suspension of its JCPOA commitments in response to the failure of signatories of the JCPOA to uphold the agreement, “are reversible and that it intends to remain in the Plan”.

“In this regard, the recent decisions by Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway to also join the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) are positive developments,” she added.

December 20, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 20 Comments

Saudi Arabia reads the riot act to Imran Khan

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | December 17, 2019

The Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 hosted by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on December 18-21 was originally conceived as a landmark event in the politics of the Muslim world. It still is, albeit on a wet wicket struggling to tackle a nasty googly that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan threw at the event at the last minute.  

To recap, the idea of the KL Summit was born out of a trilateral pow-vow between Turkish President Recep Erdogan, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed and Pakistan’s Imran Khan in September on the sidelines of the UN GA session in New York.

The common perception of the three countries was that the Muslim World failed to react forcefully enough to the emergent situation affecting the Kashmiri Muslims. Pakistan actively promoted the perception that the leadership of the ummah was not reacting forcefully enough over Muslim issues such as Kashmir.

On November 23, while announcing his decision to host the KL Summit, Mahathir said that the new platform hoped to bring together Islamic leaders, scholars and clerics who would propose solutions to the many problems facing the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims. He disclosed that dignitaries attending the KL Summit would include Erdogan, the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and Imran Khan.

The role of politics in development, food security, preserving national identity, and redistributing wealth were listed as other topics to be discussed, alongside the expulsion of Muslims from their homelands and the categorisation of Islam as the “religion of terrorism”.

In poignant remarks, Mahathir bemoaned that no Muslim country was fully developed, and that some Islamic nations were “failed states”. He said,

“Why is there this problem? There must be a reason behind this. We can only know the reason if we get the thinkers, the scholars, and the leaders to give their observations and viewpoints.

“Perhaps we can take that first step … to help Muslims recover their past glories, or at least to help them avoid the kind of humiliation and oppression that we see around the world today.”

Importantly, Mahathir described the summit as a meeting of minds that had the “same perception of Islam and the problems faced by the Muslims”.

From among the list of invitees, it now turns out that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will be attending tomorrow’s summit, but King Salman of Saudi Arabia has regretted that the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) is being bypassed.

Mahathir disclosed that King Salman  conveyed to him in a phone conversation that it was better that the Muslim issues were discussed in a full-fledged OIC meeting. Mahathir said laconically,

“He (King Salman) wanted to tell me the reasons why he couldn’t make it. He’s afraid that something not good will happen to the Muslims. He has a different opinion from us. He feels that matters like these (Muslim issues) shouldn’t just be discussed by two or three countries, and there should be an OIC meeting and I agreed with him.”

The testy exchange signalled that the Saudi regime sees the KL Summit as a calculated challenge to its leadership of the ummah and as an initiative about laying the foundations for an Islamic alliance.

Mahathir is outspoken but what is less noticed is that his positions actually align closely with those of Turkey and Pakistan. These include the Palestinian question, the situation in Jammu & Kashmir and the persecution of the Rohingya community in Myanmar.

According to the Malaysian news agency Bernama, the KL Summit “aims to revive Islamic civilization, deliberate (over) and find new and workable solutions for problems afflicting the Muslim world, contribute (to) the improvement of the state of affairs among Muslims and Muslim nations, and form a global network between Islamic leaders, intellectuals, scholars, and thinkers.”

In sheer brain power, Saudi Arabia cannot match such an agenda. A sense of frustration has been building up over the past decade or so among the Muslim countries that the OIC is reduced to an appendage of the Saudi foreign policies. Saudi Arabia’s rift with Qatar, its rivalries with Iran, the brutal war in Yemen, the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, etc.  also seriously dented Riyadh’s image in the most recent years.

Of course, Saudis hold a big purse and that still translates as influence but the new Islamic forum is poised to move in a direction that is progressive and far more inspiring, with plans to pursue joint projects, including, eventually, the introduction of a common currency.

Mahathir is on record that this mini-Islamic conference could turn into a much grander initiative down the road. Such optimism cannot be disregarded since a growing number of Muslim-majority countries harbour great unease over the near-term prospect of the ascendancy of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the Saudi king and the next Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

Saudi Arabia, anticipating the gambit being thrown down by Mahathir has reacted viciously to undercut the KL Summit. It tore into the summit’s ‘soft underbelly’ by reading the riot act to Imran Khan,  which put the fear of god into Imran Khan and how it happened we do not know, but the great cricketer panicked and has since called Mahathir to regret that he cannot attend the KL Summit.

No doubt, it is a big insult to Mahathir’s personal prestige but as the old adage says, beggars cannot be choosers and Imran Khan is left with no choice but to obey the Saudi diktat like a vassal.

With Imran Khan staying away, Mahathir is left to host his counterparts from Turkey, Iran, Qatar and Indonesia. The fizz has gone out of the KL Summit. Nonetheless, Mahathir is not the type of person to forget and forgive. His initial reaction to Imran Khan’s cowardly behaviour shows studied indifference, betraying his sense of hurt.

Pakistan is ultimately the loser here, as its credibility has been seriously dented. Imran Khan was the original promoter of the idea of the three-way axis of Turkey-Pakistan-Malaysia. But to be fair, his modest agenda was to create an exclusive India-baiting regional forum that he can use at will, whereas Mahathir turned it into an unprecedented Islamic forum that is independent of Saudi influence. Perhaps, Mahathir can only blame himself for the overreach.

December 17, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE

Children with cancer couldn’t get adequate treatment due to sanctions (photo Aleppo 2016)
By Eva Bartlett | RT | December 16, 2019

The US has a favourite tool for bullying non-compliant nations: sanctions. Sanctions inflict considerable suffering, even death, on ordinary people in targeted nations. Yet those defiant nations persist and resist.

A recent opinion piece in the Washington Post proposing a new oil-for-food scheme, this time in Venezuela, surprisingly acknowledges that sanctions “can also end up harming the people that they intend to protect.”

Okay, first off, we know there is no intention of “protecting” civilians in any of the countless countries targeted by Western sanctions. Do Western talking heads really think we’ve forgotten the half-a-million dead Iraqi children, thanks to US sanctions?

Yet, ask a Western leader about crippling sanctions placed on nations which don’t bow to Imperial demands and you’ll be met with some nonsensical explanation that sanctions only target ‘regimes’ and ‘terrorists,’ not the people.

I’ve lived in, spent considerable time in, or visited areas under sanctions and siege, and I’ve seen first hand how sanctions are a form of terrorism, choking civilians, depriving them of basic and urgent medical care, food, employment, and travel entitlements that many of us in Western nations take for granted.

When I was in Syria last October, a man told me his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but because of the sanctions he couldn’t get her the conventional treatments most in the West would avail of.

In 2016, in Aleppo, before it was liberated of al-Qaeda and co, Dr. Nabil Antaki told me how –because of the sanctions– it had taken him well over a year to get a simple part for his gastroenterology practise.

In 2015, visiting Damascus’ University Hospital, where bed after bed was occupied by a child maimed by terrorists’ shelling (from Ghouta), a nurse told me:

“We have so many difficulties to ensure that we have antibiotics, specialized medicines, maintenance of the equipment… Because of the sanctions, many parts are not available, we have difficulties obtaining them.”

Visiting a prosthetic limbs factory in Damascus in 2016, I was told that, due to the sanctions, smart technology and 3D scanners –used to determine the exact location where a limb should be fixed– were not available. Considering the over eight years of war and terrorism in Syria, there are untold numbers of civilians and soldiers in need of this technology to simply get a prosthetic limb fixed so they can get on with their lives. But no, America’s concern for the Syrian people means that this, too, is near impossible.

In 2018, Syria’s minister of health told me Syria had formerly been dubbed by the World Health Organization a “pioneer state” in providing health care.

“Syria had 60 pharmaceutical factories and was exporting medicine to 58 countries. Now, 16 of these factories are out of service. Terrorists partially or fully destroyed 46 hospitals and 620 medical centres.”

I asked the minister about the complex in Barzeh, targeted with missile strikes by the US and allies in April 2018. Turns out it was part of the Ministry of Health, and manufactured cancer treatment medications, as well as antidotes for snake or scorpion bites/stings, the antidote also serving as a basic material in the manufacture of many medicines.

Last year, Syrian-American doctor Hussam al-Samman told me about his efforts to send to Syria chemotherapy medications for cancer patients in remission. He jumped through various hoops of America’s unforgiving bureaucracy, to no avail. It was never possible in the first place.

“We managed to get a meeting in the White House. We met Rob Malley, a top-notch assistant or adviser of Obama at that time. I asked them: ‘How in the world could your heart let you block chemotherapy from going to people with cancer in Syria?’

They said: ‘We will not allow Bashar al-Assad to have anything that will make people love him. We will not support anything that will help Bashar al-Assad look good’.”

Fast forward to the present: in spite of the sanctions, or precisely because of the sanctions, Syria recently opened its first anti-cancer drugs factory. President Assad is, again, looking rather good to Syrians.

UN expert: Sanctions on Venezuela “a form of terrorism”

Alfred de Zayas, the human rights lawyer and former UN official, aptly calls sanctions a form of terrorism, “because they invariably impact, directly or indirectly, the poor and vulnerable.”

Earlier this year, The Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated 40,000 deaths had occurred due to sanctions in 2017-2018.

While in Venezuela in March this year, I spoke with people from poor communities about the effects of sanctions. Most I met were very well aware of the US economic war against their country, and rallied alongside their government.

One woman told me:

“If you don’t have water, don’t have electricity, the basics, how would you feel, as a mother? This makes some of the population, that doesn’t understand about the sanctions, blame the government.”

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, said during that visit:

“We told [American diplomat and Trump envoy] Mr Elliott Abrams, ‘the coup has failed, so now what are you going to do?’ He kind-of nodded and said, ‘Well, this is going to be a long-term action, then, and we are looking forward to the collapse of your economy.’”

Indeed, that collapse would come about precisely due to the immoral US sanctions against the Venezuelan people.

North Korean Youth: Sanction the USA

After visiting Korea’s north in August 2017, in a photo essay I noted: “The criminal sanctions against the North, enforced since 1950, making even more difficult the efforts to rebuild following decimation. The sanctions are against the people, affecting all sectors of life.”

And although most I met there were proud of their country’s achievements in spite of the sanctions, they were also vocal about the injustice of being bombed to near decimation and then sanctioned.

In a Pyongyang Middle School, to my questions about the sanctions, a girl replied:

“The sanctions are not fair, our people have done nothing wrong to the USA.”

Another boy spoke of the silence around America’s use of nuclear bombs on civilians: “Why do people all over the world give us sanctions? Why can’t we put sanctions on the US?”

At the Okryu Children’s Hospital, Doctor Kim Un-Song said: “As a mother, I feel extremely angry at the sanctions against the DPRK, even blocking medicine and instruments for children. This is inhumane and against human rights.”

As with Syria, sanctions on the DPRK prevent further entry to Korea of hospital machinery, as well as replacement parts.

Defying the sanctions

In spite of draconian sanctions, Syria, the DPRK and Venezuela continue to resist. After fighting international terrorism since 2011, Syria is rebuilding in liberated areas. That process could proceed more quickly were sanctions lifted, making it easier for companies outside of Syria to invest.

But Syria is managing, with its allies’ support, including that of North Korea, and due to the steadfastness of the heroic Syrian people, and its leadership.

Likewise, Venezuela and North Korea, facing America’s economic war and endless propagandistic rhetoric, continue to resist.

In each of these countries, I’ve met well-informed people who are fighting the sadism of the sanctions, and who are determined to remain free of US tyranny.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years).

December 16, 2019 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s time for the international community to stop ‘recognising’ Hadi’s ‘government’

By Omar Ahmed | MEMO | December 14, 2019

In spite of having no substantial physical political presence in Yemen, and no formal armed forces on the ground, the media is insistent on running with the same, tired expression of “the internationally recognised legitimate government” of the fugitive president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who has apparently been running the country from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, since he fled Yemen in 2015.

It has now been over a month since the signing of the Riyadh Agreement, which was hailed as ushering in peace in the south, not only among the warring factions of Hadi’s forces, which largely consists of Islamist, Islah militia and Sudanese mercenaries against the Security Belt forces, who are aligned with southern separatists, the Southern Transitional Council (STC), but it was also hoped to simmer down the tension between the patrons of these two parties, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) respectively, both partners in the anti-Houthi coalition in the north, but backing opposing sides in the south.

No longer ‘Iranian proxies’

It was also a month ago that I argued that this agreement will fall flat in its objectives, namely due to the fact that Hadi doesn’t have any concrete authority in Yemen, and the real political legitimacy lies with the National Salvation Government (NSG), which has been ruling the capital Sanaa since 2014. Its power-base was formed from of an alliance between the Ansar Allah movement, the Yemeni military and remnants of the General People’s Congress political party – however the same news outlets who are trying to convince us of the “internationally recognised” government, are the same ones peddling the misleading narrative, that the NSG are merely “Houthi rebels” or “Iranian proxies”, following Tehran’s orders.

Essentially, this agreement stalled the inevitability that the Saudis, and the wider international community, will have to accept the reality that the NSG (“Houthis”) are the legitimate government in Yemen. I am using the past-tense here because the agreement is void and no longer exists – it was signed on 5 November and included a 30-day deadline in forming a new cabinet of 24 members, equally split from the north and south. I concluded with the revelation that the Saudis had acknowledged that they had opened channels of communication with the Houthis.

In fact, a few days following the signing of the accord, the UAE minister of state for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, conceded that the Houthis will have a role in post-war Yemen. In more recent developments, Saudi foreign minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, has suggestively indicated that the Houthis are in fact, a legitimate entity, stating “all Yemenis, including the Houthis have a role in the future of Yemen.”

It would now appear that the Trump administration has also done an ‘about-face’ on its policy on Yemen, having once framed the conflict as being an Iranian proxy war, they are now trying to downplay Iran’s involvement. Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, went from declaring in September that Iran was “controlling and deploying” the Houthis as a “terror front”, to now stating that “Iran clearly does not speak for the Houthis.” I mentioned back in September how this Iranian connection has been exaggerated and misrepresented by the media. One needs only to refer to a 2015 article which stated that Iran, for example, had in fact warned the Zaydi movement against taking over Sanaa. Indeed, the Houthis, as with Lebanon’s Hezbollah, are actually acting independently, albeit with assistance from Tehran.

Who speaks for the south?

The Riyadh Agreement was always problematic from the outset, because although on paper it was plausible, the reality on the ground, in particular in the interim capital city of Aden, was another thing entirely. There are constant reports of violent clashes between Hadi’s mercenaries and the southern separatist forces. Additionally, there has been a steady increase in assassinations across the city, with the STC hinting liability with Hadi’s associates. Hampering conciliatory efforts, the STC are also refusing to vacate the presidential palace in the city. There are also reports that the former president of the Democratic People’s Republic of Yemen, Ali Nasser Mohammed, has warned the STC against plans to seize his home in Aden province, captured by the separatists last July.

It is important to recognise that the STC does not speak for all southerners, nor for the Southern Movement. There is the Southern National Salvation Council (SSC) based in Mahrah, who not only oppose both Saudi and Emirati interference in Yemen, but had opposed the Riyadh Agreement from its inception, noting that “the agreement gives legitimacy to regional militias affiliated abroad,” with reference to the STC.

The director of Human Rights for Yemen, Kim Sharif, explained to MEMO that the SSC is composed of the “original secessionists” and that the STC are widely regarded as a “traitor entity” by most southerners, as they are a party formed by the UAE who are using and exploiting the memory of the South Yemen state.

Illegitimacy of Hadi vs legitimacy of the NSG

Sharif agrees that the Hadi government lacks legitimacy, because following the election where he stood as the sole candidate, he was appointed as president for a transitional period of two years as part of the Gulf Initiative back in February 2012, reluctantly accepted by many, to avoid further bloodshed. Under the initiative, elections were to be held within the transitional period.

However, this failed to materialise and according to Sharif, under Hadi assassinations and terrorist attacks began to increase “funded by the Saudis,” and with a reliance on the Islah Party militia, who have close ties with General Mohsen Al-Ahmar, the vice president whose links to Al-Qaeda are well-documented. Hadi formerly resigned from the presidency in 2015, but has held onto the position ever since, giving him “zero legitimacy”.

“There’s no such thing as an ‘internationally recognised government’ under international law. This is sheer abuse of the terms of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations and is a totally unacceptable trespass on the sovereignty of the state of Yemen,” Sharif continued.

Meanwhile, with regards to the legitimacy of the National Salvation Government based in Sanaa, Sharif described the 2014 takeover within the context of the failure by Hadi to carry out elections as per his mandate. Additionally, under International Customary Law, whomever takes control of the capital of any country is considered the “de facto” government. In order for this to be ratified, the government has to become “de jure”. Sharif argues that such a government must first follow an “internal legislation process”, which the Sanaa government has done by preserving national institutions, creating the Supreme Council, which includes all political parties including southern secessionists and operates within the existing constitution.

Furthermore, it is the Yemeni armed forces who are subservient to the NSG, in addition to the “Popular Committee” (Houthi fighters), who are the ones defending the nation against foreign aggression enacted by the Saudi-led coalition. These points and the fact that the NSG entered into the “Tribal Honour Agreement 2015” with all tribes, given that tribal rule still plays a vital role in Yemeni politics, ensures that the NSG based in Sanaa are the legitimate government in Yemen.

Although a southerner, Sharif herself is supportive of the NSG and AnsarAllah, as they have a common goal in liberating Yemen from the foreign aggression and occupation. The ultimate aim being “uniting all factions in the south with a view of freeing Yemen from all foreign occupation.”  She is confident that this movement will succeed “in partnership with our brothers and sisters in the north.”

International recognition

The National Salvation Government is not only arguably the legitimate government of Yemen. The Yemeni armed forces and its alliance with AnsarAllah has proven that they are indeed the most powerful entity in the country, with an ever-developing arsenal, they have recently announced an improved air defence system, capable of “neutralising” coalition aircraft up to a projected 90 per cent in the year ahead, which is significant as according to Yemeni military expert, Brigadier General Aziz Rashid, the coalition depends on aircraft for 85 per cent of its operations. They have shot down several drones in the past two weeks, in addition to an Apache helicopter belonging to the Saudis. Just today, at the time of writing, the Yemeni armed forces downed a Saudi spy plane over the Jizan region.

As the Riyadh Agreement gradually fades into obscurity, and the Saudis and its allies begin to sue for peace and pay for the damage that they caused, in the realisation that it is the Houthi government which is the legitimate power and authority in the country, it is high time that the international community start recognising this too, at the expense of the puppet government based in Riyadh headed by Hadi, who effectively has been held in captivity there and does not speak for the Yemeni people nor has control of the armed forces. Peace, stability and an end to the man-made humanitarian crisis is achievable with the help of this international community, who have been delusional for far too long.

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December 14, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment

UN ‘unable’ to verify claims Iran was behind Saudi Aramco attacks

Press TV – December 11, 2019

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres says the world body’s investigators are “unable to independently corroborate” the US and Saudi claims that Iran was behind attacks on the kingdom’s Aramco oil facilities in September.

Guterres announced in a report on Tuesday that all the debris from the weapons used against Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Aramco had been examined and the UN could not yet verify anti-Iran claims made by Washington and Riyadh.

“At this time, it is unable to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles used in these attacks are of Iranian origin,” Guterres wrote in his semi-annual Iran report to the Security Council.

The UN chief added that the world body is “still collecting and analyzing additional information on these cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles” and would report additional findings in “due course.”

The attacks, which hit Aramco’s oil facilities in Khurais and Abqaiq in east of Saudi Arabia on September 14, were claimed by Yemen’s Houthi Ansartullah movement but the kingdom and the US were adamant to blame it on Iran without evidence.

Iran has rejected the allegations of any involvement and said the attack was a legitimate act of self-defense by Yemen, which has been under incessant strikes by the Saudi-led coalition since 2015.

The attacks cut nearly half of Saudi Arabia’s total oil production and sent shockwaves across the global markets.

Saudi Arabia has constantly denied the attacks would have any impact on the kingdom’s finances, with the government estimating that GDP growth would stand at around 1.9% at the end of 2019.

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Sudan’s new PM wants to withdraw troops from Yemen

Press TV – December 6, 2019

Sudan’s new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has vowed to withdraw troops from the Saudi-led war in Yemen, saying his country’s role should be limited to assisting in a political resolution of the conflict.

“The conflict in Yemen has no military solution, whether from us or from anywhere in the world,” Hamdok told the Atlantic Council, a US-based think tank, on Thursday.

He added that the war “has to be resolved through political means,” and that his country will seek to “help our brothers and sisters in Yemen and play our role with the rest to help them address this”.

Sudan has been one of the main contributors to the so-called Saudi coalition against Yemen, formed in 2015 in a bid to install a pro-Saudi government in Sana’a and crush Yemen’s Houthi Ansarllah movement.

According to reports, up to 40,000 Sudanese troops were deployed in the country during the peak of the conflict in 2016-2017.

Late October, however, Sudanese officials said the country had withdrawn thousands of troops from Yemen, with only a “few thousand” remaining.

Speaking on Thursday, Hamdok said “not many” Sudanese forces remain in Yemen.

Hamdok, who is leading the country’s transitional government in a power-sharing pact with the military, further stated that he will be “absolutely” able to withdraw the remaining troops from Yemen.

The new prime minster said his government had “inherited” the deployment in Yemen from Sudan’s former president Omar Hassan al-Bashir who was ousted following a popular uprising against his rule in April.

Hamdok pledged to “address” the country’s involvement in the Saudi-led war “in the near future” without further elaborating on the matter.

While Sudanese officials have abstained from publishing official casualty numbers in Yemen, Yemen’s armed forces have said a total 4,253 Sudanese troops have been killed in the conflict.

The developments come as the Saudi-led mission in Yemen has come to a standstill due to the resistance and increasingly sophisticated attacks of Yemeni forces.

Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Riyadh’s most influential partner in the war, was reported to have withdrawn most of its troops from Yemen.

UAE officials have reached the conclusion that the war has become “unwinnable” and that the Houthis will eventually “have a role in the future in Yemen”, reports said.

Fearing a long-lasting quagmire in Yemen, Riyadh has also been reportedly seeking to negotiate an end to the conflict through discussions with the Houthis.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Houthis Are Preparing for a Planned Israeli Attack on Yemen

By Ahmed Abdulkareem | MintPress News | November 11, 2019

SANA’A, YEMEN — As the war in Yemen nears the end of its fifth year, the situation in the country seems to be escalating. There are strong indications that Israel is planning to launch airstrikes against the country under the pretext of preventing an Iranian military presence from taking hold, a move that is likely to open the door for further escalation.

On Saturday, Ansar Allah, the political wing of Yemen’s Houthis, announced that Yemeni forces would not hesitate to “deal a stinging blow” to Israel in the case Tel Aviv decides to launch attacks in Yemen. The Houthis reaffirmed that their anti-Israel position is based on a principled, humanitarian, moral, and religious commitment. Historically, neither the Yemeni Army nor the Houthis themselves, have ever targeted Israel directly.

The threat from Israel is not without precedent. Israel has used claims of alleged Iranian military attachments in countries like Syria and Iraq as justification for airstrikes and bombings against those nations. Now, Israel appears to be using Iran’s alleged presence in Yemen, an allegation that both Tehran and the Houthis deny, as a pretext for military action in the country despite no evidence indicating that there are any Iranian forces present there. 

Ansar Allah leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi said in televised speech marking the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad, “Our people will not hesitate to declare jihad (holy war) against the Israeli enemy, and to launch the most severe strikes against sensitive targets in the occupied territories if the enemy engages in any folly against our people.” The occasion marks the largest festival held by the Houthis during which they reveal their domestic and foreign policies for the coming year.

The Houthis also called on the Saudi regime to stop the war and siege on Yemen, warning that there would be risks and consequences for the Kingdom should they continue their attacks. Al-Houthi also confirmed that Yemenis will continue to develop their military capability, adding that, “Anyone who uses the war and siege to control us and subjugate us is seeking the impossible, and the consequence is failure.”

Al-Houthi also pointed to the ongoing mass protest movements in Lebanon and Iraq, advising nations in the Middle East to resolve their issues vigilantly. He asked those nations to exercise vigilance in the face of what he called Israeli plots to gain a political, military, and cultural foothold in their respective countries.

On Saturday, massive demonstrations took place across Yemen’s major cities to commemorate the Prophet Mohammed’s birth, an occasion known to Muslims as Maulud Nabi. While the occasion is a religious one, it is a public holiday in Yemen and is marked with the singing of the national anthem and the waving of green flags. Many protesters told MintPress News that any attack by Israeli would not cause the Yemeni people any more suffering than they have already endured, but would push them to join a “holy war” against Israel.

According to three government officials in Sana’a that spoke to MintPress on the condition of anonymity, the Houthi’s warnings are both serious and well-placed. Those officials said that the government in Sana’a has already confirmed information that Israel is preparing to launch airstrikes on both military sites and civil targets in Yemen, especially on the country’s west coast and along the Saudi-Yemen border in coordination with the Saudi-led Coalition.

Ansar Allah’s announcement also comes in the wake of a number of recent statements made by a number of Israeli officials claiming that Yemen has become a threat to Israel. Speaking during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and White House aid Jared Kushner, Netanyahu claimed that Iran has supplied missiles to the Houthis that could hit Israel. The Houthis regard these statements as a justification and prelude to strikes on the country, similar to those that Israel unilaterally carried out against sites in Syria and Iraq.

In August, Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida released a report saying that Israel is planning on striking sensitive positions on the Bab al-Mandab strait which links the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, to target “Houthis” in the area. The newspaper, which cited an anonymous informed source, said Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has been monitoring activities in the Yemeni strait.

Israel’s entry into the Yemen war could indeed open the door for further escalation, a prospect made more likely by both the increased strength of Ansar Allah forces and by Israel’s increasingly cozy relationship with the Gulf Arab countries of the coalition. The fact that Saudi Arabia and the UAE recently sought negotiations with Houthis after they were unable to win the war militarily, despite their superior firepower and funding, only increases the likelihood of Israel’s entry into Yemen.

In fact, Israel is alleged to have already participated in the war against Yemen on behalf of the Saudi-led coalition as a part of a series of covert interventions involving mercenary forces, the reported launching of dozens of airstrikes in the country and even the dropping of a neutron bomb on Nuqm Mountain in the middle the capital Sana’a in May of 2015.

Kicking the hornet’s nest

Like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, there is a problem with the Israeli assessment of the situation in Yemen, as the Houthis have never threatened to hit an Israeli target and Houthi attacks on Saudi-led Coalition countries have always been retaliatory, not preemptive. There are no vital targets to be bombed in Yemen as the Saudi-led coalition has already destroyed nearly every potential target, including civilian infrastructure. Moreover, any attack by Israel against Yemen will gain the Houthis even more popular support both inside of Yemen and across the Islamic and Arab world.

Furthermore, there is no evidence that Iran has any military sites or experts in Yemen, and Yemen’s Army, loyal to Ansar Allah, are not the “Iran proxy fighters” that international media so often claims them to be. Indeed, the U.S. State Department even admitted in leaked cables that the Houthis were not an Iran proxy and that they received neither funding nor weapons from Iran.

There are a convergence of interests between the Houthis and Iran, including opposition to Israel’s internationally-recognized theft of Palestinian land, but if Israel involves itself directly in the conflict in Yemen, it is likely that the Houthi alliance with Iran will grow and may actually spur Tehran into providing precise and sophisticated weapons to Ansar Allah, turning the fears of Israel into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Meanwhile, many Israeli activists and media pundits are expressing concerns over what they consider serious threats from Yemen, pointing out that these threats “should not be underestimated by the Israelis.” The Israeli security parliament said that Israeli intelligence must strictly monitor Yemen and take necessary steps to secure Israeli ships sailing in the Bab Al-Mandab area, describing the statements made by Abdulmalik al-Houthi as serious.

A well-stocked arsenal

Indeed the threats of Ansar Allah, a group known to strike sensitive targets without hesitation, are not without precedent. On September 14, Ansar Allah hit two of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, an attack that led to a suspension of about 50 percent of the Arab Kingdom’s crude and gas production.

Prior to that, they targeted vital facilities deep inside of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, including the Barakah Nuclear Power Station in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, as well as the King Khalid International Airport near Riyadh, more than 800 km from Yemen’s northern border. Now, they have developed their arsenal of ballistic missiles and drones even further and experts say are likely capable of hitting vital targets inside of Israel. Yemen’s Army is ready to launch those missiles if Ansar Allah’s leader asks it to do, one high-ranking military officer told MintPress.

Yemen’s Army, loyal to the Houthis, is equipped with the Quds 1 winged missile which was used in an attack on the Barakah Nuclear Power Station in Abu Dhabi in December of 2017. This year, several generations of the Quds 1 were reworked to provide the “ability to hit its targets and to bypass enemy interceptor systems,” according to Ansar Allah.

The Borkan 3 (Volcano 3), whose predecessors were used by the Houthis to strike targets inside of Saudi Arabia and the UAE,  is capable of traveling even further than the Borkan 1 and 2. The Borkan is a modified Scud missile and was used in a strike on the King Khalid International Airport near Riyadh, more than 800 km from Yemen’s northern border. The missile was able to evade U.S. Patriot missile air-defense systems.

Yemen’s Army also posses the Samad 3 reconnaissance drone and the Qasef 2K drone. Both were used in strikes against the Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports. The Samad 3 has an estimated range of 1,500 to 1,700 km. Moreover, the Yemen Army recently unveiled a new drone with a range exceeding 1,700 km and equipped with advanced technology that would render it difficult for air defense systems to detect.

One Ansar Allah military source told MintPress that mines would also be deployed against Israeli battleships and watercraft in the Red Sea if Israel decides to launch attacks against Yemen. Indeed, Yemen’s military recently revealed its domestically-manufactured marine mines dubbed the “Mersad,” and is reportedly “actively developing its naval forces and naval anti-ship missiles.”

Despite the well-established precedent, many still doubt that the Houthis are capable of carrying out attacks on the scale and range of the attack that struck an Aramco facility in Saudi Arabia earlier this year — instead, accusing Iran of orchestrating the attacks. Yet repeatedly underestimating the Houthis was one of the major mistakes made by the Saudi-led coalition, who has failed to defeat the group after nearly five years of fierce battles against them, despite being equipped with the latest U.S.-supplied weaponry — everything from M1A2 Abrams tanks and M2 Bradley fighting vehicles to AH-64D Apache helicopters, as well as having an air force equipped with a high-tech arsenal.

However, it would be difficult for the Yemeni Army to prevent aerial attacks by Israel. Yemeni airspace has been open to the coalition and to American drones since the war broke out in 2015. Any attack by the Yemen army would likely come in retaliation to an Israeli attack and would hit Israeli military bases in Eritrea, Israeli ships in the Red Sea as well as hit vital targets deep inside of Israel, according to Yemeni military sources.

An already dire situation

The war, which began in March 2015, has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis resulting from the bombing and a blockade which has led to mass starvation and history’s largest cholera outbreak, among other dire consequences.

The coalition, backed by the United States, has killed tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians since the war began. Moreover, the coalition’s blockade of food and medicine has plagued the country with an unprecedented famine and has triggered a deadly outbreak of preventable diseases that have cost thousands of people their lives.

Last week, the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project revealed that Yemen’s death toll rose to a shocking 100,000 since 2015. The database shows approximately 20,000 people have been killed this year, already making 2019 the second-deadliest year on record after 2018, with 30,800 dead. Those numbers do not include those who have died in the humanitarian disasters caused by the war, particularly starvation.

Given the nature of  Israel’s recent wars against Gaza and Lebanon, it is unlikely that Israel would feel constrained by any moral dilemma should they chose to launch airstrikes against civilians in Yemen.

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

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Israel’ Says US Sanctions Failed to Subdue Iran & Axis of Resistance, Warns of Rising Yemeni Threat

Al-Manar | November 10, 2019

The Israeli media considered that the US economic sanctions had failed to subdue Iran and all the axis of resistance, adding that Tel Aviv and Washington did not reach any achievement in this regard.

The Zionist reports pointed out that the attacks which targeted Aramoci oil facilities in addition to the tankers indicate that Iran will strike ‘Israel’ in response to any military operation in the region.

In the meantime, the Israeli media highlighted the vow of Yemen’s Ansarullah Chief Sayyed Abdul Malik Al-Houthi to respond to any Israeli assault on Yemen by attacking the Zionist entity, emphasizing that this is a new threat.

November 10, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments

Five Years On, Saudi Attacks on Yemen’s Farmers Are Pushing the Whole Country into Famine

By Ahmed AbdulKareem | MintPress News | November 1, 2019

HODEIDA, YEMEN — The country of Yemen, known in the medieval period as “Green Yemen,” is one of the most extensively terraced areas of the world. There, Yemeni farmers transformed rugged mountain slopes into terraces and built dams like the Great Marib, a structure whose history spans long enough that it was mentioned in the Quran. During the medieval period, Yemen had one of the widest ranges of agricultural crops in all of the Middle East.

Farhan Mohammed is one of the richest farmers in Qama’el, a rural village in the region of Baqim in northwestern Yemen. He owns 50 hectares of land which he uses to cultivate corn, pomegranates, and apples. Now, Farhan is struggling to keep his farm afloat after Saudi airstrikes targeted his fields, burning his crops and rendering the soil so toxic that it’s no longer able to sustain life. Saudi Arabia’s now nearly five-year-old project in Yemen has decimated the incomes of Farhan and most other Yemeni farmers. Fuel is hard to come by thanks to a Saudi-led coalition blockade and the fuel that is available has become prohibitively expensive. Airstrikes targeting farm fields and orchards have rendered large swaths of Yemen’s arable land too toxic to use.

Almost immediately after March 2015, when the war began, the Saudi-led Coalition began targeting Yemen’s rural livelihood, bombing farms, food systems, markets, water treatment facilities, transportation infrastructure, and even agricultural extension offices. In urban areas, fishing boats and food processing and storage facilities were targeted.  

Before the war began, over 70 percent of Yemen’s population lived in villages dispersed in the mountains and small towns with irregular, and at times torrential, summer rainfall. These rural residents relied on agriculture and animal husbandry and grew fruits and vegetables to feed their own families and to sell to markets. Yet that way of life has all but disappeared since the Saudi attacks began, undermining rural livelihoods, disrupting local food production, and forcing rural residents to flee to the city.

Now, Yemen’s nationwide level of household food insecurity hovers at over 70 percent. 50 percent of rural households and 20 percent of urban households are 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 amongst the holdouts in rural areas. Families that have fled to cities are often forced to beg or to pick through the trash for food scraps.

According to a recent report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), poverty in Yemen has jumped from 47 percent of the population in 2014 to a projected 75 percent by the end of 2019 because of the war. The report warned, “If fighting continues through 2022, Yemen will rank the poorest country in the world, with 79 percent of the population living under the poverty line and 65 percent classified as extremely poor.”

The intentional targeting of agriculture 

The targeting of the Yemeni agriculture sector and rural livelihoods is not merely accidental collateral damage incurred while targeting military sites. Data from the country’s Ministry of Agriculture shows that in the period between March 2015 and March 2019, the Saudi-led Coalition launched at least 10,000 airstrikes that struck farms, 800 that struck local food markets, and about 450 airstrikes that hit silos and other food storage facilities in the country.

According to the Ministry, crop-area cultivation declined an average of 40 percent and crop yields by 45 percent in rural areas. Many farmers in these areas reported that they could no longer produce yields at pre-war levels due to the extensive damage to infrastructure, the high cost of diesel fuel and other agricultural inputs, a collapse in markets and the destruction of roads and storage facilities.

According to a field survey carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture in the period between March 2015 and March 2018, Saudi attacks completely destroyed 270 agricultural buildings and facilities, 43 agricultural associations, 9,017 traditional irrigation canals, 54 agricultural markets, and 45 export centers.

High precision U.S. bombs dropped by Saudi-led coalition warplanes destroyed at least 1,834 irrigation pumps, 109 artesian and surface wells, 1,170 modern irrigation networks, 33 solar irrigation units, 12 diggers, 750 pieces of agricultural equipment, 940,400 farms, 7,531 agricultural reserves, 30 productive nurseries, 182 poultry farms, and 359,944 beehives.

Yemen has no major rivers like the Euphrates in Iraq and Syria or the Nile River, which supplies water to farmers in a number of African countries. This leaves farmers reliant on irrigation canals that channel rain and floodwaters into weirs and bunds built by local communities that are vulnerable to Saudi attacks. Attacks that have already completely destroyed at least 45 water installations (dams, barriers, reservoirs) and partially destroyed at least 488, including the ancient Marib Dam.

Yemen’s fishing sector has not been spared either. By the end of May 2019, every fish off-loading port in Yemen had been targeted by Saudi attacks. At least 220 fishing boats have been destroyed, 222 fishermen have been killed and 40,000 fishermen lost their only source of income. According to Yemen’s Ministry of Fishing Wealth, this has affected the lives of more than two million people living in coastal cities and villages.

Data shows that Saudi Coalition forces have stopped at least 4,586 fishing boats from leaving port in the directorates of Midi, Hajjah, Dabab, Bab al-Mandab, and in the Mukha districts in the Taiz governorate. Thirty fishing industry companies have left the country and about fifty fish factories have closed, causing catastrophic damage to Yemen’s fishing industry. Even before the war, Yemen’s fishermen were amongst the poorest segments of society.

As the war nears its fifth year, the Saudi-led coalition has continued to target the livelihoods of Yemen’s food producers. The coalition has expanded its military offensive to include large areas of agricultural lands and valleys in the K16, Durahami, Al-Jah, A-Tahita, Al-Faza, Jabaliya, Al-Mughrous, Al-Khokha and Hays countrysides.

Yemen’s breadbasket withers

With family in tow, Haddi Ibrahim Koba fled his family home in Al-Shaab in northwestern Tihama months ago after Saudi airstrikes destroyed his farm. The Koba family now struggles to eke out an existence 60 km away in the populous Hajjah province. Once proudly self-sufficient, relying on animal husbandry and farming for their livelihood, they now depend on handouts from humanitarian organizations, the meager bodies of their children already show signs of malnutrition.

According to a study by the Sana’a University-based Water & Environment Centre (WEC) in collaboration with the Flood-Based Livelihoods Network issued in November 2017 to assess the impact of the current war on food security in Yemen, the war is already drastically aggravating Yemenis’ ability to earn a livelihood, rapidly deteriorating the availability of food and elevating the complexity of an already dire humanitarian crisis in the country.

The study, The War Impact on Food Security in the Tihama, (Tihama is a region of Yemen traditionally known to be the country’s breadbasket) showed how agriculture in Tihama, which sustains most of the country’s population, has been seriously disrupted by the war. This, the study’s authors say, is undermining the productivity and investment capacity of the entire country.

Wadi Zabid is one of Tihama’s main valleys located in the Houthi stronghold of Hodeida, the second-largest governorate in Yemen. It is the second-largest valley in Tihama, with an area of 4,639 square kilometers. Before the war, Wadi Zabid was a model of sustainable agriculture and food security, but as of June 2017, when the WEC study was released, 43 percent of the valley’s residents were going hungry every night. Land cultivation has decreased by 51 percent and crop yields per hectare have declined between up to 61 percent. The production of fruits and vegetables has been wiped out as has the livestock population. Today, conditions for farmers in Tihama are likely even more dire than they were when the study was released.

Tihama’s woes are not due to climate change or local mismanagement. Instead, they are a direct result of the destruction of irrigation and water infrastructure resulting from Saudi attacks on the valley’s diversion dams and irrigation systems. Water in the irrigation canals in the downstream villages of both of Tihama’s main valley’s has decreased by about 60 percent since the war began, according to the study.

That damage has also created a massive impact on upstream areas that rely heavily on floodwater irrigation and has damaged irrigation systems and diversion dams affecting up to 75 percent of Tihama’s households.

Creating a toxic legacy

The Saudi-led coalition’s blockade on Yemen’s ports, airports and borders has only exacerbated the suffering of the country’s farmers and rural residents. The coalition has prevented the export of their products, especially to wealthy Gulf countries which imported thousands of tons of pomegranates and vegetables from Yemen before the war began. Importing pesticides, agricultural fertilizers and fuel has also become difficult due to the frequent seizure of seafaring vessels by the coalition.

For 77 days, the coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has continued to hold ships loaded with oil derivatives at sea, preventing them from entering the port of Hodeida.  The four ships that were allowed in carried transport fuel, not the fuel needed to power generators on which farmers rely.

Like in Tahamah, the blockade and attacks on agricultural targets across Yemen have not only destroyed machinery and infrastructure, it has had acute ecological impacts that may take decades to reverse. The accumulation of sediment in flood channels due to damaged gates and automatic barriers has caused trees to begin to reclaim now-dormant stream beds and flood plains, hampering the arrival of much-needed floodwaters to agricultural fields.

A Yemeni farmer tries to chase locusts off of his fields. Photo | UNFAO

Fertile soil, especially in the border areas in Saada and Hajjah, has become environmentally polluted due to the number of weapons dropped in more than half a million airstrikes. That pollution has not only affected the soil, experts fear it could genetically alter the pomegranates, grapes and coffee that were once staple crops in Yemen. Farmers and their families are at constant risk from unexploded ordnance, especially cluster bombs like the one that killed a young boy on his family farm in Hodeida last Thursday.

Agricultural and environmental experts that spoke to MintPress said that the effects of the Saudi coalition’s targeting of the agricultural sector will likely last for decades. The Director of Agricultural Extension in Yemen, Salah al-Mashreqi, said that more catastrophic effects will appear in the medium and long term, including genetic changes to pomegranates, for which Yemen is famous.

The deliberate targeting of food is prohibited by article 54 of the Geneva Conventions and the May 24, 2018, UN Security Council resolution 2417 on the protection of civilians in wartime, specifically reiterates this principle. Article 14 of the 1977 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions clearly states that starvation as a means of combat is not allowed: ‘’It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population.” Yet the international community has done little to curb the Saudi-led coalitions use of starvation as a tactic of war in Yemen.

This, in large part, according to many Yemenis and legal scholars alike, is because Saudi Arabia enjoys the near-total diplomatic protection of the United States. Without that support, Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes, which rely on American contractors, targeting software, training, weapons, and technicians to target farmers that are concerned with little more than feeding themselves and their country, would not be possible.

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

November 1, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

The World Turned Upside Down

By Martin Sieff | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 13, 2019

When a still-bewildered General Earl Charles Cornwallis surrendered his entire army to George Washington and to the Comte de Rochambeau at Yorktown in 1781, according to legend, a British military band heightened the humiliation by playing a ballad called, “The World Turned Upside Down.” The composer Lin Manuel Miranda later reimagined the song as a hit number in his acclaimed modern musical “Hamilton.”

In a time without speed of light communications, telegraph wires, radio or Internet, the fall of the British Empire in America still rocked the entire world. It was celebrated and welcomed from the Emir of Kuwait to the Tsarina Catherine in St. Petersburg.

Yet when the Houthi rebel movement that controls much of Yemen wiped out three Saudi Brigades and inflicted at least 2,500 casualties at the end of September, the Western media ignored it.

The outstanding analysis of Frederico Pierracini on this web site still stands virtually alone in offering unparalleled assessment of that event.

It is out of fashion among Western commentators to admit that any “decisive battles” can happen anywhere unless they are safely in the past and the United States has won them. But when the Nazi Wehrmacht overthrew the legendary French Army in six weeks of operations in 1940 and when the Red Army wiped out the elite combat forces of the Nazis at Stalingrad in the fall of 1942, those battles were indeed decisive and the clock could never be turned back from them.

The humiliating defeat that the Houthis have just inflicted on the Saudis is of comparable epochal significance. It does far, far more than confirm the victory of the Houthis in the long, needlessly prolonged civil war in Yemen that has killed at least 100,000 civilians over the past four years. The Houthis are now poised to bring the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia itself crashing down.

There is dark poetic justice to this development. The House of Saud will fall as it rose, by a clash of arms in which a young, harsh but dedicated revolutionary movement challenged a worthless old reactionary regime supported by the great imperial power of the day and then destroyed it.

Saudi Arabia’s founding father King Abdulaziz ibn Saud was a dashing, charismatic young tribal leader whose conquest of Arabia from the previously dominant but lethargic, petty, and corrupt Hashemite Dynasty eerily foreshadows the rise of the Houthis today.

The Hashemites enjoyed the religious leadership of the Holy Cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina. They had previously served the Ottoman Turkish Empire but during World War I, they eagerly embraced the British Empire whom the family correctly judged to be on the rise and certain to supplant the Turks as the dominant empire of the Middle East.

This Hashemite reading of global strategy was correct. But there was one insurmountable problem. Sherif Hussein of Mecca was such a uniformly despised, unjust and unsympathetic loser that he was capable of leading no one, and most of his family was no better.

The British led by Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill embraced the Hashemites in the 1920s and put one of Sherif Hussein’s sons, King Feisal I on the throne of Iraq. Even with British military support, the family was hated there too. In 1958, the entire Hashemite Royal Family of Iraq was machine gunned to death in Baghdad in a massacre that shocked the world.

Back in the mid-1920s, Sherif Hussein himself had already been driven out of Arabia by Abdelaziz and the House of Saud. Not all the might of the British Empire and not all the efforts of Winston Churchill could save him.

So when the time came to explore the oil resources of Arabia, Abdelaziz spurned the British and gave the vital concessions to American oil companies instead. In May 1933, the Saudi Arabian government granted a concession to SoCal – the Standard Oil Company of California – in preference to a rival bid from the British-controlled Iraq Petroleum Company. It was the forerunner of today’s giant Saudi Aramco oil corporation.

However, all the fabled Saudi oil wealth of the past 80 years was based on their previous conquest of the Arabian Peninsula. The core military lesson was clear: Brave, passionate troops with dynamic, energetic leaders will always beat wealthier, larger and better equipped forces led by tired, corrupt and worthless rulers.

Now history is repeating itself, except this time the Saudis are going to be its losers not its winners.

The Houthi victory serves notice that the Saudis have met their nemesis. Arrogant, reckless young Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman has had ample time over the past few years ago to call off his ferocious, cruel and bloody air campaign against the people of Yemen. He did not do so and it is too late now.

Payback is coming. And it will not stop at the borders of Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The world is about to turn upside down again.

October 13, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments