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US-Backed Forces Claim to “Liberate” Yemenis, Instead Rape Detainees

By Randi Nord | Mint Press News | June 23, 2018

The so-called “liberators” in Yemen are sexually and physically torturing detainees at secret prisons. Survivors recall disturbing stories laden with gruesome interrogation tactics for extracting false confessions. Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen attempts to portray themselves as the bearers of freedom and reason.

As an ally of the United States’ “counter-terrorism” operation in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates established 18 prisons throughout territory under their control. An ongoing investigation from the Associated Press has so far identified instances of deranged sexual torture at five of these facilities. The Emirati headquarters in Yemen houses one of such facilities where witnesses have seen American soldiers.

The United States provides the United Arab Emirates with billions in weapons, and military equipment through the Saudi-led coalition and counter-terror operations in Yemen. Washington also has ground troops in Yemen assisting and training Emirati forces.

Americans use Emiratis as gloves to do their dirty work,” at a prison in Mukallah told the Associated Press.

Two additional prison security officials said Americans were at all locations.

Witnesses say Emirati soldiers, mercenaries, and paid Blackwater mercenaries frequently raped detainees while others filmed the act. Other sexual torture includes electrocuting or hanging rocks from detainees’ testicles and sodomy with wooden or steel poles. The goal is to extract confessions.

They strip you naked, then tie your hands to a steel pole from the right and the left so you are spread open in front of them. Then the sodomizing starts,”  said one man, a father of four.

Survivors told reporters about a mass torture event on March 10 at the Beir Ahmed prison in UAE-occupied Aden. Soldiers pulled hundreds of prisoners out of their cells, ordered them to disrobe, and searched their anal cavity looking for cell phones or contraband. One witness proclaimed, “Do you believe this! How could anyone hide a phone in there?” If anyone did not follow through with orders, soldiers threatened them with vicious dogs.

The detainee who drew the photos in the Tweet below spent time in at least three different prison centers.

They tortured me without even accusing me of anything. Sometimes I wish they would give me a charge so I can confess and end this pain,” he said. “The worst thing about it is that I wish for death every day and I can’t find it,” he said.

Unbelievable Hypocrisy

The Saudi-led coalition includes about 34 different countries from around the world. Many people don’t realize the scope of the war against Yemen. Even nations that tend to stay out of other major conflicts like Morocco, Sudan, Eritrea, and Croatia provide the Saudi coalition with military or logistic support.

The United States, United Kingdom, France, and Canada provide the bulk of the Saudi-coalition’s military support.

Considering that the available evidence linking Iran to Yemen’s resistance, Ansarullah (the “Houthis”), remains inconclusive, this is clearly a world war against Yemenis. Saudi Arabia launched this war in March of 2015 to reinstate their puppet government of Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi who had already resigned from protests.

Throughout the course of this war, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States have championed themselves as “liberators.” If anyone was fooled into believing a ragtag gang of head choppers and child killers were the “good guys” in this scenario, these torture prisons filled with rape should help change that perception.

Also throughout the course of this war, the Saudi coalition has peddled nonstop — and in most cases false — anti-Ansarullah (Houthi) propaganda about detaining journalists and activists. Of course, the stories about Ansarullah granting amnesty to political prisoners don’t fit the official Saudi narrative so they tend to not make headlines.

This story about rape at the secret prisons broke just as the United Arab Emirates launched their operation to take Hodeidah port from Ansarullah (indigenous Yemeni) forces. France sent special forces to assist the Saudi-UAE coalition. At this point, despite all the military might in the world behind them, coalition efforts to occupy Hodeidah remain unsuccessful.

The Saudi coalition that Ansarullah uses Hodeidah port to import Iranian weapons and military equipment under the front of aid. However, all ships entering the port must first dock at Djibouti or a neighboring port for inspection from the coalition themselves.

Experts say anywhere from 250,000 to 600,000 could die in operation “Golden Victory” to take Hodeidah port. Rough estimates put the casualty toll in Yemen at over 36,000 between killed and injured. Tens of thousands more have died from the Saudi-imposed and U.S.-enforced blockade which restricts land, sea, and air imports exports and the flow of movement.

The blockade has put between 18 and 22 million on the brink of famine and triggered a cholera epidemic completely unprecedented in modern times.

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Western Media Whitewash Yemen Genocide

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 18.06.2018

With the United Nations warning that millions of civilians could die from violence or starvation from the ongoing military siege of the Yemeni port city of Hodeida, there is no other way to describe what is happening except as “genocide”.

The more than three-year war on Yemen waged by a Western-backed Saudi coalition has been arguably genocidal from the outset, with up to eight million people facing imminent starvation due to the years-long blockade on the Arabian country, as well as from indiscriminate air strikes.

But the latest offensive on the Red Sea city of Hodeida threatens to turn the world’s already worst humanitarian disaster into a mass extermination.

Hodeida is the entry point for 90 per cent of all food and medical aid into Yemen. If the city’s port stops functioning from the military offensive – as UN aid agencies are warning – then an entire country population of more than 20 million will, as a result, be on the brink of death.

The Saudi coalition which includes Emirati forces and foreign mercenaries as well as remnants from the previous regime (which the Western media mendaciously refer to as “government forces”) is fully backed by the US, Britain and France. This coalition says that by taking Hodeida it will hasten the defeat of Houthi rebels. But to use the cutting off of food and other vital aid to civilian populations as a weapon is a blatant war crime. It is absolutely inexcusable.

This past week an emergency session at the UN Security Council made the lily-livered call for the port city to remain open. But it stopped short of demanding an end to the offensive being led by Saudi and Emirati forces against Hodeida, which is the second biggest stronghold for Houthi rebels after the capital Sanaa. The port city’s population of 600,000 is at risk from the heavy fighting underway, including air strikes and naval bombardment, even before food, water and medicines supply is halted.

Since the Security Council meeting was a closed-door session, media reports did not indicate which members of the council voted down the Swedish call for an immediate end to hostilities. However, given that three permanent members of the council, the US, Britain and France, are militarily supporting the Saudi-led offensive on Hodeida, one can assume that these states blocked the call for a cessation.

As the horror of Hodeida unfolds, Western media are reporting with a strained effort to whitewash the criminal role of the American, British and French governments in supporting the offensive. Western media confine their focus narrowly on the humanitarian plight of Hodeida’s inhabitants and the wider Yemeni population. But the media are careful to omit the relevant context, which is that the offensive on Hodeida would not be possible without the crucial military support of Western governments. If the Western public were properly informed, the uproar would be an embarrassing problem for Western governments and their servile news media.

What is notable in the Western media reportage is the ubiquitous descriptor when referring to the Houthi rebels. Invariably, they are described as “Iran-backed”. That label is used to implicitly “justify” the Saudi and Emirati siege of Hodeida “because” the operation is said to be part of a “proxy war against Iran”. The BBC, France 24, CNN, Deutsche Welle, New York Times and Washington Post are among media outlets habitually practicing this misinformation on Yemen.

Both Iran and the Houthis have said that there is no military linkage. Granted, Iran politically and diplomatically supports the Houthis, and the Yemeni population generally, suffering from the war. The Houthis share a common Shia Muslim faith as Iran, but that is a far cry from military involvement. There is no evidence of Iran being militarily involved in Yemen. The claim of a linkage relies heavily on assertion by the Saudis and Emiratis which is peddled uncritically by Western media. Even the US government has shied away from making forthright accusations against Iran supporting the Houthis militarily. Washington’s diffidence is a tacit admission that the allegations are threadbare. Besides, how could a country which is subjected to an illegal Saudi blockade of its land, sea and air routes conceivably receive weapons supplied from Iran?

By contrast, while the Western media repeatedly refer to the Houthis as “Iran-backed”, what the same media repeatedly omit is the descriptor of “American-backed” or “British and French-backed” when referring to the Saudi and Emirati forces that have been pounding Yemen for over three years. Unlike the breathless claims of Iranian linkage to the Houthis, the Western military connection is verified by massive weapons exports, and indeed coy admissions by Western governments, when they are put to it, that they are supplying fuel and logistics to aid and abet the Saudi and Emirati war effort in Yemen.

Last week, the New York Times affected to lament the infernal conditions in Yemen as a “complex war”, as if the conflict is an unfathomable, unstoppable mystery. Why doesn’t the New York Times publish bold editorials bluntly calling for an end to US government complicity in Yemen? Or perhaps that is too “complex” for the Times’ editorial board?

The Washington Post also wrung its hands last week, saying: “The world’s most dire humanitarian crisis may get even worse. Emirati-led [and Saudi] offensive underway against port city of Hodeida, which is controlled by Iran-backed [sic] Houthi rebels.”

In its report, the Post did not mention the fact that air strikes by Saudi and Emirati forces are carried out with American F-15 fighter jets, British Typhoons and French Dassault warplanes. Incongruously, the Post cites US officials claiming that their forces are not “directly involved” in the offensive on the port city. How is that credible when air strikes are being conducted day after day? The Washington Post doesn’t bother to ask further.

In a BBC report last week also lamented the “humanitarian crisis” in Hodeida, there was the usual evidence-free casual labelling of Houthi rebels as “Iran-backed”. But, incredibly, in the entire article (at least in early editions) there was not a single mention of the verifiable fact that the Saudi and Emirati military are supplied with billions-of-dollars-worth of British, American and French weapons.

In the final paragraph of its early edition of the report, the BBC editorializes: “In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and eight other mainly Sunni Muslim Arab states launched a military campaign to restore [exiled president] Hadi’s government after becoming alarmed by the rise of the Houthi group which they see as an Iranian Shia Muslim proxy.”

Note the BBC’s lame and unconvincing implication of Iran. This is a stupendous distortion of the Yemeni conflict by the British state-owned broadcaster which, astoundingly, or perhaps that should be audaciously, completely airbrushes out any mention of how Western governments have fueled the genocidal war on Yemen.

At the end of 2014, the American and Saudi puppet self-styled “president” Mansour Hadi was kicked out by a Yemeni popular revolt led by the Houthis, but not exclusive to these rebels. The Yemeni uprising involved Shia and Sunni. To portray Iran as sponsoring a Shia proxy is a vile distortion which the Saudis and their Western backers have used in order to justify attacking Yemen for the objective of re-installing their puppet, who has been living in exile in the Saudi capital Riyadh. In short, covering up a criminal war of aggression with lies.

In reality, the Yemen war is about Western powers and their Arab despot client regimes trying to reverse a successful popular revolt that aspired to bring a considerably more democratic government to the Arab region’s poorest country, overcoming the decades it languished as a Western, Saudi client kleptocracy.

For over three years, Saudi and Emirati forces, supported with Western warplanes, bombs, missiles, attack helicopters, naval power, and air refueling, as well as targeting logistics, have waged a non-stop bombing campaign on Yemeni civilians. Nothing has been off-limits. Hospitals, schools, markets, mosques, funerals, wedding halls, family homes, farms, water-treatment plants and power utilities, all have been mercilessly obliterated. Even graveyards have been bombed.

Even during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Saudi-led coalition – the supposed custodian of the two holy mosques of Mecca and Medina – has continued to massacre innocents from the air.

Elsewhere in the region, Western politicians and media have mounted hysterical protests against the Syrian government and its Russian ally when they have liberated cities from Western-backed terrorists, accusing Syria and Russia of “war crimes” and “inhuman sieges”. None of these hyperbolic Western media campaigns concerning Syria has ever been substantiated. Recall Aleppo? East Ghouta? The Syrian people have gladly returned to rebuild their lives now in peace under Syrian government protection after the Western terror proxies were routed. Western media claims about Syria have transpired to be outrageous lies, which have been hastily buried by the media as if they were never told in the first place.

Yet in Yemen there is an ongoing, veritable genocidal war fully supported by Western governments. The latest barbarity is the siege of Hodeida with the callous, murderous objective of finally starving a whole population into submitting to the Western, Saudi, Emirati writ for dominating the country. This is Nuremberg-standard capital crimes.

With no exaggeration, Western news media are a Goebbels-like propaganda ministry – par excellence – whose duty is to whitewash genocide conducted by their governments. The barefaced lies and sly omissions being told about Yemen is one more reason among many reasons why the Western media have forfeited any vestige of credibility. They are serving as they usually do – Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Syria among others – as accomplices in an epic war crime against Yemen.

Photo: Geopolitics Alert

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Houthis say Saudi-led forces bogged down outside Hudaydah

Press TV – June 17, 2018

Yemen’s Houthi fighters have dismissed reports that Saudi-led forces have seized the airport in the port city of Hudaydah, saying the aggressors are on the retreat on all front lines.

Militants and foreign mercenaries armed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are attempting to capture the well-defended city and push the Houthis out of their sole Red Sea port in the biggest battle of the war.

“A battle of attrition awaits the Saudi alliance which it cannot withstand. The Saudi coalition will not win the battle in Hudaydah,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam told Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen TV.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday conducted airstrikes on the airport, to support forces attempting to seize it. The official SABA news agency said warplanes carried out five strikes on Hudaydah – a lifeline to millions of Yemenis.

Ground troops including Emiratis, Sudanese and Yemenis have surrounded the main airport compound.

Mohammed al-Sharif, deputy head of Yemen’s civil aviation, said images circulated online about the airport had been taken in October 2016.

A fence shown as proof of the airport’s capture is actually situated near the al-Durayhimi district, on a piece of land belonging to a Yemeni lawmaker, the official SABA news agency quoted him as saying.

Ahmed Taresh, the head of Hudaydah airport, also denied news of the airport’s capture, but said that it has been completely destroyed in airstrikes conducted by the Saudi-led coalition.

Abdulsalam warned that the Saudi-UAE offensive against the port city would undermine chances for a peaceful settlement of the Yemen crisis.

The rebuttals came after the media office of the Saudi-backed Yemeni forces loyal to ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi said on Twitter that they had “freed Hudaydah international airport from the grip of” the Houthis.

Reports on Sunday said Saudi-backed forces had been surrounded in the al-Durayhimi Bayt al-Faqih district and at least 40 Saudi mercenaries killed by Yemeni sniper fire over the past two days.

Al-Mayadeen, meanwhile, cited informed sources as saying that the invading forces had retreated from all fronts in Hudaydah’s west.

A Yemeni military source said clashes had left 50 Saudi-backed forces dead and destroyed 13 of their armored vehicles in southern Hudaydah.

Yemeni forces have also managed to confiscate a French or American ship off Hudaydah’s coast, president of the Houthi Revolutionary Committee Mohammed Ali al-Houthi tweeted.

The UAE, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition waging the war on Yemen, launched the Hudaydah assault on Wednesday despite warnings that it would compound the impoverished nation’s humanitarian crisis.

Le Figaro newspaper on Saturday reported that French special forces were present on the ground in Yemen supporting the operation.

According to the Houthis, British and French warships were also on standby on Yemen’s western coast to launch missile and aerial attacks on Hudaydah.

Fighting on Saturday closed off the city’s northern exit, blocking a key route east to Sana’a and making it harder to transport goods from Yemen’s biggest port to mountainous regions.

The UN World Food Program and the World Health Organization have both expressed concern over the situation.

More than 70 percent of Yemeni imports pass through Hudaydah’s docks and the fighting has raised fears of a humanitarian catastrophe in a country already teetering on the brink of famine.

On Saturday, the UN envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths arrived in Sana’a to hold emergency talks on Hudaydah. He was believed to be pushing a deal for the Houthi fighters to cede control of the Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee.

June 17, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

‘Civilians deaths increased due to rise in use of US assassination drones’

Press TV – June 9, 2018

Delegation of authority to field level military commanders to use “US assassination drones” has resulted in a surge in the number of innocent civilians being killed.

Media sources reported recently that US President Donald Trump has delegated to battlefield commanders the authority to order lethal drone strikes.

The authority to call for assassination drone strikes was limited to the White House or Washington security officials when Trump’s predecessors, namely, George Bush and Barack Obama were in office.

Trump’s decision to delegate the decision-making process to the military resulted in the number of drone strikes increasing, and in turn, the number of innocent civilians getting killed going up, according to Michael Burns, a political and military analyst in New York.

Burns made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Friday while commenting on the US military’s illegal extrajudicial killings by using assassination drones in some Muslim states, and now planning to expand the practice to other regions across the globe.

“The reason it [the use of assassination drones] has increased so substantially is because more decision-making authority is being given to military commanders to use these systems.”

Burn says the increase in the use of drones aims to project US military power worldwide.

“The increase in the use of drones — which are officially known as ‘unmanned aerial systems’ to mask their vicious ability — to project power in other regions of the world has increased substantially under the Trump administration.”

The analyst also links the increase in the use of drone systems to other reasons including the cost-effectiveness of the weapon compared to other means available to the US government to project its military power across the globe.

June 9, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , | 3 Comments

US using ‘ethnic cleansing’ to set up compliant state in Syria – Vanessa Beeley to RT

RT | June 6, 2018

The US is trying to ethnically cleanse Syria in order to kill off Syrian nationalism and create an obedient state, journalist Vanessa Beeley told RT following a damning report on the US coalition’s military activities in Raqqa.

Beeley, an independent journalist who has covered the war in Syria extensively, told RT that the US, UK and French coalition is using proxy forces to cleanse certain areas of land in the war-torn country in an effort “to replace them with a proxy that will essentially create a US controlled state.”

She was responding to a new Amnesty International report that strongly criticizes the actions of the US-led coalition in its campaign to liberate the previously Islamic State (IS, ISIS/ISIL)-controlled city of Raqqa.

The Amnesty report accused the coalition and its Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) proxies of creating “a level of destruction comparable to anything we’ve seen in decades of covering the impact of wars,” and it says that the coalition’s claims that the bombings were “precise” and caused few civilian casualties do not stand up to scrutiny.

Beeley said that the Amnesty report put “meat on the bones” of previous analysis from on-the-ground journalists and some Russian analysts and commentators. She said that despite the US-led campaign ostensibly being about ridding the area of IS terrorists, it was the terrorists “who were evacuated as priority over the civilians.”

“Civilian property and infrastructure, essential infrastructure like water taps, like water supply units that were keeping civilians alive during the campaign were also being targeted,” she said, adding that it was the SDF forces designating the targets for the US coalition.

“So there’s a degree of collusion here between the US coalition and its proxies forces on the ground,” she said.

Beeley also criticized the reluctance of the British government, in particular, to admit to causing civilian deaths during its military campaign. The UK Ministry of Defense, she said, “did not even admit one civilian death as a result of their “precision” bombing — and then they only reluctantly admitted that they believe one civilian was killed by one of their drone strikes.”

Comparing the American-led military campaign in Raqqa to the Russian and Syrian-led military campaign to liberate east Aleppo, Beeley said that there were different standards set and attempts were made to protect Aleppo civilians.

“What we saw there were the provision of humanitarian corridors for civilians to be able to leave under the cover of the Syrian Arab Army and with the help of the Russian reconciliation teams negotiating with the terrorist and militant extremist factions to allow civilians to leave,” Beeley said. “What we’ve seen in Raqqa is civilians paying smugglers to try and leave during the military campaign, having to cross minefields, being unable to afford the cost of those smuggling groups.”

Beeley also said that Syrian civilians were being forced to return to buildings and areas of Raqqa that had not yet been cleared of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), booby traps and mines left by IS militants.

In contrast, the journalist said that Russian forces “cleared thousands of hectares of those IEDs and booby traps” following their campaigns to liberate Aleppo and Ghouta from IS.

“What we’re seeing here is a disgusting despicable disregard for human life both during the military campaign and even more importantly after the military campaign by the US coalition,” Beeley said.

Watch Vanessa Beeley’s full interview with RT.

‘Yemen killings may be even bigger’

In a separate interview, Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle-East studies at the University of Oklahoma, told RT that the Amnesty report made it clear that there were “massive violations of human rights.” An investigation was unlikely given that the US, Britain and France sit on the UN Security Council, he said.

Landis said he believed the US did make efforts to avoid killing civilians, but that, ultimately, the US-led coalition was “in a hurry.”

“The UN asked them [US coalition] multiple times to give breaks so civilians could get out, but they didn’t want to negotiate with IS, they said they were gonna kill them on the battlefield. They didn’t want them as prisoners in another Guantanamo and this led to a situation where the US was eager to finish it off, did not want to allow a break, did not want UN workers to go into Raqqa because they were going to see the devastation,” he said.

Landis compared the destruction to that caused by the US-supported, Saudi-led coalition in Yemen: “What’s taking place in Yemen may be even bigger, but we don’t even know because reporters aren’t being allowed in there – but an entire population is being starved.”

“Half a million Yemenis have gotten cholera and there isn’t the proper medicine to fix them and heal them and this is a terrible, devastating war crime because it’s voluntary. It doesn’t have to happen. People don’t have to be starved. There’s a blockade going on,” he said.

“We know that US special forces are helping the Saudis now in Yemen. Is the killing in Yemen more clean than the killing in Syria? It’s hard to believe it is – and we’ll find out the ultimate body count, I guess in the end,” Landis added.

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN aid boat comes under suspected Saudi attack off Yemen

Press TV – June 4, 2018

A United Nations vessel delivering humanitarian aid to the Yemeni port of Hudaydah has come under a suspected Saudi attack.

Yemen’s Red Sea Ports Corporation said on Monday that the vessel used by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) was attacked after delivering a shipment at Hudaydah, a port in western Yemen which is controlled by the ruling Houthi Ansarullah movement and is under a blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies fighting the Houthis.

“The vessel traffic office received a distress call from the VOS THEIA at 1730 (1430 GMT) on Sunday, June 3, 2018 about a fire in the vessel resulting from an external attack,” said the Port Corporation in a statement, although it would not elaborate on who might have launched the attack.

The statement added that the ship was waiting in anchorage for permission to leave when it came under attack.

The UN’s aid chief, Mark Lowcock said, however, that no one was injured and the situation was calm now.

“There was an incident … We don’t know who’s responsible. We’re investigating and the incident is over,” said Lowcock.

The UN official, however, criticized anyone seeking to disrupt the humanitarian aid delivery in Hudaydah, a port which handles the bulk of Yemen’s commercial imports and aid supplies and is regarded as a lifeline for some eight million Yemenis being fed by the UN.

“There’s no port more important than Hudaydah. So anything which called into question the operation of Hudaydah would be a matter of deepest concern,” he said.

Reports over the past weeks have indicated that Saudi Arabia and its allies have been advancing on Hudaydah, launching frequent attacks on port authorities and guards patrolling at sea.

Saudis refused to provide any comment on the incident involving the UN aid boat.

According to figures released by the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights, more than 600,000 people have been killed or injured in the Saudi war since 2015.

The illegal campaign, which is meant to restore power to former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, has also displaced hundreds of thousands of Yemenis while exacerbating the humanitarian plight of millions already affected by poverty and malnutrition in the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest nation.

June 4, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

US mulls expanding military intervention in Yemen: Report

Press TV – June 4, 2018

The United States is considering a request from the UAE to provide direct support for an attack to seize the Houthi-held port of Hudaydah, a major lifeline for Yemen, officials say.

US officials said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has asked for a prompt assessment of the UAE’s appeal for assistance such as surveillance drone flights to help a Saudi-led coalition capture Hudaydah.

The debate over increasing US support to the UAE and Saudi Arabia comes amid escalating military operations around the Yemeni port despite UN warnings of catastrophic effects on the impoverished country.

Eighty percent of commercial and humanitarian supplies flow through Hudaydah, a central gateway. Since May 27, forces supported by Saudi Arabia have been closing in on the port, claiming that Yemen’s Ansarullah movement uses it for weapons delivery.

American officials say the UAE and Saudi Arabia have assured Washington that they won’t attempt to take the Red Sea port until they get support from the US.

“We continue to have a lot of concerns about a Hudaydah operation,” said one senior US official, quoted by The Wall Street Journal.

“We are not 100% comfortable that, even if the coalition did launch an attack, that they would be able to do it cleanly and avoid a catastrophic incident,” the official added.

Senior Yemen specialists in the US administration were expected to meet on Monday to discuss what to do, the newspaper said.

According to the Journal, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have long sought to get backing from the US.

Last year, the Saudi-led coalition unsuccessfully sought to secure American intelligence, surveillance and direct support from elite US military forces for an attack on Hudaydah, former US administration officials said.

For now, prominent administration officials involved in the debate harbor reservations about expanding the American military role in Yemen, but some back providing assistance to the UAE, officials said.

“We have folks who are frustrated and ready to say: ‘Let’s do this. We’ve been flirting with this for a long time. Something needs to change the dynamic, and if we help the Emiratis do it better, this could be good,’” the senior US official said.

Some administration officials are also increasingly disappointed that both military and diplomatic efforts have bogged down, which is fueling efforts to cut US support for the fighting, the report said.

The US has been lavishing sophisticated weaponry upon Saudi Arabia since March 2015, when the latter attacked Yemen to restore its Riyadh-allied former government. Washington also helps to refuel Saudi and UAE warplanes that conduct airstrikes on Yemen.

According to figures released by the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights, more than 600,000 people have been killed or injured in the Saudi war since 2015. Yemen has also turned into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The Red Cross and the United Nations have warned against the dangers of the Saudi-led operations in Hudaydah.

“The push for Hudaydah is likely to exacerbate an already catastrophic security situation in Yemen,” said François Moreillon, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Yemen.

United Nations’ new special envoy on Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is to present his proposal for reviving peace talks to the UN Security Council in the next two weeks. He has publicly warned that an assault on Hudaydah “would take peace off the table.”

“We are all very concerned about the possible humanitarian consequences of a battle for Hudaydah,” he said.

June 4, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

WaPo Editors: We Have to Help Destroy Yemen to Save It

By Adam Johnson | FAIR | May 31, 2018

Over the past year, the Washington Post editorial board has routinely ignored the US’s involvement in the siege of Yemen—a bombing and starvation campaign that has killed over 15,000 civilians and left roughly a million with cholera. As FAIR noted last November (11/20/17), the Washington Post ran a major editorial (11/8/17) and an explainer (11/19/17) detailing the carnage in Yemen without once mentioning the US’s role in the conflict—instead pinning it on the seemingly rogue Saudis and the dastardly Iranians.

This was in addition to an op-ed that summer by editorial page editor Jackson Diehl (6/26/17), which not only ignored the US’s support of Saudi bombing but actually spun the US as the savior of Yemenis, holding up Saudi Arabia’s biggest backer in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, as a champion of human rights.

In recent months, however, the Post has charted a new course: vaguely acknowledging Washington’s role in the bloody siege, but insisting that the US should remain involved in the bombing of Yemen for the sake of humanitarianism.

In two recent editorials, “Can Congress Push the Saudi Prince Toward an Exit From Yemen?” (3/24/18) and “The World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis Could Get Even Worse” (5/28/18), the Washington Post board has cooked up a new, tortured position that the US should not stop supporting the Saudis––a move 30-year CIA veteran and Brookings fellow Bruce Riedel argued in 2016 would “end the war overnight”—but mildly chide the Saudis into committing slightly fewer war crimes while moving towards some vague exit strategy.

In the March editorial, the Post insisted “the United States… should use its leverage to stop this reckless venture,” and that Trump “condition further American military aid on humanitarian relief measures.” A step in the right direction, right? Quite the opposite. When one reads closer, it’s clear that while the Post wanted Trump to moderately roll back the most egregious war crimes, it still lobbied against the Lee/Sanders bill that would have actually ended the war.

Monday’s editorial took this faux-humanitarian half-measure one step further with this bit of revisionist history:

Both the Obama and Trump administrations have offered limited support to the Saudi coalition, while trying to restrain reckless bombing and the exacerbation of the humanitarian crisis.

The idea that Obama and Trump offered the Saudis “limited” support is a glaring lie. The US’s support—from logistical support, to refueling, to selling $110 billion in arms, to political cover at the UN, to literally choosing targets on a map—has been crucial to carrying out the three-and-a-half-year campaign. Again, according to one of the most white-bread, establishment commentators, US support isn’t ancillary, it’s essential. Without it, there is no bombing campaign.

The problem is the Washington Post is charged with a contradictory task: to act as a Very Concerned champion of human rights while propping up the core tenets of America’s imperial foreign policy. It’s an extremely difficult sleight-of-hand when the US is backing a bombing campaign targeting some of the poorest people on Earth, so their support of this slaughter is actually spun as an attempt to rein it in. The US is going to bring down the system from the inside!

The most logical way the US can stop the slaughter of Yemen is to stop engaging it in it. But to the Washington Post, this runs against the US policy of bombing and/or sanctioning anything that has the most remote connection to Iran, so this simple course is just not on the table. Instead, the Post’s propaganda objective—after years of simply ignoring the US role altogether—is to paint its participation in war crimes as a way of preventing slightly worse war crimes; a good cop to Saudi’s bad cop. This permits business as usual while maintaining the pretense the US cares about human rights—in other words, the Post’s basic ideological purpose.

June 2, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Drones, Murder and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: the Cases of Reyaad Khan and Abdul Raqib Amin

By T.J. Coles | CounterPunch | May 30, 2018

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is 70 this year. But you wouldn’t know it from the impact it’s had on human lives. For example, Donald Trump has sharply increased drone attacks, especially in Yemen and Somalia, with virtual silence from Western media. Article 11 of the UDHR states: “(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”

As I document in my new book Human Wrongs (Iff Books), the alleged terror suspects blown apart by drone operators are not even charged let alone given the chance to plead their innocence in a national or international court: and that’s quite apart from the women, children and babies (“collateral damage”) that happen to be nearby when the Hellfire missiles are launched.

In Britain, the age-old common law, presumption of innocence, faced a slight setback in the so-called “war on terror.” Since US drone operators murdered Afghan civilians in the first-ever lethal drone strike in 2002 (followed by Yemenis in the same year), the US has murdered about 2,500 people with drones alone. Providing targeting information and communications links, the UK plays a significant role, all in violation of the principles of the UDHR.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Execution, Philip Alston, writes: “A State killing is legal only if it is required to protect life (making lethal force proportionate) and there is no other means, such as capture or nonlethal incapacitation, of preventing that threat to life (making lethal force necessary).” So, a person in Afghanistan, for example, cannot be lawfully slain by a British drone operator on the pretence that the person is about to pose an imminent threat to the UK, unless for instance the person is about to give an order over the phone let’s say to, for instance, a terror cell in Briton, instructing it to detonate a bomb. Needless to say, this is a ludicrous scenario in the real-world.

Murdering Its Own

The British state murdering “its own people” is nothing new. In the 1970s, the Ministry of Defence waged a dirty war in Northern Ireland. Units from the Military Reaction Force (MRF) murdered Protestants and Catholics as a part of strategy of tension. Northern Irish persons murdered and/or shot by MRF operatives include:Patrick McVeigh (shot in the back), John and Gerry Conway (travelling to a fruit stall), Aiden McAloon and Eugene Devlin (travelling in a taxi), Joe Smith, Hugh Kenny, Patrick Murray and Tommy Shaw (drive-by shootings) and Daniel Rooney and Brendan Brennan (walking on a road).

The British government does in fact possess the proverbial license to kill. It is a “license” granted to itself and one not grounded in international law. Targeted killings (murder) hitherto depended on the authorization of the Secretary of State. The Intelligence Services Act 1994, Section 7(1), frees intelligence operatives from liability in acts of killing abroad, “if the act is one which is authorised to be done by virtue of an authorisation given by the Secretary of State.”

In the case of Reyaad Khan and Abdul Raqib Amin, the killings were not carried out by MI6 (which is covered by the Intelligence Services Act 1994), but by the Royal Air Force. In 2015, the government started murdering Britons allegedly suspected of involvement in terrorism, making no attempt to apprehend them and put them on trial, as international law requires.

In August 2015, Reyaad Khan and Abdul Raqib Amin, were travelling in a vehicle in Raqqa, Syria. RAF drone operators ended their lives. Then-PM David Cameron told Parliament that Khan was the target (murdered) and Amin was killed alongside him (manslaughter). A third unidentified, alleged Islamic State fighter was killed with them, though the third person was not “identified as a UK national.” By implication, the third person’s life is not important, hence no details emerged.

Cameron claimed the killings were “an act of self-defence,” because Khan was: “involved in actively recruiting ISIL sympathisers and seeking to orchestrate specific and barbaric attacks against the west, including directing a number of planned terrorist attacks right here in Britain, such as plots to attack high profile public commemorations.”

But Cameron also revealed that Khan was not a threat to the UK: “there was nothing to suggest that Reyaad Khan would ever leave Syria.” If Cameron is to be believed, Khan was issuing instructions to terror cells in the UK. But if this is the case, it therefore becomes a matter for the British police.

Changing Stories

The pretext for the murder was later changed by the UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, who wrote that the killings were somehow justified in the “collective self-defence” of Iraq, where Britain is supposedly helping the government to defeat ISIS. The trouble is that Khan was not in Iraq when he was killed. Inverting international legal norms, Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, “who authorised the lethal drone strike” (Press and Journal ), appealed to Article 51 of the UN Charter, the right of collective and/or individual self-defence. Attorney General Jeremy Wright’s advice has not been published, indicating that the killings are violations of domestic and international law.

It later transpired that the RAF is working its way through a “kill list” of alleged British terror suspects fighting with ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Both jets and drones are used; the latter are controlled by operators in RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. “When we know where they are we kill them,” said a Ministry of Defence spokesperson. The “kill list” revelations prompted Lord Macdonald, former Director of Public Prosecutions, to co-sign a letter to PM May, calling for the release of the government’s Intelligence and Security Committee report into the murder of Reyaad Khan and names of other targeted suspects.

Lucy Powell MP and Kirsten Oswald MP, both co-chairs of the informal All-Party Parliamentary Group, called for a debate on Britain’s use of targeted murder. Defence Secretary Fallon who authorized the murder of Khan claimed that by February 2017, 85 Britons had been killed in Syria, but it wasn’t clear if this meant as part of the RAF’s kill list.

T. J. Coles is a postdoctoral researcher at Plymouth University’s Cognition Institute and the author of several books, including Fire and Fury (Clairview Books ) and Human Wrongs (Iff Books ).

May 30, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

UAE Deploys Forces on Yemeni Socotra Island

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 07.05.2018

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has landed its forces on the Yemeni island of Socotra, situated some 240 km. (150 mi.) from the Horn of Africa and roughly 350 kilometres (220 mi) off the Arabian Peninsula.

The surprise operation was launched on May 2. The troops are accompanied by armored vehicles. This military presence is growing. The soldiers have taken control of key elements of the island’s infrastructure, including the sea and airports.

The landing was conducted without the approval of either the Yemeni government or the local authorities. The move is clearly an affront to Yemeni President Abed Hadi, who is officially a UAE ally in the ongoing war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Abu Dhabi is a key partner in the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that has been fighting Houthi rebels since 2015. Hadi’s government, which officially controls Socotra, views the landing as an act of aggression. The deployment could mark the end of Yemen’s alliance with the Arab Emirates.

The UAE has established a zone of influence in southern Yemen, which includes the port of Aden, known as the southern gate of the Red Sea. There have been reports that Abu Dhabi is  building a military airstrip on Yemen’s Mayun (Perim) island, which is also located near the strait. It controls Aden’s airport as well. The UAE is forming militias that will operate under its control on Yemeni territory.

Uncorroborated reports have surfaced claiming that Abu Dhabi plans to force Socotra to secede from Yemen and join the UAE. Recently the federation has been investing heavily in southern Yemen in order to garner popular support.

No Houthi military units have ever been sighted on the island that would justify this deployment by the Emirates. One must surmise that expansion is the real goal of the operation. Once it has annexed Socotra and southern Yemen, the UAE will become much bigger and more important, thus boosting its regional and global clout. Yemen is rich in oil and gas reserves and the reason for Abu Dhabi’s interest is obvious. Previously the federation had made attempts to gain control of oil and gas fields in the provinces of Shabwah, Ma’rib, and Hadhramaut.

This military presence in Socotra will make it possible to establish control over the shipping lanes that connect the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. It brings to mind the famous phrase of Alfred Thayer Mahan “Whoever attains maritime supremacy in the Indian Ocean would be a prominent player on the international scene.” Socotra is crucial for controlling the shipping to and from Iran, the sworn enemy of Washington and Abu Dhabi. And war appears to be on the horizon.

A year ago, Washington and Abu Dhabi signed a landmark defense cooperation agreement to expand their military partnership. The deal includes provisions for moving US forces to Emirati territory and patrolling vital sea lanes in the Arabian Gulf and along the African coast. The UAE is the second-largest buyer of American weapons in the world and lately has been getting more frequent green lights to purchase the most sophisticated systems the US has to offer.

Both nations have a long history of participating in joint military operations. It will be no surprise if one day the news of a US military presence on Socotra were to hit the media’s headlines. In March 2017, the commander of the UAE navy visited the US to discuss a range of issues, including the creation of the Emirati shipbuilding industry. It’s hard to imagine that the impending landing operation on Socotra was not an issue on that agenda.

Evidently the deployment is part of a broader plan to force the rollback of Iran and reshape the region. And that’s not limited to Yemen. A military base is being constructed in Berbera, Somaliland by the UAE, to the chagrin of Somalia’s government in Mogadishu. Somaliland is a self-proclaimed state that has separated from Somalia. It is not recognized internationally, but the UAE provides training for its military. The federation has also been increasing its naval presence in Eritrea.

The Socotra operation coincides with other signs of a wider looming conflict. For instance, the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group commenced combat operations in Syria on May 3. Fighting the Islamic State? Not at all. It doesn’t take an aircraft carrier to get rid of the jihadists’ token presence that still remains in Syria. The military operations are being combined with diplomatic efforts to diminish Russia’s influence in Syria and the Middle East.

Hadi’s government in Yemen is recognized internationally. This deployment of military forces took place without Yemen’s approval, which means that the UAE has flagrantly violated international law. And the US will be flouting it too, if it sends troops. Yemen is going to complain to the United Nations about the occupation of Socotra. Washington has slammed Crimea’s unification with Russia despite the fact that a referendum was held there in which the people were allowed to express their own will. Will it likewise strongly condemn the UAE for occupying Yemeni territory and attempting to annex it to the Emirates without any legal grounds to do so? Hopefully it won’t be long before this issue makes it onto the agenda of the UN Security Council.

May 7, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Pompeo Rocks the Middle East: Lessons from a Former CIA Officer for the Secretary of State

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | May 7, 2018

Former Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo has recently completed his first trip to the Middle East as U.S. Secretary of State. Perhaps not surprisingly as President Donald Trump appears prepared to decertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) limiting Iran’s nuclear program creating a possible casus belli, much of what Pompeo said was focused on what was alleged to be the growing regional threat posed by Iran both in conventional terms and due to its claimed desire to develop a nuclear weapon.

The Secretary of State met with heads of state or government as well as foreign ministers in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan during his trip. He did not meet with the Palestinians, who have cut off contact with the Trump Administration because they have “nothing to discuss” with it in the wake of the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

During his first stop in Riyadh, Pompeo told a beaming Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir that Iran has been supporting the “murderous” Bashar al-Assad government in Damascus while also arming Houthi rebels in Yemen. He noted that “Iran destabilizes the entire region. It is indeed the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world…”

In Israel, Pompeo stood side by side with a smiling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said “We remain deeply concerned about Iran’s dangerous escalation of threats to Israel and the region, and Iran’s ambition to dominate the Middle East remains. The United States is with Israel in this fight. And we strongly support Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself.”

At the last stop in Jordan, Pompeo returned to the “defend itself” theme, saying regarding Gaza that “We do believe the Israelis have a right to defend themselves and we are fully supportive of that.”

One hopes that discussions between Pompeo and his foreign interlocutors were more substantive than his somewhat laconic published comments. But given the comments themselves, it is depressing to consider that he was until recently Director of the CIA and was considered an intellectually brilliant congressman who graduated first in his class at West Point. One would hope to find him better informed.

Very little that surfaced in the admittedly whirlwind tour of the Middle East is fact-based. Starting with depicting Iran as a regional and even global threat, one can challenge the view that its moves in Yemen and Syria constitute any fundamental change in the balance of power in the region. Iranian support of Syria actually restores the balance by returning to the status quo ante where Syria had a united and stable government before the United States and others decided to intervene.

Israeli claims repeated by Washington that Iran is somehow building a “land bridge” to link it to the Mediterranean Sea are wildly overstated as they imply that somehow Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon are willing to cede their sovereignty to an ally, an unlikely prospect to put it mildly. Likewise, the claim that Iran is seeking to “dominate the region” rings hollow as it does not have the wherewithal to do so either financially or militarily and many of its government’s actions are largely defensive in nature. The reality is that Israel and Saudi Arabia are the ones seeking regional dominance and are threatened because a locally powerful Iran is in their way.

Support by Tehran for Yemen’s Houthis is more fantasized than real with little actual evidence that Iran has been able to provide anything substantial in the way of arms. The Saudi massacre of 10,000 mostly Yemeni civilians and displacement of 3 million more being carried out from the air has been universally condemned with the sole exceptions of the U.S. and Israel, which seem to share with Riyadh a unique interpretation of developments in that long-suffering land. The U.S. has supplied the Saudis with weapons and intelligence to make their bombing attacks more effective, i.e. lethal.

Pompeo did not exactly endorse the ludicrous Israeli claim made by Benjamin Netanyahu last week that Iran has a secret weapons of mass destruction program currently in place, but he did come down against the JCPOA, echoing Trump in calling it a terrible agreement that will guarantee an Iranian nuclear weapon. The reality is quite different, with the pact basically eliminating a possible Iranian nuke for the foreseeable future through degradation of the country’s nuclear research, reduction of its existing nuclear stocks and repeated intrusive inspections. Israel meanwhile has a secret nuclear arsenal and is a non-signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty without any demur from the White House.

The Israeli-Pompeo construct assumes that Iran is singularly untrustworthy, an odd assertion coming from either Washington, Riyadh or Tel Aviv. It also basically rejects any kind of agreement with the Mullahs and is a path to war. It is interesting to note that the Pentagon together with all of America’s closest allies believe that the JCPOA should stay in place.

And then there is the claim that Iran is the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism. In reality that honor belongs to the United States and Israel with Iran often being the victim, most notably with the assassination of its scientists and technicians by Mossad agents. Israel has also been targeting and bombing Iranians in Syria, as has the United States, even though neither is at war with Iran and the Iranian militias in the country are cooperating with the Syrians and Russians to fight terrorist groups including ISIS as well as those affiliated with al-Qaeda. The U.S. is actually empowering terrorists in Syria and along the Iraqi border while killing hundreds of thousands in its never-ending war on terror. Israel meanwhile has agreements with several extremist groups so they will not attack its occupied Golan Heights and also seeks to continue to destabilize the Syrians.

Pompeo also endorsed Israel’s “fight” against the Gazan demonstrators and pledged that America would stand beside its best friend. As of this point, Israel has used trained army snipers to kill forty-three unarmed protesting Palestinians. Another 5,000 have been injured, mostly by gunfire. No “threatened” Israelis have suffered so much as a broken fingernail and the border fence is both intact and has never been breached. Israel is committing what is very clearly a war crime and the United States Secretary of State is endorsing the slaughter of a defenseless people who are imprisoned in the world’s largest open-air concentration camp.

Donald Trump entered into office with great expectations, but if Mike Pompeo is truly outlining American foreign policy, then I and many other citizens don’t get it and we most definitely don’t want it.

*(Mike Pompeo meets with Israeli Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, April 2018. Image credit: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/ flickr)

May 7, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yemen conflict: Secret documents suggest 7,000 UK personnel may be complicit in Saudi slaughter

House destroyed in airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, on April 19, 2018. © Mohammed Dhari / Global Look Press
RT | May 2, 2018

To what extent is the UK aiding the Saudi intervention in Yemen? A new report suggests help is more hands-on than just defense deals.

Never seen before documents published as part of a new paper titled ‘UK Personnel Supporting the Saudi Armed Forces – Risk, Knowledge and Accountability’, suggest that some of the functions carried out by British personnel and arms companies in the Gulf kingdom may be more than what the Government is willing to admit.

According to the report, British arms deals to Saudi Arabia dating back to to 1985 have contained secret support clauses for British-made aircraft which tie British contractor and government personnel to Saudi military action, even if the UK is not itself involved directly.

These aircraft, namely Panavia Tornado and Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, have been conducting continuous airstrikes against targets in Yemen since the country erupted into civil war in 2015, with strong claims made by human rights organizations that war crimes are being conducted, including the use of cluster munitions.

A recent strike, on April 23, hit a wedding party where 20 civilians were killed. Since the Saudi-led intervention began and the end of 2017, some 5,500 civilians have been killed with over 9,000 injured, according to the UN. The country’s infrastructure has completely collapsed.

In December last year, the European Parliament adopted a resolution to suspend arms sales to the country on the back of these alleged charges.

Based on two years of interviews with former staff by Mike Lewis and Karen Templar, with support from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the paper is part of a wider ‘Brits Abroad’ project which examines the role of UK nationals operating outside the UK to contribute military and security services in armed conflicts.

While Whitehall has maintained that UK personnel currently stationed in Saudi Arabia have been away from any frontline roles including the targeting or weaponizing of British-made aircraft used in Yemen, terms contained in secret government-to-government contracts dating from 1986 still dictate British help to the Royal Saudi Air Force when the kingdom is at war.

The report puts the UK’s human ‘footprint’ at approximately 7,000 UK contractors, UK civil servants and seconded UK military personnel.

Al-Yamamah & Al-Salam

Attached to 1985’s infamous Al-Yamamah arms deal, which included the purchase of 72 Tornado fighter aircraft, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by both nations contains assurances that London’s support of the aircraft would continue “as long as the program lasts.”

Another 48 Tornado were added in 1993, and support was extended again under the Saudi British Defence Cooperation Programme (SBDCP) from 2006 onwards.

In 2005, the Al-Salam arms deal covered the delivery of 72 Typhoon fighter aircraft – built by the Eurofighter consortium which includes British firm BAE Systems – and came with a full support package.

From the Gulf War to Yemen

During the first Gulf War in 1990, BAE employees in Dhahran – now King Abdulaziz Air Base – directly maintained and loaded weapons for both RAF and RSAF Tornado aircraft. One former BAE Crew Chief at Dhahran, quoted in the report, claimed to the UK Ministry of Defence that “it was left up to literally a handful of us experienced ex-RAF personnel to direct combat ground operations” during the conflict.

Since then, BAE have been more reluctant to give such support to Saudi military excursions that does not directly involve the British military. In 2008 it issued a “pullback” from direct handling of cluster munitions in 2008, followed in 2009/10 with resigning from directly operational roles in squadrons engaged in active combat upon the start of Riyadh’s offensive in Yemen.

However, this “pullback”, British expats who worked as armorers and technicians claim, remained incomplete and British staff were still expected to carry out armoring tasks of aircraft and support ground activities.

Others took on maintenance and weapons management functions during night-shifts and back-shifts, furthering the blurring of advisory and operational roles, while others, there to train Saudi maintenance crew, took on deep maintenance of warplanes involved in strikes against Houthi rebels when Saudi staff were too few or off shift.

As recent as February 2017, job specifications released by BAE show that its employees “continue to be responsible for coordinating maintenance for the weapons systems of all RSAF’s Tornados, both in training and operational squadrons, and including those deployed to Forward Operating Bases.”

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment