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Thread: Pray for Yemen [pray for Yemeni civilians, children, women, families, and (Yemeni Frot) men and/or brothers of the heart]

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    Default Pray for Yemen [pray for Yemeni civilians, children, women, families, and (Yemeni Frot) men and/or brothers of the heart]






    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/6/7...s_dirty_war_in

    Friday, June 7, 2013

    JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, the first time that President Obama authorized any strikes against Yemen was December 17th, 2009. Yemen had been bombed by the United States once before that under President Bush in November of 2002. And President Obama was expanding the authorities for the Joint Special Operations Command and the CIA to strike in countries beyond Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. And in this first missile attack, the U.S. used cruise missiles and cluster bombs on this small Bedouin village in the—in Majalah, in Abyan province. And they said that they were targeting an al-Qaeda leader in an al-Qaeda training camp. And it turned out that the bombing killed 46 people—14 women and 21 children. And the Yemeni government actually took responsibility for the strikes and said that its own air force had conducted it and that it was a successful attack against an al-Qaeda base. And the United States began conspiring with the Yemeni regime to bomb Yemen and then have the Yemenis take responsibility for it. And General David Petraeus, the CENTCOM commander, was revealed in the WikiLeaks cables to have hatched this plot with the Yemeni dictator, Ali Abddullah Saleh. But this was one of the most gruesome attacks that’s been conducted over the past three years in Yemen, shredding human beings, children and women, in this strike that they said was aimed at an al-Qaeda camp.

    SALEH BIN FAREED: Regarding al-Majalah massacre, in fact it was, I mean, a big shame and big blame on the Americans and on the American government and on our government in Yemen. I was one of the first people to arrive there. What I have seen, I have not seen in my life, and I don’t think I will ever see, even if it is like a third World War. Those people were living in a small valley only two kilometers from the tarmac road. We drove easily. We reached after five—10 minutes to the site, easily. And our minister of interior at that time, when they asked him, "Why you did not capture them?" he said, "They live in high mountains like Tora Bora. We could not reach them," which is big false. And when we reached there, there were hundreds and then thousands of people. We saw the flesh of the bodies of those people mixed with the meat of the cows and sheep and goats. Honestly, we could only find very, very few whom we could recognize. And we—it was mixed with hundreds of sheep and goats. And, I mean, they were all mixed together, I mean, with blood. And they got—they were bombed with about six or seven huge rockets from the—


    May, 2015

    "To date, the UN estimates that 1,850 people have been killed, more than 7,390 injured and more than half a million displaced since the Saudi Arabian assault began, however these are conservative estimates and other sources put these numbers at almost double. Millions of Yemeni people are suffering from shortages of food, water, fuel, and medicines because of the bombings and the air, land and sea blockade."




    STOP THE NEW CRIMINAL WAR BY UNITED STATES IN THE MIDDLE EAST!

    April 22, 2015

    For one month Saudi Arabia, with the backing of the US, has devastated Yemen with a brutal and criminal bombing campaign. According to UN estimates, over 1,100 innocent Yemeni people have been killed. UNICEF last week released a report that by conservative estimates, more than 115 children have been killed by the Saudi-led war on Yemen. The indiscriminate bombing campaign against Yemen has created a humanitarian crisis where basic infrastructure has been destroyed, over 150,000 people have been displaced from their homes, and 12 million people in Yemen do not know where there next meal is coming from.

    Under international condemnation and pressure, on Tuesday April 21, 2015 Saudi Arabia announced that their “Operation Decisive Storm” bombing campaign was over, and they announced the start of “Operation Renewal of Hope”. This attempt of Saudi Arabia to appear less brutal is a complete farce. Less than 6 hours after this announcement, Saudi airstrikes on Yemen continued. An air and naval blockade has been imposed on Yemen including at least seven U.S. combat ships blocking Yemen’s ports. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are not only breaking and undermining international laws, but are also denying the people of Yemen their right to self-determination, in addition to attacking Yemen’s sovereignty. Yemen’s struggle to determine their own future free of U.S.-backed regimes is now facing foreign intervention and war with the help of the U.S.

    Mobilization Against War and Occupation catagorically condemns the Saudi Arabian bombing campaign against the innocent people of Yemen and the complete destruction of infrastructure of cities including roads, hospitals, schools, food and water sources, mosques and electrical power in Yemen.




    http://english.irib.ir/news/world/we...rikes-in-yemen

    01 April 2015

    UNICEF: At least 62 children killed during Saudi airstrikes in Yemen

    The United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, said on Tuesday at least 62 children have been killed and 30 injured during the Saudi aggression against Yemen over the past week.

    "Children are in desperate need of protection, and all parties to the conflict should do all in their power to keep children safe," said UNICEF's representative for Yemen Julien Harneis, FNA reported.

    UNICEF said the fighting was severely damaging health and education services, and exacerbating already precarious conditions for children who are facing a food crisis and acute malnutrition.

    The violence is leaving children terrified, UNICEF said.





    http://www.socialist.ca/node/2706

    “Yemen: Western-backed war is killing civilians” by Yusur Al-Bahrani

    While Yemen is witnessing the fourth Arab Spring anniversary, Western-backed Saudi Arabia is launching devastating military attacks on several cities. Although the coalition claims to be targeting Houthi military bases, civilians are the victims.

    Saudi Arabia is escalating the conflict in Yemen by calling on other Arab states to join the Decisive Storm coalition. Until now, governments supporting and participating in the coalition are: Saudi Arabia (leader), United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan. Egypt is participating by sending warships to aid Saudi Arabia in its violations against Yemeni people.

    The Western backed National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces expressed its “full support for the military operation” that they named as the “Storm of Resolve.” While they condemn Assad’s attacks, they hypocritically support Saudi attacks on Yemen. Saudi Arabia is known for its counter-revolutionary intervention in Syria that has resulted in the rise of extremist groups such as Jabhat Al Nusra, its allies and ISIS. The Saudi intervention in Yemen comes after a request from the ousted Yemeni president Abed Rabbo Mansour without paying attention to the opinions of the majority of people who demand negotiations with Houthis and several other groups in order to end the conflict.

    Not surprisingly, this attack and violation of the right to Yemeni self-determination is backed by the US and other imperialist Western powers. According to several reports, the Saudi-led military operation has relied on US intelligence. “In support of GCC actions to defend against Houthi violence, President Obama has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations,” said the White House National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan in a statement on March 25. Although US forces haven’t participated in direct military actions, their support is an intervention that further destabilizes the region and escalates violence. Britain has also confirmed its non-combat support to Saudi Arabia and its allies in the coalition.


    Although the coalition and its supporters claim that the Decisive Storm operation targets Houthi rebels, hundreds of civilians, including children, were killed in several parts of Yemen. The numbers of the deaths are prone to go higher as casualties increase. For instance, hundreds of civilians were killed and injured in Saudi airstrikes on their homes in Sana’a. “The high toll of civilian deaths and injuries in these attacks raises concerns about compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law,” told Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program. According to eyewitnesses, in Sa’ada, airstrikes targeted a market leaving at least 60 civilians dead.



    The situation in Yemen is complex. While the Saudi version of the story told in several mainstream Arab media, funded by the royal family members, suggest that Houthi rebels are pro-Iranian militias that aim to control Yemen and the region, what’s on [the] ground is different. The Yemeni army along with the rebels is now in the frontlines defending their land regardless of sectarian, religious and political affiliations. The intervention united people in Yemen who are protesting daily in the streets under the Saudi airstrikes. They demand peace. It is evident that Saudi Arabia is waging this war against Yemen in order to instigate a war against Iran and its allies. Innocent Yemenis who have been suffering from poverty and violence for decades are paying the price. Hundreds of innocent Yemenis were killed in a series of bomb attacks that targeted worshippers during Friday prayers around one week before the Saudi-led attack. The so-called Islamic State announced its responsibility for the attacks. Increasing violence in Yemen is spreading sectarian civil war across the region. This will give a chance for more imperialist control.


    While it is not possible for activists around the world to take a side with one Yemeni group or the other, it is essential to demand an end to the brutal Western-backed Saudi intervention and bloodshed.



    http://www.globalresearch.ca/obamas-...ildren/5441411

    By Stephen Lendman

    April 08, 2015

    Yemen is Obama’s war. Months of preparation preceded hostilities. Detailed planning chose targets now terror-bombed.

    Saudi-led forces are US proxies, serving American regional interests over the corpses of likely many thousands before [the] conflict ends.

    Neocon lunatics in Washington consider it a small price to pay. International law calls it the highest of high crimes.

    Conditions in Yemen for many were desperate before fighting began. Now they’re catastrophic for many millions.

    In more normal times, Oxfam estimates around 16 million Yemenis [are] dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.

    About 10 million haven’t enough food. Around 13 million have no access to clean drinking water.

    Nine million lack basic medical care – greatly exacerbated now because most international aid workers left to avoid danger.

    In the last 24 hours alone, reports estimate around 140 killed, many more seriously injured.

    After nearly two weeks of terror-bombing, hundreds have been murdered in cold blood, thousands injured. The specter of starvation haunts many as food is increasingly in short supply.

    Casualties mount daily. Noncombatant civilians suffer most. On April 6, a UN News Center report said:

    “The violence in Yemen continues to wreak havoc upon the country’s civilian population and restricts humanitarian access to those most in need amid a spate of aerial attacks and ground incursions.”

    Residential neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, public areas and vital infrastructure are being deliberately terror-bombed.

    The UN reported residential buildings and bridges destroyed in Aden and Ma’ala. Conditions are “rapidly deteriorating” throughout much of the country, it said.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) reported the deaths of healthcare workers. It said hospitals were damaged or destroyed. It voiced concern about “the serious implications of these attacks.”

    The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported increasing numbers of child deaths and injuries.

    It estimates scores killed so far, many others maimed for life. It calls its estimates “conservative.”

    UNICEF Yemen representative Julien Harneis said:

    “Children are paying an intolerable price for this conflict. They are being killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes, their health threatened and their education interrupted.”

    “These children should be immediately afforded special respect and protection by all parties to the conflict, in line with international humanitarian law.”

    “The conflict is exacerbating the already precarious situation for children in one of the region’s poorest countries.”

    Under more normal conditions, many Yemenis face food insecurity. Severe acute malnutrition is widespread among young children.

    Growing numbers of Yemenis are being displaced. UN sources estimate at least 100,000 so far. A major refugee crisis looms.

    A humanitarian one already exists. All essentials to life are in short supply or unavailable – including food, clean water, medical supplies, healthcare and electricity.

    Terror-bombing disrupted, damaged or destroyed southern area drinking water and sanitation facilities.

    Raw sewage flows in streets. The risk of widespread illness and disease is huge.

    Aden residents reported one or more foreign warships (maybe US ones) shelling coastlines.

    Explosions rocked suburban areas. Houthi fighters continue making gains despite intense terror-bombing and ground fighting.

    Reuters reported heavy shelling and street fighting in and around Aden for days.

    It indicated mounting food, water, medical supplies and electricity shortages throughout much of the country.

    Sanaa, the capital, Aden, and surrounding areas are especially hard hit.

    Reuters quoted a woman named Fatima walking through near-barren streets with her young children pleading: “How are we supposed to live without water and electricity?”

    Desperately needed ICRC aid hasn’t arrived. A spokesperson said:

    “We are still working on getting the plane to Sanaa. It’s a bit difficult with the logistics because there are not that many companies or cargo planes willing to fly into a conflict zone.”

    The ICRC is trying to get medical supplies in by sea from neighboring Djibouti. Fighting makes it extremely hazardous doing so.

    Food is in short supply. Bottled water is no longer available. Water fit to drink is hard to find.

    A mother of three said “(f)ood is in short supply, and thousands of children sleep hungry.”

    “Where are the international aid organizations? There is no support coming to Yemen. Innocent civilians and children are dying in Aden while the world is watching.”

    Yemen under normal conditions imports about 90% of its food. Saudi-blocked sea and air routes prevents supplies from arriving.

    ICRC spokeswoman Maria Claire Feghali said “(t)he most critical part, the biggest challenge is the medical one. The hospitals are exhausted.”

    Last week, fighting killed three Red Cross workers. Fars News reports Saudi Arabia enlisting Al Qaeda terrorists to battle Houthis on the ground.

    Yemeni General Khalid al-Barayem said Houthi fighters intercepted trucks with (likely Saudi-supplied) chemical weapons heading for areas controlled by elements loyal to ousted US-installed illegitimate president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

    Substances seized can produce deadly sarin gas, he said. Turkish aircraft are delivering weapons to Hadi loyalists under the cover of humanitarian aid, he added.

    As of April 7, Fars News estimates at least 887 Yemenis killed – “including hundreds of women and children.”

    Saudi-led terror-bombing is deliberately targeting civilian areas and infrastructure, it added.

    “There is no question that the US-supported and Saudi-led attack on Yemen is a blatant act of illegal aggression,” it stressed.

    Civilian victims are dying. Others are maimed for life. Hundreds of thousands are suffering horrendously from humanitarian crisis conditions.

    Where is the international community when most needed? Why haven’t responsible world leaders acted to stop US-planned/Saudi-led mass slaughter and destruction?



    http://www.democracynow.org/2015/5/5..._led_coalition

    May 5, 2015

    Human Rights Watch: Saudi-Led Coalition Bombing Yemen with Banned U.S.-Made Cluster Munitions

    Human Rights Watch is accusing the Saudi Arabia-led coalition of dropping banned cluster bombs manufactured and supplied by the U.S. on civilian areas in Yemen. Cluster bombs contain dozens or even hundreds of smaller munitions designed to fan out over a wide area, often the size of a football field. They are banned under a 2008 treaty for the high civilian toll they can cause. The treaty was adopted by 116 countries — although not by Saudi Arabia, Yemen or the United States. According to Human Rights Watch, the U.S.-supplied cluster bombs have landed near rebel-held villages in northern Yemen, putting residents in danger. On Monday, the State Department said it is "looking into" the report’s allegations, adding it takes "all accounts of civilian deaths in the ongoing hostilities in Yemen very seriously." We are joined by Stephen Goose, director of Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division and chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition, and Belkis Wille, Yemen and Kuwait researcher at Human Rights Watch.

    AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to Yemen. More than a thousand people have died since the Saudi-led bombing campaign began in late March. More than half the victims are civilian, including 115 children. The precise toll from the airstrikes is not known, because many areas are hard to reach. But the U.N. and several major human rights groups have raised the possibility of war crimes in the scores of documented bombings so far. The U.S. has played a key role in the campaign, expediting weapons shipments and providing intelligence to Saudi Arabia, including "direct targeting support" for the coalition’s strikes.

    Now Human Rights Watch has accused the Saudi-led coalition of dropping banned cluster bombs manufactured and supplied by the United States. Cluster bombs contain dozens or even hundreds of smaller munitions designed to fan out over a wide area, often the size of a football field. They are banned under a 2008 treaty for the high civilian toll they can cause. The treaty was adopted by 116 countries, although not by Saudi Arabia, Yemen or the United States. According to Human Rights Watch, the U.S.-supplied cluster bombs have landed near rebel-held villages in northern Yemen, putting residents in danger. On Monday, the State Department said it’s looking into the report’s allegations, adding it takes all accounts of civilian deaths in the ongoing hostilities in Yemen very seriously.

    For more, we go to Washington to Steve Goose, director of Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division, involved in the preparations and formal negotiations of the 2008 convention banning cluster munitions. He’s also chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition.

    Can you talk about what you understand is happening right now in Yemen?

    STEPHEN GOOSE: Well, we documented airstrikes involving cluster munitions on April 17th and likely on April 27th, as well. We don’t know if ongoing strikes are occurring right now, because, as you say, it’s very difficult to get fresh information out of many of the areas. But Saudi Arabia has, in fact, acknowledged—this is not an accusation—Saudi Arabia has acknowledged that they are using these weapons. They want to claim that they’re only using them against armored vehicles. But the treaty that bans these things doesn’t ban them only in certain circumstances. It’s in all circumstances, whether you think you’re only attacking armored vehicles or civilians, because in the long run they’re going to affect civilians. That’s been proven by their use in so many other countries prior to this ban treaty.

    AMY GOODMAN: What’s the role of the United States here, Steve?

    STEPHEN GOOSE: With respect to the cluster munitions, the U.S. supplied these CBU-105 sensor-fused weapons. They’re a more advanced type of cluster munition, but they are banned under the treaty. The U.S.—U.S.'s closest military allies, its NATO allies, almost all are part of this ban treaty, and they all agreed that these weapons, that perhaps have a lower failure rate than some other cluster munitions, also need to be banned, because they pose unacceptable dangers to civilians. The U.S. supplied them to Saudi Arabia. They've supplied them also to the United Arab Emirates, which is part of the coalition that’s conducting the airstrikes now.

    AMY GOODMAN: Belkis Wille is also with us, Yemen and Kuwait researcher at Human Rights Watch. She has been based in Sana’a for the last two years, but she’s joining us from Istanbul, Turkey. Can you talk about when you came to suspect that Saudi Arabia was using cluster munitions in Yemen, Belkis

    BELKIS WILLE: ...we have had concerns about the use of cluster munitions in this war because of the fact that Saudi Arabia actually used cluster munitions in 2009, when it participated in a war in northern Yemen. On the first day of the war, we issued a press release calling on the Saudi-led coalition to state on the record that it would not be using cluster munitions in this war. A press conference the next day led to a Saudi spokesman saying they were not using cluster munitions. However, several days later, we received video footage that looked very much like cluster munitions were being dropped by coalition airstrikes in northern Yemen. And several days later, we received photo evidence that showed the actual munitions, including unexploded cluster munitions on the ground in a location 36 kilometers away. We were able to match, through satellite imagery, the exact location from where the film was done, so we were able to verify that this was indeed a film made in Yemen showing the landing of cluster munitions.

    AMY GOODMAN: What has been the U.S. and Saudi response to the allegations that they’re violating a treaty, not that they’re signatories to—the U.S., Yemen and Saudi Arabia are not part of that 2008 cluster bomb treaty.

    STEPHEN GOOSE: Yes, Saudi Arabia, initially—well, before we presented this evidence, they said they weren’t using cluster bombs. And then when they first saw our report, they tried to deny that these were cluster munitions, cluster bombs. But in fact, these weapons clearly are captured by the definition of a cluster munition in the 2008 ban treaty. Then, the following day, they in fact started saying, "Yes, we’re using these particular weapons, called the CBU-105, but that we’re only using them against armored vehicles." That is still a violation of the convention. They have not signed up, but this convention is creating a new international standard of behavior which rejects any use under any circumstance, because one of the big problems with cluster munitions is not only that they spread out over a huge area during strikes and oftentimes kill and injure civilians during strikes, but many of the munitions don’t explode when they’re supposed to and end up laying on the ground and acting as landmines. And we’ve seen this kind of failure with these CBU-105s, as well.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, Steve Goose, what about the civilian casualties? And what do you think needs to be done right now?

    STEPHEN GOOSE: We don’t know what kind of casualties these weapons have caused. As Belkis was mentioning, we’ve got photographic evidence and video evidence of the attacks themselves, but we’ve not been able to get to this area on the ground to do interviews and identify potential casualties. But you can bet on it that there will be civilian casualties. If they didn’t occur during the attacks, they will occur at a later date from the so-called duds that lay on the ground and act like landmines.

    The U.S. has had a very muted response so far, saying they’re going to look into it. The U.S. shouldn’t be exporting any kind of cluster munition to anybody, but it does have a ban in place on export of almost all U.S. cluster munitions except this particular type, the CBU-105, because it’s one of the latest versions that, in theory, has a lower failure rate than others. We think the U.S. should abandon this loophole in its export prohibition.





    http://www.democracynow.org/2015/4/2...i_war_in_yemen

    April 23, 2015

    U.S.-Backed Saudi War in Yemen Continues as Aid Groups Describe "Catastrophic" Humanitarian Crisis


    NERMEEN SHAIKH: Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition struck the Yemeni cities of Aden and Ibb early today, despite a claim by Riyadh that it had ended the military operation known as Decisive Storm. Saudi Arabia and nine Arab allies began bombing Yemen on March 25th. The United States provided intelligence and logistical support for the attacks and accelerated the sale of new weapons to its Gulf allies. Earlier this week, the United States deployed two additional warships off the coast of Yemen. The bombing began after Houthi rebels seized control of the capital Sana’a last year and deposed President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. On Wednesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said the humanitarian situation in Yemen is "catastrophic." Following a brief visit to Yemen, the regional director of the ICRC, Robert Mardini, told reporters the collateral damage wrought on civilian life was absolutely shocking.

    ROBERT MARDINI: The conflict in Yemen is in dire need for a political solution. We encourage that to happen. But in the meantime, the humanitarian situation is worsening by the day and, in certain locations, is really catastrophic. We urge all the parties to take every precaution to protect women, men and children. We call on them once again to facilitate desperately needed, impartial humanitarian action.

    AMY GOODMAN: Human Rights Watch has said it appears Saudi Arabia may have deliberately bombed a humanitarian aid warehouse run by Oxfam that contained supplies to facilitate access to clean water for thousands of families in Saada. Oxfam said it had given the coalition forces the building’s exact coordinates to keep it from being targeted. Human Rights Watch said, quote, "Serious violations of the laws of war committed with criminal intent—that is, are deliberate or reckless—are war crimes." On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. said his country had achieved its mission in Yemen. This is Adel al-Jubeir.

    ADEL AL-JUBEIR: We destroyed their air force. We destroyed their ballistic missiles, as far as we know. We destroyed their command and control. We destroyed much, if not most, of their heavy equipment. And we made it very difficult for them to move, from a strategic perspective. So we’ve degraded their capabilities substantially, and thereby eliminated the threat that they pose to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and, in a process, ensured the safety of our borders, our territory and our citizens. That was the objective of Operation Decisive Storm, in addition, of course, to the protection of the legitimate government of Yemen. Those objectives have been achieved.

    AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now by Toby Jones, associate professor of history and director of Middle East studies at Rutgers University, author of Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia. Jones was previously the International Crisis Group’s political analyst of the Persian Gulf.

    So, let’s start with Operation Decisive Storm—obviously sounds just like Operation Desert Storm. Toby Jones, can you talk about what Saudi Arabia is doing right now in Yemen, with U.S. support?

    TOBY JONES: Well, Adel al-Jubeir said it very well, right? The Saudis are interested in destroying and degrading Yemen’s military capacity, particularly those of the Houthis. But they have a series of mixed objectives that we shouldn’t be persuaded by. One is the stated claim that they want to protect their borders in any threat to Saudi Arabia. The reality is, the Houthis have never represented a threat to Saudi Arabia, and they still don’t, even though they enjoy control over much of Yemen. And the other is to restore the legitimate government of President Hadi. In reality, Hadi was—his position in power was orchestrated by the Saudi and the GCC after the Arab uprisings.

    I mean, the bottom line is this: Yemen has long been the backyard of Saudi Arabia. It’s a deeply impoverished place that the Saudis believe they should assert political authority in, that they should influence outcomes. The fact that they’ve been challenged on the southern border is troubling, but it’s also because Yemen is fairly easy for them to intervene in. We’ve seen no resistance in the region. This is something that the Saudis can carry out with very little punishment or accountability, and carry on and declare an end to it when they like.

    Reality on the ground is they’ve accomplished very little. The Houthis have retained political authority. They’re even operating in Aden, which the Saudis said they hoped to preempt. It’s not clear what they’ve accomplished. They’ve declared victory, but they’ve done little more than actually kill almost a thousand Yemenis and degrade what was already, you know, a troubled infrastructure and environment.

    NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, the Saudis say that they’ve now changed—the new phase of operations is called Renewal of Hope. Toby Jones, could you respond to the repeated claims by the Saudis and others that the Iranians are supporting the Houthis and that’s what’s forced Saudi Arabia to intervene in this way?

    TOBY JONES: Well, there’s no clear coordination between Iran and the Houthis. Let’s be clear: There’s absolutely no evidence that Iran is operating on the ground in Yemen or that it’s directing orders to the Houthi rebels. The Saudis have done a masterful job in the last month, and even before that, dating back to last fall when the Houthis began their march out of northern Yemen toward the south, in repackaging what the Houthis are up to as part of a regional sectarian problem. But the reality is that Yemen has been a deeply fractured place for quite a long time, and the Houthis have asserted and demanded their right to be equal participants in a federal political order. They’ve been historically marginalized. The Saudis have ignored all of this and have sort of pushed through a narrative that suggests that something more nefarious, conspiratorial and regional is at work. And I think we can measure Saudi Arabia’s political and military intervention in terms of success and failure. They’ve accomplished very little on the ground other than to break things. But the fact that they’ve helped frame and convince the Western media, Western policymakers and many folks who might be casual observers that the Houthis are Iranian agents is a form of success, even though it’s not true.

    AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to a clip from Tuesday’s State Department briefing. A reporter asked deputy spokesperson Marie Harf for evidence that Iran is supporting the Houthis.

    REPORTER: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the administration has evidence that Iranians are supplying weapons and other support—

    MARIE HARF: Correct.

    REPORTER: —formal support to Houthis. What kind of evidence does the administration have? Can you update us?

    MARIE HARF: Well, we’ve—this isn’t something new, unfortunately. We’ve long talked about the support when it comes from funding or whether it’s weapons supplies that the Iranians are sending to the Houthi. This has been really an ongoing relationship for a very long time. I’m happy to see if there’s more evidence to share publicly of that, but this has been something we’ve expressed concern about for some time.

    AMY GOODMAN: Toby Jones, can you respond to the State Department on this point? And also talk about the role of the U.S. right now.

    TOBY JONES: Well, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there are Iranian weapons circulating amongst the Houthis. Right? I mean, the Iranians are opportunists. I mean, we don’t want to whitewash Tehran’s interests or objective in asserting its own hegemony in the region. I mean, it’s involved in all kinds of places. But this is rather thin grounds on which to claim that there’s some—that there’s some widespread cooperation or coordination between Tehran and what’s going on in North Yemen. Right? I mean, if we want to make the claim that rebels or militants operating with one country’s weapons across the Middle East is a sign of coordination, then what do we make of al-Qaeda and ISIS using American weapons captured in the battlefield or having been supplied by Saudi Arabia and others in Syria and Iraq and Yemen? I mean, this is a dubious claim that obscures more than it clarifies.

    As far as the American role goes, the Americans view Yemen as a Saudi backyard, and they’re going to defer to the Saudis here. I mean, there’s lots of geopolitical sort of moving parts here, as well. While the Americans are chipping away on a nuclear arrangement with Iran, they understand and they’re very clear that the Saudis are uncomfortable with all of that. So they’re making concessions on Yemen, because it’s easy for the Americans to do so, providing small-scale cover and other kinds of material support, including putting warships close by the Port of Aden and elsewhere. I mean, this is simply a matter of the Americans making choices about where they can support the Saudis and where they can oppose them elsewhere, or at least where they can work at odds with them.

    Yemen is and has for a long time been the most deeply impoverished place in the Middle East. But it has also been a political football in the region that the Saudis and the Americans have kicked around. This is a place where we talk about catastrophe and the environmental and humanitarian consequences of the recent campaign. This is not new in Yemen. Very little has been done to address it. And in spite of all of that, the U.S. has almost always pursued Yemen as a place to drop bombs and to target what they call militants. And with that in mind, it’s easy for them to support the Saudis, who are claiming to do the same thing.

    AMY GOODMAN: The significance of the Houthis now calling for negotiation? What do you think needs to happen, Toby Jones?

    TOBY JONES: Well, I think the Houthis have long called for a political settlement and negotiation. I mean, think back to late last summer when they began moving out of the north and into the south, when they converged on Sana’a and pushed Hadi out of office. The Houthis were calling for, you know, a bigger negotiating table, a greater presence, real accommodation for various political demands from around the country. The Houthis aren’t the only ones who have put pressure on Sana’a’s old central government. Pressure has come from the south, it’s come from tribal confederations, all of whom have suggested that the political dialogue, the national discussion, about the post-Arab-uprising political rapprochement that was necessary, had been a deeply flawed process. The Houthis didn’t call for war, and they coordinated closely with actors on the ground. They’re the ones who were being attacked, even though they’re the ones who have been calling for a political settlement to a deeply broken system all along. The fact that the Saudis have recast this in a language that the Houthis are the villains and the ones acting dangerously is remarkable, as is the fact that the Saudis can drop bombs while calling it a humanitarian mission. In reality—I mean, in many ways, it’s a play straight from the American playbook.

    AMY GOODMAN: And the Red Cross is calling it a humanitarian catastrophe. Ten seconds, Toby.

    TOBY JONES: Well, it is a humanitarian catastrophe. But Yemen was already in a state of humanitarian catastrophe, with hundreds of thousands being internally displaced. This is a place that has rapidly run out of water. It has very little in the way of natural resources. The Saudis are just making a bad situation worse.

    AMY GOODMAN: Toby Jones, we want to thank you for being with us, associate professor of history and director of Middle Eastern studies at Rutgers University, author of Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia, previously worked [as] the International Crisis Group’s political analyst of the Persian Gulf.










    http://www.liberationnews.org/us-sup...emenis-suffer/

    US supports Saudi bombings while Yemenis suffer

    By Jane Cutter

    April 14, 2015

    The U.S.-based media coverage of the Saudi war in Yemen rarely describes in detail the impact of the bombing campaign on civilians in the impoverished nation. A simple Tweet from @Rooj129 says it all: “2 know what it is like in #Yemen, turn off electricity, water, heating, eat once a day, fear for ur life.” According to the Wall Street Journal, at least 648 civilians have been killed so far, many of them children. Targets have included refugee camps, hospitals, schools, urban neighborhoods and soccer stadiums. The country is facing a serious humanitarian crisis.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. is increasing its role in the brutal bombing campaign, both by vetting the Saudis’ target list, and by moving to intercept alleged Iranian aid to the Houthi rebels. This increased and direct assistance to the Saudi bombing effort is in contrast to the Obama administration’s stated desire for the Saudis to scale back the bombing campaign, focusing on halting Houthi advances and forcing all parties back to the negotiating table.

    The Saudis, on the other hand, have as their stated goal the destruction of the Houthis military capability and the restoration of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to the presidency—a goal some in the administration believe is unrealistic, given that 17 days of aerial and naval bombardment have failed to halt Houthi advances, although they were unable to hold Aden.

    The reasoning behind the Obama administration’s advocacy of a more limited bombing campaign is grounded in some understanding of reality on the ground. While the Houthis are not universally loved in Yemen, the Saudis are probably even less popular, especially given that they are causing massive civilian casualties. Thus, the bombing campaign is likely to politically strengthen the Houthis and other anti-U.S. forces, including Al Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula and/or Sana’a Province, an Islamic State affiliate.

    If this is the administration’s understanding, why are they providing so much support to the bombing campaign? According to unnamed sources quoted by the WSJ, they are attempting to advise the Saudis on their target list, thus reducing the likelihood of civilian casualties, while continuing to counsel the Saudis to modify the goals of the operation. While it might seem laughable that the U.S. is concerned about civilian casualties in Yemen, given its history of drone attacks and the extra-legal assassination of U.S. citizens in Yemen, what the administration is concerned about is the scope of civilian casualties, which they wish to hold down to a more modest number.

    The other direct support being given the Saudi effort takes the form of an attempt to “intercept” Iranian arms allegedly being sent to the Houthis. Secretary of State Kerry claimed that the U.S. knows that the Iranians are arming the Houthis, despite Iranian denials. On PBS NewsHour (April 7), he said: "There are obviously supplies that have been coming from Iran…there are a number of flights every single week that have been flying in. We trace those flights, and we know this. We are well aware of the support that Iran has been giving to Yemen, and Iran needs to recognize that the United States is not going to stand by while the region is destabilized, or while people engage in overt warfare across lines—international boundaries of other countries.”

    Of course, this statement does not make a lot of sense at the present moment, given that there are no flights going in and out of Yemen due to the Saudi air blockade. The New York Times charitably opined that perhaps he was talking about “past support and not current activities.”

    As reported in the WSJ, the U.S. Navy came up empty in its April 1 search of a Panamanian-flagged ship suspected of delivering Iranian weapons. Since that incident, the U.S. has stepped up its surveillance of the region.

    Kerry’s remarks on the NewsHour were in the context of his explaining that the U.S. could “do two things at the same time” (like the man who can chew gum and walk), by which he meant that the U.S. could both “push back against Iranian attempts to project its influence around the region, while at the same time rewarding Tehran for providing guarantees that it was not building nuclear weapons.” (NYT, April 9)

    This raises another question: Why go making claims about Iranian support for the Houthis and intercept ships while at the same time pursuing a new relationship with Iran? Even sources in the U.S. military are not convinced that Iran is deeply involved in aiding the Houthis: “I don’t get the sense that the Iranian level of commitment at this point is of such a magnitude that they are going to take a big risk of being exposed any more than they already are. … If they can do it and it’s not going to cost them a whole lot, I think they’ll do it. But the Houthis are not some ally that they are going to go to the mat for.” (WSJ April 13)

    This whole situation is emblematic of the current global state of affairs, in which the U.S. is losing its position as the dominant global power and is flailing about, still quite lethally, without a real strategy. It is also indicative of divisions within the U.S. ruling class as to which way to go forward in advancing U.S. interests internationally.While in the past, one would assume that Saudi Arabia would not initiate a bombing campaign without explicit U.S. approval, now the client state is taking the lead to protect what it sees as its own regional interests, recognizing that the U.S. may leave them on their own when push comes to shove.

    The U.S. now seems to be jumping on board with the anti-Iran/anti-Houthi rhetoric, while simultaneously allying with Iran versus IS in Iraq. U.S. policy seems to reactively jump from crisis to crisis without a clear vision or strategy. In the meantime, Yemen is suffering and faces disaster. All the more reason all progressive and revolutionary people need to work together to put U.S. imperialism in the dustbin of history where it belongs.






    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/20...nough-war.html

    As civilian deaths mount, Yemenis say ‘enough war’

    Citizens have united on social media under the hashtag #KefayaWar — enough war in Arabic — as a week of coalition airstrikes have left dozens of civilians dead and many more injured.


    Yemeni citizens gather near the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi air strikes near the airport in Sanaa.

    Yemeni citizens.jpg

    By:Jillian Kestler-D’Amours Staff Reporter, Published on Wed Apr 01 2015


    Yemenis have united on social media with a simple message: enough war.

    Using the hashtag #KefayaWar — kefaya means “enough” in Arabic — people inside Yemen and in the diaspora are demanding an end to the violence gripping the country, as ongoing fighting between Houthi rebels and a Saudi Arabia-led coalition has killed dozens of civilians to date.

    “#KefayaWar because bombs don’t destroy ideologies, nor erase divisions, nor stop violence. Education and awareness do,” one Twitter user posted.

    “#KefayaWar: children should be dreaming, playing, learning, not living in fear, burying families, or fighting wars,” another wrote.

    “God protect our family and homes #KefayaWar.”

    UNICEF reported Tuesday that at least 62 Yemeni children have been killed, and 30 others injured, in the fighting. The war began March 27 when Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes to stem the advance of Houthi opposition fighters on the Yemeni port city of Aden.

    Rajat Madhok, head of communications and advocacy at UNICEF Yemen, said around 100,000 Yemeni children are unable to go to school as a result of the conflict.

    “Roads linking Sanaa with other areas are congested as large numbers of families move to safer areas. There are diesel shortages reported in many governorates as well as power shortages,” Madhok told the Star in an email.

    “If the situation gets worse, Yemen could be heading towards a humanitarian disaster,” he added.

    At least 19 people were killed when an airstrike hit Al-Mazraq camp for internally displaced persons earlier this week, the United Nations said.

    Early Wednesday, witnesses and officials told The Associated Press that a coalition airstrike on a dairy factory in the port city of Hodeida killed 35 workers.

    Ogoso Erich, public information officer at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen, told the Star that at least 100,000 Yemenis have fled their homes, and that about 180 people — most of them civilians — have been killed so far.

    “Food is running low . . . there is a real risk that the country will run out of food very soon,” Erich said, adding that Yemeni civil servants have not been paid for several months, making it difficult for many families to buy food.

    “There is a lot of fear among people,” he added.

    According to Yemeni political analyst Hisham Omeisy, airstrikes are taking place 24 hours a day. “It’s not safe — day or night,” Omeisy said in a telephone interview from Sanaa, the capital.

    “People who are sick inside the city, people who are injured, cannot be evacuated outside of Yemen. We are literally boxed in, being held hostage to the current conflict,” he said.

    Omeisy explained that local activists are calling for a humanitarian corridor to safely bring medical supplies and food into the country, and evacuate the injured.

    He added that not knowing how long the airstrikes will persist has added to local feelings of uncertainty.

    “The (Gulf Cooperation Council) is not giving us what the plan is. Are these airstrikes going to continue for eternity? When they are done with the airstrikes, what’s the second step?”

    Fighting has gripped Yemen since January, when the Houthis took control of Sanaa. Adhering to the Zaydi sect of Shiism, the Houthis traditionally have held power in Yemen’s northwest province of Saada . . .

    The group demanded a greater role in Yemeni politics following the 2011 uprising that ousted then-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a former key U.S. ally in the Middle East.

    Saudi Arabia is leading the military campaign against the Houthis with the support of a coalition of 10 primarily Gulf countries, and Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled the country last week.

    Earlier this week, the International Crisis Group warned that “Yemen is heading toward a long war and extensive fragmentation, with no viable exit.”

    The ICG also reported that recent fighting has created sectarian divisions, which have historically been less pronounced in Yemen than in other countries in the region.

    Yemen’s “long history of coexistence is beginning to break down,” the group said.


    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0O60VN20150521

    Thu May 21, 2015

    Saudi shells hit Yemen aid office, killing five refugees: local official

    By Mohammed Ghobari and Sami Aboudi

    Saudi shells hit an international aid office in Yemen on Thursday killing five Ethiopian refugees, a local official said, while violence across the country put United Nations-led peace talks in doubt.

    The official said that 10 other refugees were wounded when artillery fire and air strikes hit the town of Maydee along Yemen's border with Saudi Arabia in Hajja province, a stronghold of the Iran-allied Houthi rebel group that a Saudi-led Arab alliance has been bombing for eight weeks.

    Saudi spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri denied Saudi involvement and blamed the Houthis. "If the report is correct, it would be the responsibility of the Houthis, who have a big presence in the area," Asseri told Reuters by telephone.

    Saudi Arabia has previously denied responsibility for civilian deaths in remote northern areas that residents and local officials ascribed to Saudi fire.

    U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday announced peace talks for Geneva on May 28 to try to find a way out of the crisis that triggered outside intervention by an Arab coalition on March 26.

    Rajeh Badi, spokesman for Yemen president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, said consultations were held by the government in exile in the Saudi capital Riyadh over preparations for the conference.

    But air strikes and deadly fighting raged throughout the country on Thursday.

    Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam demanded on Thursday that the Saudi-led bombing stop before the group attended any talks and said they were capable of heavy retaliation, he told Arab TV channel Al Mayadeen.

    "We can't accept going to negotiations and dialogue in Geneva while the aggression and shelling on our country continues," Abdul-Salam said.

    "Any place we want to hit inside the Saudi enemy we will hit at a time of our choosing," he said.

    FRONTLINE

    The Saudi-Yemen border has in some places become a front line between the two sides, and the Houthis' Al Masira TV channel broadcast footage on Wednesday it said showed its fighters entering a Saudi border post after being fired on by Saudi tanks and helicopters.

    "(Saudi) military hardware was deployed, but after a few moments they vanished, fleeing the Yemeni advance," the channel said.

    Houthi media said the group had seized a border position and killed more than two dozen Saudi troops, reports flatly denied by Riyadh.

    Saudi spokeman Asseri said the Houthis regularly target Saudi positions along the border and that Saudi forces respond, but he said there were no exceptional clashes on Thursday.

    Arab air strikes pounded Houthi positions on Thursday, and an apparently errant bomb killed a family of six in a car near a military base in the central province of Dhamar, residents said.

    Air raids and heavy ground fighting shook the central city of Taiz, another focal point of the internal war, and anti-rebel tribal sources said they made gains against the Houthis in the far northern province of al-Jawf, where the Houthis said Saudi-led air strikes killed 15 people.





    http://www.themalaymailonline.com/wo...ifies-in-yemen

    Dozens killed as fighting intensifies in Yemen

    SANAA (Yemen), April 2



    ‘Verge of collapse’

    Since Friday, at least 93 civilians have been killed and 364 wounded, the UN said Tuesday.


    “We have reports that the hospitals are really full of dead and injured people,” spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told AFP. “We have heard about lots of dead bodies.”

    UN human rights high commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned Yemen “seems to be on the verge of total collapse”.

    Yemen’s Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin said sending ground troops would cause “less civilian casualties” and enable aid deliveries.

    A Western diplomat said a land offensive would be complicated because it would have to pass through northern mountains, with which the Huthis are highly familiar.

    Meanwhile, al-Qaeda’s Yemen franchise — seen by the US as the network’s deadliest — said it killed eight Huthis in a bomb attack on their vehicle in the central province of Bayda. The claim could not be immediately verified. — AFP






    HERO: Saudi Arabia has been the brutal puppet of the imperialist West for decades. Saudi Arabia has a brand of Islam that is brutal, harsh, arid, austere, boring, anti-democratic, etc. (i.e. Wahhabism). It’s been imposing and contaminating nations like Yemen with this brand of Islam. Saudi Arabia (along with America) has helped create (and at times even arm) terrorists, extremists, and militants like al Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL. They’ve consistently disrespected and undermined the Shia traditions that have been part of Yemen since a thousand years ago or so. Saudi Arabia is a bad guy, and like the Excited States of the Moth, their actions will ultimately lead to their own demise.




    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/03...-on-yemen.html

    March 26, 2015

    The Wahhabis' War On Yemen

    Just yesterday I wrote that the Saudis would not dare to attack Yemen. I was wrong with this:

    While the Saudi army is now sending some troops to its southern border with Yemen neither the Saudi army nor the Egyptian will want to fight and lose again against the Yemeni tribes. The Pakistanis are unwilling to send troops. The request for troops the disposed president Hadi made will therefore be ignored. No foreign troops will invade Yemen and the Houthis will for now remain the ruling force.


    Over night the Saudi air force attacked the Dulaimi military airbase in Sanaa, the capitol of Yemen.

    Yesterday the Houthi led rebellion had kicked the Saudi/U.S. installed president Hadi out of the country and took control over most of its cities including the southern capitol Aden. The Houthi are allied with the former president Saleh, himself a Houthi and replaced two years ago with his vice president Hadi after a U.S. induced light coup. Saleh and the Houthi are supported by significant parts of the Yemeni army. The Saudis had warned that any move against Aden whereto Hadi had earlier fled would have consequences, but no one took that seriously.

    The Saudis have now announced, through their embassy in Washington(!), that a coalition of Sunni led countries will attack Yemen. These include at least nominally Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain. The Saudis say that 100 of its warplanes and 150,000 soldiers will take part in the campaign. They also announced an air and sea blockade against the country.

    The U.S. is "supporting", i.e. guiding, the campaign through a coordination cell. The White House statement says:

    In response to the deteriorating security situation, Saudi Arabia, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, and others will undertake military action to defend Saudi Arabia’s border and to protect Yemen’s legitimate government. As announced by GCC members earlier tonight, they are taking this action at the request of Yemeni President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

    The United States coordinates closely with Saudi Arabia and our GCC partners on issues related to their security and our shared interests. In support of GCC actions to defend against Houthi violence, President Obama has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations. While U.S. forces are not taking direct military action in Yemen in support of this effort, we are establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support.



    While bashing Obama the usual warmongers in Congress support this attack.

    There seems to be the idea that Saudi/U.S. selected president Hadi, out now, could be reintroduced through force. The U.S. claims that Hadi was "elected" but with a ballot like this any "election" is a mere joke. There is no way Hadi can be reintroduced by force. The chance to achieve the war's aim is therefore low.

    Someone warned the Houthis of the imminent attack and they evacuated their offices before they were hit. They declared that all agreements between Yemen and Saudi Arabia , including the 1934 Taif border treaty line, are now null and void and the Saudi provinces of Najran, Asir and Jizan, long claimed as historic parts of Yemen, would be taken back.

    The Yemenis are fiercely independent and dislike the arrogant Saudis. The Houthis especially have been at war for over a decade. There are tons of weapons in the country including some $500 million worth the U.S. "lost" after it delivered them to its allies on the ground. The chances for the Saudis to win in a fight against Yemen are very low. Pat Lang, former military attache in Yemen, writes about the Houthi:

    Spectacularly gifted in field craft, endowed with a wry, dry sense of humor and fiercely independent among the clans and against whatever government might be, these perpetually armed little hill men make good friends but bad enemies.

    Gregory Johnson, who studied Yemen, explains the roots of Houthi's campaign against the various U.S. supported governments in Yemen. Emad Mostaque describes the economic background. There are two Wikileaks cables* about the Saudi fight with Houthis in 2009. The Saudis ended that campaign after enduring unexpected losses.

    While the Houthi also have enemies inside Yemen, and would likely not rule for long without a new internal political compromise, the attack by outsiders is likely to unite all Yemeni forces except maybe Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula.

    To see this whole conflict as a sectarian Shia-Sunni proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia is wrong:

    While the chief combatants in the civil war are certainly playing the sectarian card to some degree, there is reason to think that Yemen will not necessarily become part of some regional sectarian conflict. Regardless of their foreign ties, both the Shiite Houthis and their Sunni opponents are deeply rooted in Yemen, and they are motivated primarily by local issues.

    The main danger now is that the Western powers, Saudi Arabia or Egypt will overreact and seek to intervene, ostensibly to counter Iranian influence or to quash the efforts of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to gain territory. Yet foreign intervention could very well be the worst approach now—further regionalizing what is still a local fight, injecting a stronger sectarian tone into the conflict while threatening to push Yemen closer to implosion.



    As Pat Lang concludes:

    The Houthi descendants of my old acquaintances are not servants of Iran. They are not dangerous to Western interests. They are dangerous to AQAP [Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula]. Get it? Salih will return.


    Seen like this the U.S. supported Saudi campaign is actually in support of their Wahhabi Al-Qaeda brethren, not in support of the majority of Yemenis. It is stupid (but typical) for the U.S to support such a move. The fight will, like the British dirty campaign against Yemen in the 1960s which Adam Curtis describes, not result in any progress or success for any of its participants.

    The only immediate winners are those oil producing countries which are currently distressed by low prices. Oil went up by 6% after the Saudis' plans were announced.

    *See https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09SANAA2070_a.html ;

    https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09SANAA2040_a.html



    This could well be the start of WW3 ... Russia and China are not going to like this US sponsored invasion of another country without UN backing just because the brutal Sauds could muster a coalition of a bunch of 'Arab' dictatorships and Ottoman wannabe imperialists. Iran may not implicate itself directly but it will clearly increase its support to all its other allies. When it goes so far as open invasions of other countries rather than covert use of 'rebels' or 'radicals' the rules of the [game] change.

    Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 26, 2015


    Well, it looks like now the Houthis have officially joined the Axis of Resistance, as being attacked by the Empire of Chaos or its puppets is required for membership. This is an attack on a larger scale, a US-supported strategic move from the Saudis and its "Coalition of Henchmen" (the Gulf Counterrevolutionary Council, et al) that will definitely alter the geopolitics of the region, effectively displacing the attention from the proxy wars against Syria/Iraq/Lebanon to the Southeast. The degenerate Saudis have been itching to flex their military muscle in the region for quite a while now, and the Houthis advance against the US/Saudi puppet in Yemen gave them a golden opportunity. Iran might find itself overstretched, fighting yet another proxy war besides Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, furthering the potential for a direct confrontation with the corrupt Saudi satraps, in case they move to blockade Yemen as the rumor goes. At the same time, the Saudis attention on the Southeast will provide Syria/Iraq/Hezbollah a chance to reorganize/redefine their military/political objectives, reenforcing the need for a collective response for what is clearly becoming a regional conflict. Hopefully the Houthis have developed their military/political capabilities for a prolonged conflict, in which survival of the fittest will be the order of the day, fighting against an enemy with superior weapons and advanced technology. IMHO, the Saudis have entered a hornet’s nest, which will affect the region for years to come, redefining tactical-strategic alliances. A blockade of Yemen will also have the objective of blocking the alleged support of Eritrea for the Houthis, right across the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb on the Red Sea, causing the fierce Eritrean warriors to increase their support/enter the conflict if they feel threatened by the Saudi campaign. Now we will have to wait and see the results of the latest US misadventure in the Arabian peninsula. May Allah strenghten the Houthis hand against their enemies.

    Posted by: Lone Wolf | Mar 26, 2015


    I would suggest taking a look at my 2010 Chaos in Yemen*, where I outline the origins of the Houthi as part of a much larger coalition of disgruntled villagers from the Northern region of Saada...Salih was actually the primary instigator of war with [the] Houthi, six proxy wars on behalf of KSA since 2004...so not sure we can entirely link him with this legitimate and non-sectarian movement that is so easily fused with KSA/US larger campaign to oppress opposition in the larger region. Pat Lang got it right. Also, Yemen is a future major supplier of oil...also something that suspiciously gets swept under the rug by our usual group of "experts" some of whom were mentioned in the piece above. Guess who is willing to use Salafist proxies to secure these resources.

    *See http://www.amazon.com/Chaos-Yemen-So.../dp/0415625750 ; https://www.worldcat.org/title/chaos...oclc/475450330

    Posted by: Isa Blumi | Mar 26, 2015 9:35:41 AM


    Saleh was driven out of power by a US-Saud conspiracy (after getting nearly killed by a bomb from unknown source that visibly burned his face and hands). US-Saud acted to counteract the protest from the on going branch of the real 'Arab spring' in Yemen and replaced one puppet with another puppet.

    A couple years later Saleh and his allies in the Yemeni army, which were sidelined or replaced by the new US-Saud puppet, decided to change sides and help the Houthis. I read somewhere that Saleh and his allies have origins from the same Zaydi population that the Houthis come from. The Zaydi in Yemen dominated the country until 1962 and they are not a small minority (35-40% from wiki) so they have the capability to run Yemen or large parts of Yemen.

    Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 26, 2015


    I dont think wahhabis (and US) realistically plan to win over Houthis, probably the main goal is to split the country. In the obedient part they'll install a puppet, in the rest - they'll do their best to keep it as a failed state, and sponsor Al Qaeda there too.

    Posted by: Harry | Mar 26, 2015




    @17 The Houthis present a threat to the usual oil interests much like Russia, but the House of Saud/Wahaabiists fear a Sunni/muslim democratic/vaguely secular arrangement above all else. It might [be] the Arabs of the peninsula ideas, and as long as the oil flows through the proper middlemen, the West on the whole won't care who is pumping, just disruptions.

    Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Mar 26, 2015


    Gulf of Aden is a hub
    http://rt.com/business/244205-oil-su...en-airstrikes/
    Even the Egyptians have a lot to lose in case of a blockade.
    Seems that most of the Arab countries have decided to solve their little demographic problem the worse way. No doubt it'll help Western economies.

    Posted by: Mina | Mar 26, 2015


    "Yesterday the Houthi led rebellion had kicked the Saudi/U.S. installed president Hadi out of the country'

    So, your insisting on promoting the bogus western narrative that the Houthi's ousted Hadi, rather then the accurate factual narrative that Hadi- stepped down and then fled of his own volition

    Why? That narrative is simply not credible

    Nor is the simplistic shia/sunni narrative which you have addressed

    And finally obviously this is in support of AQ/Al Nusra/ ISIS

    whatever brand you wish to label NATO's islamic irregulars with

    It was pretty obvious at the time of Charlie Hebdo the "AQ in Yemen" meme bomb was dropped with intention and purpose

    As for the oil?

    Another piece of this puzzle the chokepoint aside for the moment, is the fact that after the Hadi government stepped down- and the Houthi's stepped up to the plate- Oil shipment to China increased over 300 percent

    "China's crude imports from Yemen in the first two months this year were 4.5 mln bbls, up 315 per cent from the same period a year ago."

    This will surely crimp China's access to oil and curtail revenue for the fledgling Yemen government

    Posted by: Penny | Mar 26, 2015









    http://www.dpa-international.com/new...-44690436.html

    01 April 2015

    At least 29 civilians killed in attack on Yemen dairy factory

    By Amal Al-Yarisi, Helen Maguire and Ramadan Al-Fatash, dpa

    Sana'a (dpa) - At least 29 workers have been killed and dozens wounded in an attack on a dairy factory in western Yemen, as a Saudi-led air coalition continued on Wednesday to pound rebels in the impoverished country.

    There were conflicting reports on who was responsible for the attack.

    A medical official said the factory in the Red Sea province of Hodedia was struck overnight during air raids by the coalition jets on an area controlled by the Houthi rebels.

    "The province's hospitals badly need medical backing to cope with the rise in the number of casualties," he told dpa on condition of anonymity.

    Yemen's state news agency Saba, controlled by the Houthis, said the factory had been hit by four coalition missiles, leaving at least 20 dead and more than 50 wounded.

    The agency, citing the factory manager, said the site's equipment was completely destroyed.

    However, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television accused the Houthis of shelling the plant in retaliation for the coalition bombing of their outposts in the vicinity.

    The Dubai-based broadcaster showed footage of what it said was the factory engulfed in flames following the alleged attack by the rebels.

    The claims could not be independently verified.

    The incident is the latest involving civilian casualties since Saudi Arabia and eight fellow Sunni Arab countries launched a military operation a week ago against the Shiite rebels in Yemen.

    On Tuesday, allied warplanes mistakenly killed 15 civilians in airstrikes against a Houthi checkpoint in the central province of Ibb, according to local officials.

    A day earlier, at least 40 people, mostly civilians, were killed in an airstrike on a refugee camp in north-western Yemen, relief workers said.

    The Saudis have repeatedly accused the Houthis of positioning their military hardware in residential areas.

    The increase in civilian victims in Yemen's conflict has sparked international concerns.

    The European Union Wednesday said the attacks on infrastructure by warring factions in Yemen could not be tolerated.

    "We call on all parties to ensure the protection of civilians and avoid the direct targeting of civilian infrastructure," the bloc's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides said in a joint statement.

    Saudi-led warplanes meanwhile mounted fresh strikes against military facilities of the Houthis and allied troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in several parts of the country, according to Al Arabiya.

    The bombing focused on the rebel-held capital Sana'a and the Houthis' northern stronghold of Saada near the Saudi border, the broadcaster said, without reporting casualties.

    Saudi Arabia has vowed to press ahead with the bombing campaign until embattled Yemeni President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi is reinstated, raising the spectre of a wider conflict with Shiite Iran, which is widely believed to back the Houthis, who now hold large parts of the country.

    Iran has denounced the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.



    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2...houthis-alone/

    Leave the Houthis Alone!

    Why are we on the same side as the Saudis – and al Qaeda – in Yemen?


    by Justin Raimondo, March 27, 2015

    Saudi Arabia’s US-backed aggression against the sovereignty of Yemen is a textbook example of how local conflicts are internationalized – and become tripwires for regional wars and even global conflagrations.

    Like Libya, Yemen is yet another Middle Eastern country that doesn’t really exist: it is actually at least two separate countries, perhaps three – the southern provinces, which are primarily Sunni, the northern tribes, who adhere mostly to the Zaydi form of Shi’ite Islam, and the area around Sa’na, the capital, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth, where all Yemen’s clashing cultural, political, and religious factions meet.

    The north/south division dates back to the nineteenth century British colonization, when, in 1839, the British seized the port city of Aden and administered it as a subset of the Indian Viceroyalty. It became a major trading center after the opening of the Suez canal, and the Brits pushed outward, extending their influence throughout what had been a land perpetually divided between the Ottoman Empire and local imams, including the distinctive Zaydis in the north. In 1911, the Zaydis rose up against the British and their local collaborators, abolished the north/south division negotiated by the British Foreign Office, and established the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen under Imam Yahya. Yahya’s dream was to recreate the ancient Qasamid dynasty, founded in the seventeenth century: a "Greater Yemen" extending into what is today Saudi Arabia as well as the whole of modern Yemen.

    In the 1960s, the de-colonization movement in the Arab world took on a Nasserist, socialist form, and this was manifested in Yemen in the form of a coup against the king by Nasserist officers, who then established – after a three-way civil war pitting royalists against republicans against ultra-leftists – the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), in the south, which became a de facto member of the Soviet bloc, and the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) in the north.

    The two Yemens warred with each other constantly – as well enduring violent internal conflicts – reflecting the religious, ideological, and historical differences that have plagued the country for centuries, but agreed to merge in 1990, after the Soviet bloc collapsed and the PDRY was left without Russian subsidies. Yet the "merger" was weak from the very beginning, and old divisions soon reemerged.

    The southerners formed a secessionist movement, as did the Zaydis in the north (although they said they only wanted autonomy), and to complicate matters al Qaeda moved into the ensuing chaos – providing the central government in Sa’na with the perfect excuse to ask for outside intervention on its behalf.

    As US aid and "advisors" poured into Yemen, the central government used this in order to cement what amounted to a de facto dictatorship. Government troops largely ignored Al Qaeda, which has very little popular support and poses no real threat to the central government’s authority, and concentrated their fire on the southern independence movement and especially the Houthi insurgency in the north. The latter – who are now in control of large swathes of the country, and have sent the "president" into hiding – have their origins in the "Believing Youth," which sought to revive the Shi’ite Zaydi religious tradition in order to counter Sunni fundamentalist preachers – precursors of al Qaeda – proselytizing with some success in the north. The Houthi counterinsurgency movement has defied the efforts of both the central government and the Saudis to suppress them, albeit not without considerable losses on their part: thousands of civilians were killed in the conflict, with hundreds of thousands displaced.

    In spite of US-based news accounts reporting the current conflict to be between the Saudis and "Iran-backed rebels," the evidence for the Tehran-Houthi connection is tenuous to nonexistent. There is no evidence of Iranian involvement beyond political (i.e. rhetorical) support. Indeed, as Christopher Boucek and Marina Ottoway report in their book, Yemen on the Brink, "some Yemeni officials have confided that such assertions are unfounded." Doctrinal differences between the Zaydi sect of Shi’ism and the Iranians over important theological issues within Islam preclude Tehran from providing any substantial support for the Houthi insurgency beyond mere words. Neoconservative pundits who point to the Houthis’ success with alarm mirror the propaganda of al Qaeda, which denounces the Zaydi "takfiris" (apostates) in similarly hysterical terms. The Houthis, for their part, have never attacked Americans or American interests in Yemen, as acknowledged in a series of classified cables sent by the no-longer-present US embassy.

    All of which underscores the present conundrum faced by US policymakers in the region. The neocons are screaming that US air strikes in Tikrit are helping the Iranian-commanded Shi’ite militias defeat ISIS, while in Yemen we are backing the Saudis against the supposedly-but-not-actually Iranian-backed Houthis. They are right to point out the obvious contradiction, but wrong in their proposed resolution – which seems to be to play the Sunni card and oppose the Iranians (or, more accurately, the Shi’ites) at every opportunity. Apparently the neocons’ calls to smash ISIS have been conveniently forgotten.

    As with most of the current problems in the region, it all goes back to the Iraq war. That war handed the Iranians de facto control of Iraq: although the initial plan was for the neocons to anoint their favorites, Ahmed Chalabi and his gang, as the "democratic" rulers of the country, things didn’t work out that way (and Chalabi, it turns out, was canoodling with Tehran all along). Instead, the Ayatollah Sistani, chief of the majority Shi’ite sect, threatened an all-out rebellion if direct elections weren’t held. The Shi’ite parties won that election, and subsequent elections, and today Iraq is an Iranian ally. That’s why thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis had to die – in a war to make Iraq a Shi’ite theocracy.

    Now that Iraq is in the Iranian camp, it was only natural they would turn to their Shi’ite allies when ISIS arose to threaten Baghdad. This enraged the neocons, who – forgetting their own role in handing Iraq to the Iranians – are now targeting Tehran. The Iranians are taking care of ISIS for us, precluding US "boots on the ground," much to the disappointment of John McCain and Lindsey Graham. It doesn’t count as a war in their book unless American blood is being spilled.

    The same irony abounds in Yemen, where the Shi’ite Houthis are viscerally hostile to Al Qaeda, and are, indeed, the only indigenous force capable of defeating them and rooting them out. Yet that would preclude a Saudi-US intervention – and we can’t have that!

    What’s happening in Yemen is a local problem, with causes that are strictly confined to the long and tumultuous history of that dirt-poor country. Foreign intervention, whether from the British, the Saudis, al Qaeda, or whomever, has only led to endless war and not improved the lot of the people by one iota. Now the Americans are using the "war on terrorism" to impose their will and re-order the Yemeni polity when they can have no real understanding of what is – or ought to be – going on there. Washington and Riyadh are internationalizing a conflict that is Yemeni in origin, and will only be resolved by the Yemenis themselves.

    As I have written on many occasions, the "Sunni turn" – the US playing the "Sunni card" in Iraq and Syria – has been a disaster on so many levels that it’s hard to keep count. In Iraq, it led directly to ISIS – the mutant offspring of the so-called "Arab Awakening." In Syria, where US-backed "moderate" jihadists defected en masse to the ranks of our enemies, it led to the empowerment of ISIS and Al Nusra. And now in Yemen it is leading to the destruction of the Houthis – a long-suffering and valiant people – at the hands of our Saudi allies and their 10-nation alliance of despots. To add stupidity to deadly folly: our anti-Houthi pro-Saudi orientation is acting directly against our interests, which are supposedly focused on eliminating al Qaeda from the scene. In this instance, as in Syria, we are on the same side as al Qaeda. How does this make sense to anyone but Bibi Netanyahu?

    Each time we intervene where we have no business intervening the "blowback" hits us right in the face – and provides yet another excuse for yet more intervention. It’s an endless cycle, one that won’t come to an end until and unless we rid ourselves of this succubus – this Empire – that is costing us so much.


    Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations by Jeremy M. Sharp; p. 18:

    The Yemeni government has made numerous claims that the Iranian government is militarily, financially, and politically supporting the Al Houthi rebellion; however, most Western observers believe that in reality, only the latter may be true. In December 2009, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman stated that “Many of our friends and partners have talked to us about the possibility of outside support to the Houthis and we have heard the theories about Iranian support to the Houthis…. To be frank, we don’t have independent information about this.” [“U.S. Says has no Evidence Iran Backs Yemen,” Reuters, December 11, 2009, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2009/12/11/idUKGEE5BA27V ]










    http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/...arabia-is.html

    Friday, 13 February 2015

    ISIS isn't the long term problem, Saudi Arabia is

    Here's a new way to think about something that should be obvious...

    To the politicians in DC and financiers in New York, Saudi Arabia is an island of stability in a sea of chaos. A reliable ally, willing to keep the oil flowing, year in and year out. A place that's not vulnerable to the instability that routinely guts the countries around it.

    Of course, that line of thinking is utterly misguided. The opposite is true.

    In reality, Saudi Arabia is extremely fragile and much of the chaos we see in the Middle East is due to the way Saudi Arabia avoids falling to pieces. Worse, we are largely to blame for this. We go along with this charade, and our willingness to play along is doing much of the damage.

    To understand why this illusion of Saudi stability is so toxic, let's dig into a very smart idea from thermodynamics called dissipative structures. In fact, the idea was so good that it won Ilya Prigogine the Nobel prize in Chemistry. Prigogine's idea provides us with insight into everything from how biological structures (e.g. bacteria, apes...) to natural phenomena (e.g. tornadoes) to social systems (e.g. nation-states) build order and prevent collapse.

    The important part of this idea for us, is that all dissipative structures grow by exporting or expelling waste products into an external environment. In other words, they achieve "order" by getting rid of the disorder produced by building it.

    Here it is in very simple terms. Within biological structures, eating produces the energy needed to build and maintain an organism. In turn, consuming food produces disorder in the form of feces. Organisms expel feces into the outside world because holding onto it is dangerous. The same process is true with almost all complex structures. With automobiles, it's exhaust fumes. With complex social systems, it is everything from warfare to pollution.

    We could spend all day on this idea, but let's cut to the chase and apply this framework to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a particularly expensive dissipative structure because it is extremely rigid, anachronistic, and unchanging. To maintain this archaic structure despite the titanic forces of globalization trying to pull it apart, it must export an incredible amount of disorder (entropy) into the surrounding region. Disorder such as:

    • A corrosive fundamentalist ideology. The KSA's Wahhabism fuels both ISIS and al Qaeda and it's spent billions spreading it around the world.

    • Thousands of violent zealots. The vast majority of the hijackers during 9/11 were Saudi as well as thousands of ISIS members. People it can't control are sent abroad.


    • Billions in destabilizing financing. Saudi Arabia provided the start-up funding for both al Qaeda and ISIS. It even "invested" $10 billion in the current Egyptian military dictatorship.


    Obviously, this Saudi entropy has damaged everyone in the world. It spreads violent instability throughout the world, from the terrorism of 9/11 to the violent ascent of ISIS in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan...

    Worse, the damage being done by Saudi Arabia is increasing with each passing year, as it attempts to defy the inexorable gravitational attraction of a fluid, dynamic, and tightly integrated global system.

    This means that even if ISIS is defeated in the next couple of years, Saudi Arabia's dysfunctional system will produce something worse soon thereafter.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/20/wo...pgtype=article

    Yemen Houthi Leader Is Defiant in Face of Saudi Airstrikes

    By MOHAMMED ALI KALFOOD and KAREEM FAHIM APRIL 19, 2015

    SANA, Yemen — More than three weeks after Saudi Arabia began a bombing campaign aimed at crippling his movement, the leader of Yemen’s Houthi rebels responded with defiance on Sunday in a televised speech, saying that Saudi attempts to “humiliate” his country were doomed.

    “Those who want the people to give in are just dreaming,” the leader, Abdel-Malik al-Houthi, said in a long, fuming address that was also sharply critical of the United States. “Our Yemeni people have the right to fend off the aggression, and to confront the aggressor with all possible and available means,” he said on a Houthi news channel.

    Mr. Houthi gave no indication that he was willing to negotiate with the Saudis or to agree to their conditions for a cease-fire, including that the Houthis withdraw from cities they have captured. His defiance suggested a prolonged war and raised further questions about the Saudi government’s military strategy, which has been centered on pounding the Houthis and their allies from the air.

    The Saudis launched the intervention with backing from the United States and a coalition of Arab states, aiming to restore Yemen’s exiled government, led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The coalition’s warplanes have carried out hundreds of airstrikes, targeting military bases and positions held by the Houthis and their main allies, military units and security forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ceded the presidency in 2012.

    The intensity of the Saudi bombing has left Yemen facing the likelihood of a devastated military, even when this conflict ends. The airstrikes have also hit factories and homes, killing dozens of civilians and arousing misgivings even among Saudi allies.

    Residents in Sana, the capital, have been subjected to daily airstrikes for weeks. And in the southern port city of Aden, hundreds of people have been killed in street fighting between the Houthis and Mr. Saleh’s forces on one side, and local militias representing Yemen’s southern separatists on the other.

    In the latest sign the war is spreading, dozens of people have been killed in recent days in Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, where fighters loyal to Mr. Hadi, backed by Saudi airstrikes, are battling the Houthis and their allies.

    Several military units have switched sides by declaring their loyalty to the exiled president, Mr. Hadi. On Sunday, Yemeni officials told the Reuters news agency that a brigadier general who commands a district along the Saudi border and leads 15,000 troops had also pledged his support for Mr. Hadi.

    It remained to be seen whether the defections would tip the balance in the conflict or simply further fracture the country. A multiplying cast of combatants are being drawn into the fight — including military units with shifting loyalties, armed tribesmen, separatist fighters and extremist militants with Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch — and are confusing the battle lines.


    https://www.facebook.com/shane.hill....72561189450055

    “The Houthis (Yemen Shiites) controlled Yemen without a single blood shedding, rape, beheading or any other of the atrocities that you see ISIS commit

    Further more they kicked out all the radical Imams in the Mosques and replaced them with moderate ones (not from their religion ‘cause they don't wanna impose theirs on the others but Sunni Imams as they already were).

    I don't think that you can see any Revolution just like this any place in the World.

    Oh forgot to mention that the radical Sunnis from Saudi Arabia and the rest of Arab countries already declared them as enemies and started putting lies against them to send their sucide bombers.”





    ‘I read the posts and what you are saying doesn’t make sense; I didn't see them [the Houthis] do suicide bombings or any terror activity and in all their wars with Saleh they never ever attacked any civilians and didn't attack or kidnap the soldiers who are doing patrols in the mountains around them.

    Just because they are using the Iranian logo "death to America death to Israel" it doesn't mean they are doing any crimes against any of them.

    Also Iran is the safest place for the Jews in the Mideast after Israel and there are more than 20,000 Iranian Jews (most of them are merchants and active people in society and even have a representative at the Iranian Parliament)

    I'm against the Iranian regime ‘cause we suffered dearly from it, but the Arab regimes and the FSA flag that you are holding did unspeakable crimes against Christians, Shiites and other minorities.

    Also since when did the Sunni tribes welcome the Jews (they just kill them on sight if they find out that they are Jews).’








    (ADDITIONAL) NOTES:

    As soon as Yemen tried to assert self-determination without a US-backed dictator, Saudi and Western opportunists went on the offensive and ensured that would not happen.

    Look what happened to Libya – a country that once had one of the best standards of living in Africa. Look at Syria and its US-backed and fomented civil war.

    Although the Houthis aren’t always “angels” and have made mistakes themselves, they want to be equal participants in the political order; they’ve been marginalized for a long time. The Saudis are lying about the Houthis being Iranian agents. But clearly at least some of the Houthis are quite abused and flawed themselves, and apparently at least some of them are also rather anti-Semitic, unfortunately. Nevertheless, they haven’t killed anywhere near as many Yemeni civilians as Saudi Arabia and America have. And anti-Semitism isn’t something unique to ‘Muslim’ radicals, fundamentalists, fighters, etc. According to The Atlantic’s article “Is It Time For The Jews to Leave Europe?”, European countries like Sweden also have virulent anti-Semites amongst the native (white) European population. In addition, what about anti-Semitism in North America? For example, on university campuses, there are people and students who shamelessly hijack and discredit the Palestinian cause and take advantage of the suffering of the people of Gaza as an alibi to vent their narcissistic rage and act out their archaic (repressed and conscious) traumas in a prejudiced and violent fashion directed towards Jewish people, students, etc.


    Al-Qaeda and ISIS have used American weapons.

    Yemen is the most deeply impoverished region in the Middle East and is used as a political football. For USA, Saudi Arabia, etc. it’s a place to drop bombs.

    The Houthis were calling for a bigger negotiation table. They were calling for a political settlement in a deeply flawed and fractured government. The South (of Yemen) and tribal confederations also wanted improvements in government. The Saudis are making a bad situation worse. Yemen has very little fresh water.



    Yemen's Ansarullah accuses Saudi Arabia, US of supporting al-Qaeda

    Mohammad Abdussalam, a spokesman for the movement, says Riyadh and Washington do not seek to take out al-Qaeda because they created and funded the terrorist group themselves. Abdussalam says al-Qaeda is being used as a tool to destabilize other countries. He also says fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi forged an alliance with al-Qaeda to carry out deadly terrorist attacks in Aden and other cities.




    Max Igan: “The U.S. did actually create Al-Qaeda. This is a Western creation that’s been used to destabilize the region, and it’s an ongoing thing. There should be no doubt that they are supporting it. They always go into these countries and claim that they’re going to fight Al-Qaeda, but Al-Qaeda seems to get stronger as soon as the U.S. arrives. . . It’s a long-standing program and they’ve been doing it for quite a while, and every country that you see Al-Qaeda you find that it’s actually Western-run.”

    “It’s very doubtful that [Saudi Arabia] will be held accountable at all. . . They went in there under the pretext of protecting the government against some rebels, and they’ve absolutely decimated the place. They’re just turning it into another failed state. And because [Saudi Arabia] is a U.S. ally and this is all being sponsored by the U.S. I doubt we’ll ever see any charges brought against Saudi Arabia for this aggression.”


    HERO: I saw a video of a man in Yemen whose house was destroyed, in addition to his taxi (he was a taxi driver).

    Radicals/ISIS are taking advantage of Saudi-created chaos. ISIS has declared a caliphate in Yemen. Although some of the Houthis have surely made mistakes themselves and aren’t necessarily “angels”, they often were successful in fighting Al-Qaeda.

    If CIA/CSIS suspects someone might be part of Al-Qaeda they kill him by bombing his whole apartment or home. American drone strikes even killed 17 innocent women and children in a Yemeni village; human body parts were mixed with animal body parts.

    Houthis have been more effective in attacking, fighting, and (at times) partially eradicating Al-Qaeda in Yemen.

    There is very little media coverage on Yemen. Whatever coverage there is is biased, and says that Saudia Arabia is a ‘democracy’ that wants to help Yemenis and to restore the “legitimate” president (lest we forget Ukraine’s former “legitimate” president Viktor Yanukovych).

    A narrative that has been circulated by the media is that Yemen has been taken over by rebels and that Saudi Arabia is trying to restore order. Yet the conflicting groups in Yemen were close to having an agreement for peace before the Saudis started bombing Yemen virtually ‘indiscriminately’.

    One of the warehouses that carried humanitarian aid by OXFAM was bombed by Saudi Arabia. It was used to store water purification equipment. OXFAM provided the Saudis with info regarding their locations, co-ordinates, purpose, etc. so they’d know what they’re there for and not to bomb them. The Saudis are bombing airports to make it harder for anyone to send humanitarian aid.

    And of course we should all know that the U.S. has been using drone strikes with no mandate, no compliance with international laws, rules, or morality, and that they’ve been targeting whole buildings, houses, villages, etc. Hundreds of drone strikes in Yemen have probably killed thousands. The U.S. is as big a part of this current bombing as Saudi Arabia. Now boxes of weapons are being dropped in Yemen so that Yemeni men can kill each other. While the U.S.A. and the Saudis are octopus monsters, shattering and rearranging the pieces of the world with cold tentacles, unfortunately, at least some of the Houthis are probably not angels either. The Houthis are not a political party. Both the Saudis and the Houthis have killed Yemeni civilians, although the Saudis (Saudi Arabia) have killed much more. There was a potential deal for peace, yet the Saudis destroyed that.


    Yemen has a very bad medical system, and it’s very corrupt. There is no fuel to run hospitals. Often, people have had to go outside of Yemen to seek medical treatment, yet they cannot do so any longer. About a thousand people were stranded outside of Yemen since they sought medical treatment before Saudi Arabia started bombing Yemen, and thus they could not return to their homeland.

    Former president of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh—who likened ruling Yemen to “dancing on the heads of snakes”—was backed by Saudi Arabia before the so-called Arab Spring.


    Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi is a former president of Yemen; his mandate has expired. He’s not popular in Yemen anymore; he lost popular support. The Saudis and the West have been trying to impose their own puppet on the people of Yemen. His term was only meant to be 2 years; the former president resigned, then the vice president stepped in.

    ISIL/ISIS—which was armed, funded, paid, and built by the U.S. and its allies—is now a threat in Yemen.


    http://rt.com/news/253029-isis-yemen-houthi-sanaa/

    April 25, 2015

    ‘The Islamic State has declared its official presence in war-torn Yemen as the jihadists posted a video online, threatening to “cut the throats” of Shiite Houthi rebels.

    "We have come to Yemen, with men hungry for your blood to avenge the Sunnis and take back the land they have occupied," the IS commander said in a video, the International Business Times reported.

    . . . 142 people were killed and another 350 injured in a series of suicide bombings at Shia mosques in Sanaa [Yemen] on March 20.

    The Sunni IS and Al-Qaeda, which has traditionally been the dominant jihadist group in Yemen, view the Shiite Houthis as heretics.

    Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies have been bombing the Shiite rebels since March 25, with over 550 civilians having been killed since the start of the airstrikes, according to UN estimations.’


    http://rt.com/news/250713-qaeda-seize-yemen-military/

    Al-Qaeda seizes key military camp in Yemen, snatches tanks and artillery

    April 17, 2015

    Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) attacked Mukalla, capitalizing on the chaos in the country, which is being bombarded by Saudi Arabia in an attempt to suppress the Houthi rebels fighting against the supporters of Hadi.

    The jihadists began their assault on April 2, quickly seizing key installations in the city and freeing over 300 prisoners, including prominent local terrorist leader, Khaled Batarfi.

    Being a radical Sunni Islamist movement, Al-Qaeda views the Houthis – representing the Shia Zaidi minority in Yemen – as heretics.



    HERO: Yemen’s history encompasses more than 3000 years.

    Yemen has World Heritage sites such as the Old Walled City of Shibam, which has some of the world’s oldest skyscrapers dating back to the 16th-century:

    http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/192

    http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/611

    Yemen has a rich history. The capital Sana’a is over 4000 years old and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sana’a “has a distinctive visual character due to its unique architectural characteristics, most notably expressed in its multi-storey buildings decorated with geometric patterns.”

    The average household income in Yemen is $200/month.

    Yemenis practice many sects of Islam, including Sunni, Shia, Ismaeli, etc.

    Rich Gulf countries have not embraced Yemen nor treated like a partner.

    The former president of Yemen and his family were extremely corrupt and rich.

    An affordable hospital closed in Yemen.

    Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc. do not invest in Yemen or help Yemen.

    Al-Qaeda came to Yemen after the war in Afghanistan started.
    Last edited by HERO; 05-23-2015 at 10:45 PM.

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    WE'RE ALL GOING HOME HERO's Avatar
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    Default Pray for Yemen [pray for Yemeni civilians, children, women, families, and (Yemeni Frot) men and/or brothers of the heart]

    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/6/7...s_dirty_war_in

    Friday, June 7, 2013

    JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, the first time that President Obama authorized any strikes against Yemen was December 17th, 2009. Yemen had been bombed by the United States once before that under President Bush in November of 2002. And President Obama was expanding the authorities for the Joint Special Operations Command and the CIA to strike in countries beyond Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. And in this first missile attack, the U.S. used cruise missiles and cluster bombs on this small Bedouin village in the—in Majalah, in Abyan province. And they said that they were targeting an al-Qaeda leader in an al-Qaeda training camp. And it turned out that the bombing killed 46 people—14 women and 21 children. And the Yemeni government actually took responsibility for the strikes and said that its own air force had conducted it and that it was a successful attack against an al-Qaeda base. And the United States began conspiring with the Yemeni regime to bomb Yemen and then have the Yemenis take responsibility for it. And General David Petraeus, the CENTCOM commander, was revealed in the WikiLeaks cables to have hatched this plot with the Yemeni dictator, Ali Abddullah Saleh. But this was one of the most gruesome attacks that’s been conducted over the past three years in Yemen, shredding human beings, children and women, in this strike that they said was aimed at an al-Qaeda camp.

    SALEH BIN FAREED: Regarding al-Majalah massacre, in fact it was, I mean, a big shame and big blame on the Americans and on the American government and on our government in Yemen. I was one of the first people to arrive there. What I have seen, I have not seen in my life, and I don’t think I will ever see, even if it is like a third World War. Those people were living in a small valley only two kilometers from the tarmac road. We drove easily. We reached after five—10 minutes to the site, easily. And our minister of interior at that time, when they asked him, "Why you did not capture them?" he said, "They live in high mountains like Tora Bora. We could not reach them," which is big false. And when we reached there, there were hundreds and then thousands of people. We saw the flesh of the bodies of those people mixed with the meat of the cows and sheep and goats. Honestly, we could only find very, very few whom we could recognize. And we—it was mixed with hundreds of sheep and goats. And, I mean, they were all mixed together, I mean, with blood. And they got—they were bombed with about six or seven huge rockets from the—




    'STOP THE NEW CRIMINAL WAR BY UNITED STATES IN THE MIDDLE EAST!

    April 22, 2015

    For one month Saudi Arabia, with the backing of the US, has devastated Yemen with a brutal and criminal bombing campaign. According to UN estimates, over 1,100 innocent Yemeni people have been killed. UNICEF last week released a report that by conservative estimates, more than 115 children have been killed by the Saudi-led war on Yemen. The indiscriminate bombing campaign against Yemen has created a humanitarian crisis where basic infrastructure has been destroyed, over 150,000 people have been displaced from their homes, and 12 million people in Yemen do not know where there next meal is coming from.

    Under international condemnation and pressure, on Tuesday April 21, 2015 Saudi Arabia announced that their “Operation Decisive Storm” bombing campaign was over, and they announced the start of “Operation Renewal of Hope”. This attempt of Saudi Arabia to appear less brutal is a complete farce. Less than 6 hours after this announcement, Saudi airstrikes on Yemen continued. An air and naval blockade has been imposed on Yemen including at least seven U.S. combat ships blocking Yemen’s ports. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are not only breaking and undermining international laws, but are also denying the people of Yemen their right to self-determination, in addition to attacking Yemen’s sovereignty. Yemen’s struggle to determine their own future free of U.S.-backed regimes is now facing foreign intervention and war with the help of the U.S.

    Mobilization Against War and Occupation catagorically condemns the Saudi Arabian bombing campaign against the innocent people of Yemen and the complete destruction of infrastructure of cities including roads, hospitals, schools, food and water sources, mosques and electrical power in Yemen.'




    http://english.irib.ir/news/world/we...rikes-in-yemen

    01 April 2015

    UNICEF: At least 62 children killed during Saudi airstrikes in Yemen

    The United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, said on Tuesday at least 62 children have been killed and 30 injured during the Saudi aggression against Yemen over the past week.

    "Children are in desperate need of protection, and all parties to the conflict should do all in their power to keep children safe," said UNICEF's representative for Yemen Julien Harneis, FNA reported.

    UNICEF said the fighting was severely damaging health and education services, and exacerbating already precarious conditions for children who are facing a food crisis and acute malnutrition.

    The violence is leaving children terrified, UNICEF said.




    http://www.socialist.ca/node/2706

    “Yemen: Western-backed war is killing civilians” by Yusur Al-Bahrani

    While Yemen is witnessing the fourth Arab Spring anniversary, Western-backed Saudi Arabia is launching devastating military attacks on several cities. Although the coalition claims to be targeting Houthi military bases, civilians are the victims.

    Saudi Arabia is escalating the conflict in Yemen by calling on other Arab states to join the Decisive Storm coalition. Until now, governments supporting and participating in the coalition are: Saudi Arabia (leader), United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan. Egypt is participating by sending warships to aid Saudi Arabia in its violations against Yemeni people.

    The Western backed National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces expressed its “full support for the military operation” that they named as the “Storm of Resolve.” While they condemn Assad’s attacks, they hypocritically support Saudi attacks on Yemen. Saudi Arabia is known for its counter-revolutionary intervention in Syria that has resulted in the rise of extremist groups such as Jabhat Al Nusra, its allies and ISIS. The Saudi intervention in Yemen comes after a request from the ousted Yemeni president Abed Rabbo Mansour without paying attention to the opinions of the majority of people who demand negotiations with Houthis and several other groups in order to end the conflict.

    Not surprisingly, this attack and violation of the right to Yemeni self-determination is backed by the US and other imperialist Western powers. According to several reports, the Saudi-led military operation has relied on US intelligence. “In support of GCC actions to defend against Houthi violence, President Obama has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations,” said the White House National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan in a statement on March 25. Although US forces haven’t participated in direct military actions, their support is an intervention that further destabilizes the region and escalates violence. Britain has also confirmed its non-combat support to Saudi Arabia and its allies in the coalition.


    Although the coalition and its supporters claim that the Decisive Storm operation targets Houthi rebels, hundreds of civilians, including children, were killed in several parts of Yemen. The numbers of the deaths are prone to go higher as casualties increase. For instance, hundreds of civilians were killed and injured in Saudi airstrikes on their homes in Sana’a. “The high toll of civilian deaths and injuries in these attacks raises concerns about compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law,” told Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program. According to eyewitnesses, in Sa’ada, airstrikes targeted a market leaving at least 60 civilians dead.



    The situation in Yemen is complex. While the Saudi version of the story told in several mainstream Arab media, funded by the royal family members, suggest that Houthi rebels are pro-Iranian militias that aim to control Yemen and the region, what’s on [the] ground is different. The Yemeni army along with the rebels is now in the frontlines defending their land regardless of sectarian, religious and political affiliations. The intervention united people in Yemen who are protesting daily in the streets under the Saudi airstrikes. They demand peace. It is evident that Saudi Arabia is waging this war against Yemen in order to instigate a war against Iran and its allies. Innocent Yemenis who have been suffering from poverty and violence for decades are paying the price. Hundreds of innocent Yemenis were killed in a series of bomb attacks that targeted worshippers during Friday prayers around one week before the Saudi-led attack. The so-called Islamic State announced its responsibility for the attacks. Increasing violence in Yemen is spreading sectarian civil war across the region. This will give a chance for more imperialist control.


    While it is not possible for activists around the world to take a side with one Yemeni group or the other, it is essential to demand an end to the brutal Western-backed Saudi intervention and bloodshed.



    http://www.globalresearch.ca/obamas-...ildren/5441411

    By Stephen Lendman

    April 08, 2015

    Yemen is Obama’s war. Months of preparation preceded hostilities. Detailed planning chose targets now terror-bombed.

    Saudi-led forces are US proxies, serving American regional interests over the corpses of likely many thousands before [the] conflict ends.

    Neocon lunatics in Washington consider it a small price to pay. International law calls it the highest of high crimes.

    Conditions in Yemen for many were desperate before fighting began. Now they’re catastrophic for many millions.

    In more normal times, Oxfam estimates around 16 million Yemenis [are] dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.

    About 10 million haven’t enough food. Around 13 million have no access to clean drinking water.

    Nine million lack basic medical care – greatly exacerbated now because most international aid workers left to avoid danger.

    In the last 24 hours alone, reports estimate around 140 killed, many more seriously injured.

    After nearly two weeks of terror-bombing, hundreds have been murdered in cold blood, thousands injured. The specter of starvation haunts many as food is increasingly in short supply.

    Casualties mount daily. Noncombatant civilians suffer most. On April 6, a UN News Center report said:

    “The violence in Yemen continues to wreak havoc upon the country’s civilian population and restricts humanitarian access to those most in need amid a spate of aerial attacks and ground incursions.”

    Residential neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, public areas and vital infrastructure are being deliberately terror-bombed.

    The UN reported residential buildings and bridges destroyed in Aden and Ma’ala. Conditions are “rapidly deteriorating” throughout much of the country, it said.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) reported the deaths of healthcare workers. It said hospitals were damaged or destroyed. It voiced concern about “the serious implications of these attacks.”

    The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported increasing numbers of child deaths and injuries.

    It estimates scores killed so far, many others maimed for life. It calls its estimates “conservative.”

    UNICEF Yemen representative Julien Harneis said:

    “Children are paying an intolerable price for this conflict. They are being killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes, their health threatened and their education interrupted.”

    “These children should be immediately afforded special respect and protection by all parties to the conflict, in line with international humanitarian law.”

    “The conflict is exacerbating the already precarious situation for children in one of the region’s poorest countries.”

    Under more normal conditions, many Yemenis face food insecurity. Severe acute malnutrition is widespread among young children.

    Growing numbers of Yemenis are being displaced. UN sources estimate at least 100,000 so far. A major refugee crisis looms.

    A humanitarian one already exists. All essentials to life are in short supply or unavailable – including food, clean water, medical supplies, healthcare and electricity.

    Terror-bombing disrupted, damaged or destroyed southern area drinking water and sanitation facilities.

    Raw sewage flows in streets. The risk of widespread illness and disease is huge.

    Aden residents reported one or more foreign warships (maybe US ones) shelling coastlines.

    Explosions rocked suburban areas. Houthi fighters continue making gains despite intense terror-bombing and ground fighting.

    Reuters reported heavy shelling and street fighting in and around Aden for days.

    It indicated mounting food, water, medical supplies and electricity shortages throughout much of the country.

    Sanaa, the capital, Aden, and surrounding areas are especially hard hit.

    Reuters quoted a woman named Fatima walking through near-barren streets with her young children pleading: “How are we supposed to live without water and electricity?”

    Desperately needed ICRC aid hasn’t arrived. A spokesperson said:

    “We are still working on getting the plane to Sanaa. It’s a bit difficult with the logistics because there are not that many companies or cargo planes willing to fly into a conflict zone.”

    The ICRC is trying to get medical supplies in by sea from neighboring Djibouti. Fighting makes it extremely hazardous doing so.

    Food is in short supply. Bottled water is no longer available. Water fit to drink is hard to find.

    A mother of three said “(f)ood is in short supply, and thousands of children sleep hungry.”

    “Where are the international aid organizations? There is no support coming to Yemen. Innocent civilians and children are dying in Aden while the world is watching.”

    Yemen under normal conditions imports about 90% of its food. Saudi-blocked sea and air routes prevents supplies from arriving.

    ICRC spokeswoman Maria Claire Feghali said “(t)he most critical part, the biggest challenge is the medical one. The hospitals are exhausted.”

    Last week, fighting killed three Red Cross workers. Fars News reports Saudi Arabia enlisting Al Qaeda terrorists to battle Houthis on the ground.

    Yemeni General Khalid al-Barayem said Houthi fighters intercepted trucks with (likely Saudi-supplied) chemical weapons heading for areas controlled by elements loyal to ousted US-installed illegitimate president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

    Substances seized can produce deadly sarin gas, he said. Turkish aircraft are delivering weapons to Hadi loyalists under the cover of humanitarian aid, he added.

    As of April 7, Fars News estimates at least 887 Yemenis killed – “including hundreds of women and children.”

    Saudi-led terror-bombing is deliberately targeting civilian areas and infrastructure, it added.

    “There is no question that the US-supported and Saudi-led attack on Yemen is a blatant act of illegal aggression,” it stressed.

    Civilian victims are dying. Others are maimed for life. Hundreds of thousands are suffering horrendously from humanitarian crisis conditions.

    Where is the international community when most needed? Why haven’t responsible world leaders acted to stop US-planned/Saudi-led mass slaughter and destruction?



    http://www.democracynow.org/2015/5/5..._led_coalition

    May 5, 2015

    Human Rights Watch: Saudi-Led Coalition Bombing Yemen with Banned U.S.-Made Cluster Munitions

    Human Rights Watch is accusing the Saudi Arabia-led coalition of dropping banned cluster bombs manufactured and supplied by the U.S. on civilian areas in Yemen. Cluster bombs contain dozens or even hundreds of smaller munitions designed to fan out over a wide area, often the size of a football field. They are banned under a 2008 treaty for the high civilian toll they can cause. The treaty was adopted by 116 countries — although not by Saudi Arabia, Yemen or the United States. According to Human Rights Watch, the U.S.-supplied cluster bombs have landed near rebel-held villages in northern Yemen, putting residents in danger. On Monday, the State Department said it is "looking into" the report’s allegations, adding it takes "all accounts of civilian deaths in the ongoing hostilities in Yemen very seriously." We are joined by Stephen Goose, director of Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division and chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition, and Belkis Wille, Yemen and Kuwait researcher at Human Rights Watch.

    AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to Yemen. More than a thousand people have died since the Saudi-led bombing campaign began in late March. More than half the victims are civilian, including 115 children. The precise toll from the airstrikes is not known, because many areas are hard to reach. But the U.N. and several major human rights groups have raised the possibility of war crimes in the scores of documented bombings so far. The U.S. has played a key role in the campaign, expediting weapons shipments and providing intelligence to Saudi Arabia, including "direct targeting support" for the coalition’s strikes.

    Now Human Rights Watch has accused the Saudi-led coalition of dropping banned cluster bombs manufactured and supplied by the United States. Cluster bombs contain dozens or even hundreds of smaller munitions designed to fan out over a wide area, often the size of a football field. They are banned under a 2008 treaty for the high civilian toll they can cause. The treaty was adopted by 116 countries, although not by Saudi Arabia, Yemen or the United States. According to Human Rights Watch, the U.S.-supplied cluster bombs have landed near rebel-held villages in northern Yemen, putting residents in danger. On Monday, the State Department said it’s looking into the report’s allegations, adding it takes all accounts of civilian deaths in the ongoing hostilities in Yemen very seriously.

    For more, we go to Washington to Steve Goose, director of Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division, involved in the preparations and formal negotiations of the 2008 convention banning cluster munitions. He’s also chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition.

    Can you talk about what you understand is happening right now in Yemen?

    STEPHEN GOOSE: Well, we documented airstrikes involving cluster munitions on April 17th and likely on April 27th, as well. We don’t know if ongoing strikes are occurring right now, because, as you say, it’s very difficult to get fresh information out of many of the areas. But Saudi Arabia has, in fact, acknowledged—this is not an accusation—Saudi Arabia has acknowledged that they are using these weapons. They want to claim that they’re only using them against armored vehicles. But the treaty that bans these things doesn’t ban them only in certain circumstances. It’s in all circumstances, whether you think you’re only attacking armored vehicles or civilians, because in the long run they’re going to affect civilians. That’s been proven by their use in so many other countries prior to this ban treaty.

    AMY GOODMAN: What’s the role of the United States here, Steve?

    STEPHEN GOOSE: With respect to the cluster munitions, the U.S. supplied these CBU-105 sensor-fused weapons. They’re a more advanced type of cluster munition, but they are banned under the treaty. The U.S.—U.S.'s closest military allies, its NATO allies, almost all are part of this ban treaty, and they all agreed that these weapons, that perhaps have a lower failure rate than some other cluster munitions, also need to be banned, because they pose unacceptable dangers to civilians. The U.S. supplied them to Saudi Arabia. They've supplied them also to the United Arab Emirates, which is part of the coalition that’s conducting the airstrikes now.

    AMY GOODMAN: Belkis Wille is also with us, Yemen and Kuwait researcher at Human Rights Watch. She has been based in Sana’a for the last two years, but she’s joining us from Istanbul, Turkey. Can you talk about when you came to suspect that Saudi Arabia was using cluster munitions in Yemen, Belkis

    BELKIS WILLE: ...I was saying, we have had concerns about the use of cluster munitions in this war because of the fact that Saudi Arabia actually used cluster munitions in 2009, when it participated in a war in northern Yemen. On the first day of the war, we issued a press release calling on the Saudi-led coalition to state on the record that it would not be using cluster munitions in this war. A press conference the next day led to a Saudi spokesman saying they were not using cluster munitions. However, several days later, we received video footage that looked very much like cluster munitions were being dropped by coalition airstrikes in northern Yemen. And several days later, we received photo evidence that showed the actual munitions, including unexploded cluster munitions on the ground in a location 36 kilometers away. We were able to match, through satellite imagery, the exact location from where the film was done, so we were able to verify that this was indeed a film made in Yemen showing the landing of cluster munitions.

    AMY GOODMAN: What has been the U.S. and Saudi response to the allegations that they’re violating a treaty, not that they’re signatories to—the U.S., Yemen and Saudi Arabia are not part of that 2008 cluster bomb treaty.

    STEPHEN GOOSE: Yes, Saudi Arabia, initially—well, before we presented this evidence, they said they weren’t using cluster bombs. And then when they first saw our report, they tried to deny that these were cluster munitions, cluster bombs. But in fact, these weapons clearly are captured by the definition of a cluster munition in the 2008 ban treaty. Then, the following day, they in fact started saying, "Yes, we’re using these particular weapons, called the CBU-105, but that we’re only using them against armored vehicles." That is still a violation of the convention. They have not signed up, but this convention is creating a new international standard of behavior which rejects any use under any circumstance, because one of the big problems with cluster munitions is not only that they spread out over a huge area during strikes and oftentimes kill and injure civilians during strikes, but many of the munitions don’t explode when they’re supposed to and end up laying on the ground and acting as landmines. And we’ve seen this kind of failure with these CBU-105s, as well.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, Steve Goose, what about the civilian casualties? And what do you think needs to be done right now?

    STEPHEN GOOSE: We don’t know what kind of casualties these weapons have caused. As Belkis was mentioning, we’ve got photographic evidence and video evidence of the attacks themselves, but we’ve not been able to get to this area on the ground to do interviews and identify potential casualties. But you can bet on it that there will be civilian casualties. If they didn’t occur during the attacks, they will occur at a later date from the so-called duds that lay on the ground and act like landmines.

    The U.S. has had a very muted response so far, saying they’re going to look into it. The U.S. shouldn’t be exporting any kind of cluster munition to anybody, but it does have a ban in place on export of almost all U.S. cluster munitions except this particular type, the CBU-105, because it’s one of the latest versions that, in theory, has a lower failure rate than others. We think the U.S. should abandon this loophole in its export prohibition.





    http://www.democracynow.org/2015/4/2...i_war_in_yemen

    April 23, 2015

    U.S.-Backed Saudi War in Yemen Continues as Aid Groups Describe "Catastrophic" Humanitarian Crisis



    NERMEEN SHAIKH: Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition struck the Yemeni cities of Aden and Ibb early today, despite a claim by Riyadh that it had ended the military operation known as Decisive Storm. Saudi Arabia and nine Arab allies began bombing Yemen on March 25th. The United States provided intelligence and logistical support for the attacks and accelerated the sale of new weapons to its Gulf allies. Earlier this week, the United States deployed two additional warships off the coast of Yemen. The bombing began after Houthi rebels seized control of the capital Sana’a last year and deposed President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. On Wednesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said the humanitarian situation in Yemen is "catastrophic." Following a brief visit to Yemen, the regional director of the ICRC, Robert Mardini, told reporters the collateral damage wrought on civilian life was absolutely shocking.

    ROBERT MARDINI: The conflict in Yemen is in dire need for a political solution. We encourage that to happen. But in the meantime, the humanitarian situation is worsening by the day and, in certain locations, is really catastrophic. We urge all the parties to take every precaution to protect women, men and children. We call on them once again to facilitate desperately needed, impartial humanitarian action.

    AMY GOODMAN: Human Rights Watch has said it appears Saudi Arabia may have deliberately bombed a humanitarian aid warehouse run by Oxfam that contained supplies to facilitate access to clean water for thousands of families in Saada. Oxfam said it had given the coalition forces the building’s exact coordinates to keep it from being targeted. Human Rights Watch said, quote, "Serious violations of the laws of war committed with criminal intent—that is, are deliberate or reckless—are war crimes." On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. said his country had achieved its mission in Yemen. This is Adel al-Jubeir.

    ADEL AL-JUBEIR: We destroyed their air force. We destroyed their ballistic missiles, as far as we know. We destroyed their command and control. We destroyed much, if not most, of their heavy equipment. And we made it very difficult for them to move, from a strategic perspective. So we’ve degraded their capabilities substantially, and thereby eliminated the threat that they pose to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and, in a process, ensured the safety of our borders, our territory and our citizens. That was the objective of Operation Decisive Storm, in addition, of course, to the protection of the legitimate government of Yemen. Those objectives have been achieved.

    AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now by Toby Jones, associate professor of history and director of Middle East studies at Rutgers University, author of Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia. Jones was previously the International Crisis Group’s political analyst of the Persian Gulf.

    So, let’s start with Operation Decisive Storm—obviously sounds just like Operation Desert Storm. Toby Jones, can you talk about what Saudi Arabia is doing right now in Yemen, with U.S. support?

    TOBY JONES: Well, Adel al-Jubeir said it very well, right? The Saudis are interested in destroying and degrading Yemen’s military capacity, particularly those of the Houthis. But they have a series of mixed objectives that we shouldn’t be persuaded by. One is the stated claim that they want to protect their borders in any threat to Saudi Arabia. The reality is, the Houthis have never represented a threat to Saudi Arabia, and they still don’t, even though they enjoy control over much of Yemen. And the other is to restore the legitimate government of President Hadi. In reality, Hadi was—his position in power was orchestrated by the Saudi and the GCC after the Arab uprisings.

    I mean, the bottom line is this: Yemen has long been the backyard of Saudi Arabia. It’s a deeply impoverished place that the Saudis believe they should assert political authority in, that they should influence outcomes. The fact that they’ve been challenged on the southern border is troubling, but it’s also because Yemen is fairly easy for them to intervene in. We’ve seen no resistance in the region. This is something that the Saudis can carry out with very little punishment or accountability, and carry on and declare an end to it when they like.

    Reality on the ground is they’ve accomplished very little. The Houthis have retained political authority. They’re even operating in Aden, which the Saudis said they hoped to preempt. It’s not clear what they’ve accomplished. They’ve declared victory, but they’ve done little more than actually kill almost a thousand Yemenis and degrade what was already, you know, a troubled infrastructure and environment.

    NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, the Saudis say that they’ve now changed—the new phase of operations is called Renewal of Hope. Toby Jones, could you respond to the repeated claims by the Saudis and others that the Iranians are supporting the Houthis and that’s what’s forced Saudi Arabia to intervene in this way?

    TOBY JONES: Well, there’s no clear coordination between Iran and the Houthis. Let’s be clear: There’s absolutely no evidence that Iran is operating on the ground in Yemen or that it’s directing orders to the Houthi rebels. The Saudis have done a masterful job in the last month, and even before that, dating back to last fall when the Houthis began their march out of northern Yemen toward the south, in repackaging what the Houthis are up to as part of a regional sectarian problem. But the reality is that Yemen has been a deeply fractured place for quite a long time, and the Houthis have asserted and demanded their right to be equal participants in a federal political order. They’ve been historically marginalized. The Saudis have ignored all of this and have sort of pushed through a narrative that suggests that something more nefarious, conspiratorial and regional is at work. And I think we can measure Saudi Arabia’s political and military intervention in terms of success and failure. They’ve accomplished very little on the ground other than to break things. But the fact that they’ve helped frame and convince the Western media, Western policymakers and many folks who might be casual observers that the Houthis are Iranian agents is a form of success, even though it’s not true.

    AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to a clip from Tuesday’s State Department briefing. A reporter asked deputy spokesperson Marie Harf for evidence that Iran is supporting the Houthis.

    REPORTER: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the administration has evidence that Iranians are supplying weapons and other support—

    MARIE HARF: Correct.

    REPORTER: —formal support to Houthis. What kind of evidence does the administration have? Can you update us?

    MARIE HARF: Well, we’ve—this isn’t something new, unfortunately. We’ve long talked about the support when it comes from funding or whether it’s weapons supplies that the Iranians are sending to the Houthi. This has been really an ongoing relationship for a very long time. I’m happy to see if there’s more evidence to share publicly of that, but this has been something we’ve expressed concern about for some time.

    AMY GOODMAN: Toby Jones, can you respond to the State Department on this point? And also talk about the role of the U.S. right now.

    TOBY JONES: Well, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there are Iranian weapons circulating amongst the Houthis. Right? I mean, the Iranians are opportunists. I mean, we don’t want to whitewash Tehran’s interests or objective in asserting its own hegemony in the region. I mean, it’s involved in all kinds of places. But this is rather thin grounds on which to claim that there’s some—that there’s some widespread cooperation or coordination between Tehran and what’s going on in North Yemen. Right? I mean, if we want to make the claim that rebels or militants operating with one country’s weapons across the Middle East is a sign of coordination, then what do we make of al-Qaeda and ISIS using American weapons captured in the battlefield or having been supplied by Saudi Arabia and others in Syria and Iraq and Yemen? I mean, this is a dubious claim that obscures more than it clarifies.

    As far as the American role goes, the Americans view Yemen as a Saudi backyard, and they’re going to defer to the Saudis here. I mean, there’s lots of geopolitical sort of moving parts here, as well. While the Americans are chipping away on a nuclear arrangement with Iran, they understand and they’re very clear that the Saudis are uncomfortable with all of that. So they’re making concessions on Yemen, because it’s easy for the Americans to do so, providing small-scale cover and other kinds of material support, including putting warships close by the Port of Aden and elsewhere. I mean, this is simply a matter of the Americans making choices about where they can support the Saudis and where they can oppose them elsewhere, or at least where they can work at odds with them.

    Yemen is and has for a long time been the most deeply impoverished place in the Middle East. But it has also been a political football in the region that the Saudis and the Americans have kicked around. This is a place where we talk about catastrophe and the environmental and humanitarian consequences of the recent campaign. This is not new in Yemen. Very little has been done to address it. And in spite of all of that, the U.S. has almost always pursued Yemen as a place to drop bombs and to target what they call militants. And with that in mind, it’s easy for them to support the Saudis, who are claiming to do the same thing.

    AMY GOODMAN: The significance of the Houthis now calling for negotiation? What do you think needs to happen, Toby Jones?

    TOBY JONES: Well, I think the Houthis have long called for a political settlement and negotiation. I mean, think back to late last summer when they began moving out of the north and into the south, when they converged on Sana’a and pushed Hadi out of office. The Houthis were calling for, you know, a bigger negotiating table, a greater presence, real accommodation for various political demands from around the country. The Houthis aren’t the only ones who have put pressure on Sana’a’s old central government. Pressure has come from the south, it’s come from tribal confederations, all of whom have suggested that the political dialogue, the national discussion, about the post-Arab-uprising political rapprochement that was necessary, had been a deeply flawed process. The Houthis didn’t call for war, and they coordinated closely with actors on the ground. They’re the ones who were being attacked, even though they’re the ones who have been calling for a political settlement to a deeply broken system all along. The fact that the Saudis have recast this in a language that the Houthis are the villains and the ones acting dangerously is remarkable, as is the fact that the Saudis can drop bombs while calling it a humanitarian mission. In reality—I mean, in many ways, it’s a play straight from the American playbook.

    AMY GOODMAN: And the Red Cross is calling it a humanitarian catastrophe. Ten seconds, Toby.

    TOBY JONES: Well, it is a humanitarian catastrophe. But Yemen was already in a state of humanitarian catastrophe, with hundreds of thousands being internally displaced. This is a place that has rapidly run out of water. It has very little in the way of natural resources. The Saudis are just making a bad situation worse.

    AMY GOODMAN: Toby Jones, we want to thank you for being with us, associate professor of history and director of Middle Eastern studies at Rutgers University, author of Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia, previously worked [as] the International Crisis Group’s political analyst of the Persian Gulf.










    http://www.liberationnews.org/us-sup...emenis-suffer/

    US supports Saudi bombings while Yemenis suffer

    By Jane Cutter

    April 14, 2015

    The U.S.-based media coverage of the Saudi war in Yemen rarely describes in detail the impact of the bombing campaign on civilians in the impoverished nation. A simple Tweet from @Rooj129 says it all: “2 know what it is like in #Yemen, turn off electricity, water, heating, eat once a day, fear for ur life.” According to the Wall Street Journal, at least 648 civilians have been killed so far, many of them children. Targets have included refugee camps, hospitals, schools, urban neighborhoods and soccer stadiums. The country is facing a serious humanitarian crisis.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. is increasing its role in the brutal bombing campaign, both by vetting the Saudis’ target list, and by moving to intercept alleged Iranian aid to the Houthi rebels. This increased and direct assistance to the Saudi bombing effort is in contrast to the Obama administration’s stated desire for the Saudis to scale back the bombing campaign, focusing on halting Houthi advances and forcing all parties back to the negotiating table.

    The Saudis, on the other hand, have as their stated goal the destruction of the Houthis military capability and the restoration of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to the presidency—a goal some in the administration believe is unrealistic, given that 17 days of aerial and naval bombardment have failed to halt Houthi advances, although they were unable to hold Aden.

    The reasoning behind the Obama administration’s advocacy of a more limited bombing campaign is grounded in some understanding of reality on the ground. While the Houthis are not universally loved in Yemen, the Saudis are probably even less popular, especially given that they are causing massive civilian casualties. Thus, the bombing campaign is likely to politically strengthen the Houthis and other anti-U.S. forces, including Al Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula and/or Sana’a Province, an Islamic State affiliate.

    If this is the administration’s understanding, why are they providing so much support to the bombing campaign? According to unnamed sources quoted by the WSJ, they are attempting to advise the Saudis on their target list, thus reducing the likelihood of civilian casualties, while continuing to counsel the Saudis to modify the goals of the operation. While it might seem laughable that the U.S. is concerned about civilian casualties in Yemen, given its history of drone attacks and the extra-legal assassination of U.S. citizens in Yemen, what the administration is concerned about is the scope of civilian casualties, which they wish to hold down to a more modest number.

    The other direct support being given the Saudi effort takes the form of an attempt to “intercept” Iranian arms allegedly being sent to the Houthis. Secretary of State Kerry claimed that the U.S. knows that the Iranians are arming the Houthis, despite Iranian denials. On PBS NewsHour (April 7), he said: "There are obviously supplies that have been coming from Iran…there are a number of flights every single week that have been flying in. We trace those flights, and we know this. We are well aware of the support that Iran has been giving to Yemen, and Iran needs to recognize that the United States is not going to stand by while the region is destabilized, or while people engage in overt warfare across lines—international boundaries of other countries.”

    Of course, this statement does not make a lot of sense at the present moment, given that there are no flights going in and out of Yemen due to the Saudi air blockade. The New York Times charitably opined that perhaps he was talking about “past support and not current activities.”

    As reported in the WSJ, the U.S. Navy came up empty in its April 1 search of a Panamanian-flagged ship suspected of delivering Iranian weapons. Since that incident, the U.S. has stepped up its surveillance of the region.

    Kerry’s remarks on the NewsHour were in the context of his explaining that the U.S. could “do two things at the same time” (like the man who can chew gum and walk), by which he meant that the U.S. could both “push back against Iranian attempts to project its influence around the region, while at the same time rewarding Tehran for providing guarantees that it was not building nuclear weapons.” (NYT, April 9)

    This raises another question: Why go making claims about Iranian support for the Houthis and intercept ships while at the same time pursuing a new relationship with Iran? Even sources in the U.S. military are not convinced that Iran is deeply involved in aiding the Houthis: “I don’t get the sense that the Iranian level of commitment at this point is of such a magnitude that they are going to take a big risk of being exposed any more than they already are. … If they can do it and it’s not going to cost them a whole lot, I think they’ll do it. But the Houthis are not some ally that they are going to go to the mat for.” (WSJ April 13)

    This whole situation is emblematic of the current global state of affairs, in which the U.S. is losing its position as the dominant global power and is flailing about, still quite lethally, without a real strategy. It is also indicative of divisions within the U.S. ruling class as to which way to go forward in advancing U.S. interests internationally.While in the past, one would assume that Saudi Arabia would not initiate a bombing campaign without explicit U.S. approval, now the client state is taking the lead to protect what it sees as its own regional interests, recognizing that the U.S. may leave them on their own when push comes to shove.

    The U.S. now seems to be jumping on board with the anti-Iran/anti-Houthi rhetoric, while simultaneously allying with Iran versus IS in Iraq. U.S. policy seems to reactively jump from crisis to crisis without a clear vision or strategy. In the meantime, Yemen is suffering and faces disaster. All the more reason all progressive and revolutionary people need to work together to put U.S. imperialism in the dustbin of history where it belongs.






    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/20...nough-war.html

    As civilian deaths mount, Yemenis say ‘enough war’

    Citizens have united on social media under the hashtag #KefayaWar — enough war in Arabic — as a week of coalition airstrikes have left dozens of civilians dead and many more injured.


    Yemeni citizens gather near the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi air strikes near the airport in Sanaa.

    Yemeni citizens.jpg

    By:Jillian Kestler-D’Amours Staff Reporter, Published on Wed Apr 01 2015


    Yemenis have united on social media with a simple message: enough war.

    Using the hashtag #KefayaWar — kefaya means “enough” in Arabic — people inside Yemen and in the diaspora are demanding an end to the violence gripping the country, as ongoing fighting between Houthi rebels and a Saudi Arabia-led coalition has killed dozens of civilians to date.

    “#KefayaWar because bombs don’t destroy ideologies, nor erase divisions, nor stop violence. Education and awareness do,” one Twitter user posted.

    “#KefayaWar: children should be dreaming, playing, learning, not living in fear, burying families, or fighting wars,” another wrote.

    “God protect our family and homes #KefayaWar.”

    UNICEF reported Tuesday that at least 62 Yemeni children have been killed, and 30 others injured, in the fighting. The war began March 27 when Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes to stem the advance of Houthi opposition fighters on the Yemeni port city of Aden.

    Rajat Madhok, head of communications and advocacy at UNICEF Yemen, said around 100,000 Yemeni children are unable to go to school as a result of the conflict.

    “Roads linking Sanaa with other areas are congested as large numbers of families move to safer areas. There are diesel shortages reported in many governorates as well as power shortages,” Madhok told the Star in an email.

    “If the situation gets worse, Yemen could be heading towards a humanitarian disaster,” he added.

    At least 19 people were killed when an airstrike hit Al-Mazraq camp for internally displaced persons earlier this week, the United Nations said.

    Early Wednesday, witnesses and officials told The Associated Press that a coalition airstrike on a dairy factory in the port city of Hodeida killed 35 workers.

    Ogoso Erich, public information officer at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen, told the Star that at least 100,000 Yemenis have fled their homes, and that about 180 people — most of them civilians — have been killed so far.

    “Food is running low . . . there is a real risk that the country will run out of food very soon,” Erich said, adding that Yemeni civil servants have not been paid for several months, making it difficult for many families to buy food.

    “There is a lot of fear among people,” he added.

    According to Yemeni political analyst Hisham Omeisy, airstrikes are taking place 24 hours a day. “It’s not safe — day or night,” Omeisy said in a telephone interview from Sanaa, the capital.

    “People who are sick inside the city, people who are injured, cannot be evacuated outside of Yemen. We are literally boxed in, being held hostage to the current conflict,” he said.

    Omeisy explained that local activists are calling for a humanitarian corridor to safely bring medical supplies and food into the country, and evacuate the injured.

    He added that not knowing how long the airstrikes will persist has added to local feelings of uncertainty.

    “The (Gulf Cooperation Council) is not giving us what the plan is. Are these airstrikes going to continue for eternity? When they are done with the airstrikes, what’s the second step?”

    Fighting has gripped Yemen since January, when the Houthis took control of Sanaa. Adhering to the Zaydi sect of Shiism, the Houthis traditionally have held power in Yemen’s northwest province of Saada . . .

    The group demanded a greater role in Yemeni politics following the 2011 uprising that ousted then-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a former key U.S. ally in the Middle East.

    Saudi Arabia is leading the military campaign against the Houthis with the support of a coalition of 10 primarily Gulf countries, and Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled the country last week.

    Earlier this week, the International Crisis Group warned that “Yemen is heading toward a long war and extensive fragmentation, with no viable exit.”

    The ICG also reported that recent fighting has created sectarian divisions, which have historically been less pronounced in Yemen than in other countries in the region.

    Yemen’s “long history of coexistence is beginning to break down,” the group said.


    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0O60VN20150521

    Thu May 21, 2015

    Saudi shells hit Yemen aid office, killing five refugees: local official

    By Mohammed Ghobari and Sami Aboudi

    Saudi shells hit an international aid office in Yemen on Thursday killing five Ethiopian refugees, a local official said, while violence across the country put United Nations-led peace talks in doubt.

    The official said that 10 other refugees were wounded when artillery fire and air strikes hit the town of Maydee along Yemen's border with Saudi Arabia in Hajja province, a stronghold of the Iran-allied Houthi rebel group that a Saudi-led Arab alliance has been bombing for eight weeks.

    Saudi spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri denied Saudi involvement and blamed the Houthis. "If the report is correct, it would be the responsibility of the Houthis, who have a big presence in the area," Asseri told Reuters by telephone.

    Saudi Arabia has previously denied responsibility for civilian deaths in remote northern areas that residents and local officials ascribed to Saudi fire.

    U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday announced peace talks for Geneva on May 28 to try to find a way out of the crisis that triggered outside intervention by an Arab coalition on March 26.

    Rajeh Badi, spokesman for Yemen president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, said consultations were held by the government in exile in the Saudi capital Riyadh over preparations for the conference.

    But air strikes and deadly fighting raged throughout the country on Thursday.

    Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam demanded on Thursday that the Saudi-led bombing stop before the group attended any talks and said they were capable of heavy retaliation, he told Arab TV channel Al Mayadeen.

    "We can't accept going to negotiations and dialogue in Geneva while the aggression and shelling on our country continues," Abdul-Salam said.

    "Any place we want to hit inside the Saudi enemy we will hit at a time of our choosing," he said.

    FRONTLINE

    The Saudi-Yemen border has in some places become a front line between the two sides, and the Houthis' Al Masira TV channel broadcast footage on Wednesday it said showed its fighters entering a Saudi border post after being fired on by Saudi tanks and helicopters.

    "(Saudi) military hardware was deployed, but after a few moments they vanished, fleeing the Yemeni advance," the channel said.

    Houthi media said the group had seized a border position and killed more than two dozen Saudi troops, reports flatly denied by Riyadh.

    Saudi spokeman Asseri said the Houthis regularly target Saudi positions along the border and that Saudi forces respond, but he said there were no exceptional clashes on Thursday.

    Arab air strikes pounded Houthi positions on Thursday, and an apparently errant bomb killed a family of six in a car near a military base in the central province of Dhamar, residents said.

    Air raids and heavy ground fighting shook the central city of Taiz, another focal point of the internal war, and anti-rebel tribal sources said they made gains against the Houthis in the far northern province of al-Jawf, where the Houthis said Saudi-led air strikes killed 15 people.





    http://www.themalaymailonline.com/wo...ifies-in-yemen

    Dozens killed as fighting intensifies in Yemen

    SANAA (Yemen), April 2



    ‘Verge of collapse’

    Since Friday, at least 93 civilians have been killed and 364 wounded, the UN said Tuesday.


    “We have reports that the hospitals are really full of dead and injured people,” spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told AFP. “We have heard about lots of dead bodies.”

    UN human rights high commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned Yemen “seems to be on the verge of total collapse”.

    Yemen’s Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin said sending ground troops would cause “less civilian casualties” and enable aid deliveries.

    A Western diplomat said a land offensive would be complicated because it would have to pass through northern mountains, with which the Huthis are highly familiar.

    Meanwhile, al-Qaeda’s Yemen franchise — seen by the US as the network’s deadliest — said it killed eight Huthis in a bomb attack on their vehicle in the central province of Bayda. The claim could not be immediately verified. — AFP






    HERO: Saudi Arabia has been the brutal puppet of the imperialist West for decades. Saudi Arabia has a brand of Islam that is brutal, harsh, arid, austere, boring, anti-democratic, etc. (i.e. Wahhabism). It’s been imposing and contaminating nations like Yemen with this brand of Islam. Saudi Arabia (along with America) has helped create (and at times even arm) terrorists, extremists, and militants like al Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL. They’ve consistently disrespected and undermined the Shia traditions that have been part of Yemen since a thousand years ago or so. Saudi Arabia is a bad guy, and like the Excited States of the Moth, their actions will ultimately lead to their own demise.




    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/03...-on-yemen.html

    March 26, 2015

    The Wahhabis' War On Yemen

    Just yesterday I wrote that the Saudis would not dare to attack Yemen. I was wrong with this:

    While the Saudi army is now sending some troops to its southern border with Yemen neither the Saudi army nor the Egyptian will want to fight and lose again against the Yemeni tribes. The Pakistanis are unwilling to send troops. The request for troops the disposed president Hadi made will therefore be ignored. No foreign troops will invade Yemen and the Houthis will for now remain the ruling force.


    Over night the Saudi air force attacked the Dulaimi military airbase in Sanaa, the capitol of Yemen.

    Yesterday the Houthi led rebellion had kicked the Saudi/U.S. installed president Hadi out of the country and took control over most of its cities including the southern capitol Aden. The Houthi are allied with the former president Saleh, himself a Houthi and replaced two years ago with his vice president Hadi after a U.S. induced light coup. Saleh and the Houthi are supported by significant parts of the Yemeni army. The Saudis had warned that any move against Aden whereto Hadi had earlier fled would have consequences but no one took that seriously.

    The Saudis have now announced, through their embassy in Washington(!), that a coalition of Sunni led countries will attack Yemen. These include at least nominally Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain. The Saudis say that 100 of its warplanes and 150,000 soldiers will take part in the campaign. They also announced an air and sea blockade against the country.

    The U.S. is "supporting", i.e. guiding, the campaign through a coordination cell. The White House statement says:

    In response to the deteriorating security situation, Saudi Arabia, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, and others will undertake military action to defend Saudi Arabia’s border and to protect Yemen’s legitimate government. As announced by GCC members earlier tonight, they are taking this action at the request of Yemeni President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

    The United States coordinates closely with Saudi Arabia and our GCC partners on issues related to their security and our shared interests. In support of GCC actions to defend against Houthi violence, President Obama has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations. While U.S. forces are not taking direct military action in Yemen in support of this effort, we are establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support.



    While bashing Obama the usual warmongers in Congress support this attack.

    There seems to be the idea that Saudi/U.S. selected president Hadi, out now, could be reintroduced through force. The U.S. claims that Hadi was "elected" but with a ballot like this any "election" is a mere joke. There is no way Hadi can be reintroduced by force. The chance to achieve the war's aim is therefore low.

    Someone warned the Houthis of the imminent attack and they evacuated their offices before they were hit. They declared that all agreements between Yemen and Saudi Arabia , including the 1934 Taif border treaty line, are now null and void and the Saudi provinces of Najran, Asir and Jizan, long claimed as historic parts of Yemen, would be taken back.

    The Yemenis are fiercely independent and dislike the arrogant Saudis. The Houthis especially have been at war for over a decade. There are tons of weapons in the country including some $500 million worth the U.S. "lost" after it delivered them to its allies on the ground. The chances for the Saudis to win in a fight against Yemen are very low. Pat Lang, former military attache in Yemen, writes about the Houthi:

    Spectacularly gifted in field craft, endowed with a wry, dry sense of humor and fiercely independent among the clans and against whatever government might be, these perpetually armed little hill men make good friends but bad enemies.

    Gregory Johnson, who studied Yemen, explains the roots of Houthi's campaign against the various U.S. supported governments in Yemen. Emad Mostaque describes the economic background. There are two Wikileaks cables* about the Saudi fight with Houthis in 2009. The Saudis ended that campaign after enduring unexpected losses.

    While the Houthi also have enemies inside Yemen, and would likely not rule for long without a new internal political compromise, the attack by outsiders is likely to unite all Yemeni forces except maybe Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula.

    To see this whole conflict as a sectarian Shia-Sunni proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia is wrong:

    While the chief combatants in the civil war are certainly playing the sectarian card to some degree, there is reason to think that Yemen will not necessarily become part of some regional sectarian conflict. Regardless of their foreign ties, both the Shiite Houthis and their Sunni opponents are deeply rooted in Yemen, and they are motivated primarily by local issues.

    The main danger now is that the Western powers, Saudi Arabia or Egypt will overreact and seek to intervene, ostensibly to counter Iranian influence or to quash the efforts of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to gain territory. Yet foreign intervention could very well be the worst approach now—further regionalizing what is still a local fight, injecting a stronger sectarian tone into the conflict while threatening to push Yemen closer to implosion.



    As Pat Lang concludes:

    The Houthi descendants of my old acquaintances are not servants of Iran. They are not dangerous to Western interests. They are dangerous to AQAP [Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula]. Get it? Salih will return.


    Seen like this the U.S. supported Saudi campaign is actually in support of their Wahhabi Al-Qaeda brethren, not in support of the majority of Yemenis. It is stupid (but typical) for the U.S to support such a move. The fight will, like the British dirty campaign against Yemen in the 1960s which Adam Curtis describes, not result in any progress or success for any of its participants.

    The only immediate winners are those oil producing countries which are currently distressed by low prices. Oil went up by 6% after the Saudis' plans were announced.

    *See https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09SANAA2070_a.html ;

    https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09SANAA2040_a.html



    This could well be the start of WW3 ... Russia and China are not going to like this US sponsored invasion of another country without UN backing just because the brutal Sauds could muster a coalition of a bunch of 'Arab' dictatorships and Ottoman wannabe imperialists. Iran may not implicate itself directly but it will clearly increase its support to all its other allies. When it goes so far as open invasions of other countries rather than covert use of 'rebels' or 'radicals' the rules of the [game] change.

    Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 26, 2015


    Well, it looks like now the Houthis have officially joined the Axis of Resistance, as being attacked by the Empire of Chaos or its puppets is required for membership. This is an attack on a larger scale, a US-supported strategic move from the Saudis and its "Coalition of Henchmen" (the Gulf Counterrevolutionary Council, et al) that will definitely alter the geopolitics of the region, effectively displacing the attention from the proxy wars against Syria/Iraq/Lebanon to the Southeast. The degenerate Saudis have been itching to flex their military muscle in the region for quite a while now, and the Houthis advance against the US/Saudi puppet in Yemen gave them a golden opportunity. Iran might find itself overstretched, fighting yet another proxy war besides Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, furthering the potential for a direct confrontation with the corrupt Saudi satraps, in case they move to blockade Yemen as the rumor goes. At the same time, the Saudis attention on the Southeast will provide Syria/Iraq/Hezbollah a chance to reorganize/redefine their military/political objectives, reenforcing the need for a collective response for what is clearly becoming a regional conflict. Hopefully the Houthis have developed their military/political capabilities for a prolonged conflict, in which survival of the fittest will be the order of the day, fighting against an enemy with superior weapons and advanced technology. IMHO, the Saudis have entered a hornet’s nest, which will affect the region for years to come, redefining tactical-strategic alliances. A blockade of Yemen will also have the objective of blocking the alleged support of Eritrea for the Houthis, right across the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb on the Red Sea, causing the fierce Eritrean warriors to increase their support/enter the conflict if they feel threatened by the Saudi campaign. Now we will have to wait and see the results of the latest US misadventure in the Arabian peninsula. May Allah strenghten the Houthis hand against their enemies.

    Posted by: Lone Wolf | Mar 26, 2015


    I would suggest taking a look at my 2010 Chaos in Yemen*, where I outline the origins of the Houthi as part of a much larger coalition of disgruntled villagers from the Northern region of Saada...Salih was actually the primary instigator of war with [the] Houthi, six proxy wars on behalf of KSA since 2004...so not sure we can entirely link him with this legitimate and non-sectarian movement that is so easily fused with KSA/US larger campaign to oppress opposition in the larger region. Pat Lang got it right. Also, Yemen is a future major supplier of oil...also something that suspiciously gets swept under the rug by our usual group of "experts" some of whom were mentioned in the piece above. Guess who is willing to use Salafist proxies to secure these resources.

    *See http://www.amazon.com/Chaos-Yemen-So.../dp/0415625750 ; https://www.worldcat.org/title/chaos...oclc/475450330

    Posted by: Isa Blumi | Mar 26, 2015 9:35:41 AM


    Saleh was driven out of power by a US-Saud conspiracy (after getting nearly killed by a bomb from unknown source that visibly burned his face and hands). US-Saud acted to counteract the protest from the on going branch of the real 'Arab spring' in Yemen and replaced one puppet with another puppet.

    A couple years later Saleh and his allies in the Yemeni army, which were sidelined or replaced by the new US-Saud puppet, decided to change sides and help the Houthis. I read somewhere that Saleh and his allies have origins from the same Zaydi population that the Houthis come from. The Zaydi in Yemen dominated the country until 1962 and they are not a small minority (35-40% from wiki) so they have the capability to run Yemen or large parts of Yemen.

    Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 26, 2015


    I dont think wahhabis (and US) realistically plan to win over Houthis, probably the main goal is to split the country. In the obedient part they'll install a puppet, in the rest - they'll do their best to keep it as a failed state, and sponsor Al Qaeda there too.

    Posted by: Harry | Mar 26, 2015




    @17 The Houthis present a threat to the usual oil interests much like Russia, but the House of Saud/Wahaabiists fear a Sunni/muslim democratic/vaguely secular arrangement above all else. It might [be] the Arabs of the peninsula ideas, and as long as the oil flows through the proper middlemen, the West on the whole won't care who is pumping, just disruptions.

    Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Mar 26, 2015


    Gulf of Aden is a hub
    http://rt.com/business/244205-oil-su...en-airstrikes/
    Even the Egyptians have a lot to lose in case of a blockade.
    Seems that most of the Arab countries have decided to solve their little demographic problem the worse way. No doubt it'll help Western economies.

    Posted by: Mina | Mar 26, 2015


    "Yesterday the Houthi led rebellion had kicked the Saudi/U.S. installed president Hadi out of the country'

    So, your insisting on promoting the bogus western narrative that the Houthi's ousted Hadi, rather then the accurate factual narrative that Hadi- stepped down and then fled of his own volition

    Why? That narrative is simply not credible

    Nor is the simplistic shia/sunni narrative which you have addressed

    And finally obviously this is in support of AQ/Al Nusra/ ISIS

    whatever brand you wish to label NATO's islamic irregulars with

    It was pretty obvious at the time of Charlie Hebdo the "AQ in Yemen" meme bomb was dropped with intention and purpose

    As for the oil?

    Another piece of this puzzle the chokepoint aside for the moment, is the fact that after the Hadi government stepped down- and the Houthi's stepped up to the plate- Oil shipment to China increased over 300 percent

    "China's crude imports from Yemen in the first two months this year were 4.5 mln bbls, up 315 per cent from the same period a year ago."

    This will surely crimp China's access to oil and curtail revenue for the fledgling Yemen government

    Posted by: Penny | Mar 26, 2015









    http://www.dpa-international.com/new...-44690436.html

    01 April 2015

    At least 29 civilians killed in attack on Yemen dairy factory

    By Amal Al-Yarisi, Helen Maguire and Ramadan Al-Fatash, dpa

    Sana'a (dpa) - At least 29 workers have been killed and dozens wounded in an attack on a dairy factory in western Yemen, as a Saudi-led air coalition continued on Wednesday to pound rebels in the impoverished country.

    There were conflicting reports on who was responsible for the attack.

    A medical official said the factory in the Red Sea province of Hodedia was struck overnight during air raids by the coalition jets on an area controlled by the Houthi rebels.

    "The province's hospitals badly need medical backing to cope with the rise in the number of casualties," he told dpa on condition of anonymity.

    Yemen's state news agency Saba, controlled by the Houthis, said the factory had been hit by four coalition missiles, leaving at least 20 dead and more than 50 wounded.

    The agency, citing the factory manager, said the site's equipment was completely destroyed.

    However, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television accused the Houthis of shelling the plant in retaliation for the coalition bombing of their outposts in the vicinity.

    The Dubai-based broadcaster showed footage of what it said was the factory engulfed in flames following the alleged attack by the rebels.

    The claims could not be independently verified.

    The incident is the latest involving civilian casualties since Saudi Arabia and eight fellow Sunni Arab countries launched a military operation a week ago against the Shiite rebels in Yemen.

    On Tuesday, allied warplanes mistakenly killed 15 civilians in airstrikes against a Houthi checkpoint in the central province of Ibb, according to local officials.

    A day earlier, at least 40 people, mostly civilians, were killed in an airstrike on a refugee camp in north-western Yemen, relief workers said.

    The Saudis have repeatedly accused the Houthis of positioning their military hardware in residential areas.

    The increase in civilian victims in Yemen's conflict has sparked international concerns.

    The European Union Wednesday said the attacks on infrastructure by warring factions in Yemen could not be tolerated.

    "We call on all parties to ensure the protection of civilians and avoid the direct targeting of civilian infrastructure," the bloc's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides said in a joint statement.

    Saudi-led warplanes meanwhile mounted fresh strikes against military facilities of the Houthis and allied troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in several parts of the country, according to Al Arabiya.

    The bombing focused on the rebel-held capital Sana'a and the Houthis' northern stronghold of Saada near the Saudi border, the broadcaster said, without reporting casualties.

    Saudi Arabia has vowed to press ahead with the bombing campaign until embattled Yemeni President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi is reinstated, raising the spectre of a wider conflict with Shiite Iran, which is widely believed to back the Houthis, who now hold large parts of the country.

    Iran has denounced the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.



    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2...houthis-alone/

    Leave the Houthis Alone!

    Why are we on the same side as the Saudis – and al Qaeda – in Yemen?


    by Justin Raimondo, March 27, 2015

    Saudi Arabia’s US-backed aggression against the sovereignty of Yemen is a textbook example of how local conflicts are internationalized – and become tripwires for regional wars and even global conflagrations.

    Like Libya, Yemen is yet another Middle Eastern country that doesn’t really exist: it is actually at least two separate countries, perhaps three – the southern provinces, which are primarily Sunni, the northern tribes, who adhere mostly to the Zaydi form of Shi’ite Islam, and the area around Sa’na, the capital, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth, where all Yemen’s clashing cultural, political, and religious factions meet.

    The north/south division dates back to the nineteenth century British colonization, when, in 1839, the British seized the port city of Aden and administered it as a subset of the Indian Viceroyalty. It became a major trading center after the opening of the Suez canal, and the Brits pushed outward, extending their influence throughout what had been a land perpetually divided between the Ottoman Empire and local imams, including the distinctive Zaydis in the north. In 1911, the Zaydis rose up against the British and their local collaborators, abolished the north/south division negotiated by the British Foreign Office, and established the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen under Imam Yahya. Yahya’s dream was to recreate the ancient Qasamid dynasty, founded in the seventeenth century: a "Greater Yemen" extending into what is today Saudi Arabia as well as the whole of modern Yemen.

    In the 1960s, the de-colonization movement in the Arab world took on a Nasserist, socialist form, and this was manifested in Yemen in the form of a coup against the king by Nasserist officers, who then established – after a three-way civil war pitting royalists against republicans against ultra-leftists – the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), in the south, which became a de facto member of the Soviet bloc, and the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) in the north.

    The two Yemens warred with each other constantly – as well enduring violent internal conflicts – reflecting the religious, ideological, and historical differences that have plagued the country for centuries, but agreed to merge in 1990, after the Soviet bloc collapsed and the PDRY was left without Russian subsidies. Yet the "merger" was weak from the very beginning, and old divisions soon reemerged.

    The southerners formed a secessionist movement, as did the Zaydis in the north (although they said they only wanted autonomy), and to complicate matters al Qaeda moved into the ensuing chaos – providing the central government in Sa’na with the perfect excuse to ask for outside intervention on its behalf.

    As US aid and "advisors" poured into Yemen, the central government used this in order to cement what amounted to a de facto dictatorship. Government troops largely ignored Al Qaeda, which has very little popular support and poses no real threat to the central government’s authority, and concentrated their fire on the southern independence movement and especially the Houthi insurgency in the north. The latter – who are now in control of large swathes of the country, and have sent the "president" into hiding – have their origins in the "Believing Youth," which sought to revive the Shi’ite Zaydi religious tradition in order to counter Sunni fundamentalist preachers – precursors of al Qaeda – proselytizing with some success in the north. The Houthi counterinsurgency movement has defied the efforts of both the central government and the Saudis to suppress them, albeit not without considerable losses on their part: thousands of civilians were killed in the conflict, with hundreds of thousands displaced.

    In spite of US-based news accounts reporting the current conflict to be between the Saudis and "Iran-backed rebels," the evidence for the Tehran-Houthi connection is tenuous to nonexistent. There is no evidence of Iranian involvement beyond political (i.e. rhetorical) support. Indeed, as Christopher Boucek and Marina Ottoway report in their book, Yemen on the Brink, "some Yemeni officials have confided that such assertions are unfounded." Doctrinal differences between the Zaydi sect of Shi’ism and the Iranians over important theological issues within Islam preclude Tehran from providing any substantial support for the Houthi insurgency beyond mere words. Neoconservative pundits who point to the Houthis’ success with alarm mirror the propaganda of al Qaeda, which denounces the Zaydi "takfiris" (apostates) in similarly hysterical terms. The Houthis, for their part, have never attacked Americans or American interests in Yemen, as acknowledged in a series of classified cables sent by the no-longer-present US embassy.

    All of which underscores the present conundrum faced by US policymakers in the region. The neocons are screaming that US air strikes in Tikrit are helping the Iranian-commanded Shi’ite militias defeat ISIS, while in Yemen we are backing the Saudis against the supposedly-but-not-actually Iranian-backed Houthis. They are right to point out the obvious contradiction, but wrong in their proposed resolution – which seems to be to play the Sunni card and oppose the Iranians (or, more accurately, the Shi’ites) at every opportunity. Apparently the neocons’ calls to smash ISIS have been conveniently forgotten.

    As with most of the current problems in the region, it all goes back to the Iraq war. That war handed the Iranians de facto control of Iraq: although the initial plan was for the neocons to anoint their favorites, Ahmed Chalabi and his gang, as the "democratic" rulers of the country, things didn’t work out that way (and Chalabi, it turns out, was canoodling with Tehran all along). Instead, the Ayatollah Sistani, chief of the majority Shi’ite sect, threatened an all-out rebellion if direct elections weren’t held. The Shi’ite parties won that election, and subsequent elections, and today Iraq is an Iranian ally. That’s why thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis had to die – in a war to make Iraq a Shi’ite theocracy.

    Now that Iraq is in the Iranian camp, it was only natural they would turn to their Shi’ite allies when ISIS arose to threaten Baghdad. This enraged the neocons, who – forgetting their own role in handing Iraq to the Iranians – are now targeting Tehran. The Iranians are taking care of ISIS for us, precluding US "boots on the ground," much to the disappointment of John McCain and Lindsey Graham. It doesn’t count as a war in their book unless American blood is being spilled.

    The same irony abounds in Yemen, where the Shi’ite Houthis are viscerally hostile to Al Qaeda, and are, indeed, the only indigenous force capable of defeating them and rooting them out. Yet that would preclude a Saudi-US intervention – and we can’t have that!

    What’s happening in Yemen is a local problem, with causes that are strictly confined to the long and tumultuous history of that dirt-poor country. Foreign intervention, whether from the British, the Saudis, al Qaeda, or whomever, has only led to endless war and not improved the lot of the people by one iota. Now the Americans are using the "war on terrorism" to impose their will and re-order the Yemeni polity when they can have no real understanding of what is – or ought to be – going on there. Washington and Riyadh are internationalizing a conflict that is Yemeni in origin, and will only be resolved by the Yemenis themselves.

    As I have written on many occasions, the "Sunni turn" – the US playing the "Sunni card" in Iraq and Syria – has been a disaster on so many levels that it’s hard to keep count. In Iraq, it led directly to ISIS – the mutant offspring of the so-called "Arab Awakening." In Syria, where US-backed "moderate" jihadists defected en masse to the ranks of our enemies, it led to the empowerment of ISIS and Al Nusra. And now in Yemen it is leading to the destruction of the Houthis – a long-suffering and valiant people – at the hands of our Saudi allies and their 10-nation alliance of despots. To add stupidity to deadly folly: our anti-Houthi pro-Saudi orientation is acting directly against our interests, which are supposedly focused on eliminating al Qaeda from the scene. In this instance, as in Syria, we are on the same side as al Qaeda. How does this make sense to anyone but Bibi Netanyahu?

    Each time we intervene where we have no business intervening the "blowback" hits us right in the face – and provides yet another excuse for yet more intervention. It’s an endless cycle, one that won’t come to an end until and unless we rid ourselves of this succubus – this Empire – that is costing us so much.


    Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations by Jeremy M. Sharp; p. 18:

    The Yemeni government has made numerous claims that the Iranian government is militarily, financially, and politically supporting the Al Houthi rebellion; however, most Western observers believe that in reality, only the latter may be true. In December 2009, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman stated that “Many of our friends and partners have talked to us about the possibility of outside support to the Houthis and we have heard the theories about Iranian support to the Houthis…. To be frank, we don’t have independent information about this.” [“U.S. Says has no Evidence Iran Backs Yemen,” Reuters, December 11, 2009, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2009/12/11/idUKGEE5BA27V ]










    http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/...arabia-is.html

    Friday, 13 February 2015

    ISIS isn't the long term problem, Saudi Arabia is

    Here's a new way to think about something that should be obvious...

    To the politicians in DC and financiers in New York, Saudi Arabia is an island of stability in a sea of chaos. A reliable ally, willing to keep the oil flowing, year in and year out. A place that's not vulnerable to the instability that routinely guts the countries around it.

    Of course, that line of thinking is utterly misguided. The opposite is true.

    In reality, Saudi Arabia is extremely fragile and much of the chaos we see in the Middle East is due to the way Saudi Arabia avoids falling to pieces. Worse, we are largely to blame for this. We go along with this charade, and our willingness to play along is doing much of the damage.

    To understand why this illusion of Saudi stability is so toxic, let's dig into a very smart idea from thermodynamics called dissipative structures. In fact, the idea was so good that it won Ilya Prigogine the Nobel prize in Chemistry. Prigogine's idea provides us with insight into everything from how biological structures (e.g. bacteria, apes...) to natural phenomena (e.g. tornadoes) to social systems (e.g. nation-states) build order and prevent collapse.

    The important part of this idea for us, is that all dissipative structures grow by exporting or expelling waste products into an external environment. In other words, they achieve "order" by getting rid of the disorder produced by building it.

    Here it is in very simple terms. Within biological structures, eating produces the energy needed to build and maintain an organism. In turn, consuming food produces disorder in the form of feces. Organisms expel feces into the outside world because holding onto it is dangerous. The same process is true with almost all complex structures. With automobiles, it's exhaust fumes. With complex social systems, it is everything from warfare to pollution.

    We could spend all day on this idea, but let's cut to the chase and apply this framework to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a particularly expensive dissipative structure because it is extremely rigid, anachronistic, and unchanging. To maintain this archaic structure despite the titanic forces of globalization trying to pull it apart, it must export an incredible amount of disorder (entropy) into the surrounding region. Disorder such as:

    • A corrosive fundamentalist ideology. The KSA's Wahhabism fuels both ISIS and al Qaeda and it's spent billions spreading it around the world.

    • Thousands of violent zealots. The vast majority of the hijackers during 9/11 were Saudi as well as thousands of ISIS members. People it can't control are sent abroad.


    • Billions in destabilizing financing. Saudi Arabia provided the start-up funding for both al Qaeda and ISIS. It even "invested" $10 billion in the current Egyptian military dictatorship.


    Obviously, this Saudi entropy has damaged everyone in the world. It spreads violent instability throughout the world, from the terrorism of 9/11 to the violent ascent of ISIS in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan...

    Worse, the damage being done by Saudi Arabia is increasing with each passing year, as it attempts to defy the inexorable gravitational attraction of a fluid, dynamic, and tightly integrated global system.

    This means that even if ISIS is defeated in the next couple of years, Saudi Arabia's dysfunctional system will produce something worse soon thereafter.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/20/wo...pgtype=article

    Yemen Houthi Leader Is Defiant in Face of Saudi Airstrikes

    By MOHAMMED ALI KALFOOD and KAREEM FAHIM APRIL 19, 2015

    SANA, Yemen — More than three weeks after Saudi Arabia began a bombing campaign aimed at crippling his movement, the leader of Yemen’s Houthi rebels responded with defiance on Sunday in a televised speech, saying that Saudi attempts to “humiliate” his country were doomed.

    “Those who want the people to give in are just dreaming,” the leader, Abdel-Malik al-Houthi, said in a long, fuming address that was also sharply critical of the United States. “Our Yemeni people have the right to fend off the aggression, and to confront the aggressor with all possible and available means,” he said on a Houthi news channel.

    Mr. Houthi gave no indication that he was willing to negotiate with the Saudis or to agree to their conditions for a cease-fire, including that the Houthis withdraw from cities they have captured. His defiance suggested a prolonged war and raised further questions about the Saudi government’s military strategy, which has been centered on pounding the Houthis and their allies from the air.

    The Saudis launched the intervention with backing from the United States and a coalition of Arab states, aiming to restore Yemen’s exiled government, led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The coalition’s warplanes have carried out hundreds of airstrikes, targeting military bases and positions held by the Houthis and their main allies, military units and security forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ceded the presidency in 2012.

    The intensity of the Saudi bombing has left Yemen facing the likelihood of a devastated military, even when this conflict ends. The airstrikes have also hit factories and homes, killing dozens of civilians and arousing misgivings even among Saudi allies.

    Residents in Sana, the capital, have been subjected to daily airstrikes for weeks. And in the southern port city of Aden, hundreds of people have been killed in street fighting between the Houthis and Mr. Saleh’s forces on one side, and local militias representing Yemen’s southern separatists on the other.

    In the latest sign the war is spreading, dozens of people have been killed in recent days in Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, where fighters loyal to Mr. Hadi, backed by Saudi airstrikes, are battling the Houthis and their allies.

    Several military units have switched sides by declaring their loyalty to the exiled president, Mr. Hadi. On Sunday, Yemeni officials told the Reuters news agency that a brigadier general who commands a district along the Saudi border and leads 15,000 troops had also pledged his support for Mr. Hadi.

    It remained to be seen whether the defections would tip the balance in the conflict or simply further fracture the country. A multiplying cast of combatants are being drawn into the fight — including military units with shifting loyalties, armed tribesmen, separatist fighters and extremist militants with Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch — and are confusing the battle lines.


    https://www.facebook.com/shane.hill....72561189450055

    “The Houthis (Yemen Shiites) controlled Yemen without a single blood shedding, rape, beheading or any other of the atrocities that you see ISIS commit

    Further more they kicked out all the radical Imams in the Mosques and replaced them with moderate ones (not from their religion ‘cause they don't wanna impose theirs on the others but Sunni Imams as they already were).

    I don't think that you can see any Revolution just like this any place in the World.

    Oh forgot to mention that the radical Sunnis from Saudi Arabia and the rest of Arab countries already declared them as enemies and started putting lies against them to send their sucide bombers.”





    ‘I read the posts and what you are saying doesn’t make sense; I didn't see them [the Houthis] do suicide bombings or any terror activity and in all their wars with Saleh they never ever attacked any civilians and didn't attack or kidnap the soldiers who are doing patrols in the mountains around them.

    Just because they are using the Iranian logo "death to America death to Israel" it doesn't mean they are doing any crimes against any of them.

    Also Iran is the safest place for the Jews in the Mideast after Israel and there are more than 20,000 Iranian Jews (most of them are merchants and active people in society and even have a representative at the Iranian Parliament)

    I'm against the Iranian regime ‘cause we suffered dearly from it, but the Arab regimes and the FSA flag that you are holding did unspeakable crimes against Christians, Shiites and other minorities.

    Also since when did the Sunni tribes welcome the Jews (they just kill them on sight if they find out that they are Jews).’








    (ADDITIONAL) NOTES:

    As soon as Yemen tried to assert self-determination without a US-backed dictator, Saudi and Western opportunists went on the offensive and ensured that would not happen.

    Look what happened to Libya – a country that once had one of the best standards of living in Africa. Look at Syria and its US-backed and fomented civil war.

    Although the Houthis aren’t always “angels” and have made mistakes themselves, they want to be equal participants in the political order; they’ve been marginalized for a long time. The Saudis are lying about the Houthis being Iranian agents. But clearly at least some of the Houthis are quite abused and flawed themselves, and apparently at least some of them are also rather anti-Semitic, unfortunately. Nevertheless, they haven’t killed anywhere near as many Yemeni civilians as Saudi Arabia and America have. And anti-Semitism isn’t something unique to ‘Muslim’ radicals, fundamentalists, fighters, etc. According to The Atlantic’s article “Is It Time For The Jews to Leave Europe?”, European countries like Sweden also have virulent anti-Semites amongst the native (white) European population. In addition, what about anti-Semitism in North America? For example, on university campuses, there are people and students who shamelessly hijack and discredit the Palestinian cause and take advantage of the suffering of the people of Gaza as an alibi to vent their narcissistic rage and act out their archaic (repressed and conscious) traumas in a prejudiced and violent fashion directed towards Jewish people, students, etc.


    Al-Qaeda and ISIS have used American weapons.

    Yemen is the most deeply impoverished region in the Middle East and is used as a political football. For USA, Saudi Arabia, etc. it’s a place to drop bombs.

    The Houthis were calling for a bigger negotiation table. They were calling for a political settlement in a deeply flawed and fractured government. The South (of Yemen) and tribal confederations also wanted improvements in government. The Saudis are making a bad situation worse. Yemen has very little fresh water.



    Yemen's Ansarullah accuses Saudi Arabia, US of supporting al-Qaeda

    Mohammad Abdussalam, a spokesman for the movement, says Riyadh and Washington do not seek to take out al-Qaeda because they created and funded the terrorist group themselves. Abdussalam says al-Qaeda is being used as a tool to destabilize other countries. He also says fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi forged an alliance with al-Qaeda to carry out deadly terrorist attacks in Aden and other cities.




    Max Igan: “The U.S. did actually create Al-Qaeda. This is a Western creation that’s been used to destabilize the region, and it’s an ongoing thing. There should be no doubt that they are supporting it. They always go into these countries and claim that they’re going to fight Al-Qaeda, but Al-Qaeda seems to get stronger as soon as the U.S. arrives. . . It’s a long-standing program and they’ve been doing it for quite a while, and every country that you see Al-Qaeda you find that it’s actually Western-run.”

    “It’s very doubtful that [Saudi Arabia] will be held accountable at all. . . They went in there under the pretext of protecting the government against some rebels, and they’ve absolutely decimated the place. They’re just turning it into another failed state. And because [Saudi Arabia] is a U.S. ally and this is all being sponsored by the U.S. I doubt we’ll ever see any charges brought against Saudi Arabia for this aggression.”


    HERO: I saw a video of a man in Yemen whose house was destroyed, in addition to his taxi (he was a taxi driver).

    Radicals/ISIS are taking advantage of Saudi-created chaos. ISIS has declared a caliphate in Yemen. Although some of the Houthis have surely made mistakes themselves and aren’t necessarily “angels”, they often were successful in fighting Al-Qaeda.

    If CIA/CSIS suspects someone might be part of Al-Qaeda they kill him by bombing his whole apartment or home. American drone strikes even killed 17 innocent women and children in a Yemeni village; human body parts were mixed with animal body parts.

    Houthis have been more effective in attacking, fighting, and (at times) partially eradicating Al-Qaeda in Yemen.

    There is very little media coverage on Yemen. Whatever coverage there is is biased, and says that Saudia Arabia is a ‘democracy’ that wants to help Yemenis and to restore the “legitimate” president (lest we forget Ukraine’s former “legitimate” president Viktor Yanukovych).

    A narrative that has been circulated by the media is that Yemen has been taken over by rebels and that Saudi Arabia is trying to restore order. Yet the conflicting groups in Yemen were close to having an agreement for peace before the Saudis started bombing Yemen virtually ‘indiscriminately’.

    One of the warehouses that carried humanitarian aid by OXFAM was bombed by Saudi Arabia. It was used to store water purification equipment. OXFAM provided the Saudis with info regarding their locations, co-ordinates, purpose, etc. so they’d know what they’re there for and not to bomb them. The Saudis are bombing airports to make it harder for anyone to send humanitarian aid.

    And of course we should all know that the U.S. has been using drone strikes with no mandate, no compliance with international laws, rules, or morality, and that they’ve been targeting whole buildings, houses, villages, etc. Hundreds of drone strikes in Yemen have probably killed thousands. The U.S. is as big a part of this current bombing as Saudi Arabia. Now boxes of weapons are being dropped in Yemen so that Yemeni men can kill each other. While the U.S.A. and the Saudis are octopus monsters, shattering and rearranging the pieces of the world with cold tentacles, unfortunately, at least some of the Houthis are probably not angels either. The Houthis are not a political party. Both the Saudis and the Houthis have killed Yemeni civilians, although the Saudis (Saudi Arabia) have killed much more. There was a potential deal for peace, yet the Saudis destroyed that.


    Yemen has a very bad medical system, and it’s very corrupt. There is no fuel to run hospitals. Often, people have had to go outside of Yemen to seek medical treatment, yet they cannot do so any longer. About a thousand people were stranded outside of Yemen since they sought medical treatment before Saudi Arabia started bombing Yemen, and thus they could not return to their homeland.

    Former president of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh—who likened ruling Yemen to “dancing on the heads of snakes”—was backed by Saudi Arabia before the so-called Arab Spring.


    Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi is a former president of Yemen; his mandate has expired. He’s not popular in Yemen anymore; he lost popular support. The Saudis and the West have been trying to impose their own puppet on the people of Yemen. His term was only meant to be 2 years; the former president resigned, then the vice president stepped in.

    ISIL/ISIS—which was armed, funded, paid, and built by the U.S. and its allies—is now a threat in Yemen.


    http://rt.com/news/253029-isis-yemen-houthi-sanaa/

    April 25, 2015

    ‘The Islamic State has declared its official presence in war-torn Yemen as the jihadists posted a video online, threatening to “cut the throats” of Shiite Houthi rebels.

    "We have come to Yemen, with men hungry for your blood to avenge the Sunnis and take back the land they have occupied," the IS commander said in a video, the International Business Times reported.

    . . . 142 people were killed and another 350 injured in a series of suicide bombings at Shia mosques in Sanaa [Yemen] on March 20.

    The Sunni IS and Al-Qaeda, which has traditionally been the dominant jihadist group in Yemen, view the Shiite Houthis as heretics.

    Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies have been bombing the Shiite rebels since March 25, with over 550 civilians having been killed since the start of the airstrikes, according to UN estimations.’


    http://rt.com/news/250713-qaeda-seize-yemen-military/

    Al-Qaeda seizes key military camp in Yemen, snatches tanks and artillery

    April 17, 2015

    Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) attacked Mukalla, capitalizing on the chaos in the country, which is being bombarded by Saudi Arabia in an attempt to suppress the Houthi rebels fighting against the supporters of Hadi.

    The jihadists began their assault on April 2, quickly seizing key installations in the city and freeing over 300 prisoners, including prominent local terrorist leader, Khaled Batarfi.

    Being a radical Sunni Islamist movement, Al-Qaeda views the Houthis – representing the Shia Zaidi minority in Yemen – as heretics.



    HERO: Yemen’s history encompasses more than 3000 years.

    Yemen has World Heritage sites such as the Old Walled City of Shibam, which has some of the world’s oldest skyscrapers dating back to the 16th-century:

    http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/192

    http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/611

    Yemen has a rich history. The capital Sana’a is over 4000 years old and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sana’a “has a distinctive visual character due to its unique architectural characteristics, most notably expressed in its multi-storey buildings decorated with geometric patterns.”

    The average household income in Yemen is $200/month.


    Yemenis practice many sects of Islam, including Sunni, Shia, Ismaeli, etc.

    Rich Gulf countries have not embraced Yemen nor treated it like a partner.

    The former president of Yemen and his family were extremely corrupt and rich.

    An affordable hospital closed in Yemen.

    Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc. do not invest in Yemen or help Yemen.

    Al-Qaeda came to Yemen after the war in Afghanistan started.








    EDIT: "To date, the UN estimates that 1,850 people have been killed, more than 7,390 injured and more than half a million displaced since the Saudi Arabian assault began, however these are conservative estimates and other sources put these numbers at almost double. Millions of Yemeni people are suffering from shortages of food, water, fuel, and medicines because of the bombings and the air, land and sea blockade."
    Last edited by HERO; 05-23-2015 at 10:47 PM.

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    Abdulaziz bin Saud was an illiterate highway robber and religious fanatic
    Last edited by xerx; 05-23-2015 at 03:25 PM.
    It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarrelled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

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    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0PN0HM20150713

    Mon Jul 13, 2015

    Saudi-led air raids in Yemen kill 21 two days into truce

    Saudi-led air raids killed 21 civilians in Yemen's capital Sanaa on Monday morning, relatives of the victims and medics told Reuters, two days after the start of a United Nations-brokered humanitarian truce that Riyadh does not recognize.

    "Three missiles targeted the neighborhood, destroying 15 houses and killing 21 people and wounding 45 others," said a resident.

    A Saudi-led Arab coalition has been bombing the Houthi militia and army forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 26, aiming to push them back from southern and central areas and restore the country's exiled government.

    The Houthis, who are allied to Riyadh's main regional rival Iran, advanced from their northern stronghold a year ago, capturing the capital Sanaa in September and then pushing south early this year, prompting the Saudi-led airstrikes.

    More than 3,000 people have been killed in the fighting and air strikes so far, amplifying an existing humanitarian crisis, but the Houthis and Saleh's forces remain embedded across the populated Western side of the country.

    The United Nations brokered a pause in the fighting on Friday to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered, but the Saudi-led coalition said it had not been asked by Yemen's exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in whose name it is acting, to stop its raids.

    Brigadier-General Ahmed al-Asiri, the spokesman of the coalition, was reported by al Sharq al Awsat newspaper as saying there would be no truce because Houthis were not committed to a ceasefire and no U.N. observers had been deployed on the ground to monitor possible violations.

    There have also been reports of fighting in breach of the pause conditions in Aden, Marib and Taiz, the main theaters of battle between local resistence movements, tribes, Islamist militants and the Houthis and Saleh's forces.

    A Houthi leader, Saleh al-Samad, described the continued Saudi raids as presenting "a clear challenge to the international community to shoulder its responsibilities and seriously try to stop this aggression".

    A United Nations Security Council resolution in April demanded the Houthis and Saleh's forces quit areas they have captured, release prisoners and surrender weapons taken from army units that have been overrun.

    (Reporting By Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Angus McDowall, Editing by William Maclean)

    Yemen girl loses father.jpg

    A girl cries after her father was killed by a Saudi-led air strike in Yemen's capital Sanaa July 13, 2015. (REUTERS/KHALED ABDULLAH)


    YemenCivilians.jpg






    https://news.vice.com/article/inside...relatedarticle

    Inside Yemen: Film Shows Remnants of US-made Bomb That Killed Civilians

    By Tom Dale

    May 20, 2015

    When a missile strike slammed into a residential complex in Yemen's capital Sanaa on May 1, it killed at least 20 civilians and made wreckage of their homes.

    The next day, the remnants of family life cut short were scattered among the rubble — scraps of bedding, children's toys, and dazed relatives wondering how and why they had been the ones to survive.

    But there was also something else — a flat scrap of metal that provided a clue as to the origins of the blast. It was the tailfin of a GBU-24 Paveway-III Enhanced laser-guided bomb, manufactured in the United States by the Massachusetts-based company Raytheon.

    The missile was identified by Mark Hiznay, an armaments expert at the New York-based monitoring organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), from footage featured in the VICE News film Yemen at War: Sanaa Under Attack, which is released today.

    It is the first time that an identifiable munition used in Yemen has been linked to specific civilian deaths since airstrikes by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition begun in late March.

    'We are bracing for famine, the state disintegrating, and full-blown civil war'


    Standing in the wreckage of his home, Jamal Abdel Wahid described how his 18-year-old wife, two months pregnant, was crushed by a concrete slab caved in by the bombing. The blood of Wahid's dead wife and injured children was smeared on a nearby wall and basin.

    More than 1,800 people are thought to have been killed in the conflict, including at least 800 civilians. More than half a million people are internally displaced.

    The bombing campaign was launched by Saudi Arabia with the objective of defeating Houthi rebels, allegedly backed by Iran, who swept into the capital last year. The Houthis, loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, are fighting forces backing exiled current President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, and now control much of Yemen's populated area.

    The coalition operation has so far failed to restore Hadi but has brought about a humanitarian crisis. "We are bracing for famine, the state disintegrating, and full-blown civil war," Hisham Omeisy, a Sanaa-based political analyst, told VICE News.

    At the outset of the airstrikes, Washington authorized logistical and intelligence support to the coalition led by Saudi Arabia, the country which is one of its most important global allies and the world's largest importer of military technology, much of it from major US companies such as Raytheon.

    In April, intelligence cooperation expanded. An official told Reuters that one of the objectives of the cooperation was to avoid strikes on civilian areas.

    Britain's Foreign Secretary also promised the UK's support, "in every practical way short of engaging in combat."

    Yet prominent civilian targets have repeatedly been hit, reportedly including an Oxfam warehouse, a dairy factory, and a refugee camp.

    US-supplied cluster bombs were dropped on the Houthi stronghold of Saada during late April, according to research by HRW, although the organization was unable to identify specific casualties at the time.

    Cluster munitions, which scatter many small bombs over a wide area, are banned by more than 90 countries because they tend to leave behind unexploded ordnance which can kill and injure civilians for years to come.

    'It's not hard to see how witnessing bombs labelled 'made in America' dropping on Saada had a radicalizing effect'

    American bombs have fallen on Yemen since long before the current campaign.

    In a series of wars against the Houthis between 2004 and 2010 the Yemeni and Saudi Armed Forces, both backed by the US, bombarded Saada province, killing thousands.

    When VICE News journalist Ben Anderson visited the area in early 2014 he found cluster bomb casings bearing US imprints and heard reports of ongoing civilian casualties, as children and farmers stumbled across the unexploded ordnance.

    "Anti-Americanism has always been a key part of Houthi ideology," Adam Baron, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told VICE News. "That being said, it's not hard to see how witnessing bombs labelled 'made in America' dropping on Saada had a radicalizing effect — just as was the case in the southern provinces where similar bombs occasionally killed civilians while targeting al Qaeda fighters there."

    As well as causing resentment and prompting a humanitarian crisis, the bombardment seems far from achieving its objectives.

    Although the conflict is often described as a proxy war pitting agents of Shia Iran against those of Sunni Saudi Arabia, the more complicated reality is that Houthi grievances go back decades and are rooted in essentially domestic concerns, rather than a sectarian agenda or Iran's regional ambitions.

    A protracted war is unlikely to finally defeat the movement, but has the potential to deepen tensions latent in Yemeni society, with long-term implications.

    "In a country with a cultural mesh like Yemen where individual tribes and regional identities are distinct and fiercely guarded, and there is the second highest rate of per capita arms ownership in the world, starting a war is akin to lighting a fuse on a bomb," Hisham Omeisy said, shortly before another explosion shook Sanaa.



    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/14/wo...s-example.html

    Drone Strikes in Yemen Said to Set a Dangerous Precedent

    By SCOTT SHANE (APRIL 13, 2015)

    WASHINGTON — An investigation of American drone strikes in Yemen concludes that the Obama administration has not followed its own rules to avoid civilian casualties and is setting a dangerous example for other countries that want to use unmanned aircraft against terrorists.

    The study, by the Open Society Justice Initiative, a legal advocacy group based in New York, was released on Monday at a time when Yemen has been engulfed in violence and American drone strikes have been slowed or halted. But its observations about the performance of American counterterrorism strikes from 2012 to 2014 remain relevant for assessing a novel weapons system that the United States has used in several countries and has now approved for export to a limited number of allies.

    Despite promises of greater openness about drone strikes, the Obama administration has continued to guard their secrecy closely and says nothing publicly about strike targets and results. The resulting information vacuum has been partly filled by independent studies by groups like the Open Society Justice Initiative, which worked with the Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, a Yemeni group that interviewed witnesses.

    In May 2013, in a long-planned speech on the targeted killing of terrorists, President Obama described a rigorous standard that he said guided all drone strikes. “Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured — the highest standard we can set,” he said.

    Mr. Obama said that some civilian casualties were unavoidable, adding, “For me, and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live.”
    But the new report questions how careful the strikes have been, based on the analysis of nine strikes in Yemen, where strikes are carried out by both the C.I.A. and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command. Each of those strikes killed civilians, the study found, with a total of 26 civilians killed, including five children, and 13 others injured.

    “We’ve found evidence that President Obama’s standard is not being met on the ground,” said Amrit Singh, a senior legal officer at the Open Society Justice Initiative and a primary author of the report. “There’s a real question about whether the near-certainty standard is being applied in practice.”

    Asked about the report’s findings, a National Security Council spokesman, Ned Price, said that he was “not in a position to comment on specific cases” because of secrecy rules, but that the standard Mr. Obama described in 2013 was still in place.

    “In those rare instances in which it appears noncombatants may have been killed or injured, after-action reviews have been conducted to determine why,” he said, adding that condolence payments were sometimes given to those injured and families of those killed.

    Mr. Price said administration officials “continue to work diligently toward” the goal of greater transparency. The military announced strikes against Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria, as well as recent strikes in Somalia, but no information has been released on strikes in Pakistan or Yemen.

    The Open Society report also questions whether the administration is acting on its stated policy of always capturing terrorists when “feasible” rather than killing them. In two of the strikes it studied, the researchers quoted witnesses as saying the targeted individuals, who had been identified by American intelligence as members of Al Qaeda, could easily have been arrested by the Yemeni authorities.

    An American official, speaking about the classified operations on the condition of anonymity, said that in some cases a foreign government “only has the most tenuous reach into parts of its territory” and that capture operations “would pose profound risks to our forces.” But the official noted that foreign partners often capture and imprison terrorism suspects based on American intelligence.

    Drones loaded with Hellfire missiles and other munitions were first used by the United States in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and became an integral part of the American wars there and in Iraq. There were sporadic strikes against militants in Pakistan until mid-2008, when President George W. Bush sharply escalated the drone campaign there.

    Mr. Obama stepped up strikes in Pakistan further and expanded them to Yemen and Somalia early in his presidency. The pace of strikes has slowed, however, and is well below the peak in 2010 in Pakistan and 2012 in Yemen.

    Advocates of drone strikes argue that they are particularly suited for pursuing small groups of terrorists and that they kill far fewer civilians than conventional airstrikes or ground troops. American officials often assert that accounts of civilian deaths by independent groups are exaggerated, but they rarely give their own account of who was killed.

    “This program has no public disclosure about who’s being killed and why, and there’s no public accountability,” Ms. Singh, the report’s author, said. “If you insulate a program with secrecy, you prevent information that could correct it from coming to light.”

    In the most recent strike analyzed by the Open Society report, in April 2014, two drones fired on a Toyota Land Cruiser outside the town of Bayda. The report concludes that the men in the Land Cruiser, all of whom were killed, were indeed Qaeda fighters.

    But shrapnel from the strike hit 12 laborers in a Toyota Hilux just ahead of the Land Cruiser. Four of them were killed and five more injured, the report found, based on interviews with survivors. Based on negotiations between tribal leaders and the Yemeni government, the government paid about $55,000 in compensation and 30 Kalashnikov rifles, costs that Yemeni officials have said are generally covered by the United States.

    Another strike in the same province in September 2012, the report found, killed 12 people and injured two others as they rode a truck home after selling their wares in a town market. The victims included a pregnant woman and her 10-year-old daughter, as well as 15- and 17-year-old boys. The researchers found no evidence of Qaeda connections among those killed. Local news reports said the intended target was a local Qaeda leader who was not present.

    Again, the government compensated the affected families with cash and weapons. But the fear of strikes from the drones that regularly patrolled the skies lingered. “We live in constant fear,” the report quoted an anonymous survivor as saying. “There is no assurance that we would not be the next targets.” The brother of one of those killed was quoted as declaring, “The U.S. government should come to the region to see what targets it has hit.”

    Ms. Singh said, “The voices of these individuals have not been heard by the U.S. government, because no one is going over to Yemen and asking what happened.”

    The C.I.A. director, John O. Brennan, said at his confirmation hearing in 2013 that he believed that the United States should publicly acknowledge unintended civilian deaths in counterterrorism strikes. But it has never happened.

    For years, arms experts have been concerned about the example set by the United States for other countries as armed drones proliferate. Drones have been used to fire missiles by Israel and Britain as well as by the United States, but many other countries are seeking to develop or buy them.

    In February, in response to pressure from arms manufacturers and many countries, the Obama administration announced rules governing the export of armed drones. A State Department fact sheet said the rules required “all sales and transfers to include agreement to principles for proper use.”


    HERO: American drone strikes in Yemen continue as Saudi Arabia conducts its merciless war on Yemen with the support of America. Witness another hecatomb of modern American and Saudi Arabian wars.






    https://news.vice.com/article/my-ene...iggest-winners

    'My Enemy's Enemy': In Yemen Chaos, Al Qaeda May Be the Biggest Winners

    By Harriet Salem and Sama'a al Hamdani

    April 16, 2015

    Standing beneath an ornate chandelier, Khaled Batarfi, a high-ranking member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), poses for a snapshot in the governor's palatial residence in the port city of al Mukalla. Trampling on the Yemeni national flag, the bespectacled jihadi raises his index finger in salute as he grins at the cameraman.
    Batarfi has plenty to smile about. As Yemen descends into a full-scale war between Shia Houthi rebels and the Saudi Arabia-backed forces of its president-in-exile, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, dormant AQAP factions — backed by a handful of Sunni tribes — have surged out of their heartlands into towns and cities across the country's central and southern provinces.

    Last week, in a lightning offensive, fighters from the group stormed al Mukalla, capital of the oil-rich Hadhramaut province. Entering in the dead of night by morning they had taken over government buildings, emptied the city's bank vaults of the equivalent of $80 million, and freed 300 prisoners, including Batarfi and several other high-ranking members of AQAP, from the local jail.

    But for the power hungry group, the snatch of al Mukalla is just the tip of the iceberg. The lawlessness that followed the revolution of 2011, coupled with the recent outbreak of war, has enabled AQAP to secure a stronghold in at least seven governorates: 'Ibb, Al-Jawf, Ma'rib, Hadhramout, Lahj, Abyan, and Shabwah.

    As a centralized authority has collapsed the group has also consolidated control, not just through force, but via negotiations with other localized factions. Al Mukalla, where AQAP recently struck a deal with local tribesman to hand over local authority to the Sunni Jurist Council, is a case in point. Known as the "Sons of Hadhramout," the council is billed as a grassroots movement but in practice is covertly run by AQAP, meaning the jihadists are now effectively a shadow authority in the district.

    For the last 21 days, a ferocious campaign of Saudi-led airstrikes has hit military bases, weapon depots and Houthi militia quarters all over the impoverished country. The strikes, backed by nine Sunni Gulf states and logistically supported by the US, targeted the Houthi Zaydi rebels and the supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who seized the country's capital in September and subsequently pushed their armed rebellion further south. The aerial bombardment, combined with fierce street fighting in the southern port city of Aden and its surroundings, has plunged Yemen into an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The dramatic advance of AQAP has been widely billed by Western media as a product of the country's rapid descent into chaos.

    Yet, despite the deepening turmoil on the ground, AQAP's gains are better understood not in the context of Yemen's chaos, but rather in its historically fractured political landscape where autocratic leaders have long depended on support from international backers and formed fragile short-term alliances of mutual benefit with regionalized militia groups and local tribes.

    Created through a merger between Saudi and Yemeni branches of al Qaeda in 2009, AQAP has long been perceived as a threat by the United States. In 2013, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki described AQAP as "one of the foremost national security challenges faced by the US." With the support of the Yemeni government, the US has maintained a military and intelligence service presence in the country for more than a decade. Since 2011 a joint operation between the two has launched 88 drone strikes against AQAP, killing more than 482 people.

    But now both the Sunni tribes and AQAP, traditionally opposed to the government, suddenly find themselves in a de facto alliance with forces led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the US. "It's a classic case of my enemy's enemy," Robert McFadden, vice president of the Soufan Group, a security and intelligence consultancy, told VICE News. "There really is no other option... the whole situation is a mess."

    AQAP and the Houthis are longstanding opponents but the recent conflict, broadly understood as a proxy war between Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, has sparked a dramatic uptick in violent confrontations as the jihadists and rebels jostle for territory in a conflict that has inflamed long simmering sectarian tensions.

    Between September and January, AQAP claimed responsibility for 149 attacks in 14 districts controlled by Houthi forces, including suicide bombings, insurgencies and sniper attacks. In a recent video AQAP denounced the Houthis as "the new rented guns for the enemies of Islam" and called on jihadists everywhere to join the fight against them.

    Last week, in a clear demonstration that they share a common foe, the official online magazine of al Qaeda, Al Malahim, revealed a bounty reward worth 20 kilograms (44lb) of gold — equivalent to 700,000 thousand US dollars — both for the ousted president Saleh and Houthi leader Abdulmalik al Houthi, the very same people the Saudi coalition are attempting to dislodge.

    This is not the first time that jihadis have been utilized in Yemen as politicized foot soldiers. In 1994, such fighters were used to aid in the capture of the south during the country's civil war. Later, they were utilized to oppress secessionist movements in the south and to fight the Houthi rebels in Sa'dah. Since 2011, the majority of political assassinations — dubbed "motorcycle killings" — have been attributed to them, making jihadis at best a scapegoat or at worst or a gun-for-hire.

    The group's growing presence in Yemen in recent years, despite the long campaign of drone attacks, is due in part to their alliance of mutual convenience with some of the Sunni tribes controlling the country's lawless and impoverished east. Since 2011, the tribal leaders, driven by a mutual distrust of Hadi's government, have allowed AQAP to establish camps in the remote mountainous region, and the two have worked together to resist the presence of the state.

    AQAP has been able to maintain an existence in these hinterlands because of its extensive clan and tribal ties," said McFadden. "For the tribal leaders it's a matter of as long as AQAP don't allow government forces in, or blow things up in their areas then it's ok, they'll turn a blind eye," added the consultant, who interrogated high-ranking members of the militant group during his 30 years of service with US intelligence and counterterrorism services.

    Pacts of mutual interest are not limited to Yemen's internal politics, however. Despite publicly opposing the group, Saudi Arabia's relationship with AQAP has been brought into question in the past. A leaked series of memos from 2009 between then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other State Department officials revealed that Saudi Arabia based individuals were among the top financiers of al Qaeda in the world.

    "It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority… Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide," Clinton said in a cable.

    Now, insiders say that pulling together a loose coalition of anti-Houthi factions, consisting of both AQAP and Sunni tribes, may be the only means for Saudi Arabia and its supporters in Washington to avoid getting bogged down in a messy and lengthy ground offensive.

    "The Saudis need a unified front on the ground, and realistically to make up numbers that means al Qaeda, the Sunni tribes, and what's left of the [Islamist party] Islah's military wing; all stand to gain major territorial control, al Qaeda the most," an official with an international NGO told VICE News on the condition of anonymity. "It's my understanding that with some individuals in Washington this line of reasoning is carrying some weight. … There is a lot of pressure from Saudi [Arabia] … but it needs to be understood that by allowing al Qaeda to play a role in carrying out the dirty work you're empowering them."

    The strategy carries certainly huge risk, not least that the "frenemies" can turn on their allies once a shared objective is achieved. "For many of these groups, fighting together is not a matter of shared ideology, but sheer political convenience," Dr. Nabeel Khoury, an expert on the Middle East and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told VICE News. "Some tribes and factions are dependent on Saudi money, they can be bought off. Others, more, are genuinely allied with President Hadi, but he failed to get a southern front unified in time for the face-off."

    While Khoury rejected speculation of an overt collaboration between Saudi Arabia and AQAP, he believes that the current Saudi-US strategy's lack of long-term vision creates a dangerous power vacuum, while simultaneously bolstering an enemy that opposes their own existence. "The result is the same… Saudi strikes are helping al Qaeda… it's the logical conclusion of a campaign that does not include any kind of diplomatic negotiations to resolve the conflict," he told VICE News. "But in the long term no one will benefit from this. The Saudis should remember their enemy's enemy is still their enemy, even though al Qaeda might fight the Houthis now, they'll happily shoot at Saudi soldiers later."







    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0PN0HM20150713

    Mon Jul 13, 2015

    Saudi-led air raids in Yemen kill 21 two days into truce

    Saudi-led air raids killed 21 civilians in Yemen's capital Sanaa on Monday morning, relatives of the victims and medics told Reuters, two days after the start of a United Nations-brokered humanitarian truce that Riyadh does not recognize.

    "Three missiles targeted the neighborhood, destroying 15 houses and killing 21 people and wounding 45 others," said a resident.

    A Saudi-led Arab coalition has been bombing the Houthi militia and army forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 26, aiming to push them back from southern and central areas and restore the country's exiled government.

    The Houthis, who are allied to Riyadh's main regional rival Iran, advanced from their northern stronghold a year ago, capturing the capital Sanaa in September and then pushing south early this year, prompting the Saudi-led airstrikes.

    More than 3,000 people have been killed in the fighting and air strikes so far, amplifying an existing humanitarian crisis, but the Houthis and Saleh's forces remain embedded across the populated Western side of the country.

    The United Nations brokered a pause in the fighting on Friday to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered, but the Saudi-led coalition said it had not been asked by Yemen's exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in whose name it is acting, to stop its raids.

    Brigadier-General Ahmed al-Asiri, the spokesman of the coalition, was reported by al Sharq al Awsat newspaper as saying there would be no truce because Houthis were not committed to a ceasefire and no U.N. observers had been deployed on the ground to monitor possible violations.

    There have also been reports of fighting in breach of the pause conditions in Aden, Marib and Taiz, the main theaters of battle between local resistence movements, tribes, Islamist militants and the Houthis and Saleh's forces.

    A Houthi leader, Saleh al-Samad, described the continued Saudi raids as presenting "a clear challenge to the international community to shoulder its responsibilities and seriously try to stop this aggression".
    A United Nations Security Council resolution in April demanded the Houthis and Saleh's forces quit areas they have captured, release prisoners and surrender weapons taken from army units that have been overrun.

    (Reporting By Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Angus McDowall, Editing by William Maclean)






    https://news.vice.com/article/inside...relatedarticle

    Inside Yemen: Film Shows Remnants of US-made Bomb That Killed Civilians

    By Tom Dale

    May 20, 2015

    When a missile strike slammed into a residential complex in Yemen's capital Sanaa on May 1, it killed at least 20 civilians and made wreckage of their homes.

    The next day, the remnants of family life cut short were scattered among the rubble — scraps of bedding, children's toys, and dazed relatives wondering how and why they had been the ones to survive.

    But there was also something else — a flat scrap of metal that provided a clue as to the origins of the blast. It was the tailfin of a GBU-24 Paveway-III Enhanced laser-guided bomb, manufactured in the United States by the Massachusetts-based company Raytheon.

    The missile was identified by Mark Hiznay, an armaments expert at the New York-based monitoring organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), from footage featured in the VICE News film Yemen at War: Sanaa Under Attack, which is released today.

    It is the first time that an identifiable munition used in Yemen has been linked to specific civilian deaths since airstrikes by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition begun in late March.

    'We are bracing for famine, the state disintegrating, and full-blown civil war'


    Standing in the wreckage of his home, Jamal Abdel Wahid described how his 18-year-old wife, two months pregnant, was crushed by a concrete slab caved in by the bombing. The blood of Wahid's dead wife and injured children was smeared on a nearby wall and basin.

    More than 1,800 people are thought to have been killed in the conflict, including at least 800 civilians. More than half a million people are internally displaced.

    The bombing campaign was launched by Saudi Arabia with the objective of defeating Houthi rebels, allegedly backed by Iran, who swept into the capital last year. The Houthis, loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, are fighting forces backing exiled current President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, and now control much of Yemen's populated area.

    The coalition operation has so far failed to restore Hadi but has brought about a humanitarian crisis. "We are bracing for famine, the state disintegrating, and full-blown civil war," Hisham Omeisy, a Sanaa-based political analyst, told VICE News.

    At the outset of the airstrikes, Washington authorized logistical and intelligence support to the coalition led by Saudi Arabia, the country which is one of its most important global allies and the world's largest importer of military technology, much of it from major US companies such as Raytheon.

    In April, intelligence cooperation expanded. An official told Reuters that one of the objectives of the cooperation was to avoid strikes on civilian areas.

    Britain's Foreign Secretary also promised the UK's support, "in every practical way short of engaging in combat."

    Yet prominent civilian targets have repeatedly been hit, reportedly including an Oxfam warehouse, a dairy factory, and a refugee camp.

    US-supplied cluster bombs were dropped on the Houthi stronghold of Saada during late April, according to research by HRW, although the organization was unable to identify specific casualties at the time.

    Cluster munitions, which scatter many small bombs over a wide area, are banned by more than 90 countries because they tend to leave behind unexploded ordnance which can kill and injure civilians for years to come.

    'It's not hard to see how witnessing bombs labelled 'made in America' dropping on Saada had a radicalizing effect'

    American bombs have fallen on Yemen since long before the current campaign.

    In a series of wars against the Houthis between 2004 and 2010 the Yemeni and Saudi Armed Forces, both backed by the US, bombarded Saada province, killing thousands.

    When VICE News journalist Ben Anderson visited the area in early 2014 he found cluster bomb casings bearing US imprints and heard reports of ongoing civilian casualties, as children and farmers stumbled across the unexploded ordnance.

    "Anti-Americanism has always been a key part of Houthi ideology," Adam Baron, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told VICE News. "That being said, it's not hard to see how witnessing bombs labelled 'made in America' dropping on Saada had a radicalizing effect — just as was the case in the southern provinces where similar bombs occasionally killed civilians while targeting al Qaeda fighters there."

    As well as causing resentment and prompting a humanitarian crisis, the bombardment seems far from achieving its objectives.

    Although the conflict is often described as a proxy war pitting agents of Shia Iran against those of Sunni Saudi Arabia, the more complicated reality is that Houthi grievances go back decades and are rooted in essentially domestic concerns, rather than a sectarian agenda or Iran's regional ambitions.

    A protracted war is unlikely to finally defeat the movement, but has the potential to deepen tensions latent in Yemeni society, with long-term implications.

    "In a country with a cultural mesh like Yemen where individual tribes and regional identities are distinct and fiercely guarded, and there is the second highest rate of per capita arms ownership in the world, starting a war is akin to lighting a fuse on a bomb," Hisham Omeisy said, shortly before another explosion shook Sanaa.



    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/14/wo...s-example.html

    Drone Strikes in Yemen Said to Set a Dangerous Precedent

    By SCOTT SHANE (APRIL 13, 2015)

    WASHINGTON — An investigation of American drone strikes in Yemen concludes that the Obama administration has not followed its own rules to avoid civilian casualties and is setting a dangerous example for other countries that want to use unmanned aircraft against terrorists.

    The study, by the Open Society Justice Initiative, a legal advocacy group based in New York, was released on Monday at a time when Yemen has been engulfed in violence and American drone strikes have been slowed or halted. But its observations about the performance of American counterterrorism strikes from 2012 to 2014 remain relevant for assessing a novel weapons system that the United States has used in several countries and has now approved for export to a limited number of allies.

    Despite promises of greater openness about drone strikes, the Obama administration has continued to guard their secrecy closely and says nothing publicly about strike targets and results. The resulting information vacuum has been partly filled by independent studies by groups like the Open Society Justice Initiative, which worked with the Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, a Yemeni group that interviewed witnesses.

    In May 2013, in a long-planned speech on the targeted killing of terrorists, President Obama described a rigorous standard that he said guided all drone strikes. “Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured — the highest standard we can set,” he said.

    Mr. Obama said that some civilian casualties were unavoidable, adding, “For me, and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live.”
    But the new report questions how careful the strikes have been, based on the analysis of nine strikes in Yemen, where strikes are carried out by both the C.I.A. and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command. Each of those strikes killed civilians, the study found, with a total of 26 civilians killed, including five children, and 13 others injured.

    “We’ve found evidence that President Obama’s standard is not being met on the ground,” said Amrit Singh, a senior legal officer at the Open Society Justice Initiative and a primary author of the report. “There’s a real question about whether the near-certainty standard is being applied in practice.”

    Asked about the report’s findings, a National Security Council spokesman, Ned Price, said that he was “not in a position to comment on specific cases” because of secrecy rules, but that the standard Mr. Obama described in 2013 was still in place.

    “In those rare instances in which it appears noncombatants may have been killed or injured, after-action reviews have been conducted to determine why,” he said, adding that condolence payments were sometimes given to those injured and families of those killed.

    Mr. Price said administration officials “continue to work diligently toward” the goal of greater transparency. The military announced strikes against Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria, as well as recent strikes in Somalia, but no information has been released on strikes in Pakistan or Yemen.

    The Open Society report also questions whether the administration is acting on its stated policy of always capturing terrorists when “feasible” rather than killing them. In two of the strikes it studied, the researchers quoted witnesses as saying the targeted individuals, who had been identified by American intelligence as members of Al Qaeda, could easily have been arrested by the Yemeni authorities.

    An American official, speaking about the classified operations on the condition of anonymity, said that in some cases a foreign government “only has the most tenuous reach into parts of its territory” and that capture operations “would pose profound risks to our forces.” But the official noted that foreign partners often capture and imprison terrorism suspects based on American intelligence.

    Drones loaded with Hellfire missiles and other munitions were first used by the United States in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and became an integral part of the American wars there and in Iraq. There were sporadic strikes against militants in Pakistan until mid-2008, when President George W. Bush sharply escalated the drone campaign there.

    Mr. Obama stepped up strikes in Pakistan further and expanded them to Yemen and Somalia early in his presidency. The pace of strikes has slowed, however, and is well below the peak in 2010 in Pakistan and 2012 in Yemen.

    Advocates of drone strikes argue that they are particularly suited for pursuing small groups of terrorists and that they kill far fewer civilians than conventional airstrikes or ground troops. American officials often assert that accounts of civilian deaths by independent groups are exaggerated, but they rarely give their own account of who was killed.

    “This program has no public disclosure about who’s being killed and why, and there’s no public accountability,” Ms. Singh, the report’s author, said. “If you insulate a program with secrecy, you prevent information that could correct it from coming to light.”

    In the most recent strike analyzed by the Open Society report, in April 2014, two drones fired on a Toyota Land Cruiser outside the town of Bayda. The report concludes that the men in the Land Cruiser, all of whom were killed, were indeed Qaeda fighters.

    But shrapnel from the strike hit 12 laborers in a Toyota Hilux just ahead of the Land Cruiser. Four of them were killed and five more injured, the report found, based on interviews with survivors. Based on negotiations between tribal leaders and the Yemeni government, the government paid about $55,000 in compensation and 30 Kalashnikov rifles, costs that Yemeni officials have said are generally covered by the United States.

    Another strike in the same province in September 2012, the report found, killed 12 people and injured two others as they rode a truck home after selling their wares in a town market. The victims included a pregnant woman and her 10-year-old daughter, as well as 15- and 17-year-old boys. The researchers found no evidence of Qaeda connections among those killed. Local news reports said the intended target was a local Qaeda leader who was not present.

    Again, the government compensated the affected families with cash and weapons. But the fear of strikes from the drones that regularly patrolled the skies lingered. “We live in constant fear,” the report quoted an anonymous survivor as saying. “There is no assurance that we would not be the next targets.” The brother of one of those killed was quoted as declaring, “The U.S. government should come to the region to see what targets it has hit.”

    Ms. Singh said, “The voices of these individuals have not been heard by the U.S. government, because no one is going over to Yemen and asking what happened.”

    The C.I.A. director, John O. Brennan, said at his confirmation hearing in 2013 that he believed that the United States should publicly acknowledge unintended civilian deaths in counterterrorism strikes. But it has never happened.

    For years, arms experts have been concerned about the example set by the United States for other countries as armed drones proliferate. Drones have been used to fire missiles by Israel and Britain as well as by the United States, but many other countries are seeking to develop or buy them.

    In February, in response to pressure from arms manufacturers and many countries, the Obama administration announced rules governing the export of armed drones. A State Department fact sheet said the rules required “all sales and transfers to include agreement to principles for proper use.”


    HERO: American drone strikes in Yemen continue as Saudi Arabia conducts its merciless war on Yemen with the support of America. Witness another hecatomb of modern American and Saudi Arabian wars.






    https://news.vice.com/article/my-ene...iggest-winners

    'My Enemy's Enemy': In Yemen Chaos, Al Qaeda May Be the Biggest Winners

    By Harriet Salem and Sama'a al Hamdani

    April 16, 2015

    Standing beneath an ornate chandelier, Khaled Batarfi, a high-ranking member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), poses for a snapshot in the governor's palatial residence in the port city of al Mukalla. Trampling on the Yemeni national flag, the bespectacled jihadi raises his index finger in salute as he grins at the cameraman.
    Batarfi has plenty to smile about. As Yemen descends into a full-scale war between Shia Houthi rebels and the Saudi Arabia-backed forces of its president-in-exile, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, dormant AQAP factions — backed by a handful of Sunni tribes — have surged out of their heartlands into towns and cities across the country's central and southern provinces.

    Last week, in a lightning offensive, fighters from the group stormed al Mukalla, capital of the oil-rich Hadhramaut province. Entering in the dead of night by morning they had taken over government buildings, emptied the city's bank vaults of the equivalent of $80 million, and freed 300 prisoners, including Batarfi and several other high-ranking members of AQAP, from the local jail.

    But for the power hungry group, the snatch of al Mukalla is just the tip of the iceberg. The lawlessness that followed the revolution of 2011, coupled with the recent outbreak of war, has enabled AQAP to secure a stronghold in at least seven governorates: 'Ibb, Al-Jawf, Ma'rib, Hadhramout, Lahj, Abyan, and Shabwah.

    As a centralized authority has collapsed the group has also consolidated control, not just through force, but via negotiations with other localized factions. Al Mukalla, where AQAP recently struck a deal with local tribesman to hand over local authority to the Sunni Jurist Council, is a case in point. Known as the "Sons of Hadhramout," the council is billed as a grassroots movement but in practice is covertly run by AQAP, meaning the jihadists are now effectively a shadow authority in the district.

    For the last 21 days, a ferocious campaign of Saudi-led airstrikes has hit military bases, weapon depots and Houthi militia quarters all over the impoverished country. The strikes, backed by nine Sunni Gulf states and logistically supported by the US, targeted the Houthi Zaydi rebels and the supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who seized the country's capital in September and subsequently pushed their armed rebellion further south. The aerial bombardment, combined with fierce street fighting in the southern port city of Aden and its surroundings, has plunged Yemen into an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The dramatic advance of AQAP has been widely billed by Western media as a product of the country's rapid descent into chaos.

    Yet, despite the deepening turmoil on the ground, AQAP's gains are better understood not in the context of Yemen's chaos, but rather in its historically fractured political landscape where autocratic leaders have long depended on support from international backers and formed fragile short-term alliances of mutual benefit with regionalized militia groups and local tribes.

    Created through a merger between Saudi and Yemeni branches of al Qaeda in 2009, AQAP has long been perceived as a threat by the United States. In 2013, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki described AQAP as "one of the foremost national security challenges faced by the US." With the support of the Yemeni government, the US has maintained a military and intelligence service presence in the country for more than a decade. Since 2011 a joint operation between the two has launched 88 drone strikes against AQAP, killing more than 482 people.

    But now both the Sunni tribes and AQAP, traditionally opposed to the government, suddenly find themselves in a de facto alliance with forces led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the US. "It's a classic case of my enemy's enemy," Robert McFadden, vice president of the Soufan Group, a security and intelligence consultancy, told VICE News. "There really is no other option... the whole situation is a mess."

    AQAP and the Houthis are longstanding opponents but the recent conflict, broadly understood as a proxy war between Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, has sparked a dramatic uptick in violent confrontations as the jihadists and rebels jostle for territory in a conflict that has inflamed long simmering sectarian tensions.

    Between September and January, AQAP claimed responsibility for 149 attacks in 14 districts controlled by Houthi forces, including suicide bombings, insurgencies and sniper attacks. In a recent video AQAP denounced the Houthis as "the new rented guns for the enemies of Islam" and called on jihadists everywhere to join the fight against them.

    Last week, in a clear demonstration that they share a common foe, the official online magazine of al Qaeda, Al Malahim, revealed a bounty reward worth 20 kilograms (44lb) of gold — equivalent to 700,000 thousand US dollars — both for the ousted president Saleh and Houthi leader Abdulmalik al Houthi, the very same people the Saudi coalition are attempting to dislodge.

    This is not the first time that jihadis have been utilized in Yemen as politicized foot soldiers. In 1994, such fighters were used to aid in the capture of the south during the country's civil war. Later, they were utilized to oppress secessionist movements in the south and to fight the Houthi rebels in Sa'dah. Since 2011, the majority of political assassinations — dubbed "motorcycle killings" — have been attributed to them, making jihadis at best a scapegoat or at worst or a gun-for-hire.

    The group's growing presence in Yemen in recent years, despite the long campaign of drone attacks, is due in part to their alliance of mutual convenience with some of the Sunni tribes controlling the country's lawless and impoverished east. Since 2011, the tribal leaders, driven by a mutual distrust of Hadi's government, have allowed AQAP to establish camps in the remote mountainous region, and the two have worked together to resist the presence of the state.

    AQAP has been able to maintain an existence in these hinterlands because of its extensive clan and tribal ties," said McFadden. "For the tribal leaders it's a matter of as long as AQAP don't allow government forces in, or blow things up in their areas then it's ok, they'll turn a blind eye," added the consultant, who interrogated high-ranking members of the militant group during his 30 years of service with US intelligence and counterterrorism services.

    Pacts of mutual interest are not limited to Yemen's internal politics, however. Despite publicly opposing the group, Saudi Arabia's relationship with AQAP has been brought into question in the past. A leaked series of memos from 2009 between then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other State Department officials revealed that Saudi Arabia based individuals were among the top financiers of al Qaeda in the world.

    "It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority… Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide," Clinton said in a cable.

    Now, insiders say that pulling together a loose coalition of anti-Houthi factions, consisting of both AQAP and Sunni tribes, may be the only means for Saudi Arabia and its supporters in Washington to avoid getting bogged down in a messy and lengthy ground offensive.

    "The Saudis need a unified front on the ground, and realistically to make up numbers that means al Qaeda, the Sunni tribes, and what's left of the [Islamist party] Islah's military wing; all stand to gain major territorial control, al Qaeda the most," an official with an international NGO told VICE News on the condition of anonymity. "It's my understanding that with some individuals in Washington this line of reasoning is carrying some weight. … There is a lot of pressure from Saudi [Arabia] … but it needs to be understood that by allowing al Qaeda to play a role in carrying out the dirty work you're empowering them."

    The strategy carries certainly huge risk, not least that the "frenemies" can turn on their allies once a shared objective is achieved. "For many of these groups, fighting together is not a matter of shared ideology, but sheer political convenience," Dr. Nabeel Khoury, an expert on the Middle East and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told VICE News. "Some tribes and factions are dependent on Saudi money, they can be bought off. Others, more, are genuinely allied with President Hadi, but he failed to get a southern front unified in time for the face-off."

    While Khoury rejected speculation of an overt collaboration between Saudi Arabia and AQAP, he believes that the current Saudi-US strategy's lack of long-term vision creates a dangerous power vacuum, while simultaneously bolstering an enemy that opposes their own existence. "The result is the same… Saudi strikes are helping al Qaeda… it's the logical conclusion of a campaign that does not include any kind of diplomatic negotiations to resolve the conflict," he told VICE News. "But in the long term no one will benefit from this. The Saudis should remember their enemy's enemy is still their enemy, even though al Qaeda might fight the Houthis now, they'll happily shoot at Saudi soldiers later."
    Last edited by HERO; 07-13-2015 at 03:37 PM.

  5. #5
    Seriously Judicious Emotivist Eliza Thomason's Avatar
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    TMI. Seriously.
    "A man with a definite belief always appears bizarre, because he does not change with the world; he has climbed into a fixed star, and the earth whizzes below him like a zoetrope."
    ........ G. ........... K. ............... C ........ H ........ E ...... S ........ T ...... E ........ R ........ T ........ O ........ N ........


    "Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the Church, is often labeled today as fundamentalism... Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along
    by every wind of teaching, looks like the only
    attitude acceptable to today's standards."
    - Pope Benedict the XVI, "The Dictatorship of Relativism"

    .
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  6. #6
    xerx's Avatar
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    I want to reiterate and expand on my earlier point: the whole Saudi / GCC royalty is putrid garbage. It's never too late to bring back the guillotine, Bourbon style.
    It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarrelled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

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