Archive | Middle East

Yemen: Eyewitness Describes Terrifying Scenes as Explosions Rock Hospital in Central Hodeidah

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WASHINGTON – Hundreds of medical workers and patients, including a malnourished woman carrying her daughter in a surgical robe and a man still hooked up to a catheter, fled in terror as a series of large explosions rocked a hospital in central Hodeidah yesterday, according to an eyewitness who spoke to Amnesty International.

Just before noon on November 11, an attack reportedly carried out by the Saudi Arabia and UAE-led coalition hit very close to al-Thawra hospital – Hodeidah’s largest public medical facility.

The pro-Saudi Arabian media outlet Al Arabiya reported that Coalition warplanes and attack helicopters targeted Huthi positions on November 11, including in areas around the university, al-Thawra hospital and 22 May hospital.

A medical worker who was inside al-Thawra hospital at the time told Amnesty International that hundreds of patients and staff dodged a hail of shrapnel as they fled in panic. The sustained bombardment near the hospital lasted more than half an hour.

“In armed conflict, hospitals are supposed to be places of sanctuary. But as the battle for control of Hodeidah intensifies, both sides seem intent on eviscerating the laws of war and disregarding the protected status of even the most vulnerable civilians,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.

“The situation is increasingly dire, and the UN Security Council must speak out before the battle for Hodeidah sparks a spiralling civilian catastrophe. Yesterday hospital patients and staff were lucky to escape with their lives. If things are allowed to continue like this, it won’t be long before the luck runs out and Hodeidah descends into horror.”

‘The shrapnel sounded like rain’

Speaking to Amnesty International just hours after the attack, the al-Thawra hospital worker said that explosions began at around 11:30am, but nobody inside the bustling hospital seemed fazed because they initially sounded far off. After months of skirmishes in the outskirts of the city and occasional air strikes by Saudi Arabia and UAE-led coalition aircraft, many Hodeidah residents have become accustomed to the sound of distant explosions.

But before long the hospital’s hundreds of patients and staff realized they were in mortal danger. The blasts came close enough to shake water in water bottles inside the hospital. The explosions were accompanied by the sound of anti-aircraft guns nearby.

“At five minutes to midday, the explosions intensified and were a lot closer. This time I was scared, also because I heard the sound of [anti-aircraft guns] for the first time. I ran to the reception area… I heard many explosions, and either bullets or shrapnel was hitting the metal roof of the hospital entrance, falling like rain. I could still hear explosions as I got out of the hospital, but I couldn’t focus on it. We were all too afraid for our safety,” the medical worker told Amnesty International.

He described how panicked people fled into Jamal Street outside the hospital, which is near the fishing harbour and university in the city centre,and fled on foot or in cars and minibuses. Saudi Arabia and UAE-led coalition aircraft were flying overhead and smoke was billowing from the Dentistry Faculty in the university complex, around 500m away. He said it was widely known the faculty had been full of Huthi fighters, both inside the building and gunmen stationed on the roof.

“I saw a patient carrying another patient. It looked like a mother and daughter. The mother was skin and bones, she was malnourished, a typical Yemeni mother… Nonetheless, she was managing to carry her 15 or 16-year-old daughter in her arms. Her daughter was crying. I knew she had either just had surgery or had been in preparation for surgery because she was in a blue surgical robe. There are no words to describe how I felt at this moment,” the medical worker said.

“I also saw a man walking as fast as he could while carrying a bag of his own urine. He was still attached to a urinary catheter while making his escape. This scene will stay with me for the rest of my life. There were many children too. Some parents were carrying their children. I saw 10 or 12 children among everyone else trying to flee.”

The medical worker said he returned to work at around 1pm. By that time, clashes had calmed down in that area but the hospital was semi-deserted.

An al-Thawra hospital spokesperson told Reuters that intensive care, burn unit and emergency room doctors and nurses stayed in the hospital during the attack. The witness Amnesty International spoke to confirmed this, saying, “A few brave doctors and medical staff chose to stay; I was among the majority that chose to leave.”

Hospital patients caught in the crossfire

In the aftermath of the attack, a World Health Organization staffer in Yemen lamented on Twitter how al-Thawra hospital “used to serve about 1,500 people per day [but] is now almost inaccessible as the ground fighting is raging.” Amnesty International can confirm that it is the only public hospital in Hodeidah, serving the city and four outlying districts. There are other hospitals in the city but they are private, so besides al-Thawra Hospital there are no viable alternatives for people with limited financial resources to access health care.

As such, al-Thawra hospital is a vital facility for civilians – including many children – in Hodeidah and along Yemen’s western coast who are facing acute malnutrition amid the country’s dire humanitarian crisis. Last weekUNICEF warned that 59 children, 25 of them in intensive care, faced an “imminent risk of death” if fighting encroached on the hospital.

The attack on al-Thawra hospital comes just days after Amnesty International confirmed that Huthi fighters were placing civilians in danger by militarizing the 22 May hospital on Hodeidah’s eastern outskirts.

Sources on the ground told the organization that 22 May hospital has since been evacuated. According to media reports, Yemeni government forces then took control of it on 9 November.

It is also not the first time that al-Thawra hospital has been impacted by the conflict. On August 2 this year, an attack hit just outside the hospital, killing and injuring scores of civilians, including first responders who were coming to the aid of civilians hit in a separate strike on the nearby harbour. While it remains uncertain who was responsible for the attack, a Bellingcat open source investigation strongly suggested it was a result of mortars fired from the south by the Saudi Arabian and UAE-led coalition forces.

Hodeidah residents told Amnesty International that Huthi fighters have closed and barricaded two of the three roads outside al-Thawra hospital, declaring them to be “military areas”. Satellite imagery reviewed by the organization appears to corroborate this. As residents are forbidden from entering, they are unable to confirm what types of weapons or installations these areas now contain.

“It is feared that the latest attack near al-Thawra hospital may be due to the constant presence of Huthi fighters nearby and their tactic of basing artillery units in civilian areas. Stationing military forces in densely populated civilian areas and carrying out attacks from these locations endangers civilians. All parties are required to do their utmost to avoid locating military objectives amidst civilians. And using civilians to shield fighters from attack is absolutely prohibited and can constitute a war crime,” said Lynn Maalouf.

“International humanitarian law is very clear that hospitals carrying out their medical functions are never a target – and al-Thawra was very clearly a functioning hospital at the time of the attack. As well as violating the laws of war, deliberately attacking a functioning hospital is a war crime. All the warring parties must immediately halt attacks that endanger civilians, including attacks on or close to medical facilities.”

Background

On November 9, the UN-backed Yemeni government announced that a “vast offensive” was under way – supported by the Saudi Arabian and UAE-led coalition – to capture the port city of Hodeidah from the Huthi armed group which has been in power there since 2015.

This statement is available at: https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/yemen-eyewitness-describes-terrifying-scenes-as-explosions-rock-hospital-in-central-hodeidah/

Follow Amnesty International USA on Twitter.

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Iraq parliament calls for US forces to leave

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Iraqi MP Ahmad Al-Assadi, senior leader of the Iraqi Construction Alliance, revealed on Friday parliamentarian moves to pressure the Iraqi government to evict US forces from the country.

Al-Assadi said that the previous Iraqi parliament had started the calls, but now the new parliament was calling for a clear timetable for the US withdrawal from Iraq, Arabi21 reported. He added that US forces had entered the country at the request of the Iraqi government for training purposes and assistance in fighting Daesh.

Yet Al-Assadi stressed that: “After the big victory against these gangs [Daesh], the Iraqi government has the right to evaluate the need for American forces to remain on Iraqi soil”. He also said that the calls for US forces to leave would be doubled during the next parliamentary term, noting that the parliament was likely to accept the existence of advisors and trainers based only on the need specified by the authorities.

Regarding the position of the government, Al-Assadi said: “The government has the right to estimate its need for advisors and trainers. The parliamentary discussions, which called for revealing the number, places and need for the American forces were not closed”.

He stressed however that the parliament is entitled to make the final decision regarding whether US forces remain in Iraq or are asked to withdraw.

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Nasrallah speech given on the first anniversary of the Liberation of Lebanon against terrorist groups

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Transcript:

[…] I want to tell you, on this first anniversary of the (Second) Liberation (of Lebanon against terrorist groups in August 2017), that in these battles against the Al-Nusra Front on the one hand, and ISIS in the Jurd (Ersal) on the other hand, the number of our fighters was higher than what was required in numbers on both fronts. And I asked the military officials, “Why do you bring so many forces?” I was concerned above all by the preservation of the blood (life and health) of our brothers, and I also cared about the fact that each of them would open fire, and it would have a price in terms of ammunition and money, but my main concern was to preserve the blood of our brothers. They said that they could not prevent the youth (Hezbollah fighters) from coming (voluntarily and massively in Syria). Especially because it was summer and there was no school or university courses, which is why the majority of fighters were (Hezbollah) students in universities and high school, because our practice is not to allow young people under 18 to fight, and there was therefore a significant number of young people among our martyrs.

And today also, these same young people, the same generation (is fighting in Syria and elsewhere). Some may think that the generation of 1982 or 1985 was different (more heroic than today), as well as that which fought in 2000 or 2006, but not in any case! Today’s generation has all the momentum, enthusiasm, presence, consciousness and alertness (found in the earlier ones). And it proved it during all the past years.

But on the other side, when you look at Israel, for example, we see in studies of which the Israeli media are currently speaking that the real crisis of the enemy, of the Israeli army, is in the human element (the soldiers themselves). The leaders and staff of the Israeli army have great difficulty to attract young (Israeli soldiers) to the combat units and troops and to the special brigades (elite forces), because the young Israelis prefer to serve in other units than combat. They do not have any motivation, the spirit of sacrifice disappears and there is no cause in which they believe and for which they are ready to be killed. This is a real problem, which many studies are devoted to, but I do not have time to discuss them in detail.

And there is also another problem that was revealed a few days ago with precise figures, namely the increase of mental disorders among soldiers of the enemy, who are monitored by psychologists in the army. “During the year 2017 –I quote the Israeli media–, nearly 44,000 soldiers asked support from psychologists officers.” It is a figure quite significant for the Israeli army. Against 39 000 soldiers for 2003. Last year, 44,000 soldiers went to see who? Psychologists doctors. Psychologists doctors. And that’s why…

When they speak of the reasons (of their depression), they say they do not want to die, to sacrifice, to get tired, to get up at dawn, their morale is low or nonexistent, they want a more comfortable and better paid position, etc. That’s what they say themselves. And that is why the strategists of the enemy entity always say that this army is not ready to enter into a new war. Despite the fact that since 2006 to this day, they got new aircraft (F-35), new missiles and developed many of their assets and capabilities. We know this and monitor it (closely). But since 2006 and to date, they have not managed to change the spirit of defeat that swept over their officers, their soldiers, and their people. They have failed to remedy the state of doubt and suspicion (prevalent) between soldiers and officers, and they were unable to find historical leaders able to mobilize again.

As for us, today, our strength lies in our young generations of these true and sincere fighters, willing to sacrifice, loyal, ready to shed their blood, who believe in dignity, in glory and in honor, and for whom the dignity of their people, the glory of their country, the honor and life of their loved ones deserve from them all the sacrifices and all these gifts. And this is what has allowed the Second Liberation (of Lebanon in August 2017), as well as the First Liberation (in 2000). […]

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on September 20, 2018, on the tenth day of the Islamic month of Muharram, commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussein.

Transcript:

[…] Sixth, regarding Israel, we must always stay on alert, my brothers and sisters. The Israelis are angry, the Israelis are worried. They are angry because their project in the region collapsed. The Israelis had high hopes on what was happening in Syria and Iraq. In the past, they had high hopes on what was happening in Lebanon. But all their illusions were scattered to the four winds. The Israelis know that the Resistance Axis will come back (to face them) stronger than ever. The Israelis know that new countries (Iraq, Yemen) are now part of the Resistance Axis, and that (whole) peoples who were outside the sphere of the struggle against the Israeli enemy are now within this sphere, in a strong, active and integrated manner. Israel is angry, Israel is worried, and that is why we must all stay on alert. I am not speaking of assumptions (of aggression) here and there, but I know that no one should allow himself to be reassured concerning this enemy, or even with the analyzes (about it), even if, as I have always confirmed to you, he fears any confrontation in the region, especially against Lebanon. And he knows well that any battle, any war he would launch could have a huge impact on the region. He knows he now has weaknesses that have become exposed (to everyone), and he knows very well our strengths.

Some days ago, (the Israeli Minister of War) Lieberman said on the occasion (of the commemoration) of the 1973 war: “We must understand that in the Middle East, two truly strategic changes have occurred: the first is that our enemies –meaning us (Hezbollah) and our allies– now have high-precision missiles and the second thing –of course, he still has no solution to these missiles, and logically, this will delay and repel the prospect of an Israeli war– and the second thing is that the home front (of the Zionist entity) has become the central front in any future war. If, during the 1973 war, the (Israeli) soldiers could fight on the front, while in Tel Aviv, people were (peacefully) sitting in coffee shops, reading newspapers, –during the 1973 war, the fighting took place on the front, at the borders, but the people who lived in Tel Aviv were quietly sitting in coffe shops, reading newspapers– but now everything has changed.” What he said about the current situation is a treat (to our ears). “Now everything has changed.” Yes, today everything has changed. We must also be conscious of this reality, just like the enemy is aware of it. The enemy knows (well) that major changes have occurred in this region, which he did not expect and that he had not anticipated.

As for the high-precision missiles and his attempts in Syria to cut the way for this power and this ability, today, I want to say something he already knows, but I want to say it publicly, for his people to be informed and take heed, and for our people to be informed and gain confidence. I say to Israel: Whatever you do to prevent the (weapons transfers), it’s already too late. Everything has already been done and completed, and the Resistance (in Lebanon) already has all the high precision missiles and such, all the capabilities and armaments it needs, so much that if Israel imposes a war in Lebanon, they will face a destiny and a reality they never anticipated.

This is the reality of the situation. And likewise, many things that have changed within their army. When I spoke at Hermel (on August 26), in commemoration of the Second Liberation (of Lebanon from terrorists), I talked about the situation with regard to the morale, spirit and psychological state of the Israeli army (disastrous according to recent studies in Israel). There is almost no one inside the entity that has not answered me. The President of the entity, the Head of government, the War minister, other ministers, MPs, journalists, etc., all have answered me, some by naming me and others without naming me, but it was clear that they were referring to me. Because I put light on a painful truth for them, for their people and for their future. And they know that now, technology alone is not enough to win in a battle, and that the decisive factor in a battle is the human element (soldiers). This is what experience has shown, whether in 2000, in 2006 or in recent years (Syria, Iraq, Yemen).Look how ridiculous these Israelis are: how did they answer me? With what facts did they answer me? They responded, and here you can see their weakness, by threatening Lebanon, but what did they say? Long ago, before 1982, they threatened to invade Beirut. But today, does anyone hear them speak about an invasion of Beirut? Did you hear such a thing? From 2000 to today, my brothers, (say) from 2006 to the present, did Israel ever claim that they were going to invade Lebanon and reach Beirut? It’s over! Why? Because an invasion of Lebanon up to Beirut requires ground forces (worthy of the name). This is not aviation, missiles and warships that can achieve such a thing. This army (able) to invade Lebanon and reach Beirut no longer exists! There is nothing like that in Israel, but in Lebanon, the situation is very different. Today, in Lebanon, something very different is found (real fighters, battle-hardened and in high spirits). And that’s why all the (Israeli) response consisted of threats to destroy and raze Lebanon to the ground. That is to say, they drew their strength (only) from their firepower, and dare not boast of the human element. […]

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Hezbollah to retaliate against Nazi aggression

” Dear Palestinians, don’t grieve at normalization bids! What had been going on behind the scenes for long is now taking place blatantly and unashamedly. The current normalization attempts will put an end to Arab hypocrisy, and will tear off the masks of deceivers and hypocrites,” Nasrallah said.

He further noted that demonstrations in the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip, which are dubbed “The Great March of Return” and demand the right to return for the Palestinians driven out of their homeland, filled our hearts with hope that Palestinians would not give in to pressure at all.

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, addresses his supporters via a televised speech broadcast from the Lebanese capital Beirut on November 10, 2018.

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, addresses his supporters via a televised speech broadcast from the Lebanese capital Beirut on November 1,2018

The secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement says his fellow fighters will not hesitate to respond proportionately to any Israeli act of aggression against the Arab country.

“We will retaliate against any attack on Lebanon. We will not accept any enemy aggression against our country,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said as he addressed his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital Beirut on Saturday afternoon.

He also praised sacrifices made by resistance fighters, stressing that their heroic actions had helped Hezbollah score glorious victories.

“Our martyrs’ blood protected our land, so did the ‘Golden Formula’ and Hezbollah’s missile capabilities. Our strength point is missile power because the Lebanese army is forbidden from acquiring state-of-the-art missiles and military hardware,” Nasrallah pointed out.

The Hezbollah chief then censured attempts by certain regional states to normalize diplomatic relations with the Israeli regime.

“Dear Palestinians, don’t grieve at normalization bids! What had been going on behind the scenes for long is now taking place blatantly and unashamedly. The current normalization attempts will put an end to Arab hypocrisy, and will tear off the masks of deceivers and hypocrites,” Nasrallah said.

He further noted that demonstrations in the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip, which are dubbed “The Great March of Return” and demand the right to return for the Palestinians driven out of their homeland, filled our hearts with hope that Palestinians would not give in to pressure at all.

“Had the Syrian people and government not withstood pressure by Tel Aviv, we would have been witness to (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu marching in Damascus,” Nasrallah said.

The Hezbollah secretary general also lauded Iran’s stance vis-à-vis the Palestinian issue, stating that sanctions against the Islamic Republic will have no effect on the movement.

He also criticized the international community for its outcry over the murder of prominent Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed after visiting the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul on October 2, while turning a blind eye to Saudi crimes and atrocities in neighboring Yemen.

The Hezbollah chief also described a demand by US President Donald Trump’s administration for a ceasefire in Yemen as a hoax, stating that doubts surrounded the timing of such a call.

He called upon Yemeni people to remain patient and persevere as they are very close to victory.

Nasrallah strongly condemned the recent life sentence handed down to prominent Bahraini Shia cleric and opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, saying the Appeals Court’s decision to overturn his acquittal proved the ruling Al Khalifah regime was oppressive.

Turning to the formation of a new national unity government in Lebanon, he said Hezbollah was right to demand 10 ministerial shares, and that its share of six ministers in the next Lebanese administration did not reflect its parliamentary, political and popular size.

Nasrallah then underlined that the six “independent” Sunni lawmakers, who were insisting on being represented in the next government, had prevented the transformation of the political stalemate in Lebanon into a sectarian crisis.

“We told Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri that our demand for their representation is basic, and helps the formation of the new government,” Nasrallah concluded.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Lebanon0 Comments

Lebanon’s resistance will respond to any Nazi aggression

NOVANEWS

 

Hezbollah secretary-general Hasan Nasrallah has warned that any Nazi military attack on Lebanon will be strongly responded to, stressing that the Lebanese resistance will defend the country by all means.

In a ceremony held for Hezbollah martyrs, Nasrallah affirmed that any threats, pressures and sanctions would never affect Hezbollah, pointing out that Lebanon enjoys security and dignity thanks to what he described as “the golden equation which the resistance has imposed on the enemy.”

He said that the missile capability of the Lebanese resistance is the point of strength because the local army is not allowed to have advanced missiles.

Recent Zionist news reports claimed that Lebanon had received warning letters from European and American diplomats saying that ‘Israel’ could take military action against Lebanon if alleged precision-missile factories built by Iran were not removed.

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Syrian Forces Freed All Hostages Captured by ISIS in Al-Suwayda ‘Video’

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On November 8, the Syrian Special Forces freed all hostages, who had been captured by ISIS in eastern al-Suwayda and then held in eastern Homs, the Syrian state media reported. According to the report, the operation took place in the area of Hamimah east of Palmyra, where Syrian troops eliminated a group of ISIS terrorists and feed the hostages.

The SANA provided no further details. However, Syrian pro-government activists believe that Russia Special Forces may have played own role in the operation.

ISIS captured civilians in a brutal attack on the government-held area on July 25. Since then, the Damascus government had been struggling to rescue the hostages and even attempted to strike a deal on this issue with the terrorist group in October. However, only 6 civilians were saved this way. The military option appeared to be more effective.

Earlier this week, troops of the Russian Special Operations Forces reportedly arrived to the eastern part of al-Suwayda province in order to support the Syrian Army operation against ISIS in the al-Safa area.

A day earlier, Syrian pro-government sources reported that the elite 4th Division had been redeployed from northwestern Syria to positions around al-Safa. Several heavy rocket launchers were also deployed near the ISIS-held area. A source in the Syrian Army told SouthFront that government troops are preparing to launch a new attack on ISIS in al-Safa in the nearest future.

Since late July, the army has carried out several attempts to eliminate the ISIS pocket in the area, but a part of the pocket has remained in ISIS hands. Now, when the hostages are freed and the Russian military advisers are deployed ISIS is in much more complicated situation.

On November 8, the US-led coalition repelled an ISIS attempt to attack its military garrison near the al-Tanak oil field in the province of Deir Ezzor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. The coalition reportedly eliminated over 20 ISIS members and 7 vehicles.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) also deployed additional troops to boost  security in the area.

Previously, the SDF recaptured a number of positions which it had lost to ISIS near the Hajin pocket in the Euphrates Valley. However, the situation in the area remains tense because the SDF is conducting no offensive operations against ISIS there now. The reason is Turkish strikes on SDF positions as well as Ankara’s threats to kick off a large-scale military operation against the Kurdish-dominated group in northern Syria.

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Yemeni War Deaths Underestimated by Five to One

NOVANEWS

ACLED estimates the true number of people killed in Yemen is probably between 70,000 and 80,000.

 

In April, I made new estimates of the death toll in America’s post-2001 wars in a three-part Consortium News report. I estimated that these wars have now killed several million people.  I explained that widely reported but much lower estimates of the numbers of combatants and civilians killed were likely to be only one fifth to one twentieth of the true numbers of people killed in U.S. war zones. Now one of the NGOs responsible for understating war deaths in Yemen has acknowledged that it was underestimating them by at least five to one, as I suggested in my report.

One of the sources I examined for my report was a U.K.-based NGO named ACLED (Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project), which has compiled counts of war deaths in Libya, Somalia and Yemen.  At that time, ACLED estimated that about 10,000 people had been killed in the war in Yemen, about the same number as the WHO (World Health Organization), whose surveys are regularly cited as estimates of war deaths in Yemen by UN agencies and the world’s media.  Now ACLED estimates the true number of people killed in Yemen is probably between 70,000 and 80,000.

ACLED’s estimates do not include the thousands of Yemenis who have died from the indirect causes of the war, such as starvation, malnutrition and preventable diseases like diphtheria and cholera. UNICEF reported in December 2016 that a child was dying every ten minutes in Yemen, and the humanitarian crisis has only worsened since then, so the total of all deaths caused directly and indirectly by the war must by now number in the hundreds of thousands.

Another NGO, the Yemen Data Project, revealed in September 2016 that at least a third of Saudi-led air-strikes, many of which are conducted by U.S.-built and U.S.-refueled warplanes using U.S.-made bombs, were hitting hospitals, schools, markets, mosques and other civilian targets. This has left at least half the hospitals and health facilities in Yemen damaged or destroyed, hardly able to treat the casualties of the war or serve their communities, let alone to compile meaningful figures for the WHO’s surveys.

In any case, even comprehensive surveys of fully functioning hospitals would only capture a fraction of the violent deaths in a war-torn country like Yemen, where most of those killed in the war do not die in hospitals. And yet the UN and the world’s media have continued to cite the WHO surveys as reliable estimates of the total number of people killed in Yemen.

The reason I claimed that such estimates of civilian deaths in U.S. war zones were likely to be so dramatically and tragically wrong was because that is what epidemiologists have found whenever they have conducted serious mortality studies based on well-established statistical principles in war zones around the world.

Epidemiologists recently used some of the same techniques to estimate that about 3,000 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The results of studies in war-ravaged Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been widely cited by Western political leaders and the Western media with no hint of controversy.

When some of the very same public health experts who had worked in Rwanda and the DRC used the same methods to estimate how many people had been killed as a result of the U.S. and U.K.’s invasion and occupation of Iraq in two studies published in the Lancet medical journal in 2004 and 2006, they found that about 600,000 people had been killed in the first three years of war and occupation.

Wide acceptance of these results would have been a geopolitical disaster for the U.S. and U.K. governments, and would have further discredited the Western media who had acted as cheerleaders for the invasion of Iraq and were still blaming the Iraqi victims of the illegal invasion of their country for the violence and chaos of the occupation.  So, even though the U.K. Ministry of Defence’s Chief Scientific Advisor described the Lancet studies’ design as “robust” and their methods as “close to best practice,” and British officials admitted privately that they were “likely to be right,” the U.S. and U.K. governments launched a concerted campaign to “rubbish” them.

In 2005, as American and British officials and their acolytes in the corporate media “rubbished” his work, Les Roberts of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (now at Columbia), the lead author of the 2004 study, told the U.K. media watchdog Medialens, “It is odd that the logic of epidemiology embraced by the press every day regarding new drugs or health risks somehow changes when the mechanism of death is their armed forces.”

Roberts was right that this was odd, in the sense that there was no legitimate scientific basis for the objections being raised to his work and its results. But it was not so odd that embattled political leaders would use all the tools at their disposal to try to salvage their careers and reputations, and to preserve the U.S. and U.K.’s future freedom of action to destroy countries that stood in their way on the world stage.

By 2005, most Western journalists in Iraq were hunkered down in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, reporting mainly from the CENTCOM briefing room.  If they ventured out, they were embedded with U.S. forces traveling by helicopter or armored convoy between fortified U.S. bases. Dahr Jamail was one of a few incredibly brave “unembedded” American reporters in the real Iraq, Beyond the Green Zone, as he named his book about his time there.  Dahr told me he thought the true number of Iraqis being killed might well be even higher than the Lancet studies’ estimates, and that it was certainly not much lower as the Western propaganda machine insisted.

Unlike Western governments and the Western media over Iraq, and UN agencies and the same Western media over Afghanistan and Yemen, ACLED does not defend its previous misleadingly inadequate estimates of war deaths in Yemen. Instead, it is conducting a thorough review of its sources to come up with a more realistic estimate of how many people have been killed. Working back from the present as far as January 2016, it now estimates that 56,000 people have been killed since then.

Andrea Carboni of ACLED told Patrick Cockburn of the Independent newspaper in the U.K. that he believes ACLED’s estimate of the number killed in 3-1/2 years of war on Yemen will be between 70,000 and 80,000 once it has finished reviewing its sources back to March 2015, when Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and their allies launched this horrific war.

But the true number of people killed in Yemen is inevitably even higher than ACLED’s revised estimate.  As I explained in my Consortium News report, no such effort to count the dead by reviewing media reports, records from hospitals and other “passive” sources, no matter how thoroughly, can ever fully count the dead amid the widespread violence and chaos of a country ravaged by war.

This is why epidemiologists have developed statistical techniques to produce more accurate estimates of how many people have really been killed in war zones around the world.   The world is still waiting for that kind of genuine accounting of the true human cost of the Saudi-U.S. war on Yemen and, indeed, of all America’s post-9/11 wars.

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Millions in Yemen Are Starving and UK, US and France Are ‘Behind This’: Oxfam Representative

NOVANEWS
 

The US, UK, and French governments are behind millions of people starving in Yemen because they are “supporting this war,” an Oxfam representative told RT, urging London to stop beefing up Saudi Arabia’s military.

“We have 14 million people starving,” Richard Stanforth, Oxfam UK’s regional policy officer for the Middle East, said.

British, French, American governments are all behind this, they are all supporting this war.

Stanforth blamed the British government in particular, saying that London should stop its arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which is accaused of targeting food supplies and even no-strike locations in Yemen.

“We’ve seen attacks on water infrastructure, on hospitals, warehouses of food. This pattern is continuing. Certainly, it’s the airstrikes that are killing most civilians,” he said.

Stanforth says Riyadh’s bombing is not sparing humanitarian sites either… including that of Oxfam. Saudi Arabia is “aware of many of these locations” and along with the UAE, it is still hitting them, he added.

Western states have been widely criticized by rights groups for their continued arms sales to Riyadh. However, turning the tide on multibillion-dollar deals may not be so easy.

Following the killing of exiled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, US President Donald Trump issued strong words to Riyadh. He was not prepared, however, to cancel a $400 billion arms deal, saying there are other ways to “punish” America’s Middle East ally.

Trump’s position was echoed by the attitude of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, who said it is “very difficult” (or… costly, to be precise) to get out of the arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

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Posted in USA, France, Saudi Arabia, UK, Yemen0 Comments

Yemen War Intensifies After Washington and London Call for Ceasefire

NOVANEWS

Brutal killing of Saudi columnist draws criticism of United States and British arming of Riyadh

Since March of 2015 the United States has engineered and guided a genocidal war against the people of Yemen.

Daily bombing operations by the Saudi Arabian-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has killed tens of thousands of people, injured and sickened hundreds of thousands more and created the worse humanitarian crisis in the world.

At present Yemen is facing famine due to the targeting of hospitals, schools and neighborhoods in an effort to break the will of the people to resist this military onslaught. The strategic port at Hodeida is a key element in the campaign waged by the Saudi-GCC coalition to starve the Yemini population into submission.

Nonetheless, the U.S. and British-backed forces are nowhere nearer to defeating the Ansurallah-led coalition which has seized huge swaths of territory in the north, central and southern regions of the country, the most underdeveloped and impoverished in the entire West Asia. A renewed battle launched by the Saudi-allied militias to take control of Hodeida has failed amid stiff resistance by the Popular Committees committed to defending this important outlet for essential goods flowing into the country.

Even after the call for a ceasefire by the administration of President Donald Trump and the British Prime Minister Theresa May, the attacks by the Saudi-GCC coalition have escalated. Such a course of action raises serious questions about the sincerity of the appeal for the resumption of United Nations brokered talks to end the horrendous war. 

It should be reiterated that the warplanes, ordnances, refueling technology and diplomatic cover provided by Washington and London have been essential in the Saudi-GCC war against Yemen since 2015. Successive U.S. administrations and British governments continue to supply arms to the Saudi monarchy and its cohorts in the region. 

The apparent premeditated killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey has highlighted the links between Washington and Riyadh. The response to the killing of Khashoggi by the Trump administration has been cautious and muted. 

Perhaps in an effort to deflect attention away from the implicit guilt of Washington, the Trump administration called for a cessation of hostilities and the beginning of efforts to end the war which has regional implications. The political reasoning of the U.S. for their sponsoring of the genocidal onslaught in Yemen is based upon allegations that the Ansurallah movement is supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

This imperialist rationale is aimed at containing the influence of Tehran which is a major threat to the hegemony of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), both of whom are staunch participants in the broader designs for total western hegemony in the region. The inability to dislodge the Ansurallah and the Popular Committees exposes the obvious limitations of such an approach therefore emboldening resistance forces seeking a genuine independent and sovereign existence for the people of West Asia and beyond.

An article published by Press TV on November 7 based upon a speech delivered by Ansurallah leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi says:

“The US role in the military operations against our nation is pivotal. All fiendish plots against Yemen are hatched by the US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Traitors just struggle to carry them out on the ground. Washington is speaking of peace at the same time that it is directing the Yemen war. Traitors are operating under the auspices of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and executing their orders.”

This same speech by al-Houthi points directly at the role of the U.S. noting that those “allies” of Saudi Arabia are viewed as mere pawns in the process. The Ansurallah leader claimed that the desire by Washington to reap profits from the sale of weapons to Riyadh is the driving force in the war.

Al-Houthi is quoted as emphasizing that:

“The United States has managed to reap tremendous financial gains, including arms deals, from the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen. Washington is supporting the Riyadh regime to be able to stand [on] its feet. It is also managing the violent and criminal role of Saudi Arabia. The recent uptick in attacks on Yemen comes as a number of (Persian) Gulf littoral states, notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are warming their relations with the Zionist regime (of Israel).”

Genocidal War Brings Yemen to the Brink of Famine

The character of the Yemen war as represented by the deliberate targeting of civilians many of whom are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees impacted by wars throughout the region is largely being hidden from the people of the U.S. and Britain. In many cases reports on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen fail to mention the daily bombings and ground operations notwithstanding the supply of arms and other forms of assistance by the imperialists.

Assessments by the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock conveys that three-quarters of the people in Yemen, a nation of over 28 million, are in dire need of food, healthcare, medicines, potable water and housing. This same agency is predicting that the country could be the scene of the worst famine witnessed anywhere in the world in generations.

A cholera epidemic has sickened over one million people since 2017. Official figures published by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that approximately 2,500 have died from this disease which is contracted through the consumption of contaminated drinking water. 

Bombing and ground operations around Hodeida port has hampered the ability of healthcare facilities to provide emergency services. This siege of the port on the Red Sea represents the entry point for 85% of the food supplies imported into the country.

In a statement released on November 8 by Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, the humanitarian specialist provides details on the current situation around the port city of Hodeida. The attempts of the Saudi-GCC coalition to dislodge the Popular Committees from the area have further endangered 2.4 million people living and working there.

Dr. Al-Mandhari in his statement said:

“The current violence in Al Hudaydah (Hodeida) is placing tens of thousands of already vulnerable people at risk, and preventing WHO from reaching them with the help they urgently need. The violence, now in close proximity to the area hospitals, is affecting the movement and safety of health staff, patients and ambulances, as well as the functionality of health facilities, leaving hundreds without access to treatment…. The people of Yemen are victims of this tragic, man-made crisis. Many have died due to the violence, some directly but most as the result of restricted access to health care, causing deaths that are normally preventable.” (See this)

Post-Elections Context for U.S. Foreign Policy in Yemen

Worldwide attention has been focused on the November 6 midterm elections in the U.S. which resulted in the Republican Party losing its majority in the House of Representatives and at the same time gaining several seats within the Senate, increasing its dominance over this legislative wing of the Congress. A split government will intensify the existing struggle over the domestic policies governing the country in the realms of immigration, healthcare, race relations and environmental regulations, etc.

Nonetheless, there have been virtually no differences related to foreign policy questions among the Democrats and the Republicans. The current phase of the war against Yemen began under the administration of former Democratic President Barack Obama. There was no serious attempt to end the war in 2015-2016, therefore the Trump administration inherited the situation and has continued the attempts to defeat the Ansurallah and its allies within the Popular Committees. 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders earlier in 2018 sought to pass a resolution calling for an end to direct military support for Saudi-GCC war. This effort failed and there are no clear signals as to whether the incoming 2019 Democratic majority House will even debate the current military assistance provided to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties are controlled by the U.S. ruling class. Even though the two groupings have different constituencies within the population, decisions related to war and peace has continued to favor the militarization of the society.

Resources allocated for imperialist wars abroad and state repression domestically could be utilized for the rebuilding of the cities, suburbs and rural areas of the U.S. Tens of millions remain in poverty as the gap between rich and poor widens.

These issues will only be resolved through a fundamental shift in the control of economic and political institutions in the U.S. Until the government is forced by the people to end its wasteful and genocidal war machine the world will continue to experience instability and dislocation.   

Posted in Yemen0 Comments

Naziyahu Must Know His Probable Visit Would Be Confronted by All Bahrainis

NOVANEWS

Image result for Netanyahu IN NAZI UNIFORM CARTOON

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Al-Wefaq Islamic Association in Bahrain on Thursday maintained that normalizing ties with the Zionist entity is a treason, stressing that Naziyahu and all the Zionist can never visit the Gulf country.

In a statement, Al-Wefaq considered that the media reports which mentioned that the Nazi prime minister Benjamin Naziyahu received an invitation from the Bahraini regime to visit Bahrain represents a new challenge which must be addressed by all the Bahrainis.

This challenge indicates that there is major shift in the regime’s policy, which would confiscate all the values, covenants and humanitarian as well as the Islamic commitments of Bahrainis to the Umma causes, especially that of the occupied Palestine, according to the statement.

Al-Wfaq also considered that the silence of the regime figures about the circulated reports indicates that Naziyahu’s visit is probable, stressing that Naziyahu must know that his visit to Bahrain is categorically rejected and will be confronted by all the Bahrainis.

Calling on all the Arabs and Muslims to denounce this provocative move, Al-Wefaq emphasized that all the forms of normalization with the Zionist entity are rejected.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Bahrain0 Comments

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