Archive | Saudi Arabia

Perilous Apparel: Public Outrage Ensues Over Saudi Woman’s ‘Bold’ Attire (VIDEO)

NOVANEWS

Girl

A young Saudi woman has reportedly been arrested after sparking public outrage after she posted a video of herself walking around a historic fort wearing a miniskirt and a black crop top.

The video which was first posted on Snapchat by a woman who has been identified as Khulood has sent people into a frenzy.

​Khulood is seen wearing a skirt that ends just above the knees and a short sleeved top. She is mostly filmed from behind but at one point turns to the camera.

​Many Saudis took to social media to express indignation over her bold attire. Some were downright aggressive and called for her arrest.

An arrest warrant was issued by Riyadh police and shared by several Twitter users. The alleged arrest took place on Monday for ‘disrespecting and violating the teachings of Islam’.  

Some social media users said that apart from her attire it is the location which caused the uproar. The historic fort in Ushaiager of the Najd province is ironically one of the most conservative provinces in the Middle East where Zio-Wahhabism was born.Some users however, took the girl’s side saying that in 2017 people in Saudi Arabia need to stop caring about miniskirts.

They took to posting images from President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May, wherein First Lady Melania Trump and his daughter Ivanka had opted not to cover their hair.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

​UK Prime Minister Theresa May had also opted not to follow the strict dress code in place for women in the kingdom when she arrived in Riyadh recently. May had said that she hoped to be an inspiration for oppressed women in Saudi Arabia.

However, the rigid laws in the kingdom based on sharia law force women to abide by a strict dress code in public. They wear long and loose robes called abayas and also cover their hair and face in veils.

Furthermore, women cannot drive and cannot be seen in the company of men they are not related to in the country.

Earlier in 2014, a woman named Loujain Hathloud was arrested for trying to drive in defiance of the driving ban placed on women.

Related:
Ivanka Trump’s Fund Gets Money After Praising Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia
Economic Challenges in Saudi Arabia May Lead to More Empowerment for Women
Take it Off! Norway Moves to Ban Hijabs in the Workplace
Just Wear It: Nike Launches Sport Hijab For Female Athletes
Iraqi Activist to Humiliate Women With Erotic Photos for Not Wearing Hijab
Norwegian Healthcare: Hijab OK, Niqab and Burka Bad

 

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Message from UK High Court

NOVANEWS
Message from UK High Court: Carry on arming the Saudis (and never mind the slaughter in Yemen)
UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia kill Yemenis

By Stuart Littlewood

Campaigners are furious with a High Court decision in London allowing the British government to carry on exporting arms to Saudi Arabia for use against Yemenis.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) brought the legal action against the secretary of state for international trade for continuing to grant export licences for arms to Saudi Arabia, arguing that this was against UK policy, which states that the government must refuse such licences if there’s a clear risk that the arms might be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law.

It is undeniable that Saudi forces have used UK-supplied weaponry to violate international humanitarian law in their war on Yemen. According to the United Nations, well over 10,000 people have been killed, the majority by the Saudi-led bombing campaign which has also destroyed vital infrastructure such as schools and hospitals and contributed to the cholera crisis. Three million Yemenis have been displaced from their homes and seven million are on the brink of dying from famine. The UN children’s charity UNICEF reports that a child is dying in Yemen every 10 minutes from preventable causes, including starvation and malnourishment.

… the UK has licensed £3.3 billions worth of arms such as aircraft, helicopters, drones, missiles, grenades, bombs and armoured vehicles to the Saudi regime and refused to suspend the supply of weaponry for use in Yemen in the face of the horrors perpetrated.

A crippling naval blockade of the country by the US has been key to the cruel onslaught. The European Parliament and numerous humanitarian NGOs have condemned the Saudi air strikes as unlawful. And 18 months ago a UN Panel of Experts accused Saudi forces of “widespread and systematic” targeting of civilians.

Yet the UK has licensed £3.3 billions worth of arms such as aircraft, helicopters, drones, missiles, grenades, bombs and armoured vehicles to the Saudi regime and refused to suspend the supply of weaponry for use in Yemen in the face of the horrors perpetrated. It is claimed that the government has even ignored warnings by senior civil servants and its own arms control experts, and that some records of expressed concern have gone missing.

So who is the UK’s helping hand behind that vile regime’s murderous adventure in the Yemen? Why, it’s none other that senior Israel stooge Liam Fox, now secretary of state for international trade and the lead on trade and investment in the defence and security sector. He of course oversees export licensing. He also has “form” when it comes to thinking silly thoughts and doing stupid things in the foreign affairs arena, and he’s known as a crazed flag-waver for Israel and a sworn enemy of Iran.

While secretary of state for defence, Fox told us: “Israel’s enemies are our enemies and this is a battle in which we all stand together or we will all fall divided.”

Fox was forced to resign as Defence Secretary in 2011 following the scandal involving him, his “close friend” Adam Werritty, the UK ambassador to Israel, and Israeli intelligence figures allegedly involved in plotting sanctions against Iran.

The reason for the British government’s hostility towards Iran was spelled out by David Cameron in a speech to the Knesset in 2014:

A nuclear armed Iran is a threat to the whole world not just Israel. And with Israel and all our allies, Britain will ensure that it is never allowed to happen.

That position carries forward into the present day.

And in June 2015 Fox declared:

It is logical to assume that Iran’s intentions are to develop a nuclear weapons capability and any claims that its intentions are exclusively peaceful should not be regarded as credible… Iran’s nuclear intentions cannot be seen outside the context of its support for terror proxies, arguably the defining feature of its foreign policy. The risks are clear.

What he omitted to say was that Iran’s intentions must also be seen in the context of Israel’s foreign policy, its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the grave threat posed by the Zionist regime’s 200 (or is it 400?) nuclear warheads. Israel hasn’t signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention either, and has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, likewise the Chemical Weapons Convention. Iran and all the other nations in the region have every right to feel nervous.

As is well known, Israel and Saudi Arabia have formed a cosy alliance. No entities deserve each other more. And Britain will do anything, it seems, to get at Iran through these repulsive “friends”.

Instead of dangling from a lamp-post on Tower Bridge, Fox was quickly rehabilitated and re-promoted to senior office by fellow stooges like Theresa May. Just lately Prime Minister May has accused Iran of working with Hezbollah, interfering in Iraq, sending fighters to Syria to help Assad, and supporting the Houthis in the conflict in Yemen. The British government, of course, can meddle where it pleases and do dirty weapons deals with the Saudis which, Mrs May assures us, are for the sake of long-term security in the Gulf. “Gulf security is our security,” she says, arguing that the same extremists who plot terror in the Gulf states are also targeting the streets of Europe.

Toxic relationship with Saudi Arabia exposed

So, how did Fox manage to defeat the campaigners in court? After all, as Rosa Curling of Leigh Day (acting for CAAT) said:

The law is clear: where there is a clear risk that UK arms might be used in the commission of serious violations of international law, arm sales cannot go ahead.

Nothing in the open evidence presented by the UK government to the court suggests this risk does not exist in relation to arms to Saudi Arabia. Indeed, all the evidence we have seen from Yemen suggests the opposite: the risk is very real… Our government should not be allowing itself to be complicit in the grave violations of law taking place by the Saudi coalition in Yemen.

Andrew Smith of CAAT said:

If this verdict is upheld then it will be seen as a green light for government to continue arming and supporting brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia that have shown a blatant disregard for international humanitarian law….

This case has seen an increased scrutiny of the government’s toxic relationship with Saudi Arabia. It is a relationship that more than ever needs to be examined and exposed. For decades the UK has been complicit in the oppression of Saudi people, and now it is complicit in the destruction of Yemen.

Rachel Sylvester in The Times noted that the judges concluded there was “a substantial body of evidence suggesting that the [Saudi-led] coalition committed serious breaches of international humanitarian law in the course of its engagement in the Yemen conflict”, but the ruling was based on a narrow legal point about whether ministers had followed proper procedures and acted rationally in assessing the risks.

“Whatever the result of the legal process,” she wrote, “it’s time for the government to reconsider Britain’s poisonous relationship with Saudi Arabia, starting with the suspension of arms sales to a country that stands accused of appalling human rights abuses within its own borders as well as the funding of extremism abroad. What is UK foreign policy for if not the promotion of this country’s values around the world?”

And, as she points out, last year the UK committed £85 million to the aid effort in Yemen, making the Department for International Development the fourth largest donor to the crisis.

So, just as we pour millions of pounds of aid into the Palestinian territories to subsidise the illegal Israeli occupation while at the same time supplying the regime in Tel Aviv with arms to sustain its occupation, we are spending all this taxpayers’ money in Yemen to clean up the mess we’re helping the Saudis to make.

Secret evidence favours the evil

Fox succeeded thanks to “closed sessions”. This meant that CAAT and their legal team weren’t allowed to see much of what was presented by the government, which could only be examined by a security-cleared “special advocate”.

The secret evidence is said to have included Saudi Arabia’s “fast-jet operational reporting data”, “high-resolution MoD-sourced imagery” and “UK defence intelligence reports and battle damage assessments”. The MoD (Ministry of Defence) and Foreign Office analysis had “all the hallmarks of a rigorous and robust, multi-layered process of analysis” while the evidence presented by the campaigners was “only part of the picture”. The court said the secret evidence could not be referred to in open court for reasons of “national security”.

But what has all the MoD’s highfaluting technical tosh to do with justice? Or the basic concept of right and wrong? And especially international humanitarian law?

And our national security? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So the slaughter must go on in that distant land.

Labour’s shadow international trade secretary, Barry Gardenier, suggested in the House of Commons that the “secret” evidence should be made available to MPs for scrutiny “on privy council terms” or handed to the Intelligence and Security Select Committee. Sounds reasonable enough.

But Fox is reported saying:

This idea that somehow, if we have closed sessions, that makes the judgment less valid, I simply don’t accept. Because I don’t accept this idea that we simply can’t have closed sessions that protect our national security or the personnel involved in our national security. Our sources need to be protected.

Yeah, and so do Yemeni civilians – from us.

He admitted that “Yemen is indeed a humanitarian disaster” but said it was right to keep selling arms to Saudi Arabia. He may have won the legal point – for now. But he has clearly lost his moral compass, if he ever had one.

Posted in Campaigns, Saudi Arabia, UK0 Comments

Yemen: Court Battle Exposes UK-Saudi Arms Deals And Humanitarian Tragedy

NOVANEWS
Image result for WAR IN YEMEN CARTOON
By Felicity Arbuthnot 

On Monday 10th July, a ruling was handed down by London’s High Court, which should, in a sane world, exclude the UK government ever again judging other nations’ leaders human rights records or passing judgment on their possession or use of weapons.

The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) lost their case to halt the UK selling arms to Saudi Arabia, the case based on the claim that they may have been used to kill civilians in Yemen.

Anyone following the cataclysmic devastation of Yemen would think it was a million to one that the £3.3 Billion worth of arms sold by the UK to Saudi in just two years, had not been used to kill civilians, bomb hospitals, schools, markets, mosques, decimate vital and economic infrastructure and all necessary to sustain life.

In context, a survey released by the Yemen Data Project in September last year found that between March 2015 and August 2016 in more than 8,600 air attacks, 3,158 hit non-military targets.

How casual the slaughter is, Saudi pilots (as their British and US counterparts) apparently do not even know what they are aiming at. So much for “surgical strikes” – as ever:

Where it could not be established whether a location attacked was civilian or military, the strikes were classified as unknown, of which there are 1,882 incidents.

All those “unknown” killed had a name, plans, dreams, but as in all Western backed, funded or armed ruinations “it is not productive” to count the dead, as an American General memorably stated of fellow human beings.

In context, the survey found that:

One school building in Dhubab, Taiz governorate, has been hit nine times … A market in Sirwah, Marib governorate, has been struck 24 times.

Commenting on the survey, the UK’s shadow Defence Secretary, Clive Lewis, said:

It’s sickening to think of British-built weapons being used against civilians and the government has an absolute responsibility to do everything in its power to stop that from happening. But as Ministers turn a blind eye to the conflict … evidence that Humanitarian Law has been violated is becoming harder to ignore by the day.

Forty six percent of Yemen’s 26.83 million population are under fifteen years old. The trauma they are undergoing cannot be imagined.

The original CAAT Court hearing which took place was a Judicial Review in to the legality of the UK government’s arms sales to Saudi, held on 7th, 8th and 10th of February in the High Court.

CAAT stated, relating to the case:

For more than two years the government has refused to stop its immoral and illegal arms sales to Saudi Arabia – despite overwhelming evidence that UK weapons are being used in violations of International Humanitarian Law in Yemen.

They also quoted Parliament’s International Development and Business, Innovation and Skills Committees, who opined in October 2016:

Given the evidence we have heard and the volume of UK-manufactured arms exported to Saudi Arabia, it seems inevitable that any violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law by the coalition have involved arms supplied from the UK. This constitutes a breach of our own export licensing criteria. (Emphasis added.)

UK supplied arms since the onset of the assault on Yemen are:

£2.2 billion worth of ML10 licences (Aircraft, helicopters, drones)

£1.1 billion worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles,

countermeasures)

£430,000 worth of ML6 licences (Armoured vehicles, tanks.)

Contacting CAAT spokesman Andrew Smith I queried what “countermeasures” might be (point two.) He said technically, protective items.  However:

CAAT feels that the overwhelming majority will be bombs and missiles including those being used on Yemen.

On 5th June CAAT had pointed out some further glaring anomalies:

The last two months have seen three terrible terrorist attacks carried out in the UK. The attacks were the responsibility of those that have carried them out, and they have been rightly condemned.

However:

Last week it was revealed by the Guardian that the Home Office may not publish a Report into the funding of terrorism in the UK. It is believed that the Report will be particularly critical of Saudi Arabia.

Andrew Smith commented:

Only two months ago the Prime Minster was in Riyadh trying to sell weapons to the Saudi regime, which has some of the most abusive laws in the world. This toxic relationship is not making anyone safer, whether in the UK or in Yemen, where UK arms are being used with devastating results.

Nevertheless:

Delivering an open judgment in the High Court in London, Lord Justice Burnett, who heard the case with Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave, said: “We have concluded that the material decisions of the Secretary of State were lawful. We therefore dismiss the claim”.

CAAT called the ruling a “green light” for the UK government to sell arms to “brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers”.

Interestingly, in increasingly fantasy-democracy-land UK:

The Court (also handed down) a closed judgment, following a case in which half of the evidence was heard in secret on national security grounds.

What a wonderful catch-all is “national security.”

Moreover:

UK and EU arms sales rules state that export licences cannot be granted if there is a ‘clear risk’ that the equipment could be used to break International Humanitarian Law. Licences are signed off by the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox. (Emphasis added.)

Mind stretching!

So the oversight of what constitutes a “clear risk” of mass murder and humanitarian tragedy, goes to the Minister whose Ministry stands to make £ Billions from the arms sales. Another from that bulging: “You could not make this up” file.

‘The case … included uncomfortable disclosures for the government, including documents in which the Export Policy Chief told the Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, then in charge of licensing: “my gut tells me we should suspend (weapons exports to the country).”

‘Documents obtained by the Guardian showed that the UK was preparing to suspend exports after the bombing of a funeral in Yemen in October 2016 killed 140 civilians. But even after that mass murder, the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, advised Fox that sales should continue, adding: “The ‘clear risk’ threshold for refusal … has not yet been reached.”

For anyone asleep at the wheel, Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, is supposed to be the UK’s chief diplomat. Definition: “a person who can deal with others in a sensitive and tactful way. Synonyms: Tactful person, conciliator, reconciler, peacemaker.” Comment redundant.

‘CAAT presented “many hundreds of pages” of reports from the UN, European Parliament, Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, Amnesty International and others documenting airstrikes on schools, hospitals and a water well in Yemen, as well as incidents of mass civilian casualties.’

However, to further batter the mind:

The reports “represent a substantial body of evidence suggesting that the coalition has committed serious breaches of International Humanitarian Law in the course of its engagement in the Yemen conflict”, the Judges wrote. “However, this open source material is only part of the picture”.

In two eye-watering fox guarding hen house observations:

The Saudi government had conducted its own investigations into allegations of concern, the judges noted, dismissing CAAT’s concern that the Saudi civilian casualty tracking unit was working too slowly and had only reported on 5% of the incidents. The Kingdom’s “growing efforts” were “of significance and a matter which the Secretary of State was entitled to take into account” when deciding whether British weapons might be used to violate international humanitarian law.

So Saudi investigates itself and the Secretary of State overviews his own actions in the State profiting in £ Billions from seemingly indiscriminate mass murder and destruction.

There was “anxious scrutiny – indeed what seems like anguished scrutiny at some stages” within government of the decision to continue granting licences, wrote the Judges. But the Secretary of State was “rationally entitled” to decide that the Saudi-led coalition was not deliberately targeting civilians and was making efforts to improve its targeting processes, and so to continue granting licences.

Pinch yourselves, Dear Readers, it would seem we live in times of the oversight in the land of the seriously deranged.

CAAT’s Andrew Smith, said:

This is a very disappointing verdict and we are pursuing an appeal. If this verdict is upheld then it will be seen as a green light for government to continue arming and supporting brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia that have shown a blatant disregard for international humanitarian law.

Every day we are hearing new and horrifying stories about the humanitarian crisis that has been inflicted on the people of Yemen. Thousands have been killed while vital and lifesaving infrastructure has been destroyed.

The case had exposed the UK’s “toxic relationship” with Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday 12th July, UK Home Secretary, Amber Rudd again invoked “national security” (something Yemenis can only dream of in any context) and presented Parliament with a paltry four hundred and thirty word “summary” of the Report on the funding of terrorism, origins of which go back to December 2015.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott encapsulated the thoughts of many, telling Parliament:

 … there is a strong suspicion this Report is being suppressed to protect this government’s trade and diplomatic priorities, including in relation to Saudi Arabia. The only way to allay those suspicions is to publish the report in full.

Caroline Lucas, co-Leader of the Green Party said:

The statement gives absolutely no clue as to which countries foreign funding for extremism originates from – leaving the government open to further allegations of refusing to expose the role of Saudi Arabian money in terrorism in the UK.

Liberal Democrat Leader, Tim Fallon condemned the refusal of the government to publish the Report as: “utterly shameful.”

Amber Rudd concentrated on pointing to individuals and organisations which might be donating, often unknowingly to: “ … inadvertently supporting extremist individuals or organisations.”

Peanuts compared to UK arms to Saudi Arabia.

CAAT’s appeal is to go back to the High Court and “If it fails, will go to the Court of Appeal” states Andrew Smith.

It also transpires that Saudi has dropped British made cluster bombs in Yemen, despite the UK being signatory to the 2008 Ottawa Convention on Cluster Munitions, banning their use, or assistance with their use. The Scottish National Party said it was a: “shameful stain on the UK’s foreign policy and its relationship with Saudi Arabia, as well as a failure by this government to uphold its legal treaty obligations”.

Final confirmation that the British government’s relations with Saudi over Arms and Yemen lies somewhere between duplicity and fantasy would seem to be confirmed in an interview with Crispin Blunt, MP., former army officer and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

In spite of the legal anomalies and humanitarian devastation, he assured the BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse that the Saudis were “rigorous” in making sure there were no breaches of international law and adopted the sort of high standard of the British army.

In that case, the cynic might conclude, given the devastation caused by the British army in Afghanistan and Iraq, perhaps it is not only arms and money that are the ties that bind the two countries, but scant regard for humanity itself.

Posted in Saudi Arabia, Yemen0 Comments

Message from the High Court: Carry on Arming The Saudis (And Never Mind the Slaughter in Yemen)

NOVANEWS

Campaign Against Arms Trade 8628d

Campaigners are furious with a High Court decision in London allowing the UK Government to carry on exporting arms to Saudi Arabia for use against Yemenis
By Stuart Littlewood 

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) brought the legal action against the Secretary of State for International Trade for continuing to grant export licences for arms to Saudi Arabia, arguing that this was against UK policy, which states that the government must refuse such licences if there’s a clear risk that the arms might be used to commit serious violations of International Humanitarian Law.

It is undeniable that Saudi forces have used UK-supplied weaponry to violate International Humanitarian Law in their war on Yemen. According to the United Nations, well over 10,000 people have been killed, the majority by the Saudi-led bombing campaign which has also destroyed vital infrastructure such as schools and hospitals and contributed to the cholera crisis. 3 million Yemenis have been displaced from their homes and 7 million are on the brink of dying from famine. UNICEF reports that a child is dying in Yemen every ten minutes from preventable causes including starvation and malnourishment.

A crippling naval blockade of the country by the US has been key to the cruel onslaught. The European Parliament and numerous humanitarian NGOs have condemned the Saudi air strikes as unlawful. And 18 months ago a UN Panel of Experts accused Saudi forces of “widespread and systematic” targeting of civilians.

Yet the UK has licensed £3.3 billions worth of arms such as aircraft, helicopters, drones, missiles, grenades, bombs and armoured vehicles to the Saudi regime and refused to suspend the supply of  weaponry for use in Yemen in the face of the horrors perpetrated. It is claimed that the Government has even ignored warnings by senior civil servants and its own arms control experts, and that some records of expressed concern have gone missing.

So who is the UK’s helping hand behind that vile regime’s murderous adventure in the Yemen? Why, it’s none other that senior Israel stooge Dr Liam Fox, now Secretary of State for International Trade and the lead on trade and investment in the defence and security sector. He of course oversees export licensing.  He also has ‘form’ when it comes to thinking silly thoughts and doing stupid things in the foreign affairs arena, and he’s known as a crazed flag-waver for Israel and a sworn enemy of Iran.

While Secretary of State for Defence, Fox told us: “Israel’s enemies are our enemies and this is a battle in which we all stand together or we will all fall divided.”

Fox was forced to resign as Defence Secretary in 2011 following the scandal involving him, his ‘close friend’ Adam Werritty, the UK ambassador to Israel, and Israeli intelligence figures allegedly involved in plotting sanctions against Iran.

The reason for the British government’s hostility towards Iran was spelled out by David Cameron in a speech to the Knesset in 2014: “A nuclear armed Iran is a threat to the whole world not just Israel. And with Israel and all our allies, Britain will ensure that it is never allowed to happen.” That position carries forward into the present day.

And in June 2015 Fox declared: “It is logical to assume that Iran’s intentions are to develop a nuclear weapons capability and any claims that its intentions are exclusively peaceful should not be regarded as credible… Iran’s nuclear intentions cannot be seen outside the context of its support for terror proxies, arguably the defining feature of its foreign policy. The risks are clear.”

What he omitted to say was that Iran’s intentions must also be seen in the context of Israel’s foreign policy, its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the grave threat posed by the Zionist regime’s 200 (or is it 400?) nuclear warheads. Israel hasn’t signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention either, and has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, likewise the Chemical Weapons Convention. Iran and all the other nations in the region have every right to feel nervous.

As is well known, Israel and Saudi Arabia have formed a cosy alliance. No entities deserve each other more. And Britain will do anything, it seems, to get at Iran through these repulsive ‘friends’.

Instead of dangling from a lamp-post on Tower Bridge, Fox was quickly rehabilitated and re-promoted to senior office by fellow stooges like Theresa May. Just lately prime minister May has accused Iran of working with Hezbollah, interfering in Iraq, sending fighters to Syria to help Assad, and supporting the Houthis in the conflict in Yemen. The British Government, of course, can meddle where it pleases and do dirty weapons deals with the Saudis which, Mrs May assures us, are for the sake of long-term security in the Gulf. “Gulf security is our security,” she says, arguing that the same extremists who plot terror in the Gulf states are also targeting the streets of Europe.

Toxic relationship with Saudi Arabia exposed

So how did Fox manage to defeat the campaigners in court? After all, as Rosa Curling of Leigh Day (acting for CAAT) said, “The law is clear: where there is a clear risk that UK arms might be used in the commission of serious violations of international law, arm sales cannot go ahead.

“Nothing in the open evidence presented by the UK government to the court suggests this risk does not exist in relation to arms to Saudi Arabia. Indeed, all the evidence we have seen from Yemen suggests the opposite: the risk is very real…. Our government should not be allowing itself to be complicit in the grave violations of law taking place by the Saudi coalition in Yemen.”

Andrew Smith of CAAT said: “If this verdict is upheld then it will be seen as a green light for government to continue arming and supporting brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia that have shown a blatant disregard for international humanitarian law….

“This case has seen an increased scrutiny of the government’s toxic relationship with Saudi Arabia. It is a relationship that more than ever needs to be examined and exposed. For decades the UK has been complicit in the oppression of Saudi people, and now it is complicit in the destruction of Yemen.”

Rachel Sylvester in The Times noted that the judges concluded there was “a substantial body of evidence suggesting that the [Saudi-led] coalition committed serious breaches of international humanitarian law in the course of its engagement in the Yemen conflict”, but the ruling was based on a narrow legal point about whether ministers had followed proper procedures and acted rationally in assessing the risks.

“Whatever the result of the legal process,” she wrote, “it’s time for the government to reconsider Britain’s poisonous relationship with Saudi Arabia, starting with the suspension of arms sales to a country that stands accused of appalling human rights abuses within its own borders as well as the funding of extremism abroad. What is UK foreign policy for if not the promotion of this country’s values around the world?”

And, as she points out, last year the UK committed £85 million to the aid effort in Yemen, making the Department for International Development the fourth largest donor to the crisis.

So, just as we pour £millions of aid into the Palestinian Territories to subsidise the illegal Israeli occupation while at the same time supplying the regime in Tel Aviv with arms to sustain its occupation, we are spending all this taxpayers’ money in Yemen to clean up the mess we’re helping the Saudis to make.

Secret evidence favours the evil

Fox succeeded thanks to ‘closed sessions’. This meant that CAAT and their legal team weren’t allowed to see much of what was presented by the Government, which could only be examined by a security-cleared “special advocate”.

The secret evidence is said to have included Saudi Arabia’s “fast-jet operational reporting data”, “high-resolution MoD-sourced imagery” and “UK defence intelligence reports and battle damage assessments”. The MoD and Foreign Office analysis had “all the hallmarks of a rigorous and robust, multi-layered process of analysis” while the evidence presented by the campaigners was “only part of the picture”. The Court said the secret evidence could not be referred to in open court for reasons of “national security”.

But what has all the MoD’s high-faluting technical tosh to do with justice? Or the basic concept of right and wrong? An especially International Humanitarian Law?

And our national security? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So the slaughter must go on in that distant land…

Labour’s shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardenier suggested in the House of Commons that the “secret” evidence should be made available to MPs for scrutiny “on privy council terms” or handed to the Intelligence and Security Select Committee. Sounds reasonable enough.

But Fox is reported saying: “This idea that somehow, if we have closed sessions, that makes the judgment less valid, I simply don’t accept. Because I don’t accept this idea that we simply can’t have closed sessions that protect our national security or the personnel involved in our national security. Our sources need to be protected.”

Yeah, and so do Yemeni civilians…. from us.

He admitted that “Yemen is indeed a humanitarian disaster” but said it was right to keep selling arms to Saudi Arabia. He may have won the legal point – for now. But he has clearly lost his moral compass, if he ever had one.

As Rachel Sylvester remarks, “So craven is the Whitehall establishment that the government has refused to publish a report on the foreign funding of terrorism, for fear of annoying its Saudi friends.”

*(London, UK. 11th July, 2016. Human rights campaigners dressed as Grim Reapers protest against the Farnborough International arms fair, and in particular against arms sales to Saudi Arabia used in human rights abuses in Yemen, at Waterloo station. Image credit: Campaign Against Arms Trade/ flickr).

Posted in Saudi Arabia, Yemen0 Comments

Yemen – Court Battle Exposes UK – Saudi Arms Trade. A Marriage Made in Hell

NOVANEWS
 

On Monday 10th July, a ruling was handed down by London’s High Court, which should, in a sane world, exclude the UK government ever again judging other nations leaders human rights records or passing judgement on their possession or use of weapons.

The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) lost their case to halt the UK selling arms to Saudi Arabia, the case based on the claim that they may have been used to kill civilians in Yemen.

Anyone following the cataclysmic devastation of Yemen would think it was a million to one that the £3.3Billion worth of arms sold by the UK to Saudi in just two years, had not been used to kill civilians, bomb hospitals, schools, markets, mosques, decimate vital and economic infrastructure and all necessary to sustain life.

In context, a survey released by the Yemen Data Project in September last year found that between March 2015 and August 2016 in more than 8,600 air attacks, 3,158 hit non-military targets. (1)

How casual the slaughter is, Saudi pilots (as their British and US counterparts) apparently do not even know what they are aiming at. So much for “surgical strikes” – as ever:

“Where it could not be established whether a location attacked was civilian or military, the strikes were classified as unknown, of which there are 1,882 incidents.” All those “unknown” killed had a name, plans, dreams, but as in all Western backed, funded or armed ruinations “it is not productive” to count the dead, as an American General memorably stated of fellow human beings.

In context, the survey found that:

“One school building in Dhubab, Taiz governorate, has been hit nine times … A market in Sirwah, Marib governorate, has been struck 24 times.”

Commenting on the survey, the UK’s shadow Defence Secretary, Clive Lewis, said:

“It’s sickening to think of British-built weapons being used against civilians and the government has an absolute responsibility to do everything in its power to stop that from happening. But as Ministers turn a blind eye to the conflict … evidence that Humanitarian Law has been violated is becoming harder to ignore by the day.”

Forty six percent of Yemen’s 26.83 million population are under fifteen years old. The trauma they are undergoing cannot be imagined.

Activists rally in front of the UK Parliament to protest British arms sales to Saudi Arabia. (file photo)

Activists rally in front of the UK Parliament to protest British arms sales to Saudi Arabia. (Source: PressTV)

The original CAAT Court hearing which took place was a Judicial Review in to the legality of the UK government’s arms sales to Saudi, held on 7th, 8th and 10th of February in the High Court.

CAAT stated, relating to the case:

“For more than two years the government has refused to stop its immoral and illegal arms sales to Saudi Arabia – despite overwhelming evidence that UK weapons are being used in violations of International Humanitarian Law in Yemen.”

They also quoted Parliament’s International Development and Business, Innovation and Skills Committees, who opined in October 2016:

“Given the evidence we have heard and the volume of UK-manufactured arms exported to Saudi Arabia, it seems inevitable that any violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law by the coalition have involved arms supplied from the UK. This constitutes a breach of our own export licensing criteria.” (Emphasis added.)

UK supplied arms since the onset of the assault on Yemen are:

  • £2.2 billion worth of ML10 licences (Aircraft, helicopters, drones)
  • £1.1 billion worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures)
  • £430,000 worth of ML6 licences (Armoured vehicles, tanks.)

Contacting CAAT spokesman Andrew Smith I queried what “countermeasures” might be (point two.) He said technically, protective items, however: “CAAT feels that the overwhelming majority will be bombs and missiles including those being used on Yemen.”

On 5th June CAAT had pointed out some further glaring anomalies:

“The last two months have seen three terrible terrorist attacks carried out in the UK. The attacks were the responsibility of those that have carried them out, and they have been rightly condemned.”

However: “Last week it was revealed by the Guardian that the Home Office may not publish a Report into the funding of terrorism in the UK. It is believed that the Report will be particularly critical of Saudi Arabia.”

Andrew Smith commented:

“Only two months ago the Prime Minster was in Riyadh trying to sell weapons to the Saudi regime, which has some of the most abusive laws in the world. This toxic relationship is not making anyone safer, whether in the UK or in Yemen, where UK arms are being used with devastating results.”

Nevertheless: “Delivering an open judgment in the High Court in London, Lord Justice Burnett, who heard the case with Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave, said:

“We have concluded that the material decisions of the Secretary of State were lawful. We therefore dismiss the claim.” (2)

CAAT called the ruling a “green light” for the UK government to sell arms to “brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers”.

Interestingly, in increasingly fantasy-democracy-land UK: “The Court (also handed down) a closed judgment, following a case in which half of the evidence was heard in secret on national security grounds.”

What a wonderful catch-all is “national security.”

Moreover: “UK and EU arms sales rules state that export licences cannot be granted if there is a ‘clear risk’ that the equipment could be used to break International Humanitarian Law. Licences are signed off by the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox.” (Emphasis added.)

Mind stretching.

So the oversight of what constitutes a “clear risk” of mass murder and humanitarian tragedy, goes to the Minister whose Ministry stands to make £ Billions from the arms sales. Another from that bulging: “You could not make this up” file.

‘The case … included uncomfortable disclosures for the government, including documents in which the Export Policy Chief told the Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, then in charge of licensing:

“my gut tells me we should suspend (weapons exports to the country).”

‘Documents obtained by the Guardian showed that the UK was preparing to suspend exports after the bombing of a funeral in Yemen in October 2016 killed 140 civilians. But even after that mass murder, the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, advised Fox that sales should continue, adding:

“The ‘clear risk’ threshold for refusal … has not yet been reached.”

Johnson with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and the UAE’s Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in London, 19 July 2016 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

For anyone asleep at the wheel, Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, is supposed to be the UK’s chief diplomat. Definition: “a person who can deal with others in a sensitive and tactful way. Synonyms: Tactful person, conciliator, reconciler, peacemaker.” Comment redundant.

‘CAAT presented “many hundreds of pages” of reports from the UN, European Parliament, Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, Amnesty International and others documenting airstrikes on schools, hospitals and a water well in Yemen, as well as incidents of mass civilian casualties.’

However, to further batter the mind: “The reports “represent a substantial body of evidence suggesting that the coalition has committed serious breaches of International Humanitarian Law in the course of its engagement in the Yemen conflict”, the Judges wrote. “However, this open source material is only part of the picture.”

In two eye watering fox guarding henhouse observations: ‘The Saudi government had conducted its own investigations into allegations of concern, the judges noted, dismissing CAAT’s concern that the Saudi civilian casualty tracking unit was working too slowly and had only reported on 5% of the incidents. The Kingdom’s “growing efforts” were “of significance and a matter which the Secretary of State was entitled to take into account” when deciding whether British weapons might be used to violate international humanitarian law.’

So Saudi investigates itself and the Secretary of State over views his own actions in the State profiting in £ Billions from seeminglyindiscriminate mass murder and destruction.

‘There was “anxious scrutiny – indeed what seems like anguished scrutiny at some stages” within government of the decision to continue granting licences, wrote the Judges. But the Secretary of State was “rationally entitled” to decide that the Saudi-led coalition was not deliberately targeting civilians and was making efforts to improve its targeting processes, and so to continue granting licences.”

Pinch yourselves, Dear Readers, it would seem we live in times of the oversight in the land of the seriously deranged.

CAAT’s Andrew Smith, said:

“This is a very disappointing verdict and we are pursuing an appeal. If this verdict is upheld then it will be seen as a green light for government to continue arming and supporting brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia that have shown a blatant disregard for international humanitarian law.

“Every day we are hearing new and horrifying stories about the humanitarian crisis that has been inflicted on the people of Yemen. Thousands have been killed while vital and lifesaving infrastructure has been destroyed.” The case had exposed the UK’s “toxic relationship” with Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday 12th July, UK Home Secretary, Amber Rudd again invoked “national security” (something Yemenis can only dream of in any context) and presented Parliament with a paltry four hundred and thirty word “summary” of the Report on the funding of terrorism,origins of which go back to December 2015.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott encapsulated the thoughts of many, telling Parliament:

“ … there is a strong suspicion this Report is being suppressed to protect this government’s trade and diplomatic priorities, including in relation to Saudi Arabia. The only way to allay those suspicions is to publish the report in full.” (3)

Caroline Lucas, co-Leader of the Green Party said:

“The statement gives absolutely no clue as to which countries foreign funding for extremism originates from – leaving the government open to further allegations of refusing to expose the role of Saudi Arabian money in terrorism in the UK.”

Liberal Democrat Leader, Tim Fallon condemned the refusal of the government to publish the Report as: “utterly shameful.”

Amber Rudd concentrated on pointing to individuals and organisations which might be donating, often unknowingly to: “ … inadvertently supporting extremist individuals or organisations.”

Peanuts compared to UK arms to Saudi Arabia.

CAAT’s appeal is to go back to the High Court and: “If it fails, will go to the Court of Appeal” states Andrew Smith.

It also transpires that Saudi has dropped British made cluster bombs in Yemen, despite the UK being signatory to the 2008 Ottawa Convention on Cluster Munitions, banning their use, or assistance with their use. The Scottish National Party said it was a:

“shameful stain on the UK’s foreign policy and its relationship with Saudi Arabia, as well as a failure by this government to uphold its legal treaty obligations”. (4)

Final confirmation that the British government’s relations with Saudi over Arms and Yemen lies somewhere between duplicity and fantasy would seem to be confirmed in an interview (5) with Crispin Blunt, MP., former army officer and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

Inspite of the legal anomalies and humanitarian devastation, he assured the BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse that the Saudis were “rigorous” in making sure there were no breaches of international law and adopted the sort of high standard of the British army.

In that case, the cynic might conclude, given the devastation caused by the British army in Afghanistan and Iraq, perhaps it is not only arms and money that are the ties that bind the two countries, but scant regard for humanity itself.

Notes

1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/16/third-of-saudi-airstrikes-on-yemen-have-hit-civilian-sites-data-shows
2. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/10/uk-arms-exports-to-saudi-arabia-can-continue-high-court-rules?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
3. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/12/uk-terror-funding-report-will-not-be-published-for-national-security-reasons
4. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/19/saudis-dropped-british-cluster-bombs-in-yemen-fallon-tells-commons
5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0481zgm

Posted in Saudi Arabia, UK, Yemen0 Comments

Saudi’s Qatif in Mourning after Zio-Wahhabi Regime Killed Four Political Detainees

NOVANEWS

Father of Saudi martyr Yousef Ali Abdullah al-Mishaikhesh, after being informed of his son’s execution.

Saudi Arabia’s Qatif region is in mourning on Wednesday after the ruling Zio-Wahhabi regime announced a day earlier it had executed four people over allegations of “conducting terror activities”.

Zio-Wahhabi Interior Ministry claims that the four, who were executed in Qatif Governorate in Eastern Province, had attacked police stations and petrol officers.

The ministry identified the four men as Zaher Abdulraheem Hussein al-Basri, Yousef Ali Abdullah al-Mishaikhesh, Mahdi Mohammed Hasan al-Sayegh, and Amjad Naji Hasan Al Moaibed.

The Shia-dominated Eastern Province, particularly the Qatif region, has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters, complaining of marginalization in the Zio-Wahhabi ruled kingdom, have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region.

However, the government has responded to the protests with a heavy-handed crackdown, but the rallies have intensified since January 2016 when Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime executed respected Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, an outspoken critic of the policies of the Riyadh regime.

Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest rates of execution. Rights groups last month expressed concern that 14 Saudi Shia individuals face execution for protest-related crimes.

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The Saudis Are Bombing Their Own People And Nobody’s Talking About it

NOVANEWS

Geopolitics Alert 

For the past 60 days, the Saudis have imposed a devastating siege on the Shiite town of Awamiya. And of course, mainstream western media remains silent.

These photos aren’t from Yemen, they’re from the Saudi Arabian eastern town of Awamiya. Where Saudi forces are waging war against an oppressed shia minority. Saudi Arabia adheres to the extreme fundamentalist and intolerant sect of Wahhabism. Making it the country’s religious majority. This ideology is also enforced through state tactics. Which make it illegal to publicly carry out any religious practice or teaching that conflicts with Wahhabism. Even other Muslims (especially Shiites) are considered infidels by the Saudi government. And thus, all religious minorities in Saudi Arabia remain an extremely oppressed group; often lacking the same health care, public services, and wages granted to their Wahhabi counterparts; if not facing death.

While the majority of Saudi citizens adhere to Wahhabi principles, many towns in the eastern province of Qatif– like Awamiya– hold a Shia majority. Where they’ve been essentially doomed to live in “ghettos” as second class citizens. But the Saudi oppression of Shiites and other religious minorities goes way beyond just economic devastation. In fact for the past two months Saudi forces have held Awamiya under siege, destroyed buildings with bombs and shelling, and set up barricades to control free movement. This is likely a response to Shia citizens calling for basic human rights.

In videos posted to social media, it looks like Saudi security forces are using white phosphorus to drive-out citizens from their homes. Residents also report that Saudi forces are shelling homes and buildings with .50 caliber weapons. In one instance, a building was set on fire and Saudi police refused to allow firetrucks to pass through the barricades.

It’s been confirmed that a number of people have died as a result of gunfire. But it’s unclear exactly what the death toll could be since Saudi Arabia severely restricts media access. When the Saudi-run state media are reporting the numbers, they surely can’t be trusted.

Of course, instead of reporting on the Saudis brutal repression, mainstream media has framed the story (in the few articles available) as though the Saudi security forces are simply clashing with an armed Shiite “militant” uprising. Which ultimately places the Saudi security forces in the “good guy” category just simply trying to keep order.

This however completely whitewashes the fact that the Shiite population in Saudi Arabia has been brutally repressed since the Kingdom’s formation. It also completely ignores the fact that the Saudis are using American-supplied weapons to kill their own people. Which if we look at Syria, this was supposedly the west’s entire reason for their intervention against Bashar al-Assad. “Assad is bombing his own people” the headlines still read to this day.

The happenings in Qatif only further demonstrate not only the Saudis’ intolerant disregard for human life, but also their genocidal tendencies as they move further towards an apartheid state within their own borders.

SEE ALSO:

Amid Yemen’s Cholera Outbreak, Saudi Airstrikes Destroy Desalination Plant
Saudis Target Home in Yemen (Again), Killing About a Dozen Civilians

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Court rules Britain’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia are ‘lawful’, despite destruction of Yemen

NOVANEWS
Image result for Britain’s arms sales to Saudi CARTOON

London’s High Court has ruled that UK arms sales to the Saudi Arabian regime are “lawful” in response to a judicial review brought by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT).

The case hinged on the question of whether the UK failed to suspend sales in line with legal obligations, given the Saudi’s current war in neighboring Yemen, which has been waged in part using British manufactured military equipment.

Documents cited in court showed that civil servants had, in fact, recommended that sales should no longer go ahead, but ministers had ignored the advice.

“This is a very disappointing verdict, and we are pursuing an appeal,” Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said.

“If this verdict is upheld then it will be seen as a green light for government to continue arming and supporting brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia that have shown a blatant disregard for international humanitarian law.”

CAAT’s lawyer, Rosa Curling, said: “Nothing in the open evidence, presented by the UK government to the court, suggests this risk does not exist in relation to arms to Saudi Arabia.

“Indeed, all the evidence we have seen from Yemen suggests the opposite: the risk is very real. You need only look at the devastating reality of the situation there.”

CAAT, who have said they will appeal, had argued that the UK’s continued sales are a breach of international law while the EU’s common council also insists that sales to nations where violations of the law might occur must be halted.

In the last two years, the UK has licensed the sales of £3 billion (US$3.86 billion) worth of arms to the Saudi government, with which Britain is a longstanding ally.

Arm sales have included Typhoon and Tornado jets and the UK has had military personnel embedded in Saudi headquarters throughout the Yemen conflict, which has raged since 2015.

The British government maintains that the personnel are there to support adherence to international law and advice on rules of engagement.

Both Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Artillery (RA) personnel have been deployed to train the Saudi military during the war.

The conflict – which has been accompanied with a blockade of major ports – has drastically worsened the humanitarian situation in the already-impoverished gulf nation.

The UN says 17 million people in Yemen are at imminent risk of famine, while dwindling medical supplies and lack of trained medical personnel have led to epidemics.

Leading humanitarian organizations, including the Red Cross, have named the aerial bombing campaign and blockade as the main causes behind the ongoing cholera epidemic in the capital, Sanaa, that has already claimed some 200 lives, while over 11,000 cases of the disease have been registered.

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The Saudi Wahhabi-Nazi Alliance

NOVANEWS
The Saudi-Israeli Alliance
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By Abdel Bari Atwan

Riyadh (YE) – The evolving relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia is set to become a key feature of regional politics in the forthcoming phase. This goes beyond the creeping normalization of relations between the two sides and the holding of discreet contacts, to the formation of an undeclared but far-reaching alliance.

Retired Saudi general Anwar al-Eshki shed some light on this in an interview last week on the German TV channel Deutsche Welle, in which he provided insights into a number of unexplained issues: most importantly, why Saudi Arabia has been so adamant about getting the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir transferred from Egypt’s sovereignty to its own as quickly a possible.

Eshki made clear that once Saudi Arabia assumes sovereignty over the two islands, it will abide by the Camp David Accords, and that the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace deal — which cut Egypt off from the Arab world and the Palestinian cause and led to the opening of an Israeli embassy in Cairo – would cease to be a purely bilateral agreement.

The general, who has been Saudi Arabia’s main frontman in its normalization process with Israel, explained that the new maritime border demarcation agreement with Egypt places both islands within the kingdom’s territorial waters. Egypt and Saudi Arabia will therefore share control over the Strait of Tiran through which Israeli ships pass as they sail in and out of the Gulf of Aqaba, and the kingdom will accordingly establish a relationship with Israel.

True, Eshki also said that normalization of Saudi relations with Israel was contingent on the latter accepting the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. But he also spoke of an Israeli peace initiative that would ‘bypass’ that plan. According to him, this proposes the establishment of a confederation that would connect the occupied Palestinian territories – he did not specify how or to whom – while postponing discussion of the fate of Jerusalem.

Eshki also used the interview to confirm what Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has often reiterated: that Saudi Arabia does not consider Israel to be an enemy. He maintained that this view is shared by ordinary Saudis, and is reflected in their tweets and comments on social media which they point out that Israel never once attacked the kingdom so is not its enemy, and that these citizens support normalizing relations with Israel.

Eshki is not a policymaker but a mouthpiece. He was carefully selected for the job of saying what he is told and promoting it. To understand what his words are aimed at achieving – and the main features of the new normalization scheme that is rapidly unfolding – we need only paraphrase the statements made by the current Israeli defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman: Normalization between the Arab states and Israel should be achieved first, and then followed by a Palestinian-Israeli peace. Israel cannot accept a situation in which normalization with the Arab states is left hostage to a resolution of the Palestinian issue. After all, Israel has signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan without ending the Palestinian conflict.

The point that the handover of Tiran and Sanafir would commit Saudi Arabia to the Camp David accords, and to all obligations arising from them, was also stressed by the head of the Egyptian parliament’s Defence and National Security Committee, Gen. Kamal Amer.

The conclusion that can be drawn is that the main purpose of the rush to restore the two islands to Saudi sovereignty is to accelerate the pace of normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia and ‘legitimize’ their evolving alliance. After all, Saudi Arabia possesses countless thousands of neglected islands dotted along its Red Sea and Gulf coastlines. It has no need for two additional small, barren and uninhabited outcrops. Even if it did, it managed well enough without them for 50 years during which they were either under Israeli occupation or Egyptian protection. Had it wanted, it could have waited and postponed this thorny issue for ten, twenty, or a hundred more years, so as to avoid embarrassing the Egyptian government and angering the Egyptian people.

The Saudi government’s stage-setting for normalization with the Israeli occupation state is already well underway and gaining pace. Following Eshki’s ‘academic’ visits to Israel and former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal’s security encounters, we have now begun to see Saudi ‘analysts’ appearing on Israeli TV. The next step may be for Saudi ministers and princes to do the same.

The Saudi citizens who Eshki claimed were tweeting their support for friendship with Israel on the grounds that it has never attacked their country, and who support normalizing relations with it, are soldiers in the Saudi electronic army. They number in the thousands, and work under the auspices of Saudi intelligence and police. The overwhelming majority of Saudis are opposed to any form of normalization with the occupation state, for religious, Arab nationalist, patriotic, and moral reasons. We have absolutely no doubt about that. But we can understand the pressure they are under when a single tweet expressing sympathy for Qatar or criticism of ‘Vision 2030′ can cost the tweeter 15 years in prison or a $250,000 fine.

According to Haaretz and other Israeli media outlets, Crown Prince Muhammad bin-Salman, who is leading the Saudi march towards normalization and alliance with Israel, occupation state visited occupied Jerusalem in 2015. He has also holds regular meetings with Israeli officials, most recently when during the Arab summit held in Amman in March.

Not long ago Riyadh hosted the American journalist Thomas Friedman. (Perhaps this was a reward for his comment after the 9/11 attacks that the US should have invaded Saudi Arabia – the real source of terrorism — rather than Iraq in retaliation.) Friedman met with a number of officials before being granted a lengthy audience with Muhammad bin-Salman. He reported afterwards that not once during the five-hour encounter did the prince utter the word ‘Palestine’ or mention the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Indeed, I challenge anyone to come up with a single instance in which the up-and-coming Saudi strongman refers to ‘Palestine’ in any of his televised interviews.

Meanwhile, priority has been given to silencing and countering Arab voices that confront this evolving Saudi-Israeli alliance and expose its aims, implications and likely consequences – whether in the social or conventional media. Riyadh’s demand for the closure of the Al-Jazeera channel affirms that the war it is currently waging is not against ‘terror’ but against critical and free media.

We, too, have been and remain on the receiving-end of that war, subject to a furious on-going assault by the Saudi electronic army and a vicious and deliberate campaign of defamation. All one can say in response is to quote the saying: the coward dies one hundred times; the brave and free just once.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Saudi Arabia0 Comments

How Nazi/Wahhabi ‘Alliance’ Plays Trump

NOVANEWS

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How Israeli/Saudi ‘Alliance’ Plays Trump
By Alastair Crooke 

The Israeli web site Debka, though not always reliable in some respects, nonetheless, occasionally, can give useful glimpses into the Israeli calculus: Here it is expressing somewhat unusual enthusiasm, even open rapture, about a recent political event:

“The Saudi king’s decision to elevate his son Mohammed bin Salman … is not merely the internal affair of the royal hierarchy, but a game-changing international event. The king’s son is ready to step into his allotted place in a new US-Arab-Israeli alliance established by President Trump in May, along with the UAE, Egyptian and Israeli leaders that will seek to dominate Middle East affairs. Israel will be accepted in a regional lineup for the first time alongside the strongest Sunni Arab nations who all share similar objectives, especially the aim to stop Iran”.

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“A game-changing international event”? Why exactly are these Israelis so excited; why should the elevation of bin Salman, known by the initials MbS, be such a game-changer? Is there here something new? And how come the dismissal of Prince Nayef, whom MbS replaced as crown prince and who was a Western favorite, barely ruffled a leaf in protest?

On the face of it, not much has changed. Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s (and his father’s) obsession with Iran is well known. The Israeli PM (like his father before him) believes that Iran is the precursor to a new Jewish holocaust.

It was not always like this however: the Ben Gurion doctrine of courting regional minorities to Israel’s side (including Iran), was only “flipped” when the Israeli Labour Party won parliamentary elections in 1992.

In short, Iran’s subsequent identification with Satan by the Israeli government effectively was a domestic Israeli political need of the electoral moment: switching from the Arabs as “enemy” – in order for Rabin to make peace – required, in public terms, that Iran become the “far enemy” – the new existential threat to “plucky little” Israel’s survival, vice the now peace-partnering Arabs.

Netanyahu however, is a true “believer” (in Iran’s murderous intentions), and tried to corner President Obama into destroying Iran, by threatening America that either you do it (bomb Iran) – or, Israel shall (which effectively amounted to making America “do it” anyway). Obama demurred, and avoided Bibi’s binary threat to him of “war or war” by rather unenthusiastically negotiating a JCPOA with Iran – and thus re-balancing the region.

A New Strategic Situation

So what has changed? Iran has just re-elected President Hassan Rouhani who upholds the JCPOA and who actively engages with the West, and does not exude any clear and present danger to Israel, or the region (ISIS and al-Qaeda apart). “Nothing to see here”: aside from some jostling with U.S. partner forces for future influence in Syria.

Clearly however, Debka does espy something new in the strategic situation. And they may be right. Ostensibly, on the surface, things may look the same, but two dynamics seem to be conflating that may account for official Israel’s high excitement. (It is not just Debka that is on a high – several senior intelligence and security officials at the recent Herzaliyia security conference, were also selling the imminent strategic change meme.)

One of the two conflating dynamics which might help us understand the enigma of Israeli satisfaction is this: a well-known Arab journalist wrote recently of a dinner held some months ago in the Gulf (with prominent Gulf guests), at which an unnamed former Arab Prime Minister was quizzed about MbS’ prospects of becoming king. What he said shocked the gathering. Some expressed their incredulity.

He said bluntly: if MbS wanted to come to the throne, he would need America’s blessings. He would need to offer them something that no one had offered before – that no one had dared to offer before. And what was that, the journalist asked the former PM that MbS must offer: “He must recognize Israel. If he does that, the U.S. will support him. They’ll even crown him themselves.”

In one of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories, Holmes’s solution to a particular mystery rested on “the dog did that did not bark in the night.” Holmes’s point was why had the dog not barked when its nature is to bark.

It is common knowledge that the U.S. has been firmly committed to Prince Nayef succeeding King Salman. The authoritative Saudi insider and blogger Muhtahidd has tweeted that the U.S. sent messages last year to MbS warning that he should not seek to supplant Nayef. In July 2016,

Mujtahidd tweeted that Secretary of State John Kerry had told MbS that Nayef continuing as Crown Prince was a “red line” for the U.S.

Why then did the U.S. “dog” not bark on the night that MbS seized the succession, just before dawn? We have heard not one tiny growl on Nayef’s behalf. In fact, a trawl through Mutahhid’s early tweets lays it all bare … if one bothers to connect the dots.

A Kingmaker

The main actor in this drama is Mohammad bin Zayed (MbZ), the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, who according to Mutjtahidd recognized MbS’ ambition from early on, and saw in him an instrument by which MbZ could gain personal influence through becoming kingmaker in Saudi Arabia. From the outset MbZ apparently urged MbS to obtain America’s support for him becoming king – via the channel of Israeli full support.

In tweets from May 2, 2016, Mujtahhid describes MbZ’s advice to bin Salman: first, seize the succession to the throne before King Salman dies; second, gain U.S. favor by moving the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia away from religious values – away from values that reinforce an Islamic identity, and third, expand ties with Israel.

Mujtahidd developed the third element in his tweets – ties to Israel – by saying that it began “shyly” as a lead-in to direct contacts. Senior Saudis were to be encouraged to participate in debates with Israelis (i.e. appearing on Israeli TV channels), while highlighting a common interest in combating Iran and fighting “terrorism.”

MbZ was also reported by Mujtahidd as advising MbS to please Israel by supporting President Sisi of Egypt (with whom the Israelis have a close relationship) – and finally, Mujtahidd reports MbS (again in July last) that Netanyahu had met with MbS at Aqaba, three months earlier.

All of Mujtahidd’s points made over a year or more have been borne out in practice: The Saudi succession has been seized before the king has died; MbS has paraded his “opposition to religion” and Vision 2030 has emphasized a more secular, liberal economic identity for Saudi Arabia; Sisi has been supported (in spite of political differences); and Saudi ties to Israel have become incrementally more visible.

Mujtahidd is clear: There is no “big bang” shock recognition of Israel planned, but a continuing incrementalism (Israeli use of Saudi airspace, institution of telephone links, etc.).

On the one hand, Israel may be seeing the ambition and opportunism of two young men (MbZ and Mbs), but what “bakes the cake” for Israel, is the background, long-term dynamic of the declining legitimacy the Gulf “system” of monarchical, non-representational rule — a vulnerability exacerbated by financial tightening: an austerity that promises to limit Saudi ability to buy out popular disaffection.

This – the declining standing of Sunni authority and the leadership of Islam which the Saudis claim to be theirs and theirs alone – is what MbS and MbZ wish to reverse. Qatar was the first victim of their insistence on complete obedience.

Crosscurrents of Change

It was the “Arab Awakening” that initially fanned secular alienation with the absolute nature of the monarchial system, but then the Muslim Brotherhood doctrine of the Umma (the whole community of Muslims bound together by ties of religion) as sovereign, undermined it further, but from the Islamic stance. A left and a right punch. Also, the revisionist history of the first Islamic State, presented by ISIS, shreds Saudi’s religious credentials completely.

This is the combination that may be provoking such Israeli excitement: The ambition and opportunism of two young crown princes, coupled by their desire to restore Sunni authority (and the obedience of subordinate states) by mobilizing the Sunni world in a “jihad” against Iran and “terrorism,” must be music to some Israeli ears.

And this is the rabbit hole down which President Trump has fallen. It matters little whether the primary motive for Trump’s Riyadh fiesta was pecuniary, or whether it was triggered by son-in-law Jared Kushner’s ambitions. Either way, Trump has embraced pushback against Iran (and seemingly, regime change, as Rex Tillerson has implied). In fact, Trump seems to be surrounding himself more and more with anti-Iranian advisers. He seems to like the notion of leading an alliance of the U.S., Israel and the two Crown Princes pushing back against Iran and its “terrorism.”

The Shi’a — pilloried by the Sunni Establishment as discontents, rejectionists and revolutionaries — have over a thousand-year history. Language changes, but the Shi’a as (false) innovators, apostates, heretics – and now “terrorists” – are as old as Islam. Terrible persecutions have ensued over the centuries. And Shi’a Islam is no insignificant 10 percent minority — in the Arab heartland, it is more like 60-40 percent. In the northern crescent, it is some 100 million Shi’i to 30 million Sunnis. And Sh’ism is undergoing a profound revival.

What interest of America will be served by intruding into these ancient animosities? MbS, MbZ and Netanyahu may be American “allies,” but their interests are not America’s. The former might be happy for America to spill its blood in fighting their fights. But why should Trump want to do that?

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, Saudi Arabia0 Comments

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