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As the humanitarian crisis escalates in Yemen, the UK has a lot to answer for

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As the humanitarian crisis escalates in Yemen, the UK has a lot to answer for
The UN has announced that Yemen is currently experiencing a humanitarian crisis like no other. 17 million people in the country are going hungry, with an estimated 7 million at risk of famine. This is due to a Saudi-led blockade. Saudi military forces have prevented fuel supplies and aid from entering the country. But the UK is playing a huge part in this escalating crisis, as it continues to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia.

The UK’s role

Speaking to The Canary, Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said:

The blockade has exacerbated one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. It is a brutal collective punishment against the people of Yemen, and has put millions of lives at risk. Despite this, and despite the atrocities its forces have inflicted on Yemen over the last two and a half years, the Saudi regime has been able to count on the uncritical political and military support of Theresa May and her colleagues. If Downing Street wants to do what is right for the people of Yemen then it must stop the arms sales and end its complicity.

Selling weapons to Saudi Arabia

In a press release about its latest statistics, CAAT says:

In the two years leading up to the war, the UK licensed £33m worth of ML4 arms (ML4 includes bombs, missiles and countermeasures). In the period since [the war] began the government has licensed £1.9bn.

This is an increase of over 5000%. The fear is that Saudi-led military forces may be using such weapons to destroy vital infrastructure in Yemen, including hospitals. Commenting on the statistics, CAAT’s Sam Walton said:

These new figures are a disappointment but not a surprise. The British government has prioritised selling weapons to Saudi Arabia over any concerns about human rights or the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure by the Saudi Arabians in Yemen.

Tom Barns, also from CAAT, said:

To see this increase in bombs and military aircraft sales at a time when Saudi Arabia is unleashing such utter devastation in Yemen is truly staggering. The United Nations has accused Saudi-led forces of killing hundreds of children and destroying schools and hospitals, yet the UK government seems to see the war as a business opportunity. Not only are these sales fuelling the ongoing conflict, they are also sending a message of political support to the brutal Saudi regime.

The dire situation in Yemen

The UN is clear about how serious the situation is in Yemen right now. UN aid chief Mark Lowcock says the blockade has to be lifted. If it isn’t, then the country will experience:

The largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims.

Jamie McGoldrick, the UN’s aid coordinator in Yemen, said the “humanitarian impact” of the war is “unimaginable”. But perhaps the British government should try to imagine the impact that its trade relations with Saudi Arabia are having. Save the Children has warned that 50,000 Yemeni children could die of starvation and disease by the end of the year.

The government can’t make excuses for its deplorable actions. Selling weapons to Saudi Arabia is likely to only fuel the war in Yemen and, in turn, escalate the humanitarian crisis. We have to hold our politicians to account.

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As US Fuels Zio-Wahhabi War Crimes in Yemen, House Says US Involvement is Unauthorized ‘VIDEO’

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Image result for YEMEN WAR CARTOON

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America’s “Killing Fields” in Yemen

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America’s “Killing Fields” in Yemen: Children are Dying, Engineered Starvation, US Enforced Blockade on Food and Medicine

Megadeaths from America – Yemen Is the Worst Case Among Many

“Let me be clear: The use of starvation as a weapon of war is a war crime.” – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, January 15, 2016, warning the warring parties in Syria

“People are dying; children are suffering not as a result of an accident of war, but as the consequence of an intentional tactic – surrender or starve. And that tactic is directly contrary to the law of war.” – US Secretary of State John Kerry, February 1, 2016, denouncing atrocities in Syria

***

As Americans get ready for Thanksgiving 2017 over-eating, their government is on the verge of successfully starving millions of Yemenis to death by siege warfare. The US naval blockade of Yemen has been unrelenting since March 2015. The US Navy is an essential element of this perpetual war crime, this endless assault on a civilian population of about 25 million. This is the kind of collective punishment of innocents that we once put Nazis on trial for at Nuremberg. The US Department of Defense Law of War Manual, however, advises (section 5.20.1, page 315) that: “Starvation is a legitimate method of warfare.” So now the US is a blithe mass-murdering state with impunity, qualities hardly ever mentioned in the world’s freest media (with one remarkable exception in Democracy NOW, where coverage of Yemen has been excellent at least since 2009).

Well, never mind, at least Taylor Swift’s reputation is soaring and everyone gets to throw figurative rocks at Roy Moore, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and other serial predators. Predator is also the name of one of the US drones that the US President sends to assassinate people who may or may not have done anything wrong, but who showed up at the wrong time on the wrong list, and what more due process do those un-white foreign people deserve anyway? You don’t hear Congress complaining, do you? Or mainstream media? Or the courts? This is beyond bipartisan thrill killing, this is national consensual mass murder.

OK, to be fair, there has been some tepid, insincere, sporadic objection to wiping out millions of innocent people. Why, just as recently as October 10, The New York Times ran an op-ed article – NOT an editorial – that began with a pretty fair summary of the carnage being visited on Yemen by the US and its allies:

Imagine that the entire population of Washington State — 7.3 million people — were on the brink of starvation, with the port city of Seattle under a naval and aerial blockade, leaving it unable to receive and distribute countless tons of food and aid that sit waiting offshore. This nightmare scenario is akin to the obscene reality occurring in the Middle East’s poorest country, Yemen, at the hands of the region’s richest, Saudi Arabia, with unyielding United States military support that Congress has not authorized and that therefore violates the Constitution.

The headline on this op-ed piece is “Stop the Unconstitutional War in Yemen,” which is something of a deception since the war is truly criminal by any standard of international law and its “unconstitutionality” is but one aspect of its overall criminality. Like the Times, the authors of the op-ed have yet to face the raw criminality of the aggressive war on Yemen. The authors are three members of Congress, two Democrats, Ro Khanna of California and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, together with a rare Republican of some integrity, Walter Jones of North Carolina. But they do not call out the gross criminality of American siege warfare against Yemen, they come hat in hand arguing that the war is unconstitutional because Congress hasn’t approved it formally. Congress has approved it with silence. No party leadership on either side has joined with these three in their gentle effort to “Stop the war.” These three Congress members, with Republican Thomas Massie, were the original sponsors of the House resolution introduced September 27, as a hint “to remove United States Armed Forces from unauthorized hostilities in the Republic of Yemen.” The resolution has so far gathered an additional 42 co-sponsors (one more Republican) from the House’s 435 members. One measure of where we are as a country is that something as bland and incomplete as this resolution is seen somehow as a radical act that gets little support in Congress or coverage in the media, where the forced starvation of millions of people is not a big issue.

Yemen is a nation under siege from the air with daily bombings. The Saudis and their allies control the air over Yemen, which has almost no air force and almost no air defenses. Nothing flies in or out of Yemen without Saudi permission, which is rarely given, even for food or medical supplies. The Saudi air force could not function without American support. US military forces select targets, provide intelligence, re-fuel Saudi jets in mid-air and repair them on the ground. Every bomb that falls on Yemen has American fingerprints on it, especially the cluster bombs (another war crime) made in America.

Yemen is a nation under siege from the water, where the US Navy enforces a blockade not only of food, medicine, and other humanitarian relief coming in. The US Navy also turns back Yemenis trying to flee, essentially reducing their choices to risking drowning or starvation. And thanks to the effectiveness of the blockades, there is a massive risk of cholera in Yemen as well, as the US and its allies deliberately wage biological warfare in Yemen as well.

Yemen is a nation under siege on the ground. The Saudis control Yemen’s northern border, which has been under dispute between the two countries for decades. Nothing crosses the border into Yemen without Saudi permission, mostly granted to artillery fire. Little effectual return fire comes from Yemen. Yemen’s eastern border is with Oman, which is a friendly state. In between Oman and Yemeni population centers in the west, the territory is mostly controlled by al Qaeda and ISIS, with the Saudi-backed puppet regime tucked in around Aden. All of those forces oppose the Houthis in control of the northwest, which has been their homeland for centuries. Just to be clear: the US is deliberately starving a population that is fighting al Qaeda and Isis.

With its recent governmental purges, Saudi Arabia maybe have become the second most dangerous nation in the world. Not to worry, the USA is still Number One. But the US/Saudi axis can hardly be much better news for the region than it is for Yemen.

On November 8, the United Nations and some twenty international relief agencies issued a statement of alarm at and opposition to the US/Saudi-enforced siege on Yemen. The human cost of two and a half years of US/Saudi aggression is already unforgivably punishing and cruel. Now the US/Saudi siege threatens unprecedented catastrophe:

There are over 20 million people in need of humanitarian assistance; seven million of them are facing famine-like conditions and rely completely on food aid to survive. In six weeks, the food supplies to feed them will be exhausted. Over 2.2 million children are malnourished, of those, 385,000 children suffer from severe malnutrition and require therapeutic treatment to stay alive. Due to limited funding, humanitarian agencies are only able to target one third of the population (7 million)…. outbreaks of communicable diseases such as polio and measles are to be expected with fatal consequences, particularly for children under five years of age and those already suffering from malnutrition … the threat of famine and the spread of cholera … deadly consequences to an entire population suffering from a conflict that it is not of their own making.

Also on November 8, the day of the statement of alarm, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock briefed the UN Security Council on the crisis in Yemen. The briefing was secret, on the request of Sweden. After the briefing, Lowcock met with reporters. He warned that, unless there is a significant, massive humanitarian response soon:

There will be a famine in Yemen. It will not be like the famine that we saw in South Sudan earlier in the year where tens of thousands of people were affected. It will not be like the famine which cost 250,000 people their lives in Somalia in 2011. It will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims.

The aggression against Yemen has been a nexus of war crimes from the beginning, when it was sanctioned by the Obama administration to appease Saudi peevishness over international peacemaking with Iran on nuclear development. For almost three years, Yemen has been a holocaust-in-the-making, with this difference: turning most of the country into a death camp, with America’s blessing and collusion. Repubs will choose to confirm 300 unqualified judges before they’ll choose to intervene in one criminal war, and mostly Democrats will not seriously object to either choice.

If the United States doesn’t kill you, it’s perfectly happy to let you die (what health care?). The question – with hope embedded – is whether most Americans support the legal reign of terror that is Pax Americana. Given US treatment of Americans from Ferguson to Flint to Standing Rock to Puerto Rico, the prospect is grim.

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Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Crisis: Long Range Missile Launched by Houthi Rebels against Riyadh

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Crisis in Saudi Arabia: Long Range Missile Launched by Houthi Rebels against Riyadh

Saturday night was a busy one for Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The kingdom’s 32-year old heir to the throne excelled himself. He surpassed the high levels of chaos and human misery he had already achieved as the defence minister who launched the air campaign on Yemen.

First up was the sudden resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri after just one year in office. Hariri made his announcement from Riyadh, which is a curious place to resign the premiership of Lebanon. His speech was hardline anti-Hezbollah and anti-Iran, setting a tone not heard from him in years.

A few days before he gave no indication that he was under the threat of assassination, as he claimed in his speech. He allowed airport workers to take selfies with him, and left Lebanon in a sunny and optimistic mood.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that when he left Lebanon, Hariri had no intention of resigning, that he himself did not know that he would resign and that this resignation had been forced on him by the Saudis

Hariri thought he had survived the pressure which had been applied last year on his construction company Saudi Oger, which was facing bankruptcy, and a meeting with Saudi Minister of State for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan went well.

Al-Sabhan tweeted that the two agreed on “many things that are of interest”. But the minister’s tone changed rapidly after Hariri’s resignation. He then tweeted: “The hands of treachery and aggression must be amputated,” referring to Hezbollah and Iran.

The well informed but anonymous Saudi commentator, who uses the Twitter handle Mujtahidd, discounted the theory that Hariri felt under threat of assassination from Iran. He said the Lebanese premier was under greater physical threat from the Islamic State group.

Mujtahidd said Hariri emerged from his latest talks with Ali Akbar Velayati, the Iranian supreme leader’s senior international affairs adviser, in good spirits.

“The main reason for summoning him back to Riyadh is to hold him captive with the rest of the detained princes and businessmen to blackmail him and force him to bring back the funds he has abroad, particularly those not linked to Lebanon.”

“The statement he read was written for him. He was not convinced about it, neither in terms of content nor in terms of submitting his resignation from Riyadh. For how is it possible for a political leader to announce his resignation from another country’s capital?”

Mujtahidd wrote on Twitter.

Image: Mujtahidd’s tweets

Hossein Sheikholeslam, senior advisor to the Iranian foreign minister, appeared to agree with Mujtahidd. He accused US President Donald Trump and the Saudi crown prince of pressurising Hariri into resigning: “Al-Hariri’s resignation was done in coordination with Trump and Mohammed bin Salman to foment tension in Lebanon and the region,” Sheikholeslam said.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, reacted calmly to the news on Sunday. He placed the blame for Hariri’s removal on the Saudis, calling the resignation a violation of Lebanese sovereignty and an attack on “Hariri’s dignity”.  He referred to Hariri as “our prime minister,” not, note, our former prime minister.

Put all these statements together, and it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that when he left Lebanon, Hariri had no intention of resigning, that he himself did not know that he would resign and that this resignation had been forced on him by the Saudis. My information, however, is that he has not been arrested.

The second event was a bump in the night quite literally. It came just hours after Hariri’s bellicose speech.  A long range missile launched by Houthi rebels thousands of kilometres away in Yemen came down somewhere near Riyadh airport in the north of the capital. The missile was allegedly intercepted by Saudi air defence missiles, but there were reports of scenes of panic on the ground.

Until now, the Houthis have usually targeted Jeddah. A long-range missile aimed at the capital was read by the Saudis as a clear message from an Iranian proxy: “You ramp up the pressure on Hezbollah and we will ramp up the pressure on you in Riyadh,” the launchers of the missile seemed to say.

McCarthy reborn

The third event to disturb the peace had been well planned. Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah’s demise had been widely predicted. He was in charge of the kingdom’s third military force, the national guard, and as Mohammed bin Salman had taken control of the ministry of defence and the ministry of interior (after ousting his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef). It was only a matter of time before he would take the scalp of Mutaib and put all three of the kingdom’s armies under his personal control.

The National Guard recruits historically from the kindgom’s tribes. On Sunday the bank accounts of the tribal sheikhs involved in the army were frozen and prominent sheikhs have been banned from travel. They were mainly from the Motair and Otaiba tribes who had been loyal to the late King Abdullah. This was done to crack down on dissent.

We did not predict how brutally bin Salman would move against Mutaib. He and his brother Turki were arrested and charged with corruption. His arrest was signalled by websites close to the Royal Court, which printed initials and said the corruption was linked to military sales in his ministry. They created a special hashtag for the occasion which read: “Salman is confronting corruption”.

This committee is McCarthyite in its powers and scope. The first thing to note in the decree which set it up, is that it puts itself above and beyond the law

Al-Arabiya broke the news that first 10 and then 11 princes had been arrested, along with 38 top businessmen and former ministers.

In a style of government which is unique to the kingdom, the decision to carry out this purge appears to have preceded the announcement of the committee formed to make these arrests. This is how the young prince acts, a man who some Middle East experts persist in referring to as a Western-style reformer. He acts with total disregard to habeas corpus, due process and the rule of law. In his eyes, those arrested are guilty before they are proven guilty.

This committee is McCarthyite in its powers and scope. The first thing to note in the decree which set it up, is that it puts itself above and beyond the law. The decree states that the committee (which bin Salman chairs) is

“exempt from laws, regulations, instructions, orders and decisions while the committee shall perform the following tasks … the investigation issuance of arrest warrants, travel ban, disclosure and freezing of accounts and portfolios, tracking of funds, assets, and preventing their remittance or transfer by persons and entities whoever they might be. The committee has the right to take any precautionary measures it sees, until they are referred to the investigating authorities or judicial bodies.”

In other words, the prince can do anything he likes to anyone, seizing their assets in and outside the kingdom. Let’s just remind ourselves of what he now controls. The prince heads all three of Saudi Arabia’s armies; he heads Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company; he heads the committee in charge of all economic affairs which is just about to launch the biggest privatisation the kingdom has seen; and he now controls all of Saudi’s media chains.

If previous moves bin Salman took constituted a power grab, Saturday’s moves were a wealth grab

This was apparent from the list of businessmen arrested. ART, MBC and Rotana Media group dominate the Arab media. These Saudi media corporations account for most of what is put out on air in the Middle East, apart from the news output of Qatari-owned Al Jazeera.

Their respective owners, Saleh Kamel, Walid al-Ibrahim and Prince Waleed bin Talal are behind bars. Presumably too their wealth has been confiscated. Forbes prices bin Talal, chairman of the Kingdom Holding Corporation, at $18bn. He owns sizeable shares in numerous companies, including Newscorp, Citigroup, 21st Century Fox and Twitter. These shares too are under new management. The head of STC, the biggest mobile operator in Saudi, was also arrested.

If previous moves bin Salman took constituted a power grab, Saturday’s moves were a wealth grab.

Quite apart from the political dangers of stripping so many very rich Saudis of their wealth, this is a bizarre way to encourage foreigners to invest in the kingdom. BIn Salman’s actions on Saturday seemed to be designed to scare them all off.

The economy is in recession and foreign reserves are being depleted. Bin Salman has just seized the assets of the kingdom’s biggest businessmen and set up a committee that can seize assets at will at home or abroad. What would stop him doing the same to the assets of foreign investors who fell out with him?

The purge of other top oligarchs like Bakr bin Laden, who headed the top construction company in the country, will also have a knock-on effect in the rest of the economy. The bin Laden group employs thousands of sub-contractors. Purges and business do not mix, as bin Salman will soon find out.

Cracks in royal family

I am told by a reliable source that Prince Waleed bin Talal refused to invest in Neom, the mega city bin Salman announced would be built, and that was the reason why the crown prince removed his cousin. But bin Talal had also clashed with his cousin by calling openly for bin Nayef’s release from house arrest.

All branches of the royal family have been affected by this purge, and others that preceded it

The other point to note is that all branches of the royal family have been affected by this purge, and others that preceded it. Just look at the names of the princes who have been taken out  – bin Talal, bin Fahd, bin Nayef, bin Muqrin. The latter died in a plane crash, apparently trying to flee the country. These names tell you one thing – the cracks in the royal family go far and deep and extend to its very core.

Would all this have happened without another green light from Trump? He tweeted yesterday that he “would very much appreciate Saudi Arabia doing their IPO of Aramco with the New York Stock Exchange, important to the United States!” Trump also called King Salman, congratulating him for everything he did since coming to power. The moves follow Jared Kushner’s third visit to the kingdom this year.

If it was not apparent to one and all, it surely must be now. The capital of insecurity in the Middle East is Riyadh, and moves by a 32-year old prince to acquire absolute power are capable of destabilising neighbouring countries and removing their prime ministers. Worse, this prince appears to be encouraged by a US president who does not know what he is doing.

Wiser heads in Washington DC, like the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson or the Defence Secretary James Mattis must be tearing their hair out – or what is left of it. It would not surprise me to learn that Tillerson has had enough of trying to put out the fires that his president and his immediate entourage keep on igniting.

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Iran slams Saudi lies over Yemen missile strike

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By Adam Garrie Adam Garrie | The Duran 

Saudi Arabia and Donald Trump have both accused Iran of providing Yemen’s Houthi rebels with the missile that was launched at the Saudi capital Riyadh yesterday evening.

Saudi Arabia in particular, has accused Iran of supplying the Houthis with new missiles capable of longer distances than those previously thought to be in their possession.

However, Saudi’s accusation is inconsistent with the fact that Yemen is totally besieged from both land and sea.

Yemen is bordered by Saudi Arabia and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council Oman, a state which would never allow shipments of Iranian weapons to Houthis and could not easily do in any case as Oman borders areas of Yemen controlled either by the pro-Saudi Hadi government or by anti-Iranian al-Qaeda and ISIS fighters.

Yemen’s north-west maritime borders have been cut off from the world, including from crucial medical and food supplies by a Saudi naval blockade that has caused a man-made famine and a cholera epidemic.

If the UN cannot even get foodstuffs past the Saudi blockade, it goes without saying that Iran could not get ballistic missiles to Houthi controlled areas.

The Houthis themselves claimed that they modified their missiles to achieve longer ranges, a claim which Iran acknowledges as the most likely scenario in respect of yesterday’s launch. Others have stated that the launch was a Saudi false flag, but as the Houthis themselves took credit for the launch and with video emerging which appears to back up Houthi claims, the only remaining credible scenario is that the Houthi fighters were indeed able to modify their missiles to reach Riyadh.

In any case, it would appear that Saudi’s US made defensive missile systems shot the Houthi rocket down, although some reports on social media from the Arab world contradict this.

At the end of the day, the facts hardly matter to the spokesmen and leaders of Saudi, Israel and United States who have all accused Iran of having a direct hand in the missile launch.

The fact of the matter is that while Iranian sympathies and limited support are certainly with the Houthis, the blockade means that this support amounts to very little in terms of material support, including and especially military support.

The facts on the ground and more important on the sea, dictate that accusations of Iran meddling in Yemen are de-facto baseless.

Unlike Syria, in which militants could be supplied on virtually all sides from ISIS controlled Iraq to the large Turkish border as well as the borders with Jordan and Israel, Yemen’s Houthis are not in any such position to be so easily supplied.

The fact that many in the media have conspired to hide this patently obvious reality means that one either is not engaging in honest journalism or one is simply repeating mythical Saudi claims.

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UN finally blacklists Saudi Zio-Wahhabi-led coalition for killing children

Image result for yemen war photos

Is the UN being too soft by only applying sanctions to Saudi Zio-Wahhabi-led coalition for the killing of Yemenis? The UN has sanctioned war and occupation against countries like Iraq for far less than what the Saudis are doing in Yemen.

The world body said that the coalition had been responsible for 683 child casualties and 38 verified attacks on schools and hospitals in 2016. More than 12,000 people have died since the onset of the attacks, according to the latest tallies by the local monitoring group.

The annual blacklist, released by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday, said the actions of the Riyadh-led alliance in Yemen “objectively led to that party being listed for the killing and maiming of children.” Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan are part of the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi led coalition, which has been bombarding Yemen since early 2015 to restore its Riyadh-friendly government. In an apparent attempt to avoid Saudi Zio-Wahhabi anger, Guterres had already held talks with King Shalom before releasing the list, which does not subject those on the list to any UN action.

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Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen Scandalously Allowed by UN, West: Ex-UN Official

A former official at the United Nations and professor of international law slammed the UN and certain Western governments for their support for the Saudi regime’s war on Yemen that has led to a deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the impoverished country.

“The situation in Yemen has been scandalously allowed by the United Nations and the West generally to become a major humanitarian emergency where the realities of famine and disease are affecting the lives of millions,” Richard A. Falk said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.

The following is the full text of Interview:

Tasnim: What do you think about the ongoing human tragedy in Yemen caused by the Saudi blockades on the country’s ports and airspace? The Red Cross has warned that cholera, a diarrheal disease that has been eradicated in most developed countries, could infect a million people in Yemen by the end of the year, according to media reports. The outbreak “has reached colossal proportions,” said Robert Mardini, the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Near and Middle East director. Why have international organizations, particularly the UN, remained passive in the face of the ongoing Saudi atrocities?

Falk: The situation in Yemen has been scandalously allowed by the United Nations and the West generally to become a major humanitarian emergency where the realities of famine and disease are affecting the lives of millions. It is a moral and legal failure that is linked to the Saudi intervention, which has been permitted by the UN to continue for several years without any significant pushback. If we wonder why this is happening, the answer, as usual in such situations, is that the prevailing geopolitical forces in the region have treated the war in Yemen as a sectarian battleground, or more accurately, as an intervention designed to defeat the Houthi political challenge, which is regarded by Riyadh, supported by Israel and the United States, as endangering an extension of Iranian influence in a country situated geographically close to Saudi Arabia, and hence politically unacceptable regardless of the massive human suffering involved.

Tasnim: As you may know, airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition have killed mostly Yemeni civilians, including thousands of women and children. A recent report authored by several international aid agencies said Yemen suffered more airstrikes in the first half of this year than in the whole of 2016, increasing the number of civilian deaths and forcing more people to flee their homes. In your opinion, why has the Saudi regime decided to increase the airstrikes, hitting civilian targets?

Falk: I cannot usefully speculate about Saudi motivations, although in these cases of airstrikes against essentially civilian targets, the explanation tends to be connected with the inability to prevail in the conflict on the ground by legally acceptable conventional tactics, which rely on attacks directed to the extent possible at the military capabilities of an adversary. A secondary motivation in a conflict of this character is to depend almost solely on air power because it minimizes casualties on the aggressor side while maximizing them on the side of the society experiencing the intervention. Increasingly, when intervention takes place to alter an internal balance of forces it engages in a war against the people rather than risk challenging the military capabilities of the political actor that can best lay claim to representing the nation, and genuine nationalist tendencies, which is the situation in Yemen. From one perspective, it makes sense to direct military vengeance against the people of a society in these circumstances, because only by their demoralization can such intervention succeed. In this eventuality, the intervention has genocidal properties, seeking to kill and maim innocent civilians on an indiscriminate basis, or more accurately, as an unlawful and immoral target.

Tasnim: Newly-leaked emails written by two former top US officials have shown that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and defense minister Mohammed bin Salman “wants out” of the war he started in Yemen. The Saudi regime has reached none of its objectives in Yemen. In 2015, the kingdom had a record budget deficit of almost $100 billion, prompting it to rein in public spending in a bid to save money. Why is the regime continuing its attacks on the Arabian Peninsula country despite its failures and cash-strapped economy? What do you think about the future of the war?

Falk: Again, it is difficult to speculate on the current behavior of Saudi Arabia, and the main architect of the Yemen intervention, Saudi Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman, but undoubtedly, the frustration experienced by a failed and costly intervention is in tension with his humiliation that would follow from acknowledging the failure of this undertaking given the scale of the devastation, and suffering caused to Yemen, which even prior to the intervention and civil strife was known to be the poorest and most materially stressed country in the region. The Yemen policy has already done major damage to the international standing and reputation of Saudi Arabia, and its admission of failure would underscore this assessment. Countries often continue failed interventions long after they have become a lost cause because political leaders are persuaded by members of their political entourage at home that the war can still be won and that admitting defeat will be a serious and unacceptable political setback. In such situations, the political leadership of the intervening country searches long and hard for an exit strategy that will hide the reality of an adverse outcome of the struggle, which makes the destruction and loss of life seem to have been without purpose.

The United States continued the war in Vietnam (1962-1975) under similar conditions, realizing that it had been politically defeated, but continuing to cause much suffering to the population of Vietnam because it wanted above all to hide the reality of political defeat. These kinds of geopolitical interventions have increasingly failed when confronted by mobilized nationalist resistance as was the case in Vietnam. The situation in Yemen is complicated internally, but the Saudi intervention is the latest tragic example of geopolitics gone wrong and has contributed to the wider turmoil in the Middle East. This turmoil is itself the legacy of a century of colonial and hegemonic ambition, with Britain and France acting as colonial powers between 1918 and 1945 or so and the United States, and to some extent, the Soviet Union gradually displacing the European powers during the Cold War. Since the end of the Cold War, the Middle East has been a major battleground in the struggle to continue Western hegemony, as well as to satisfy Israeli regional ambitions. This effort has focused on containing the spread of Iranian and Russian influence. The peoples of the region have paid and are paying a terrible price in bloodshed and repressive governments for such an undertaking to reestablish hegemonic control over the Middle East by a toxic combination of external intervention and internal collaboration. This latter collaboration closely connects the United States’ global hegemonic goals with the regional policies of Saudi Arabia and Israel.

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In blocking arms to Yemen, Saudi Zio-Wahhabi squeezes a starving population

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In blocking arms to Yemen, Saudi Arabia squeezes a starving population

A FAMISHED NATION: A mother holds her undernourished four-year-old daughter at al-Sabeen hospital in Sanaa, Yemen, in April. The country is on the brink of famine, says the United Nations. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah.

Saudi Arabia and its allies want to cut off the flow of weapons to Houthi fighters in Yemen. But with cholera spreading and famine looming, essential supplies are not getting through either.

DJIBOUTI – Late last year, the Kota Nazar, a Singaporean ship with 636 containers of steel, paper, medicine and other goods, set sail to Hodeida, the largest cargo port in war-torn Yemen.

It never got there. Like dozens of other ships carrying food and supplies to Yemen over the past 30 months, the Kota Nazar was stopped by a Saudi Arabian warship blocking Yemen’s ports on the Red Sea.

Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have been stationing naval forces in and around Yemeni waters since 2015. Western governments approved the show of military force as a way to stop arms reaching Houthi fighters trying to overthrow Yemen’s internationally recognized government.

The de facto blockade is exacting a dire humanitarian toll. The Saudi-led coalition’s ships are preventing essential supplies from entering Yemen, even in cases where vessels are carrying no weapons, according to previously unreported port records, a confidential United Nations report and interviews with humanitarian agencies and shipping lines.

A U.N. system set up in May 2016 to ease delivery of commercial goods through the blockade has failed to ensure the Yemeni people get the supplies they need.

The result is the effective isolation of Yemen, a nation of 28 million people where a quarter of the population is starving, according to the United Nations. The war has claimed 10,000 lives. Half a million children under the age of five are severely malnourished, and at least 2,135 people, most of them children, have died of cholera in the past six months.

Aid agencies have ramped up their deliveries of food to some parts of Yemen this year. But Yemen imports more than 85 percent of its food and medicine, and commercial shipments have plunged. In the first eight months of this year, only 21 container ships sailed to Hodeida, according to port data compiled by the U.N. World Food Programme and Reuters. By comparison, 54 container ships delivered twice the volume of goods in the same period last year. Before the war, 129 container ships reached the port in the first eight months of 2014.

Food and medicine are being choked off. No commercial shipment of pharmaceuticals has made its way to Hodeida since a Saudi-led airstrike destroyed the port’s industrial cranes in August 2015, according to the administrator of the port, which is under Houthi control. In at least one case this year, a blocked commercial shipment contained humanitarian aid as well.

Representatives of the Houthi movement could not be reached for comment.

Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, the Saudi ambassador to the U.N., denied last week that the coalition was blocking commercial shipments of food, medicine and fuel. Mouallimi said Yemen was receiving humanitarian aid.

“I can assure you that no shipment of humanitarian aid is being prevented from reaching Yemen by the coalition or for that matter by the Yemeni government. We have given clearance to all such requests for docking by any ship that carries humanitarian aid to the people of Yemen.

“We are the largest contributor of aid to the people of Yemen so it doesn’t make sense for us to, on the one hand, be providing that aid and, on the other hand, be blocking it somewhere else.”

In the cases of the Kota Nazar and 12 other ships examined in detail by Reuters, the Saudi-led blockade turned away or severely delayed vessels carrying aid and commercial goods before they reached Yemeni ports even though the United Nations had cleared the cargo and there were no arms aboard. Seven of those vessels were carrying medicine and food in addition to other supplies.

Aid shipments are caught in the net. One of the seven vessels was carrying antibiotics, surgical equipment and medication for cholera and malaria for 300,000 people. The shipment was held up for three months, during which $20,000 worth of medicine was damaged or expired, according to U.K.-based aid group Save the Children.

In July, four oil tankers carrying 71,000 tonnes of fuel, equivalent to 10 percent of Yemen’s monthly fuel needs, were denied entry. Two were allowed in after five weeks, port records show.

In a report published last month, Human Rights Watch said that the Saudi-led coalition “arbitrarily diverted or delayed” seven fuel tankers headed to Houthi-controlled ports between May and September this year. In one case, a vessel was held in a Saudi port for more than five months, the group said.

Early this summer, Yemen’s internationally recognized government notified the United Nations that it had closed a rebel-held oil port due to its “illegal status” and “damage to the marine environment.”

The government is also diverting all vessels carrying cement and iron to the Yemeni port of Aden, which is under its control, according to the U.N.

As a result of the blockade, there have been no commercial flights to Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, since last summer. And two of the world’s biggest container shipping lines — Swiss-based MSC and Singapore-based PIL — stopped sailing to Houthi-held ports in early 2017, because of the delays and dangers involved. PIL has not yet resumed services.

“If we end the war, we will end the starvation.”

David Beasely, World Food Programme’s executive director

In a confidential report submitted to the Security Council in April, U.N. investigators detailed many of the delays ships have faced getting through the blockade. In one case, a shipping company’s vessels waited 396 days to dock at Hodeida, incurring $5.5 million in fuel and refrigeration costs. The U.N. report also said that the coalition of Saudi Arabia and its allies takes an average of 10 days to grant vessels permission to dock at Hodeida even when the vessels are not delayed.

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which oversees the U.N.’s clearance system, disputed the World Food Programme’s and Reuters’ count of container cargo delivered to Hodeida port.

In a statement to Reuters, UNOPS said its system, called the U.N. Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM), has cleared vessels to deliver nearly 10 million tonnes of food, fuel and general cargo to Yemen over the past 16 months. UNOPS did not provide evidence for the figure. It also did not specify how many of the ships it cleared were later stopped, delayed or rerouted by the Saudi-led coalition. UNOPS also said that events that transpire in international waters are beyond its remit.

“UNVIM has contributed to meeting the challenges of the current humanitarian crisis as much as possible by making basic commodities available in the Yemeni market,” the U.N. said in a statement.

In at least two private correspondences with U.N. member states and aid agencies this year, UNVIM officials voiced frustration that the Saudi-led coalition stopped or delayed vessels they had cleared. One internal UNVIM report from March said the coalition had delayed six vessels, which were later granted access “after continuous liaison and effort.”

The Saudi coalition isn’t the sole reason for the plunge in imports to Yemen. Foreign banks have cut credit lines to businesses because of concerns about being repaid and difficulties with processing transactions. The Yemeni central bank’s activities have been paralyzed over a tussle between the internationally recognized government and the Houthi fighters.

It is difficult to assess precisely the cumulative commercial and humanitarian effects of the blockade on Yemen. Many parts of the country are inaccessible to relief groups and reporters. Yet the U.N. has warned for more than two years that Yemen is a step away from famine. The World Food Programme estimates that the number of people needing aid has risen to 20 million this year, or more than two-thirds of the population, compared with 17 million in 2016.

Yemen is starving because it is a battleground in a political struggle in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudi Arabia and its allies entered the war in Yemen to counter Houthi fighters, a Shi’ite group backed by Iran.

Western nations, at odds with Tehran over its nuclear program, supported the Saudi-led intervention by helping coordinate airstrikes and refueling Saudi warplanes. The U.N. Security Council effectively supported Riyadh by imposing an arms embargo on the Houthi fighters; it said Yemen-bound vessels could be inspected if there were “reasonable grounds” to suspect they were carrying arms.

KEEPING WATCH: A Saudi border guard on patrol in the Red Sea on Saudi Arabia’s maritime border with Yemen in April 2015. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Riyadh has never formally drawn a line beyond which ships are not allowed to sail. It has not published a list of goods and materials covered by its restrictions. But it says it has the right “to take all appropriate measures to counter the threats” from Iran-backed rebels. A senior official with Iran’s foreign ministry denied allegations that his country provides financial and military support for Houthis in Yemen.

“Yemen is a catastrophic case. It is the man-made conflict that is driving hunger and driving the conditions for famine. Simple as that,” said David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme. “If we end the war, we will end the starvation.”

Some in the United States are beginning to criticize the blockade. Republican Senator Todd Young of Indiana, a member of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations, said Saudi Arabia might be violating humanitarian laws because it has impeded the flow of needed goods to Yemen.

“I do not suggest that the Saudis share all of the blame for this,” he said, referring to the nine countries in the Saudi-led coalition. “But they share a significant portion of it.”

EARLY WARNINGS

International aid groups grew concerned about the effects of the Saudi blockade in early 2015, shortly after the Saudi-led coalition, which includes the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Senegal, entered Yemen’s civil war. Container shipments to Hodeida in 2015 fell to about 40 percent of their pre-war volume.

That summer, the U.N. issued the first of its many warnings that famine was possible in Yemen. Behind the scenes, the U.N. tried to convince Riyadh and its allies to let it inspect ships.

In early September 2015, the U.N. said it had reached a deal with the Yemeni government and the coalition to set up an inspection system that would facilitate the passage of goods to Yemen. The system, UNVIM, would be headquartered in Djibouti, the U.N. said. It took eight more months to secure the $8 million it needed to start operations.

When UNVIM was started in May 2016, its stated goal was “to restore trust among the shipping community” that there would be no unexpected and costly delays to shipments headed for Yemen.

Since then, all commercial vessels sailing to Yemen’s Houthi-held ports have had to submit an application to the U.N., complete with their cargo manifests and lists of their last ports of call. The U.N. reviews the applications and checks if the vessels have called at suspect ports or have turned off their transponders for more than a few hours – a common trick of smugglers seeking to avoid tracking. Occasionally, UNVIM’s contractors inspect the vessels.

UNVIM does not verify or inspect aid shipments unless they are mingled with commercial goods. Vessels fully chartered by aid agencies go through a different process: They directly obtain sailing rights from Riyadh. Nonetheless, a significant proportion of aid must make its way to Yemen aboard commercial vessels.

In the last 16 months, UNVIM has processed 685 clearances and granted vessels the right to sail to Houthi-held ports about 80 percent of the time. These vessels delivered nearly 5 million tonnes of food, 2 million tonnes of fuel and 2.5 million tonnes of general cargo, the U.N. told Reuters.

But even after the U.N. grants clearances, all commercial ships have to get approval from a Saudi-managed warship stationed 61 km west of Hodeida port.

This has proven difficult. Because the vessels are anchored in international waters, UNVIM can only coordinate with regional parties, including the coalition, to facilitate vessels’ access to the ports, the U.N. said in its statement. The rest of the process is up to local port authorities, it said.

SUSPICIONS

The Kota Nazar, for example, had obtained U.N. clearance to sail to Hodeida in late December. But naval officers from the Saudi warship stopped and boarded it.

The officers suspected that the ship carried concealed Iranian arms destined for the Houthi fighters. They ordered the Kota Nazar back to Djibouti, its previous stop. There, the vessel’s crew offloaded 62 containers the coalition deemed suspicious, allowing the ship to set sail again for Hodeida in January.

Then the Saudi-led coalition insisted on another inspection. Three days later, the U.N. ordered the vessel to sail to Jizan, Saudi Arabia. In Jizan, local authorities and two U.N. inspectors offloaded every container aboard the vessel and X-rayed them. They held back 27 containers with cargo they said could be used in the Yemeni military conflict. The contents included bullet-cartridge belts, as well as iron pipes, welding electrodes, motorcycle parts and other manufactured goods.

In Djibouti, U.N. and local officials searched the containers the ship had left behind. They found rolled steel in nearly half of the containers and printing paper in others. Two containers carried refrigerated medicine that came from one of Iran’s biggest cargo ports, Bandar Abbas.

The inspectors also found traces of high-grade explosives in one container of printing paper that came from Jakarta, Indonesia, according to U.N. officials in Yemen. However, the search did not turn up any explosives.

Experts say false positives are common during routine inspections for explosives. PIL, the Singapore-based shipping line that owns the Kota Nazar, said it does not discuss commercial operations.

In the end, the Kota Nazar could not obtain clearance to sail to Hodeida. It sailed instead to Aden, a southern port under the government’s control. Aid and commercial cargo that land in Aden must cross hundreds of checkpoints on the road north to Houthi-held regions, a dangerous and expensive journey.

After that incident, PIL cancelled all future voyages to Hodeida and other Houthi-held ports in the Red Sea.

Other shipments have been blocked, although they contained no arms. Earlier this year, the coalition turned back four cranes the United States donated to the World Food Programme to boost aid operations at Hodeida port. The cranes would have replaced parts of the port’s infrastructure destroyed by coalition airstrikes in August 2015.

In January, the WFP sent the cranes on a ship to Hodeida. But the Saudi-led coalition revoked the clearance it had issued earlier that month and blocked the vessel. The ship waited at sea for 10 days before eventually sailing back to Dubai, where the cranes remain.

The WFP says the coalition did not provide a clear reason for turning back the cranes.

In April, a coalition spokesman told the BBC the cranes were blocked “because we don’t want to continue to enhance the capabilities of the Houthis to generate money and to smuggle” weapons.

In August, Saudi Arabia’s mission to the United Nations said it would install cranes at three ports under the internationally recognized government’s control, citing Yemen’s “deteriorating humanitarian situation.”

Last week, Mouallimi, the Saudi ambassador to the U.N., said Saudi Arabia had offered equipment to increase the capacity of Yemeni ports other than Hodeida, saying that the Houthis used revenue from Hodeida to buy arms rather than fight cholera.

Mouallimi was speaking after the U.N. this month blacklisted the Saudi-led military coalition for killing and injuring 683 children in Yemen and attacking dozens of schools and hospitals in 2016. The blacklist also named the Houthi movement, Yemen government forces, pro-government militia and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula for violations against children in 2016.

The world’s second-biggest container shipping line, Swiss-based MSC, has also faced challenges with its journeys. One of MSC’s vessels, the Himanshi, was delayed for two months in summer 2016 when it attempted to sail to Hodeida, according to the WFP and the unpublished U.N. report. The Himanshi was carrying 722 containers of goods, of which 93 held food and other aid cargo.

The coalition held back the vessel in the Red Sea for 13 days until the U.N. directed it to the King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia. Inspectors there found fireworks in a few containers, according to the U.N. report. The coalition never clarified the grounds for the inspection, and the vessel didn’t reach Hodeida until early September.

“A lot of the cargo we carry in this region has a limited shelf life. For example, foodstuffs and chilled or frozen food,” an MSC spokesperson said.

“MSC continues to closely monitor the ease of access to the port of Hodeida, which has been inadequately served in recent months due to lengthy and sometimes unpredictable delays from cargo inspections.”

MSC stopped sailing to the Red Sea ports for eight months this year. It said in August that it was resuming services to Hodeida at the request of customers, including U.N. agencies and private importers.

Civilians continue to feel the blockade’s chokehold.

Ali Shoui, a 38-year-old father of four, said he fled from a rebel-held northern province when he could not feed his children. The price of a bag of flour doubled after the blockade, he said, and pharmacies ran out of stock. Doctors who worked at the nearby hospital left because they had not been paid for a year. Fuel merchants stopped supplying the area after they were targeted by airstrikes.

“People are no longer able to buy food,” Shoui said. “The situation is really terrifying.”

Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Ankara and Michelle Nichols in New York

Posted in Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on In blocking arms to Yemen, Saudi Zio-Wahhabi squeezes a starving population

Congress, End America’s Role In Saudi Arabia’s War On Yemen

NOVANEWS

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By Lawrence Wilkerson and Gareth Porter

October 12, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  The Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen is a tragedy of epic proportions in which the United States is deeply and directly involved.  The war has caused mass starvation and a cholera epidemic that is worse than any the world has witnessed in the past 50 years, with the latest estimate of Yemeni victims at well over half a million.

This horrific situation is the result of Saudi/UAE bombing of roads, hospitals, bridges, water and sewage facilities, and the main port of Hodeida combined with a Saudi/UAE naval and air blockade that prevents large-scale humanitarian assistance from reaching the Yemeni war victims.

The Saudi/UAE coalition could not execute the war without U.S. direct involvement — specifically the refueling of their planes carrying out the bombing — and the further assistance of providing bombs and targeting intelligence.

Even apart from the need to halt this growing humanitarian disaster, Congress has a Constitutional obligation to deal with U.S. participation in this war. Flatly stated, U.S. participation is illegal.

When President Barack Obama ordered U.S. involvement, the Saudi-led war was not covered by the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) issued by Congress in the wake of 9/11.  The Houthis and the forces of former Yemeni president Saleh against whom the Saudi coalition is engaged are not affiliated with al Qaeda or any other entity associated with the 9/11 terror attacks.  

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That is why a bipartisan group of House members — Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.)—have introduced H. Con. Res. 81, giving Congress an opportunity to end U.S. support. The resolution instructs the president to withdraw U.S. military personnel from the war — except the U.S. military elements that are strictly aimed at al-Qaeda elements in Yemen.

Even if House members are indifferent to the fact that Congress did not authorize U.S. support for the war, they should take account of the fact that such support has increased the security threat to all Americans.  The Saudi-led war in Yemen, enabled by U.S. support, has strengthened America’s most dangerous enemies in the Middle East — al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials have regarded AQAP as even more of a foreign terrorist threat to the United States than ISIS.  It mounted efforts to bring down U.S. airlines three times between 2009 and 2012, and nearly succeeded twice.  But the Saudi/UAE war in Yemen has made them the most powerful indigenous armed group in southern Yemen, with more money, arms and territorial control than ever before. The Saudi-led coalition and the forces of the Saudi backed former regime have allied openly with AQAP and even fought alongside them.  As a result of the war AQAP is now poised for the first time to compete for national power In Yemen.

The war is also increasing anti-American sentiment in Yemen.  As Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has pointed out, Yemenis believe the war is being waged by the U.S., not by the Saudi/UAE coalition, which they view as a U.S. proxy. “(W)e are helping to radicalize the Yemeni population against the United States,” Murphy warns.

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Some Members of Congress refuse to support H. Con. Res. 81 because they accept the official rationale for U.S. involvement in the war created by the Obama administration. They argue that the United States has no choice but to support the Saudi-led war because it is necessary to oppose an expansionist Iran. But it is widely recognized that the Houthis are not Iranian proxies; they pursue their own interests and strategy.  

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Before the war began, in fact, U.S. intelligence learned that Iran had advised the Houthis against seizing power by force in Sanaa in 2014 but the Houthis ignored the advice and had instead responded to encouragement from their erstwhile foe, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.  

The Obama administration promoted the idea that Iran had been supplying arms to the Houthis by sea for years before the war started.  But that argument was based on old recycled claims by the Yemeni government that were contradicted by the publicly available evidence.  After seizing power in 2014, the Houthis did obtain a bonanza of arms, but it wasn’t from Iran; it was from U.S.-supplied arms held by the Yemeni Army units still loyal to Saleh.

Although some Iranian arms have certainly reached Yemen, a careful assessment by a UN panel of experts on Yemen in January 2017 was unable to confirm “any direct large-scale supply of arms” from Iran to the Houthis.  And whatever Iranian arms that were supplied were not the cause of the Saudi/UAE attack on Yemen; they were a response to the beginning of the Saudi air assault.  

U.S. fealty to Saudi Arabia has worsened the chaos and suffering sweeping across the Middle East. It’s time to break with such destabilizing policies that threaten fundamental U.S. security interests.  By passing H. Con. Res. 81 the House of Representatives can reduce threats to U.S. security, assert the power of Congress to authorize U.S. participation in wars of choice and end the infliction of massive starvation and cholera on the Yemeni population.

Posted in USA, Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on Congress, End America’s Role In Saudi Arabia’s War On Yemen

Yemen war ‘unconstitutional,’ says trio of US lawmakers

NOVANEWS
Yemen war ‘unconstitutional,’ says trio of US lawmakers
A group of Congressmen from both major parties is hoping to force a vote over Washington’s involvement in Yemen, with a resolution invoking the War Powers Act to force the US to stop aiding the Saudi-led coalition in its bombing campaign.

Three members of the US House of Representatives tried to illustrate the horrors of the Yemen conflict by comparing it to a hypothetical war affecting the US state of Washington ‒ with a population of 7.3 million ‒ “on the brink of starvation, with the port city of Seattle under a naval and aerial blockade, leaving it unable to receive and distribute countless tons of food and aid that is waiting offshore.”

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FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a building destroyed in Yemen's southwestern city of Taiz. © Anees Mahyoub

“This nightmare scenario is akin to the obscene reality occurring in the Middle East’s poorest country, Yemen, at the hand of the region’s richest, Saudi Arabia, with unyielding support from the US military that Congress has not authorized and therefore violates the Constitution,” wrote Representatives Ro Khanna (D-California), Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) and Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) in a New York Times op-ed Tuesday.

In March 2015, the Obama administration began aiding the coalition led by Saudi Arabia in its war against the Houthis, a rebel group that took control of Yemen’s capital Sanaa. Since then, Washington has supported the coalition’s military campaign in Yemen, by providing the Saudis with logistical support, intelligence and ammunition used in airstrikes.

This has led to the deaths of over 10,000 civilians and has plunged much of Yemen into a humanitarian crisis.

The three lawmakers teamed up with colleague Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) to introduce House Resolution 81, invoking the War Powers Act to guarantee a full House vote to withdraw US armed forces from the unauthorized war.

“We believe that the American people, if presented with the facts of this conflict, will oppose the use of their tax dollars to bomb and starve civilians,” the three representatives wrote.

Several more lawmakers have expressed support for the proposal as well.

Good morning. Good news on the Yemen debate in Congress. (1/x)

5 more Members of Congress are backing the bill to end US involvement in ‘s  War. ().

Here’s who they are:

Under the 1973 law, any proposed Congressional resolution regarding an unauthorized use of force is considered a priority, meaning that the foreign affairs committee must report on it within fifteen days and a vote must be held within three days thereafter.

“It will sit with the Foreign Affairs Committee for 15 calendar days and will then be discharged for consideration by the full House. At that point, any member of Congress can call the resolution up for a debate and floor vote,” Kate Khizer, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Yemen Peace Project told The Intercept.

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