Archive | Yemen

Arms Trade Treaty Falling Down in Yemen

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Two years after the UN Arms Trade Treaty entered into force, many of the governments which championed the treaty are failing to uphold it, especially when it comes to the conflict in Yemen.

“In terms of implementation, the big disappointment is Yemen,” Anna Macdonald, Director of Control Arms, a civil society organisation dedicated to the treaty, told IPS.

“The big disappointment is the countries that were in the forefront of calling for the treaty — and indeed who still champion it as a great achievement in international disarmament and security — are now prepared to violate it by persisting in their arms sales to Saudi Arabia,” she added.

The Saudi-led international coalition has been responsible for thousands of civilian deaths in Yemen, and Saudi Arabia is known to have violated humanitarian law by bombing civilian targets, including hospitals.

The conflict in Yemen — the poorest country in the Middle East — has displaced over 3 million people since it began in March 2015 according to the UN.

However, many countries, including the United Kingdom, United States and France, that have signed up to the Arms Trade Treaty continue to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, despite this violating their commitments under the treaty.

Currently, 90 UN member states are parties to the treaty, which Macdonald says is a relatively high number for such a new and complex treaty, but the goal remains universalisation, she adds. The treaty entered into force on 24 December 2014. However while the U.K. and France have ratified the treaty, the U.S. has only signed the treaty.

Parties to the treaty are obligated to ensure that weapons they sell will not be used to violate international humanitarian law, commit genocide or commit crimes against humanity.

The U.K.’s sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia has been the subject of intense debate in British parliament.

Saudi authorities recently confirmed that they have used UK-made cluster munitions in Yemen.

“Evidence of cluster munition use has been available for almost a year, but the U.K. has ignored and disputed it, trusting instead in the Saudi-led coalition’s denials,” said Macdonald.

“The UK is continuing to ignore the vast amount of information of violations of human rights and the laws of war in Yemen, (recent developments) make even plainer how unfeasible such a position is.”

The UK which sold the weapons to Saudi Arabia in 1989 has since signed up to the Cluster Munitions Convention, which prohibits the sale of cluster munitions because of their indiscriminate nature, Macdonald added.

Meanwhile, recent reports suggest the United States is curtailing at least some of its arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

“The U.S. has said it will halt the sale of precision-guided aerial bombs to Saudi Arabia because they have seen “systemic, endemic problems with Saudi Arabia’s targeting” that the U.S. says has led to high numbers of civilian casualties in Yemen,” said Macdonald.

However, she noted that it is hard to know what effect this will have on policies under the incoming Trump Republican administration.

According to research published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) the world’s top three arms exporters are the United States, Russia and China.

India, Saudi Arabia and China are the world’s top three arms importers.

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PETITION TO STOP THE UK SUPPORTING SAUDI ARABIA AGAINST THE YEMENI PEOPLE

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The United Kingdom has been supporting Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime politically and militarily for a longtime. In fact, just in recent years, the UK has sold more than £2,800,000,000 (yes thats 2.8 billion) worth of military equipment to the Wahhabi family. What does Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime do with those weapons? It launches a war against a poorly equipped and oppressed Yemen, which has no way of defending itself.

In the Summer of 2016, the United Nations acknowledged that 10,000 people had been killed in the war on Yemen and in late October the UN Security Council was told that more than 21 million Yemenis — 80 percent of the population — are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. “Over 2 million people are malnourished nationwide, including 370,000 children who are severely malnourished,” it was said. That is an increase of 65 percent compared to the year before the conflict began.

Yemen: Jews arrested for International OrganTrafficking ring ‘ www.shoah.org.uk’

But truth is not yet dead. There are still voices willing to speak up in denunciation of tyranny, falsehood, manipulation and war capitalism.

A petition was launched in the UK this December so that 2017 would not be spent under the miasmas of unaccountability.

We at AIM request that everyone do their utmost to stand for the oppressed in Yemen and partake in this petition to put pressure on the UK government to cease their arms sales and support of the despotic Saudi regime.

The petition is available by clicking here . 

Please sign the petition and spread the word.

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British cluster bombs used in Saudi Arabia’s Yemen campaign, research finds

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RT 

Despite strenuous denials, UK-made cluster bombs are indeed being used by Britain’s theocratic ally Saudi Arabia in its war on impoverished Yemen, according to the government’s own inquiries.

The new details have emerged through a leak to the Guardian from sources which claim that internal investigations support claims in the media that the outlawed munitions are in use.

The source said that the findings had been known by the government for up to a month.

However, the paper has also been told that Saudi Arabia – a major UK ally and one of its top arms customers – has not confirmed itself that the banned munitions are being used.

The revelations seem set to pile even more pressure on the UK to stop selling arms to the authoritarian regime.

The UK is a signatory to the 2010 treaty banning cluster munitions, which drop many tiny bomblets from the main device and can create what is in effect a minefield.

A senior defense source told the Guardian that the issue had been “raised at the highest possible levels and we have been trying to establish definitively for some time [if cluster bombs have been used].”

The “highest levels” are said in this case to include Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.

In statement Monday after a spokesman for the military said: “The Government takes such allegations very seriously.

“We have analysed the case carefully using all available information, considering all possibilities, and raised the issue with the Saudi-led coalition.”

The UK has also been involved in training Saudi forces in air warfare skills and artillery, it emerged in 2016. Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel are also embedded in Saudi operations headquarters.

It was reported in April that courses were being run by RAF officers as recently as 2015 on ‘international targeting’ over three separate three-week blocks.

This included training on the Storm Shadow missile, which is launched from aircraft to destroy enemy bunkers.

Gunnery instruction on targeting and locating enemy gun batteries was also carried out by a seven-strong detachment of personnel from the Royal Artillery.

The artillery team delivered 52 hours of training to Saudi gunners and included a senior major, a captain, a sergeant major and a sergeant.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the course had been delivered to “a mixed group of soldiers and officers” from the Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) field artillery.

The military said its personnel were not involved in “carrying out strikes, directing or conducting operations in Yemen or selecting targets, and are not involved in the Saudi targeting decision-making process.”

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New U.S. Troops Arrive in Yemen while Saudis Kill 13 more Civilians

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Yemen

A report says more American military forces have arrived in Yemen’s port city of Aden to join the contingent of U.S. troops allegedly fighting al-Qaeda militants in the country’s south.

Yemen’s al-Masirah television channel published footage showing American troops arriving in Aden.

The report further said the new batch is apparently linked to the U.S. troops already deployed in al-Anad Airbase and other Yemeni areas, adding that the deployment is aimed at reinforcing the U.S. forces claiming to be fighting al-Qaeda terrorists.

The TV report added the development reveals the true intention of the U.S.-backed Saudi aggression against Yemen, which is to gain dominance over the Arabian Peninsula state and loot its wealth.

The deployment of U.S. troops to Yemen, the report said, shows Washington is pursuing its own interests in the war-torn country and seeks to expand its military presence there.

The Pentagon has been providing logistics and surveillance support to Saudi Arabia in its military aggression against Yemen, the kingdom’s impoverished southern neighbor, which has killed at least 11,400 civilians since its onset in March 2015, according to a latest tally by a Yemeni monitoring group.

In the latest development, Yemeni security and medical officials say at least 13 civilians have been killed by a Saudi-led military coalition air raid in a western port city.

The officials told the Associated Press on Monday that airstrikes hit two homes in rural areas north-east of Hodeida.

Among the victims are women and children, according to a medical official in al-Thawra hospital.

The airstrikes, which took place on Saturday, also destroyed telecommunications towers. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to speak to the press.

Yemen’s army and fighters of the popular committees have carried out retaliatory attacks against military positions on the Saudi territory amid the kingdom’s ongoing airstrikes.

According to Yemen’s al-Masirah news website, the Yemeni forces fired artillery shells at a Saudi army base in the southwestern region of Asir.

The Yemeni forces also launched mortar attacks against Saudi military positions in the southwestern province of Najran.

Yemeni snipers killed seven Saudi soldiers in Asir and the province of Jizan.

Meanwhile, the head of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council warned Saudi Arabia and the U.S. that the country’s forces are determined to reclaim its soil, one step at a time.

Saleh Ali al-Sammad made the remarks in a Facebook post, saying, sooner or later, Yemen will defeat all those who violate its sovereignty under whatever pretext.

“Yemen will take back its soil from Al Saud and its American masters,” he said.

Sammad was referring to the controversially close alliance between Riyadh and Washington, which has seen the latter generously arming the former during its unbridled bombing of Yemen and even lending advisory support to the bombardment.

The U.S. approved more than $20 billion in military sales to the kingdom in 2015 alone.

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Justifying the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Slaughter in Yemen

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By Gareth Porter 

The Obama administration has carried out a deliberately deceptive campaign accusing Iran of covertly sending arms to the Houthis by sea, a claim that Washington cites to help justify the Saudi massive air attack against the Houthis that began last year.

By repeating the accusation over and over, the administration has been largely successful in turning a dubious allegation into accepted fact, even though it is contradicted by evidence that is well-documented on the public record.

Secretary of State John Kerry introduced the new variant of the Obama administration’s familiar theme about Iran’s “nefarious activities” in the region two weeks after Saudi Arabia began its bombing in Yemen on March 26, 2015. Kerry told the PBS NewsHour, “There are obviously supplies that have been coming from Iran,” citing “a number of flights every single week that have been flying in.Kerry vowed that the United States was “not going to stand by while the region is destabilized.”

Later, the administration began accusing Iran of using fishing boats to smuggle arms to the Houthis. The campaign unfolded in a series of four interceptions of small fishing boats or dhows in or near the Arabian Sea from September 2015 through March 2016. The four interceptions had two things in common: the boats did have illicit weapons alright, but the crews always said the ship was bound for Somalia – not Yemen and the Houthis.

But instead of acknowledging the obvious fact that the weapons were not related to the Iran-Houthi relationship, a U.S. military spokesman put out a statement in all four cases citing a U.S. “assessment” that the ultimate destination of the arms was Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen.

The choice of wording was significant. The intelligence community says that it “assesses” that something is true only when it does not have clear-cut proof on the matter. In the case of the alleged Iranian use of fishing dhows to smuggle arms to the Houthis, the U.S. spokesmen did not cite a single piece of evidence for that “assessment” in any of the four cases. In fact, when asked for some justification for it, the military spokesman refused.

The first fishing dhow was intercepted in the Arabian Sea on Sept. 25, 2015, by a member of a 31-nation coalition called the Combined Maritime Forces patrolling the Arabian Sea and nearby waters for piracy. The coalition ship found the dhow to be carrying 18 Konkurs anti-tank missiles, 71 other anti-tank shells and 54 missile-launchers.

Blaming Iran

The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet later issued a statement that said, “Based on statements from the dhow’s crew the port of origin of the dhow and its illicit weapons cache is believed to be Iran.” It also said the anti-tank missiles were thought to be of Iranian and Russian origin, and that the papers on the ship had indicated that it had been checked by ports and customs officials in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province.

But the crew of the vessel had said that it was bound not for Yemen but for Somalia, as the spokesman for the U.S. Fifth Fleet acknowledged to The Associated Press. A Saudi military spokesman suggested that Iran intended to reroute the arms later from Somalia to Yemen, but offered no evidence.

On Feb. 27, 2016, an Australian ship intercepted a second fishing dhow off the coast of Oman. The Australians found 1,989 AK-47 assault rifles, 100 rocket-propelled grenades and 40 PKM machine guns on board. The Australian Defense Force issued an official statement on the seizure that did not mention Iranian involvement. It said the boat appeared to be “stateless” and that its cache of weapons was “destined for Somalia.” The Australian Defense Force spokesman explained to CNN that the conclusion was based on interviews with crew members.

But a spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces, Central Command, Lt. Ian McConnaughey gave an entirely different political slant to the interception. In an e-mail to NBC News, McConnaughey said. “Based on the dhow’s course, Iran is believed to be its port of origin and the source of the illicit weapon,” he said. McConnaughey said the crew was “assessed” to be Iranian – implying that the crew itself had not indicated that.

McConnaughey acknowledged to NBC and The Telegraph, “According to coalition forces it is believed that the vessel’s destination was in the vicinity of Somalia.” But the CENTCOM spokesman indicated that it didn’t matter; the U.S. was insisting on its narrative about covert Iranian arms to the Houthis.

“[T]he initial U.S. assessment is the weapons’ final destination was likely to be the Houthis in Yemen,”  McConnaaughey told NBC and The Telegraph.

When this writer asked McConnaughey by e-mail why the U.S. “assessed” that the weapons were intended for Yemen, despite the evidence to the contrary, he responded, “We are not going to discuss the intelligence and other information that led us to our assessment.”

A Third Shipment

On March 20, a French navy destroyer intercepted a third fishing dhow off the Island of Socotra in the northern Indian Ocean and found several hundred AK-47 assault rifles, machine guns and antitank weapons. The official statement on the seizure from the Combined Maritime Forces stated categorically, “The dhow was spotted heading toward Somalia.” map-yemen

And because the weapons were “deemed to be destined for Somalia,” it explained, they “were seized under the United Nations Security Council mandated arms embargo in accordance with UNSCR 2244(2015).” That Security Council resolution mandates an embargo on Eritrea.

Australia and other states participating in the Combined Maritime Forces were thus challenging the U.S. propaganda line. But again the U.S. military used the news media to reinforce the line about Iran smuggling arms to the Houthis. Commander Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the Fifth Fleet, told CNN that “according to a U.S. assessment,” Yemen was the “likely destination” of the arms.

A fourth interception – the third in three weeks – occurred on March 28 by a U.S. Navy ship that was not operating as part of Combined Maritime Forces but directly under U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. That allowed the Naval Forces Central Command to issue its own news story on April 4.

In its lead paragraph, the report said the United States “assessed” that the shipment of illicit arms on board the dhow “originated in Iran and was likely bound for Houthi insurgents in Yemen.”

An Earlier Ruse

The Obama administration also had sought to promote the charge that Iran was covertly sending weapons to the Houthis by sea more than two years earlier. In January 2013, the Yemen client government backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia had claimed that its forces had intercepted a ship with a large cargo of weaponry that came from Iran and was on its way to Yemen to deliver them to the Houthis.

The Obama administration supported that charge in briefings to journalists. After the Saudi air war against Yemen began in 2015, the U.S. pushed for a report by an experts group on sanctions against Iran that would give the charge credibility.

But the 2013 claim was soon exposed as a ruse. A Security Council Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea revealed in a June 2013 report that the crewmembers had told diplomats who interviewed them that ship’s cargo of diesel fuel was bound for Somalia, not Yemen. And, since the weapons were hidden under the diesel fuel tanks, the weapons could be accessed only after those tanks had been emptied, in other words after the ship docked in Somalia.

The monitoring group learned from authorities in the Puntland region of Somalia, where most of the smuggled weapons have entered the country, that this was a widely used method of smuggling arms into the country.

Furthermore, the monitoring group determined that the wide range of types of weapons on board the ship, which was intercepted in January 2013, as well as of their original sources indicated that the weapons cache had been assembled by arms merchants. Authorities in Puntland provided data to the monitoring group showing that most of the shipments of weapons into Puntland in the months before January 2013 had come from politically well-connected arms merchants in Yemen.

Some of the fishing boats that were intercepted with illicit arms on board in 2015-16 had Iranian owners. But the monitoring group report reveals that the real reason is the role of such Iranian fishing vessels in illegal fishing in Somali waters. The vast majority of the hundreds of fishing vessels involved in such illegal fishing networks were either Iranian or Yemeni. As many as 300 were believed to be Yemeni-owned, while Iranian-owned 180 of them.

The monitoring group said it was investigating unconfirmed reports that some of those illegal fishing vessels were also being used to carry out arms smuggling and that it had established “other connections between the illegal fishing networks and networks involved in the arms trade and connected to al-Shabaab in northeastern Somalia.”

But the Obama administration has no interest in the considerable evidence gathered by the monitoring group that provides a more credible explanation for the arms found on those four fishing dhows.

Such an explanation isn’t political useful, whereas the accusations of Iranian smuggling of arms to the Houthis fulfilled multiple political and bureaucratic interests, justifying Saudi Arabia’s bloody U.S.-backed air campaign over Yemen and endless Washington alarms about “Iranian aggression.”

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Notorious Bahraini judge appointed to investigate alleged war crimes in Yemen

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Zionist king  ‘shoah.org.uk’
By Alistair Sloan 

The army officer assigned to investigate alleged Saudi war crimes in Yemen played a key role in the 2011 crackdown on Arab Spring protesters in Bahrain, MEMO can reveal. In the wake of the start of the ongoing 2011 uprising, Bahrain’s military lawyer Colonel Mansour Al-Mansour presided over the First Instance Court of National Safety, a tribunal set up to process the trial and prosecution of hundreds of peaceful protesters and human rights and pro-democracy activists after they took to the streets calling for urgent reform of the tiny Gulf monarchy.

Al-Mansour now acts as legal adviser to the Joint Incident Assessments Team (JIAT), the body set up by the Saudi-led coalition to investigate bombings against civilian targets. He is playing a key role in assessing whether human rights violations have taken place.

Amongst Al-Mansour’s notorious convictions are the so-called “Bahraini Thirteen”, a group of activists, journalists and politicians who alleged torture, including sexual assault and beatings, during their detention. Several media and foreign human rights monitors were barred from observing their trial, the conduct of which drew strong criticism from the United Nations, European Union, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Religious leader Mirza Al-Mahroos, who was convicted by Al-Mansour to fifteen years in prison, said that he was “unable to stand due to the severity of what had happened to me.” This was a reference to the alleged daily torture and beatings during his pre-trial detention; on one occasion, he claimed that an interrogator stuffed shoes into his mouth. “I could not look at [the judges] because of the beatings on my eyes,” he recalled. Al-Mansour, he complained, had failed to respond to complaints of torture when raised.

According to Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, the Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, Al-Mansour sentenced protesters vindictively on behalf of the Bahraini regime. “Rather than being held accountable,” he told MEMO, “Al-Mansour has been promoted to whitewash the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. His story is a clear marker of the descent of Bahrain and the Gulf further into dictatorship and authoritarianism.”

Others convicted by Al-Mansour include Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, a human rights activist and co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, as well as the academic and writer Abduljalil Al-Singace, who was arrested initially on his return from Britain where he attended an event in the House of Lords in parliament in August 2010. Al-Singace was detained for six months before being released at the height of the protests, re-arrested, then sentenced by Al-Mansour to life imprisonment. Both men continue to serve their sentences and have been on several hunger-strikes in protest at their incarceration.

Human Rights Watch called the conduct of the trials “unfair”, characterised by “serious due process violations.” The organisation’s official report concluded that “serious abuses included denying defendants the right to counsel and to present a defence, and failure to investigate credible allegations of torture and ill-treatment during interrogation.” Those on trial included health workers, with one nurse convicted of “destroying moveable property in furtherance of a terrorist purpose” because she allegedly stepped on a photo of the prime minister.

Al-Mansour has since specialised in humanitarian law and attended training sessions from the Bahraini Red Crescent Society and the International Committee for the Red Cross, as well as advising his country’s Shura (Consultative) Council in March, on whether to adopt the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. This includes bans on dangerous unexploded ordinance, incendiary devices and other bombs “deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects.” Before the council approved the accession, Al-Mansour reassured legislators that the convention would not apply to the use of weapons within the kingdom.

The convention is actually a watered-down version of the international treaty on “cluster bombs”; Bahrain currently refuses to sign this. Instead, the government in Manama calls for “explosive ordnance that has been primed, fused, armed or otherwise prepared for use and used in an armed conflict” to be cleared from civilian areas after being dropped, rather than banned outright. The legislation clarifies that such ordinance may have been “fired, dropped, launched or projected, and should have exploded but failed to do so.”

Opting for this diluted version of a cluster bomb ban over an outright prohibition preferred by other countries, the Saudi-led coalition has since been accused of using such munitions in Yemen. This is highly controversial because the “bomblets” often fail to explode.

As concerns have mounted internationally about alleged war crimes committed by the coalition air forces in Yemen, Al-Mansour has played a prominent role in playing down the allegations to local, regional and international media. He appeared in media briefings conducted in Riyadh while wearing civilian clothing.

In August, Al-Mansour claimed that a Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital hit by coalition air strikes had been used as a base by Houthi militias. MSF refuted the story, saying that the tented clinic had been set up in an empty field in a residential neighbourhood where many internally displaced people had gathered, noting there had been no air strike, nor any fighting in the area, for several months. The GPS coordinates of the MSF medical facilities had also been shared with the Saudis on the morning of the attack. All six of the incidents investigated by JIAT found no wrong-doing on the part of the coalition. MSF has since been forced to withdraw from Yemen after several incidents of a similar nature in which, again, there was found to be no coalition wrong-doing.

JIAT has since admitted that a recent coalition attack on a funeral, which Houthi rebels claim killed eighty-two Yemenis and the UN says could have killed up to a hundred and forty, was the result of a commander who failed to obtain permission from his seniors for the strike. “Naturally, these people must be confronted about what led to this mistake,” Al-Mansour said. “They have the right to defend themselves, but if it becomes clear that legal measures should be taken, the coalition forces are concerned with that.” This, remember, is the man assigned to investigate allegations of war crimes in the same country by the same Saudi-led coalition.

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The Tragedy in Yemen

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Image result for YEMEN WAR CARTOON
By Derek Royden | CounterPunch 

Imagine if the Islamic Republic of Iran, complaining that its regional rival Saudi Arabia was meddling in a neighbor’s politics for sectarian reasons, led a coalition to invade that country. As a result, after 18 months, at least 10,000 civilians had been killed or wounded, more than half the country’s people needed food aid and three million people had been displaced.

Sanctions would be leveled. Pundits would write agonized essays comparing the country to Nazi Germany. Sabers would be rattled. War would likely follow. However, when these roles are reversed and the Saudis and their Gulf allies are the aggressors, it’s a different story.

Why the double standard? Because the US is allied to the Saudi royals and the US was evicted from Iran. When a friend commits a war crime, excuses are made.

The numbers above are estimates made by the UN for the ongoing conflict in Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia with significant help from the United States and Great Britain. The stated purpose of the intervention in the country is to fight Houthi forces from the north who are allied with former President Saleh.

The Houthis, most of whom are followers of the Zaidi branch of Shia Islam, took the country’s capital Sanaa on September 21st, 2014, forcing then-President Mansur Al-Hadi to flee, first to Aden and then on to Saudi Arabia. The argument made by the Saudis and their coalition partners, that the Houthis are Iranian proxies, is dubious at best but it’s being spread in western media as flat-out fact, allowing governments to turn a blind eye to the tragedy unfolding in the country.

Besides intelligence and targeting assistance provided to the Saudis in Yemen, since 2010 the US has sold $60 billion in arms to the country, an absolute monarchy with one of the worst human rights records in the world. Human rights groups have concluded that these weapons, including cluster munitions banned in most countries, have been used indiscriminately against civilian targets including markets, schools and hospitals.

Finally, after a year and a half of this, some in the US Congress found the political will to take a stand on this carnage. A bipartisan resolution in the US Senate co-sponsored by Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) was crafted to block a new deal supplying the Kingdom with a further $1.15 billion in arms. Although having the vote at all showed some progress on this issue, it was defeated by a vote of 71-27 on September 21st.

The American people have a moral responsibility to contact their representatives and demand they vote to end their government’s support of the illegal intervention in the poorest country in the Middle East. Those who don’t care about the country’s suffering need to remember it’s also an issue of national security as both Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Yemen’s newly established ISIS affiliate are growing in the chaos, something that should worry the whole world.

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How Britain’s “Party of War” Gave the Green Light to the Saudi Attack on Yemen

British Labor Leader Corbyn: “ISIS Created by UK and US”

This week’s Yemen vote demonstrates something apparent since the vote to invade Iraq: the party of war holds a majority in the Commons

Last month, Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected as Labour leader. It was his second victory by an overwhelming majority in a year, and it should have given Corbyn uncontested authority.

Yet he is still regarded with mutinous contempt by a significant proportion of his own side. They flatly refuse to accept Corbyn’s leadership.

I have reported politics from Westminster for almost 25 years and can recall few more shocking parliamentary events

This became clear on Wednesday night, when more than 100 Labour MPs failed to support a three-line whip on British policy towards the Yemen. It was disloyalty on an epic scale.

Corbyn cannot be faulted for calling a debate on Yemen. For the past 18 months, Britain has been complicit with mass murder as our Saudi allies have bombarded Yemen from the air, slaughtering thousands of innocent people as well as helping fuel a humanitarian calamity.

Corbyn clearly felt that it was his duty as leader of a responsible and moral opposition to challenge this policy. He nevertheless bent over backwards to make sure that the Yemen vote was uncontroversial. The Labour motion therefore stopped short of calling for the suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia which has been demanded by many charities and campaign groups.

This is because Corbyn and his foreign affairs spokeswoman Emily Thornberry were mindful that some Labour MPs represented constituencies where local jobs depended on the arms industry. So they contented themselves with demanding an independent United Nations inquiry into crimes committed by all sides – not just the Saudis – in this terrible and bloody conflict. They reasonably suggested that Britain should suspend support for the Saudis until this investigation was completed.

Green light to Saudi

This is the position taken by the bulk of the international community, by all reputable aid agencies and, as far as I can tell, by almost all ordinary Yemenis. In her excellent speech on Wednesday afternoon, Thornberry set out the reasons why the Saudis could no longer be trusted to investigate their own affairs.

But for Labour abstainers and absentees, Corbyn’s motion would have been carried and parliament would have voted for an independent investigation

Yet more than 100 Labour MPs – not far short of half the Labour Party – defied Corbyn. As a result, Labour’s call for an independent inquiry was defeated by 283 votes to just 193, a majority of 90. But for Labour abstainers and absentees, Corbyn’s motion would have been carried and parliament would have voted for an independent investigation.

The vote is bound to be interpreted by Saudi King Salman as a vote of confidence in his deeply controversial assault on the Yemen.

It will also lift pressure on the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as he resists a growing international clamour for Britain to throw its weight behind an independent UN investigation.

To sum up, on Wednesday night, the British parliament sent the green light to Saudi Arabia and its allies to carry on bombing, maiming and killing. I have reported politics from Westminster for almost 25 years and can recall few more shocking parliamentary events.

Party of War

Shocking – but not surprising. The Yemen vote demonstrates something that has been apparent ever since the vote on 18  March 2003 to support the invasion of Iraq: the party of war holds a majority in the Commons.

It comprises virtually all of the Conservative Party and the Blairite wing of Labour. As Nafeez Ahmed wrote in July, there is a clear and demonstrable connection between the vote for war in Iraq, opposition to an Iraq inquiry, support for the calamitous intervention in Libya, and opposition to Jeremy Corbyn.

For the past 15 years, parliament has been governed by a cross-party consensus in favour of war

Ahmed showed the majority of those who tried to unseat Corbyn last summer were interventionist. Some 172 supported the motion of no confidence in Corbyn’s leadership. By coincidence or not, exactly the same number of MPs have supported Britain’s calamitous overseas wars.

Now let’s look at the Labour MPs who put a smile on the faces of King Salman and Boris Johnson by defying Corbyn’s three-line whip and abstaining in Wednesday night’s vote: once again we are at least partly talking about a confederacy of Blairites.

It turns out that Ann Clywd, who made such a sparkling speech in favour of war during the 2003 Iraq debate, has abstained over Corbyn’s call for an independent investigation of Yememi war crimes. So have John Spellar, Gloria de Piero, Fiona MacTaggart, Barry Sheerman, Angela Eagle, Liz Kendall, Luciana Berger, Lucy Powell, Mike Gapes, Stephen Kinnock, Tristram Hunt, Margaret Hodge etc etc.

Even Keith Vaz, who was born in Aden and makes a big deal of his Yemeni antecedents, defied Labour’s three-line whip and abstained.

It is important to highlight the fact that some of the most prominent opponents of Jeremy Corbyn did traipse through the division lobbies with their leader on Wednesday night. Alan Johnson, Hilary Benn and Yvette Cooper are just three examples. And, of course, the majority of those who abstained on Wednesday were not in parliament for the Iraq vote in 2003.

The Neocons and the unforgiven

Nevertheless there is a telling pattern here. For the past 15 years, parliament has been governed by a cross-party consensus in favour of war. During that period, Britain has undertaken three major foreign interventions, each one of them utterly disastrous. In each one, military success was swiftly followed by political and, ultimately, state failure.

Despite the hard-won experience of 15 years, there is still a parliamentary majority in favour of intervention.

There is an intimate connection between politicians who style themselves as moderate and neoconservative policies overseas

Very few parliamentarians opposed all these interventions. Jeremy Corbyn was among them and he has never been forgiven for it.

This brings me to the final paradox of Wednesday night’s vote: the intimate connection between politicians who style themselves as moderate or occupying the centre ground in Britain and neoconservative policies overseas.

For the past 20 years, the so-called “modernisers”, whether Blair’s Labour or Cameron’s Conservatives, have been in charge at Westminster. As has been well-documented (not least by Labour’s Jon Cruddas), they have hollowed out British politics through techniques of spin and electoral manipulation.

It is these same modernisers who have caused havoc in the Middle East, condemning the region to bloodshed and war. They were at it again on Wednesday by sending a signal to the Saudi dictatorship that it was acceptable to carry out its murderous policies in the Yemen. Thirteen years after Iraq, neoconservatism still rules.

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The war in Yemen

NOVANEWS

yemen

 

 

 

 

 

For the past 18 months Yemen has been subjected to a horrific bombing campaign. Officially in charge of the campaign is the government of Saudi Arabia whose excuse is its desire to defend the interests of what it says is Yemen’s proper government, i.e., the US-approved government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi which was ousted from most of the country, including the capital Sana’a, by the long-standing Houthi led insurrection which in turn is now supported by, and supports, Saleh, the president that the insurrection had earlier overthrown. The combined forces of the Houthis and President Saleh, enjoying overwhelming popular support, were easily able to overwhelm the Hadi puppet government which Saudi Arabia is so keen to restore, but whose supporters are now confined to the south of the country around Aden, which is also rife with Al-Qaeda. Behind Saudi Arabia, however, lie the imperialist governments of the US and the UK who see the bombing of Yemen into the stone age as the best way of defending the interests of the energy multinationals with oil interests who call the US and the UK their homes.

This bombing campaign, so little publicised in the imperialist media, is utterly shocking for the sheer extent of the shameless and overt commission of war crimes against the civilian population of Yemen, which even slightly embarrasses the imperialist puppet masters. Saudi targets regularly include hospitals, schools and factories catering to purely civilian needs, such as the production of bottled water and even coca cola, as well as the seemingly inevitable wedding party. In addition the countryside is being continuously peppered with cluster bombs which, besides harming innocent civilians with the deadly ordinance they spray, also plant ‘duds’ which don’t explode immediately but amount effectively to land mines that will detonate perhaps many weeks or months later when disturbed by children playing or a farmer tending his crops.

Cluster bombs, incidentally, because of the devastating effects they can have on civilian communities, have been declared illegal by over 100 countries and yet “The US and other countries have also sold internationally banned cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners. And those cluster bombs are being used in Yemen.” But then, conveniently, ” Neither the United States, nor Saudi Arabia – nor any other member of the coalition bombing Yemen – is party to the 2008 international treaty banning cluster munitions .” (Sharif Abdel Kouddous, ‘With US Help, Saudi Arabia Is Obliterating Yemen’ Global Research, December 03, 2015)

The effect of the bombing has been horrendous:

“Travelling through Yemen’s northern Houthi-controlled cities and towns offers a panorama of the vicious aerial assault. Homes, schools, mosques, retail stores, restaurants, marketplaces, government offices, gas stations, power plants, telecommunications facilities, factories, bridges, roads, and UNESCO World Heritage sites have all been hit.

“Some of the airstrikes display a high degree of precision. On the road north toward Saada, all four bridges – none of them spanning more than 20 yards in length – were struck directly in the centre, causing them to buckle and rendering them impassable. The lack of any visible missile craters nearby indicates they were hit with pinpoint accuracy in a single strike.

“Asiri, the coalition spokesman, brushed off criticism that the coalition has targeted civilian infrastructure. ‘Please don’t be too naive, we are in a war,’ he said. ‘We are talking about military operations, we are not talking about a soccer game’” (Sharif Abdel Kouddous, op.cit.)

Thus it is clear that in the view of the ‘coalition’, i.e., the supporters of Hadi, it is justifiable to commit war crimes in times of war, as it is ” naïve” to imagine that a war can be won in any other way! This is course is true of any war that is waged against the interests and wishes of the overwhelming majority of the population, as is the case with the present war in Yemen. Yet, ironically, the resort to war crimes is the surest indication that the aggressors are losing.

On 20 August the Saudis bombed a demonstration in support of the Yemeni government that Saudi Arabia opposes. This demonstration attracted hundreds of thousands of Yemeni civilians in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a, giving lie to Saudi Arabia’s claim to be backing Yemen’s ‘real’ government. The imperialist press reported a crowd of 100,000. Pictures of the demonstration (see front page) indicate numbers far in excess of that.

What is the cause of this vicious assault on a defenceless country?

These days, when seeking the cause of wars conducted by or on behalf of imperialism, it is more often than not a question of ‘Cherchez l’essence’, i.e., look for the oil. What imperialism likes to call its ‘oil security interests’ lie behind most of the present devastation of the Middle East, the largest source of the world’s oil and of its distribution facilities, be they pipelines or sea routes. The imperialist energy multinationals cannot sleep soundly at night if they don’t feel that all of these are under imperialism’s firm control. Yet the more imperialism seeks to tighten that control, the more it gives rise to resistance from the people living in the areas affected.

Saudi Arabia is a parasitic country living almost exclusively on its very substantial oil revenues. Its government survives only with imperialist backing, and has generally been more than happy to serve imperialism in every possible way, even if some contradictions have arisen in recent times over the conduct of the war against the people of Syria. There are indications, however, that Saudi oil reserves may be beginning to run low, while Yemen would appear to have substantial untapped stocks. Interesting revelations have been made by a US researcher:

Why does Saudi Arabia continue to bomb Yemen back into the Stone Age? The crux of the matter is that Yemen has oil reserves, while Riyadh is steadily running out of the commodity, American political analyst Phil Butler explains …

‘Running out of the last of the nation’s only saleable resource, the Saudi royalty have put their country into a mess, the potential for revolution there being acute, should the people discover the real predicament. This is why we see an “all in” Saudi aggressive stance, on Syria, with Iran, and especially where Yemen is concerned. While Washington think tank evangelists try and play the tensions off as Sunni-Shiite religious friction, new oil reserves are the truth of these matters,’ Butler writes.

“To illustrate his point, the analyst refers to the 2013 Offshore-mag.com report entitled ‘Saudi Arabia dramatically increases rig count, accelerates offshore development.’

“‘Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi, said that the kingdom would not increase production capacity beyond 12.5 MMb/d for the next 30 years in contrast to earlier calls to increase output to 15 MMb/d to meet global demand. Simultaneously, however, Saudi Arabia has massively increased the total number of drilling rigs in recent months; this year, the total number of rigs is set to hit a record of 170, nearly double the 88 rigs in October 2012,’ the report stated adding that Riyadh was also exploring and developing ‘more costly offshore fields.’

“If Riyadh was not planning to increase its production capacity, why did it rush to install new rigs, especially offshore ones, which are 7 times more costly to run, Butler asks. The analyst believes that Saudi Arabia has been lying for decades about its actual oil capacity.

“To stay on top, Riyadh has to maintain control over oil reserves beyond its borders, particularly in Yemen. The Western establishment is assisting Saudi Arabia, and with ‘reason’: in November 2005 the Republic of Yemen expropriated its oil basins – the Marib Al-Jawf Block – from Hunt Oil Company and ExxonMobil affiliates.

“‘And big oil hates countries taking back their resources,’ Butler remarks.

“The analyst points to the fact that the Obama administration has long been aware of Yemen’s substantial gas capacity. He quotes Ambassador Stephen A. Seche’s 2008 secret cable , published by Wikileaks, which reads ‘that the governorates of Shabwa, Marib and al-Jawf have high potential for significant gas deposits.’

“As for oil, according to the detailed 2002 United States Geological Survey (USGS), Yemen possesses vast offshore oil reservoirs in addition to its 3 billion barrels of proved oil reserves, the analyst under-scores.” (‘Riyadh’s dirty secret: Saudi Arabia thirsty for Yemeni oil, gas reserves’, Sputnik, 6 April 2016).

While these arguments are, of course, merely speculative at present, they are very persuasive, especially when one considers the huge amount of expenditure that waging these wars represents. Although the cost to the victims is far greater, the cost to the Saudi aggressors, on to whom the imperialists heap the expense, is also staggering.

Cost of the war

According to Global Research (op.cit.), In November, the State Department approved a $1.29 billion deal to replenish Saudi Arabia’s air force arsenal, depleted by its bombing campaign in Yemen. The sale includes thousands of air-to-ground munitions such as laser-guided bombs, bunker buster bombs and ‘general purpose’ bombs with guidance systems.

“Saudi Arabia has been one of the US arms industry’s most avid customers. Between October 2010 and October 2014, the US signed off on more than $90 billion in weapons deals with the Saudi government, according to the Congressional Research Service. US arms manufacturers have also sold billions of dollars’ worth of material to the other Gulf states that are participating in the bombing of Yemen, including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

“The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the latest acquisition will ‘enable Saudi Arabia to meet regional threats and safeguard the world’s largest oil reserves’.”

British arms manufacturers are also coining it at the expense of Saudi Arabia (not to mention the well-being of the people of Yemen!): according to The Independent, new figures released by the Government show that British bomb and missile exports to Saudi Arabia have increased by 11,000 per cent from £9 million to £1 billion over three months last year ” (Jon Stone, ‘David Cameron accused of silently taking Britain into Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen’, 20 January 2016).

In fact, according to Diane Abbott writing in The Independent of 9 June this year, ”UK arms companies made £2.8bn in revenues in the first year alone” out of their provisioning of Saudi Arabia for the purposes of its war of annihilation against Yemen (see ‘The Government has finally admitted we’re at war in Yemen – thanks to our relationship with Saudi Arabia’).

As for the financial cost of the war to Yemen, according to a Reuters report of 6 May quoting confidential joint report by the World Bank, United Nations, Islamic Development Bank and European Union, the Saudi-backed war in Yemen, already one of the poorest countries in the world with its pre-conflict per capita GDP standing at a mere $1,097 a year, cost the country $14 billion in its first 14 months.

This is the price that imperialism imposes on the oppressed countries of the world. What have the ‘socialist’ supporters of the renewal of the Trident missile system because of the need to protect the jobs of skilled British workers have to say about that? Must the jobs of our skilled British bomb makers, to say nothing of the profits of our flourishing British arms manufacturers, also be so tenderly safeguarded at the expense of the suffering of millions of people around the world?

Direct imperialist military involvement

However, it should not be imagined that the military aspect of the campaign against Yemen has been left to Saudi Arabia alone. There is a great deal of military technology, for a start, that even the imperialist profiteers have kept back from countries such as Saudi Arabia, in part to protect Israel and in part because of fears that it might end up in the hands of fundamentalists prepared to use it against imperialism. For that military technology to be deployed, therefore, US military personnel must also participate in the war. As a result “The US has been a party to the conflict since the first months of the fighting. In June 2015, a US military spokesperson stated that the US was helping the coalition with ‘intelligence support and intelligence sharing, targeting assistance, advisory support, and logistical support, to include aerial refueling with up to two tanker sorties a day.’” (Human Rights Watch, ‘Saudi Coalition Airstrikes Target Civilian Factories in Yemen’, 11 July 2016).

Global Research (op.cit.) adds: “As of Nov. 20, US tankers had flown 489 refueling sorties to top off the tanks of coalition warplanes 2,554 times, according to numbers provided to GlobalPost by the Defense Department”.

But again, US imperialism is joined by its British counterparts, eagerly prepared to ‘do their bit’:

Jon Stone, (op.cit.) cites Angus Robertson, SNP leader at Westminster, saying during Prime Minister’s Questions: ” Thousands of civilians have been killed in Yemen, including a large number by the Saudi air force and they’ve done that using British-built planes, with pilots who are trained by British instructors, dropping British-made bombs, who are coordinated by the Saudis in the presence of British military advisors .”

British-made ordinance has regularly been found among the ruins of several civilian targets in Yemen, making a total mockery of Cameron’s response to Angus Robertson which was: ” But yes – do we provide advice, help and training in order to make sure that countries actually do obey the norms of humanitarian law? Yes we do.” (cited by Jon Stone, op.cit.). Cameron, of course, was merely echoing the US imperialist excuse made in March 2016 and cited by Human Rights Watch (op.cit.):“The things we are doing, providing intelligence and precision guided munitions, those are things that prevent civilian casualties,” despite the fact that Human Rights Watch has found remnants of US laser-guided or satellite-guided munitions at sites involving civilian casualties.

Could any further proof be needed of the malign, corrupt, dangerous and toxic nature of imperialism? How is it possible for the vast masses of humanity to tolerate the continued existence of this vile system that exists only for the benefit of the 0.1 per cent?

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The Sana’a Massacre. America’s War on Yemen

NOVANEWS
Yemen

It is a perverse irony that as video war games move into 3-D reality on our computer screens, the real war games that are playing with people’s lives around the world become one-dimensional, presented in black and white packaging without proper context.

So it is that the recent atrocity committed with extreme malice against Yemeni civilians in their capital Sana’a with bombs dropped by Saudi war-planes had to vie for attention in the Western media alongside the deaths of similar numbers of Haitians struck at random by Hurricane Matthew.

The vital context missing from the reports on the Sana’a massacre – which said that at least 140 people were killed and over 500 hundred injured by four bombs dropped minutes apart – was any explanation, not of who was responsible, but of why they would do something so unbelievably barbaric.

There was never any question of who was responsible for the attack, because video of the burning building following the first strike recorded the next bomb-drop as well as the roar of the war-plane that dropped it. (There have been a number of dreadful car-bomb attacks on mosques in Sana’a before, so this might otherwise have been a possibility)

In the hours after the strike, the Saudis first refused to acknowledge responsibility – a preposterous claim which only confirmed not just their responsibility but their malicious intent – on which more shortly. Their guilt and that of their partners was further emphasized by a short-lived threat from the US to suspend arms shipments to Saudi Arabia.

And on this threat we must suspend disbelief!

The US is not just some sleeping partner in the Saudi coalition, or in the ongoing war to reinstall the illegitimate Saudi-supported exile ‘government’ of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Indeed, given the overwhelming US military presence in Yemen’s region, including the centre for East African operations in Djibouti, we might conclude that this is really just another US coalition – operating under the Saudi ‘flag of convenience’. Not only are the Saudi planes supplied and presumably maintained by the US, but all the missiles and bombs – cluster bombs and bunker busters and who knows what else – have been supplied by the US, and even re-supplied during the course of the war on Yemen. In addition to that is the ‘assistance with targeting’ provided by US and UK personnel both on the ground in the Saudi peninsula and through multiple surveillance platforms.

This interdependency between the US and the Saudis can hardly be concealed, yet its true nature cannot be admitted. Even more taboo is the evident close cooperation between the Saudis and Israel, who have recently found shared interests in Syria and a common enemy in Iran.

Given these links it was impossible to believe the US would really ‘review its cooperation’ with the ‘Saudi Coalition’ – or should have been. But no matter – within days of the review the US found a reason to renew arms supplies to fight the Houthis when missiles were fired at the USS Mason in the Red Sea from Yemen. Or this is what they said.

Some astute observations were made by the ‘Off-Guardian’, suggesting not only that Houthi forces were extremely unlikely to have been responsible for the missile attack, but that the US ‘response’ – launching cruise missiles at ‘Houthi Radar installations’- was actually the intended action for which the ‘Houthi missile attack’ was the necessary pretext. As they also observed, the atrocity just committed against Yemenis in Sana’a was a rare opportunity to turn international sympathy in their direction, and they would have been unlikely to squander it with a useless provocation against a US navy vessel.

At about the same time as this direct entry into the Yemen conflict by the US, the results of an internal Saudi enquiry into the funeral bombing were released, finding that the strike was ‘not authorised’ and ‘based on false information from a Yemeni army source’. It is hard to get your head around the double-think and mendacity of these claims, and it was clearly beyond the mental capacity of some mainstream Western media reporters.

This was despite these media having themselves revealed the true motive behind the Saudi’s murderous attack. In its first report on the bombing, Australia’s SBS news showed the footage mentioned above of the airstrike with its giveaway sound track, but also and rather unusually speculated on a possible motive for the attack, showing a list of names of a dozen military chiefs and government members killed in the airstrike. The funeral was for a respected tribal leader and so the attendance of these important figures in the Ansarullah government was to be expected.

Victims of Saudi strike 984f4

The problem for SBS was that the Saudis’ ‘false information’ was exactly what SBS had shown to be true only a few days earlier – that top figures in the Houthi military leadership were present at the funeral as claimed by their source, and the strike – a perfect opportunity to ‘decapitate’ the new Yemeni government – was quite clearly not ‘un-authorised’.

But SBS baulked at this chance to finally start reporting news instead of just passing on US/NATO propaganda about the ‘Iranian-backed Houthi rebels’ fighting a ‘civil war’ against the ‘internationally-recognised’ Mansour Hadi government.

Perhaps it had no choice, after passing on a carefully woven but completely false narrative about Yemen for the last five years. No regular listener to SBS, or any other Western media station could have much idea that of all the countries upset by the contrived ‘Arab Spring’, Yemen’s ‘revolution’ remained the most genuine and the most promising for her people. And as such was as threatening as Syria to the agenda and interests of the US-UK-Saudi coalition that has been trying to destroy it.

Most of those hapless followers of the Western MSM would have no idea that Yemen has a functioning government based in the capital Sana’a and supported by the vast majority of Yemenis, and that the ‘internationally recognized’ government is not actually recognized by Yemenis because they had no part in electing it.

Yemen has a functioning government based in the capital Sana’a and supported by the vast majority of Yemenis.

Just before the Saudi-led bombing campaign began in March 2015, talks on a ‘power-sharing agreement’ between the Houthis, former President Saleh’s faction and the now-exiled leaders finally collapsed, with the resignation of the UN mediator Jamal Benomar.  Hadi – who was never elected but merely appointed following the ousting of Saleh – was long past his mandate, but his Saudi backers refused to concede to the Houthis.

There have been periodic breaks in the bombing campaign, with UN-mediated talks on a ‘peace agreement’, but which never go anywhere. As with other asymmetric conflicts in the region – notably in Palestine and Syria – the ‘peace’ sought by the aggressors is one where the victims are asked to put down their weapons and concede defeat, submitting to the ‘international community’s’ choice of leadership and political alignment.

The most recent talks to solve Yemen’s political crisis, which finally involved representatives from Ansarullah and Ali Abdullah Saleh’s group, took place in Kuwait in August – and failed. Following this failure, Yemeni leaders decided to declare a formal alliance and government. Close observers of the Western MSM would have seen video of the rally which followed this declaration, and may have been impressed by its size – an estimated million-plus Yemenis came out to celebrate, despite the risk of a Saudi attack. And warning of something worse to come, an airstrike nearby after the leaders’ speeches sent people running from the rally and demonstrated the Saudis’ anger at the Yemenis’ defiance.

There have been daily developments following the ‘internationally’ sponsored atrocity of last week’s Sana’a ‘decapitation’, but one failed to make the news from SBS Australia – an update on the death toll. Thanks to the absence of proper hospital facilities in the dire conditions caused by the ‘internationally’ assisted blockade of Yemen, many of those seriously injured have now died.

A report from Yemen, relayed here by Vanessa Beeley, states that:

Yesterday, the under secretary of the Public Health Ministry in Yemen told journalist and Middle East commentator, Marwa Osman, the death toll had risen to 458 and hundreds more injured.  In an interview with RT, Osman went on to describe, 213 bodies were reported as charred, burned beyond recognition, 67 bodies were completely dismembered and 187 bodies torn apart by shrapnel.  The brutality of this attack is evident from the horrific photos that appeared on social media very quickly after the event, as Yemenis were reeling from the scale of the massacre.

Presumably there will be some people in Riyadh, Washington and London, who will be saying ‘the price was worth it’ – even though it cost them nothing. That price was paid by Yemenis, who may have little money but for whom life and independence is priceless.

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