The Evil within—The truth we dare not see about Saudi Arabia

The Evil within: The truth we dare not see about Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen

Russia-Today
An air strike hits a military site controlled by the Houthi group in Yemen's capital Sanaa May 12, 2015. (Reuters / Khaled Abdullah)

An air strike hits a military site controlled by the Houthi group in Yemen’s capital Sanaa May 12, 2015. (Reuters / Khaled Abdullah)

On the 70th anniversary of the fall of Nazi Germany, fascism is far from dead. As Yemen bleeds under Saudi Arabia’s grand war, it is really the annihilation of one people we are seeing play out – the Zaidis of Yemen.

If Saudi Arabia, a regional super-power strong with its trillions of petrodollars, has ruled unchallenged over the Middle East and to an extent over the Islamic world, it has done so at the expense of people’s freedom and prosperity. Yemen, more than any other country in the region has suffered under its powerful and rich tyrant of a neighbor.

Coerced into assuming the role of a passive vassal, Yemen was prevented from rising to its true potential through a clever network of bribery, religious sponsoring and social engineering. Ever since this poorest nation of South Arabia attempted to break away from the shackles of tyranny back in 1962, Riyadh has preyed on Yemen, sabotaging and manipulating, invading its lands and eroding its institutions, all to the tune of a disruptive and perverse game of tribalism with sectarian undertones.

The overlord of Arabia, the Kingdom is responsible for much, if not all of the unrest we have seen play out in the region.

But back to Yemen!

Yemen has always been a thorn in Al Saud’s thigh, a threat to its hegemonic ambitions.

As professed by Ibn Saud (the patriarch of the house of Saud) all those decades ago – left unchecked Yemen would spell the end of Saudi Arabia as the region’s hegemon. One might argue that this one warning actually shaped Riyadh’s policy towards Yemen, feeding its paranoia over this most unruly and now poorest nation in the peninsula.

Ravaged by pandemic corruption, insecurity, political instability, social injustices and an over-bearing, ever-spreading sense of despair, Yemen has become but a shell of its former self, an institutional husk with no social cohesion left to hold it together.

But if Yemen has become what it is today, it is by Saudi design. Yemen’s demise, its very unraveling has been engineered by Saudi Arabia ever since 1994 when then-King Fahd bin Abdulaziz propped a loose coalition of tribes and Sunni radical factions to act as a counter-power to then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in exchange for military back up against Al Hirak – the Southern Secessionist Movement. For the sake of territorial unity President Saleh delivered Yemen’s future to the rapacious hands of the Kingdom, not realizing just how much this alliance would cost him in the end.

And so Al Islah – which acts as an umbrella for the now infamous Muslim Brotherhood – was born to act as Riyadh’s proxy in Sana’a.

This one party would serve as a catalyst, a protective shield and a nurturing hand for Wahhabis and Salafis alike, which religious movements we know now have inspired terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

But if Saudi Arabia has played a role in the crumbling of Yemen from afar, a dark cloud above the once clear sky of Felix Arabia, March 25, 2015 shattered whatever restraint Riyadh could master. Faced with an increasingly politically independent Yemen, Riyadh chose to intervene before the Houthis could actually manifest a grand political and tribal coalition and fulfill Yemenis’ calls for fairer political representation.

At the risk of upsetting the Western media narrative and Saudi Arabia’ self-proclaimed intentions in Yemen, democracy and constitutional legitimacy were never part of Riyadh’s equation, more worldly ambitions have animated Al Saud royals: natural resources and geopolitics figuring high on the list.

But that is not all – ideology, rather, clashing religious ideology has played a trigger to this Saudi-led war against Yemen, and there lies an evil which the world has yet to wake up to.

More than a month into this unilateral and grand military intervention on Yemen and it appears clear that Saudi Arabia has singled out not just the Houthis as its target of choice but the entire Yemeni Zaidi community.

Because of their rejection of Wahhabism, the Yemen Zaidi community has been labeled as “apostate” by all Salafi and Wahhabi clerics; a religious aberration to be dealt with by annihilation. Back in 2009 during a live TV interview with BBC Arabic, Adel Al Kalbani, the Imam of Mecca professed his hatred of all Shia Muslims when he called for their hunting down and death. More recently, in April 2013, Saad Al Durihim, a Saudi cleric, posted a series of comments on Twitter in which he advocated that militias in Iraq demonstrate a more “heavy handed” approach when dealing with Shia Muslims and kill any Shias they might encounter – women, men and children. Such statements are the expression of Saudi Arabia’s strict theocratic reactionary regime.

It needs to be pointed out that Saudi Arabia’s official line vis-a-vis Shia Islam echoes that of both Al- Qaeda and ISIS, which groups, Stephen Lendman, a prominent US political analyst and writer has said are but the offshoots of the Kingdom’s religious fascist construct.

But if Saudi Arabia’s religious “policy” has failed to raise even an eyebrow in Western capitals, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore the ongoing cultural and religious genocide which is taking place in Yemen.

For weeks now Saudi Arabia has pounded Sa’ada and several neighboring regions, oblivious to civilians’ safety in its desire to lay flat Zaidi Islam.

One might argue that Riyadh is actually specifically targeting civilians. Why else would the Kingdom have resorted to using cluster bombs in heavily populated areas, especially when studies have established that such weapons stand a lethal threat to civilians? According to handicap international 27 percent of all recorded cluster bombs victims are children.

Activists in Yemen, among which Hussain Al Bukhaiti, have also accused Riyadh of using chemical agents such as chlorine and white phosphorus in Sa’ada, Haja and even the capital Sana’a.

Following an attack on Saudi soil by the Houthis earlier last week, Saudi coalition spokesman Brig-Gen Ahmed Al Asiri warned Riyadh’s revenge would be swift and radical. And indeed it was – hundreds of thousands of civilians were put in harm’s way, trapped in Sa’ada, under relentless bombing. For 24 hours Saudi Arabia would rain bombs on this one “Zaidi” region of Yemen, unchallenged and unquestioned, cloaked by Western powers’ deafening silence.

But if civilian casualties are often the first victims of war what about cultural genocide? How can any nation ever justify the destruction of historical and religious landmarks? On May 8, Saudi Arabia reduced late Sheikh Hussein Badreddin Al Houthi’s shrine to rubble. A few days after that, another sacred Yemeni monument was destroyed – Al Hadi Mosque, the third mosque to have been built in Yemen over a thousand years ago. If not hate what could justify such actions?

If the world came together to decry ISIS’ rampage against Iraq and Syria heritage, why stay silent over Saudi Arabia’s crimes? Or is it that money white-washes war crimes these days?

On the 70th anniversary of the fall of fascism the US and the EU might want to open their eyes to their allies’ intrinsic nature.

Catherine Shakdam for RT.

Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst and commentator for the Middle East with a special emphasis on Yemen and radical movements.

A consultant with Anderson Consulting and leading analyst for the Beirut Center for Middle East Studies, her writings have appeared in MintPress, Foreign Policy Journal, Open-Democracy, the Guardian, the Middle East Monitor, Middle East Eye and many others.In 2015 her research and analysis on Yemen was used by the UN Security Council in a situation report.

US Repeatedly Provokes Albanian Extremism with Ideas of ‘Greater Albania’

[The unimaginative CIA goons keep repeating the same pattern throughout the world, wherever there are unrealized dreams of some “greater glory,” there are fiendish, fevered spooks twisting things into a volatile scenario.  It is the same story from “Greater Balochistan,” to “Greater Kurdistan,” to “Greater Albania,” to the greatest concentration of unrestrained evil and idiocy, the nightmarish vision of “Greater Israel.”  All of these false visions are played upon by the CIA master deceivers, to keep the world in flames.

Playing with terrorists and manufacturing even more of the deranged mother-f—— is the CIA’s plan for creating an American world order.  Use state-manipulated terrorism to burn the world down, so that American corporations can rule over the ashes.]

Global Energy Game: ‘Greater Albania’ Used by West to Destabilize Balkans

in serbia

The recent spike in violence and tension between Macedonian security forces and groups of ethnic Albanians is an ongoing product of western intervention and NATO bombing of the region in the 1990s, according to Balkan political analysts.

Photo from: militaryphotos.net

The issue of ethnic tension within Macedonia has gained global headlines after eight police officers and 14 others were killed during a two-day shootout between police and what the Macedonian government described as an armed paramilitary group of ethnic Albanians in the northern city of Kumanovo.

The incident is the latest and bloodiest in a string of clashes between Macedonians and ethnic Albanians, who make up approximately 30 percent of the country’s population.

These deaths have once again raised fears of rising ethnic tensions and concerns that the country may be heading for another civil war, similar to one fought between Macedonian forces and Albanian paramilitary groups in 2001.

Fear of ‘Greater Albania’

Photo: Tanjug

Many analysts suggest that central to the conflict is the idea within Macedonia and other Balkan states that ethnic Albanian groups are aiming to create a ‘Greater Albania’ as part of expansionist ambitions.

Although Albanian officials have dismissed the concept, there has been a heightened concern of potential Albanian expansion, particularly after Prime Minister Edi Rama recently said the unification of his country and the former Serbian province of Kosovo — which has a majority Albanian population — was “inevitable.”

Political analyst Andrew Korybko told Sputnik that the mistrust and division between Albania and other states in the Balkans was exacerbated by the late 1990s US and UK-led intervention in the region.

He said that the West’s decision to take sides in the conflict and back Albanian groups has further destabilized the region and spurred on ethnic tensions.

“The important thing to understand here is that it [NATO intervention] showed outside support for Albanian separatism, and afterwards, all Albanians,” Korybko said.

Macedonia was purposely kept from the brink of disintegration

Hasim-Taci-Bernar-Kusner-Agim-Ceku-Vesli-Klark-1-650x4911

Korybko also says the decision to protect the Macedonian state during the conflict, and further negotiate a generous agreement for Albanian groups, following the 2001 Macedonian war, was a strategic move by the West, aimed at trying to increase their influence in the area.

“Macedonia was purposely kept from the brink of disintegration so that the ethnic explosion [of violence] could be externally activated at a future time if need be.”

Just why western powers would want to leave the option of ‘Greater Albania’ open and further destabilize countries in the Balkans is down to greater geopolitical games, analysts say.

The Global Energy Game

albania-650x4331

Dusan Prorokovic, an expert in Balkan affairs told Sputnik that the recent trouble in Macedonia has been stirred up to try and prevent the creation of the proposed ‘Turkish stream’ project, which plans to transport Russian gas to Europe via Turkey and the Balkans.

“The concept of Greater Albania is once again relevant but it won’t see any progress without the help of the North Atlantic bloc. I think why all of that happened is more linked to the ‘Turkish stream’ and the defeat of the US in Ukraine, than to local Albanian interests.”

Andrew Korybko agrees, saying: “Greater Albania is a geopolitical tool to be deployed in stopping not only Russia’s Balkan Stream pipeline [northern extension of the Turkish stream] but also China’s Balkan Silk Road.”

Violence in Macedonia could spill over into Kosovo

Photo from: Novosti.rs

The violence in Macedonia could spill over into Kosovo-Metohija, especially as individuals from Kosovo-Metohija are involved in the clashes there, Serbian and ethnic Albanian analysts in Kosovo-Metohija have warned.

Analyst Zivojin Rakocevic told Tanjug Monday that Kosovo-Metohija has essentially been destabilised, with chaos just spilling over into the surrounding systems which, basically, only formally exist for ethnic Albanians.

“Most ethnic Albanians in Macedonia do not recognise Macedonia, most ethnic Albanians in the south of central Serbia do not recognise Serbia, and most ethnic Albanians in Montenegro do not see the Montenegrin system as a part of their system,” he said.

It is no surprise that ethnic Albanians from Kosovo are involved in the clashes in Macedonia because practically no borders exist for them, Rakocevic said.

Analyst Nedzmedin Spahiu told Tanjug that, after Macedonia, Kosovo could be the next to be destabilised, which is not in the interest of the citizens.

“Things that are going on at your neighbour’s are something you can also expect to see in your own house, especially because some of the protagonists of the events there are from Kosovo,” Spahiu warned, noting that the situation in Kosovo-Metohija is very fragile.

Dangers of violence overflowing

Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Branimir Stojanovic warned on Tuesday against the danger of violence overflowing in the Balkans, noting that everything should be done to stabilise the situation in Macedonia.

In an interview for Tanjug, Stojanovic said that there is always a danger of violence overflowing in the Balkans and that the past has shown that borders do not mean anything in such events.

It is important for the situation in Macedonia to calm down as soon as possible and for all bodies in charge of security to be hired, Stojanovic said.

He underscored that it is especially important for the international bodies to be alert and pay attention to everything that should jeopardise the safety of Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Valerie Hopkins ‏@VALERIEin140 May 10
    .@PeterKGeoghegan I understand why they can’t write everything, hard to prove conspiracy theories. But looks like there are 50 ppl hostage..
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    novinar napise ovo i niko ne zna o cemu je rec niti kaze o cemu se radi

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Saudi Arabia’s War Against Yemen

Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen

The Hindu

Yemenis hold posters of the King of Saudi Arabia Salman as they chant slogans during a rally to show support for Saudi-led airstrikes against Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, in Taiz, Yemen. AP   Yemenis hold posters of the King of Saudi Arabia Salman as they chant slogans during a rally to show support for Saudi-led airstrikes against Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, in Taiz, Yemen.

Despite growing American reservations, Saudi Arabian hardliners seem determined to impose a military solution on the Yemen crisis. Instead, Riyadh is likely to find itself mired in Yemen for a long time in an unwinnable war.

The intense fighting that resulted in the virtual takeover of Yemen by the Shia Houthis earlier this year sent foreign nationals fleeing the chaos, resulting in the recent, splendidly executed, and deservedly, well-publicised rescue of more than 5,000 Indian and foreign nationals by the Indian government. It also sent shock waves through neighbouring Saudi Arabia which chose to react robustly though there was no attack on Saudi Arabia by Yemenis.

To properly understand the situation, one first needs to study Yemen, its politics and its turbulent history. The Shia Imams ruled Yemen for over 1,000 years till 1962, when the Imamate was overthrown by nationalist military officers led by Col. Abdullah Sallal. Both Col. Sallal and Republican Yemen’s second President, Abdul Rahman Yahya Al-Iryani, were Zaydi Shias; Ali Abdullah Saleh, President for 34 years, is also a Zaydi. In fact, Mr. Saleh waged a bitter military campaign against the Houthis from 2004 to 2010. The Muslim Brotherhood is quintessentially a Sunni entity, but in Yemen, its chairman and secretary general are Zaydis. Thus, all this shows that political contestations in Yemen have always been driven by personal ambitions and political ideology, and never by sectarianism.

Chronic infighting

A unique attribute of Yemeni society is that every individual has several firearms. As a result, the country is awash with millions of weapons. Rockets and missiles, Kalashnikovs, machine guns, and even tanks have been on sale openly for decades. Also, resorting to violence is the usual medium of settling disputes. Both the Imams/Kings of Yemen in the 20th century were assassinated; a President too. Two others were overthrown in coups. In Yemen, chronic infighting is a normal thing.

Soon after Saudi Arabia was formally established in 1932, it invaded Yemen in 1934 and absorbed the Yemeni provinces of Asir, Jizan and Najran. In the Yemen civil war of 1962-1967, Saudi Arabia supported the Zaydi Imam. Since then, Saudi Arabia has sought to influence internal political dispensations by providing billions of dollars in aid.

Yemen was among the four Arab countries convulsed by massive demonstrations from February 2011 onwards. Alarmed by its protégé, Mr. Saleh’s inability to control burgeoning unrest, mediation by the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) forced him to step down in February 2012, while power was redistributed among the other existing power holders — Mr. Saleh’s General People’s Congress, the Mushtarak, the “loyalist” Opposition and the Sunni Islah party, leaving out the Houthis even though they had participated very actively in the 2011 uprising. Abd Rabbuh Mansour Al Hadi, Vice-President under Mr. Saleh, was elected President without any candidate to oppose him. However, he lacks legitimacy in the eyes of the people, especially after fleeing the country and operating from Saudi Arabia. He has no tribal or political support base in northern Yemen and even in the south, outside Aden.

With both Mr. Saleh and the Houthis shut out, the stage was set for an alliance between these erstwhile bitter enemies. Having headed the Army for so long, Mr. Saleh enjoys considerable support within it and particularly among the powerful Republican Guard. The Army’s huge weapons inventory became the key factor that enabled the Houthis to take control of Sana’a in September 2014, and later, of many of the country’s main cities and ports, and more crucially, its administrative, energy, financial and governmental apparatus.

The Iranian angle

Saudi rhetoric has focussed on Iranian involvement. Yemeni Zaydi Shias are “fivers” whose ideology is closer to the Sunnis than to the Iranian “twelver” Shias. There is no record of significant Iranian involvement with the Zaydi Shias of Yemen beyond some Houthis pursuing religious studies in Iran in the early 1990s. Among them was Hussein Badr Al-Deen Houthi, the founder-leader of the Ansar Allah, during which he picked up what became the Houthi motto: “Death to America, Death to Israel, Damn the Jews, Victory to Islam.” Iranian interest was kindled by the six-year conflict between Mr. Saleh and the Houthis from 2004 to 2010 but truly meaningful interaction between the two began only after the Houthis took control in Sana’a. Direct flights between Tehran and Sana’a started in March 2015 after a gap of 25 years. Iran has signed agreements with the Houthi-led Yemeni authorities to supply Iranian oil, for help in the construction of power plants, and the modernisation of strategic ports. Implementing these agreements will take a long time, if ever. There is little credible evidence that Iran has provided large enough consignments of weapons to the Houthis to make any tangible difference on the ground; logistically, it is almost impossible to do so. However, with several airports and ports now under Houthi control, the possibilities of Iranian weapons supplies to Yemen exist, if needed. From being an interested bystander at best, Saudi actions, policies and rhetoric in the past few years have enabled Iran to acquire credible locus standi and become an active player in the processes of determining Yemen’s future.

Iran’s influence throughout West Asia has risen dramatically since the so-called Arab Spring unrest began — it has become the most influential power in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and now Yemen also. The success of negotiations between the U.S.-led P5+1 (the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China, facilitated by the European Union) has further augmented Iran’s regional standing while further exacerbating already mounting Saudi concerns.

The Saudi response

Saudi King Salman ascended the throne on January 23, 2015, and within hours appointed his son, less than 30 years old, with no governmental experience, as Defence Minister. Ambitious, brash, and oozing self-confidence, he is believed to be the driving force behind Saudi Arabia’s extremely muscular reaction to events in Yemen. Within hours of President Hadi fleeing Yemen, Saudi Arabia launched “Operation Decisive Stsorm” on March 25. The Defence Minister has been personally supervising these operations.

Rather impressively, Saudi Arabia has successfully forged a “grand Sunni alliance” in a matter of days and committed 100 fighter jets, 150,000 soldiers deployed along the border and some naval units, with Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and even faraway Morocco joining the air strikes. Egypt is deploying an unspecified number of naval and air force units; ground forces will be deployed “if necessary.” The United States is only providing “logistical, intelligence and technical support”. Concerted efforts led by King Salman personally to persuade Pakistan to join have failed. This could have consequences for Pakistan later. Despite initial support for the air strikes, Turkey now feels that a negotiated solution is a better approach.

“Operation Decisive Storm” has involved extensive daily air strikes against Houthi and Saleh forces mainly in and around Sana’a, Saada, Taiz, Hodeidah and Aden. Despite almost 2,500 air strikes, the overwhelming majority by Saudi Arabia, killing many Houthi and allied fighters and resulting in the large-scale destruction of their weaponry, the Houthi/Saleh dominance has not been meaningfully dented. The air strikes are causing mounting civilian casualties and wholesale destruction of villages, sending thousands fleeing from their homes; this is causing a further alienation of Yemenis from Saudi Arabia.

The UN Secretary-General has called for an immediate ceasefire and has appealed for $274 million in aid for urgent relief and rehabilitation measures. The ceasefire demand has been rejected but King Salman has decided to contribute this entire amount immediately. However, this will not mitigate Yemeni anger. Meanwhile, by default, the al-Qaeda in Yemen is benefiting enormously.

Though the war cannot be won through air strikes, sending in ground troops will be disastrous. Given that Saudi troops performed poorly against the then much weaker and less organised Houthis in 2009-2010, and have no real combat experience, they are hardly likely to do any better this time fighting against battle hardy Yemenis on their own terrain. Nevertheless, on April 21, King Salman ordered the mobilisation of the National Guard also which has since been deployed along the border. Confusingly, later that evening, Saudi Arabia unexpectedly announced the end of “Operation Decisive Storm” and the beginning of “Operation Restore Hope”, promptly welcomed by the U.S., only for the air strikes to be resumed the very next day and which continue with increasing intensity! It is reasonable to assume that the Defence Minister was behind this since on April 29 he was also appointed Deputy Crown Prince.

Despite growing U.S. reservations, Saudi Arabian hardliners seem determined to impose a military solution; instead, Saudi Arabia is likely to find itself mired in Yemen for a long time in an unwinnable war.

The way forward

The Houthis have welcomed Yemen’s exiled President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi’s recent appointment of Khaled Bahah, an Indian-educated former Yemeni PR to the UN and Prime Minister, as the new Vice-President; this provides an opening for negotiations which are the only way forward. Initially they should be convened by the new U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen and the Yemeni government representation should be led by Khaled Bahah. The various UN resolutions over the past four years, the Peace and Partnership agreement signed between the Houthis and Mr. Hadi in September 2014 and the outcomes of the National Dialogues in 2013 and 2014 provide a good basis for negotiations.

If Yemen is to have long-term domestic stability, it is exceedingly important that all power brokers of the past are exiled abroad for at least five to 10 years. Reports that Mr. Saleh and his family have left Yemen, probably for Oman, which has offered to mediate between the contending parties, are encouraging. However, restarting the political process will take time and getting results even longer. In the meantime, the unfortunate people of Yemen have to face an even tougher future than their difficult past.

(Ranjit Gupta was Indian Ambassador to Yemen, and in January 1968 had visited Sanaa as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy.)

What you need to know about the crisis

Yemen on the brink

Who are fighting whom?

  • Houthis:
    The rebel group controls nine of 21 provinces now
  • Saudi-led coalition:
    Here are some of those who are participating and what they are deploying:
    Saudi Arabia: 100 fighter jets, 150,000 soldiers and some naval units
    UAE: 30 fighter jets
    Bahrain: 15 fighter jets
    Kuwait: 15 fighter jets
    Qatar:10 fighter jets
    Jordan:6 fighter jets
    Sudan:3 fighter jets
    Egypt: naval and air forces involved.
  • Yemeni security forces:
    The military is now split as units that support Mr. Hadi, units that support the Houthis, and units that support a still-influential Saleh, who is in the Houthi camp for now
  • Popular Resistance Committees:
    Militia loyal to Hadi in his stronghold of south Yemen.
  • AQAP: Mr. Hadi and Houthis are fighting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has staged several attacks in the country and is strong in the south. Active since 2009. AQAP has taken advantage of the power struggle.
  • IS: A new group of militants inspired by the Islamic State group has claimed major attacks, including suicide bombings which killed at least 142 people at Shia mosques in Sana’a.
  • U.S.: CIA drones have continued to target top AQAP leaders, but the campaign has suffered from Mr. Hadi’s absence. Last week, U.S. military advisers were withdrawn from a southern base as al-Qaeda militants seized a nearby city.

Who are the Houthis?

The Houthis are followers of the Shia Zaidi sect, the faith of around a third of Yemen’s population. Officially known as Ansarallah (the partisans of God), the group began as a movement preaching tolerance and peace in the Zaidi stronghold of North Yemen in the early 1990s.

After some protests pitted it against the government, the group launched an insurgency in 2004 against the then ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh that lasted till 2010. Their opponents view them as a proxy of Shia Iran. The group is hostile to the United States but has also vowed to eradicate al-Qaeda. They participated in the 2011 Arab Spring inspired revolution in Yemen that replaced Saleh with Abdrahbu Mansour Hadi.

Key dates to the Yemen conflict

  • September 21, 2014: Houthi rebels seize government and military sites in Sana’a after several days of fighting that killed more than 270 people. Rival groups sign a U.N.-brokered peace deal stipulating a Houthi withdrawal from the capital and formation of a new government.
  • October 9, 2014: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has declared war on the Houthis, claims an attack in Sana’a in which 47 are killed.
  • October 14, 2014: The Houthis seize the Red Sea port of Hodeida, 230 km west of Sana’a, then move toward the centre without opposition from government forces but face fierce resistance from AQAP and its tribal allies.
  • January 20, 2015: Houthis attack Mr. Hadi’s residence and seize the presidential palace, and the President and Prime Minister resign two days later.
  • February 6, 2015: The rebels announce they have dissolved Parliament and installed a presidential council to run the country. The United States and Gulf monarchies accuse Iran of backing the Houthis. In the south and southeast, authorities reject what they brand a coup attempt.
  • February 21, 2015: Mr. Hadi flees south to Aden after escaping from weeks under house arrest and urges the international community to “reject the coup,” rescinding his resignation and subsequently declaring Aden the temporary capital.
  • March 19, 2015: Clashes in which at least 11 are killed force the closure of the international airport in Aden and Mr. Hadi is moved to a more secure location after an air raid on the presidential palace there.
  • March 22, 2015: The Houthis advance southwards, seizing the airport and a nearby military base in Taez, north of Aden and a strategic entry point to Mr. Hadi’s stronghold. Houthi leader Abdelmalek al-Houthi says the rebels have moved south to combat Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
  • March 25, 2015: Mr. Hadi is again moved as rebel forces bear down on Aden, capturing a major airbase nearby just days after U.S. military personnel were evacuated from it.

The Family Curse–John Ellis “Jeb” Bush

George W. Bush acknowledges family name will hurt Jeb’s 2016 campaign

 

Barbara Believes America Has Enough President Name Bush

Barbara Believes America Has Enough President Name Bush

 

https://therearenosunglasses.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/bald-bush-2.jpg?w=869

“My dog Millie knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos.”

 

 

U.S. Supports Renewed Saudi Airstrikes Because Houthis Are Still Moving

[SEE: Saudi Yemeni Bombing Killed Impending UN Peace Deal]

U.S. blames Houthi battlefield moves for renewed Saudi strikes

reuters_india_logo

(Reuters) – The United States squarely blamed Houthi fighters on Monday for renewed Saudi-led bombings, accusing them of using a relative lull in airstrikes meant to help set the stage for peace talks to instead pursue battlefield advances.

Saudi-led aircraft pounded Iran-allied Houthi militiamen and rebel army units on Monday, dashing hopes for a pause in fighting to let aid in as relief officials warned of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he would discuss the conflict with Iran’s foreign minister later on Monday, adding: “I will certainly urge that everybody do their part to try to reduce the violence and allow the negotiations to begin.”

Kerry and other U.S. officials said Houthis had sought more gains since Riyadh’s announcement last week that it was ending its nearly five-week-old bombing campaign, except in places where the Houthis were advancing.

“The Saudi shift … was predicated on the notion that people would freeze in place,” Kerry told a news conference in New York.

“But what happened was the Houthi began to take advantage of the absence of air campaign, moving not only additionally on Aden, but moving in other parts of the country.”

Kerry and other U.S. officials said the Houthis were shifting artillery and forces and targeting certain elements of the Yemen army.

A coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia, rattled by what they saw as expanding Iranian influence in the Arabian Peninsula, is trying to stop Houthi fighters and loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Salah taking control of Yemen.

But the air campaign has had little success and vital aid has been reported held up by both sides.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

 

Milliband’s “Truth-Bomb”

[SEE: Latest Med “Boat People” Tragedy Resulting From Anti-Libyan U.N. Sec. Council Res. 1973 ; The Obscenity of Humanitarian Warfare]

Nigel Farage: David Cameron ‘directly caused’ Libyan migrant crisis

“Ukip leader says Britain should offer refuge to Christians from Libya, as up to 700 die in latest disaster at sea.”

Cameron hits back after Labour suggests he is responsible for migrant deaths

“Prime minister says Miliband’s comments about failures of post-conflict plans in Libya are ill-judged, as Labour says Tories have manufactured the row.”

branded“shameful and absolutely unacceptable” by Number 10.

Miliband riles Tories with ‘bombing Libya led to migrant crisis’ claim

Russia-Today


Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband arrives at a campaign event in Ipswich, eastern England April 22, 2015 (Reuters / Darren Staples)

Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband arrives at a campaign event in Ipswich, eastern England April 22, 2015 (Reuters / Darren Staples)

Ed Miliband’s claims that David Cameron and other European leaders failed Libya and in part contributed to the migrant boat catastrophe in which 800 people drowned were branded “shameful and absolutely unacceptable” by Number 10.

The Labour leader, who has not yet given the speech, plans to say world leaders have not supported Libya in the wake of coalition airstrikes, which contributed to the downfall of Colonel Gaddafi, leading to growing numbers of migrants dying in the Mediterranean.

Despite having voted in favor of military action against Libya, Miliband will say there were “failures in post-conflict planning.” He will say the refugee situation could have been anticipated.

“In Libya, Labour supported military action to avoid the slaughter Gaddafi threatened in Benghazi,” Miliband will say.

“But since the action, the failure of post-conflict planning has become obvious. David Cameron was wrong to assume that Libya’s political culture and institutions could be left to evolve and transform on their own.”

“The tragedy is that this could have been anticipated. It should have been avoided. And Britain could have played its part in ensuring the international community stood by the people of Libya in practice rather than standing behind the unfounded hopes of potential progress only in principle.”

His comments echo those of UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who said on Monday that EU leaders were responsible for the deaths of the migrants, suggesting airstrikes had de-stabilized the country and forced more migrants to flee.

The airstrikes carried out in 2011 by a UN-authorized coalition of France, the UK and the US saw Colonel Gaddafi’s regime collapse. The country has since been plagued by political insecurity, with no single functioning government.

Since the toppling of Gaddafi, a civil war between tribal militias throughout the country has ensued.

The Conservatives responded with anger, with Environment Secretary Liz Truss saying the remarks should be withdrawn. She said Miliband’s comments were not the way current affairs should be discussed.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander, however, said the speech was not intended to create public argument, blaming Number 10 for fabricating the row.

Alexander insisted “the state of Libya is a failure for postwar conflict-planning for which the international community faces responsibility.

“I don’t think anyone disputes that we are witnessing a situation where Libya is perilously close to becoming a completely failed state on the southern shores of the Mediterranean. That is not a matter of dispute; that is simply a matter of fact,” he said.

Miliband will make a rare foray into foreign affairs in a speech at Chatham House on Friday, which is unusual for any politician during election campaign season.

He is expected to say that Cameron’s discourse on an EU referendum has given the world the impression the UK is slowly isolating itself from international affairs.

Using Yemeni Battle Ground To Settle “Schism” Within Islam

[Saudi “Decisive Storm” is a religious “ethnic cleansing” operation, meant to either eliminate the troublesome Shia minority on the Arabian Peninsula, or to excommunicate all Shiites from the House of Islam.  There is extreme danger that the Saudi coalition has bigger plans than just housecleaning in Yemen, going way beyond the political contest with Iran. ultimately mutating into a Wahhabi holy war to eliminate the “schism” within Islam (by slaughtering all of the “kfirs/disbelievers”).  

A religious slaughter of this magnitude will automatically trigger the retaliatory the wrath of the “civilized world” (despite US efforts to profit from this jihad), in order to eliminate the danger to the oil fields of the Middle East, even though it will be called a “humanitarian effort.”  As the world becomes aware of the bloody truth about this Saudi power grab, the diplomatic pressure will build, forcing an end to this lunacy, or at least a pause in the bombing for the evacuation of trapped civilian populations and humanitarian relief to take place (SEE: Groups call for ‘pause’ in Yemen ; Iraqi leader decries Saudis on Yemen role).]

UN slams Saudi airstrikes’ violence on Yemeni civilians

miami herald

SANAA

The United Nations’ expert on internally displaced people accused Saudi Arabia on Wednesday of intentionally bombing a camp for people who’d fled Yemen’s violence last week and said airstrikes also had hit hospitals, schools and “other civilian buildings.”

Chaloka Beyani, the U.N.’s rapporteur for internally displaced persons, said at least 25 people had been killed when Saudi aircraft bombed the al Mazraq camp in northern Yemen on March 30, and that another 37, including 12 children, had been injured. He called the attack “a grave violation against some of the most vulnerable of the vulnerable civilians.”

Beyani’s denunciation of the Saudi air campaign, which began March 26, came on the same day that global humanitarian agencies, including the World Health Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross, said they were preparing for a massive humanitarian crisis in Yemen. In Washington, a coalition of Arab-American groups said they would sue the Obama administration to force it to evacuate Americans trapped in Yemen.

A State Department official said the U.S. government, which is providing logistical support for the Saudi campaign, believes it is too dangerous to risk a military operation to rescue Americans. “There are no current U.S. government-sponsored plans to evacuate private U.S. citizens from Yemen,” the official said. “We encourage all U.S. citizens to shelter in a secure location until they are able to depart safely.”

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that between March 19 and Monday, 643 people had been killed in Yemen’s violence, including 74 children. WHO said another 2,226 people had been injured. Separately, Beyani said at least 311 civilians had been killed.

According to estimates from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the capital, Sanaa, had the highest death toll, with 88 civilians killed. Eighty-five civilians died in Aden and 43 have been killed in al Dhale. The U.N. office estimated that of 37 public buildings bombed around the country, five were hospitals.

Beyani warned that “the picture on the ground is extremely bleak” as fighting intensifies between Houthi rebels and the government, whose president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, fled to Saudi Arabia two weeks ago.

“Humanitarian responses must be stepped up as a matter of urgency,” Beyani said, predicting that thousands more people are likely to flee their homes as the fighting worsens. Already, the U.N. estimates, 100,000 people have been displaced and 14 of Yemen’s 22 provinces have seen fighting or bombing raids.

Fighting is most intense in Aden, Sanaa, Sadah and Dhale, the U.N. said.

Sitara Jabeen, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, told McClatchy that the agency has secured clearance from the Saudi-led coalition to fly in humanitarian supplies. Jabeen said that two flights, one carrying 16 tons of medical supplies from Amman, Jordan, and the other carrying 32 tons of water and sanitation and medical supplies from Liege, Belgium, had been cleared to arrive at Sanaa’s airport.

Separately, Jabeen said a Red Cross medical team of five arrived in Aden late Wednesday after a 12-hour journey by sea from Djibouti. She said the ICRC now has more than 250 national and international staff working in Yemen, she said.

Paul Garwood, a WHO spokesman, told McClatchy that the agency was providing health kits for 240,000 people throughout the country and enough trauma supplies for 400 operations at 18 hospitals throughout the country. The supplies included 11,000 bags of blood and intravenous fluids.

While the United States did not launch an evacuation of its citizens, other countries did, among them India, which rescued 232 people from 26 countries, including an unspecified number of Americans.

Hannah Allam in Washington contributed to this report.

Zarocostas is a McClatchy special correspondent.