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Posts Tagged ‘Yemen’

The Trump Administration Kills Coldly in Yemen, Putting Jobs Before Lives – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on May 18, 2020

It soon became evident that the Saudi military is a vanity force, largely for show. Even with abundant American assistance, providing planes and munitions, training personnel, refueling planes, and giving intelligence to assist in targeting, Riyadh found itself stuck in what became an endless war, a quagmire that revealed the Saudi royals to be incompetent, unimaginative fools.

However, they proved to be efficient killers – of civilians.

Weapons supplied by American companies, approved by American officials, allowed Saudi Arabia to pursue the reckless campaign.”

https://original.antiwar.com/doug-bandow/2020/05/17/the-trump-administration-kills-coldly-in-yemen-putting-jobs-before-lives/

Many observers have been mystified by the Saudi regime’s hold over President Donald Trump. For years he had criticized the gaggle of corrupt, dissolute royals. He also asked why Americans were paying to defend the wealthy, licentious al-Saud family, as it practiced totalitarianism at home and promoted Islamic fundamentalism abroad, including in America.

Yet Trump made his first trip as president to Saudi Arabia. Some observers wondered if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had salvaged his infamous orb from Mordor’s collapse eons ago and used it to take control of the president’s mind. No other explanation made sense.

Now the New York Times reports that the fault lies with Peter Navarro, the protectionist aide who spends much of his time urging economic and real war with China. He apparently was instrumental in convincing the president to put the profits of munition makers before the lives of Yemenis.

Consider the tragedy that had befallen Yemen, a deeply divided and tragically impoverished nation. During the Arab Spring the Yemeni people ousted the longtime president, leaving a weak and unpopular successor. The former chief executive joined a longtime rebel movement to overthrow the government. All par for the course in a divided land that has never known peace or stability.

But MbS, as the reckless, impulsive, dictatorial crown prince is known, wanted a toady in power next door. He also desired to demonstrate that he was the Big Man in the Middle East. So he and his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed, created a faux coalition filled with the bought and conscripted and invaded Yemen. The conquest was supposed to be completed in a few weeks.

It soon became evident that the Saudi military is a vanity force, largely for show. Even with abundant American assistance, providing planes and munitions, training personnel, refueling planes, and giving intelligence to assist in targeting, Riyadh found itself stuck in what became an endless war, a quagmire that revealed the Saudi royals to be incompetent, unimaginative fools.

However, they proved to be efficient killers – of civilians. Reported the Times: “Year after year, the bombs fell – on wedding tents, funeral halls, fishing boats and a school bus, killing thousands of civilians and helping turn Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Weapons supplied by American companies, approved by American officials, allowed Saudi Arabia to pursue the reckless campaign.”

Notably, President Barack Obama and the supposedly liberal interventionists who surrounded him, who insisted that something must be done to stop the killing in Syria, didn’t care and didn’t act. Nothing changed with President Trump; if anything, he seemed bewitched when he returned from his May 2017 trip. The slaughter continued. Read the rest of this entry »

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Withdraw US Support From Saudi Arabia – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on April 23, 2020

Unfortunately, President Barack Obama continued decades of truckling to the Saudis.

Unfortunately, the result was to make Americans accomplices to murder.

This is the country that financed 9/11!

Yet we arm them and Al Qaeda to attack countries that have never attacked US.

https://original.antiwar.com/doug-bandow/2020/04/22/withdraw-us-support-from-saudi-arabia/

After five years of bloody, inconclusive war, Saudi Arabia declared a ceasefire in Yemen. Although hailed as a possible breakthrough for peace, Riyadh’s de facto admission of defeat did not stop the fighting. Moreover, even an effective ceasefire would be at best a halfway measure.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia should end its invasion and withdraw its forces. To encourage the KSA to halt a cruel campaign which has killed hundreds of thousands, created millions of refugees, and left most of the population hungry and impoverished, Washington should terminate its support for the needless Saudi war, including sale of weapons and munitions, as well as intelligence sharing.

Modern Yemen has been in crisis since it – originally in the form of two separate states – was born around six decades ago. Saudi Arabia has meddled in its neighbor’s affairs since the beginning, at one point squaring off against Egypt when a royal regime was resisting an ultimately successful military revolt. Riyadh later bribed tribal leaders and spread hateful Wahhabist teaching in Yemen. The Kingdom also aided President Ali Abdullah Saleh after the Ansar Allah (“Supporters of God”) movement, dominated by the al-Houthi tribe, revolted against his government. In contrast, Iran’s involvement was minimal.

The two Yemens united in 1990, but since then the single state has been rent by political discord, civil conflict, and regional separatism. Saleh’s luck ran out in early 2012 when he was ousted after the Arab Spring hit Yemen. But three years later he joined with the Houthis to oust President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, his successor. None of this had much to do with Riyadh and nothing to do with Washington.

However, Saudi Arabia’s ruthless and reckless Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman believed he could reinstall Hadi in a brief campaign, leaving a compliant regime in Sanaa. This policy was just one of many which turned the once quiescent KSA into the most dangerous and destabilizing regime in the Middle East.

The Kingdom supported jihadist insurgents in Syria, kidnapped Lebanon’s prime minister, underwrote the al-Sisi coup and dictatorship in Egypt, used troops to back Bahrain’s authoritarian minority Sunni monarchy against the majority Shia population, financed civil war in Libya, and sought to overthrow the Qatari monarchy. Domestically the crown prince increased political repression while leaving intact totalitarian religious controls which ban all faiths but Islam. The latest State Department human rights report takes 58 pages to describe the Kingdom’s crimes against its own people. Freedom House gives Riyadh a lower rating for political and civil liberties than Yemen.

Riyadh expected its impoverished neighbor to be an easy target. However, unlike the effete Saudi military the Yemeni people were used to hardship and combat. Under attack by the Saudis backed by Washington, the Houthis turned to Tehran for support, which was eager to bleed the Kingdom.

Even worse for America, the war interrupted Yemeni operations against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the most dangerous of the local affiliates, and other radical groups. Saleh’s government had cooperated with the U.S. against them; the Houthis also battled AQAP. However, both the nominal Hadi government and Saudi-Emirati coalition accommodated and even armed these extremist movements, including with American weapons.

Unfortunately, President Barack Obama continued decades of truckling to the Saudis. Having dismissed their opposition to negotiations with Iran over the nuclear accord with Iran, the president decided to reassure the Saudi royals by supporting the crown prince’s murderous misadventure. Washington sold aircraft and weapons to the kingdom, provided intelligence for targeting, and even refueled Saudi planes (a practice the Trump administration finally ended).

Unfortunately, the result was to make Americans accomplices to murder.

Humanitarian groups figure that upwards of two-thirds to three-quarters of civilian deaths and damage in Yemen have been caused by the coalition’s air campaign, which has hit marriages, funerals, apartments, and hospitals with equal avidity. The country’s commercial and social infrastructure also has been destroyed. The Emiratis even have backed southern separatists active against the Hadi government, threatening to dismember the nation.

As a result, Yemen scarcely exists anymore. Human Rights Watch reported: “Across the country, civilians suffer from a lack of basic services, a spiraling economic crisis, abusive local security forces, and broken governance, health, education, and judicial systems.” About 80 percent of Yemen’s almost 30 million people need outside aid of some sort. Roughly two-thirds of Yemenis lack adequate access to clean water and adequate health care and suffer from food insecurity. A third of the population is at risk of famine. In 2017 a cholera epidemic hit more than a million Yemenis. Some 20,000 noncombatants have died as a result of combat and another 130,000 from effects of the war.

The Houthi movement is no friend of the West and rules brutally over the territories it controls. But the harm caused by the continuation of internal strife going back years was a lesser magnitude than that which resulted from the Saudi invasion, which internationalized the fighting, made Yemen into a sectarian battleground, and turned the conflict into a Saudi-Iranian proxy war.

The only constructive role that Washington can play is to end military assistance, as proposed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), leaving Riyadh to bear the full cost of its folly. The administration claims to help moderate the Kingdom’s conduct, a gelastic argument given the ongoing carnage. America has no leverage so long as the president adopts a Saudi-first policy and refuses to criticize even Riyadh’s worst crimes.

The Saudi ceasefire is the Kingdom’s first public acknowledgment that its aggression has failed. The crown prince finally had to recognize brutal reality. Some analysts write of the complex issues that now must be negotiated. The only talks necessary are over the amount of reconstruction aid from Saudi Arabia necessary to rebuild the nation that it callously destroyed.

Riyadh should end its invasion. Washington should stop aiding and abetting the KSA’s criminal war.

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America, We Have To End the Wars Now – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on April 1, 2020

Worst of all, America under President Donald Trump is still “leading from behind” in the war in Yemen Barack Obama started in conspiracy with Saudi then-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman back in 2015. This war is nothing less than a deliberate genocide.

https://original.antiwar.com/scott/2020/03/31/america-we-have-to-end-the-wars-now/

Can anyone think what our society might have spent six and a half trillion dollars on instead of 20 years of war in the Middle East for nothing? How about the trillion dollars per year we keep spending on the military on top of that?

Invading, dominating and remaking the Arab world to serve the interests of the American empire and the state of Greater Israel sounds downright quaint at this point. Iraq War II, as Senator Bernie Sanders said in the debate a few weeks ago, while letting Joe Biden, one of its primary proponents, off the hook for it, was “a long time ago.” Actually, Senator, we still have troops there fighting Iraq War III 1/2 against what’s left of the ISIS insurgency, and our current government continues to threaten the launch of Iraq War IV against the very parties we fought the last two wars for. This would almost certainly then lead to war with Iran.

The U.S.A. still has soldiers, marines and CIA spies in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Mali, Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and only God and Nick Turse know where else.

Worst of all, America under President Donald Trump is still “leading from behind” in the war in Yemen Barack Obama started in conspiracy with Saudi then-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman back in 2015. This war is nothing less than a deliberate genocide. It is a medieval-style siege campaign against the civilian population of the country. The war has killed more than a quarter of a million innocent people in the last five years, including at least 85,000 children under five years old. And, almost unbelievably, this war is being fought on behalf of the American people’s enemies, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). These are the same guys that bombed the USS Cole in the port of Aden in 2000, helped to coordinate the September 11th attack, tried to blow up a plane over Detroit with the underpants bomb on Christmas Day 2009, tried to blow up another plane with a package bomb and launched the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, France since then. In fact, CENTCOM was helping the Houthi regime in the capital of Sana’a target and kill AQAP as late as January 2015, just two months before Obama stabbed them in the back and took al Qaeda’s side against them. So the war is genocide and treason.

As Senator Rand Paul once explained to Neil Cavuto on Fox News back before he decided to become virtually silent on the matter, if the U.S.-Saudi-UAE alliance were to succeed in driving the Houthi regime from power in the capital city, they could end up being replaced by AQAP or the local Muslim Brotherhood group, al-Islah. There is zero chance that the stated goal of the war, the re-installation of former dictator Mansur Hadi on the throne, could ever succeed. And yet the war rages on. President Trump says he’s doing it for the money. That’s right. And he’s just recently sent the marines to intervene in the war on behalf of our enemy-allies too.

We still have troops in Germany in the name of keeping Russia out 30 years after the end of the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet Empire, even though Germany is clearly not afraid of Russia at all, and are instead more worried that the U.S. and its newer allies are going to get them into a fight they do not want. The Germans prefer to “get along with Russia,” and buy natural gas from them, while Trump’s government does everything in its power to prevent it.

America has expanded our NATO military alliance right up to Russia’s western border and continues to threaten to include Ukraine and former-Soviet Georgia in the pact right up to the present day. As the world’s worst hawks and Russiagate Hoax accusers have admitted, Trump has been by far the worst anti-Russia president since the end of the last Cold War. Obama may have hired a bunch of Hitler-loving Nazis to overthrow the government of Ukraine for him back in 2014, but at least he was too afraid to send them weapons, something Trump has done enthusiastically, even though he was actually impeached by the Democrats for moving a little too slowly on one of the shipments.

We still have troops in South Korea to protect against the North, even though in economic and conventional terms the South overmatches the North by orders of magnitude. Communism really doesn’t work. And the only reason the North even decided to make nukes is because George W. Bush put a gun to their head and essentially made them do it. But as Cato’s Doug Bandow says, we don’t even need a new deal. The U.S. could just forget about North Korea and it wouldn’t make any difference to our security at all.

And now China. Does anyone outside of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps really care whether the entire Pacific Ocean is an American lake or only 95% of it? The “threat” of Chinese dominance in their own part of the world exists only in the heads of hawkish American policy wonks and the Taiwanese, who should have been told a long time ago that they are on their own and that there’s no way in the world the American people or government are willing to trade Los Angeles and San Francisco for Taipei. Perhaps without the U.S. superpower standing behind them, Taiwanese leaders would be more inclined to seek a peaceful settlement with Beijing. If not, that’s their problem. Not one American in a million is willing to sacrifice their own home town in a nuclear war with China over an island that means nothing to them. Nor should they. Nor should our government even dream they have the authority to hand out such dangerous war guarantees to any other country in such a reckless fashion.

And that’s it. There are no other powers anywhere in the world. Certainly there are none who threaten the American people. Our government claims they are keeping the peace, but there are approximately two million Arabs and Pashtuns who would disagree except that they’ve already been killed in our recent wars and so are unavailable for comment.

The George W. Bush and Barack Obama eras are long over. We near the end, or half-way point, of the Trump years, and yet our former leaders’ wars rage on.

Enough already. It is time to end the war on terrorism and end the rest of the American empire as well. As our dear recently departed friend Jon Basil Utley learned from his professor Carroll Quigley, World Empire is the last stage of a civilization before it dies. That is the tragedy. The hope is that we can learn from history and preserve what’s left of our republic and the freedom that made it great in the first place, by abandoning our overseas “commitments” and husbanding our resources so that we may pass down a legacy of liberty to our children.

The danger to humanity represented by the Coronavirus plague has, by stark relief, exposed just how unnecessary and therefore criminal this entire imperial project has been. We could have quit the empire 30 years ago when the Cold War ended, if not long before. We could have a perfectly normal and peaceful relationship with Iraq, Iran, Syria, Korea, Russia, China, Yemen and any of the other nations our government likes to pretend threaten us. And when it comes to our differences, we would then be in the position to kill them with kindness and generosity, leading the world to liberty the only way we truly can, voluntarily, on the global free market of ideas and results.

That is what the world needs and the legacy the American people deserve.

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The Forgotten Epidemic: Cholera in Yemen – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on March 17, 2020

Five years ago, in March 2015, Saudi Arabia and its allies began bombing Yemen after the Houthis gained control of the capital Sanaa. At the same time, the Obama administration released a statement pledging military and logistical support to the coalition. Since the bombing campaign began, the US-Saudi coalition has targeted vital civilian infrastructure, including water infrastructure.

How the US government deals with disease in one of the poorest places on the planet.

Back at home it is martial law.

https://original.antiwar.com/Dave_DeCamp/2020/03/16/the-forgotten-epidemic-cholera-in-yemen/

As Americans are gripped with fear over the coronavirus, the cholera epidemic quietly continues in Yemen. The disease spreading in Yemen is not some new untreatable virus, but a well-known illness that can be easily prevented with access to clean water, or with a cheap oral vaccine. The outbreak is a direct result of the barbaric US-Saudi siege on the country that started in 2015.

The cholera outbreak started in Yemen in October 2016. The outbreak exploded in 2017 when the country saw over one million cases, the worst cholera epidemic since records started in 1949. In 2019, Yemen experienced the second-worst year, with over 860,000 suspected cases. 2020 is on track to be another bad year, with over 56,000 new suspected cases recorded in the first seven weeks. As of March 8th 2020, the World Health Organization has recorded 2,263,304 cholera cases in Yemen and 3,767 deaths related to the illness since 2017.

The international humanitarian organization Oxfam has warned the rainy season in Yemen will cause a spike in cholera cases, as it has in previous years. The rainy season starts in mid-April and lasts until August.

Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to dehydration and death if not treated properly. People catch cholera by drinking contaminated water or coming into contact with a person’s feces who has the disease. Treatment for cholera can be as simple as drinking water and taking antibiotics. Countries with compromised water and sewage infrastructure are susceptible to a cholera outbreak.

Five years ago, in March 2015, Saudi Arabia and its allies began bombing Yemen after the Houthis gained control of the capital Sanaa. At the same time, the Obama administration released a statement pledging military and logistical support to the coalition. Since the bombing campaign began, the US-Saudi coalition has targeted vital civilian infrastructure, including water infrastructure.

The Yemen Data Project has compiled all available data on coalition airstrikes on Yemen from March 2015 to January 2020. According to the data, 97 airstrikes directly hit water infrastructure, which includes water tanks, water trucks, wells, water and sewage plants, and water desalination plants. The worst year for hits on water infrastructure was the year the cholera outbreak started, 2016, when 30 bombs hit water targets.

Attacks on water infrastructure are just a small sample of the atrocities committed by the US-Saudi coalition. The coalition has also hit hospitals, schools, farms, fishing boats, houses, and market places. Direct targeting of civilian infrastructure, and the blockade on the country enforced by the US Navy, has created what the UN calls, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The latest report from UNICEF puts the number of Yemeni people in need of humanitarian assistance around 24 million, about 80 percent of the population.

It’s tough to know exactly how many people have died in Yemen since the war started. The Armed Conflict Location & Data Project (ACLED) announced in October 2019 that over 100,000 people had been killed in direct violence during the war, 12,000 of those deaths being civilians.

The UN released a report in April 2019 that said if the conflict ended that year, it would have accounted for 233,000 deaths. The UN breaks these numbers up into 102,000 combat deaths, which reflect the ACLED numbers, and 131,000 deaths due to lack of food, health services, and infrastructure. If the conflict continues through 2022, the UN predicts it will be responsible for 482,000 deaths. In the nightmare scenario that the war is not over until 2030, the UN predicts the war will kill 1.8 million people, the majority of those deaths being children under five.

There have been efforts in Congress to end US support for this genocidal war, but they have all been vetoed by President Trump. In April, Trump vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have ended US involvement in the war, and in June, he vetoed resolutions that would have blocked arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The latest effort to end the war was an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have terminated the flow of US logistics, intelligence, spare plane parts, and other forms of support to Saudi Arabia. In the end, this amendment was gutted from the NDAA, and US support for the war continues.

Most people arguing in favor of supporting the Saudi’s brutal campaign in Yemen cite the Iranian threat. In September 2019, an attack on Saudi oil infrastructure that severely damaged oil output was blamed on Iran, even though the Houthis immediately took credit for it.

Before the September attack, the Houthis had launched similar attacks inside Saudi Arabia, and Houthi drone technology was the subject of much reporting. But these facts were thrown down the memory hole as the hawks in Washington used the attack as justification to increase troop presence in the Middle East and continue support for the war on Yemen. In response, President Trump sent a few thousand troops to Saudi Arabia, showing the world that Saudi oil is far more valuable than Yemeni lives.

The cholera epidemic is just one example of the challenges Yemenis are facing every day. And the war in Yemen is just one example of the dire humanitarian crises created by US imperialism. In the midst of a global pandemic, Washington still maintains crippling sanctions on Iran and Venezuela. Iran has been hit particularly hard by coronavirus, and nobody should criticize the response of the Iranian government without recognizing the impact of US sanctions.

In the face of coronavirus, Americans are scared. Schools and businesses are shutting down across the country. People are rushing to the stores to stock up on toilet paper, food, and hand sanitizer. Now would be a good time to stop and think about the people of Yemen who have been dealing with an outbreak of a deadly disease for years. A man-made outbreak, not only exacerbated by but directly caused by US intervention.

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Yemen faces worst cholera outbreak in the world, health ...

 

 

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US Admits Yemen’s Houthis Aren’t an Iranian Proxy as the Death Toll Climbs – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on January 25, 2020

Now the United States has admitted that the Houthi’s are not an Iranian
proxy. Brian Cook the U.S. Special Representative for Iran stated
that “Iran does not speak for the Houthis, nor has the best interests of the
Yemeni people at heart.” Denise Natali, the Assistant Secretary of State for
Conflict and Stabilization Operations stated: “not
all Houthis support Iran.”

It is in the international community’s best interest to censor the war in Yemen, France, Italy, and the UK contributed and profited from this war as well as Germany, and Norway who both later stopped selling arms to Saudi Arabia after public outrage. Each of these countries profited from the atrocities in Yemen while using the excuse that the Houthis were an Iranian proxy and stating that they were “combating Iranian aggression.”

Bending over for Saudi Arabia Sunni Wahhabis that attacked US. It makes sense in Washington and at McDonnell Douglas.

https://original.antiwar.com/Joziah_Thayer/2020/01/24/us-admits-the-houthis-arent-an-iranian-proxy-as-the-death-toll-in-yemen-breaks-100k/

The death toll in Yemen has reached 102,000 according to data released by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project in October of 2019. Since the war started in 2015, the United States government has maintained one steadfast talking point. The Houthis are an Iranian proxy in Yemen. Government officials and those in mainstream media have repeatedly regurgitated this talking point without ever providing evidence to back up this claim.

By repeatedly claiming that the Houthis are an Iranian proxy, it allows the United States government to try and justify what is happening in Yemen daily. All the United States has to do whenever a government official has to answer a question about the war in Yemen, is mention Iran. No matter how undefendable America’s involvement in the war in Yemen has become the excuse to justify the atrocities in Yemen never falter, its Iran’s fault.

Mainstream media parroted the government talking point that Iran was supporting the Houthis by endlessly calling the Houthis, “the Iranian backed Houthis” in articles and major news broadcast. As the war progressed and the death toll rose, the international community became numb to the violence in Yemen. The United Nations claimed that the death toll in Yemen was static at 10,000 for three straight years.

When international bodies such as the United Nations purposefully mislead the public with disinformation involving war, it highlights a strategy that has been a tactic of the Military-Industrial Complex since Vietnam. It is in the international community’s best interest to censor the war in Yemen, France, Italy, and the UK contributed and profited from this war as well as Germany, and Norway who both later stopped selling arms to Saudi Arabia after public outrage. Each of these countries profited from the atrocities in Yemen while using the excuse that the Houthis were an Iranian proxy and stating that they were “combating Iranian aggression.”

Not only is there no direct evidence that the Houthis are an Iranian proxy, but a lot of evidence to suggest that they aren’t. The Houthis do not adhere to one particular religion, although the majority center around the Zaydi branch of Islam. Iran built a theocratic nation on strict Twelve Imam Islam. The Houthis believe in social justice, anti-imperialism, nationalism, and federalism. Iran does not believe in these things, Iran is not a federation or a beacon of social justice, and in the Middle East, ideology is everything.

Yemen is a Sunni majority, with 75% of the citizens in Yemen Identifying as Sunni and 25% of the population identifying as Shi’ite. The Houthis have been a representation of this minority in Yemen since 1994 and remained an unarmed political movement until 2004. Zaydi led governments ruled over Yemen from the year 960 to 1962, and that is not a typo. This ideology is almost exclusive to Yemen and practiced for over one thousand years. The narrative push by the state department and talking-heads in media that the Houthis are a rebel group that sprouted up in 2014 due to funds and arms allegedly provided by Iran is negligent journalism and myopic diplomacy.

Why falsely claim that the Houthis are an Iranian proxy and use this as an excuse to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia as they bombarded Yemen for the last five years? Because the notion of the Houthis being an Iranian proxy fits the overall ongoing narrative that Iran is the bad guy and must be combated on all fronts. So even though there are active groups of ISIS and al-Qaeda in Yemen, these groups are only mentioned as an afterthought, with the Iranian backed Houthis being the main talking-point surrounding the war in Yemen.

Disinformation and different arrays of propaganda are used to confuse and mislead the public, especially when those spreading the propaganda are ashamed of their actions. The most recent data from Yemen estimates that 102,000 have been killed by direct violence in Yemen, not including those that have been died from malnutrition. Approximately 20,000 have been killed this year alone, making it the deadliest year in Yemen since the war started. Saudi Arabia targeted civilians over 8,000 times since they intervened in 2015. These war crimes were not carried out in a secretive way they were committed in the open for the world to see, and instead of standing up to Saudi Arabia for committing these atrocities in Yemen global powers like the US, UK, France, and Germany came together to supply Saudi Arabia with means to decimate Yemen.

Now the United States has admitted that the Houthi’s are not an Iranian proxy. Brian Cook the U.S. Special Representative for Iran stated that “Iran does not speak for the Houthis, nor has the best interests of the Yemeni people at heart.” Denise Natali, the Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations stated: “not all Houthis support Iran.”

Iran initially warned the Houthi’s not to take over Sanaa and to halt their coup attempt. Kate Kizer the policy director at Win Without War told the website The National Interest that “It’s about time the Trump administration woke up to the reality that the Houthis are not an Iranian proxy – something anyone who knows Yemen has known all along. The State Department’s sudden about-face on the Houthis completely undermines the administration’s arguments as to why fueling war crimes and the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in Yemen is justified.”

There has never been one direct link made between Iran and the Houthi’s in Yemen. The notion that Iran is backing the Houthi’s is always asserted but never proven. When appointed government officials make a statement like “Iran is arming the Houthi’s” the follow-up question should be, how is Iran arming the Houthis? Instead of asking for evidence to back up the government official’s statement, the statement is just accepted as fact. The press is supposed to be a check on governmental power, not the fodder for their propaganda cannons.

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Warparty Whores

Posted by M. C. on January 12, 2020

ROLL CALL

WASHINGTON — Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week ending Jan. 10.

House

Asserting congressional control over war with Iran:

The House on Thursday voted 224-194 to require the administration to obtain advance congressional approval for military actions against Iran or its proxy forces except when there is an imminent threat to the United States, its armed forces or territories. The measure invoked the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which asserts the power of Congress to declare war under Article I of the Constitution. The war-powers law has never been successfully used to end hostilities abroad.

Last year, the House and Senate invoked it to end America’s military involvement in Yemen’s civil war, but President Trump vetoed the measure. U.S.

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th Dist.: No. U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-15th Dist. :

No.

Kelly and Thompson are warparty water carriers. The funny part is “an imminent threat to the United States, its armed forces“. We have military bases covering the entire planet. Anything that happens can be contorted to represent a threat to armed forces or embassies.

Regulating cancer-linked “PFAS” chemicals: Voting 247-159, the House on Friday passed a bill (HR 535) that would give the Environmental Protection Agency one year to designate a class of chemicals known as “PFAS” for coverage by the federal Superfund law, which requires abandoned toxic sites to be cleaned up and imposes retroactive liability on those responsible for the pollution. The designation would require cleanup actions near scores of military bases and manufacturing sites throughout the United States where PFAS compounds have leached into groundwater and drinking water. The bill also would require the EPA to set standards for PFAS air emissions and levels in drinking water. PFAS are perfluoroalkyl and polyfl uoroalkyl substances included in firefighting foam used at airports and military installations and in nonstick cookware and some personal care and household products. The compounds have been linked to kidney, liver, testicular and pancreatic cancers; infertility; weakened immune systems and impaired childhood development. Kelly: No.

Thompson: No.

would require cleanup actions near scores of military bases

Kelly and Thompson are warparty water carriers. The US government is one of the worst polluters. Think US groundwater, cancer rates in Subic Bay or Middle East burn pits. It cares not for innocents nor it’s own soldiers.

— Voterama in Congress

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The USA Doubles Down On Its Saudi Allegiance | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on January 5, 2020

There is a great deal of wishful thinking that fantasises about US military defeat, but it is simply unrealistic if the USA actually opted for full scale invasion…

Disagree – Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen!, Sudan…

Wait a minute – didn’t SA finance 9/11?

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/usa-doubles-down-its-saudi-allegiance

 

For the United States to abandon proxy warfare and directly kill one of Iran’s most senior political figures has changed international politics in a fundamental way. It is a massive error. Its ramifications are profound and complex.

There is also a lesson to be learned here in that this morning there will be excitement and satisfaction in the palaces of Washington, Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Tehran. All of the political elites will see prospects for gain from the new fluidity. While for ordinary people in all those countries there is only the certainty of more conflict, death and economic loss, for the political elite, the arms manufacturers, the military and security services and allied interests, the hedge funds, speculators and oil companies, there are the sweet smells of cash and power.

Tehran will be pleased because the USA has just definitively lost Iraq. Iraq has a Shia majority and so naturally tends to ally with Iran. The only thing preventing that was the Arab nationalism of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Socialist Party. Bush and Blair were certainly fully informed that by destroying the Ba’ath system they were creating an Iranian/Iraqi nexus, but they decided that was containable. The “containment” consisted of a deliberate and profound push across the Middle East to oppose Shia influence in proxy wars everywhere.

This is the root cause of the disastrous war in Yemen, where the Zaidi-Shia would have been victorious long ago but for the sustained brutal aerial warfare on civilians carried out by the Western powers through Saudi Arabia. This anti-Shia western policy included the unwavering support for the Sunni Bahraini autocracy in the brutal suppression of its overwhelmingly Shia population. And of course it included the sustained and disastrous attempt to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria and replace it with pro-Saudi Sunni jihadists.

This switch in US foreign policy was known in the White House of 2007 as “the redirection”. It meant that Sunni jihadists like Al-Qaida and later al-Nusra were able to switch back to being valued allies of the United States. It redoubled the slavish tying of US foreign policy to Saudi interests. The axis was completed once Mohammad Bin Salman took control of Saudi Arabia. His predecessors had been coy about their de facto alliance with Israel. MBS felt no shyness about openly promoting Israeli interests, under the cloak of mutual alliance against Iran, calculating quite correctly that Arab street hatred of the Shia outweighed any solidarity with the Palestinians. Common enemies were easy for the USA/Saudi/Israeli alliance to identify; Iran, the Houthi, Assad and of course the Shia Hezbollah, the only military force to have given the Israelis a bloody nose. The Palestinians themselves are predominantly Sunni and their own Hamas was left friendless and isolated.

The principal difficulty of this policy for the USA of course is Iraq. Having imposed a rough democracy on Iraq, the governments were always likely to be Shia dominated and highly susceptible to Iranian influence. The USA had a continuing handle through dwindling occupying forces and through control of the process which produced the government. They also provided financial resources to partially restore the physical infrastructure the US and its allies had themselves destroyed, and of course to fund a near infinite pool of corruption.

That US influence was balanced by strong Iranian aligned militia forces who were an alternative source of strength to the government of Baghdad, and of course by the fact that the centre of Sunni tribal strength, the city of Falluja, had itself been obliterated by the United States, three times, in an act of genocide of Iraqi Sunni population.

Through all this the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi had until now tiptoed with great care. Pro-Iranian yet a long term American client, his government maintained a form of impartiality based on an open hand to accept massive bribes from anybody. That is now over. He is pro-Iranian now…

Nevertheless, Tel Aviv and Riyadh will also be celebrating today at the idea that their dream of the USA destroying their regional rival Iran, as Iraq and Libya were destroyed, is coming closer. The USA could do this. The impact of technology on modern warfare should not be underestimated. There is a great deal of wishful thinking that fantasises about US military defeat, but it is simply unrealistic if the USA actually opted for full scale invasion…

In the short term, Trump in this situation needs either to pull out troops from Iraq or massively to reinforce them. The UK does not have the latter option, having neither men nor money, and should remove its 1400 troops now. Whether the “triumph” of killing Suleimani gives Trump enough political cover for an early pullout – the wise move – I am unsure. 2020 is going to be a very dangerous year indeed.

*  *  *

Unlike his adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, Craig’s blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate. Subscriptions to keep Craig’s blog going are gratefully received.

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The Small But Brave Cadre of Conservative Anti-War Republicans – The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on November 21, 2019

424 are pro-war, pro-interventionism, anti-peace.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-brave-cadre-of-conservative-anti-war-republicans/

They didn’t put their finger to the political wind when it came to Syria and Yemen.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., speaks to reporters, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A comparative case study has demonstrated that only one political party has a principled (albeit small) contingent of legislators who care more about ending U.S. intervention overseas than partisan positioning.

In February, the House of Representatives voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 37, which directed “the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.” This, along with its complementary senate vote, was the first congressional invocation of the War Powers Act in the law’s history.

Then last month, the House voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 77, a resolution condemning “the decision to end certain United States efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria.” This vote was in opposition to President Donald Trump’s announced withdrawal from the Syrian-Turkish border.

 

Neither U.S. involvement in the Syrian Civil War, nor U.S. material support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen have been authorized by Congress, making them illegal American wars. The Trump administration opposed both resolutions, and stopping House Joint Resolution 37 was only the second veto of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Out of the House’s 435 members, only 11 voted to end both the war in Yemen and to draw down in Syria. They are Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Warren Davidson of Ohio, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Alex Mooney of West Virginia, and Bill Posey of Florida.

Notice anything? They’re all Republicans. But that shouldn’t surprise you.

“There is a long and honorable tradition within the Republican Party of anti-interventionism, of nationalism, what’s sometimes called isolationism, which technically isn’t a friendly or accurate term,” explains historian Jeff Taylor, who chairs the Department of Political Science at Dordt University.

“Back to the Progressive Era, even before the rise of the modern conservative movement, you had an anti-establishment; I would call it a populist-nationalist movement within the Republican Party,” Taylor says. “Back then [it was] led by men such as Robert La Follette in the U.S. senate, and there were others . . . Hiram Johnson of California and William Borah of Idaho.”

“This was a tradition that had eloquent individuals who had fiercely held beliefs, and some of them had positions of power.”

Another example in this lineage is Ohio Senator Robert Taft who opposed U.S. entry into the NATO alliance and called the Korean War unconstitutional. Taft, son of the former president and a three-time national candidate in his own right, was so associated with the GOP and its Midwestern base that he was known as “Mr. Republican.”

In the modern era, this same spirit imbued the presidential campaigns of both Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul—the former in his fight against the Gulf War and George H.W. Bush’s aspirations towards a New World Order, and the latter in his opposition to the War on Terror and its resultant overseas regime changes.

Today, there is an 11-person cadre of Republican congressmen willing to put constitutional devotion, fiscal sanity, and ethical antipathy to feckless wars above political expediency…

Massie is correct. No Democrat voted to continue intervention in Yemen, and simultaneously no Democrat voted to defend withdrawing from northern Syria. Every member automatically took the inverse view of the Trump administration. Democratic opposition to war is partisan, not principled.

Hawaii representative and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard voted in favor of the Yemen resolution in February and did not vote on House Joint Resolution 77 regarding Syria. Her office did not return a request for comment to explain her absence. Gabbard has since introduced her own Syria withdrawal resolution.

Republican-turned-Independent representative from Michigan Justin Amash voted “Present” on both resolutions. Amash’s haughty attitude stems from his contention that such resolutions present a “false choice.” This did not prevent the congressman from calling President Trump a “fraud” for vetoing the same Yemen resolution he refused to support.

Both Republican voters and the broader peace movement ought to be proud that there is a resolute core of House members continuing the non-interventionist legacy of the Old Right. In the words of the late Justin Raimondo, it’s incumbent upon us to continue “reconstructing a conservative philosophy centered around liberty and the authentic American character, rather than a lust for power and an addiction to war.”

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The Saudis Get a Taste of Their Own Medicine – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 21, 2019

The Saudis would have been better off buying air defenses from the Russians, at a quarter of the US selling price.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/09/eric-margolis/the-saudis-get-a-taste-of-their-own-medicine/

By

Special for LewRockwell.com

The Mideast has its own variety of crazy humor.  The Saudis have been blasting and bombing wretched Yemen, one of this world’s poorest nations, since 2015.

These US-supported attacks and a naval blockade of Yemen imposed by Saudi Arabia and its sidekick ally, the United Arab Emirates, have caused mass starvation.  No one knows how many Yemenis have died or are currently starving.  Estimates run from 250,000 to one million.

The black humor?  The Saudis just claimed they were victims of Iranian `aggression’ this past week after the kingdom’s leading oil treatment facility at Abqaiq was hit by a flight of armed drones or cruise missiles.  The usual American militarists, now led by State Secretary Mike Pompeo after the demented warmonger, John Bolton, was finally fired, are calling for military retaliation against Iran even though the attack was claimed by Yemen’s Shia Houthi movement.

This drama came at roughly the same time that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of US president Donald Trump, vowed to annex Palestine’s entire Jordan Valley if elected. Not a peep of protest came from the US, which recently blessed Netanyahu’s annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights while scourging Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, for annexing Crimea – a Russian possession for over 300 years.

I studied US photos of the damaged Saudi oil installations. Its oil tanks appear to be precisely hit at the same place. After the attack, the Saudis claimed half of their oil production was knocked out; but a day later, they vowed production would be resumed within a week. Parts of so-called drones were shown that appeared way beyond the technological capabilities of Yemen or even Iran. The missiles may have been supplied by Ukraine.

The Saudis, like their patron in Washington, have a poor record for truthfulness. Remember the Saudi denials about the murder of journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi? More important, we have been waiting for more false flag attacks in the Gulf designed to justify a US attack on Iran.

The pattern of so-called drone attacks against the Saudi oil installations is just too neat and symmetrical. The Israelis have a strong interest in promoting a US-Saudi War. The attacks in Saudi came ironically right after the anniversary of 9/11 that plunged the US into war against large parts of the Muslim world.

As a long-time military observer, I find it very hard to believe that drones could be guided over such long distances and so accurately without aircraft or satellites to guide them.  In Yemen, which is just creeping into the 12th century, changing a flat tire is a major technological achievement.  To date, Iran’s missile arsenal has poor reliability and major guidance problems.

Adding to the questions, the Saudis have spent billions on US-made air defense systems.  They failed to protect the oil installations.  The Saudis would have been better off buying air defenses from the Russians, at a quarter of the US selling price.

Trump at least showed some wisdom by so far rejecting demands from the neocons that surround him to launch major attacks on Iran.  Blasting Iran would not serve much purpose and would expose US forces in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Somalia, and Syria to Iranian guerilla attacks.  Saudi oil installations – after what we saw last week – are vulnerable.

Attacking Iran, even if just from the air, risks a much wider Mideast war just as the Trump administration – which originally campaigned against ‘stupid’ Mideast wars – faces next year’s elections.  But the administration is under intense pressure from its pro-Israel base to go after Iran.

Bombing Iran’s oil infrastructure would be relatively easy and has been intensively planned since early 2002.  But what next?  So-called ‘regime change’ (Washington’s favorite euphemism for overthrowing disobedient foreign governments) rarely works as planned and can get the US into horribly messy situations.  The CIA overthrew Iran’s democratic government in 1953 and look where we are today.

Perhaps the attacks on Abqaiq may cause the reckless Saudi leaders to stop devastating Yemen and throttle back on their proxy war against Iran which has gone on since 1979.  But don’t count on it.

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Empire First – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 18, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/09/david-stockman/locked-and-loaded-on-behalf-of-empire-first/

By

David Stockman’s Contra Corner

American democracy and capitalist prosperity are dying on the vine of Empire. And this weekend’s drone attack on the largest oil processing facility on the planet is a graphic case of why. So is the related picture below.

The scene is of Yemenis burying a busload of children who were obliterated by American-made bombs delivered by American-made Saudi aircraft, which were being navigated to target by US command and control assets.

This particular cruel foray was just one of thousands of sorties launched by the Saudis since 2015, which have resulted in upwards of 100,000 civilian deaths in northern Yemen and the virtual destruction of its economy – meaning horrific outbreaks of starvation, cholera and other diseases have become commonplace.

The cost to the Yemenis in misery and human life is incalculable. Nor can the stain of these genocidal attacks on America’s moral stature be gainsaid. Yet Washington’s collaboration in this mayhem is not based on even a smidgen of national interest or homeland security.

To the contrary, the Houthi who took control of Yemen’s capital (Sana’a) and who dominate the population of northern Yemen, are a second cousin practitioner of the Shiite confession of Islam. Accordingly, they are aligned with the Shiite regime of Iran and have received modest aid and weapons from Tehran in support of their struggle for independence from the Saudi-supported government in exile and its alignment with a motley array of Sunni-jihadist, Muslim Brotherhood and other anti-Shiite factions in southern Yemen.

Of course, given the fact that Yemen was divided into two countries – North and South Yemen – for nearly three decades between the early 1960s and early 1990s, it’s obvious that no war, bloodshed or devastation is needed at all to solve the religious and ethnic enmities of that godforsaken armpit of the world. All that’s needed is re-partition.

It’s simple. Two countries. No war. No misery. No genocide.

And, in fact, back in 2015 Washington could have told the new Saudi King (Salman) in no uncertain terms to accept partition or “no tickie, no washie”. That is, don’t you dare use a single American supplied aircraft or bomb to carry out war against the Houthi of North Yemen – or we will cut off resupply of spare-parts and technical support to the Saudi military’s advanced American-made weaponry.

And without the latter, of course, Switzerland would soon become the new abode of the monarchy.

But Washington’s neocons were having none of letting the world go its own way and staying out of other people’s quarrels…

Yet that’s how the Empire rolls. The Persian Gulf is on the verge of an apocalyptic eruption that is absolutely not in the interest of any producer – Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar – that borders on its waters. But events may now overtake sanity because the one person who could reel in the impending catastrophe is busy tweeting proof that he is dangerously ignorant of the issues and stakes involved:

President Trump warned on Sunday that the US was “locked and loaded,” and prepared to strike when America and Saudi Arabia identified who was responsible.

“There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “But are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”

On Monday, Mr. Trump tweeted a reminder of Iran’s behavior when it shot down a US drone in June, a strike that led the US to prepare a military strike against Iran. Mr. Trump called off the strike after having second thoughts.

“Remember when Iran shot down a drone, saying knowingly that it was in their ‘airspace’ when, in fact, it was nowhere close,” he said. “They stuck strongly to that story knowing that it was a very big lie. Now they say they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?”

No, POTUS, the real culprit is the War Party that has utterly mis-educated you on the Nuke Deal, the phony threat Iran allegedly poses to Homeland security and the impossible corner into which you have backed the government in Tehran.

You came to Washington to house-clean the Swamp and to put America First at the center of the nation’s failed foreign policy. What you are in danger of accomplishing is enabling the Empire Firsters to ignite a conflagration in the Persian Gulf that could bring the entire world economy to its knees.

And, by the way, ensure that you leave office in January 2021 with a likely berth in a place not nearly as commodious as Trump Tower.

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