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Tag Archives: Yemen

While the world watches Donald Trump, it’s missing what’s really going on with US foreign policy

Our leaders know how to bang the war drums and, by and large, we go along with them. The US threatens Iran with war – so will Iran close the Strait of Hormuz and attack American warships in the Gulf? Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria after rockets fall on Golan – so does an Arab-Israeli conflict loom closer than at any time since the 1973 conflict? Jared Kushner plans to reveal Trump’s “deal of the century” for peace in the Middle East – but is it dead in the water?

Meanwhile the real stories get pushed down the page – or “to the back of the book”, as we journalists used to say.

Take Donald Trump’s desire to furnish Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with billions of dollars of extra weapons so that they can increase the ferocity of their war in Yemen against the Houthis – whose support from Iran, such as it is, prompts much of the international abuse against the Islamic Republic. French intelligence officers in Washington have apparently discovered that this is no routine request from Riyadh but a desperate appeal to Washington, because so promiscuous has been the Saudis’ use of US munitions against Houthi rebels (and civilians, hospitals, aid centres, schools and wedding parties) that they are running out of bombs, guided and unguided missiles, drone parts and other “precision” arms to be used on one of the poorest countries in the world.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/trump-saudi-arabia-us-air-strikes-jordan-yemen-afghanistan-bolton-a8946726.html

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Posted by on June 11, 2019 in Middle East, North America, Asia

 

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America’s persecution of Julian Assange has everything to do with Yemen

I was in Kabul a decade ago when WikiLeaks released a massive tranche of US government documents about the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen. On the day of the release, I was arranging by phone to meet an American official for an unattributable briefing. I told him in the course of our conversation what I had just learned from the news wires.

He was intensely interested and asked me what was known about the degree of classification of the files. When I told him, he said in a relieved tone: “No real secrets, then.”

When we met later in my hotel I asked him why he was so dismissive of the revelations that were causing such uproar in the world.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/julian-assange-us-authorities-wikileaks-secrets-yemen-iran-saudi-arabia-a8938786.html

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2019 in Middle East

 

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Yemen’s woes

The withdrawal of Houthi rebels from three of Yemen’s ports as part of the December 2018 ceasefire agreement should have been the basis for further talks to expand the truce to other parts of the country. But while the withdrawal was under way last week, Houthis, who are reportedly getting support from Iran, carried out a drone attack on a Saudi pipeline, and in retaliation Riyadh launched airstrikes on Sanaa, the capital city controlled by the rebels, killing at least six civilians, including children. Yemen now risks falling back to the pre-ceasefire days of conflict with fighting having broken out in parts of the government-controlled south. What makes the resumption of hostilities more dangerous is the regional angle. Tensions are on the rise in West Asia over the U.S.-Iran standoff. The U.S. had earlier warned against possible attacks by either Iran or Iran-backed militias against American interests or its allies in the region, and has deployed an aircraft carrier and a bomber squad to the Gulf. Immediately after the pipeline was attacked, the Saudis blamed Iran for ordering it, an allegation which both Tehran and the Houthis have refuted. Whether Iran was actually behind the attack or not, the incident and the subsequent Saudi airstrikes show how the Yemeni conflict is entangled with the regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/yemens-woes/article27189531.ece

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2019 in Middle East, Uncategorized

 

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Yemen on the brink: how the UAE is profiting from the chaos of civil war

Four years ago, Ayman Askar was in a prison in south Yemen, serving a life sentence for murder. Now he is a wealthy and important man whose friendships cut across the many lines of the fragmented civil war that has destroyed the country. Askar has recently been named the chief of security for a large district in the southern port city of Aden – appointed by the government of Yemen, on whose behalf Saudi Arabia has been bombing the country for three-and-a-half years. But Askar is also a friend and ally of the United Arab Emirates – the most aggressive partner in the Saudi-led coalition fighting to restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was forced from office by the Houthi rebellion in 2015.

The Saudis have attracted the bulk of the world’s displeasure for their bloody intervention in Yemen, but the UAE plays a more forceful role on the ground – and its allies in the south, including local militias, Salafi fighters, and south Yemen separatists who want to break away from Hadi’s government, have been known to fight against the Saudis’ own proxies in the country.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/dec/21/yemen-uae-united-arab-emirates-profiting-from-chaos-of-civil-war

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2019 in Middle East

 

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How the War in Yemen Became a Bloody Stalemate

Dahyan, a town in the far northwest of Yemen, is a farming settlement about two hours’ drive from the Saudi border. On its dusty, unpaved main street, a large crater is still visible near a fruit-and-vegetable stand, marked out by flimsy wooden stakes and red traffic tape. It was here that a laser-guided bomb dropped by a Saudi jet struck a school bus taking students on a field trip on the morning of Aug. 9, killing 44 children and 10 adults. Even for a population that had grown accustomed to tragedy after more than three years of war, the bus bombing was shocking. Shrapnel and tiny limbs were scattered for hundreds of yards around. The bomb that hit the bus, several local people told me, bore markings showing it was made in the United States. The site has now become something of a shrine. On a brick wall a few yards from the crater, large painted letters in both English and Arabic proclaim, “America Kills Yemeni Children.”

Not far away was a fresh graveyard where the victims were buried. At each grave, a color portrait of a victim stood over a coffin-shaped mound of dry, rocky earth. Beyond a low stone wall was the carcass of the bus, a mass of twisted and burned metal. A boy was standing silently by a grave as I arrived, staring down at the headstone. “We were all in school together,” he told me. He was 14. He might easily have been on that bus, he said, but he’d already gone on the school trip. He was on the way to the market to help his father when the bomb struck. His father wasn’t hurt, but he soon found out that most of his friends and teachers were dead. He now goes to the graveyard almost every day to visit them, he told me quietly.

For the Houthi movement, a powerful and enigmatic militia that rules most of Yemen’s people, the bus bombing was something of a turning point. Unlike most of the civilian bombings that have taken place over the years, this one made headlines around the world, prompting angry reactions from political figures, human rights groups and even the actor Jim Carrey. After I saw the site, an official took me to a crowded auditorium nearby, where ushers handed us pamphlets showing gruesome pictures of dead and bleeding children. A few locals gave angry speeches about the evils of what Yemenis call “the aggression.” There was no mention of the ballistic missiles the Houthis have lobbed at Riyadh, or of their own war crimes. A small boy who had survived the airstrike was brought onstage, where he recited a prepared text in a high, strident voice. As I listened to him, I couldn’t help thinking about another tragedy of this war: Many of those fighting it are themselves children. The boy on that stage might soon be one of them.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2018 in Middle East

 

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The Ottomans were once humiliated by Yemeni rebels – today, the Houthis have done the same to Saudi Arabia

I rarely have reason to thank Turkish ambassadors. They tend to hold a different view of the 1915 Armenian holocaust, in which a million and a half Armenian Christians were deliberately murdered in a planned genocide by the Ottoman Turkish regime. “Hardship and suffering”, they agree, was the Armenians’ lot. But genocide? Never.

Well, that’s not the view of genocide scholars – including Israeli historians – nor of that bravest of Turkish academics, Taner Akcam, who has prowled thorough the Ottoman archives to find the proof. The Armenians did suffer, alas, a genocide.

Certainly my gratitude to His Excellency Umit Yalcin, Turkish ambassador to the Court of St James, is not for his letter to me, in which he describes the Armenian genocide as a “one-sided narrative”. But he did enclose a small book, published five years ago by Edward Erickson, whose contents obfuscate the details of the mass slaughter of the Armenians, even daring to suggest that the Ottoman “strategy of population relocation” should be seen in the contemporary setting of Britain’s policy of “relocating” civilians in the Boer War (in “concentration camps”) in South Africa, and by the Americans in the Philippines.

Interesting. But we didn’t mass rape the Boer women, burn their children and drown Boer men in rivers.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/robert-fisk-saudi-arabia-yemen-houthis-humiliate-armenian-genocide-ottoman-empire-a8692451.html

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2018 in Middle East

 

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How anger in Washington over Khashoggi’s murder has led to progress in the Yemen conflict

The number of people killed fighting in the war in Yemen jumped to 3,068 in November, the first time it has exceeded the 3,000 mark in a single month since the start of the four-year conflict. This is about the same number as were being killed in Iraq at the height of the slaughter there in 2006.

The difference is that the Iraqis were not starving to death as is happening in Yemen. Aid organisations have long warned of mass starvation as 14 million hungry people are on the verge of famine, according to the United Nations. In a ruined economy, many Yemenis do not have the money to buy the little food that is available.

But at the last moment, just as millions of Yemenis were being engulfed by the crisis, a final calamity may have been averted.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/yemen-war-saudi-arabia-houthi-iran-donald-trump-washington-bob-corker-death-toll-jamal-khashoggi-a8683926.html

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2018 in Middle East

 

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At least six times as many killed in conflict than previously thought, report says

The number of people killed by the violence in Yemen has for the first time risen above 3,000 dead in a single month, bringing the total number of fatalities to over 60,000 since the start of 2016. The figure is six times greater than the out-of-date figure of 10,000 dead often cited in the media and by politicians.

“We have recorded 3,068 people killed in November, bringing the total number of Yemenis who have died in the violence to 60,223 since January 2016,” says Andrea Carboni, a researcher on Yemen for the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), formerly based at Sussex University, that studies conflicts and seeks to establish the real casualty level.

The figures do not include the Yemenis who have died through starvation or malnutrition – the country is on the brink of famine, according to the UN – or from illnesses caused by the war such as cholera.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-war-death-toll-saudi-arabia-coalition-military-assistance-uk-a8678376.html

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2018 in Middle East

 

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The Yemen war death toll is five times higher than we think – we can’t shrug off our responsibilities any longer

One reason Saudi Arabia and its allies are able to avoid a public outcry over their intervention in the war in Yemen, is that the number of people killed in the fighting has been vastly understated. The figure is regularly reported as 10,000 dead in three-and-a-half years, a mysteriously low figure given the ferocity of the conflict.

Now a count by a non-partisan group has produced a study demonstrating 56,000 people have been killed in Yemen since early 2016. The number is increasing by more than 2,000 per month as fighting intensifies around the Red Sea port of Hodeidah. It does not include those dying of malnutrition, or diseases such as cholera.

“We estimate the number killed to be 56,000 civilians and combatants between January 2016 and October 2018,” says Andrea Carboni, who researches Yemen for the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), an independent group formerly associated with the University of Sussex that studies conflicts and is focusing attention on the real casualty level. He told me he expects a total of between 70,000 and 80,000 victims, when he completes research into the casualties, hitherto uncounted, who died between the start of the Saudi-led intervention in the Yemen civil war, in March 2015, and the end of that year.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/yemen-war-death-toll-saudi-arabia-allies-how-many-killed-responsibility-a8603326.html

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2018 in Middle East

 

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The American War in Yemen

The attack on those schoolchildren and the U.N. report amplified a growing global outcry against the carnage in Yemen. In response, on August 28th, Secretary of Defense James Mattis let it be known that the Trump administration’s support for the Persian Gulf potentates’ military campaign should not be considered unreserved, that the Saudis and their allies must do “everything humanly possible to avoid any innocent loss of life.” Considering that they haven’t come close to meeting such a standard since the war started nearly five years ago and that the Trump administration clearly has no intention of reducing its support for the Saudis or their war, Mattis’s new yardstick amounted to a cruel joke — at the expense of Yemeni civilians.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176469/tomgram%3A_rajan_menon%2C_the_american_war_in_yemen/

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2018 in Middle East, North America

 

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