Why countries are reluctant to join U.S.-led maritime coalition

TEHRAN – The U.S.-led naval coalition to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf formally was launched in Bahrain on Thursday. But the notable point is that countries have not welcomed this plan. Only a few countries with ineffective naval power have joined the coalition.

*By Mohammad Ghaderi

On July 2019, the U.S. proposed a coalition plan to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf. Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, invited U.S. allies such as Britain, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Australia to join the coalition. Although the U.S. has persuaded its allies on various occasions and even applied pressure on them to join the coalition, it was not warmly welcomed. In August, Britain joined the U.S. military coalition in the wake of a conflict with Iran over oil tanker seizures first in Gibraltar and later in the Strait of Hormuz.

Later the Zionist regime and Australia joined the coalition.

Launch of the U.S.-led marine coalition

The coalition, which reportedly aims to “protect shipping in the Persian Gulf”, was launched on Thursday. The U.S. stated that through the coalition it intends to safeguard region’s oil supply against possible threats. Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, has joined the coalition along with the UEA and Saudi Arabia.

James Malloy, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, has claimed that the goal of the coalition is defensive. Malloy said the coalition will last as long as necessary.

Some European countries, including France, has not joined the coalition to avoid escalating tensions in the region. Japan has decided to dispatch its naval forces to the Strait of Hormuz independently, rather than joining the coalition.  It is said that Japan made this decision because it has an amicable relationship with Iran and does not like to be seen as an important country and power in the U.S.-led coalition.

In this regard, the London-based Raialyoum wrote that the announcement of formal launch of the U.S.-led maritime coalition to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf with the participation of only 6 countries reminds the old Arab proverb saying “the mountain was in labor but gave birth to a mouse”. Raialyoum added the limited number of countries joining the coalition reveals that the U.S. influence has been reducing not only in the Persian Gulf region but also all around the world. It seems that the current and former U.S. administrations cannot any longer form coalitions like the ones that launched wars in Iraq, Libya, or Afghanistan with the participation of 30 or 60 countries.

The Arab world digital news and opinion website said that it is noteworthy that three Persian Gulf states namely Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar are absent in the coalition. They have refused to join the coalition not because they have taken a neutral stance toward U.S. controversial measures against Iran, but because they do not trust the U.S. and its current government. The source added that the U.S. government has adopted rash policies that can lead to regional and probably international war; furthermore, the coalition can be an element of “tension” not a guarantee for defense and stability.

Raialyoum stated that we do not believe these six countries – Britain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Australia, and Albania – will be able to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf because most of them, except the U.S. and Britain, do not have effective naval power.

However, the marine coalition is a dramatic and hypocritical show and the U.S. is trying to milk the three states of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain. By its presence, the U.S. only disturbs the region’s security. Washington only takes care of its interests.

The security in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf will only be achieved through the reconciliation between regional countries since they are neighbors and they cannot change their geography. The intervention of countries outside the region will only make the situation more complicated.

* Author: Mohammad Ghaderi , Tehran Times editor in chief 

His page on Twitter : @ghaderi62 – and Gmail address : m.ghaderi62@gmail.com

The Bahrain Gov’t Is Attacking Female Activists – And Trump’s Policies are Emboldening Them

The Bahrain Gov’t Is Attacking Female Activists – And Trump’s Policies are Emboldening Them

By Lucilla Berwick and Bridget Quitter, Ms. Magazine 

In 2017, Bahraini human rights defender Ebtisam al-Saegh found herself sitting in a dark room before a pair of chain smoking officers from Bahrain’s National Security Agency. “No one is going to hear you in this place,” sneered one of the men, who introduced himself as ‘the torturer.’ “No one can protect you here, not the Human Rights Council or any other organization. You know we have a green light from Trump, right?”

It had been a brutal year in the tiny island of Bahrain, the home of the US Navy Fifth Fleet and a key American ally in the Arab Gulf. The government, led by the AlKhalifa monarchy, had begun a severe and ongoing crackdown, which saw all political opposition groups and independent media forcibly dissolved and thousands incarcerated on political charges, amid accusations of rampant torture and due process violations. Ebtisam had recently returned from the UN in Geneva, where she spoke out about Bahrain’s repression.

With her arrest and torture, the government was sending a message: this would not be tolerated.

Women like Ebtisam have long played a central, albeit overlooked, role in Bahrain’s opposition movement. As the government increasingly targeted women for their opinions or those of their relatives, many began to come forward. Our organizations, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, have worked with nine women to share their stories. The resulting report, Breaking the Silence, traces the path of these women – from their arrests, through their interrogations and trials, to their detention at Isa Town Detention Centre, Bahrain’s only women’s prison. We uncovered horrific patterns of abuse, from sham trials to torture and sexual violence.

We encountered considerable obstacles to our work from the outset. The Bahraini state is highly resistant to scrutiny, making it virtually impossible to visit the country for research. UN Special Rapporteurs have not been permitted entry since 2006, while human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have been denied access since 2015. However, through regular phone calls with the imprisoned women and their families, as well as analysis of court rulings and medical reports and comments from psychologists and legal experts, we pieced together a coherent picture of their experiences.

As we assembled their stories, the systematic nature of government abuses became clear. During brutal interrogations, the women experienced extreme violence, ranging from threats of rape or death to beatings, sexual assault and witnessing the torture of relatives. To end these abuses, many agreed to sign pre-written confessions, later used by Bahrain’s widely condemned judiciary to convict them. When they attempted to raise their ill-treatment in court, they were dismissed by judges.

Once sentenced, the women were singled out for mistreatment at Isa Town prison due to their political status, as is common across the Bahraini prison system. They reported punitive measures, including restrictions on family visits, religious discrimination, physical assault and medical negligence. Two of the women who remain in prison today, Medina Ali and Hajer Mansoor, have only seen their children once over the past year – a visit that was granted only after significant international pressure.

The legacies of the women’s abuse affect them to this day. Ebtisam reported she can no longer sleep in the dark or tolerate the smell of cigarettes, both of which immediately transport her back to the smoky room where she was tortured. Others reported psychological trauma in their young children related to their prolonged separation. The stigma attached to incarceration also makes returning to society difficult: After being released following an international campaign against her unlawful conviction, Najah Yusuf was fired by her employer who questioned her integrity due to her criminal record.

“Sometimes I speak normally about my ordeal,” Yusuf told us, “but the truth is that I am bleeding from within. It’s painful, and I have no idea when all of this is going to end.”

While abuses in Bahrain may seem distant, the US exerts a huge influence on the country, and American policy has actively contributed to the crackdown. Since Trump’s election, Obama-era human rights conditions on arms sales have been removed and the State Department has approved an unprecedented $8.5 billion worth of arms sales, upgrades, services and training to the country. Despite evidence that some of this funding has gone directly to bodies implicated in the abuse of the women we interviewed, the US places no human rights conditions on its substantial investment in Bahrain.

Trump seemingly gave the “green light” to Bahrain’s crackdown during a state visit in May 2017, where he promised an end to the “strain” his predecessor had placed on US-Bahrain relations. Two days later, Bahraini police opened fire on peaceful protests in the village of Diraz, in what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights described as among the “deadliest” operations since Bahrain’s pro-democracy uprising was crushed in 2011. The conservative shift in American domestic policy has also encouraged Bahrain’s rights abuses: days after the White House announced the resumption of federal executions in July 2019, Bahrain executed two torture victims amid international outcry; when asked for comment ahead of the executions, the Bahraini Embassy in Washington, DC explicitly referenced the US decision.

Trump’s barely-concealed enthusiasm for authoritarianism is bolstering a climate of impunity in the region. In Bahrain, this means abusers are free to operate without fear of consequences. When Trump received Bahrain’s Crown Prince to discuss arms deals last month, he made the message very clear: keep buying arms, and we will stay silent on rights abuses.

For the women we worked with, the knowledge that they could be seized again at any point is among the most terrifying aspects of their entire experience. It is time for Congress to make clear that these violations cannot be tolerated.

These nine women have broken the silence. Now it is up to us to raise our voices and make sure that their efforts are not in vain.

Bahrain Crackdown: Health of Hunger-striking Detainee Deteriorating

Bahrain Crackdown: Health of Hunger-striking Detainee Deteriorating

By Staff

Bahraini human rights activist Ebtisam al-Saegh reported that the health condition of detainee Osama al-Saghir has been deteriorating as he fainted in the washroom after spending 15 days of an ongoing hunger strike.

Al-Saghir, sentenced to 60 years in prison for political charges, started bleeding after the incident, al-Saegh said, adding that “although the bleeding stopped, he has been injured and in pain, and is still deprived from making phone calls and going out to the courtyard.”

For his part, Osama’s father said that all what his son demands is a private visit, a jacket and a blanket to feel warm.

Not to mention, it has been 9 months since Osama al-Saghir stopped receiving visitors due to the inspection and humiliation of his mother as she comes to visit him. Osama’s mother suffers from a heart disease, and her son demands granting her a private visit inside the prison while respecting her health situation.

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Sayyed Nasrallah: War on Iran will Bring ‘Israel’, US Domination to an End

September 10, 2019

Sara Taha Moughnieh

Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah on Ashura

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah delivered a speech Tuesday in front of crowds participating in the procession of Ashura (Tenth Day of Muharram) in the Southern Suburb of Beirut.

After offering condolences to mourners for the martyrdom of the grandson of the prophet, he expressed gratitude for the large participation through the last 10 nights of Ashura and saluted the Lebanese Army, General Security and contributes for the successful security measures throughout these nights.

His eminence noted that “Imam Hussein will be looking at your faithfulness and response to his call with pride, as he sees that his message from Ashura has been received and all our deeds emerge from the school of Ashura”.

Thus, Sayyed Nasrallah assured that “Ashura is the day of reformation in the nation of Prophet Mohammad, Imam Hussein sacrificed his life for the sake of this nation”.

In this context, he pointed out that a country in this nation being occupied is not a passing issue, hence Palestine is our central cause.

Palestine

Hezbollah SG said: “Starting with our central cause, Palestine, we reassure its people that liberation can only be achieved through resistance and stress our continuous commitment to the Palestinian cause. It is the basic pillar in the face of the American-Israeli plot, and the Palestinian people will protect their cause and sanctities. We are with the Palestinian people and their resistance in the West Bank and Gaza. We stand with their prisoners and all their resistance fighters in one team and one battle. Additionally, we reassure our recognition to the rights of the Palestinian refugees to live and work with dignity in Lebanon until they can return to their land.”

He further denounced the Israelis’, specifically Netanyahu’s, actions against the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque dubbing Zionist PM Benjamin Netanyahu as malicious.

Yemen

Moving on to Yemen, Sayyed Nasrallah said: “Yemen today is another Ashura… and its people are still standing strong in the face of the outrageous war in which crimes against humanity are taking place yet the whole world is watching silently”.

He added: “A US-British alignment is killing women and children in Yemen only for the sake of selling weapons and armory… and Saudi Arabia’s ongoing assault will only bring it eternal defeat, humiliation and shame in this life and torture in the afterlife. All the goals and slogans they put to justify their war have fallen. It is time for the Yemeni people to be aware of the Saudi/Emeriti goals and unite in their face. Today, we renew our call to stop war on Yemen and its people”.

Bahrain

On another level, his eminence said: “Another year passes and the Bahraini people are still suffering as the Bahrain regime is going far with its normalization with the Zionist enemy and its support for the Zionist Assaults on Palestine, Lebanon and Syria”.

“We tell the Bahraini people that with your peaceful revolution and your firm screams you are performing the big Jihad for the sake of Allah, and this will definitely fruit because this is the promise of Allah. Today, we stand by your side and reassure our faith in your right, truthfulness and firmness”.

US Sanctions

Concerning the US sanctions on Iran, Syria and resistance movements in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq, his eminence considered that “this is an aggression that the US administration is waging to make economic and financial pressure after all its wars against the resistance movements in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq have failed. This aggression has expanded to also target banks and businesses in Lebanon that are not related to Hezbollah in anyway, and this must be approached and dealt with in a different way”.

“The Lebanese government must defend and protect the Lebanese people and not rush to implement the US resolutions and desires. This file must be opened because the Lebanese economy is being targeted through that,” he added.

Lebanon

On the security level, Sayyed Nasrallah assured that “the Lebanese have toppled Israel’s latest attempt to change the rules of engagement. There are thousands of Israeli violations but after all there are red lines.

The latest violation in the Southern Suburb of Beirut, sending explosive-laden drones for assassination is a significant aggression on us. The resistance’s response came through the borders and by later destroying the Israeli drone yesterday in the sky of the southern village of Ramiyah”.

“Despite all the intimidation, we insist on enhancing our deterrent force which protects our country,” he added.

Israel, Hollywood Army

Sayyed Nasrallah said that “the Israeli Army has turned into a Hollywood Army, and its use of puppets to fool Hezbollah reveals its weakness”.

“You are a Hollywood Army and we learned a lesson from the show you performed. It is that in our future responses, instead of hitting one vehicle we will hit more, an instead of hitting one target we will hit more, and let’s see how many shows you can perform,” Hezbollah SG addressed the Israelis saying.

His eminence reassured Hezbollah’s respect to 1701 resolution which the Israeli is not sticking to and affirmed its right to respond to any attack against Lebanon, considering that there will be no red lines from now on.

“Lebanon has imposed itself on the whole world. Everyone called the Lebanese government after the latest Israeli violation trying to stop us from responding to the attack. Lebanon must know that it is strong with its army, people and resistance equation,” he added.

Lebanon, Economic File

On the economic situation, Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that “there could be a solution for the deteriorating economic situation in Lebanon, and the government must hold its responsibility of controlling corruption and financial waste…”

He further assured that “we refuse to fix the situation by raising taxes on the poor. Instead, the government must regain its stolen money from the rich who have stolen.”

“I call on the officials to make efforts to regain the trust of people, or else they would feel that every tax paid is not helping in solving the economic situation, so why pay it? Instead, if people had trust in their government, they would admire it and be part of reformation, this is the natural equation, just like people were ready to sacrifice for the sake of Hezbollah because they had faith in its leadership,” his eminence added.

Iran

“We reassure our rejection to any war on Iran because this war will destroy the region. It will be a war on the entire resistance axis and its goal would be to destroy any hope of regaining Palestine. Thus, on this day, as part of the resistance axis, we state that we will not take a neutral stance in the battle of right against wrong and in the battle of Hussein against Yazid. This supposed war will be an end to Israel and to the US domination in the region,” Sayyed Nasrallah stated.

“Our Imam and leader and the “Hussein” of this era is Imam Ali Khamenei. He is the leader of the axis of resistance and Iran is its center and basic pillar,” he added, vowing: “O leader and Imam, if we were to be killed and burned 1000 times, we will never leave you o son of Hussein… Do we stay after you? May Allah never show us that! In the axis of resistance, we have only seen victories, hope for the oppressed, dignity, and preservation of sanctities,” he stressed.

Source: Al-Manar

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جامعة الدول العربية نحو الإقرار بالموازنات الجديدة… فهل سقط العصر السعودي؟

سبتمبر 4, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

هذا حدث عجيب أن تعود جامعة الدول العربية الى إدانة «إسرائيل» بعد أكثر من عقد على تسلط نهج سعودي مصري قطري إماراتي عليها نجح في تحويلها الى اداة لإدانة القوى المناهضة للهيمنة الأميركية و»إسرائيل»، فأصبح حزب الله إرهابياً وإيران عدوة للعرب، والإرهاب معارضات داخلية، تحت الطلب، تدعو الجامعة بعض قيادييها للحضور بصفات مختلفة لتمثيل بلدانها بالنيابة عن الأنظمة الشرعية فيها.

فما الذي حدث حتى صدر بيان عنها بإدانة الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية الأخيرة؟

وهي اعتداءات متواصلة أصابت سورية بأكثر من مئة وثلاثين غارة وما يقاربها من القصف الصاروخي ولم يصدر في حينه عن الجامعة أي إدانات، بل كانت وزارات الخارجية في بلدان الخليج والإعلام التابع لها في العالم العربي تزعم ان القصف الإسرائيلي يستهدف ميليشيات وخبراء إيرانيين يعتدون على المعارضة السورية وسط ابتهاج مصري أردني مغربي وصمت المتواطئين الآخرين في الدول الاخرى.

أهي تلك الصواريخ من الكورنيت التي أطلقها حزب الله من معاقله الحدودية في جنوب لبنان على مستعمرة «أفيفيم» حيث دمّر مدرعة عسكرية إسرائيلية! فكيف تستطيع هذه الطلقات المحدودة أن تفعل مثل هذا السحر؟

الحقيقة أنّ للموضوع رمزيته المرتبطة بنتائج صراع عسكري في الميادين بدأ منذ أكثر من عقد وشكلت سورية والعراق مسرحاً كبير له.

لقد أدار الأميركيون الصراع بخطة تفتيت هذين البلدين باستخدام الإرهاب الداعشي والأخواني كوسائل لمشروعه بتمويل خليجي كامل ودعم تركي لوجستي وتغطية سياسية عالمية من كل محور الدول الخاضعة للنفوذ الأميركي في العالم.

أم أنّ الجانب الثاني من الخطة الأميركية فجاء على شكل سيطرة على الأمم المتحدة وكامل المنظمات الإقليمية والقومية ومنها جامعة الدول العربية، فبدا ان مهمة هذه الجامعة هي توفير غطاء عربي كامل لإرهاب تحت مسمّى معارضات واستصدار بيانات عند الطلب لتأييد النهج الأميركي الخليجي وإدانة إيران حتى لو لم تفعل شيئاً ومعها أذرعها في لبنان واليمن والعراق وسورية، على حد زعمهم.

فتأمن إسقاط الجامعة العربية بتحالف سعودي خليجي مصري أردني مغربي قطري وضعها على سكة المصالح الأميركية، وبالتالي الإسرائيلية، وجرى طرد سورية من مقعدها في الجامعة وهي من الدول القليلة المؤسسة لها.

هذا الإمساك السعودي القطري بجامعة الدول العربية نقلها من رتابتها اللفظية التي كانت تتجسّد بالابتعاد عن كل ما يسبب اختلافاً بين أعضائها والاتفاق على الامور السطحية، لكنها اصبحت مع السيطرة السعودية الأميركية أداة لإدانة إيران وحزب الله وكل السياسات المعارضة للأميركيين.

يكفي ان امينها العام ابو الغيط ينتمي الى الفريق الوزاري للرئيس المصري انور السادات في مرحلة تطبيق اتفاقية كامب دايفيد المصرية الإسرائيلية. ودوره هذا شجع المحور السعودي الأميركي على تسليمه الجامعة العربية، فأبلى بلاء مسعوراً في العداء لكل القوى المحاربة للأميركيين والإرهاب، حتى انه كان ينتقد هدنة 1701 في لبنان، معتبراً ان حزب الله خرج مهزوماً من حرب 2006 لأنه قبل بالابتعاد عن حدود لبنان مع فلسطين المحتلة 70 كيلومتراً، فهل انتبه أبو الغيط الآن الى أن حزب الله اطلق قذائفه على «افيفيم» من موقع عند الحدود مباشرة ما اضطره الى تبديل رأيه؟

الواقع أن جامعة الدول العربية هي أداة تعكس علاقات القوى العربية في ضوء علاقاتها بالتأثيرات الدولية، لذلك فإن سقوط الاتحاد السوفياتي في 1989 أضعف المحور العربي الموالي للأميركيين وجاء الغزو الأميركي للعراق وتالياً سورية ومحاصرة إيران ليمنح تفوقاً محورياً لهذا الفريق استطاع بموجبه إحداث تغيير جذري في السياسات الرتيبة والكئيبة للجامعة.

فتحوّلت فريقاً يطبق السياسات الأميركية من دون أي تعديل وبما يؤدي الى تأييد السياسات الإسرائيلية وتغطيتها للتقارب السعودي البحريني الإماراتي مع «إسرائيل» ومن دون أي حياء.

هناك جانب أساسي إضافي استعملته جامعة ابو الغيظ للاختباء وهي المعارك المفتوحة في سورية والعراق التي كان المحور السعودي الإماراتي الإسرائيلي يعوّل عليها للانتقال رسمياً الى المرحلة الإسرائيلية الجديدة في العالم العربي.

بيد ان الحسابات لم تتطابق مع نتائج ساحات المعارك، فتمكن محور سورية إيران روسيا وحزب الله من دحر الإرهاب الى مساحات ضيقة في سورية، كما ان الحشد الشعبي نجح في تكنيس الإرهاب من معظم العراق. وكذلك فإن انصار الله اليمنيين مستمرون في الصمود وقتال قوى دولية كبيرة تختبئ خلف الدور السعودي العسكري.

اما إيران فلا تزال صامدة منذ 1980 وتتصدى لأعنف حصار معروف منذ نصف قرن على الاقل كما أنها اثبتت انها قوة اقليمة لا يستهان بها ولا ترتجف لمجرد تهديدات من الأميركيين او حلفائهم.

هذه النجاحات ادت تسلسلياً الى تراجع أميركي وذعر خليجي وتقهقر إسرائيلي حاول ان يقصف الضاحية والعراق وسورية لترميم الوضع المتدهور والاحتفاظ بعلاقاته الحميمية مع الخليج.

لكن قذائف حزب الله على مدرعة افيفيم أكدت على استمرار الانتصار وزادت من معدل الذعر المتفشي وكأنها رسالة من محور إقليمي يشكل حزب الله رأس حربته، الأمر الذي يثبت أن عودة الجامعة الى لغتها التسووية هي نتاج لموازنات القوى الجديدة وقد يترتب عنها الابتعاد الظاهري عن «إسرائيل»، خصوصاً ان هناك رأياً يقول إن افيفيم هي بداية مرحلة جديدة من القتال داخل فلسطين المحتلة وليس ضمن أراض عربية محتلة، كما يحدث منذ 1948.

فهل تنكفئ السعودية عن قيادة الجامعة العربية؟ تراجعها اسلامياً واقليمياً وعربياً يشجع على انحسار دورها في الجامعة العربية انما من خلال المزيد من تعطيل الجامعة وحصر دورها بالمزيد من الحيادية المزعومة؟

US Bases in the Region: The Precious Catch

By Staff

HRW: US-Saudi Aggression Warships Deliberately Attack Fishing Boats, Amount to War Crime

News – Yemen

US-Saudi aggression naval forces have carried out at least five deadly attacks on Yemeni fishing boats since 2018, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. Aggression warships and helicopters have been involved in attacks that killed at least 47 Yemeni fishermen, including 7 children, and the detention of more than 100 others, some of whom were tortured in custody in Saudi Arabia.

The aggression attacks on fishermen and fishing boats appear to be deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian objects in violation of the laws of war. US-Saudi Aggression officials who ordered or carried out the attacks or tortured detainees are most likely responsible for war crimes, HRW said in a report.

“Coalition naval forces repeatedly attacked Yemeni fishing boats and Yemeni fishermen without any apparent determination that they were valid military targets,” said Priyanka Motaparthy, acting emergencies director at Human Rights Watch. “Gunning down fishermen waving white cloths or leaving shipwrecked crew members to drown are war crimes.”

The report indicated that Human Rights Watch  interviewed survivors, witnesses, and knowledgeable sources about seven fishing boat attacks: six in 2018 and one in 2016. Civilians died in five of them. After they gathered there, aggression forces opened fire with light weapons, killing or wounding several men and boys.

Warships and helicopters were involved in the attacks from short distances away, so the civilian nature of the fishing boats should have been clear. it added. The fishermen waved white cloths, raised their hands, or otherwise showed they posed no threat. In three attacks, aggression forces did not attempt to rescue men adrift at sea, and many drowned.

A fisherman described the attack on his boat: “The helicopter was close, about three meters up. They said [over a megaphone] ‘go forward,’ and four or five [fishermen] went forward, and the rest were near the [boat’s] stern. I was in the middle. Then they hit us with the big gun with bullets.” Seven fishermen died.

The US-Saudi aggression also detained, without charge, at least 115 fishermen, including 3 children, in Saudi Arabia for between 40 days and more than two-and-a-half years, HRW said. Seven former detainees said that Saudi authorities tortured and ill-treated apprehended fishermen and boat crew members and denied them contact with their families, legal counsel, and Yemeni pro-aggression government representatives.

The attacks and detentions severely affected remote fishing communities that lost the primary earners for dozens of families. They have also deterred other fishermen from going to sea. “Before the war, fishing was good,” said the wife of a fisherman. “But we heard that eight men from the neighborhood next to us were killed … so [my husband] stopped going.”

The San Remo Manual on Armed Conflict at Sea, which is widely viewed as reflecting customary laws of war at sea, requires attacking forces to do everything feasible to limit attacks to military targets. Vessels are presumed to be civilian unless they are carrying military equipment or presenting an immediate threat to the attacking vessel. “Small coastal fishing vessels” are specifically exempt from attacks. These vessels must submit to identification and inspection when required, and follow orders, including orders to stop or move out of the way. The laws of war also place a duty on parties to the conflict, whenever circumstances permit but particularly after an engagement, to take all possible measures to search for and collect the wounded and shipwrecked.

The US-Saudi aggression has consistently failed to investigate alleged war crimes and other unlawful attacks, including the attacks on fishing boats, HRW said. No coalition personnel are known to have been disciplined or prosecuted for attacking Yemeni fishing boats.

 Countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and France should immediately cease all sales and transfers of weapons, including warships and helicopters, to Saudi Arabia, and should carefully review sales to coalition members given the possibility they could be used in committing violations, Human Rights Watch said.

“The naval attacks on Yemeni fishing boats make it clear that the Saudi-led coalition is not only killing civilians through countless illegal airstrikes, but also while conducting operations at sea,” Motaparthy said. “How much more proof do countries continuing to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia need to stop all sales, including of warships, or risk becoming complicit in war crimes.”

Leading a coalition of its allies, Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall the former regime, which had been friendly to Riyadh, but whose officials fled the country.

The coalition has also imposed a naval blockade of Yemen. The aggression is estimated to have left 56,000 Yemenis dead.

The US-Saudi aggression has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

#Yemen #US_Saudi_Aggression #Human_Rights_Watch #Fishermen

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