A History of Violence: The Myth of the Moderate Kurdish Rebel

Sarah Abed has finally posted part 3 of her series on the Kurds. I put up a commentary on the first two parts back in July in which I wrote, by way of introduction:

What are we to think of the Kurds–often portrayed by mainstream media as gallant freedom fighters, with lots of cute girls fighting in their ranks? Ah, but now we see that by and large they have cast their lot with the US in its efforts at regime change in Syria. This de facto places the Kurds in what would seem to be some very atrocious alliances, including with Israel, the Saudis, and, yes…ISIS.

So did the Kurds make a deal with the devil? Are they fallen angels? Were they ever angels to begin with? Sarah Abed has posted the first two installments of a three-part series that delves into these questions. In this series, she analyzes, as one Mint Press editor describes it, “the role that some Kurdish factions have played throughout history in helping major powers create chaos in the Middle East – from the Kurdish uprising in Iraq in the 1960s to the ongoing conflict in Syria today.”

In her latest installment, Abed discusses Kurdish complicity in the Armenian genocide, as well as what she describes as “a centuries-long history of persecuting minority groups.” It is a history which has included attacks against Assyrians and Yazidis as Kurds have endeavored to establish their own state.

Presently the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq presides over Assyrian and Yazidi populations, but these minority groups have not received adequate protection from ISIS, and according to Abed, Kurdish leaders have even allowed terrorists to “violently cleanse” certain areas of non-Kurdish residents.

While the article does offer the following disclaimer…

It’s important to reiterate that this three-part analysis is not meant to be understood as a sweeping generalization of the Kurdish ethnicity at large. The points being addressed are specifically in reference to the corrupt factions. The West has effectively preyed on the Kurds’ internal divisions and has used some factions to fulfill an imperialist goal of dividing and weakening the Near and Middle East. The Kurdish people are diverse, and in recent years, aspects of their culture and customs have been discussed in mainstream media. But the behavior of some of their more corrupt factions must be addressed.

Abed nonetheless goes on to write:

The Kurds have gained popularity through effectively marketing themselves to Western audiences as revolutionary, feminist, Marxist “freedom fighters” who have a burning desire to create their version of a utopia where peace for all will reign — an image that Stephen Gowans recently critiqued in “The Myth of the Kurdish YPG’s Moral Excellence.”

What they actually seek to create is an illegal autonomous state carved out of existing sovereign countries. The freedom they seek is to be brought about by means of slaughtering natives in the countries that they want to Balkanize and divide on sectarian lines. They have set about vacating areas of indigenous people, utilizing fear and forceful tactics that are supported by their sponsors but that are in violation of globally accepted human rights. To agree with their cause is to agree with genocidal actions that, in essence, tear people away from their homes and lands while fitting conveniently into the imperial views of Western nations.

You can access the full article by Abed here.

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Anti-Christian pogrom underway in Ukraine…while is ongoing the genocide of Donbass/Novorossiya population, Donetsk, Lugansk … by neo-Nazi gangs of Kiew regime […U.S.-NATO supported…]

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Anti-Christian pogrom underway in Ukraine…

…while is ongoing the genocide of Donbass/Novorossiya population, Donetsk, Lugansk … by neo-Nazi gangs of Kiew regime





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Famine ‘threatens hundreds of thousands’ in Somalia

Famine ‘threatens hundreds of thousands’ in Somalia

Nicholas Kay, the former special representative and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia
Nicholas Kay, the former special representative and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia

The United Nations (UN)’s former special representative for Somalia has warned of the looming threat of famine in the Horn of Africa country, calling for immediate action to stop a potential humanitarian disaster.

British diplomat Nicholas Kay, who until recently served as the UN’s envoy for Somalia, said on Wednesday that hundreds of thousands of people in Somalia might die or be on the verge of dying in May this year if immediate action was not taken to address the threat of famine in the African country.

Speaking at a briefing of a group of journalists, Kay warned that in order to prevent the humanitarian disaster “action is needed immediately.”

He said a conference was scheduled in London for May to address the dire situation in Somalia but warned that it might be too late to discuss action then.

“If by the time the conference in May happens we are [still] having to sound the alarm and discuss the famine issue, that is going to be too late,” he said. “There may be hundreds of thousands of people dead or about to die.”

According to the UN humanitarian office, five million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Somalia.

The UN’s humanitarian appeal for Somalia for 2017 is 864 million dollars. The money is needed to provide assistance to 3.9 million people, but additional funds are required to cope with the worsening situation, and last month, the UN World Food Program launched a 26-million-dollar plan to respond to the drought there.

This image shows a woman and her child walking by a flock of dead goats near Dhahar in Puntland, Somalia, on December 15, 2016. (By AFP)

“Nearly three million people in Somalia face crisis and emergency acute food insecurity,” the Famine Early Warning Systems Network warned earlier this month.

Globally, the famine network said, the need for emergency food assistance is “unprecedented” — with famine also possible in South Sudan and Yemen and likely in inaccessible areas of Nigeria’s northeast.

Yemen has been under Saudi military attacks since March 2015, and Nigeria has been beleaguered by militancy.

Reporting from Cuba: The absence of right…wing politics

by Ramin Mazaheri

It is with great regret that I have to leave Havana after 1 month of special-assignment reporting for Press TV in order to return to Paris.

That may surprise a lot of people, but think of what type of work I am returning to: Stories about unabashed capitalism, chauvinistic neo-imperialism, anti-Muslim xenophobia and the upcoming presidential contest in which the only 2 serious contenders are a right-wing candidate and the far-right National Front.

Why is reporting in France (leftist reporting) considered easy? I cannot count the number of times I have been tear-gassed in the last year while covering on France’s anti-government protests, due to ineffective austerity policies.

Let’s not forget that France is still (14 months now) a police state of emergency, one step short of marital law. The government’s power grab due to just 2 terror attacks continues to undermine France’s claim of democracy (the Nice tragedy was a crazed lone wolf and not organized by any terror group).

And yet it was Cuba which was described as “militarist”, “tyrannical” and “dictatorial” across the West following the recent death of Fidel Castro.

Well, working in Cuba has been totally free of the reactionary violence which is a daily occurrence in France. It has been a celebration of leftist resistance, and the honoring of amazing advances in the face of the genocidal US-orchestrated international Blockade.

I was quite happy to spend 1 month of my life to defend the modern democratic will of the Cuban people and thus the ongoing Cuban Revolution. About all I am looking forward to in France is the bread.

Cuban bread – the type the average person eats and which I regularly bought at local, state-run panaderías – is an offense to bread everywhere. Cubans rightly pointed out that it was the best they can do when the Blockade makes things like oil, butter and salt scarce. Sure, a piece of the subsidized “staff of life” costs just one-fourth of one US penny, and it did keep me from hunger many nights, but I will remember it only as the bitter taste of omnipresent US imperialism, which tastes bad even when dipped in evaporated milk.

In France I defend more than just the culinary endowments of Western Europe’s geographical breadbasket, I defend the democratic will of the people (when France isn’t being reactionary and racist). However, I am part of a very small minority, both socially and as a journalist. In Cuba, I am not, and it has been wonderful.

Why is it like this? Why is France so rich and yet so troubled? Why do I have such trouble finding positive stories there? I have an idea:

In Cuba a far-right simply does not exist – racism, xenophobia and such reactionary stupidities are banned. If you call that “tyranny”, all I can say is that I side with the Cubans in refusing to defend to the death your right to spread inequality, hate and regression.

And what I cannot stress enough is the enormous effect the absence of a right-wing clearly has on the hearts, minds and daily bearing of the Cuban people.

You cannot simply chalk up to the weather the yawning difference between the open-hearted Cubans and the cold, unfriendly, excessively forma and pessimistic French. Surely it is more due to the corrosive cultural effect of tolerating right-wing thought.

Just imagine for yourself what your Western nation would be like if there was no far-right influence? If the goals of racial solidarity and economic equality simply could not be questioned, and had to be promoted?

That’s what Cuban culture has that the West does not, and such cultural gold is both beyond measure and incredibly rare anywhere in 2017.

It clearly gives many French the jollies to insult, denigrate and promote competitiveness, but I assume this is why the silent majority is nauseated, depressed and reportedly adulterous.

But right-wing thought is more than just tolerated across the West, it is avidly promoted by both government and media. From chauvinistic nationalism to capitalist neoliberal dogma which has no factual grounding in reality to “on what moral ground could you possibly claim” humanitarian interventionism – with such ideological tent poles, how can any Western nation claim to be more “modern” or “humanistic” than Cuba?

And yet, the total war against leftist thought means that it’s the French who are considered “modern” and “advanced”. Paris is city full of rich old people who can afford to live in the past – Havana, so close to the belligerent United States, cannot afford such illusions.

People said I could not “report from Cuba”

The idea was something like that I would be prohibited, spied on, redacted and thought-controlled.

Nothing like that happened remotely. It was quite simple, and here is how you do it: You work with the government, not against it.

You don’t sneak into the country on a tourist visa and do a halfway job – you get a formal journalist visa and follow their laws. You provide the government with a list of story ideas and be upfront about what type of journalism you want to do. You meet with them a few times. You talk with them as equals. You remind them that they know more about their own society than you do, and welcome their ideas. You act like what you are – a guest, and not some zealot missionary there to spread light and truth amid darkness and lies.

This is all to show the government that…you are not one of the very many advocating the destruction of their society and culture.

If you cannot understand why Cuba would be vigilant in this respect, you are not smart enough to be permitted to report from here and I hope your visa request is denied!

If you say “such governmental oversight proves the press is not free”, I encourage you do just a bit of research to find out how Iran’s Press TV, to give one example, has been banned, hounded and subverted in places like France, the UK and the US.

There is a crucial difference here: I don’t ever recall Cuba claiming to be a beacon of free press. I have heard the same false claims from the three Western countries just mentioned.

Bottom line: The Cuban Center for International Press was only helpful in my work, and never once did they do anything which I considered remotely infringing on my press freedom.

They permitted me access wherever I wanted to go, helped find me appropriate analysts, and if I had more time here they would have been even more help. They did not redact anything, nor did they have the chance to as they never even asked to see my final products – my work was published without any oversight from the Cuban government whatsoever.

What did I learn from 1 month reporting in Cuba?

If you only read one paragraph, read this:

I talked to dozens of people here, maybe over 100, and from all ages and backgrounds: What seems rock-solid to me is that Cuba is not changing, post-Fidel. He gave up power 9 years ago anyway, so there is no huge sea change due to his death, just a profound sadness for a national hero. I repeat – if you think Cuba is an island adrift, come visit and talk to the people.

Let’s make one key idea clear: The Cuban Revolution is clearly supported en masse.

Their wrong hypothesis is: That the Cuban Revolution was the work of just one exceptional man, Fidel, instead of the combined, sustained efforts of millions of people.

My hypothesis: Not one but two generations have grown up under a total Blockade, so how could they not support the Revolution? Who could go without so long under the gun of a blockade, being deprived of so many basic opportunities, and not be converted? They have no illusions here that the US can or should be trusted; they are committed to independence, anti-imperialism and solidarity with and for all.

This is the main point I take away from Cuba: The Cuban Blockade is an absolute crime against this noble, modern culture.

If you had to rank it, you could place slightly behind the Nazi genocide against Jews, and the Israeli genocide against Palestinians. But the Cubans justifiably call the blockade “The longest genocide in history”. Are not all three the attempt to kill an entire people and destroy an entire culture? This is exactly what is going against Cuba.

Let’s dispense with another idea: The Cuban government/Communist Party also has widespread support because Cuba has been able to do so much despite such total aggression.

Gaping tourists appear slightly more idiotic in Cuba than elsewhere, because the lack of infrastructure is a surprise. This is a poor country, and that is obvious everywhere.

This country is so impoverished that there should be widespread famine – there isn’t, as the people appear very robust. There should be widespread begging in Havana – there is literally none, save one or two drunks. They should be illiterate and jobless and sick – they aren’t.

The lack of these things amid such poverty perfectly explains why Communist Party has justifiably earned the support of the people.

And I could go on here about how Cuba’s system is, in fact, democratic, with popular votes, easy access to candidature, bans on election campaigning, mechanisms for recall, etc., but this is not a dissection of Cuba’s system of communist democracy, which is not at all a contradiction. It is, however, all there in black and white and in the law for those who want to learn more about it.

Anyway, we need space to discuss the fact that one need not even confuse the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban government: to do so is an attempt to construct a strawman argument, and this is precisely what anti-Cuban or anti-Castro forces do (and all they do).

Recall that I am coming from a place where the president has a 4% approval rating, and where his policies are so unpopular, so undemocratic, that he cannot even stand for re-election. This only confirms my thesis that nobody actually likes their government anywhere in the world and that complaining about any and every government is as natural a pastime as talking about the weather.

But despite all the people who hate Donald Trump, does anyone in the US really push for overturning the American Revolution of 1776? Of course not – it is the same here: You can be pro-revolution and anti-government without contradiction, if you insist.

If you are anti-Cuban government as well as anti-Cuban Revolution…you are just a reactionary fascist. The Cuban Revolution, undoubtedly, restored power, land and life to the people. It ended tyranny and foreign domination.

Now, if you do not realize that you should support the Cuban people’s popular choice of government in order to also give much-needed support their Revolution…well, then you are just an average Western fake leftist.

Yes, nobody here every told me that the Cuban government was the most effective, efficient group of men and women who levied taxes and monopolized the use of force, but you’ll never hear that anywhere. If you are looking for such “insights”, I suggest tuning into Washington-funded propaganda outlet Radio and TV Marti.

A government working amid the US-led Blockade genocide

Just as Sartre said that to understand communism must one first embrace its ideals, to truly understand the Cuban government (and by extension Cuban culture) one must first embrace the idea that they have provided food, health, education and security despite the orchestration of a trans-national blockade for nearly 60 years.

And what is the Blockade? Firstly, it is not what the US claims it is – simply a bilateral “embargo”. The US ruthlessly persecutes any nation which tries to do business or even aid Cuba.

It should be stunning to find out that any ship which docks in Cuba cannot dock in the US for 6 months. Cuba is an island nation, after all, hugely reliant on maritime shipping. But how many shipping companies can afford to bypass the world’s largest market just 100 kilometers away in order to work with Cuba?

The Blockade bans any 3rd party from importing products with Cuban sugar or nickel, their only natural resource. The Blockade bans half of all new, world-class drugs, causing innumerable deaths.

Cuba is locked out of the international banking system, crippling their ability to buy and sell goods.

The US even obstructs charitable donations!

This is total war against Cuba, given that invasion already failed at the Bay of Pigs.

The Cuban government deserves an incredible amount of accolades for providing the equal standard of living that they currently have.

Perhaps I am especially sensitive to all this as I am an Iranian citizen – I thought the US sanctions on our country were bad, but Cuba is another level. Iran benefits from increased distance from the US, 6 times more people, and plenty of oil, but innumerable Iranians have died due to the same lack of medication, modern technology and other aggressions against our popular, democratic revolution.

Iran’s development has skyrocketed since the end of the Iran-Iraq War, but even if you could import 10,000 Macintosh computers to Cuba you would find very few buyers because there is simply no money on the island.

It’s not just Cuban cars which are stuck in a time warp: Seemingly everything here dates from 1959, and that’s the new stuff!

That’s what happens after 6 decades of being unable to sell goods; 6 decades of having foreign investors scared off by the United States.

This is what the Communist Party has been up against for so intolerably long, and yet they still lead the hemisphere in many respects.

Obama apologists will point to Cuba as a success – don’t believe it

Opening an embassy was not gutting the Blockade, which he could have via executive order. Full stop. Obama apologists lose, alongside 11 million innocent Cubans. Please stop trying to defend the indefensible.

He also waited too long to even try – less than $400 million in goods have been exported to Cuba since 2014 – and now there are no “economic realities on the ground” which could prevent Trump from reversing everything, as he has promised.

Yeah I’m sure Cuba did go slow, but the dangerous of immediate US economic domination should be obvious. They also largely insist on productive joint ventures, not typical capitalist exploitation.

Exports to Cuba (mostly food) have actually fallen since restrictions were “eased”, and yet less food for Cuba is somehow a success?

Obama had a ton of executive power at his disposal and his main contribution will be to simply reopen communication, but there should be no doubt that he also strengthened the genocide.Even after restoring relations in 2014 his administration levied billions in fines against French and German companies for “blockade violations”.

The message was clear: there is no thaw in relations, and Cuba stays under our thumb.

Obama did not end subversive US programs, bans on imports and exports, a little torture chamber called Guantanamo on Cuban soil which he promised to close and didn’t – all could have been ended by executive order.

At the 11th hour Obama has just repealed the preferential “wet foot/dry foot” immigration policy. Kudos, better late than never. But by waiting so long he added to the US “brain drain” of Cuba for 7 years, 11 months and 51 weeks – he squeezed the most he could out them, I guess.

Try as his apologists might, Obama cannot be transformed into a leftist, because any clear-eyed analysis shows he’s not even a centrist. As is typical of his entire presidency he only represented a change in form and color, not a change in US tactics.

I was able to console Cubans with, “Iranians say the same thing”: They don’t report any changes following a so-called “historic thaw in relations”.

Getting started is always the most difficult, but going from 0 to 1 on a scale of 10 is not a major advance nor worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize.

In fact Obama just added 10 more years of sanctions against Iran, and he did it in his typical “form over substance” method: He didn’t sign the bill, but he allowed it to pass. This is the same thing but now he has plausible deniability.

Now his apologists can say that the sanctions are only the result of an “obstinate Congress”. It’s best to remember that it was assumed he would sign the bill, but this change of tactic was a surprise.

One step forward, 11 steps back, look good doing it, stress racial/identity politics – peaked on election night 2008, no doubt. No wonder many in Cuba support Trump, even though the Donald really only talked tough against Iran and Cuba.

I had so many stories left to do!

3,500 Cubans killed by Miami-based terrorists and not 1 American by Cuban revolutionaries; the occupation of Guantanamo Bay (the only far-right in Cuba, LOL); who will the US seek to assassinate now that Fidel has passed from natural causes; Raul is stepping down next year after two 5-year terms, what’s his legacy; who is Miguel Diaz-Canal, the 55-year old engineer tipped to become the new Communist Party leader; and much more!

But I am glad to have made my small reports. It is too bad that capitalism and imperialist forces dominate the West so thoroughly that pro-Cuban reports – i.e. reporting what the majority of Cuban people believe – are such an outlier in the English language; it’s too bad that so many English-language journalists are so heavily-indoctrinated that they look askance at any report which isn’t “balancing” the Blockade with accusations of tyranny and dictatorship.

I doubt I have made many friends in the Little Havana area of Miami – that’s no problem, because I don’t expect a warm reception in the Iranian-exile dominated area of Beverly Hills, either.

But enough about me and more about Cuba!

And this where Cuba deserves some criticism: They are failing terribly in the information war.

They have not realized that Cuba needs an international media presence like Iran’s Press TV, Venezuela’s TeleSUR and Russia’s RT/Sputnik.

In a place where technological development has been so forcibly retarded, I hypothesize that Cuba simply doesn’t realize that the Internet means that Cuba can finally broadcast their own story to the world; no longer is the world dominated by AP, Reuters and the New York Times.

Yes, such a media costs money, and Cuba is rightly focused on providing for the basic needs of their own people, but I know the world’s leftists are starving for information about Cuba, that Cuba has so many amazing stories to tell and that Cuba has so many fascinating programs to reveal.

Cuba is certainly the leftist leader of the Western Hemisphere – their history of resistance, geographic location and modern culture also makes them a global leftist leader. They need an international media which reflects that, for the good of international leftism. Granma is, after all, just 8 pages long.

Cuba is undoubtedly has a third-world economy – and that’s an unforgiveable crime created by the Blockade – but it is undoubtedly a first-world culture.

I leave Havana convinced that post-Fidel Cuba will not be regressing, and will remain an amazing place for so many of the right leftist reasons.

*****

One final note of interest I’d like to include:

As the longtime correspondent of Iran’s Press TV in France I take a special interest in Muslims – if I don’t cover the bottom of France’s social pyramid, who will? There are only 10,000 Muslims in Cuba, but I visited Havana’s main mosque and not one person said they had ever encountered governmental or even societal discrimination due to their religious belief. One person said he converted 13 years ago and had never heard any Muslim make such a complaint.

This is the exact opposite of what Muslims report in France, as well as much of supposedly “tolerant” Europe.

Of course, the idea that Cuba is anti-religion has been outdated for 2 decades – John Paul II was here in 1998. It’s only promoted by establishment media because it’s another form of anti-Communist propaganda.

Banning religion has clearly not been a long-term success for Communism anywhere, and Cuba recognized that and changed.

Yes, some hugely annoying (and US-based) evangelistic groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been banned, but perhaps they should consider not knocking on everyone’s door to aggressively convert people. When I lived in Gary, Indiana, they disturbed my Saturday morning too many times to count.

I’m not condoning religious oppression and I didn’t care to dig that deep into it, but I was reminded that seemingly every society has some religion that gets oppressed: Scientologists are harassed in Germany (even though I doubt many even know what its tenets are – I don’t), the US killed 82 Seventh-Day Adventists at Waco, Texas, Muslims are attacked in Burma, Jews are targeted for attacks in France, and the list goes on.

The biggest religion in Cuba may be Santeria – a distinctly Cuban-African mix. I visited the homes of White/Aboriginal people who put up elaborate altars to this West African religion, with pictures of Jesus and some Catholic saints added in. It’s pretty telling about the open-mindedness of Cuban culture that non-Blacks have widely embraced a religion which started among the Yoruba of today’s Nigeria.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

Yemeni Villagers Dying of Starvation

[ Ed. note – It would appear that all the horrible war crimes US officials and the mainstream media have been alleging against Russia and the Syrian government are in reality being perpetrated by the Saudis–and, from the looks of it, maybe even far worse. Where’s Obama? Where’s John Kerry? Where are all the neocons who have been theatrically voicing their anguish over the people of Aleppo? How come we’re not hearing from them on the horrible situation in this Yemeni town? How come the Saudis are allowed to fire upon Yemeni fishermen when they try to take their boats to sea to catch fish, and Samantha Power has nothing to say about it at the UN? I guess, come to think of it, for the same reason she doesn’t say anything when Israelis fire upon Gaza fishermen. ]

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No Food, No Medicine, No money: Yemeni Town Faces Mass Death by Starvation

RT
Nearly 19 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid, according to the UN, but the worst of the civilian impact of the two-year civil war in the country has fallen on the coastal fishing area around the Red Sea coastal district of Tuhayat.

As RT’s Arabic-language crew visited the area, they witnessed scenes of chaos – as locals scrambled to gain food – and quiet desperation, with many residents swollen with hunger, waiting for outside help, or resigned to their fate.

Continued here

Stop the Genocide in Yemen

As Yemen continues to be ravaged by war, its people on the verge of mass starvation, social media users are urging the world to take notice and help the Yemenis in their silent plight.

Today beginning of 2017
Saudi airstrikes attacked their home in Marib
Kill 5 people ☝👇

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Yesterday this old woman lost 5 sons by Saudi air strike
Also
Today old man lost 6 members of his family

Just imagine if it were you, searching for your children after an airstrike

The conflict escalated in March 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition began conducting airstrikes with the assistance of the US and UK on behalf of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who had fled following an uprising of Houthi rebels.

01/01/2017 :
Some of the victims of the US_Saudi massacre.
5 murdered and others wounded.

 

The operation has devastated the country and its people. In August 2016, the UN estimated that more than 10,000 people had died.

Yemen is on the brink of famine as the coalition’s blockade has cut off supplies and led to food prices skyrocketing. Yemen usually imports 90 percent of its food.

 

According to UNICE

F, a child dies in Yemen every 10 minutes. The UN reports more than 2.2 million children are malnourished, with close to half a million suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition, a 200 percent increase on 2014 levels.

Yemenis have seen the effects of airstrikes on hospitals and health clinics, leaving many suffering from preventable illnesses.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

.@monarelief and .@AKF_Social distributing now food aid for the forth day in Hodeidah to most needy ppl there. @monareliefye

Yemenis have seen the effects of airstrikes on hospitals and health clinics, leaving many suffering from preventable illnesses.

READ MORE: Yemenis ‘slowly starving’ to death as world ‘turns blind eye’ – aid charity

Children have been prevented from attending school, with UNICEF reporting at least 350,000 have had access to education blocked.

At least 350k children in have been unable to go to school as a result of the going conflict. @UNICEF_Yemen

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

The latest massacre in the mass extermination war against , which is still absent from the Western media

The powerful images shared across social media convey the horrifying reality for the people of Yemen, forcing the world to see the devastation and suffering caused by an onslaught of bombings.

Amidst the disturbing tweets are calls for the US and UK to take responsibility for their role in the conflict.

Yemen is proving beyond any doubt the hypocrisy of the west. They remain in support of Saudi despite continual WarCrimes

The good the bad & the ugly in 2016 still steadfast.
UK & USA still supply arms to Saudi. still in UNHRC

Saudi Arabia and its coalition of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan have been accused of war crimes in Yemen, and social media activists are calling on politicians such as UK Prime Minister Theresa May, the US Secretary of State John Kerry and the UN to put an end to the attacks.

Children have been prevented from attending school, with UNICEF reporting at least 350,000 have had access to education blocked.

The powerful images shared across social media convey the horrifying reality for the people of Yemen, forcing the world to see the devastation and suffering caused by an onslaught of bombings.

Amidst the disturbing tweets are calls for the US and UK to take responsibility for their role in the conflict.

Saudi Arabia and its coalition of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan have been accused of war crimes in Yemen, and social media activists are calling on politicians such as UK Prime Minister Theresa May, the US Secretary of State John Kerry and the UN to put an end to the attacks.

The UK and the US have come under fire from human rights organizations for their role in the conflict. The US approved $20 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia in 2015 alone, while the UK has provided training and $4.1 billion in arms during the first year of the conflict.

In January 2015, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told journalists in London, “We have British officials and American officials and officials from other countries in our command and control center. They know what the target list is and they have a sense of what it is that we are doing and what we are not doing.”

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Israel’s never-ending crimes: It’s not just settlements

source

By Stanley L Cohen

Israel has not just committed unspeakable acts of genocide but done so with absolute transparency.

Last week, the world stood fixated at a largely symbolic gesture by the United Nations in which it found the continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank of Palestine to be illegal. Or did it?

Although the UN Security Council, with rare uniformity, chastised Israel for flouting the law of occupation, the resolution, crafted with ambiguous lawyerly precision, left experienced thinkers on the subject debating just what it means.

In its most ambitious read, some would argue it appears that the decree concerned the occupation as a whole, and swept within its prohibitive reach all settlement activity since 1967 when Israel seized the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, from Arab-Palestinian control.

Others view its advisory language as helpful through its continued embrace of the time-tired two-state solution and its apparent call for a return to the status quo ante of some 15 years ago when illegal settlements had not as yet swallowed much more than 60 percent of the West Bank.

In its least appealing landscape painting, it would appear that the resolution seemingly bestows upon already completed settlements de facto legitimacy and addresses only that part of the building glut currently under way or planned for tomorrows yet to come.

To make matters worse, despite its gratuitous dicta, the resolution remains very much a toothless declaration without any enforcement mechanism whatsoever – essentially relying upon a sudden burst of Israeli conscience to reverse a steady march of indifference to international law that has led Israel’s way since the very first day it was manufactured from stolen land in Palestine.

Defiant Netanyahu

Predictable in immediacy and urgency, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threw his weekly tantrum, accusing the world of a dark conspiracy organised by the soon to be ex-President of the United States, Barack Obama, who on his way out of the door after years of obsequious obedience to Israeli will, has suddenly discovered that it’s OK to say no … well … maybe … or perhaps, to its glaring intransigence.

But then again, it’s kind of hard to take seriously “pressure” exerted by a country that has just enriched Israel’s military coffers and occupation to the tune of $38bn.

Not satisfied with the echo of his own vitriol, Netanyahu was just beginning. Next, he singled out Senegal – one of the most impoverished countries in the world and a mover of the resolution – for economic reprisal. Its offence is having the temerity to believe in the rule of law and being housed in the international building with flags of 193 nations and the State of Palestine that sits overlooking the East River of New York City.

Netanyahu told the world just what he thinks of the UN and its resolution when he announced plans to proceed with the building of thousands of new housing units in Jerusalem in particular.

“Israel will not turn its other cheek,” Netanyahu proclaimed as he went on to prophesy a “plan of action” against the UN directly. Not long thereafter he suspended working ties with the UK, France, Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay, Spain, Senegal and New Zealand, those countries that supported the resolution.

Like a dark lord

Netanyahu should quit while he’s ahead, but he just can’t. There is no incentive. Like the hundreds of earlier resolutions critical of Israeli policies, as worded, the most recent condemnation by the UN can do little more than cry out for justice in the night from a state built from the marrow of genocide.

I get “bombast”, “brash” and, at times, even “bully”. However, it’s the two-legged beasts that feed on the innocent I do not. Netanyahu is very much that kind of beast – an ogre who lives in a world surrounded by dark, deadly thoughts. With delusion his ally, dishonesty his friend and death his messenger, he thumbs his nose at the world as his reign of state terror consumes more and more civilian victims guilty of no offence other than breathing the air that surrounds them and seeking a free life.

When the history of our times is written, an honest accounting will no doubt add Netanyahu’s wicked shadow – and that of his predecessors – to the list of fiends that have seen the world as little more than a playground within which to use their toys of death and despair – always, of course, for the right reasons and always, of course, against the meek and defenceless among us.

The sum total of Israel’s efforts these past 68 years is nothing short of the deliberate infliction upon Palestinians, as a cognizable group, conditions of life and death calculated to bring about their physical destruction in whole or in part.

In the world of Joseph Stalin, induced famine was the prime weapon of choice, though mass execution and exile helped him dispose of tens of millions he viewed as “enemies of the people”.

To Henry Kissinger, the world, particularly Indochina, was very much a small chess game. Civilians were mere pawns ripe for sacrifice through hi-tech weaponry, including biological and chemical warfare, to enforce his worldview at any cost. Millions lost their lives to his cerebral game board.

To Pol Pot, struggle was little more than purification, erasing through starvation, overwork and execution a quarter of his people whose sole crime was to see life through a prism that collided with his own – no matter how soft their view or backward his sight.

In Rwanda up to half a million women were sexually assaulted, mutilated or murdered, along with an equal number of male Tutsis, as enemy agents of the Hutu state – machetes and rape induced Aids to the plentiful weapons of preference.

Slow-motion genocide

These are but a few of the extremes of genocide, those rare cases we are told noted mostly for mass murder, systemic rape or group starvation – the worst of the worst. Yet, genocide does not demand of us an immediate mountain of bodies or an explosive rage of terror for international law to take hold.

As it turns out, in what increasingly seems to be more than mere passing coincidence, the legal definition of “genocide” enacted by the UN General Assembly was born in 1948, the very same year as Israel – which has since gone on to become both expert at its application and legendary in its denial.

In relevant part, under the applicable Convention, genocide means “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; or (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”. Each and every one of these types of genocide has been perpetrated by Israel, seemingly with almost proud boast, and no accountability, for almost 70 unbroken years.

One need not rest upon obtuse historical footnotes to find abundant, indeed systemic, acts of extermination carried out by Israel since 1948 against Palestinians – very much a cognizable “national, ethnical, racial or religious group” as those terms are contemplated and commonly understood and applied under international law.

Beginning with its mass expulsion, rape and murder at the onset of the Nakba (the Catastrophe) Israel has devoted itself to 68 years of non-stop genocide coming up for air only periodically to retool or to change the nature of its weaponry of choice.

What started out with the expulsion, at gunpoint, of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their ancestral homeland set in motion a refugee stampede that has grown to more than seven million displaced and stateless people, providing the world more than a disturbing glimpse of what was to come decades later in Syria.

Never-ending violence

Over the years, Israel has found diverse ways to kill more than 400,000 Palestinian civilians and injure or cripple two to three times as many, including tens of thousands of women and children. Whether by tank fire, rockets, or cluster or phosphorus bombs, it has given new meaning to the evil of willful group slaughter.

In its thirst to ethnically cleanse all of Palestine of its remaining inhabitants, it has made use of starvation, in violation of Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, as a method of war targeting foodstuffs, crops and livestock throughout the occupied territories.

In particular, it has destroyed more than a million olive trees which not only serve as an essential mainstay of Palestinian culture but, along with hundreds of thousands of razed fruit trees, constitute key products of a Palestinian national economy largely in various states of ruin.

In Gaza, Israel has targeted hospitals, schools, daycare centres, multi-storey apartment complexes, UN Relief and Works Agency shelters and mental health clinics with a deadly proficiency that would make historic war criminals blush with envy.

It has laid waste to thousands of its hardscrabble built homes and left upwards of a hundred thousand Palestinians internally displaced, indeed homeless – leaving many families at a breaking point.

For the survivors of the Gaza killing fields, Israel has made life unbearable over the past decade though a criminal embargo that not only guarantees insufficient caloric intake, fresh water and medicine, but denies to its 1.8 million survivors building materials essential for the reconstruction of its beleaguered, and largely levelled, infrastructure.

Not satisfied with physical pain alone, with cruel, wanton abandon, it is no stretch to find that its master plan has consciously induced levels of post-traumatic stress disorder unmatched anywhere else in the world.

Given all these palpable elements of ethnic cleansing, it is reasonably projected that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020 thereby once again driving several million traumatised refugees out on to the road of an uncertain and dangerous diaspora.

To describe Israel’s Gaza strategy as anything but one intended to cause “serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group” is to deny a very public and systematic orgy of punishment meted out to Palestinian civilians on the basis of group identity and dynamic – and nothing more.

In the West Bank, Israel’s calculus of pain and punishment is largely a difference without a distinction: one that varies in form but not intent or ultimate goal.

Not satisfied with the 531 villages and localities it depopulated and completely eradicated during the early days of the Nakba, since 1967 Israel has stolen, resettled and annexed almost all of the West Bank, including much of East Jerusalem, in clear violation of Article 4 of the Geneva Conventions which prohibit an occupation force from doing little more than erecting limited bases for its own security needs in occupied land.

During this criminal land grab, it has approved, indeed subsidized, the building of illegal housing for some 800,000 – largely immigrant – settlers at the same time it has destroyed almost 50,000 Palestinian structures, largely homes, many of them ages-old, rendering tens of thousands of its indigenous population homeless, often destitute or dependent upon the largesse of already overcrowded housing of family or friends.

None of these facts about Israel’s sordid and deadly history can be dispatched as the product of mere hyperbole or unsupported hearsay.

Claims of Israeli genocide have been substantiated time and time again by a host of independent human rights organisations and NGOs, with no axe to grind, and include findings from respected groups from within Israel, itself.

In point of fact, from its arrogant perch, Israel has not just committed unspeakable acts of genocide but done so with absolute transparency as if to say to the rest of the world: there we did it, and we are well beyond the reach of international law.

Make no mistake about it, the sum total of Israel’s efforts these past 68 years is nothing short of the deliberate infliction upon Palestinians, as a cognizable group, conditions of life and death calculated to bring about their physical destruction in whole or in part.

In the presence of overwhelming evidence of premeditated Israeli genocide, to argue otherwise is to reduce the dark, evil and systematic deeds of Stalin, Kissinger, Pol Pot and the Hutu state to little more than a collection of misunderstood happenstance.

Yes, Mr Prime Minister, you should quit while you are ahead. Today, Israel stands charged with violations of the law of occupation. Tomorrow, it might very well, indeed should, find itself seated in a well-deserved international dock on trial for genocide.

Stanley L Cohen is a lawyer and human rights activist who has done extensive work in the Middle East and Africa.

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