Yemen: Our Complicity Lies Bare

The Guardian’s Editorial

18-06-2018 | 12:50


Even if the UK warned against attacking the vital port of al-Hudaydah, we bear responsibility for the horrors of this war.
 
Yemen

The fig leaves covered little to start with, and withered long ago. Now the excuses for our role in Yemen’s misery have fallen away entirely. The assault on al-Hudaydah by the Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition can only deepen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis; 70% of the country’s imports pass through the port. Britain and France urged Saudi Arabia not to launch the attack, but the UK has now “said its piece”. The US rejected a UAE request for a minesweeper for the operation, but as an Emirati official observed: “Not giving us military assistance is not the same as telling us not to do it.”

So they are doing it. They are conducting this war with British-, American- and French-made arms. They are conducting it with western military training and advice; British and US officers have been in the command room for airstrikes, and this weekend Le Figaro alleged that there are French special forces on the ground in Yemen. They are conducting it with diplomatic shelter from the west. On Friday, the UK and US blocked a Swedish drive for a UN security council statement demanding a ceasefire: “Britain, as the ‘penholder’ on Yemen at the UN security council, nevertheless takes a nakedly pro-Saudi approach to the conflict,” the former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell notes. Arms sales and security interests dictate.

The war has already claimed tens of thousands of lives, the oft-cited toll of 10,000 being highly conservative when reached and now hopelessly out of date. Many more stand in peril. International law obliges the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian aid… Relief groups have had to flee al-Hudaydah. Twenty-two million Yemenis need aid. Eight million are at risk of starvation.

The assault appears to be an attempt to pre-empt the presentation of a peace plan by the UN envoy Martin Griffiths, who had previously warned that an attack on al-Hudaydah could “take peace off the table in a single stroke”. He is due to brief the Security Council on Monday, following emergency talks, and the UN’s humanitarian coordinator, Lise Grande, has said that talks on the UN taking over the port’s administration are at an advanced stage. But even if Griffiths can manage an agreement against the odds, the chances of it sticking are poor, given both sides’ record of acting in bad faith. The complexities of a handover are immense.

The coalition backs the internationally recognized president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, driven out by the Houthis [Ansarullah revolutionaries]. But the campaign appears largely driven by two forces. First, rivalry with Iran, and other strategic interests. Second, the prestige of its leaders – notably Mohammed bin Salman, who led the charge to war and is now Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader. The coalition has calculated that after a lengthy stalemate it may be in its best position since the war began more than three years ago; it hopes to change the facts on the ground and appears to have convinced itself that al-Hudaydah will be a relatively easy win, if far from painless for civilians. This is familiar stuff, as an International Crisis Group report pointed out this week: “The warring factions are overconfident in their military prospects, almost always press for military advantage when there is an opportunity for negotiation, and are all too often starkly indifferent to the humanitarian impact of their actions and the plight of ordinary citizens.”

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi may be of one mind in their loathing for Tehran, but the crowded and increasingly complex field is exposing divergence in their interests. A few months ago, Emirati-backed forces were fighting and killing Saudi-backed forces in Aden… The entrenchment of a war economy is another significant obstacle to peace.

So it goes on, the suffering mounting, further unsettling this unstable region and breeding cynicism and rage towards the west and its talk of human rights and international law. If the complicity ever looked deniable, events of recent days have laid it bare.
Source: The Guardian, Edited by website team

Advertisements

UN: Assault on Yemen’s Hodeidah Port could Cost 250,000 Lives

Source

 June 8, 2018

Hodeida strike

A long-feared assault on Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah by the Saudi-led coalition could cost up to 250,000 lives, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in the country, Lise Grande, said in a statement on Friday.

“A military attack or siege on Hodeidah will impact hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians,” she said.

“In a prolonged worst case, we fear that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything – even their lives.”

Yemen has been since March 25, 2015 under a brutal aggression by Saudi-led coalition, which also includes UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Kuwait, in a bid to restore power to fugitive former president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been injured and martyred in Saudi-led strikes, with the vast majority of them are civilians.

SourceAgencies

Related Articles

 

Former UK Envoy Says Bahrain all but a US, Saudi Colony

Local Editor

29-05-2018 | 11:13

Ex-British Envoy to Bahrain Peter Ford said the Gulf island has almost turned into a vassal state for the US and Saudi Arabia out of fear for its existence in the face of popular protests.
Peter Ford

In an interview with Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen TV on Sunday, Ford said that “Bahrain has almost turned into a Saudi and American colony since the beginning of the protests” in 2011.

The ruling Al Khalifah family has been capitulating to Riyadh since this dynasty became scared, said Ford, who served as Britain’s accredited ambassador to Manama for three years.

This fright is also the reason behind the proximity of Bahrain’s position to the anti-Iran stance of the United States and “Israel”, he added.

Over the years of protests, scores of people were martyred and hundreds more imprisoned during the regime’s crackdown on peaceful protesters. Many more Bahraini nationals have also been stripped of citizenship, following accusations of being involved in acts of “terrorism” or measures to undermine national security.

The ruling Bahraini regime has further aligned itself radically with the US, Saudi Arabia, and “Israel” in their bid to demonize and isolate Iran.

Ford stepped down as an adviser to the Bahraini royal family after those remarks.
 The British Foreign Office, Ford said, did not welcome the resignation but the decision generated some “positive reactions” inside Bahrain.
“The Bahraini media were absolutely silent on this issue, and British Foreign Office officials were not happy with my resignation,” he said.

Ford also warned Bahrain against throwing itself into regional disputes, saying the tiny island would seriously be hurt if a wider conflict broke out.

“Bahrain will be at risk more than any other region in the event of a widespread conflict between “Israel” on the one hand, and Lebanon, Syria and Iran on the other, due to its proximity to Iran and the instability of Bahrain.” 
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
Related Videos

Related Articles

The Debate – Israel’s war crimes

«Israeli» Top Court «Gives Green Light» to Use of Live Fire in Gaza

26-05-2018 | 11:27

The “Israeli” entity’s so-called “Supreme Court” has unanimously rejected two petitions brought by human rights groups demanding the entity’s army to stop using snipers and live ammunition against unarmed Palestinian protests in the Gaza Strip.

"Israeli" soldiers

The panel of three justices on Thursday sided with the “Israeli” military, which argued that the protesters constituted a real danger to “Israeli” soldiers and settlers.

The “Israeli” entity maintains its forces use of live fire at demonstrators in the Gaza Strip.

The court’s ruling gave the entity “a green light to its continued use of snipers and live fire against Palestinian protesters”, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in the “Israeli” entity and al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, which filed one of the petitions, said in a statement on Friday.

“The ‘Israeli’ Supreme Court completely ignored the broad factual basis presented to it by the petitioners, which includes multiple testimonies of wounded and reports of international organizations involved in documenting the killing and wounding of unarmed protesters in Gaza”.

The human rights groups said the court “refused to watch video clips documenting ‘Israeli’ shootings of demonstrators and, rather than actually examining the case, fully accepted the claims presented to it by the state.

“The extreme nature of the ruling is also highlighted by the striking absence of any mention of the casualty figures that had been presented to the court”.

Yesh Din, one of the “Israeli” groups that brought the other petition, also criticized the court’s decision.

“The judges missed an opportunity to prevent the continuation of the killing and injuries,” it said on Twitter.

Since the protests began, “Israeli” forces had martyred at least 113 Palestinians, including women and children, and wounded more than 12,000 people.

At least 3,569 Palestinians were victims of live ammunition, including, doctors, paramedics, journalists, women, children and the elderly.

UN rights experts denounced the entity for using a “disproportionate use of force”, while Amnesty International called it a “horror” that violated international law.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

Related Videos

ليست ليلة رأس السنة

Image result for ‫ابراهيم الأمين‬‎ابراهيم الأمين

الناس الخارجون من العاصمة باتجاه المناطق، يذهبون بغالبيتهم للمشاركة في الانتخابات النيابية. صحيح أن هواة الاستجمام لهم حصتهم. لكن الذين يريدون الاقتراع أو المقاطعة يعرفون أن غداً هو يوم مهم.

يوم مهم، لأن لبنان مقبل على تحديات غير مسبوقة. برضى أو بغير رضى أهله، وهي تحديات، لا تتصل هذه المرة بحجم الدين العام، أو بمصير مشروع إنمائي أو تشكيلات إدارية. بل هي، متصلة هذه المرة، وأكثر من أي مرة، بموقع لبنان في المعركة الإقليمية ــــ الدولية القائمة في المنطقة، والتي ترتفع فيها الأسقف إلى حيث لا شيء إلا السماء!

(مروان بوحيدر)

الأسئلة الكثيرة الخاصة بالعملية الانتخابية قد توحي بأن الناس لاهية عما يجري حولنا. وبرغم أن الشعارات الانتخابية تستخدم ملفات المنطقة كأداة للتعبئة، إلا أن القوى السياسية، كما جمهورها، تتصرف فعلياً بأن الخيارات الانتخابية هي حكماً جزء من الخيارات السياسية الكبرى. وهذا ما يسهّل فهم التدخلات الخارجية في هذه الانتخابات، وما يجب فهمه أن هذا البلد يقوم على قواعد عمل ليست كلها من بنات أفكار اللبنانيين، ولا من عضلاتهم ولا من جيوبهم. وإذا بقي الجميع في حالة إنكار، فإن ما نُقبل عليه قريباً جداً سوف يجعل انتخابات الغد، كأنها «صبحية» متأخرة في أول يوم من السنة الجديدة.

غداً، الجميع سيشاركون في العملية السياسية. المقترع والممتنع على حد سواء. ولكل فعل نتيجته المباشرة. لكن الحقيقة التي سيعيشها الناس بعد الأحد الكبير، هي أن الأزمة الداخلية لم تكن متصلة بهذا القدر مع أزمة المنطقة. تعقدت الأمور وتداخلت الى حدود صار معها بالإمكان القول، لا الادعاء أو الزعم، بأن اقتصاد لبنان رهن خياراته السياسية في المنطقة. وأن عيش الناس وأعمالهم رهن خياراتهم السياسية. وأن أحلامهم بالبقاء هنا، أو الهجرة والبحث عن فرص في بلاد الأحلام، هي أيضاً رهن خياراتهم السياسية. كما أن مستقبل الآباء قبل الأبناء، هو فعلياً رهن هذه الخيارات السياسية.

من قرر الاقتراع، سوف يدفع قريباً جداً ثمن ما اقترفت يداه. فلن تنفعه أبداً كل تبريرات تستند الى حكاية الزعبرة اللبنانية. سيعرف الذين رفضوا مساءلة من صوّتوا لهم قبل تسع سنوات، أنهم إذا أعادوا الكرّة، فسيحصدون المزيد. وهذا المزيد ليس إيجاباً في كل الأمكنة. سوف يحصل الملتصقون بالخيار الأميركي ـــ السعودي على نتائج قاسية تشمل الإحباط والتعب والنزف، إن هم اعتقدوا أن بالإمكان الاستمرار بهذه الحالة لعقد إضافي. وفي المقابل، سيحصل الملتصقون بخيار المقاومة على فرصة لحياة أفضل، لكنها تحتاج الى خوض معركة قاسية جديدة، فيها الكثير من الدم والدموع. والمشكلة التي تزعج قسماً غير قليل من اللبنانيين، أن محاولة تبني الحياد، والقول بخيار ثالث، هي محاولة خارج الواقع، وهي لا تتصل أبداً بما يجري في لبنان ومن حوله، وهي محاولة سخيفة تفترض أن هذا البلد لديه فائض بشري ومادي وسيادي يتيح له التنمّر على العالم، وهي محاولة مجنونة، تصب في خدمة أحد الفريقين الواضحين في خياراتهما. ومتى وقعت الواقعة، لن يبقى لهؤلاء حتى حائط للبكاء.

الساعات المتبقية ليوم غد هي للاستعداد لوقائع ستدهمنا جميعاً، ومن دون استثناء، ذات صباح قريب!

ما هو مهم غداً، أن غالبية كبيرة جداً من اللبنانيين المقيمين فعلياً في هذا البلد ستشارك في العملية الانتخابية. أما شعار الأغلبية الصامتة، فهو شبيه بكذبة الفرادة اللبنانية. هو شعار العاطلين من الفعل السياسي. وهو شعار الخاسرين غير القادرين على إقناع أنفسهم قبل الآخرين بقدرتهم على التغيير. ونتائج الأحد الكبير، ستكشف أن غالبية تلامس 85 بالمئة من العائلات اللبنانية المقيمة هنا، من مقترعين وأفراد عائلاتهم الممنوعين من الاقتراع بسبب القانون، هي التي وضعت أوراقها في صناديق الاقتراع. وأن خانة «لا أعرف» أو «لا أحد» التي ترد كثيراً في استطلاعات الرأي، ستكون «لا شيء» في حصيلة يوم الانتخاب.

صحيح أن من قرر الاقتراع قرر التعبير علناً عن موقفه، وأن من قرر المقاطعة قرر التعبير علناً عن قرفه، لكن، ليس هناك من لم يدل بصوته. الجميع سيكون مقترعاً غداً. ونتيجة الاقتراع التي تظهرعلى شكل توزيع لمقاعد نيابية، هي التي تمسك بمقاليد حياة الجميع، مقترعين ومقاطعين. ولذلك، فإن كل محاولات التغابي والإنكار، والهروب من السؤال الكبير حول موقع لبنان في الصراع الكبير من حولنا، هي محاولات لا تنفع في منع الناس من تحمّل النتيجة قريباً، وقريباً جداً…
ما قد يرفض البعض الإقرار به، هو أن اللبنانيين الذين تورطوا جميعاً في كل صراعات المنطقة سيكونون جميعاً على موعد قريب مع مواجهة، قد تكون الأخيرة من نوعها في المنطقة. وسيكون الجميع متورطاً فيها، وعندها لن تنفعهم كل قصائد «النأي بالنفس» و«العيش المشترك» و«المسافة الوحيدة من الجميع». وما يعدّ للمنطقة من مواجهة شاملة، تقع فجأة أو نتدحرج صوبها سريعاً، لن يعيد سؤال الناس عن رأيهم في أي خيار يفضلون، كما لن يكون بمقدور فريق منع الفريق الآخر من القيام بما يتوجب عليه من خطوات تعبّر ساعتها عن حقيقة التزامه السياسي…

الساعات المتبقية ليوم غد، ليست ساعات الاستعداد لسهرة رأس السنة، بل هي ساعات الاستعداد لوقائع ستدهمنا جميعاً، ومن دون استثناء، ذات صباح قريب!

israeli police teach schoolchildren how to shoot Palestinians

Source

Shooting practice at an Israeli school: targets set up by police depicted figures wearing the Palestinian kuffiyeh headdress.

Israeli police planned to teach children how to shoot at Palestinians as part of a training exercise in a school.

The incident in the Menashe Regional Council, near Haifa in northern present-day Israel, was brought to light in recent days when Palestinian citizens of Israel took photos of what was happening.

Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Israeli parliament from the Joint Arab List, is demanding an investigation into the training sponsored by the Israeli police and the education ministry, which he said “prepares students psychologically to kill Arabs.”

One photo shows a person – most of their body blurred with a black marker – using a paintball gun to fire at cutouts of men and women wearing checkered kuffiyeh headscarves that are associated with Palestinians.

Zahalka made his demand in a letter to public security minister Gilad Erdan, according to the publication Arab48.

The activity in Menashe Regional Council is part of widespread training of children by police in Israeli schools, according to Arab48.

In 2011, the newspaper Haaretz reported on how a group of Israeli high school students from Herzliya took part in a simulated shooting attack at a military base “in which the targets were figures decked out with the Arab kuffiyeh headdress.”

One source told Haaretz that the exercise, which was also supported by the education ministry, was tantamount to “educating toward hatred of Arabs.”

The training in the Menashe Regional Council school is also reminiscent of an incident last year in which Israeli police put on a demonstration for a group of fifth-graders for how to “confirm a kill” – in other words how to perpetrate an extrajudicial execution.

Early this year, American comedian Jerry Seinfeld visited a training center in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank where tourists are given demonstrations on how to kill Arabs.

And in a disturbing parallel in 2015, police in North Miami Beach, Florida, were found to be using photos of African American men for target practice at a shooting range.

Separate and unequal

Zahalka noted that the incident occurred in Menashe Regional Council, which bills itself as a paragon of coexistence between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

There are approximately 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel. They are the survivors and their descendants of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Unlike Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, they hold Israeli citizenship and a right to vote, but nonetheless live under dozens of laws that discriminate against them because they are not Jewish.

Israel operates a separate and unequal school system for Jewish and Arab students.

Anti-Arab incitement and indoctrination is endemic in schools for Jewish children from the earliest grades.

Proud to kill

The Israeli police said that the targets in the Menashe Regional Council school had been set up as part of an activity day to teach children “about good citizenship” and that to “engender interest among participants, a paint gun station was erected.”

“Before the activity began, the activity’s commanders and the school staff noticed the matter and hid the images, and no children saw them during the activity itself,” the police claimed.

The education ministry also called the use of the targets, according to the publication Ynet, a “serious mishap.”

Zahalka also wrote to Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett calling for those responsible for organizing the shooting training to be punished.

He stated that it was unacceptable for the ministry to merely cancel the activity without seeking accountability, and to try to shift the blame to the police alone.

Zahalka quipped that had a similar activity taken place in a school run by the Palestinian Authority, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “would have demanded a meeting of the UN Security Council.”

Nadav Perez-Vaisvidovsky, an Israeli college lecturer, expressed shock at the training, tweeting, “This is the type of thing you see in history books and wonder how it could be allowed to go on.”

Yet this is only a small part of what the so-called international community is allowing Israel to do with impunity.

The European Union, for instance, which never ceases to issue reminders of the importance of learning “lessons from the past,” is currently pretending not to see how Israel is deliberately massacring unarmed civilians besieged in the Gaza Strip.

And there is little chance of accountability, since the incitement comes from the top, with Israeli ministers regularly calling for or applauding extrajudicial executions.

Naftali Bennett, the education minister, himself notoriously declared in 2013, “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.”

Ending complicity

Last December, Belgium’s KU Leuven university announced that it would end its role in an EU-funded “research” project carried out in partnership with Israeli police.

“The participation of the Israeli public security ministry indeed poses an ethical problem taking into account the role which the strong arm of the Israeli government plays in enforcing an unlawful occupation of the Palestinian territories and the associated repression of the Palestinian population,” university rector Luc Sels explained.

In light of Israel’s ongoing premeditated killing and maiming of unarmed protesters in Gaza, Palestinian activists recently renewed their calls for an international arms embargo on Israel, including a ban on cooperation and joint training with Israel’s police and military.

In a major victory for this campaign, Durham, North Carolina, recently became the first city in the US to pass such a ban.

“What the Israeli police did is not that unusual, especially in the current atmosphere of racism against Arabs,” Zahalka wrote.

“In any case, the Israeli police do not require such an atmosphere as their record is full of disregard for the lives of Arab citizens, whom they continue to treat as enemies and not as citizens.”

Zahalka concluded that firing on cutouts of Arab citizens “falls within the racist policies of Netanyahu and his government, and therefore everyone is called upon to confront this racism until it is defeated.”

 

%d bloggers like this: