Yemeni Coastguards Seize Saudi Ship, Two Others in Yemen’s Regional Waters – Statement

Yemeni Coastguards Seize Saudi Ship, Two Others in Yemen’s Regional Waters – Statement

Yemen’s Coastguards issued a statement that explained the incident of detaining three ships off the Red Sea inside the country’s regional waters.

The statement read the following:

– Three ships were seized, one is Saudi ‘Rabegh 3” 3 miles away of the Yemeni ‘Uqban Island as they entered Yemen’s regional waters without an earlier notice

– The crews of the seized ships didn’t respond to the patrol after they were called via the international channel 16

– The non-response from the crews of the seized ships is a clear challenge to all international maritime laws and a violation of Yemeni sovereignty

– The seized ships were harbored at the Salif port, and legal measures were taken along with contacting the concerned parties

– The coastguards stress keenness on the safety of regional waters, as well as the necessity to abide by all followed regulations and respect Yemen’s sovereignty

– We won’t save any effort to take the measures related to protecting Yemeni waters

Earlier, before publishing the statement, a top official of the Yemeni Ansarullah revolutionary movement said that a ‘suspected vessel’ was seized off the western coast of the impoverished country in the Red Sea.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the President of Yemen’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee said: “Yemeni coast guards… are checking to see whether (the vessel) belongs to the countries of aggression or to South Korea, in which case it will be released after completing legal procedures. The crews are being well treated.”

 

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The Houthis Are Preparing for a Planned Israeli Attack on Yemen

By Ahmed Abdul Kareem

Source

SANA’A, YEMEN — As the war in Yemen nears the end of its fifth year, the situation in the country seems to be escalating. There are strong indications that Israel is planning to launch airstrikes against the country under the pretext of preventing an Iranian military presence from taking hold, a move that is likely to open the door for further escalation.

On Saturday, Ansar Allah, the political wing of Yemen’s Houthis, announced that Yemeni forces would not hesitate to “deal a stinging blow” to Israel in the case Tel Aviv decides to launch attacks in Yemen. The Houthis reaffirmed that their anti-Israel position is based on a principled, humanitarian, moral, and religious commitment. Historically, neither the Yemeni Army nor the Houthis themselves, have ever targeted Israel directly.

The threat from Israel is not without precedent. Israel has used claims of alleged Iranian military attachments in countries like Syria and Iraq as justification for airstrikes and bombings against those nations. Now, Israel appears to be using Iran’s alleged presence in Yemen, an allegation that both Tehran and the Houthis deny, as a pretext for military action in the country despite no evidence indicating that there are any Iranian forces present there.

Ansar Allah leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi said in televised speech marking the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad,

“Our people will not hesitate to declare jihad (holy war) against the Israeli enemy, and to launch the most severe strikes against sensitive targets in the occupied territories if the enemy engages in any folly against our people.”

The occasion marks the largest festival held by the Houthis during which they reveal their domestic and foreign policies for the coming year.

The Houthis also called on the Saudi regime to stop the war and siege on Yemen, warning that there would be risks and consequences for the Kingdom should they continue their attacks. Al-Houthi also confirmed that Yemenis will continue to develop their military capability, adding that,

“Anyone who uses the war and siege to control us and subjugate us is seeking the impossible, and the consequence is failure.”

Al-Houthi also pointed to the ongoing mass protest movements in Lebanon and Iraq, advising nations in the Middle East to resolve their issues vigilantly. He asked those nations to exercise vigilance in the face of what he called Israeli plots to gain a political, military, and cultural foothold in their respective countries.

On Saturday, massive demonstrations took place across Yemen’s major cities to commemorate the Prophet Mohammed’s birth, an occasion known to Muslims as Maulud Nabi. While the occasion is a religious one, it is a public holiday in Yemen and is marked with the singing of the national anthem and the waving of green flags. Many protesters told MintPress News that any attack by Israeli would not cause the Yemeni people any more suffering than they have already endured, but would push them to join a “holy war” against Israel.

Yemen Houthi

According to three government officials in Sana’a that spoke to MintPress on the condition of anonymity, the Houthi’s warnings are both serious and well-placed. Those officials said that the government in Sana’a has already confirmed information that Israel is preparing to launch airstrikes on both military sites and civil targets in Yemen, especially on the country’s west coast and along the Saudi-Yemen border in coordination with the Saudi-led Coalition.

Ansar Allah’s announcement also comes in the wake of a number of recent statements made by a number of Israeli officials claiming that Yemen has become a threat to Israel. Speaking during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and White House aid Jared Kushner, Netanyahu claimed that Iran has supplied missiles to the Houthis that could hit Israel. The Houthis regard these statements as a justification and prelude to strikes on the country, similar to those that Israel unilaterally carried out against sites in Syria and Iraq.

In August, Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida released a report saying that Israel is planning on striking sensitive positions on the Bab al-Mandab strait which links the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, to target “Houthis” in the area. The newspaper, which cited an anonymous informed source, said Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has been monitoring activities in the Yemeni strait.

Israel’s entry into the Yemen war could indeed open the door for further escalation, a prospect made more likely by both the increased strength of Ansar Allah forces and by Israel’s increasingly cozy relationship with the Gulf Arab countries of the coalition. The fact that Saudi Arabia and the UAE recently sought negotiations with Houthis after they were unable to win the war militarily, despite their superior firepower and funding, only increases the likelihood of Israel’s entry into Yemen.

In fact, Israel is alleged to have already participated in the war against Yemen on behalf of the Saudi-led coalition as a part of a series of covert interventions involving mercenary forces, the reported launching of dozens of airstrikes in the country and even the dropping of a neutron bomb on Nuqm Mountain in the middle the capital Sana’a in May of 2015.

Kicking the hornet’s nest

Like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, there is a problem with the Israeli assessment of the situation in Yemen, as the Houthis have never threatened to hit an Israeli target and Houthi attacks on Saudi-led Coalition countries have always been retaliatory, not preemptive. There are no vital targets to be bombed in Yemen as the Saudi-led coalition has already nearly destroyed nearly every potential target, including civilian infrastructure. Moreover, any attack by Israel against Yemen will gain the Houthis even more popular support both inside of Yemen and across the Islamic and Arab world.

Furthermore, there is no evidence that Iran has any military sites or experts in Yemen, and Yemen’s Army, loyal to Ansar Allah, are not the “Iran proxy fighters” that international media so often claims them to be. Indeed, the U.S. State Department even admitted in leaked cables that the Houthis were not an Iran proxy and that they received neither funding nor weapons from Iran.

There are a convergence of interests between the Houthis and Iran, including opposition to Israel’s internationally-recognized theft of Palestinian land,  but if Israel involves itself directly in the conflict in Yemen, it is likely that the Houthi alliance with Iran will grow and may actually spur Tehran into providing precise and sophisticated weapons to Ansar Allah, turning the fears of Israel into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Meanwhile, many Israeli activists and media pundits are expressing concerns over what they consider serious threats from Yemen, pointing out that these threats “should not be underestimated by the Israelis.” The Israeli security parliament said that Israeli intelligence must strictly monitor Yemen and take necessary steps to secure Israeli ships sailing in the Bab Al-Mandab area, describing the statements made by Abdulmalik al-Houthi as serious.

A well-stocked arsenal

Indeed the threats of Ansar Allah, a group known to strike sensitive targets without hesitation, are not without precedent. On September 14, Ansar Allah hit two of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, an attack that led to a suspension of about 50 percent of the Arab Kingdom’s crude and gas production.

Prior to that, they targeted vital facilities deep inside of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, including the Barakah Nuclear Power Station in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, as well as the King Khalid International Airport near Riyadh, more than 800 km from Yemen’s northern border. Now, they have developed their arsenal of ballistic missiles and drones even further and experts say are likely capable of hitting vital targets inside of Israel. Yemen’s Army is ready to launch those missiles if Ansar Allah’s leader asks it to do, one high-ranking military officer told MintPress.

Yemen’s Army, loyal to the Houthis, is equipped with the Quds 1 winged missile which was used in an attack on the Barakah Nuclear Power Station in Abu Dhabi in December of 2017. This year, several generations of the Quds 1 were reworked to provide the “ability to hit its targets and to bypass enemy interceptor systems,” according to Ansar Allah.

Saudi Houthi attack

The Borkan 3 (Volcano 3), whose predecessors were used by the Houthis to strike targets inside of Saudi Arabia and the UAE,  is capable of traveling even further than the Borkan 1 and 2. The Borkan is a modified Scud missile and was used in a strike on the King Khalid International Airport near Riyadh, more than 800 km from Yemen’s northern border. The missile was able to evade U.S. Patriot missile air-defense systems.

Yemen’s Army also posses the Samad 3 reconnaissance drone and the Qasef 2K drone. Both were used in strikes against the Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports. The Samad 3 has an estimated range of 1,500 to 1,700 km. Moreover, the Yemen Army recently unveiled a new drone with a range exceeding 1,700 km and equipped with advanced technology that would render it difficult for air defense systems to detect.

One Ansar Allah military source told MintPress that mines would also be deployed against Israeli battleships and watercraft in the Red Sea if Israel decides to launch attacks against Yemen. Indeed, Yemen’s military recently revealed its domestically-manufactured marine mines dubbed the “Mersad,” and is reportedly “actively developing its naval forces and naval anti-ship missiles.”

Despite the well-established precedent, many still doubt that the Houthis are capable of carrying out attacks on the scale and range of the attack that struck an Aramco facility in Saudi Arabia earlier this year — instead, accusing Iran of orchestrating the attacks. Yet repeatedly underestimating the Houthis was one of the major mistakes made by the Saudi-led coalition, who has failed to defeat the group after nearly five years of fierce battles against them, despite being equipped with the latest U.S.-supplied weaponry — everything from M1A2 Abrams tanks and M2 Bradley fighting vehicles to AH-64D Apache helicopters, as well as having an air force equipped with a high-tech arsenal.

However, it would be difficult for the Yemeni Army to prevent aerial attacks by Israel. Yemeni airspace has been open to the coalition and to American drones since the war broke out in 2015. Any attack by the Yemen army would likely come in retaliation to an Israeli attack and would hit Israeli military bases in Eritrea, Israeli ships in the Red Sea as well as hit vital targets deep inside of Israel, according to Yemeni military sources.

An already dire situation

The war, which began in March 2015, has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis resulting from the bombing and a blockade which has led to mass starvation and history’s largest cholera outbreak, among other dire consequences.

The coalition, backed by the United States, has killed tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians since the war began. Moreover, the coalition’s blockade of food and medicine has plagued the country with an unprecedented famine and has triggered a deadly outbreak of preventable diseases that have cost thousands of people their lives.

Last week, the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project revealed that Yemen’s death toll rose to a shocking 100,000 since 2015. The database shows approximately 20,000 people have been killed this year, already making 2019 the second-deadliest year on record after 2018, with 30,800 dead. Those numbers do not include those who have died in the humanitarian disasters caused by the war, particularly starvation.

Given the nature of  Israel’s recent wars against Gaza and Lebanon, it is unlikely that Israel would feel constrained by any moral dilemma should they chose to launch airstrikes against civilians in Yemen.

Iran…..The World’s Biggest Exporter of Terrorism?

By Prof. Anthony Hall

Source

Reflections on Global Geopolitics, on an Iranian Conference in Beirut, and on a Canadian Federal Election

Tony and New Horizon in Black and White a8f76

I was out of the country for two weeks during the opening phase of the political contest that will culminate in a Canadian national election on October 21. In late September I took part in a controversial conference in Beirut Lebanon. Since ancient times Beirut has been a pivotal city in the strategic zone on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea where Asia, Africa and Europe converge. Beirut has been dramatically rebuilt in an atmosphere of relative stability over recent years, but especially since the turning back of the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon in 2006.

The conference was organized by the Iran-based New Horizon organization. My time with the distinguished members of the international group assembled in Lebanon has helped me to see more clearly some of the core issues in the rapidly changing configurations of global geopolitics. It has also helped me to appreciate better the nature of problems closer to my Canadian home.

Looking outward from the perspective of the Beirut conference I have garnered many new insights on a variety of issues. In particular, I gained fuller appreciation of the problems plaguing the vitality of public discourse in my own North American country. I have had to face a heightened appreciation of the stunted and parochial character of public discourse in Canada even during a national election campaign. It seems there is a dearth of thoughtful commentary emerging to address the possibility of new roles for Canada in rapidly changing configurations of global power. It seems there is little willingness to consider the possibility of a dramatic reshaping of the political, economic, cultural and military interactions that help define Canada’s place in the global community of communities.

I found Lebanon to be an environment much more conducive than Canada to the exercise of free speech. The discussions in which I took part in Lebanon helped confirm for me the tight censorship of permissible public discourse in Canadian institutions these days. The formal and informal censorship extends to harsh repression of thought, discussion and publication in, for instance, agencies of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian universities and the core institutions in our failing parliamentary democracy.

Tony and Lebanese Flag 3c4af

The pattern is not unique to Canada. The repression of public discourse is fast reaching crisis proportions throughout the Occident. The clampdown of free speech is manifest especially in the rush by powerful political lobbies to censor the Internet.

Much of the rush to control the Internet’s content and search mechanisms is going forward in the name of a seemingly benevolent opposition to “hate speech.” It is important to bring skeptical eyes to appreciate the true priorities of arbitrarily-appointed censors who claim the want to wrestle “hate speech” into insignificance. It seems the ill-conceived war on terror is giving rise to a similarly ill-conceived war on hate speech.

In far too many cases the zeal by elites to decide what people can read, watch and hear on the Internet is being carried out in the name of a censorious war on hate speech. In the final analysis, the zeal to filter, constrain and reconfigure the Internet’s content and motifs of digital interaction is tightly aligned with the self-serving agendas of some of society’s most ruthless power brokers.

The Yemeni Connection to the New Horizon Conference of 2019 in Beirut

As the New Horizon conference got going, one of the delegates shared with us early news about the startling events taking place inside the southern boundary of Saudi Arabia around the town of Narjan. Assan Al-Emad, a Yemeni leader, shared with the attendees at the Beirut conference insights and information that, to the best of my knowledge, has been sparse and misleading in the zealously policed content of the Occident’s mainstream media.

Even before the circulation of some international reports about the military breakthrough being executed by the Yemeni army together with the organized Houthi resistance, Mr. Al-Emad shared with the conference delegates a running commentary on the remarkable news emerging from his home region. The new developments had as their background the Saudi Arabian military assault beginning in 2015 on the civilian population of its Yemen in the southwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula. Part of that aggressive warfare has involved the Saudi attempt to blockade all Yemeni land, air, and seaports in order to starve the indigenous population into submission.

The Saudi war is directed at returning Yemen to the status of a subordinate satellite of the world’s wealthiest and notorious Petro tyranny. The Saudi attempt to obliterate the vital infrastructure supporting the lives of the Yemen civilian population is backed by a large coalition of Occidental and Arab powers. These powers include Canada, Israel, the United States, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.

In recent years the Saudi assault on Yemen has been widely recognized as the basis of the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. The invasion has directly affected about 80% of Yemen’s 24 million people where starvation in running rife. As a high-level UNICEF official put it, “Yemen has become today a living hell for children…. with 400,000 children suffering acute malnutrition.”

Those engaged in the Yemeni resistance to Saudi Arabia’s assault on their country began in the summer of 2019 to demonstrate increasingly sophisticated forms of self-defense especially through the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles including drones. In mid-September this strategy of targeting Saudi installations in the cause of undermining the strength of the imperial predator extended to hitting oil-producing and oil-refining installations of the Saudi corporate giant, Aramco.

As the New Horizon delegates learned in Beirut, the Yemeni resistance forces followed up this action in late September by capturing about 2,000 Saudi officers and their mercenary soldiers who hail from many locations including Sudan, Pakistan, and Iraq. The Yemeni resistance also captured hundreds of Saudi military vehicles including some light armored vehicles made in Ontario by a Canadian-based unit of General Dynamics.

The turnaround in the military balance of power in the Arabian Peninsula in September of 2019 has many global implications. There is no doubt this turnaround is a game-changer with many far-reaching implications. The Yemeni resistance demonstrates that the world’s biggest importer of armaments emanating mostly from the United States cannot repel a concerted attack on the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces within Saudi territory. The attack comes from highly-skilled fighting units hailing mostly from one of the poorest and most aggressively assaulted countries in the world.

In 1945 Saudi Arabia was effectively taken over by the United States and its oil and gas sector. The USA claimed the lion’s share of Arabia’s fossil fuel wealth as one of the main fruits of victory for intervening to help shift the balance of power towards the allies in the Second World War. The family of Ibn Saud was entrusted to play the role of custodian of the massive Saudi oil fields largely on behalf of the emerging US superpower with its imperial headquarters in the Pentagon.

Now in 2019, the balance of world power is shifting again, this time to the disadvantage of the United States. The drone attacks on Aramco followed by the humiliation of the Saudi Armed Forces captured en masse in their own territory demonstrates once again that the Saudi royal dynasty is in dire trouble. The monarchical system of Saudi Arabia does not serve the largest majority of its own people. Nor is Saudi Arabia capable of carrying on the protection for the Zio-American empire of one of the world’s primary caches of the black gold that fuels this extended era of dirty industrialization.

The royal dynasty established by Ibn Saud with British and then US-backing is showing itself to have been outmaneuvered and outsmarted by poor but determined regional enemies. These enemies have been generated over several generations through the now-legendary ineptitude of corrupt Saudi leadership that is widely resented by millions both inside and outside the petrodollar’s heartland.

The absurd dependence of the Occident on the Wahabi Kingdom run by mentally-unstable billionaire princes is becoming increasingly obvious. The Kingdom’s vulnerability to the growing sophistication of the Yemeni resistance exposes many of the internal contradictions plaguing the corrupt constitution of the most zealous drivers of imperial globalization.

The logistical sophistication embodied in the victories of the Yemeni resistance should not be underestimated. The operation demonstrates that the Yemeni resistance has much support within Saudi Arabia. The resistance has agents and collaborators inside the Saudi Kingdom that are obviously ready, willing and able to supply vital intelligence of developments on the ground.

Among the many elements of the victory by the Yemeni resistance is the shutting down of Jizan airport and the targeting of nearby Saudi bases so that reinforcements could not be sent into battle. A particularly bold maneuver was aimed at sidelining Apache helicopters parked at King Khalid International Airport near Riyadh. The Yemeni resistance deployed missiles, drones and anti-aircraft systems to prevent Saudis from supporting their troops in the air. They used various electronic jamming devices to disrupt Saudi systems of command and control.  Yemeni resistance demonstrated its ability to blind the expensive Patriot radar system sold to the Saudis at great expense by US war profiteers.

Why are the startling developments in the Arabian Peninsula not generating significant political discussion here in Canada during our federal election? Can it even be said that there is sufficient objective reporting reaching the heavily censored airwaves and print reporting in the Occident to enable even a modicum of informed commentary on the recent developments? What obstructions are being put in the way of wider recognition that the balance of power in the Arabian Peninsula and in global geopolitics is being inalterably affected by dramatic turnarounds in a very significant theatre of military conflict?

In spite of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s war of words with the Saudi government, Canada maintains extremely close relations with the leadership and business sector of the Saudi Kingdom. This close relationship goes back at least to 1984 when the Saudi plutocrat, Adnan Kashoggi, met in Toronto with top officials of the then-ruling Ontario government of Bill Davis. In those days this Saudi “playboy” and “arm’s merchant” was often billed as the world’s richest man.

Until he was offered up as a fall guy in the Iran-Contra scandal based on the discovery of a covert supply line largely running largely through Canada, the late Jamal Khashoggi’s uncle, Adnan, was an ideal candidate for star coverage. Adnan Khashoggi’s ostentatious lifestyle perfectly fit the dominant plotline of the hit TV series, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”

Khashoggi’s close partner was Peter Munk who some have described as an agent charged to advance the financial interests of Canada’s Bronfman family dynasty. Khashoggi and Munk teamed up in Toronto with the aim of preparing a public offering of Barrick Gold shares. The history of Barrick Gold in Canada is deeply intertwined with the rising importance of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. The Barrick Gold Company has been used as a primary commercial base for the Conservative and Republican parties of former Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, and former US President, George H.W. Bush.

On the other side of Canada’s main electoral rivalry is the large international engineering firm, SNC-Lavalin. This corporate entity has been fashioned as one of the primary commercial platforms cultivated as a base of operations for the Liberal Party of Canada. The covert merger of public and private interests in the corporatocracy embodied by the international operations of SNC has been an important pillar in the rise of the Trudeau family dynasty.

The changing situation in Saudi Arabia is deeply integrated into the substance of the SNC-Lavalin fiasco, a complex scandal that has created a significant political problem menacing Justin Trudeau’s quest for re-election. Canada’s SNC scandal has some of its major roots in the company’s efforts to gain multiple engineering contracts in Libya through wholesale bribery of the Gaddafi family, but especially Muammar’s son, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi.

The scandal swirling around SNC is this election no doubt also involves Saudi Arabia where the company employs 9.000 individuals. This number is comparable to the number of people employed in the SNC’s Montreal headquarters. Justin Trudeau speaks often about the need to protect SNC jobs in his own Montreal riding. The current Prime Minister, however, never elaborates on the Libyan and Saudi Arabian background of the company’s effort to exploit its Liberal Party connections in order to evade multiple criminal charges including some emanating from the World Bank.

The failure to even notice the dramatic military turnaround being suffered by Canada’s Saudi ally during the height of our national election is reminiscent of a similar case in 2011. During the federal election of 2011 the Canadian Armed Forces began to play a large role in NATO’s bombing campaign aimed at an illegal and ill-considered regime change in Libya.

This military intervention culminated in the vigilante-style murder/sodomy of Muammar Gadaffi. The murder was executed by a well-armed mob left free by NATO and the UN to commit a ruthless act of lethal violence against a sitting head-of-state and against what remains of the degraded viability of anything resembling an international rule of law. “We came, we saw, he died” exclaimed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a now-notorious statement that succinctly sums up the nature of her strategic understanding of how power is exercised.

In 2011 the leaders of all the major political parties in Canada conspired with the mainstream media to make sure no significant opening was allowed for significant electoral debate on Canada’s role in the Occident’s treatment of the government and people of Libya. It seems that our political masters increasingly want to sideline the big issues of war and peace, life and death, as eligible subjects for formal debate in national elections. National elections in which corrupt media venues deny citizens the basic information we require to make informed decisions are of dubious legitimacy.

Navigating Relations Between USA, Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia

On September 29 when I was still in Beirut, the US TV network, CBS, broadcasted an interview with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin-Salman. The interview was recorded several days before the item was televised. It was the first English-language interview granted by the Crown Prince since reports emerged in October of 2018 that Saudi government officials had gruesomely murdered in Istanbul’s Saudi consulate a prominent Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

The exchange between the hands-on ruler of the Saudi Kingdom and journalist Norah O’Donnell appeared on CBS’s 60 Minutes. There might have been some real rhetorical fireworks generated in Canada by the 60 Minutes telecast if our electoral process was a genuinely open exercise in candid political interaction rather than a televised spectacle scripted to adhere to the narrow boundaries of permitted debate.

Generally speaking, national electorates are frequently discouraged by the experts in media spin from looking beyond a few well-marked subjects of domestic concern. In my view, this systemic sabotaging of democratic spontaneity in elections– this betrayal of the rights and responsibilities of free speech– is contributing significantly to Canada’s increasingly anemic role in the international arena.

Abdel Bari Atwan, the Editor-In-Chief of Rai al-Youmoffered up the following characterization of the televised performance of the man pulling most of the strings of Saudi monarchical rule. Mr. Atwan wrote that bin Salman was

unusually conciliatory towards Iran and its allies, completely abandoning the hawkish escalatory tone that has characterized most if not all his previous interviews…. The most plausible explanation for this sudden outbreak of dovishness is that the Saudi Crown prince feels betrayed and deceived by his Western allies, especially the US. They left him standing alone to face a succession of Iranian or Iranian-backed attacks and failed to retaliate after key Saudi oil facilities were targeted three times in succession — including the very nerve center of its petroleum industry in Abqeiq and Khreis, slashing its output by half.

Prince bin Salman conducted the taped interview with CBS prior to the circulation of news that the Saudi land forces had suffered a major defeat on Saudi territory at the hands of the Yemeni resistance. Nevertheless, the change in the military balance of power was already well advanced when the Saudi leader made his comments.

I am more skeptical than is Mr. Atwan about the sincerity of the Crown Prince’s sudden “dovishness.” Since the exchange on 60 Minutes was the first interview Prince bin Salman had granted since the murder by Saudi officials of Jamal Khashoggi, the prevailing mood of the Saudi leader was animated by his need to eat some humble pie on American TV. His tone of light contrition affected his way of talking about Iran. Under the circumstances, bin Salman pulled back from engaging in his usual sword rattling rhetoric highlighting the military dimension of Saudi Arabia’s conflict with its Iranian opponent.

By appointing itself as a harbinger of war, the CBS network afforded Crown Prince bin Salman considerable latitude to feign the role of a sensible friend of peace among nations. I for one did not find bin Salman at all credible in this personae. When seeking a response from the Crown Prince about drone strikes on Aramco, Norah O’Donnell declared sharply, “Iran struck Aramco.” Not surprisingly the journalist offered up no evidence or explanation to back CBS’s attempt to advance the interests of the war party that seeks to incite public support for a US-led invasion of Iran.

On behalf of his Liberal federal government, Justin Trudeau has aggravated the conditions that have rendered Canada a foe of Iran and a friend of Saudi Arabia including in its recent history of genocidal incursions into Yemen. Trudeau had promised in the last federal election of 2015 to re-establish with Iran formal diplomatic relations.

In 2012 Stephen Harper strongly took the side of the anti-Iranian war party. Harper implemented the Israel Lobby’s request that Canada should withdraw from diplomatic relations with Tehran. Not only did Trudeau fail in his first term to make good on this election promise to the Canadian people. Trudeau added insult to injury by adding to the weight of antagonisms with Iran. He carried through with Harper’s plan to appropriate Iranian property in Canada in order to redistribute it to “victims of terrorism.”

“The New Horizon conferences has been a platform where many of the world’s most formidable dissident intellectuals can meet in person”

I began attending New Horizon conferences in Tehran in 2014. Since then, the New Horizon conferences have given rise to a New Horizon movement. In partnership with our Iranian colleagues, the New Horizon group is made up largely of independent-minded skeptics based widely throughout the Occident. A common denominator informing many participants in the New Horizon movement is a significant loss of confidence in the capacity of Western governments, media cartels, universities, and political lobbies to operate within a framework of relative honesty, integrity and respect for the requirements of law and due process.

An example of the kind of understanding that animates many who have attended the New Horizon conferences is a willingness to engage in clear condemnation of the audacious misrepresentations of the events of September 11, 2001. The wrongheaded notions concerning who did what to whom on 9/11 and why have been followed up by the perpetration of subsequent acts of false flag terrorism. This Deep State engineering of Islamophobic responses to 9/11 has helped in the creation of public support for US invasions of Muslim-majority countries including Iraq and Iran.

An overriding preoccupation of the Israel Lobby and of many Israel First partisans is to persuade the leadership of the US government to invade Iran. This agenda has been promoted relentlessly since the 9/11 false-flag terror event of 2001. As President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton was one of the most obsessive promoters of a US-led war on Iran in order to serve Israel’s expansionistic agenda. Was Bolton fired because Donald Trump discovered that one of his key advisers on international and strategic affairs was first and foremost serving Benjamin Netanyahu as a White House spy?

It seems Trump has attempted to offer up some red meat to the hawks demanding an invasion of Iran. The US President has expanded the frontiers of so-called “sanctions” on Iran. The term, “sanctions,” that has become a kind of code for many-faced forms of economic warfare. The effort to expand the field of sanctions targeting Iran’s economy has had its base in the US Treasury branch and in particular in the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. Created in the wake of 9/11, the keepers of this Office have consistently been zealous Israel First neoconservatives from Stuart Levy to David Cohen to Sigal Mandelker.

Mandelker, a current or past Israeli citizen, became part of the wave of Israel First partisans who flooded into high-ranking positions in the administration of US President George W. Bush after 9/11. She became an economic hit woman as the Global War on Terror coalesced to become the US government’s top strategic priority.

During her quick rise up the ladder of administrative power within the US government, Mandelker served as a clerk for ultraconservative Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas and as a lawyer representing Homeland Security czar, Michael Chertoff. Apparently Mandelker played a role on behalf of the federal Justice Department in arranging the sweetheart deal extended to Jeffrey Epstein in Florida in 2008 for various infractions including child sex trafficking. There is much literature suggesting that a big part of Epstein’s operation involved creating the conditions for Mossad and other related intelligence agencies to blackmail key politicians.

Like so many of her Israel First colleagues, Mandelker became obsessed with heaping recriminations on Iran. She was prominent among the Israel First partisans who were inducted en masse into the deep bowels of the international affairs branches of the US government after 9/11. In spite of much evidence to the contrary, she regularly charges Iran with trying to obtain nuclear weapons. At the same time, she remains completely mum on the reality of Israel’s still-unacknowledged possession of many nuclear weapons.

As Mandelker sees it, “Iran is “posing an incredibly destabilizing presence in the region.” She added, “They’re threatening our great ally in the region, Israel!”

Given even the partial information that has already emerged concerning Mandelker’s relationship to the USA and Israel, certain questions have been emerging. In her work as a US economic intelligence officer has Sigal Mandelker been working as a spy for the Israeli government, a polity well known over the years for conducting very concerted espionage operations in the United States?

Has Mandelker’s work figured at all into the spying allegations directed by one branch of the FBI at AIPAC and at the neocon’s very hawkish organization, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies? Was Mandelker’s recent resignation on October 2 an indication that the substance of her work in the US Treasury Branch could not withstand skeptical scrutiny concerning the substance of what she was really doing on behalf of her patrons and clients in Israel and the United States?

In her last weeks as the primary enforcer of the USA’s campaign of economic warfare targeting Iran, Sigal Mandelker went on a kind of sanctions blitzkrieg. As part of her economic warfare activities, Mandelker targeted the New Horizon conference as well as its top organizers. In particular, Mandelker pinned the new label of “Global Terrorist” on Iranian broadcaster, Nader Talebzadeh, and on his Lebanese wife, Zeinab Mehanna.

This effort to further isolate Iran and to throw up obstacles to any peace-making dialogue between US and Iranian citizens went further. FBI officers visited the 11 public intellectuals in the United States who had planned to attend the New Horizon conference in Beirut between September 20 and 26. All these individuals were threatened with heavy fines and jail time if they took part in an event whose aims include identifying means of avoiding disastrous bloody wars. What US interests would be served by a US-led invasion on 80 million Persian people whose government happens to be in a strong position to respond with a formidable national self-defense?

Among those pressured into staying home was Dr. Kevin Barrett, an outspoken Muslim critic of the dubious assumptions and outright lies animating the conduct of the Global War on Terror. Dr. Barrett summed up as follows his understanding of the reason for attempting to sanction and thus cripple an event dedicated to advancing the arts of sciences of dialogue and peace over the devastations of war. He wrote,

I think the Tehran-based New Horizon NGO has been targeted because its conferences are viewed as an ideological threat to powerful special interests here in the US. Mainstream Iranian intellectuals like New Horizon organizer and filmmaker Nader Talebzadeh, the most popular TV host in Iran, hold views of the US empire, Israel, and related issues that are very different from the views allowed expression in mainstream American media and politics. Yet a great many well-informed people, globally and here in the US, largely agree with some or most aspects of the mainstream Iranian view, and disagree with the mainstream American one. The New Horizon conferences have been a platform where many of the world’s most formidable dissident intellectuals can meet in person, get to know each other, and find ways to promote their interpretations of world events.

Michael Maloof was another member of the group of Americans who had planned to attend the New Horizon conference but who warned by federal police to stay away if they wanted to avoid harsh consequences. A 30-year veteran of the US Defense Department, Maloof retired as a senior security policy analyst with the Office of the Secretary of Defence. Of his reason for being drawn into the orbit of the New Horizon movement, Maloof said of himself and of his American colleagues, “We’re all still US patriots, but we believe there’s another way to go about things other than looking at everything in Iran through the prism of Israel.”

Because the US delegates did not attend, I found myself to be the only North American delegate included in the program. The contrast between my treatment by my own Canadian government and the treatment of my US colleagues by their government is significant. As I see it, there are good reasons for Canada and Iran to return to normal diplomatic and economic relations. I am of course pleased to be left free to advocate this position of normalization of relations in the developments of policies in both Ottawa and Tehran.

My presentation on the podium of the New Horizon conference on Sept. 23 dealt with my reflections on some of my recent research for a paper entitled “The Israel Lobby and University Governance.” I initiated this research following an episode that put me at the center of a crude and illegal assault mounted by the Israel Lobby in partnership with the administration of the University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada. This administration failed grossly to live up to its fiduciary responsibilities to adhere to the contractual protections for academic freedom in Canada.

Nader and Tony 4905b

My unilateral suspension from my professional duties in October of 2016 was pushed forward in a way that denied me pay, due process or the proferring of any coherent evidence to which I could respond. A court in Alberta court eventually condemned unequivocally this combination of administrative actions. The win for my faculty association and I, however, took place after the Israel Lobby in Canada had already mounted a specious media smear campaign with the aim of delegitimizing me professionally. The effort to try to outlaw as “anti-Semitic” any criticism of Israel and its treatment of Palestinian people is moving in the same direction in North America as the travesty of smear directed at Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party in Great Britain.

Meanwhile, it is unlikely that most of the issues I raised in Beirut and in this essay will make their way into the gate-kept confines shaping the current parochial character of electioneering in Canada. The Israel Lobby as embodied in organizations like B’nai Brith Canada and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is seeing to it that any debate on Israel/Palestinians affairs is held to a minimum. Moreover, I am not optimistic that any of the contenders for the job of Canadian prime minister have the capacity, courage, insight or independence to mount a thoughtful political debate on the need for Canada to reorient the dominant motifs of our interactions with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.

Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?

Like many Israel First mouthpieces in North America, Sigal Mandelker repeats often many of the slogans of the anti-Iran war party. Like John Bolton, she has tried to fan the flames of extreme Islamophobia and Iranophobia. She seeks to push the US government to lead a monumental war project that would target the Persian heartland. She labels Iran with the unsupported slogan that the Muslim-majority country is the “biggest exporter of terrorism in the world.” Seldom do those who constantly repeat this mantra ever attempt to explain the assertion.

One obvious way of calling into question the claims equating Iran with the international support of terrorism is to point out the relative peace and stability currently enjoyed by all the citizens of Lebanon. These citizens include Shia, Sunni and Christian groups. This stability is to some extent founded on Iran’s backing of forces that helped defend Lebanon’s territorial integrity against armed intervention by the Israeli Defence Force in 2006. Iran’s positive relation with the government of Lebanon helps to explain how it is that the most recent New Horizon conference took place in Beirut.

Iran’s relationship with the Yemeni resistance, which by and large emerges from deep within the Aboriginal cultures of the Indigenous peoples, also helps cast doubt on the Israel Lobby’s propagandistic condemnation of Iran. Any reasonable account of the Saudi invasion of the life support system of Yemeni citizens since 2015 reveals the obvious fact that the Saudis are the aggressors and that their victims are the targets of round after round of ruthless state terrorism.

If anyone is a leading exporter of terrorism, it is the Saudi Arabian monarchy. The Houthis and other Yemeni citizens are prominent among the victims of the Saudi government with its weird missionary preoccupations aimed at spreading its own Takfiri form of Wahabi fundamentalism.

Saudi Arabia, the USA and Israel have much to do with the creation and backing of the al-Qaeda and ISIL/Daesh, proxy armies that consistently fought the armed forces of the elected governments of Syria, Iran, and Russia. The forces of the so-called “Islamic state” fought with the backing of Israel, the USA and many NATO countries. Iran itself has had to defend its own citizens from the incursion of ISIL/Daesh.

Iran has had to absorb a cyberwar directed at it by the National Security apparatus of the USA and Israel. This attack included the goal of crippling Iran’s local system for generating electrical energy. Iran has had to absorb many ruthless assassinations of its nuclear scientists. Iran has to face the West’s growing political support of a former Marxist organization that is much despised by many indigenous Persians. The violent group, MeK, is being cast in much the same role as was Ahmed Chalabi prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. MeK is being groomed to take up the levers of power in Iran following the regime change war being persistently promoted even by the likes of the CBS television network.

How is it a promotion of terrorism for Iran to intervene in Lebanon in the process that has brought some peace and stability to benefit all the citizens of a very diverse and pluralistic country? How is it a promotion of terrorism to render some assistance to an indigenous fighting force whose aim is to protect Yemeni citizens from the genocidal incursions of the predatory Saudi royal dynasty? How is it an export of terrorism for Iran to support the elected government of Syria against those invaders seeking to balkanize and subjugate the country in order to advance a malevolent agenda involving, it seems, an endless series of US wars for Israel?

Media Yells “Cut!” When Trump Forgets His Lines and Says Something Anti-War

Trump Media Feature photo

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When it comes to substantive issues thatthe elite all agree on (such as foreign policy), there is little to no pushback against the president, excepting when he utters statements that are read as critical of war and militarism.

Trump has greatly expanded the U.S. role in the Middle East, announcing his intention to supply Saudi Arabia with over $100 billion in new arms and reversing previous decisions stopping the sale of laser-guided bombs that have reduced Yemen to rubble. He also vetoed a bipartisan resolution aimed at ending the U.S. role in a near genocide that threatens to kill nearly 24 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations. Trump also made the decision to drop the MOAB — the Mother of All Bombs, the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used — on Afghanistan in 2017 (to applause from the media).

He also continuously threatens enemy states with nuclear annihilation (in gross violation of the UN charter). In 2017 he told North Korea that he would “totally destroy” the country with “fire and fury” while earlier this year he promised Iran that he would bring about “the official end” if it crossed America’s path.

Trump has also conducted a worldwide campaign of economic war against the U.S.’ official enemies, increasing devastating sanctions against the people of Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Nicaragua. And Trump’s sanctions against Venezuela have killed at least 40,000 people since 2017, according to a report from the Washington-based Center for Economic Policy Research. The United Nations notes that the sanctions are designed to hit the poor and most vulnerable, with an (American) Special Rapporteur who visited the country likening them to a medieval siege and describing them as a “crime against humanity”.

While many portrayed Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, as the real architect of the violence, the president revealed that Bolton was actually a moderating voice on Cuba and Venezuela, while he [Trump] favored even more direct action.

 

An anti-war war hawk?

That is why Trump’s recent statements on the Middle East were all the more surprising. Defending his surprise decision to withdraw from fighting in Syria, he argued that the U.S. “should never have been in the Middle East in the first place,” claiming “The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!”

But the president went even further, offering a serious analysis of the costs of America’s overseas operations. “The United States has spent eight trillion dollars” on war in the region, he declared on Twitter; “Going into the Middle East is the worst decision ever made in the history of our country. We went to war under a false & now disproven premise, weapons of mass destruction. There were none!”

What was most shocking of all in this uncharacteristic bout of honesty was that Trump discussed the human cost of war, something rarely mentioned in corporate media. “Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side,” he added.

His comments elicited a storm of outrage on social media from the professional liberal “resistance,” apparently more angry that he said the quiet part loud than about the millions of dead people. Political satirist Jeremy Newberger claimed he had been brainwashed by Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and asked him “did you consider putting a big bow on Syria when you decided to gift it to Putin?” Meanwhile, former British Member of Parliament turned professional #Resistance grafter Louise Mensch slammed the president: “TRAITOR! The women of the YPG are DYING at your hands as YOU let ISIS take Raqqa! You SURRENDERED TO RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM!” she responded, in an eclectic mix of capitalized and non-capitalized words.

Liberal-skewing media was barely any slower in lining up shoulder to shoulder with traditional conservatives in opposing Trump’s anti-war intimations, giving pro-war criticisms of Trump from prominent Republicans like Lindsay Graham, Nikki Haley and Liz Cheney full coverage.

NPR, CNN and the New York Times all dedicated significant resources to reporting the condemnations of Trump’s tweets, the latter’s editorial board asking “Does Donald Trump [even] know what his Syria policy is?” The Washington Post claimed that Pentagon officials were “struggling” to explain Trump’s “abandonment of the Kurds and kowtowing to Turkey,” claiming national security aides were mobilizing to “repair the damage” Trump caused. An MSNBC segment headlined “Donald Trump betrays American allies” insinuated that Trump’s decision to pull away from Syria was due to his business deals in Turkey, reminding viewers of Trump Tower in Istanbul. Esquire Magazine claimed that his actions were something “only a twisted, compromised mind could concoct.”

NYTIMES Trump Syria

The New York Times dedicated significant resources to condemnations of Trump’s tweets

But it was The Hill that most accurately summed up the tone of the media. Pulling out of the Middle East is “impulsive, strategically vapid and morally obtuse” according to opinion contributor Will Marshall. On the topic of “endless wars” he said:

 It’s time to retire this mindless trope. U.S. forces aren’t engaged in the Middle East because Americans are addicted to war or the trappings of superpower status. They are fighting mainly to contain the very real threat of Islamist terrorism.”

Marshall continued to explain that it has been nearly 75 years since Japan surrendered, and the U.S. still has tens of thousands of troops occupying the country. This, for him, was a good thing, because they were there “to preempt threats to our homeland, deter aggression and protect America’s far-flung interests. Their mission is counterterrorism.” Thus, it seems that the liberal resistance to Trump is strongest when he begins to shift, however minutely, to a more anti-war position.

 

Our underfunded Military Industrial Complex

It was a similar story last year, when in December Trump took to Twitter to declare the $716 billion military budget he had previously approved “crazy,” fueling speculation that he might attempt to reduce the already enormous amount the U.S. spends on war — damn near as much as all other countries combined.

Then, as now, corporate media almost uniformly condemned the idea. The Washington Post described a reduction in military spending as “suicide,” claiming the U.S. is in the middle of a “full-blown national security crisis.” The crisis, according to its source, was that it could no longer be sure of victory in a war against Russia in the Baltic or against China in the South China Sea. Why it is crucial that the U.S. should be able to destroy other nuclear-armed countries on the other side of the world was not explained.

Other outlets followed suit. Forbes Magazine began its article with the words, “The security and well-being of the United States are at greater risk than at any time in decades.” Bloomberg recommended a consistent increase in military spending of three to five percent above inflation for five to ten years. The Wall Street Journal was even more blunt: “Don’t Cut Military Spending Mr. President,” its headline read.

The media’s deepest fears did not come to pass, however, as Trump committed to a massive increase to the military budget, up to $750 billion for this year, assuaging the media’s fears.

 

Liberals applauding war

In contrast, whenever Trump is at his most bellicose, media laud his bravery and leadership. Despite warning before his election that Trump was a dangerous fascist too erratic be allowed to control a nuclear arsenal, media overwhelmingly supported the president’s decision to bomb Syria, escalating a conflict that could have turned into a hot war with Russia. CNN host Fareed Zakaria was delighted by his decision: “I think Donald Trump became President of the United States last night,” he said on air.

Likewise, “resistance” media have given Trump considerable support in his attempt to force a coup in Venezuela, backing his puppet Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president. The New York Times claimed that Guaidó was “cheered on by thousands of supporters in the streets and a growing number of governments.” CNN (falsely) reported that there was a vast, popular movement behind him, as “Venezuelans took to the streets in nationwide protests.” CNBC did the same, noting there were “hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans” out on the streets, chanting together and waving national flags, demanding an end to Maduro’s “socialist government.” And all while downplaying or simply ignoring the catastrophic role U.S. sanctions are playing in the country.

For all the talk of an adversarial media standing up to an authoritarian like Trump, the reality is that the media have been selective about what to oppose him on. While they continue to mock him for his crude remarks or his mannerisms, when it comes to substantive issues that the elite all agree on (such as foreign policy), there is little to no pushback against the president, excepting when he utters statements that are read as critical of war and militarism. At that point media begin condemning him in unison, accidentally revealing their true agenda. To those who believe in an anti-interventionist foreign policy, the media’s resistance is useless.

Feature photo | President Donald Trump walks toward members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Oct. 10, 2019, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Andrew Harnik | AP

Alan MacLeod is a MintPress contributor as well as an academic and writer for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting was published in April.

السعودية تُطأطئ رأسها أمام اليمنيين.. هل الحرب في نهايتها؟

د. حسن مرهج

أكتوبر 16, 2019
كثيرة هي المؤشرات التي تصبّ بمُجملها في بوتقة الانتصار اليمني، خاصة أنّ مروحة الانتصارات اليمنية في اتساع مضطرد. هذه الانتصارات ستُلقي بظلالها على كافة المسارات السياسية والعسكرية، في ما يتعلق بتفاصيل الحرب على اليمن، ومنظومة العدوان السعودي.

التحوّلات المفصلية في سياق الحرب على اليمن، فرضت نمطاً من التعاطي السياسي ومثله العسكري في تهيئة المناخات الإيجابية، والتي ستؤدّي حُكماً للتوصل إلى حلّ سياسي في اليمن، ولكن على قاعدة حفظ ماء وجه كلّ الأطراف الفاعلة في الحرب على اليمن.

باكورة الإنجازات الاستراتيجية تمثلت في الهجمات على أرامكو، حيث بات واضحاً أنه ما قبل الهجمات على «أرامكو» ليس كما بعدها. هذا الاستهداف قد حرك مياه المفاوضات السياسية الراكدة لإيجاد حلّ للأزمة اليمنية، وقد تعيد إدارة عجلة المفاوضات لإنهاء الحرب بما يحفظ للسعودية هيبتها التي استنزفت بعد الضربات العسكرية الموجعة التي تلقتها مؤخراً، ويحقق لحركة «أنصار الله»، في الوقت ذاته، ما تريده في السياسة.

السعودية أدركت أنّ التصعيد الكبير من قبل أنصار الله يأتي في إطار التجاهل السعودي لدعوات الحوار والتفاوض، بُغية إيجاد مخارج مُشرّفة للجميع، وبما يحقن دماء أبناء اليمن. فالسعودية وطوال سنوات الحرب على اليمن، قد تجاهلت تماماً أيّ دعوات للحوار، إلى أن جاءت التحوّلات الاستراتيجية التي صنعها «أنصار الله»، وأجبرت السعودية على الرضوخ، خشية تفاقم الأوضاع والوصول إلى العمق السعودي، وسط عجز تامّ عن التصدّي لهجمات أنصار الله وطائراتهم المُسيّرة.

ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان قال في وقت سابق إنه سيستمرّ بالخيار العسكري حتى تنفيذ ما أسماه أهداف التحالف في اليمن، أما اليوم فبات يُطالب بإيجاد حلّ يُحقق السلام في اليمن. بين الخيارين يبدو أنّ ابن سلمان في مأزق حقيقي، وبصرف النظر عن رغباته بالبحث عن مخارج سياسية تُحقق السلام، فمن الواضح أنّ بنية التحالف السعودي قد أصابها الشرخ السياسي والعسكري، جراء ما أفرزته معادلة الردع التي حققها «أنصار الله»، فهذه الإمارات بدأت بتغيير مواقفها وإظهار نواياها بسحب قواتها من اليمن، وما تبع ذلك من مؤشرات حول عدم رضى السعوديين على فتح أيّ حوار مع إيران، إلا بالتنسيق معهم.

كلّ هذه المعُطيات، دفعت ابن سلمان إلى إحداث تغييرات جذرية في خطابه تجاه اليمن، ومن هنا باتت المؤشرات كثيرة على رغبته في إنهاء الحرب، خاصة بعدما تردّد أنّ بعض أفراد العائلة المالكة ونخبة رجال الأعمال في السعودية عبّروا عن إحباطهم منه، في أعقاب أكبر هجوم على «أرامكو».

في هذا الإطار، نقلت وكالة «رويترز»، عن دبلوماسي أجنبي رفيع المستوى وخمسة مصادر تربطها علاقات مع العائلة المالكة ونخبة رجال الأعمال، قولهم إنّ ما جرى أثار قلقاً وسط عدد من الفروع البارزة لعائلة آل سعود، بشأن قدرة ولي العهد على الدفاع عن البلاد.

وقال أحد المصادر «ثمة حالة استياء شديد من قيادة ولي العهد. كيف لم يتمكّنوا من رصد الهجوم؟»

وبالتالي فقد تسارعت المشاورات بين أطراف النزاع في اليمن، ولعلّ الدعوة التي حملها المبعوث الأممي إلى اليمن مارتن غريفيث، إلى زعيم «أنصار الله» السيد عبد الملك الحوثي، والتي تتضمّن دعوة إلى التهدئة مع السعودية، تُعدّ ترجمة واضحة لرغبات ابن سلمان بإيقاف الحرب والبحث عن حلول سياسية توافقية. «أنصار الله» قابلوا هذه الدعوة بإيجابية، شريطة أن تلتزم الرياض بما أبدته لجهة إيقاف الحرب. وبالإضافة إلى ذلك جاء الحراك الدولي الداعم لمبادرة صنعاء ليتزامن مع تغيير في اللهجة السعودية، ما يوحى بأنّ هناك جدية أكبر هذه المرة في التعامل مع الملف من كلّ الأطراف المعنية.

في المحصّلة، الواضح مما سبق انّ واشنطن ترغب أيضاً بإنهاء الحرب في اليمن، وفصل الملف اليمني عن الموضوع الإيراني. هذه الرؤية ربما دفعت واشنطن للضغط على ابن سلمان بُغية التفرّغ الكامل لإيران في المنطقة، وفي جانب آخر، يتمّ تبريد الملف اليمني وبالتالي يتمّ استثماره سياسياً من قبل ترامب في الانتخابات المقبلة.

وعليه، فإنّ حاجة واشنطن والرياض معاً، لتهدئة الملف اليمني وإيجاد مخارج من المستنقع اليمني، يُعدّ ورقة رابحة لواشنطن والرياض، لكن الحقيقة الواضحة، أنّ «أنصار الله» قد فرضوا معادلات سياسية وعسكرية لا يمكن كسرها، فالرياض أُرهقت عسكرياً وبشرياً، خاصة انّ عملية «نصر من الله» أحدثت فارقاً استراتيجياً في الكثير من المسارات، وأماطت اللثام عن تهاوي قدرة الجيش السعودي وتحالفه العربي. وكذلك ترامب الباحث عن أيّ ورقة سياسية رابحة في ظلّ فقدانه الأوراق تباعاً في الملف السوري. من هنا ستكون الأيام المقبلة مليئة بالتطورات السياسية والتي لن تخلوَ من عبث عسكري سعودي محدود، بُغية البقاء في مشهد الحلول اليمنية الآتية…

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UAE’s Secret Mission to Iran

UAE’s Secret Mission to Iran

By David Hearst – Middle East Eye

Tahnoun bin Zayed, the national security adviser of the United Arab Emirates and the crown prince’s younger brother, has been in Tehran for the last 48 hours on a secret mission aiming to defuse the Gulf crisis, a senior security source in the UAE told the Middle East Eye.

Tahnoun’s secret mission is the highest-level meeting between the two sides since the crisis broke out.

It comes amid multiple signs of the UAE following its own, softer line with Tehran, after four tankers were attacked off the Emirati port of Fujairah earlier this year.

Although Admiral Michael Gilday, director of the US Joint Staff, said US intelligence had concluded that Iran’s revolutionary Guard Corps was “directly responsible” for the attacks, the UAE itself has never pointed the finger of blame at Iran for that attack.

Instead, it sent navy officers to meet their counterparts in Iran, a visit that was announced. This weekend’s mission has been kept secret.

When the UK, Germany and France attempted to counter US efforts to step up the military confrontation in the Gulf, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash praised their diplomatic efforts.

Gargash said: “At every turn, the UAE has avoided conflict with Iran. We will continue to take all measures to de-escalate tensions and reduce the potential for hostilities. When necessary, we are prepared to act in self-defense, but always proportionately, judiciously and with restraint. We seek a pragmatic, diplomatic path to lowering tensions and creating an opening for meaningful talks.”

The secret mission comes amid of flurry back channel attempts to get talks going between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Saudis have called on Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi to pass messages to Tehran.

As the MEE revealed on 1 October, Abbas al-Hasnawi, an official in the Iraqi prime minister’s office, confirmed that Abdul Mahdi was mediating between the leaderships in Riyadh and Tehran and had communicated each side’s conditions for talks to the other.

Since then, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has become involved and is to shuttle between Tehran and Riyadh this week.

Two senior Pakistani government officials confirmed to Reuters that Khan was going to Tehran to try to defuse tensions between the two rivals, after US President Donald Trump asked for his help.

Khan had told reporters last month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly: “President Trump asked me if we could de-escalate the situation and maybe come up with another deal. So, I did convey this [to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani] and yes, we are trying our best. It’s an ongoing thing so I can’t reveal more than that.”

The UAE has recently shown more than one sign of pursuing its own path with Iran. It recently announced it was pulling its troops out of Yemen, and has publicly backed southern separatists in southern port city of Aden splitting the country in two.

…Recently, the Yemeni Ansarullah and the Emirati-backed southern separatists took part in a prisoner exchange, which has not happened with forces loyal to Hadi.

On Friday, the Pentagon said that about 2,000 additional troops would be sent to Saudi Arabia, along with jet fighter squadrons, one air expeditionary wing and air defense personnel. This would be the second troop increase related to recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

The Pentagon said it was also sending two additional Patriot batteries and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system [THAAD].

“Taken together with other deployments, this constitutes an additional 3,000 forces that have been extended or authorized within the last month,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

A Generation Deleted: American Bombs in Yemen Are Costing an Entire Generation Their Future

By Ahmed Abdulkareem

Source

ADAA, NORTHERN YEMEN — Third-grader Farah Abbas al-Halimi didn’t get the UNICEF backpack or textbook she was hoping for this year. Instead, she was given an advanced U.S bomb delivered on an F-16 courtesy of the Saudi Air Force. That bomb fell on Farah’s school on September 24 and killed Farah, two of her sisters, and her father who was working at the school. It will undoubtedly have an irrevocable effect on the safety and psyche of schoolchildren across the region.

Over the course of Yemen’s pre-war history, which locals fondly refer to as the happy Yemen years, never has an entire generation been subjected to the level of disaster and suffering as that levied upon Farah’s generation by the Saudi-led Coalition, which has used high-tech weapons supplied by the United States and other Western powers to devastating effect since it began its military campaign against Yemen in 2015.

Last week a new school year in Yemen began, the fifth school year since the war started, and little has changed for Yemen’s schoolchildren aside from the fact that the Coalition’s weapons have become more precise and even more deadly, leaving the futures of the country’s more than one million schoolchildren in limbo.

“I want to go to school, I can’t wait any longer,” a relative of six-year-old Ayman al-Kindi told MintPress, recalling how Ayman, surrounded by proud family members, waited impatiently to leave for his first day of school. Ayman would never make it to school; in fact, he never even made it outside. “Ayman wanted to become a doctor but a bomb took him away from school. What these American bombs do to our children is terrifying,” his relative told us.

In late June 2019, Coalition aircraft targeted Ayman’s family home located on their farm in the Warzan area, south of Taiz province in southwestern Yemen. Six of Ayman’s family members were killed, including three children aged 12, nine and six. According to  Amnesty International, the laser-guided precision weapon used in the attack was made by Raytheon. Amnesty’s arms experts analyzed photos of the remnants of the weapon recovered from the scene of the attack by family members and identified it as a U.S.-made 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway II.

The use of a U.S.-made weapon in the attack on the al-Kindi home was no anomaly: most of the weapons possessed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which between them have carried out a quarter of a million raids on Yemen since the beginning of the war, are American-made. This week, families who lost loved ones in Coalition airstrikes held an exhibition called “Criminal Evidence” in the city of Sana`a. The event was an opportunity to consolidate evidence of potential war crimes and prompted hundreds of Yemeni civilians to attend the event with remnants of U.S.-made weapons in tow, remnants recovered from the rubble of the attacks that killed their loved ones.

Yemen Raytheon

The airstrike on the al-Kindi home was one of nearly a dozen carried out by Saudi Arabia using U.S. weapons that were included in a recent UN report. A team of investigators appointed by the UN Human Rights Council found numerous cases of Saudi airstrikes that violated international humanitarian law and, for the first time, directly implicated the United States, Britain, France and Australia for supplying the weapons used in the attacks.

Charles Garraway, a former military lawyer and one of the experts behind the report, recently told PBS, “We have a war that’s going on. It’s causing immense suffering and frankly most of that suffering is caused by arms.” Garraway continued, “The tragedy in Yemen is so awful at the moment that somehow one has got to reach some form of settlement to stop the war.”

Despite the abundance of evidence proving that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have routinely targeted schools and other civilian facilities, the United States continues to replenish the Coalition’s arsenal. Earlier this year, the Trump administration tried to force through an $8.1 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan; and, despite growing opposition within his own government, President Donald Trump seems determined to maintain the flow of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Not your normal “back-to-school” day

Eleven-year-old Mohammed AbdulRaham al-Haddi is one the few schoolchildren to have survived the horrific August 9, 2018, Saudi airstrike on a school bus on the outskirts of Dahyan in Yemen’s northwestern province of Saada. The attack killed more than 35 of his classmates, but Mohammed miraculously survived. Today, he returns to school for the first time since the deadly attack, but to an underserved school and without his classmates. Al-Faleh, Mohammed’s new school, lies nestled in a dusty valley near Yemen’s northeastern border with Saudi Arabia

Yemen War Children

The attack on Mohammed’s school bus was carried out using a Mark 82 (MK-82) bomb, jointly manufactured by U.S. weapons companies Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. The MK-82, along with other general-purpose MK-series bombs, has been sold to the Saudi-led Coalition by the United States through a series of contracts made in 2016 and 2017. In addition to last year’s atrocity, the Coalition has used the MK-82 to target Yemeni civilians in the past, such as its bombing of a funeral in 2016 that left over 140 dead and 525 wounded.

As the war in Yemen enters its fifth year, the tragic consequences of these weapons deals are difficult to describe, but their effects are noticed everywhere. Some 3,526 educational buildings have been at least partially destroyed by bombs since the war began, with most yet to be rebuilt. Of those, 402 were completely destroyed, according to a new field survey conducted by the Ministry of Education. Approximately 900 of Yemen’s schools are still being used as shelters for the internally displaced. And 700 schools have been closed as a result of ongoing clashes.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that two million children are out of school in Yemen. “A fourth of the two million Yemeni children have dropped out since the beginning of the Saudi war in March 2015,” UNICEF representative in Yemen Sara Beysolow Nyanti said in a statement released last Wednesday.

Beysolow raised concerns about the future of Yemeni children, saying:

[They] face increased risks of all forms of exploitation including being forced to join the fighting, child labor and early marriage. They lose the opportunity to develop and grow in a caring and stimulating environment, ultimately becoming trapped in a life of poverty and hardship.”

According to the Geneva-based human rights monitoring organization, SAM, four hundred thousand schoolchildren in Yemen suffer from acute malnutrition, exposing them to the risk of sudden death, 7 million schoolchildren face hunger, and more than 2 million do not go to school.

Even before the war began, the education system in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, was not in good health; a lack of equipment, unqualified teachers, and a shortage of textbooks plagued the country’s schools, which were bursting at the seams with overcrowding. Coalition bombs and a blockade supported by the United States have effectively destroyed what was left, just as schools were beginning to show signs of recovery.

Many of Yemen’s teachers have not received a paycheck in years and some, unable to eke out a living, have sought work as soldiers-for-hire on Yemen’s battlefields, leaving millions of children without prospects for education and the country as a whole with a 70 percent rate of illiteracy. Beysolow warned that the education of a further 3.7 million Yemeni children is at risk, as teachers have not received their salaries for over two years, adding that one fifth of schools in Yemen can no longer be used as a direct result of the conflict. “Violence, displacement and attacks on schools are preventing many children from accessing school,” she said.

In a bid to stop teachers from leaving schools, the Ministry of Education, based in Sana`a, has imposed a fee on students of $2 per month to pay teacher salaries, but that seemingly nominal fee has added a huge burden to families with more than one child, many of whom are living in extreme poverty as a result of the war and siege. “I have six students, meaning that I need to pay $12 a month; I can’t save that amount,” one mother told us. She lost her husband in the clashes that erupted between the former president Ali Saleh and opposition tribes on Hasabah Street in 2011. Now, her only source of income is begging and it is not enough to feed her six children, let alone send them to school.

To make matters worse, just weeks before the new school year began, the Saudi-led Coalition prevented 11 oil tankers from entering Yemen. The move sparked an acute shortage of fuel, which meant that school buses could no longer run, leaving even those with the means to pay school fees unable to send their children to school.

The severe psychological toll

The effect of U.S.-made weapons upon Yemen’s children does not end there. Children who have survived the fighting are often left with physical disabilities and severe and chronic psychological symptoms, turning their environment into the worst place in the world, according to UNICEF.

Beyond the direct casualties from airstrikes, the largely unnoticed and unrecorded (by the world) sounds of explosions and buzzing warplanes are leaving Yemen’s children with irreversible psychological damage.

Yemen War Children

Like other students, Mohammed often gets distracted while at home or sitting in class, unable to focus and laden with severe anxiety. While students the world over occupy their minds with the day-to-day matters that should accompany adolescence, Yemen`s students, especially those who live in border districts, are filled with an ever-present fear of an impending airstrike.

Since the school year began on September 15, the Saudi-led Coalition has reportedly dropped more than a thousand bombs and missiles in 400 separate airstrikes targeting border districts including Sadaa, Hajjah, Sana`a, Amran, Dhali, and Hodeida. The hundreds of sorties are accompanied by frightening whizzing noise and have left great panic in the hearts of civilians, especially Yemen’s schoolchildren.

“Before the war, the sound of planes meant happiness for families who were expecting loved-ones returning [from abroad], but now the sound of planes mean destruction, death, blood,” Dr. AbdulSalam Ashish, a consultant for psychological and neurological diseases, told MintPress. Dr. Ashish continued, “Now, the planes bring nothing but fear and panic and are a reminder of tragedies and crimes that were committed with U.S., British, and French weapons.”

“It was 1:45 p.m., when we heard a missile strike; we were able to calm the students down but when the third strike hit we lost control of the students as they began to scream and chaos spread throughout the school,” Hana Al Awlaqi, a school agent at the  “Martyr Ahmed Abdul Wahab Al Samawi” School, said, recounting the moment a Saudi attack took place just tens of meters away from the school. “The sound of the fourth bomb made matters worse, as the school was being broken into by panicked parents and many teachers were fainting.”

Yemen War Children

Al Awlaqi went on to say that many students convulse into spasms when they hear the sound of airplanes, while others have refused to come back to school. “The sound of an explosion or the buzz of the aircraft stays in the mind. The sound of an aircraft can send these children into severe panic attacks and anxiety,” Dr. Ashish confirmed.

Jalal Al-Omeisi, a pediatric nurse at the Psychiatric and Neurological Hospital in Sana`a told MintPress that most of the cases that arrive at the hospital are from areas subjected to intensive Saudi Coalition raids, such as Sana`a, Hodeida, and Saada, as well as the border areas. Al-Omeisi went on to say that most medics lack the training to deal with the complex psychological issues that these children are developing.

Such experiences in children go well beyond the temporary impact on their education and, without proper care and the knowledge necessary to address treat these psychological issues, many will suffer life-long consequences that hinder their ability to obtain an education. This is especially true in light of the lack of programs, centers or hospitals for the rehabilitation of war-affected children in Yemen.

Asking Americans to open their eyes

Schoolchildren living along Yemen’s porous border with Saudi Arabia and throughout its southern districts face a reality even more grim than that faced by their peers. Many are recruited or even forced to join the fight to defend the Saudi border via local trafficking networks, which funnel children into training and recruitment camps in the southern Saudi provinces of Jizan and Najran, as well as to Yemen’s southern districts.

According to a recent report by SAM, Saudi Arabia has been enlisting thousands of Yemeni children to fight along its southern border with Yemen over the past four years. Those have who died as a result of the fighting at the border are often buried in the Kingdom without their families’ knowledge. At least 300 had to have their limbs amputated as a result of their military injuries.

Yemen Child Soldiers

MintPress managed to speak to dozens of school-aged Yemeni children who were captured in a recent Houthi operation that saw thousands of militiamen, including dozens of schoolchildren, and Saudi officers taken into captivity. Fifteen-year-old Adel was among those captured. He left his home in the southern city of Taiz, chasing promises of a regular paycheck of up to 3,000 Saudi riyals ($800). Adel told MintPress: 

We were left alone in Wadi Abu to face our destiny. Older recruits were fleeing on pickup trucks and armored personnel carriers; Saudi airstrikes hit us as we were surrendering to the Houthis.”

Saudi warplanes targeted the captured mercenaries in Wadi Abu Jubarah, killing more than 300 of their own recruits.

Adel, who left school for the promise of a paycheck, went on to say, “Me and the others were recruited to wash the clothes of Saudi soldiers but they gave us rifles and forced us to go to battlefields.” When asked what he would do when freed, Adel said simply, “I want to go back to my mom and school. I don’t want to fight.”

The recruitment of Yemeni children by Saudi Arabia is not without precedent. Although the Kingdom signed the international protocol banning the involvement of children in armed conflict in 2007 and again in 2011, it was accused of recruiting Sudanese children from Darfur to fight in Yemen on its behalf as late as 2018.

Mohammed, who often visits the memorial to his classmates located only a few hundred meters away from his new school, said he will continue to attend school every day, regardless of how much bombing there is. He asked that Americans open their eyes to see what their weapons are doing to Yemen’s children.

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