Tuesday 24 November 2015

Is Travel In and Out of #Yemen's Conflict Zones Being Made Unnecessarily Difficult? #MSF

The struggle for clean water supplies in Sanaa, Yemen.

Quote; "Hospitals closed

For ordinary people it means that it is hard to move around the city and it’s an ongoing struggle to access clean water and food.
Many people living in frontline areas are unable to travel to clinics or hospitals for medical care both because of the fighting and the lack of fuel.
Even those who are able to make it to health facilities, find that they are not functioning. At least 12 hospitals in Taiz had to close their doors and stop receiving patients, for these reasons.
War is an abnormal situation – no one should have to get used to the sound of bullets and airstrikes. But after a couple of months in the country, we and the civilians are unfortunately getting used to it.
People try to avoid frontline areas, but the problem is that fighting can start up unexpectedly, and shelling is extremely unpredictable.
It is sometimes frustrating to be here because the needs are so high and the amount of assistance provided is so low in comparison to what is needed.
But despite that, we are doing the best we can to provide humanitarian and medical aid to people suffering from the ongoing conflict.”...."


MSF in Yemen

Despite the numerous logistical and security challenges, MSF teams continue to deliver medical assistance to people in Yemen. MSF medical staff have treated more than 1,700 war-wounded patients in Yemen since 19 March.
MSF is currently working in Sana’a, Aden, Ad-Dhale, Amran, Taiz and Hajjah governorates."
Go to: http://www.msf.org.uk/article/yemen-no-one-should-have-to-get-used-to-the-sound-of-airstrikes
For full article.


Quote; "This week has been the same never ending reports of death and destruction in Yemen. And the UN is saying today that the peace talks – due to start next week – are now delayed until December. I guess Hadi and his powerful neighbours want to make more progress in the ground war before entering the talks, but as usual – the ground war is at stalemate. Everyone says this war can only be ended by negotiations, so why oh why do they have to kill more Yemenis before they talk, for God’s sake?

Taiz is a ferocious battleground, with both sides hoping to use any progress there as a bargaining chip in peace negotiations. I read in one paper that the Houthi-Saleh alliance are using mercenaries from Ethiopia – I don’t know if it is true – and the Saudi-led alliance is definitely bringing in mercenaries and allies from all over the Middle East, Africa, and South America. If you read newspaper articles in papers from members of the Saudi led coalition, they are winning.  On the other hand, if you read Iranian or Houthi papers and news agencies, then you would also read that they too are winning.  When I hear from ordinary Taiz people with no political affiliations, they only state that they are being killed and starved.
Hadi – who ran away from his country and responsibilities at the beginning of the war has moved back to Aden at last – he says permanently.  I guess he’s left his family safe and comfortable in Riyadh. I hope this development means that more effort will be put into security matters in Aden.  Al Qaeda is driving around openly and the Houthi-Saleh alliance are said to be approaching the city – again.  Adenis have been asked to leave their weapons at home – but with gun-toting militias around and no effective police or army, that’s a big ask.  Hadi’s return may indeed draw the fight to Aden, as he is himself a divisive figure with limited popularity and many enemies.
The Saudi bombing raids are as fearsome as ever, killing and destroying all in their wake, especially in the northwest of Yemen.  They obviously have used up lots of their bombs (they dropped 40,000 in the first seven months of war); they have now ordered another 25,140 air to ground missiles from US, including 1,500 penetrator warheads (usually nuclear tipped) and 2,000 of the huge Mother Of All Bombs*, each over 1000 pounds. Total cost said to be 1.3 billion US dollars. Human Rights Watch have called on the US not to send weapons to Saudi Arabia, but I guess no-one is listening.  An Italian news outlet said the weapons are on their way already. There is the usual round of dire warnings about the Yemeni humanitarian situation – this week ICRC has put out an appeal about the crisis – as has UNICEF.  The two recent cyclones have added to the disastrous situation in Yemen. But it’s one thing making a plea and wringing your hands.  Yemenis actually need action now – they are already dying.
Hadramaut had so far has been spared from the war, but the news today is that the war has been taken to them, with suicide bombs and attacks in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Shibam and nearby Al Qatn. A home video of the attack shows it is no mini matter – some of the explosions were horrendous.  As ISIS has claimed responsibility, in the week after the Paris attacks, at least this is getting some media coverage.
The UK media this week has really focused on Paris and the events there, and I guess for people like me who are trying to get empathetic coverage of a much bigger disaster elsewhere this is frustrating.  For example, on BBC Radio 4 a man said that after two lots of bombs in 10 months, he is wondering whether Paris is a good place to bring up his children.  HELLO!!!!  People in Yemen have had massive destructive bombs every single day for over 237 days in some cities like Saada; their homes, schools, hospitals destroyed and perhaps they too think that this is not a good place to bring up children.   Some cities such as Taiz have had ground war every day for over four months, their city looking as damaged as cities in Syria after 5 years.  Don’t Yemenis and Arabs want to protect their children too?  Surely this is the reason why there are so many refugees in Europe today.
Last but not least, there is an important inquiry in UK into the government’s response to the crisis in Yemen.  Written submissions are being invited.  I shall send a submission on behalf of Yemen News Today, but other charities and organisations linked to Yemen should also send their own observations.  It may not change anything, but those of us who love Yemen must do our best to assist Yemen and Yemenis in every way we can." Go to: http://yemen-news-today.org/
For full article.

*Bold italics mine.

Quote; "unexploded cluster bombs are an increasingly common sight in Yemen’s farms and small villages, a visible reminder of Saudi Arabia’s continuing air war there – and of Washington’s large but little-known role in arming and fueling Riyadh’s warplanes.
When the Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab nations began their bombing campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel movement in March, the allies promised a quick, sharp air war to push the rebels out of the capital city of Sanaa. But eight months later, the fighting has only intensified. First, ground troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates stormed into the country in U.S.-made armored vehicles as part of a push to blunt perceived Iranian influence in the region and return ousted President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi  to power. Those troops were later joined by hundreds of soldiers from Egypt, Qatar and Sudan.

While the fighting on the ground has been intense, it is the air war that has caused the most destruction, with warplanes circling Sanaa and the small villages throughout the country looking for military targets, but too often hitting civilians instead. The United Nations estimates that the war has resulted in the deaths of over 2,500 civilians, including hundreds of women and children.
A top Royal Saudi Air Force general recently insisted that his country is “sticking to the rules, the international rules and Geneva Convention, first, and law of conflict.” Despite the rising civilian death toll, “we don’t target civilians,” he said.

Riyadh has come under fierce criticism from outside human rights groups, who have charged the country’s air force of bombing civilian targets without investigating afterward, or admitting responsibility. “The obligation of any warring party is to conduct a serious investigation” into charges of civilian deaths said Joe Stork, Middle East and North Africa deputy director for Human Rights Watch. “The Saudis have simply not done that.”
But some of that blame should land at Washington’s feet: the daily bombing campaign would not be possible without the constant presence of U.S. Air Force tanker planes refueling coalition jets, and the billions worth of precision-guided munitions sold to Riyadh and its allies by American defense contractors.
American planes began taking off in support of the campaign on April 5, less than two weeks after the bombs started falling in Yemen in late March. As of Nov. 13, U.S. tankers have flown 471 refueling sorties to top off the tanks of coalition warplanes 2,443 times, according to numbers provided by the Defense Department. The American flights have totaled approximately 3,926 flying hours while delivering over 17 million lbs. of fuel.
The mostly American-made fighter planes guided by Arab pilots are also primarily dropping American-made munitions, bolstered recently by the $1.29 billion in weaponry Washington agreed to sell Saudi Arabia. The sale includes 22,000 bombs, featuring 1,000 laser guided bombs, and over 5,000 “kits” that can transform older bombs into GPS-guided bombs.
Despite the civilian toll from the airstrikes, top U.S. military officials haven’t shied away from talking about their involvement in planning the war. American military personnel are currently working out of a Saudi Arabian planning center helping the Saudis plan the daily airstrikes and providing intelligence help to coordinate flights, Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the commander of the U.S. Air Force’s Central Command, told an audience earlier this month at the Dubai Air Show.
The Obama administration, meanwhile, has stood solidly behind its Gulf allies. Earlier this month, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said “the reason the Saudis are there conducting these airstrikes is because of the ongoing violence stoked by Houthi rebels.” He acknowledged that the strikes have resulted in civilian casualties but stopped short of holding any single party responsible, saying that U.S. policy makers “always call for restraint in conducting these kinds of airstrikes” when they are near civilian areas.
The air campaign, and the civilian fallout, has been a black eye for Washington, however. Just weeks after an American AC-130 gunship struck a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 14 of the aid group’s staffers, a suspected Saudi jet struck another Doctors Without Borders hospital in Yemen. And while the group says no one was killed in the Oct. 26 incident, the destruction of the hospital will likely leave up to 200,000 Yemenis without health care. While Riyadh denied responsibility for the air strike, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reacted quickly, saying he “condemned the airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition.”" Go to: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/11/23/in-yemen-a-saudi-war-fought-with-u-s-help/

Quote; "Modern 5th gen weapons are often of much lower yield than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs with yields of less than 1 kiloton (1000 tonnes of TNT equivalent). They also have different manners of explosion – instead of one big bang they can have much longer burn times producing visual effects that look quite different.
This is why it is important to learn a little about these new weapons types and how their explosions would appear visually as it will better enable the identification of nuclear events in future; allowing people to discern between the explosion of a warehouse full of rocket fuel and a nuclear explosion.
Make no mistake, we have entered into a dangerous new age where the use of these advanced low yield nuclear weapons will become increasingly commonplace; therefore we all need to become better informed about these weapons so it becomes harder to use them covertly to commit acts of terrorism.

The uranium hydride bomb is a variant design of the atomic bomb first proposed as far back as 1939. It uses deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen, to act as a neutron moderator in a U235 based implosion weapon. The neutron chain reaction is a slow nuclear fission process vs a fast fission process. Due to the use of slower moving neutrons the bombs total explosive power is adversely affected by the thermal cooling of neutrons since it delays the neutron multiplication factor or Alpha production rate. Two uranium hydride bombs are known to have been tested back in the 1950’s,the Ruth and Ray test explosions in Operation Upshot-Knothole, 1956. The tests produced a yield comparable to about 200 ton of TNT or more each. However both tests were considered to be fizzle yields at the time. Since the trend was for weapons with a bigger bang, the technology was shelved for over 20 years"...

"In a slow burn nuclear weapon over 75% or more of the energy is now released as thermal and neutron radiation instead of a shock wave blast. It starts out as a very small fireball that quickly grows in size until full detonation level is achieved at about the 200 to 300 ton level. Then you get the classical explosion (the flash) and blast wave from the rapidly expanding fire ball. After the massive explosion, the fireball  continues to burn and consume its unburnt nuclear fuel that is now in a fully plasmatized state. The nuclear fuel in a plasma form will continue to burn at a slower and slower rate until the alpha or neutron production goes to zero."...

"in a modern boosted weapon the pure fission yield is only about 300 tons with boosting kicking in around 200 tons, and the total number of integrated doubling intervals between criticality and full criticality is less than the number of intervals required to take one neutron generation (a shake) up to the population level required to produce a full 200 ton boosted yield. This means that not only is pre-detonation not a problem in a modern boosted weapon design, but you can design the bomb in such a way that you actually have to inject a large number of neutrons into it to get it to explode at full yield. This is called a subcritical device and it is the basis of all mini or micro nukes operation." Go to: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/09/04/vt-nuclear-education-the-uranium-hydride-bomb/
For full article.

#YemenNuclearStrike archive: http://gkhales.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/is-this-really-possible-how-much-do-we.html



Also see; "Saddam, The Bomb and the Almagordo Thefts (an alternative view of "Desert Storm")" Pt.1 Go to:

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