Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Obfuscation, Occultation, Escalation and Deceit: "Oooh! That Red White and Blue!" #Yemen




Quote; "Which brings us to Yemen, that largely ignored Middle Eastern nation 2,500 kilometres to the south of Syria. Like Syria, a deeply unpopular president is being desperately propped up by foreign powers, as assorted internal factions, from the ascendant Houthi rebels in the north to al-Qaeda in the south and east, take advantage of the power vacuum following the implosion of the Yemeni state in 2011. In fact, it’s fair to say that Yemen’s nominal president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, commands even less domestic support than Assad. That’s because Hadi owes his reign not to the activists who prompted the exit of his predecessor, President Saleh, but to the United Nations and the Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council, which effectively appointed him leader as part of the so-called Yemeni transition agreement in 2011. In the words of a researcher based in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa: ‘[Hadi] has no military power, no real political power, no support base on the ground, no tribal support base. In reality, what’s he got? It’s the international community.’
 
So in Yemen, it’s not Russia propping up a panicked, illegitimate ruler through sheer military force; it’s the ‘international community’, with Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and the UK, leading the charge. Indeed, so tenuous has Hadi’s grip on power become that over the past 18 months the Saudis – with the US and the UK providing airborne refuelling, drone-fed intelligence and billions of dollars of weaponry – have been busy trying to bomb Yemen’s restive population into submission. The UN itself estimates that, since 2015, Saudi airstrikes have killed over 4,000 civilians, and led to 2.8million people being displaced.
This weekend, the unfolding catastrophe in Yemen did pique the interest of the Western media when it emerged that Saudi forces had ‘double-tapped’ a Houthi funeral. This means that two bombs were dropped: the first to kill those in attendance, the second to kill those responding to help the casualties. In the end, 140 died, and 500 were wounded. But for anyone who has been following the conflict, this US-furnished, Saudi-executed attack on a civilian target was not an aberration; it was par for the course. Over the past 18 months, Saudi airstrikes have blown apart schools, destroyed hospitals, and razed markets and factories to the ground.
And what have those eager to denounce Russia in Syria had to say about their own nations’ involvement in Yemen? Have they alluded to the bombing of Guernica? Have they condemned the US-armed Saudis’ barbarism? Not exactly. In a speech earlier this summer, then foreign secretary Philip Hammond said ‘the Yemen crisis [is] high on the agenda’, but that allowing Hadi to fall ‘is simply not an option’. Kerry himself travelled to the Royal Air Base in Riyadh in January this year, nearly a year into the Saudis’ aerial bombardment of Yemen, to pledge America’s ongoing support. ‘We have made it clear that we stand with our friends in Saudi Arabia’, he said warmly. And Power, the poster girl for Western ‘humanitarianism’? She said that America’s military support for Saudi Arabia might reduce casualties in the long run.
In fact, although no one in Westminster or on Capitol Hill is prepared to justify the bombing of a funeral, few are prepared to condemn Saudi Arabia and question its Western support with anything like the same burning zeal with which they lambast Russia and Assad. As a Downing Street spokeswoman said at the weekend, although the UK government is ‘shocked’ at the targeting of a funeral, there is no plan at the moment ‘to review our relations with Saudi Arabia’.
The stench of hypocrisy is overpowering. It seems that those now keen to pose as peacekeepers in Syria are all too happy to continue warmongering in Yemen." Go to: http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/peacekeepers-in-syria-warmongers-in-yemen/18859#disqus_thread
For full article.


Quote; "Britain has, in short, become Saudi Arabia’s proxy on the international stage as it pummels Yemen from the air in an attempt to restore Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi -  the internationally recognised Yemeni president who fled to Riyadh, begging for protection, after he was chased out of his country by rebels from the north Yemen Houthi movement.
This is the very troubling diplomatic background to the funeral bombing in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Saturday. Even though four days have passed, details are still emerging. Nobody is yet certain how many died.
Official figures state 140 were killed, along with countless injured, many of whom need urgent medical treatment which is unavailable in Sanaa hospitals. However, thanks to the Saudi air blockade, they cannot get out of the country to obtain the life-saving treatment they need.

Britain bears a very heavy responsibility for this murder, mayhem and carnage. Yet the response from Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood has been wretched.
He says that he had "raised concerns" with Saudi Arabia. I have studied the minister’s morally abject statement. The unfortunate Ellwood cannot even bring himself to condemn the attack, and has not demanded an independent investigation.
This is part of a pattern of behaviour from Ellwood. I am coming to believe that his persistent failure to condemn the savage acts committed by Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Yemeni conflict makes him an accessory to mass murder.
Consider the facts: in the face of repeated Saudi atrocities, Britain continues to supply arms to Saudi Arabia and we have effectively blocked the establishment of an international independent investigative mechanism to look into the conflict.
Meanwhile, Britain has advisers in control rooms assisting Saudi-led coalition bombing raids across Yemen. What on earth are they doing there?
A Ministry of Defence spokesman told The Telegraph in January that these advisers are in Saudi Arabia to ensure “best practice” and make sure that international humanitarian law is observed.
If that is the case, Britain's military advisers in Saudi Arabia are a bunch of incompetents who are failing scandalously in their task. Either they are indeed exceptionally incompetent, or the government is not being straight about their true role.
There are urgent, burning questions to be answered about the true role of British advisers in Saudi Arabia as the massacre of civilians continues.

We also know that Ellwood (and other ministers) have repeatedly misled the House of Commons about their knowledge of Saudi atrocities, something they were obliged to confess in statements in July.
Meanwhile, he makes excuses for Saudi conduct. This is what he told MPs on the floor of the Commons in January: “We are aware that the Houthis, who are very media-savvy in such a situation, are using their own artillery pieces deliberately, targeting individual areas where the people are not loyal to them, to give the impression that there have been air attacks.”
On Tuesday, I asked the Foreign Office for evidence to support Ellwood’s eye-catching claim that the Houthis were massacring their own people in order to fool the world into thinking that the Saudis were attacking Yemeni civilians."..and...
"An official declined to answer on the basis that "we can’t comment on intelligence matters" and suggested that I approach Saudi Arabia to find out more." Go to: http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/peter-oborne-uk-ministers-supporting-saudi-yemen-may-be-liable-war-crimes-1337851745
For full article.

Quote; "The U.S. military launched cruise missile strikes on Thursday to knock out three coastal radar sites in areas of Yemen controlled by Iran-aligned Houthi forces, retaliating after failed missile attacks this week on a U.S. Navy destroyer, U.S. officials said.

The strikes, authorized by President Barack Obama, represent Washington's first direct military action against suspected Houthi-controlled targets in Yemen's conflict.
Still, the Pentagon appeared to stress the limited nature of the strikes, which were aimed at radar that enabled the launch of at least three missiles against the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Mason since Sunday.
"These limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships, and our freedom of navigation," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. Navy destroyer USS Nitze launched the Tomahawk cruise missiles around 4 a.m. local (0100 GMT).
"These radars were active during previous attacks and attempted attacks on ships in the Red Sea," including the USS Mason, one of the officials said, adding the targeted radar sites were in remote areas where the risk of civilian casualties was low.
The official identified the areas in Yemen where the radar were located as: near Ras Isa, north of Mukha and near Khoka.
The failed missile attacks on the USS Mason - the latest of which took place on Wednesday - appeared to be part of the reaction to a suspected Saudi-led strike on mourners gathered in Yemen's Houthi-held capital Sanaa." Go to: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-missiles-idUSKCN12C294
For full article.


Quote; "At around 6 p.m. local time on Wednesday, a US Navy destroyer detected an incoming missile attack from territory in Yemen controlled by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, the second such incident in the past four days, a Pentagon statement said.

The USS Mason, which was accompanying the USS Ponce, an amphibious-transport dock without the same missile-defense capabilities, took "defensive countermeasures" in response.
None of the incoming missiles hit the USS Mason or Ponce as it sailed in international waters north of the Bab al-Mandab, the Pentagon statement said.
This marks the second time in four days missiles from Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen have targeted US Navy ships, and the second time the US ships have responded by firing missiles to intercept the incoming salvos.
So far, the US has undertaken no direct military action against the Iranian-backed Houthi uprising in Yemen, however the Pentagon statement said the following:
"Those who threaten our forces should know that the US commanders retain the right to defend their ships, and we will respond to this threat at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner. "
The USS Mason and Ponce moved off the coast of Yemen after an October 1 incident where Houthi militants took responsibility for a missile attack that savaged the HSV Swift, a former US Navy ship used by the United Arab Emirates.
On Sunday, the USS Mason fired two SM-2 interceptor missiles — an Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESM) used for closer threats and a Nulka antiship missile decoy — to counter missiles coming from Yemen.
Bryan Clark, a naval analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said Sunday's event was "very significant."
“It might be the first time the SM-2 was used against an actual threat for which it was designed,” Clark said. “It’s definitely the first time ESM has been used … This is obviously a huge deal.”
Now it appears the US Navy has had to repeat this extraordinary feat just days later.
The Houthis, who are battling the internationally recognized government of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi, denied any involvement in the previous attempt to strike the USS Mason or the nearby USS Ponce on Sunday" Go to: http://uk.businessinsider.com/houthis-fire-missiles-on-us-navy-destroyers-near-yemen-2016-10?r=US&IR=T
For full article.


Quote; "Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an independent international medical humanitarian organization that provides aid to people in some 60 countries whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters.
I'm raising funds and awareness to support its response to emergencies in Yemen.  Your donation will be put to work immediately to deliver urgent medical care including treatment for malnutrition, emergency surgery, and lifesaving vaccinations for people in Yemen." Go to: http://events.doctorswithoutborders.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.personalCampaign&participantID=3764

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