Saudi woman flees persecution for ‘immodest’ dress

This video says about itself:

Saudi TV presenter flees after probe into ‘indecent clothes’

“We have referred a TV presenter to investigation after a video capturing her reporting on women driving in the kingdom went viral. In it, she appeared wearing immodest clothes, which violates the kingdom’s rules.”

The UAE-based presenter – who works for Al Aan TV – has since been identified as Shireen Al-Rifai. She appeared in the footage wearing a white abaya (floor length garment) and a loose head veil.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Friday, June 29, 2018

Reporter flees official probe for wearing ‘indecent’ attire

A SAUDI TV presenter fled the country yesterday after authorities started investigating her for wearing “indecent” clothing on air.

Shireen al-Rifaie was reporting in Riyadh about the end of a ban on women driving when her full-length abaya robe caught the wind and revealed the clothes she was wearing underneath.

Strictly enforced dress codes in Saudi Arabia previously required women to wear the full abaya in public along with a headscarf if they are Muslim.

But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appeared to suggest in March that women did not need to wear the abaya, although they should dress modestly.

“The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of Sharia that women like men wear decent, respectful clothing”, he said at the time, adding: “This, however, does not particularly specify a black abaya or black head cover.

“The decision is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire she chooses to wear.”

But the Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media confirmed that Ms Rifai is being investigated “for violating regulations and instructions” by “wearing indecent clothing” during the news report.

Ms Rifaie, who has returned to the United Arab Emirates, denied any wrongdoing.

“I was wearing decent clothes and God will reveal the truth of what has been said to me”, she said.

The decades-long ban on female drivers was officially lifted earlier this month with authorities issuing the first licences to women.

However, Riyadh has clamped down on those campaigning for the right to drive, with at least eight women facing long prison sentences [and possibly the death penalty] for their activism.


Saudi women driving, death penalty for activists who made it possible?

Saudi women driving, Argus cartoon

The caption of this cartoon, by ‘Argus’ in the Netherlands, says, translated: ‘Women allowed to drive cars in ‘modern’ Saudi Arabia’. The text balloon says, translated: ‘At last, I will not have to go by bus if I want to watch a homo being stoned to death‘.

All the time until today, there was never any law in Saudi Arabia banning women from driving cars. Nevertheless, the regime flogged and jailed women who did drive.

Now, Saudi women can drive. With no thanks to the absolute monarchy, but thanks to the courageous Saudi women fighting for their rights. However, the dictatorship of the king and his warmongering son, the crown prince, does not want the women activists to get the credit for this concession forced upon the regime; and arrested these activists and threatens them with the death penalty.

The cartoon points out that, while there has been progress on this one driving point, there are still very many ‘not so modern’ things in Saudi Arabia. It points out the death penalty by stoning LGBTQ people. Also, there is the death penalty by crucifying for teenagers demonstrating for democracy. And killing immigrant workers for demonstrating. And public beheadings of women proclaiming their innocence. And flogging for blogging. And the bloody occupation of Bahrain by Saudi troops. And waging genocidal war on the people of Yemen.

Will Saudi-Trump war kill millions of Yemenis?

This video from the USA says about itself:

US-SaudiUAE War on Yemen Could Starve Millions of Civilians

7 June 2018

As the UN warns 18.4 million Yemenis could soon face starvation, the US is considering more direct military intervention [on the Saudi absolute monarchy’s side].

Shireen al-Adeimi discusses with TRNN’s Ben Norton how a SaudiUAE attack on the port city of Hodeida could lead to mass catastrophe.

Deadly siege of Yemeni port of Hodeidah begins with Washington’s aid and approval. By Bill Van Auken, 14 June 2018. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the Pentagon is working directly with Saudi and UAE forces in selecting targets in the Red Sea port city.

Trump invading Yemen, helping Saudi bloodbath?

This November 2017 video from the USA is called Yemeni Journalist: Saudi Arabia’s Total Blockade on Yemen is “Death Sentence” for All.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Washington considers direct intervention in siege of Yemeni port city

5 June 2018

In what would constitute a major escalation of the US role in the near-genocidal war waged over the last three years by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) against Yemen, US officials were in discussions yesterday on the Pentagon taking a direct role in the siege of the country’s Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

Saudi and UAE-led forces came within 10 km of Hodeidah on Monday, having pushed north up Yemen’s western coast with the aid of relentless air strikes against Houthi rebel forces, which control the city as well as the country’s northwestern provinces, including the capital of Sana’a, which is 230 miles to the north.

The Wall Street Journal Monday cited US officials reporting that “The Trump administration is weighing an appeal from the United Arab Emirates for direct US support to seize Yemen’s main port. …”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a strong proponent of global US military intervention, has asked American officials to come up with a “quick assessment” of the prospects for a direct US military role in the siege of Hodeidah.

The Journal report cited one official raising doubts that the US-backed forces “would be able to do it cleanly and avoid a catastrophic incident.” Another senior American official, however, told the Journal: “We have folks who are frustrated and ready to say: ‘Let’s do this. We’ve been flirting with this for a long time. Something needs to change the dynamic, and if we help the Emiratis do it better, this could be good.’ ”

A battle for control of Hodeidah poses a direct threat to the city’s civilian population of 400,000, with the potential of a Saudi blitzkrieg combined with a direct US intervention recreating the kind of mass slaughter unleashed by the Pentagon in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria.

More broadly, such a siege threatens the lives of millions of Yemenis in the Houthi-controlled highlands, for whom Hodeidah is the sole aid lifeline in a country historically reliant on imports for 90 percent of its food.

Even before taking into account the catastrophic impact of closing down this port, the chief aid official at the United Nations, Mark Lowcock, warned last week that by the end of this year, another 10 million Yemenis will join the 8.4 million who are already on the brink of starvation in what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Hundreds of foreign aid workers have reportedly evacuated the city, and it was reported on Monday that a UN aid vessel came under direct attack by Saudi warplanes. The city is already under bombardment from both the air and the sea.

“Thousands of civilians are fleeing from the outskirts of Hodeidah which is now a battle zone,” Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, told Reuters. “We cannot have war in Hodeidah, it would be like war in Rotterdam or Antwerp, these are comparable cities in Europe.” He added that such a war would mean “nothing coming through” in terms of food and other aid for the country’s starving population.

It was reported Monday that a UN mediator, Martin Griffiths, had arrived in Sana’a to present a proposal for a Houthi withdrawal from Hodeidah and the placing of the port under UN supervision. It was not clear, however, whether either the Houthi-led administration or the Saudi and UAE-led forces would adhere to such a settlement.

The Saudi-led “coalition” wants to secure its grip over Hodeidah in order to starve into submission the entire population in the areas under Houthi control.

Sharpening the tensions and creating the conditions for even greater slaughter, the Saudi and UAE monarchies are pursuing conflicting interests in their military interventions in Yemen, with Riyadh attempting to re-install the puppet government of Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and the UAE supporting secessionists who are seeking to revive the former state of South Yemen.

Saudi Arabia launched the war in March 2015, carrying out relentless airstrikes ever since that have devastated civilian neighborhoods, vital infrastructure, factories and even farms. Mass civilian casualties have resulted from the bombing of funerals and weddings, with the death toll from these attacks now over 13,000, with many more dying from hunger and disease. More than 2,200 people have lost their lives to a cholera epidemic that has infected 1.1 million people, while the country has seen its first outbreak of diphtheria since 1982.

From the beginning of the Saudi onslaught, the Obama administration provided indispensable US military support, selling Saudi Arabia and the UAE bombs (including outlawed cluster munitions) and warplanes used to strike Yemen, providing mid-air refueling to Saudi jets to assure continuous bombardment, and setting up a joint US-Saudi command to render logistical aid, including intelligence used in selecting targets. At the same time, US special forces units and armed drones have been deployed in Yemen for assassination missions …

The Trump administration has escalated US involvement, with not only massive new arms sales to the Saudi monarchy, but also the deployment of US special operations troops to fight directly alongside Saudi forces. Revealed a month ago, this deployment was carried out behind the backs of the American people and without informing Congress, much less gaining its authorization. While explained as a mission to protect Saudi Arabia’s borders with Yemen, the purpose of the US troop deployment appears to be far broader.

Driving the US toward increasingly direct intervention in a war that has pitted the obscenely rich oil monarchies of the Persian Gulf against the poorest nation in the Arab world is the broader strategy elaborated by the Trump administration in preparation for a military confrontation with Iran.

The US and its allies have cast the war in Yemen as a so-called proxy conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with Washington making unsubstantiated allegations that Iran has supplied the Houthi rebels with arms. The reality is that both Washington and Riyadh see the domination of Yemen by any government that is not a US-Saudi puppet regime as an unacceptable threat.

The discussions in Washington on an escalation of direct US intervention in Yemen are unfolding in the context of the sharp ratcheting up of US sanctions and threats against Iran following President Trump’s unilateral May 8 withdrawal from the nuclear agreement reached in 2015 between Iran and the so-called P5+1—the US, UK, France, Germany, China and Russia.

A more direct US military intervention in Yemen may prove the stepping stone to a region-wide war aimed against Iran and at the securing of US imperialism’s unfettered control over the energy-rich and strategically vital Middle East.

The US carried out war crimes in its four-month-long siege of the Syrian city of Raqqa last year, according to evidence gathered by Amnesty International and released in a report by the human rights group on Tuesday: here.

The United States committed war crimes of staggering proportions last year during its four-month-long siege of the Syrian city of Raqqa, demolishing up to 80 percent of the city with an unrelenting blitzkrieg of bombs and artillery shells that killed hundreds of civilians. The devastation left behind by the US military and its proxy troops in the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces was detailed in a damning report published this week by Amnesty International grimly titled “War of Annihilation.” Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis routinely used the phrase when describing the effort to take control of the city: here.

UK, France & US ‘war of annihilation!’ on Raqqa – a war crime says Amnesty: here.

Saudi women’s rights activists getting death penalty?

This video from the USA says about itself:

Saudi Arabia Cracks Down On Women’s Rights Activists

26 May 2018

Seven detained Saudi women’s rights activists, who campaigned for the ban on women driving to be lifted, may face the death penalty, newspaper Okaz reported on Sunday.

According to Saudi lawyers and judges, the prominent women’s rights activists, who were arrested last week and branded as “traitors” by government-aligned media outlets, may be sentenced to death should investigations result in the charge of treason and conspiracy against the state.

Read more here.