Saudi invasion of Syria?

This 5 September 2015 video is called What Can You Be Publicly Executed For In Saudi Arabia?

As if Saudi governmental violence against their own pro-democracy people, in Bahrain and in Yemen is not already enough …

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Threat of wider war looms as Saudi monarchy proposes Syria intervention

6 February 2016

The Saudi Arabian monarchy Thursday declared that it is prepared to send ground troops into Syria under the pretext of prosecuting the US-declared war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The proposal from Riyadh follows the breakdown of Geneva III, the UN-mediated peace talks between the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad and a Saudi-sponsored “rebel” negotiating committee consisting of Islamist militia leaders and exile politicians aligned with Western intelligence agencies.

The talks were suspended Wednesday after the opposition refused to negotiate under conditions in which Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air strikes, have registered major gains on the battlefield, threatening to reverse the territorial gains won by the Western-backed militias in recent years.

Syrian government forces, supported by pro-government militias, including elements of the Lebanese Hezbollah, have succeeded in breaking a siege of two predominantly Shia villages, Nubl and Zahra, which for nearly four years had held out against the threat of a sectarian massacre at the hands of Al Qaeda-linked forces backed by Washington and its regional allies.

The advance has succeeded in reversing the tide of battle around Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, breaking the siege of the government-held western part of the city at the hands of the opposition, while imposing a siege on the eastern part, which has been under its control. The victories in the northern countryside have effectively cut off the supply line that has brought arms and ammunition to the Western-backed militias from Turkey.

Syrian government forces have also registered significant advances in Latakia Province in the northwest as well as in Daraa in the south.

These developments have led to calls by Washington and its allies for an immediate halt to the Russian bombing campaign initiated at the end of last September, which US and allied officials have blamed for the breakdown of the talks in Geneva.

“We have seen that the intense Russian air strikes mainly targeting opposition groups in Syria are undermining the efforts to find a political solution to the conflict,” Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the US-led NATO military alliance said Friday. Like his counterparts in Washington, Stoltenberg fails to name the “opposition groups” about which he is concerned, because the leading one is the Al Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.

The fear of the “rebels” and their Western patrons is that the Russian-backed advances of Syrian government forces will make it impossible to achieve by means of negotiations what they are unable to procure on the battlefield: the toppling of Assad and the imposition of a more pliant US puppet regime.

The stepped-up military operations in and around Aleppo have sent a stream of refugees heading toward the Turkish border, less than 40 miles to the north. The Turkish government, however, has closed the border crossings. At the Oncupinar border crossing near the Turkish city of Kilis, one Syrian woman was reportedly shot and killed by Turkish security forces.

Ankara’s evident aim is to create a humanitarian crisis on the border, providing a pretext for military intervention.

Moscow has charged that Turkey is engaged in active preparations for an invasion of Syria. “We have serious grounds to suspect Turkey is in intensive preparations for an armed invasion of the territory of a sovereign state—the Syrian Arab Republic,” the Russian defense ministry said in a statement, Thursday.

The defense ministry reported that Turkey had denied permission for a Russian reconnaissance plane to fly over the Turkish-Syrian border, but that it had already detected “more and more signs of covert preparations by the Turkish armed forces for active action on Syrian territory.” These included the deployment of troops and military equipment and the paving of parking lots on both sides of the border for heavy trucks and equipment.

The Saudi offer to send ground troops into Syria has undoubtedly been made in conjunction with the Turkish buildup. The Saudi monarchy and Turkey’s government recently set up a military coordination body.

“The kingdom is ready to participate in any ground operations that the coalition [against ISIS] may agree to carry out in Syria,” Saudi military spokesman brigadier general Ahmed al-Asiri said on Thursday, touting the Saudi army’s “experience in Yemen,” which has consisted largely of the slaughter of Yemeni civilians in airstrikes.

For its part, the Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is determined to prevent the consolidation of an autonomous Syrian Kurdish zone on its border.

The inseparable connection between military aggression abroad and police state repression at home found expression in Turkey Friday with the presentation of a criminal indictment against two journalists, Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, on charges of “espionage,” “attempting to topple the government” and support for terrorism. The two are being prosecuted for the publication by their newspaper, Cumhuriyet, of an article exposing the use of trucks of the National Intelligence Agency to ship arms across the border to ISIS. Turkish police officers who intercepted some of the trucks have been similarly charged. The defendants could face life sentences.

“That kind of news is very welcome,” US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in response to the Saudi offer, adding that he intended to discuss it with his Saudi counterpart in Brussels next week.

An intervention by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, two of the principal patrons of the Islamist militias in Syria, would signal a major escalation of the crisis and a desperate bid by US imperialism itself to salvage the nearly five-year-old war for regime change in Syria.

It would dramatically increase the dangers of the Syrian conflict spiraling out of control into a full-scale regional war, pitting Saudi Arabia and Turkey against Iran. Any such intervention would be carried out in collaboration with Washington, which is Turkey’s NATO ally, posing the threat of a direct confrontation between the US and Russia, the world’s two major nuclear powers.

Saudi royal air force kills Yemeni school children

This video says about itself:

Saudi bombs unlawfully targeting Yemen schools – Amnesty

12 December 2015

Saudi Arabian airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen have deliberately targeted schools, killing students and making education impossible for many children, a new report from Amnesty International suggests.

Published on Friday, the report claims 34 percent of Yemeni children have not been to school since the conflict began in March. Some 1.8 million children in the country do no attend school, and many have been killed in airstrikes supposedly targeting rebels.

During the nine month conflict, 5,000 people have died and 27,500 have been injured. The war has also devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, with hospitals and roads destroyed, making humanitarian aid difficult to deliver.

In the report, titled ‘Our kids are bombed: schools under attack in Yemen’, Amnesty investigated five airstrikes which took place between August and October 2015 in Hodeidah, Hajjah and Sana, and appear to have targeted schools.

Amnesty says the strikes were unlawful because they targeted civilian objects and “disproportionately harmed civilians and civilian objects in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the attack,” as well as failing “to distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives.”

Five people were killed and 14 injured in the strikes, as well as disrupting the education of 6,550 Yemeni children.

Amnesty says UK and US companies are complicit in the illegality of the airstrikes as both countries sell weapons to Saudi Arabia.

“Under Article 6 of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which came into force in late 2014, a country is prohibited from authorizing an arms transfer if it has knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms would be used in the commission of attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it is a Party,” the report warns.

Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International, said airstrikes against schools are depriving Yemeni children of a normal life and the right to education.

“Schools are central to civilian life, they are meant to offer a safe space for children. Yemen’s young school pupils are being forced to pay the price for these attacks. On top of enduring a bitter conflict, they face longer term upheaval and disruption to their education – a potentially lifelong burden that they will be forced to shoulder.”

Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) told RT the UK must stop trading arms to Saudi Arabia to prevent further incidents occurring where civilians are killed.

“This is another sign that the UK’s arms export system is broken. For decades the UK has focused on pouring arms into the Middle East and one of the results of that is the humanitarian catastrophe being unleashed on Yemen,” he said.

“The UK needs to end arms sales to Saudi and revoke all licenses for arms that are being used in Yemen. By continuing to arm and support the Saudi bombardment the UK is complicit in the destruction taking place,” he added.


From MSF/Doctors Without Borders:

Yemen: At least 10 children killed and three wounded while walking back home from school in Taiz

21 January 2016

Testimony by Michele Trainiti, MSF project coordinator in Taiz, Yemen.

“We arrived to Al Hurair area, in Al Houban quarter in Taiz town on Tuesday 19 January after receiving a call from a contact in the area, saying that an airstrike had affected children and a teacher and they need our support in treating the wounded people.”

“We rushed to the area, which was near the frontlines that surround Taiz city, to provide medical assistance to the wounded people. According to two mothers of the two wounded girls and some other bystanders, 10 children and one teacher died and three injured in the attack … Apparently the kids were walking back home from school when the airstrike took place.”

“One mother said, the children were coming back from school when they passed by a tank and they heard the whistle of a bomb coming. There was a big explosion and the kids were pushed up in the air. Aisha, my daughter can’t remember anything after that.”

“The area is a dangerous frontline with heavy and continuous clashes. When we arrived, we saw that it’s an empty land that has no constructions on it. We only saw a burning tank and few destroyed notebooks on the ground and papers everywhere. People in the area said the wounded children were transported to Al Rufai hospital.”

“On our way to the hospital we found two families on a motorbike with two injured girls discharged by the hospital and on their way home. The kids were still covered in blood; they had shrapnel wounds from the blast. They were in pain and one of them was in a clear state of shock. We discussed with the family, and found out that the children did not receive tetanus vaccines, therefore we decided to refer the two wounded girls to the MSF mother and child hospital in Taiz.”

“The wounded girls spent the night in our hospital for observation and today we decided to refer them to a Gulf hospital that has good surgical services because Aisha (13 years old) has a foot fracture and is in need of a surgical intervention to stop the continuous bleeding in her left leg, while Ashjan (7 years old) has a large foreign body in her knee that appeared to have entered via her upper posterior thigh and needed surgical removal. Both mothers are very anxious and worried about their children’s status.” Another sad example of how civilians are caught in the middle of this ongoing indiscriminate war.

British Sandhurst academy trains Saudi, Bahraini, UAE dictatorships’ officers

This video says about itself:

25 November 2015

A new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report says that security forces in Bahrain are still torturing detainees.

From the Daily Mirror in Britain:

Sandhurst academy is training officers from brutal Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE regimes

22 Jan 2016

By Jason Beattie

Since 2006, Sandhurst has offered taxpayer-subsidised training to 843 officers from other countries including some of the worst for human rights abuse

The British military is training hundreds of officers from regimes with appalling human rights records, figures reveal.

Recruits from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE have received officer training at the elite Sandhurst military school.

All these countries have been criticised for their human rights records with some using the military to suppress opposition and dissent.

Read more: Britain training Saudi Police

Parliamentary figures released to the Lib Dems show that since 2006, Sandhurst has offered taxpayer-subsidised training to 843 officers from other countries.

These include 66 recruits from Bahrain which is accused of engaging in systematic torture, extra-judicial killing and enforced disappearances.

Read more: Britain’s sellout to Saudi Arabia is shameful

Saudi [Arabia] has sent 22 to Sandhurst. The country is ranked as one of the 12 worst in the world for human rights abuses and has executed 47 people already this year.

Its military are involved in the civil war in Yemen where thousands of innocent civilians have been killed by the Saudi air force.

The UAE has sent 82 officers at the Sandhurst military academy. Amnesty International says the country is accused of torture and has illegally detained scores of people, including foreign nationals.

And more than 100 officers from Oman and Qatar have been trained by the British military.

In Oman the military and security services are used to clamp down on dissent, while the Qatari government is accused of silencing opponents and allowing the abuse of migrant workers.

Although the countries contribute towards the cost of the training, the Ministry of Defence admits they are also supported through UK funding.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron MP said: “These Sandhurst sheikhs are sitting in our military academics, learning from our best and then taking these things back to regimes that repress their population and trample all over human rights.

“People will look at this and think why are we selling weapons to Saudi, training Bahrainis and then sitting there while they oppress their population.

“Shared military training with our allies is a fantastic resource, but it is time to stand up for the values we talk about so much – democracy and human rights. British forces provide some of the best military training in the world, but the privilege to train with our top class troops should be reserved to those foreign armed forces who share our values and our strict adherence to humanitarian law in combat.”

That ‘adherence’ is not always ‘strict’. Eg, look at the British torture scandals in Iraq.

“I believe we need to end to the training of overseas royals from regimes with terrible human rights records at Sandhurst.”

Britain’s Royal Military Academy is paid millions to train officers for repressive Gulf dictatorships. Sandhurst trains hundreds of cadets who violently crack down on dissent in Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait: here.

‘Sandhurst sheikhs’: calls to stop training cadets from Gulf states with bad rights records. Lib Dems urge action after MoD figures show rise in revenues from Gulf states that imposed repressive measures after Arab spring: here.

The Bahrain government is hosting a human rights conference tomorrow. Yes, really. It’s a bit like Lance Armstrong holding a summit on ethics in sports, but Bahrain’s PR strategy is so poorly advised that the kingdom is busily promoting and publicizing the conference, apparently oblivious to the reputational damage to its international image every time someone hears “Bahrain” and “human rights” in the same sentence: here.

Football: Letter to Fifa sponsors expresses concerns over [Bahraini royal] Sheikh Salman’s human rights record: here.

Bahrain campaigners warn Fifa sponsors of concerns over Sheikh Salman: here.

January 27, 2016. Bahrain: Torture Allegations Expose Sham Reforms. Prosecutions, Unfair Trials for Exercising Free Speech: here.

Where doctors were arrested, tortured: ‘Witness Bahrain’ screening in Ridgefield Feb. 6 shows life after Arab Spring: here.

PanARMENIAN.Net – The Armenian government has refused to extradite a Bahraini activist who was arrested in Armenia last month after fleeing Bahrain to avoid imprisonment on what human rights groups consider politically motivated charges, RFE/RL Armenian Service reports: here.

European Parliament condemns death penalty, torture in Bahrain. Body called for pardon for a man sentenced to death after allegedly confessing under torture: here.

Saudi Arabia is setting a dangerous precedent to the Government of Bahrain. Bahrain is suppressing dissent by rendering citizens stateless and condemning them to death; all under the watchful eye of its neighbour: here.