Saudi Arabia, stop bombing Yemen, United Nations say


This video says about itself:

20 April 2015

An air strike hits a Scud missile factory in Sanaa, Yemen, producing a massive fireball and killing at least seven civilians. Nathan Frandino reports.

From Reuters today:

U.N. concerned by resumption of Yemen airstrikes by Saudi coalition

3 hours ago

UNITED NATIONS – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced concern on Wednesday about the renewal of airstrikes in Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition and said he hoped the fighting would cease quickly.

“When I read the report that fighting was resumed I was very much concerned about that,” Ban told reporters. “I sincerely hope there will be an end of fighting as soon as possible.”

Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it would end almost a month of air strikes against the Iranian-allied Houthis but resumed operations on Wednesday. Last week Ban called for an immediate ceasefire by all parties in Yemen.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols)

Saudi air force resumes killing Yemeni civilians


This video says about itself:

We’re dying every day’: Yemeni civilians paint grim picture of suffering amid Saudi-led strikes

20 April 2015

RT gets eyewitness accounts of the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen as civilians bear the brunt of the Saudi-led airstrikes. Freelance journalist Muhammad al-Attab reports.

After the good news earlier today of the Saudi air force stopping killing Yemeni civilians (well, ‘good’ news in the context of the disastrous consequences still continuing of the Saudi bombings), now disastrous news again.

From the BBC today:

Yemen conflict: Saudi-led coalition resumes air strikes

25 minutes ago

Saudi-led coalition jets have bombed Houthi rebels in Yemen‘s third city of Taiz, hours after announcing the end of a military campaign against them. ..

The UN says at least 944 people have been killed and 3,487 injured in air strikes, fighting on the ground and attacks by jihadist militants in Yemen since 19 March.

THE reactionary Saudi regime – the pride and joy of the United States and UK ruling classes that have armed it to the teeth – and its allies in the Gulf are about to learn a lesson that its US-UK sponsors should have been able to explain to it. This is that it is easy to leap into a war, but that it may well prove to be much harder to get out of than it was to get into, and that the tendency could well be to get deeper and deeper into the quagmire, until the contradictions that are sharpened explode under the feudal princes that rule Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states: here.

Saudi air force stops killing Yemeni civilians


This video from the USA says about itself:

Saudi Arabia Bombing Yemen, Still Our Ally

13 April 2015

Sheila Carapico, professor of politics science and international studies at the University of Richmond in Virginia, and author of the recently written piece: A Call to Resist Saudi and US Aggression in Yemen, joins David to discuss Saudi military action in Yemen, and the hypocrisy of the US alliance with Saudi Arabia.

By Niles Williamson:

Saudi-led coalition halts air assault in Yemen

22 April 2015

Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday that it was ending the nearly one-month-old air assault it spearheaded against the Houthi rebels and their supporters throughout Yemen. …

Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners, backed by the US, have been dropping bombs on targets throughout Yemen for the last four weeks with the aim of defeating the Houthi rebels, who have taken control of most of the country’s western provinces.

The United States government facilitated the continuous assault by providing the coalition with logistical and intelligence support, approving possible targets and refueling jet fighters after bombing raids. The Saudi monarchy and the US government have been expressly seeking the reinstatement of President Hadi, who fled the country for Riyadh in the face of a Houthi assault at the end of last month. …

According to an official estimate from the United Nations, the Saudi air campaign, in addition to fighting on the ground, killed at least 944 people and wounded a further 3,487 between March 19 and April 17. Many of the casualties have been civilians, including women and children, killed when air strikes in residential areas destroyed their homes.

Two air strikes on Tuesday killed approximately 40 people, mostly civilians. A strike on a bridge in Ibb province killed at least 20 people, while an air strike in the northern city of Haradah killed 13 civilians and seven soldiers. The death toll from the bombing of a weapons depot that flattened a residential neighborhood in Sanaa on Monday was raised to 38. The Houthi-controlled Interior Ministry reported that in all 84 people were killed by air strikes throughout the country Monday. …

As the Saudi-led operations entered a new phase Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement warning that Yemen, already deeply impoverished prior to the Saudi assault, faces the “imminent collapse” of its health care system.

Fighting on the ground, as well as a naval blockade being enforced by the Saudi-led coalition and the US, has resulted in a serious shortage of medical supplies, clean drinking water and fuel. Aid flights have been limited by a no-fly zone enforced by coalition warplanes over the country, creating the conditions for a potential health catastrophe.

Vital power infrastructure throughout the country, necessary for pumping clean water from underground aquifers, has been knocked out, contributing to a deepening of the shortage of clean drinking water in the country.

Dr. Ahmed Shadoul, the WHO Representative for Yemen, stated that over the last four weeks the number of cases of bloody diarrhea in children under the age of five had doubled due to a lack of access to clean drinking water. He also reported that there had been an increase in cases of measles and malaria, in addition to heightened rates of malnutrition among women and young children.

The WHO statement warned that power cuts threaten the country’s blood banks and vaccine stockpiles. The loss of Yemen’s vaccine stockpile would increase the risk of the widespread outbreak of communicable diseases such as measles and polio.

The lack of electricity or fuel for generators has severely hindered the maintenance of crucial hospital operations throughout Yemen. According to the WHO, without the return of consistent power, kidney dialysis as well as cardiac and cancer treatment programs are threatened with complete collapse.

SAUDIS STOPS YEMEN BOMBING CAMPAIGN: “Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that it was halting a nearly month-old bombing campaign against a rebel group in neighboring Yemen that has touched off a devastating humanitarian crisis and threatened to ignite a broader regional conflict. The announcement followed what American officials said was pressure applied by the Obama administration for the Saudis and other Sunni Arab nations to end the airstrikes.” [NYT]

Translated from Dutch NOS TV correspondent Sander van Hoorn today:

The Saudi bombings did not have any results, except many victims.

Bahrain and the Saudi war on Yemen


This video says about itself:

Yemen: Sanaa’s children protest Saudi-led campaign outside UN building

13 April 2015

A group of Yemeni children gathered outside the United Nations (UN) office in Sanaa, Monday, to protest against the continued Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen. One of the children, Al-Kassim ibn Hussain, condemned the Saudi [royal] family as “filthy and corrupt” and vowed that “they will witness defeat very soon”. Despite the ongoing fighting, protester Kassam al-Gharah swore to continue to smile to show that “we are not a people of hate or animosity”.

From the International Business Times:

Bahrain Grand Prix: War in Yemen will have major repercussions in Arab Gulf and beyond

By Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei

April 17, 2015 12:31 BST

Six children were among the first to die when Saudi Arabia began its war with an air strike against Yemen’s Houthi rebels on March 25.

The actions of Saudi Arabia and its allies – including Egypt, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain – are facilitating a humanitarian crisis in the fractured country.

Yemen was already in a bad enough state when Saudi Arabia declared its intervention. Internally, it was a tinder box and only a week before the war began, Islamic State-aligned terrorists bombed a mosque in Houthi-controlled Sana’a, killing at least 137 people.

For Saudi [Arabia] and its allies to intervene in Yemen is a tragedy upon an already tragically fractured country.

It isn’t the first time Saudi Arabia has intervened in the affairs of one of its neighbours. Just as President Abdrabbuh Mansour fled to Riyadh and (so the Saudis claim) asked for their help, in 2011 the Saudis sent troops into Bahrain, also on the ‘invitation’ of its ruler, where they helped the government forces crush Bahrain’s nascent democratic uprising.

In the four years between these two interventions, Saudi Arabia has also involved itself in the Syrian civil war and joined the coalition against Islamic State, the religious intolerance of which can be directly linked to Saudi Arabia’s own state ideology.

The UK, which under the current government has striven to build economic and military ties with the Gulf (the UAE and Saudi Arabia top the list of importers of British arms, spending over £10bn between them since 2010), has been quietly supportive.

The Foreign Office’s website reveals no statement on Yemen, and the war broke out the week parliament dissolved ahead of the elections, so public statements have been understandably limited.

The only statement I’ve found is on the FCO’s ‘UK in Yemen’ Facebook page which in one paragraph states: “We support the Saudi Arabian military intervention in Yemen following President Hadi’s request for support”, but in another that “the solution to the crisis must be a political one.”

It further argues: “the international community will continue to use diplomatic and humanitarian support to achieve long-term stability, avoid civil war, economic collapse and a deeper humanitarian crisis in Yemen.”

‘There are 2.7 million Shia in Saudi Arabia, making up 12% of the population. Ruled by a Sunni monarchy and under a strict interpretation of Islam, Wahabbism, Shia are often portrayed as heretics or agents of Riyadh’s major rival, Iran.’

Read Orlando Crowcroft’s take on the language of hatred used against Saudi Shia here.

How these statements can be reconciled with each other is anyone’s guess. Saudi Arabia’s war is short-sighted, opportunistic and wholly self-serving. The only thing it will achieve in Yemen is to ruin any chance for stability and accelerate civil war and economic collapse.

As for a “deeper humanitarian crisis” – Yemen is already at the precipice.

Obama told the New York Times last week that the biggest threats facing the Gulf kingdoms “may not be coming from Iran invading. It’s going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries.”

That dissatisfaction is born of the autocratic models of governance in each kingdom. Bahrain, with its active political and rights movements, has already seen that dissatisfaction on the public stage.

Paranoid

The government of Bahrain is so paranoid about political discourse that it has criminalised criticism of the war in Yemen. Human rights defender Nabeel Rajab is the latest victim, and is now in police custody after criticising the human cost of bombing Yemen.

Two politicians were also arrested after their party criticised the war as unconstitutional, which is an indisputable fact. Whether one sees it as an aggressive or defensive war, article 36 of Bahrain’s constitution forbids aggressive wars and requires parliamentary approval for defensive wars, and the latter was not sought in this case.

Bahrain was the first to consider criticism of the war a crime and to act on this criticism, but the other Gulf States will likely treat dissent in the same way. Does the UK remain supportive of this war in spite of its clear humanitarian and rights repercussions in Yemen and in the Gulf?

Saudi Arabia says it is supporting the legitimate government in Yemen. But it is farcical that a dictatorship should be going around deciding which government is legitimate. These are countries which must look to their own problems before they try to ‘help’ others.

The Obama administration did a good thing when they called for Nabeel Rajab’s immediate release, while the UK Foreign Office has made no statement. The US and UK must hold their Gulf allies accountable on all matters. To not do so would be a betrayal of the people of Yemen struggling to survive and to the people of the Gulf struggling for their rights.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei is Director of Advocacy at Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and served six months in prison in Bahrain in 2011.

Formula 1’s annual Bahrain Grand Prix opened April 17 to global fanfare, but demonstrators in the small Gulf kingdom off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia have been protesting the motorsports event for weeks, accusing Formula 1’s management of ignoring longstanding human rights abuses in the country: here.