Saudi warplanes keep killing Yemeni civilians


This video from Yemen says about itself:

13 July 2017

Three children were injured on Wednesday by a cluster bomb left behind by the Saudi-American aggression in Saada province.

A local source in the province said that three children (two boys and a girl), including a child in a serious condition, were wounded by a cluster bomb explosion, remnants of aggression in Al Abuest district, Department of Sohar.

It is noteworthy that children are the main victims as a result of the explosion of cluster munitions delivered by the US-Saudi aggression on various Yemeni provinces.

Since its inception on 26 March 2015, the aggression has thrown thousands of internationally banned cluster bombs on Saada province and several Yemeni provinces, leaving thousands of unexploded bombs.

Names:

Shahab Saleh Hamoud Massad 3 years.
Yasser Ahmed Hassan Massad 8 years.
U M Matir 12 years.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

YEMEN: A Saudi-led coalition air raid on a marketplace has killed 11 people, including a child, the health director for northern Saada province said on Wednesday night.

Hassab al-Azay said an 11-year-old boy was among the dead and that five others were injured.

Yemen: a western-sponsored genocide: here.

Britain: Human rights groups urge Theresa May to cancel visit of Saudi Crown Prince: here.

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Saudi cleric imprisoned for refusing to warmonger


This video from Saudi Arabia says about itself:

30 October 2017

The son of Sheikh Salman al-Awdah speaks out about his father’s arrest.

In Saudi Arabia and Saudi-occupied Bahrain, people are sometimes jailed and/or flogged for blogging or for tweeting. Now, someone has been incarcerated for not tweeting.

From Al Jazeera today:

Cleric Salman al-Awda ‘held over Qatar tweet’

A prominent Muslim scholar has been detained by Saudi Arabia for the past four months without charge, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

Saudi authorities detained Salman al-Awda on September 7 and later imposed travel bans on members of Awda’s family, the US-based rights group said on Sunday.

A family member told HRW that Awda was being held over his refusal to comply with an order by Saudi authorities to tweet a specific text to support the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.

Instead, Awda posted a tweet on September 9, saying: “May God harmonize between their hearts for the good of their people” – an apparent call for reconciliation between the Gulf countries, HRW said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a boycott against Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of aiding “terrorists” and having close ties with Iran. Qatar denies the allegations.

The family member cited by HRW said that authorities permitted Awda only one phone call in October.

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman‘s efforts to reform the Saudi economy and society are bound to fail if his justice system scorns the rule of law by ordering arbitrary arrests and punishments”, said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW.

“There’s no justification for punishing family members of a detainee without showing even the slightest evidence or accusation of wrongdoing on their part.”

Saudi crackdown

According to HRW, Awda was among the first of dozens of people detained in mid-September as part of a crackdown against what Saudi authorities said were those acting “for the benefit of foreign parties against the security of the kingdom and its interests”.

Saudi Arabia carried out another wave of arrests in November against people they accused of corruption and held many at five-star hotels until they agreed to turn over assets to the state.

Awda’s brother, Khaled, was also held after he tweeted about his brother’s detention, media reported. He remains in detention, according to HRW.

Saudi authorities imposed travel bans on 17 members of Awda’s family, according to HRW.

“If Mohammad bin Salman wants to show that a new era has begun in Saudi Arabia, a refreshing first step would be the release of activists and dissidents who have never been charged with a recognisable crime and should never have gone to jail in the first place”, Whitson said.

Saudi regime kills Yemeni civilians, NATO helps


Human rights campaigners protest at the Farnborough International Arms Fair on July 11, 2016. (Photo: Campaign Against Arms Trade/flickr/cc)

By Stephen McCloskey:

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Western Complicity Is Fueling Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis

A besieged and starved population has been pushed to the brink of famine. The UK, US and France need to re-evaluate their relationship with Saudi Arabia.

On 26 December, a crowded market in the Al Hayma district in Yemen was hit by airstrikes from a Saudi-led coalition that left 54 civilians dead, including eight children with 32 others injured.

It was the latest bloody episode in a conflict that has been raging for a thousand days and claimed 10,000 victims with 20 million more (from a population of 28 million) in dire need of assistance.

The United Nations Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, has described the conflict as “absurd” and “futile”, characterised by “the destruction of the country and the incommensurate suffering of its people.”

The Saudi Coalition airstrikes began in March 2015 in response to Houthi rebels’ seizing control of much of Yemen in late 2014. There was widespread disillusionment in Yemen with Saudi-backed president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, whose transitional administration was dogged by corruption, unemployment and food insecurity.

The Houthi uprising forced Mr Hadi to flee abroad in March 2015 which signalled the start of Saudi airstrikes. On the larger canvass of Middle-East relations and current tensions, the Sunni Saudis accuse the Houthis of being proxies for Shia Iran, their main regional rival.

Targeting civilians

Yemen’s impoverished civilian population has been caught in the middle of this contagion of hostilities with Human Rights Watch finding in 2016 that 60 per cent of civilian deaths resulted from air strikes.

It reported that “[a]irstrikes have damaged or destroyed numerous civilian objects including homes, markets, hospitals, and schools, as well as commercial enterprises “which “appear to be in violation of international law.”

This assessment is based on the monitoring of attacks that “do not discriminate between military targets and civilian objects.” “Taken together”, the report argues, “the attacks on factories and other civilian economic structures raise serious concerns that the Saudi-led coalition has deliberately sought to inflict widespread damage to Yemen’s production capacity.”

The effects of the conflict have been compounded by an air, land and sea blockade of Yemen imposed from November 2017 by Riyadh allegedly “to stem the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran.”

The blockade of Yemen’s Hodeida port in particular has been disastrous for a country “90 per cent dependent on imports“, 70 per cent of which came through the port.

The war and blockade has pushed some seven million people to the brink of famine and left nearly 900,000 infected with cholera.

Mark Lowcock, who co-ordinates humanitarian affairs and emergency relief for the UN, has said that without urgently needed humanitarian aid, Yemen would be subject to “the largest famine the world has seen for many decades with millions of victims.”

Jamie McGoldrick has denied that Yemeni rebels are smuggling arms through Hodeida port saying that a UN verification mechanism had “never found any weapons” on arriving ships.

As with the Israeli ten-year siege of the Gaza Strip, we are witnessing the collective punishment of a civilian population in Yemen for political ends.

The blockades of both Gaza and Yemen are causing enormous humanitarian suffering, are man-made disasters and could easily be lifted with political will.

Western complicity

Western governments have been fuelling the Yemeni crisis through lucrative weapon sales to Riyadh used in Saudi’s three year bombing campaign. Amnesty International has argued that:

“Countries such as the USA, UK and France, which continue to supply coalition members with arms, are allowing Saudi Arabia and its allies to flagrantly flout international law and risk being complicit in grave violations, including war crimes.”

Amnesty urges these countries to: “immediately halt the flow of arms and military assistance to members of the Saudi-led coalition for use in Yemen. This includes any equipment or logistical support being used to maintain this blockade.”

The UK has licensed $4.6 billion worth of arms sales to the Saudi regime, a relationship described as ‘shameful’ by Campaign Against Arms Trade, given Riyadh’s record as “one of the world’s most authoritarian regimes.”

France, too, has sold “€9 billion of weaponry to Saudi Arabia from 2010-2016, amounting to 15-20 per cent of France’s annual arms exports.”

And the United States has “designed and negotiated a package totalling approximately $110 billion” with Riyadh in 2017 following on from a total of $115 billion approved in arms sales by the Obama administration in 2009-2016.

Su-ming Khoo has argued that “[i]n conflict situations, the deliberate, indiscriminate and criminal targeting of civilians and civilian structures such as hospitals and schools marks an all-time low in respect for the most basic humanitarian norms and laws.” This is underscored by the Human Rights Watch World Report 2017 which warns against a “global assault on human rights.”

Yemen appears to be a prime example of this deterioration in the climate for human rights which, perhaps, really took root in the ‘war on terror’ that followed the 9 September 2001 attacks on Washington and New York.

Even in the context of new ‘lows’ in the application of international laws and norms, the scale of the Yemeni crisis should cause international alarm and provoke immediate action to end hostilities, particularly the Saudi airstrikes and blockade.

A besieged and starved population has been pushed to the brink of famine and is already subject to malaria, dengue fever, diphtheria, and cholera. This is a moment when the UK, US and France should re-evaluate its relationship with Riyadh and the diplomatic and humanitarian poisoning caused by their trade in arms.

Stephen McCloskey is Director of the Centre for Global Education, a development non-governmental organisation based in Belfast.

The Trump administration’s hypocrisy was on clear display when it denounced Iran over an ineffectual Yemeni missile that landed in Saudi Arabia while the U.S. aids the Saudi slaughter of Yemeni civilians: here.

‘Stop executions in Saudi Arabia’


This video says about itself:

17 December 2017

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Owner of World’s Most Expensive Home in France

Now this is his French lifestyle. Saudi crown prince ‘buyer of $300 mn French chateau’. Pro-austerity Saudi prince buys world’s most expensive home.

When the Chateau Louis XIV sold for over $300 million two years ago, Fortune magazine called it “the world’s most expensive home,” and Town & Country swooned over its gold-leafed fountain, marble statues and hedged labyrinth set in a 57-acre landscaped park. But for all the lavish details, one fact was missing: the identity of the buyer. Now, it turns out that the paper trail leads to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, heir to the Saudi throne.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain, Wednesday, January 3, 2018:

Campaigners call on Theresa May to demand Saudi Arabia halts executions

Reprieve said the PM must hold the new crown prince to his promises of reform

RIGHTS campaign group Reprieve called on Theresa May to demand an immediate halt to executions in Saudi Arabia as it warned of a fresh wave of repression in the Gulf state today.

The Prime Minister is due to host the new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in London later this year.

Her government has been criticised for continuing to allow arms to be sold to Saudi Arabia that are being used as part of its devastating bombing of Yemen, where millions are on the brink of famine.

Mr Bin Salman came to power in June last year amid promises of a new era of reform. Senior members of the previously untouchable Saudi royal family were arrested in November with increased powers granted to the prince.

It was hoped that it could signify a turning point. Mr Bin Salman claimed he would return Saudi Arabia to “moderate Islam”, acknowledging things had not been right in the Gulf state for 30 years and appealing to the international community for support in making the transformation to an open society.

But Reprieve issued the latest warning two years after 47 people were executed by the despotic regime in just one day. It claimed that among those killed were political protesters and juveniles.

And research by the rights group showed that 141 people were executed in 2017, 70 per cent of them after Mr bin Salman came to power.

The death sentences of 14 political prisoners were upheld by a Saudi court in July last year. Reprieve says that they were convicted on the basis of confessions extracted through torture.

Among the 14 are a disabled man, Munir al-Adam, and a juvenile, Mujtaba al-Sweikat.

Reprieve director Maya Foa said: “Two years on from a mass execution that saw political protesters, including children, killed, the government of Saudi Arabia shows no interest in halting a brutal wave of repression. Hundreds of people have been executed in the last two years and now several young protesters face imminent execution on Mohammed bin Salman’s watch.

“The international community, including Theresa May, who is soon to host the new crown prince, must hold him to his promises of ‘reform’ by demanding a halt to all executions immediately.”

Saudi regime keeps killing Yemeni civilians


This video from the USA says about itself:

Amnesty International Reveals the Bomb That Killed 16 Civilians in Yemen Was Made in the U.S.A.

22 September 2017

A major new investigation by Amnesty International reveals a bomb that killed 16 civilians in Yemen’s capital last month was made in the U.S.A. Among the survivors was 5-year-old Buthaina, whose photograph went viral in the aftermath of the strike. She lost her entire family in the strike.

Amnesty International’s arms expert analyzed remnants of the weapon and found clear markings that matched U.S.-made components used in laser-guided, air-dropped bombs. Coalition airstrikes continue to be the leading cause of child casualties, as well as overall civilian casualties. The latest finding by Amnesty comes as some European Union countries recently tabled a motion at the U.N. Human Rights Council calling for an independent inquiry into human rights abuses committed by all sides in the conflict. The U.N. high commissioner for human rights has called the humanitarian crisis in Yemen an “entirely man-made catastrophe.” We speak with Raed Jarrar, the advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Over 700 Yemeni civilians killed and wounded by US-backed Saudi airstrikes in December

29 December 2017

The US-backed Saudi monarchy and its allied Gulf oil sheikdoms have dramatically escalated their bombing campaign against Yemen, the poorest nation in the Middle East, killing scores of civilians within the last few days.

In the bloodiest of the airstrikes, Saudi warplanes targeted a crowded marketplace in Yemen’s southwestern Taiz province on Tuesday, killing 54 civilians.

While coverage of the bloodbath by the US and Western media has been scarce, Yemen’s Al Masirah television network published photos on its website showing the market’s bombed-out shops and the dismembered remains of slaughtered civilians. It reported that body parts had been thrown hundreds of yards from the blast sites.

Among the dead were at least eight children. Another 32 people were wounded in the bombing, including six children.

On the same day, warplanes attacked a farm in the al-Tuhayta district of Yemen’s western Hodeida province killing an entire family of 14, including women and children.

Yemeni sources reported that Saudi and allied warplanes carried out more than 45 airstrikes on Wednesday targeting several Yemeni cities and killing at least another six civilians, including a family of five whose house was targeted in the port city of Hodeida.

According to the Al Masirah television network the number of Yemenis killed and wounded in Saudi airstrikes since the beginning of December had risen to 600 before the latest round of casualties beginning on Tuesday.

This bloody new phase in the more than 1,000-day-old war by the wealthy and reactionary Arab monarchies against impoverished Yemen is driven by the House of Saud’s frustration over its inability to shift the military stalemate and made possible by the unrestrained support from Riyadh’s Western allies, principally the US and Britain.

The stepped up bombing campaign has come partly in response to the failure of a Saudi-backed coup by the former Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh against his erstwhile allies, the Houthi rebel movement. The abortive effort ended in Saleh’s death and the routing of his supporters earlier this month.

Riyadh has also been shaken by the firing of missiles from Yemen targeting both the international airport and the House of Saud’s royal palace. Both missiles were brought down without causing any casualties.

Washington has long relied upon the Saudi monarchy as a pillar of reaction in the Arab world, arming it to the teeth and in the process reaping vast profits for US arms corporations.

During his trip to Saudi Arabia in May, US President Donald Trump signed a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudi regime. While the agreement represented the single largest arms deal in US history, it represented a continuity with the policy pursued by the Democratic administration of Barack Obama, which had struck a $29 billion agreement to sell F-15s [to] the Saudis—representing the previous largest single US arms deal—and had a total of $100 billion worth of weaponry slated for sale to the kingdom.

In addition to providing the warplanes, bombs and missiles being used to slaughter Yemeni civilians, Washington is a direct accomplice and participant in the assault on Yemen, a flagrant war crime that has produced the greatest humanitarian catastrophe on the face of the planet. US Air Force planes are flying refueling missions that keep Saudi fighter bombers in the air, while US intelligence officers are assisting in the targeting of airstrikes and US warships are backing a Saudi sea blockade that is part of a barbaric siege of the country aimed at starving its population into submission.

While an estimated 13,600 civilians have lost their lives to the US-backed Saudi military campaign launched in March of 2015, that death toll has been massively eclipsed by the number of lives lost to hunger and disease resulting from the destruction of basic water and sanitary infrastructure, along with factories, farms, medical facilities and other vital resources, and the blockading of food, medicine and humanitarian supplies.

Almost three years into the war, 21.2 million people, 82 percent of the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance, lacking access to food, fuel and clean water,. An estimated 8 million people are on the brink of starvation, while soaring food prices have placed essential commodities out of reach for all but the wealthiest layers of Yemeni society.

The International Committee of the Red Cross announced last week that the number of cholera cases had topped 1 million, the worst epidemic in modern history, while the country has also been hit by an outbreak of diphtheria, a disease that has been almost entirely eradicated in the rest of the world.

The apocalyptic scale of the human suffering in Yemen has moved some in the West to make timid criticisms of the Saudi regime. Thus, French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly called Saudi King Salman on December 24 to advocate a “complete lifting’ of the blockade of Yemen. Macron made no move, however, to amend the 455 million euro arms deal struck with Riyadh by his predecessor, François Hollande, providing weapons being used to murder Yemeni civilians.

Similarly, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick pointed to the latest mass casualties resulting from Saudi bombings to condemn the “complete disregard for human life that all parties, including the Saudi-led coalition, continue to show in this absurd war.”

The reality is that the overwhelming majority of deaths have been caused by illegal Saudi aggression. The war, from the standpoint of both Riyadh and Washington, moreover, is not “absurd,” but rather part of a broader regional strategy being pursued by US imperialism to prepare for a military confrontation with Iran, which has emerged as an obstacle to the drive to assert American hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East.

Finally, the New York Times published an editorial Thursday saturated with hypocrisy and deceit. Titled “The Yemen Crucible”, it accuses the Trump administration of applying “a double standard” to the catastrophe in Yemen by denouncing alleged Iranian arms support for the Houthi rebels, while “having nothing bad to say” about the Saudi bombing campaign.

The Times, a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party establishment, raises the possibility that Iran “could be in violation” of a UN Security Council resolution barring it from the export of missiles and other weapons, and guilty of “escalating a crisis” that could lead to war with Saudi Arabia.

Referring to the recent performance of the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who appeared at a US military hangar in Washington with what was claimed to be debris from an Iranian-supplied missile fire by the Houthi rebels at Riyadh, the newspaper acknowledged that the presentation recalled the “weapons of mass destruction” speech delivered by then US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN Security Council in preparation for the US invasion of Iraq.

Of course the Times supported that war of aggression in 2003 and became one of the main propagandists of the “weapons of mass destruction” lie used to justify it.

The editorial utters not a word of criticism of US arms sales to the Saudi regime—much less about the Obama administration’s initiation of Washington’s support for the war on Yemen—and concludes with claims of seeing signs that the Trump administration is exerting “constructive influence on the Saudis.”

These lies and omissions make clear that if and when Washington embarks on a potentially world catastrophic war against Iran, the “newspaper of record” will once again provide its services as a propaganda organ for American militarism.

When it comes to protecting children in war zones, the UK should set an example by ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia. What we are dealing with is not a failure of the law, but a culture of impunity surrounding the perpetrators of heinous crimes against children: here.