Saudi and Trump regimes, COVID-19 kill Yemenis

This 17 May 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus intensifies the world’s worst humanitarian disaster in Yemen

A lack of international funding is forcing the United Nations to cut aid programmes in war-torn Yemen, where the population is now facing COVID-19 alongside famine, cholera and other diseases.

Sky News has filmed across the country, from the capital Sanaa to the divided city of Taiz, where hundreds of people are thought to have died in the last few days.

From daily News Line in Britain, 27 May 2020:

68 Yemen Covid-19 deaths ‘tip of iceberg’ says MSF

THE DOCTORS Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres – MSF) main Covid-19 treatment centre in Aden in southern Yemen has recorded at least 68 deaths in just two weeks.

‘What we are seeing in our treatment centre is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the number of people infected and dying here,’ the MSF operations manager for Yemen, Caroline Seguin, said last weekend.

Since March 2015, Yemen has been heavily invaded by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, trying to restore power to ex-Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Who had resigned and gone to Saudi Arabia. Where the Saudi regime gave him house arrest and uses him as window dressing for a Saudi puppet ‘government of Yemen’.

Ceaseless Saudi airstrikes and the destruction wrought by the kingdom’s mercenaries and armed militia loyal to Hadi have wiped out much of Yemen’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools and factories.

The Covid-19 disease has further deteriorated the humanitarian situation in the impoverished country, where 80 per cent of the population are reliant on international aid for survival.

Yemen is asking the international community to pressure the Saudi-led coalition, which has been attacking the impoverished country for five years now, into letting in medical supplies.

Last week, the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned that Yemen’s health system is already under heavy stress and will be overwhelmed ‘if Covid-19 continues to spread.’

The so-called regime led by Hadi has, since April 10, announced only 180 infections and 30 deaths from the coronavirus.

But the MSF said last Thursday that its centre in Aden had admitted 173 patients from April 30 to May 17 alone, at least 68 of whom had died, suggesting ‘a wider catastrophe unfolding in the city.’

Even so, inadequate testing capacity makes it hard to pin down exact numbers but dying patients ‘clearly have the symptoms of Covid-19’, it said.

The MSF said endemic diseases like malaria and dengue ‘never produced so many deaths in such a short amount of time’ in the country.

‘People are coming to us too late to save, and we know that many more people are not coming at all: they are just dying at home,’ the medical charity added.

The United States-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), described as a nonprofit conflict-research organisation, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

In Yemen, MSF doctor Ghazali Mohammed Babiker and his team are fighting back against a double crisis – the arrival of the Covid-19 in a country where years of brutal conflict have left a healthcare system already in crisis.

He said: ‘We at MSF have seen many things while working in Aden: we kept our hospital open during the darkest days of fighting in 2015, and are used to receiving hundreds of wounded in just a few hours, like we did last August.

‘There is something uniquely sad about the outbreak of Covid-19 in the city, however: the catastrophe we all feared was coming is now here.

‘The crisis is real … we see its effects every day in our hospital, with people struggling to stay alive and many not making it.

‘We are running Aden’s only Covid-19 treatment centre at al-Amal hospital, where we have a team of Yemeni and international staff working around the clock to provide the best level of care that they can.

‘Like in all other countries afflicted with this virus, however, we are seeing just how deadly it can be.

‘From 30 April to 17 May we admitted 173 patients, at least 68 of whom have died.

‘This is a very high level of mortality, but it compares to what we have seen in Europe and the US: studies have shown that around half of patients admitted to intensive care units with Covid-19 are dying. Covid-19 is a horrible and deadly disease.

‘In Aden, patients are coming to the hospital very late. If they arrive when they are already having severe difficulties breathing then it becomes more and more difficult to save them.

‘While staying at home is the right thing to do if you have mild symptoms, if you start to have difficulty breathing then it is really important to go to the hospital.

‘It is very difficult for our staff to see patients arriving, gasping for breath like a fish out of water, and to know that it is too late to help them, no matter how hard they work.

‘We also know that many people are dying at home: the statistics for burials in the city show that around 80 per day took place in the last week, as opposed to ten in normal times. This shows us that in the centre we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of how many people are infected and dying of the virus in the city.

‘We are also seeing that medical staff in the city are getting sick, which is another way we can tell just how widely the virus is circulating.

‘While it is true that there are other illnesses endemic to Aden, we are sure that what we are seeing is Covid-19, even if the authorities do not have the capacity to test everyone and confirm it.

‘Dengue, malaria, chikungunya: these diseases can be deadly, but they do not kill the number of people in the short space of time that we are seeing.

‘That is why it is so important for people in Aden to take this disease seriously. With an invisible virus it is sometimes difficult to feel that this crisis is real. It is not like the war, when we could all hear the shooting and see the bombs going off.

‘The crisis is real, however, and we see its effects every day in our hospital, with people struggling to stay alive, and many not making it.

‘Everyone must play their part in limiting the spread of this virus, therefore.

‘We need to avoid going out as much as possible, but if we have no choice then we should stay at least one metre distant from people when we do, avoiding physical contact.

‘If you have a fever or a cough then you need to stay at home to avoid spreading it to other people.

‘Most cases of Covid-19 will be mild, but if you start to have difficulty breathing, you need to seek medical help.

‘It has been a real challenge to open up the treatment centre at al-Amal.

‘Everyone all over the world is learning how to deal with this virus, but countries like Italy and France have the advantage of a good healthcare system. In Yemen, by contrast, years of war have left the healthcare system destroyed.

‘The team have put in so much effort since taking over the centre in early May, but the pride in that work is tempered by the sadness of what we see.

‘We are doing the best we can to help Aden through these dark days, but we cannot respond alone. The United Nations and other donor states must to do more to help Aden, and the rest of Yemen.

‘The country needs money to pay health staff, the healthcare staff need more personal protective equipment to keep them safe, and patients need more oxygen concentrators to help them breathe.

‘The world must not leave Aden and the rest of Yemen to face this crisis by themselves.’

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ordered officials at the department under his watch to find a way to justify the use of an emergency declaration meant to expedite the $8 billion weapons sale to Saudi Arabia, CNN reported last week.

Four sources in the US State Department told the TV channel last Friday that they were stunned by the request to justify the emergency declared in May 2019 by Pompeo that enabled him to sidestep a congressional ban on arms exports to the Riyadh regime amid the war on Yemen.

Under Pompeo’s order, the sources said, State Department officials had to ‘reverse engineer the situation to provide the justification for a decision which was made in an aggressive and unconventional manner.’

‘They seemed to have a game plan and it had to be justified,’ said a State Department official.

‘The attitude was very Trumpian,’ he added, referring to US President Donald Trump.

Pompeo’s demand sent offices at the US State Department, with the regional office, the political-military bureau and the legal office all set into motion to figure out how the emergency could be justified, according to the sources.

Riyadh is the largest buyer of American-made weaponry. Trump signed an arms deal worth $110 billion with Saudi Arabia in May 2017 on his first foreign trip since becoming president.

Before his presidency, he described the kingdom as ‘a milk cow’ which would be slaughtered when its milk runs out.

Trump-Pompeo Saudi massacres in Yemen scandal

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Fires His Fourth Inspector General, This One Investigating Saudi Arms Sales | MSNBC

President Donald Trump has fired the State Department watchdog Steve Linick, at the recommendation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Linick was investigating Pompeo’s decision to greenlight arms sales to Saudi Arabia, despite bipartisan congressional opposition to doing so. The IG was also investigating whether Pompeo was using a political appointee to perform tasks like walking his dog and making dinner reservations. Commentators say this is yet another strike at government oversight. Aired on 5/18/2020.

HOUSE DEMS: OUSTED WATCHDOG WAS PROBING SAUDI ARMS SALE The State Department inspector general fired by Trump was reportedly investigating why Pompeo fast-tracked more than $8 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia and its allies and whether Pompeo made a staffer run personal errands for him. Steve Linick was reportedly probing the arms deal because of lawmakers’ frustration that it was carried out without normal congressional oversight. [HuffPost]

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 19 May 2020:

Pompeo denies politically motivated sacking over Saudi arms probe

A US INSPECTOR general who was abruptly sacked on Friday was investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s approval of Saudi arms sales against the will of Congress, it has emerged.

It is the second investigation by State Department official Steve Linick to have been made public since he was removed from his post by President Donald Trump.

POMPEO ASKED TRUMP TO FIRE INSPECTOR GENERAL Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked Trump to fire State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, Trump acknowledged. Pompeo said he had made the request because Linick’s work was “undermining” the department’s mission. “I never even heard of him,” Trump said, adding that Pompeo should have fired Linick a long time ago, since “he’s an Obama appointment, and he had some difficulty.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP WANTS POMPEO TO WORK, NOT ‘WASH DISHES’ IF HIS WIFE ISN’T AROUND Trump apparently expects Mike Pompeo’s wife to wash the dishes in the Pompeo household. And when his family isn’t around, it’s apparently OK for Pompeo to use taxpayer-funded federal employees — including the Secret Service — to do his domestic chores, Trump said. “I’d rather have him [Pompeo] on the phone with some world leader than have him wash dishes because maybe his wife isn’t there or his kids aren’t there … it’s so stupid,” Trump said. [HuffPost]

BAE Saudi massacre of Yemenis profiteering continues

This Associated Press video says about itself:

(29 July 2019) Yemeni officials say an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a market in northern Yemen, killing at least 10 civilians, including children.

They say the strike took place Monday in the Saada province …

A hospital manager in Saada blamed the coalition for the attack.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to brief the media.

There was no immediate comment from the coalition.

The … Health Ministry said the airstrike wounded another 27 people.

While in Saudi invaders-occupied Aden hundreds of Yemenis are dying from COVID-19 … more Yemenis die from the famine imposed by the Saudi regime and its allies. And more Yemenis die from BAE British bombs dropped from Saudi Royal Air Force warplanes.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 15 May 2020:

Campaigners slam BAE’s ‘essential’ weekly flights to Saudi Arabian air base

BRITISH arms giant BAE has continued supplying military equipment to Saudi Arabia throughout the Covid-19 crisis, sparking fury from campaigners today.

Weekly flights from a BAE Systems factory in Warton, where Typhoon jets are made, to a military base in Saudi Arabia, have continued despite the global pandemic.

The Gulf kingdom is using its fleet of Typhoons to bomb Yemen.

On Monday, Junior Defence Minister James Heappey told Parliament that the trips had been designated as essential “logistics support” to the Saudi army.

He also admitted that the flights were using an RAF base in Cyprus to refuel en route.

The minister was responding to a question from Labour MP Sam Tarry, who had pressed the Ministry of Defence (MoD) about the purpose of the flights.

Investigative website Declassified previously revealed that the flights carry spare parts from Warton to the Saudi military’s main operating base, from where it launches its airstrikes on Yemen.

A Saudi-led coalition of Gulf states announced a ceasefire in April, but campaigners say that the bombing has continued, with three civilians injured by an airstrike as recently as May 2, according to the Yemen Data Project.

“UK-made fighter jets have played a key role in the devastating Saudi-led bombing of Yemen,” said Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

“The war has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and, especially at this time, further military support for Saudi forces can only make it even worse.

“Despite the terrible humanitarian crisis and the outbreak of Covid-19, the war is still raging. There must be a meaningful ceasefire from all sides.

“The suffering of Yemeni people will be made far worse by the airstrikes that Saudi fighter jets are being used for.

“We are in unprecedented times and this should not be happening.

“Fighter-jet maintenance is not essential work, whether it is for the UK or any of the human rights-abusing regimes and dictatorships that BAE sells its arms to.”

Since 2015, Britain has licensed £5.3 billion worth of arms to the Saudi regime, CAAT said.

In 2019, the Court of Appeal ruled that the government had acted unlawfully when it authorised the supply of weapons to Saudi Arabia without assessing whether they would be used in Yemen.

However, this has not stopped the sale of weapons under previously granted licences.

Saudi Arabia, austerity and rising taxes

This 11 May 2020 video says about itself:

Saudi Arabia slashes budget and increases tax

Saudi Arabia has announced major budget cuts and a steep increase in value-added tax (VAT).

VAT is mainly paid by poor people, more than by Saudi royals, the Bin Laden dynasty and other rich people.

The move is aimed at shoring up state finances, which have been battered by low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.

Al Jazeera’s Alexi O’Brien reports.

Violent evictions in Saudi Arabia

This 9 May 2020 video says about itself:

Saudi megacity: Threats, bloodshed & forced evictions: Reports

The death of a prominent tribal leader in Saudi Arabia has thrown the spotlight on tensions over the kingdom’s new “Megacity Project”.

Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti was shot by security forces three weeks ago, after refusing to give up his home and make way for a planned city, called Neom.

Financial concerns are mounting over the city’s future as well.

Al Jazeera’s Osama bin Javaid reports.

Newcastle United football and murderous Saudi prince

This video from Britain says about itself:

Newcastle expect green light for Saudi takeover despite human rights backlash

Thursday, 16 April 2020

The consortium close to completing a takeover at Newcastle United does not expect the Premier League’s owners and directors test to pose any problems but Amnesty International has raised serious concerns about Saudi Arabia’s involvement. The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) has joined forces with the Yorkshire-born financier Amanda Staveley and the UK-based Reuben Brothers to reach a £310m agreement with Mike Ashley to end his ownership.

Today, the Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws headlines (translated):

Newcastle United football club‘s princely takeover soap: Prince Andrew‘s ex, Kim Kardashian‘s friend and a murderous prince

The ex-lover of Prince Andrew is British millionairess Amanda Staveley. Kim Kardashian’s friend is Carla Dibello. The ‘murderous prince‘ is the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman; guilty of murderous war against the people of Yemen, and widely considered to be guilty of murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi and other Saudi subjects.

See also here.

Amnesty International warns Newcastle United against becoming property of Mohammad bin Salman: here.

Human rights organisation concerned Saudis could continue putting kids to death despite law changes: here.

Saudi crown prince-Trump corporate coronavirus bailout

This video from the USA says about itself:

Monday 6 April 2020

Saudi Arabia just bought an 8% stake in Carnival after the cruise ship giant’s stock plummeted this year | Gray Study

The cruise ship company’s stock plunged 80% in the last year, and it’s unclear when business will pick back up.

SAUDI ARABIA BAILS OUT CRUISE COMPANY WITH TRUMP TIES Trump has spent weeks promising to protect cruise lines from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic. Now a fund that Trump ally Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman controls has revealed a big new stake in Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise operator. The sudden change of fortunes for a company run by Micky Arison, a longtime Trump associate, could be as much about personal relationships and geopolitics as about business. [HuffPost]

One should hope that investing money in these cruise ships will cost Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman so much that he does not have enough money any more to wage bloody war on Yemen.

Coronavirus in war-devastated Yemen

This October 2019 United States CNN TV video says about itself:

Saudi-led war could lead to historic famine, World Food Program warns

The World Food Program tells CNN’s Nima Elbagir that 12 million people could be facing famine in Yemen as a result of a 3-year war in Yemen between a Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels.

There is coronavirus in Saudi Arabia. In Yemen, on which the Saudi regime wages war, no cases were known yet, until today. Though some anti-pandemic measures have been taken already. Like weddings are banned. That also means that the Saudi regime cannot bomb Yemeni weddings any more. There may have been cases already, as there is few testing material in Yemen.

A pandemic in Yemen would be devastating, as the Saudi royal air force has bombed most Yemeni hospitals with US, UK, French etc. bombs.

Dutch NOS radio reports today that the first coronavirus case has been found in Yemen; in Hadramaut, a Saudi invaders-occupied region.

The coronavirus crisis hits the Saudi economy hard. Maybe that will help to stop the regime’s expensive war on Yemen.

Saudi crown prince arrests fellow royals

This 7th March 2020 video says about itself:

Saudi crackdown: King Salman’s brother and nephew detained

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has reportedly detained high-profile members of the royal family.

That includes former crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as well as Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the younger brother of the Saudi king.

Reports suggest that they have both been accused of treason.

Saudi guards have also arrested one of Mohammed Bin Nayef’s brothers.

They are now likely under threat of life imprisonment or possible execution.

Both could have been rivals to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the throne when King Salman dies.

Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal explains what these detentions mean for the kingdom and their impact on Saudi politics.

We are also joined by Khalil Jahshan, the executive director of Arab Center Washington, DC.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Three prominent members of the royal family of Saudi Arabia, including the king’s brother, have been arrested. The New York Times reports that. The Wall Street Journal reports two arrests. According to the US American media, the arrests were with the knowledge or by order of the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. Much is unclear about the reason.

In addition to the king’s brother, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the New York Times also says that former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Prince Nawaf bin Nayef were arrested in Saudi Arabia. Nawaf was previously Minister of the Interior and was given house arrest in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It is not the first time that prominent members of the royal family have been detained. In 2017 … the Saudi crown prince had dozens of princes, ministers and prominent businessmen locked up … At the time, the campaign was explained as a way to fight a power struggle.

“Dissatisfied relatives”

Sources say to Reuters news agency that influential members of the House of Saud are unhappy about the power that Mohammed bin Salman has accumulated in recent years. Also because of the role he allegedly had in the murder of journalist Khashoggi and because of a major attack on Saudi oil refineries last year,

by Yemenis fighting the Saudi crown prince’s invasion of their country

they are said to have doubts about his leadership.

To prevent the crown prince from ever becoming king, dissatisfied relatives would like to adjust the line of succession.

SAUDI ANNOUNCES NEW CRACKDOWN ON OPPOSITION Saudi security officials arrested members of the country’s royal family in what appeared to be the latest crackdown to benefit Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman. Royal guards princes Muhammed bin Nayef and Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, both once seen as contenders for the throne, from their homes. They reportedly stand accused of treason and risk execution or life imprisonment. [HuffPost]

Saudi Arabia releases footage of king to show he’s in good health following royal family arrests: here.

Trump keeps supporting Saudi bloodbaths in Yemen

This 17 February 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

“They Have Not Relented”: U.S. Maintains Support for Yemen War as Saudi Airstrike Kills 31 Civilians

In Yemen, 31 people were killed in U.S.-backed Saudi airstrikes over the weekend, including women and children. The strikes in the northern al-Jawf province came just hours after the Houthis said they had shot down a Saudi fighter jet in the same area. The United Nations called the drone strike “shocking.” The deadly strike follows a recent uptick in violence in northern Yemen and comes as the war there hits a five-year mark.

More than 100,000 have died, and far more have been displaced, since the conflict began in 2015. On Sunday, the United Nations said the Houthis and U.S.-backed Saudi and United Arab Emirates coalition had agreed to a major prisoner swap, the first of its kind in the long-running war. We speak with Shireen Al-Adeimi, a Yemeni scholar, activist, and an assistant professor at Michigan State University.