Bahraini Nabeel Rajab jailed for tweeting on regime-ISIS links


This video says about itself:

Jailed for a Tweet: Interview with Nabeel Rajab

21 October 2014

Nabeel Rajab is a human rights activist awaiting trial in Bahrain, one of the West’s favorite dictatorships. Three years after the Arab Spring, protests there are still being violently repressed, and Rajab now faces up to three years in jail — for a tweet. VICE News spoke to him a few weeks before his latest arrest.

Read more: Bahrain’s Human Rights Activist Faces Jail Time — for a Tweet.

From the International Business Times:

Bahrain upholds prison sentence for Nabeel Rajab over ‘IS defection’ tweet

By Gianluca Mezzofiore

May 14, 2015 10:00 BST

A Bahraini appeals court has upheld a six-month prison sentence for Bahrain’s human rights activist Nabeel Rajab over a tweet that alleged some of the Gulf Kingdom’s soldiers had defected to the Islamic State (Isis).

Rajab, who is president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) was freed in May 2014 after serving two years in prison for his role in the pro-democracy uprising. He was arrested again last October and charged with publicly “insulting a public institution” on the microblogging site.

The Bahraini Ministry of Interior said it summoned Rajab “to interview him regarding tweets posted on his Twitter account that denigrated government institutions”.

The tweets related to an article published on Global Voices about alleged Bahraini recruits to Islamic State who featured in a video threatening to overthrow the al-Khalifa regime which rules Bahrain. The activist commented:

many #Bahrain men who joined #terrorism & #ISIS came from security institutions and those institutions were the first ideological incubator

The video included Lieutenant Mohamed Isa Al-Binali, who had defected from the army.

Rajab spoke to IBTimes UK in July 2014 about his time in prison and accused the British government of supporting the bloody al-Khalifa regime in the Gulf Kingdom despite daily human rights violations because of business interests.

He said that the Bahraini government “have bought the silence of the British government by increasing the business” since the start of the crackdown on peaceful protesters in 2011.

The arms trade has increased, the business between the UK government and Bahrain has increased after the crackdown over 30%,” he said. “That’s why you see not only silence in the British government but also harassment to human rights defenders and even to the people living in this country and who came seeking asylum from Bahrain.”

Rajab, one of several pro-democracy campaigners arrested in the regime’s clampdown, was considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

More about Nabeel Rajab

Bahrain: Index condemns decision upholding sentence of human rights activist. By Index on Censorship / 14 May, 2015: here.

Amnesty International criticized Thursday’s decision, saying it shows a “complete disregard for the right to freedom of expression”: here.

USA: On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of 45 congressional leaders urged President Obama to push the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—to reform their human rights practices. Obama met with leaders in Washington on Wednesday and will meet with them at Camp David today: here.

Gulf human rights abuses in focus as Camp David summit tackles Iran fears. Bahrain confirms controversial prison sentence for Twitter dissident Nabeel Rajab as anxious Arab leaders meet Barack Obama: here.

ISIS cruel ‘justice’, where does it originate from?


ISIS and Saudi Arabia punishment

This graph is from Middle East Eye. It shows where the cruel ‘state’ of ISIS, present in parts of Syria, Iraq, Libya and southern Yemen gets its ideas of fanatically religious criminal ‘justice’ from: from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, staunch allies of the Pentagon and the CIA in the USA, of David Cameron in Britain, etc. etc.

Another source of inspiration for ISIS, of course, are United States torture camps, like Guantanamo Bay. Prisoners of ISIS wear the same orange uniforms and are subject to the same torture as in Guantanamo and elsewhere.

Will Self on Political violence, a tale of 2 terrors: from Islamic State to the British State: here.

French National Front complicity in Charlie Hebdo, kosher supermarket murders


French neo-nazi arms dealer Claude Hermant

By Anthony Torres in France:

Police, far right linked to attack on kosher grocery during Charlie Hebdo shooting

9 May 2015

The arrest of an arms dealer linked to the neo-fascist National Front (FN) and the French police points to the possible role of the state and the far right in the terrorist attacks carried out in January in Paris by Amedy Coulibaly on the Hypercacher kosher supermarket, and by the Kouachi brothers on Charlie Hebdo magazine.

In late January, Claude Hermant, his partner, and another man were arrested for having repaired “many” decommissioned weapons from Eastern European countries. According to La Voix du Nord, the local paper near Lille, where Hermant lives, these weapons “were then delivered to criminal gangs, and not only those in Lille.”

Hermant reportedly sold Coulibaly, directly or through third persons, the weapons which he used to carry out the Hypercacher killings, according to the same newspaper: “It’s a very serious lead, which we hope to confirm soon.” The trail points to Belgium, where “Hermant apparently had ties in the context of his broader network. Let us recall that Coulibaly obtained his weapons at Charleroi,” in Belgium, the newspaper said.

La Voix du Nord published some extracts of emails sent between Hermant and police in November 2014. In one email, the policeman writes: “Hi Claude, we discussed things with our superiors. … We are OK with the two subjects you raised with us (weapons, Charleroi).”

These emails strongly suggest that Hermant could have received the support of intelligence services or of police to deliver weapons to Coulibaly or other Islamists. The newspaper continues, “Suppose that you found such messages (a dozen in all) that a policeman sent to Hermant, on November 21, 2014, at 8:47 a.m. Suppose that a close associate of the accused certified, ‘Claude Hermant has covered his bases’.”

Police officials were thus aware that Hermant was trafficking weapons and who he was selling them to. This again raises, very directly, the question of the role of the state in the deadly attacks of January 2015 in Paris.

It is already documented that Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers were known to the intelligence services and to police. The Kouachi brothers were under intelligence surveillance from November 2011 to June 2014; they were also placed on British and US surveillance lists. From 2011 to 2013, one of the brothers repeatedly traveled to Islamist training camps in Yemen.

As for Coulibaly, he was convicted for having plotted the jailbreak of an Islamist activist. He met Cherif Kouachi in prison.

The French state is complicit in the arming of the Islamist networks that are active in this social layer in France, and which Paris is using as part of its proxy war to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In an interview with Le Monde, President François Hollande even insisted that France had been arming Syrian Islamist forces as far back as the spring of 2013. Such forces, when deployed in Syria, can rely on training and operational assistance from French soldiers and CIA agents.

These Islamist groups are used to foment terrorist attacks and wage a neo-colonial war aimed at installing a pro-imperialist regime in Syria.

The reports of Hermant’s weapons-dealing activities raise the most serious questions: did sections of the state with ties to the far right encourage or at least tolerate the preparation of the January attacks for political reasons? Hollande exploited the attacks to shift the political atmosphere, place 10,000 soldiers in the streets, accelerate attacks on democratic rights and promote the FN as indispensable to mainstream politics. After the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and Hypercacher, Hollande invited FN leader Marine Le Pen to the Elysée presidential palace.

Hermant’s comments suggest that he believed he was acting on behalf of the state. The weapons trafficker and police informant insists that he “will not be the next Marc Fievet,” referring to a former customs inspector tasked with infiltrating organized crime circles, but arrested by Canadian authorities and abandoned by his superiors.

Hermant’s ties with the police point to the growing integration of the FN in the security forces, who emerged politically strengthened from the attacks carried out by the Kouachi brothers and Coulibaly. Since then, the Socialist Party (PS) government has voted new intelligence law and boosted the defense budget, while the FN is continuing its normalization in mainstream bourgeois politics.

These events constitute a warning to the working class. A reactionary milieu tied to the security services, involving both far-right operatives and Islamist terrorists, is being brought forward as shock troops to attack the working class.

Hermant was trained as a paratrooper in the 1980s and reportedly went on to fight in Croatia. In the 1990s, he joined the FN’s security service, the Department of Protection and Security (DPS), a paramilitary group modeled on the special forces. It was led by Bernard Courcelle, the former captain of a parachute regiment and informer for military intelligence. The DPS was reportedly financed by weapons sales, according to Libération, including to Chechen forces through Croatia.

The gun dealer was thus connected to paramilitary organizations composed of former soldiers carrying out missions involving critical interests of the French state, both at home and internationally.

Hermant reportedly infiltrated activist groups such as SOS-Racism, and led punitive actions in impoverished French suburbs. He left for Congo-Brazzaville in 1999, tasked with a mission by the Congolese government of President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who is closely tied to French interests. Hermant was incarcerated there before being released by a presidential pardon and leaving the DPS.

He led the Flemish House at Lambersart, a far-right association that was shut down in 2012. He reportedly now works in a restaurant in the Lille metropolitan area.

This is a 2012 video from Lille in France about that ‘Flemish House’ (Maison Flamande) in Lambersart. The video says the Maison Flamande will not close down, but change its name.

Al Qaeda’s war in Syria, paid by United States taxpayers


Syria's provinces

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

US-Al Qaeda offensive against Syrian regime

29 April 2015

In a series of battles in which a group linked to Al Qaeda has fought alongside a group armed and backed by the United States, rebel forces have made significant gains against Syrian Army troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, taking control of most of the critical northwestern province of Idlib.

With the fall of city of Jisr al-Shughur Saturday, the remaining government forces in the province are cut off and surrounded, and can only be resupplied by air. Rebel forces captured the provincial capital, the city of Idlib, on March 28, the second of Syria’s 14 provincial capitals to be lost to the Assad regime.

Idlib province occupies a critical strategic position, separating the coastal provinces of Latakia and Tartus, where Assad has a strong political base among the predominately Alawite population (a branch of Shiite Islam), from Aleppo, the country’s largest city and one of the bloodiest battlegrounds of the four-year civil war. According to press reports, rebel forces were only five miles east of the nearest Alawite villages in Latakia province.

Syrian government media reported the fall of Jisr al-Shughur Saturday, and a nearby military base at Qarmeed the following day. The government blamed outside powers, including Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United States, with the state news agency SANA saying that its forces were “facing the terrorist groups flowing in huge numbers through the Turkish border.”

That this claim is not mere propaganda was confirmed by numerous reports in the American and European press, generally hostile to Assad, describing the alliance of Islamists and US-backed “rebels” in the struggle in Idlib province.

The headline of the McClatchy News Service report on the fall of Jisr al-Shughur left nothing to the imagination: “U.S.-backed rebels team with Islamists to capture strategic Syrian city.”

“The latest rebel victory came surprisingly quickly, apparently aided by US-supplied TOW anti-tank missiles,” McClatchy reported, adding, “accounts of the fighting made clear that US-supplied rebel groups had coordinated to some degree with Nusra, which US officials declared a terrorist organization more than two years ago.”

This article cited conflicting claims by “moderate” and Islamist groups about which had played a greater role in the capture of the city. McClatchy noted, “The battle itself was announced by the Fateh Army, an umbrella group that Ahrar al Sham [another Islamist group] and other groups established on March 24, just four days before they and the Nusra Front seized the city of Idlib.”

The rebel-linked television station Orient News reportedly showed video of rebel fighters in the central square of Jisr al-Shughur, raising the black flag that has long been the symbol of Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups. Photographs also appeared of “rebel” trucks bearing poster-sized photos of Osama bin Laden.

The New York Times and Washington Post reported many of the same facts—the fall of Jisr al-Shughur and nearby bases to the offensive of a rebel alliance—but sought to downplay the link between US-backed and Al Qaeda forces, with the Times publishing its article under the headline, “Islamists Seize Control of Syrian City in Northwest.”

McClatchy, citing many local eyewitnesses, described an active fighting alliance between Free Syrian Army forces armed with TOW missiles, destroying nearly a dozen Syrian Army tanks, and Al-Nusra suicide bombers who attacked concentrations of soldiers.

The Times sought to conceal these connections, suggesting that the TOW missiles had fallen into the wrong hands. By its account, “Last year, the United States provided a small number of TOW antitank missiles to some rebel groups. But those groups were largely routed or co-opted by the Nusra Front, further complicating what was already a murky battlefield that has left American officials wary of providing more robust aid to insurgents.”

The Post concentrated on the political benefits of the offensive from the standpoint of the US State Department, suggesting that the military setbacks had dealt a severe blow to the morale of Assad supporters in both Aleppo and the capital city, Damascus. Its account carried the headline, “Assad’s hold on power looks shakier than ever as rebels advance in Syria.”

The Post also glossed over the ties between the US-backed groups and Al Qaeda, writing, “The result has been an unexpectedly cohesive rebel coalition called the Army of Conquest that is made up of al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, an assortment of mostly Islamist brigades and a small number of more moderate battalions.”

The Idlib offensive demonstrates that the claims of successive US governments to be waging a “war on terror” are propaganda lies. Al Qaeda has its origins in the CIA-organized guerrilla warfare in Afghanistan against the Soviet Army and the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul. Osama bin Laden was one of the reactionary anticommunist mujaheddin mobilized for the Afghan struggle along with thousands of other Islamists from throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Bin Laden broke with his US allies over the influx of American troops into Saudi Arabia during the 1990-91 Gulf War, targeting US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and a US Navy warship near Yemen, and, of course, staging the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

But Al Qaeda forces were later mobilized by the CIA in support of the 2011 US-NATO war against Libya, with many of these fighters then transported to Syria for the fight against Assad. Similarly, Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula, supposedly the most dangerous branch of Al Qaeda in terms of mounting attacks on the United States itself, has become a de facto ally in the US-backed Saudi war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

In the Syrian civil war, the relationship between Al Qaeda and US imperialism has been even more complicated. The Al-Nusra Front was formed as the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda, as part of the mobilization of Islamists who comprise the main fighting force against the Assad regime. Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) emerged in competition with Al-Nusra and publicly broke with Al Qaeda, in pursuit of territorial objectives in both countries.

Obama launched airstrikes last summer against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, after the group seized control of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, and staggered the US puppet regime in Baghdad. Since Al-Nusra and ISIS were engaged in bitter conflicts within Syria, the US became the de facto ally of Al-Nusra, despite protestations to the contrary.

US airstrikes in Syria killed dozens of civilians in a predominately Arab-populated village in the eastern part of Aleppo province Friday. The death toll was still rising as more bodies were found and missing family members were accounted for: here.

Some ten thousand troops began military exercises in Jordan on Tuesday, in the fifth annual “Eager Lion” war games led by the Pentagon. The drills are in preparation for a greatly expanded military conflict in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. A total of nine Arab countries—Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Lebanon, and Iraq—join the US, Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Belgium, Poland, Australia and Pakistan for the exercise: here.

US soldiers have begun training some 100 Syrian fighters in a “secure location” in Jordan in preparation for military intervention in Syria, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter confirmed Thursday. Other contingents will soon begin training at camps run by the US military in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, Carter said: here.

‘Dutch government not stopping misguided young people from joining ISIS’


This video from the USA says about itself:

It’s Time to Talk About GW Bush’s Role in Creating ISIS

4 February 2015

Thom Hartmann says we need to have a conversation about how U.S. foreign policy under Presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan has led to extremist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Some background with this story: in August 2013, warmongers like British Prime Minister David Cameron, United States Senator John McCain, and others, almost succeeded in starting a war of NATO countries against Syria.

In such a war, these NATO countries would have been on the side of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

General Peter van Uhm in 2008-2012 was commander-in-chief of the Dutch armed forces. Which then, as now, were involved in war in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

In 2014, retired General Van Uhm expressed sympathy for confused Dutch teenagers going to the bloody war in Syria. Boys who often end up there in fanatically religious sectarian paramilitary organisations, with big chances of getting disabled or killed. Or girls, who may end up as ‘religious military prostitutes‘, and have big chances of getting disabled or killed too.

Translated from regional TV RTV West in the Netherlands:

14-04-2015 | 18:17

LEIDEN – The Netherlands has done too little to stop jihadists who wanted to go to Syria. This says a group of parents whose children went to Syria. Together they want to sue the government.

The group of parents claims that previous warnings about their children were neglected. They do not feel that the government listened to them.

The initiative for the indictment has been taken by Leiden father Mohamed Nidalha. He is in contact with a group of nine parents and family members of people who went to Syria.

Leiden woman

The reason for the action was a 27-year-old woman from Leiden, who last week was returned by Turkey to the Netherlands because she wanted to join ISIS in Syria. She was registered with Interpol as ‘wanted’.

Nidalha: “With an indictment of the government, of course, I will not get my son back, but I do this for other parents. I do not want them in the future to have to deal with what I went through”, he told the Dutch news agency ANP.

Police

Nidalha says that he tried in vain to contact the police, the secret intelligence service AIVD and the municipality when his son last summer went to Turkey with a plan to join ISIS.

“The police said they could do nothing because he is not a minor. The AIVD came six weeks later for information and the local authorities gave me a leaflet about social work. I do not understand it, why they have stopped this woman, but not my son?”

Recognition

Meanwhile the son of Nidalha is in Raqqa, the capital of ISIS, where he supposedly is fighting on the side of ISIS. Nidalha hopes more parents will recognize themselves in this story and will join the initiative.

Nidalha, in an interview in Dutch Witte Weekblad weekly, 22 April 2015 (translated):

If your son joins ISIS, then your whole world collapses.

Translated from regional TV RTV West in the Netherlands:

15-04-2015 | 11:02

THE HAGUE – “He was a regular guy, who went to the disco and loved girls,” says Leiden father Mohamed Nidalha about his child. Nevertheless his 20-year-old son Reda left to Syria to join the armed struggle against the Syrian army. Reda joined the jihad in Syria, but according to Nidalha the Dutch government could have prevented this. Along with other parents of children who went to Syria he is now suing the government.

From one day to the next day Reda changed from an ordinary boy to a radicalized Muslim. Mohamed Nidalha did not raise his children in an Islamic way. Almost a year after the departure of Reda, Nidalha can still not get used to the idea that his son is in Syria. “A strange situation,” he calls it.

Reda radicalized not in a mosque or through bad friends, but on the Internet, Nidalha knows. He was brainwashed by jihad recruiter Abu Jihad in Syria. Last summer he went “to help small children and raped women,” he said over the phone to his sister on the day he left for Turkey.

See also here.

In the wake of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) overrunning of Ramadi, the US military has stepped up air strikes, while the Iraqi government has taken the highly explosive decision to deploy Shia militias in an attempt to retake the largely Sunni city. The fall of Ramadi, the provincial capital of the predominantly Sunni Anbar province, represents a debacle for both the Baghdad government and the US war strategy in Iraq: here.

Des milliers de Frères Kouachi ravagent le Nord syrien avec l’aide de l’Occident: here.

Saudi war on Yemen means more terrorism, more refugees


This video from London, England says about itself:

Stop the bloodshed in Yemen is theme of protest in London

25 April 2015

Hundreds of Yemenis marched to the Saudi Embassy to protest against Saudi Arabia and US imperialism, and to stop the bloodshed in Yemen. Yemenis [should] choose their own government, not the Saudis or the West.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Patrick Cockburn

Sunday 26 April 2015

Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe’s problem

World View: Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign

Yemen is short of many things, but weapons is not one of them. Yemenis own between 40 and 60 million guns, according to a report by UN experts published earlier this year. This should be enough for Yemen’s 26 million people, although the experts note that demand for grenades that used to cost $5, handguns ($150) and AK-47s ($150) has increased eightfold. Whatever else happens, the war in Yemen is not going to end because any of the participants are short of weaponry.

Yemeni politics is notoriously complicated and exotic, with shifting alliances in which former enemies embrace and old friends make strenuous efforts to kill each other. But this exoticism does not mean that the war in Yemen, where the Saudis started bombing on 26 March, is irrelevant to the rest of the world. Already the turmoil there is a breeding ground for al-Qaeda type attacks such as that on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

The collapse of the country into a permanent state of warfare will send waves of boat-people towards Western Europe or anywhere else they can find refuge. It is absurd for European leaders to pretend that they are doing something about “terrorism” or the refugees drowning in the Mediterranean when they ignore the wars that are the root causes of these events.

Yemen war has been left to the Saudis and the Gulf monarchies, with the US ineffectually trying to end it. The reality of what is happening is very different from the way it is presented. The Saudis allege that they are crushing a takeover of Yemen by the Houthi Shia militia backed by Iran and intend to return the legitimate president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to power. In fact, the Houthis’ seizure of so much of Yemen over the past year has little to do with Iran. It has much more to do with their alliance with their old enemy, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who still controls much of the Yemeni army. This enabled the Houthis, whose strongholds are in the north of the country, to capture Sanaa easily last September, though UN experts note that the capital “was guarded by no less than 100,000 Republican Guards and Reserve Forces, most of them loyal to the former president”.

The Saudi air campaign is geared more to inflicting severe damage on the units of the Yemeni army loyal to Saleh than it is to weakening the Houthis. The Houthi militiamen are experienced fighters, their military skills and ability to withstand air attack honed between 2004 and 2010, when they fought off six offensives launched by Saleh, who was then in power and closely allied to Saudi Arabia. It was only after he was ousted from office in 2012 that he reconciled with the Houthis.

The Saudi war aim is to break this alliance between the Houthis and the Saleh-controlled military units by destroying the army’s bases and heavy weapons. The more lightly armed Houthis are less likely to be hard-hit by air strikes, but without the support or neutrality of the regular army they will be over-stretched in the provinces south of Sanaa. In Aden, they are fighting not so much Hadi-supporters, but southern separatists who want to reverse the unification agreed in 1990.

The problem with the Saudi strategy is the same as that with most military plans. The 19th-century German chief of staff, General Helmuth von Moltke, said that in war “no plan survives contact with the enemy”. The same warning was pithily restated more recently by the American boxer Mike Tyson, who said that “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.

The danger for Saudi Arabia is that wars build up an uncontrollable momentum that transforms the political landscape in which they are conceived. Had the Saudis not intervened in Yemen, it is unlikely that in the long term the Houthis would have been able to dominate the country because they are opposed by so many regions, parties and tribes. Yemen is too divided for any single faction to win an outright victory. But the air war has been justified by Saudi Arabia to their own citizens and the Sunni world as a counterattack against Iranian and Shia aggression. It will not be easy for Riyadh to back off from these exaggerated claims to reach the sort of compromises required if Yemen is to return to peace. A further danger is that demonising the Houthis as Iranian puppets may well prove self-fulfilling, if the Houthis are compelled to look for allies wherever they can find them.

Yemenis insist that their society has not traditionally been divided along sectarian lines between the Zaidi Shia, a third of the population, and the two-thirds of Yemenis who are Sunni. But this could change very quickly as the Yemen conflict gets plugged into the wider and increasingly warlike regional confrontation between a Sunni coalition led by Saudi Arabia and a Shia counterpart led by Iran.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been one of the main beneficiaries of the militarisation of Yemeni politics, because it can present itself as the shock troops of the Sunni community and its fighters are no longer under pressure from the regular army. As many Iraqis, Syrians and Afghans have discovered to their cost, Sunni-Shia sectarian hatred and fear is often only one massacre away.

The Saudis and the Gulf monarchies worry so much about Yemen because it is very much their backyard. But there is every reason for the rest of the world to worry too, because Yemen is joining Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia as places where warlords rule in conditions of anarchy. They are places where life has become unlivable for much of the population, who will take any risk to escape.

This is the sort of national calamity that is filling the boats and rafts crowded with desperate emigrants that are heading across the Mediterranean for Europe.

And this calamity is particularly bad in Yemen, because the country was in crisis even before the present conflict. According to UN agencies, malnutrition in Yemen is about the same as in much of sub-Saharan Africa and only half the population has access to clean water. The country imports 90 per cent of the grains used for food, but no ships are coming in because its ports are blockaded by the Saudis or caught up in the fighting. In any case it is difficult to move food supplies because of a chronic shortage of fuel. Lack of electricity means that essential medicines in hospitals cannot be stored.

This is not a short-term problem, Yemen is finally falling apart, but it may take a long time doing so, which means that there will be a vacuum of power. AQAP and other jihadi groups are already taking advantage of this. America’s much vaunted drone war against AQAP has not prevented the organisation taking over whole provinces.

The Sunni-Shia confrontation has a fresh injection of venom. Yemen has endured many wars that the rest of the world has ignored, but this one may well prove uncontainable.

The Saudi royal air force bombed Sanaa, capital of Yemen, again today: here.

SAUDI coalition warplanes launched dozens of air strikes on Yemen’s southern port city of Aden on Saturday: here.

Why Pakistan said no to King Salman. Pakistan’s unanimous decision to stay out of the conflict brewing in Yemen, and to push for a political resolution rather than a military one, puts significant strain on bilateral relations, complicating Saudi-Pakistani diplomatic relations: here.

How the U.S. contributed to Yemen’s crisis. Washington’s support for Yemen’s former dictatorship — and of Saudi efforts to sideline the country’s nonviolent pro-democracy movement — helped create the current crisis: here.