Trump brings more war to Middle East

This 20 June 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

Millions of children face starvation in Yemen warns United Nations – BBC News

There’s a stark warning tonight that millions of children in Yemen could be pushed to “the brink of starvation” unless international aid is dramatically stepped up. It comes from UNICEF, the United Nations children’s organisation.

Yemen faces the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with the coronavirus pandemic compounding the effect of five years of civil war.

… It is backed by a Saudi-led coalition which is supported by the US and the UK.

2 million of Yemen’s children are malnourished, and 1.7 million have been forced to flee their homes. A child dies every 10 minutes from a preventable disease.

Reeta Chakrabarti presents BBC News at Ten reporting from Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen.

TRUMP’S PARTING GIFT: A WORSE YEMEN CATASTROPHE Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is considering designating the Houthis, the Yemeni militia that rules over the vast majority of the country’s population, as a terrorist organization. The move would fit the Trump administration’s strategy to weaken Iran … and thrill Iranian adversaries like Saudi Arabia. It would push millions of people in Yemen into starvation and prolong the country’s civil war. Biden would find it extremely difficult to reverse the designation. [HuffPost]

JEWISH GROUP JOINS FIGHT AGAINST TRUMP ARMS SALE J Street, a prominent Jewish American organization working on Middle East issues, is pushing to stop Trump from sending $23 billion in military arms and equipment to the United Arab Emirates. “The sale of a massive quantity of such destructive weapons systems to the UAE would only further fuel an escalating arms race in a region already suffering from destabilizing wars that endanger civilians and undermine U.S. interests,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami told HuffPost. [HuffPost]

British military-industrial complex kills in Yemen

This music video about the British Conservative government’s role in the Yemen war is called Declan McKenna – British Bombs (Official Video)

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Britain’s decade as world’s second largest arms exporter a ‘source of great shame’

Peace campaigners remind government that weapons sales are ‘not just numbers on a spreadsheet’ while Labour’s Zarah Sultana says Britain has become a world-leader in aiding and abetting horrific wars and repression

BRITAIN has remained the globe’s second-largest arms exporters for a decade — with the majority of its weapons sold to fuel devastating conflicts in the Middle East.

According to the latest official figures, Britain holds almost a fifth (16 per cent) of the global arms trade, falling behind only the United States, which had an estimated 47 per cent share in 2019.

Of the weapons sold since 2010, almost 60 per cent were imported by Middle Eastern countries, the vast majority to Saudi Arabia.

UK government refuses to publish list of airstrikes in Yemen involving civilian casualties: here.

Stop Saudi war on Yemen, video

This August 2020 Stop the War coalition video from Britain says about itself:

Stop the War on Yemen – Stop Arming Saudi Arabia

The government‘s decision at the start of July to resume arm sales to Saudi Arabia is nothing short of horrifying. Against all the evidence of war crimes by the Saudi-led coalition, a Court of Appeal ruling and a global pandemic which is taking hold in Yemen, the Tories see fit to continue allowing the sales of billions of pounds worth of arms to one of the most autocratic regimes on earth. The decision completely and utterly exposes the hypocrisy at the heart of Britain’s foreign policy.

We’re going to be joined by Jeremy Corbyn MP, Iesa Ali (#MarchForYemen), Steve Bell (Stop the War Officer) and Amina Atiq (Yemeni-Scouse Activist) to discuss what the next steps are for the campaign to end the arming of Saudi Arabia and the brutal war on Yemen.

Saudi regime killing Yemenis with British weapons

Yemeni men offer prayers at the grave of their relative who was killed during the Saudi war on Yemen, at a cemetery in Sanaa, Yemen/>

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

EIGHT children were killed in attacks in Yemen just days before and after [British Conservative] ministers decided to resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia, an investigation by website Declassified claims.

Evidence obtained by Declassified suggests that two airstrikes on July 1 and July 12 were carried out by the Saudi-led coalition.

On July 7, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss announced that she would begin licensing new arms exports to the kingdom.

British Conservatives and Saudi war on Yemen

British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir at the G20 Summit in 2018

This photo shows British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting with Saudi Arabia‘s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir at the G20 Summit in 2018.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 13 July 2020:

Britain’s fingerprints are all over Saudi Arabia’s murderous war

GETTING on for 100,000 people have died in Saudi Arabia’s war on the Yemeni people and the number of children and infants dying from hunger, malnutrition and other conflict-related afflictions is also close to that number.

Imperial Britain’s exploitative relationship with the Middle East is a long-standing affair. One distinctive mark of imperialism’s poisonous legacy is the post-colonial persistence of ethnic and political divisions which have bedevilled Britain’s former colonies.

India, Ireland, Cyprus, Malaya, Sri Lanka, Guyana are all places where independence has been disfigured by divisions that, in the main, owe their toxicity to the tactics of a British ruling class that was and is a past master in the techniques of divide and rule.

If the most toxic of the time bombs it left behind is to be found in the irreconcilable expectations engendered by the Balfour declaration, in which a beneficent Britain promised both Palestinians and zionists the lands on which Palestinians lived, then the dispensation which divided up the neighbouring Arab lands with set square and ruler runs it close.

When the British empire still included millions of subject peoples east of Suez, an obscure tribal figure was plucked from the remote Arabian hinterland to rule over the sands that covered the precious oil needed to fuel the Royal Navy in its defence of imperial plunder. And no less important was the Yemeni port of Aden, a way station and refuelling point for their majesties’ ships.

It is that impossibly reactionary regime, driven by its deeply obscurantist Wahhabi brand of primitive religion and today headed by the murderous Mohammed bin Salman, that is responsible for the air war on Yemen. The Saudi air force is trained by Britain, our country and the United States supply the aircraft, the bombs, the replacement parts and maintenance services that keep it flying.

Beyond the criminal complicity of our government in this war is the hypocrisy which finds any excuse to clothe imperial ambition in the guise of “humanitarian” intervention when the local regime is out of favour – Syria, Iraq and Libya spring to mind – but when the crimes are committed by a favoured ally, no sanctions can be applied.

Labour under Jeremy Corbyn established a baseline of opposition to the unsavoury alliance of Britain and Saudi Arabia, an alliance sanctified by intimate ties between the two royal families, cemented by massive flows of capital and lubricated with the exchange of oil and armaments.

Keir Starmer won office by promising Labour members that he would continue the party’s progressive policies and if there is a critical starting point for an ethical foreign policy in the Middle East, it is in ending the supply of aircraft, parts, training and logistic support for this inhuman war.

Death in Bahrain

THE decision by Bahrain’s Court of Cassation on Monday to reinstate the death sentences for two local Shi’ite men is a transparently prejudicial act and an illustration of the double standards that Britain displays in its relations with its favoured regimes in the Middle East. Bahrain repays hypocritical words from Britain with more of the same.

It was pressure from solidarity and human rights groups that led to the earlier court ruling that the confessions of these two men had followed torture.

Reprieve director Maya Foa was spot on when she said: “To Western partners, Bahrain promises human rights reform. To citizens, it threatens that if you speak out, you will be imprisoned, tortured and convicted of crimes you did not commit.

“These unlawful death sentences are intended as a warning to would-be dissidents.”

It is time to clip the claws of these despotic regimes.

British Conservatives complicit in butchering Yemeni civilians

A Yemeni woman offers prayers at the grave of her husband who was killed during Yemen's ongoing conflict, at a cemetery in Sanaa

This photo shows a Yemeni woman offering prayers at the grave of her husband who was killed during Yemen’s ongoing conflict, at a cemetery in Sanaa.

By Ceren Sagir in Britain, 10 July 2020:

Government’s decision to resume arms sales to Saudis is ‘tantamount to signing the death warrants’ of thousands of Yemeni children

THE government’s decision to continue licencing arms sales to Saudi Arabia is “tantamount to signing the death warrants” of thousands of children in Yemen, charity War Child said today.

Despite a court ruling last year ordering the government to cease sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss claimed there was no pattern of deliberate breaches of international humanitarian law involving British-made weaponry in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition was responsible for killing and injuring at least 3,481 children from 2015 to 2019, according to the UN.

Refugees in Yemen, coronavirus and war

This 20 June 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus: Yemen refugees face terrible conditions

Many Africans say they cannot find work and want to return home.

Al Jazeera’s Victoria Gatenby reports.

UNICEF WARNS MILLIONS OF CHILDREN COULD STARVE AS COVID-19 SWEEPS YEMEN Millions of children could be pushed to the brink of starvation as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across war-torn Yemen amid a “huge” drop in humanitarian aid funding, the U.N. children’s agency warned.  The stark prediction comes in a new UNICEF report, “Yemen five years on: Children, conflict and COVID-19.” It said the number of malnourished Yemeni children could reach 2.4 million by the end of the year, a 20% increase in the current figure. [AP]

British Conservative lawbreaking helping Saudi Yemen war

This 13 August 2018 video is called Yemen: Thousands mourn children killed in Saudi air strike

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Arms inspections rules broken at Scottish missile factory

THE British government has broken inspection rules at a Scottish missile factory supplying the Saudi air war in Yemen, an investigation revealed today.

Reports by The Ferret and Declassified UK showed that officials failed to meet criteria for three-yearly inspections at Raytheon’s Fife bomb-making plant.

The US arms giant’s Glenrothes factory has not been inspected since November 2016, despite making components believed to be used in missiles linked to Saudi war crimes in the Middle East.

Saudi torture prison discovered in Yemen

This 28 November 2019 video says about itself:

Freed Houthi rebels speak of torture in Saudi prisons

Yemen prisoners released by the Saudi-led coalition speak of torture in Saudi jails.

U.S. PARTNERS JAILED AND TORTURED HIM FOR EXPOSING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS After his reports on Yemen, site of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, journalist Adel Al-Hasani spent six months detained by a U.S.-linked military. Find out more about his harrowing story in his first interview since his release in March. [HuffPost]

By Steve Sweeney, 16 June 2020:

Secret Saudi torture prison revealed in Yemen

SAUDI ARABIA has allegedly established a secret prison in Yemen where, it is claimed, thousands of detainees are held and many have been tortured to death by the military.

A prominent Saudi activist and whistleblower, known by the online pseudonym Mujtahidd, posted a leaked report on Twitter today, claiming the jail had been established in Yemen’s largest province, Hadhramout.

“I received a report from former detainees in a prison run by Saudi forces in Yemen,” he said. “[The prison] is kept secret [as well as] what is going on in it.”

He warned that the secret facility was operating outside of both Saudi and Yemeni law, and was not subject to international law.

Conditions inside the prison, where thousands of Yemenis have allegedly been tortured, were described as not fit for animals.

He called on human rights organisations and the international community to press the Saudi regime to allow international monitoring of the prison.

In 2017 Saudi Arabia’s coalition partners in the war on Yemen, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was accused of operating secret prisons in the south of the country amid reports of torture, sexual abuse and rape.

The United States admitted involvement in the so-called black sites, with the Department of Defence admitting that they “participate in interrogations of detainees at locations in Yemen, provide questions for others to ask, and receive transcripts of interrogations from Emirati allies.”

Those rounded up and held in the UAE’s secret prison network include journalists, opposition activists and community leaders.

On Monday the Yemen Press Agency reported the death of a young man who had allegedly been tortured at a jail … in the port city of Aden.

Hussein Marwan Aidroo was reportedly kidnapped 12 days before his death, after taking part in protests demanding water and electricity services.

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.