British government supports Saudi genocidal war on Yemen

This September 2016 video says about itself:

Yemen’s Children are Starving

Yemen is on the brink of famine. BBC Arabic reveals exclusive footage of the growing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where 2 million people are malnourished and over 325,000 children are at risk of starvation.

“If you don’t die from an airstrike you die from being ill or starvation. And the hardest way to die is from starvation”, laments Dr Ashwaq Muharram. The war in Yemen has pushed a country which traditionally suffers from a shortage of food to the brink.

The city of Hodeida was once prosperous, but airstrikes and conflict on the ground have isolated people in the surrounding villages and forced the closure of hundreds of hospitals. Furthermore, the Saudi-led coalition has blockaded Yemen’s ports … resulting in a shortage of supplies, medicine and fuel.

Without access to food or healthcare, millions are at risk. Children are those most affected. “I never imagined I would ever see a child like this in Yemen. It scares me that this may be the beginning of famine”, says Dr. Muharram. As she watches over her emaciated son, one mother cries, “Although he’s alive it’s as though he’s no longer here.” The extent of this looming disaster is yet to be seen, but what is clear is that if the situation continues, Yemen could lose an entire generation.

By Barry Mason in Britain:

Report exposes UK role in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen

21 May 2018

Thousands of UK personnel are intimately involved in maintaining the military war machine of Saudi Arabia, enabling it to carry out its one-sided slaughter in Yemen.

A recent report, “UK Personnel Supporting the Saudi Armed Forces–Risk, Knowledge and Accountability”, by researchers Mike Lewis and Katherine Templar, is part of a Brits Abroad study funded by the Joseph Rowntree Trust.

The Saudi Arabian-led war against the Middle East’s poorest country is now in its fourth year. The Saudi regime launched the war in March 2015 to reinstall President Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi who had been driven from power by Houthi rebels. Hadi is currently in exile in Riyadh, apparently under house arrest.

The US, UK and other western countries have supported the Saudi intervention. Like Saudi Arabia, they regard the war against the Houthis as a proxy conflict with Iran.

According to the UN, more than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the Saudis launched their invasion in March 2015, and more than 85,000 people have been displaced since January this year.

Among the crimes carried out was the killing by Saudi planes of over 30 people at a wedding in April this year, with twice as many suffering horrific wounds. In October 2016, around 150 were killed and more than 500 injured when Saudi planes bombed a funeral in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital.

The UK has a decades long program for supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia. According to the report, 50 percent of all UK weapons and military equipment exports between 2013 to 2017 went to Saudi Arabia. In the period between 2007 and 2011 it was just over a quarter. Most materiel went to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF), with the UK supplying nearly half its 324 Combat aircraft, along with spare parts and ammunition.

According to a Sky News report in March, 50 open licences to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia were issued for the period July 2016 to September 2017—up by a third on the previous 15 months and coinciding with Theresa May’s premiership. Open licences allow an uncapped number of weapons to be sent over a period of five years. Only then can the value of the licence be revealed, but the government is under no obligation to publish the figures.

The grand total of UK arms licences since the invasion in Yemen in March 2015 is more than $6.2 billion for aircraft, helicopters, drones, bombs and missiles, according to government figures.

Lewis and Templar’s report explains: “Under a sequence of formal agreements between the UK and Saudi governments since 1973, the UK Ministry of Defence and its contractors supply not only military ‘hardware’, but also human ‘software.’ Around 7,000 individuals—private employees, British civil servants and seconded Royal Air Force personnel—are present in Saudi Arabia to advise, train, service and manage British-supplied combat aircraft and other military equipment.”

The UK government claims these personnel are not involved directly in targeting, loading weaponry or in the planning of operational sorties. But confidential agreements signed between the UK government and the RSAF, which are not to be released to the public till 2027, outline the number of personnel and functions they undertake.

The UK-Saudi Al Yamamah agreement, a record arms deal signed in 1986 which included the supply and support of Tornado fighter-bombers, is still ongoing. The agreement is secret, but the report’s authors were able to see a batch of Downing Street papers that were filed in the National Archive at Kew revealing some details.

Under the agreement the “United Kingdom civilian and military personnel will remain available in Saudi Arabia for preparation, including arming and support, of the [Tornado fighter-bomber] aircraft during an armed conflict…”

Lewis and Templar interviewed technicians, managers and officials of all ranks over two years and their report notes the critical role of UK personnel in the Saudi war machine:

“A mix of company employees and seconded RAF personnel have continued to be responsible for maintaining the weapons systems of all Saudi Tornado IDS fighter-bombers, a backbone of the Yemen air war… work as aircraft armourers and weapons supervisors for the UK-supplied Typhoon fighters deployed at the main operating bases for Saudi Yemen operations, and provided deeper-level maintenance for Yemen-deployed combat aircraft.”

UK personnel in Saudi Arabia have been placed at physical or legal risk, including from scud missiles and unexploded ordnance. Some of those who have tried to whistle-blow over possible war crimes have been harassed and have not been afforded protection under UK law.

The report unearthed evidence that some of the UK personnel are involved in the handling of cluster bombs.

Lewis and Templar also found that the UK government has used private companies to “work on behalf of the British state but with Saudi masters; without the legal protections accorded to UK civil servants or military personnel; and without any guidance or protocols for reporting risks of IHL (International Humanitarian Law) violations to the UK government, or to their employers… Whitehall’s limited oversight of their activities is a deliberately constructed choice.”

The British government singled out arms exports as a key priority post-Brexit, with former defence secretary Michael Fallon promising that the UK would “spread its wings across the world.”

Britain’s arms trade with Saudi Arabia is enormously unpopular at home, with only 6 percent of the British public supporting it according to a recent poll. A legal bid to challenge the UK’s arms exports was financed by a crowd fund appeal.

Earlier this month, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) won its Court of Appeal bid to overturn last year’s High Court judgement that the export of arms from the UK to Saudi Arabia was lawful, despite widespread concern the trade was in breach of international humanitarian law. CAAT also won the right to challenge the closed verdict, where judges had heard evidence from the government in secret.

The court case revealed that the government went ahead with the sales despite its export policy chief telling then business secretary, Sajid Javid, “My gut tells me we should suspend [weapons exports to the country].”

The UK has long-standing interests in Yemen. British troops first occupied the port of Aden in present day Yemen in 1839 and it soon became important as a coaling station for British warships. From 1937 the port of Aden and the surrounding protectorate became a British colony. In 1934 Britain aided Saudi Arabia when it annexed Asir, then part of Yemen. Britain enforced a treaty to give Saudi Arabia a 20-year lease on the territory which remains a part of Saudi Arabia to this day.

In 1962, following the death of King Ahmad of Yemen, Arab nationalist army officers took power and proclaimed a republic. Royalists backed by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Britain began an insurgency to restore the monarchy.

A dirty war ensued, with Britain initially supplying Jordan with fighter jets to carry out airstrikes in Yemen and embedding military advisers with its key allies. From March 1963, Britain supplied weaponry directly to the Royalist forces. At the same time, MI6 along with SAS founder David Stirling set up a British force to work with the insurgents. To mask British involvement, SAS and paratrooper forces were given temporary leave and were paid over £10,000 a year (equivalent to £197,000 today) by a Saudi prince.

In 1964 under the Labour government of Harold Wilson, covert bombing of Yemeni targets by the RAF began. Airworks Services was set up as a British company to train Saudi pilots.

Britain was eventually driven out of Aden in November 1967.

Today, driven by intractable crisis and the further erosion of its global standing, Britain is seeking to re-establish its influence in Yemen and across the Middle East as part of a new carve-up by the imperialist powers.

The author also recommends:

US special forces operations in Yemen presage wider regional war
[5 March 2018]

High Court approves UK government’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia
[20 July 2018]


Pro-peace poem

This 6 Match 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Sen. Chris Murphy: The U.S. Is Exporting Violence & Killing Civilians in Illegal War in Yemen

On Capitol Hill, three U.S. senators have introduced a bill that would force Congress to vote for the first time on whether to continue U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen. The measure was introduced by Republican Mike Lee, Democrat Chris Murphy and Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, who noted that the Constitution gives Congress—and not the president—the power to declare war. For more, we speak with Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

From the blog of Rick Rozoff, this poem by 19th century British author William Stokes:

The peace of nations to destroy

To the Genius of War As Embodied in the Warrior

Forbear, thou man of blood, forbear,
To claim a birth Divine;
No Son of Heaven can be the heir
Of passions such as thine.

Thy boasted trade, thy sole employ,
Is death to deal around
The Peace of nations to destroy,
Wherever man is found.

The wide-spread earth, through all her lands,
Has mourned thy kindred tread;
And widows raise their pray’rful hands,
For vengeance on thy head.

In Europe’s polished courts, the seeds
Of hatred thou hast sown
And yonder Southern island bleeds
With sorrows all thine own.

In thronging East, or far-spread West,
Or where the Niger rolls;
Thy murd’rous train has proved the pest
And curse, of human souls.

No sex, no nation, and no clime,
Has ‘scap’d thy cruel rage;
Thy plague has flow’d throughout all time,
And spread through every age.

And shall that plague, with curses rife,
Pass down to other times;
And spread around the seeds of strife,
To poison other climes?

Shall men be found for wealth or gain,
To doom a world to woe?
And all that earth can feel of pain,
Give earth that all to know?

Learn, then, man to murder given,
Note thou the mandate well;
“The work of Peace came down from heaven,
The work of War from hell.”

United States soldiers helping Saudi bloodbath in Yemen

This 2015 Human Rights Watch video says about itself:

Yemen: Unlawful Airstrikes Kill Dozens of Civilians

Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces have carried out airstrikes killing dozens of civilians in Saada City, in northern Yemen, since April 2015 in apparent violation of the laws of war.

By Jordan Shilton:

US special forces operations in Yemen presage wider regional war

5 May 2018

The revelation that US special forces have been operating secretively on the ground in Yemen since December underscores once again Washington’s reckless drive towards a regional conflagration with Iran.

Coming just a week before President Donald Trump is due to announce whether he will abrogate the 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran, Thursday’s report in the New York Times that Green Berets are fighting alongside Saudi forces in their genocidal war against the Yemeni people demonstrates that US imperialism will stop at nothing to consolidate its hegemony over the Middle East. Having supplied the Saudis with intelligence and weaponry to continue their murderous assault on the impoverished country, resulting in the deaths of at least 13,000 civilians, the United States has now become a direct participant in the ground conflict.

Riyadh launched the war in March 2015 with the aim of reinstalling the US-backed puppet government of Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was driven from power following an offensive by the Houthi rebels. The Saudi regime views the Houthis as a proxy for Iran and is determined to destroy the rebel group as part of its broader plans to push back Iranian influence across the Middle East.

US aircraft have refuelled Saudi jets, allowing them to carry out continuous air strikes with munitions supplied by the US, Britain, France, and other Western powers. American ships have helped enforce a blockade of the country, restricting the delivery of critical food and medical supplies.

The Saudi military has waged the war with extreme brutality and an utter disregard for civilian casualties. Last month, an air strike on a wedding in the north of the country claimed 33 lives, including many women and children. Less than a week later, an air strike targeted a medical facility in the capital, Sanaa.

Washington has carried out its own air strikes in the country … .

But US forces, notorious for such war crimes as the destruction of Fallujah in Iraq, the bombing of hospitals in Afghanistan, and the virtual flattening of Mosul and Raqqa in Iraq and Syria, are being drawn ever more deeply into the Yemeni bloodbath.

Nobody should buy the claim by the Times that the deployment of the Green Berets—carried out behind the backs of the American people and with no knowledge of, much less authorization by, the US Congress—is merely for the purposes of operations on the border aimed at protecting Saudi territory. Something closer to the truth was revealed May 3 when reports emerged that the Pentagon is seeking contractors to provide two fixed-wing aircraft and two helicopters to rescue US special forces “in and around Yemen.”

Similar self-serving arguments have been deployed in the past to cover up the predatory character of secret US special forces operations elsewhere, including in the West African country of Niger, where they are engaged in a counterinsurgency war against Islamist rebels. After four Green Berets were killed in a firefight with militants last October, it was revealed that they were involved in an assassination mission when the gun battle occurred.

In Iraq and Syria, special forces ostensibly serving as “advisers” to Iraqi troops and Kurdish militias fired thousands of shells into densely populated areas of Mosul, helping push the death toll into the tens of thousands.

Washington’s involvement in the Yemen war, which was initiated under the Obama administration, is part of US imperialism’s broader agenda of securing its unchallenged predominance over the energy-rich and strategically vital Middle East. The driving force behind this is the economic decline of American imperialism, which the US ruling elite has unsuccessfully sought to offset by employing military violence.

The main regional impediment to Washington’s predatory ambitions is Iran, which is being targeted for war preparations by a US-led alliance encompassing Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Sunni Gulf sheikdoms.

In March, the US political and media establishment extended a warm welcome to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who, as the architect of the Yemen war, bears chief responsibility for butchering the civilian population. Trump, who called in a speech in Riyadh last May for the construction of an anti-Iranian alliance, gave flesh and blood to this proposal during bin Salman’s visit by unveiling plans to sell billions of dollars of military equipment to the despotic regime.

The central focus of US imperialist aggression in the region over the past seven years has been Syria, where Washington has waged a brutal war for regime change with the support of Islamist proxies since 2011. The Syrian conflict has increasingly assumed regional dimensions, pitting US, French, and British forces against military personnel from Iran and Russia, the main backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

With its efforts to expel pro-government forces from the east of the country, which is home to important oil fields, and the launching of missile strikes on the basis of unsubstantiated claims of the use by Assad of chemical weapons, Washington has proven its determination to recklessly escalate the conflict, even at the risk of a direct military clash with nuclear-armed Russia. Such a conflict would rapidly draw in the major European imperialist powers, who are all seeking to obtain their share of the spoils as the Middle East is redivided by means of violent inter-imperialist conflict.

Washington’s aggressive actions have emboldened its allies, above all Israel and Saudi Arabia, to target Iran ever more openly. Israeli aircraft have bombed a series of targets in Syria over recent months, killing dozens of Iranian personnel, while the Saudi regime has deepened its collaboration with US forces in the Yemen conflict in preparation for cooperation in a much broader and bloodier war. There can be no doubt that the public revelation that US forces are on the ground in Yemen will accelerate this process.

With the deadline looming for Trump to decide whether to cancel the nuclear accord, which Iran has implemented to the letter, all indications point to the growing danger of a US-led war against Tehran. Trump appears to have rebuffed attempts by his ostensible European allies to stick with the deal. Even in the unlikely event he decides prior to May 12 to maintain the agreement, such an announcement will be tied to conditions that Tehran will be unable to accept, setting the stage for a breakdown of the deal and a resort to open hostilities sooner rather than later.

The imminent prospect of such a catastrophic conflict, which has been brought a step nearer with the US ground intervention in Yemen, must be taken as a serious warning by workers in the United States, the Middle East and internationally.

The threat of a region-wide and even global war can be averted only through the construction of an international anti-war movement to unite workers in the United States and Europe who are opposed to another round of imperialist bloodletting in the interests of the capitalist elites, with the workers and oppressed in the Middle East and internationally. The building of such a movement requires the adoption by workers and youth of a socialist and internationalist programme to unite the struggle against war with the fight against its source—the capitalist profit system.

Saudi Arabia bombs Yemeni weddings, again and again

This video from the USA says about itself:

Saudi Arabia Bombs Wedding (Again)

27 April 2018

An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a wedding party in northern Yemen, killing at least 20 people, health officials said, as harrowing images emerged on social media of the deadly bombing, the third to hit Yemeni civilians since the weekend.

Khaled al-Nadhri, the top health official in the northern province of Hajja, told the Associated Press that most of the dead were women and children who were gathered in one of the tents set up for the wedding party in the district of Bani Qayis. He said the bride was among the dead.

The hospital chief, Mohammed al-Sawmali, said the groom and 45 of the wounded were brought to the local hospital. Health authorities appealed for people to donate blood.

Read more here.

Saudi Arabia kills Yemeni wedding guests again

Yemeni boy victim of Saudi airstrike in hospital, AFP photo

Not the first time the Saudi royal air force targets Yemeni weddings

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

People killed in airstrike on wedding in Yemen, bride possibly killed too

In an air raid on Yemen, at least twenty people were killed at a wedding. Among the victims the bride is also said to be. The airstrike was carried out by the international coalition led by Saudi Arabia

In a hospital in the western Hajjah province, 45 people were brought in, including 30 children. The state of some people is critical, the head of the hospital said to the American news agency AP. …

Air attacks also caused casualties among the population last weekend. At least twenty civilians were killed on Saturday. And on Sunday night, a family of five is said to have died in an air raid.

Yemeni artist against Saudi bombs

This video says about itself:

Yemeni Artist Resists Devastating US-Saudi War with Graphic Design

7 April 2018

Ahmed Jahaf, an artist and graphic designer in Sanaa, Yemen, explains how he uses art to raise awareness about the crushing US-Saudi war and blockade on his country.

This video says about itself:

Saudi prince faces Yemen protests

8 April 2018

Crown prince begins European tour.

Read more here.

Britain: Arms Trade: Weapons sales to Saudis are unlawful, court hears: here.