Cholera, armed invaders kill Yemenis

Yemeni child being treated in hospital for cholera – there are now more than one million suspected cases

From daily News Line in Britain:

Friday, 4 January 2019


YEMEN is facing ‘the worst epidemic of cholera since records began’, a report from inside Yemen has warned. The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a non-profit conflict-research is warning too that the Saudi-led war on Yemen has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.

It further adds that ‘the United Nations estimate that more than half (16 million) of the 29 million people in Yemen even lack access to safe water and basic sanitation’. The report continues: ‘The population in Yemen has experienced two outbreaks of cholera; the first occurred between September 2016 and April 2017, and the second began later in April 2017 and has since resulted in more than 1 million suspected cases.’

It also stresses: ‘According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a non-profit conflict-research organisation, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.’

The report continues: ‘The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger.

‘According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years. ‘A number of Western countries, the US and Britain in particular, are also accused of being complicit in the ongoing aggression as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and intelligence assistance.

‘The most likely source of the cholera epidemic in Yemen has been discovered by scientists. Through the use of genomic sequencing, scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Institut Pasteur estimate the strain of cholera causing the current outbreak in Yemen – the worst cholera outbreak in recorded history – came from Eastern Africa and entered Yemen with the migration of people in and out of the region.

‘The results, published on 2nd January in Nature, show that genomic data and technologies can enable researchers to estimate the risk of future cholera outbreaks in regions like the Yemen and ultimately be used to better target interventions.

‘To understand the nature of the strain of bacteria behind these devastating cholera outbreaks, researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Institut Pasteur and their collaborators sequenced the genomes of Vibrio cholerae from cholera samples collected in Yemen and nearby regions.

‘The team sequenced 42 V. cholerae samples from both Yemen outbreaks. To do this samples were collected in Yemen itself and from a Yemeni refugee centre on the Saudi Arabia-Yemen border, along with 74 other cholera samples from South Asia, the Middle East and Eastern and Central Africa.

‘Researchers compared these genomic sequences to a global collection of over 1,000 cholera samples from the current and ongoing pandemic, known as the seventh cholera pandemic, which began in the 1960s and is caused by a single lineage of V. cholerae, called 7PET.

‘Scientists discovered that the cholera strain causing the Yemen epidemic is related to a strain first seen in 2012 in South Asia that has spread globally, but the Yemeni strain did not arrive directly from South Asia or the Middle East. This particular cholera strain was circulating and causing outbreaks in Eastern Africa between 2013 and 2014, prior to appearing in Yemen in 2016.

‘Professor Nick Thomson, from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: ‘Genomics enabled us to discover that the strain of cholera behind the devastating and ongoing epidemic in Yemen is likely linked to the migration of people from Eastern Africa into Yemen.

‘Knowing how cholera moves globally gives us the opportunity to better prepare for future outbreaks. This information can help inform strategies for more targeted interventions with the ultimate aim of reducing the impact of future epidemics.’

Dr François-Xavier Weill, Head of the Institut Pasteur’s Enteric Bacterial Pathogens Unit, said: ‘Genomic analysis continues to show its power to provide a high resolution, detailed view of the bacteria that causes cholera, Vibrio cholerae, which is critical to tackling this devastating disease.

‘Like the other major cholera outbreaks around the world, we discovered that the atypical strain of bacteria behind the Yemeni cholera epidemic is linked to the single lineage called 7PET, which is responsible for the current and ongoing global pandemic. This potentially enables us to focus our research and direct interventions towards this particular lineage of Vibrio cholerae to greater effect.

‘Contrary to previous theories that the two outbreaks of cholera in Yemen were caused by two different strains, this study revealed they were caused by the same strain of the Vibrio cholerae bacterium that entered the Yemen in 2016.

‘While most strains of cholera that are causing epidemics are resistant to many antibiotics, the team discovered the unusual finding that the Yemeni cholera strain was susceptible to many of these antibiotics.’

Dr Daryl Domman, a visiting scientist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, now based at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States, said: ‘Surprisingly, we discovered the cholera strain causing the Yemen outbreaks is less resistant to antibiotics than related strains.

‘The strain causing the Yemeni cholera epidemic has deleted four genes responsible for resistance to clinically relevant antibiotics, making itself more vulnerable to treatment.’

Dr Marie-Laure Quilici, a scientist in the Institut Pasteur’s Enteric Bacterial Pathogens Unit and Head of the National Reference centre for Vibrios and Cholera, said: ‘This study illustrates again the key role of genomic microbial surveillance and cross-border collaborations in understanding global cholera spread.

‘All countries need to be aware of this and act accordingly if they are to achieve the targets set by WHO’s Global Task Force on Cholera Control, which aims to reduce the cholera death toll by 90 per cent by the year 2030.’ …

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been involved in a vicious military campaign in Yemen since 2015,’ a further report added. ‘The war is seen widely as a disaster which has created one of the worst humanitarian crises since the Second World War, with an estimated 85,000 Yemeni children having died and a further 20 million facing starvation.

The Gulf coalition is seeking to defeat the northern Yemeni rebels known as Houthis and restore the country’s government-in-exile. The deadly conflict has been supported by the US, which assists its Gulf allies with intelligence-gathering, logistical support and the sale of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons and equipment.’

Defecting [United States] mercenaries [hired by the UAE government to assassinate opponents] spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive matters freely. They said that the UAE ‘preferred to work with’ some Islamic fundamentalists who serve as a ‘counterweight’ to its enemies in the south. Under such circumstances, the official acknowledged: ‘It’s very easy for Al-Qaeda to insinuate itself into the mix.’

Ahmed Fadhil Abu Suraima, who is the deputy governor of the central province of Bayda in Yemen, commented on the alliance with both Al-Qaeda and Daesh [ISIS] fighters in Yemen. He questioned the UAE’s motive. ‘They try to make it appear in the media that they are with the United States and they are fighting against Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State [ISIS],’ he insisted. The implication is that the UAE is, in fact, neither one nor the other.

According to Nicholas Heras, a Middle East expert at the Centre for a New American Security, a Washington-based think tank, someone like [paramilitary warlord Kata’ib Abu] Al-Abbas ‘has become a type of indispensable man for the UAE in Yemen’.

While Al-Abbas denies the terrorism allegations, saying his opponents in Taiz fed the US authorities with false intelligence, he still admits that his militia fought alongside Al-Qaeda and Daesh [ISIS] fighters. Some militants, he explained, operated in areas that he controlled but: ‘We didn’t approve of their ideology.’


Netflix censors criticism of Saudi crown prince, Yemen war

This video says about itself:

Update: Saudi Arabia | Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj | Netflix

9 December 2018

Hasan Minhaj further dissects the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and examines the connection between American weapons and the mass starvation and destruction occurring in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Translated from Dutch site today:

Netflix censors broadcast by Hasan Minhaj as requested by Saudi Arabia

Streaming platform Netflix has taken an episode of the satirical and socially critical program ‘Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj’ offline at the urging of Saudi Arabia, the Financial Times reports. In the broadcast, the comedian Minhaj fiercely criticizes the Saudi crown prince, his role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the dubious role that the regime plays in the war in Yemen.

Netflix confirms that they have removed the episode after a request from the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission which claims that the broadcast would supposedly violate ‘cyber-crime’ laws. These laws are used more often to silence critics. Activists who speak out against the government or their laws on social media are often sentenced and locked up for so-called cybercrimes. Article 6 of the law states that “production, preparation, broadcasting or storage of material that threatens public order, religious values, public standards and privacy” is punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a $ 800,000 fine.

The Netflix broadcast [by Minhaj] can still be seen on YouTube.

Let us hope it will stay there. I cannot be sure. As there has been censorship on YouTube, eg, of a German anti-fascist video.

An episode of “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj” has been removed by Netflix after Saudi Arabia expressed complaints.

SAUDI BAN HELPS MINHAJ Hasan Minhaj responded to Netflix complying with Saudi Arabia’s demands to block an episode of his talk show, saying on Wednesday that the move has only made the episode more popular. [HuffPost]

Protests against Saudi-Trump war on Yemen

This video from The Hague in the Netherlands says about itself (translated):

United for Yemen

More than half of the Yemeni population is at risk of dying from hunger due to war. Warplanes make a lot of victims. Especially Saudi Arabia is the cause of this. Parwin M. Raza took the initiative for an action for Yemen, which was held on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018 near the building of the House of Representatives.

She received support from, eg May-May Meijer of Peace SOS and Serdar Işik.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia continuously carries out air strikes on cities in Yemen, where many victims are killed and infrastructure such as hospitals is destroyed. Markets, buses and funerals are also targeted. In addition, the coalition has set up an air, land and sea blockade that has created a famine for millions of people.

Dutch NOS TV reports that today, there was a vigil against the war in Yemen. Also in The Hague, near the Peace Palace.

Rabbi Soetendorp, one of the initiators of the vigil, said (translated):

I am ashamed, because I also became aware of what is going on in Yemen only two months ago. Around Christmas, the Netherlands should show solidarity with fellow human beings, and therefore this vigil and this moral appeal.

USA: Conservative columnist Kurt Schlichter is facing a wave of backlash for his callous dismissal of a story on the death of a Yemeni mother’s 2-year-old son.

Trump-Saudi war on Yemen, world’s worst catastrophe

This 15 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

How US-Saudi War Turned Yemen into the Biggest Crisis on Earth

Medea Benjamin discusses the US-Saudi war on Yemen and attempts by peace activists and Congress to stop the conflict.

Trump, US Senate and Saudi war on Yemen

This 14 December 2018 video says about itself:

Defying Trump, US Senate votes to end US support for Yemen war

The US Senate has voted to end all military support to the SaudiUAE coalition for the war in Yemen.

A second resolution blamed Saudi Arabia‘s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, known as MBS, for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

If the measures pass the House, they’re likely to be vetoed [by] President Donald Trump.

Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan has more.

SENATORS VOTE TO END SUPPORT FOR SAUDI WAR A majority of senators voted to end U.S. support for a Saudi Arabian military campaign in Yemen that has been caused tens of thousands of deaths and mass starvation. The vote provides the strongest rebuke yet of a three-year U.S. policy that the Trump administration says it has no plans to end. [HuffPost]