Yemen’s first female rapper interviewed


This video says about itself:

Middle East Beats: Amani Yahya

Amani Yahya is a Yemeni rapper from Al Hodaida who is now based in Sana’a, the capital city torn by conflict.

She faces the multiple challenge of being a young female rapper in a society that is deeply conservative and one of the least open to Western musical genres.

Brought up in Saudi Arabia, she returned to her country in 2010 and made her public debut in 2012 at The Basement Cultural Centre in Sana’a.

Amani’s blend of hip-hop and ballad which is often about free choice and dignity has found a favourable audience among Sana’a youth.

In her song Mery, written in collaboration with guitarist Alaa’ Haider, she tackles the story of a child bride expressing sorrow for her stolen innocence and defiance in the face of oppression.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Amani Yahya, Yemen’s first female rapper: I will find a way, I will shine

The 22-year-old singer, who has had to flee her troubled homeland, is determined to use her music to highlight women’s rights, child marriage and sexual harassment in the Arab world

Homa Khaleeli

Monday 8 June 2015 15.58 BST

It’s day three of the Liverpool Arab Arts festival, but one of its performers hasn’t yet been to a single event. Amani Yahya – billed as Yemen’s first female rapper – is still thousands of miles away.

With her homeland on the brink of civil war, Yahya, along with her family, has had to flee to Saudi Arabia, where the kingdom’s strict rules mean her fledging musical career has come to an abrupt halt. On top of this, her visa to attend the UK festival has been denied.

“I was so excited to be coming to the UK,” says the 22-year-old, who started rapping in her bedroom while at high school. “It was a little bit of hope – that I could come to the arts festival and meet new people. They said the invitation to the festival didn’t have an official stamp, but I think it was my nationality. They think everyone who comes from Yemen is looking for asylum.”

But, if exile and war would be enough to crush most people, the disappointment at missing the festival is the only time her upbeat tone falters. And, she points out, this is not the first setback she has faced. Her first public performances, while low key, sparked outrage in the increasingly conservative Yemeni society.

Schooled in Saudi Arabia, where her father worked, it was only when she returned to Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, to study dentistry that she first considered following her musical ambitions. “There was a small coffee shop beside my house, where people would gather to talk about music and books. It was new to me because you don’t find people who want to talk about those things everywhere here. So, I used to go there every day.”

Her friends convinced her to perform, and the event, where Yahya was accompanied by a female guitarist, Alaa’ Haider, was a success, leading to more gigs at private parties and even at the French and American embassies. Newspaper articles followed, and the BBC filmed Yahya and Haider performing together. But the media attention quickly led to a terrifying backlash.

“[People] panicked – they saw pictures of me without a hijab or abaya. I got anonymous phone calls and threats. They said I should stop what I was doing, that it was haram and that I should be ashamed.”

Yahya, however, refused to be cowed. “My mom would have been really worried if she had known. So I decided not to tell people and just carry on. Women in Yemen don’t show their talents because our society is so dominated by men, and they don’t support women … in music,” she says. “But my dad loves music and my parents always taught me to speak my mind.”

Yahya – who started writing lyrics in her diary at high school and taught herself to rap by listening to artists such as Lil Wayne – says this is why she is determined to focus on the problems Yemeni women face.

“I have personal songs, too – about my life experiences. But I wanted to be a strong voice for Yemeni girls and talk about their issues. I have songs about women’s rights, child marriage and sexual harassment. People need to understand women can do things: they aren’t just born for marriage and children.”

One song in particular, Maryam, focuses on the story of a woman Yahya met, who had been married at 11. In 2006, the UN estimated that 52% of girls in Yemen were married under the age of 18, and it was only in January this year that the minimum age of 18 for a marriage was fixed in the constitution. It’s a topic that makes Yahya’s voice turn steely.

“In the villages especially, people don’t realise how bad child marriages are. But, to me, it’s like murdering someone,” she says flatly. “Trying to get an eight-year-old married when her body isn’t ready – girls have died because of this.”

Yahya says she uses English because she wants these issues to be heard outside the Arab world, and because it stops people making assumptions about her based on her accent. But, she points out, it’s also because “in Yemen the youth want to speak English because they think it’s cool”.

However, she believes her choice of western music means she has little chance of being taken on by a recording company in Yemen, even if the political conflict is resolved.

“We don’t have a music industry, which supports young talent – especially foreign art. They say I am just copying Americans … it is not ‘Yemeni’. To me, that’s sad because art has no nationality.” But a hardening stance against female performers and music in general, is also an issue.

“There are older female singers here, and in the old days there was a strong tradition of female artists in general, but now we have lost that. Now they don’t like women singing.”

Yahya says it is this rich cultural heritage of Yemen that inspires her work – and adds to the horror she feels that the Unesco-protected “Old City” in Sana’a is now in the line of fire. “It is so calm and magical. I would go twice a week in the morning, to get inspired. In the modern areas people are strict, but there you will hear old men singing, and see shops filled with musical instruments.”

She is also deeply concerned about her friends, still trapped in the conflict that has left 20 million Yemenis in urgent need of food, water and medical aid. “There are airstrikes. There are no schools open. There is only electricity for two hours a day. It’s hard to find water and food. They have shut down the media. People are really suffering.”

Because she is not a Saudi citizen, Yahya says she cannot continue her dentistry degree, and must be careful not to upset the authorities in Saudi, closing off the opportunity of performing in the underground music scene.

“If I did anything wrong, they would deport my whole family. I can’t study, I can’t do music, it is really hard,” she says sadly.

But then, as soon as the words are out of her mouth, her fearlessness returns. “I am going to do music again … even if I have to buy my own mic. I will find a way. I will shine.”

• Liverpool Arab Arts festival continues until 14 June.

Saudi air force keeps killing, injuring Yemeni civilians


This video says about itself:

Saudi-led strikes pound Yemen, dozens of women & children killed

5 June 2015

Saudi-led coalition warplanes are continuing to pound Houthi targets in Yemen despite the rebels agreeing to UN-backed peace talks. The strikes have killed 58 people across the country over the past two days, according to the Houthis. And the humanitarian situation is getting worse by the day, according to the UN humanitarian office, but the casualties are coming not only directly from the fighting – the collapse of the infrastructure also means critically ill patients are not receiving treatment.

According to a report of Dutch NOS TV, this morning the Saudi royal air force bombed Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, again.

It is said the bombing killed at least 44 people and over 100 were injured. The victims included women and children.

From AFP news agency:

Sanaa (AFP) – Twenty civilians were among at least 45 people killed in Saudi-led air strikes on the rebel-held armed forces headquarters in the Yemeni capital on Sunday, a medic said. …

“At least 20 civilians and 25 soldiers and officers were killed” in four raids that hit the headquarters in the Tahrir residential neighbourhood in central Sanaa, the medic said.

The raids hit residential buildings, including five houses that were completely destroyed, witnesses said.

Saudi Arabia’s supreme court has upheld a verdict against a liberal blogger who was flogged in January after being found guilty of insulting Islam and breaking technology laws. Raif Badawi was sentenced last year to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison. He was banned from traveling abroad for 10 years and fined £175,000: here. And here.

Saudi monarchy killing Yemeni civilians with United States cluster bombs


This video says about itself:

New evidence Saudi-led coalition is using banned cluster bombs in Yemen – HRW

1 June 2015

The Saudi-led coalition is continuing to use banned cluster bombs in Yemen. That’s according to new evidence published by Human Rights Watch.

The weapons are prohibited by a 2008 treaty adopted by 116 countries – however Saudi Arabia is not among them.

Read more here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Human Rights Watch (HRW) published new evidence yesterday accusing Saudi coalition warplanes of using internationally outlawed cluster bombs against innocent civilians.

The New York-based organisation visited the Saada province in northern Yemen last month to compile its report. HRW says that it managed to document the use of three types of cluster munitions in Yemen.

“The Saudi-led coalition and other warring parties in Yemen need to recognise that using banned cluster munitions is very likely to harm civilians,” said HRW senior emergencies researcher Ole Solvang.

These weapons can’t distinguish military targets from civilians and their unexploded submunitions threaten civilians, especially children, even long after the fighting,” he added.

HRW has also urged nations backing the Saudis, such as the US, to denounce the use of the illegal munitions.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have not signed up to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits their use.

This is not the first time HRW has highlighted the Saudi-led coalition’s use of cluster bombs. It accuses the US of supplying the munitions used to bomb Houthi positions.

HOW THE U.S. CAN IMPROVE ITS MIDEAST AGENDA “Historically, America has treated [Saudi Arabia] (and indeed the wider region) as a bucket of oil and a place to sell arms. And in the years since 9/11, Washington has also forged intelligence ties with Middle Eastern countries that it counts as allies in the war against Islamic extremism. But in the wake of the Arab Spring, the West has consistently failed to recognize the crisis of legitimacy faced by Middle Eastern governments. Getting this right could yield an extraordinary opportunity for regional stability and commerce, but it requires a leap of faith as well as the adoption of historical sensitivity.” [HuffPost]

The US-backed war against Yemen has left some 20 million people—nearly 80 percent of the country’s population—facing a humanitarian disaster, without access to adequate food, water and medical care, the United Nations top aid official informed member nations of the UN Security Council this week: here.

Islamic poetess against ISIS


23-year-old Sana al-Yemen recites a poem at anti-war conference in London, May 2009 (photo: MEE)

From Middle East Eye:

‘A message written in blood’ – British poet takes on Islamic State

After writing a poem attacking preachers calling on Muslims in Europe to take up arms in the Middle East, Sana al-Yemen found herself at the centre of a media frenzy

Tom Finn

Wednesday 20 May 2015 11:40 BST

Last update: Thursday 21 May 2015 11:58 BST

Hours after Sana al-Yemen posted a video of herself last month reciting a poem about the Islamic State (IS) on YouTube her phone started to ring.

This video says about itself:

This is not my Islam: A message to ISIS and all extremists

3 February 2015

The Muslim Vibe presents ‘This is not my Islam’ by Sanasiino. A spoken word poem speaking out against the hijacking and tarnishing of the name of Islam, by extremist militants such as ISIS and others. (Arabic subtitles available).

The Tom Finn article continues:

A producer at Al-Jazeera news channel who had seen the clip wanted to interview her. Minutes later CNN called, then the BBC. Sana’s poem, a blistering attack on the militant group that has overrun large parts of Syria and Iraq, had gone viral.

“It just exploded. Hundreds of strangers started messaging me saying how much they appreciated the poem… I got a message of support from a soldier in the US army. It’s been crazy,” said Sana.

While the Islamic State has stirred fear – at times hysteria – amongst people in the West and the Middle East, the militant group’s rise to prominence has also prompted a cultural backlash.

Through soap operas, rock musiccartoonssatire and parody Twitter accounts, young Arabs have used art and humour to denounce IS.

Sana, a 23-year-old journalism graduate who was born in Yemen and raised in west London, wrote her first poem about the Islamic State last year after a friend sent her an IS propaganda video showing young British recruits bombing tanks and carrying out drive-by shootings in northern Iraq.

“There are plenty of people my age, from my area in fact, who have left and gone to Syria,” Sana explained on a recent afternoon in a juice bar near London’s Oxford Street.

“People are obsessed with knowing who these men are and what went wrong in their lives. But for me it comes down to who it is they’re listening to. Who are the religious figures giving them that push to leave their lives here in Britain?”

In a video of her poem This is not my Islam: a message to ISIS, Sana appears in a dimly lit room. Dressed in jeans and a purple headscarf, a shadow across her face, she denounces what she calls “layman preachers,” clerics who cite religion to encourage Muslims in Europe to take up arms in the Middle East.

“My crusade is against those who manipulate the message. Split my people in half and misguide the masses,” she recites, staring at the camera as images of young men with beards – IS recruits in Syria – and radical Saudi clerics delivering angry sermons flash across the screen.

Sipping at a banana smoothie, Sana smiles and glances at her phone. She speaks in the same careful way she recites her poetry; pausing for thought, then unleashing words in rapid fire.

“I wanted to get this message across to preachers… to tell them that, despite their religious education, playing with people’s emotions – dashing in a verse from the Quran – it’s manipulative and unethical. It’s not religious guidance, it’s a way of getting what you want politically.”

“I’m wary of religious sheikhs who are involved in politics, because of who they are aligned with. They have relationships with politicians.”

Spreading the message

Sana moved to the UK in 1991 with her father, an architect who worked under the British in occupied south Yemen.

She grew up on a housing estate in West London. Her life, she says, was rooted in “British society but infused with Arab culture”.

As a teenager she was an introvert. She stayed at home on the weekends and wrote poetry in a book she kept under her bed, “mainly about life and friendship… If I got depressed, it was my line of expression,” she said.

She admired American rapper Eminem. “I like how he plays with words and their properties, splitting language into musical bits. He has flow.”

In 2010 Sana started sharing online the poems she’d written about women’s rights, US drone strikes, the Israel/Palestine conflict and the rise of the right in British politics.

In one poem, Mr BNP, she challenges the anti-immigration policies of the far-right British National Party: “I tell you what, I’ll wear my hijab, I’ll risk it, because regardless I’m more British than your tea and biscuit.”

This poetry video is called Sanasino-Mr BNP.

Later she released “My name is not Irak” which laments the destruction inflicted on Iraq after the 2003 US/UK invasion and mocks the American pronunciation “I-rak” (“The difference is one is an American fake, and the other is Arab, genuine and great”).

When uprisings broke out across the Arab world in 2011, Sana and a group of “politically minded young Arabs” began organising rallies outside Arab embassies in London in solidarity with protesters in the Middle East.

“It was a shock… we’d been constricted for so long as a people. Seeing women on the frontlines in Yemen, as a poet it fired me up. I wanted to write more…spread the message,” she said.

In 2012, as many of the Arab uprisings descended into civil war and sectarian strife, Sana’s revolutionary crowd started to splinter.

“It got complicated, suddenly there were all these divisions and difference of opinions between us,” she said.

“Some were pro Egypt’s revolutionary, but anti-Syrian. When the Arab Spring got really complicated people didn’t want to be involved anymore.”

This video says about itself:

10 December 2011

Yemeni poet, activist and journalist Sanasino reciting her poem “Mr BNP” for Revolutionary Rhymes.

The Tom Finn article continues:

‘A ripple effect’

Her poem about Islamic State has not been without criticism. IS sympathisers on Twitter, who Sana refers to as “trolls”, have called her poem misguided.

Others, pointing out that only Sunni and not Shia preachers feature in her video, accused her of being sectarian.

Sheikh Mohamed al-Areifi, a Salafist cleric from Saudi Arabia who has been accused of encouraging young British Muslims to head to Syria and Iraq, appears three times in the clip.

With over 9 million followers, al-Areifi is the most followed individual on Twitter in the Middle East. He has said a huge conflict in Syria “will herald the end of the world”.

“I understand that al-Areifi has respect within the Muslim community around the world but he was one of the most vocal in trying to engage the youth and encouraging them to leave their homes and go to Syria,” said Sana.

“The fact that he was inciting our youth, to go out there to Syria while his own kids were in his home, is something that annoyed me a lot.”

Sana finishes her smoothie. Her thumb pauses above her phone, before flicking downwards as she hunts for a message in her inbox.

“Here it is,” she reads it out. “Thank you. It’s good to see a strong Muslim woman on camera.”

Asked if she feels there are stereotypes about Muslim women in the UK she says: “Definitely, the only thing you hear about is how oppressed we are; I’m definitely not oppressed,” she says laughing. “Neither are my family members. I’m glad I’m breaking the stereotypes.

With the US-led air war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now in its 10th month, the Islamist militia continues to make territorial gains in both countries, inflicting serious losses on the military in Iraq as well as both government forces and rival Islamist “rebels” in Syria: here.

Saudi Arabian government resumes killing Yemeni civilians again


This video says about itself:

Saudi Cleric: We Will Enjoy Torturing Yemeni Women and Children

1 April 2015

A ‎Saudi cleric on State TV channel Al-Wesaal says: “Right now we’re starving Sa’ada, nothing will enter. Not fuel, we will not allow food for their infants to enter, not medicine for their old/sick ones. By Allah their pain & suffering will only give us more pleasure to see them tortured“.

At a certain point the conscience of the world will explode and people will demand the rulers of Saudi Arabia be brought before a world court to answer for their crimes against humanity and support for terrorism.

By Niles Williamson:

Saudi-led coalition resume air strikes in Yemen

19 May 2015

The coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States resumed its brutal assault against Houthi militia targets throughout Yemen Sunday, following the expiration of a five-day cease-fire that began last week.

A plea by a UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, that the five-day “humanitarian truce” should turn into a permanent cease-fire fell on deaf ears. The Saudi-led coalition rejected outright any extension of the truce to allow for the shipment and disbursement of further aid.

There were at least three air strikes reported Monday in the northern province of Saada, the stronghold of the Houthi rebels. Bombs were also dropped on the southern port city of Aden, where the Houthis and allied forces control the presidential palace and have been fighting for control of the airport and other key portions of the city.

Aden’s health chief Al Khader Laswar reported Sunday that four people had been killed and 39 others had been wounded in fighting, including four women and two children. According to Laswar, 517 civilians and pro-Hadi fighters have been killed in the city since fighting began in March.

Saudi Arabia also resumed firing artillery shells and rockets across its southern border against Houthi outposts in northern Yemen. The Saudi military reported Monday that their forces had responded to mortars fired from Yemen at a military garrison in its southern Najran province.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who praised the bloody war in Yemen earlier this month when he met with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, blamed the Houthis for the resumption of air strikes. …

From the beginning, the Obama administration has backed the assault on Yemen as part of its efforts to maintain control of the country, which occupies a key geostrategic position along critical oil transport lanes. Yemen has also functioned as a base for US drones in the region.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir released a statement in which he expressed “regret that the truce did not achieve its humanitarian goals,” and echoed Kerry’s statement that the Houthis were at fault for continuing violence. …

In fact, the Saudi coalition has repeatedly carried out air strikes on the civilian air strips in Sanaa and Hodeida as part of its efforts to enforce a no-fly zone since it began military operations in March. It has also enforced a punishing blockade of the country’s ports, which, taken together with the no-fly zone, has cut off Yemen’s normal supply of food, fuel and medical supplies. As a result, as many as 20 million people, approximately 80 percent of the population, are going hungry.

Coalition bombs have been dropped on residential neighborhoods, a dairy factory in Hodeida, a refugee camp in northern Yemen and a warehouse containing materials for distributing clean water. The Saudi regime has admitted to targeting hospitals and schools, in violation of international law, because they claim they are being used by the Houthis to store weapons and stage attacks. More than 30 schools have been wrecked by air strikes, while the fighting has kept more than 2 million children from attending class.

The brief cease-fire has done little to ease the increasingly desperate conditions confronting millions of civilians in what was already one of the poorest countries in the Arab world. Residents of Saada and Aden reported that, in spite of the delivery of new aid into the country, the much-needed food and medical supplies had not been adequately distributed.

“There is still no fuel available and an extreme shortage of food,” Ghassan Salah, a resident of Aden told the Wall Street Journal. “Some families have received [aid], some haven’t. Government officials who are supposed to distribute it free sometimes sell it. Nothing has improved.”

Civilians have borne the brunt of the assault, accounting for more than half of those killed and wounded. The UN estimates that in less than two months at least 1,820 people have been killed and 7,330 wounded in air strikes and fighting on the ground. Additionally, the US-backed, Saudi-led war has already displaced more than half a million people.

Saudi Arabian monarchy continues killing Yemeni civilians


This video says about itself:

Yemen: Injured children arrive in hospital amid Saudi-led carnage

26 March 2015

Patients including young children at Al mo’ayed hospital in Sana’a were forced to share hospital beds or lie on the floor after a Saudi-led air attack struck the Yemeni capital on Thursday morning.

By Thomas Gaist:

Yemen war rages on through first day of humanitarian “cease-fire”

14 May 2015

Despite declarations of a temporary cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid into the country, the Saudi-led Arab coalition continued heavy strikes against Yemen’s southwestern city of Abyan and the northern capital of Sanaa Wednesday, killing at least 70.

The strikes have continued despite Saudi promises of a truce aimed at allowing UN agencies to distribute humanitarian aid to Yemeni cities, where hundreds of thousands of Yemenis face desperate shortages of food, drinkable water, electricity and other basic necessities. At least 700,000 Yemenis are in need of food assistance, according to UN estimates.

For weeks, the Saudi blockade, reinforced by the US Navy, has prevented essential supplies from reaching port, leaving millions without reliable access to water and crippling Yemeni medical centers, which are already battling dire supply shortages.

Estimates place the total number of dead as a result of the Saudi-led assault at around 1,500, with the vast majority believed to be civilians. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have been driven from their homes and become refugees since the war began in late March.

US drones also attacked targets inside Yemen this week, including government buildings in the port city of Al Mukalla Wednesday. …

Officials in Tehran announced Wednesday that an Iranian cargo ship has sailed for Yemen loaded with humanitarian supplies. The announcement marks a further escalation of tensions between the US, Saudi and Iranian naval forces now massing around the strategically critical choke-points on either side of the Arabian Peninsula, the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

Recent weeks have seen the strategic waterways transformed into “a tinder box,” according to a commercial risk assessment expert who spoke with Reuters.

US officials immediately denounced the Iranian move as a “political stunt” intended to provoke Washington and Riyadh. Pentagon officials insisted that the Iranian vessel reroute to Djibouti and hand over its cargo for inspection by US and UN officials.

Some 2,000 US Marines are standing by to intervene against any attempt to break the Saudi blockade of Yemen, a US Navy officer told Fox News.

Saudi warships have already begun imposing forced inspections of all ships seeking to dock at Yemeni ports. Saudi officials have insisted publicly that no Iranian vessels will be allowed to reach Yemen without being boarded and thoroughly searched.

Continued reports of intense fighting on the ground have underscored the fact that, official truces notwithstanding, the conflict is escalating. Major clashes continued in Yemen’s southern capital of Aden, where weeks of fighting between the Houthis and militants aligned with the deposed US- and Saudi-backed government have devastated large areas of the city.

Saudi coalition warships joined the action Wednesday, shelling targets including fuel tanks near the historic port city. …

From the beginning, the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen has been backed by the United States, which is determined to retain control over the geostrategically critical country. In remarks Wednesday while meeting with officials from Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE in Paris, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Obama administration is prepared to reach a “clearer defense arrangement between the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] and other friendly countries and the United States.”

The US is prepared to offer the Gulf elites “a series of new commitments that will create between the US and GCC a new security understanding, a new set of security initiatives that will take us beyond anything we have had before,” Kerry said.

Kerry’s comment came in response to requests from US imperialism’s regional allies that the US formally recognize them as strategic allies on the same level as the NATO powers and Japan.

To discuss the matter, US President Barack Obama is scheduled to hold private meetings with six leading representatives of the Saudi and Gulf dynasties, including several kings, emirs and sultans, at Camp David this week. The meetings aim to assuage fears on the part of the US-allied regimes that the administration’s negotiations with Iran will undercut their own regional interests, which conflict with those of Tehran.

Saudi skittishness over a possible US-Iranian rapprochement likely explains the sudden cancellation of Saudi King Salman’s plans to attend the Camp David meetings.

Nonetheless, in comments to a recent conference at the Atlantic Council, UAE ambassador Yousef Otaiba made clear that the Gulf regimes are prepared to make compromises and “work together” with the Obama administration to secure whatever forms of strategic support Washington remains prepared to offer.

The Saudis and their Gulf partners ultimately “do not have a viable alternative strategic partnership in Moscow or Beijing,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace researcher Karim Sadjadpour told the New York Times this week.

Saudi and Gulf state demands for recognition as full strategic partners of US imperialism represent a grave warning to the Middle Eastern and international working class. National and sectarian-based conflicts, long incited and manipulated by Washington in the service of US domination of the Middle East, are threatening to ignite all-out war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The imminent possibility of such a conflict is increasingly acknowledged in the bourgeois press. “Middle East giants Saudi Arabia and Iran are squaring up on opposing sides in the Yemen war,” Reuters noted in the opening lines of its report Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia vows to set off new Middle East arms race: here.

Why Saudi Arabia is poised to behead a dissident cleric and publicly display his corpse: here.