This photo is from the Yemen Post newspaper today.
Its caption says:
This video from Britain says about itself:
Yemen: British arms sales to Saudi Arabia under scrutiny
23 August 2016
The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, will be in Riyadh for talks about – amongst other things – Yemen, where the war has intensified this month. But is he, as Oxfam says, in denial and disarray over weapons sales to Saudi Arabia?
By Ben Chacko in Britain:
Thatcher aided killer jets sale
Wednesday 24th August 2016
Newly released files expose secret role in securing arms deal with Saudi despot
Two high-profile investigations into the £43 billion contract, allegedly obtained through bribes from a secret BAE Systems “slush fund,” have been quashed by the British government for fear of offending the Saudis.
Anti-arms trade campaigners opposed the sale in the first place because of the desert kingdom’s dire human rights record, and it was not long before accusations surfaced that the aerospace and arms giant had offered sweeteners to Saudi royals to clinch the deal.
A 1992 National Audit Office report into the matter was suppressed and a Serious Fraud Office investigation was cancelled in 2006 after personal intervention by Tony Blair, who said Britain’s “strategic interest” lay in not offending the fundamentalist state, whose extremist Wahabi ideology is the inspiration for the al-Qaida and Isis terror franchises.
Thatcher met King Fahd in April 1985 after a Foreign Office briefing document advised: “Tackling the king in person is probably the only way of smoking the Saudis out.”
A day after the meeting, the former prime minister wrote to the Gulf monarch: “I was glad that we were able to discuss a further matter privately over lunch.”
The agreement in principle for Britain to supply Tornado, Hawk and PC9 aircraft to the Saudis was signed in the autumn.
Stop the War convener Lindsey German condemned the [content of the] revelations: “There are many reasons to dislike Margaret Thatcher and her legacy, but the use of British warplanes to destroy the lives of many Yemenis must come pretty close to top of the list. These planes are now being used against the Yemeni people, who have suffered 17 months of bombardment from the Saudis.”
The revelation comes as Oxfam accuses the government of “fuelling a brutal war in Yemen” through ongoing arms sales and logistical support for the bloody Saudi assault on its neighbour.
British-made cluster bombs dropped by the Saudis were found in Yemen by an Amnesty team in June, despite Britain being a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions which prevents both their use and their transfer to third parties.
Cluster bombs spread small bomblets over a wide area, meaning they tend to maximise civilian casualties from bombing raids.
Britain was now “one of the most significant violators” of the Arms Trade Treaty, having “misled its own Parliament about its oversight of arms sales,” Oxfam GB deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence said.
The government backtracked in July on previous assurances that it was “confident” that Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen did not violate international humanitarian law, admitting it had not taken any steps to verify that assessment.
Over 6,000 people have been killed in the Yemen conflict …
Grizzled Tory warmonger Colonel Bob Stewart told Radio 4 that the Saudis “had made some mistakes” but were “extremely conscious that they shouldn’t breach such treaties.”
But Oxfam director of policy and campaigns Sally Copley hit back: “If the Saudis really are extremely aware and concerned I think they need to stop.”
Labour shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor MP said: “The government needs to start taking responsibility for the consequence of selling arms to Saudi Arabia, it cannot allow the flagrant abuses of humanitarian law in Yemen to continue. [Prime Minister] Theresa May needs to stop shirking her responsibilities under international law and start putting human rights before profit.”
We need an honest assessment of Saudi Arabia’s use of UK arms in Yemen: here.
Saudi religious police cover UK flag on school uniforms because it’s ‘Christian’: here.
This video from the USA says about itself:
17 August 2016
After the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition bombed a hospital in Yemen supported by Doctors Without Borders on Monday, the U.S. State Department offered a rare condemnation of the coalition’s violence.
Read more here.
From daily News Line in Britain:
Monday, 22 August 2016
MSF EVACUATING STAFF FROM HOSPITALS IN SAADA AND HAJJAH PROVINCES
FOLLOWING the 15th August aerial bombing of Abs Hospital in Yemen’s Hajjah Governorate, which killed 19 people and injured 24, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has decided to evacuate its staff from the hospitals it supports in Saada and Hajjah governorates in Northern Yemen.
Concretely these are Haydan, Razeh, Al Gamouri, Yasnim hospitals in Saada and Abs and Al Gamouri hospitals in Hajjah. MSF said: ‘The attack on Abs hospital is the fourth and deadliest on any MSF-supported facility during this war and there have been countless attacks on other health facilities and services all over Yemen.’
GPS coordinates shared with all parties
It continued: ‘Since the suspension of the peace talks between the Saudi-led coalition (SLC) and the Houthi forces in Kuwait 11 days ago, the SLC has resumed an intensified campaign in north Yemen. Over the last 8 months, MSF has met with high ranking SLC officials on two occasions in Riyadh to secure humanitarian and medical assistance for Yemenis, as well as to seek assurances that attacks on hospitals would end.
‘Aerial bombings have however continued, despite the fact that MSF has systematically shared the GPS coordinates of hospitals in which we work with the parties involved in the conflict. Coalition officials repeatedly state that they honour international humanitarian law, yet this attack shows a failure to control the use of force and to avoid attacks on hospitals full of patients. MSF is neither satisfied nor reassured by the Saudi-led coalition’s statement that this attack was a mistake.’
Unsafe for patients and staff
MSF stressed: ‘Given the intensity of the current offensive and our loss of confidence in the Coalition’s ability to avoid such fatal attacks, MSF considers that the hospitals in Saada and Hajjah governorates are unsafe for both patients and staff. The decision to evacuate the staff, which include obstetricians, paediatricians, surgeons and emergency room specialists, from a project is never taken lightly.
‘But in the absence of credible assurances that parties to a conflict will respect the protected status of medical facilities, medical workers, and patients, there may be no other options. This is the case in Hajjah and in Saada governorate based on recent events. While an independent investigation remains necessary, we must highlight that previous military coalition investigations related to MSF facilities have not been shared with us.’
Joan Tubau, the General Director of MSF, said: ‘This latest incident shows that the current rules of engagement, military protocols and procedures are inadequate in avoiding attacks on hospitals, and need revision and changes.
‘MSF asks the Saudi-led Coalition and the Governments supporting the Coalition, particularly US, UK and France, to ensure an immediate application of measures geared to substantially increasing the protection of civilians.’
The health charity added: ‘The hospitals that MSF supports in Saada, Haydan, Razeh, Abs, Yasnim, and Hajjah will continue to operate with the staff from the Ministry of Health (MoH) and volunteers. These hospitals are already struggling to keep up with the medical needs caused by the renewed bombing campaigns and the acute needs created or exacerbated by the numerous shortages Yemenis are trying to endure.
‘MSF asks all parties to ensure the safety of these hospitals and to allow them continue to provide medical care with neutrality and impartiality. MSF deeply regrets the consequences of this evacuation for our patients and our MoH Yemeni medical colleagues who will continue to work in the health facilities under unsafe conditions.’
MSF continued: ‘We hope that the security situation will improve so that the population will have some respite and MSF teams will be able to return to providing the much needed medical care. MSF regrets the collective failure to protect the Yemeni civilians from military action and also the failure to help them with adequate humanitarian response.
‘MSF wants to once again offer its most sincere condolences to the families of our staff and the patients that died during the attack. That medical staff and sick and injured people are killed inside a hospital speaks of the cruelty and inhumanity of this war.’
Before this evacuation, MSF was active in 11 hospitals and health centres in Yemen, and providing support to another 18 hospitals or health centres in eight governorates: Aden, Al-Dhale’, Taiz, Saada, Amran, Hajjah, Ibb and Sana’a. More than 2,000 MSF staff are currently working in Yemen, including 90 international staff. The Saudi-led troops’ central command expressed ‘deep regret’ over the MSF’s decision and said it was trying to set up ‘urgent meetings’ with the medical aid group.
Yemen has been under Saudi military strikes since late March 2015. The war was launched in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to reinstate Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who stepped down as Yemen’s president but is now seeking to grab power by force.
The aerial campaign, carried out without any international mandate, has killed about 10,000 people, most of them civilians, according to local Yemeni sources. …
Locals meanwhile, reported that a Bahraini trooper fighting alongside the Saudi forces had been killed during border clashes between the Yemeni forces and the Saudi military in north western Yemen. The soldier has been identified as Issa Abdullah Badr Aid.
Meanwhile, Saudi jets pounded residential buildings in Bani al-Harith district north of the Yemeni capital Sana’a, leaving two women and two children dead.
Seventeen people were also injured in the Saudi airstrikes against Bani al-Harith.
The incident came just one day after a Saudi airstrike hit the hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the same province, killing at least 25 people.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
In the Yemeni capital Sanaa, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets … shouting slogans such as “We will not give in.”
This video says about itself:
RAW: Deadly aftermath of Saudi led air strike on MSF hospital in Yemen (GRAPHIC)
15 August 2016
A hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has been hit by airstrikes in Yemen, the medical charity confirmed on Monday.
Read more here.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
The international community should exert more pressure on Saudi Arabia to stop their “indiscriminate bombing” in Yemen. That says MSF [Doctors without Borders]. The NGO is pulling out of North Yemen after the Saudi air force bombed an MSF clinic there for the fourth time.
The last bombing early this week killed 19 people, including an employee of MSF. Saudi Arabia regrets the departure of the aid organization and says the bombing was a mistake, but director Arjan Hehenkamp of Doctors without Borders in the Netherlands does not accept that at all. The Saudi forces knew the hospital’s coordinates, he says.
“This is a hospital that is far away from the front lines, yet they bomb. The Saudis say they will investigate the bombing critically, but they now have said that four times already and about the first three times we have not heard anything yet.”
The United States has condemned the attack on the clinic, but the country continues to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia. Hehenkamp wants the US and other big countries supporting Saudi Arabia, such as Britain and France, to exert more pressure to put an end to the air strikes in northern Yemen. These attacks cause many civilian casualties. “We are starting to consider those countries co-responsible,” said Hehenkamp.
The Netherlands also should do more, Hehenkamp says. “Where are the denunciations? The Dutch foreign affairs minister Koenders cannot afford to say that this was a mistake. I do not care if the bombing was targeted or not, what matters is that it happens for the fourth time. Where are we still safe?”
The saga of Britain’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia hits a disturbing new low: here.
This video from the USA says about itself:
US Covering Up Saudi War Crimes?
16 August 2016
Saudi Arabia has been bombing the hell out of Yemen, yet no one seems to be talking about it. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down. …
A spokesman for the coalition did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.”
Read more here.
This video says about itself:
15 August 2016
A witness told a reporter that the injured could not be evacuated immediately as war planes continued to fly overhead and they feared more bombings.
The Abs facility in the Hajja province is run by aid group Médecins Sans Frontières, they said they had repeatedly given GPS coordinates to all parties in the conflict, including the Saudi-led coalition.
By Peter Symonds:
Saudi coalition airstrike on hospital in Yemen kills at least 11
16 August 2016
The Saudi-led coalition added to its war crimes in Yemen by carrying out an airstrike yesterday afternoon against a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), killing at least 11 people and wounding at least 19 others. As MSF had provided the GPS coordinates of the medical facility to all sides in the conflict, the targeting was deliberate.
With US backing and assistance, Saudi Arabia and its Middle Eastern allies have waged an illegal air war inside Yemen since March 2015, following the seizure of Sana’a, the capital, by Houthi Shiite rebels. The Saudi regime accused its regional arch-rival Iran of backing the Houthis and is seeking to reinstate the government-in-exile of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Yesterday’s airstrike on the Abs hospital in the northern Hajjah province is part of a deliberate campaign to terrorise the Houthi population in the north of Yemen. The Saudi-led war has killed more than 6,500 civilians and destroyed much of the country’s social infrastructure, including some 250 medical centres, 800 schools and hundreds of electricity plants and fuel store houses.
Hospital director Ibrahim Aram told the New York Times by phone that three Yemini MSF staff members—a guard, a logistician and an electrician—were killed in the attack. Another guard, an X-ray technician and a nurse had limbs amputated as a result of their injuries. Three foreign doctors suffered relatively minor injuries.
Ayman Ahmed Mathkoor, health director for Hajjah province, reported that the airstrike destroyed the hospital’s emergency department. He put the death toll at 15 killed and 20 wounded. Health ministry official Ibrahim Jafari, who visited the site yesterday, told the New York Times that the emergency area had been full of patients at the time and that many of the victims were badly burned. He said there were no military forces near the hospital.
Teresa Sancristoval, MSF emergency program manager for Yemen, said it was the fourth attack on an MSF-supported medical facility in Yemen during the past year. Other airstrikes hit Shiara Hospital in Razeh in northern Saada province on January 10, killing six people; Taiz Hospital in the city of Taiz on December 2; and Haydan Hospital in Saada province on October 26.
“Once again, today we witness the tragic consequences of the bombing of a hospital. Once again, a fully functional hospital full of patients and MSF national and international staff members was bombed in a war that has shown no respect for medical facilities or patients,” Sancristoval said in a news release.
Other aid agencies condemned the attack. “This was a horrific attack, killing sick and injured people and the medical staff desperately trying to help them. The world cannot turn a blind eye as the most vulnerable suffer in his conflict,” Sajjad Mohammad Sajid, Oxfam country director in Yemen, said.
The Saudi-led coalition told Associated Press its Joint Incidents Assessment Team was “aware of reports of an airstrike on a hospital in Yemen’s northern Hajjah province” and had opened an investigation. The outcome will undoubtedly be another whitewash. A Saudi report, issued this month, claimed that the MSF hospital hit in October had been used by Houthi rebels for military purposes.
On Saturday, an airstrike on a school in Saada killed at least 10 children and wounded another 28, according to local officials and aid workers. MSF staff treated the victims, who were aged between 6 and 15. The Saudi military said the attack hit a militia training camp, but provided no evidence to support its allegation.
US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau issued a low-key expression of concern over yesterday’s airstrike. “Strikes on humanitarian facilities, including hospitals, are particularly concerning,” she said. “We call on all parties to cease hostilities immediately. Continued military actions only prolong the suffering of the Yemeni people.”
These remarks are utterly hypocritical. The US has backed the Saudi war to the hilt, deploying US military advisers and intelligence officers to coordinate with their Saudi counterparts and assisting airstrikes by providing targeting data and aerial refuelling. In May, the Pentagon announced the deployment of small Special Forces teams inside Yemen to support Saudi operations. The US has waged its own protracted and illegal drone war inside Yemen, nominally against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Last week, the US State Department approved the sale of 150 Abrams battle tanks to Saudi Arabia—part of a package of American weaponry worth $1.15 billion. The package includes a range of additional military hardware, including Gatling guns, as well as extensive training for the Saudi military. US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, one of its key Middle Eastern allies, are worth an estimated $20 billion annually.
The State Department’s muted comments about yesterday’s attack on a hospital are in marked contrast to the propaganda campaign by the US and international media over alleged atrocities by Russian and Syrian war planes against US-backed Islamist militias inside Syria.
The US military is responsible for the criminal attack on an MSF hospital at Kunduz in northern Afghanistan last October that killed 42 civilians. An AC-130 gunship unleashed its devastating firepower on the medical facility for more than an hour. Some victims were burned alive in their beds while others were mown down as they tried to flee. The Pentagon’s final report, released in April, was a brazen cover-up which denied that a war crime was committed. None of the personnel involved faced criminal charges or a court martial.
Yesterday’s airstrike on a Yemeni hospital is further evidence of an intensification of the Saudi-led war inside Yemen following the breakdown of UN-sponsored talks between the Houthi government and the government-in-exile led by President Hadi. Backed by Washington and armed to the teeth with US weapons, the Saudi regime is determined to subordinate the country to its interests.