Tag Archive | Middle East

U.S. Bans Most Electronic Devices on Flights from 8 Muslim Countries*

U.S. Bans Most Electronic Devices on Flights from 8 Muslim Countries*

They are not the same nations targeted in the failed “Muslim Ban.”

By Kenrya Rankin

Less than a week after two federal courts blocked the Trump Administration’s second attempt at restricting entry to the United States for the nationals of six predominately Muslim countries, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a mandate that regulates the travel of people from another set of mostly Muslim countries.

As of today (March 21), people flying into the U.S. on direct flights from 10 airports in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates must check electronic devices larger than a phone—including tablets, laptops, e-readers, cameras, gaming devices and portable DVD players—before boarding. Travelers will still be allowed to carry smartphones and essential medical devices on board. The eight countries are different from the ones targeted in the “Muslim Ban.”

Per CNN, the impacted airlines are Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines. U.S. officials said that no U.S. carriers are included in the indefinite ban because they do not fly directly to the States from the impacted airports. The carriers have 96 hours to comply, or they risk losing permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly into the country. The rule will be “reviewed” on October 14.

CNN reports that officials say there is no specific terrorist plot that they are trying to thwart, but that: “the move is partly based on intelligence that they believe indicates Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is close to being able to hide explosives with little or no metal content in electronic devices in order to target commercial aircraft.”

Reuters reports that on a press conference call, DHS spokesperson Gillian Christensen said the agency “did not target specific nations. We relied upon evaluated intelligence to determine which airports were affected.”

Source*

U.K. joins U.S. electronics ban on flights from several Middle East, African countries

U.K joined the U.S large electronics ban on some flights from Middle East and African countries. The U,K has announced a cabin baggage ban on laptops on passenger flights from six Middle East and North African countries.

According to a statement issued by the U.K government:

Phones, laptops and tablets larger than 16.0cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm not allowed in the cabin on flights to the U.K. from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tunisia.

KTG understands that the U.K. ban will affect also the British Airways.

The U.K. restrictions, which also apply to tablets, DVD players, portable game consoles and phones over certain size, come after a similar U.S. Department of Homeland Security ban.

Passengers will not be able to fly from these countries with phones, laptops, tablets larger than 16cm in length, 9.3cm width & 1.5cm depth.

— Jack Moore (@JFXM) March 21, 2017

Flights on nine airlines from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries are subject to the U.S. move.

U.S. officials said bombs could be hidden in a series of devices.

The ban affects large electronic devices including laptops, tablets and DVD players. They would not be permitted in aircraft cabins but would be allowed in checked baggage.

Phones are exempt from the U.S. restrictions.

Passengers on some 50 flights a day from some of the busiest hubs in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa would be required to follow the new U.S. rules.

The airlines affected by the ban are:

Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.

They have been given 96 hours, beginning at 07:00 GMT on Tuesday, to ban devices bigger than a mobile phone or smartphone from cabins, US officials said, adding that the ban had no end date.

According to BBC, the U.K. announcement and would affect direct flights from several Middle East cities. The BBC home affairs correspondent said that  the move was “obviously part of co-ordinated action with the U.S.”.

The Department of Homeland Security said extremists were seeking “innovative methods” to bring down jets.

The attempted downing of an airliner in Somalia last year was linked to a laptop device, and it appears the security precautions are an attempt to stop similar incidents.

Turkey seeks reversal of laptop ban

The Turkish government has said the U.S. ban is wrong and should be reversed.

Turkey said Tuesday it would ask the United States to reverse a ban on electronic devices larger than mobile phones in the cabin of flights from 10 airports in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.

“We particularly emphasise how this will not benefit the passenger and that reverse steps or a softening should be adopted,” Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan told reporters, saying the decision was not right for Turkey or the US.

Airlines hit by the ban include flag-carrier Turkish Airlines, which has the highest foreign sales of any Turkish company. The airline’s profits have already been hit by a slew of terror attacks in Turkey in 2016.

Arslan said Turkish officials were speaking to their relevant American counterparts regarding the ban, which applies to direct flights to the US.

The minister said he hoped there would be a “positive” outcome from the talks, which began Monday.

“Annually, 80 million flights take off from Istanbul and in my opinion, people should not confuse it” with less high-profile destinations, Arslan added.

“In that sense, we already take all kinds of security measures.”

Arslan said that passengers head to the U.S. for many reasons including developing bilateral trade, adding that the ruling could negatively affect travellers’ comfort.

It comes back to the old world and the planes was carrying them again! #electronicsban #flighttravel pic.twitter.com/oIvAM9G0bi

— George Robert (@mertennikell) March 21, 2017

Of course, many now wonder why the ban affects few selected countries and airlines and it is not global.

Experts say the new electronics ban seem illogical and at odds with basic computer science.

The ban affects flight to US and UK not the other way around.

As if a terrorist would not think to fly X airline from a high risk country to an A city, buy a laptop there and catch a flight to the high security countries.

The economic impact on the travel business will be immense. Sounds rather like an airlines war, imho.

Related Topics:

San Francisco Police Department Cut Ties with FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force*

If Terrorism is Such a Grave Threat, Why Does the FBI Keep Manufacturing Plots?

U.S. Government Agents ‘directly involved’ in many U.S. Terror Plots*

U.S. Moves to Arm Terrorists in Syria with Anti-Aircraft Weapons*

Trump Will Sign Order to Build Wall, Ban Refugees, Muslims*

Trump To Continue Bankrupting The U.S. Through Foreign Wars*

Trump Signs New Travel Ban Executive Order*

Landmark U.N. Report Backs Boycotting Israel*

Landmark U.N. Report Backs Boycotting Israel*

By Ali Abunimah

New UN report concludes that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole” and calls for broad support of boycott movement.

Ryan Rodrick Beiler ActiveStills

A new U.N. report offers explicit backing for the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign to end Israeli apartheid and support a just peace.

The landmark report’s endorsement of boycotts, economic sanctions and other grassroots initiatives comes at a moment when Israel is desperately attempting to criminalize and suppress international support for Palestinian rights.

Published by the U.N.’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the report concludes that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”

It finds “beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crimes of apartheid” as defined in international law.

It urges national governments to “support boycott, divestment and sanctions activities and respond positively to calls for such initiatives.”

Racial regime

The U.N. report – “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid” – is not a comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa, but an evaluation of Israel’s practices against the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and other key human rights laws.

The convention defines the crime of apartheid as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

International law defines racial discrimination to mean “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent or ethnic or national origin,” the report notes.

The Zionist movement’s “claim to Palestine as the exclusive homeland of the Jewish people rests on an expressly racial conception of both groups,” the report states.

“This means that Jews and Palestinians are ‘racial groups’ ” for the purposes of applying the apartheid convention.

“The mission of preserving Israel as a Jewish state has inspired or even compelled Israel to pursue several general racial policies,” the report says.

These include “demographic engineering, in order to establish and maintain an overwhelming Jewish majority in Israel.”

This encompasses the ethnic cleansing of almost 800,000 Palestinians in 1948, the denial of the right of return for Palestinian refugees and “a range of other policies designed to restrict the size of the Palestinian population.”

Although they can vote, the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel – about a fifth of the state’s citizens – are also systematically restricted, while full rights are granted only to Jews.

Meanwhile, Israel’s discriminatory “Law of Return” automatically grants citizenship to Jews from anywhere in the world, “while denying citizenship even to those Palestinians who have a documented history of residency in the country.”

Sham democracy

“As in any racial democracy,” the report argues,

“such a majority allows the trappings of democracy – democratic elections, a strong legislature – without threatening any loss of hegemony by the dominant racial group.”

In a stark illustration of the racial logic espoused by Israel’s leadership, the country’s defense minister Avigdor Lieberman this week reiterated the view that the Jewish state should eventually be ethnically cleansed of virtually all Palestinians.

“There is no reason why Sheikh Raed Salah, Ayman Odeh, Basel Ghattas or Haneen Zoabi should continue to be Israeli citizens,” he said in reference to prominent Palestinian politicians, three of them members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

Israel prohibits anyone from using its ostensibly democratic system to challenge the regime’s fundamentally racist set-up. Its Basic Law – the closest thing that Israel has to a written constitution – bars parties from running on a platform that explicitly or implicitly includes “negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

“Voting rights lose their significance in terms of equal rights when a racial group is legally banned from challenging laws that perpetuate inequality,” the report states. “Israeli law bans organized Palestinian opposition to Jewish domination, rendering it illegal and even seditious.”

This is not the first analysis to find that Israeli policies meet the legal definition of apartheid: a 2009 study by South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council concluded that Israel practices apartheid in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

But the new U.N. study goes much further, finding that Israel’s apartheid system dominates the entire Palestinian people. It concludes that the “strategic fragmentation” of the Palestinian people into separate territorial units and legal regimes – as citizens with limited rights within Israel, as stateless persons in the West Bank and Gaza, as “permanent residents” in East Jerusalem, or as refugees and exiles with no right of return – “is the principle method by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime.”

The 2009 study was overseen by political scientist Virginia Tilley. Tilley and the eminent professor of international law Richard Falk are co-authors of the new UN report.

Ending a “criminal enterprise”

Governments have a legal obligation to act immediately to end the crime of apartheid. This includes refusing to recognize an apartheid regime as lawful, refusing to aid a state in maintaining such a regime and cooperating with UN bodies and other states to end it.

The report urges U.N. bodies to act, and even suggests seeking a formal opinion from the International Court of Justice on Israel’s apartheid system. National governments should also back BDS and allow “criminal prosecutions of Israeli officials demonstrably connected with the practices of apartheid.”

But given that states and official bodies are not likely to take the lead, the report recognizes that “civil society institutions and individuals have a moral duty to use the instruments at their disposal to raise awareness of this ongoing criminal enterprise.”

They must use these tools to “exert pressure on Israel to dismantle apartheid structures and negotiate in good faith for a lasting peace that acknowledges the rights of Palestinians under international law and makes it possible for the two peoples to live together on the basis of real equality.”

Transnational movement

Recalling an earlier era, the report notes that research and legal analyses by U.N. bodies – such as the United Nations Center Against Apartheid – were critical resources for civil society activists in their efforts aimed at

“legitimating boycott, divestments and sanctions, and contributing to the overall formation of a transnational movement against apartheid in South Africa.”

One of the report’s key aims today is to encourage “practical measures in accordance with international law to exert pressure on Israel to dismantle its apartheid regime.”

“Efforts should be made to broaden support for boycott, divestment and sanctions initiatives among civil society actors,” the report recommends.

Private sector firms should be “reminded of their legal, moral and political responsibility to sever ties with commercial ventures and projects that directly or indirectly aid and abet the apartheid regime.”

All of this confirms the reasoning and tactics of the Palestinian-led BDS movement – support for which even the staunchly pro-Israel European Union has belatedly recognized as a democratic right.

Source*

Related Topics:

Palestinians Call to end Israeli Occupation*

Israeli Report Admits They Are Descendants of Khazars*

72 Percent of Aid to Palestine Ends Up ‘In Israeli Hands*

For Greater Israel: Israeli Legal Jurisdiction to be Extended to Judea and Samaria*

Trump-Israel Struggling to Save ISIS to divide and Conquer Syria and Iraq*

The ‘Jewish National Fund’ and Its Role in Israel Thus Palestine*

Israel Weaponizes it’s Rape Culture against Palestinians*

Israel’s Rule of Annexation in West Bank*

Israel’s Lobby Lawsuits Aim to Slow Boycott in Spain*

An honest Israeli Jew tells the Real Truth about Israel

 

Under Trump U.S. Drone Strikes Have Gone Up 432%*

Under Trump U.S. Drone Strikes Have Gone Up 432%*

By Carey Wedler

Yemenis walk past graffiti showing a US drone. (Photo: Yahya Arhab/EPA)

 

When he was in office, former President Barack Obama earned the ire of anti-war activists for his expansion of Bush’s drone wars. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning head of state ordered ten times more drone strikes than the previous president, and estimates late in Obama’s presidency showed 49 out of 50 victims were civilians. In 2015, it was reported that up to 90% of drone casualties were not the intended targets.

Current President Donald Trump campaigned on a less interventionist foreign policy, claiming to be opposed to nation-building and misguided invasions. But less than two months into his presidency, Trump has expanded the drone strikes that plagued Obama’s “peaceful” presidency.

According to an analysis from Micah Zenko, an analyst with the Council on Foreign Relations, Trump has markedly increased U.S. drone strikes since taking office. Zenko, who reported earlier this year on the over 26,000 bombs Obama dropped in 2016, summarized the increase:

During President Obama’s two terms in office, he approved 542 such targeted strikes in 2,920 days—one every 5.4 days. From his inauguration through today, President Trump had approved at least 36 drone strikes or raids in 45 days—one every 1.25 days.

That’s an increase of 432 percent.

He highlights some of the attacks:

These include three drone strikes in Yemen on January 20, 21, and 22; the January 28 Navy SEAL raid in Yemen; one reported strike in Pakistan on March 1; more than thirty strikes in Yemen on March 2 and 3; and at least one more on March 6.

The Trump administration has provided little acknowledgment of the human toll these strikes are taking. As journalist Glenn Greenwald noted in the Intercept, the Trump administration hastily brushed off recent civilian casualties in favour of honouring the life of a single U.S. soldier who died during one of the Yemen raids just days after Trump took office:

The raid in Yemen that cost Owens his life also killed 30 other people, including ‘many civilians,’ at least nine of whom were children. None of them were mentioned by Trump in last night’s speech, let alone honoured with applause and the presence of grieving relatives. That’s because they were Yemenis, not Americans; therefore, their deaths, and lives, must be ignored (the only exception was some fleeting media mention of the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, but only because she was a U.S. citizen and because of the irony that Obama killed her 16-year-old American brother with a drone strike).

Greenwald notes this is typical of not just Trump, but the American war machine in general:

We fixate on the Americans killed, learning their names and life stories and the plight of their spouses and parents, but steadfastly ignore the innocent people the U.S. government kills, whose numbers are always far greater.”

Though some Trump supporters sang his praises as a peace candidate before he took office, the president’s militarism was apparent on many occasions. He openly advocated increasing the size and scope of the military, a promise he is now moving to keep. And as Zenko highlights, Trump was disingenuous with his rhetoric against interventionism:

He claimed to have opposed the 2003 Iraq War when he actually backed it, and to have opposed the 2011 Libya intervention when he actually strongly endorsed it, including with U.S. ground troops. Yet, Trump and his loyalists consistently implied that he would be less supportive of costly and bloody foreign wars, especially when compared to President Obama, and by extension, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

As Trump continues to dig his heels into decades-old policies he has criticized himself — reportedly mulling over sending ground troops into Syria — he is increasingly proving to be yet another establishment warmonger implementing policies that spawn the creation of more terrorists. As Zenko concludes:

We are now on our third post-9/11 administration pursuing many of the same policies that have failed to meaningfully reduce the number of jihadist extremist fighters, or their attractiveness among potential recruits or self-directed terrorists. The Global War on Terrorism remains broadly unquestioned within Washington, no matter who is in the White House.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Trump-Israel Struggling to Save ISIS to divide and Conquer Syria and Iraq*

Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. 8-Year-Old Sister Killed in Raid Ordered by Trump *

14yo Indian Signs Government Contract to Make anti-landmine Drones*

Suspected Targeted Drone Attack Hits Family of Grand Mufti*

U.S. Military is Building a $100mn Drone Base in Africa*

Israel Conducted Drone Raids in Egypt’s Sinai*

An Innocent Survivor of a U.S. Drone Strike in Pakistan Speaks Out*

 

Trump-Israel Struggling to Save ISIS to divide and Conquer Syria and Iraq*

Trump-Israel Struggling to Save ISIS to divide and Conquer Syria and Iraq*

By Gordon Duff, Nahed al Husaini

We add “Petraeus” to the list, one he may be head of, “blackmailed Americans working for foreign intelligence agencies.

To this list which includes a president we now find was accused, and this is in legal filings hidden away, of killing a 12 year old girl along with Jeffrey Epstein, an Israeli agent/handler, the nightmare is ongoing.

First for Petraeus:  Petraeus, former CIA Director, former American commander, both Iraq and Afghanistan, is a man whose military accomplishments include the creation of ISIS.  When Bush tasked Petraeus with “pacifying” Iraqi Sunnis including Baathist extremists, who make up what we now know is ISIS, this is what he did.

Petraeus was told that unless he could end the fighting in Iraq temporarily, the planned false flag attacks on the U.S. in the Gulf, attacks we were told about by former National Security Council member and White House advisor Gwenyth Todd, would not bring about the needed war with Iran.

With Petraeus emptying Iraq’s prisons and pumping $300m into what is now the leadership of ISIS, the U.S. would not have a safe base of operations for the land war on Iran.  The war was to start based on assassinations planned by key members of Naval Intelligence, loyal to the neocons, who would blame them on the Shiite majority in Bahrain, which they could then blame on Iran.

Gwenyth had to be spirited out of Bahrain when her murder failed and the Navy, including 5th Fleet Commander, played their hand and tried to feed her back to Bahraini security.  This story was published by Jeff Stein in the Washington Post and was featured on the Australian Broadcasting Company as well, after the Bush FBI tried to kidnap Gwenyth, a VT editor married to an Australian defense official, from that country.

Now Petraeus is trying to buy off Abadi, and we are in direct contact with Abadi, Maliki and others in the Iraqi government.  The article below is pretty incredible.  You see, the Iraqi military, largely trained and supplied by accidental joint efforts of both the U.S. and Iran, is doing well.  What Petraeus has been tasked to do by his blackmailers is drive a wedge between Syria and Iraq.

Iraq is ready to cross into Syria, actually thousands of Iraqis already have, knowing that the artificial border is not respected by ISIS or Turkey, their real backer along with Israel and Saudi Arabia, Petraeus’ paymasters, handlers and blackmailers.

They are also the handlers, blackmailers and paymasters, as it were, of Trump as well.

There is a long story here but yesterday VT broke the blackmail story but waited a day to share it with mainstream sources as well, in trade for confirmations.  They came out with their own version in the Daily Beast, covering only the superficial foreign intelligence agency programs during the election but failing to mention why and what they were doing and what the result was.

We are deeply suspect of the Daily Beast, owned by Jane Harman, former member of Congress and defender of Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli nuclear spy that nearly took down the U.S., long story there as well.  Harman has long ties to Israeli intelligence. We are going to be developing this story.  Here is what is being hidden from you.

That rape story involving Trump, the civil case, has some interesting aspects, which we dug out yesterday when reviewing it.  Where there may have been doubts before, we now have several weeks of “Trump watching,” temper tantrums and in particular a flurry of paedophile accusations coming out of the White House through select bloggers, not just Pizzagate but new ones every day.

Based on Trump’s behaviours, this leads us to taking a better look at his problem with Jeffrey Epstein and we find that relationship was not a casual one but that Trump was a partner with Epstein, with him continually and that it was Trump, not Epstein, that is by far the most guilty.

We also have considerable very real material, which we can site FBI sources for, and let them come and interview me if they want, that involve extensive paedophile activity, including kidnapping and child murder, going back decades, all of which is pure GOP.

Then again, we did just make the case for Trump turning to intelligence agencies of Pakistan, Israel and Russia to blackmail Congress and the Pentagon.  Think of what all those generals got into when visiting Israel.  Colonel Jim Hanke, a VT editor, was attache to Israel and would gladly explain the process, but Israel burned everyone that has ever visited there, diplomats, police, military and more.

Now our concern is what does Israel have on Abadi and how is he going to be used against Iran and Syria, what this article is about:

Iraqi anti-terrorism strongest forces in the Middle East, and the lion “made a mistake”

 

Description former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Gen. David Petraeus, the Iraqi anti-terrorism device as a “stronger, especially in the Middle East forces,” he said, adding that the Iraqis did not fall into the “errors” of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as he put it.

He said in a statement quoted by the Kuwaiti newspaper Gazette for other sites on Monday, that the Iraqis that they “did not fall into the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad errors during the battles, but he said that the conclusion of the settlement Baghdad urgent and reconciliation with Sunni forces,” he said.

“The Iraqis have succeeded in reducing the number of civilian casualties and the extent of destruction through the restoration of their areas from the grip of the organization Daesh battles and this is what Amaisahm for Bashar al-Assad that caused the destruction of a large part of Syria.”

U.S. general described the Iraqi Anti-terrorism as “the most powerful special forces in the Middle East,” explaining that “the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was right when he said that anti-terrorist units in his country is the strongest in the region, but it has faced, however, up to 30% of the losses.”

He said Petraeus, “I know the city of Mosul well because I lived in when I was the commander of Division 101, which entered Nineveh province in 2003”. He predicted that “the recovery of Mosul more difficult because the narrow streets of the old city and cannot enter the cars.”

Petraeus pointed out that “there must be combing buildings and neighbourhoods successively so that the enemy does not come back from behind, unlike what is happening in Syria, and in the end, will triumph on Daesh in Mosul.”

U.S. General said that “the organization of Daesh got two years to prepare for the defense of the city in order to dig tunnels and traps prepared in homes and they have drones and snipers strong, but it was the way the Iraqis overcome this situation in a banner way.”

The Prime Minister and Commander of the Armed Forces Haider al-Abadi said in a February 19, 2017, the start of the third phase of the “battle coming, Nineveh” to restore west of Mosul, after enabling the joint Iraqi forces to regain the left coast of the city in full in January 24 last from the control of the organization.

Source*

Related Topics:

Petraeus’ Resignation Will Reveal Much More Dirt than the Division Over Iran

Drastic Changes in the Middle East Happen Unbelievably Fast*

U.S. Admits Using Radioactive Weapons in Syria that Left Thousands of Iraqi Babies Deformed*

Egypt’s U-Turn on Iraq and Syria*

72 ISIS Mass Graves Containing up to 15,000 Discovered in Iraq and Syria*

Israel Bombs Syrian Military Airport near Assad’s Presidential Palace*

Most of the Terrorists in Aleppo were Turkish, Saudi (Israeli) Officers*

U.S. and Israel is Managing Combat Operations for ISIS and al Nusra in Iraq, Syria*

Israel Arms Azerbaijan vassal to take on Iran*

Zionist Israelis Sneaking into Iraq*

U.S. Tries to Assassinate Iraqi Prime Minister in Missile Attack*

The Shaharah Bridge in Yemen, a Bridge of Sighs*

The Shaharah Bridge in Yemen, a Bridge of Sighs*

Shaharah Bridge built to collapse in case of invasion

Shaharah Bridge built to collapse in case of invasion

By Kerry Sullivan

The Shaharah Bridge was built in the 17th century in Yemen and though it may just look like a regular bridge at first, it has interesting stories connected to it. The structure was designed to fall apart in minutes in the event that Turks tried to invade and it was also a logical solution to another age-old problem.

The Bridge’s Features

Stretching across a 300-foot (91-metre) deep gorge between two mountains, the bridge is still commonly used by citizens in the neighbouring villages. The bridge can be found in the Ahnum Mountain Range in northwestern Yemen in the ‘Amran governorate, approximately 87 miles (140 kilometres) away from the country’s capital city, Sana’a. It connects two mountains, Jabal al Emir and Jabal al Faish, by stretching across a canyon formed where the two come close together. The bridge is 65 feet (20 meters) long and 9 feet (3 meters) wide. It is primarily made of limestone, which is an abundant material in the mountains. The Shaharah Bridge leads to the town of Shaharah.

Village of Shaharah

Village of Shaharah

 

Bridging Communities

It is not known for how many centuries people have been living in the Ahnum Mountains. Yemen itself is one of the oldest centres of civilization in the world. The country is located at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula. While most of the peninsula is arid, Yemen is fertile and experiences regular rainfall. From very early on, the country served as a natural conduit for trade between the East African and Middle Eastern kingdoms. Archaeological evidence shows that large settlements existed in northern Yemen’s mountains at least as far back as 5000 BC.

For all the millennia that people lived in those mountains, they were faced with the difficulty of getting supplies. This was both a hassle and a danger. Although Jabal al Emir and Jabal al Faish are within shouting distance of each other, in order for villagers to trade goods or meet with neighbors, they would have to climb all the way down to the bottom of the canyon and then back up the other side.

Certain segments of the journey were especially perilous. And even if one were a daring and nimble enough climber to make the trek, it would be next to impossible to bring back many goods.

A Haraaz-landscape

A Haraaz-landscape

 

Connecting and Protecting Shaharah

In the 1500s, the Ottoman Turks invaded Yemen and overran Shaharah. Once their freedom was regained sometime in the 1600s, the local Shaharah leader, Al-Usta Saleh, ordered a bridge to be constructed that could be destroyed in the event of another invasion. He hired an architect named Salah al-Yaman. That bridge took three years to build and cost roughly 100,000 French Riyals (an extraordinary amount of money in the 17th century). It was constructed using traditional building tools and local supplies, however,

“no one really knows exactly how the bridge was built especially at that time, but a few legends try to offer some explanations. One story goes that several bridges were built below the major bridge to help with the transfer of supplies up the rugged terrain. Remnants of the minor bridges are still present today. Another legend explains that al-Yaman is credited with building only ten meters [32.5 feet] of the bridge and the remaining ten meters [32.5 feet] were believed to have been completed by an unknown person from the adjacent mountain.” (Khalife, 2015)

Footbridge in Shaharah, Yemen (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Footbridge in Shaharah, Yemen (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Footbridge in Shaharah, Yemen (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The bridge is the only entry point for the town of Shaharah, which also has fortified walls surrounding it. It remained defended and inaccessible until aerial assaults became the norm in the 1960s-civil strife in Yemen. Still, the town (and the world) greatly benefited from Shaharah’s 300+ years of peace.

Life and Tourism in Shaharah

The town is no mere village dwelling looking to be left in peace. Shaharah is the citadel for the Imans of the Zaidi interpretation of a Shi’a Islam (not to be confused with the Kurdish Yazidis). In the 10th century, the Islamic scholar and second leader of the Zaidis, Abul Qasim Muhammad bin Yahya bin Al-Husayn, chose the northern highlands for the center of Zaidi religious thought and scholarship. Zaidi mosques and schools can now be found throughout northern Yemen. Today, Zaidis are more commonly known by their political/rebel wing, the Houthis.

Before Yemen was engulfed in civil war, the Shaharah Bridge was one of the most popular tourist attractions for those adventurous enough to make the trek out to see it. With time, it earned the moniker ‘Bridge of Sighs’ because the spectacular sight of a rudimentary stone bridge spanning two mountains left onlookers speechless.

Source*

Related Topics:

The Oldest Qur’ans are Actually in Yemen, in Danger of Being Bombed*

The Anguish, Bloodshed and Forgotten Heroes in the Ignored War on Yemen*

Nine Young Children Killed: The Full Details of the Botched U.S. Raid in Yemen*

Britain Confirms U.K-Made Cluster Bombs Used by Saudi-led Forces in Yemen*

Plane from Turkey Transfers Daesh terrorists from Aleppo to Yemen*

WikiLeaks Releases 500 Documents Showing U.S. ‘arming and funding’ Yemeni Forces*

U.S. Occupies a Yemeni Island*

Muslim Cordoba Going for a Song

 

U.S. Admits Using Radioactive Weapons in Syria that Left Thousands of Iraqi Babies Deformed*

U.S. Admits Using Radioactive Weapons in Syria that Left Thousands of Iraqi Babies Deformed*

By Matt Agorist

One of the least talked about war crimes committed by the United States is the use of depleted uranium — a highly controversial radioactive waste that’s been dumped into Iraq by the ton. In spite of multiple international watchdog groups and health organizations pointing out the dangers of using DU, and in spite of the Pentagon claiming they wouldn’t use it, the United States just admitted to using it in Syria.

For those that aren’t familiar with the radioactive waste that is DU, it is the byproduct of the production of enriched uranium for use as fuel in nuclear reactors and in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. It is also the U.S. military’s preferred material to use for armour plating and armour-piercing projectiles.

In the first three weeks of the conflict in Iraq in 2003, the U.S. Military dumped more than 2,000 tons of this chemically toxic and radioactive waste onto the Iraqi people.

Because the half-life of DU is millions of years, the massive quantities dropped in Iraq over the course of the invasion continue to pose a serious health risk to those exposed to it. Amounts in bullets, shells, and bombs vary from 300 grams to 7 tons in the bunker-busters missiles — which rained down from the skies over Iraq — for years.

In the course of the two U.S.-led wars in Iraq, it is estimated that tens of thousands of tons of DU have dropped from the sky onto the people.

The admitted use of DU is solely reserved to the United States and the United Kingdom. Since its adverse effects first began appearing, there’s been a massive effort to conceal the true and horrifying impact it’s had.

However, on Monday, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) told Foreign Policy that 5,265 armor-piercing DU rounds were used in November 2015, during two air raids against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) oil tanker convoys in the Deir ez-Zor and Hasakah provinces in eastern Syria.

Officials confirm the US used depleted uranium weapons on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria: https://t.co/oCtsYgFpXq

— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) February 14, 2017

A-10 ground attack aircraft fired the projectiles from their 30mm rotating cannons, destroying about 350 tanker trucks, according to CENTCOM spokesman Major Josh Jacques.

This admission by the U.S. that it used DU comes in contrast to a March 2015 statement from the coalition spokesman who had explicitly ruled out its use in Syria, saying, “U.S. and coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.”

While the U.S. loves to tout the exceptional toughness of DU, they continue to ignore, and, in fact, have covered up and denied the contamination of ground and water, and the significant risk of toxicity, birth defects, and cancer when inhaled or ingested by humans or animals.

Not only does DU pose a significant risk to those who live in the areas where the U.S. has dumped it but it is also linked to tens of thousands of potential cancer cases among American troops.

However, those numbers are only estimated because immediately after the U.S. began dumping tons of it in Iraq, the Veteran’s Administration began blocking medical journals from accessing cancer stats in its registry.

In spite of horrific cases of cancer among us troops — who were proven to test positive for DU in their urine AFTER coming back stateside — the DoD continues to claim it is safe.

The World Health Organization (WHO) even got on board with the cover-up in 2013.

“The rates for spontaneous abortion, stillbirths and congenital birth defects found in the study are consistent with or even lower than international estimates. The study provides no clear evidence to suggest an unusually high rate of congenital birth defects in Iraq,” wrote the WHO in their summary findings of birth defects related to DU in Iraq.

However, this was in stark contrast to the findings from Iraqi Ministry of Health officials, who were involved in the same study. Doctors at the Basra maternity hospital in southern Iraq have told the BBC that they have seen a 60% rise in birth defects since 2003, according to the BBC.

The MOH officials confirmed that the joint report would furnish “damning evidence” that rates of birth defects are higher in areas experiencing heavy fighting in the 2003 war. In an early press release, WHO similarly acknowledged “existing MOH statistics showing high number of CBD cases” in the “high risk” areas selected for study, as reported by the Guardian.

However, none of that happened.

In spite of this cover-up in the West, Iraqi doctors and multiple peer-reviewed studies have documented a dramatic increase in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the aftermath of U.S. military bombardment. In Fallujah, doctors are witnessing a “massive unprecedented number” of heart defects, and an increase in the number of nervous system defects, according to the Guardian. 

Analysis of pre-2003 data compared to now showed that “the rate of congenital heart defects was 95 per 1,000 births – 13 times the rate found in Europe.”

Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the First Gulf War in 1991, the rate of cancer cases in Iraq was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the increasing trend continuing.

In a 2010 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health article, Busby and two colleagues, Malak Hamden and Entesar Ariabi, reported a 38-fold increase in leukemia, a 10-fold increase in breast cancer, and infant mortality rates eight times higher than in neighboring Kuwait.

These numbers are also likely far greater than reported as women in Iraq who give birth to babies with deformities feel stigmatized and often don’t report them according to Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a Michigan-based environmental toxicologist who won the 2015 Rachel Carson Award.

It is also estimated that the rate of congenital malformations among newborn babies is 14 times higher than that of Japan — immediately following the detonation of two atomic bombs.

And now, the people of Syria will begin their horrifying journey down the deadly path to the same fate as Iraq.

As the disturbing images in the video below from Democracy Now illustrate — War is hell.

Source*

Related Topics:

British Queen Profiting in Depleted Uranium*

Iraqi Engineering Students Share their Graduation Ceremony with Iraq’s Orphans*

U.S. Rape and Sodomy of Iraqi Women and Children*

72 ISIS Mass Graves Containing up to 15,000 Discovered in Iraq and Syria*

Cover-up of U.K.’s Role in Iraq Atrocities*

Former Iraqi PM Slams the 60 nations in the U.S. –Led ‘anti’ ISIS Coalition*

Radiation from Iraq War Detected In U.K. Atmosphere*

Netanyahu Steps down as Israel’s Communications Minister Amidst Charges of Corruption*

Netanyahu Steps down as Israel’s Communications Minister Amidst Charges of Corruption*

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he would shelve his additional role as communication minister after police questioned him over allegations he negotiated a deal for good coverage with a newspaper owner.

Police have questioned Netanyahu three times in two criminal cases in which he is suspected of abuse of office. If charges are brought, political upheaval would likely ensue with pressure on Netanyahu to step down. He denies any wrongdoing.

The first case involves gifts given to Netanyahu and his family by businessmen and the second is related to conversations he held with the publisher of Israel’s largest selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth.

Netanyahu said he would appoint Tzachi Hanegbi, a confidant from his right-wing Likud party, as a stand-in running the communications ministry for three months, “and then we’ll see”, he said in a statement.

Netanyahu did not specify the reason for the move.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, the head of the Zionist Union party, had appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court last month to order Netanyahu to step down as communications minister over the police investigation.

The liberal daily Haaretz and Channel 2 television reported in January that Netanyahu discussed with Yedioth Ahronoth’s owner a deal for better coverage in return for curbs on competition from a free paper owned by U.S. casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, a staunch supporter of the veteran prime minister.

Haaretz said the conversations were recorded in the run-up to the March 2015 election at Netanyahu’s request by a then-staff member, and the tapes were seized by police in a separate investigation.

According to excerpts leaked to Channel Two from a transcript of the conversations, the prime minister told the newspaper publisher:

“We’re talking about moderation, about reasonable reporting, to lower the level of hostility towards me from 9.5 to 7.5.”

It quoted the publisher, Arnon Mozes, as replying:

“We have to make sure that you’re prime minister.”

Netanyahu is not the first Israeli leader to have faced criminal investigation. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of breach of trust and bribery in 2014 and Ariel Sharon, premier from 2001-2006, was questioned while in office over allegations of bribery and campaign-financing illegalities.

In the past, Israeli prime ministers have stayed in office long after being put under investigation, and officials who support Netanyahu, now in his fourth term, believe the prospect of charges remains remote.

Netanyahu has often accused Israeli media of being biased against him and in recent weeks accused it of being part of a left-wing plot to overthrow his right-wing government.

Source*

Related Topics:

As Netanyahu and May Chat, a Large Nest of Israeli Spies in London Exposed*

Netanyahu’s Former Driver gets 27 years for Raping Minors*

Netanyahu Boasts of Israel’s War on Africans*

Netanyahu Now under two Criminal Investigations*

Netanyahu halts Israeli Funding of 5 U.N. Bodies in Revenge for Settlement Freeze Demand*

Netanyahu Sues Own Office to Prevent Airing of Dirty Laundry*

Who is Netanyahu?*