Tag Archive | Saudi Arabia

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

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

By Namir Shabibi , Nasser al Sane

Relatives of people killed in the raid gather in one of the decimated houses. (Photo: Nasser al Sane)

 

Planned for months, it was decided over dinner.

The raid on a village in rural Yemen reportedly aimed to capture or kill one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists and deliver a stinging blow to al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP), a militant network the U.S. had been trying to dismantle for more than a decade. The collection of small brick houses in Yemen’s dusty central region was home to civilian families as well as militants and was heavily-guarded, meaning a precise, well-practiced operation was paramount. Intense surveillance was carried out for weeks, rehearsals took place in Djibouti, and Navy SEALS awaited the go-ahead from their commander-in-chief. It came just five days after President Donald Trump took office.

But as the elite team descended under the cover of darkness, what could have been the first major victory for the new administration in its renewed mission to defeat radical Islam quickly went dreadfully wrong.

As cover was blown, enemy fire returned and contingency plans failed, tragedy unfolded on all sides.

It is already known that 8-year-old Nawar al Awlaki, the daughter of al Qaeda propagandist Anwar al Awlaki was among those who died in the attack. But following a field investigation, the Bureau can today reveal that nine children under the age of 13 were killed and five were wounded in the raid in al Bayda province on January 29.

Details emerged piecemeal last week regarding civilian and military deaths, the disputed value of the targets and deficiencies in planning – some of the information coming from military sources in unprecedented briefings against its own administration. Insiders told CNN and NBC that the ultimate target was AQAP leader Qasim al Raymi. If the soldiers didn’t find him in the village they hoped they would find clues as to his location.

But despite the growing reports of failure – and despite the death of Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William Owens and the destruction of a $70 million Osprey aircraft – Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer has continued to insist that the mission was a “successful operation by all standards.”

Evidence gathered by the Bureau must surely challenge that assessment. A fierce gunfight turned into an intense aerial bombardment, and the outcome “turned out to be as bad as one can imagine it being,” said former U.S. ambassador to Yemen Stephen Seche.

Working with a journalist who visited the targeted village of al Yakla five days after the raid and talked to nine of the survivors, we have collected the names and ages of all 25 civilians killed as reported by those who live there. The Bureau also has photos of the families hit and the homes destroyed as helicopter gunship fire rained down.

AQAP say 14 “of its men” were killed in the clash, including six villagers. The youngest was 17, the oldest 80.

The villagers say 25 civilians died alongside a group of militants, including nine children under the age of 13.  They deny that any of the dead villagers were AQAP members. Of the nine young children who died, the smallest was only three months old. Eight women were killed, including one who was heavily pregnant. Seven more women and children were injured.

There is fury at the U.S. for what the villagers say was yet another example of disregard for civilian life in the pursuit of terror.

“It is true they were targeting al Qaeda but why did they have to kill children and women and elderly people?” said Zabnallah Saif al Ameri, who lost nine members of his extended family, five of whom were children.

“If such slaughter happened in their country, there would be a lot of shouting about human rights. When our children are killed, they are quiet.”

Villagers described chaos, with people shot as they attempted to flee the gun battle before helicopters opened fire.

“They killed men, children and women and destroyed houses,” said Mohsina Mabkhout al Ameri, who lost her brother, nephew and three of her nephew’s children.

“We are normal people and have nothing to do with al Qaeda or [Yemeni rebel movement] the Houthis or anyone. The men came from America, got off the planes and the planes bombed us.”

Civilian deaths can provide ‘recruitment tool’ for terrorists

This is by no means the first U.S. counter-terror operation in Yemen which has killed civilians. Each one has stoked more resentment among the population. Yemeni foreign minister, Abdul Malik al Mekhlafi, said on his official Twitter account that the deaths amounted to “extrajudicial killings.”

A campaign statement by Donald Trump suggests the new leader of the free world may view such civilian casualties as inevitable, or even necessary.

“The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” he said in December.

“When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.”

Trump’s statement led to speculation that women and children might be deliberately targeted by the U.S. But Stephen Seche, who was US ambassador to Yemen from 2007-10, told the Bureau he did not believe America had changed its attitude towards protecting civilians. However “the enormous cost in human life” from this particular raid would damage the legitimacy of American intervention in Yemen, he told the Bureau.

“It’s a horrific calculation to have to make and the outcome in this case turned out to be as bad as one can imagine it being.”

Far from delivering a blow to AQAP, the raid may have strengthened it.

“Groups like AQAP will contend [this attack] shows Trump is making good on his campaign pledge,” said Letta Tayler, Terrorism and Counterterrorism Researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Even if Trump wasn’t serious, armed extremists are likely to jump on every photo of a Yemeni child killed in a U.S. strike as a recruitment tool.”

“The use of U.S. soldiers, high civilian casualties and disregard for local tribal and political dynamics… plays into AQAP’s narrative of defending Muslims against the West and could increase anti-U.S. sentiment and with it AQAP’s pool of recruits,” said International Crisis Group in a report released three days after the attack.

The alleged target of the raid certainly appeared to think it had helped AQAP’s cause, releasing a message on February 5 mocking the US. “The fool of the White House got slapped,” said al Raymi in an audio recording which military sources said was authentic, reported NBC.

A nightmare unfolds

As Abdallah al Ameri and his neighbour Sheikh Abdallah al Taisi prepared for bed on January 28, they could be forgiven for thinking they had suffered enough bad luck for a lifetime. Both men, subsistence farmers now too old to work their land, had already survived a U.S. drone attack which hit Abdallah’s wedding party in December 2013. They both lost their eldest sons in that attack, which killed 12 people but which the U.S. has never formally acknowledged.

Their home region of al Bayda had been battered since late 2014, as the Yemeni government led by President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi began its slow-motion collapse. In its place, a three-way battle erupted between tribes allied to the government, the Houthi rebel movement and al Qaeda militants. An international coalition led by Saudi Arabia would join the fray the following year.

Yemen’s hinterland, Yakla included, faced Houthi shelling, incursions by AQAP and bombing by US drones – all on top of severe food and fuel shortages wreaked by a Saudi-led blockade. Yemen now stands on the brink of famine.

The day leading up to the strike, rebel Houthis encamped in the nearby Qaifa mountains fired Katyusha rockets at tribal militiamen in Yakla. The militiamen were allied to the internationally-recognised government led by President Hadi. It was a familiar exchange in an ongoing battle for control of the region since the start of the rebellion.

But the ominous sign of things to come was subtler. Sadiq al Jawfi, a member of a local cross-party ceasefire committee which monitors violations at the request of the UN Security Council envoy to Yemen, told the Bureau that mobile phone coverage providing Yakla with its only line to the outside world had been cut. Yemen’s National Security Bureau (NSB), historically allied to former President Ali Abdallah Saleh and now his Houthi allies, had a history of restricting coverage prior to military operations.

It was a moonless night and the calm in Yakla was punctured only by the familiar sound of drones buzzing overhead.

In the middle of the night U.S. special forces flew from the aircraft carrier USS Makin Island in Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and landed a few kilometres from the village. Things started to go wrong right from the start. One of the Ospreys crash-landed, injuring three of the troops.

“The operation began when the soldiers landed next to the graveyard which lies about 2km away from our town, north of Yakla”, Sheikh Abdelilah Ahmed al Dahab said.

The soldiers then proceeded on foot, flanked by military dogs, in the direction of the village. Villagers say there were about 50 soldiers.

An 11-year-old is the first hit

His son Ahmed was the first casualty. According to al Dahab the 11-year-old was woken by the commotion outside and went to see what was going on.

“When my son Ahmed saw them, he couldn’t tell that they were soldiers because it was dark,” he said.

“He asked them ‘Who are you?’ but the men shot him. He was the first killed. No one thought that marines would descend on our homes to kill us, kill our children and kill our women.”

Tribal leaders Abdelraouf al Dahab and his brother came out to confront the soldiers and were shot dead, committee member Sadiq al Jawfi said. Local sources say they were AQAP members, and press reports released in the initial aftermath of the raid suggested that Abdelraouf and Sultan were among the primary targets of the operation. 80-year-old Saif al Jawfi, who also had al Qaeda connections according to AQAP, came out to see the commotion. He too was killed.

Relatives of those who died, including the seven children of Fatim Saleh Mohson al Ameri. (Photo: Nasser al Sane)

 

SEAL Team 6 attacked the home of 65-year-old Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri, surrounding it and opened fire indiscriminately, Abdelilah al Dahab and other witnesses claimed.

“When people heard the gunshots and missiles, local men rushed out of their homes to find out what was going on,” he said.

Three witnesses said the commandos shot at everyone who left their homes. In these lawless parts of Yemen every home has a Kalashnikov and the residents reached for their guns “to defend their homes and their honour,” Abdelilah al Dahab said.

The villagers say 38-year-old mother of seven, Fatim Saleh al Ameri was fatally shot by special operators while trying to flee with her two-year-old son Mohammed.

“We pulled him out from his mother’s lap. He was covered in her blood,” said 11-year-old Basil Ahmed Abad al­ Zouba, whose 17-year-old brother was killed.

As the firefight ensued, helicopter gunships appeared and “shot at everything”, including at homes and people fleeing, Sadiq al Jawfi and other witnesses said. Fahad Ali al Ameri woke up to the gunfire.

“I was woken up after midnight by the bombing of the helicopters. There were soldiers on the ground shooting at us. They started shooting at us with machine gun fire.”

He says a missile fired at his home, killing his three-month-old daughter as she lay asleep in her crib.

Abdallah Mabkhout al Ameri, one of the dead, had previously survived a U.S. strike on his wedding party. (Photo: Reprieve)

 

The al-Ameri family was particularly badly hit. Abdallah, 65, who had survived the attack on his wedding party three years earlier, was killed alongside his 25-year-old daughter Fatima and 38-year-old son Mohammed. Three of Mohammed’s four children also died – Aisha, 4, Khadija, 7, and Hussein, 5. A further nine members of the extended family were killed.

At some stage, al Qaeda militants who had encamped in the nearby Masharif and Sharia mountains descended to engage the U.S. commandos in a fight which would last over two hours. AQAP say 14 of its men died in total: six villagers and eight others.

The eight-year-old daughter of the late radical American preacher Anwar al Awlaqi, who was visiting her uncle Abdelilah al Dahab, was hiding in a room when it was attacked by the gunships, her uncle said.

“Some of the gunfire went through the windows and Nawar was injured in her neck,” he said.

The girl would not survive.

“We tried to save her but we couldn’t do anything for her,” said Abdelilah al Dahab.

“She was injured around 2.30am and bled until she died at around dawn prayers.”

Eight-year-old Nawar Anwar Al-Awlaqi is said to have bled to death over two hours

Eight-year-old Nawar Anwar Al-Awlaqi is said to have bled to death over two hours

Eight-year-old Nawar Anwar Al-Awlaqi is said to have bled to death over two hours.

The eight-year-old daughter of the late radical American preacher Anwar al Awlaqi, who was visiting her uncle Abdelilah al Dahab, was hiding in a room when it was attacked by the gunships, her uncle said.

“Some of the gunfire went through the windows and Nawar was injured in her neck,” he said.

The girl would not survive. “We tried to save her but we couldn’t do anything for her,” said Abdelilah al Dahab. “She was injured around 2.30am and bled until she died at around dawn prayers.”

U.S/ special operatives made an exit from the village at around the same time, say villagers, but some air attacks continued.

In the days that followed, conflicting narratives emerged. At first, the Department of Defense’s Central Command (Centcom) was bullish, describing the raid as “one in a series of aggressive moves against terrorist planners in Yemen.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis gave a statement honouring the soldier who died. Chief Petty Officer Owens, 36, “gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service,” he said.

As details about civilian casualties emerged – most notably that of eight-year-old Nawar al Awlaqi, whose photograph was circulated – the tone was softened. It was “concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed in the midst of a firefight during a raid in Yemen Jan. 29,” said a statement released on February 1. “Casualties may include children.”

Two days later the Pentagon released a video showing a man building bombs which it said had been discovered in the raid. Within hours it was removed from the Pentagon’s website’s after people pointed out the same video had been published online in 2007.

 Yemeni government reassesses U.S. relationship

The raid has caused anger in the Yemeni government as well as among civilians. A senior official told Reuters on Wednesday that concerns had been expressed to the U.S. government and in future “there needs to be more coordination with Yemeni authorities before any operation and that there needs to be consideration for our sovereignty.”

The White House, however, continues to insist that the raid was “highly successful.”

“It achieved the purpose it was going to get – save the loss of life that we suffered and the injuries that occurred,” Spicer said in a press briefing on February 7. “The goal of the raid was intelligence-gathering. And that’s what we received, and that’s what we got.”

Centcom did not respond to a request for comment from the Bureau.

U.S. counterterrorism ops in Yemen

The last time US special forces launched a ground operation like this one was in November 2014. It was a rescue mission, trying to spring an American and a South African taken hostage by al Qaeda. Tragically the mission failed and the hostages were killed.

Though U.S. boots have been on the ground in Yemen off and on since 2002, drones and manned jets lead the hunt for AQAP.

More than 162 strikes have left 815 people dead, including 134 civilians (in the last three years of Obama’s presidency civilian deaths in drone attacks dropped considerably). Hundreds of al Qaeda fighters have been reported killed, including a succession of men chosen as the group’s emir.

In 2011, when the Arab Spring reached Yemen and unseated its dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, al Qaeda took full advantage. It turned from a small terrorist group, focused on blowing up airliners over the U.S., to an insurgent group governing a chunk of southern Yemen.

With this transition to insurgency, AQAP became the only group in Yemen to actually profit from the 2011 uprising, according to the recent International Crisis Group report.

In May 2016 U.S. soldiers were deployed to an airbase in the south-western province of Lahj  alongside Yemeni troops, coordinating US air strikes and Yemeni ground forces against AQAP.

Together Yemeni soldiers and U.S. air power unseated AQAP from its stronghold but only succeeded in driving the terrorists into the mountains. It has become embedded in the ongoing civil war in Yemen, setting itself up as a Sunni bulwark against the Shia Houthi militias which have occupied the capital since 2014.

Source*

Related Topics:

Idlib Raid Hits CIA/Saudi Backed Rebels as “President Banner” Tries to Bury Yemen Blunder*

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

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

‘No Food, No Medicine, No Money’ in Yemeni Town Just Death by Starvation*

Plane from Turkey Transfers Daesh terrorists from Aleppo to Yemen*

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

This is a List of Labour MP’s that voted to continue to murder children in Yemen*

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

How Israel Was Busted Nuking Yemen*

Egypt’s U-Turn on Iraq and Syria*

Egypt’s U-Turn on Iraq and Syria*

By Peter Korzun

The Middle East geopolitical scenarios are going through rapid changes with new factors emerging on the regional chessboard.

Cairo’s foreign policy has been given a new twist. It has been announced recently that Egypt is set to receive one million barrels of petroleum per day from Iraq. Saudi Arabia had informed Egypt that shipments of oil products expected under a $23 billion aid deal were been halted indefinitely, suggesting a deepening rift between the countries. From now on, Egypt will enjoy as much oil as it needs at a lower cost, compared to Saudi pricing.

Egyptian President Al-Sisi rejected the Saudi-backed efforts to overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad. He is also reaching out to former-Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and to his Houthi allies Saudi Arabia is fighting since March 2015. Cairo opened diplomatic channels with the pro-Iranian Lebanese Hezbollah, fighting on the side of President Assad in Syria against the rebel groups supported by Riyadh.

Iraq will provide Egypt with 1 million barrels of Basra light oil each month. The agreement involves extending an oil pipeline from Iraq to Egypt via Jordan. In December, Iraqi petroleum minister Ali al-Luiabi met with the heads of major oil and natural gas companies in Cairo, inviting them to contribute into developing the industry in his country.

Egypt is about to train four Iraqi army units on war against terrorism, in the light of the rapprochement between Egypt and the Iraqi-Iranian axis in the region.

It also mulls sending peacekeeping troops to Syria during the coming days to support the ceasefire agreement under the auspices of Russia, Iran, and Turkey. It has been reported that a unit of Egyptian ground forces might deploy to Syria this month. Last October, Syrian National Security Bureau head Ali Mamlouk visited Cairo to meet Khaled Fawzy, the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service. The two sides agreed to coordinate political positions and strengthen cooperation in «the fight against terror».

Egypt is a predominantly Sunni nation. Its open support of the Russia-backed coalition in Syria is a game changing event of fundamental importance. It makes the sectarian interpretation of the Syria’s conflict not valid anymore.

Middle East Observer quotes Nziv Net, an Israeli outlet close to intelligence sources, saying that

«Egypt has sent a group of officers to Syria for the first time since the relations have frozen during Morsi’s reign».

Last December, Ibrahim al-Eshaiker al-Jaafari, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, called on Egypt to participate in «a strategic project to fight terrorism», which includes Iran.

In September, Egyptian Foreign Minister Samih Shoukry met for the first time with his Iranian counterpart, Jawad Zarif, during their visits to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly.

In October, Egypt backed a Russian-backed motion in the U.N. calling for a ceasefire in Syria. The move angered Saudi Arabia, which suspended oil shipments to Cairo.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi publicly affirmed his support for the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The relations between Russia and Egypt have been on the rise. In February 2015, Egypt signed a breakthrough agreement on establishing a free trade zone with the Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union.

The progress in military cooperation is tangible. Egypt signed arms deals with Russia worth up to $5 billion by 2015 to include 50 MiG-29M combat aircraft, Buk-M2E and Antey-2500 long range air defense systems and about 50Ka-52K helicopters for Egypt’s new Mistral-class assault ships bought in France. The ships will receive the originally planned Russian helicopters and electronics suite.

The two countries signed several agreements for the renovation of military production factories in Egypt. A protocol is signed to grant Egypt access to GLONASS, the Russian global satellite positioning system. In September, Minister of Defense Sedky Sobhy visited Russia to discuss the issues related to long-term close security relationship. Last October, the militaries held a joint exercise.

Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa and the Arab world, the third-most populous in Africa and the fifteenth-most populous in the world. Last year, the country’s population has just reached 92 million. Its policy shift is well-substantiated. Cairo is fighting the Islamic State on the Sinai Peninsula. The fierce fighting there seldom hits media headlines but the IS poses a grave threat to Egypt. IS militants can also strike Egypt from Libya. The IS presence in Libya brings Egypt and Algeria together as the two great nations face the same threat.

The emerging Iran, Iraq, Russia and Turkey alliance may also include Algeria. In response to the growing menace, Algiers is strengthening ties with Moscow. It has recently purchased 14 Su-30MKA fighters and 40 Mi-28 «Night Hunter» attack helicopters from Russia. Last February, Russia and Algeria laid out a roadmap for deepening bilateral economic and military cooperation during Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Algeria.

Russia’s cooperation with Egypt, Algeria and other countries of the Middle East and North Africa reflects Moscow’s growing clout in the region.

With the Astana process making progress, other large and influential actors, such as Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Algeria, may join the emerging Russia, Iran, Turkey coalition to make the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region face tectonic and dramatic changes.

Source*

Related Topics:

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U.S. Withdraws Troops from Sinai, Warns of Coming Egyptian Coup*

Egypt’s Sisi under Fire for Giving Away Red Sea Islands*

Israel Conducted Drone Raids in Egypt’s Sinai*

Saudi Arabia Facing Flack from both Sunni and Shia Leaders*

 

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

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

 

By Glenn Greenwald

In 2010, President Obama directed the CIA to assassinate an American citizen in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki, despite the fact that he had never been charged with (let alone convicted of) any crime, and the agency successfully carried out that order a year later with a September, 2011 drone strike. While that assassination created widespread debate – the once-again-beloved ACLU sued Obama to restrain him from the assassination on the ground of due process and then, when that suit was dismissed, sued Obama again after the killing was carried out – another drone-killing carried out shortly thereafter was perhaps even more significant yet generated relatively little attention.

Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki

Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki

 

Two weeks after the killing of Awlaki, a separate CIA drone strike in Yemen killed his 16-year-old American-born son, Abdulrahman, along with the boy’s 17-year-old cousin and several other innocent Yemenis. The U.S. eventually claimed that the boy was not their target but merely “collateral damage.” Abdulrahman’s grief-stricken grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki, urged the Washington Post “to visit a Facebook memorial page for Abdulrahman,” which explained:

“Look at his pictures, his friends, and his hobbies His Facebook page shows a typical kid.”

Few events pulled the mask off Obama officials like this one. It highlighted how the Obama administration was ravaging Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries: just weeks after he won the Nobel Prize, Obama used cluster bombs that killed 35 Yemeni women and children. Even Obama-supporting liberal comedians mocked the Obama DOJ’s arguments for why it had the right to execute Americans with no charges: “Due Process Just Means There’s A Process That You Do,” snarked Stephen Colbert. And a firestorm erupted when former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs offered a sociopathic justification for killing the Colorado-born teenager, apparently blaming him for his own killing by saying he should have “had a more responsible father.”

The U.S. assault on Yemeni civilians not only continued but radically escalated over the next five years through the end of the Obama presidency, as the U.S. and the UK armed, supported and provide crucial assistance to their close ally Saudi Arabia as it devastated Yemen through a criminally reckless bombing campaign. Yemen now faces mass starvationseemingly exacerbated, deliberately, by the U.S./U.K.-supported air attacks. Because of the west’s direct responsibility for these atrocities, they have received vanishingly little attention in the responsible countries.

In a hideous symbol of the bipartisan continuity of U.S. barbarism, Nasser al-Awlaki just lost another one of his young grandchildren to U.S. violence. On Sunday, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, using armed Reaper drones for cover, carried out a commando raid on what it said was a compound harboring officials of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A statement issued by President Trump lamented the death of an American service member and several others who were wounded, but made no mention of any civilian deaths. U.S. military officials initially denied any civilian deaths, and (therefore) the CNN report on the raid said nothing about any civilians being killed.

But reports from Yemen quickly surfaced that 30 people were killed, including 10 women and children. Among the dead: the 8-year-old granddaughter of Nasser al-Awlaki, Nawar, who was also the daughter of Anwar Awlaki.

This is the 8-year-old girl killed in US raid in Yemen, Arabic media reports https://t.co/nPlWh6LqE3
US killed her teen American brother too pic.twitter.com/QP0TsgdIfq

— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) January 29, 2017

Nora Anwar al-Awlaki. (Bawabatii)

Nora Anwar al-Awlaki. (Bawabatii)

Nora Anwar al-Awlaki. (Bawabatii)

As noted by my colleague Jeremy Scahill – who extensively interviewed the grandparents in Yemen for his book and film on Obama’s “Dirty Wars” –  the girl was “was shot in the neck and killed,” bleeding to death over the course of two hours. “Why kill children?,” the grandfather asked. “This is the new (U.S.) administration – it’s very sad, a big crime.”

The New York Times yesterday reported that military officials had been planning and debating the raid for months under the Obama administration, but Obama officials decided to leave the choice to Trump. The new President personally authorized the attack last week. They claim that the “main target” of the raid “was computer materials inside the house that could contain clues about future terrorist plots.” The paper cited a Yemeni official saying that “at least eight women and seven children, ages 3 to 13, had been killed in the raid,” and that the attack also “severely damaged a school, a health facility and a mosque.”

As my colleague Matthew Cole reported in great detail just weeks ago, Navy Seal Team 6, for all its public glory, has a long history of “‘revenge ops,’ unjustified killings, mutilations, and other atrocities.” And Trump notoriously vowed during the campaign to target not only terrorists but also their families. All of that demands aggressive, independent inquiries into this operation.

Perhaps most tragic of all is that – just as was true in Iraq – Al Qaeda had very little presence in Yemen before the Obama administration began bombing and droning it and killing civilians, thus driving people into the arms of the militant group. As the late, young Yemeni writer Ibrahim Mothana told Congress in 2013:

“Drone strikes are causing more and more Yemenis to hate America and join radical militants . . . Unfortunately, liberal voices in the United States are largely ignoring, if not condoning, civilian deaths and extrajudicial killings in Yemen.

During George W. Bush’s presidency, the rage would have been tremendous. But today there is little outcry, even though what is happening is in many ways an escalation of Mr. Bush’s policies. . . .

Defenders of human rights must speak out. America’s counterterrorism policy here is not only making Yemen less safe by strengthening support for A.Q.A.P. [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] but it could also ultimately endanger the United States and the entire world.”

This is why it is crucial that – as urgent and valid protests erupt against Trump’s abuses – we not permit recent history to be whitewashed, or long-standing U.S. savagery to be deceitfully depicted as new Trumpian aberrations, or the War on Terror framework engendering these new assaults to be forgotten. Some current abuses are unique to Trump, but – as I detailed on Saturday – some are the decades-old by-product of a mindset and system of war and executive powers that all need uprooting. Obscuring these facts, or allowing those responsible to posture as opponents of all this, is not just misleading but counter-productive: much of this resides on an odious continuum and did not just appear out of nowhere.

It’s genuinely inspiring to see pervasive rage over the banning of visa-holders and refugees from countries like Yemen. But it’s also infuriating that the U.S. continues to massacre Yemeni civilians, both directly and through its tyrannical Saudi partners. That does not become less infuriating – Yemeni civilians are not less dead – because these policies and the war theories in which they are rooted began before the inauguration of Donald Trump. It’s not just Trump but this mentality and framework that needs vehement opposition.

Source*

 

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11 Headless Bodies Found near Aden in Yemen*

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Israeli Officers Captured, Killed in Yemen*

US/Saudi puts Blockade on Vital Humanitarian Aid Reaching Yemen*

Europe’s Population ‘Management’ Agenda in Yemen.

‘No Food, No Medicine, No Money’ in Yemeni Town Just Death by Starvation*

‘No Food, No Medicine, No Money’ in Yemeni Town Just Death by Starvation*

Nearly 19 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid, according to the U.N., but the worst of the civilian impact of the two-year civil war in the country has fallen on the district of Tuhayat on the Red Sea coast.

As RT’s Arabic-language crew visited the area, they witnessed scenes of chaos – as locals scrambled to acquire food – and quiet desperation, with many residents swollen with hunger, waiting for outside help, or resigned to their fate.

Salem is an eight-year-old boy, though like many in similar struggling areas around the world, he looks small enough to be mistaken for a toddler.

“We have no energy left, and I have no money with which to treat my child,” says his mother, admitting that the boy is severely malnourished, just one of more than 1.5 million children suffering from the same fate in the country, according to the United Nations.

Fishing used to be the prime source of subsistence for villagers here, prior to the break out of the full-scale civil war between the insurgent Shia Houthis, and the incumbent Sunni government in early 2015.

The area remains under control of the Houthis, but the Saudi-led international coalition, which is supporting the Sunnis, who constitute just under half of the population, has blockaded the coastal areas.

The Saudis have repeatedly fired on fishing boats operated by the locals, saying that some have been used on weapons runs to supply the rebels, even if keeping them moored on land means that innocent civilians will die.

Abdallah and Taga are two brothers, who have become so weak – their skeletons are clearly visible underneath the skin – that they have suffered bone damage, and can now only crawl.

“It is very difficult for us, as we are invalids, and we have no money. Sometimes we get a little, and then we can get tea and bread – people help us, but not very often, and not very much,” says Abdallah.

Over 7,000 people have been killed in the conflict, according to international observers – a large minority of them civilians, who died in airstrikes – and more than 3 million have been displaced.

“The situation is only going to get worse, because there is no functioning government. Social welfare has not been paid for two years,” Baraa Shiban, an activist for the nonprofit Reprieve, told RT.

Shiban believes that the Houthis have to hand back power to the previous Sunni regime, and in return the international coalition must ease its stranglehold on the region, while any other means of help is temporary.

“Humanitarian aid has been delivered to some of these areas, but just depending on it is not a viable solution. We need a comprehensive solution.”

But Jamal Wakeem, professor of history and international relations at the Lebanese University in Beirut, says that the Saudis are purposefully worsening the humanitarian crisis to achieve their political aims.

“This is a conscious strategy of the Saudis, they have been trying to exert economic pressure,” he told RT from Beirut, saying that it equates to “genocide.”

While the Sunnis have more material resources, the Houthi rebels still hold most of the land, and enjoy considerable manpower, so the conflict remains finely balanced. For ordinary Yemenis, regardless of creed, this likely means more instability, hunger and fear.

Source*

Related Topics:

Plane from Turkey Transfers Daesh terrorists from Aleppo to Yemen*

11 Headless Bodies Found near Aden in Yemen*

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

This is a List of Labour MP’s that voted to continue to murder children in Yemen*

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

How Israel Was Busted Nuking Yemen*

U.S. Cluster Bombs Kill Children for Decades in Laos, and Now Yemen*

Plane from Turkey Transfers Daesh terrorists from Aleppo to Yemen*

Plane from Turkey Transfers Daesh terrorists from Aleppo to Yemen*

This file photo shows a plane flying after take-off from Yemen’s Aden International Airport. (Photo by AFP)

This file photo shows a plane flying after take-off from Yemen’s Aden International Airport. (Photo by AFP)

This file photo shows a plane flying after take-off from Yemen’s Aden International Airport. (Photo by AFP)

Yemeni sources say a Turkish plane transporting scores of Daesh Takfiri terrorists has landed in the Aden International Airport in southern Yemen.

Yemen’s al-Masirah news website reported that the plane carried 150 terrorists who were evacuated from Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo after Syrian government forces fully retook control of the city.

On December 22, the Syrian army said Aleppo had completely returned to government control after the last batch of civilians and militants were evacuated.

Yemeni security sources said the terrorists landed in the airport that is under the supervision of Emirati forces, who are taking part in the Saudi military campaign against Yemen, the report added.

The Turkish plane, al-Masirah said, will take to Turkey 158 Saudi-backed mercenaries, who were injured in recent fighting with the Yemeni army and popular committees in Yemen’s province of Ta’izz. The injured are to receive treatment in Turkish hospitals.

Turkey is said to be among the main supporters of militant groups in Syria and stands accused of training and arming Takfiri elements and facilitating their passage into the country.

The Turkish government also reportedly supports the Saudi campaign against Yemen, which began in late March 2015 in a bid to restore power to Yemen’s Saudi-backed former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Riyadh’s campaign has claimed the lives of more than 11,400 people, according to figures compiled by the Yemeni non-governmental monitoring group Legal Center for Rights and Development.

Source*

Related Topics:

11 Headless Bodies Found near Aden in Yemen*

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

This is a List of Labour MP’s that voted to continue to murder children in Yemen*

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

Russia highly Concerned over Turkey’s Military Intervention in Northern Syria*

Turkish MP Faces Treason Charges after Admitting ISIS Used Turkey for Transiting Sarin*

Saudi Arabia Budget Deficit for 2017 about $53bn*

Saudi Arabia Budget Deficit for 2017 about $53bn*

Saudi Arabia has forecast that its budget deficit for next year will be about $53 billion despite economic measures adopted by the government in response to low oil prices.

According to a cabinet statement, the shortfall was predicated in the 2017 state budget released on Thursday.

Next year, Saudi expenses will reach $237 billion against revenues of $184 billion, the statement read.

It further noted that the 2016 deficit will stand at $79 billion, down 8.9 percent from an earlier estimate.

“This budget comes at a time of a highly volatile economic situation … which led to a slowdown in world economic growth and a drop in oil prices that impacted our country,” Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud told on official television at a cabinet meeting.

Earlier this month, King Salman acknowledged that some of the economic measures adopted by the government are “painful,” but they are needed to avert more complicated financial woes.

The finances of Saudi Arabia, the world’s second largest crude producer after Russia and largest oil exporter, have been hit by a downturn in oil prices that were above $100 a barrel in 2014, but sank below $40 two years later. The prices, however, recovered toward the end of 2016 and traded below $55 on Thursday.

The plunge in global oil prices prompted Riyadh to rein in public spending in a bid to save money. The kingdom’s economic measures are being led by Salman’s son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud.

Earlier this year, the Riyadh regime cancelled financial perks for public sector employees and slashed salaries of ministers and members of the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia, also known as the Shura Council.

It further froze major building projects and made unprecedented cuts to fuel and utilities subsidies.

The cutbacks sparked concerns among retailers and residents.

The developments come amid the country’s rising military expenditure, a large amount of which is being funneled into a military campaign against neighboring Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 with the purpose of reinstalling the country’s former government, a close Riyadh ally, Press TV reported.

Source*

Related Topics:

Saudi Arabia Abandons Islamic Calendar as Part of Cost-Cutting Measures*

Washington Planning a Syrian invasion by Turkey and Saudi Arabia to split Syria in half with Washington controlling the Oil Fields*

Saudi Arabia $135bn in Deficit*

Saudi Arabia Faces Collapse as Oil Revenues Decline*

India Permits Free Energy Technology Despite Threats from U.K., U.S., Saudi Arabia*

Eyewitness Discloses Saudi Embassy’s Role in Masterminding Recent Massacre in Nigeria*

U.S, U.K., Israel, China, Saudia behind Myanmar’s Rohingya Genocide*

U.S. Earns $33 Billion Arms Sales in Eleven Months from the Destruction of Yemen*

Saudi Pilot Kills himself for Massacring Yemeni Children*

Wahhabism, Saudis and the Divided Ummah*

Saudi Arabia Uses Israeli Firm G4S to Make E-Bracelets for Hajj*

Saudi Arabia Facing Flack from both Sunni and Shia Leaders*

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

14+ U.S. Coalition Military Officers Captured by Syrian Special Forces in East Aleppo Bunker*

14+ U.S. Coalition Military Officers Captured by Syrian Special Forces in East Aleppo Bunker*

By Patrick Henningsen and Vanessa Beeley

Syrian Army soldier holds up Al Nusra Front (al Qaeda in Syria) flag in the Umayyed Mosque, Old City, after government troop liberated terrorist-occupied East Aleppo this week (Image: Vanessa Beeley for 21st Century Wire)

 

According to two reports coming out of Aleppo today, at least 14 U.S. Coalition military officers were captured this morning in an East Aleppo bunker by Syrian Special Forces.

This story was quietly leaked by Voltaire.net, who announced, “The Security Council is sitting in private on Friday, December 16, 2016, at 17:00 GMT, while NATO officers were arrested this morning by the Syrian Special Forces in a bunker in East Aleppo.”

Fares Shehabi MP, a prominent Syrian Parliamentarian and head of Aleppo’s Chamber of Commerce published the names of the Coalition officers on his Facebook page on the 15th December (emphasis added):

Mutaz Kanoğlu – Turkey
David Scott Winer – USA
David Shlomo Aram – Israel
Muhamad Tamimi – Qatar
Muhamad Ahmad Assabian – Saudi
Abd-el-Menham Fahd al Harij – Saudi
Islam Salam Ezzahran Al Hajlan – Saudi
Ahmed Ben Naoufel Al Darij – Saudi
Muhamad Hassan Al Sabihi – Saudi
Hamad Fahad Al Dousri – Saudi
Amjad Qassem Al Tiraoui – Jordan
Qassem Saad Al Shamry – Saudi
Ayman Qassem Al Thahalbi – Saudi
Mohamed Ech-Chafihi El Idrissi – Moroccan

In addition to Voltaire.net, the other original report was provided by Damascus-based Syrian journalist Said Hilal Alcharifi. According to Alcharifi, captured “NATO” officers were from a number of member states including the U.S., France, Germany and Turkey, as well as Israel. Here is his statement (translated from French):



“Thanks to information received, Syrian authorities discovered the headquarters of high ranking western/NATO officers in the basement of an area in East Aleppo and have captured them alive. Some names have already been given to Syrian journalists, myself included. The nationalities are U.S., French, British, German, Israeli, Turkish, Saudi, Moroccan, Qatari etc. In light of their nationalities and their rank, I assure you that the Syrian government have a very important catch, which should enable them to direct negotiations with the countries that have tried to destroy them.”

Although these initial reports describe the individuals in question as “NATO” officers, it’s unlikely they would have been carrying NATO colors on a covert operation – and might be more accurately labeled as U.S/ Coalition officers. Note that early reports suggest that these are not standard ‘street rebel’ or jihadi terrorists but actual Coalition military personnel and field commanders.

21WIRE have also received unconfirmed reports yesterday that militants had fired a missile into Ramousa area and then tried, unsuccessfully, to get cars out of East Aleppo. It’s possible this incident could be related to today reports of captured western operatives.

This report from the Syrian Arab News Agency (emphasis added):

“The agreement on evacuating militants and weapons from the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city has been suspended after terrorist groups breached it, special sources told SANA correspondent in Aleppo.

The sources said that the suspension of the agreement will remain in place until obtaining guarantees that oblige the terrorist groups to abide by all the agreement’s provisions, stressing on the Syrian side’s full adherence to the agreement and its keenness to end the bloodshed and restore security and stability to the entire city of Aleppo.”

Earlier, SANA reporter said that the terrorist groups have breached the agreement as they smuggled heavy weapons, including TOW missiles, heavy machineguns and kidnapped people via the buses and cars transporting terrorists and their families towards the southwestern countryside of Aleppo city.

The reporter added that the terrorist groups fired shells and sniper bullets on the buses and ambulances at al-Ramousseh crossing, noting that the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which are supervising the evacuation process had to withdraw all buses and cars from the crossing.

Over the past 24 hours, some 8079 terrorists and members of their families were evacuated on ten batches via busses and ambulances from the neighborhoods of Salah-Eddin, al-Ansari, al-Mashhad and al-Zibdiyeh to the southwest countryside of Aleppo city”

If true, then this latest news would also mean that both the Syrian and Russian governments would have additional leverage going forward in any bilateral negotiations with the U.S.-led Coalition.

If, however, this story is kept under wraps by NATO member governments and summarily blacked out by the U.S. and European media outlets, then it might indicate that a deal has been struck, albeit behind the scenes, for the return of captured NATO operatives in exchange for other concessions.

If today’s report from East Aleppo is accurate, this might also help explain the hysterical behavior by the U.S. State Department and western U.N. officials who have been demanding “an immediate ceasefire” – despite the fact that 99% of East Aleppo has already been liberated by Syrian government forces.

The western establishment hysterical reactions to Al Nusra’s defeat in Aleppo have included wild claims that the Syrian Army had ‘unleashed death squads,’ on its own residents in East Aleppo and were openly ‘executing women and children in the street,’ and ‘burning children in the street,’ as well what appear to be more fictional reports circulated in U.S. media mainly by Michael Weis of The Daily Beast via CNN, claiming that Syrian Army was committing “mass rape” against residents of East Aleppo. His article entitled, Women in Aleppo Choose Suicide Over Rape, Rebels Report, made a number of outlandish claims including:

“Activists and rebels in the besieged city say mass executions have begun and children are burned alive as Assad’s Iranian- and Russian-backed forces move in.”

Not surprisingly, aside from unnamed “U.N. sources”, Weiss claims to have got his information from none other than the discredited U.S. and U.K.-financed pseudo ‘NGO’ known as the White Helmets.

Back in September, numerous reports suggested that a western command centre located behind terrorist-held lines had been targeted and destroyed by a Russian missile strike. Prof Michel Chossudovsky wrote:

The U.S. and its allies had established a Field Operations Room in the Aleppo region integrated by intelligence personnel. Until it was targeted by a Russian missile attack on September 20,  this “semi-secret” facility was operated by U.S., British, Israeli, Turkish, Saudi and Qatari intelligence personnel.”  

This report was neither admitted, nor was it denied by U.S. Coalition sources at the time. However, one mainstream Israeli source, The Times of Israel, did report the incident.

For anyone who has been paying close attention to the Syrian Conflict, seeing NATO Special Forces or “contractors” working with ‘rebel’ or terrorist fighters inside of Syria is nothing unusual. Numerous reports have been filed of British soldiers assigned to fighting groups to help with training, strategy and logistics. In June 2016, The Telegraph admitted that British special forces were helping one rebel group, “… with logistics, like building defences to make the bunkers safe,” said one ‘rebel’ fighter. Other reports, including the LA Times which detailed CIA operations used to arm militants, including Al Nusra Front (al Qaeda in Syria) who were the terrorist force in charge in East Aleppo. Other revelations of U.S. covert involvement include The New York Times, and also information on U.S. (NATO by another name only) covert operations provided to the Wall Street Journal.

Throughout fighting in the Donbass in eastern Ukraine, during the period of May 2014 to the present, numerous incidents have been reported where NATO military soldiers and operatives have been both spotted, and captured by rebel forces, and in most cases these reports have been muted, more than likely because of ‘horse trading’ taking place as an extension of wider diplomacy.

Source*

Related Topics:

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

US-led Coalition Airstrikes Kill 60+ Civilians in Mosul*

U.S. Coalition Killed Civilians near Kirkuk*

U.S.-Led Coalition Hits Deir Ez-zor Again*

U.S. Coalition Air Strikes Kills 60 Civilians in Tokhar near Manbij, Syria*

Three Children, a Woman Killed by U.S.-led Coalition’s Airstrikes in Deir Ezzor*

Data Reveals Airstrikes on Syrian Hospital Launched by U.S.-Led Coalition*

U.K. – U.S. Responds to Aleppo Siege with More Sanctions against Syrian Civilians*

$17k per Month for Journalists Could Have Spent on the NHS was used for Fake News on Syria*

The “Free Syrian Army” Media Campaign is a British Government Operation*

British SAS Special Forces “Dressed Up as ISIS Rebels” Fighting Assad in Syria*

German Paper Admits Ghouta Sarin Attack in Syria Committed By U.S.- backed Al-Qaeda*

360,000 Foreign Nationals from Tens of States Fighting Alongside Terrorists in Syria*

U.S and French Warplanes Massacre Civilians in Syria on Phony Pretext of Combating ISIS*